These are new product announcements from my main website (Open 24/7/365). We have a life-time warranty / guarantee on all products. (Includes parts and labor). Here you will find a variety of cutting-edge Surveillance and Security-Related products and services. (Buy/Rent/Layaway) Post your own comments and concerns related to the specific products or services mentioned or on surveillance, security, privacy, etc.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Central Bankers And Corporate America Completely Confounded By The Ineffectiveness Of Easy Monopoly Money Printing

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Central Bankers Completely Confounded By The Ineffectiveness Of Easy Monopoly Money Printing

Sluggish Growth Confronts Officials Gathering in Wyoming

Central bankers gathering here this week confront a global economy that has once again disappointed, leaving them reluctant in some places and unable in others to turn off spigots of easy money employed since 2008 to boost growth.

Federal Reserve officials—puzzled by the combination of erratic U.S. economic growth and robust hiring—are waiting for more evidence that strong job gains can continue before they start raising short-term interest rates.

"The global recovery has been disappointing," Fed Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer said in a speech in Stockholm earlier this month. "With few exceptions, growth in the advanced economies has underperformed expectations of growth as economies exited from recession. Year after year we have had to explain from mid-year on why the global growth rate has been lower than predicted as little as two quarters back."

Elsewhere, officials are debating whether to do more, not less. China—the world's second-largest economy, after the U.S.—is struggling to meet the government's growth target and some market analysts expect interest-rate cuts. Japan, the world's third-largest, stumbled after the government raised consumption taxes and the Bank of Japan is pressing forward with securities-purchase programs aimed at boosting growth. Germany, the fourth-largest, contracted in the second quarter and the European Central Bank is experimenting with negative interest rates. The U.K. economy is perhaps the best-performing in the developed world, but its central-bank leader is reluctant to respond by raising short-term interest rates.

This leaves central bankers in an awkward position. Many worry the low interest rates they're employing to encourage borrowing and spur growth could spark a new financial bubble. In places such as London and Vancouver, real-estate prices have soared, and Fed officials are uncomfortably watching a boom in U.S. leveraged-loan issuance and junk bonds. For now, they are depending on unproven regulatory policies to prevent another crisis and leaving low interest-rate policies in place.


The Fed is on track to end a bond-purchase stimulus program in October. Officials have for months had their eyes on mid-2015—and possibly later—as the time to start raising short-term U.S. interest rates from near zero. The fast decline in the U.S. jobless rate to 6.2% in July from more than 7% a year ago, coupled with improvement in other labor-market measures and modest increases in inflation, has sparked an intensifying debate inside the Fed about whether rate increases might need to come sooner, possibly as early as March next year.

For now, however, Fed officials want more proof that labor-market gains can be sustained.

John Williams, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal he expects the Fed to hold off on rate increases until next summer. He might move that date up if the jobless rate keeps falling at a fast rate of a percentage point a year, but he said doesn't expect it and noted it hadn't moved much in the past four months.

Among his concerns is the uneven pace of global growth. "The cross currents are really strong," he said. "Typically countries are moving together."

Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen will set the tone for this week's Jackson Hole meetings with remarks Friday on labor-market developments. For much of this year, she has pointed to slack in U.S. labor markets—such as an abundance of part-time workers who want full-time work—that is keeping inflation and wage growth slow. Still, most Fed officials have been surprised by how fast the U.S. labor market has improved this year even though the economy contracted in the first quarter.

In the U.K., Bank of England officials also are treading carefully. The U.K. is forecast by the International Monetary Fund to be the fastest-growing advanced economy in 2014 after several years of near-stagnation. The BOE expects British economic output to expand 3.5% this year, according to its latest forecasts. Rapid growth has sent unemployment tumbling.

Two of the nine central-bank officials— Martin Weale and Ian McCafferty —this month called for a quarter of a percentage point rise in the BOE's benchmark interest rate to keep inflation in check, according to a record of the discussions. But Bank of England Governor Mark Carney subscribes to the view that a rate rise now would be premature, and most of his colleagues agree.

