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Alex Cook  

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  • Trading Week Outlook: February 14 - 19, 2010 [View article]
    Also on Wednesday is the earnings release for the French bank BNP Paribas, which might give us some insight into the Eurozone. Wednesday also has a number of high-profile energy companies releasing earnings; given how energy is almost invariably priced in US Dollars, it might be worth watching.
    Feb 15, 2010. 02:10 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Weekly Thoughts [View instapost]
    Overseas news will continue to dominate, perhaps overriding fundamentals until we get more clarity out of Greece. We do have a number of high-profile earnings releases next week though, particularly in finance and energy.
    Feb 15, 2010. 12:35 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Correcting National Debt Myths [View article]
    Yes, that can happen, but you're going to be printing a whole lot of money.
    Feb 14, 2010. 07:04 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Correcting National Debt Myths [View article]
    The Fed does use printed money, not taxpayer funds, to monetize the debt.

    The national debt then becomes owed by the federal government to the Federal Reserve. Saying "we the taxpayers are then indebted to the Fed" is sort of a semantic issue. It is not taxpayers per se that owe the money, but the federal government. If taxpayers purchase Treasuries (which many do, either directly or indirectly through bank deposits which in turn are often invested in things like Treasuries) then the taxpayers are OWED money.

    Of course, the federal government sets the laws on taxation.

    And, while the Federal Reserve is theoretically independent from the federal government, monetizing the debt can be considered a pseudo-retirement of debt, albeit directly resulting in inflation and increased MS.
    Feb 14, 2010. 07:02 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Correcting National Debt Myths [View article]
    Thanks for the repost!
    Feb 14, 2010. 05:16 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Correcting National Debt Myths [View article]
    Well the Fed does indeed buy and sell bonds to control the monetary supply (called "open market operations"), but I wouldn't consider that to be "issuing" bonds. The term "issue" is usually used in the context of releasing brand-new bonds onto the market; think of it like an IPO, but for a bond series instead of a stock. Bonds that the Fed buys or sells are already on the secondary market.

    The total national debt is the sum of all Treasuries in issuance that have not reached maturity (or retirement, but that is unlikely in the US with our debt/deficits), regardless of the holder.
    Feb 14, 2010. 03:31 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Correcting National Debt Myths [View article]
    The Federal Reserve does not issue Treasuries. The Treasury Department does. The Federal Reserve has been a major buyer of Treasuries lately, though.

    Interest and principal on the national debt is owed to every person or institution that has purchased Treasuries. Treasuries are really debt instruments like any other (like corporate bonds), but instead of being money that a corporation owes, it is owed by the federal government. The phrase "we owe x to ourselves" is nonsense in my opinion. You better believe that if I loaned money to the federal government that I will want return on investment, instead of dismissing it as money that I owe to myself.
    Feb 14, 2010. 03:13 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Correcting National Debt Myths [View article]
    Your comment is actually a pretty accurate description of the Mexican crisis in 1994 and the Southeast Asian crises in 1997. The events leading up to the crisis took years, but when things hit, events moved very fast. Investors who didn't see the signs or dismissed them as being overly fearful were left wondering what happened.
    Feb 14, 2010. 02:46 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Correcting National Debt Myths [View article]
    Because I am a broke college grad and am 100% in cash...and not much cash either.
    Feb 14, 2010. 02:45 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • How to Protect Yourself from a Greek Crisis [View article]
    Norway is strong, as Spin said. I wrote an article about this earlier on my non-SA blog here:

    Also check out Singapore, Switzerland, and some others. Look for current account surpluses and stable governments.
    Feb 12, 2010. 08:25 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • U.S. Insolvency Is 'Greek to Me' [View article]
    Frankly, ever since subprime, AAA doesn't really carry much clout with me.
    Feb 11, 2010. 03:58 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Senator Bunning: Bernanke Aides Said Not to Bail Out AIG [View article]
    Interesting read...but CNBC is about 12 hours slower than the blogs that broke this story. Link:
    Jan 26, 2010. 06:28 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Will Iraqi Oil Deals Boost Energy ETFs? [View article]
    A big potential gainer here could be Statoil, a company from Norway who has been doing a lot of exploration in the northern Kurdish areas. Article coming soon on my blog. Disclosure: none.
    Jan 26, 2010. 03:13 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Birth of BRIC [View article]
    There is some talk now of Brazil being in a credit bubble (on Zero Hedge at least), but on a 10-year horizon, we're going to hear a lot more about Brazil in the coming years--both economically and as a geopolitical power. Here's my take on my blog:
    Jan 26, 2010. 03:38 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Memo to Bank of America's Directors: Shame on You! [View article]
    Now hold on there! Before the Merrill Lynch deal, Bank of America's acquisitions were steadily building value to the company.

    Look, when this blows over, Bank of America will have a ton of smart people on their research and banking desks. There is no way that I would railroad Ken Lewis because of Merrill Lynch's problems.
    Feb 3, 2009. 11:23 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment