Summer Winds

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Returning from a Labor Day weekend spent cleaning up after Irene, here are some notes as I clean out the desk drawer of Summer 2011:

• I spent the first week of August with my family on Martha’s Vineyard as the Dow Jones lost 1000 points, bond spreads blew out, securitized lending ground to a halt and the United States lost its triple-A credit rating. Past that, it seems the market held things together pretty well in my absence.

• Not altogether unsurprising, but still notable that during the trading days following the U.S. downgrade, treasury yields decreased, leaving some doomsday investors scratching their heads. Of course, the thing about betting on the end of the world is that you can only be right once.

• The third week of August saw the release of almost simultaneous reports that residential mortgage interest rates hit all-time lows and residential mortgage applications hit 15-year lows.

• Meanwhile, the FHFA is suing 17 or so of the nation’s largest banks for billions in losses incurred during pre-bubble subprime securitizations. Many analysts are asking when (if?) the U.S. will stop punishing banks.

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