They believe that weak wage growth reflects economic slack that will keep price pressures at bay. They also fret that Britons would struggle to cope with higher borrowing costs, potentially putting the brakes on growth. And officials are wary of threats to the economy from overseas, including a stalled recovery in the neighboring euro zone and unrest in Ukraine and the Middle East.

"Sustained economic momentum is looking more assured," Mr. Carney said Aug. 13, but he added Britain's expansion "faces some challenges" and policy makers won't rush to raise rates as long as inflationary pressures are muted.

The BOE in June took steps to curb risky mortgage lending in an effort to prevent another destabilizing housing boom. But its efforts have focused on making sure Britain's banks are strong enough to withstand unexpected losses. Officials acknowledge there is little monetary policy can do to curb global risk taking that is fueled, in large part, by the Fed's easy-money policies.

China's growing challenge was highlighted by weaker-than-expected manufacturing data Thursday by HSBC. "Economic recovery is continuing, but its momentum has slowed again," HSBC economist Qu Hongbin said about the bank's China Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index, which fell in August to a three-month low.

That tepid factory data came a week after the People's Bank of China set off alarm bells by reporting that its broadest measure of new lending had plunged by two-thirds in July from the previous month. That suggested that several months of what's called in China "mini-stimulus" spending on infrastructure, transportation and information technology and eased liquidity by the central bank hadn't yet done much to lift the economy.


"We maintain our forecast of two interest rates cuts" in the second half "to help ease debt burdens, support demand, and mitigate financial risks," Barclays said in a report following the data. "We continue to believe the government faces a trade-off between 'tolerating lower growth' and 'rolling out more stimulus' amid a property market correction and uncertain external demand," the firm's economists wrote.

The Bank of Japan only belatedly joined the global central-banking stimulus binge after the 2008 financial crisis. In contrast to the Fed, it is still in the early stages of a program of asset purchases, known to some as quantitative easing, or QE, aimed at boosting growth. The BOJ has an open-ended commitment to keep buying assets at an annual pace of ¥60 trillion to ¥70 trillion (about $580 billion to $670 billion).

The big debate now in Japan isn't about when the central bank will cut back, but rather about whether it should expand that program. A spate of weak summer data following an April sales tax hike has been "bolstering the case for policy makers to do more," research firm Capital Economics said in a report Monday.

And for all the BOJ's optimism about the resilience of domestic demand in Japan, policymakers regularly cite uncertainty about the durability of the global recovery as the biggest risk to Japan's rebound.

"I am paying utmost attention to the risk of weaker-than-expected growth for the Chinese economy," policy board member Takahide Kiuchi told regional business leaders in a July 31 speech.

U.S. Bond Issuance Nears $1 Trillion

Companies Take Advantage of Low Interest Rates to Issue Bonds

U.S. corporate-bond issuance is hurtling toward a record for the third consecutive year, as companies take advantage of a surprising interest-rate decline to stock up on cash.

Companies around the globe have sold about $994.9 billion of bonds in the U.S. this year as of Thursday morning, according to data provider Dealogic, which has figures dating back to 1995. That is up more than 4% from a year ago, with sales on pace to cross the $1 trillion mark at the fastest clip on record. A $4.5 billion sale Thursday from Bank of America Corp. put the total closer to that milestone.

Wireless Camera Finder

Investors and analysts say companies are raising funds partly with an eye to investing in fresh projects as the U.S. economy gains pace, a move that can further help along economic growth. Acquisitions have about doubled in the U.S. from last year to a recent $1.1 trillion, and U.S. bond sales earmarked for capital spending—purchases or upgrades of long-lived assets such as plant and equipment—have risen 90% from a year earlier to $40 billion, Dealogic said.

Continental Resources Inc. sold $1.7 billion of debt with 10- and 30-year terms in May, with some of the money helping to fund the Oklahoma City, Okla., company's oil-drilling and development operations in North Dakota and Oklahoma, said John Hart, chief financial officer.

Mr. Hart said the company tapped the debt markets this year because "we've viewed them as an attractive source of financing." He added, "It has certainly been a very attractive market for us."

Without the favorable bond-market environment, "potentially, our capex would be less," Mr. Hart said.

