: Hello, I’m Steve, the Washington bureau chief for MarketWatch. Our readers want news on the economy and it’s my job to make sure we serve that up, with ample helpings of charts (I love charts). This week is probably the most important to Wall Street this summer, with second-quarter GDP, a Federal Reserve interest-rate decision and the July jobs report all coming out in the space of three days. You can read our preview here: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/get-ready-for-48-hours-of-economic-fury-2014-07-27?mod=latestnewssocialflow&link=sfmw .We’re here to help make sense of it all, and what it means to the markets, for the elections, and most importantly, you. AMA! https://twitter.com/MKTWgoldstein/status/494136758666149891

Comments: 192 • Responses: 44  • Date: 

LokiirStone-Fist21 karma

Hi Steve, This year my high school Economics class used your site and your Virtual Stock Exchange to learn about stocks and bonds. Whose idea was it to add the VSE into the MarketWatch website? Thanks!

mktwgoldstein16 karma

Thanks! And honestly, I have no idea, but I know VSE is hugely popular for high school and college classes.

shawnchak12 karma


mktwgoldstein15 karma

Where was the SEC? Where was the Fed? The OCC? The no longer in existence OTS? The FBI? The rating agencies? The buyside investors? Aarrrgghhhhh.

zjbirdwork10 karma

Do references to Bitcoin automatically make you roll your eyes or do you have an interest in it?

mktwgoldstein12 karma

I don't have a financial interest in bitcoin, but I am intrigued by it, for sure. There's clearly flaws, and the whole 'mining' process seems to be nearly as bad for the environment as physical mining. But I could see a continuing role in the financial system for bitcoin or for different electronic currencies.

oceanlab479 karma

Hey Steve. What's your favorite Dave Matthews Band Song?

mktwgoldstein12 karma


EducatedCitizen9 karma

Would what be your best piece of advice for a recent college grad looking to break into the finance world?

mktwgoldstein15 karma

I'm probably not your best source here! What I can tell you is that the traditional investment banks aren't the only place to look -- hedge funds, venture-capital funds and private-equity funds are often at the cutting edge.

super__nova9 karma

what are the top 3 best books you ever read?

What's the best advice you've ever received?

mktwgoldstein15 karma

Best books, wow I don't know. How about I tell you one good book. Another commenter here mentioned 'Flash Boys' but another by the same author, Michael Lewis, is terrific -- 'Liar's Poker.'

TrogdorLLC5 karma

Hi Steve, I write a daily market update focused on precious metals, but of course have to follow equities and bonds as well. It seems to me that the markets are more afraid of the Fed raising the overnight rate than they are over the possibility of WW III breaking out.

Today, we have Russia accusing Ukraine of firing over the border into Russian territory, after Ukraine has accused Russia of allowing rebel artillery a safe haven in Russia to fire at Ukrainian troops; Israel escalating the offensive in Gaza, a fire raging out of control at Tripoli airport after rebels set fire to a fuel tank farm, and 13 dead and dozens injured in a terrorist attack in Xinjiang province, China.

But that's all thrown out the window when US consumer confidence reports a big beat.

Are markets just ignoring ALL risk as they scratch for yield?

mktwgoldstein6 karma

I think you're right that markets are focused more on interest rate developments than geopolitics. Right now their judgment is, WWIII isn't going to break out. That's good news, right? But you raise another good point about markets reaching for yield and ignoring risk. I think those risks are more likely in areas like corporate loans more than geopolitics.

TrogdorLLC2 karma

As a followup question, what's with junk bond issuers changing the covenants (not sure if that is the right word) mid-stream on bod purchasers, removing some of the few safeguards they had? Is everyone so desperate for yield, with junk bonds paying what AAA bonds paid just a few years ago? It seems madness to me, but I'm not trying to manage a fixed-income pension fund or hedge fund.

mktwgoldstein3 karma

That is the right word, and you're not the only one concerned -- the Fed and OCC have warned banks about this.

