|By Staff, Reuters, 02/28/2013|
MarketMinder's View: That’s fine. The IMF can do as it pleases. But even under the sequester, total government spending is projected to grow in 2013.
|By Matthew Lynn, MarketWatch, 02/28/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Sprinting is a bit hyperbolic, since Moody’s itself said UK’s creditworthiness remains very high. Rather, the downgrade was because the UK missed its own self-imposed fiscal targets. Moreover, the UK economy did grow during full-year 2012. In our view, junk status is quite a ways off.
|By Eric Morath and Sarah Portlock, The Wall Street Journal, 02/28/2013|
MarketMinder's View: What a difference 20 basis points makes. News the US likely grew in Q4 was met with a lot of “yeah, but” caveats: Yeah but, defense spending was down. Yeah but, the sequester. What the read did underscore is the ongoing strength of the private sector—the economy’s primary growth engine.
|By Alexander Bolton, The Hill, 02/28/2013|
MarketMinder's View: There’s still time, but not much. Even if they do go into full or partial effect, the overall economic impact is minimal, and total government spending is projected to rise in 2013. For more, see our cover story, “11th Hour Sequestration Politics.”
|By John Paul Rathbone and Adam Thomson, Financial Times, 02/28/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Another positive development from Mexico—cutting red tape and boosting energy production.
|By David Pilling, Financial Times, 02/28/2013|
MarketMinder's View: “Shadow banking is the deformed stepchild of contradictory state policies.” Amen. If China wants its economy to continue growing, it must consider further liberalization to regulations surrounding lending.
|By Staff, Reuters, 02/28/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Indeed. Though, recall, jobless claims are backward looking. But they do paint a picture of an expanding private economy.
|By Victoria McGrane, The Wall Street Journal, 02/28/2013|
MarketMinder's View: This likely doesn’t happen anytime very soon, but the exit from the Fed’s “QE-infinity” policy should be watched carefully. Some fear “the end of stimulus” and its impact on the economy, but this fear is misplaced since the policy’s been contractionary, not stimulating.
|By Jim Tankersley, The Washington Post, 02/27/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Ultimately, overall spending is projected to grow in 2013, even with the sequester. What’s more, let’s not ignore the strong growth engine that is (and has been) the private sector.
|By Staff, EUBusiness, 02/27/2013|
MarketMinder's View: It would be nice if France hit its deficit target, but if it doesn’t, economic and market impact is likely little to none. The eurozone has bigger concerns—like the need for fundamental reform and increased competitiveness—than deficit targets for a country with currently still affordable debt.
|By Dan Bobkoff, NPR, 02/27/2013|
MarketMinder's View: We’re not arguing with the data, but we do challenge its significance. Realistically, income statistics now versus then ultimately say little about overall economic well-being. We’d suggest looking at overall quality of life and productivity gains, which inarguably have improved vastly since the 1990s, ‘80s, ‘70s and certainly before, thanks to widespread use of new technologies and innovations.
|By Mary Anastasia O’Grady, The Wall Street Journal, 02/27/2013|
MarketMinder's View: We agree monetary policy errors have, in the past, been major contributors to bear markets. However, since much of the money the bank has pumped out is sitting idle as excess reserves, there’s little opportunity for it to inflate bubbles. Now, other factors can cause bubbles, but the Fed’s deflationary policy isn’t particularly bubble-inducing at the moment.
|By Mark Thompson, CNN Money, 02/27/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Unsurprisingly, at least to us, Italy’s bond auction Wednesday was a success: All bonds offered were sold and at still very affordable rates. It appears investors weren’t quite scared away after Italy’s "Greecey" election.
|By Hester Peirce, Real Clear Markets, 02/27/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Exactly. Furthermore, the Federal Reserve is a central bank whose dual mandate doesn’t come close to addressing policing non-banking financial institutions. Over- and misunderstood regulation creates unintended consequences which, historically, haven’t proven to boost the economy.
|By Richard Rahn, The Washington Times, 02/27/2013|
MarketMinder's View: A look at the myriad ways the current corporate tax structure is inefficient and disincentivizes entrepreneurship.
|By Philip Aldrick, The Telegraph, 02/27/2013|
MarketMinder's View: 0.2 percent isn’t exactly robust, but growth is growth—a positive for the UK and evidence all isn’t as grim as many fear.
|By John W. Schoen, NBC News, 02/27/2013|
MarketMinder's View: The main takeaway here is, on a macroeconomic level, gas price spikes have little lasting impact—though they may hurt more in the short term and in different parts of the country.
|By Hans-Jürgen Schlamp, Der Spiegel, 02/26/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Italy’s political stalemate is not unprecedented and, to us, is akin to the first round of Greek elections in May 2012. In that election, a particularly polarizing first outcome gave way to a coalition in a second round and ultimately eased fears of a “Grexit.” Of course, Italy has myriad differences from Greece and the country still has several options to consider in forming a new government. However, when push comes to shove, the Italian electorate has overwhelmingly supported staying in the eurozone.
|By Ruchir Sharma, The Wall Street Journal, 02/26/2013|
MarketMinder's View: In our view, you can’t make relative debt and growth comparisons to other countries historically to draw conclusions about China’s current situation. To be sure, China has some issues with bad municipal and regional debt, but the situation is far from endemic. What’s more, the Chinese government has taken dramatic steps to begin reforming its financial system and refocusing its economy on domestic consumption.
|By Kathleen Madigan, The Wall Street Journal, 02/26/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Consumer confidence indicators do a pretty good job of confirming what the stock market and/or economy did … last month. They are coincident at best, but mostly backward looking and do little to presage future market or economic direction.
|By Ylan Q. Mui, The Washington Post, 02/26/2013|
MarketMinder's View: We don’t much see how the Fed’s QE measures are all that stimulative. And in fact, spending, employment, household wealth and overall growth have continued despite them thus far.
