|By Staff, The New Zealand Herald, 06/29/2012|
MarketMinder's View: Yes, unemployment remains elevated, but it has improved over time. And with the economy still growing—albeit at a slower pace recently—employment improvement likely continues over the period ahead. For more on the US economy’s healthy private sector, see our recent column on Investor’s Business Daily.
|By Stephen Gandel, CNN Money, 06/29/2012|
MarketMinder's View: In our view, even if taxmaggeddon strikes, the fiscal cliff may not have the impact many fear: The upcoming issues have been well-known for some time. Nor does it necessarily play out as advertised, considering politicians will likely take action as needed, lest voters punish them.
|By Paul Taylor and Luke Baker, Reuters, 06/29/2012|
MarketMinder's View: Though the loose plans agreed to here aren’t a fix-all for the eurozone, the fact EU officials may let the EFSF and ESM directly recapitalize eurozone banks seems promising. Though there’s still a lot to hammer out, the compromise seemingly further indicates European leaders’ dedication to preserving the euro.
|By Unni Krishnan and Kartik Goyal, Bloomberg, 06/29/2012|
MarketMinder's View: A sensible move. Though India still has several policy hurdles to clear, this change perhaps makes it a bit more attractive to foreign investors—a much-needed source of capital.
|By Howard Gold, Market Watch, 06/29/2012|
MarketMinder's View: A testament to US economic health: “Sometimes it takes an outsider to help you appreciate what you have. People from other countries who could afford to buy anywhere in the world but choose to invest here may be teaching us a valuable lesson”—the US economy is ripe with opportunity, has strong private-property rights and is freer than many foreign economies.
|By Paul Krugman and Richard Layard, Financial Times, 06/28/2012|
MarketMinder's View: We disagree on nearly all fronts. Though we do agree the crucial starting point for any measures aimed at addressing global economies’ current states must be a correct assessment of how and why countries and economies got to their current statuses. This doesn’t accomplish that goal, in our view, by a long shot.
|By Chris Dieterich, The Wall Street Journal, 06/28/2012|
MarketMinder's View: Technical indicators actually portend little other than the formation of an ostensibly recognizable pattern on a chart. For more, see our 01/09/2012 cover story, “The Golden Cross.”
|By Douglas Elliott, CNN Money, 06/28/2012|
MarketMinder's View: We actually don’t think eurozone officials’ current go-slow approach is all that disastrous—or that we won’t see any progress until faced by true disaster. Rather, it seems to us quite likely the can-kicking approach can avert such a climactic moment.
|By Jon Hilsenrath, The Wall Street Journal, 06/28/2012|
MarketMinder's View: This is spot on, in our view: “Business executives might not like the health-care law, but at least they now know that they’ve got to live with it.” If there’s one thing markets dislike, it’s uncertainty—for better or worse, there’s marginally less uncertainty in the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling.
|By Don Boudreaux, Café Hayek, 06/28/2012|
MarketMinder's View: We couldn’t agree more about the value in debunking popular economic myths: “Chief among these myths is the notion that the key to economic prosperity lies not in attending chiefly to the long-run interests of consumers but, rather, in attending to the short-run interests of producers—the false notion that the ultimate point of consumption is to stimulate production rather than the understanding that the ultimate justification for production lies only in the consumption it makes possible.” Hear, hear!
|By Simon Rabinovitch, Financial Times, 06/28/2012|
MarketMinder's View: As with many of China’s liberalizations, this is currently a very small test. However, it would seemingly indicate China continues making baby steps toward a more open, free market-oriented financial system—which would benefit not only China, but also the rest of the world.
|By Staff, The Wall Street Journal, 06/28/2012|
MarketMinder's View: The primary problem with such laws as those allowing Europeans to take another vacation if they get sick on their first one is they “raise the cost of employment, and so reduce the job opportunities for everyone.”
|By William Boston and Matthew Karnitschnig, The Wall Street Journal, 06/28/2012|
MarketMinder's View: The saga continues—and it seems Germany’s more amenable to compromising than portrayed by many in the media earlier this week. As we’ve long speculated, the strong likelihood is the eurozone situation plays out over a long time and in a gradual fashion—which isn’t necessarily a bad strategy. For more, see our 06/26/2012 cover story, “Nineteenth Time’s the Charm?”
|By Staff, EUbusiness, 06/27/2012|
MarketMinder's View: We’d suggest taking the Spanish Prime Minister’s comments with a grain of salt—like his Italian counterpart, Mariano Rajoy likely wasn’t making a prediction, but trying to goad Germany into relaxing its opposition to EFSF/ESM purchases of Spanish and Italian debt. Pre-summit politicking at its finest. For more, see our 06/26/2012 cover story, “Nineteenth Time’s the Charm?”
|By Stephen S. Roach, Project Syndicate, 06/27/2012|
MarketMinder's View: We’ve many quibbles with this piece, which on balance seems an unfair attack on globalization. Yes, the US trades with every corner of the world, and growth varies among countries and regions. But cherry-picking seemingly troubled regions and saying US trade will falter because these areas have contributed to export growth is off-base—more important is that global demand is healthy and growing.
|By Staff, The New York Times, 06/27/2012|
MarketMinder's View: We rather disagree “more aggressive action is overdue.” Yes, US GDP growth has tapered a bit, but growth-rate volatility is normal and expected amid a longer-term expansion. Plus, history shows weakness in an area as large as the eurozone needn’t derail global growth. Most of the world is expanding apace, and aggregate global growth seems set to continue.
|By Peter Orszag, Bloomberg, 06/27/2012|
MarketMinder's View: We have nothing against natural gas, and perhaps it does become the US’s main fuel source over time, but this piece misses an important point: Natural gas will dominate—and firms will build more and more fuel stations—when the market decides it’s time. If the industry can only expand with heavy government subsidies, tax credits and other machinations, then its hour is likely not quite here.
|By Liam Denning, The Wall Street Journal, 06/27/2012|
MarketMinder's View: “Going long on Malthus is to effectively go short on human ingenuity and technological innovation. Belief in peak oil sows the seeds of its own refutation as it forces up prices and makes what was previously too expensive to contemplate—such as fracturing shale rocks—worth trying.” We 100% agree!
|By Russ Roberts, Café Hayek, 06/27/2012|
MarketMinder's View: On balance, a good rundown of how productivity gains and innovation (not debt-fueled spending) have fueled American prosperity for the past 30-plus years—and how regulatory overreach has occasionally interfered with free markets’ efficient functioning.
|By Staff, Associated Press, 06/27/2012|
MarketMinder's View: More evidence the US economy—especially the private sector—is likely doing just fine. For more, see our recent commentary on Investor’s Business Daily.
|By Matthew Sinclair, The Wall Street Journal, 06/27/2012|
MarketMinder's View: Surveys like these betray the biases of those who wrote them, and not much else—otherwise, there’s no way citizens in oppressed, war-torn Zimbabwe would be “happier” than those in economically vibrant, relatively uncorrupt Botswana. “There’s a reason Cubans regularly risk (and lose) their lives trying to escape their home country and make it to America, and there’s no waves of humanity flowing in the opposite direction.”
|By Federico Quilodran, Associated Press, 06/27/2012|
MarketMinder's View: The global free-trade push continues! China and Chile extended their 2006 free-trade deal and aim to double bilateral trade by 2016—and firms and consumers in both nations likely benefit. For more, see our 10/17/2011 cover story, “Racing Towards Zero.”
