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By , The Washington Post, 11/29/2013

MarketMinder's View: There isn’t much of a discernable relationship between one day’s sales and an entire year’s worth of economic growth. Black Friday deals are nice to score and a fun tradition, but investors should look much more broadly to see how the US economy is doing.

By , The Telegraph, 11/29/2013

MarketMinder's View: While many bemoan the slow recovery in UK manufacturing and exports, many positives are going largely unnoticed. Here’s a look at some of the highlights—a timely example of reality exceeding perception.

By , The Wall Street Journal, 11/29/2013

MarketMinder's View: None of these alleged signs of “froth” mean stocks are overvalued. Nor are investors “downplaying other danger signs.” They’re doing the opposite: ignoring the many positives underpinning this bull market. A growing—and potentially reaccelerating—global economy, rising corporate revenues and earnings and a relatively calm political environment, combined with still-skeptical investor sentiment, create a nice backdrop for this bull market to continue.

By , Jiji Press, 11/29/2013

MarketMinder's View: While this news seems nice, it isn’t necessarily a sign Japan is getting stronger. Many Japanese consumers likely pulled big-ticket purchases forward to beat the sales tax hike that takes effect next April.

By , The Washington Post, 11/29/2013

MarketMinder's View: We’ll not weigh in on whether getting a loan from a pawnshop is a viable business strategy. But that this is even an issue shows you just how much quantitative easing (QE) has limited the supply of loans. By reducing long-term interest rates, the Fed flattened the yield spread, shrinking banks’ profits on lending. Creditworthy borrowers can get loans just fine, but iffier prospects—many small businesses—can’t. Many thus turn elsewhere, to more expensive lenders. This is a big reason growth has been slow during this expansion.

By , The Wall Street Journal, 11/29/2013

MarketMinder's View: The European Commission and others complaining about Germany’s trade surplus overlook an important fact: Germany’s high exports are the result of high foreign investment. Most German goods are produced abroad. If Germany cuts back, German investment in Eastern Europe, developing nations and even the US would fall, introducing unnecessary economic headwinds.

By , The Telegraph, 11/29/2013

MarketMinder's View: While soil degradation is an issue, it isn’t guaranteed to cause global famine—and it probably won’t. Since the dawn of civilization, human ingenuity (aided by free markets) has proven quite adept at allocating scarce resources and overcoming difficulties like these. For more, see Todd Bliman’s classic column, “A Common Thread Between Horse Manure and Peak Oil.”

By , Bloomberg, 11/29/2013

MarketMinder's View: Once again, investors demonstrate ratings agencies’ fecklessness. The world has long known the Netherlands has some economic headwinds, and markets started dealing with these long before S&P announced its decision.

By , The Wall Street Journal, 11/29/2013

MarketMinder's View: A pending regulatory change requiring banks’ boards “to approve contracts involving ‘critical activities’” could expose board members to greater liability, potentially hollowing out the pool of people willing to serve as directors. Big banks with big legal and compliance resources likely don’t see a talent drain, but community banks could come under pressure, potentially resulting in more M&A and limiting competition over time.

By , The Telegraph, 11/29/2013

MarketMinder's View: UK banks get some more breathing room, which could ease some of the pressure on lending—a long-awaited positive.

By , EUbusiness, 11/29/2013

MarketMinder's View: With Georgia and Moldova signing association agreements with the EU, global trade just got a bit freer—something markets like.

By , AEIdeas, 11/27/2013

MarketMinder's View: Using Thanksgiving dinner as an example, data here prove: “Relative to our income and relative to food prices in the past, food in America has been more affordable in recent years than at any time in history.” This couldn’t have happened without competitive markets and long-term economic growth.

By , Washington Post, 11/27/2013

MarketMinder's View: It’s true rising rates may deter some potential home buyers, but rates are still at historical lows—meaning housing is and will remain very affordable for some time, even as rates continue rising and QE eventually ends. Plus, cost is just one variable homebuyers consider—income growth, job security and folks’ confidence in the future all play vital roles.

By , Bloobmerg, 11/27/2013

MarketMinder's View: One of Italy’s biggest headwinds is political gridlock and uncertainty. With Berlusconi (who opposed many proposed economic reforms) out of the picture—and his PdL party split into two factions, one of which supports the current governing coalition—the Italian political scene has become a little clearer for investors, a small positive. Sweeping reform still remains unlikely, but incremental changes may be more possible, including much-needed electoral reforms.

By , CNBC, 11/27/2013

MarketMinder's View: First, stocks aren’t in a bubble, which is partly evident by how many pundits and investors believe they are. Bubble fears are self-deflating—if we were in bubble trouble, no one would suspect it. Plus, Fed policy is hardly helping stocks rise. Second, the reserves created through QE haven’t bled over into broad money supply growth. Firms have found ways to grow and profit anyway, which is why stocks have risen so far.

By , The Conference Board, 11/27/2013

MarketMinder's View: “The US LEI [one of the most forward-looking economic indicators next to stocks] has increased for four consecutive months … Overall, the data reflect strengthening conditions in the underlying economy,” like a widening yield spread and rising new orders. Plus, there hasn’t been a recession following a rising LEI trend in the last 50 years—recessions typically only appear after LEI has fallen for some time, which is clearly not the case today.

By , The Telegraph, 11/27/2013

MarketMinder's View: The UK’s economic recovery continues gathering steam, with notable growth in inventories, consumption and business investment. Many worry weak foreign demand may hold back the economy some, but exports are volatile on a quarterly basis, and as areas like housing and business investment likely continue growing—and global demand improves—we expect the UK will accelerate.

By , Bloomberg, 11/27/2013

MarketMinder's View: First, the government shutdown probably didn’t have a huge impact on business investment. Businesses plan far ahead to invest, grow and hire—any plan too easily foiled by politics likely wouldn’t have succeeded anyway. Moreover, one month’s data isn’t a trend. Economies regularly grow in fits and bursts with intermittent softness. Consider September’s durable goods orders grew +4.1% y/y, while employment, housing and retail sales are improving, too.

By , Financial Times, 11/27/2013

MarketMinder's View: The end of US quantitative easing (QE) shouldn’t hurt the eurozone—it could actually help promote overall growth. Yield spreads globally tend to be highly correlated, so as the US yield spread continues widening post-QE, so should eurozone spreads—a universally accepted bullish feature. Markets may rock on sentiment in the meantime, but longer term, stocks should get a nice boost as reality exceeds expectations.

By , Bloomberg, 11/26/2013

MarketMinder's View: “By increasing access to banking services, this ‘stealth reform’ has the potential to increase the productivity of small and medium enterprises and help workers to smooth their consumption patterns, changing Mexico’s patterns of social mobility and income distribution for the better.”


By , The Wall Street Journal, 11/26/2013

MarketMinder's View: If France follows through with proposed “comprehensive tax reform” next year, it could help streamline the system, making tax preparation less confusing and costly and potentially reducing many households’ and businesses tax burdens—all of which economies and markets tend to like. But, whether officials follow through remains to be seen. 

By , Bloomberg, 11/26/2013

MarketMinder's View: Despite fears of rising mortgage rates curbing housing demand, housing permits jumped to a five-year high—a sign the housing recovery is chugging along.

By , The Wall Street Journal, 11/26/2013

MarketMinder's View: Consumer confidence surveys don’t predict economic activity—they reflect how people feel at the time they take the survey, which doesn’t necessarily predict how they’ll actually behave. Retail sales and overall spending numbers often diverge from confidence numbers.

By , The Telegraph, 11/26/2013

MarketMinder's View: While we take all long-term forecasts with a massive grain of salt, even if these estimates are off target, it seems clear European economies could benefit tremendously if they embrace shale.

