Thursday, March 31, 2011

Setbacks in Portugal and Ireland Renew Worry Over Debt Crisis (The New York Times) Portugal and Ireland spark euro panic (The Daily Mail)

Portugal Misses 2010 Deficit Target, Raising Chances of European Bailout (Bloomberg) Deutsche: some Portuguese banks may be in trouble (Reuters)

Irish bank problems push state closer to edge [and the threat of default and restructuring] (The Independent) Irish banks need cash injection of €24bn: The latest Irish bank stress tests have revealed that the country's banks need an additional bailout of €24bn (£21.2bn) in capital. (FT Adviser) ECB suspends ratings requirements on Ireland debt (Reuters) (Reuters)

European Analogies to the 1920s and '30s (The Huffington Post blog)

European banks turned to Fed at height of crisis (Reuters)

IndyMac Borrowed Heavily [From the Federal Reserve] Before Collapse [and WaMu, too] (Los Angeles Business Journal)

Heading for a double dip: Nobody in Washington or Wall Street wants to admit it, but the economy is leaning toward another plunge by Robert Reich (The Christian Science Monitor blogs)

Jamie Dimon Says Debt Default by U.S. Would Be ‘Catastrophic’ (Bloomberg) (Marketwatch) Pimco's El-Erian: Consequence Of US Debt Default `Unpredictable' - Reuters (The Wall Street Journal)

How the National Debt Affects You: Left unchecked, rising public debt could mean higher interest rates and a slower economy (U. S. News & World Report)

Pimco’s Bill Gross: Entitlements Key To Cutting Federal Budget Deficit (Barron's blogs) Skunked by William H. Gross (Pimco) U.S. Must Cut Entitlements to Pare Debt, Honeywell CEO Says (Bloomberg)

1.8M 'distressed' homes could weigh on home prices for years (USAToday)

Could Declining House Values Spark the Next Taxpayer Rebellion? by Charles Hugh Smith (Of Two Minds blog)

Is it a recovery yet? (Weekly report, 03-31-11)

According to Linda Duessel, a market strategist at Federated Investors in Pittsburgh, quoted here, a recovery would be indicated by initial jobless claims below 500,000.

IT'S A RECOVERY! (And it has been a recovery for every week since the Nov. 25, 2009 report, with the exception of the Aug. 19, 2010 report.)

"The number of first-time claims for unemployment insurance payments dropped to a seasonally adjusted 388,000 in the week ending March 26, from an upwardly revised 394,000 in the prior week, the Labor Department reported." (Agence France Presse)

"'The revised data show a slightly less steep drop in claims over the past few months but the key point here is that the trend is still clearly downwards,' said Ian Shepherdson, an economist at High Frequency Economics." (CNN)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wednesday roundup (03-)

'Shadow inventory' of 1.8 million homes could prolong housing slump: The glut of troubled homes not yet on the market represents a nine-month supply at the current sales pace. That's in addition to 3.49 million previously owned homes already on the market. (The Los Angeles Times) (The Wall Street Journal blogs)

Bill Gross Says U.S. Is ‘Out-Greeking the Greeks’ on Debt (Bloomberg) Bill Gross Says Treasuries Have Little Value, Echoing Buffett (Bloomberg)

GOP sens. vow to vote against, maybe filibuster, raising the debt ceiling (CBSNews)

[Hawaii's] State budget deficit to grow to $1.3 billion, panel predicts (Honolulu Star-Advertiser)

[Alabama's] Jefferson County Attempts to Avoid Bankruptcy -- "If something is not done, the county could file the biggest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history." (CBS42)

Real Estate Crash Catches Up to U.S. Municipalities as Property Taxes Drop (Bloomberg) U.S. Property Taxes Fall by Most Since Housing Market Crash (Bloomberg) Jamie Dimon “I Wouldn’t Panic About What I’m About To Say..." -- ["You’re going to see some municipalities not make it."] (ZeroHedge blog) Dimon Says a Hundred Municipalities in U.S. Won’t ‘Make It’ Out of Debt (Bloomberg)

Fed to Name Banks That Sought Funding During Crisis (The Wall Street Journal blogs)

As Sweeping Layoffs Loom, Schools Gird for Turmoil (The New York Times)

Japan Urged to ‘Seize This Moment’ or Face Another Lost Decade (Bloomberg)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tuesday roundup (03-29-11)

European Debt: The Crisis & Calamity Continues (Forbes blogs)

Portugal, Greece Downgraded by S&P on Restructuring Concerns (Bloomberg) "Richard McGuire, a fixed income strategist at Rabobank in London, said the steps confirmed investor perceptions that Greece would have to default on some of it debt and that a similar outcome was 'increasingly likely' for Portugal." (The New York Times)

S&P downgrades Greece credit rating, says more bailout loans likely (The Associated Press)

Portugal Hints at Deficit Revision (The Wall Street Journal)

[US] Home Prices Fall for 7th Straight Month: Case-Shiller (Reuters) cities drop to pre-boom levels; further declines expected -- "bust is spreading to areas once thought to be immune" (The Associated Press)

Drop in home prices in January raises fear of double dip (The Washington Post) "'The double-dip should happen by June,' Patrick Newport, U.S. economist with IHS Global Insight, wrote in a note Tuesday." (The Los Angeles Times) Home Prices Slip to the Edge of Double Dip (Seeking Alpha blog)

Why house prices will keep falling ["for years"] (Fortune)

Foreclosure Aid Fell Short, and Is Fading Away (The New York Times) [Meanwhile there is an] 'Enormous backlog of foreclosures' (The Baltimore Sun blogs) March LPS Mortgage Monitor Report: 30% of Loans in Foreclosure have not made a Payment in Over 2 Years (Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis blog)