|By Eric Morath, The Wall Street Journal, 02/26/2013|
MarketMinder's View: This sensible piece outlines the error in making too much of mostly backward-looking economic releases. These figures are often based on incomplete data and can be revised—sometimes dramatically—months, quarters and years after the fact.
|By Staff, EUbusiness, 02/26/2013|
MarketMinder's View: After prices on its carbon market collapsed this year and a host of countries protested the EU’s airline carbon tax, it’s no surprise regulators decided to back off. Any time governments monkey with markets, the opportunity for unintended consequences is vast. Our bet (and hope) is an international solution never sees the light of day. For more, see our 1/23/2013 cover story, “Tax Follies in the EU.”
|By Staff, Der Spiegel, 02/26/2013|
MarketMinder's View: While the country’s still a long way off from a full sanction of fracking, in our view, this is a measured, incrementally positive step for Germany. Especially as it continues following through with its planned shutdown of nuclear reactors by 2022.
|By Staff, The Economist, 02/26/2013|
MarketMinder's View: The repercussions of a European Financial Transactions Tax on economic growth are wide-ranging and the negatives likely overall underestimated. For more, see MarketMinder staff writer Elisabeth Dellinger’s 2/15/2013 column, “The EU’s Transaction Tax Follies.”
|By Mark Thompson, CNN Money, 02/25/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Historically, a downgrade from AAA has had little real economic impact. Further, we’d agree lower government spending would be good for the UK (the US, too). However, it’s important to distinguish between tax hikes (which the UK has done) and reducing government spending (which the UK has not done). For more, see our 02/25/2013 cover story, “Inside the UK Downgrade.”
|By Robert J. Samuelson, The Washington Post, 02/25/2013|
MarketMinder's View: In our view, a better assessment of debt looks at debt held by the public (i.e., that which must be paid back) and not conflate actual debt with government-backed and/or sponsored enterprises, nor with entitlement spending, which goes away with a simple vote.
|By Mark J. Perry, AEIdeas, 02/25/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Recent world industrial output and trade volume provide more “evidence that the global economy has now made a complete recovery from the 2008-2009 recession.”
|By Guy Dinmore, Financial Times, 02/25/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Whatever the election result, fears Italy will leave the eurozone are likely unfounded. For more, see our 01/29/2013 cover story, “Previewing Italy’s Election.”
|By Joshua Zumbrun & Steve Matthews, Bloomberg, 02/25/2013|
MarketMinder's View: While it’s certainly a positive employment’s climbing in construction and vehicle manufacturing—this lagging indicator likely reflects the continuing recovery of the US economy, not the Fed’s rather contractionary “QE-infinity” policy. As we’ve detailed in the past, most of the monetary “stimulus” remains parked right back at the Fed as excess reserves.
|By Staff, Associated Press, 02/25/2013|
MarketMinder's View: It seems Cuba’s shifting from the Castro dynasty to the Chinese model of party/consensus-driven communism—thus economic (not to mention political) freedom is likely a long way off despite recent market-oriented reforms.
|By Thomas L. Friedman, The New York Times, 02/25/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Yet another example of the benefits of free trade, open markets and economic competitiveness. For more, see MarketMinder staff writer Elisabeth Dellinger’s 10/17/2012 column on Equities, “Is Mexico a New Emerging Market?”
|By Jon Hilsenrath, The Wall Street Journal, 02/25/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Though we don’t see an immediate end to the Fed’s “QE-infinity” policy, there are options for how it’s unwound. Of course, how successfully the Fed’s able to execute those options remains to be seen.
|By Janet Hook and Peter Nicholas, The Wall Street Journal, 02/25/2013|
MarketMinder's View: After the sequester deadline has passed, it’s likely attention on Capitol Hill shifts to the continuing resolution. But make no mistake, this too is pure politics and the debate could be altogether averted if politicians focused on longer-term deals rather than shorter-term Band-Aids.
|By Roland Gribben, The Telegraph, 02/25/2013|
MarketMinder's View: High taxes have eaten into North Sea oil production in recent years. However, tax policy changes could prove positive for the industry, likely boosting UK growth and tax revenues.
|By Staff, Der Spiegel, 02/22/2013|
MarketMinder's View: This plan would essentially force Cypriot banks’ foreign account holders to take haircuts on their cash deposits—a frightening precedent. Even though the move is aimed at Russian money launderers, perfectly legal deposits likely get hit, too. Private property is sacred and essential in a capitalist (or any) economy.
|By Valerie J. Karplus, The New York Times, 02/22/2013|
MarketMinder's View: In our view, there is no case for a higher gasoline tax—the gas tax is regressive, making it one of the more onerous levies out there. We’d rather see it done away with altogether.
|By Shelly Banjo, Annie Gasparo and Julie Jargon, The Wall Street Journal, 02/22/2013|
MarketMinder's View: The “evidence” here consists only of corporate forecasts and consumer surveys, not actual sales or spending figures. Simply, there’s no evidence the payroll tax hike has whacked spending. For more, see our 02/11/2013 cover story, “Inside the Payroll Tax Hike.”
|By Megan Greene, Bloomberg, 02/22/2013|
MarketMinder's View: In suggesting the ECB may make it difficult for Italy to access OMT if Silvio Berlusconi regains power, this piece misses a key point: There’s no evidence Italy will ever need to tap the program, which is only available to nations that request a bailout—something Italy, with its primary surplus and manageable borrowing costs, doesn’t seem to need.
|By Staff, EUbusiness, 02/22/2013|
MarketMinder's View: As ever, we’re confused by the European Commission’s definition of “competition”—how, exactly, does having lower (read: more competitive) VAT on e-books make France and Luxembourg anti-competitive? Rather than taking the two to court for trying to make themselves more consumer-friendly, perhaps the EU should just abandon its arbitrary tax floors and let all nations do as they please.
|By Denise Roland, The Telegraph, 02/22/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Once finalized, the yuan-sterling swap line will make the UK the first major developed nation to have a bilateral currency agreement with China, which should bolster London’s status as a global financial center—and potentially bring more capital markets activity (and trade, growth and jobs) to the UK.
