Easy Street: Buying Gold-Bugging Out, Goldman Sachs Freaking Out

Easy Street is Marketplace's daily roundup of the most interesting news stories and commentary about Wall Street, Washington and the curious world of finance. You can see more of what Marketplace thinks are the biggest stories of the day on our News in Brief page. Every day, you can download Marketplace's daily show on iTunes and follow us at twitter.com/mktplaceradio.

Finance

The FDIC, which regulates U.S. banks, today blamed them for the mortgage-servicing mess. Burn.

Goldman Sachs appears to be totally unconcerned about impending changes in how banks can invest their money, but in fact it's "totally freaking out."

The Dallas Fed said yesterday that food prices are set for a "sustained" increase. Today, Kellogg missed its earnings estimates because of the rising price of ingredients. One bright spot: if it's any comfort, the problem seems to be "highly processed" foods.

Gold bugs: Sure, we know that some people are buying and others are selling. The more interesting thing is the role that central banks are playing. Mexico's central bank, for instance, bought 100 tons of gold in February. (NB: Central banks currently own about 20% of the world's gold hoard - and that number has risen because Russia and China have been huge buyers).

Related: Why don't countries like Portugal sell their gold hoards to pay their bills?

The Washington Matrix

Signs of U.S. economic weakness are mounting.

A lean and hungry look: The heads of the SEC and CFTC testified before Congress today. Apparently we've been forcing their employees to take the Mega Bus (big, slow and late) instead of Amtrak between New York and DC. So they're late everywhere.

Treasury's accounting tricks: A Deutsche Bank report delineates what, exactly, Treasury can do to avoid default as legislators quibble about the debt ceiling.

Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers: Like the United States itself, the team could be insolvent by July.

The Justice Department is investigating the NCAA.

Recreational Reading

Salt: vindicated.

The new documentary about the New York Times' media desk, Page One, looks really good. Our favorite clip so far: grizzled veteran David Carr observing mildly, "I can't get over the idea that Brian Stelter was assembled by robots to destroy me."

The body armor of war dogs.

About the author

Heidi N. Moore is The Guardian's U.S. finance and economics editor. She was formerly the New York bureau chief and Wall Street correspondent for Marketplace.

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