Monday Minute 3/14

News headlines from around the web.

Here’s Why Your Commute Will Be Terrible This Monday

By POLLY MOSENDZ, Bloomberg Business

“I hate the Monday after daylight saving time begins,” said Sam Schwartz, former traffic commissioner of New York City. “I try not to have any meetings that morning.” Schwartz isn’t alone: Groggy commuters are equally perturbed by the time change—and their sleepiness leads to a jump in accidents.

A 1996 University of British Columbia study found that the “expected risk of accidents” on the Monday after the spring time change rose 17 percent, based an analysis of data from the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Other studies have found less extreme but still real traffic effects from the adjustment. A 2014 study out of the University of Colorado, Boulder, found daylight saving time “increases fatal crash risk by 5.4–7.6 percent.” And researchers in Finland who wrote a 2010 paper in the Journal of Environmental & Public Health, noted, “Those who are especially sensitive to circadian rhythm disruptions, such as patients suffering from seasonal affective disorder or bipolar disorder, may be more vulnerable to sudden changes in timing.”

The University of Colorado study determined it was sleep deprivation, rather than a change in ambient light, that drove the increase. “Back of the envelope calculations suggest that over the 10-year study period, DST caused 302 deaths at a social cost of $2.75 billion,” wrote Austin C. Smith, the study’s author.

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Is the stock market madness over?


Volatility rippled through stock markets right out of the gate this year. On February 11, the VIX volatility index hit its highest point since the stock market’s deep plunge in late August.

But now, cooler heads appear to be prevailing. The VIX is at 19, down from its 2016 high of 31. CNNMoney’s Fear and Greed index is firmly in greed territory, after being on the fear side for weeks.

Three things sparked market volatility early this year: China’s currency devaluation, falling oil prices and uncertainty over the Federal Reserve’s rate hike plans.

“Those were all headwinds that have basically turned into tailwinds,” says Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities.

Fears over China sparking a currency war are proving to be unfounded. China’s central bank had devalued its currency, the yuan, for several days in January, causing other developing countries to weaken their currencies further to compete for trade. But the race to devalue seems to be on hold for now. And lately, its government added more money into its banking system to stimulate demand.

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Shares, dollar rise, with eyes on central bank decisions


Shares rose in Europe and Asia on Monday, adding to gains chalked up in the wake of last week’s stimulus package from the European Central Bank, as investors turned their attention to policy decisions from the Bank of Japan and Federal Reserve.

Yields on lower-rated euro zone government bonds, seen as the main beneficiary of the ECB’s package of interest rate cuts and other measures, fell towards lows touched after the meeting.

German yields, the benchmark for borrowing costs in the bloc, initially underperformed after voters signaled disapproval of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open-door refugee policy in regional elections.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 stocks index rose 0.8 percent on Monday, led higher by Italian banks. Shares fell on Thursday after ECB President Mario Draghi said interest rates were unlikely to be cut further but rose the following day as investors focused on new cheap lending to banks.

“We believe there is enough value in the sector for continued performance on central bank stimulus — with peripheral banks likely to lead the way,” said RBC Europe analyst Robert Noble.

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