One might be predisposed to thinking that monetary policies aimed explicitly at inflating prices for the assets most likely to be concentrated in the hands of the wealthy would have a high likelihood of exacerbating the wealth divide. Not so, says Ben Bernanke in a new blog post. "Certainly, inequality and lack of social mobility are issues of first-order significance for economic policy in general. Should they also be first-order considerations for the making of monetary policy? I have my doubts."
- Former House Speaker Hastert indicted on federal charges (Reuters)
- Blatter expected to win re-election despite soccer corruption scandal (Reuters)
- NYSE Looks to Ease Late-Day Pileup (WSJ)
- What Will Happen to a Generation of Wall Street Traders Who Have Never Seen a Rate Hike? (BBG)
- Japan spending slump casts doubt on central bank optimism (Reuters)
- Unclear rules, market volatility take toll on bank capital (Reuters)
- Greece Told Budget a Red Line for Creditors Venting at G-7 (BBG)
- The Economist Who Realized How Crazy We Are (Michael Lewis)
- Pimco Said to Have Considered Goldman’s Cohn for Top Job (BBG)
While the market was topping out, Tepper was actively adding to his bullish exposure, but not in the form of many new stock positions, when in fact he partially unloaded 15 of his 38 positions, while adding 12 new positions. It was 2 of these new additions that were particularly notable: just like in early 2014, Tepper is once again back to index investing, having added a whopping $939 million in notional-equivalent SPY Calls, and $413 million in notional-equivalent QQQ Calls. In other words, Tepper is once again making a very levered beta bet that the market will resume climbing, and he can capture the upside through SPY and QQQ calls.
No one stays on top forever, and to be sure, when Bill Gross' long reign at the top of the fixed income universe finally came to a sudden and rather unceremonious end last October, the race to lay claim to the inevitable outflows from PIMCO's Total Return Fund was on. Now, a winner has emerged — and it's not Jeff Gundlach.
- Fed's Yellen says met firm at heart of leak probes (Reuters)
- EU Raises Growth Outlook as ECB Counters Greek Threat (BBG)
- Hillary Clinton Takes Hit in WSJ Poll, but Holds Edge Over GOP Rivals (WSJ)
- China stocks slump on tighter margin rules, IPOs; Hong Kong down (Reuters)
- McDonald’s Chief Promises Turnaround in a Restructuring (NYT)
- German Bond Market Selloff Continues (WSJ)
- Vanguard overtakes Pimco’s Total Return following outflows in wake of Bill Gross’s departure (WSJ)
- EU Demands Concessions as Greece Hurtles Toward Deadlines (BBG)
- Junk Bonds Are The New Haven Assets (BBG)
It seems yet another hero of the recent cyclical bull market, resp. echo bubble, may be in danger of falling from grace. This has already happened to his predecessor Alan Greenspan, who has been gradually demoted from “Maestro” to “irresponsible bubble blower”. In this sense the somewhat less praise-laden verdicts that are lately emerging with respect to Ben Bernanke could be seen as an early warning sign.
"We can understand that Mr. Bernanke doesn’t like being tagged with any responsibility for poor economic results. He absolved himself for any mistakes before the financial crisis too. But sooner or later he and the Fed have to stop using the financial crisis as the all-purpose excuse for slow growth. Even President Obama has stopped blaming George W. Bush for everything. Maybe Mr. Bernanke should stop blaming everyone else too."
- Marchers protest police violence in Baltimore, New York (Reuters)
- Majority of Financial Pros Now Say Greece Is Headed for Euro Exit (BBG)
- Greece signals concessions in crunch talks with lenders (Reuters)
- Greece, Euro-Area Partners Target Deal by Sunday (BBG)
- Iglesias Says EU Risking Right-Wing Backlash With Greek Pressure (BBG)
- Student-Loan Surge Undercuts Millennials’ Place in U.S. Economy (BBG)
- Majors’ Quandary: Why Drill for Oil When They Can Buy Somebody Else’s? (WSJ)
PIMCO Names Former Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke To Serve As Senior Advisor
— PIMCO (@PIMCO) April 29, 2015
"What is different this time? Central banks are driving all investment decisions, and what this implies is that they are in this trade so deeply that there is no obvious or practical exit.... This is a dangerous situation. The focus must return to the REAL economy; we cannot trade our way out of past mistakes."
Today is shaping up to be a rerun of yesterday where another frenzied Asian session that has seen both the Shanghai Composite and the Nikkei close higher yet again (following the weakest Chinese HSBC mfg PMI in one year which in an upside down world means more easing and thus higher stocks) has for now led to lower US equity futures with the driver, at least in the early session, being a statement by the BOJ's Kuroda that there’s a "possibility" the Bank of Japan’s 2% inflation target will be delayed and may occur in April 2016.
Everyone was shocked by yesterday's Chinese March trade update which showed that while imports slid largely as expected, it was the 15% drop in exports, the largest in over a year, that prompted many to wonder just how big the global trade slump really is, masked by what has now become pervasive, global QE. This was the worst performance, exports and imports combined, since late 2009. Below is a selection of responses by Wall Street analysts trying to justify how - with global equities, if only in local currency terms, at all time highs - China can be doing so badly.
Randolph Duke: Money isn't everything, Mortimer.
Mortimer Duke: Oh, grow up.
Randolph Duke: Mother always said you were greedy.
Mortimer Duke: She meant it as a compliment.
"...The negative divergence of the markets from economic strength and momentum are simply warning signs and do not currently suggest becoming grossly underweight equity exposure. However, warning signs exist for a reason, and much like Wyle E. Coyote chasing the Roadrunner, not paying attention to the signs has tended to have rather severe consequences."