Last week was a busy one for market-moving developments that will affect all advisors, as House and Senate conferees reached agreement on the final shape of financial services reform. Perhaps in a sign that reform steered a middle line between two extremes, reaction to the bill fell along predictable party lines, much as the vote in the reconciliation committee was along strict party lines. The consensus timeline as reported by the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal is that the full House will vote on the 2,000-page bill on Tuesday, June 29, followed by the Senate on July 1, with President Obama's signature expected before the July 4 recess. However, the death on June 28 of Senator Robert Byrd (D-West Virginia) complicates matters for the Democrats, who may have needed his vote to pass the bill.
The G-20 nations met in Toronto on June 26-27, where the leaders of the industrialized countries pledged to reduce government spending as a percentage of GDP. On June 25, meanwhile, the Commerce Department gave its final estimate of first quarter GDP, which at 2.7% was down slightly from the 3.0% economic growth that it reported in its penultimate reading of the U.S. economy.
Last week also marked the 22d annual Morningstar Investment Conference for 1,300 advisors in Chicago; our multiple onsite news reports on the presentations of, and private interviews with the likes of everyone from Jeffrey Gundlach to Bob Reynolds of Putnam and Bill McNabb of Vanguard included a final wrap-up on the thoughts of Bill Miller and other "Monsters of Stock" from Wealth Manager Editor Kate McBride.
This week's economic reports and political happenings begin on Monday, June 28, with May personal income and spending, the Supreme Court's final rulings of the term, and the Senate's commencement of confirmation hearings for the Supremes of Elena Kagan.
On June 30th and July 1, the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission holds hearings beginning on Wednesday on the role of derivatives in the crisis, with appearances by academics, by current and former AIG executives, and Goldman Sachs executives, including President Gary Cohn. Hearings on Thursday July 1 include appearances by more AIG and Goldman leaders, along with Gary Gensler of the CFTC and former New York Insurance Department Superintendent Eric Dinallo.