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

Economy Watch: February 8, 2009 - February 14, 2009

The Four Men Who Caused the Great Depression

Or so Liaquat Ahamed argues. The economic scholar and hedge fund adviser has written a popular history of the central bankers of the United States, Great Britain, France and Germany called "Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World."...

By Frank Ahrens  |  February 13, 2009; 2:51 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Liaquat Ahamed, gold standard, great depression  
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House Passes Stimulus Plan

The House of Representatives approved the stripped-down version of President Obama's stimulus plan moments ago. The preliminary vote stands at 246-183, but that could change by a few over the next several minutes. The bill now heads to the Senate...

By Frank Ahrens  |  February 13, 2009; 2:26 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Obama, Susan Collins, stimulus plan  
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Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase Join Foreclosure Moratorium

JP Morgan Chase & Co. has answered Rep. Barney Frank's (D-Mass.) call earlier this week to declare a three-week moratorium on home foreclosures, joining Citigroup and Bank of America. In a letter to Frank, JP Morgan chief executive Jamie Dimon...

By Frank Ahrens  |  February 13, 2009; 11:47 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Bank of America, Citigroup, JP Morgan  
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Obama: Recovery Will Take 'Years'

President Obama, addressing the Business Council -- a group of chief executives -- in Washington moments ago, said, "Our recovery likely will be measured in years, not months." The president said that addressing the financial sector crisis is the key...

By Frank Ahrens  |  February 13, 2009; 11:12 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Obama, business leaders, chief executives  
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Hardworking Fed Moves To Two-Day Meetings

Think of it as a sign of the times. The Federal Reserve said today that all of its policymaking meetings this year will last for two days, The Post's Neil Irwin reports. Normally, the Federal Open Market Committee, which meets...

By Frank Ahrens  |  February 13, 2009; 10:48 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Ben Bernanke, Federal Reserve  
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Pepsi, Abercrombie Profits Crater but Still Hit Expectations

In today's "not-so-bad is the new good" news, PepsiCo and Abercrombie & Fitch both reported big fourth-quarter earnings declines -- but both met or exceeded Wall Street expectations. PepsiCo profit dropped 43 percent, but largely on one-time restructuring charges and...

By Frank Ahrens  |  February 13, 2009; 10:38 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Abercrombie & Fitch, Gatorade, PepsiCo  
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Markets Down Slightly At Opening

The markets tried to hold onto yesterday afternoon's gains in the early minutes of today's trading, opening flat to slightly down Yesterday staged a 220-point rally in the last hour of yesterday, as Wall Street responded to news from Washington...

By Frank Ahrens  |  February 13, 2009; 10:02 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Dow Jones, G-7, Geithner, nasdaq, s&p 500  
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Markets Rally on Mortgage Rescue Report

Wall Street has staged a late-day rally, evidently on a Reuters report that says President Obama's administration is finalizing a plan to subsidize mortgages for homeowners having trouble meeting their payments. The Dow dove 160 points at opening, stayed low...

By Frank Ahrens  |  February 12, 2009; 4:01 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Obama, mortgage workouts  
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Realtors: Distressed Properties Accounted for 45% of Late-2008 Sales

Prices of single-family homes plunged a record 12.4 percent in the last three months of 2008 to the lowest level since 2003, the National Association of Realtors said this afternoon. Nearly half of all sales last quarter -- an eye-popping...

By Frank Ahrens  |  February 12, 2009; 2:21 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Realtors, home prices, housing bubble, housing crisis  
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Businesses Cut Inventories Again in December

Businesses cut their December inventories by the sharpest amount in seven years, as they worked to slash overhead while dealing with dismal holiday retail sales, the Commerce Department reported this morning. Inventories were cut 1.3 percent; analysts expected a 0.9...

By Frank Ahrens  |  February 12, 2009; 12:01 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Commerce Department, contraction, inventories  
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CNBC's 'House Of Cards' Take on Crisis Airs Tonight

CNBC reporter David Faber's "House of Cards" -- a detailed look at the origins of the housing collapse and its role in the ongoing economic crisis -- will air tonight at 8 on the cable business network. You can see...

By Frank Ahrens  |  February 12, 2009; 10:44 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: housing bubble, housing crisis, sub-prime  
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Markets Dive at Opening

The markets opened down sharply today, shaking off surprisingly good retail news this morning and possibly still feeling a hangover from Tuesday's dreadful day. In the first 15 minutes of trading, the Dow is down about 160 points, or nearly...

By Frank Ahrens  |  February 12, 2009; 9:47 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Dow Jones, Retail, nasdaq, s&p 500  
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Axelrod: Geithner's Rescue Plan Rollout 'Bumpy'

In an exclusive video interview with The Post's Lois Romano, David Axelrod -- President Obama's senior adviser -- admitted that Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner's bank rescue plan had a "bumpy" rollout. "Well, I think it was a bumpy rollout because...

By Frank Ahrens  |  February 12, 2009; 9:34 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: David Axelrod, Geithner, Obama  
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Retail Sales, Jobless Claims in Focus Today

The drama of the stimulus is likely behind us and the theater of the big bank chief executives on Capitol Hill is over, too. Today, we turn our attention to more mundane events, such as earnings and economic data. This...

By Sara Goo  |  February 12, 2009; 6:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  
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Ticker Goes Live On CNBC, Rips It Up

The Ticker appeared live this afternoon in two segments on Erin Burnett's "Street Signs" program in CNBC. She was broadcasting from Capitol Hill, where the heads of eight of the nation's biggest banks were getting grilled by the House Financial...

By Frank Ahrens  |  February 11, 2009; 7:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: CNBC, Erin Burnett, bailout  
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Rep. Capuano Scorches Big Bankers

3:18 P.M. UPDATE: Rep. Michael Capuano (D-Mass.) evidently did not accept John Mack's apology, rendered earlier this afternoon. Capuano waged a withering attack on the eight bankers arrayed before the House Financial Services committee right now. The eight bankers testifying...

