Diary of a Financier

Top Newsstuffs (October 29-November 4)

In Bookshelf on Sun 4 Nov 2012 at 06:42

Brewed by a patriot…

Employment statistic forensics: The geriatric rise & our aging work force | ZeroHedge
Since the recession officially ended, the 55-69 year old (middle aged) demographic has accounted for the lion’s share of additions in US labor force participation and employment growth of +3.8M jobs. Meanwhile, 16-19 year olds (youths) and 25-54 year olds (prime) have lost -1.3M positions.Mastery: 27 tips for mastering anything | Robert Greene
This book analyzes biographies, interviews contemporaries & employs psychological studies, then offers 27 steps to achieve mastery.
“Humans are hardwired to succeed and overcome, and with discipline and a number of concrete steps, anybody has the potential to become great.”Rail Traffic Weekly: Growth steady, but more commodity groups turn negative | Association of American Railroads (AAR)
Carloads -2.9% and Intermodal +3.7 (cumulative ytd volume); -7.0 and +3.9 respectively (vs. this week last year).
9 of 20 carload groups posted gains: Farm products +72, petroleum products +65.7 & lumber +17.8; iron/steel scrap -32.8, grain -19 & coal -15.2.
[Decline in carloads continues & the gap between “haves” and “have nots” continues to widen. I’m watching for a continued increase in petroleum traffic, as a lot of railroads may be jumping at the opportunity to allay US energy/fossil fuel distribution woes.]

ECB’s Marginal Lending Facility usage soars | ZeroHedge
On October 31, European banks’ borrowing from the ECB’s “last resort” discount window surged €7B to €7.8B outstanding; the ECB charges a usurious 1.50% for the emergency overnight funds.
[A month-end spike in borrowing is commonplace windowdressing, but this magnitude says something’s amiss.]

Global Purchasing Managers Index (October 2012): Rising from summer trough | Business Insider
Global PMI rose from its summer trough: China returned to expansion; Japan surprised on the downside with a big miss & dip deeper into contraction; US held pretty steady m/m.

Elliott Management v. Argentina (Round 2) | ZeroHedge
Just before the $100B Argentinian bankruptcy in 2001, PM Paul Singer loaded up on the sovereign’s distressed debt. A number of bondholders were coerced to opt-into an exchange for new bonds worth 25-29 cents, but Elliott spearheaded a minority class to holdout and receive par.
They’re still fighting Argentina in US & UK courts, and even despite a recent, favorable verdict by a US circuit court on pari passu clauses, there’s no international mechanism for peaceful enforcement of legal rulings. Elliott plans on suing intermediary banks for aiding & abetting (i.e. paying restructured bondholders without paying holdouts per pari passu). In the meantime, the hedge fund has seized Argentinian property (like Navy vessel ARA Libertad) in friendly jurisdictions, knowing that the sovereign can’t turn to the legal system that it’s been defying to reclaim the appropriated assets.
[Interesting, because I always thought regulators would peacefully enforce such judicial rulings by sanctioning indictees and cutting them off from banking/trade a la Iran.]

IBM reports nanotube chip breakthrough | Bits
IBM scientists have discovered new microprocessor chip technology that uses tiny particles called nanotubes instead of silicone, which will allow the digital switches at the heart computer microchips to continue getting smaller for another decade to come.

Fibonacci Hurricane Sandy | Vic LeFaber
The superstorm’s swirl fits neatly into a Fibonacci spiral, which sequence is centered at the storm’s eye.

Chart: US fixed income asset classes by the numbers | Sober Look
Compares fixed income by marketshare & yield (YTM) adjusted to incorporate historical default losses (recovery rates). QE has forced investors into the highest adjusted yields: non-Agency MBS & High Yield.

Sovereign time bomb: Japan ticking toward default | Sean Corrigan (Diapason)
The Japanese have been able to finance 30 years & 8 QEs worth of economic stagnation (lost decades) thanks to both demographics that favor savings (deposits/bonds) & trade surpluses. Both have now evaporated, as “Japan may become the straw that broke the Keynesian camel’s back.”


  1. […] that, yet we also know that the jobs added since the crisis have gone to older generations at the expense of younger. Thus, the aging baby boom isn’t reshaping the labor force in the way you’d expect; […]

  2. […] inflation and the Argentinian sovereign government’s battles with legacy defaults (see: Paul Singer/Elliott Management).  Although nobody can game the outcome of those circumstances–rather binary events without […]


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