|By Staff, Bloomberg, 02/22/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Emerging Markets—particularly in Asia—continue contributing nicely to overall global growth.
|By Kal Raustiala and Chris Sprigma, Freakonomics, 02/22/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Intellectual property laws are key to innovation and advancement—how this case impacts US patent laws bears watching.
|By Rich Miller, Bloomberg, 02/22/2013|
MarketMinder's View: That seems a sensible view considering most of the QE money remains parked at the Fed as excess reserves. Idle cash tends not to inflate bubbles.
|By Binyamin Appelbaum and Annie Lowrey, The New York Times, 02/21/2013|
MarketMinder's View: The impact of sequestration is likely overstated here. Total government spending is projected to fall less in 2013 than it did in 2012 (when the economy grew). And spending is projected to grow again starting in 2014—and forevermore.
|By Melanie Hicken, CNN Money, 02/21/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Beware polls about people’s feelings. Folks often do one thing and say another. Despite some saying they “may” cut back, retail sales and consumer spending continue growing.
|By Staff, EU Business, 02/21/2013|
MarketMinder's View: EU members can choose to give Brussels “yea” or “nay” power over budgets if they want. But it probably serves as a deterrent to nations considering membership, and it’s hard to imagine Germany and France finding this such a grand idea.
|By Mary Watkins, Financial Times, 02/21/2013|
MarketMinder's View: More evidence European banks have made vast improvements since the credit crisis and are healthier than most would have surmised a few years back.
|By Chris Edwards, Cato Institute, 02/21/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Want better infrastructure? Perhaps we should unleash some private sector profit-motive.
|By Martin Crutsinger, MSN Money, 02/21/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Housing market gains continue.
|By Liam Denning, The Wall Street Journal, 02/21/2013|
MarketMinder's View: We quibble about the theories regarding what has been driving gold’s price in recent years—and we aren’t calling a gold top (nor would we try to). However, this serves as a good reminder gold is the ultimate timing game. Will gold rebound? Near impossible to know. A better question for gold investors is: How good of a timer are you?
|By Martin Wolf, Financial Times, 02/20/2013|
MarketMinder's View: The eurozone outlook here is far too dour in our opinion. Yes, the eurozone still faces myriad issues, and it’s not likely that will change overnight. However, if politicians continue working on structural reforms, freeing up the private sector and increasing competition as they have been, incremental improvements likely continue.
|By Jason Douglas, The Wall Street Journal, 02/20/2013|
MarketMinder's View: We have a hard time seeing how further easing, which treads into contractionary territory, will help boost the UK economy or lending any more than continuing an agenda of increased government spending stimulates growth. Rather, deregulation and boosting the private sector seem more in order.
|By Steven Russolillo, The Wall Street Journal, 02/20/2013|
MarketMinder's View: One issue we have here is the “death cross” is nothing more than a chart pattern with no inherent predictive power, and paying it heed tends to be faulty investment strategy. But moreover, gold is a commodity—simple as that—not an indicator of overall, global economic health or hurt.
|By Staff, BBC, 02/20/2013|
MarketMinder's View: It’s not that we doubt jobs might be lost in certain industries should the sequester occur, but as we’ve written before, the macroeconomic impact of cutting government spending will likely be less than feared, especially in light of the strong US private sector.
|By Joseph Sternberg, The Wall Street Journal, 02/20/2013|
MarketMinder's View: This insightful overview of a devaluing yen, its consequences and motivations reminds us two items are often forgotten amid “currency war” noise: Economies don’t revolve around currency (de- or) appreciation alone, and monetary policy should focus on conditions moving forward, not past battles.
|By Lawrence J. White, The New York Times, 02/20/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Removing government reliance on ratings agencies’ opinions would signal to investors that rater opinions are just that—opinions. What’s more, it would likely make entry for small ratings agencies easier, increasing competition in the space—a much better move than the alternative, tighter regulation, in our view.
|By Allistar Heath, The Telegraph, 02/20/2013|
MarketMinder's View: And we agree, for many, many reasons. Primarily, not only have wealth taxes historically failed, they’re further limiting economies currently implementing them (like France and Italy).
|By William Horobin, Nine Koeppen and Alex Brittain, The Wall Street Journal, 02/20/2013|
MarketMinder's View: While we wouldn’t suggest giving confidence reports too much credit, producer prices and foreign orders data included here indicate the eurozone likely isn’t in such dire straits as many fear.
|By Tom Fairless, The Wall Street Journal, 02/19/2013|
MarketMinder's View: We’d argue total trade matters most, and that recent eurozone trade figures weren’t particularly positive (namely, imports) shouldn’t be a surprise given ongoing weakness in the monetary bloc. But overall, global growth continues to be pulled along by the Emerging Markets and just fine US growth. For more, see our 02/15/2013 cover story, “It’s the (Multi-Speed) Global Economy, Cupid.”
|By Gregor Peter Schmitz, Der Spiegel, 02/19/2013|
MarketMinder's View: A US-European free trade deal likely has myriad hurdles to overcome before it becomes a reality. And any deal likely includes deconstructing some protections for select domestic industries on both sides. But overall, a wide-ranging free trade pact likely promotes greater growth between the US and EU than the watered down variety.
|By Staff, China Daily, 02/19/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Recall the adage we frequently cite on these pages, “Tax something and you’ll get less of it.” So although China’s goal is to reduce carbon emissions, they could also get less production as a result.
|By Nicholas Hastings, The Wall Street Journal, 02/19/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Analysis of the Reserve Bank of Australia’s meeting minutes likely amounts to little more than reading the tea leaves. As we’ve said recently, in today’s increasingly globalized economy, efforts to competitively devalue are likely zero-sum.
