Market Commentary

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September! Also, Closing the Lehman Gap

Author: David Kotok, Post Date: August 18, 2009

From the Wall Street Journal of August 11: “For investors, the period between Labor Day and Halloween is proving an annual fright show. And no one knows why. It was, of course, in September last year that Lehman collapsed and everything fell apart. But then it was also September-October 2002 that the last bear market […]

Moody’s, Munis and Cousin BABs

Author: David Kotok, Post Date: August 16, 2009

In their August 13  “Special Comment” Moody’s outlined the current condition of the state budgets and of the various revenue sectors like airports, toll roads, higher education facilities, and hospitals.  Nearly two years into a recession, the report is not pleasant reading. Expenditure budgets are being cut.  Tax receipts continue to arrive below projections, which […]

Ricardian Equivalence

Author: David Kotok, Post Date: August 14, 2009

The Obama-Summers-Geithner federal deficit financing plan assumes success because it ignores the principle of "Ricardian equivalence."  And it is based on the assumption of the Alan Blinder-Robert Solow argument that over a longer term the outcome of government borrowing will be an offsetting higher wealth effect.   It will fail.   We could see an […]

Leens Lodge Report

Author: David Kotok, Post Date: August 9, 2009

Back to back in Maine.  First the NBEIC meeting at Samoset.  Then the annual Shadow Fed fishing weekend at Leen’s Lodge.  Rules in both places are Chatham House, which means no direct quotations without permission of the speaker.   We are permitted to offer some summary observations without naming names. Bullets follow. There is very mixed […]

A Modest Proposal for Executive Compensation

Author: Bob Eisenbeis, Post Date: August 7, 2009

Public and Congressional ire has risen up again on the heels of a report from NY Attorney General Andrew Cuomo detailing the payment of bonuses by key Wall Street firms who had received taxpayer TARP money. In several instances those firms made huge losses in 2008 but paid out more than $27 billion in bonuses, […]

When Is a Bubble a Bubble?

Author: Bob Eisenbeis, Post Date: August 4, 2009

For many years the Greenspan orthodoxy at the Fed was that central banks should not attempt to prick asset bubbles but instead stand ready to clean up the mess when markets did their job.  Fed staff and reserve bank presidents dutifully repeated that mantra.  But after Greenspan’s departure, governors (or former governors) such as Rick […]

Clunker-nomics

Author: David Kotok, Post Date: August 2, 2009

Genesis 1:31 says “And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.“  A few millennia later, we find that the world’s most popular book can be applied metaphorically to the US House of Representatives, as it labors in the […]

Is it Bubble Time in China Again?

Author: Bill Witherell, Post Date: July 31, 2009

On Tuesday, July 29, Chinese stocks were down by 7.7% at one point before finishing the day down 5%, and the ripple effects were felt in markets around the globe. There were fears that this year’s bull market in Chinese stocks could be brought to a sharp halt by central bank action to curb the […]

Being in the Sweet Spot (Twice)

Author: David Kotok, Post Date: July 29, 2009

At the moment we are in the “sweet spot” in markets and soon, in Maine.  We must enjoy it while it lasts.  Some bullets follow. 1.    Fed policy is on hold at Quantitative Easing (QE), which means short-term interest rates near zero and plenty of liquidity in the financial system.  The Fed has said it […]

Be Careful What You Ask For

Author: David Kotok, Post Date: July 24, 2009

Oh, Ben.  Why did you offer this? In his Q&A session at the Senate on the second day of his testimony, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke offered a response to a question about the Fed’s role in consumer protection.  He suggested that the Senator reopen "the Act" and add the consumer-protection role to the Fed’s […]

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