States broke? Maybe they cut taxes too much (McClatchy Newspapers)

Bankruptcy Threatens County [Jefferson County, Alabama] (The Wall Street Journal)

[New York City's] Cash-poor MTA may put recipients of unemployment benefits to work again cleaning subways (The New York Daily News) Agency says program would make it cheaper to clean the subway and provide participants with valuable job-training skills. (NBC New York)

GAO: Ending Saturday mail could save billions (The Associated Press)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Monday roundup (03-28-11)

Noose tightens on Portugal as bond yields rise (The Irish Independent) Portugal bailout pressures grow as borrowing costs hit another record: Portugal felt the pressure to seek a bailout build as its borrowing costs once more hit a euro lifetime record, on the back of downgrades of its banks' credit ratings. (The Telegraph) Portugal hit again by fear of default and downgrades (The Independent) Portugal set for bailout (FT Adviser)

Desperate Irish government send fresh tremors through Europe (The Daily Mail) Irish banks heading for new bailout (The Guardian) Irish bondholder threat seen as bargaining chip: ECB preparing new facility to shore up Irish banks: reports (Marketwatch)

Italian 2010 Household Savings 20% Lower Than In 1990 - Study (The Wall Street Journal)

IAEA calls nuclear safety summit amid Japan crisis (Reuters)

As Japan shutdowns drag on, auto crisis worsens: With shortages looming at car dealerships and factories, the global auto crisis deepens (The Associated Press)

13% of all U.S. homes are vacant (CNN)

Dying Banks Kept Alive Show Secrets Fed’s Loan Data Will Reveal (Bloomberg)

Gold Replacing Dollar as World’s Reserve Currency? (CNBC)

Brown Drive to Close California Deficit Deal Nears End as Tax Talks Stall (Bloomberg)

Rising oil prices loom over future of delivery giant UPS: Scott Davis, the chief executive of UPS, says the company is currently examining what the world would look like with oil at $200 a barrel. (The Telegraph)

Peak Oil & Economic Crisis - A Century of Challenges - Nicole Foss aka Stoneleigh - Q and A [video posted last month which came to my attention today] (Youtube)

U.S. Crisis Was Worse Than 1930s, Ex-Fed Governor Mishkin Says: Tom Keene (Bloomberg)

Northern Rock to cut 680 more jobs in runup to privatisation (The Guardian)

75 Years of American Finance (1861-1935) (The Big Picture blog)

Blog prepared using the Google Chrome browser.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sunday roundup (03-27-11)

Why the European Debt Crisis Is Far From Over by Charles Hugh Smith (DailyFinance) Crises Nudge Debt Loads to Brink (The Wall Street Journal)

Portugal under heavy EU pressure to seek financial aid (The Guardian) (The Telegraph) ECB Nowotny: Recommends Portugal Ask For Bailout (Dow Jones) Bit of friendly advice, Portugal (The Irish Independent)

Ireland Seeks to Share Bank-Loss Burdens With Bond Holders, Noonan Says (Bloomberg) What Will Happen When Ireland’s Guarantors Need a Bailout? (Irish Left Review)

Key to restoring [Irish] State's credibility is the elimination of our budget deficit: Small EU states that had the good fortune to stay out of the eurozone are now in a superior position to us, writes Colm McCarthy (The Irish Independent)

Dutch bankers' bonuses axed by people power: An online campaign has overturned ING's executive pay policy, and the mood in Amsterdam is getting increasingly militant about bonuses at bailed-out banks (The Observer)

Global Supply Lines at Risk as Shipping Lines Shun Japan (The New York Times) As Japan Shutdowns Drag On, Auto Crisis Worsens (CNBC) Disaster likely to hit U.S. car sales / Carmakers hurt by parts crunch may cut exports (Yomiuri Shimbun)

Odds of [US] government shutdown rise as parties snipe over faltering budget talks (The Washington Post)

Today's is the first post to be composed in the Google Chrome browser.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Saturday roundup (03-26-11)

Gold hits record in ‘perfect storm’ (Agence France Presse)

IMF Prepares For "Threat To International Monetary System" (ZeroHedge blog)

Housing Market Cycle: Much Worse This Time by Barry Ritholtz (The Big Picture blog)

Unofficial Problem Bank list increases to 985 Institutions (Calculated Risk blog)

Summing Things Up (Financial Armageddon blog)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Friday roundup (03-25-11)

EU approves permanent bailout fund amid fears over Portugal: The European Union hopes the announcement of a permanent $700-billion safety net will boost investor confidence and demonstrate the bloc's commitment to the euro. (The Los Angeles Times) Portugal nearer bailout as sovereign debt yield escalates (The Irish Times)

Sovereign debt crisis overshadows talks on euro zone fund (The Irish Times) China's Central Bank Sees European Debt Crisis Threat to Global Recovery (Bloomberg) EU Summit Ends Without Debt Solution (Barron's blogs) Why Euro Debt Matters More Than Oil Prices Or Chinese Inflation (Forbes blogs) Have you seen the little PIIGs? [CHART of five-year credit default swaps @] (The Big Picture blog)

Germany set to abandon nuclear power for good (The Associated Press)

Have [US] Consumers Gone on Strike? -- "The economy may be in worse shape than many economists and businesses expect." (CNBC)

The worst housing crash in history is official: Lesson from the Great Depression Part 29. New home sales fell 80 percent from 1929 to 1932 and fell 82 percent from 2005 to 2011. (Dr. Housing Bubble)

Michigan first to act as [debt-laden] states weigh reductions in unemployment benefits (The Washington Post)