|By Carsten Volkery, Der Spiegel, 06/27/2012|
MarketMinder's View: While we’d quibble with the notion markets are “demanding” economic stimulus in Europe, this is a realistic assessment of the growth pact EU leaders are likely to endorse this week. It merely shifts €130 billion in EU investment funds to infrastructure and other projects—a nice gesture to the periphery, but likely not a cure-all for Europe’s economic issues.
|By Victor Mallet and Mary Watkins, Financial Times, 06/26/2012|
MarketMinder's View: Higher yields on debt certainly aren’t great, but since Spain has addressed all of its longer-term maturing debt needs this year, higher rates don’t seem disastrous to us at this point. Furthermore, higher rates don’t immediately flow through to Spain’s entire balance sheet. We’d also highlight demand at this auction was ample. For more, see our 06/20/2012 cover story, “Noshing on News.”
|By Nathalie Tadena, The Wall Street Journal, 06/26/2012|
MarketMinder's View: We continue to question why folks pay much credence to ratings agencies and their often delayed prognoses. To say Spanish banking woes are well known is an understatement, particularly following the nation’s bank bailout request from about 10 days ago. For more, see our 06/25/2012 cover story, “Repositioning Ratings Agencies.”
|By Isabel Reynolds and Takashi Hirokawa, Bloomberg, 06/26/2012|
MarketMinder's View: We find raising taxes to boost tax revenue a misguided strategy. Historically and globally, such measures have largely resulted in incrementally decreased consumption, less business investment and somewhat slower growth—likely not the outcome the measure’s proponents had in mind.
|By Roxana Tiron, Bloomberg, 06/26/2012|
MarketMinder's View: In our view, many fears regarding the impacts of the so-called “fiscal cliff” are overwrought. Here’s one reason why: These automatic reductions in government spending growth that arose from the (*ahem) Supercommittee can just be postponed by Congress.
|By MJ Perry, Carpe Diem, 06/26/2012|
MarketMinder's View: While aspects of this might not play out over the long term, it does highlight a critical point: Innovators pursuit of profits pushes them to develop technology permitting more economical access to oil and resources previously thought unattainable. For more, see our column, “A Common Thread Between Horse Manure and Peak Oil.”
|By Stephen Castle, The New York Times, 06/26/2012|
MarketMinder's View: We find this a mostly sensible run-down of what to expect (or not) from the EU summit later this week. For more, see today’s cover story, “Nineteenth Time’s the Charm?”
|By Simon Kennedy and Rich Miller, Bloomberg, 06/25/2012|
MarketMinder's View: Comparisons of the US economy to Japan’s lost decade are, in our view, quite overwrought. While equities certainly had lackluster returns in the 2000s (largely a function of the timing of two big bear markets), between 2001 and 2010 US GDP grew from about $9 trillion to $14 trillion. Not flat. Moreover, US and global GDP are now at all-time highs.
|By Paul Krugman, The New York Times, 06/25/2012|
MarketMinder's View: Well, we agree 1931 wasn’t a terribly pretty year. But the comparison to today is a stretch beyond credulity. By the time 1931 rolled around, the globe had been locked in a deep recession for about two years. That’s not the case today, considering the world economy is expanding and GDP is at all-time highs. Moreover, this piece perhaps gives governments (central banks and elected officials) too much credit for their power to boost economic growth. And finally, many of the supposed “facts” about Spain hinge on supposition and speculation.
|By Sean Silcoff, The Globe and Mail, 06/25/2012|
MarketMinder's View: Here’s a good example of how tariffs negatively impact most folks and benefit only a select few. Making sugar more expensive because of a lack of foreign competition harms far more Canadians than it benefits.
|By Jeff Sommer, The New York Times, 06/25/2012|
MarketMinder's View: We agree with very little of this. Are there risks to growth and uncertainties? Yes, but that’s perfectly normal. Just consider: Had you followed this approach when Europe faced troubles in the early 1990s, you could have easily cost yourself a bundle in lost opportunity.
|By Chuck Jaffe, MarketWatch, 06/25/2012|
MarketMinder's View: “Familiarity not only breeds overconfidence—and the tendency to weight a portfolio with hometown heroes that leaves a portfolio less diversified—but it can convince investors to overlook real safety concerns.” One could say the same about investing solely in one’s home country.
|By Eric Talmadge, Associated Press, 06/25/2012|
MarketMinder's View: It seems Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has put his job at risk by supporting a sales tax increase more than 50 of his own party members object to. While these dissenters may not have the ability to quash the bill, they could splinter and prompt another turn of Japan’s revolving political door.
|By Alan Zibel and Sarah Portlock, The Wall Street Journal, 06/25/2012|
MarketMinder's View: More evidence of housing market signs of life: “May’s sales were the highest since April 2010 and were up nearly 20% above the same month a year ago.” For more, see our recent commentary on TheStreet.
|By Ben Rooney, CNN Money, 06/25/2012|
MarketMinder's View: This announcement basically amounts to a formality as Spain’s request was informally made over a week ago. With that said, now that a formal request has been submitted, the details are likely to follow.
|By Paul Geitner, The New York Times, 06/22/2012|
MarketMinder's View: This ruling seems a step back from attempts at much-needed, market-oriented reforms currently in the works in peripheral European countries. In our view, rules like this can easily lead to less overall productivity and growth in already weak economies.
|By Ezra Klein, The Washington Post, 06/22/2012|
MarketMinder's View: Germany probably has less overall influence than it’s credited with. Additionally, in our view, effective solutions to eurozone issues require time—making it probably a good thing eurozone officials continue kicking the can slowly down the road.
|By Chris Isidore, CNN Money, 06/22/2012|
MarketMinder's View: Sure, there’s uncertainty about future US and European policies, and maybe recent manufacturing data aren’t as strong as some hoped. But the reality is every economic data point is inherently volatile—none will ever grow (or contract) in straight-line fashion. Meaning one month’s slow-down (or uptick) isn’t necessarily indicative of what happens moving forward.
|By Staff, EUbusiness, 06/22/2012|
MarketMinder's View: This downgrade isn’t catching many by surprise—it’s been widely anticipated since February and is, therefore, likely already priced in the markets. As we’ve said before, ratings agencies are notoriously late to the party—consequently, their opinions seem much less valuable as forward-looking indicators of significance.
|By Staff, Associated Press, 06/22/2012|
MarketMinder's View: On balance, that the ECB is taking such steps to make funds more readily available to banks facing overall tighter credit markets (ahem, Spanish banks) is a positive for the eurozone. In our view, this again speaks to continued political will to backstop the currency union.
|By Staff, Reuters, 06/22/2012|
MarketMinder's View: Trade agreements and currency swaps between China and Brazil likely benefit both countries overall, as we’ve said before. For more, see our 10/17/2012 cover story, “Racing Towards Zero.”
|By David Rocks and Nicholas Leiber, Bloomberg, 06/22/2012|
MarketMinder's View: Though many widely bemoan US companies outsourcing manufacturing to cheaper producers like China, here’s evidence of the myriad comparative advantages for small businesses manufacturing domestically. The fact American businesses appear to be insourcing —and benefiting from it—shows open markets’ ability to best fulfill businesses’ needs.