|By Jeff Sommer, The New York Times, 02/19/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Political machinations like the debt ceiling, sequestration and the fiscal cliff are nothing new. Historically, markets have been little influenced by them one way or another. What’s more, they often help form the “wall of worry” bull markets love to climb. For more, see today’s cover story, “The Gentle Sequestration Slope.”
|By Eswar Prasad, The Wall Street Journal, 02/19/2013|
MarketMinder's View: This insightful piece details China’s economic shift from reliance on exports and investment to a focus on domestic demand to boost growth. However, this story isn’t unique to China. Historically, similar transitions are typical as a country’s economy grows and develops over time.
|By Jeffrey Manns, Bloomberg, 02/19/2013|
MarketMinder's View: We agree the issuer-pays model for non-sovereign debt combined with a lack of competition are key reasons the raters’ track record is spotty at best, but there's another part: The regulation-created special position for rater's opinions. In our view, those three aspects must be reformed to eliminate the oligopoly, improve raters’ accuracy and reduce reliance on their opinions. Ultimately, though, we concur the government’s lawsuit against S&P won’t accomplish those goals.
|By Sean Carney, The Wall Street Journal, 02/19/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Europe’s ongoing troubles with its Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) highlights the folly of such maneuvers. From here, further tampering with the free functioning of markets—even a planned market like the ETS—likely only results in additional unintended consequences.
|By Ralph Atkins, Financial Times, 02/19/2013|
MarketMinder's View: It is a mistake to assume all securitized debt is risky, toxic or even a bad idea. Fact is, most of the securitized debt hasn’t failed—even some labeled “toxic” in the crisis. That eurozone businesses are beginning to turn to capital markets for their funding needs is certainly a positive, but as this piece notes, the shift likely takes some time.
|By Shen Hong, The Wall Street Journal, 02/19/2013|
MarketMinder's View: China’s actions in goosing or tightening lending are nearly always worth watching, and this move is no exception. As the world’s second largest economy reaccelerates, this incremental move to drain some liquidity from the interbank market seems a prudent balancing act to keep inflation under wrap.
|By Lori Montgomery, The Washington Post, 02/15/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Tax hikes aimed at avoiding the sequester wouldn’t be great, but this is likely just a starting point for negotiations. Extreme legislation remains unlikely while Congress is split, and legislators up for re-election in 2014 have ample incentive to avoid raising taxes.
|By James B. Stewart, The New York Times, 02/15/2013|
MarketMinder's View: This seemingly discounts the fact that some people really do respond to incentives. Sure, there are likely many reasons net state-to-state migration in the US has greatly favored no- or low-income tax states over say, California, but we’re betting many folks are heavily influenced by taxes. Clearly, they’re not all millionaires, but the point is the same. Besides, if taxes don’t influence behavior, why do we bother taxing behavior we don’t like (think cigarettes)?
|By Danny Yardon, The Wall Street Journal, 02/15/2013|
MarketMinder's View: We’re generally not fans of legislation that arbitrarily targets some businesses but not others—by discriminating against large online retailers, the government would likely distort online retail markets and hurt competition.
|By Howard Schneider, The Washington Post, 02/15/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Well, there’s a reason QE hasn’t much boosted growth globally: In the US, UK and Japan, most of it’s sitting as excess bank reserves as banks opt not to lend while yield curves are flattish. That growth continues despite this is a testament to the global economy’s resilience.
|By Rachel Cooper, The Telegraph, 02/15/2013|
MarketMinder's View: This currency war cloud is much more a political issue than an economic one. In today’s globalized economy, currency devaluations are largely zero sum and futile—hence, likely, why there’s not much evidence countries are actively seeking them.
|By Luci Mutikani, Reuters, 02/15/2013|
MarketMinder's View: As this piece points out, manufacturing’s small pullback in January is likely a sign of data variability rather than weakening fundamentals.
|By Mark Deen and Helene Fouquet , Bloomberg, 02/15/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Despite what the title suggests, the French President’s plans amount to rather sensible and much-needed pension reform. This may seem surprising for someone who ran on a socialist platform, but like all politicians, Hollande seems to be moderating and letting economic need, not ideology, drive his latest initiatives.
|By Lee Spears, Jodi Xu, and Jeffrey McCracken, Bloomberg, 02/15/2013|
MarketMinder's View: More evidence of the US’s robust private sector.
|By Jeremy Warner, The Telegraph, 02/15/2013|
MarketMinder's View: “If it is possible to have free trade with the US without the paraphernalia of common government, or even completely harmonised rules and regulations, why do we need all this guff in order to have a functioning internal market in Europe?” Hear, hear!
|By Staff, Xinhua, 02/15/2013|
MarketMinder's View: We rather agree with the point made here: If China wants its growing ranks of consumers to spend domestically rather than abroad, officials should cut tariffs and luxury taxes.
|By Staff, EU Business, 02/14/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Consider this another stumbling block to EU’s finance trade tax. Other nations may not be so keen to levy this tax, which is effectively a damper on financial transactions.
|By Tina Rosenberg, The New York Times, 02/14/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Primarily, the problem with nations like Venezuela, Bolivia, Libya, Nigeria, etc., probably isn’t the oil. Rather, it’s the lack of strong private property protections and a capitalistic economy. There are plenty of oil (and natural gas) producing nations without authoritarian governments. Like the US! Canada. The UK. Even Mexico. Now, those nations may not all be net oil exporters because they have more diverse economies, but that’s tied to the private property protections and capitalism and suchlike.
|By Fred Kingery, RealClearMarkets, 02/14/2013|
MarketMinder's View: This shouldn’t be so surprising—global GDP is also at all-time highs. Both debt and output will continue to grow, irregularly, overtime. Leverage is critical to growth, so big debt isn’t automatically, on its own, necessarily alarming. What’s more important is the affordability of that debt. There are always pockets of more troubled nations (ahem, Greece), but thanks to overall low interest rates not just in the US but globally, debt remains affordable.
