E CheapOair, Seeking Alpha, And Other Questions

A question: If he wandered off-base in the Afghanistan war zone without permission, how did Bergdahl make sergeant? Critics of the Administration's deal to get him released after 5 years of captivity by the Taliban need to address how a supposed disloyal soldier got promoted by our US military. 

Another (with apologies to Dickens): Is it a far better thing that I do than I have ever done?

BNP Paribas' Swiss-based COO with an aristo name, George Chodron de Courcel, 64, appears to be ready to sacrifice himself to settle with US prosecutions over money laundering on behalf of rogue regimes Iran, Cuba, and Sudan. As with A Tale of Two Cities, the action was not done in Paris in US$s but via the Swiss arm of the French bank.

This might protect BNP CEO Baudouin Prot, who sounds more like a Sans-Culotte, from the guillotine.

 A 3rd query: Did European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi really break new ground with his under-water interest rate offer to banks yesterday?

Missing in news articles about the ECB negative interest rate program is recollection that Swiss banks also had to pay to deposit their cash with the Swiss National Bank (their CB) during crises in the last century. Then a too-high Swiss Franc threatened the country's exports of chocolate and Swatches. CB intervention to force down interest and exchange rates down is not unprecedented. It was also tried more recently by Denmark with a tax on deposits.

Moreover Super-Mario stopped short (so far) from trying quantitative easing on the Anglo-US model, according to Bloomberg and other critics. All he did was hint that QE could be rolled out if the latest measures fail to work. QE drives down interest rate spreads and encourages bankers' animal spirits. ECB buying asset-backed securities will have modest impact as Euroland banks don't use ABS's much. I think the securitization of euros 800 bn of bank loans to the “real economy” with the long-term refinancing operation (LTRO) can work. But failing to sop up non-performing loans with a QE initiative was a political decision, and probably a wrong one.

 More follows from Mexico to Mongolia to Myanmar, with some stops in between in Canada, Italy, Spain, Britain, Brazil, China, Norway and The Netherlands.

*Teva was upped to a buy for a hold by respected Argus Research, with a target price of $58.

Now some of our wilder fund investments are in focus today:

*Fibra Uno may be benefiting from investments by Cohen & Steers Global Real Estate Fund (reported on yesterday) as the FBASF stock rose 2.54%. Mexican growth has been slowing for the past 15 months despite reformist by Pres. Enrique Peña Nieto which have not all succeeded.

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