Just Old Boys Bein’ Old Boys… (CNBC)
If you thought the days of an old boy network getting the goods early went out in the ‘70s along with flair leg pants and shag haircuts, think again. CNBC reports that “… at least 12 U.S. banks, a Wall Street law firm, a hedge fund and a private equity fund” all received the official minutes of the Federal Reserve’s latest meeting a full day earlier than the rest of the world. The banks included Fifth Third, Citigroup, UBS, Barclays, U.S. Bank, Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo, HSBC, BNP, Paribas, BB&T, JPMorgan Chaase and PNC. Once these global players were fore-armed with knowledge of the Fed’s intention for interest rates and the continuation of quantitative easing, they could have made any of a thousand different investments to get the jump on the rest of the world. I guess we’ll next be hearing about a federal investigation of this “Ole Boy Network.”
Riding the Chinese Express Economic Rollercoaster… (AP)
Given the up-and-down nature of Chinese economic data, investors might want to take the following with a grain of rice… er salt. The world’s second-largest economy has just released figures for March auto sales. And while the numbers didn’t stack up to the first two months of 2013, sales still jumped 13.3 percent compared with last year. German and Korean automakers led the pack, each boasting sales growth of 20 percent or more. Japanese auto sales actually declined by 17.8 percent for the month, a drop attributed to the two countries ongoing land dispute over islands in the East China Sea. According to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, more than 2 million vehicles were moved last month, with 1.6 million of those being cars. Even at growth of 13.3 percent, March trailed the massive 19.5 percent surges seen in January and February of this year. As for April, it depends on who you want to believe as to what the sales figures will be.
Baby Boomers Turned Death Activists (Bloomberg)
As a larger portion of the Baby Boomer generation moves to retirement age, not all of them will be able to enjoy their golden years as envisioned. Contrary to what you may think, this has nothing to do with retirement funds not going far enough or even the ever-escalating cost of living… Rather, it’s the cost of dying that’s got America’s largest generation on the move. Led by activists in New England, aging Americans are lobbying lawmakers and physicians for the ability to obtain life-ending drugs, should they so choose that option. With modern medicine being able to keep terminal patients alive for weeks or months longer than otherwise would be possible, these Boomers are re-considering how they want their end to come, and what impact it should have on their family and friends. Should investors be ready to embrace a new field in life sciences, er end-of-life sciences? Stay tuned.