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March 2012

Robert Barone: Is U.S. housing healing?

Last Tuesday, a headline in the business media read: “U.S. housing heals as starts near three-year high.” I scratched my head. The last three years have been the worst in recorded U.S. housing history. The accompanying chart tells the story. It is a real stretch to believe that this data indicates “healing.” Worse, everybody knows that the extremely mild winter has pulled demand forward; this is especially true for housing …Read More

Markets Hooked On Liquidity Drug From Central Bank Pushers

From early last October to the end of last month, the S&P 500 rose 25%; amazing for an economy that is struggling to stay out of recession.  Then again, the equity markets are hooked on the liquidity drug. When Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, in his recent semi-annual testimony before Congress, did not hint that QE3 was just around the corner, the market sold off.  When the European Central Bank …Read More

Greece Default Declaration Stabilizes CDS Markets

The determination by the International Swaps and Derivatives Association that Greece officially defaulted on its debt when it invoked its recent legislatively passed “Collective Action Clause” to force investors to take losses is actually good news for the other so-called troubled European sovereigns like Portugal, Spain, Italy and Ireland. The ISDA determination assures private sector investors that if they buy the so-called troubled foreign sovereign bonds, hedge them with credit …Read More

Wall Street gives Hayes the runaround

The S&P 500 closed at 1,342 on Feb 10. It was at that level in May 2008, January 2001 and June 1999. For nearly 13 years, investors in America’s largest companies have essentially made little return on their investments. But think about all the multi-millionaires and billionaires Wall Street has created f rom within its own ranks in that time span! It’s almost as if the game is rigged against …Read More