Market Risks

From the Annals of Badly Constructed Indicators


Quantifying the unquantifiable leads investors astray.

Why Deutsche Bank Isn’t Lehman Brothers


Germany’s biggest bank has problems, but they aren’t  likely to spark a crisis.

The EU’s Taxing Behavior


The EU’s recent actions highlight the increasingly hostile reaction to free trade.

Subprime Auto Loans: Not Another 2008


Subprime auto loans aren’t another crisis waiting to happen.

There Won’t Be an All-Clear Signal


It’s almost impossible to call market lows, and it’s not necessary to do so to reap stocks’ growth over time.

Presidential Change Has Limited Range


Can the President of The United States affect sweeping change on his or her own?

Rounding Up Start-of-Year Fears


A look at the various factors most pundits allege are behind this week’s volatility.

Junk Bonds’ Funk Does Not Mean Stocks Are Sunk


Recent weakness in high-yield bonds doesn’t necessarily mean stocks are destined for a fall.

Dry Powder Doesn’t Pay


Waiting for a correction to buy stocks is a fruitless exercise.

Congressmen Attempt to Invite Monetary Error, Fail


Has the Fed become politicized?

Growing Up With Dodd-Frank


Dodd-Frank is now one year shy of kindergarten age. And it has as much growing-up to do as your typical preschool tot.

Wholesale Change?


The skinny on Fed proposals to crack down on short-term money markets.

Writing Down the Volcker Rule


Regulators are racing to nail down the Volcker Rule by year-end.



Cyprus and the EU hashed out bailout terms, but there’s precious little to like about the agreement.

Unintended Stress


Data from the FDIC show the Fed’s QE is arguably more stressful than the economic environment itself.

A Break in the Regulatory Clouds


Central bank chiefs eased a key provision of the Basel III banking standards, which should help ease ongoing regulatory uncertainty.

Slow and Steady Spain


Spanish woes are nothing new, but announcements Thursday could help alleviate uncertainty around its banks.

As Oil Prices Rise, So Do Theories


Oil prices have risen lately, resurrecting some old theories regarding their impact.

Same Greek Dance, Different Italian Song


Eurozone officials continue to show ample willingness to forestall a sudden and disorderly euro breakup.

After the Pause


We expected 2011 to be the pause that refreshed the bull market. So what should 2012 have in store for investors?

Greek Déjà Vu


New Greek austerity proposals were met with a fresh round of worker strikes. Though unpopular, the incremental changes reflect what Greece most likely needs right now.

The Greek Shuffle


Greece was in the news—again—last week. Some still await a dramatic end, but is that a likely conclusion?

From Whispers to Murmurs


Amid heightened rumors of a Greek debt default, a look at Monday’s flurry of Greece-centric headlines.

Politicking and Progress in Europe


While debate over EFSF changes continues, Greece appears to be making some small headway.

The High-Frequency Debate


Is the blame often heaped on high-frequency trading for stoking volatility proven beyond a reasonable doubt?

After the Downgrade


Global markets experienced a sell-off Monday, as investors contended with S&P’s US credit rating downgrade and the ECB’s Spanish and Italian debt purchase plans.

The Politics of Fear


White-hot, fear-based rhetoric is flying around the debt ceiling as politicians try to sell their positions. And, some links.

Huddling Up on Greece


Agreement was reached on the newest plan to quell peripheral European sovereign debt issues. What does the deal accomplish?

Grading on a Curve


Eurozone bank stress test results were released recently to widespread criticism.

French History Lessons


France announced a plan Monday to help Greece avert a total debt disaster—a pleasant departure from France’s historical record.

PIIGS Political Posturing


Negotiations over Greece’s bailout took three steps forward on Friday —but two steps back on Monday.

Below the Radar


If it’s risks you’re assessing, it’s a mistake to stop at headline news.

A Grueling Hike


Though global stocks aren’t yet down 10% from their peak, this pullback has some characteristics of a correction.

Foggy Financials


Though regulatory uncertainty is troubling Financials shares, banks are healthier than most think.

What Bubble Hunters Miss


Hunting bubbles is a popular pastime these days, but is it timely?

