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

Economy Watch: January 25, 2009 - January 31, 2009

Obama/Biden Throw Red Meat At Unions

In one of their strongest pro-union outings thus far, President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden addressed a labor-heavy crowd at the White House moments ago while Obama signed several pro-union executive orders. Obama said that Biden will be chairman...

By Frank Ahrens  |  January 30, 2009; 11:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Biden, Obama, labor, unions  
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Japan Inc. in Trouble

A raft of bad news has been coming out of Japan lately, with bad jobs and manufacturing data released today, so let's take a look at what's going on. This morning, Japan's government said that national unemployment jumped from 3.9...

By Frank Ahrens  |  January 30, 2009; 10:53 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Honda, Japan, NEC, Sony, Toyota  
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Wall Street Shrugs Off GDP Data, Opens Up Slightly

The markets opened up across the board this morning, possibly because the fourth-quarter 2008 decline in the nation's Gross Domestic Product was not as bad as economists had been expecting. GDP shrank 3.8 percent, as consumers and businesses cut spending,...

By Frank Ahrens  |  January 30, 2009; 9:48 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Dow Jones, GDP, nasdaq, s&p 500  
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'Naked' Swaps on the Hot Seat

Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) is trying to outlaw "naked" credit default swaps -- swaps in which the holder has no risk of financial loss if the underlying security fails. Peterson, chairman of the House Agriculture committee, has written language into...

By Frank Ahrens  |  January 29, 2009; 5:37 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: credit default swaps, naked swaps  
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Obama: Big Wall Street Bonuses 'Shameful'

President Obama directly delivered his message on executive bonuses to Wall Street moments ago from the White House: Stop them now. "I saw an article today that indicated Wall Street bankers had given themselves $20 billion worth of bonuses ($18.4...

By Frank Ahrens  |  January 29, 2009; 4:03 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (146)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: CIti, Geithner, Obama, executive compensation  
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Obama: Wall Street Bonuses 'Outrageous'

President Obama believes the multi-billion dollar bonuses that Wall Street banks awarded executives for 2008 are "outrageous", White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said moments ago, Reuters reports. According to the New York comptroller this week, Wall Street firms paid out...

By Frank Ahrens  |  January 29, 2009; 3:07 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Geithner, Obama, bonuses, executive compensation  
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Rush Limbaugh's Stimulus Plan

Conservative talk-radio provocateur Rush Limbaugh writes a column in today's Wall Street Journal that he's pitching as a "bipartisan" economic stimulus bill -- a novel way to employ both the government spending he opposes and the tax cuts he favors....

By Frank Ahrens  |  January 29, 2009; 1:31 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (101)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Obama, Rush Limbaugh, stimulus plan  
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Baltimore Examiner Closing

The Baltimore Examiner, a newspaper launched in 2006 by billionaire Philip Anschutz, is closing, a victim of the ongoing recession, according to sources familiar with the situation. Some of the Examiner's staffers will migrate to its sister Washington Examiner, while...

By Frank Ahrens  |  January 29, 2009; 11:17 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Baltimore Examiner, Washington Examiner  
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New Home Sales Plunge to Slowest Pace on Record

Sales of new homes dropped 14.7 percent in December to the slowest monthly pace dating back 45 years. New homes sold at an annual pace of 331,000, the slowest rate since the records began being kept in 1963, according to...

By Frank Ahrens  |  January 29, 2009; 10:32 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: home prices, home sales  
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Unemployment, Earnings Drive Down Markets At Opening

Wall Street opened down across the boards this morning, driven south by a record high in unemployment claims, poor earnings reports today and the lingering effects of yesterday's after-market earnings reports. In the first 15 minutes of trading, the Dow...

By Frank Ahrens  |  January 29, 2009; 9:46 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Dow, Ford, nasdaq, s&p 500  
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This Morning: Ford, Economic Data

This morning, Ford Motor Co. announces its quarterly earnings before Wall Street opens, giving us a window into just how bad the last three months and the full year of 2008 were for the strongest of the Big Three. The...

