Thursday, October 30, 2014

Where are we?

Moral: Wherein we weigh in with a reminder that the story of Main Street's lingering effects from having to change the diapers of the gamesters (yes, the ilk of Wall, etc.) still needs to be told.

So, one chapter closed with the meeting of the Fed. According to the WSJ headline: benefit of bond-buying experiment remains unclear as central bank's focus returns to interest rates.

The graphic of the Fed's balancing act is a nice touch as it splits out their holdings by type. Note the amount of mortgage-backed securities. Some of these were from the toxic era. What would closer analysis show? All sorts of economic positions are being argued now.

One fact is clear. Yellen is focal and expected to remain as such. After that, all things are fuzzy. But, let me make two comments here that are very much apropos.
  • The downturn, if you remember, was caused by financial gaming, especially that of the financial engineering type. What has changed there? Banking froze as none of the players knew who they could trust. Has that changed (as in, with the spiked punch bowl, who of that crowd cared?)? Has the coddling quit entirely? No, of course, not. Savers are not part of the equation. In fact, it's the opposite. The thrust is to load people up with debt (ah, dire straits to be expected when the rates do arise - like the burden the US will face with its debt). For the poor, it's an abyss of no end. For the smarties? You see, they are still leveraging with cheap (Yellen's) money. The ca-pital-sino soars, however the reality of most not getting money from that is ignored. What that means is not related to those who chose to not be in the casino. That most are losers, by definition - can be explained, is hard to see when you get the Zucks (and others) rolling in the dough. At some point, perhaps, we can describe this a little better (where is that pivotal point?) such that those who are now lost in the mania (of the media) can see these things from a more reasonable stance. 
  • Prior to the downturn, and to the present, the blogger has had a mortgage that was taken on only after the banker assured the borrower that they, the bankers, were not selling their mortgages. Now, the same banking company still handles the payments, and such. Except, the downturn time saw the banker (meaning the company, of course, with the head guy's face as the representative icon) buy into a high-flyer (who crashed). The banker thought that they were getting a deal (and were very much surprised). So, what that means is that the bought company is the new mortgage department. I'm watching to see how this impacts things, as I can get out at any time. Too, the banker has received oodles of interest payments during this time (hey, someone has to bear the brunt - and, we pay taxes, too -- will expound, ad infinitum, about this to those who might want to learn about the real economy - meaning sustainable). Yes, the mortgage was 30-year, fixed rate. No complaint, but for this. Has there been any thank you from the banker? Sheesh, no. The banker has been paying fines (related to their, supposed, wind-fall) and licking their wounds. Oh, what a tale to tell (will be told, along with the tale of being thrown out of a bank for having the gall to point out a process that was bordering on illegal -- the Fed's response? oh, banking customer, you sue them - we see the merit of your claim but do not care). ... On the other side of the coin, the Fed then pushed obligations (interest paid, rather than fat skimmed) of bankers for their customers to near zero (aside, when I talk near-zero, it has to do with the fact of the ca-pital-sino not being zero-sum (which, then, allows those pushing it to talk as if they're saintly), but it is close (when one does the proper accounting - as in, not buy into the spiked-punch-bowl-colored  world view). ... 
Stopping now. The tales, to be told, are not, as of yet, touched any more than barely. How many more points to cover? Well, consider this. The view? Economics trained, econometrics focused, computer modeled facilitated, essentially scientifically predisposed, intuitively oriented (as necessary), and more. ... The whole caboodle needs a look (is time infinite?). 

Remarks:  Modified: 10/30/2014

10/30/2014 -- Pause would have a great influence on our models. Now, how to do this? For one, let's get back to the sandbox necessity

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Weighing in

Moral: Wherein we stop to weigh in. At least, we got the memes right.

The context? We're now six days in to a string of losses in the U.S. markets. So, while things were going down from 17k to 15k (quick bounce) and back to 16k (lower realm), we had to wonder how long it would take for the coo-coo, goo-goo to start.

Well, it was later than expected. You see, the opinions of the blogger about the ca-pital-sino firm up on the downturns. Why? That is the time of the profit-takers.

