As to be expected, discussions about the stress tests on the health of the 19 biggest US banks dominated the video airwaves during the past few days, with arguments ranging from whether the tests were necessary to whether they were stressful enough.
For the rest, Warren Buffett held his annual Berkshire shareholders’ jamboree – this year sharing both concern and optimism about the future. And as the nascent stock market rally is looking more tired by the day, the debate intensified on whether this was a “real rally”.
In addition to Buffett and the usual suspects of Tim Geithner and Ben Bernanke, commentators featured on camera in this post include Richard Bernstein, Bill Fleckenstein, Nouriel Roubini, Neel Kashkari, Alan Blinder, Russell Napier, Robin Griffiths and Meb Faber.
The selection kicks off with an item in lighter vein – a song entitled “Zombie Bank”, and concludes with a great vintage animation, dating back to 1948, on the profit motive and the part it has played in the development of the US economy.
YouTube: Zombie Bank “Musical op-ed piece written and performed by John Forster and Tom Chapin.”
Minyanville: Are stress tests necessary? “What’s the point of a stress test if the government isn’t going to allow banks to fail? Minyanville’s executive editor, Kevin Depew, debates himself to find the answer.”
CNBC: Dr. Doom – stress tests aren’t stressful enough “Nouriel Roubini, co-founder & chairman at RGE Monitor, also known as Dr. Doom, doesn’t put a lot of credibility into the US bank stress tests. He tells CNBC’s Martin Soong that the tests aren’t stressful enough. Josh Felman, assistant director from the IMF joins in the discussion.”
Financial Times: Gillian Tett of Fool’s Gold “Gillian Tett, the FT’s capital markets editor, talks to Andy Davis, editor of FT Weekend, about the background to her new book, Fool’s Gold, in which she traces the origings of the financial crisis back to innovative work by a small group of bankers in the mid-1990’s and explains how the products they pioneered ultimately enguifed most of the developed world’s biggest financial institutions.”
The Wall Street Journal: Goldman connection puts NY Fed official in tight spot “When Goldman Sachs became a bank holding company late last year, New York Fed official Stephen Friedman inadvertently found himself in violation of charter rules. Kate Kelly reports on his efforts to receive a waiver and potential conflicts of interests.”
Financial Times: Markets respond to stress test “Despite the release of US bank stress test results, market sentiment was most strongly affected on Thursday by a $14 billion US Treasury bond auction, in which the government had to offer higher yields than expected. This trend is worrying Wall Street.”
Bloomberg: Richard Bernstein says US stocks in “real rally” “Richard Bernstein, former chief investment strategist at Merrill Lynch, talks with Bloomberg’s Tom Keene and Ken Prewitt about the outlook for the US equity market. The S&P 500 has rebounded 34% from a 12-year low on March 9 after companies from Wells Fargo & Co. to Ford Motor Co. beat analysts’ earnings estimates by an average 11% since April 7, according to Bloomberg data.”
CNBC: Charts – bears still in control “Western stock indexes still seem to be undergoing a bear-market rally, instead of starting a bull market, Robin Griffiths from Cazenove Capital told CNBC Thursday.”
John Authers (Financial Times): Bear market bottoms “What can we learn from history? Russell Napier, author of ‘Anatomy of the Bear’, talks to John Authers about how his study of historical bear markets can help identify when markets have bottomed out.”
The Wall Street Journal: Ivy League Investing “Money manager and author of ‘The Ivy Portfolio’ Meb Faber talks with MarketWatch’s Jonathan Burton about steps investors can take to protect themselves in volatile bear markets.”
Charlie Rose: Future of trade in the global economy “A conversation about the future of trade in the global economy with Susan Schwab, United States Trade Representative, Jagdish Bhagwati, University Professor at Columbia University and Senior Fellow in International Economics at the Council on Foreign Relations, Alan Blinder, Director of Princeton’s Center for Economic Policy Studies and Sherrod Brown, United States Senator from the state of Ohio.”
CNBC: China’s next engine for growth “China’s big move toward social infrastructure spending could turn out to be its engine for growth in next 10-15 years, says Robert Barbera, global economist at Investment Technology Group, speaking to CNBC’s Martin Soong.”
CNBC: ECB starts quantative easing “The European Central Bank began its own version of quantitative easing Thursday, following its interest rate cut. Ken Wattret from BNP Paribas and Stephen Gallo from Schneider Foreign Exchange discussed the move.”
CNBC: Obama proposes new tax provisions “President Barack Obama proposes changing provisions in the tax code that he says encourage US companies to move jobs overseas, as part of a broader package aimed at saving $210 billion over 10 years.”
YouTube: Going Places (1948) “Fun and Facts About America, John Sutherland Productions. Defines the profit motive and dramatizes the part it has played in the economic development of our country. Stresses the need for continued industrial profits if our economic vitality is to endure.”