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BofA CEO Lewis investigated by SEC

Ken Lewis, the embattled CEO of Bank of America, has recently admitted to being coerced by U.S. Government officials to consummate the Merrill Lynch acquisition. The problem for Lewis is he may have neglected his fiduciary responsibility to shareholders in bowing to this pressure. The SEC is now investigating. See the video below for details.

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Breaking news: China has been secretly stocking up on gold

China is really looking at a lot of other options to get away from the U.S. dollar. The latest report is that it has been building huge gold reserves. There is no doubt that China wants to get out and away from the U.S. dollar now. We have heardSDRs , copper and precious metals all mentioned as plays out of U.S. dollars. How this will play out on currency markets and in the U.S. government bond market is no at all clear.

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Links: 2009-04-24

FT.com – German business confidence rebounds A surprisingly sharp rise in German business confidence has provided further evidence that Europe’s largest economy is over the worst of its recession and is closer to returning to growth than previously thought. U.S. may remove Citi’s Pandit: report It’s about goddamn time. U.S. regulators who are concluding ”stress tests” on banks may remove […]

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Should Obama forget about prosecuting waterboarding?

I say no, he needs to get all of this out in the open and behind us.  But the Conservative Wall Street Journal’s Jerry Seib makes a compelling argument that he should, using Jerry Ford’s pardon of Richard Nixon as a reason.  Take a look.  And if you’re interested in Watergate, the recent film Frost/Nixon is a brilliant look into […]

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Is South Korea de-coupling?

This past week, I caught an article in Wirschaftswoche (WiWo), the German Business Week, which suggested that the South Koreans were very confident about their economy and had learned from the Asian Crisis. Just today, the South Koreans released GDP numbers that many would find amazing, showing that the economy grew 0.1% in the first quarter compared to Q1 2008 […]

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German Press: Fiat to sign a deal with Opel, not Chrysler

I want to make clear the significance of the Treasury’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy plan for Chrysler if Fiat pulls out.  It will mean massive job losses and and a huge down-tick in consumer demand.  There will be no second half recovery. Geithner and Obama will look very much like greenhorns and lose a lot of credibility. This is a very […]

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Opel and Fiat spells bankruptcy for Chrysler and GM

Press reports coming out of Germany are suggesting that the Germans are looking to hook up Opel with Fiat in order to prevent a lot of job losses when General Motors goes under.  In my view, this means curtains for both Chrysler and GM and could spell some massive increases in jobless claims and unemployment this summer. GM as already […]

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Links: 2009-04-23

Raghuram Rajan Speaks at 2009 Homer Jones Lecture – St. Louis Fed Financial institutions considered “too big to fail” could be asked to develop a bankruptcy contingency plan that would lay out how they would resolve themselves quickly. He said such a “shelf bankruptcy” plan would require banks to track and document their exposures much more carefully and in a […]

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How weak is the U.S. employment market?

How weak is the U.S. employment market?

Initial jobless claims came in above 600,000 for the 12th straight week at 640,000. Continuing claims came in at a record 6.1 million, up 3 million from this time last year. Both of these numbers suggest a very weak market and you can bet you bottom dollar this will be reflected in the unemployment report due out early next month. But, how weak is the jobs picture really?

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BofA CEO confirms government coerced him into Merrill deal

Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis is fighting to keep his job because earnings at his company have plummeted. BofA’s acquisition of Merrill Lynch has been a large part of the problem.  Now, understanding that he is being made out to be the fall guy, he has fessed up that BofA was coerced into the deal. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben […]

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Pre-payments are reducing value of mortgage-backed securities

If you read my recent post on How big banks earned so much money this quarter you would see that much of the income at Wells, JPMorgan, US Bank and others came from refinancing old mortgages. While this may be a boon to present income, it is very much a problem for the legacy mortgage-backed securities which contain the old […]

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