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Bloomberg News sues the Fed under Freedom of Information Act

For those of you concerned about the Fed’s risky behavior, its ballooning balance sheet, and its acceptance of dodgy collateral, well you may be about to see whether the American democracy can allow this unchecked power to continue without oversight. Bloomberg News has sued the Federal Reserve to force them to reveal what kind of collateral they are accepting in […]

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US unemployment rate jumps to 6.5%

US unemployment rate jumps to 6.5%

After stalling at 6.1% in September, the U.S. unemployment rate jumped to 6.5%. This was a truly ugly report as we saw payrolls go down by 240,000 – more than forecast and September was revised up significantly from 169,000 to 284,000. August was revised up 54,000 as well. These were enormous revisions, putting total job losses at 1.179 million since […]

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News round-up: 6 Nov 2008 – has the bear returned?

So, here we are one day into a brave new world, having seen America elect Barack Obama President. You might think the clouds would part, the sun would come out and all would be well with the world. Yet, it seems like quite the opposite is happening. Mr. Obama has one hell of a job ahead of him. The news […]

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Why should central banks cut interest rates?

Central banks around the world are whacking interest rates at a breakneck clip. The Fed, the Reserve Bank of Australia, the Bank of Japan and now the ECB and the BoE. The BoE made the most dramatic move with an outsized 150 basis point cut. However, I am not convinced this is what the market needs. Why are central banks […]

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Taleb and his Black Swan funds have stellar performance

Nassim Nicholas Taleb, the sometimes obnoxious writer of the “Black Swan” is now a fund manager. His fund focuses on hedging against “Black Swan” events that are deemed highly unlikely by purchasing thing like out-of-the-money puts. During the recent financial crisis, Taleb’s funds were superstars, returning as much as 115% Below is an excerpt from the Wall Street Journal explaining […]

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Jobless claims drop but unemployment rolls at 25-year high

Jobless claims drop but unemployment rolls at 25-year high

Tomorrow is the day that we get a big piece of the data puzzle for the U.S. when the unemployment report is released. Most economists are expecting something very ugly with over 200,000 jobs lost. In the interim, we might be able to use the weekly jobless claims reports to get a feel for how the data might look tomorrow. […]

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What would an Obama foreign policy look like?

Barack Obama promises to make some dramatic changes in U.S. foreign policy after eight years of a neo-conservative agenda. The question really is what would those changes be. Below, David Ignatius outlines a reasonable argument that Obama will follow a cautious and step-wise approach (hat tip Chris). We won’t see an immediate end to the embargo on Cuba or detente […]

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BoE makes a dramatic 1 1/2 point cut

The Bank of England has cut interest rates to 3%, a 1 1/2 point cut. Just weeks ago, the BoE Governor Mervyn King was writing to the Government explaining how they had let inflation run out of control. However, with the economy tanking, credit short of hand and commodity prices plummeting, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) has decided to make […]

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Links: 2008-11-05

Today was a very exciting today in politics as well as in the markets. We are living in a time to remember, like nothing we have seen in our lifetime. The question for us remains “what does the future hold?” I would like to look on the bright side. I am certainly hopeful after the election of Barack Obama as […]

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Writedown News: 5 Nov 2008

This past week I have been particularly distracted by the political headlines in the run-up to the U.S. Presidential election, so I apologize if I have missed a few stories in the financial press. The writedowns do continue unabated and we have now seen over $670 billion in losses and writedowns since the beginning of last year according to Bloomberg […]

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Should the Fed have a dual mandate?

The U.S. Federal Reserve is tasked with watching inflation while keeping the economy growing. This dual mandate is a juggling act no mortal could manage successfully for long. The result has been a Fed which has largely erred on the side of growth over inflation, leading to a weak dollar and many an economic calamity. Martin Hutchinson over at breakingviews.com […]

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Toronto house prices in free fall

Canada has been one of the last housing bubble markets to crack. But, crack it has. The Toronto Real Estate Board reported that house prices crashed 13% from $434,022 on average last October to $376,896 this past October. With job losses mounting on Bay Street in Toronto as the financial services sector contracts globally, Toronto is the first in a […]

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