|By Staff, EU Business, 02/14/2013|
MarketMinder's View: It’s true Germany contracted, but the broader implication for the global economy should be muted. It’s not a surprise European nations aren’t growing robustly, and the global economy can (and has) despite European weakness.
|By Sudeep Redy, Matthew Dalton, Joann S. Lublin, The Wall Street Journal, 02/14/2013|
MarketMinder's View: A wise move to greater trade integration globally—and a net benefit to all involved and those who trade with them (i.e., pretty much everyone). There are plenty of hurdles, but we hope officials remain committed to pushing through.
|By Staff, The Australian, 02/14/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Well, it appears Australia’s excess profits tax on the mining industry isn’t working out as planned. Turns out, those targeted have incentive to use (perfectly legal) means to avoid the tax. This also highlights the folly of trying to assess future “costs” or “revenues” of tax policy. It’s exceedingly difficult for politicians to predict the incentives of an economy’s myriad actors.
|By John Melloy, CNBC, 02/14/2013|
MarketMinder's View: More evidence the job market is in fact improving.
|By Jeremy Warner, The Telegraph, 02/14/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Don’t be fooled by the title, this is mostly a good assessment of the futility of “currency wars”: “in today’s world, with its interconnected supply chains, devaluation is pretty much a zero sum game.”
|By John Makin, The Wall Street Journal, 02/14/2013|
MarketMinder's View: We’re not convinced the growth calculations here are spot on—the economy is much too dynamic. However, we agree the sequester isn’t likely to have the big negative economic impact many fear.
|By Andrew Taylor, Associated Press, 02/13/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Unsurprisingly, the nearer the (arbitrary deadline for the) sequester, the hotter the political debate. Yet we notice none of the politicking references how the economy and markets show the full brunt of the cuts is relatively miniscule.
|By Francesco Guerrera, The Wall Street Journal, 02/13/2013|
MarketMinder's View: We agree the raters’ oligopoly has increased the risk of conflict of interest. But making it easier to sue the raters actually increases barriers to entry and rather cements their position. If you want to diminish their power, regulators could instead ease up on requirements for a rater’s opinion on new offerings.
|By Brian Brenberg, Forbes, 02/13/2013|
MarketMinder's View: “It turns out that making money means creating affordable, transformative technologies that fight hunger, alleviate poverty, raise income levels, preserve water and decrease infant mortality rates. You might even call it ‘giving back.’” Less profit ultimately results in fewer resources and fewer services improving quality of life, a reality that shouldn’t be overlooked.
|By Martin Essex, The Wall Street Journal, 02/13/2013|
MarketMinder's View: We agree a weak currency is a dubious national aim—there are pros and cons. At the same time, we’re not convinced a weak currency is explicitly a goal for the nations mentioned here.
|By Donald J. Boudreaux, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 02/13/2013|
MarketMinder's View: “When the market works smoothly—as it typically does—hardly anyone notices. We take its successes [like keyless car entry] for granted.” Every day, market forces create incremental, yet often unnoticed, improvements to our lives, thanks to capitalism’s guiding yet invisible hand.
|By Elisabeth Dellinger, Equities.com, 02/13/2013|
MarketMinder's View: MarketMinder editorial staff member Elisabeth Dellinger’s commentary on where we likely stand in this bull market’s sentiment cycle—and where we could go from here.
|By Marcus Walker and Alessandra Galloni, The Wall Street Journal, 02/13/2013|
MarketMinder's View: The euro hasn’t been a magical economic cure-all for member countries. However, abandoning it in the here and now likely doesn’t help (especially for the weaker) euro members and may in fact hurt—which they recognize.
|By Philip Blenkinsop Ethan Bilby, Reuters, 02/13/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Though talks are just beginning, the US’s and EU’s eagerness for a trade agreement likely reinforces the benefits and importance of free trade globally.
|By Martin Hesse and Anne Seith, Der Spiegel, 02/12/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Those forecasting a currency war or suggesting central banks take action against one are likely starting from a fallacious point and ending with an equally fallacious solution. To us, currency war theorists likely miss the fact that with an increasingly globally interconnected supply chain, a weaker currency doesn’t mean a healthier domestic economy. For more, see our 01/28/2013 cover story, “Mutually Assured Devaluation?”
|By Michael Sivy, Time, 02/12/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Q4’s flat-to-slightly-negative GDP growth rate isn’t really very telling about the private sector’s health. And that logic applies for much of the recovery. Simply, GDP growth rates aren’t necessarily reflective of economic health. For example, a few major causes for slow GDP include government spending cuts and imports, but neither are necessarily economic negatives. Finally, if one does want to look to GDP, consider, whatever the growth rate, GDP has already exceeded pre-recession levels.
|By Justin Lahart, The Wall Street Journal, 02/12/2013|
MarketMinder's View: There’s little factual basis to suggest the value of US stocks as a percentage of GDP is predictive of anything, really. The two, simply, measure different things: GDP is a flow of economic activity, stocks’ value is one measure of wealth.
|By Mark J. Perry, AEIdeas, 02/12/2013|
MarketMinder's View: “Despite a global slowdown, and a severe financial, mortgage and housing crisis in the US, the world economy contracted in only one year, with negative growth of 0.57% in 2009; and that was followed by a healthy rebound of 5.1% real economic growth the following year. One year of a contraction in global output doesn’t seem so bad during a 35-year period of strong global expansion, characterized by a positive upward trend in world economic activity that has boosted the annual growth rate in global output by a full percent since 1980.”
|By Elisabeth Dellinger, Investor’s Business Daily, 02/12/2013|
MarketMinder's View: MarketMinder staff writer Elisabeth Dellinger’s latest contribution to Investor’s Business Daily.
|By Elizabeth Knight and Philip Wen, The Sydney Morning Herald, 02/12/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Following October reports the mining resource tax raised zero revenue for the previous three months, we question forecasts the tax will raise much revenue at all for the full year. Mining companies’ huge tax credits exemplify one of quite a few reasons why. For more, revisit our 10/26/2012 cover story, “The Dingo Ate Yo’ Tax Revenues.”