By Sara Goo  |  January 29, 2009; 7:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
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Starbucks Closing 300 Stores, Laying Off Nearly 7,000

The economic crisis is eating into high-end coffee consumption, as Starbucks found out in its fiscal first quarter. In earnings just released, the coffeemaker said it would lay off up to 6,000 employees at its stores and let go another...

By Frank Ahrens  |  January 28, 2009; 4:39 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (22)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Starbucks, contraction, layoffs, recession  
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Geithner Meets Shouting Journalists

Tim Geithner answered his first questions from the media today since he was sworn in as Treasury Secretary on Monday night, even though he tried not to, The Post's David Cho reports. Right before entering a large conference room where...

By Frank Ahrens  |  January 28, 2009; 3:26 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Geither, bailout  
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GM Joins Chrysler, UAW In Killing 'Jobs Banks'

General Motors and the United Auto Workers announced today the end of the UAW "jobs banks" for laid-off GM workers, one of the last vestiges of unionism entitlement that helped give the labor movement a black eye. At jobs banks,...

By Frank Ahrens  |  January 28, 2009; 3:14 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Chrysler, GM, UAW, jobs banks  
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Super Bowl Showdown: Which Team's City Is Worse Off?

Our Post colleague Jon DeNunzio has asked Post bloggers to weigh in with our predictions for Sunday's Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa, pitting the AFC champion Pittsburgh Steelers against the NFC champion (How did that happen?) Arizona Cardinals. The Ticker...

By Frank Ahrens  |  January 28, 2009; 1:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Super Bowl, foreclosure, home prices  
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Obama Concludes 'Sober' Meeting With CEOs

President Obama just concluded what he called a "sober" meeting with a number of leading chief executives to push his $825 billion economic stimulus plan. Obama said he hopes to sign a stimulus bill into law in the "next few...

By Frank Ahrens  |  January 28, 2009; 11:50 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Obama, stimulus plan  
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Bank Stocks Leading Rally as 'Bad Bank' Bailout Gains Steam

The financial sector is leading today's Wall Street rally so far as the idea of creating a "bad bank" gains steam in Washington. Under a "bad bank" scenario, the federal government would buy toxic assets of financial institutions at deeply...

By Frank Ahrens  |  January 28, 2009; 10:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: American Express, Bank of America, Citi, Geither, Goldman Sachs, Paulson, bad bank  
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Wall Street Opens Strongly Despite Poor Earnings Reports

The markets opened up across the board today as traders anticipate passage of President Obama's $825 billion economic stimulus bill, which is scheduled for a vote in the House today. In the first 15 minutes of trading, the Dow is...

By Frank Ahrens  |  January 28, 2009; 9:48 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Dow Jones, earings, nasdaq, s&p 500  
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General Dynamics Reports Quarterly Gain

General Dynamics said its net income for the fourth quarter was $612 million, or $1.57 per share, compared with $579 million ($1.42) during the same time a year ago. Sales for the Falls Church defense contractor were up slightly to...

By Sara Goo  |  January 28, 2009; 8:42 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
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Lineup Today: Housing, Fed

The Federal Reserve concludes its two-day closed meeting today and is scheduled to release a statement at 2:15 p.m., providing a window into how it will tackle the deepening troubles of the economy. With interest rates at record lows, the...

By Sara Goo  |  January 28, 2009; 7:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
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House Panel Marking Up Mortgage 'Cramdown' Bill

The House Judiciary Committee is debating a measure to allow bankruptcy judges to modify the mortgages of troubled homeowners, reports The Post's Renae Merle, watching the markup. Under the legislation, a bankruptcy judge could change the terms of a loan...

