While there is no shortage of challenges facing economies and societies today, they should not be allowed to obscure positive long-term trends. The best remedies for undue pessimism are practical: effective fact-based policymaking, shaped by scientific inquiry and social solidarity.
Hasenstab shares his thoughts on navigating today’s market challenges. He covers recent market volatility, inflationary threats in the United States, upcoming elections in Latin America, potential “fault lines” in Europe and credit risk in China.
Congress may finally be inching toward an overhaul of the US housing finance system. That’s good. But getting reform right is more important than getting it done. To us, that means ensuring the government retains a clearly defined role in the mortgage market.
The topic of housing finance reform has come in and out of focus on Capitol Hill since Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the government-sponsored enterprises, or GSEs) were taken into conservatorship back in 2008.
In the past month, two well-known and highly respected money managers have made confident assertions about the markets. Their comments would lead one to believe that the future path of the market in the coming months is known.
A Man for All Markets is an autobiographical account of the life and work of Ed Thorp, a brilliant, accomplished, but humble man who figured out how to win at blackjack and roulette and then ran a successful hedge fund.
The perceived economic prosperity of recent decades is largely the result of political expediency. Those in charge of monetary policy have repetitively failed to act in the best interests of the public in an effort to either avoid criticism or preserve their individual status. While often ignored, this dynamic is crucial to understand to form longer term expectations for asset prices.
There is an old saying on Wall Street that the markets climb a “Wall of Worry.” The past quarter and year certainly had several concerns, but the markets continued higher and finished the year at all-time highs.
David Enrich’s The Spider Network is an engaging chronicle of how employees of financial companies conspire to move LIBOR and its offshoots by small amounts for the sole purpose of benefiting derivatives traders who profited from the moves. The book implicitly raises a key question for the financial industry, indeed for the entirety of capitalism: Is there an ethical code that must be followed, apart from and beyond the requirements of the law; or is all that is necessary to be ethical merely to adhere to the law?
Investors seeking floating interest-rate exposure and high yields are increasingly turning to credit risk–transfer securities (CRTs), a fairly new type of mortgage-backed bond. But could US tax-code changes hurt the housing market and, by extension, CRTs? We don’t think so.