Bits & Pieces (Wednesday Night Open Mic)

And this is probably my last one, until next Monday.

If you’re a fan of the original Fellowship of the Ring, you might want to check out Drew McWeeny’s liveblog of his watching of the Blu-Ray extended-edition of same. I often disagree with Mr. McWeeny, but in this case I think he’s got it exactly right. Love that movie. Love them all, and look forward to getting the extended editions on Blu-Ray in the not-too-distant future.

Also, the latest production video from The Hobbit—in this case covering the huge production that is location shooting on such an elaborate film—is up. Can’t. Wait.

***

Honesty in advertising:

From the Very Depressing Children’s Books category:
Here’s a lawsuit waiting to happen:
I didn’t think you could really improve on water. I never considered adding H2O to the mix!
This is why considering the surrounding environment is so important when choosing a retail location.
What’s lurks in the hearts of men (and women)? The shadow knows.
That’s it for tonight. Happy New Years, everybody!

— KW

Morning Report

Vital Statistics:

Last Change Percent
S&P Futures 1263.3 3.1 0.25%
Eurostoxx Index 2294.1 3.790 0.17%
Oil (WTI) 100.9 -0.440 -0.43%
LIBOR 0.5793 0.004 0.61%
US Dollar Index (DXY) 79.741 -0.095 -0.12%
10 Year Govt Bond Yield 2.00% -0.01%

Another low-volume day is on tap with no economic data. Tomorrow, we have initial jobless claims, and if they are good, that may be the excuse portfolio managers use to do a little window dressing on the second-to-last trading day of the year. Separately, Italy had a good bond auction, selling 9 billion euros of debt. Bid to cover was 1.7, and the 10 year yield dropped 14 basis points.

Is the US going to bail out Europe? A commentary piece in this morning’s WSJ suggests we already are. We are lending to the ECB through currency swaps, which aren’t technically loans. The ECB then lends dollars to the sick banks of Europe.

Money quote from the article: “This Byzantine financial arrangement could hardly be better designed to confuse observers, and it has largely succeeded on this side of the Atlantic, where press coverage has been light. Reporting in Europe is on the mark. On Dec. 21 the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung noted on its website that European banks took three-month credits worth $33 billion, which was financed by a swap between the ECB and the Fed. When it first came out in 2009 that the Greek government was much more heavily indebted than previously known, currency swaps reportedly arranged by Goldman Sachs were one subterfuge employed to hide its debts.

When is the next Humphrey-Hawkins anyway?

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