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February 2013
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Bloomberg (February 26)

2013/ 02/ 28 by jd in Global News

CME Group Inc. (CME) no longer owns the world’s most valuable exchange. “Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd. overtook CME as the world’s largest exchange operator by market value in December as the Chinese company completed its $2.2 billion takeover of the London Metal Exchange. The Hong Kong bourse is the largest in the industry with a capitalization of $20.8 billion.” That could change, however, as CME has been putting out feelers about acquiring Deutsche Boerse. Any proposal would likely face stiff anti-trust and political opposition.


Time (February 25)

2013/ 02/ 27 by jd in Global News

Seven years after becoming Pope, “his strength is gone, and in a striking, even revolutionary act of humility, Benedict has announced his resignation as the Vicar of Christ, effective at 8 p.m. Rome time on Feb. 28. A figure as controversial as John Paul II was popular, Benedict XVI has yet again flummoxed his many critics by becoming the first Pope in six centuries to abdicate the Chair of Peter. And it is now possible that his most enduring act of public witness to the Gospel will be the remarkable spectacle of a prince of the church voluntarily surrendering the things of this world… an example of Christian piety that was quite unexpected.”


Institutional Investor (February Issue)

2013/ 02/ 26 by jd in Global News

“Talk of currency wars is once again in the air, making foreign exchange potentially a major component of investment returns.” Last year, “the dollar underperformed all major currencies except the yen.” In 2013, the Norwegian krone, Australian dollar and New Zealand dollar are likely to benefit if the dollar’s slide continues.


New York Times (February 24)

2013/ 02/ 25 by jd in Global News

The Obama administration is drawing up plans for research to create an “activity map that would show in unprecedented detail the workings of the human brain, the most complex organ in the body.” This would be “a breathtaking goal.” Few scientific programs, including the space race and the human genome projects, “were as daunting as the brain project…. The brain project will have to create new tools to explore an organ that is the seat of human cognition and behavior. A task of that magnitude can truly capture the imagination.”


The Economist (February 23)

2013/ 02/ 25 by jd in Global News

“With short-term interest rates still stuck near zero and their balance-sheets stuffed with government bonds, the central banks of America, Britain and Japan are experimenting with a shift in approach: coupling monetary action with commitments designed to alter the public’s expectations of interest rates, inflation and the economy…. A more doveish stance would entail tolerating higher inflation, at least temporarily, in pursuit of higher output.” But there is “a question-mark over what this wave of central-bank experimentation can achieve: since bond yields are already so low, the marginal return to coaxing them even lower may be scant. For now, though, buoyant stockmarkets are giving the activists the thumbs-up.”


Financial Times (February 23)

2013/ 02/ 24 by jd in Global News

French leaders “should listen when international business leaders say how their French operations must change to be competitive. Ministers should share with multinationals a common interest in achieving that outcome. Otherwise, the workers will not be alone in facing accusations of being unproductive.”


Institutional Investor (February Issue)

2013/ 02/ 23 by jd in Global News

“For those who build and manage market and trading technologies, 2012 was punctuated by trouble. High-profile system malfunctions marred the BATS Global Markets and Facebook IPOs in March and May, respectively, and brought down market maker Knight Capital Group in August. These too were good new/bad news incidents, not as catastrophic as the still-reverberating ‘flash cash’ of May 6, 2010, but reminders that such technological snafus happen too frequently for comfort. All of this casts a pall over the industry and profession.”


Wall Street Journal (February 19)

2013/ 02/ 22 by jd in Global News

An Atlantic free trade pact presents tremendous opportunity. “A good pact could raise GDP on both sides of the Atlantic by as much as 1% a year. The European Union and U.S. traded some $646 billion in goods last year—only Canada comes close as a U.S. trade partner…. Merely starting the talks will also motivate the current trans-Pacific trade talks to get moving and perhaps even draw Japan lest it be left behind.”


Washington Post (February 18)

2013/ 02/ 21 by jd in Global News

Joblessness remains protracted in the U.S., with the CBO estimating unemployment will not fall below 7.5% until 2015. “That would make six years above 7.5 percent — the longest stretch of high joblessness in 70 years.” The U.S. economy was always distinguished by job creation. What’s changed? “To overgeneralize slightly: We have gone from being an expansive, risk-taking society to a skittish, risk-averse one.” Rather than buying today, everybody is waiting until tomorrow. “Pessimism produces a sluggish economy; a sluggish economy produces pessimism. That’s the main explanation of poor job creation.”


New York Times (February 18)

2013/ 02/ 20 by jd in Global News

“A higher minimum wage would be good for workers and for the economy.” The old job-killing myth “has been debunked… a higher minimum wage boosts pay without measurably reducing employment, while improving productivity. One study from the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago found that a $1 increase in the minimum wage results, on average, in $2,800 in new spending by affected households in the following year, in large part because the increase helps workers accumulate down payments to buy cars. Owning a car, in turn, helps workers to keep their jobs.”


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