|By Todd Bliman, Investor’s Business Daily, 06/22/2012|
MarketMinder's View: Our latest contribution to Investor’s Business Daily by Fisher Investments Editorial Staff member, Todd Bliman.
|By Raphael Minder and Stephen Castle, The New York Times, 06/21/2012|
MarketMinder's View: True—rates at Thursday’s five-year Spanish debt auction were higher than at the previous auction in March. But that’s hardly surprising—in fact, it doesn’t really tell you much, if anything. What’s more telling is the fact the auction was met with strong demand and the resulting rates were actually lower than the secondary market. So if the secondary market can be considered (to an extent) a gauge of investors’ expectations regarding primary auction results, you could actually make the case Thursday’s auction went quite a bit better than expected.
|By Staff, CBS Money Watch, 06/21/2012|
MarketMinder's View: We wouldn’t blame you for confusion about concern surrounding too-low oil prices—given it hasn’t even been a year since many in the media were bemoaning too-high prices and suggesting they may spell economic disaster. The reality is while many want to see oil prices as a magical indicator of likely market and economic movement ahead, theories abound—and what goes into oil prices is just more complicated than that. For more, see our 02/27/2012 cover story, “As Oil Prices Rise, So Do Theories.”
|By Adam Davidson, The New York Times, 06/21/2012|
MarketMinder's View: Sure, monthly hiring and unemployment data are subject to major revision—perhaps that’s one reason why obsessing over monthly jobs numbers isn’t the best idea. But the bigger reason is unemployment figures aren’t a good gauge of the economy’s current status—they reflect much more what economic conditions were some time ago. And that’s because (as we’ve said before) jobs follow growth, not the reverse.
|By Adam Davidson, The New York Times, 06/21/2012|
MarketMinder's View: Sure, monthly hiring and unemployment data are subject to major revision—perhaps that’s one reason why obsessing over monthly jobs numbers isn’t the best idea. But the bigger reason is unemployment figures aren’t a good gauge of the economy’s current status—they reflect much more what economic conditions were some time ago. And that’s because (as we’ve said before) jobs follow growth, not the reverse.
|By EJ Dionne, Investor’s Business Daily, 06/21/2012|
MarketMinder's View: We 100% agree with the title … but that’s about it. We disagree the US economy needs further demand-side stimulus, that Europe’s even tried much in the way of “austerity” thus far or that what they need is more “stimulus.” For more, see our 05/11/2012 column, “What’s In a Name?”
|By Robert Skidelsky, Project Syndicate, 06/21/2012|
MarketMinder's View: We find much to disagree with here—including the suggestion only the “wealthy” (however they’re defined) have benefited from productivity and other gains since World War II. Consider the enormous number of goods widely considered luxuries just a few decades ago that are now commonplace—seemingly highlighting the widespread benefits technological and productivity gains have showered on everyone, not just the high income earners. For more, see our September 2011 contribution to RealClearMarkets.
|By Ralph Atkins, Financial Times, 06/21/2012|
MarketMinder's View: European financial authorities demonstrate (yet again) their recognition of the complexity and depth of financial woes plaguing Spain (and other peripheral nations). That they’re willing to negotiate to ensure they don’t precipitate a major liquidity crunch is reassuring they’ll be similarly cautious in gradually and eventually bringing the crisis to an end.
|By Gabriele Steinhauser and William Horobin, The Wall Street Journal, 06/21/2012|
MarketMinder's View: A good outline of the current status of eurozone discussion, the parties involved and their likely stances. As ever, the storyline will continue evolving.
|By Victor Mallet and Alexandra Stevenson, Financial Times, 06/21/2012|
MarketMinder's View: While higher yields aren’t great and can’t be paid indefinitely, they’re not the end of the world on a slice of Spain’s overall debt—and far more important is demand remains quite robust, meaning investors haven’t entirely scorned Spanish debt. Furthermore, yields in the secondary market have fallen back some lately.
|By Staff, EUbusiness, 06/21/2012|
MarketMinder's View: European politicians’ repeatedly demonstrated dedication to enacting tough, potentially politically unpopular but market-oriented reforms speaks to the immense effort being poured into the eurozone’s maintenance—and seemingly argues against any imminent break-up, orderly or otherwise.
|By Mark Felsenthal and Pedro da Costa, Reuters, 06/20/2012|
MarketMinder's View: While US growth slowed a bit last quarter, we don’t see much evidence of a weak or stalling economy. Thus, in our view, extra monetary stimulus doesn’t seem necessary—or likely to be very impactful, considering the first Operation Twist has proven largely feckless. For more, see our 10/13/2011 article on TheStreet, “Operation Twist Not Much of a Dance.”
|By James Simms, The Wall Street Journal, 06/20/2012|
MarketMinder's View: It seems very odd to us to take a negative bent or fret over trade deficits when both imports and exports grew solidly last month. Moreover, the view that “rising energy imports is a trend that’s here to stay” is tough to square with macroeconomic gloom. You see, imports are often a sign of domestic demand, and energy is highly economically sensitive. So what could those rising energy imports suggest again?
|By Sudeep Reddy, The Wall Street Journal, 06/20/2012|
MarketMinder's View: We agree removing trade barriers should be a priority for US policy makers, but global trade isn’t a fixed pie—while the US’s share may shrink on a relative basis, its absolute growth seems plenty healthy. To us, this news is more evidence of healthy global competition, and that’s not a bad thing.
|By Robert Hockett, Reuters, 06/20/2012|
MarketMinder's View: We appreciate that the aim is keeping folks in their homes, but allowing governments to seize property—whether physically or in name only—strikes us as a terrible idea. Private property rights are essential, and muddying them in the slightest is a perilous path.
|By Scott Baker, Nicholas Bloom and Steven J. Davis, VoxEU, 06/20/2012|
MarketMinder's View: This is an interesting read, but we’re not sure “policy uncertainty” is so easily quantified or quite as volatile as suggested here—the potential for policy changes to introduce unintended consequences is ever-present. And we don’t believe any of the widely discussed issues highlighted here are likely to “pummel” the US’s ongoing expansion.
|By Staff, Der Spiegel, 06/20/2012|
MarketMinder's View: We’d suggest not reading too much into this—German ministers’ hard line on Greece is likely more a domestic political ploy than a strict nein aimed at Greek officials. Germany’s parliament votes on the ESM treaty next week, and its passage may be jeopardized if ministers give any indication that the funds could be a blank check for Greece. Once the treaty passes, German officials may prove more willing to compromise.
|By Staff, Associated Press, 06/20/2012|
MarketMinder's View: Greece, at long last, has a government—but this isn’t an “all clear.” Bailout renegotiations are next up and likely to be tense. And even if Greece gets a bit of a reprieve, the government will still have to implement more public-sector cuts and labor market reforms—likely a difficult task despite the coalition’s 29-seat majority. For more, see our 06/19/2012 cover story, “Europoliticking.”
|By Brian Groom, Financial Times, 06/20/2012|
MarketMinder's View: Here’s an eye-popping statistic: The private sector created five times as many jobs as the public sector cut. A more robust, competitive private sector alongside a shrinking government is likely a net benefit for the British economy.
