10/18/12 – Why Are Women . . . So Much More Interesting to Men Than Men Are to Women? —Virginia Woolf

Posted by Brad McMillan, CFA, CAIA, MAI

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This entry was posted on Oct 18, 2012 10:29:41 AM

and tagged Politics and the Economy, Yesterday's News

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Well, because they vote, in this case. The big story today, which made the front pages of the major papers, was the discovery by both campaigns that women vote. The Financial Times (FT) led with “Fiery Obama seizes on debate to put Romney in a bind over female voters,” the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) led with a more sedate “Candidates Zero In on Women Voters,” and the New York Times (NYT) had a relatively stuffy “Rival Campaigns Intently Pursue Votes of Women.” The underlying story is the same, that women voters—a “minority” that actually constitutes 53 percent (a majority) of the electorate—are now up for grabs, as Romney has narrowed down what had been a large Obama lead to almost even in some polls. One more example of how politics is proving much more fluid than was commonly expected.

Now that the Romney rebound is in full swing, as predicted, I think we can expect to see more pro-Obama coverage in the next round of the horse race. This has already started, with Obama being reported as more energized on the trail, but it will intensify. It is worth noting that despite the Romney rebound, Obama is still ahead by almost two to one in the Nate Silver forecast and in the Intrade market, although both of those numbers are down from their highs.

One pending issue—for whoever wins in November, but particularly for Romney—is what is being said about China during the campaign. The Chinese are listening, and they are not happy. “China fumes over ‘bashing’” (WSJ, p. A6) and “China’s Currency Policy, an Irritant to US, Provides Debate Fodder” (NYT, p. B3) have the candidates making statements and, in some cases, promises that will come back to haunt them post-election. The WSJ story in particular highlights the Chinese government’s reaction. China matters, for the obvious reasons, but also because the government there is increasingly looking for distractions from slowing growth (FT, p. 7; WSJ, p. A9; NYT, p. B8) and finding them in nationalism and disputes with other countries. The Japan and China tensions continue to cook, with “Japanese Politician’s Visit to War Shrine Raises Questions” (NYT, p. A12) and “China attacks Abe over shrine visit” (FT, p. 2). Adding the U.S. to the list unnecessarily is probably not constructive.

Other than that, same as ever. Good news for the U.S., as home construction climbed to a four-year high, per the front page of the WSJ and page B8 of the NYT, and mortgage activity continued to drive higher bank profits, per page C5 of the WSJ. Europe continues to flail around for solutions, per multiple stories in the WSJ and NYT.

One final point worth noting—the NYT has “Multivitamin Use Linked to Lowered Cancer Risk” (p. A19). I don’t know about you, but I am going to start taking my vitamins again.

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