The Treasury Auction Shell Game by Peter Schiff (Euro Pacific Capital)

U.S. closes small bank, bringing 2011 total to 26 (Reuters) The Bank of Commerce of Wood Dale IL had a troubled assets ratio of 563.8%. (BankTracker)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Thursday roundup (03-24-11)

S&P cuts Portugal credit rating, warns of further downgrade (Reuters) Fitch cuts Portugal ratings on PM resignation (Reuters)

Portugal bailout could top $100 billion in new problem for European Union (The Washington Post) Portugal debt crisis: David Cameron holds crisis talks with EU leaders: UK Prime Minister David Cameron has held crisis talks with European leaders amid warnings that Portugal must be bailed out to avert a fresh currency crisis spreading. (The Telegraph) Some Weigh Restructuring Portugal’s Debt (The New York Times)

Spain Takes Turn in Debt Spotlight (The Wall Street Journal) Moody's cuts [ratings of 30] Spanish banks as sector consolidates (Reuters)

Shrinking Irish economy heightens debt risk (Reuters) Ireland's borrowing costs hit record high as GDP falls: Yield on 10-year bonds break through 10% barrier as data shows economy shrank by 1% last year (The Guardian)

Slower growth could hurt UK AAA rating: Moody's (Reuters)

Japan consumer prices fall for 24th [straight] month in fresh sign of prolonged deflation (The Washington Post)

[Ten] Former White House Economists Say Deficit Is 'Severe Threat' (The Wall Street Journal)

Household wealth down 23% in 2 years - Fed (CNN)

U.S. Postal Service announces sweeping job cuts ["500 administrative, executive and postmaster jobs this year"], district office closures (The Washington Post) (The Wall Street Journal)

State [of Texas] faces hundreds of thousands of job cuts: 271,746 in 2012 and 335,244 in 2013 in private, government sectors (The Houston Chronicle)

Housing raises US recession alert (Reuters blogs)

Fannie Report Warned of Foreclosure Problems in 2006 (The Wall Street Journal)

Federal Reserve chairman to meet regularly with media: Chairman Ben S. Bernanke will answer questions after four of the Fed's rate-setting meetings. The central bank's move comes after intense criticism of steps it took during the financial crisis. (The Los Angeles Times)

The Dominoes Are Lining Up, Again (J. A. Gould World blog)

Worst Texas Drought in 44 Years Damaging Wheat Crop, Reducing Cattle Herds (Bloomberg) From tsunamis to Typhoons: The damage to the world economy from Japan’s disaster, Europe’s debt crisis and war in Libya is uncertain. That in itself is damaging (The Economist)

Is it a recovery yet? (Weekly report, 03-24-11)

According to Linda Duessel, a market strategist at Federated Investors in Pittsburgh, quoted here, a recovery would be indicated by initial jobless claims below 500,000.

IT'S A RECOVERY! (And it has been a recovery for every week since the Nov. 25, 2009 report, with the exception of the Aug. 19, 2010 report.)

"The number of first-time claims for unemployment benefits fell by 5,000 last week to 382,000, the U.S. Labor Department said Thursday. The four-week average of new jobless claims declined to 385,250, its lowest level since July 2008 ..." (FoxNewz)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wednesday roundup (03-23-11)

Socrates Defeat Pushes Portugal Closer to International Bailout (Bloomberg) Portugal Opposition Rejects Austerity Plan, Bailout Next? (The Wall Street Journal blogs)

Portuguese vote stokes Europe debt concerns (The Washington Post) EU leaders cannot put sovereign debt emergency behind them just yet (The Irish Times)

UK Begins to Starve (The Sunday Express)

New home sales slowest in at least a half-century: Weakest sales pace on record slows construction, threatens to put small builders out of work (The Associated Press) ‘Worst report’ on housing renews fears of recession: New home sales dive to lowest on record -- "Within the space of a week, the nation has witnessed worst performances on record of new home sales, home prices and building — evidence that the housing market has sunk into a double-dip recession that poses a significant drag on the overall economy." (The Washington Times) "Purchases of new U.S. homes unexpectedly declined in February to the slowest pace on record and prices dropped to the lowest level since December 2003, adding to evidence the industry is floundering." (Bloomberg) Why Housing Is Going Through a Double Dip (CNBC) New Home Sales Fall to Record Low in February (Calculated Risk blog) Home Sales: Distressing Gap (Calculated Risk blog) U.S. Petroleum Usage, New Home Sales, Jobs, Consumer Credit and the Alleged Recovery (Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis blog)

Fed's Fisher concerned about liquidity level (Reuters)

Oil Will Be Gone in 50 Years: HSBC (CNBC)

Rural Oregon counties face bankruptcy without state help (The Associated Press)

[Canada's] Shaw Communications lays off 500 employees (The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tuesday roundup (03-22-11)

Europe Just Pumped Up Its Bailout Fund To €700 Billion, But It's Not All Good News For Bond Holders (The Business Insider) Bailout has fallen at first hurdle: EU leaders must accept that the deal cannot be implemented and a debt crisis now looms, writes Colm McCarthy (The Irish Independent)

Portugal edges towards 'inevitable' bailout from EU partners (The Guardian)

Borrowing costs rise for Ireland, Greece and Portugal (The Irish Times)

In Ireland, Banking Stress Tests Must Be Seriously Stressful (The Wall Street Journal blogs)

CBO Says Obama's Budget Estimate Off by $2.3 Trillion (WNYC blogs)

Debt at Tipping Point? (Expected Returns blog)

The Muni Leverage Explosion (CNBC)