Marking to Footnote


Continuing a trend away from FAS 157, the Financial Accounting Standards Board announced a change to fair value accounting rules Friday.

A Retrospective Call for Introspection


Friday marked one year since the widely discussed “Flash Crash.” But is the right response increased regulation or increased introspection?

Let’s All Say on Pay


US firms are beginning to allow investors to “say on pay,” a popular Dodd-Frank provision that likely does little to prevent future disasters.

The Dodd-Frank “Act” Strikes Again?


The Federal Reserve released yet another proposal in response to provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act, but practical details were few and far between and likely unnecessary.

Level 7, by Label Only


The Fukushima nuclear accident was upgraded to level 7—on par with Chernobyl—but that’s likely where the similarities end.

Iberian Bailout


Portugal formally requested a bailout Thursday, removing some uncertainty, but questions about eurozone stability remain.

It’s Not What’s Possible That Counts


Two events Friday highlight why investing based solely on what’s possible is wrong.

What Portugal Portends


European banking and debt woes are a ways off from a more permanent resolution, and as politicians work on refining one, transparency and clarity are advisable.

Greek Prologue


Greece’s credit rating took another hit Monday—but what’s really news is what’s happening in the rest of the eurozone.

Muni Meltdown Myths


Fears of a US muni market meltdown are spreading, but even if defaults reached their worst levels historically, the fallout would likely be relatively limited.

Oil’s Ominous Overhang?


As oil prices rise, many speculate about the future using comparisons to recent history. But it's important to keep historical comparisons in perspective when making forward-looking decisions.

Unrest at Oil's Door


Unrest in Libya could have a material impact on global energy supplies and prices.

Fearing Foodflation


Recent food price increases have many fearing inflation. But foodflation and inflation aren't necessarily one and the same.

Vaguely Inconclusive


The EU held an economic summit last week—but concrete results were lacking, with dissent across the board.

Egyptian Unrest


Tensions in Egypt escalated over the weekend as riots continued—but global economic fundamentals remain strong.

Hitting the Mark-to-Market


The FASB's actions speak louder than the FCIC's words.

Iberian-Induced Anxiety

Despite successful auctions by Portugal and Europe's periphery, sovereign debt fears remain. However, the worst-case scenario—a disorderly EMU breakup—remains unlikely in 2011.

Astonishingly Average


The eurozone is on track to post an average year of economic growth.

Getting Hibernia Out of Hock

Ireland moved closer to a bailout Thursday—and while the media fretted, markets cheered.

Dear Prudence

Though austerity has its risks, a balanced perspective shows the measures taken could have long-term benefits.

We’re Not Out of the PIIGS Pen, Yet

Though Greece continues to rattle, market jitters over PIIGS could be short-lived.

C’est Un Bazooka

The EU unleashed a bazooka-sized rescue package on Sunday.

Goldman on Trial

Goldman Sachs has been charged by the SEC for allegedly failing to disclose material information about CDOs.

Extra-Special Bulletproof

Are credit ratings agencies really all that different from other forms of financial analysis? Nope.

Freer + Butter = Better

We don't often think much of Washington's "bright” ideas, but clearing houses could be a good thing for some credit derivatives markets.

Natural (In)effects

Though tragic, natural disasters and terrorist attacks have historically relatively minimal effects on markets.

Time and Again

Time and again, market timing proves to be an attractive—but elusive—pursuit.

Buy Apple Pie

Rising American protectionism is provoking retaliation. But history's hardest lessons should stem the tide.

No Surprise Here

Markets are discounters of known information, so they can be jolted by surprises.

Little Air in Deflation Fears

Deflation is a near-term risk worth watching, though a severe deflationary spiral is unlikely to take hold in 2009.

The Four Corners

What should investors be vigilant of now? Look abroad.

Our Erratic Queen

Rapidly falling prices have many worried about deflation.

Monsters Under the Bed

New data is helping to bring the CDS market out of the shadows.

Ghosts of Lehman’s Debt

Could part of this past week's volatility been caused by ghosts of Lehman's debt?

Study Abroad

At the close of a wild third quarter, and with the US Congress taking a day off, we examine global responses to recent financial events.

