Markets Articles


Beyond Bailout Nation

Republicans need something to say about 2008.
Oct 26, 2015

After the Great Depression, Democrats ran against Herbert Hoover for 30 years—and with great success. Even though Hoover’s policies were anything but market-oriented—he greatly raised spending, taxes, and tariffs in response to the 1929 Wall Street crash—Republicans took the fall for Hooverism. It wasn’t until Ronald Reagan that free markets were fully politically rehabilitated.

 Read more

Jebonomics

A winning tax reform.
Sep 28, 2015

Some Republican presidential candidate was sure to come along with a credible tax reform plan to erase tax loopholes, preferences, and special breaks, broaden the tax base, and lower rates. Now Jeb Bush has done it. This marks a departure point in the GOP race.

 Read more

Growth and Inequality

Sep 07, 2015

The economic recovery is barely worthy of the name, and there is evidence that inequality in America is increasing. Ignoring the first rule of statistics—correlation is not causation—progressives see this as a new reason to expand government. Reduce inequality and the growth rate will increase. 

 Read more

New Hostage Situation at Kosher Market in Paris

8:15 AM, Jan 09, 2015

There are new reports of a hostage situation in Paris at a Kosher market. The Associated Press reports:

 Read more

Bad Start for the One Percent

And perhaps for the rest of us, too.
6:04 PM, Jan 06, 2015

The ZeroHedge headline nails it:

 Read more

Alibaba Chair Inspired By 'Hero' Forrest Gump, Calls New Wealth 'Headache'

9:03 AM, Sep 19, 2014

A fascinating interview on CNBC with Alibaba chair Jack Ma, whose company will go public today in New York:

 Read more

Dazed and Confused

11:00 PM, Aug 01, 2014

At last, some good news about the U.S. economy. Sort of. The government’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) reckons the economy grew at an annual rate of 4 percent in the second quarter of the year (data subject to revision). If that rate continues, five years of a lackadaisical recovery would be replaced by a growth rate more consistent with past recoveries. The government also revised its estimate of a 2.9 percent decline in the economy in the first quarter to a less-disastrous drop of 2.1 percent. But hold the bubbly. Put the quarters together and the -2.1 percent first quarter combined with the +4 percent second quarter means that the tepid growth rate that has characterized the economy for too long was essentially unchanged in the first half of the year.

 Read more

The Return of the Bad Old Days

11:00 PM, Jun 20, 2014

And we thought the bad old days of oil shocks were over. Embargoes, price spikes, gasoline lines in America, a sweater-bedecked president ordering the end of hot water in many facilities, collapsing retail sales as high gasoline and energy prices hit stores as much as a big tax increase would, economic stagflation, or worse. Well, it just might be that we were wrong to believe that danger to our continued prosperity has been removed with the death of theories about “Peak oil.”

 Read more

There Are Two Housing Markets in America

11:00 PM, May 09, 2014

Hedge fund manager Barry Rosenstein is not a man to be fazed by the recent rise in mortgage interest rates. Nor is he one to worry that the housing market might be softening, loping the odd million off the $147 million he shelled out for an 18-acre beachfront home in the Hamptons, on New York’s Long Island Sound. So all is well in the housing market.      

 Read more

Obamacare Insurer Subsidies in Action: The Case of Humana

8:25 AM, May 08, 2014

Humana joined the ranks of insurers warning about the potential for large premium increases on next year's Obamacare exchanges. In a conference call discussing its first quarter earning results, Bruce D. Broussard, CEO of Humana, said: "we can see pricing levels anywhere in the single digits to the double digits."

 Read more

Warm Up Act

8:01 AM, Apr 03, 2014

The monthly jobs numbers will be released tomorrow and they are even more eagerly anticipated than usual now that the Obamacare deadline (using the term loosely) has passed and attention is being increasingly paid to the next elections in which jobs will likely be the prime issue.

Still, the weekly number is not without meaning and today’s increase in the number first-time claims – an increase of 16,000 to a five-week high of 326,000 – can’t be called good news or a show of strength after the snows and storms of winter.

 Read more

Housing Market More Important Than Ever

12:00 AM, Mar 01, 2014

The housing market and house prices are the economy’s gift to journalists. For one thing, almost everybody either owns a house, is looking to buy one, or to sell one – and all want to know whether prices are going up, down, or sideways, whether buyers are in the saddle and ride sellers, or vice versa.

 Read more

Inside Job: SEC Employees 'Systematically Dodge the Revelation of Bad News' for Their Stocks

8:01 AM, Feb 28, 2014

Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) employees aren't necessarily better at investing in stocks than everyone else, but they are much better at getting out of bad investments before the "bad news" hits. That's according to a new paper by Shivaram Rajgopal and Roger M.

 Read more

Yellen's Cold Open

12:00 AM, Feb 08, 2014

When economic forecasts prove wrong, it is customary to blame the weather. So cold that consumers stayed home, or so hot that consumers, well, stayed home. So cold that outdoor construction was unexpectedly low, unless of course unusually high temperatures made such work impossible lest heat stroke afflict the workers. In short, weather is the straw at which sinking forecasters often grasp.