Fed Gov. Richard Fisher Sees Signs of "Speculative Excess", Warns of "Intoxication on Ambrosia of Cheap Capital" (Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis blog)

CAUGHT ON TAPE: Former SEIU Official Reveals Secret Plan To Destroy JP Morgan, Crash The Stock Market, And Redistribute Wealth In America (The Business Insider)

Housing double dip could be coming: MacroMarkets (Housing Wire)

Alstom To Cut 1,380 Transport Jobs In Europe (The Wall Street Journal)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Monday roundup (03-21-11)

Congressman: "We're In Libya Because Of Oil" (Washington's Blog)

BOJ Floods Banking System With Record Liquidity (The Wall Street Journal)

Sales of U.S. Existing Houses Fall, Prices Reach Nine-Year Low (Bloomberg) [Last week we learned that "U.S. housing starts posted their biggest decline in 27 years" (Reuters)]

Fed Will Release Bank Loan Data as Top Court Rejects Appeal (Bloomberg) For The First Time Ever The Fed Must Reveal Which Big Banks Took Emergency Loans From The Discount Window (The Business Insider)

Mega-Banks and the Next Financial Crisis: Hedge-fund manager Paul Singer recognized the risks of subprime mortgages and bet against them. Now he warns that monetary policy could cripple American banks again (The Wall Street Journal)

Decrease In Credit Card Debt All Down To Write-Offs, Report Says (The Huffington Post blog)

[Gov.] Brown asks voters to lobby lawmakers amid few signs of progress in solving California budget (The Associated Press)

[In Florida] State courts declare financial emergency, seek help (The St. Petersburg Times) Fla. courts, clerks may get emergency $90 million to keep them going this year (The Palm Beach Post)

Why Deflation Will Torpedo the Economic Recovery by Clif Droke (Gold Seek)

The Mythical Recovery (Financial Armageddon blog)

Rantings of an Ex-Maestro (The New York Times blogs)

“A Global Chain of Monetary Roach Motels” [Comments on David Stockman on Treasuries and the federal debt] (The Mess That Greenspan Made blog)

Sickcare Will Bankrupt the Nation--And Soon by Charles Hughes Smith (Of Two Minds blog)

[UK's] Royal Mail to cut 1,700 jobs (Agence France Presse)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sunday roundup (03-20-11)

Crises in Japan Ripple Across Global Economy (The New York Times)

World Bank Says Japan Quake Rebuilding May Take Five Years (Bloomberg)

Europe’s finances may hurt the global economy more than Japan’s tragedies (The Washington Post)

Is Meredith Whitney Right About Municipal Bonds? (Forbes blogs)

Things Are Less Than They Seem (Financial Armageddon blog)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Saturday roundup (03-19-11)

Japan's debt default line could be felt in countries a world away: How Japan pays the bill for recovery will have knock-on effects in Portugal, Ireland, Greece, Spain… (The Observer)

GM cuts unnecessary spending after Japan disaster (The Associated Press)

By the Numbers: The Japanese Disaster and the Nuclear Crisis (The Atlantic)

Gaddafi could turn to Libya’s mustard gas stockpile, some officials fear (The Washington Post) [Where have we heard this song before?]

Irish Europe Minister To Seek EU Summit Deal On Country's Debts (The Wall Street Journal)

Number of the Week: Household Debt [in the US] May Be Accelerating Again (The Wall Street Journal blogs)

Unofficial Problem Bank list increases to 982 Institutions (Calculated Risk blog)

Putting an end to Wall Street’s ‘I’ll be gone, you’ll be gone’ bonuses (The Big Picture blog)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Friday roundup (03-18-11)

Quake cleanup could swamp Japan with debt: Rebuilding will force more borrowing on a heavily indebted government (MSNBC)

Options are few to prevent Japan nuclear catastrophe: As a crack is discovered in a Fukushima spent fuel pool, officials confront two crucial tasks: preventing a runaway chain reaction into the nuclear fuel and maintaining a massive flow of seawater through the damaged pools and reactor vessels. (The Los Angeles Times) TEPCO Director Weeps After Disclosing Truth About Fukushima Disaster (ZeroHedge blog)

Saudi monarch announces billions in handouts: Salaries of public employees raised while $66.7bn to be spent on housing in apparent bid to stave off protests. (Al Jazeera)

Portugal PM: Will Do What It Takes To Avoid Bailout (The Wall Street Journal) [Meanwhile ...] Portugal wavers on support for key austerity plan (The Associated Press)

Spain public debt at 11-year high: central bank (Agence France Presse)

[US] National debt: 60-plus senators [from both parties] urge Obama to lead (CNN)

Many Banks Are Clinging to Billions in Bailout Money (The New York Times blogs)

Nearly 20% of Florida homes are vacant (CNN) (Calculated Risk blog)

Lloyds to cut 570 more jobs and outsource up to 600: António Horta-Osório angers unions with plans that will increase total job losses since HBOS rescue to 27,000 (The Guardian)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Thursday roundup (03-17-11)

Saudi King's Speech Friday Could Move Oil Markets (CNBC)

Japan risks credit crunch as yen thunders: Japan is in imminent danger of a credit-crunch with global implications unless the authorities stabilise Tokyo's stockmarket and take overwhelming action to stop the yen exploding to record levels. (The Telegraph)

Japan Disaster Looms Over Global Economy: Mohamed El-Erian (Bloomberg)

Japan Nuclear Impact 'Worrisome': The world economy is still very fragile and the impact of the Japanese earthquake and the nuclear crisis is distressing, Stephen Roach, non-executive chairman at Morgan Stanley, Asia, told CNBC in an interview. (CNBC) (CNBC)

