Media Navel Gaze: March 7, 2016
It got worse, way worse and way more below the belt than we could possibly have expected with probably more Donald Trump headlines to date in one week than throughout the whole campaign as the Republican frontrunner was asked to measure up in some fashion with others. Field slowly narrowing, in line with intellectual debate, and former one-time candidate Mitt Romney jumped in to say he wasn’t too happy about Trump, probably causing more harm than good, especially to the GOP.
- The closely followed monthly jobs data were a bit of relief that showed nonfarm payroll up 242,000 in February with upward revisions in previous months, suggesting no real downturn in sight despite suggestions otherwise in markets outside the US; the overall unemployment rate held steady at 4.9 percent;
- As a result, the Dow edged higher again last week (its third straight) to close at 17,006 but remains down about 2.4 percent for the year;
- Energy tycoon Aubrey McClendon died in a single-car crash the day after he was indicted on bid-rigging charges;
- Nancy Reagan died at 94;
- Coverage of the MoMath Masters competition revealed not only a few clients in the mix but that Cindy Crawford received a scholarship for chemical engineering at Northwestern; and
- In other supermodel news, Rupert Murdoch married Jerry Hall (and this is not from The Onion).
Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was briefly detained for questioning on Friday in a federal investigation of a vast corruption scheme. The three hours of questioning in police custody on Friday was the highest profile development in the two-year-old probe focused on state oil firm Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras). Brazilian markets rallied sharply on the news, apparently sensing a change in regime that could shake up the country’s beleaguered economy. Brazil is in the midst of its deepest recession in 25 years.
The Peso: According to Mexico's Central Bank Governor, Agustin Carstens, this week, the Mexican peso, which has been hammered by tanking oil prices, still has room to strengthen. To protect the peso from a deeper slump, the central bank in February surprised markets by delivering a 50-basis-point-rate hike and unleashing a new program for direct market intervention. However, Carstens says the bank has not had to intervene in markets since the February announcements.
The Wall: In a televised interview on Wednesday, Mexico's Finance Minister Luis Videgaray rejected presidential hopeful Donald Trump's proposal to finance the building of a wall across the U.S./Mexico border. Can't imagine why.
Latin American governments have pledged to work toward ending hunger within a decade while tackling an epidemic of rising obesity in the region - itself considered a form of malnutrition.