FASB, Unemployment, Factory Orders And A Raging Stock Market

According to some of the pundits the equity markets are surging on the news that mark-to-market accounting so far as banks are concerned has been shuttled off to history’s dustbin. In other words, the market values opaque accounting, which is another reason that I fully admit I have no clue as to what drives stock prices.

Anyway, I figure most of you are aware that the FASB changed the rules to allow banks and their auditors to use more “flexible” standards in valuing toxic assets. MarketWatch has a good recap of what went on and you may want to read it as there are a few other provisions that at first glance seem to further muddle things. I am not going to go into any details until I have a chance to read more but I will come back to this in a couple of days. I won’t let this bone go without noting that the banks (think the big banks) are also still working on getting the rules revised to permit restatement of prior results using the new guidelines.

John Jansen at Across the Curve summed up the whole thing nicely:

The Financial Accounting Standard Board meets today regarding mark to market accounting rules. There is a mob, akin to the mob in London yesterday calling for the dissolution of capitalism,prodding the FASB to change accounting rules in order for banks to apply substantial judgement when valuing assets. Toxic ones. Toxic ones where there is no market. When they cave in to this they can drop the S from their acronymic name as they will lack any Standard.

The four week moving average of initial claims for unemployment insurance increased 6,500 to 656,750. We will get the March unemployment rate tomorrow. It is expected to be around 8.5% up from 8.1% in February.

Factory orders sounded a positive note today. They rose 1.8% in March after declining 3.5% in February.

At least it’s not all bad news today.

more: here (factory orders & unemployment)

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