Posts by Aaron Task
- Aaron Task at Yahoo Finance8 days ago
U.S. Treasuries continue to benefit from the combination of rising geopolitical tension and fears of slowing global growth. At 2.54%, the yield on the 10-year Treasury hit their lowest level since Sept. 11 on Tuesday morning.
Nevertheless, the conventional wisdom on Wall Street is bond yields are set to rise as the Federal Reserve winds down its quantitative easing program next month and (presumably) starts to actually tighten policy next year. Goldman Sachs Asset Management predicts yields on the 10-year will rise to as high as 4% in the next 12 months, Bloomberg reports.
Of course, predictions of rising Treasury yields have been a mainstay of Wall Street forecasts in recent years and -- save for the "taper tantrum" last spring -- have proven greatly exaggerated. In short, the continued strength in U.S. Treasury prices (which move in opposition to yields) has been one of the most surprising developments in financial markets in recent years -- certainly in 2014.
- Aaron Task at Yahoo Finance9 days ago
More than 300,000 people marched through Manhattan Sunday, in an effort to bring attention to climate change, with companion efforts in 150 other countries. On Monday, a small subset of Sunday's participants marched on Wall Street to protest the financing of greenhouse gas-emitting industries.
The marches come ahead of a United Nations summit on climate change Tuesday, where President Obama is scheduled to speak. In addition, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon is hosting a meeting to discuss climate change with executives from companies such as Air France-KLM, Siemens, Royal Dutch Shell and McDonald’s, as well as former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, Bloomberg reports.
Ahead of the President's address, White House budget director Shaun Donovan on Friday said: "Climate denial will cost us billions of dollars."
- Aaron Task at Yahoo Finance20 days ago
As if the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks weren't enough,President Obama's address Wednesday evening was a stark reminder that the world is a dangerous place. The President's plan to "degrade and ultimately destroy" the extremist group Islamic State -- also known as ISIS and ISIL -- was notable because it called for expanding American airstrikes into Syria and will involve a coalition of regional and European allies, but not U.S. ground troops.
"I have made it clear that we will hunt down terrorists who threaten our country, wherever they are," the President said. "That means I will not hesitate to take action against ISIL in Syria, as well as Iraq. This is a core principle of my presidency: if you threaten America, you will find no safe haven."
- Aaron Task at Yahoo Finance21 days ago
Netflix, Reddit, Upworthy and hundreds of other websites are placing those annoying spinning-wheel icons on their home pages today -- you know, the ones you get when the Web is loading. But don't call your broadband provider or cable company. These sites are joining a online effort called Internet Slowdown Day designed to protest the FCC's plan to allow content provides to pay for faster lanes on the Internet.
Supporters of so-called net neutrality believe all data is created equal and should be uniformly accessible to users who have already paid for Internet access. "At Yahoo, we firmly believe that a free and open Internet is critical to ensure our users have unfettered access to content and tools that enhance their lives," reads a statement from Yahoo! Inc., our corporate parent and my employer.
Organizers of Internet Slowdown Day say the FCC's proposal will give unfair advantage to entrenched players and stifle innovative startups who presumably can't afford to pay for faster lanes. They also claim it will give cable companies too much control over the Web.
- Aaron Task at Yahoo Finance22 days ago
In the aftermath of the financial crisis, a heated debate emerged over how to regulate America's biggest banks. Four years after Dodd-Frank legislation passed Congress, it appears the banks' lobbying efforts have failed to stem a tide of oversight that's even tougher than global standards.
On Tuesday, Daniel Tarullo, the Fed governor who oversees regulatory policies is expected to announce new capital requirements for what the central bank calls global systemically important banks (GSIBs) that exceed the international standards set by the Basel accords. Specifically, the Fed will require America's biggest banks to hold as much as 2.5 percentage points more capital than the 8% to 9.5% of assets required by Basel III, effective in 2018.
Notably, this is in addition to the new liquidity requirements the Fed imposed last week and totally separate from the parade of fines and settlements the industry has reached with the DOJ and various state attorneys general. But they're all variations on a theme: An effort to ensure the American taxpayer (and the Federal Reserve) will never again be compelled to bail out the banks.
- Aaron Task at Yahoo Finance23 days ago
The Ben Bernanke victory tour rolls on.
According to a document filed Aug. 22 with the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, Bernanke said "September and October of 2008 was the worst financial crisis in global history, including the Great Depression."
Last week, NYT columnist Paul Krugman penned an ode to his former Princeton colleague. "And there but for the grace of Bernanke go we," Krugrman wrote, reflecting on Europe's economic morass.
- Aaron Task at Yahoo Finance26 days ago
"And there but for the grace of Bernanke go we."
That is Paul Krugman's reaction to the ECB's surprise moves this week to combat what the NY Times columnist and Nobel-winner calls the "deflationary vortex" gripping Europe.
An open question is whether the European Central Bank's announcement of rate cuts, charging banks for deposits and a new program to buy asset-backed securities is too little; pretty much everyone agrees it's too late. Saturday marks the 6th anniversary of the U.S. government's takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, a major milestone in the financial crisis that hit its apex with Lehman Brother's bankruptcy filing on Sept. 15, 2008.
- Aaron Task at Yahoo Finance1 mth ago
Don't call it a "trade war" but protectionist battles are cropping up with increased frequency, most notably with Russia and China.
"This is a war without bullets," says David Nelson, chief strategist at Belpointe Capital. "It's more than a skirmish...there's a wave of protectionism around the world."
Trade tensions with Russia are a fairly straightforward response to developments on the Ukraine border: The U.S. and its European allies launched a series of sanctions against Vladimir Putin's regime, which in turn slapped sanctions on America’s poultry industry. Other tit-for-tat sanctions may be in the offing: The Wall Street Journal reports that Boeing (BA) and United Technologies (UTX) are stockpiling titanium parts in case economic tensions between Russia and the West disrupt supplies.
- Aaron Task at Yahoo Finance1 mth ago
Minutes of the FOMC's July meeting released Wednesday revealed some Fed officials "viewed the actual and expected progress toward the Committee's goals as sufficient to call for a relatively prompt move toward reducing policy accommodation to avoid overshooting the Committee's unemployment and inflation objectives over the medium term."
Among other hawkish notes, the evident dissent within the Fed raises the stakes even higher for Fed Chair Janet Yellen's speech at Jackson Hole Friday.
But the minutes also declared that "credit conditions in residential mortgage markets generally remained tight." For this reason alone, Yellen should resist pressure to reduce the Fed's extraordinary accommodation, says Heidi Moore, U.S. Finance and Economics Editor for The Guardian. "We still have this problem where we don't have enough lending," Moore says. "Mortgage lending is incredibly tight. It's not moving. Banks are incredibly stingy."