Weil's View on Finance, Afternoon Edition

Here are links to my afternoon reading.

Happy Friday, View fans. Here are your afternoon links, with a few comments of my own sprinkled in for kicks. Have a good weekend.

Will we ever have an end to quantitative easing?

Jared Bernstein, former chief economist to Vice President Joe Biden, says the Federal Reserve can't stop buying bonds now, not after today's weak jobs report. He puts this question to the central bank: "Do you really want to make a car that's puttering along in second gear climb a hill? Because that's, I fear, what you'd be doing if you proceed with your plans to taper this month." Heaven forbid we ever reduce government intervention in the markets. Overvalued stuff might go down in price. And we can't have that now, can we? You have to wonder: Will there ever be a good time for the Fed to taper?

Here's the silver lining in the jobs report

From Felix Salmon at Reuters: "We can't take any solace in the mediocre economy. But if you're desperate for good news, here it is: at least we know, now, how mediocre the recovery is, especially on the jobs front. And we're going to stop hobbling ourselves by pushing long-term interest rates inexorably upwards, thereby making that recovery even harder." On the other hand, if you're a saver, you probably won't be making any real money on deposits or money-market funds anytime soon.

Byron Wien on what he heard over lunch this summer

The veteran Wall Street strategist writes for Barron's: "Every August for the past several decades I have organized a series of Friday lunches for serious financial professionals who spend their summer weekends in eastern Long Island." Last year the tone of the lunches was "correctly positive about the rest of 2012 and 2013 this far." This year he says "the general mood of all of the lunches was one of complacency." Most saw the Standard & Poor's 500 Index ending the year higher.

Morgan Stanley's CEO is looking awfully confident

James Gorman said there's almost no chance of another financial crisis like the one that almost crippled Morgan Stanley in 2008. "The probability of it happening again in our lifetime is as close to zero as I could imagine," the Morgan Stanley chief executive officer said in an interview on Charlie Rose's show. My question: How would he know? Or perhaps he has only a limited imagination. The Bloomberg News story shows how much bailout cash Morgan Stanley got when John Mack was in charge.

Headline of the day (from the Onion, of course)

"Poll: Majority of Americans Approve of Sending Congress to Syria."

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    Jonathan Weil at jweil16@bloomberg.net

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