Receiving Wide Coverage ...
Spotlight on Yellen: Janet Yellen faced Congress Tuesday for the first time as Federal Reserve chairman. The marathon session lasting almost six hours yielded several takeaways pertaining to her forthcoming tenure. A few of the more notable ones circulating among the pundits: Yellen is a dove, which we all pretty much already knew; Yellen is an effective communicator; and Yellen may or may not be a high pressure Fed chair (The FT needs to hear more). Regarding the Fed's bond-buying program, Yellen said the central bank will continue to taper purchases unless the economy takes a turn for the worse. "The voice is the voice of Janet Yellen. The words are still basically the words of Ben Bernanke," tweeted New York Times reporter Binyamin Appelbaum after the whole thing was over. (Details on how Yellen channeled her predecessor, courtesy of American Banker's Donna Borak, can be found here. Spoiler alert: her stance on financial regulation is one of them. ) U.S. stocks surged following Yellen's comments.
Debt Limit Update: The House GOP backed off of hosting another fight over raising the nation's debt limit by approving a bill on Tuesday that would lift it with no strings attached. "Simply by holding the vote, Speaker John A. Boehner effectively ended a three-year Tea Party-inspired era of budget showdowns that had raised the threat of default and government shutdowns, rattled economic confidence and brought serious scrutiny from other nations questioning Washington's ability to govern," the New York Times notes.
Wall Street Journal
High-speed traders are using laser beams to communicate at even higher speeds. "The lasers, perched atop high-rise apartment buildings, towers and office complexes along the 35-mile stretch between the communities, are the first phase of a grid intended to link nearly all U.S. stock exchanges this way, zipping market data and rapid-fire trades," the paper explains.
Puerto Rico is testing interest in bonds as it works through its financial woes.
A working paper from economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York shows that banks willingly overpaid for loans from the Fed during the financial crisis. "Banks wanted to avoid the stigma of borrowing from the discount window. So they chose to borrow more expensivelyraising their own interest expense at a time when the financial system was under severe strainfor appearance's sake," columnist John Carney derives.
href="http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/3641677c-933b-11e3-8ea7-00144feab7de.html#axzz2t6xL3djO" target="_blank">review of foreign exchange currency manipulationallegations.
New York Times
Senator Elizabeth Warren and Representative Elijah E. Cummings are recommending that the Fed's board of governors increase its oversight of enforcement actions, citing last year's failed foreclosure review as evidence that heightened involvement was necessary. "The board's lack of direct involvement in the mortgage servicer enforcement action is particularly noteworthy given certain troubling aspects of the settlement," the lawmakers wrote in a letter to new Fed chair Janet Yellen.
Goldman Sachs caught some flak for giving out cosmetics and nail files at a women's engineering conference. ("Well, Goldman, I guess, in fairness, I do like to keep my nails short so I can type more efficiently," tweeted Dealbook's Sydney Ember.) But, hey, at least the firm named one woman Sarah Smith among its five new management committee members.