|By Otto J. Reich, The Wall Street Journal, 02/12/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Venezuela’s misguided policies interfering with the free functioning of markets have thrown the country’s populace into unfortunately dire straits.
|By John Gittelsohn and Prashant Gopal, Bloomberg, 02/12/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Signs of continuing improvements in housing data suggest the sector could provide an incremental tailwind to already fine US economic growth moving forward.
|By Ralph Atkins and Michael Stothard, Financial Times, 02/12/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Eurozone businesses’ increasing ability to tap previously stagnant bond markets for funding is a nicely positive development.
|By Robin Wigglesworth and Jamie Smyth, Financial Times, 02/12/2013|
MarketMinder's View: The ECB’s deal with Ireland last week bought the country more time to pay down debt and help its banks by reducing their higher interest rate, short-term financing. Those measures should help ease the country to a bailout exit, although there are still various hurdles to overcome in the months and possibly years ahead. For more, see our 02/08/2013 cover story, “Ireland Schools France.”
|By Matthew Craft, Associated Press, 02/11/2013|
MarketMinder's View: While we agree it’s unrealistic to expect 2013 to be a smooth climb higher in the same fast fashion as January, we’d caution against trying to forecast potential corrections based on repeating patterns. Stocks look forward and move without reference to what happened a day, week, six months or two years ago.
|By Spencer Jakab, WSJ, 02/11/2013|
MarketMinder's View: During the dot com bubble, one sign there actually was too much optimism regarding stocks was the absence of media coverage with a negative bent. With that in mind, this should be taken as one sign prevailing investor sentiment isn’t euphoric.
|By Steven Russolillo, WSJ, 02/11/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Secular market cycles are more a function of the selection of start and end dates than they are anything meaningful to investors. Simply, markets—and the economy—tend to move in cycles.
|By Neelabh Chaturvedi and Tommy Stubbington, The Wall Street Journal, 02/11/2013|
MarketMinder's View: “(Irish) Yields have roughly halved since the summer and the country now pays less to borrow than Italy, just two years after Ireland became the second euro-zone country to be bailed out.” For more on Ireland’s competitive-private-sector-led recovery, see our 02/08/2013 cover story, “Ireland Schools France.”
|By Janet Hook, The Wall Street Journal, 02/11/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Perhaps we do go over the Sequestration SlopeTM , but in our view, these slight budget cuts are unlikely to carry much if any real market or economic impact. And that presumes politicians don’t do what they do best—push the decision off, setting up more politicking around self-created “crises” down the line.
|By Megan McArdle, The Atlantic, 02/11/2013|
MarketMinder's View: An entertaining look at the Census Bureau’s statistics on income distribution and how such data can easily lead one to conclusions the actual data don’t support.
|By Jim Brundsen, Bloomberg, 02/11/2013|
MarketMinder's View: The “early” date for the full implementation of Basel III’s Liquidity Coverage Ratio referred to here is January 1, 2018—a year before the global deadline policymakers recently set. The fungible deadlines here are worth watching, but they’re unlikely to be a material issue unless dramatically shifted forward.
|By Bill McBride, Calculated Risk, 02/08/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Our issue here isn’t with the reporting. Rather, we’d urge readers to pay attention to total trade numbers over the trade deficit. Namely, that exports rose could be a boon, but we’d argue imports falling isn’t necessarily great.
|By Matthew Yglesias, Slate, 02/08/2013|
MarketMinder's View: The divide between “high-value” and “low-value” government spending seems subjective—we’d actually argue it’s more likely high-value spending is private spending, not public. But what’s more, the theory low borrowing costs are a sign of poor cyclical economic conditions seems disconnected from economic history. There are plenty of examples—like the US the past few years—of low rates and economic growth.
|By David Espo, Associated Press, 02/08/2013|
MarketMinder's View: And that’s not very surprising—the sequester is, after all, a wedge issue for campaigning. Politicians likely act in their best interests as far as resolving it or not. And if they don’t, we remind readers economic consequences are likely less than many fear.
|By Staff, EUbusiness, 02/08/2013|
MarketMinder's View: This seems a sensible outcome—not because the EU necessarily needs “austerity,” but because lower centralized spending should mean more money in the hands of member-states’ private sectors. Over time, this should boost growth more efficiently than higher EU public spending would.
|By Ylan Q. Mui, The Washington Post, 02/08/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Though this is just one month’s data, it does suggest the expiration of the small payroll tax holiday likely won’t be as big a drag on growth as some feared—not surprising, considering the holiday itself didn’t demonstrably boost growth much.
|By Hou Qiang, Xinhua, 02/08/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Though the Lunar New Year likely distorts the year-over-year comps, it’s still worth noting bank lending and total social financing rose nicely. These, among other factors, suggest China’s recent monetary stimulus and financial sector reforms are still making their way to the broader economy, likely providing tailwinds to growth.
|By Roger Vincent, Los Angeles Times, 02/08/2013|
MarketMinder's View: One of Korea’s biggest conglomerates is building the tallest skyscraper west of the Mississippi in Los Angeles, bringing foreign investment, economic activity and jobs to the city. Just a neat example how strong growth in Emerging Markets—and strong trade ties with EM countries—benefits the US.
|By Phil Izzo, The Wall Street Journal, 02/08/2013|
MarketMinder's View: We take all economic forecasts with a grain of salt. However, despite Q4’s flat-to-incrementally down headline GDP number, it appears expectations are still for growth. Not gangbusters growth, but growth.
|By Holly A. Bell, The Wall Street Journal, 02/08/2013|
MarketMinder's View: To us, high-speed trading is not dissimilar to technological advancements like the electronic ticker and online trading—newfangled developments that became perfectly passé with time. What’s more, though much demonized, there’s evidence HFT has served to speed price discovery and narrow bid/ask spreads.
