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  • Leveraging Utilities For Stable Equity Income [View article]
    UTF cut out the monthly dividend after the GFC. It has been quarterly for several years now.
    Sep 24 07:54 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Cornell University economist Robert Frank comes back from a recent trip to Berlin, "where the entire city seemed under construction," and urges the government to follow the German example and invest in infrastructure." While the Germans "yield to no one in their distaste for indebtedness...they’ve made investments whose future benefits will far outweigh repayment costs," write Frank. And the "undeniable side effect has been to bolster employment substantially in the short run." [View news story]
    I am spending the summer in Berlin. With its extensive and varied electric train network (street level, below and above ground, plus intercity) and the ubiquitous bicycles (that have their own lanes and traffic lights), Berlin is quieter, less polluted and less traffic snarled than the typical US city and certainly the city i live in Salvador Brazil where the alternatives are autos, taxis or crowded, dirty, expensive and often dangerous buses. The EnergieWende may be expensive but the move to green energy will free Germany from dependence on Russian and Middle Eastern energy. What will the US do when the fracking revolution ends? Hats off to the Germans.
    Jul 7 04:40 PM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • "The current bull market might be one of the strongest of our careers, says Richard Bernstein, believing the next 4 years may rival the 4 beginning in 1982. Concerns of the current cycle are not unique, he says, saying now as then investors are concerned with the Fed, Iran, slow-growth, and the last decade's poor returns. "Many investors still do not even believe that a bull market is underway." [View news story]
    The mystery of this "bull" market (with mediocre to poor fundamentals eg. govt. deficits, high unemployment etc) as compared to the 80s bull is easily explained. As clear as the difference between Volcker and Bernanke.
    Mar 8 03:43 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Brazilian authorities detain the head of Google's (GOOG) ops in the country after the company doesn't heed a court order to take down YouTube videos criticizing a local-election candidate. Google also faces fines if it doesn't remove the "Innocence of the Muslims" video from Brazilian YouTube. The actions against Google come after trouble for Chevron and Transocean execs in an oil-spill case. [View news story]
    Brazil has become the paragon of politically correct, heavy handed govt.
    Sep 27 06:42 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • "The U.S. pursues protectionist policies," says Brazil's plain-speaking finmin Guido Mantega, when asked about QE∞. Bristling at coming in 2nd of late when Brazil and Mexico are compared, he puts pen to paper to show how much faster economic growth has been in his home country. [View news story]
    Cala a boca Mantega. Brazil is far more protectionist than the US. Just compare tariffs.
    Sep 20 07:09 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • More on Kocherlakota: Ben Bernanke has pulled off a coup of sorts, as the hawkish Kocherlakota appears to have swung over to the viewpoint of the FOMC's most dovish member - Chicago's Charles Evans. This sort of consensus-building makes it more likely Bernanke's policies stay in place even if he doesn't get a third term in 2014. [View news story]
    Hawkish talking and dovish voting. There are several of these strange fowl at the Fed.
    Sep 20 06:57 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • "Is there anyone not borrowing today or purchasing a house because interest rates aren't low enough," asks KC Fed President Esther George, casting her doubt over the need for more Fed intervention. [View news story]
    How refreshing- common sense from a Fed. Pres. Why all the criticism? She is questioning the need for more "stimulus", nothing more.
    Aug 16 07:23 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The CBO warns about the "fiscal cliff," saying the U.S. economy would enter another recession in H1 2013 if planned tax increases and spending cuts are allowed to go into effect in January. CBO projects the economy would contract 1.3% in H1; if all the spending cuts and tax increases are removed, CBO says the economy would add 2M jobs in 2013 and U.S. GDP would grow 4.4%.  [View news story]
    You can expect the pols will find a way to avoid the fiscal cliff. However, the essence of the austerity vs. growth debate is short term gain with long term damage vs. short term pain and longer term benefit. America has typically chosen to shortchange the future and future generations for immediate boosts to the economy. The Federal borrowing binge will continue until it is unsustainable or Fed monetization triggers high inflation or worse. The instant gratification generations demand the can be kicked as far as possible.