Who pays for the upswing? Again, forget the cheshire multiple aspect. We know that some of this is from the hapless being pulled in by the media and other market sellers. Too, though, some type of pump priming goes on.

How to get to the bottom of this? Well, there is a lot of work to do.


For now, let's just enjoy a take from Financial Times. They're talking "After QE." Then, they use stabilizers as the next thing needing to go to have a "real" market. As in, not one partying like mad as the Fed keeps spiking the bowl.

You see, too, the financials need (more than they admit) the government support. How is this different than the lowly ones being dependent upon government assistance?

The problem? These financial types rake in the dough as there is mis-allocation of capital (from the pockets of the hapless to that of the fat cats) on these upswings. And, their pockets bulge when there is the downturn (actually, their selling causes the downturn - profit taking, big time - we need to get back to the buyer-seller thing).


Wait, today, too, we get the golden sacks head talking up the Fed. Sure, asking big daddy (or is it sugar mommy?) for continued handouts. How is that different from what we see of panhandling? Tell me, please.

Remarks:  Modified: 10/21/2014

10/16/2014 -- Sandbox in the players. Let the plumbers handle the systemic issues. 

10/17/2014 -- So, the St. Louis Fed guy talks coo-coo, and the markets soar today. One has to wonder whether we're seeing more suckers come to the table or if this is from a serious priming the pump attempt. In the case of the former, eventually, the sucker set will diminish to be of no help. The latter? Needs more study.

10/21/2014 -- Fed talking to Banks about their culture.

Monday, October 6, 2014

2010 to 2013

Moral: Wherein we weigh in, rationally.

Federal Reserve Bulletin, September 2014 (Vol 100, No 4 - pdf) has some juicy tales to tell. We'll just look at one and give our explanation. This Fed report looks at results from the triennial Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF) and provides us with their interpretation.

Nice. In fact, one section mentions "saving" (which is not a foreign concept - have we, perhaps too much, stressed the maltreatment of those who save? Not!). See Box 4 which looks at "Saving Behavior" and shows what we would expect. The more one makes, the more one can save. The less one makes, the less the savings.

Moral-oid: The less one makes, the more important savings are; too, playing the ca-pital-sino with one's hard won savings is not rational at many levels of these levels of income.


There will be plenty to talk about in this report. First, though, let's remember that the 2010 SCF showed declines from 2007 for most. We will have to go back to look at that. And, we will relate what we see, to boot, to our start (August, 2009).

I pulled Table 2 out (see image) from the report. Now, some things strike me immediately (if it is not apparent, my interpretation will differ from that of the Fed Res -- and, my viewpoint is well-founded in both theory and practice and experience).

Please, look at the second grouping ("Age of head (years)"). Then, consider the age groupings. For one, "75 or more" represents the class of those who have been "flayed" by the policies of late. These are those who cannot use the ca-pital-sino, except in a limited sense, in a reasonable fashion (look, the majority of those in financial services/consulting - advisors? - need a lesson in "near zero" as part of their training). Many of this group who did try the ca-pital-sino lost and could not recover.

So, "75 or more" had losses from 2010 to 2013. Guess what? That is on top of what they had already lost from 2007 to 2010. If you look at the Fed's actions in supporting the fat cats, you ought to see that they need to understand the need for "stable" means to manage one's "wealth" (lots to talk about there, too). And, "stable" would cover much more than those age-sensitive strategies that we see touted so much.

But, notice, too, that the age groups of "45-54" and "55-64" also lost. An in-between group gained. Methinks that these are those who could delay their retirement (the inflated 401k types - virtual money, except many of these (early takers) will be able to get their little bit of gain - most will not).


Enough for now. The report is worth a read or two (see above link). I am thankful that the Fed does this type of analysis on a regular basis.

Remarks:  Modified: 10/06/2014

10/06/2014 -- Banks proved themselves untrustworthy in this last downturn. Of course, they were bailed out; but, many who felt the ramifications of their misdeeds (said to be stupidity therefore not illegal - but, immoral?) were never compensated. Consider please. With the troubles of the cloud, and bankers, like Chase, being hacked, are we not in a worse situation than 2007 (thereabouts)? There is still much to discuss about computability (and beliefs thereof).