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faustius

faustius
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  • Part of the $7.25B settlement that merchants reached with credit-card networks and card issuers means that merchants can charge a higher rate (as a "checkout fee") for consumers using a card for payment. After hours: V +1.7%; MA +1%. (Statement from MasterCard)  [View news story]
    Bad news is a lot better than holding them before the settlement and having no idea how bad it's going to be. Add to that the effect of the overall market being up after hours.
    Jul 13 09:48 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Part of the $7.25B settlement that merchants reached with credit-card networks and card issuers means that merchants can charge a higher rate (as a "checkout fee") for consumers using a card for payment. After hours: V +1.7%; MA +1%. (Statement from MasterCard)  [View news story]
    Well, the problem historically is that Visa and Mastercard prohibited merchants from passing the charges for using a credit card onto the customers using the cards. This led to a reverse bidding war where processers bid up credit card charges to extreme levels. So every time you slid your credit card through a slot, I would have to pay for your choice of payment, even if i was using cash.

    This settlement appears to end all that. Now when credit fees are raised, customers will see what they are paying for the service, and opt for other forms of payment. This should put downward pressure on the amounts paid.
    Jul 13 09:12 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • The Traders Did It! [View article]
    Umm, no. It's perfectly legal to put up client money as collateral for proprietary trades, the funds just need to be moved outside the U.S., say to the U.K. Take a look at what used to be MF Global's client agreement:

    "MFGFX has the right to pledge, re-pledge, hypothecate, invest or loan, either separately or with the property of other clients, to itself as dealer or to others, any of the assets, property or positions it holds for you as margin or security. MFGFX shall not be required to deliver to you the identical property delivered to or purchased by MFGFX for any of your accounts."

    Agree to something like that, and you're out of luck.
    Jul 13 06:58 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • America's 'Trente Glorieuses'? [View article]
    When the 3rd world's standard of living reaches parity with the U.S., the U.S. won't be whacked because there will no longer be wage disparities between the two. Though I don't see that day coming soon, the gap is certainly getting smaller.

    As for U.S. citizens immigrating and have a higher standard of living off what they can earn in another country, I can't really speak to that. I suspect that if true it's our inefficient regulatory environment that would make that possible.
    Jul 12 04:37 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Australia's jobless rate rose for a second month, to 5.2% in June from 5.1% in May. The number of people employed fell by 27K, led by essentially erasing a revised 27,800 job gain in May. Aussie dollar -0.8% to $1.0168. ASX 200 index -0.7%.  [View news story]
    ...and I'm helping outsource jobs out of Australia, into the U.S. of all places. Their commodity industry is absolutely shredding the rest of the Australian economy.
    Jul 12 04:26 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • America's 'Trente Glorieuses'? [View article]
    Well, the brain drain should continue so long as wage disparities persist. The U.S. economy labors under the immense burden of higher wages. The trade-off is we get the pick of the world's best minds. Labor is like any other commodity, it will flow to whoever will pay the most for it, barring government intervention in free markets.

    If other nations want to dump massive sums into educating their people, while their corporations continue to not pay a competitive rate, they should expect their education budgets to finance other countries' growth.
    Jul 12 04:21 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Congress is exploring whether companies holding standards-essential patents should be prohibited from trying to use them to obtain bans on infringing products. Microsoft (MSFT), Apple (AAPL), and Qualcomm (QCOM) have reportedly lobbied lawmakers on the issue. The FTC, ITC, and EU are already exploring the matter, as Google (GOOG) and various Android partners try to use standards-essential IP to counter Microsoft and Apple's infringement suits.  [View news story]
    Sounds good at first glance, but I smell a rat, especially as Google has mostly been on the defensive on patent cases. Are Microsoft, and Apple really lobbying to shoot their own insane patents in the foot?

    I recall MS suing on a patent covering saving "long filenames" to any mass storage device. Likewise for Apple suing for owning "displaying a loading element in a browser". I suspect they are lobbying for some kind of super specific definition of "standards-essential patents" that passes over their own IP.

    Still it would be a great opportunity for Congress to sweep a bunch of nonsense patents away. I suspect Congress is only "considering" who can pony up the most campaign contributions though.
    Jul 10 09:34 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Government Debt: A Gentleman's Wager [View article]
    It sounds like you're advocating what the Fed should do, rather than what they did do during the previous crisis. If they need to take extraordinary actions again, my money is on them repeating the past.