|By Staff, The Economist, 06/20/2012|
MarketMinder's View: More evidence the US is a very attractive destination for foreign investment—just one of many underappreciated economic positives at play. For more, see our 6/18/2012 cover story, “Coming to America.”
|By Staff, Xinhua, 06/20/2012|
MarketMinder's View: Another important step in China’s ongoing economic liberalization, and one that likely helps foster private-sector growth over time. For more, see our recent article on InvestorPlace.
|By Staff, BBC, 06/20/2012|
MarketMinder's View: EU leaders are discussing tentative plans for the EFSF and ESM to buy Italian and Spanish sovereign debt, similar to the ECB’s now-dormant Securities Markets Program. It’s not a done deal, and it’s likely not a silver bullet for the eurozone. But if enacted and successful, it could help lower Spain’s and Italy’s borrowing costs, making it easier for them to continue accessing primary debt markets.
|By Cherice Chen, Taiwan News, 06/20/2012|
MarketMinder's View: This brings the TPP tally to 11 and counting as Japan and Taiwan are also keen to join. The more the merrier, in our view—new markets and business opportunities are positive for all involved. For more, see today’s cover story, “Noshing on News.”
|By Victor Mallet, Financial Times, 06/19/2012|
MarketMinder's View: Rates were higher, but Spain’s recent auction saw strong demand and exceeded its maximum target. Although higher yields aren’t great, they don’t immediately flow through to Spain’s entire balance sheet—the amount Spain pays on previous issued debt is unaffected. So a temporary spike has limited impact. For more, see our 06/15/2012 cover story, “Staying Euro.”
|By Jim Brunsden, Bloomberg, 06/19/2012|
MarketMinder's View: It’s good EU lawmakers are examining their reliance on credit ratings agencies—but perhaps a more critical examination is warranted. The solution here seems more a “slight alteration” and less of a “scrap.”
|By Staff, USA Today, 06/19/2012|
MarketMinder's View: This piece too easily dismisses the major differences between the US and Greece and over emphasizes the (loose) similarities. The US’s large economy, high levels of productivity and competitiveness levels and ability to borrow at low rates (to only name a few) make all the difference. The US is not Greece.
|By Michelle Jamrisko, Bloomberg, 06/19/2012|
MarketMinder's View: There’s no doubt employment growth has been weak, but some growth rate volatility is perfectly normal amid the broader economic trend—thus, fewer job openings in April doesn’t necessarily mean the job market is “cooling.”
|By Rich Miller, Bloomberg, 06/19/2012|
|By David Uren, The Australian, 06/19/2012|
MarketMinder's View: A sensible examination of how fiscal stimulus combined with productivity gains and pro-growth measures helped buoy Australia in recent years—and how this differs from the tack Europe is taking today.
|By Staff, Taiwan News, 06/19/2012|
MarketMinder's View: Barriers to free trade continue falling around the world. For more, revisit our 10/17/2011 cover story, “Racing Towards Zero.”
|By Art Carden, Forbes, 06/19/2012|
MarketMinder's View: “The solution is to create opportunities for the world’s poor through the institutions and attitudes that are responsible for the explosion of wealth we have seen in the last few centuries in the western world: secure private property rights, free markets, and dignity for entrepreneurs and innovators.” Hear, hear! For more, see our 05/14/2012 book review, “The End of Growth.”
|By Peter Spiegel, Financial Times, 06/19/2012|
MarketMinder's View: While statements from unnamed officials should be taken with a grain of salt, to us, this is indicative of European leaders’ will to maintain the euro. Make no mistake though, renegotiation likely brings rancor and debate before officials find a way to compromise and kick the can down the road a little farther.
|By Hugh Carnegy, Financial Times, 06/19/2012|
MarketMinder's View: It seems to us, if French leaders were intent on taking measures to boost business and investment, they’d start by abstaining from raising income taxes, toughening employment protections and levying a tax on dividends. Otherwise, judging from the sentiments relayed here, some French businesses vote with their feet and leave for Mr. Cameron’s more welcoming shores.
|By Richard Rubin, Bloomberg, 06/18/2012|
MarketMinder's View: The impact of widely known potential tax cut expirations and widely known, very gradually implemented automatic reductions in the growth rate of government spending is vastly overstated, in our view. For more, see our recent article on RealClearMarkets, “If Taxmageddon Strikes, Will We Fall Off the Fiscal Cliff?”
|By Greg Robb, MarketWatch, 06/18/2012|
MarketMinder's View: Perhaps the Fed will announce an extension of Operation Twist. But we’re wholly unconvinced it’ll have much more than the minimal effect last year’s did. For more, see our 10/13/2011 commentary from The Street, “Operation Twist Not Much of a Dance.”
|By Steven Russolillo, The Wall Street Journal, 06/18/2012|
MarketMinder's View: Considering a litany of scenarios involving Greece has been dissected and parsed for more than two years, the surprise power just doesn’t seem to be there. Moreover, while Lehman may have contributed to the sense of panic in 2008, its failure didn’t cause the bear market/recession—rather, it was a very dramatic victim.
|By Chrystia Freeland, Reuters, 06/18/2012|
MarketMinder's View: To be sure, there are cultural differences from nation to nation that can and do influence economic growth and trends. But before we get on board with the suggestion closed labor markets generally coincide with closer family ties, we’d like to know exactly how the degree of “closeness” between family members is being measured.
|By David Enrich and Victoria McGrane, The Wall Street Journal, 06/18/2012|
MarketMinder's View: Relaxing Basel III rules would be a sensible step reducing the probability vast bank deleveraging and capital raising—risks worth watching, in our view—come to pass.
|By Marcus Bensasson and Maria Petrakis, Bloomberg, 06/18/2012|
MarketMinder's View: Greece’s center-right, pro-bailout New Democracy party took first place in Sunday’s elections and seems poised to form a coalition government with the socialist Pasok party. While many hurdles remain for Greece, that the election’s over and a pro-bailout party won alleviates some uncertainty.
|By Mitsuru Obe and Chester Dawson, The Wall Street Journal, 06/18/2012|
MarketMinder's View: This is a very interesting look inside the state of Japanese nuclear power generation 15 months after Fukushima, highlighting the internal tensions between the need for power and fears of a redux.
|By Lingling Wei, The Wall Street Journal, 06/18/2012|
MarketMinder's View: The small scope of the securitized offering here means this specific issuance isn’t a very big deal. But the concept of modernizing China’s financial markets—of which this would be a very interesting facet—is, in our view, a very important development to follow.
|By Elisabeth Dellinger, InvestorPlace, 06/18/2012|
MarketMinder's View: Our latest contribution to InvestorPlace penned by Editorial Staff member Elisabeth Dellinger.
|By Jeffry Bartash, Market Watch, 06/15/2012|
MarketMinder's View: When has anything ever been certain for the economy? Even during the periods of most robust growth, folks doubt the expansion and fear the future. That there are doubts doesn’t mean there’s increased trouble ahead. It just means people are behaving normally.
|By Yuka Hayashi, The Wall Street Journal, 06/15/2012|
MarketMinder's View: Tax something, and you generally get less of it—implying Japan’s setting itself up to ding its retail sales. The chances that’s the best way to help Japan out of perceived fiscal woes (which we’re not totally convinced are as dire as many presume) seem quite slim.
