Morning Report: Yellen calms the markets 2/10/16

Stocks are higher this morning based on prepared testimony for Janet Yellen’s appearance before Congress. Bonds and MBS are down small.

Keep in mind that the Chinese stock market is closed all week in observance of the Chinese New Year, so the biggest catalyst for downside movement in the markets will be absent this week.

Janet Yellen is traveling to the Hill for her Humphrey Hawkins testimony. In her prepared remarks she did spend some time talking about the turmoil in the financial markets and that acknowledgement was soothing enough to stocks to give them a boost. Overall, however the message is that the US economy is improving, and rate are going up gradually. The rest of the testimony will probably be a bunch of ideological questions from various congresscritters trying to get the Chairman of the Fed to agree with their ideological worldview.

Goldman is forecasting 3 rate hikes in 2016. Given the overall weakness in the global economy and the rush to negative interest rates globally, it may not affect long-term interest rates in the US (or mortgage rates for that matter).

Blackrock is forecasting that US growth has probably peaked for the near term as more and more central banks enter the negative interest rate vortex. I wonder what our grandkids will think about today’s PhD standard. If it ends up not working, do we go back to the gold standard?

In New Hampshire, Bernie Sanders won the Democratic primary vote, and Donald Trump won the Republican primary vote. John Kasich had a surprisingly strong showing.

Mortgage Applications rose 9.3% last week as purchases were up 0.2% and refis were up 15.8%. The refi index has had a nice run since rates started collapsing, but we are nowhere where we used to be compared to 2013.

Competition in the jumbo market is fierce, and the typical rate for a jumbo is now 15 basis points below a conforming mortgage. Historically, jumbos have cost an extra 25 basis points to the borrower.

Do you think your underwriters are approving too many shaky loans? Move them to Seattle. Are they too conservative? Move them to San Diego.

52 Responses

  1. I guess the Fed has to raise rates so they have something to lower when the recession hits.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is more than that… They can’t say it, but they are worried about bubbles in the credit markets… Auto subprime is but one example…

      Like

  2. Reading the full fledged Ezra Klein & Digby meltdowns over Trump’s NH win, I’m tempted to adopt the Pulp Fiction logic of rooting for a Trump presidency:

    “Vincent: Boy, I wish I could’ve caught him doing it. I’d have given anything to catch that asshole doing it. It’d been worth him doing it just so I could’ve caught him doing it.”

    http://m.imdb.com/title/tt0110912/quotes?qt=qt0447191

    It would almost be worth enduring a Trump Presidency just to watch the PL & general progressive meltdown over it.

    Pieces in question:

    “The rise of Donald Trump is a terrifying moment in American politics
    Updated by Ezra Klein on February 10, 2016, 12:22 a.m. ET ”

    http://www.vox.com/2016/2/10/10956978/donald-trump-terrifying

    “The GOP primary is officially a horror film: Welcome to a world where Trump & Cruz are the last men standing
    Trump won in dominant fashion and Cruz met expectations as Rubio fell completely apart. This is scary stuff
    Heather Digby Parton
    Wednesday, Feb 10, 2016 08:01 AM EST”

    http://www.salon.com/2016/02/10/the_gop_primary_is_officially_a_horror_film_welcome_to_a_world_where_trump_cruz_are_the_last_men_standing/

    Liked by 1 person

    • The rise of Donald Trump is a terrifying moment in American politics

      Trump got 35% of the R vote in NH. Bernie Sanders got 60% of the D vote. In this context, talking about the “terrifying” rise of Trump is like reviewing the movie Predator and talking about the “terrifying” scene with the scorpion.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s terrifying to folks like Ezra, who are liberal, inclusive, contemplative intellectuals who adore the political establishment of DC and all it’s cronyism, though especially the Democrats. Though, if the Democrats had to be shaken up, someone taking them further left is not so bad (just so long as he doesn’t screw up the election for them).

        I think it’s silly. It’s terrifying that an unqualified guy, from the outside of the establishment, who says blustery, Huey-Long style things and may be more interested in winning than governing might become president? No, it’s just interesting. It will not be the end of the world, and how is it that so many political pundits and fans seem to forget that presidents are not kings? Trump or Sanders will be facing a hostile congress to some degree. And both presidencies, while different, will probably not being exceptionally “terrifying” in the pedantic meaning of the word.