By Frank Ahrens  |  January 27, 2009; 4:33 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: cramdown, mortgage workouts  
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Southwestern Virginia Volvo Plant to Lay Off 650 Workers

Volvo said today that it is permanently laying off 40 percent of its workforce -- 650 employees -- at its truck plant in Dublin, Va., just southwest of Blacksburg. The layoffs will begin in March and follow a round of...

By Frank Ahrens  |  January 27, 2009; 3:03 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Volvo, automakers, layoffs  
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Cato Lines Up 200 Economists Against Obama's Stimulus

The conservative Cato Institute plans to buy full-page ads in The Washington Post and New York Times over the next several days urging President Obama to avoid what it considers excessive government spending as a way to get the U.S....

By Frank Ahrens  |  January 27, 2009; 2:41 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Capitalism In Question, Cato, Obama  
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Good News Amid the Gloom: Online Newspaper Readership Soars

One industry had a terrific December: the online newspaper "industry." We put that word in quote because, well, no one's quite figured out how to make it an industry; i.e., sustainably profitable. But in these times, we'll take any good...

By Frank Ahrens  |  January 27, 2009; 1:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: newspaper industry  
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House GOP Leaders Urge Members To Fight Stimulus

House Republican leaders are urging rank-and-file members to fight President Obama's $825 billion economic stimulus plan, even as he visits Republicans on the Hill at this moment, the AP is reporting. House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Whip Eric...

By Frank Ahrens  |  January 27, 2009; 12:33 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Boehner, Cantor, Obama, stimulus plan  
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New York Fed Names Geithner Successor

The New York Fed has named William Dudley to take over for Tim Geithner, sworn in as Treasury Secretary last night. Dudley -- yet another Goldman Sachs alum, like Treasury's bailout czar Neel Kashkari and former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson...

By Frank Ahrens  |  January 27, 2009; 11:23 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Geithner, Larry Kudlow, William Dudley  
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Geithner's New Bailout Rules: No Political Interference Allowed

Here is a list of Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner's new rules on institutions getting a piece of the remaining $350 billion of the $700 billion government bailout/rescue plan, in response to criticism from lawmakers and others that the bailout is...

By Frank Ahrens  |  January 27, 2009; 10:55 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Geither, bailout  
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Geithner Meets With Obama, Issues New Bailout Rules

New Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner is set to have his first daily economic update meeting with President Obama this morning and has hit the ground running, announcing new rules for getting a piece of the remaining $350 billion of the...

By Frank Ahrens  |  January 27, 2009; 10:21 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Geithner, Obama  
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Consumer Confidence Hits Another Record Low

Consumer confidence hit another record low in December, according to the Conference Board, which tracks consumer sentiment. The January number was 37.7, down from 38.6 in December. The Present Situation component of the index -- how consumers feel about the...

By Frank Ahrens  |  January 27, 2009; 10:11 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: consumer confidence, recession  
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Markets Edge Up At Opening

Wall Street has once again shrugged off bad economic news -- in this case, another record drop in home values -- and has opened up across the board. In the first 20 minutes of trading, the Dow is up about...

By Frank Ahrens  |  January 27, 2009; 9:56 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: home prices  
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Home Prices Show Record Drop -- Again

UPDATED WITH WASHINGTON HOME PRICES: Home prices plunged by the deepest annual rate on record in November, according to the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 20-city housing index, a closely watched metric of housing value, released moments ago. The index dropped 18.2...

By Frank Ahrens  |  January 27, 2009; 9:35 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: home prices  
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Retail Group Predicts Sales Dip in '09

A retail trade group this morning predicted that the troubled industry would watch sales drop .5 percent in 2009 as the recession continues to bear down on shoppers. The National Retail Federation said that the first half of the year...

By Sara Goo  |  January 27, 2009; 9:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
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Today's Lineup: Housing, Economic News and Madoff

After yesterday's huge job losses announced by several major U.S. corporations, today's news turns to several data points, which may not be much more uplifting. In Washington, the Federal Reserve begins its first of a two-day closed-door meeting. With rates...

