September 20, 2013 |
Five years ago, this week, the world of finance and economics changed forever. At least that's the story. It started with a sad milestone in Wall Street history: the fall of the House of Lehman. Between Sept. 13 and Sept. 20, 2008, Lehman Bros., the legendary 158-year-old Wall Street firm, wobbled, stumbled and finally ceased to exist. In the conventional narrative, the failure of Lehman and the equally storied trading outfit Bear Stearns was part of an epic, once-in-a-generation meltdown in which global financial markets collapsed simultaneously in ways that nobody could have possibly foreseen.
June 18, 2013 |
For all the mixed messages from the Fed and the uncertainty that has roiled financial markets recently, one thing looks very clear: The era of declining interest rates is over. After three decades in which borrowing costs for Americans have pretty much declined steadily to rock-bottom levels - easing consumer debt burdens for cars, homes and college education - the long-term path of interest rates is now at a turning point, according to many economists and investors. Regardless of the Federal Reserve's statement and its economic outlook to be issued Wednesday and the market's reaction to Chairman Ben S. Bernanke's comments at his quarterly news conference, the reality is that the flood of easy money is ebbing and the economy is shifting to a new period of rising rates.
June 7, 2013 |
Builders are eyeing the next wave of potential home buyers - the so-called millennials - but whether this rising generation will embrace big mortgage debt remains an open question. These 95 million people ages 10 to 32 outnumber their baby-boomer parents by 10 million. The young adults among them, sobered by the recession, have relatively modest material expectations; many say they'd be happy with smaller living spaces. The housing industry will have to convince the next generation that home loans are as necessary and prudent as the student debt so many of them already carry.
April 19, 2013 |
"It's a difficult business," writes David Graeber, "creating a new, alternative civilization. " Just open a window or turn on the TV - the same old civilization is rotting all around us. Budget cuts, police shootings, endless and ever-broadening wars, the climate in full-scale, almost-end-times spasm, a Congress of hand puppets yelping on about the manufactured crisis of the moment, a president whose answer to every crisis is More of the Same....
February 12, 2013 |
The student-loan market is not in a bubble and going into debt to pay for college is still worth it, according to a new report. But those are the rare bits of good news in the otherwise dispiriting report on students' escalating college debt. While concluding that diplomas are worth the money, the study by Wells Fargo economists found that the payoff may not come for years because graduates are squeezed by several factors. Tuition costs are rising faster than incomes. Graduates are having trouble finding solid jobs.
January 29, 2013 |
Canada's elevated housing prices and the extra debt taken on by consumers as a result could be problems for its banks should the economy hit bumps in the road, Moody's Investors Service said in downgrading its credit ratings for six major financial firms. Canada's banks are still highly rated, Moody's said Monday , tied for second place among the world's financial institutions, behind Singapore. The affected banks -- Bank of Montreal, Bank of Nova Scotia, Caisse centrale Desjardins, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, National Bank of Canada and Toronto-Dominion Bank -- continue to have excellent credit ratings.