|By Nouriel Roubini, Project Syndicate, 06/15/2012|
MarketMinder's View: While this is very poetic, in reality, there’s hardly ever perfect global “weather”—there will always be a couple stormier spots. And when the storms have been anticipated and planned for, for (in some cases) over two years, their future market impact is typically diminished—markets don’t move much on what’s already widely known. More likely, in our view, is folks eventually realize the weather isn’t as bad as commonly portrayed, boosting markets.
|By Yannos Papantoniou, Project Syndicate, 06/15/2012|
MarketMinder's View: While we’re not sure the proposed solution here is the precise end-all, be-all, we certainly agree Greece renegotiating its bail-out terms seems increasingly likely, regardless of the outcome of Sunday’s election. Thereby decreasing the likelihood a disorderly breakup ensues in the near future.
|By Don Boudreaux, Café Hayek, 06/15/2012|
MarketMinder's View: Contrary to common media concern, foreign direct investment in the US is a “boon to the US economy and is no drain on jobs here.” Though the politically expedient storyline will frequently be the exact opposite—highlighting the importance of parsing data and facts for oneself before drawing any concrete conclusions.
|By Gary Shapiro, Investor’s Business Daily, 06/15/2012|
MarketMinder's View: We doubt businesses are pounding a path to the borders en masse. What’s more, in our view, businesses should hire and produce overseas if it’s economical and adds to shareholder value, lowers costs and increases quality. But this is a good reminder to politicians that regulation often has unintended consequences.
|By Staff, BBC News, 06/15/2012|
MarketMinder's View: This isn’t exactly news, but rather, continuation of the trend of eurozone officials to show their commitment to shoring up the periphery to maintain the union.
|By Amanda Williams, Investor’s Business Daily, 06/15/2012|
MarketMinder's View: Our latest external article on Investor’s Business Daily by Fisher Investments’s Editorial Staff member Amanda Williams.
|By Richard Barley, The Wall Street Journal, 06/14/2012|
MarketMinder's View: We agree rising rates aren’t great for Spain (or Italy or any of the other struggling eurozone nations). But they needn’t presage assured disaster. On the contrary—European officials have demonstrated ample flexibility when faced with similar challenges over the last couple years. This time doesn’t seem likely to prove dramatically different.
|By Robert Barr, Associated Press, 06/14/2012|
MarketMinder's View: Two common problems with such (often, knee-jerk) legislation seeking to bypass a repeat of the most recent crisis are they rely on politicians correctly diagnosing the past crisis’ causes, and they often carry unintended consequences. The chances any politicians get such nuanced legislation 100% right are slim to none.
|By Staff, Associated Press, 06/14/2012|
MarketMinder's View: We’d argue a US with GDP at an all-time high hardly resembles a “slumping economy.” Sluggish growth is, nevertheless, growth. The fact is many data points argue against the economic picture painted here. For more, see our 06/04/2012 cover story, “Resilience and Resolve.”
|By Michael Kinsley, Bloomberg, 06/14/2012|
MarketMinder's View: We have many quibbles with this. For one thing, what about the myriad ways in which we’re enormously wealthier than just 20 or 30 years ago? Consider how prevalent once-expensive technology now is in households throughout the country—technology that saves folks significant amounts of time and has allowed enormous productivity gains. Or the widespread availability of medical technology and treatment. Or or or. For more, see our 09/29/2011 contribution to Real Clear Markets.
|By Anna-Louise Jackson and Anthony Feld, Bloomberg, 06/14/2012|
MarketMinder's View: Trucking tends to be one of relatively few truly leading indicators—meaning continued strength (the for-hire truck-tonnage index rose 2.8% y/y in April and has increased for 29 straight months) indicates economic growth likely continues.
|By Staff, The Wall Street Journal, 06/14/2012|
MarketMinder's View: We largely agree one reason Italy’s made less progress than most would no doubt like is (like other peripheral countries) legislators seemingly have the idea recovery must come from the government. On the contrary—supply side-based reforms (like lower taxes and a more business-friendly climate, for instance) would likely help the country recover much quicker than it is. For more, see our 05/11/2012 column, “What’s In a Name?”
|By Staff, The Telegraph, 06/14/2012|
MarketMinder's View: While incrementally higher yields aren’t great, the good news is Italy still managed to sell the entire debt offering—indicating investors’ appetites for Italian debt aren’t fully sated.
|By DS, The Economist, 06/14/2012|
MarketMinder's View: Proving no politicians are immune to economic ignorance, European officials seem increasingly headed toward implementing a financial transaction tax. For more, see our 05/25/2012 cover story, “Questioning the Transaction Tax.”
|By Graham Ruddick, The Telegraph, 06/14/2012|
MarketMinder's View: “The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said production rose 42.2pc in May to 141,146 cars, demonstrating the revitalization of Britain’s car industry since the onset of the financial crisis.”
|By Shobhana Chandra, Bloomberg, 06/13/2012|
MarketMinder's View: It seems tough to argue May’s small retail sales drop points to falling consumer demand when the breakdown shows falling gas prices were the primary culprit. Stripping out fuel sales, retail sales rose in May, suggesting the US consumer remains healthier than most appreciate.
|By Philip Aldrick, The Telegraph, 06/13/2012|
MarketMinder's View: Beyond the fact that economic weakness in the eurozone has been widely expected for some time, we’d offer an alternate perspective on Germany’s falling industrial production: Thus far, German voters haven’t much supported their government’s efforts to assist weaker eurozone partners, which has forced Chancellor Merkel to take a harder line than she otherwise would. Now, as Germany appears a bit less insulated from its neighbors’ weakness, might Germans realize it’s in their best interests to help the periphery and let Merkel be more flexible?
|By Staff, The New York Times, 06/13/2012|
MarketMinder's View: There’s no doubt the events of 2008 severely impacted household finances—but the dataset highlighted here is almost two years old. Rising incomes, improving home prices, stock market gains and other evidence since 2010 suggest household wealth has likely rebounded more than this piece posits.
|By James Hurley, The Telegraph, 06/13/2012|
MarketMinder's View: Despite the British government’s efforts to make small firms’ access to credit easier and cheaper, it appears businesses are still having trouble securing funding. Perhaps identifying and removing barriers to credit would prove more effective than temporary programs like Project Merlin and the National Loan Guarantee Scheme.
|By Hans Jürgen-Schlamp, Der Spiegel, 06/13/2012|
MarketMinder's View: This piece starts off sensibly, highlighting how Italy’s abundance of red tape stifles entrepreneurship—but it fails to connect the dots between that simple fact and Italy’s difficulties competing in the European and global economies. In our view, removing obstacles to productivity would better goad long-term growth than the demand-side stimulus purported as “desperately” needed here.
|By Staff, EUbusiness, 06/13/2012|
MarketMinder's View: Greece votes Sunday, and the race between New Democracy and anti-bailout Syriza is tight as each makes a final effort to woo voters and lawmakers from other parties. Both party leaders are pro-euro, but while New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras pledges a responsible approach to renegotiating some bailout terms, his rival, Alexis Tsipras, still seems bent on playing chicken with Brussels. How the contest shapes Greece’s relationship with EU partners bears watching in the weeks ahead.