By , Reuters, 11/26/2013

MarketMinder's View: As this piece points out, if folks want to reduce their portfolio’s expected volatility, there are likely more efficient, less costly ways to accomplish this than buying “managed volatility funds” that blend long and short equity positions. Though, this doesn’t necessarily provide a “downside cushion”—all investments have the risk of loss.

By , Bloomberg , 11/26/2013

MarketMinder's View: For four decades, Japan has paid farmers to produce less rice, keeping prices artificially high. In addition to making production more efficient, phasing out this system helps pave the way for Japan to overcome TPP obstacles, though anything could change between now and the 2019 end-date. In the meantime, that PM Shinzo Abe approved a change that was unpopular with a key vested interest group could bode well for future politically unpopular (but necessary) changes.


By , The Wall Street Journal, 11/25/2013

MarketMinder's View: The Volcker Rule—a regulatory effort to wall off banks’ deposit-taking businesses from their proprietary trading desks—remains unwritten by the CFTC and bank regulators, and as a result, it seems some are considering passing their own version to meet the self-imposed end-of-year deadline. This is a matter worth watching in the sense regulatory confusion over the issue would be far from ideal. After all, a clearly defined Volcker Rule doesn’t seem likely to be even as strict as the Glass-Steagall Act, which banks operated just fine under for 60-plus years, but messy rulemaking is a factor worth considering. Lastly, even if no rule results—possible—remember the Volcker Rule is largely a solution seeking a problem: Proprietary trading was not a significant factor in 2008’s financial panic. For more, see our 11/20/2013 cover story, “Vexed by the Volcker Rule.”

By , The Washington Post, 11/25/2013

MarketMinder's View: While we don’t agree with everything here, we do agree with the notion the Fed’s quantitative easing funny money isn’t what’s propping up markets—or the economy. Markets are growing because economic fundamentals are improving, which QE hasn’t stimulated much since the Fed’s bond buying depresses long-term interest rates making lending less profitable and, hence, less common.

By , The New York Times, 11/25/2013

MarketMinder's View: We’d argue this piece misses an important aspect of economics—supply. It’s true demand for turkeys increases leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday, but this theory doesn’t account for producers ramping up production to meet that demand. Increased supply counteracts increased demand—likely contributing to lower prices. Especially since turkey has an expiration date—excess supply has no value

By , BusinessWeek, 11/25/2013

MarketMinder's View: While the tone of this is a little off in our view—focusing so much on the “pain” at the pump implies rising gasoline prices are a weight on the economy, which lacks historical support—we find the balance quite interesting. It says something about regulation that it’s one-third as expensive to ship refined products from Houston to Sao Paolo, Brazil or Lagos, Nigeria, than it is Houston to Miami.

By , BusinessWeek, 11/25/2013

MarketMinder's View: While the tone of this is a little off in our view—focusing so much on the “pain” at the pump implies rising gasoline prices are a weight on the economy, which lacks historical support—we find the balance quite interesting. It says something about regulation that it’s one-third as expensive to ship refined products from Houston to Sao Paolo, Brazil or Lagos, Nigeria, than it is Houston to Miami.

By , BusinessWeek, 11/25/2013

MarketMinder's View: While the tone of this is a little off in our view—focusing so much on the “pain” at the pump implies rising gasoline prices are a weight on the economy, which lacks historical support—we find the balance quite interesting. It says something about regulation that it’s one-third as expensive to ship refined products from Houston to Sao Paolo, Brazil or Lagos, Nigeria, than it is Houston to Miami.

By , The Wall Street Journal, 11/25/2013

MarketMinder's View: Global total trade was up in Q3—illustrating the globe’s economic acceleration in the quarter. Further fuel for markets.

By , The Economist, 11/25/2013

MarketMinder's View: Carving up the global financial system likely is a negative factor. However, the extent to which that actually happens remains to be seen—there are regulatory bodies arguing both sides even just within the US.

By , Morningstar, 11/25/2013

MarketMinder's View: 

A spot-on critique of hypothetical or back-tested performance. We have little to add beyond, “A skeptic might conclude back-tests are to induction what Richard Simmons' hair is to the category of things that can be burned for fuel.” For more, see Todd Bliman’s 08/29/2013 column, “Nobody’s Fool.”

By , Financial Times, 11/25/2013

MarketMinder's View: We have much to quibble with here. The argument for lower interest rates paid on banks’ excess reserves on deposit at the Fed operates on the notion banks need to be spurred to action by a slap on the wrist. We’d suggest there’s a more effective, time-tested means to spur bank lending: End quantitative easing. By no longer flattening the yield curve through long-term asset purchases, banks would have a greater incentive to lend—likely providing the same stimulus the Fed would be seeking to find with another interest rate cut. For the latest on QE, see our 11/13/2013 cover story, “Timing the Taper.”

By , The Telegraph, 11/22/2013

MarketMinder's View: This rests on the notion oil prices and growth are somehow intrinsically linked—data show otherwise. High oil prices alone don’t cause recessions. Rather, they more often incentivize firms to develop new technology to increase supply or find cheaper alternatives. High oil prices in mid- to late-2000s are a major reason why we have a shale boom today.

By , The Wall Street Journal, 11/22/2013

MarketMinder's View: While corporate bond issuance has risen in recent years, liquidity is down—they’re traded largely over the counter, and dealers’ inventories have dwindled some. If banks join together to create an exchange platform, it could increase liquidity, reduce trading costs and enhance fixed-income investors’ options.

By , Xinhua, 11/22/2013

MarketMinder's View: This is only an incremental step toward market-set deposit rates, but progress is progress. Over time, this and other financial reforms should modernize China’s banking sector, aiding development and helping the nation become more of a market force.

By , The Wall Street Journal, 11/22/2013

MarketMinder's View: Evidence overwhelmingly shows the Cyclically Adjusted P/E (CAPE) ratio doesn’t predict future returns. Stock prices don’t move on past performance, and the average of the last 10 years of profits says nothing about how firms fare moving forward. For more, see Michael Birnbaum’s 10/08/2013 column, “Smoothed O‘PE’rator.”

By , Associated Press, 11/22/2013

MarketMinder's View: If the S&P 500 hits the “perfect 10” in 2013, it will be a pleasant but meaningless (and pretty arbitrary) milestone. Whether or not all 10 sectors finish the year up 10% or more says nothing about how stocks do looking forward.

By , CNBC, 11/22/2013

MarketMinder's View: Ordinarily, headlines like this would be alarming. But in this case, it’s just a twist on the backward notion of Fed policy being this bull’s driving force. The perception of economic reality remains too-dour—to us, this piece seems as skeptical as they come.

By , The Washington Post, 11/22/2013

MarketMinder's View: In the here and now, Bitcoin isn’t ready for primetime—it’s too volatile and too limited to be useful as a broad medium of exchange. But in the long-term, anything is possible. Innovative folks can build off the platform in ways we can’t even imagine today, potentially creating entire new industries and investment opportunities along the way. This is just the latest example of why those touting the end of growth or “secular stagnation” are far off the mark.

By , Reuters, 11/22/2013

MarketMinder's View: While this is an interesting idea and worth watching, it likely isn’t a fix-all for the region. Offering subsidized loans as an incentive for economic reform bears marked resemblance to the Structural Adjustment Programs used widely in the developing world in the 1980s, which didn’t bear much fruit over time. 

By , EUbusiness, 11/22/2013

MarketMinder's View: This smacks of protectionism—something markets typically don’t like. So far, the EU and China have avoided a full-blown trade war, and both sides are pressing for further economic cooperation on other fronts. But the looming threat of protection bears watching.

By , The Telegraph, 11/22/2013

MarketMinder's View: A look at how the UK’s overly complicated commercial real estate tax makes life difficult for small shop owners and big retailers alike—and incentivizes against investment. Moving to a simpler system would likely benefit the entire country.