Can Japan's Economy Recover?: Stephen Roach, Morgan Stanley Asia non-executive chairman, discusses whether the world's third-largest economy can survive its recent natural disasters. Will it encounter another recession? (CNBC)

Guest Post [by Chris Martenson]: Alert: Nuclear (And Economic) Meltdown In Progress (ZeroHedge blog)

Analysis: Even nuclear defenders begin to have their doubts (Reuters)

Portugal edging closer to a bailout after Moody's cuts country's rating: Borrowing cost on one-year bonds soars to 4.3pc as ratings agency warns of further downgrades (The Irish Independent) (The Wall Street Journal blogs)

Bank stress tests may not be tough enough: The last stress tests on Irish banks were undermined just months after they were released by a bank bailout. Will the new ones be any better? Guest blogger Stephen Kinsella, an economist at the University of Limerick, finds some flaws (The Guardian blogs) EU Should Toughen Stress Tests on Sovereign Debt, Farkas Says (Bloomberg) FSA Says U.K. Banks Should Test for Sovereign Defaults (The Wall Street Journal) Banking rules are not strong enough, warns FSA's chairman: Adair Turner also calls for a greater focus on risks of the 'shadow banking' system (The Independent)

EU Debt Crisis Won’t End Without Debt Restructuring, Buiter Says (Bloomberg)

Core CPI [in the US] Still Tame (Zack's Investment Research blogs)

Debt ceiling: Danger ahead -- "The latest funding bill will expire April 8." (CNN)

Special report: On borrowed time: budget delays start to hurt (Reuters)

States, cities face more rating cuts: Moody's (Reuters)

Drowning in red ink: [Washington] State budget deficit jumps by $700 mil (The Seattle Post-Intelligencer) (The Associated Press)

Alabama's Biggest County Teeters Closer To Financial Crisis (The Business Insider)

Is it a recovery yet? (Weekly report, 03-17-11)

According to Linda Duessel, a market strategist at Federated Investors in Pittsburgh, quoted here, a recovery would be indicated by initial jobless claims below 500,000.

IT'S A RECOVERY! (And it has been a recovery for every week since the Nov. 25, 2009 report, with the exception of the Aug. 19, 2010 report.)

"Applications for jobless benefits decreased 16,000 in the period ended March 12 to 385,000, in line with the median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey, Labor Department figures showed today. The four-week average of claims dropped to the lowest level since July 2008." (Bloomberg)

"'The downward trend in initial jobless claims is undeniable,' said Joshua Shapiro, chief U.S. economist at MFR Inc. Shapiro said it provided 'strong evidence that the labor market recovery is for real' and he predicted it would continue in coming months." (The Associated Press)

[But...] "The key to job creation is sufficient growth in spending by both consumers and businesses," [Moody's Capital Markets Group chief economist John] Lonski said. "And unfortunately, what's happening in financial markets threatens to slow spending and the pace of hiring." (CNN)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wednesday roundup (03-16-11)

World energy crunch as nuclear and oil both go wrong: The existential crisis for the world's nuclear industry could hardly have come at a worse moment. The epicentre of the world's oil supply is disturbingly close to its own systemic crisis as the Gulf erupts in conflict. (The Telegraph)

Japan crisis: $700b and counting (The Associated Press)

Reports: Lax oversight, 'greed' preceded Japan nuclear crisis: Reports suggest that greed within the worldwide nuclear industry, combined with an insufficient UN watchdog and lax oversight of Japan's nuclear plants, contributed to the Japan nuclear crisis. (The Christian Science Monitor) Experts Had Long Criticized Potential Weakness in Design of Stricken Reactor (The New York Times) Chernobyl clean-up expert slams Japan, IAEA [saying of the latter: "This is only a fake organization ... It always will try to hide the reality."] (Reuters) Japan ministers ignored safety warnings over nuclear reactors: Seismologist Ishibashi Katsuhiko claimed that an accident was likely and that plants have 'fundamental vulnerability' (The Guardian) U.S. officials express strong concerns about Japan nuclear crisis: Gregory Jaczko, head of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, says the situation is worse than Japanese officials appear to be letting on. 'This is a situation where people may be called in to sacrifice their lives,' he says of the crew working there. (The Los Angeles Times)

Home Construction in U.S. Slumps, Producer Prices Rise in Recovery Hurdle (Bloomberg)

Novartis to Cut 500 U.K. Jobs (The Wall Street Journal)

In Proposed Mortgage Fraud Settlement, a Gift to Big Banks (The New York Times blogs)

Citigroup Tops List of Banks Who Received Federal Aid (CNBC) Final TARP Report: Provided Critical Support but Distorted Markets (The Wall Street Journal blogs) The Final Report of the Congressional Oversight Panel (Congressional Oversight Panel)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tuesday roundup (03-15-11)

Twin threats of Japan and Gulf stalk global recovery: As catastrophe at home prompts Japan to repatriate chunks of its vast wealth, it is pulling the rug from under stock and bond markets thousands of miles away. (The Telegraph)

Japan central bank injects another $98 billion into financial system as stocks slump (The Associated Press)

Insurance companies fear world's costliest ever disaster (The Independent) Japan Confronts "Worst Disaster Since Second World War" (IHS Global Insight) Official: Japan's nuclear situation nearing severity of Chernobyl (CNN) Japan nuclear crisis eclipses Three Mile Island, nears 'Chernobyl league': Fifty workers and fire hoses are all that remain at Japan's Fukushima I plant to cool three hot reactors and six pools containing spent fuel rods – perhaps for months to come. (The Christian Science Monitor)

