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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Great Recession Roundup — June 2, 2009

Items of Interest:

New York Times:
Foreclosures: No End in Sight -- A continuing steep drop in home prices combined with rising unemployment is powering a new wave of foreclosures. Unfortunately, there’s little evidence, so far, that the Obama administration’s anti-foreclosure plan will be able to stop it.

The plan offers up to $75 billion in incentives to lenders to reduce loan payments for troubled borrowers. Since it went into effect in March, some 100,000 homeowners have been offered a modification, according to the Treasury Department, though a tally is not yet available on how many offers have been accepted.

That’s a slow start given the administration’s goal of preventing up to four million foreclosures...

DownWithTyranny!: Foreclosure Problem Is Getting Worse …
Housing Wire:
Pending Home Sales Gain for Third Month -- Amid mortgage rates holding near record lows and news that some buyers might be able to use the $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit toward closing costs on government-insured mortgages, home sale transactions picked up for the third consecutive month in April.

An index of pending home sales, calculated by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) from contracts signed in April, indicated a 6.7% month-on-month rise in activity across the US.

“Housing affordability conditions have been at historic highs, but now the $8,000 first-time buyer tax credit is beginning to impact the market,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, in a media statement today...
Government Motors: Quagmire or Rebirth?

Chinese company, Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Company, based in Chengdu, China will buy HummerKeith Bradsher / NY Times:
Chinese Company Said to Be Buyer of Hummer -- A machinery company in China with ambitions to become a carmaker has reportedly agreed to buy the brand from G.M. of large sport utility vehicles and pickup trucks to a machinery company in western China with ambitions to become a carmaker.

The buyer is the Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Company, based in Chengdu, G.M. said Tuesday....
Calculated Risk: GM May U.S. vehicle sales off 29%, Toyota off 40.7%
What is the GM exit strategy?
Mish Shedlock / Minyanville:
Dollar Torn Apart By Bears -- Anti-dollar sentiment is again running rampant: Please consider this article, from the Financial Times, which discusses how speculative bets against the dollar have risen to their highest level since the onset of the financial crisis. Positioning data from the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, often used as a proxy for hedge-fund activity, showed that in the week ending May 19, bets against the dollar -- short positions -- versus the euro, exceeded bets on dollar strength by 12,250 contracts...
Marc Chandler / BBH: Dollar Bears Still Focused On Treasury Meltdown
Mr. Practical / Minyanville:
House of Sand -- things are going to get built all over the country that will add to current overcapacity. We're going to invest in assets that have nothing to do with production and everything to do with waste.

When you borrow money to invest in non-productive assets, you get short-term gain at the expense of long-term loss. The crowding-out effect will make sure that we don't have capital to invest when we really need it to invest in real production...
Why Barack Obama Voted Against Judge John Roberts: I disagree with his politicsInteresting: Obama v. Roberts

Wall Street Journal:
Why Obama Voted Against Roberts -- The following is from then-Sen. Barack Obama's floor statement explaining why he would vote against confirming Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts (September 2005) . . .

I want to take Judge Roberts at his word that he doesn't like bullies and he sees the law and the court as a means of evening the playing field between the strong and the weak. But given the gravity of the position to which he will undoubtedly ascend and the gravity of the decisions in which he will undoubtedly participate during his tenure on the court, I ultimately have to give more weight to his deeds and the overarching political philosophy that he appears to have shared with those in power than to the assuring words that he provided me in our meeting.

The bottom line is this: I will be voting against John Roberts' nomination. . . .
Alan Stewart Carl / Donklephant:
Remembering Obama’s Opposition to Roberts -- After reading Obama’s justification, I’m pretty sure anyone opposing Sonia Sotomayor could simply cut-and-paste the argument, make a few slight changes and call it a day. Why? Because Obama’s entire written statement is just an elaborate way to say “I’m voting against him because I disagree with his politics.” And if political incongruity is a justifiable reason to oppose an otherwise highly qualified candidate, then Obama can’t rightly expect any Republicans to vote for Sotomayor...

Cigar Mike / Babalú Blog:
Semper Infidelious -- Here is Obama, in his own words, as to why he voted against John Roberts. We can apply the same reasoning to Sotomayor. Have a nice day infidels.

Calculated Risk

MishTalk - Mike Shedlock

Paul Krugman - NY Times

The Big Picture - Barry Ritholtz

naked capitalism - Yves Smith

Pragmatic Capitalism

Washington's Blog

Safe Haven

Paper Economy

The Daily Reckoning - Australia