Ferguson’s fury: Harvard historian decries female welfare recipients

May 2, 2012

Another panel, another group of rich guys talking about income inequality in America.

Is that a bailout in your pocket?

May 1, 2012

There was an awkward moment of tension at the Milken Global Conference in Los Angeles, when a buysider on one panel asked a Wall Street banker whether he had pocketed taxpayers’ bailout cash.

Citi solicits staff donations for its political lobby

March 29, 2012

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Citigroup, the third largest U.S. bank, is actively soliciting donations from its employees for its political action committee (PAC) or fundraising group. In a letter to staff obtained by Reuters, the bank stressed the importance of the upcoming presidential and Congressional elections, urging staff to give to Citi’s PAC. From the letter:

Stocks rally not sustainable: Prudential

March 21, 2012

Want the recent rally in stocks to last? Don’t count on it, says John Praveen of Prudential Financial. The Dow Jones industrial average is up over 20 percent since September, and has gained 7 percent since the start of the year. But Praveen sees too many headwinds for the boom to continue.

Too big to fail banks? Break ‘em up, Fisher says

March 21, 2012

Dallas Federal Reserve Bank President Richard Fisher wants the biggest U.S. banks broken up, calling them a danger to financial system stability and their perpetuation a drag on the economy.  It’s an argument he’s made before – in full-length speeches, asides to reporters, parries to audience questions. (For the latest iteration, see Dallas Fed bank’s annual report published Wednesday.)

CDS and the self-fulfilling default

March 16, 2012

Wall Street-made financial instruments purportedly created to protect investors against default actually hasten corporate bankruptcies, according to a new study. And it’s not Occupy protesters bashing these credit default swaps (CDS) –  the report comes from none other than the New York Society of Security Analysts. Its findings are as follows:

European rescue: Who benefits?

January 12, 2012

The words “European bailout” normally conjure up images of inefficient public sectors, bloated pensions, corrupt governments. But market analyst John Hussman, in a recent research note cited here by Barry Ritholtz, says the reality is a bit more complicated:

Why banks need (way) more capital

December 14, 2011

The mantra that regulation is holding back the U.S. economic recovery is playing into Wall Street’s efforts to prevent significant reforms of the financial industry in the wake two major crises – one of which continues to rage in the heart of Europe. The sector’s staunch opposition to reform was captured in JP Morgan’s CEO Jamie Dimon’s claim that new bank rules are “anti-American.”

When speculation squashes innovation

October 28, 2011

Paul Volcker famously joked in the wake of the 2008 credit crisis that the most important financial innovation of the last few decades had come not from Wall Street’s fancy footwork but rather the engineering acumen that created the ATM. A paper published by the National Bureau for Economic Research lends some academic credence to Volcker’s view. In particular, the research of Alp Simsek, a Harvard economist, finds the very uncertainty that esoteric new securities introduce into financial markets eats away at benefits arising from greater credit availability:

Despite Wall St cheers, jobs still in a rut

October 7, 2011

Looking at the commentary from bank economists on this morning’s “stronger-than-expected” employment report, you would think the country is on a clear path to recovery. Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at Harris Private Bank, was downright euphoric: