We scour the best of publications that cover the markets & economy, the world of business & finance, asset & wealth management, monetary & fiscal policy, Europe & Asia, the news & politics, science & technology … and throw in a bit of arts & entertainment, just to keep it light. Here’s what we found particularly compelling in the last 24 hours:
Foreigners Sell Record $104.5 Billion Of Treasurys Held By The Fed In Past Week (Zero Hedge)
The great Herbalife astroturf war (Columbia Journalism Review)
Bill Gates: Half of Silicon Valley start-ups are silly (The Rolling Stone Interview)
Why Courts—Not Congress—Hold Keys to Fannie, Freddie Investors’ Fate (MoneyBeat – WSJ)
Is the PBOC driving up the euro? (FT Alphaville)
Soros: Europe faces 25 years of stagnation (Bloomberg/PragCap)
Vladimir Putin’s popularity at home is soaring, but it might not last (Quartz)
4 Ways Sequestration Cost Taxpayers Money (Brookings Institution)
Succinct Summation of Week’s Events (Big Picture)
Europe’s Fast Track To Youth Employment (Merritt/Project Syndicate)
US Using Oil to Fight Russian Gas Politics in Ukraine? (Oil Price)
Discouraged Workers: what do we know? (St. Louis Fed)
Want a job? Try the pot industry (CNNMoney)
Sticking the Landing: The Art of the Television Finale (New Yorker)
The charts below are courtesy of Tim Iancono, AlphaNow and Bloomberg.
Tim Iancono reports that the mood of the American consumer appears to be fading as a harsh winter gives way to spring, at least according to Friday’s reading on consumer sentiment from Reuters and the University of Michigan. In the first of two readings for March, the index fell from 81.6 in February to 79.9 this month, its lowest level in almost a year, save for the most recent episode of the government shooting itself in the foot again last fall via a partial shutdown.
AlphaNow reports that trends in labour force participation in the UK and in the US have diverged substantially in recent years. In the US, participation has fallen by four percentage points since 2000. By contrast, it has been on a rising trend in the UK since the mid-1990s. Our analysis of the drivers of participation in each country yields the following key points:
- Demographic factors – primarily the ageing of the baby boom generation – are evident in both countries, but they are larger in the US.
- The participation rate of those usually considered close to retirement has risen in both countries. Potential retirees are probably staying in the labour market in an attempt to boost their post-retirement income.
- In the past six years, the US has experienced the usual cyclical fall in participation among prime-age bands. The same is not true in the UK, which we attribute to the structural damage that has been inflicted on the UK economy by both the recession and the failure to resolve the banking crisis.
- The conclusion is that while falling participation is probably indicative of more slack in the US economy, there are few signs of any such slack in the UK. This means that the Fed will be under less pressure to raise rates than the Bank of England.
In a piece about the number of vanishing planes (since 1948), Bloomberg ran a few fascinating graphics: (one of which is below). Some 83 aircraft have been declared “missing” since 1948, according to data compiled by the Aviation Safety Network. The list includes planes capable of carrying more than 14 passengers and where no trace — bodies or debris — has ever been found.