FastowsFavoriteSPE3 karma

What do you think can be done to create incentives for people to learn manufacturing trades and (hopefully) bring a lot of manufacturing back to the United States?

mktwgoldstein5 karma

Two great questions. I think there's a big movement more generally to improve what's an education system badly needing repair, and improved literacy and numeracy more generally would help that. I'm a little less enamored with specific tweaks here and there to give breaks to manufacturers. We want a dynamic economy and don't want to load it up with too many complicated and often conflicting incentives.

mktwgoldstein3 karma

OK, going to wrap it up here. I really enjoyed all your questions and doing the AMA. Stay tuned to MarketWatch, especially over the next few days with all the data we have, and feel free to ping me a question or comment on twitter @mktwgoldstein.

bigjig122 karma

The consensus every year since 2009 has been later half 'strength" gdp has been remarkably weak during the recovery. If we have another miss of latter half strength, do you expect fundamentals to meaningfully lead to a correction, or has the sea of liquidity put in a floor under markets that cannot be broken?

mktwgoldstein2 karma

I saw a little essay on this yesterday, and honestly, I don't agree that the second half always disappoints. Q3 2013 was 4.1% growth, Q4 was 2.6% -- that's pretty good! But then, Q3 2012 was 2.8% and Q4 was 0.1% -- not so good! The Fed's taking away liquidity -- or will be soon -- so no, I don't think markets cannot be broken. You can argue of course that the Fed rushes in as soon as markets struggle, and I would have a hard time disagreeing!

bigjig123 karma

Historically, this period in fed policy mirrors almost exactly what the federal reserve did in the 1930s with the gold stock. This time, they are calling it QE. When the fed backed off of gold stock accommodation leading up to 1937, the market corrected 60 percent. What kind of reaction do you expect to see at the end of QE3?

mktwgoldstein3 karma

I think one good thing the Fed has done is to be extremely open about the timing and schedule of bond purchases and when they're going to end. So there will be no surprises. I don't think QE3 has had much of an impact on the economy so the lack of it shouldn't, in theory, have much of an impact either. Markets have a mind of their own, however.

Hotfogs2 karma

Is there any part of our economy that you can see as a ticking bomb? I know student loans are a concern for many individuals of my 20 something generation, but is there something else we need to be worried about? Were people aware of the housing market warning signs before the 2008 collapse?

mktwgoldstein6 karma

Ticking bomb is strong but officials both inside and outside the Fed are concerned that low interest rates we've had for so long is causing some bubbles to be built. Student debt has grown rapidly, and is impacting the spending decisions of students after college, but so long as the economy improves, it's a good bet both for the lender and the student taking on the debt. Before 2008, were there warnings about housing? Absolutely. But even among those who thought housing was overvalued, there were very few who then saw how leveraged the entire financial system was to housing.

pokerplayerman2 karma

Do you want to abolish the FED?

mktwgoldstein6 karma

Nope! I think Congress should provide healthy oversight, and honestly I'm not as freaked out by this 'auditing the Fed' idea that some are. But we had a world before central banks, and the data I've seen suggest we weren't better off for it.

cballance2 karma

Hi Steve. Thanks for doing an AMA.

I'm curious about the longer term effects of QE on the market once QE ends soon and rates are set to rise. Is this something the Fed might keep in its toolbox to use in the future even once rates are above zero?

mktwgoldstein5 karma

I do think the Fed will keep in the toolbox, so to speak. In fact, I'm pretty sure Janet Yellen explicitly said so. I think history will judge it was a terrific tool when markets were basically frozen-- so-called QE1. QE2 and QE3 have had far less impact on the economy and possibly have been more trouble than they were worth, though that's going to be debated for some time to come.

cballance1 karma

Thanks for the reply! Great way to interact directly with your readers.

mktwgoldstein3 karma

Definitely. It's important not just to write but to listen.

HireMeThroughAMA2 karma


mktwgoldstein2 karma

Sure. Go to dowjones.jobs to see our open listings.

TrogdorLLC2 karma

Do you think the SEC will regulate dark pools and HFT as more evidence of front-running trades comes to light? Have you read "Flash Boys" or followed the work of Nanex?

mktwgoldstein5 karma

The SEC is definitely looking into this area. And I've read Flash Boys, and do read Nanex, as well as those with opposing opinions. Not all HFT is front running, but it's apparent some is. The SEC for good reason is treading carefully into this area, but it's clear there will be action.

blanketswithsmallpox2 karma

What's your favorite visually, personal, or information packed infographic/chart that you'd like to show us?

Personally I'm a fan of the largest Phylogenetic Tree I know of found here in .pdf format made by the people over at the UoT.

