By Mike Dolan – Debt may be everywhere but there’s a scarcity of bonds.
JPMorgan estimates that the world’s central banks and commercial banks alone now hold some $24 trillion worth of bonds – or 55 percent of the entire $44 trillion universe of government, asset-backed and corporate bonds as captured by Barclays Multiverse Global Bond Index.
What’s more, this bond drought on the investment markets has added to growing concern about a shortage of high quality collateral – typically top-rated bonds – pledged and repledged within the financial system to raise cash. more> http://tinyurl.com/bd569f4
By James Saft – The yen has fallen by more than 20 percent since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who advocates aggressive monetary and fiscal policy, was elected in December, busting through the 100 yen to the dollar level last week.
But a look at the actual data shows Japanese companies, like British ones during a similar bout of currency weakness in 2008, appear to be more eager to use a newly competitive currency to pad profits through higher margins rather than higher export volumes.
“Japanese companies have not actually cut the foreign currency prices of their exports. Just as with the UK exporters, the Japanese have chosen to hold foreign prices constant, maintain market share, and increase the yen value and thus the yen profit associated with yen depreciation,” UBS economist Paul Donovan writes. more> ttp://tinyurl.com/ct2m38j
By Pedro Nicolaci da Costa – With the inflation rate about half of the Federal Reserve’s 2.0 percent target, the central bank is facing a major test and some experts wonder whether it will eventually need to ramp up its already aggressive bond buying program.
The Fed cut official interest rates effectively to zero in late 2008 during the financial crisis. Since then, it has bought more than $2.5 trillion in bonds to bolster an anemic economic recovery and speed up the decline in unemployment. more> http://tinyurl.com/brhem8s
By James Saft – U.S. corporate earnings appear as if reflected in a distorting fun-house mirror: profits are huge but revenues strangely shrunken.
Corporate profits have grown strongly, up 2.1 percent among S&P 500 companies reporting first-quarter earnings so far, with 70 percent exceeding analysts’ expectations. Revenues, however, are falling; down 0.6 percent compared to a year ago, marking the second quarter out of three that cash coming into corporate coffers has shrunk.
Understanding how this unsustainable state came to be and how long it might go on is the key to knowing not just what will happen with stock markets but perhaps with the economy itself. more> http://tinyurl.com/cx3oz6w