By Sara Goo  |  January 27, 2009; 6:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
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Senate Confirms Geithner To Head Treasury

UPDATED WITH FULL ROLL CALL AND NON-VOTERS: Tim Geithner was confirmed as Treasury Secretary moments ago by the Senate by a vote of 60 to 34, making him the successor to Hank Paulson and the man charged with leading the...

By Frank Ahrens  |  January 26, 2009; 7:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (60)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Geithner, Paulson  
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Mixed Opinions On Modified Mortgage 'Cramdown' Plan

Legislation under consideration in Congress that would allow bankruptcy judges to modify troubled mortgages could lower foreclosures by 20 percent, according to a Credit Suisse report released today, The Post's Renae Merle reports. “Overall we think the bankruptcy reform will...

By Frank Ahrens  |  January 26, 2009; 6:11 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: cramdown', mortgage workouts  
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Thain to Repay Bank of America for $1.2M Office Renovations

Appearing on CNBC moments ago, fired Bank of America/Merrill Lynch top exec John Thain, embarrassed last week by the revelation that he charged Merrill $1.22 million to renovate his office last February, said he will repay the bank out of...

By Frank Ahrens  |  January 26, 2009; 4:57 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, Thain  
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Proxy Mining: Caterpillar Chief Made $17M in 2007, Possibly Half That This Year

Caterpillar's announcement this morning that the heavy-machinery company posted a 32-percent drop in fourth-quarter profits and would cut 20,000 jobs prompted The Ticker to take a look at Cat's executive compensation. We call this new feature Proxy Mining: In it,...

By Frank Ahrens  |  January 26, 2009; 2:43 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Caterpiller, executive compensation, recession  
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GM Cutting 2,000 Jobs In Ohio, Michigan

Struggling U.S. auto giant General Motors, the recipient of $13.4 billion in emergency federal loans last month, said this morning that it will cut 2,000 jobs at its assembly plants in Ohio and Michigan. The company will also schedule downtime...

By Frank Ahrens  |  January 26, 2009; 11:27 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Detroit bailout, GM  
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Obama: 35mpg U.S.-Made Vehicles by 2020

President Obama just laid out the highlights of his energy plan, which is meant to make the United States energy-independent by de-emphasizing oil and emphasizing alt-energies, such as wind, solar and -- presumably -- nuclear, though Obama did not mention...

By Frank Ahrens  |  January 26, 2009; 10:56 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Obama, energy, greenhouse gases  
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Dec. Existing Home Sales Up Slightly

Sales of existing homes rose 6.5 percent in December, according to the National Association of Realtors report out this morning, but the bump is likely the result of a historic drop in sales prices. Sales of existing homes rose to...

By Frank Ahrens  |  January 26, 2009; 10:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Realtors, home prices, home sales  
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Wall Street Opens Up Slightly

This morning's up-is-down news: The economy's going to shed 50,000 more jobs -- and Wall Street opens up! In the first 15 minutes of trading, the Dow is up about 60 points, or less than 1 percent, but it has...

By Frank Ahrens  |  January 26, 2009; 9:51 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Caterpiller, Dow Jones, Home Depot, ING, Pfizer, Sprint/Nextel  
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Home Depot To Close Expo Chain, Slash 7,000 Jobs

The Contraction Continues, Episode 734: Home Depot home renovation chain said this morning it will close its smaller, upscale Expo chain and cut 7,000 jobs as the recession roils the economy, forcing homeowners to put off renovations. Expo, which competes...

By Frank Ahrens  |  January 26, 2009; 9:37 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Expo, Home Depot, contraction, recession  
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This Week: Geithner, Fed Meeting

This week kicks off the beginning of President Obama's first full week in office tackling the financial crisis. Already, he has made several efforts to get the stimulus bill underway and several of his appointees have already been confirmed. This...

By Sara Goo  |  January 26, 2009; 7:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  
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