Moody's downgrades Portugal debt rating: Moody's downgraded Portugal by two notches on Tuesday night and warned the country could face “subdued” growth prospects for years. (The Telegraph) (The Associated Press)

“State and Municipal Debt: The Coming Crisis? Part II,” Statement before the United States House of Representatives by Andrew G. Biggs, Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute (The American Enterprise Institute)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Monday roundup (03-14-11)

Damage estimate for Japan quake is at $180B: 3 percent of country's total economic output, and 'there is a tendency to underestimate' (Reuters) How Will Japan’s Economy Survive? (FoxBusiness) Quake impact seen deep and long, recession possible (Reuters)

Japan quake likely to affect business globally: The disaster could lead to a long-term disruption in the world's supply of automobiles, consumer electronics and machine tools. (The Los Angeles Times) Japan could be a stress test for the global economy: Major Japanese businesses [Toyota, Canon, Sony, and Panasonic] have suspended operations as the nation grapples with the devastation caused by Friday's massive earthquake and tsunami. Experts say assessing the economic damage will be very difficult. (Deutsche Welle) Japan’s Lesson to U.S.: Get Your Fiscal House in Order (The Wall Street Journal blogs)

Japan's crisis may have already derailed 'nuclear renaissance': The world has seen a surge of nuclear reactor projects recently, and President Obama has made a push for nuclear power. But the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 (Daiichi) nuclear plant may abruptly halt those efforts. (The Los Angeles Times) Merkel delays nuclear extensions: German chancellor delays decision to extend the life of ageing nuclear plants in reaction to Japanese crisis. (Al Jazeera) Japan nuclear crisis sends ripples across Europe, causes rethink in Germany: The Japan nuclear crisis has 'consequences for the whole world,' German Chancellor Angela Merkel said today ahead of an emergency EU meeting on nuclear power. (The Christian Science Monitor) Taiwan: new edge in nuclear debate (The Financial Times blogs) Nuclear nightmares (Transition Voice)

Euro Zone Stalls on Bailout Details (The Wall Street Journal) Euro Nations Divided Over Method to Boost Rescue Fund's Lending Capacity (Bloomberg)

Banks have £1.6 trillion exposure to ailing quartet of Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain: The total exposure of foreign banks to the struggling quartet of Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain tops $2.5 trillion (£1.6 trillion) once all forms or risk are included, according to the latest data from the Bank for International Settlements. (The Telegraph)

Calif. Official: Tsunami Damage Upward Of $40M (The Associated Press)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sunday roundup (03-13-11)

BOJ Injects Record $85 Billion to Soothe Markets (Reuters) [Analysis before the action:] Bank of Japan to inject emergency cash into economy (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Japanese earthquake could be most expensive ever [anywhere] (CNN) Economic Setback Joins the List of Growing Troubles in Japan (The New York Times) RBC: We Can 'Easily' See Economic Losses Exceeding $100 BILLION In Japan (The Business Insider)

Total German triumph as EU minnows subjugated: The Iron Chancellor of Germany could not have been clearer. “Whoever wants credit must fulfill our conditions“ (The Telegraph) [However ...] Several German lawmakers [in the ruling coalition] criticise euro bailout deal (Reuters) Q+A: What steps is euro zone taking on debt crisis? (Reuters)

Greece wins easier repayment terms on EU bailout loans: Greece will now pay 1% less in interest and have seven and a half years to repay its debt (The Guardian) Greek PM urges ministers to try harder on economy (Reuters)

Hidden energy crisis in the Middle East (Asia Times)

McConnell promises GOP senators will hold debt ceiling hostage (Raw Story)

Washington’s Suicide Pact: How Congress is careening toward the worst of all worlds: massive job losses and an exploding deficit. (Newsweek) [vs.] Serious Debate on the Budget Deficit Has Started (The Wall Street Journal)

Japan disaster may mean setback for U.S. nuclear industry (The Washington Post) (The Wall Street Journal) (Politico)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Saturday roundup (03-12-11)

For battered Japan, a new threat: nuclear meltdown (The Associated Press) Another Japan nuclear reactor fails: A third reactor at the Fukushima No. 1 plant loses its emergency cooling capacity, bringing to six the number of reactors that have failed at the two Fukushima nuclear power plants since the earthquake and tsunami. (The Los Angeles Times)

Expert: Already 'one of the worst nuclear disasters': NBC's Lester Holt speaks with nuclear energy expert Joe Cirincione. VIDEO @ (NBC Nightly News)

Could Japan's earthquake cause a debt crisis? (Time) Japan quake to delay recovery, pump up debt (Reuters) Japan Faces `Another Leg Down' in Fiscal Health as Earthquake Toll Mounts (Bloomberg) (Fortune) Tsunami Surge Deals Blow to Struggling Calif. Town (The Associated Press)

Europe Boosts Bailout Fund With 'Firewall' Bond Purchases, Eases Greek Aid (Bloomberg) (The New York Times)

Spanish Banks Begin Search for Investors to Plug $21 Billion Capital Hole (Bloomberg) Zapatero to Adopt New Measures to Rein in Deficit, Mundo Says (Bloomberg)

[In the US] Unofficial Problem Bank list increases to 964 Institutions (Calculated Risk blog)

Major changes ahead for mortgage system as U.S. seeks to scale back role in housing (The Washington Post)

Number of the Week: Companies’ Cash Hoard Grows (The Wall Street Journal blogs)

Former Goldman Sachs Analyst Charles Nenner Joins Marc Faber and Gerald Celente in Predicting Major War (Washington's Blog)

Talking Technical: Charles Nenner, Charles Nenner Research Center, joined CNBC Wednesday for a technical look at the quarterly crude cycles. (CNBC)