|By Don Boudreaux, Café Hayek, 06/13/2012|
MarketMinder's View: To those who think demand-side stimulus is all that’s needed to boost growth, the professor offers three salient questions: “Are markets sufficiently free to set prices that accurately reflect resource scarcities? Are property rights sufficiently secure to encourage long-term investment? Are monetary and fiscal policies sufficiently prudent so as not to discourage households, entrepreneurs, and investors from making sensible plans over appropriate time horizons?” For more, see today’s cover story, “A Mélange of Miscellany.”
|By André Eichhofer, Der Spiegel, 06/13/2012|
MarketMinder's View: A timely example of how corruption and unenforced intellectual property rights can hinder legitimate commerce—and, by extension, economic growth. Cracking down on black markets would not only boost official consumption, but it’d likely allow firms to lower prices for authentic goods (since counterfeiters wouldn’t threaten their margins) and incentivize them to provide a wider range of products.
|By Jacob Goldstein, The New York Times, 06/13/2012|
MarketMinder's View: While some professional licensing requirements are no doubt useful, many only increase costs and barriers to entering a profession and hamper creativity, experimentation and productivity. Abolishing licensing rules that do more harm than good—like requirements for being a professional hair braider—likely makes it easier for workers to establish the careers that best suit them.
|By Claude Barfield, Real Clear Markets, 06/13/2012|
MarketMinder's View: We wholeheartedly agree. Both nations have made substantial free-trade progress. Folding the entire North American free trade bloc into the Trans-Pacific Partnership is a logical move and, likely, an economic positive for all involved. For more, see our 10/17/2011 cover story, “Racing Towards Zero.”
|By Nick Cawley and Neelabh Chaturvedi, The Wall Street Journal, 06/12/2012|
MarketMinder's View: Yes—Spain and Italy (and Greece) have some major hurdles to overcome. But elevated bond yields now needn’t necessarily portend imminent doom as many might think. Spain and Italy were both able to take advantage of lower rates earlier in the year, helping keep debt-service costs manageable. Plus, as officials address the questions surrounding Spain’s bank rescue, investors’ unease could fade a bit. For more, see today’s cover story, “Here Come the Men in Black?”
|By Joe Nocera, The New York Times, 06/12/2012|
MarketMinder's View: This comparison of US policy in 2008 and EU policies since 2010 seems off base—the US’s response to financial-sector troubles was far from perfect, as we’ve written. And Europe’s current “kick the can” strategy isn’t inherently bad. The slow-go approach gives the private sector time to adapt and find solutions, and in our view, that’s preferable to sweeping policy changes and the unintended consequences they could introduce.
|By David Champion, Harvard Business Review, 06/12/2012|
MarketMinder's View: There are pros and cons to euro membership for all 17 nations, but saying Germany’s strength is to blame for “bubble pressure” in the periphery seems misguided. In our view, peripheral nations’ bloated public sectors and an abundance of red tape are more responsible for their divergent competitiveness.
|By Staff, BBC News, 06/12/2012|
MarketMinder's View: More federalism and coordinated banking oversight likely help strengthen the eurozone over time. As ever though, nothing here is likely a quick fix for today’s issues, and questions—and potential unintended consequences—abound. How officials approach this bears watching in the months ahead.
|By Russ Roberts, Café Hayek, 06/12/2012|
MarketMinder's View: This is a sensible take on arguments that one thing (or another) was the sole factor contributing to economic data (positive or negative). “That means everyone, on the left or the right, who claims to have evidence for the impact of one of them or who cherry-picks one of those out of the myriad to choose from and blames that one factor for the lousy pace of the recovery is either fooling himself or fooling you. Don’t be a fool.”
|By Pilita Clark and James Fontanella-Khan, Financial Times, 06/12/2012|
MarketMinder's View: This is timely evidence of why cap-and-trade is likely a solution in search of a problem—if nations refuse to comply and the penalty is so lax, the carbon-trading market likely dwindles over time. Plus, such trade policies likely make it more difficult to do business (literally and figuratively) in the EU—probably not the net effect EU politicians had in mind.
|By Gail MarksJarvis, Chicago Tribune, 06/11/2012|
MarketMinder's View: We caution against drawing big conclusions from one month’s US trade data—a point further echoed by Chinese export reacceleration. Moreover, the 2008 comparisons here are greatly overwrought. Policymakers have repeatedly shown they’re willing to take necessary steps to forestall a eurozone-driven financial panic.
|By Simon Constable, The Wall Street Journal, 06/11/2012|
MarketMinder's View: Sure, maybe central banks are buying gold. Is that necessarily bullish? History suggests central banks aren’t the best investors to follow. And while we’d agree it’s probably not best to short-term time gold, we’d also suggest it has flaws as a long-term investment.
|By Kelly Nolan, Kirsten Grind and Anusha Shrivastava, The Wall Street Journal, 06/11/2012|
MarketMinder's View: Last December, another ratings agency downgraded over 30 banks globally on similar grounds. No bank funding catastrophe ensued, and we see little reason to believe it’ll be markedly different this time. As we’ve often counseled, the ratings agencies’ influence is very frequently greatly overstated.
|By Ed Butowsky, Fox News, 06/11/2012|
MarketMinder's View: If stagflation were actually here, we doubt you’d need fuzzy definitions employing generalities (like “low” and “high” instead of numbers), projections and rejiggered calculations to prove it. The reality is the economy has grown (not stagnated) with tame inflation. The Fed’s “money printing” is also unlikely to have materially affected inflation thus far, considering nearly all the increased money supply has sat on deposit at the Fed.
|By Staff, Bloomberg, 06/11/2012|
MarketMinder's View: Recent Chinese data seem to be alluding to a potential reacceleration ahead. In addition to accelerating loan growth figures, other data released Monday showed sharply rising Chinese auto sales and trade data. For more, see our 06/08/2012 cover story, “Checking Up on China.”
|By David Bird, The Wall Street Journal, 06/11/2012|
MarketMinder's View: North Dakota—home to the Bakken shale oil region—surpassed Alaska to become the US’s second biggest oil-producing state in Q1. Unconventional production there and elsewhere nationally pushed US domestic oil production to its highest level in 13 years in the quarter.
|By James Hamilton, Econbrowser, 06/11/2012|
MarketMinder's View: Low natural gas prices brought by the massive supply boom tied to shale gas seemingly have some firms seeking to take advantage—an illustration, in the here and now, of prices’ powerful ability to bring change and innovation.
|By Jonathan House, Matina Stevis and Gabriele Steinhauser, The Wall Street Journal, 06/11/2012|
MarketMinder's View: In a move widely telegraphed in recent days, a conference call on Saturday resulted in Spain requesting a new bailout package for its banks. Many details remain to be ironed out and this likely isn’t a cure-all for Europe’s woes no matter how it turns out. That said, this is clearly a story worth following. For more, see our 06/05/2012 cover story, “A Spanish-German Compromise?”
|By Robert Skidelsky and Edward Skidelsky, Bloomberg, 06/08/2012|
MarketMinder's View: While the good life depicted here may sound appealing, if we accept current levels of wealth as satisfactory, we’ll most likely lose incentive to create more wealth—which potentially leads to economic crises down the road. In fact, without capitalism, life overall likely wouldn’t be as good as it is now—don’t underestimate the powerful force for societal good that is profit motive.