By , The Wall Street Journal, 11/22/2013

MarketMinder's View: This nicely sums up why negative deposit rates likely won’t do much to spur the eurozone. Given all the regulatory and economic reasons banks are holding cash at the central banks, it’s difficult to see how charging them for the privilege does anything other than incentivize them to park cash elsewhere.   

By , Bloomberg, 11/21/2013

MarketMinder's View: When a bunch of folks think bubbles are inflating, that’s generally a sign fear, not euphoria, is still rampant. In an actual bubble, a poll like this one should register few frothy responses. For more, see our 11/12/2013 cover story, “Bubblicious?

By , EUbusiness, 11/21/2013

MarketMinder's View: This seems a bit too dour, in our view. Yes, pockets of the eurozone still struggle—and likely will for the foreseeable future. But overall, its services and manufacturing PMIs grew in November, indicating the region may be better off than many investors may believe.


By , Project Syndicate, 11/21/2013

MarketMinder's View: While we agree the US dollar is in no danger of losing its status as the world’s top reserve currency, fears of its demise—particularly due to the rise of other currencies—also seem exaggerated, in our view. Diversified forex pools are an economic positive, facilitating global trade. For more, see Elisabeth Dellinger’s column, “The Tale of the Dollar’s Demise.”

By , Bloomberg, 11/21/2013

MarketMinder's View: Excluding 2008-2009, there is little if any evidence quantitative easing has stimulated the economy at all. In fact, there’s much more evidence it has weighed on it: The UK economy accelerated after the Bank of England stopped QE; Japan’s first round of quantitative easing (2001-2006) didn’t result in material acceleration; Leading Economic Indicators around the world picked up when the Fed talked up the taper in May. While no one necessarily knows what history will have to say, we’d suggest the evidence in the present is clear: QE slows economic growth due to its reducing the spread between banks’ short-term borrowing costs and their long-term loan revenues. For more, see our 11/13/2013 cover story, “Timing the Taper.”

By , Cato at Liberty, 11/21/2013

MarketMinder's View: Incentives matter: “Some inventors just love to create. Others hope for money, glory, or something else. Whatever their motives, the rest of us gain.” Investing in stocks harnesses this innovative, creative force to better your financial future, too. 

By , The Telegraph, 11/21/2013

MarketMinder's View: The UK economy continues showing signs of increasing strength, all after the Bank of England ceased its quantitative easing (QE) bond buying last year. Both a positive for the UK and a noteworthy precedent for those fearing the US Fed slowing or stopping its bond buying.

By , EUbusiness, 11/21/2013

MarketMinder's View: While negotiations just started, facilitating investment between two of the world’s largest economies would be a positive for global trade. In fact, considering their recent history of frequent, albeit minor, trade spats, just talking is a development worth noting.


By , Café Hayek, 11/20/2013

MarketMinder's View: When determining the vast amount of growth and innovation the US has seen throughout the years, price and inflation aren’t the only factors to keep in mind. Quality is equally important and speaks volumes to innovation’s overall progress—and how it benefits everyone—as this article shows. It’s not just how much you pay for a computer now vs. 30 years ago—it’s also how much more a computer does today. Thanks to countless advancements, we pay far less for far more!

By , Reuters, 11/20/2013

MarketMinder's View: Time will tell, but the supposed disconnect between inventory and sales growth could simply mean firms are gearing up for holiday demand—a more relevant forward takeaway, in our view, than grousing over potentially slower inventory growth in Q4. Plus, inventories were tight all summer, suggesting businesses could hardly keep up with growing demand—which could also account for a large part of September’s restocking.

By , Time, 11/20/2013

MarketMinder's View: Many worries over lackluster holiday sales seem based on past (read: not forward-looking) economic data and the fact some stores are having aggressive sales. But overall, quarterly and monthly retail sales are growing, and because they’re supported by a strong economy, we expect that trend to continue.

By , Bloomberg, 11/20/2013

MarketMinder's View: We recommend looking at imports and exports both, not simply a country’s trade deficit. And here, the underlying data highlight one of Japan’s key struggles. Japan relies heavily on energy imports, which a weak yen makes more expensive, creating broad economic headwinds. Additionally, while export values have been off the charts, volumes have only just started growing—the economy still isn’t seeing a net benefit from the weak yen.

By , The Washington Post, 11/20/2013

MarketMinder's View: October’s better-than-expected retail sales are “a reminder that consumer confidence surveys have a quite poor track record of predicting actual economic activity.” What people do, not what they say, is a far more meaningful gauge of economic health.

By , Financial Times, 11/20/2013

MarketMinder's View: Buying oil from Slovakia means lower energy prices and more stable supply for Ukraine, more business activity for the EU and potentially brings the two areas closer to a free-trade agreement. Russia, however, likely increases pressure on its former Soviet satellite as it loses more business from it—a trade war is far from likely but developments (and tensions) in the Crimean are worth minding.

By , Financial Times, 11/20/2013

MarketMinder's View: While French yields probably do rise some as QE winds down, it isn’t because France is a basket case, nor does it signal tough times ahead. Rather, yield spreads worldwide tend to move in sympathy with each other, overall and on average. Developed and Emerging Markets’ yield spreads shrank along with the US’s, and they should widen with the US’s, too, to varying degrees. This is generally good for growth—it supports higher bank lending (which the eurozone desperately needs) and overall economic activity. 

By , Bloomberg, 11/20/2013

MarketMinder's View: German collation talks have stalled on the SPD and CDU’s disagreeing on how to implement a German minimum wage. Which isn’t entirely surprising—the two parties disagree on much, and the SPD is all too mindful of the dismal election results it suffered following the last SPD-CDU coalition. Ultimately, though, it’s in both parties’ best interest to work out their differences, even if it takes longer than an arbitrary seven-day timeline.

By , The Wall Street Journal, 11/19/2013

MarketMinder's View: One month after confirming Japan would go through with a sales tax hike next April, PM Shinzo Abe is considering cutting taxes on food and “daily essentials.” Japanese citizens will no doubt appreciate this, but the plan seems a touch out of step with the government’s efforts to boost revenues and growth. Since demand for staples doesn’t much hinge on taxes, reducing taxes in this category likely lowers revenues without boosting growth. The larger headwind against discretionary—more expensive—items remains in force. 

By , The Washington Post, 11/19/2013

MarketMinder's View: This terror seems a bit overwrought. Holiday spending is expected to grow 3.7%, slower than last year, but still growth. Plus, expectations aren’t guarantees. US economic activity has surprised forecasters all year. These expectations, too, could very well be too dour—especially since they rest on political squabbling, which hasn’t had the negative impact most feared.

By , AEIdeas, 11/19/2013

MarketMinder's View: “Put it all together and American consumers have never been better off when it comes to the standard home appliances that we all own and take for granted. Modern home appliances are cheaper, better, and more energy-efficient than ever before. Today’s affordable and energy-efficient household appliances are part of the ongoing, but under-appreciated ‘miracle of manufacturing.’”

By , The Wall Street Journal, 11/19/2013

MarketMinder's View: The weaker forecast appears largely based on the false premise QE money has flooded into the global economy, which will slow once the Fed cuts the drip. But three years of weak foreign investment inflows show otherwise. Plus, QE flattened yield curves globally. They’ve steepened amid taper talk and likely steepen further once bond purchases end—fuel for a global acceleration. 

By , Financial Times, 11/19/2013

MarketMinder's View: China’s plans to increase competition to goad state-owned companies into being much more profit-focused and efficient would benefit the economy over time if officials see them through. Given the plan’s broad lack of details and timetables, however—along with China’s tendency to move glacially—these changes might not play out as swiftly and sweepingly as investors seem to expect. For more, see our 11/18/2013 cover story, “Commie Capitalism.”

