Your daily dose of financial news

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As expected, the “patient” label was gone in the Fed’s March monetary policy statement, but Fed Chair Janet Yellen quelled investor fears by noting that its removal did not mean that the Fed was “going to be impatient” with any plan to raise rates. Dr. Yellen also indicated that once the rate hikes started, baby steps would be the name of the game – NYTimes and WSJ

The WSJ suggests that the meteoric rise of the US dollar may be the biggest factor in keeping rates at historically low levels – WSJ

Meanwhile, the Journal’s Michael Casey has concerns about the Fed’s “covert foray” into Forex policy, warning that its “not impatient” approach was all about the currency market and had little to do with domestic economic conditions – WSJ  Bloomberg noticed, too.

Stocks reacted positively to the news yesterday, though they’re opening lower this morning – WSJ

We’re in a strange period in the global economy these days (especially when it comes to interest rates), and if you’re saying to yourself “Gee, if only there were some 3-D charts that drove home the point,” well, you’re in luck – NYTimes

A FHFA White Paper out yesterday painted a less-than-encouraging portrait of Fannie & Freddie, despite two years of big profits for the gov’t sponsored enterprises, prompting concerns that a second bailout could be required in the future to keep the mortgage backers afloat. The report cited one-off tax benefits and legal settlements as causes for those profits and warned that the winding down of investment portfolios and loss of interest income could push Fannie & Freddie to the brink of disaster again if Congress fails to act to reform the US housing finance market.  Care to take any bets on the success of that request? – Law360

For their part, Fannie & Freddie pressed on with normal business, announcing plans to reconsider how mortgages operate under the federal Home Affordable Modification Program in an attempt to reduce defaults as scheduled rate increases begin – Law360

The Dealbook’s getting in on the “new bond market pro” profiling game today, as it looks at Scott Radell, another anti-Bill Gross (in terms of swagger and self-promotion, at least), who manages more than 80 exchange-traded funds for BlackRock. ETFs, you’ll recall, track an index of stocks or bonds but trade like common stock, allowing investors to get in and out of the game quickly.  Radell and BlackRock are betting (rather quietly) on a new brand of quasi-active ETFs that seek to occupy the intersection of the active investing and index investing Venn diagram circles –  NYTimes

With financial crisis-era enforcement actions drying up, the SEC is renaming the unit that brought many of its toxic MBS-focused cases (from “Structured and New Products Unit” to “Complex Financial Instruments”) and will be announcing a new focus on rating agencies, commercial MBS, and valuation issues for funds – WSJ

Several Target stories are making the rounds today—one that’s good for workers, who will see minimum wages hit at least $9/hour starting next month, and another that’s potentially good for victims of 2013’s massive data breach at the Minneapolis-based retailer – Star Tribune

Fox’s Empire ended its initial 12-episode run to rave reviews and monster ratings.  The WSJ will grant you all of that, but seriously, where are the bankers?  Literally, “We never met the bankers, sadly” – WSJ

The Times’ tech guru, Molly Wood, explores the rise of design—one of those words you’ll be hearing a lot about in the coming years—as a leading factor in wearables and other tech products – NYTimes Video

Norm Macdonald was on Letterman last night for what was probably his final appearance before Dave closes up shop in May.  Norm’s not shy about working blue, especially when it comes to an accurate recounting of Bob Uecker tales.  So keep that in mind if you click through to hear about the legendary Brewers play-by-play man and his Mr. Belvedere days – The Late Show

 

MDR

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