    That means wholesale purchases and write downs of toxic private assets, combined with massive loans to foreign and domestic banks, exceeding the 16.1 trillion they loaned out last time (per the fed audit pg. 131).
    Jul 9 10:47 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • America's 'Trente Glorieuses'? [View article]
    Ehh, I'm all for immigration of skilled workers, but I hate the H1B program. I work as an operational analyst, and often cobble together tools for our own department, then farm them out to our IT department to be built out properly, if its something we're going to use long-term.

    From what I've seen, H1B employees are a complete crap shoot, you can get a complete idiot as easily as someone brilliant. I'm not in HR, and don't know the costs involved, but in the end we can't get rid of the idiots because they're under contract, while the costs are too high to keep the brilliant ones long term.

    Either way however, none of them know anything about our industry or company, and endless hours are wasted having them redo all their work as a result. When they finally begin to catch on, it's time for them to go home, and be replaced with the next batch. Fortunately, I'm not the only person at my company that got tired with the problems, and it was a happy day for me when we stopped using them.
    Jul 9 06:10 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • There's no point to "living wills" for banks, says Dick Bove. The wills, which are supposed to provide a blueprint for FDIC regulators to deal with banks when they go belly up, simply interfere with a process that has been in place for decades. “I don’t see what the purpose is of coming up with a new statement," Bove quips, "because we’re still going to do it the way it was done 50 years ago.”  [View news story]
    I don't believe you understood what I found difficult to believe in Bove's statements. I know foreign banks operating in the U.S. have to comply with a bevy of federal and state regulations.

    At issue is a particular requirement in the Dodd-Frank legislation that requires nine global financial institutions, five of which are the European banks listed above, to submit a plan of action to the FDIC, in the event they failed. Dick Bove claimed that these institutions could be handled by the FDIC the same way as a domestic regional bank.

    The idea that Germany, the EBA, and the ECB would idly sit by and watch Deutsche Bank (for example), go into receivership in the U.S. under the auspices of the FDIC, and U.S. courts seems difficult to believe.

    As to your last point, wow. I never actually dug through the audit, and thought some of the more extreme claims in the media were overblown. I guess not. $16 trillion in interest free loans are staggering. Obviously, the real plan of action for these institutions is "we'll just have the Fed print us up a few more trillion dollars".

    So where did all these funds go? If that much money ever landed in the real economy I'd need to buy a wheel barrow to go grocery shopping.
    Jul 6 07:19 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • America's 'Trente Glorieuses'? [View article]
    "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free" is what made the U.S. what it is today. The indignation the U.S. feels towards Hispanic immigrants today isn't any different than how we treated Irish immigrants 100 years ago.

    Education and money can be acquired. The initiative needed to leave your current life behind, and search for a better one can't be. Granted our entitlement programs are broken. However, they need fixing regardless of how many recipients hail from Dayton, Ohio, or Mexicali.

    Keeping our government cheese to ourselves is a poor argument against cutting off what has always been America's lifeblood, waves of immigrants in search of a better life.
    Jul 4 03:33 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • America's 'Trente Glorieuses'? [View article]
    Quote: "Why should an Indian tech worker come to the U.S. when he/she probably already is doing that job at home in India?"

    Perhaps because he's making pennies on the dollar compared to what he would be making if he immigrated to the U.S.?

    The stupidest thing the U.S. can do is continue it's guest worker programs. We should be stealing skilled labor away from other nations with our higher wages, not letting them do tours of duty, and then send their wages back overseas.
    Jul 4 03:11 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • There's no point to "living wills" for banks, says Dick Bove. The wills, which are supposed to provide a blueprint for FDIC regulators to deal with banks when they go belly up, simply interfere with a process that has been in place for decades. “I don’t see what the purpose is of coming up with a new statement," Bove quips, "because we’re still going to do it the way it was done 50 years ago.”  [View news story]
    Really? The FDIC is going to unwind Barclays, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, and UBS if they get into trouble, just like Bove says? I think Europe might take issue with that.
    Jul 3 10:18 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Markets: Building A Base [View article]
    There are other websites for that. Do you go onto bowling forums and complain that people don't think about climate change enough when they roll a strike?

    If we were to invest based on projected changes in the climate, we'd need to hold positions until our grandchildren are ready to retire. That's a little long term for most people (Dang, my shorts on beach-front property REITS got blown out when someone invented cheap fusion power in 2037..shoot :( )
    Jul 3 07:10 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Markets: Building A Base [View article]
    I've been bullish since a June 6 news report that hedge funds were short at record levels. That was the tipping point for me. If the S&P500 either breaks past 1400, or else something big and negative occurs, I'll turn more neutral. This all seemed to start as a short covering rally, then gained legs as momentum traders piled onboard. At this point though, I think those going long now are entering after the party is half over.
    Jul 2 08:39 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
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