By , The Wall Street Journal, 11/19/2013

MarketMinder's View: There is precious little evidence banks relying on wholesale funding markets are any more inherently vulnerable to a crisis than those relying on deposits—see any number of bank runs over the last couple hundred years. Heck, see 2008. Sure, Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns went under, but so did deposit-rich Washington Mutual. Outsized capital buffers for banks with broker-dealer arms might do less to bolster the financial system than this piece suggests. (Not that bank capital ratios even need a boost, considering how far the sector has come in five years.)

By , Financial Times, 11/19/2013

MarketMinder's View: While the European Commission says Germany’s high exports hurt the eurozone periphery, the periphery says otherwise: Spain’s economy minister says Germany needs to export more! Why? It means more demand for all the intermediate components Spain exports to Germany—a key source of Spanish growth.


By , The Telegraph, 11/18/2013

MarketMinder's View: “…The person most likely to undermine my investment success is looking back at me from the mirror.” 

By , The New York Times, 11/18/2013

MarketMinder's View: We have much to quibble with here. Most notably, the notion the Fed’s easy money is the only thing fueling the economy. Trouble is, the Fed’s policy—quantitative easing—isn’t making money easy to get. Fed bond buying lowers long-term rates, depressing the gap between banks’ short-term funding costs and their long-term revenues from lending. Lower profits make money tighter, not easier. The economy and markets are growing at a healthy pace, underpinned by healthy fundamentals—they’re growing despite quantitative easing (QE), not because of it. In our view, its end would be bullish. For the latest on QE, see our 11/13/2013 cover story, “Timing the Taper.”

By , EUbusiness, 11/18/2013

MarketMinder's View: The theory here seems to be that the financial system needed more acute pain to fully purge its excesses. However, while some banks did overextend themselves before the 2008 financial crisis, most of the damage was inflicted due to poor policy choices by regulators—mistakes centered in the US, perhaps explaining why the US saw more failures. Finally, a single regulator and stress tests aren’t a panacea for financial panics. For more on European banking, see our 9/13/2013 cover story, “Banking on the ECB.”

By , Financial Times, 11/18/2013

MarketMinder's View: Events here bear watching as the Fed considers delaying the Volcker Rule—an attempt to wall off traditional banking from investment banking—again. As it stands now, the Volker Rule remains unwritten and its year-end implementation deadline approaches. All this, more than three years since the rule’s passage. We guess writing this legislation is more difficult than presumed. For more, see our 10/2/2013 cover story, “Writing Down the Volker Rule.”

By , The Economist, 11/18/2013

MarketMinder's View: We’d argue the US shale oil boom has many more indirect positive economic impacts than this piece takes into account. A new well will require equipment and materials like pipes, a drill rig, trucks and transportation equipment and much more. Workers require housing, clothing, medical care options and entertainment. Though cheap gas may negatively impact drillers’ profits today, it also helps keep household and business energy costs lower. Down the road, these positive impacts likely create a nice tailwind for markets and the economy. For more, see our 9/4/2013 cover story, “A Manufactured Buzz.”

By , EUbusiness, 11/18/2013

MarketMinder's View: It is a longstanding misperception to suggest “a trade surplus is one of the factors of growth in an economy, whereas a deficit tends to sap growth, and so achieving a trade surplus is of critical importance to economies in crisis.” In fact, many economies in recession have seen deficits fall—like the US in 2008. Why? Because in recession, demand for goods—foreign or domestic—typically falls. The trade balance (surplus or deficit) is a nearly meaningless statistic. Better to focus on total trade—exports plus imports—as this is a better reflection of total economic activity.

By , Financial Times, 11/18/2013

MarketMinder's View: While no one will argue Greece is out of the woods, there are signs of improvement in capital markets—a positive, as capital markets typically move in anticipation of the real economy. An example provided here: Private Greek companies have raised €4 billion this year by way of capital markets. All in all, it’s just more evidence the eurozone is faring better than many appreciate, even in some of the most troubled nations.

By , The Telegraph, 11/15/2013

MarketMinder's View: The one-child rule is at the heart of China’s recent economic struggles and a big reason why officials feel compelled to shift the economy away from export-led growth. The rule shrank the labor supply, which pushed up costs and has started driving production out of the country. Easing the rule won’t be a panacea or have an immediate impact, but it should put China on a better long-term path.

By , Bloomberg, 11/15/2013

MarketMinder's View: Ask yourself: Why did UK excess reserves not skyrocket when the BoE paid over 5% on them? Why are Japan’s excess reserves massive even though the BOJ pays less than half what the Fed does? Answer: The payment isn’t an incentive! To think a measly 0.25% return is why banks park trillions when they could lend it out for a higher return ignores the gigantic regulatory incentives for them to hold higher reserves. And to suggest cutting the payment would prompt a massive influx of cash betrays, in our view, a fundamental misunderstanding of how money markets work.

By , The Telegraph, 11/15/2013

MarketMinder's View: Sure, in theory, they could! But has the Fed—or any central bank—reliably and repeatedly spotted bubbles in the past? No. That this is potentially on the Fed’s to-do list now introduces the risk of monetary policy blunders—something investors should pay careful heed to.

By , Associated Press, 11/15/2013

MarketMinder's View: A spot-on interpretation of wholesale inventories’ September rise: It indicates firms expect high demand, and rising sales suggest an inventory overhang is highly unlikely. In other words: More growth ahead!

By , The New York Times, 11/15/2013

MarketMinder's View: A concise, informative look at why last week’s ECB rate cut was so politically contentious—and why investors shouldn’t rely on monetary policy to fix the eurozone. Not that it’s out of tools—there plenty of easy tricks Draghi could deploy to boost the velocity of money—but the political challenges prevent the sweeping action some clamor for. Positively, the region doesn’t need an ECB intervention—the recovery may be uneven, but the region is growing, and growth looks poised to continue.

By , The Telegraph, 11/15/2013

MarketMinder's View: Nope, it sure isn’t. But the reasons that belief is misplaced aren’t quite captured here. The UK isn’t growing again because quantitative easing (QE) finally started working—it’s because the program stopped! The reason why is the same reason QE didn’t cause bubbles (despite what this piece claims). By depressing the yield spread, it weighed on growth, and the reserves created didn’t circulate through the real economy—or to banks’ trading accounts. Money supply plummeted for two years, so the notion of a fair few folks having “money to burn” seems a touch misplaced.

By , The Wall Street Journal, 11/15/2013

MarketMinder's View: China’s latest reform pledge—aka the Third Plenum—said all the right things. Permitting private banks, letting the market set interest rates, lifting capital controls and other plans would bring tremendous benefit over time and help the country be much more of a force. But long-term plans with no implementation dates aren’t enough—action must follow, and there, Beijing’s track record isn’t so good. Which isn’t surprising: The bigger role markets play, the less control the Communist Party has, so they’re incentivized to move glacially and keep heavy state involvement. As this piece sums up, “skepticism is in order.”

By , Der Spiegel, 11/15/2013

MarketMinder's View: Two years ago, few (if any) expected Ireland and Spain to stand on their own in the near future. Yet here we are, with Ireland moving on from its 2010 sovereign rescue and Spain no longer requiring an EU credit line for banks. The region isn’t out of the woods—its lingering issues will be part of the conversation for years—but with the acute crisis in the rearview, there is plenty of room for eurozone reality to exceed still-dim expectations.

By , Associated Press, 11/15/2013

MarketMinder's View: More Crimean trade sabre rattling. While the threat of a full-blown trade war remains just that—and huge barriers are highly unlikely to materialize—it remains a risk worth watching. For more, see Elisabeth Dellinger’s 10/24/2013 column, “Investing Lessons From the Crimean Trade War.”