By Frank Ahrens  |  February 11, 2009; 12:18 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Goldman Sachs, Jamie Dimon, John Mack, John Stumpf, Maxine Waters, Paul Kanjorski, Vikram Pandit, bailout, bankers  
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Senate Stimulus Bill Includes Hundreds of Millions for Big Corporations

Tucked in the Senate version of the stimulus bill are some benefits for a handful of big companies. Boeing of Chicago could get $200 million to add to its multi-billion dollar Department of Homeland Security project, called SBI Net. The...

By Sara Goo  |  February 11, 2009; 9:59 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  The Ticker  
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Markets Slightly Up At Opening

Wall Street has opened slightly up but largely is hovering around even as the focus again is on Washington, as the heads of the first eight bailout banks are set to appear before Congress at 10 a.m. In the first...

By Frank Ahrens  |  February 11, 2009; 9:51 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Dow Jones, Geithner, nasdaq, s&p 500  
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Big Bankers vs. Congress: Classic Washington Theater On Tap

The chief executives of the first big eight banks that got federal bailout money testify before the House Financial Services committee beginning at 10 a.m. today. It should be classic Washington political theater and one of the few ways lawmakers...

By Frank Ahrens  |  February 11, 2009; 9:43 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Goldman Sachs, Ron Paul, bailout  
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Bank CEOs Testify on Capitol Hill Today

Senate and House lawmakers begin their intense negotiations today to reconcile the two versions of the stimulus bill, but they will also get to ask some heated questions about the banking sector today. Chief executives from the nation's largest banks...

By Sara Goo  |  February 11, 2009; 6:36 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  
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Is Geithner To Blame For Today's Market Plunge?

UPDATED WITH GEITHNER'S IMPACT ON STOCK MARKET: In testimony wrapped up moments ago before the Senate Banking committee, Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) came as close as anyone to blaming today's 4.6 percent stock market dive on Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner....

By Frank Ahrens  |  February 10, 2009; 6:14 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Geithner, bailout, stimulus plan  
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Bernanke: Stagflation a Possibility If Banks Aren't Fixed

UPDATED WITH BERNANKE ON STAGFLATION: In testimony before the House Financial Services committee underway, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke just said that stagflation would be a risk if "we don't fix the banking system." Stagflation, as historians of the 1970s will...

By Frank Ahrens  |  February 10, 2009; 2:54 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Bear Stearns, Ben Bernanke, bailout, inflation, stagflation  
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Senate Passes Stimulus Bill, 61-37

UPDATED WITH ROLL CALL: The Senate passed the $838 billion stimulus plan with one vote to spare -- 61-37 -- moments ago, sending the bill to President Obama's desk for signing, after the two houses conference. The Senate vote follows...

By Frank Ahrens  |  February 10, 2009; 1:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (24)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Obama, Senate, stimulus plan  
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Markets Hover at Opening as They Wait on Washington

Wall Street is in a holding pattern at opening as it waits on Washington. A one-two combination of economic stimulus is on deck in Washington today, as the Senate preps to vote on President Obama's $838 billion stimulus plan and...

By Frank Ahrens  |  February 10, 2009; 9:53 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Dow Jones, Geithner, nasdaq, s&p 500  
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Markets Await Financial Sector Bailout Plan Announcement

Today, Washington will deliver some movement on two big issues key to the economy: the stimulus bill and the federal bailout of the financial sector. With the Senate having passed a procedural vote that pushes the measure forward for a...

By Sara Goo  |  February 10, 2009; 7:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  
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Embattled SEC Enforcement Chief Quits

Linda Thomsen, the SEC enforcement chief who was pummeled on Capitol Hill last week for failing to catch self-confessed $50 billion Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff, has resigned. The SEC release announcing her departure did not say a) who her successor...

By Frank Ahrens  |  February 9, 2009; 2:26 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Bernie Madoff, Linda Thomsen, SEC  
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What Are Your Recession Indicators?

Earlier today, The Ticker noted McDonald's is laughing at the ongoing recession, thanks to its lower prices and ability to stay one step ahead of consumer desires. As such, the burger king's performance is a big indicator of how the...

By Frank Ahrens  |  February 9, 2009; 12:51 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: contraction, recession, unemployment  
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McDonald's Sales Continue Surge

Call it a McLeading economic indicator. McDonald's had another strong sales month, as consumers continued to "trade down" from higher-priced restaurants to McDonald's in January. In the U.S., same-store McDonald's sales in January were up 5.4 percent compared to January...

By Frank Ahrens  |  February 9, 2009; 11:10 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: McDonald's, economy  
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Feb. 4, 2009

Case of Sweden Cleveland Fed | How do you resolve a financial crisis? Economists from the Cleveland Fed examine key lessons from the Swedish example. Hazardous Materials? The New Yorker| James Surowiecki argues that moral hazard fears from all...

By washingtonpost.com Editors  |  February 9, 2009; 9:55 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Neil Irwin's Must Reads  
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Markets Slightly Off at Opening

Wall Street is trading down slightly across the board this morning, as the markets express disappointment that Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner's comprehensive bailout plan -- which they were expected today -- has been delayed a day. In the first 20...

By Frank Ahrens  |  February 9, 2009; 9:53 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Dow Jones, Geithner, bailout, nasdaq, s&p 500  
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This Week: Critical Government Decisions

This is a big week for Washington and the economy. Fresh off of Friday's jump in the unemployment rate, this week will be critical in determining whether Congress will move ahead on a massive new $800 billion stimulus bill designed...

By Sara Goo  |  February 9, 2009; 6:35 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  
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