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Monthly Archives: September 2012
“Global mergers and acquisitions slumped this quarter to a level not seen since the aftermath of the financial crisis amid increasing concern the economic recovery is deteriorating.
Companies have announced $446 billion of takeovers since June 30, the smallest amount since the third quarter of 2009, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Chinese state-run oil company Cnooc Ltd.’s proposed purchase of Nexen Inc. was the only transaction to top $10 billion in the period, the data show. Acquisitions are now on pace to drop 15 percent in 2012 to $2 trillion, the lowest in three years.”Comments »
South African Miners Strike Spreads to Other Industries as Close to 100k are ‘Taking it to the Streets’
“Almost 100,000 miners and truck drivers are on strike in South Africa, the nation with the largest platinum, chrome and manganese reserves, as workers demand above-inflation pay increases.
Unauthorized stoppages have shut about 39 percent of the country’s gold output after miners walked off the job at all of AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. (ANG)’s mines. The world’s third-largest gold producer employs more than 32,000 in South Africa, its 2011 annual report shows. Gold Fields Ltd. said today there are no talks with its striking workers.”Comments »
GDP : 1.3% down 0.04%
Durable Goods: -13.2% vs consensus of -4%
Initial Claims: Prior 382k, Market expects 379k, Actual 359kComments »
“Stocks rose around the world and commodities rebounded from a seven-week low amid speculation China’s government will do more to support economic growth. Spain’s bonds advanced as ministers met to approve a 2013 austerity budget.
The MSCI All-Country World Index (MXWD) climbed 0.3 percent at 12:32 p.m. in London, and futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index advanced 0.5 percent. The Shanghai Composite Index jumped the most in three weeks, while the S&P GSCI gauge of 24 commodities gained 0.8 percent as aluminum added 1.3 percent. New Zealand’s dollar led gains among higher-yielding currencies. Spanish 10-year yields dropped for the first time in three days.”Comments »
Could you pack more into each day if you did everything at the optimal time?
A growing body of research suggests that paying attention to the body clock, and its effects on energy and alertness, can help pinpoint the different times of day when most of us perform our best at specific tasks, from resolving conflicts to thinking creatively.
Read the rest here.Comments »
Banks should be required to reduce by half the amount they can borrow against equity to make the financial system safer, according to former Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman Sheila Bair.
Bair called for a “hard-and-fast” leverage ratio of 8 percent in “Bulls by the Horns,” her memoir of the financial crisis published this month. That’s double the 4 percent ratio U.S. banks must adhere to currently and more than twice the 3 percent called for by new global rules on bank capital.
Lenders could borrow about 13 times their equity, based on Bair’s suggestion, compared with 25 times under existing U.S. rules. Bair, 58, who stepped down from the FDIC last year, was a proponent of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision introducing a simple leverage ratio, which ignores the riskiness of different loans in setting minimum capital requirements. While the Basel committee agreed on including such a ratio, European countries have balked at implementation.
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Matt Damon and John Krasinski ran into a big problem while making their film “Promised Land”; how they solved it tells us a lot about Hollywood.
Some time ago, the two actors decided to make a movie about fracking — a method of getting once-inaccessible oil and gas out of the ground that has become the bête noire of many environmentalists.
I broke the news that “Promised Land” was about fracking and now I can reveal that the script’s seen some very hasty rewriting because of real-world evidence that anti-fracking activists may be the true villains.
In courtroom after courtroom, it has been proved that anti-fracking activists have been guilty of fraud or misrepresentation.
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[youtube://http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PfoaLbbAix0 450 300]Comments »
“The huge number of loans that needed to be reworked, combined with burdensome documentation requirements and a lackluster effort on the part of banks’ mortgage servicing divisions, guaranteed the program was “doomed to failure,” according to Bair.
“What’s more, it cheated borrowers,” she wrote. “Because Treasury wanted to demonstrate quickly that huge numbers of borrowers were being modified, it let borrowers enter into ‘trial modifications’ whereby they would start making reduced payments pending completion of all of their paperwork. But many of the borrowers could not provide all of the extensive documentation required by the program, so they would be put into foreclosure even though they had been making timely payments for months!”
Bair’s book describes Obama as engaged and knowledgable about housing recovery efforts, but undermined by his aides, particularly Treasury Secretary Tim Geither and former economic adviser Larry Summers.”Comments »
“The Treasury Department’s bailout watchdog wants to stop using the flawed Libor rate in setting the terms of bank bailouts.
Too bad she wasn’t around four years ago when the bailouts began.
“We can’t continue to use for TARP a measure in which there’s no confidence or assurance that it’s reliable, which could potentially be subject to manipulation,” Christy Romero, special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, told Bloomberg.
Libor, or the London Interbank Offered Rate, is an interest rate that affects borrowing costs throughout the economy, from floating-rate mortgages to more than $350 trilion in derivatives contracts. As the benchmark for global lending, Libor might have seemed a natural choice for setting the terms of the government’s bailouts of banks and American International Group during the crisis. Borrowers all over the world routinely use Libor. The government used it as the base interest rate — or in the case of AIG, ultimately, the only interest rate at which bailed-out banks and AIG had to pay back their loans.
Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, who helped set the terms of those bailouts, has said the Treasury Department and Federal Reserve had no choice but to use Libor in the myriad lending programs that propped up the financial sector.
Romero directly contradicted that assertion in her interview with Bloomberg, saying that replacing Libor is “easy to do because there are alternative interest rates in the contracts” for the TARP programs still in operation. There were also plenty of other rates available that the government could have used, including the federal funds rate set by the Federal Reserve (also manipulated, but legally).”Comments »