By , EUbusiness, 11/15/2013

MarketMinder's View: The fallacy here is that failing banks caused the eurozone crisis. Yes, banking sector troubles tipped the scales for Spain and got Ireland’s finances in hot water, but the region’s broader issues are tied to long-deteriorating economic competitiveness throughout the eurozone periphery. So while progressing on a banking union might help improve confidence in the eurozone’s financial system, investors shouldn’t see it as a fix-all—economic reform remains key.

By , The Wall Street Journal, 11/15/2013

MarketMinder's View: With markets pricing in the end of QE, yield spreads are rising. So are banks’ net interest margins—and lending! Higher long-term rates have boosted supply without docking demand. We expect this trend to continue.

By , Bloomberg, 11/14/2013

MarketMinder's View: The economy may be performing short of its “potential”—but not because growth is slower than a hypothetical measure of what growth might be at full employment. Which is weird—don’t they realize full employment typically presages recessions? Has the US ever grown at that arbitrary “potential” rate for long? Rather, the Fed’s preferred means of goosing growth—quantitative easing—has weighed on broad money supply, keeping growth slower than it otherwise might be.

By , The New York Times, 11/14/2013

MarketMinder's View: Japan’s easy GDP gains in Q1 and Q2 took some of the focus off of PM Shinzo Abe’s reform progress (or lack thereof), but now, with growth slowing in Q3, investor scrutiny (and skepticism) is growing. More and more folks appear to grasp the importance of reform for Japan’s long-term growth prospects, and the growing list of delays and U-turns suggests investors with lofty expectations may end up disappointed.  

By , American Thinker, 11/14/2013

MarketMinder's View: A number of misperceptions here, some of them basically cancelling one another. Consider: The theory posited is the Fed’s quantitative easing bond buying program (QE) has driven a tidal wave of capital into Emerging Markets (think India). But the reality is, data show no such tidal wave—including the data in the article, which shows EM stocks have underperformed in the present cycle. Were QE flooding EMs with cash, it’s more likely their markets would be outperforming, not underperforming. Leave currencies aside here: The end of QE should actually help EMs by causing their long-term yields to rise, steepening the yield curve (a big economic plus). For more, see Elisabeth Dellinger’s column, “Inside Indian Taper Terror.” 

By , CNBC, 11/14/2013

MarketMinder's View: While the eurozone isn’t out of the woods, this paints a too-dour picture, in our view. One, growth is growth. Two, the global economy grew fine during the eurozone’s 18-month recession. Three, the eurozone isn’t a uniform bloc. Germany isn’t Cyprus or Greece. Even slower growth in Germany is more impactful globally than big contractions in tiny Greece and Cyprus.

By , The Wall Street Journal, 11/14/2013

MarketMinder's View: We’d argue that the IPO market was never really smoking hot either, even if recent headlines suggested otherwise. The IPOs we’ve seen to date are trading at non-bubble-like multiples of sales, they are more established and their share prices overall haven’t jumped wildly once hitting the secondary market either. The feared bubble seems more like hype over just a teensy handful of companies rather than broad, dangerous euphoria. For more on IPOs, see our 11/12/2013 cover story, “Bubblicious?” or our 10/29/2013 cover, "Too Much Twitter Over IPOs?"

By , The Washington Post, 11/14/2013

MarketMinder's View: The US’s shale oil boom is a testament to how profit motive drives innovation, which can lead to transformations of whole industries—incentives matter!

By , The Wall Street Journal, 11/14/2013

MarketMinder's View: Ireland announced it won’t implement a precautionary IMF line of credit once it makes its 2014 bailout exit. It appears pressures on the periphery continue easing. Now, not setting up a precautionary credit line doesn’t mean the Irish are without a safety net—among other factors, they’re eligible for the ECB’s Outright Monetary Transactions (OMT) bond-buying program should the need arise.

By , Associated Press, 11/14/2013

MarketMinder's View: Rather than focusing on the trade deficit, we suggest investors look at total trade (exports plus imports). While falling exports aren’t great, robust import growth is a sign of healthy demand.

By , The Wall Street Journal, 11/13/2013

MarketMinder's View: Capping banker bonuses likely will lead to higher salaries for top talent but not necessarily “less risky” behavior—nor does it mean risky behavior was a problem in the first place. Banks are in the business of making money, else they fail and their customers and shareholders suffer. Delivering a bonus tied to performance would seemingly incentivize successful work and potentially punish poor planning and behavior. A salary blanket compensates regardless of results.  

By , Time, 11/13/2013

MarketMinder's View: It’s true market, land and hukou reform are eventually necessary for a freer-market China. But, remember, China is a communist country, and its leaders are incentivized to keep it that way. This doesn’t mean any steps toward other open-market reforms are completely negligible, but they’re likely slow and small—politicians’ plans merely seem to confirm that.

By , The Christian Science Monitor, 11/13/2013

MarketMinder's View: Venezuela is a prime example of how price and forex controls hurt economies and hinder markets’ growth. Here, with the government’s artificial price setting, seizing some companies and creating uncertainty for others, Venezuela likely sees less business activity (and businesses), as economic and political risks trounce potential reward—a negative for both Venezuela’s markets and citizens’ quality of life. Such arbitrary moves by governments are impediments to development in many parts of the developing world.

By , Financial Times, 11/13/2013

MarketMinder's View: OPEC still governs much of the world’s oil production, sales and, therefore, prices—the US’s producing oil likely won’t change that for a while (if ever). But the whole debate over who’s number one is a little silly. Saudi Arabia’s continued oil production doesn’t negate the huge economic tailwind from recent developments in the US and global markets—the most important takeaway. Just look at natural gas prices in the US. If we allow for increased exports, the effect will likely be fully globally to an extent.

By , CNN Money, 11/13/2013

MarketMinder's View: The UK economy has been crushing analysts’ and investors’ expectations for months and seems poised to only get stronger with healthy PMIs, LEI and housing. All this, after the BoE stopped its quantitative easing bond-buying program. Hence, the folly of forward guidance: The folks guiding are still fallible humans who lack perfect insight into the direction of the economy.

By , CNN Money, 11/13/2013

MarketMinder's View: While we agree "the way to deal with the imbalance [of European exports levels] is not to tell the successful chap to please be less successful,” we feel it’s important to note trade deficits are a poor measure of competitiveness. Exporters no more win than importers lose. Germany exports a lot because its industry is competitive, not the other way around.

By , Reuters, 11/13/2013

MarketMinder's View: Breaking up decades-old monopolies and abolishing price controls likely improve the Japanese Energy market some, and a national energy grid likely helps with potential energy shortages in remote areas. This was largely low-hanging fruit for Japanese reform, but still a positive. The question remains: Will Abe push more contentious, yet needed, measures?

By , Financial Times, 11/12/2013

MarketMinder's View: “The Communist party of China reaffirmed its commitment to a strong role for the state in the economy while pledging ‘decisive’ reforms in key areas by 2020.” Confused? So are we. Economic reform can be good, though whether it will actually play out given China’s government-directed structure remains to be seen. But as we’ve said before, China’s transition from a largely infrastructure- and state-driven economy to one more consumer- and market-driven will likely be key to its ongoing growth and development—as well as the well-being of its citizens.

By , The Washington Post, 11/12/2013

MarketMinder's View: This is a testament to the ongoing power of innovation—bringing more technologically advanced products (computer chips, in this case) to the marketplace. And stock market investors have the opportunity to reap innovation’s benefits without discovering the next technological advance themselves—all they need to do is believe in the power of the profit motive and invest.

By , The Wall Street Journal, 11/12/2013

MarketMinder's View: It’s hard to build much of a case as to why one should buy gold: It is more volatile than stocks with a lower long-term return. It is an ineffective hedge against inflation (take the 1980s and 1990s—inflation rose, gold fell). It also does not necessarily zig when stocks zag, making it a dubious “safe haven” against equity market weakness or volatility. The only real reason, in our view, to invest in gold: speculation.

