Click on the image to watch Rick Santelli and I discuss EURO/YEN and the European auto industry.
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as well as the latest reprinting of “The Rotten Heart of Europe” by Bernard Connolly.
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Click the image to watch me talk about Andrew Ross Sorkin’s piece on Glass-Steagall and where he gets it wrong.
Today the new President of the ECB, Mario Draghi, established himself as a true leader and moved to undo the damage of the über arrogant Jean Claude Trichet. The two rate increases in the last six months by the European bank were an overshoot of mammoth proportions as the peripherals were in the midst of a severe credit crisis and moving toward austerity budgets. Spain, which maybe in the worst condition of all–21.5% unemployment and a deflating housing market–was not in need of a EURIBOR increase as its mortgage rates float in reference to the bank rate. If Trichet did not understand the depths of the credit crisis then he should have never been the ECB president. It was always reported that the ECB decisions were unanimous, but today’s move by Draghi indicates that Mr. Trichet rode roughshod over the bank’s policy making for it was reported that it was a 25 basis point decision by unanimous consent.
As the sellers of snake oil and the creators of the corporate cult of personality take their “bows” for breaking the story about the European bailout that roiled the global equity markets, I had to step back and realize that the European Polity is not the U.S. While Geithner and others are held captive to the vagaries of the DOW JONES and S&P, it seems that the Europeans, and, especially the Germans, are not enthralled by markets going up and how many days of a winning streak exist. There are actually decision makers who are not captured by the price of Deutsche Bank or Siemens. In the U.S. it is only the stock market reactions that seem to dictate the decisions made in Washington. Some in Europe seem to want to effect policy for the longer term regardless the cost to certain financial entities. If forcing the issue on how large a hit private bondholders are to take means that markets dive … so be it.
The potential for a big market-moving story was in the works but the usually aggressive, boisterous Jim Cramer, in his interview with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, resembled a tea party at an American Girl store. It seems that when Cramer fears being audited he goes quiet. The questions about Europe were milquetoast, leading to ridiculous answers–”I am sure Europe will be there in three years.” It proved to be worthless and provided little clarification on the issues of “THE TWIST” and how the U.S. was going to act in concert with the Europeans to help resolve the effects of the severe credit crisis that is impinging global financial institutions and certainly European economic growth.
The FED released the minutes of the last FOMC meeting and there was very little that hadn’t already been revealed and digested by the market. In tonight’s reading, some in the media are trying to raise an issue that there is a rift between voting members. Readers of the NOTES will know the answer: There is no rift. Yes, between meetings there is a plethora of dissenting speeches but as the FOMC MINUTES are clear to record, the vote to stay the present course was unanimous. The thing that seems the most transitory to the FED is the lack of dissension when gathered at the same table. To paraphrase PUDD’NHEAD WILSON, WHEN ALL THE EGGHEADS ARE IN ONE ROOM, WATCH THE ROOM CLOSELY.