Cross-posted from today's Times.
The formidable skills of LeBron James probably won’t reach the stock market. Speculation is rampant he could soon be headed to the New York Knicks basketball team, whose owner is now trading on the Nasdaq.
(To enlarge the chart above in a new window, click here.)
The superstructure of financial reform may be stalled in Congress, but at least regulators are forcing banks to raise capital. Since the nadir of the financial crisis in the fourth quarter of 2008, the Big Four have more than doubled their common equity, raising another $55 billion just in the fourth quarter.
Homeownership rate falls to 2000 level (CR) At 67.2% it's still way overstated. Home "ownership" is a misnomer in cases when the owner has withdrawn mortgage equity or when the price of the home has fallen below the principal value of the mortgage. A better measure of homeownership, I think, is just to look at total owner's equity as a % of household real estate. The most recent Fed Flow of Funds report (page 104, line 50) puts the figure at just 37.6%...
President's budget (gpoaccess.gov)
Barney Frank: The poor should rent, not own (Indiviglio, Atlantic)
Citigroup said to plan sale of private equity unit (Keoun/Keehner, Bloomberg) Citi cites raising cash to pay down debt as the reason to sell this unit. Of course this would also get Pandit some brownie points with Paul Volcker, who wants commercial banks out of private equity, hedge funds and proprietary trading...
Now that the worst of the financial crisis is behind us, one would think the budget deficit might start to come down. Actually, no. Obama's proposed budget sets a new deficit record -- $1.6 trillion this year compared to $1.4 trillion last year.
In the Bernanke confirmation vote this afternoon, seven senators wanted to be seen opposing Bernanke but didn't actually want to stop his confirmation. In other words, they wanted a campaign talking point, not an actual fight.