Why the Markets May Be Headed for Bear Run [views of Charles Nenner] (FoxBusiness)

2 Years After the Bottom, the 'Smart Money' Is Selling: "It's a Bit Late to Go Long," Nenner Says (Yahoo! Tech Ticker)

Charles Nenner: Crude and Other Commodities Nearing a Cycle Top (Yahoo! Tech Ticker)

Random Cases of Theft

Copper Theft: The Growing Epidemic (website) (Copper Theft)

[England] Warning over Salisbury copper cable theft: Thieves have risked death or serious injury by stealing copper cables from electricity substations in Wiltshire. (The BBC) Another large copper theft in Bromsgrove (The Bromsgrove Advertiser) Copper roof tiles theft closes Basildon school: A school in Essex has been closed all day after £25,000 worth of copper was stolen from its roof. (The BBC)

[Wales] Copper theft attempts put lives at risk (Wales Online) Copper thieves cost Western Power Distribution £500k in damages (Wales Online)

[Oklahoma] Thief electrocuted stealing copper (KFOR)

[Indiana] Phoenix police say man pulls knife on employee during attempted copper theft (The Republic of Columbus)

[California] Vallejo police use a Taser in arrest of copper theft suspect (The Times-Herald of Vallejo) Copper theft on rise at area farms (Lodi-News Sentinel)

[Louisiana] Fire marshal blames copper thieves for $1.6 million fire at Peak Fibers plant in Rayville (The Associated Press)

[Tennessee] About $200K In Copper Stolen From Business: Murfreesboro Police Say 2 Buildings Targeted By Thieves (WSMV)

[Washington State] Copper thieves steal $87,000 in equipment (The Olympian) Crime Stoppers seeks man in copper wire theft (The Bellingham Herald)

[Georgia] Copper thieves targeting homes, businesses (Atlanta Business Chronicle)

[Ohio] Copper Stolen from Old RVHS Building Again, Suspects Caught on Tape: The Gallia County Sheriff's Office says two men broke into the old school on March 3. The burglary happened just two and a half hours after deputies did a canvass of the building. (WSAZ)

[North Carolina] Arrest Made In Copper Theft Of Union School Building (WSPA) Union Police Make Second Arrest In Big Copper Theft (WSPA)

[South Carolina] SC lawmakers consider cracking down on copper theft (Carolina Live)

[Missouri] Copper thieves busy (News-Press of St. Joseph) Teen Charged After Deputies Follow Stolen Copper Trail (Ozarks First)

[Maryland] Copper pipe thefts plague city [of Hagerstown] and [Washington] county alike (Herald-Mail of Hagerstown)

[Kentucky] KSP investigating large copper theft (WFIE)

[Texas] Copper thefts plaguing local homebuilders (KHOU) Veterans saddened by Crosby copper thefts (KHOU) Baseball Field Victim of Copper Theft (KIII) Five arrested in ship channel copper theft ring (KTRK)

[New Jersey] Copper thieves target pipes at Long Beach Township houses (Ashbury Park Press) Pair arrested in copper theft (Ashbury Park Press)

Johnny Carson #20: Great comedy segment with Johnny and Jack Webb "The Great Clapper Caper". (Youtube)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Friday roundup (03-11-11)

Japan quake causes emergencies at 5 nuke reactors (The Associated Press)

Roubini Says Earthquake Is 'Worst Thing' at Worst Time for Japan Economy (Bloomberg) Deadly quake a crushing blow to Japan’s recovery (The Globe and Mail of Toronto) The Economic Consequences Of The Quake (NPR's Planet Money blog)

Euro zone leaders agree to strengthen bailout fund (Reuters)

Portugal's Five-Year Yield Jumps to Euro-Era Record on Bailout Speculation (Bloomberg) Portugal finmin announces more spending cuts, reforms (Reuters) [But] Portugal Fails to Ease Bailout Concern With Additional Spending-Cut Drive (Bloomberg)

BOE's King Says Growing Global Imbalances Should Spur Leaders Into Action (Bloomberg) BOE King: Rebalance Policies Or Face Protectionism (The Wall Street Journal)

'Dr Doom' Roubini predicts double-dip slump for Britain: Nouriel Roubini, the economist who predicted the credit crunch, warns cuts and rate rises risk plunging UK back into recession (The Guardian)

[US] Consumer Sentiment Plunges (The Mess That Greenspan Made blog)

U.S. Seizes Two Banks; Year's Total at 25 (The Wall Street Journal) First National Bank of Davis of Davis OK had a troubled assets ratio of 24.8%. (BankTracker) Legacy Bank of Milwaukee WI had a troubled assets ratio of 175.3%. (BankTracker)

Bond King's big debt bet is on the mark, rivals say (Reuters)

The Economic Headwinds Just Became A Hurricane (The Business Insider)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Thursday roundup (03-10-11)

Euro zone debt crisis intensifies on summit eve (Reuters) Germany Sets Steep Price to Shore Up Euro Zone (The New York Times)

Spain downgrade sparks storm over rating agencies: Moody's has reignited the storm of controversy over the power of rating agencies after it downgraded Spain, and warned that the bank clean-up will cost vastly more that claimed. (The Telegraph) Spain and Portugal 'in debt denial': Traders consider Portugal a bailout certainty, while Spain's banking and property sectors face a similar problem to Ireland's – but this was the situation a week ago, so what has changed? (The Guardian) Spain's debt downgrade puts pressure on regulators (The Independent) Is Spain the new Ireland? (Fortune)

Ireland's new premier seeks easier bailout terms (The Associated Press)

