Old Euro Dogs

This morning Euro Zone policymakers announced an agreement where certain private investors (mainly banks and insurance companies) would take 50% haircuts on their holdings of Greek debt.  This is basically a managed default.  And though it runs totally contrary to what policymakers were promising earlier this year (aka that Greece would not default), it really should have been expected. Back … Continue reading Old Euro Dogs

Bernanke Put

The markets seem to be hoping that good ol' helicopter Ben will come through with another round of quantitative easing (QE) tomorrow.  Doing so would extend the legacy of  the "Greespan Put" and probably ignite a speculative risk-on rally.  Analysts like Dave Rosenberg and Bill McBride have pointed out how equity markets seem to be dancing around the Fed's QE activities, shown for … Continue reading Bernanke Put

Patient Trigger Finger

So what did the stock market think about S&P's downgrade?  We got an answer today, in bright flashing red.  The Dow sank 634 points today - the sixth largest single-day drop in history. To be fair, the sell-off wasn't rooted entirely in the downgrade (which was widely expected).  Rather, as I have written before, it looks like the market is … Continue reading Patient Trigger Finger

Here Comes the Sink

It was a wild week for US markets. Volatility was off the charts and on Thursday the Dow dropped 512 points - its ninth largest single-day drop in history.  Stocks are down about 7% from their peak in April and are now negative for the year.  Then on Friday, adding insult to injury, Standard and Poors stripped … Continue reading Here Comes the Sink

What’s up with the Debt Ceiling

We are within an arm's length of reaching a "debt ceiling" in the United States.  In other words, the government has basically maxed out the national credit card (based on limits established by US law).  The Treasury Department has indicated that unless Congress authorizes additional borrowing (which only Congress can do through its lawmaking functions), the United States will not … Continue reading What’s up with the Debt Ceiling

The Game Must Go On

This morning Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the Federal Reserve (the US central bank aka the Fed), delivered his semiannual report on monetary policy to Congress.  During the report, Bernanke said, “the possibility remains that the recent economic weakness may prove more persistent than expected, and that deflationary risks might reemerge, implying a need for additional policy support.”  … Continue reading The Game Must Go On