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Greenspan Warns of the Bubble That May Be Bursting Next

And when that bond bubble bursts, it will be fast and severe, he says

(Newser) - More than 20 years ago, Alan Greenspan uttered two words he'd become famous for: "irrational exuberance," which he used to warn about asset prices in the general investment market and how predicting the bursting of such bubbles was a challenging game. Now the former Federal Reserve chair... More »

$35B Hedge Fund Manager's Secret: Do Nothing

Nevada's Steve Edmundson is a rare find in the investment world

(Newser) - If your visions of high-profile hedge fund managers include frenetic scrambling through paperwork, fielding endless phone calls, and scouring the Internet during never-ending workdays, those don't apply to Steve Edmundson, the investment head of Nevada's $35 billion Public Employees' Retirement System, the Wall Street Journal notes. Where other... More »

Can You Pass a Basic Test on Finances? Probably Not

The vast majority of Americans answered barely half of the questions correctly

(Newser) - When it comes to finances, Americans are doing generally better than during the recession. But when it comes to financial literacy, the picture is grim. According to a new survey of 27,564 Americans called the National Financial Capability Study that was put out by the FINRA Foundation , roughly two-thirds... More »

Puerto Rico Says Its $72B Debt Is 'Not Payable'

'America's Greece' is almost out of cash

(Newser) - There's something about Puerto Rico that has caused many commentators to describe it as "America's Greece," and it definitely isn't yogurt. Instead, it's the terrible state of the US commonwealth's economy, which has caused Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla to admit that its $72... More »

Better Late Than Never: Britain to Repay WWI Debt

It still owes WWI investors some $3.2B

(Newser) - Britain is beginning to pay back some of the $3.2 billion it borrowed to help pay for World War I. The government plans to redeem some national war bonds (issued in 1917) in February, when it refinances $348 million of debt issued as far back as the 18th century.... More »

As Default Looms, Investors Scurry to Unload US Bonds

Banks steer clear of short-term US debt

(Newser) - Worried over the possibility of default, investors and banks aren't taking chances: They're selling off billions of dollars of US debt, the Wall Street Journal reports. Banks have cut their government debt holdings by some 50% in the past two weeks, New York's Federal Reserve says. Additionally,... More »

Apple Holding Biggest Bond Sale in US History

Company will reportedly sell $17B worth

(Newser) - Apple is whipping out its proverbial credit card in a huge way. The firm intends to sell $17 billion in bonds, in what would be the biggest sale of investment-grade corporate debt in US history, sources tell the Wall Street Journal . Apple wouldn't comment on the sale or confirm... More »

Sandy May Have Ruined Billions in Bearer Bonds

Wall Street could lose $70B, source says

(Newser) - Add this to Superstorm Sandy's damages: billions of dollars in soaked bearer bonds that may never be recovered, the New York Post reports. The storm surge flooded a huge underground vault in New York, sousing 1.3 million bond and stock certificates with water, sewage, and diesel. Now a... More »

Moody Cut Sends Spanish Bonds to Dangerous High

Italy's borrowing costs jump as well

(Newser) - Spanish bond yields hit a whopping 7% today, after Moody's cut the country's credit rating to just one level above "junk" yesterday. The New York Times ominously notes that the 7% mark is the level that "triggered" full-blown bailouts of other eurozone countries. Moody's said... More »

Most Greek Bondholders Agree to Take Huge Loss

Debt swap deal a success

(Newser) - A whopping 85.8% of Greece's private bondholders have agreed to swap their bonds for new ones that are worth half as much, the country announced today. "The response exceeded all expectations, and every historic precedent," Greece's finance minister boasted. Greece can now use a "... More »

Police Grab $6 Trillion in Phony US Bonds

Crooks wanted forgeries to buy plutonium: Italian paper

(Newser) - A minor crime averted in Italy: Police seized $6 trillion in phony US Treasury bonds that a criminal network reportedly planned to use to buy plutonium. Cops grabbed the fake bonds at a Swiss trust company in the city of Potenza, they said yesterday. US experts identified the forgeries and... More »

Eurozone Agrees to Huge Spain, Italy Bailouts

Massive action would dwarf those in Greece, Ireland, Portugal

(Newser) - Europe's central banking system has agreed to buy huge quantities of Spanish and Italian government bonds in an attempt to stem the debt crisis overwhelming the eurozone, a source told Reuters after an ECB conference call today. “The Euro system will intervene very significantly,” the source said.... More »

Wall St. Plotting for Debt Doomsday

Prospect of default fraying nerves

(Newser) - As lawmakers scramble to hammer out a debt deal, Wall Street firms are working on ways to deal with America defaulting on its debt—and on ways to make a buck out of any upheaval. Treasury bonds function like a currency on Wall Street and default after the Aug. 2... More »

Cantor Has Up to $15K Bet on Government Default

It's just a teeny tiny conflict of interest, Jonathan Easley argues

(Newser) - As Eric Cantor last week negotiated an increase in the federal debt ceiling, he had between $1,000 and $15,000 invested in a fund that aggressively shorts US bonds, according to his latest financial disclosure statement. If Congress fails to raise the debt ceiling and the US defaults, the... More »

Bankers Now Think Citi Less Risky Than Goldman

Criticism sends Goldman debt costs higher

(Newser) - One is the most profitable, successful bank on Wall Street, the other came within a hairsbreadth of nationalization. Who would you rather lend money to? Apparently, right now investors are going with the latter. As of Monday, Goldman Sachs' debt was yielding 2.73%, to just 2.29% for Citigroup,... More »

Fed Earns Record $45B

Efforts to save economy result in windfall

(Newser) - The Federal Reserve's efforts to keep the economy afloat last year earned it the highest profits in its 96-year history. The Fed—which funds itself and turns its earnings over to the Treasury—made a total of $45 billion last year, dwarfing the profits of many big banks. Interest on... More »

$134B Bond Fraud May Be Mob Handiwork

US, Italian authorities blame organized crime for huge counterfeiting

(Newser) - The counterfeit bonds with a face value of $134 billion seized near the Swiss border are probably the work of the Mafia, say Italian and American secret services. The mystery surrounding the suitcase stuffed with fake US Treasury bonds deepened yesterday, after a blog revealed that police had released the... More »

$134B in Bonds Seized in Italy 'Clearly Fake'

US debt office tells conspiracy theorists to calm down

(Newser) - Conspiracy theorists, take note: The US bonds seized near the Swiss border with a face value of $134 billion "are clearly fakes," a Washington spokesman tells Bloomberg. Most securities are now issued electronically, only about $105 billion in bonds have yet to be surrendered, and the "Kennedy... More »

$134B Suitcase Could Be Huge Smuggling Scam

Italy arrests men with enough US bonds to buy a few countries

(Newser) - Last week, Italian authorities detained two Japanese men attempting to cross the border into Switzerland carrying a suitcase stuffed with $134 billion in US bonds. The men are either massive counterfeiters or—even scarier—the fourth-largest creditors of the US Treasury, with enough cash to buy three or four countries.... More »

Smugglers Caught Sneaking $134B in Bonds Out of Italy

(Newser) - Two Japanese citizens were detained last week after allegedly trying to take $134 billion in undeclared US bonds from Italy to Switzerland, Bloomberg reports. Both countries are investigating the incident. “Italian authorities are in the midst of the investigation, and haven’t yet confirmed the details, including whether they... More »

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