Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Paulson: Maybe the Street does need oversight

Hank Paulson says if we're going to bail out the Street, maybe "some type" of oversight is needed.

This story from the WSJ (link above) and others, have referred to a pending Treasury Dept. "blueprint" for regulatory "reform." Ironically, the blueprint project was, at its heart, an effort to streamline regulation, and was backed by the major financial services firms. To wit, the Financial Services Roundtable is using the Bear Stearns collapse to push for a single federal financial regulator, with "principles-based" rules. An intriguing idea, sure, but how would this have prevented banks and brokers from levering up on dodgy debt?

Meanwhile, at the Treasury, there may be a bit of blueprint backtracking going on.

Wachovia's Smyth: Commodities in secular bull

Wachovia Securities' chief investment strategist Rod Smyth says commodities are in a secular bull market. He warns about the huge run-up since August, and says the correction in commodities prices could go down another 10%. But view it as a buying opportunity in a bull run, he says.

"Lost decade" for stocks

OK, now we've got a front page WSJ story about the secular bear market. It points out that the S&P 500 has gone nowhere for nine years, calling the period a "lost decade." Some commentators say we've got several more years of poor returns coming.