By , Taiwan News, 11/12/2013

MarketMinder's View: If the TPP comes to fruition (still a pretty big “if” at this point), Taiwan could potentially decrease its dependence on China and overall increase its exports, among other positives. Not to mention the benefits all other participating countries will experience. The freer trade is, the greater the (global) benefits.

By , The Wall Street Journal, 11/12/2013

MarketMinder's View: Ratings agencies' outlooks are little more forward-looking than their backward-looking ratings—and have historically had little impact on the (forward-looking) market. For example, Standard & Poors just upgraded their outlook on Portugal and Spain—yet bond markets have shown vastly reduced concern over their solvency for more than a year.

By , Politico, 11/12/2013

MarketMinder's View: While this is far from a done deal—politics hardly ever is—lowering ethanol mandates to 2012 levels would certainly be a step in the right direction for both food and fuel prices. The fewer the distortions in prices (i.e., incentives impacting decisions that otherwise would be made based on the market), the more transparent they are, and in the long run, the more efficiently resources are allocated.

By , The New York Times, 11/12/2013

MarketMinder's View: The International Energy Agency report actually said, “There is a huge growth in light tight oil, that it will peak around 2020, and then it will plateau”—far different from the article’s interpretation of the report suggesting shale’s temporary effect on oil supply. More importantly, predicting long-term energy trends is difficult—especially projections through 2035, in this case. We’d suggest staying focused on the near term (i.e., the next 12-18 months at most)—and over that timeframe, the shale oil boom likely continues thriving (a boon for economic growth and jobs in the US).


By , The Wall Street Journal, 11/12/2013

MarketMinder's View: The problems identified here are emblematic of most problems with government subsidies. In a nutshell, they create winners and losers—leaving consumers (and investors) with fewer choices—and ultimately drive prices higher. Meaning in this instance, we agree with the IMF’s recommendation Thailand do away with its rice subsidies and instead allow unfettered competition (i.e., supply and demand) to determine the “ideal” price for rice.

By , The Wall Street Journal, 11/11/2013

MarketMinder's View: An interesting look at “fee-only” versus “fee-based” investment advisers and brokers: While many investors might consider the terms synonymous, they’re actually very different—and it’s important for investors to understand the difference. Fee-based is frequently code for “fee and commission.” An adviser or broker touting they’re fee-based isn’t giving you much real information.

By , Project Syndicate, 11/11/2013

MarketMinder's View: While monetary policy can play a role in the economy, its importance is rather overstated here. Quantitative easing’s long-term bond purchases depress the profitability of bank lending (through narrowing the spread between banks’ short-term funding costs and their long-term interest revenues). Capital is critical in capitalism, and lowered profits mean less capital availability. The US is experiencing a healthy economic expansion despite the Fed’s current deflationary and contractionary policy decisions.

By , Pittsburg-Tribune Review, 11/11/2013

MarketMinder's View: “You enjoy a standard of living that would have been inconceivable to any of our ancestors just nine or 10 generations ago—and, in many ways, jaw-droppingly impressive to our forebears of just two or three generations ago.” Thanks to innovation and technological advancements, people are working less while maintaining a significantly higher standard of living than previous generations.

By , CNBC, 11/11/2013

MarketMinder's View: While we would quibble with parts of this—like laying so much of the blame at the feet of the interest payment on excess reserves—we agree QE has weighed on bank lending. With every bond the Fed buys targeting cheap credit for consumers, banks’ profits on extending the same credit fall. Banks aren’t charitable organizations and, as the author notes, banks will be more willing to take risks and extend loans to consumers and small businesses if such activity is incentivized by profits. For the latest on QE, see our 10/31/2013 cover story, “Taper Ghost Stories.”

By , Matthew Philips, 11/11/2013

MarketMinder's View: Though unemployment is a late lagging economic indicator, October’s better-than-expected jobs report likely puts to rest some fears over the impact of Washington’s political theatrics, boosting short-term investor sentiment some.

By , The Washington Post, 11/11/2013

MarketMinder's View: Government-directed programs seeking to find and harvest the next big energy source are often a bit wide of the mark. In this case, the government mandates targeted increased consumption of cellulosic ethanol—a substance that even now doesn’t exist in a commercially viable form. Simply, cellulosic ethanol hasn’t taken over because the plans didn’t reflect economic reality. For investors, this is a reminder that investing based on policy direction can be a very wrongheaded move.

By , Bloomberg News, 11/11/2013

MarketMinder's View: China’s industrial production rose 10.3% y/y, outpacing expectations of 10% y/y—yet another sign China is faring better than many perceive. Events also bear watching here as the country attempts to implement and design economic reforms targeting increased openness.

By , The Wall Street Journal, 11/11/2013

MarketMinder's View: The thing about exuberant bubble fears is they’re actually self-deflating: actual bubbles aren’t likely to be pricked by media headlines, which tend to get caught up in the greedy fervor. Besides, a bubble by definition would require inflated expectations—beyond reality—of future earnings growth opportunities, often reflected by forward price-to-earnings ratios. Today, forward 12-month P/Es are below their long-term average. For more, see our 10/10/2013 cover story “Confidence is Sentimental.”

By , Bloomberg, 11/08/2013

MarketMinder's View: With 2014 midterm races about to kick off, we’re all about to be hit with a year-long barrage of feverish political hype. As this piece deftly shows, however, most of it won’t matter, and investors shouldn’t let the hoopla impact portfolio decisions. The underlying structure of the election matters most to the outcome and—barring huge blunders—the rest is noise. Not all that different than the stock market in some ways.

By , The Washington Post, 11/08/2013

MarketMinder's View: This nicely captures the Employment Situation Report’s inherent shortcomings—it relies on two surveys, and the inputs aren’t always reliable. This is why we’d suggest investors not use this—or any single report—as their sole measure of economic or labor market health.

By , The Telegraph, 11/08/2013

MarketMinder's View: For now, there isn’t evidence of a bubble to prick. UK housing is picking up, but off a very low base, and price increases are near-fully tied to a supply shortage in London. National figures remain quite low. The most beneficial strategy at this point would be encouraging supply growth in London via broader reform.

By , Der Spiegel, 11/08/2013

MarketMinder's View: The ECB’s toolkit isn’t empty, despite what this piece suggests. Like the Fed, the ECB skipped over some easy, time-honored ways to boost liquidity. For example, Draghi hasn’t yet moved the discount rate below the overnight lending rate so banks can borrow cheaply from central banks and lend to each other more eagerly at higher rates.

By , The Wall Street Journal, 11/08/2013

MarketMinder's View: Government hasn’t dragged down growth for only the past year—total government spending has fallen in 12 of 17 quarters. This is the norm for this expansion, not new news. Nor is goosing spending a cure all, given GDP doesn’t directly equal the economy.

By , The Telegraph, 11/08/2013

MarketMinder's View: While the downgrade might not score President François Hollande political points, it likely doesn’t mean much for French markets—all the information cited in S&P’s rationale has long been widely discussed, and France has managed to return to growth despite its long-running competitiveness issues.

By , The Telegraph, 11/08/2013

MarketMinder's View: These changes might accelerate the ongoing shift from defined benefit (pension) retirement plans to defined contribution (like 401(k)s in the US)—it’s always important for investors to be aware of retirement account rule changes so they can plan accordingly. 

By , The Wall Street Journal, 11/08/2013

MarketMinder's View: We’d frame the shale boom in a different light—it’s not that other jitters have masked its impact on global oil markets. It’s more that the huge rise in US supply has helped offset production losses from hotspots like Syria and Libya, keeping prices more stable than we might have otherwise seen in recent years.