        Like

        • KW:

          Though, if the Democrats had to be shaken up, someone taking them further left is not so bad

          Not bad for who? Having one of the two major political parties in the nation moving even further left than it already is would be a pretty bad sign for the nation.

          …how is it that so many political pundits and fans seem to forget that presidents are not kings?

          In part, perhaps, because increasingly presidents behave like kings. And also because that is what a lot of them actually want.

          Like

        • BTW…for a brief moment I saw new “like” and “not like” buttons on the dashboard for comments. They seem to have disappeared, though. Is someone messing with the setup or is wordpress experimenting?

          Like

        • @scottc1: “In part, perhaps, because increasingly presidents behave like kings. And also because that is what a lot of them actually want.”

          Of course it is. Our political process is evidence that the Alexander Hamilton’s have won the argument. We have a Hamiltonian rather than Jeffersonian nation.

          “Not bad for who? Having one of the two major political parties in the nation moving even further left than it already is would be a pretty bad sign for the nation.”

          Don’t think it’s bad for anybody, as even if Sanders won the election, he’d get nowhere and midterms would be a Republican landslide.

          Like

        • KW:

          Don’t think it’s bad for anybody, as even if Sanders won the election, he’d get nowhere and midterms would be a Republican landslide.

          The assumption wasn’t that Sanders won, but simply that the D party had moved further to the left. Having a D party that promises even more people even more benefits at someone else’s cost than it already does would be a pretty bad development in my view. As experience tells us, that message doesn’t exactly lack appeal.

          Besides, given the D’s penchant for imposing policy via the courts and the federal bureaucracy rather than legislatures, the huge Republican majorities that you’d expect are becoming a lot less relevant even if they do happen to transpire.

          Like

        • @scottc1: True enough, but I don’t see us avoiding that. It’s not like the Democrats are any less left than they are because out of ideological commitment, only their suspicion that if they were outwardly as left as they are inwardly, they couldn’t win elections.

          Like

    • It’s my favorite thing about Trump. And would be the very best thing ever about the Trump presidency, which I kind of hope happens.

      Like

      • Minnesota survived Jesse Ventura. California surved Arnold (though he morphed into a relatively conventional governor). The U.S. would survive Trump in that there are sufficient constraints on any president’s actions.

        BB

        Like

    • Ezra Klein complaining about a Republican with a zero-sum view of the world is rich indeed.

      Like

      • Brent:

        Ezra Klein complaining about a Republican with a zero-sum view of the world is rich indeed.

        When I read that line from his piece I thought he could be talking about virtually any Democrat.

        Like

  3. Don’t worry. Clinton is only struggling because the media want a good story. that’s all. also, Americans are morons. It just can’t be her!

    Like

    • Yes, the media-spun horse-race aspect of this is important but it might just be that she’s not very good at this thing. Losing to an exotic charismatic up-and-comer like Obama can be written off as bad luck or timing. To be behind an old bald grouchy Jewish white guy is just inexcusable. A year ago Sanders was a trivia answer and now he is the frontrunner. I wouldn’t write her off yet but she needs a firebreak before the Sanders bandwagon gets unstoppable from people jumping on it.

      Like

      • you can say that. i’m just a bagger and a hater.

        Like

      • Her surrogates are on it. If they couldn’t shame women into voting for her because she’s a woman, then they’ll point out that Jews who support Sanders over her are being bad Jews because of their differences on supporting Israel.

        That will work great with the Democratic primary electorate.

        Like

  4. Last I checked, no one had died in Flint due to the water.

    “Will the Flint Water Crisis Really Result in Manslaughter Charges?”

    http://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/news/a42022/flint-water-crisis/

    Like

    • It’s a reference to 10 people having died of Legionnaire’s disease. A direct link has not yet been proven, but it’s hardly out of the realm of possibility.