|By Robert Samuelson, Real Clear Markets, 02/07/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Arguments advocating reducing the deficit almost uniformly overlook the fact US debt is very affordable and tax revenue easily covers interest payments—this argument is no exception. Not only is there little (no) need to reduce the deficit, government spending overall isn’t the driver of economic stimulus it’s purported to be. Rather, the strong private sector has been and is driving this recovery—and that’s not an “if.”
|By Tami Luhby, CNN Money, 02/07/2013|
MarketMinder's View: It seems quite early to pop the champagne and declare victory based on a possible surplus of $1 billion, based on expected incoming tax revenue and the assumption the 2013-14 budget passes untouched by legislators. Should California experience a budget surplus, well, bully for them! But the probability seems slim. Besides, a better indicator would be the longer run economic and fiscal state of the Golden State.
|By Staff, BBC, 02/07/2013|
MarketMinder's View: The bottom line is no one benefits from protectionism—be it in the form of subsidies or tariffs. Our suggestion is to let markets, not governments, decide whose (if anyone’s) solar equipment is actually most efficient and cost-effective.
|By Ansuya Harjani, CNBC, 02/07/2013|
MarketMinder's View: While India does face economic difficulties, we don’t think potential five percent growth for any country merits the moniker “horror show.” We’d also point out five percent growth is projected, not guaranteed—meaning actual growth could be worse, but it could also be better. Stay tuned.
|By Jeremy Warner, The Telegraph, 02/07/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Agreed. Though political rhetoric would have us believe otherwise, public spending continually increases in the UK, and so do taxes to support it. Rather, lower taxes and less spending would like better create the economically healthy (competitive) environment UK officials keep taking about.
|By Keith Johnson, The Wall Street Journal, 02/07/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Increased exports of US coal benefits the US economy as much as it does those purchasing the coal—like European countries weaning off nuclear power, but in need of cost-effective energy sources.
|By Jennifer Ryan, Bloomberg, 02/07/2013|
MarketMinder's View: While manufacturing isn’t a huge component of Britain’s economy, its positive contribution is noteworthy, in our view. Also interesting is the fact the gain was paced by non-EU export demand, which rose 11.7%.
|By Staff, EUBusiness, 02/07/2013|
MarketMinder's View: From a potential FTA with the US to trade talks with northern African countries, Europe’s move toward free trade to boost economic growth seems, to us, largely sensible.
|By Paul Hannon and Eamon Quinn, The Wall Street Journal, 02/07/2013|
MarketMinder's View: The ECB demonstrated continued pragmatism in granting Ireland more time to pay down debt and help its banks by ridding them of the burden of expensive, short-term promissory notes for financing, replacing them with long-term, lower-rate bonds.
|By Jeanne Sahadi, CNN Money, 02/06/2013|
MarketMinder's View: We often caution against long-term forecasts, and the CBO’s recent economic outlook is no exception to that rule.
|By Matthew Yglesias, Slate, 02/06/2013|
MarketMinder's View: We agree the best bet to rein in inflation is better monetary policy and/or structural reform. But we very much disagree Argentina’s “immediate problem is on the supply side.” Rather we think Argentina’s goods shortages are mainly a result of price controls and poor economic policy. For more, revisit our 02/05/2013 column, “Limited Prices, Limited Improvement.”
|By Mark Deen, Bloomberg, 02/06/2013|
MarketMinder's View: To us, the main takeaway here isn’t necessarily the French government’s admitting some plants may close, which seems fairly sensible. But rather it appears the French government is picking winners and losers as to who stays in business, not letting market forces—which are much more efficient and better at self-regulating—figure it out.
|By Staff, Bloomberg, 02/06/2013|
MarketMinder's View: By no means do we suggest US laws regarding common resources are perfect. However, we’re skeptical of any solutions to the nation’s “debt problem” when America’s debt interest payments are historically cheap. Solutions to problems that aren’t really problems often yield unintended, and negative, consequences.
|By Staff, The Wall Street Journal, 02/06/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Mind you, we doubt the lawsuit is payback. However, certainly, the government itself has created a framework wherein conflicts of interest occur in issuing credit ratings.
|By Neil Irwin, The Washington Post, 02/06/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Here’s an interesting look at arguments for and against so-called “too big to fail” banks. And while we think it’s good to weigh their pros and cons, we think it’s more sensible to consider why such institutions exist—and more importantly the motivations behind why some advocate breaking them up. For more, see our 02/06/2013 cover story, “Lost Connections: Solution Seeking Problem.”
|By Mark J. Perry, AEIdeas, 02/06/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Current fears of job-stealing robots are largely an example of history repeating itself (re: “Luddite”). Yes, some jobs will be displaced by new technology now—and many more in the future—but as history shows, new technological advances have, in the end, created more net jobs, not destroyed them.
|By Mark Thompson, CNN Money, 02/06/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Good news from the eurozone. Things across the pond are by no means rosy, but nor are they as uniformly bad as many fear.
|By William Horobin and Gabriele Parussini, The Wall Street Journal, 02/05/2013|
MarketMinder's View: This is why central banks are and should be independent. Whether or not trying to control an exchange rate is a good idea, the tactics would often be at odds with managing inflation—which is the ECB’s mandate.
|By Jean Eaglesham, Jeannette Neumann and Evan Perez, The Wall Street Journal, 02/05/2013|
MarketMinder's View: The irony here is a bit thick. S&P had its position of influence thanks to the government, which set them up as one-third of the government-backed oligopoly that is the ratings agencies. Then, the US government enacted FAS 157, which effectively caused then exacerbated the credit crisis.
|By Andrew Barry, Barron’s, 02/05/2013|
MarketMinder's View: We remind readers that while celebrating milestones is fun, the Dow is a broken indicator, and index milestones are meaningless. For more, see our cover story, “Look the Other Way.”
|By Mark J. Perry, AEIdeas, 02/05/2013|
MarketMinder's View: A look at the energy boom going on in the US.
