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Tue, 2017/08/22 - 12:55pm | Your editor
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BofA Merrill Lynch summed up yesterday's Wall Street action well: “total eclipse of the trading”! Apparently lots of bond dealers went off to watch the eclipse and only $4.4 bn was traded in high yield issues when $3.4 bn of these bonds (once called “junk bonds”) had been issued. Equity markets also were pretty inactive.

One result is that my new brokerage account with Schwab faces “technical issues” blocking execution of trades which cannot be done on-line. If delayed execution hurts the client Charlie will adjust prices. Catch-up is costly.

After the warm and fuzzy street gatherings yesterday to look at the eclipse, and a slower pace of reports and news even by the standards for August, things are turning more normal today. Starting with Washington.

Another US president has ventured into the Afghan quicksand and is sending troops with an open-ended and undefined mandate.

The North Korean conundrum, unlike the solar eclipse, lives on with new revelations that Kim Yung-un's regime is supplying illegal nerve gas to Syria's Basher Al-Assad, also used to kill Kim Jong Un's brother in Kuala Lumpur airport. While I am no fan of Steve Bannon's his summary of US options over Kim Jong-Un is spot on. Pyongyang's threats of “a merciless retaliation” today is a deliberate attempt to extract a riposte from Pres. Trump which will again consist of empty rhetorical threats—but maybe this time The Prez has learned not to get into these kinds of slanging matches. His “fire and fury” talk early this month was beyond stupid.

At last the US Navy is looking into the spate of fatal crashes of our military ships in Asian waters. If we are going to have an Asia policy beyond insulting China, we need to back it up with a functioning military.

 

One thing that troubles me after the national hoopla over the solar eclipse. After all the warnings not to look directly into the eclipsed sun, why did Pres. Trump not wear protective shades like the First Lady did when he hopped onto the White House balcony yesterday? Is this risky behavior a follow-on from his refusal to believe that global warming is happening? It is lucky Our Alpha Male chief didn't look too long because then, rather than facing a possible impeachment over the Russian interference in last year's election, he might have had to resign because he was going blind. Wall Street and the dollar are both up so we are assuming his vision will survive his frequent lack of foresight. Can the USA survive it?

 

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