      BB

      Like

  5. It’s time to accept it: Vox is the voice of the millennial generation and everything that’s wrong with how Vox writes is directly tied to the millennial thought process and attention span:

    “Let’s talk about the “duck curve,” shall we? Everyone who cares about solar energy should know about the duck curve. Plus, it’s fun to say. Duck curve. Duck curve.”

    http://www.vox.com/2016/2/10/10960848/solar-energy-duck-curve

    Like

    • The funny thing about these Millennials is that they don’t realize how Bernie will fuck with their worlds. Guys like me, in their 50s are the ones creating the value that allows people to to get paid. Not entry-level trainees with degrees in some liberal arts degree. Not the over-the-hill boomers who can’t figure out today’s technology. People in their mid 30s to mid 50s. If Bernie wins, I will become un-fireable and if you cap my upside with taxes, well guess what? I am about to discover “work – life balance.” Fuck getting on a plane every other week. Fuck working late. I’m not doing it for zero upside. And when profitability falls (which it will), the government will look to a VAT to make up the difference for all these special programs.

      Hey junior, how are you going to like paying an extra 15% for your xbox, clothes, gasoline, etc when you are unable to get on the first rung of the corporate ladders? You got your student loans forgiven, but you still don’t have a job.

      And to those that say “Oh, I will just invent the next Facebook” ask yourself where all those great startup tech companies are in Paris, Berlin or Oslo?

      The right has done a shitty job of pushing back against these pimple-faced numbnuts with their Facebook memes full of lies.. Some education is in order.

      Like

  6. Apropos of nothing at all, something that has become a pet peave of mine: Why do candidates always announce that they are “suspending” their campaigns? It isn’t suspended. It is just plain ended.

    McCain “suspended” his campaign during the financial crisis in 2008. But Christie hasn’t “suspended” his campaign today. He’s ended it.

    Like

    • My bet is that it has something to do with fundraising rules and dispensation of campaign funds. It’s also a little bit of face-saving rhetoric that isn’t fooling anyone.

      Like

      • Exactly, YJ. Fundraising continues to pay off debt for the “suspended” candidate.

        Like

      • yello/Mark:

        My bet is that it has something to do with fundraising rules and dispensation of campaign funds.

        Thanks…that makes sense. I will be less peeved now.

        Like

  7. And we may have a fall guy:

    “Top Clinton adviser sent ‘top secret’ messages to her private account

    Jake Sullivan both initiated email conversations and forwarded along messages with sensitive information, sources say.

    By Rachael Bade

    02/10/16 04:00 PM EST
    Updated 02/10/16 05:04 PM EST”

    http://www.politico.com/story/2016/02/hillary-clinton-email-jake-sullivan-secret-219013

    Like

  8. I’d give my left nut if people would say and believe this about me.

    Like

    • McWing:

      The more they say this kind of stuff, the more I want to vote for him.

      Like

      • exactly.. i want to see the left go apoplectic…

        Like

        • We’re all spite voters.

          Like

        • I think Trump represents the pure spite voter better than Cruz. But, yeah, the more the left goes insane over the right, the more I want to show up and vote just to be voting against them. Personality wise, I like Sanders (don’t think I could vote for him, but I like him). I don’t like Cruz. It’s the people who support Sanders and Hillary that really making me want to vote for a Republican, rather than any of the Republicans, none of whom impress me much, personally.

          Like

        • Ron Paul was supposed to get all the angry rock-throwing libertarian conservatives but instead Trump siphoned them off because they were less dedicated libertarians than they were just angry “South Park” fans.

          That’s because the very last thing Paul-brand libertarianism’s fleeting popularity was ever about was Ron or Rand Paul’s professed libertarian ideas. No, all along, the vein Ron and Rand Paul tapped into wasn’t rational libertarianism or principled dissatisfaction with the Republican Party, but mere sour, snide, irreligious contemptuousness: the practiced, unearned misanthropy and disaffection posed as a coherent outlook by the internet’s slightly-smarter-than-average suburban teens. Donald Trump just packages it better and more honestly, as the frontrunning it always has been.

          http://theconcourse.deadspin.com/rand-paul-was-always-bullshit-1758264900

          Like

        • Do you believe this?

          Like

        • I believe the libertarian wing in the Republican party is much smaller than Rand Paul and others would want to believe. As for the source of Trump’s support, gallons of ink get spilled on that topic every day.