Monday’s Markets

After one of the largest down days in years, some new information came to light while other issues remained unresolved.

A Shot in the Dark

Curtailing short selling is at best a regulatory shot in the dark.

Too Big to Fail

Will the Fed's expansion of powers prove to be a terrible precedent or a pertinent innovation?

Don’t Fear Failure

Investors fearing bank failures shouldn't—failures make way for progress.

Speculation Accusation

Speculation is being blamed for high oil prices, but it's largely a political scapegoat.

Global Inflation Conflagration

Don't fret inflation shock stories—global inflation remains benign.

The Good, the Bad, and the Not So Bad

Ben Bernanke's congressional testimony on Wednesday seemingly supports calls for recession in 2008. Scaling the problems reveals slower growth, but a recession remains unlikely.

New Rules for the Street?

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson announced an "overhaul” plan for U.S. financial markets. But the plan, if it survives, will likely look very different.

Goldilocks Government

A "Goldilocks” government solution—just the right amount of government intervention and regulation—in economic markets is merely a fairytale.

Trial by Fire

Treasury Secretary Paulson's new policy recommendations intended to strengthen financial markets could prove to be more bane than boon.

Let the Market Do Its Thing

Hidden in the credit crisis clamor, a little noticed development makes us smile—no sweeping legislative or regulatory change has taken root.

The Circle of Life

Bond insurers are struggling to keep their heads above water as ratings agencies evaluate credit ratings. But new companies are entering the market and increased competition promises an improved industry over the coming years.

A Hundred Bucks a Barrel

Headlines are making much of oil's new milestone, but price milestones are meaningless and tell us nothing about the economy or market direction.

Top Market Stories of 2007

A look back at the top market stories of 2007.

But Wait, There’s More

America's and Europe's central banks have coordinated in an innovative way to make capital available to troubled banks, which highlights the variety of liquidity sources available today for banks.

MarketMinder’s Letter to Santa

As 2007 draws to a close, we consider just a few of the market conditions that could help fuel a continued global equity bull market.


Pearl Harbor reminds us of the resiliency, strength, and versatility of the United States and its citizens. By comparison, today's perceived economic problems are mere trifles.

Dour as It Gets

Stocks took a walloping today as media coverage of the economy reached its most dour levels of the year. But volatile markets and grim headlines are nothing new for this bull market.

The Real Risks

Sensational headlines about subprime woes, a weak dollar, the "credit crisis,” etc., distract investors from seeing legitimate market risks. But never fear—the risks we identify here are unlikely to develop into major market negatives at this point.

Live Long and Prosper

By not assuming a long enough time horizon or trying to "get conservative,” many investors make critical investing errors seriously impacting their ability to meet long-term investing goals.

October Horrors

Is another Black Monday waiting for investors this October? Probably not, but expect to see endless headlines warning of coming trouble tied to the 20th anniversary.

Fed Focus

Will the Fed save the day? Better question, do they need to?

Bearing with Bulls

Is there anything that could make us bearish right now? Sure, but none seem very likely at the moment.

Free Trade Imperiled

Is Congress trying to make the media's baseless proclamations that the US economy is dead come true?

Terror’s Toll

Global stocks just aren't shocked by terror attacks.

House of Horrors

What's more frightening for investors than the bird flu, a housing bubble, and a subprime implosion combined?

Run Bull! Run!

As global markets knock new highs, an inevitable question arises: At four and a half years, is this bull done running? Before answering, think if you've heard anyone questioning the longevity of this bull market before.

A Political Punch

Yesterday's market commentary ("Timing Tortillas") reminded us of one compelling fundamental likely to drive great stock returns this year.

I Dream of China

Today, Chinese officials announced Chinese commercial banks will be allowed to make foreign stock investments.

Soak the Rich

Ah, Tax Day! The one day Americans stand united in their utter contempt of their state and federal government.

Do-Nothing Market Heroes

Our politicians are on a roll with a rash of ill-considered legislation.

Separating the Muck from the Mire

A couple bad days of trading and—literally—people are starting to lose it.

Don't Go Blind from the Subprime

If you picked up a newspaper in the past few weeks, you probably saw at least one article detailing the downward spiral of the subprime mortgage market.


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