EU seals deal to help Greece, details murky (Grajewski/Toyer, Reuters) We need to know more about what help is being offered and what strings will be attached to it.
How a new jobless era will transform America (Peck, Atlantic)
Bernanke testimony (Fed) Key line: “Also, before long, we expect to consider a modest increase in the spread between the discount rate and the target federal funds rate.” That’s not the same as raising the Fed Funds rate or the rate paid on excess reserves, but it’s the first time Bernanke has indicated policy may be tightened. Also, the balance sheet will be allowed to shrink on its own as mortgagees prepay.
MUST READ — Souring mortgages, weak market put FHA on tightrope (Timiraos, WSJ) Good article, though Timiraos doesn’t address the absurd circularity perpetuated by FHA Chief David Stevens when Stevens says, on the one hand, that more gov’t lending protects the housing market from further declines, while simultaneously arguing that such lending isn’t sustainable. That said, Timiraos has worked lots of interesting stuff into this piece, especially towards the end. For instance, in late ’07 investors were refinancing at-risk borrowers into FHA loans in order to shift risk to taxpayers. Barney Frank defends permanently raising FHA maximum loans for certain geographies to $729k. Also lots of data about how badly FHA loans are performing.
In a regulatory filing this evening (see page 54), Time Warner announced that it bought back Google’s stake in AOL, for a 97% discount to what it paid in January 2000. If AOL stock gets floated at a similar valuation, it might be a good value play.