2011 Investment Mea Culpas

January is nearly over, so it is once again time to look at the various errors, mistakes and bad calls that I made in the asset management business in 2011. I have made ‘fessing up part of my process – this is my third annual version (see my previous mea culpas for 2009 and 2010). […]

What Did the SEC Really Do in 2004?

Andrew Lo’s review of twenty-one financial crisis books has been getting a fair amount of attention, including a recent mention in The Economist. Simply reading twenty-one books about the financial crisis is a demonstration of stamina that exceeds mine. I should also say at this point that I have no arguments with Lo’s description of […]

How to Exit the Danger Zone: IMF Update on Global Financial Stability

Since September of last year, risks to global financial stability have deepened, notably in the euro area. However, over the past few weeks, markets have been encouraged by measures to provide liquidity to banks and sovereigns in the euro area. This recent improvement should not be taken for granted, as some sovereign debt markets remain […]

ProPublica’s Off Base Charges About Freddie Mac’s Mortgage “Bets”

A new ProPublica story, “Freddie Mac Betting Against Struggling Homeowners,” treats the fact that Freddie Mac retains the riskiest tranche of its mortgage bond offering, known as inverse floaters, as heinous and evidence of scheming against suffering borrowers. The storyline in this piece is neat, plausible, and utterly wrong. And my e-mail traffic indicates that […]

Weighing the Week Ahead: An Avalanche of Data

In a sharp change from recent times, this week will be all about US economic data.  With recession worries still prominent, each release will be subject to special scrutiny.  This will be especially true of Friday’s employment situation report. There will be continuing earnings news, although we have passed the peak of the season.  The […]

A Troubling Trend For Income & Spending Rolls On

American consumers are spending less and saving more. That’s the message in yesterday’s personal income and consumption report for December from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. That’s a healthy development for household balance sheets and, in the long run, it’s a plus for the economy. But if you’re looking for a fresh sign that the […]

‘Vulnerable to External Influences’ – The Economic State of Australia (Part I)

Australia has been one of the world’s best performing economy. But its success in avoiding the worst of the global economic problems may not continue. Australia’s future is inextricably linked to China and the commodity “super boom”. Australia economic prospects remain vulnerable to international developments outside its control. Escaping Acronyms… The popular narrative is that Australia […]

The Fed Role in the Economy: Now Bigger. Now Better?

The Fed made history the other day, achieving a new level of policy-making transparency. In my early days in the business, the results of an FOMC meeting were never announced.  Everyone waited until the day after the Fed meeting to see what open-market operations were conducted by the NY Fed.  First you needed to know […]

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