Posts filed under “Federal Reserve”
John Berry, the Washington Post reporter (now at Bloomberg) who covers the Fed — and widely believed to have a direct line from Greenspan and other FOMC members — came out swinging this morning. In today’s column, he accused CNBC reporter Maria Bartiroma of "burning Bernanke," engaging in journalistic ethical lapses, and failing to treat private conversations at an off-the-record event appropriately.
Earlier this morning, Berry wrote:
"Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke wasn’t cautious enough about the ground rules when he chatted with journalists at the White House Correspondent Association’s dinner April 29, and he got badly burned . . .
Virtually all reporters treat discussions at such events as being off-the-record — that is, not for publication — unless there is an explicit understanding otherwise. You can be sure he has learned that painful lesson."
In other words, the veteran print journo is accusing the TV anchor of not understanding the rules of engagement when mixing at social functions with the personalities and subjects they cover. CNBC (through a spokesman) disagreed, saying "there was no question Bernanke’s comments were on-the-record."
Berry goes on to add that it was clear the Fed is "Not Finished" and that markets did misunderstand the concept of a pause; he quotes WaPo reporter Nell Henderson’s column, that while the central bank may "pause in the process of raising interest rates to restrain inflation, that would not necessarily mean they were finished.”
Reuters reported that "speaking after the markets’ close on Tuesday on CNBC’s "Kudlow & Company", Bartiromo said she was sure Bernanke didn’t want to see major market reactions to his remarks and that "in his heart, I did him a favor."
Several others have criticized Bartiroma for sitting on her market moving news until her 3pm show began. After she released her "scoop," the market tanked.
Bartiroma, formerly known as the "Money Honey" for her reports from the floor of the NYSE, has generated all kinds of criticism and coverage since the snafu.
I suspect we may not have seen the last of this story . . .
UPDATE 2 May 4, 2006 11:48am
Ben is a fast learner; from a friend (quoting Reuters) we see that:
Yesterday, midday, at that local-economy talk the Fed Chief gave in DC, “When he arrived at the conference, reporters asked exactly what he had said at the dinner, but he walked by without a word. He did not take audience questions, and left as silently as he had arrived.”
Apparently "Once bitten, twice shy" is a fair assessment of the new Fed Chief’s experience with the Press. Dunno what they taught you at MIT and Harvard, Ben, but all you hadda do was call, and I woulda schooled ya on the finer points of dealing with the media.
Now ya know.
UPDATE 1 May 3, 2006 9:48am
Note: This only works with Explorer 6, and I am using IE 7; (Leave it to Microsoft)
Bernanke Couldn’t Be Clearer — You Hear That?
John M. Berry
Bloomberg, May 3, 2006
CNBC’s Bartiromo says report does Bernanke a ‘favor’
Reuters, Tue May 2, 2006 6:01 PM ET
Bernanke slips on Bartiromo peel
Fallout uncertain on off-the-cuff interview as confusion reigns
MarketWatch, 6:24 PM ET May 2, 2006
Bernanke remarks leave analysts bemused
Jennifer Hughes in New York
FT May 2 2006 21:55 | Last updated: May 2 2006 21:55
Investors Misunderstood Bernanke Testimony, CNBC Anchor Says
Washington Post, Tuesday, May 2, 2006; Page D03
When The Fed Chairman Speaks, Everyone Freaks
CBS, May 2, 2006
Ben Bernanke Tells All to the Money Honey
Bernanke Boots His Rally?
May 02, 2006 9:37
Fed Struggles to Convince Markets Of Its Own Uncertainty on Rates
WSJ, May 3, 2006; Page A1
MARIA, FED HEAD GO HEAD-TO-HEAD
N.Y. Post, May 3, 2006
Maria’s Fed Minute
Street Insight, 5/2/2006 7:09 AM EDT
“Every Change of Rate” is an utterly hysterical parody of the black & white Police video “Every Breath You Take,” as done by some Columbia Biz School students; Its an amusing take on the Ben Bernanke, the newly appointed Fed Chief. My favorite bit are the lyrics during the second verse: “First you move your…Read More
Sales of existing homes surprised to the upside yesterday. But one data point does not make a trend. This is the first rise (sequential monthly change) after 5 straight months of falling Home Sales. And that’s before we examine the data.
Before you declare the end of the housing slow down, consider:
- Existing Home sales actually slipped vs. last year by -0.7%; The reported gain was over last month’s data;
- the Inventory of unsold homes soared 7 percent in March, hittting an all-time record; There are now 3.19 million existing homes for sale, or 5.5 months’ supply; That’s the largest inventory since July 1998
- Existing homes edged up 0.3% last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of
6.92 million units; (we know that seasonally adjusted data is not always accurate)
- Year over year, the Northeast and Midwest gained, while the previously hot housing markets in the South and the West slipped;
- median home prices are still rising, albeit nmore slowly — up 7.4% year over year, to $218,000.
Here’s a data point that has me scratching my head: Why are there different numbers for the year-over-year changes for seasonally and not seasonally adjusted? Was this March somehow in a different season than last year’s March? I am perplexed.
Note that data for existing home sales comes from National Association of Realtors, a group that is certainly an interested party; Of course, as a homeowner, investor, and someone with a public bearish tilt for the second half, I’m hardly objective myself (hey, I try). But this oddity — down -0.5% for the not seasonally adjusted year over year versus down -0.7% for the seasonally adjusted year over year — is beyond my comprehension.
So much for the hard data on existing sales; Today, we get New Home Sales. Recall our prior admonishments that monthly New Home Sales Data are unreliable; look instead to a moving average.
Let’s move onto some anecdotal evidence. A friend writes:
"Flop! Wow, KB running blue light specials in California. Not surprising,
Chico area was rated one of the most overvalued markets in the country. Houses
in the $200k space. When was the last time you saw that in California? "
Here’s the sales pitch:
"Oak Knoll Place in Live Oak is located in a beautiful
community near the majestic Sutter Buttes. With easy access to Highway 99, it is
ideally located for easy access to Sacramento, Lake Tahoe, Reno and a wide
variety of recreational opportunities. Yuba City and Marysville are
approximately 10 minutes south, Chico is approximately 35 miles north and the
Gray Lodge Wildlife area is approximately 10 minutes west. Live Oak has a
quaint, small-town atmosphere with many nearby recreational water activities,
including the Feather River, Yuba River and Sacramento River. Prices starting
from the High $200′s."
I don’t know Live Oak, but houses like that in California are hard to imgaine . . .
More after the jump.
Existing-Home Sales Rise Again in March
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS
WASHINGTON (April 25, 2006)
Existing Home Sales data
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS