Libor Stiffens, Overnight Markets Weaken, Greenspan to Speak
- Oct 23, 2008
Is that canary getting choked up in the coal mine again? Sure Mr. Market tanked yesterday, but wipe those tears away and check the Libor. The three-month Libor is holding at 3.54 percent, says the British Bankers’ Association. And the overnight rate drifted up 9 basis point to 1.21 point, the first upward move in 10 days, reports Bloomberg News.Overnight and early so far, third day is a charm–if you are shorting the world. European stocks are drifting downward: The FTSE is negative about 2.4 percent and the DAX about 4 percent. In Asia, the Nikkei was down 2.5 percent; the Hang Seng dropped close to 3.6 percent. U.S. futures are showing a Dow below 8500 at the open, but are wavering. The dollar stiffened up a bit, to a two-year high, vs. both the euro and a basket of other currencies overnight, as growing people look to cut exposure to recession fears jacked up by yesterday’s spectacular pension-funds nationalization in Argentina and new fears that other emerging markets may sour, according to news reports. Belarus applied for a $2 billion IMF loan, Interfax has reported. Other IMF-bailout seekers include Hungary and the Ukraine.What’s the opposite of housing starts? Housing stops? U.S. foreclosure filings jumped 71 percent in Q3, says RealtyTrac, according to Bloomberg News. Speaking of stops, more blood-letting in the financial industry. Goldman Sachs is cutting 10 percent of its 32,000 workforce. That puts job-cuts in the industry at about 125,000 for the year, reports the news agency.Today’s events at the D.C. center rings include an appearance by the Maestro, Alan Greenspan, before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and Neel Kashkari, interim czar of the $700 billion bailout before the Senate Banking Committee. Greenspan will be questioned about derivatives, which he favored, some say, tragically. Kashkari will be asked to explain why the bailout, initially to buy toxic mortgage-backed paper, shifted to investing in banks—especially now that banks have started to say they intend to hoard the taxpayers’ dough rather than lending it out, as the government has urged.The bailout biz will be interesting enough. But the real question: Let’s see if Greenspan-speak can calm the markets as it did during his almost 19-year reign, perchance, of error?But for us, tucked safely into our secure location surrounded by platinum and gold bars, the quip today’s stars must equal or beat comes from the IM disclosed during yesterday’s House Oversight Committee roasting of the ratings agencies, courtesy CNBC, from an unnamed Standard & Poor’s official about a 2007 MBS deal, “We rate every deal. It could be structured by cows and we would rate it.” Ok, so the raters didn’t put lipstick on pigs, only cows. Still, why exactly are they left unnamed–at least by CNBC and other reports? A movie star catches a DUI, it’s all over the news. Of course, drunk driving is dangerous, someone might get hurt—not like rating bad paper good. That hurts no one, right?