Merkel Is Said to Support Lower Bailout Rates on Debt for Greece, Ireland (Bloomberg) Merkel says Greece needs more than three years - Bild (Reuters)

Portuguese bailout 'last resort' (United Press International) [Meanwhile ...] Portugal’s Expensive Bond Sale Sparks Fresh Euro-Zone Worries (The Wall Street Journal blogs)

China at 60% Risk of Banking Crisis, Fitch Gauge Signals (Bloomberg)

[In US] February budget deficit highest ever for any month: annual gap is on pace to set another record (The Associated Press)

Fed Flags Spike in Muni Holdings by 'Household' Investors (The Wall Street Journal) U.S. municipal bond market now at $2.9 trillion: Fed (Reuters)

Federal jobs fast becoming an endangered species: Federal agencies are imposing hiring freezes, eliminating openings, and preparing for severe budget cuts, dashing the hopes and prospects of many upcoming graduates and other jobseekers. (Fortune)

IMF Staff Warns Sluggish Bank-Sector Repairs Threaten Recovery (The Wall Street Journal blogs)

Roubini Sees Double Dip for Advanced States If Oil Hits $140 (Bloomberg)

Families Slice Debt to Lowest in 6 Years (The Wall Street Journal) Household Worth in U.S. Increases by $2.1 Trillion on Stock Gains, Saving (Bloomberg)

Romanian interior ministry axes 9,000 jobs (Bloomberg)

AOL Will Cut Up to 900 Jobs as CEO Armstrong Integrates Huffington Post (Bloomberg)

Is it a recovery yet? (Weekly report, 03-10-11)

According to Linda Duessel, a market strategist at Federated Investors in Pittsburgh, quoted here, a recovery would be indicated by initial jobless claims below 500,000.

IT'S A RECOVERY! (And it has been a recovery for every week since the Nov. 25, 2009 report, with the exception of the Aug. 19, 2010 report.)

"New applications for state jobless benefits jumped by 26,000 last week, though they remained under the key 400,000 benchmark for fourth time in the past five weeks.

"The number of people filing initial requests for unemployment compensation rose to a seasonally adjusted 397,000 in the week ended March 5, the Labor Department reported." (Marketwatch)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Wednesday roundup (03-10-11)

EU paralysis drives fresh bond rout: Political paralysis in Brussels and monetary tightening by the European Central Bank has set off a fresh spasm of the eurozone bond crisis, pushing spreads on Portuguese, Irish and Greek bonds to post-EMU records. (The Telegraph) European debt crisis back in spotlight (The Globe and Mail of Toronto) Euro Close to ‘Tipping Point’ on Debt Concerns, BNY Mellon Says (Bloomberg)

Europe serves up another charade on bank stress tests: Anyone familiar with the Byzantine complexities of European policymaking would not have been surprised to learn that the latest round of EU bank stress testing is going to be – well, about as testing as the last one, which famously found both Allied Irish Banks and Bank of Ireland to be perfectly solvent. (The Telegraph)

British Fraud Office Arrests 7 in Inquiry of Icelandic Banks (The New York Times blogs)

Pimco's Bill Gross dumps U.S. government bonds (The Los Angeles Times blogs) PIMCO's Gross Asks: ' Who Will Buy Treasuries When the Fed Doesn't?' (The Atlantic)

"No Way Out" of Debt Trap, Gross Says: U.S. Living Standards Doomed to Fall (Yahoo! Tech Ticker)

Greenback Armageddon Ahead? [Hedge fund manager Damon Vickers talks with CNBC; he seems to think NO ONE is buying treasuries, not even the Fed] (Youtube)

Soros says U.S. spending cuts to brake economy (Reuters)

Fed's Lockhart: Oil shock could lead to QE3 (CNN)

Jeffrey Gundlach: Munis Are The New Subprime (CNBC)

Group: [New York] State faces 'tsunami' of home foreclosures (Press Connects, a Gannett company)

Hurt by Debt, [US Power Company] Dynegy Says Bankruptcy Is a Possibility (The New York Times blogs) (Reuters)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Tuesday roundup (03-08-11)

Oil markets brace for Saudi 'rage' as global spare capacity wears thin: Those exhorting OPEC to boost output should be careful what they wish for. The cartel card can be played once only, and it risks exposing the fragility of the global energy system if the Gulf powers are seen struggling to deliver. (The Telegraph)

Oil spike threatens deficit-laden states (Reuters)

ECB Officials Hint at Rate Increases (The Wall Street Journal blogs)

Bowles, Simpson Say Fiscal Crisis Could Come in 2 Years or Less (The Wall Street Journal blogs) Is a US debt crisis two years away? Commission chairs call for a fix 'now.': The chairmen of Obama's debt commission had a receptive audience in the Senate Budget Committee, as fears of a US debt crisis have brought a new tone of urgency to Washington. (The Christian Science Monitor) National debt ceiling 101: Is a crisis looming? (The Christian Science Monitor)

CoreLogic: 11.1 Million U.S. Properties with Negative Equity in Q4 -- = "23.1 percent, of all residential properties with a mortgage" (Calculated Risk blog) U.S. Home Values Have Fallen Past The Housing Crash -- Back To 2003 Levels (The Business Insider)

Home prices falling to level of 1890s: In real terms, home prices today are comparable to 120 years ago. (The Christian Science Monitor blogs)

26 States Have Flood Watches and Warnings: Lindsey Davis reports on flooding and misery around the country. (ABCNews)


Eisai Says U.S. Unit Plans to Cut 20% of Jobs, or 600 Workers, by April 1 (Bloomberg)

CMS to layoff about 560 (The Charlotte Observer)

Zynga dollars will ‘deflate’ Hollywood to smithereens (