Come join us over at /r/infographics sometime!

mktwgoldstein3 karma

This is one I did recently that has received a lot of attention -- on the happiest and unhappiest cities. Why are people in Louisiana so happy? I have no idea. http://blogs.marketwatch.com/capitolreport/2014/07/18/new-york-city-is-the-most-unhappy-city-in-america/ Not just on MarketWatch, you're seeing news sites devoting much more attention to infographics, and some are quite good. I'll be sure to check out the Reddit thread.

number__246012 karma

Could MarketWatch keep a score on how accurate a Reporters predictions are? You always post bold prediction headlines like "Market Will Fall 20% In Next 4 Months" but then if I can look at the reports "batting average" and see that he is only hitting .211 I can say this guy is just trying to influence the market direction.

mktwgoldstein2 karma

Well, us reporters really aren't trying to make predictions. We do ask our columnists to go back and look at their own picks -- it would be great to do this in an automated and more regular way.

Stoooooooo2 karma

How is the unrest in the world (Ukraine/Israel) going to affect the economy short term or long term?

mktwgoldstein3 karma

In the short term, the risks are with commodities, and energy prices in particular. But remember, everyone has an interest in selling, and buying, oil. Read a fascinating article on how even the terror group ISIS is selling oil. The Israeli economy will definitely feel the pinch of lower tourism, but that's not likely to have an impact on the global economy.

Securus7772 karma

Do you think it's fair that banks take 5% of my money in interest when I ask them for money but only offer a laughable .04% when I want to store my money with them? Do you think it would be better for the economy on a longer run if banks offered a more favorable interest rate on savings accounts?

mktwgoldstein4 karma

Fair, no, not so much. There are so many banks in this country, you'd think there would be more competition for your money, yet that's not the case.

SidTheKidd2 karma

Do you think the current Administration deserves credit for the recovery of the stock market in the past several years? If so, what policies in particular do you think helped the recovery?

mktwgoldstein5 karma

My colleague Russ Britt recently ran a terrific story examining those very issues -- well worth a click. http://www.marketwatch.com/story/2000-days-of-obama-how-have-stocks-done-2014-07-11 My quick 2c is that the White House did act quickly to restore the financial system and provide stimulus (flawed as it may have been) during the recession, but has done comparatively little to help ordinary homeowners.

Someone-Else-Else2 karma

Do you have a Marvel bureau chief, too?

mktwgoldstein2 karma

Ha ha ha. We should.

mr_crezident2 karma


mktwgoldstein1 karma


BostonEagle1 karma

Do you think that the floating NAV for money market funds benefits the end investor?

mktwgoldstein2 karma

So, the issue with money-market funds really is one of risk perception. People treat MMFs like banks, but they're not, and don't have a backstop, yet when there was a run, the federal government stepped in. This is what the SEC tried to address recently after four years of intense debate. Not sure they came up with the perfect answer.

SyrioForel1 karma

A while ago when the economy was on the brink, Jon Stewart (Daily Show) criticized CNBC for being the cheerleaders of Wall Street rather than acting as journalists and, by extension of that, watchdogs of the financial industry. He said that instead of running news stories, they are primarily interested in tips for the audience on how to PROFIT from those news stories and events.

Do you think that kind of criticism is fair? What's your perception of what role these types of news organizations are playing or should be playing?

mktwgoldstein1 karma

I think the best thing we can do is help our readers make informed decisions by doing the best reporting we can. Whether it's CNBC on the air or us on the Internet, we should ask companies and policymakers tough questions and be willing to call them out when needed.

AirMoons1 karma

Don't you think that the market is a parasite for the economy? There are people who earn millions and billions without producing anything.

edit : typo

mktwgoldstein5 karma

Interesting Q. I think there's a benefit to trading and arbitrage -- it can help lower costs for businesses to invest, by making it easier for companies to raise money. But abuses can filter out of this world and, as 2007 showed, wreck the broader economy. What's important is making sure the large banks and other institutions aren't providing too much leverage to financial markets.

leftyguitarjoe1 karma

What's your opinion on basic/guaranteed income?

mktwgoldstein2 karma

It's an interesting concept, the one the Swiss were debating. It's not totally different from the safety net we have here, and writing checks is more efficient than means testing. That said, I don't think anyone seriously thinks it will happen.

