Emily has not yet left the room

She is near death, but her effort to wrench a last drop of beauty from life moved me deeply. I am grateful to Lulu for sharing it with me and I have permission to share it with you.

Here is a poem written in collaboration with my dear friend, Eileen Hunter, as I navigate this confusing time. It was originally titled “Small Blue Trucks.”

“Death Road”
Emily Meier

Smoke swirls across the wall,
One vase of roses becomes six
Bronze globes gild the dining room
The walls are pinball machines.
In the dining room, the kitchen, and a wall of the bedroom,
a pattern of blue and red.
In the living room they are a beauty
of blue and red circle balls.
On the living room walls they are a pattern
of New York News
travelling in black and white,
telling the city’s story.
Small blue trucks with white lights
merge into the scene, quiet and pale.
A mystery. I touch them.
I like the kittens. Eileen does too.

Morning Report – Settlements, Settlements 01/09/13

Vital Statistics:

 
  Last Change Percent
S&P Futures  1454.2 1.9 0.13%
Eurostoxx Index 2697.2 5.8 0.21%
Oil (WTI) 93.08 -0.1 -0.08%
LIBOR 0.305 0.000 0.00%
US Dollar Index (DXY) 80.53 0.180 0.22%
10 Year Govt Bond Yield 1.86% -0.01%  
RPX Composite Real Estate Index 192 -0.2  
Markets are firmer this morning after Alcoa kicked off earnings season with better than expected revenues. Mortgage applications rose 11.7% in the first week of Jan.  The Japanese yen continues its slide that started with the elections last month, which means the entire planet is now playing the currency devaluation game. Bonds and MBS are up small.
 
Looks like Jack Lew is the new nominee for Treasury Secretary.
 
Blackstone has been accelerating its rental strategy, buying $2.5 billion or 16,000 homes last year.  In the 4th quarter alone, they bought $1.5 billion worth on homes.  Their plan is to turn residential properties into a new  $1.5 trillion institutional asset class. J.P. Morgan estimates that the market could total 12 million homes and be double the institutional multi-fam market.  Blackstone is concentrating on the 9 hardest-hit cities – places like Phoenix and Miami.  Scalability will be the key determinant here. Still, it is an interesting idea, and is another reason why the rebound in house prices could be stronger than people are forecasting.  
 
Another settlement seems to be in the works – Goldman, HSBC, Ally, and Morgan Stanley are close to reaching a $1.5 billion settlement with the Feds for alleged servicing sins. For consumer activists and lawyers, these settlements are never enough.
 
Marketwatch is reporting that we will finally get the new QM rules this week. It is expected that implementation could take up to a year.  The ABA has said that “Banks are not likely to operate outside the legal guarantees offered by the qualified mortgage protections, meaning that the safe harbor rules will largely determine the scope of all future mortgage lending.”  The CFPB is expected to finalized rules on servicing, LO comp and appraisals by Jan 21.
 
Tony Crescenzi of PIMCO asserts there is no bubble in bonds. Between demographics and the Fed, he believes we will not see a collapse in the bond market. Needless to say, PIMCO has a habit of talking its book, so take what he says with a grain of salt. But he may in fact be correct that the baby boom’s investing habits will mirror the ones of the jazz age generation which lost everything in the Great Depression.  
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