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2.7%  Q1 GDP    4.57%  avg. 30-year mortgage     9.5%  Unemployment

Morning Briefing

Welcome to the Week After. U.S. stock markets fell their most ever last week while officials around the world grasped for solutions to stem a financial panic.

It looks like there may be a respite today, though with the kind of volatility we saw last week, we never know. Asian markets closed up significantly, while shares in Europe are also trading higher, with major indexes up five to six percent.

U.S. markets are also pointing up. The Dow Jones Industrial average futures are up 4 percent, and the S&P 500 futures are up 5.15 percent at 7:15 a.m. Many traders are taking the day off because of Columbus Day.

Overseas markets rose after officials in Europe took steps to rescue their banking sector. Britain announced this morning that it would spend $63 billion to recapitalize struggling banks, taking equity stakes in the firms. The announcement followed declarations by governments around the world that they would do what it takes to prevent bank failures.

U.S. officials are also moving toward buying equity stakes in banks to prop them up. This morning at 8 a.m., Assistant Treasury Secretary Neel Kashkari, who has been tapped to orchestrate the $700 billion bailout package, is scheduled to give a speech in Washington on the government's plans.

The Federal Reserve and other central banks announced they would make available unlimited dollars to lend to financial institutions around the world.

On Capitol Hill, Democrats are working on a big stimulus package intended to lessen the impact of what is now a widely-expected recession.

Morgan Stanley continued over the weekend to negotiate a capital infusion with Japanese bank Mitsubishi UFJ. The U.S. government pledged that the investment would be protected, according to one report.

And Princeton economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman has won the Nobel Prize for Economics "for his analysis of trade patterns and location of economic activity." Does that mean he has to solve the financial crisis, pronto?

--Zachary Goldfarb

By Zachary Goldfarb  |  October 13, 2008; 7:36 AM ET
Categories:  The Ticker  
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