Iama9141 karma

I tried the virtual stock exchange on your site this year and really liked it. Our class had a game to see who could make the most monwy in a certain amount of time. After a couple weeks, my friends and I discovered penny stocks. This was our breakthrough as we would buy millions of stocks at $0.0001 and sell them for $0.0002 effectively doubling our money. My question is, question is, is this that simple in the real market? Thanks!

mktwgoldstein3 karma

People can make money trading penny stocks, for sure. Can also lose! And the auditing and corporate reporting is basically nonexistent. As long as you know what you're getting into -- total, total Wild West, and quite a bit of deception -- then you're welcome to trade away. Just look at it as speculation and not investment.

fishyfish71 karma

Hypothetically, if the GOP takes the Senate and keeps the house, what (if any) tax legislation could be passed and signed by Obama?

mktwgoldstein4 karma

I think it will be difficult for any tax legislation to go through. But right now there's a lot of focus on what are called inversions -- a way for U.S. companies to pay tax overseas instead of here -- so corporate tax reform has the highest chance. The idea would be to lower rates and eliminate deductions but this is easier said than done!

bsfilter1 karma

Is now a good time to buy a home? There seems to be a echo-bubble going on at the moment.

mktwgoldstein1 karma

Mortgage rates are historically very low. If you can get credit, and you're comfortable with prices in your area -- and are comfortable with idea of living in that house for quite a while -- then absolutely. But not all areas are the same -- prices in some areas, like San Francisco, are looking expensive.

Fart_Kontrol1 karma

What's the most unexpected thing you have ever had to cover at work?

mktwgoldstein1 karma

I was in London during the Great Recession and to keep coming into market implosions was just jaw-dropping some days. I remember one day at a meeting with our colleagues, discussing the possibility of what would happen if banks collapsed and how supermarkets would function. We were actually having those discussions.

TheBetterOne1 karma


mktwgoldstein2 karma

There's a place for government power to look at what crooks are up to, but not without proper checks and balances, and right now it doesn't look like those checks and balances are enough.

moatmoatmoatmoat1 karma

Marketwatch serves up click bait on a daily basis and gives a soap box to always-wrong gold bugs and doomsday loons like Paul Ferrel (although I guess a broken clock is right at least twice a day).

Do you see Marketwatch primarily as an entertainment site or serious financial news outlet?

mktwgoldstein4 karma

The doomsday guys were actually right not so long ago. I think it's fair to say we provide a diversity of opinion. We also go out of our way to label what is opinion and what is not, and personally I know everyone here goes about their reporting with the utmost in seriousness.

PepeG1 karma

Any relation to the Steve Goldstein from Adam Sandler's "That's my boy"?

I'll show my way out.

mktwgoldstein1 karma

Wait, there was a Steve Goldstein character in an Adam Sandler movie???

the_Makeshift1 karma

Stock advice. What up-and-comer interests you? ;)

mktwgoldstein3 karma

This is where I get to honestly say, 'I am not an investment adviser,' and dodge your question. :)

blahblahfinanceguy1 karma

Hi Steve. I am a hedge fund analyst for an emerging markets fund, and I sometimes go looking around for information on companies that aren't gaap when I'm thinking of an idea. I have looked at a number of sites for lay downs and I find market watch to be pretty bad for converting non US statements to gaap. What's the deal with that? Things just don't line up. Its just not as good as, say, businessweek.

mktwgoldstein1 karma

I'm not sure what you mean -- if you can send me an email with your concerns in greater depth, I'll ask around.

tenfolde1 karma

What do you think about rating companies?

mktwgoldstein1 karma

So on the one thing they've been doing forever -- rating the prospects that debt-issuing companies will go bankrupt -- they are actually very good. On rating asset-backed securities, obviously, not. And on government debt, also they haven't done a good job. Classic example of difficulties in moving out of the niche you understand.

jose_conseco1 karma


mktwgoldstein2 karma

it's 100 duck-sized horses or one horse-sized duck, right?

and i'll take on the mini horses.

Miki_Miura1 karma

Afternoon, Steve! How do you see renewed efforts by both Japan and the Obama administration to crack down on international media piracy affecting the markets? I'd expect some sort of increased push of government funding in the cyber security sector as well as renegotiated trade agreements, but I'm not sure of how big a splash it would make.

mktwgoldstein1 karma

You don't see much trading, at least in short term, around free-trade deals. I think proponents at least in the U.S. have probably oversold their benefits.

TheBetterOne0 karma

Have you read 1984? you are the leader of the opposition against Big Brother

mktwgoldstein2 karma

No, that's Emmanuel Goldstein

AirMoons0 karma

Why is it a good thing that the Federal Reserve is controlled by private bankers? How can we be sure that they serve the interest of the general public ?

mktwgoldstein5 karma

Whatever the set up, the Fed is mostly under most control by the people appointed by the president and confirmed by the senate. The regional Fed presidents (who are not picked by elected officials) have a say but Janet Yellen, the current chairwoman, has a far bigger influence than they do.