What do you call a market which rises on bad news and panics — as it’s doing today — on no news at all? The 10-year Treasury is now yielding less than 3%, the Dow’s back below 10,000, the VIX is over 30, and the Nasdaq is down 2.4% in a matter of minutes; French stocks have fallen more than 3% today, and in general the global risk-aversion trade seems to be back on.
Long-term interest rates are tumbling further today: 10-year Treasury yields are now a hair’s breadth away from breaking the 3% barrier. And where long-term interest rates go, mortgage rates are bound to follow. So it’s easy to see why the purple line is falling on this chart, which comes from Barry Ritholtz and which is doing the rounds today:
“NO,” shouts Joe Weisenthal today at Clusterstock, “The Supreme Court Did Not Just Strike Down Sarbanes-Oxley.” Well, of course it didn’t: it’s just an obscure auditing board which was deemed unconstitutional. So why would anybody think otherwise? Maybe because of this:
I’ve rarely seen as much unanimity regarding an important communiqué as I have around this one — an interminable 27-page effort from the G20 which only serves to underscore the fact that when they can’t agree on what to say, bureaucrats are very good at making up for it with astonishing quantities of sheer blather:
In the ongoing debate over whether or not this is the right time for fiscal austerity, everybody seems to be able to agree on one thing: the holy grail is to be able to have your cake and eat it, by reducing deficits while at the same time accelerating economic growth. Germany’s finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, calls this “expansionary fiscal consolidation” — but is it a chimera, or does it actually exist?
It’s looking as though the FT was, thankfully, a little over-hasty when it led today with a big story saying that the banks have won the Basel battle over liquidity requirements. A BIS spokesman (the BIS is the organization hosting the Basel III negotiations) says that weakening liquidity requirements hasn’t even been discussed, let alone agreed to. Yes, it’s likely that the banks will win some concessions at some point, but there’s a long way to go before then.