By , China Daily, 11/08/2013

MarketMinder's View: More evidence of an underappreciated reacceleration in China and the rest of the world.

By , The Wall Street Journal, 11/08/2013

MarketMinder's View: A tale of two countries. Japan, despite a much weaker yen, has yet to achieve meaningful export gains—export values are up, but volumes aren’t. Korea, despite a strengthening won, has record-high (and rising) exports. Trade gains depend on so much more than currency values—competitiveness matters.

By , EUbusiness, 11/08/2013

MarketMinder's View: While the broader push for banking union is a positive, officials likely don’t need to rush matters. Waiting till the target date (or a bit after) doesn’t prevent officials from crafting a sensible plan the next time banks fail.

By , The Wall Street Journal, 11/07/2013

MarketMinder's View: We’re a tad confused by the conclusions drawn here. Private investment, not inventory restocking, was the biggest contributor to Q3 growth—but nary a mention is made. Instead, it overfocuses on a small drop in computer/electronics spending—while ignoring a sizable rise in investment in non-residential structures and industrial equipment. Businesses wouldn’t make these huge capital expenditures if they were struggling.

By , The Telegraph, 11/07/2013

MarketMinder's View: A bit of a perplexing move by the ECB—and not guaranteed to provide the juice many are hoping for. One, the bank’s transmission mechanism is broken—overnight rate cuts haven’t much passed through to the broader economy. Two, the central rate (the ECB equivalent of the Fed’s discount rate) is still half a percentage point higher than the overnight rate, at which banks lend to each other. Reducing the discount rate below the overnight rate is a time-honored way to increase liquidity—banks borrow cheap from the central bank, lend at slightly higher rates to each other and pocket the spread. An incentive! The current setup limits the flow of capital.

By , The Wall Street Journal, 11/07/2013

MarketMinder's View: It appears PM Shinzo Abe is trying to implement some of those politically unpopular but economically necessary structural reforms. Not surprisingly, he already faces resistance from the impacted sectors, who see themselves as potential losers. Whether he remains committed to the changes or bows to the pressure remains to be seen—this scenario could be a bellwether for his commitment to reform in general and bears watching. 

By , The Wall Street Journal, 11/07/2013

MarketMinder's View: India has historically been resistant to foreign investment—to its detriment—so new rules making it easier for foreign banks to establish local subsidiaries is a positive development. More capital for the nation, and more banking options for Indian people and businesses. For more on India, see Mary Holdener’s column, “Let Them In(dia)!

By , Bloomberg, 11/07/2013

MarketMinder's View: While this is a touch too dour on manufacturing, considering output is touching all-time highs, the US doesn’t need dynamite manufacturing to keep growing at a healthy clip over time—or for job growth to continue. The service sector, which makes up about 2/3 of output, is a far bigger driver of growth and jobs, and it’s growing apace.

By , EUbusiness, 11/07/2013

MarketMinder's View: While this isn’t breaking news—Ireland has been on track for this bailout exit for a while now—its upcoming return to capital markets is an important milestone and illustrates how the periphery can find its footing over time.

By , Associated Press, 11/07/2013

MarketMinder's View: Freer trade means more trade—great for markets! (And for these two countries!)

By , Reuters, 11/06/2013

MarketMinder's View: The eurozone recovery is likely slow and uneven, and in theory, an early-stage recovery is typically when an economy would benefit from some monetary juice. But the ECB has previously warned its transmission mechanism—the ability for short-term rate cuts to pass through to the real economy—is effectively broken, which could limit its ability to spur growth. Positively, though, data (like production or factory orders) continue to suggest the region can continue inching back regardless, as stronger individual countries (like Germany) help pull along the area overall.

By , Bloomberg, 11/06/2013

MarketMinder's View: The argument here makes a number of cognitive leaps—like assuming correlation between growth and debt levels is causation, but it isn’t. High debt alone doesn’t make an economy unhealthy. Many other economic factors weigh, too: business investment, corporate earnings, manufacturing and more. Plus, US debt is still in strong demand and interest payments are a very low 8% of tax revenue, reducing the likelihood US debt becomes problematic anytime soon.

By , Bloomberg Businessweek, 11/06/2013

MarketMinder's View: We fail to see the logic behind the many assertions Germany’s high trade surplus is a drag on global growth. Those focusing on the surplus alone ignore that German exports are at all-time highs and rising—Germany is already helping boost growth elsewhere. Moreover, higher German wages aren’t a guaranteed cure-all for the peripheral eurozone—reforms to boost the periphery’s competitiveness are also key.

By , The Wall Street Journal, 11/06/2013

MarketMinder's View: While diversified forex reserves aren’t necessarily a bad idea, the assumption global central banks will need to hedge against the US’s eventually tapering QE is misguided—given investment inflows weren’t abnormally high throughout QE, a sudden exodus seems unlikely. Even if Treasury yields rose some, US debt would still be a liquid, stable option for bond investors. Plus, QE’s end will be good—yield curves should widen, so bank lending, and therefore economic activity, should increase, boosting economic growth at home and globally.

By , Bloomberg, 11/06/2013

MarketMinder's View: Yet another sign the housing recovery continues—an incremental positive for the larger economy.

By , Bloomberg, 11/06/2013

MarketMinder's View: Another strong increase for the Leading Economic Index—with a wider rate spread the biggest driver. More evidence the end of the Fed’s quantitative easing should be good for growth!

By , CNN Money, 11/06/2013

MarketMinder's View: The underlying fallacy here is a higher minimum wage will boost economic growth. Yes, it likely benefits those who receive it, but businesses, having to allocate more money to wages, will have a harder time investing in growth elsewhere—including hiring—and may have to raise prices to stay afloat. Plus, higher minimum wages don’t necessarily increase broad purchasing power, partly from those higher prices, but also because they price low-skilled workers out of the labor force.

By , Xinhua News, 11/06/2013

MarketMinder's View: China’s feared “hard landing” seems even less likely as private service firms grow strongly alongside Chinese manufacturing’s ongoing recovery.

By , Financial Times, 11/06/2013

MarketMinder's View: Restricting derivatives trading in an attempt to curb “speculation” isn’t guaranteed to improve food and commodity prices for end users. Less liquidity (aka available supply) could lead to higher commodities prices, the opposite of the rule’s intended effect. Though this is only a proposal right now—plenty of time for politicking and watering-down—it merits watching.

By , The Wall Street Journal, 11/06/2013

MarketMinder's View: As it stands, Japan’s rice industry costs the government and consumers much more than necessary thanks to measures like rationing production and high subsidies, which create high prices. Should this proposal play out, removing protectionist measures would invite more competition, efficiency and lower prices—positives for the industry and economy (and, perhaps, could be a bellwether for more structural reforms to benefit Japanese stocks).

By , Café Hayek, 11/05/2013

MarketMinder's View: “Wherever industrial capitalism has flourished over the past three centuries it has eliminated for the first time in human history the millennia-long curse of recurrent famines. Today, food is in short supply only in societies without market institutions and cut off from global trade.”

By , China Daily, 11/05/2013

MarketMinder's View: Other countries are increasingly keen to join in the shale oil boom. And this arrangement is a win-win for both countries—China is able to satisfy growing energy demand (which should help keep manufacturing costs somewhat in check), while Australia benefits from further investment in exploration and production. This new capital source should be especially welcome amid the downturn in metals and mining. 

By , The Wall Street Journal, 11/05/2013

MarketMinder's View: We’re a touch puzzled as to why the Fed would consider it good for forward guidance on short-term rates to “influence the long-term rates” to stay low—this means a flatter yield curve, which typically constrains growth. Good thing markets typically don’t pay much attention to forward guidance—long-term rates are rising in anticipation of quantitative easing’s eventual end, which creates a better environment for bank lending and broad money supply growth.