|By Steven C. Johnson, Reuters, 02/05/2013|
MarketMinder's View: The US services sector, the biggest part of the US economy, grew in January—and has been growing for over three years.
|By Sally C. Pipes, The Wall Street Journal, 02/05/2013|
MarketMinder's View: A lesson in how deceptive statistics can be, and why they shouldn’t be used, on their own, to craft policy. Or as a measure of reality!
|By Tami Luhby, CNN Money, 02/04/2013|
MarketMinder's View: To us, unemployment figures ultimately are backward looking and wonkily calculated—not great indicators for total economic health. Yes, high unemployment is painful and everyone wishes it were lower. However, for a better indicator of economic health, we suggest looking at private sector strength and global economic growth.
|By Lauren Lyster, Yahoo! Finance, 02/04/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Though we aren’t huge fans of the Fed’s recent monetary policy, we hardly think it’s a recipe for housing disaster—especially with housing as affordable as it currently is.
|By David Futrelle, Time, 02/04/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Whether or not the middle class has the same opportunities as others, opportunities still very much exist in the US. Furthermore, stagnation isn’t the same as potentially never entering “the 1%”—overall improved quality of life, which the author recognizes, ultimately seems a better measurement of whether the middle class is doing better than it was in the 1970s.
|By Jonathan Fahey, Associated Press, 02/04/2013|
MarketMinder's View: These worries seem more concerned with overwrought headline fears than actual economic reality (like a fundamentally strong US private sector). For more on the January effect and other common economic misperceptions, see our 02/04/2013 cover story, “Look the Other Way.”
|By Staff, Xinhua, 02/04/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Land-use rights in China are expected to be overhauled, ideally giving farmers more freedom in farmland leases, including increased ability to move away from farming altogether to seek economic opportunities elsewhere—a windfall for personal freedom in our eyes, and a development worth watching.
|By John Merline, Investor’s Business Daily, 02/04/2013|
MarketMinder's View: You can quibble with the accounting here (just as you can quibble with the government’s accounting). But either way, it’s clear government spending isn’t falling as much as many fear next year. We’re not sure how you define that as austerity.
|By Kejal Vyas, The Wall Street Journal, 02/04/2013|
MarketMinder's View: As demonstrated by the Venezuelan flour black market, price controls may have very benign intent—i.e., keeping prices low and “fair.” In practice, ultimately, they raise prices and create shortages.
|By Staff, Associated Press, 02/04/2013|
MarketMinder's View: A step (in the right direction) toward increased global free trade—and Americans can keep having fresh salsa in the wintertime. Who says free trade doesn’t improve quality of life?
|By Mark J. Perry, AEIdeas, 02/04/2013|
MarketMinder's View: “The one million bpd increase in Texas oil output over the last three years has to be one of the most significant increases in oil output ever recorded in the history of the US over that time period.” A development made possible by innovation, new and developing technologies and capitalism in general.
|By Adam Shell, USA Today, 02/01/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Big round numbers are fun to look at, but they don’t mean much for markets. Whether stocks rise or fall will depend on fundamentals and the gap between sentiment and reality, not the price level of an index (especially a broken one like the DOW). Right now, strong fundamentals and skeptical sentiment seemingly point to positive returns over the period ahead.
|By Adam Shell, USA Today, 02/01/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Big round numbers are fun to look at, but they don’t mean much for markets. Whether stocks rise or fall will depend on fundamentals and the gap between sentiment and reality, not the price level of an index (especially a broken one like the DOW). Right now, strong fundamentals and skeptical sentiment seemingly point to positive returns over the period ahead.
|By Paul Krugman, The New York Times, 02/01/2013|
MarketMinder's View: This is lumping in a variety of tactics and calling them all austerity. For example, the UK hasn’t cut government spending—it’s grown. They have enacted tax hikes. So, if being against austerity means being against higher taxes, then by all means, we’re anti-austerity.
|By Thomas H. Kee, Jr., MarketWatch, 02/01/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Are we in a stimulus-driven market bubble? Probably not. For that to be true, the money pumped out in the Fed would need to be circulating more aggressively, but it’s not. It’s mostly sitting parked as reserves and hasn’t bled into broader measures of money. It’s not falsely propping up the economy, because it’s not, in fact, stimulating.
|By Svenja O’Donnell, Bloomberg, 02/01/2013|
MarketMinder's View: There’s likely some truth to the suggestion BOE policymakers are taking a “wait and see” approach as they wait for incoming Governor Mark Carney to take over in July. Yet there’s not much evidence further QE or other monetary stimulus would do much for the UK economy—even with £375 billion of QE and various schemes aimed at boosting loan growth, lending’s still contracting as banks have parked much of the QE money back at the BOE as excess reserves.
|By Neil Irwin, The Washington Post, 02/01/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Though employment’s not a forward-looking indicator, December’s strong job gains—along with the upward revision to the past two years’ data—is another indication of the US economy’s underappreciated health.
|By Louisa Peacock, The Telegraph, 02/01/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Behold the dangers of too much red tape: “Three quarters of Chinese investors encounter operational difficulties in the EU, mostly related to bureaucracy and high costs. This is despite almost all respondents wanting to invest more in the region, largely to help sell their goods and services in the EU market.”
|By Graham Ruddick, The Telegraph, 02/01/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Though UK retail sector has incurred some high-profile bankruptcies in recent weeks, as this piece shows, it has a very healthy core. New businesses are starting, and others are “adapting and investing to meet the demands of the modern consumer.” Creative destruction at work!
|By Staff, Taiwan News, 02/01/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Talks stalled six years ago after Taiwan banned imports of US beef containing residues of a leanness-enhancing drug. Now, with the ban lifted, trade talks can resume in earnest—a good step toward deeper and freer trade between the US and Taiwan.
|By Staff, EUbusiness, 02/01/2013|
MarketMinder's View: Though Greece still has a ton of state-owned assets to shed, this is encouraging progress—especially considering how long the privatization program has been delayed.