Thoughts From Joe - February 8, 2013February 08, 2013 Posted by: Joe Morgan, CFA
Top EightFCC Proposes Plan for free Wi-Fi for all. The Federal Communications Commission will include free telephone and internet service across the U.S. triggering fierce backlash from the wireless industry. The wireless industry is a $178 billion business. Does anyone really believe the government could do this for free?
The Trade Deficit narrowed significantly in December due to a surge in oil exports. Petroleum exports reached an all-time high, revealing newfound production strength that will likely convert the fourth quarter's GDP estimate from negative to positive. While it is easy to lie with statistics, it is also easy to use them honestly and still end up with the wrong answer. Because of this, it is very dangerous to boil down words like recession, recovery, and growth to a single measure as we usually do with GDP.
ECB President Mario Draghi expresses concern over the value of the euro. A rising currency makes exports less attractive and exporting goods and services is a desperate need for the eurozone these days. Balancing these concerns, the value of a currency is often a good measure of the world's confidence in that region. Last year Draghi stated the ECB would "do whatever it takes" to keep the euro together, which drove the currency off its lows from $1.22 to a high of $1.36. Now he is talking the euro down to ensure exports can keep pace. The market is putting a lot of faith in the ECB, however I wonder how long this credibility can be maintained without true reform (and pain) within the zone.
The government is suing the S&P rating agency for activities leading up to the 2008 financial crisis. The Justice Department is alleging S&P intentionally understated the credit risk of mortgage backed securities by rating them AAA and is using internal email discussions as their primary evidence. McGraw-Hill, owner of S&P, saw its stock drop nearly 27 percent during the week. Ratings agencies are compensated by the issuers they rate, who can determine service providers after knowing what ratings they will receive. The crux of this case turns on the intentions of S&P managers who may have overrated securities in an attempt to...Read More