Oklahoma Tornado Classified E5
Just south of Oklahoma City on Monday, deadly tornadoes clarified Tuesday by
the National Weather Service as a category E5 reaching speeds of 200 mph, ripped
through towns leaving a massive path of devastation and death. The path of
destruction looked like a war zone as survivors and the nation moved in quickly
to search for survivors. The chaos was immeasurable. Terri Watkins, a
spokeswoman for the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management, said emergency
workers have found 101 survivors so far. “We don’t have injury numbers,” Watkins
said. The south side of the Elementary School where classrooms were located was
completely leveled, The center of the building had curled in on itself so that
what looked like a corrugated steel shed was thrust in the air. Outbuildings on
the north side of the school such as the gymnasium, retained some of their
shape. Every house in sight from the east and west side of the school was
reduced to a stack of lumber. Search and rescue teams toiled throughout the
night in silence to avoid missing sounds of survivors. Through the night
emergency personnel, firefighters, U.S. National Guard troops and police
cautiously combed through the ruins of Plaza Towers Elementary School, hoping to
find survivors. Searches worked tirelessly with many searching for more than
nine hours and refused to take a break. Search of the Elementary School is
priority. Betsy Randolph, a spokeswoman for the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, said
search teams were spray painting X's on searched properties. Randolph said
hundreds, if not thousands, of properties would have to be searched, which could
take days or even weeks. Donations for victims of the Oklahoma City suburbs
tornado can be sent to the
Disaster Relief fund.
A paper due to be presented Tuesday by Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago officials
calls for a major market structure change by having trades executed every
half-second, instead of the current nonstop steam of trades that exists in
today’s high-speed markets. The paper comes after retail and institutional
investors have argued inability to compete with high-speed trading firms. The
Fed is expected to raise concerns over high-frequency traders who contend that
speed and the ability to post and cancel a quote are all frictions that provide
needed liquidity to the markets. Critics argue that regulators have a difficult
time understanding high speed traders behavior, such as their tendency to quote
prices and quickly cancel them, creating the illusion of liquidity. Exchanges
are also expected to raise concerns because they profit from super-fast traders.
The proposal would help make securities and derivatives markets more fair to
mutual funds and retail investors.
Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew told the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday,
“While underwriting standards remain conservative in many markets, there are
some examples of loosening standards. in particular, certain real-estate
investment trusts [REIT], which are highly exposed to a rise in interest rates,
have grown considerably in recent years.” In certain real-estate investment
trusts, regulators have noticed a loosening of underwriting standards in some
markets. Lew made recommendations to financial-market participants “to be
vigilant and scrutinize how potential changes in interest rates could adversely
affect their risk profiles.” Mortgage REITs borrow money to invest in
real-estate-backed debt followed by using the securities as leverage to boost
returns. A fast rise in interest rates can be detrimental to such REIT
investors. Publicly traded mortgage REITs include American Capital Agency (AGNC),
Annaly Capital Management (NLY) and Newcastle Investment Corp. (NCT).
Lew said the Financial Stability Oversight Council will vote in the very near
future on designating certain firms other than banks that are systemically
risky, such as but not limited to American International Group (AIG), BlackRock
Inc. (BLK), GE Financial - a unit of General Electric Co. (GE), MetLife Inc.
(MET), Pimco - a unit of Allianz (DE:ALV) and Prudential Inc. (PRU). The
designated firms will be subject to gradually increasing capital levels, lower
leverage limits and more liquidity. Due to the substantial amount of work
already done, Lew said the subject could be addressed in the next two weeks at
the next FSOC meeting.
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May 21, 2013