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Archive

December 19, 1983, Vol. 01, No. 04

Prosperity Casts A Pall

So strong was the business and economic news last week that bond prices buckled. Interest rates rose in short- and long-term maturities, and yield curves flattened at home and abroad...

Playing the game

In the beginning, there was the gold standard, President Grover Cleveland and black bowler hats. Then came the Northern Pacific Corner of 1901 and the Panic of 1907, in which J.P. Morgan, assisted by the Treasury Department, stepped up to save the banking system.

Dept. of lost causes

Sen. Elihu Root, Republican of New York, speaking against the Federal Reserve Act on the floor of the Senate, Dec. 13, 1913: "What is an elastic currency? We all agree that it is a currency which expands when more money is needed and contracts when less money is needed...

Utility update

In her ranking of a number of different investments according to their sensitivity to swings in long-term interest rates, Nancy Lazar produced some surprises...

War Stories "Teasers"

Basically, the Board of Trade is a risk-transference device. By making it possible to shift risk from portfolio A to portfolio B, the market thrives....

"Bagehot" Safe

"Walter Bagehot," the nom de plume of Grant's Timbuktu correspondent, was at his desk in a Kuwait office building last Monday morning when a truck bomb barreled through the gates of the United States embassy and blew up.

Global Slippage

The little downtick in the line that describes the "Montgomery Yield Curve" has begun to worry Montgomery himself.

Mortgage fever

The Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp., better known as Freddie Mac, is spending big money to advertise a slogan of three words, "The Gnomes Know."

Anxiety?

During the Mexico fright of 1982, worried investors sought the safe haven of Treasury bills. The market reflection of that preference was a drastic widening in the difference between the prices of bills and bank certificates of deposit.

Commodities corner

For the record, the 13 components of the CRB spot index are these: copper scrap, lead scrap, steel scrap, tin, zinc, burlap, cotton, print cloth, wool tops, cow hides, rosin, rubber and tallow.

December 5, 1983, Vol. 01, No. 03

Rates Rise And Gold Shines

Along with department-store sales, the latest leading indicators and gold-mine shares, interest rates rose last week.

Euro-scoop

Ever since the Mexico fright of the autumn of 1982, the prospect of falling prices -- of actual deflation -- has been gradually admitted to the list of things that serious people can worry about. U

Dull by design

The newest item in preferred stock is a security called CAPS, or Convertible Adjustable Preferred Stock. CAPS was brought into the world by Morgan Stanley this fall in order to answer the need for a less hair-raising corporate investment.

War Stories "The gambler's curse"

You've been buying and selling stocks for a decade. You've tried the AT&T-GM approach for a few years and got bored. You also never made any serious money. You tried the new-issue approach for a year and, while you never got bored, you took a few horrendous hits that somehow managed to offset the winners. Again, you never made any serious money...

Bank Credit Rises

One of the handiest guides to the state of monetary affairs is one that almost nobody pays attention to. Commercial-bank credit is simply the sum of loans and securities on the balance sheets of the nation's commercial banks...

Reveille for Inflation?

Over the long haul, money growth still looks high The consensus opinion has it that the Federal Reserve made a sharp shift to a tight monetary policy last May.

Telex from Timbuktu

Kuwait -- Observers of the oil scene will have their eyes fixed on this Wednesday's meeting of OPEC in Geneva.

Great moments in interest rates (a series)

"Budapest, Hungary -- Hungary is planning a bond offering with an unusual coupon -- 6% and a firm promise of telephone service within three years. The usual wait for a phone in Hungary runs to 20 years." (Wall Street Journal, November 23, 1983)

November 21, 1983, Vol. 01, No. 02

Yields Rise

Amid more confusion than usual, interest rates crept up. The gold price broke (a good sign for inflation), but the Commodity Research Bureau's index of raw industrial prices flirted with 1983 highs (a bad sign).

The Yeild Curve Votes Republican

According to a plain but reliable statistic called the yield curve, prospects both for business and the Republican party next year are shaping up as favorable.

A Little Easier

The bottom line of the meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee last October 4 was that policy was turned very slightly easier... "The Committee seeks in the short run to maintain the slightly lesser degree of reserve restraint sought in recent weeks."

Beautiful Bank Stocks

For well over a year, public attention has been riveted on the international loans made by major American banks, and the dire possibility of massive defaults thereon.

Happy Deflationist

Ever since the New York City transit strike of a few years ago, Evans R. Dick III has traveled by bicycle. The bicycle he uses to get around town looks deceptively like a toy. During the day he chains it to a "No Parking" sign outside his office at the eastern end of Wall Street, but once, when he forgot to fasten the lock, it was still there when he went downstairs the same night to reclaim it for the ride home; nobody had bothered to steal it...

Great moments in interest rates (a series)

At the turn-of-the-century, during a vogue of long-dated railroad financing, the Elmira and Williamsport issued a 5% Income Bond to mature in the year 2862. •

November 7, 1983, Vol. 01, No. 01

Interest Rates Rise

The money supply news was favorable, the rate of growth in the demand for short-term business credit continued to slow and the gold price broke, but interest rates went up.

Another Voice in the Choir

In a more perfect world, this magazine would not have been born....

Ivy League Inflation

On a clear day, Dr. Geoffrey H. Moore, director of the Center for International Business Cycle Research at Columbia University, can look out his eighth story window and see the Empire State Building. On a very clear day he can look all the way into the future.

New Leading Index of Inflation

Excerpt from a recent political advertisement paid for by the National Republican Congressional Committee...

Loan Demands Drop

"Contrary opinion," a man ventured last week, " -- loan demand isn't going up after all."

Liquid to a Fault

One of the most elegant pieces of long division on Wall Street goes by the forbidding name of "illiquidity index."

Brimming Confidence

A year ago, when the bull market vied for headlines with the world debt predicament, an exotic speculation had a vogue on the International Monetary Market in Chicago. People sold futures contracts in bank certificates of deposit and bought futures contracts in Treasury bills.

Paul Volcker Speaks

Excerpt from the chairman's testimony before the Joint Economic Committee on October 20...

Telex from Timbuktu

Kuwait -- The tremendous growth of the Eurobond market over the past 10 years is about to be stopped dead in its tracks.

Third Quarter Scores

Utility stocks led the performance parade in July-September (up 8.4% on a non-annualized basis), Salomon Brothers reported, while the S.&P. financial stock index (down 5.7%) brought up the rear.

October Flash

Business went from strength to strength in October, the National Association of Purchasing Management reported. New orders continued brisk, production was up and the employment news was good.

Great moments in interest rates (a series)

In 1861, a Californian, one J. Verdigo, mortgaged his ranch for $3,445 at 3% a month, "which after nine years raised his debt to $58,750. He lost the ranch." (Homer's History of Interest Rates.)

Eye of the Storm?

In interest rates this year, there has been unaccustomed peace and quiet. The volatility of bond prices, for instance, has declined by almost 60% from the tumultuous 1982 average.

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