|By Staff, New Zealand Herald, 06/08/2012|
MarketMinder's View: Perhaps the article’s focus should be on benefits provided Kiwi tourism by international booking agencies: Making booking flights, hotels and overall tourism easier and cheaper for the consumer, which at the very least allows consumers to spend the money saved in New Zealand, not on fees. Though some commission may be lost, the overall benefit likely outweighs the cons. A good mini lesson in economics.
|By Edward Hadas, Reuters, 06/08/2012|
MarketMinder's View: We find much to quibble with here. To start, the notion the developed world is in a depression is just wrong. Global, developed world and US GDP are all at all-time highs. We aren’t in recession or depression, and we aren’t even in recovery anymore but in full-fledged expansion.
|By Zachary A. Goldfarb, The Washington Post, 06/08/2012|
MarketMinder's View: On balance, European consumers likely have less impact on the US economy than many fear—and probably have even less to do with other fears listed here, like an 8+% US unemployment rate or overall Chinese economic health. The eurozone isn’t immaterial, but over the past few decades as Emerging Markets have grown, it has shrunk in relative global economic importance.
|By Don Boudreaux, Café Hayek, 06/08/2012|
MarketMinder's View: This article provides helpful insight on bargaining power in practice. Equal bargaining power, while a pleasant idea, rarely exists outside of theory as opinions of value vary, and it likely hinders trade and wealth distribution. The ability to use your own comparative advantage to receive a good or service you want (or need) is actual bargaining power.
|By Tim Worstall, The Telegraph, 06/08/2012|
MarketMinder's View: Trade negotiations and tariffs are political tools more than anything—tools that prevent nations from receiving goods not domestically available, which seems to us a negative. Tariffs are just barriers to trade and hurt more than help on balance, especially when implemented in retaliation: “Other people putting rocks into their harbours is no justification for putting rocks into your own.”
|By Geir Moulson, Associated Press, 06/08/2012|
MarketMinder's View: While not a guarantee for German economic growth for 2012, this counters widespread fears the eurozone’s biggest economy is headed for doom.
|By Staff, The Wall Street Journal, 06/07/2012|
MarketMinder's View: Thursday afternoon, the Fed announced a proposed rule that doesn’t exempt certain banks—generally, smaller ones—from international Basel III standards agreed to in 2010, a decision likely disappointing some. Now, the proposal isn’t a done deal at this point—there’s a comment period and review in which this could still be revised. Should it come into force, banks would be required to hold more capital. So as the title says above, banks potentially do face tougher rules. But the implementation time period here is key—banks have until 2019 before full requirements kick in—seven years to comply likely greatly mitigates the impact of bank deleveraging. For more on Basel III, see our 07/28/2010 cover story, “Basel III Takes Shape.”
|By Staff, The Economist, 06/07/2012|
MarketMinder's View: Slow politicking is not necessarily a bad thing—especially when the policies in question would have far-reaching effects. In the eurozone, Angela Merkel receives much criticism for backing austerity to curry favor with her voter base. In our view, this particular critique greatly overstates the degree of power Merkel has and the degree of urgency.
|By Ezra Klein, The Washington Post, 06/07/2012|
MarketMinder's View: While we won’t weigh in on this article’s judgment of Mr. Draghi, we’d suggest the extreme power this article presumes a central banker has is vastly overwrought. What’s more, this is an altogether too polarized view of the austerity v. growth debate: The logic behind structural reforms in Europe are overlooked (and how they may contribute to future growth) and austerity’s presumed negatives focused on.
|By Tomi Kilgore, The Wall Street Journal, 06/07/2012|
MarketMinder's View: Focusing on recent past market performance—especially short-term past performance—seems a risky way to forecast market direction. What this mostly seems is pattern recognition, a behavioral flaw. Ultimately, we figure attempting to distill the billions of inputs that determine market direction into a shape on a chart is perhaps a bit too simplistic.
|By Binyamin Appelbaum, The New York Times, 06/07/2012|
MarketMinder's View: In our view—and perhaps the Fed’s too—additional monetary easing likely has little fundamental effect on the broader US economy at this point. Growth is still occurring and, as the Fed said, “appears poised to continue.” Growth rate volatility is a normal and shouldn’t be taken as a call for additional liquidity with every ebb. Moreover, should policy be too loose for too long, it could introduce risks of its own. So, in that way, that the Fed hasn’t committed to a new round of stimulus seems unalarming.
|By Angeline Benoit, The Washington Post, 06/07/2012|
MarketMinder's View: Despite slightly higher yields, markets seemingly vouched for continued confidence in Spain, as the country successfully sold the full allotment in its most recent bond auction. Additionally, France appears to have had notable success its own bond auctions—showing the eurozone’s situation likely is better than it’s feared to be.
|By Joe McDonald, Associated Press, 06/07/2012|
MarketMinder's View: While interest rates aren’t the most important part of China’s monetary policy, they are another piece of evidence, as we discussed in today’s cover story, China seems to be eying growth-goosing methods. Ultimately, these could well have a positive pull on global growth once the measures work through the economy.
|By Martin Wolf, Financial Times, 06/06/2012|
MarketMinder's View: In addition to our many quibbles with this piece, we’re not entirely sure what a “contained depression” is—but considering global GDP, on balance, is growing, we’re pretty sure we’re not in one. Pockets of weakness and some dislocations in monetary policy will likely always exist, but their current presence hardly makes today the 1930s, redux.
|By Peter Orszag, Bloomberg, 06/06/2012|
MarketMinder's View: There’s precious little evidence the US economy’s anywhere near as “heavy” as described here, or the fiscal cliff as material a risk. Overall and on average, data continue showing a healthy US private sector, which makes this clarion call for massive fiscal stimulus seem overstated. For more, see our recent column on Real Clear Markets.
|By Ben Levisohn and Joe Light, The Wall Street Journal, 06/06/2012|
MarketMinder's View: History overwhelmingly shows that to get market-like returns, investors must accept the risk of portfolio declines—especially over short periods. No equity and/or fixed income strategy, including the one touted here, can guarantee otherwise. As ever, we recommend investors stay focused on their long-term goals and finding the strategy most likely to help reach them.
|By Staff, EUbusiness, 06/06/2012|
MarketMinder's View: “Revamp” appears to be a euphemism for “protect,” which likely proves a solution in search of a problem. In our view, finding ways to help the industry become more competitive would be a better approach than imposing “stricter conditions when negotiating trade treaties.”
|By Staff, Der Spiegel, 06/06/2012|
MarketMinder's View: EU officials are reportedly considering allowing the EFSF or ESM to lend directly to Spain’s bank bailout fund. Though this isn’t a done deal, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel still faces opposition to the plan from members of her government, continued steps toward compromise bear watching. For more, see today’s Cover Story, “Web Soup: Growing Services and Politicking Politicians.”
|By Patricia Kowsmann, The Wall Street Journal, 06/06/2012|
MarketMinder's View: In name, this is an austerity measure, but it doesn’t seem very draconian at all. It’s simply a sensible step to reform Portuguese labor markets, which perhaps makes it easier for young folks to find work. For more, see our 05/11/2012 column, “What’s in a Name?”
|By Yue Li, The Wall Street Journal, 06/06/2012|
MarketMinder's View: In addition to giving banks extra time to adopt tougher capital requirements, officials are reducing the capital weightings for small-business loans. This seems to be another sign of China’s efforts to goad growth—particularly in private enterprises—in 2012.