Also in May, a subsidiary of Cheniere Energy Partners sold 10-year bonds to help pay for an expansion at a natural-gas facility in Louisiana. The company initially intended to sell $1.5 billion but was able to increase the size of its offering to $2 billion.

At the same time, much of the cash is being used to refinance existing debt, being sent back to shareholders as dividend payments and share buybacks, or banked in the corporate treasury as executives consider how to potentially deploy funds as the economy expands.


About $315 billion of corporate bonds have been sold in the U.S. to repay or refinance existing debt, an approximately 35% increase over last year, according to Dealogic.

While bond sales tabbed to capital spending have risen, they remain below their pace about a decade ago, Dealogic said. Capital expenditures fell by 1% globally in real terms in 2013, according to Standard And Poor's.

The sums raised to refinance debt, bolster corporate cash and pay shareholders underscore the difficulty of finding high-returning investments five years after the financial crisis, amid uneven U.S. growth and low interest rates. Central-bank officials are gathering this week in Jackson Hole, Wyo., to discuss the economic outlook and the pace of potential Federal Reserve rate increases among other issues.

"There is still a level of uncertainty in the executive suite," said Dan Heckman, senior fixed-income strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management, which oversees $124 billion.

American Water Works Co., the largest publicly traded U.S. water utility, sold $500 million in 11-year and 28-year bonds earlier this month, with rates of 3.4% and 4.3%, respectively. Some of the proceeds went to pay off existing long-term debt that carried rates of between 4.9% and about 6%.

"We looked at the markets, and we wanted to take advantage of the compelling opportunity that we saw in lower interest rates," said Linda Sullivan, senior vice president and chief financial officer at American Water.

At Continental Resources, Mr. Hart said May's bond sale also helped the company reduce costs by refinancing existing, higher-rate bonds.

The flurry of bond deals has caught many Wall Street analysts off guard. Market experts broadly expected benchmark U.S. Treasury rates to tick up from 3% at the end of 2013 as the economy grew and the Federal Reserve prepared to end its monthly stimulus, developments that were expected to hit the prices of bonds and trim demand for new debt issues.

Instead, rates have fallen, with the 10-year U.S. Treasury yield recently hitting a 14-month low at 2.3%. Analysts said the decline reflects the uneven domestic growth outlook, geopolitical unrest in Ukraine, Israel and Iraq and fears that Europe is facing a new economic slowdown.

Investors have been lapping up the new debt offerings. Bankers on some deals say they received many more investor orders than bonds available, as portfolio managers seek out securities that offer more yield than Treasurys and bet that the improving economy will ultimately be good for American companies.

"I can't think of an environment where people have been more on the wrong side of the boat from where they think rates are going to go," said Tom Murphy, senior portfolio manager at Columbia Management, which has been buying some 30-year corporate bonds recently.

Apple Inc.  sold $12 billion in April, the largest corporate deal this year. French cable operator Numericable Group sold $10.88 billion, also in April, and Oracle Corp.  sold $10 billion in June, according to Dealogic. Last year, Verizon Communications Inc. sold a whopping $49 billion, in what remains the largest corporate deal on record.

This year's Numericable bond deal was the largest junk-rated offering on record, and was sold to help finance the company's acquisition of Vivendi SA 's telecom unit SFR.

According to Dealogic, about $109 billion in bonds has been sold globally this year that identified mergers as a use of proceeds, up from $84 billion at this time last year.

"Management teams are looking to increase shareholder value in a slow-growth environment," said Jim Keenan, head of credit at BlackRock Inc. 

Share buybacks have been another popular use of bond proceeds. S And P 500 companies bought back about $158.4 billion in the first quarter, the third-largest quarterly amount since 2005, according to FactSet.

Monsanto Co. this summer sold $4.5 billion of bonds to help pay for a $6 billion share buyback plan. Bond analysts often take a negative view on such so-called leveraged buybacks, because they potentially reward shareholders with higher stock prices at the expense of bondholders, who face higher debt-service costs on the same revenue base and could lead to a downgrade.

Monsanto didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Monty Henry, Owner


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