 Read more

Predict Now, Revise Tomorrow

12:00 AM, Jan 04, 2014

Herewith some thoughts about the outlook for this year. Thoughts, not forecasts, for which I have neither the skill nor the courage. I offer these thoughts in deference to the understandable demand for look-aheads. Human beings are always hunting for certainty, attempting to reduce randomness, surrendering to what Harvard’s Walter Friedman in his new book (Fortune Tellers: The Story of America’s First Economic Forecasters) calls “the near universal compulsion to avoid ambiguity and doubt.” But there is more to the demand for forecasts than this desire for certainty. Businessmen and policymakers want to use forecasts to change the future, to adapt products to predictions of changes in consumer taste, to structure finances so as to take advantage of predicted changes in interest rates and thereby change earnings in the coming year, to obtain “the ability to alter the very thing that one predicts,” to borrow from Friedman. In short, it is often the goal of the purchaser of a forecast to act so as to prove his seer wrong, and then hire him the following year to repeat the process.

 Read more

We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Markets

Dec 02, 2013

Last week one of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s major shareholders proposed dismantling the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) and replacing them with two new private-sector entities that would offer the same services, namely buying and guaranteeing home mortgages. Perhaps more interesting than the plan itself was the knee-jerk, statist reaction from the Obama administration, which suggests that we’re likely stuck with the status quo for a while longer.

 Read more

After Labor Day: The Return of the Pols and the Oxpeckers

11:00 PM, Aug 30, 2013

Monday will be an important day here in America. It is Labor Day, the day on which many of us say goodbye to summer – the last holiday from work until we carve our turkeys on Thanksgiving Day at the end of November. Barbeques will be fired up, beer kegs tapped, the all-too-short leases on beach homes will expire, stock exchanges will be shuttered, and thoughts turned to the new football season, especially in Washington and New York, where the end of the baseball season can’t come too soon.

 Read more

Moderate Growth Shrinks to Modest, and Job Growth Slows

11:00 PM, Aug 02, 2013

Spare a bit of sympathy for the Federal Reserve Board’s monetary policy gurus. They have said they will begin to “taper” their purchases of bonds and mortgages when the unemployment rate falls to 6.5 percent.

 Read more

The Obama Economy Tour

11:00 PM, Jul 26, 2013

Another presidential “pivot.” Having “pivoted” from Europe to Asia, Barack Obama’s White House has announced another pivot. This one, according to Politico, “to re-focus his oft-meandering message back on the economy.” It seems that voters are less interested in Obama’s drive for gun control (he couldn’t rally many in his own party to that cause), or his continued effort to toss billions at renewable energy just when the country is set to become a net exporter of fossil fuels than in seeing the unemployment rate come down.

 Read more

USTR Hopes TTIP+TPP = Faster Growth

11:00 PM, Jul 12, 2013

Here’s a TTIP for you. No, that’s not a typo missed by our ever-vigilant editors. It stands for Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, what British prime minister David Cameron calls a “once-in-a-generation prize” that can create two million jobs on both sides of the Atlantic, and Sir Peter Westmacott, Britain’s ambassador here in Washington, reportedly describes as the “Holy Grail” for resuscitating transatlantic economies.

 Read more

Searching for Recovery

10:43 AM, Jul 11, 2013

The weekly news on initial claims – up 16,000 to a two-month high of 360,000 – is one part of the economic picture and may be a short term glitch.  Still, the overall employment picture is not reassuring.  Such jobs as are available tend to be part time.  Far too many people have simply dropped out of the work force and quit even looking for jobs.

 Read more

Less Is More

9:06 AM, Jul 11, 2013

 

The AP tweets that initial claims for unemployment benefits are up.  (You can, incidentally, be sure that this news was "unexpected.")  But the numbers come with a little editorial kicker:  Read more

Right Word?

11:09 AM, Jul 06, 2013

Vicki Needham at the Hill writes that:

 Read more

The Fed Ponders the Jobs Report

11:00 PM, Jul 05, 2013

Until recently it has been fashionable to denigrate the U.S. economic recovery: “America is the best house in a bad neighborhood,” sniffed many analysts. No longer. America is now a very good house in a terrible neighborhood.

 Read more

Santelli: 'The Markets Are On Fire'

7:56 AM, Jul 05, 2013

CNBC's Rick Santelli is encouraged by the latest jobs report:

"The markes are on fire," he says.

 Read more

'A Labor-Market Crisis'

11:51 AM, May 29, 2013

Michael R. Strain, writing for National Review Online:

 Read more

The Contrasting Fates of Dow Jones and John & Jane Doe

6:00 AM, Mar 08, 2013

For someone who aggressively campaigned on the notion that the Republican party cares disproportionately about the rich, President Obama’s economic scorecard is rather illuminating.

 Read more

The State of Our Political Economy

12:00 AM, Dec 29, 2012

This is the time that tries economists’ models. It has become the fashion at this time of year for forecasters to opine on the growth of GDP, the level of unemployment, the inflation rate next year—to at least one decimal place.

 Read more

Markets vs. Politicians

12:00 AM, Dec 01, 2012

Markets move even when politicians don’t. Investors and consumers aren’t waiting for America’s politicians to decide whether and, if so, how to put our fiscal house in order.

 Read more

Economic Uncertainty Soon to Give Way to (Some) Certainty

11:15 AM, Oct 27, 2012

Until now, most forecasters have been framing the assumptions underlying their projections on what they assume a reelected Barack Obama would do about taxes, appointments to the Federal Reserve Board, spending, the deficit and a host of other policies. Suddenly, they are back to the drawing board. Polls are showing something inconceivable to the American media and foreign observers: Mitt Romney is closing in on the president, and might even hold a slight lead.

 Read more