    May 22 05:52 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • ZIRP for everybody! That's Sheila Bair's "perfect solution" to America's income inequality; it would require merely a small adjustment to the Fed's easy money policy already available to (and highly profitable for) big banks and hedge funds. It "won’t cost taxpayers anything because the Fed is just going to print the money." Who knew Sheila had such a sarcastic wit?  [View news story]
    Wilkommen in der Weimarer Republik. Romer, Bernanke, Yellen, Dudley, Krugman and retinue all win the Havenstein prize for creative economics. Thank you Bair for showing what the gist of our economic recovery is based on.
    Apr 14 08:33 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • The Fed's "pledge" to sit on rates through 2014's end is "an unwarranted pessimistic signal" to send, and could be hurting the economy, says St. Louis Fed President Bullard. "Forecasters can't really tell what will happen that far down the road."  [View news story]
    The pledge stunned and left me aghast. I doubt there is another central bank capable of promising to maintain negative interest rates for another 3 years on top of the 3 previous. Bernanke and his dovish choir is getting well deserved flack from all sides of the political spectrum. Maybe this is why they are talking more cautiously of late eg. QE3 on hold. But the damage is already done, especially to retirements, savers, pension funds not mention the enormous distortions and misallocation of capital in the markets.
    Apr 6 05:00 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Fed's "pledge" to sit on rates through 2014's end is "an unwarranted pessimistic signal" to send, and could be hurting the economy, says St. Louis Fed President Bullard. "Forecasters can't really tell what will happen that far down the road."  [View news story]
    The pledge showed what arrogant fools run the Fed. They and only they have the tools and crystal ball to know exactly where the economy will be years out. Someday we will go back to letting the markets set interest rates and prices. Until then we have big brother pulling the strings.
    Apr 5 08:35 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Petrobras's Tantalizing Growth Comes With Baggage [View article]
    The problems with govt. interference and control have always existed. The unions have more clout than shareholders. Remember PT stands for Partido dos Trabalhadores, Party of the Workers. Gas prices are nearly double in Brazil compared to the USA. If PBR cannot extract a decent return from a near monopoly in a captive market you can attribute much of it to featherbedding and corruption. Send your complaints to the real Chairwoman of the Board, Dilma, a former hard left guerrilla-terrorist. I am sure she will sympathize.
    Mar 31 08:49 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Petrobas (PBR) expects further losses from gasoline this year as a domestic refining shortfall means the country has to import fuel at the world price and sell it at the lower, government-mandated local price. Of particular interest, the company says the growth in Brazilian fuel consumption now outpaces economic growth. Lower-than-market prices tends to cause these things.  [View news story]
    Gasoline in Brazil is almost double US prices. Taxes account for much of the difference. The govt. is repressing Petrobras income to hold inflation down, maybe they should reduce their bite.
    Mar 14 08:28 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Look South, Investor [View article]
    Been living over 16 yrs. in Brazil and first visited in 82, so with long experience i can say amen to most of your comments. People outside Brazil have no idea how screwed up the country is and major structural reforms are needed but are not on the radar screen. Brazil is returning to its traditional role as a producer of basic materials and foodstuffs, the chart of manufactured exports versus commodities is like an X. Just need a major drop in commods for the roof to fall in. Good thing the Central Bank has several hundred bi in reserves, they will need it eventually.
    Mar 1 05:49 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • St. Louis Fed economist Daniel Thornton maybe makes a bad career move, breaking from Fed leadership dogma that the liquidity pumped into the economy poses little inflation risk. He says the recent acceleration in the money supply is of concern, especially with inflation already above the FOMC's (implicit) 2% target. (full paper)  [View news story]
    Big Brother alias Ben Bernanke is watching.... How dare you challenge the uberdove groupthink
    Feb 28 06:37 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment