GBR Market Wrap: Can More Government Really Help?

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In this Week’s Issue: September 16, 2011

Weekly Snapshot

• A “rogue trader” in London racked up about $2 billion in trading losses for UBS (WSJ)
• The ECB is expected to pause monetary policy tightening until Q2 of 2012 (Economist)
• The Euro area annual inflation during August was stable at 2.5% (Eurostat)
• World’s leading central banks to provide unlimited dollar funding to EU’s banks (WSJ)
• Foreign investment into China remained strong in August, up 11.1% y/y (Economist)
• U.S. consumer sentiment index inched up to 57.8 in September from 55.7 in August (AP)
• U.S. current-account deficit decreased to $118bn or 3.1% of GDP in Q2 of 2011 (ESA)
• U.S. consumer price index for all urban consumers increased 0.4% in August (BLS)
• U.S. industrial production increased 0.2% in August versus 0.9% in July (Federal Reserve)
• U.S. retail sales in August unchanged from July and up 7.2% from one year ago (BLS)
• The Producer Price Index for finished goods was unchanged in August (BLS)
• China imports surged 30.2% in August from a year ago, following a 22.9% rise in July (WSJ)

Market Barometers

st-2011-0916fx-2011-0916

Weekly Chart

This week marked the third anniversary of Lehman Brothers’ bankruptcy filing. It was one of the largest implosions of financial institutions and became a catalyst for the 2008 financial crisis. Steven Davidoff of NY Times‘ Dealbook gives us a brief history lesson in a tale of two deals: the acquisition of Merril Lynch by Bank of America and the purchase of Lehman’s investment banking and capital markets operations by Barclays.

Which was the better deal?  The chart below suggests that shareholder value for Lehman was completely lost.  However, as Steven Davidoff suggests, “by buying Lehman out of bankruptcy, Barclays did not take on Lehman’s toxic assets. These consisted of more than $600 billion in debt. Barclays avoided liability for most of it.”

Too bad we can’t make those kinds of deals…

Lehman Bros Holdings Inc

Recommended Read

Please consider This $2bn mess has uncanny historical echoes, a succinct assessment of another rogue trading scandal. Despite supposedly tighter controls and vastly improved risk management models, UBS was yet another bank that has failed miserably in preventing an alleged rogue trader from potentially bringing down the Swiss bank. As Gillian Tett concludes, would someone please translate “déjà vu” into Swiss German?

Recommended Video

Please consider U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner’s interview with Jim Cramer. Lots of interesting suggestions by a competently speaking Mr. Geithner. However, as he points out the elephant in the room (i.e. the political dysfunction of governments), we must wonder how more government and more Dollars in the hands of dysfunctional governments can do the trick.

Click image to view video

Good luck and good investing!


Clemens Kownatzki, MBA is an adjunct professor of financial risk management at the Graziadio School of Business and Management, as well as the founder and CEO of FX Investment Strategies, a Registered Investment Advisor. In addition to running his investment advisory firm, he is a contributing author at SeekingAlpha.com and BusinessInsider.com. He also authored the book, Money Music 101, available on Amazon and Kindle, in addition to publishing the popular investment blog www.fxinvestmentstrategies.com along with a weekly newsletter.Disclaimer

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Author of the article
Clemens Kownatzki, MBA
Clemens Kownatzki, MBA
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