Howdy, View fans! Here are your morning links.
When staying home doesn’t really count as time off.
Credit Suisse has joined the kinder-gentler Wall Street bandwagon, telling junior bankers to avoid the office on Saturdays. Except: It still expects them to reply to weekend e-mails “in a timely manner,” which reasonable minds can assume means pretty much instantaneously. So they still will be chained to their smartphones and BlackBerries.
What we have here is a failure to communicate.
The European Central Bank is trying to assess how healthy the euro area’s banks are, but it has run into a problem: Different countries have different ways of defining nonperforming loans. An internal ECB document obtained by Bloomberg News says bad-debt classification practices across Europe show “material differences that, if not considered, would severely affect the consistency and credibility of the exercise.” Of course, lots of people already expect the exercise will make European banks seem stronger than they really are, because that’s how Europe’s stress tests usually have operated in the past.
The new Basel rules on bank leverage ratios just got watered down.
Mayra Rodriguez Valladares explains what happened, in an article for American Banker: “It has become an old refrain. The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision proposes guidelines to improve banking sector safety. Banks and their lobbies with vast resources mightily fight back. The Basel Committee -– which, due to its large, diverse membership, is highly politicized -– weakens its proposed guidelines. Unfortunately, the final leverage ratio released Sunday fits this pattern. No doubt champagne corks will be flying. Unfortunately, when the next banking crisis comes, the rest of us will share in the hangover headache, even if not imbibing.”
What’s next for the stock market.
Here’s John Hussman’s take at Hussman Funds: “In my view, the stock market is hovering in what has a good chance of being seen in hindsight as the complacent lull before a period of steep losses. Meanwhile, we would require a certain amount of deterioration in stock prices, credit spreads, and employment growth to amplify our economic concerns, but even here we can say that there is little evidence of economic acceleration. Broad economic activity continues to hover at levels that have historically delineated the border of expansions and recessions.”
Super Bowl is almost here, and dog lovers know what that means.
The 2014 Puppy Bowl is just around the corner. Animal Planet has released this year’s starting lineup with photos. So cute.
(Jonathan Weil is a Bloomberg View columnist. Follow him on Twitter.)