THE LAST WORD - Lawrence O'Donnell's commentary on Wall Street Protests (MSNBC)
Investors have pulled more money from U.S. equity funds since the end of April than in the five months after the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., adding to the $2.1 trillion rout in American stocks.#3 Siemens has pulled more than half a billion euros out of two major French banks and has moved that money to the European Central Bank. Do they know something or are they just getting nervous?
About $75 billion was withdrawn from funds that focus on shares during the past four months, according to data compiled by Bloomberg from the Investment Company Institute, a Washington-based trade group, and EPFR Global, a research firm in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Outflows totaled $72.8 billion from October 2008 through February 2009, following Lehman’s bankruptcy, the data show.
Consider first the scale of the crisis. After contracting in 2009 and 2010, GDP fell by a further 7.3% in the second quarter of 2011. Unemployment is approaching 900,000 and is projected to exceed 1.2 million, in a population of 11 million. These are figures reminiscent of the Great Depression of the 1930s.#10 In 2009, Greece had a debt to GDP ratio of about 115%. Today, Greece has a debt to GDP ratio of about 160%. All of the austerity that has been imposed upon them has done nothing to solve their long-term problems.
A big market-making state bank in China’s onshore foreign exchange market has stopped foreign exchange forwards and swaps trading with several European banks due to the unfolding debt crisis in Europe, two sources told Reuters on Tuesday.#16 European central banks are now buying more gold than they are selling. This is the first time that has happened in more than 20 years.