          Like

        • yello:

          I believe the libertarian wing in the Republican party is much smaller than Rand Paul and others would want to believe.

          I think you are correct. The number of libertarians is much smaller than the number of people who take a “libertarian” position on this or that issue. Libertarianism is not really about which position you hold on any given issue, but rather how you get to that position. Wanting pot to be legal doesn’t necessarily make you a libertarian. You might just be a pothead.

          Like

        • No, all along, the vein Ron and Rand Paul tapped into wasn’t rational libertarianism or principled dissatisfaction with the Republican Party, but mere sour, snide, irreligious contemptuousness

          Liberals?

          Like

        • I agree with Kev, regarding Trump as the thumb your nose candidate.

          Cruz has often been the smartest lawyer in the room. But he has never played well with others and his stance that he is a Christian first and an American second is probably uncomfortable for everyone here. Nothing about Cruz would invite a spite vote. He represents either a very conservative vote or a Christian conservative vote. Getting Scott, and other non-religious conservatives, to overlook Cruz’s more exclusive “Christian” views in favor of his announced “originalism” has been Cruz’s greatest achievement, politically.

          Trump, on the other hand, is Trump. Your primal billionaire nose thumber. Its like Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless, or Rush Limbaugh, were running for President. No boundaries. No taste. Jokes at the expense of everyone else. Bombast. Self-promotion cleverly run in a continuous loop. Don’t have to look for clues with Trump. But you have no clue as to what he would actually do were he elected. Thus he is anything you might imagine him to be, like the early days with your first romance.

          I think he could win the nomination and maybe the general election. I don’t think that either is a good idea.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Mark:

          Getting Scott, and other non-religious conservatives, to overlook Cruz’s more exclusive “Christian” views…

          If you mean his exclusive Christian political views, I am curious what those are.

          Like

        • “If the body of Christ arises, if Christians simply show up and vote biblical values, we can restore our nation.”

          “If our nation’s leaders are elected by unbelievers, is it any wonder that they do not reflect our values?”

          “If you don’t begin every day on your knees asking God for His wisdom and support, I don’t believe you’re fit to do this job.”

          “We’re just steps away from the chisels at Arlington coming out to remove crosses and Stars of David from tombstones.”

          These are dissimilar to your beliefs, Scott. I suspect you have no reason to think that a person who does not begin his day on his knees in prayer to Christ or anyone else is unfit to be POTUS.

          Like

        • Mark:

          I suspect you have no reason to think that a person who does not begin his day on his knees in prayer to Christ or anyone else is unfit to be POTUS.

          You are correct, I don’t think that. But I am not at all bothered by someone who does begin his day that way. Nor am I bothered by someone who prefers a government populated with those who share his own values. Don’t we all prefer that? (I, for one, think that only small government conservatives/libertarians are fit to hold government positions.)

          I would be bothered if Cruz (or anyone) was proposing some kind of policy initiative that targeted (for good or ill) people of a specific religion in a legal way. But if he is proposing generic policies that I think are sensible, I’m not sure why I (or anyone) would be bothered by, or would need to “overlook”, the fact that his policy preferences might be informed by his religious values.

          Like

        • Question:

          If it makes sense for secularists/atheists to be concerned about or object to politicians that openly embrace Christianity, why wouldn’t it make sense for Christians to be concerned about or object to politicians that openly embrace secularism/atheism?

          Like

    • “Ted Cruz Has ‘Darkness’ in Him, ‘Operates Below the Level of Human Life’ ”

      So he’s the anti-lightbringer.

      http://www.sfgate.com/entertainment/morford/article/Is-Obama-an-enlightened-being-Spiritual-wise-2544395.php

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Chelsea Clinton: “I was raised in a Methodist church and I left the Baptist church before my dad did, because I didn’t know why they were talking to me about abortion when I was 6 in Sunday school — that’s a true story,”

    True, I suspect, in the same way that it is true her mother was named after Sir Edmund Hillary 6 years before Sir Edmund actually climbed Everest.

    Chelsea, it seems, is a Clinton through and through.

    http://pagesix.com/2016/02/09/chelsea-clinton-is-tired-of-people-questioning-her-familys-faith/

    Like

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