|By Adam Creighton, The Australian, 06/06/2012|
MarketMinder's View: Mining, private investment and consumer spending helped Australia be the developed world’s fastest growing economy in Q1, providing more evidence private sectors globally remain somewhat insulated from Europe’s weakness. For more, see our recent commentary on iStockAnalyst, “Eurozone Recession, Global Growth.”
|By Martin Crutsinger, Associated Press, 06/06/2012|
MarketMinder's View: Productivity regularly trails off a few years into a recovery as the large gains earlier in the cycle typically cool—and, as this piece points out, waning productivity gains likely mean firms need to continue hiring to boost output as demand increases. For more, see our recent commentary on The Street, “Producing Employment.”
|By Matt Ackermann, Financial Planning, 06/05/2012|
MarketMinder's View: Consumer sentiment and anxiety indexes, like the one noted here, are backward looking or coincident at best. Despite the claims made here, they presage little about the direction of the economy or markets moving forward.
|By Thomas H. Kee Jr., MarketWatch, 06/05/2012|
MarketMinder's View: “Rules” like those described here don’t constitute sound investment strategy. Using charts and ignoring fundamentals give investors a limited, entirely backward view. For more, see our classic column, “Technical Paralysis.”
|By Diane Cardwell, The New York Times, 06/05/2012|
MarketMinder's View: Although we don’t traffic in fairness, if the economics of installing solar panels don’t work without net metering subsidies and regulations, then the economics doesn’t work. This is one major policy overhang confronting solar: Investors, seeing subsidies like this that could very well be on the chopping block for various reasons, may not wish to allocate capital to the industry, fearing fallout.
|By Victor Mallet and Peter Spiegel, Financial Times, 06/05/2012|
MarketMinder's View: The latest in Spain and Germany’s negotiations over bank recapitalizations, which seem likely to end (at some point) in compromise as both sides seem to be conceding a bit of ground daily. This speaks further to European officials’ resolve to prevent a disorderly breakup of the euro in the near term. For more, see today’s cover story, “A Spanish-German Compromise?”
|By Amy Su, Taipei Times, 06/05/2012|
MarketMinder's View: Contentious debate in Taiwan over a proposed capital gains tax may yield a greater chance this gets watered down significantly. For more, see our 05/02/2012 cover story, “Predictable Politicking.”
|By Mark J. Perry, Carpe Diem, 06/05/2012|
MarketMinder's View: “We never have, and never will, run out of scarce resources like oil because as a resource becomes more scarce, its price will rise, which will set in motion a series of actions that will counteract the scarcity.” Basic economic theory seems to dictate that would be the case. For more, see our 05/14/2012 book review, “The End of Growth.”
|By Kathleen Madigan, The Wall Street Journal, 06/05/2012|
MarketMinder's View: Strong services sector growth belies what some folks consider to be a weak or weakening US economy. In fact, looking deeper into data shows the service sector remains healthy overall, despite some growth-rate volatility. For more, see our 06/01/2012 cover story, “Debatable Data Doldrums.”
|By Jeff Cox, CNBC, 06/04/2012|
MarketMinder's View: If you choose to focus on economic data released over one seven-day period, then yes, last week wasn’t terribly pretty relative to expectations. But at the same time, calling it one of the “worst weeks ever” is a bit bizarre when you consider nearly every one of the data points discussed showed continuing growth. For more, see today’s Cover Story, “Resilience and Resolve.”
|By Liam Halligan, The Telegraph, 06/04/2012|
MarketMinder's View: This is an overly dour, speculative take on the global economy. But at a more granular level, the discussion is of “the eurozone” or “Europe” and presumes things are uniform. But Germany’s not Greece, and economic conditions can’t be applied to all. And the relatively stronger nations rank higher in global trade. For more, see our 02/06/2012 article on The Street, “Mapping Stress from Eurozone” or our 02/01/2012 column, “An Often Overlooked, Yet Obvious Point on UK Trade.”
|By Daniel Gross, Yahoo! Finance, 06/04/2012|
MarketMinder's View: This article operates on the presumption Europe should mirror the US governments’ (often haphazard, near-schizophrenic, sweeping) actions during 2008. Suffice it to say, we disagree, as those very actions likely precipitated the panic itself. As we’ve written, Europe’s slow and steady approach seems largely appropriate—though it likely will frustrate some—as it helps mitigate surprise power.
|By Jack Hough, The Wall Street Journal, 06/04/2012|
MarketMinder's View: When you leave behind mythology, you find gold’s an asset that’s not negatively correlated to stocks, is prone to sharp booms and busts and more. Ultimately, we agree “there isn’t a clear reason to invest in it (gold).”
|By William Boston, The Wall Street Journal, 06/04/2012|
MarketMinder's View: While the title here is perhaps a bit overwrought, there is increased talk of Germany striking a compromise enacting greater debt sharing and greater fiscal coordination. This is a worthwhile story to watch for developments. For more, see our recent article on InvestorPlace, “A Compromise That’s Better Than Eurobonds?”
|By Alfred Tella, Real Clear Markets, 06/04/2012|
MarketMinder's View: This interesting discussion of one data point (the labor force participation rate) helps illustrate the sheer wonkiness of the official unemployment calculation. “It rose 0.2 in May, from 63.6 to 63.8 as men, women, and teenagers entered the work force. Had the participation rate not risen last month, the unemployment rate would have fallen to 7.9 percent.”
|By Mo Hong’e, Xinhua, 06/04/2012|
MarketMinder's View: While reports from China (like the above) should be taken with a grain of salt, the fact the state-run newspaper (Xinhua) is publishing such a story stands as further evidence the government seems poised to goose growth.
|By Hans Eichel and Yannis Palaiokrassas, Project Syndicate, 06/01/2012|
MarketMinder's View: Beyond this article’s catchy title stands a thesis with almost no supporting evidence: That carbon and fuel taxes are a better, more economically beneficial way to tax than consumption (via VAT or income taxes). What’s more, this operates on the thesis European finance ministers should get creative to solve what’s presumed to be a revenue issue. We’d modestly suggest the real issue isn’t so much government revenue as it is economic competitiveness. More taxes—even “smart” ones—likely don’t help competitiveness much.
|By Jacob Goldstein, NPR, 06/01/2012|
MarketMinder's View: While we’d not quibble with the data presented, we’d quibble with the overly negative interpretation. Yes, the job market hasn’t fully recovered, but employment historically has been a late-lagging economic indicator. Presuming we should already be at pre-recession levels—what economists call full employment—seems quite disconnected from the historical record and sets unrealistic expectations.
|By Staff, EUbusiness, 06/01/2012|
MarketMinder's View: Though the pact likely isn’t vital to Ireland’s or the eurozone’s continued viability, the successful Irish referendum suggests most voters remain supportive of the ongoing economic reforms, which perhaps helps the government keep its momentum on that front.
|By Staff, Investor’s Business Daily, 06/01/2012|
MarketMinder's View: The “final frontier” is the latest frontier for private-sector innovation, and it seems private firms are once again boldly going where public enterprises aren’t: “Consider the Space Shuttle program. It remained virtually unchanged for three decades. Such a lack of innovation would never happen in the private sector. Leave space to the entrepreneurs and watch things happen that we’d never before imagined.”