Weil on Finance, P.M.: It's a Bubble
Howdy, View fans. Here are your annotated afternoon links.
Keep on dancing while the music is still playing
Bloomberg News reporter Lisa Abramowicz has a sharp article today about surging volumes in corporate-bond trading, now at their highest levels since 2008, driven by expectations that the Federal Reserve won’t curtail its easy-money policies anytime soon. Note this telling quote from Thomas Chow, a money manager in Philadelphia at Delaware Investments: “There’s just an expectation that if you stay on the sidelines as an investor it’s a very punitive cost.” So forget quaint worries like whether risk is absurdly underpriced. Put that money to work.
Morgan Stanley helps save AIG so it could be sued by AIG
Here’s a curious disclosure from Morgan Stanley’s quarterly report. The Wall Street bank said it may be sued by American International Group Inc. over a bunch of mortgage bonds it sold the insurance company before the financial crisis. This would be the same Morgan Stanley that advised the government on its bailout of AIG and was one of the underwriters when the Treasury Department sold its AIG stake through public offerings. Nice.
For the 19th consecutive year, the European Court of Auditors has said it can’t give the EU’s books a clean bill of health, citing erroneous spending that amounted to almost 5 percent of the EU’s budget. One British member of the EU Parliament, Marta Andreasen, said that the auditors had characterized the EU’s budget as “fraudulent.” Good to keep in mind the next time EU leaders tell us they have everything under control when it comes to containing the sovereign-debt crisis.
The markets are booming, so what could possibly go wrong?
From money manager Doug Kass’s latest column for The Street: “While animal spirits have risen over the past few months, I have a growing sense that the market is beginning to be overtaken by emotion and that a condition of greater volatility (which is a natural outgrowth of a complacent and almost universally upbeat consensus) might continue over the balance of the year. Technical and sentiment warning signs are everywhere.”
Or maybe this guy has the right attitude
The headline from Cody Willard’s latest column for Market Watch: “Heck yeah, it’s a bubble. So what?”
(Jonathan Weil is a Bloomberg View columnist. Follow him on Twitter.)