By , EUbusiness, 11/05/2013

MarketMinder's View: EU-US free trade talks appear to be back on track after the government shutdown and NSA spying spat threatened to stall the process. Though there remain several issues to smooth out, (food and aviation safety, electric car standards, financial services regulation, etc.), markets are likely encouraged by the prospect of fewer barriers hindering the transatlantic flow of goods and services.

By , Financial Times, 11/05/2013

MarketMinder's View: While safeguards to protect minority shareholders might be well-intentioned, they potentially create administrative hurdles and a disincentive to list on the London Exchange—potentially detracting a bit from London’s status as a global financial hub.

By , Reuters, 11/05/2013

MarketMinder's View: Early data suggest US growth continues in Q4, contrary to what many expected when the government shut down in October. With expectations still low and reality likely to beat, this bull market should have plenty of wall of worry left to climb.

By , Associated Press, 11/05/2013

MarketMinder's View: The notion of IPO fever seems a bit overstated. Yes, the number of offerings is climbing, but it’s still nowhere near that of the late 1990s. Further, stock supply is falling (share buybacks have overshadowed IPOs), suggesting we aren’t near the supply/demand imbalance that drove the tech bubble. For more, see our 10/29/13 cover story, “Too Much Twitter Over IPOs.”

By , Financial Times, 11/05/2013

MarketMinder's View: The UK’s services PMI rose again in October, hitting 62.5—with the very forward-looking new orders component hitting its highest level since the survey began in 1996. Business investment—a weak spot throughout this entire recovery—appears to be turning, which should provide another tailwind for the UK economy.

By , The Wall Street Journal , 11/04/2013

MarketMinder's View: They do it by chasing heat and, more generally, selling in and out of funds at inopportune times. Blame emotions—fear and greed blindside investors near-constantly. Staying disciplined is key to reaching your long-term goals and objectives, but for many folks, this is easier said than done. For more, see Todd Bliman’s 10/25/2013 column, “Passive Investors and Other Endangered Species.”

By , CNBC, 11/04/2013

MarketMinder's View: We agree quantitative easing (QE) is deflationary—but not for the reasons posited here. Rather, because it flattens the yield curve (the spread between short- and long-term rates), which reduces banks’ potential operating profits and disincentivizes lending, QE limits the broad money supply growth and reduces the velocity of money (how often money changes hands). This also limits QE’s ability to “pump up asset prices.” For more on QE, see our 10/31/2013 cover story, “Taper Ghost Stories.”

By , Reuters, 11/04/2013

MarketMinder's View: While China still has progress to make on the long-term economic reform front, that its service sector continues to expand at a healthy pace is more evidence China is faring better than many expect—and should continue contributing heavily to global growth.

By , The Wall Street Journal, 11/04/2013

MarketMinder's View: It’s always good to be vigilant! But these alleged warning signs seem a touch overstated. First, while some recent IPOs are smokin’ hot, overall valuations are still rather cheap relative to other bull markets—investors have yet to start paying a premium for stocks’ future earnings. Second, earnings regularly slow as bull markets age, without derailing the market.

By , Financial Times , 11/04/2013

MarketMinder's View: We agree: High-frequency trading benefits markets by improving overall efficiency through better price discovery and increased liquidity. For more, see Talia Hosenpud’s 10/10/2013 column, “High-Frequency Fallacies.”

By , The Wall Street Journal, 11/04/2013

MarketMinder's View: Bullish or bearish, we’d suggest taking short-term forecasts like this with a huge grain of salt. While fundamentals overwhelmingly point to more bull market, in our view, a correction is possible at any time, for any reason—or even no apparent reason. No matter what seasonal history and “momentum” say, volatility is always possible.

By , EUbusiness, 11/04/2013

MarketMinder's View: Another sign of continued growth in the eurozone and a global reacceleration.

By , Xinhua, 11/04/2013

MarketMinder's View: Though China’s plans for structural reforms are a positive—those telegraphed so far would help the country become more of a market force—whether they’re implemented is another story. Pie-in-the-sky plans without actionable specifics and a roadmap for full implementation don’t much benefit the country and could disappoint investors’ rather lofty expectations.

By , The Wall Street Journal, 11/01/2013

MarketMinder's View: With multiple datasets pointing to strong factory growth in October, the government shutdown and debt ceiling spectacle were “the third budgetary boogeyman in less than a year shrugged off by the manufacturing sector.” So much for default dread “sapping economic confidence.”

By , Time, 11/01/2013

MarketMinder's View: Well, it doesn’t have to! Housing is a sliver of US GDP. Even if housing falls from here (which is far less likely than this suggests, given mortgage rates remain near generational lows and home supply is finally rising off its ultra-low base), strong consumer spending and business investment can easily drive further growth—just as they have for most of this expansion! Housing is an incremental tailwind at best. Nice, but not vital.

By , The New York Times, 11/01/2013

MarketMinder's View: Emerging Asia was a big question mark for many investors earlier this year. The region was still growing, but at a slower rate, and that dinged revenue a bit for multinationals with big Emerging Markets presences. Now, growth is picking up, and revenues should follow for firms doing business there. Just one more reason earnings globally should keep beating expectations.

By , The Telegraph, 11/01/2013

MarketMinder's View: While it’s true banks and small businesses could be more aware of each other’s quirks and regulatory restrictions, this overlooks the larger issue: Central bank policy has limited the supply of loans. Quantitative easing flattened the spread between short and long rates, sapping banks’ potential operating profits and eagerness to lend. Once it ended and the spread widened, onerous capital requirements kept banks from taking advantage. Now, however, that’s changing—paving the way for more eager bank lending.

By , The Telegraph, 11/01/2013

MarketMinder's View: Is the UK in perfect shape? No. But it’s also only three quarters into a meaningful reacceleration—way too premature to declare the age of perma-decline. Now that the BoE is giving banks the flexibility they need to start lending meaningfully throughout the real economy, we could very well see a significant pickup from here. And if whispers about easier taxes in next month’s Autumn Statement (budget preview) are true, businesses and consumers could get an even bigger boost!

By , Financial Times, 11/01/2013

MarketMinder's View: While standardized risk-weighting might improve transparency and help consumers and investors better compare bank balance sheets, these plans aren’t an automatic positive. If the standards are too tough, they could prompt another round of deleveraging and capital hoarding—a potential risk to bank lending and economic growth.

By , BBC News, 11/01/2013

MarketMinder's View: Both Chinese PMIs—one measures state-run firms, one private—rose in October, suggesting China’s reacceleration continues. Double-digit growth rates likely won’t return, but growth should surpass investors’ relatively low expectations and contribute plenty to global GDP.

By , The New York Times, 11/01/2013

MarketMinder's View: Spain is by no means out of the woods, but as this piece highlights, there are opportunities, and investors are capitalizing. And why is foreign investment rising? Government cutbacks made room for private capital! Over time, as this capital influx permeates Spain’s economy, it should provide a nice tailwind.

By , The Telegraph, 11/01/2013

MarketMinder's View: With the world reaccelerating, foreign demand is on the rise—a big boost for factories at home, whether you’re in the UK or US.

By , The Wall Street Journal, 11/01/2013

MarketMinder's View: Negative interest rates—the trendy monetary policy suggestion of the day—likely won’t improve the flow of capital in the eurozone. Money isn’t locked up at the ECB because banks want to earn 0.5% on their cash—it’s parked because of rising regulatory capital requirements and other supply-side issues. If the rate on reserves turns negative, banks could very well just pull funds from the ECB and park it in high-quality sovereign debt (or something similar) instead. Lending is by no means guaranteed to increase.

By , EUbusiness, 11/01/2013

MarketMinder's View: Unemployment keeps rising for a while even after the economy starts improving—it’s a late lagging indicator. Still-rising eurozone joblessness doesn’t necessarily herald a return to recession.