Asian share markets gain after strong Wall Street finish
Most Asian markets advanced Monday as investors bought back shares they had sold down in Friday's session. Japan's Nikkei 225 jumped 2.7%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index added 2.4% and South Korea's Kospi Composite rose 2.1%. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 climbed 1.8%, Taiwan's Taiex gained 1.6% and China's Shanghai Composite gave up 0.5%. In afternoon trading, India's Sensex was up 1% and Singapore's Straits Times Index had added 0.3%. The Wall Street Journal (22 Feb.)
Downsized job-creation bill heads for first Senate vote
A scaled-back jobs bill backed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., will get its first test in the U.S. Senate with a procedural vote this week. The $15 billion bill would provide a one-year exemption from Social Security taxes for employers hiring workers who have been unemployed for 60 days or more. Other provisions include expansion of the Build America Bonds program, reauthorization of the Highway Trust Fund, financial assistance for state and local infrastructure projects, and accelerated write-offs for businesses investing in equipment. The Washington Post (22 Feb.)
Appetite for bond issues is expected to depend on pricing, structure
The primary market is expected to see $7 billion in bond issues, with pricing and structure of the deals expected to dictate investor appetite. "With the supply and demand dynamics and the crossover ratios, [underwriters] will have to sweeten the pot to bring investors in across the board," said Fred Yosca, managing director of trading and underwriting at BNY Mellon Capital Markets. The U.S. Federal Reserve's move to raise its discount rate is not expected to affect the market, municipal sources said. The Bond Buyer (free content) (22 Feb.)
Futures market anticipates Greek rescue headed by Germany
Activity on the futures market indicated a good trading day would come after a report emerged of a plan headed by Germany to help Greece. The market was put at ease by Der Spiegel's report that Germany is aiming to contribute $5 billion to $7 billion to a package of more than $30 billion to help Greece get through its sovereign-debt crisis. The Australian (22 Feb.)
*I wonder if Paulson would feel the same way if he were still sitting in that chair. Now that he got his pension with Goldman all squared away that is. The Volcker Rule will never fly as long as GREEDY senators are allowed to go work for the very institutions they are supposed to be regulating. Its all smoke and mirrors.
Former Treasury secretaries urge Congress to pass "Volcker rule"
In a letter to The Wall Street Journal, five former secretaries of the U.S. Treasury Department call on Congress to implement restrictions on the size and trading activities of banks, known as the "Volcker rule." John Snow, Nicholas Brady, Paul O'Neill, George Shultz and W. Michael Blumenthal said banks that receive aid from the Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. should not "engage in essentially speculative activity unrelated to essential bank services." Bloomberg (21 Feb.) , The Wall Street Journal (21 Feb.)
*If you believe this I've got a bridge to sell you.
Delinquency rate declines for U.S. mortgages
Industry sources said the percentage of home loans in foreclosure along with those behind by one payment was at its highest in the U.S. during the fourth quarter, exceeding 15%. However, the delinquency rate for home loans fell from 9.64% in the third quarter to 9.47% of all outstanding loans as of the end of last year. "This drop in the delinquency rate is good news and shows that the problem may not get much bigger. But it is still a big problem," an industry source said. CNBC/Reuters (19 Feb.)
*learn how to be a trader or else lose your underwear
Market structures undergo fundamental shift
The average size of trading orders' value on more than a dozen of the top exchanges worldwide has dropped by half during the past five years, according to research by consultancy Mondo Visione. Futures and options exchanges have experienced a similar trend. The research indicates a fundamental shift in the way exchanges and other market structures have evolved in recent years. The shift is being attributed to electronic trading. Financial Times (tiered subscription model) (2/22)
*very interesting indeed. Oh come on, we all knew this already!
Commentary: If Goldman was fine, how come execs sold stock?
A little-noticed filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission shows that several Goldman Sachs executives sold stock following the March 2008 collapse of Bear Stearns and the September 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers. Writing in a New York Times commentary, William D. Cohan said the stock sales preceded insistence by executives at Goldman that the firm wasn't in too much trouble and that the Troubled Asset Relief Program was too stringent. The New York Times (2/18)
*give it up, especially that Alan Simpson, what a maroon. Another waste of taxpayer dollars. You want to fix the budget? Slash salaries of Congress by 15% and make all federal employees start paying for their health insurance and other goody benefits.
Analysis: Obama's budget commission faces huge obstacles
A commission charged by U.S. President Barack Obama with recommending ways to balance the budget by 2015 brings more bipartisanship to the table than anybody has seen recently, according to The Economist. But that might be the panel's only strong point because it has no way of ensuring that its proposals will ever make it to Congress. The committee "will make recommendations that may not ever be voted on -- and if they are, may be amended to death first," The Economist notes. "Americans (not just "tea partiers") are learning to fear deficits, but most still seem to hate tax rises and spending cuts even more." The Economist (19 Feb.)