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

Economy Watch: February 15, 2009 - February 21, 2009

Dodd Says 'Nationalization,' Markets Tank

Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), chairman of the Banking committee, offhandedly -- or maybe not -- said around 1 p.m. today that nationalization of some banks may be necessary "at least for a short time," which accelerated a fall in the...

By Frank Ahrens  |  February 20, 2009; 2:52 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Bank of America, Citigroup, Dodd, Wells Fargo, banks  
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Investor Fear Pushes Gold Futures to $1,000 Per Ounce

Gold futures touched $1,000 per ounce for the first time since July in trading today as panicky investors continue to look for somewhere to stow their money and stanch losses. Consumer prices rose this morning, fanning fears of inflation --...

By Frank Ahrens  |  February 20, 2009; 12:25 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Gold, dollar, inflation  
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Trustee: Madoff Bought No Securities for Investors

1:56 P.M.: UPDATED WITH NUMBER OF NEGLIGENT YEARS: Some of the investors burned by Bernie Madoff, the self-confessed $50 billion Ponzi scammer, are meeting with the trustee assigned to sort out the mess right now in New York, and they...

By Frank Ahrens  |  February 20, 2009; 11:39 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Bernie Madoff  
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Lowe's, J.C. Penney Add to Retail Woes

Home-improvement chain Lowe's and department store J.C. Penney this morning joined the long list of retailers to report poor fourth-quarter earnings. Lowe's said its fourth-quarter earnings were down 60 percent compared with the same period last year and issued 2009...

By Frank Ahrens  |  February 20, 2009; 10:50 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: J.C. Penney, Lowe's, Retail  
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Markets Fall Off Cliff At Opening

Uncertainty about the future of the U.S. banking system and rising prices pushed the markets right over a cliff at opening, sending the Dow below its November lows. In the first 15 minutes of trading, the Dow is down about...

By Frank Ahrens  |  February 20, 2009; 9:51 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Dow Jones, nasdaq, s&p 500  
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On-the-Lam Alleged Houston Defrauder Found In Va.

4:47 P.M.: UPDATED WITH FBI STATEMENT: R. Allen Stanford, who is accused by the SEC of carrying out a $9.2 billion fraud at his Houston-based Standford Group and has been missing for days, has been found by the FBI near...

By Frank Ahrens  |  February 19, 2009; 4:27 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Allen Stanford, Bernie Madoff  
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Khuzami to Head SEC's Enforcement Division

The SEC made it official today and appointed Robert Khuzami to head the agency's enforcement division, replacing Linda Thomsen, who took heat for failing to catch self-confessed $50 billion Ponzi grifter Bernie Madoff, despite repeated warnings. The Post's Zach Goldfarb...

By Frank Ahrens  |  February 19, 2009; 4:23 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Bernie Madoff, Khuzami, Linda Thomsen, Ponzi  
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T. Boone Pickens Loses $1.25 Billion

It's fun to write about billionaire T. Boone Pickens, because he's always up to something. Either he's giving Oklahoma State U. $400 million for its athletics and academics, or he's popping up on TV touting his wind power scheme, or...

By Frank Ahrens  |  February 19, 2009; 1:43 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: T. Boone Pickens  
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The Furlough Weekend: An Alternative To Layoffs?

Would you like 10 more three-day weekends per year? Would you still take them if the third day was unpaid -- and if your alternative was getting laid off? One of the biggest costs of any employer is payroll. In...

By Frank Ahrens  |  February 19, 2009; 11:46 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: contraction, furlough, layoffs, recession, unemployment  
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Markets Open Slightly Up

Well, Wall Street is on its own today. The stimulus bill is signed, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner is still working out the details of his comprehensive recovery plan and no big news is on tap from Washington today. (Other than...

By Frank Ahrens  |  February 19, 2009; 9:47 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Dow Jones, Obama, nasdaq, s&p 500  
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Obama: Housing Plan Will Not Aid the 'Unscrupulous and Irresponsible'

President Obama is rolling out his housing rescue plan in Arizona right now. "Let me be clear on what this plan will not do," Obama said. "It will not rescue the unscrupulous and irresponsible. It will not help speculators who...

By Frank Ahrens  |  February 18, 2009; 12:41 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Fannie, Freddie, Obama, housing bubble, mortgage workouts  
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White House Answers Questions on Mortgage Plan

The White House this morning posted this list of questions and answers that homeowners might have about Pesident Obama's new mortgage plan: Borrowers Who Are Current on Their Mortgage Are Asking: What help is available for borrowers who stay current...

By Lexie Verdon  |  February 18, 2009; 10:37 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  The Ticker  
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BearingPoint Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

McLean-based consultancy BearingPoint filed for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11, the company announced today, saying it plans to continue business uninterrupted while reorganizing, The Post's Alejandro Lazo reports. "The filing was made with a 'pre-arranged' restructuring plan with the support...

By Frank Ahrens  |  February 18, 2009; 10:06 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: BearingPoint, bankruptcy  
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Markets Nose Up at Opening

Wall Street cautiously stepped into trading this morning following yesterday's big sell-off, opening slightly up across the board. This comes despite news this morning that construction for new homes and applications for future projects hit record lows in January, according...

By Frank Ahrens  |  February 18, 2009; 9:46 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Dow Jones, construction, nasdaq, s&p 500  
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Obama's Mortgage Plan Includes Low-Cost Refinancing, Subsidies

Here are the highlights of President Obama's plan to help troubled homeowners refinance and to reduce the number of foreclosures, obtained moments ago by The Post's Renae Merle: -- The plan would provide access to low-cost refinancing for 4 million...

By Frank Ahrens  |  February 18, 2009; 9:39 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: home prices, mortgage workouts  
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Today's Focus: Aid for Homeowners; Fed Projections

After an ugly day on Wall Street and for markets around the globe yesterday, investors, economists and struggling Americans will await two important developments today for signs about how far we have to climb to get out of the recession....

By Sara Goo  |  February 18, 2009; 7:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  
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Obama: 'Today...Marks the Beginning Of the End' of Crisis

President Obama just signed the $787 billion economic stimulus package bill into law, saying: "I don't want to pretend that today marks the end of our economic problems, nor does it constitute all of what we need to do to...

By Frank Ahrens  |  February 17, 2009; 3:37 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Obama, Sti  
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JetBlue To Refund Fares For Laid-Off Workers

If you buy a ticket on JetBlue and lose your job, you could be eligible for a refund, the company said today. The airline's announcement follows the give-back sales campaign launched recently by Hyandai, which told buyers that if they...

By Frank Ahrens  |  February 17, 2009; 2:43 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Hyundai, JetBlue, recession  
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Think You've Got It Bad? Check Out Bill Gates's Losses.

The more you have, the more you have to lose: Bill Gates's investments lost 20 percent -- or $3 billion -- in the fourth quarter of last year, according to SEC documents filed today. According to the SEC, the value...

By Frank Ahrens  |  February 17, 2009; 12:19 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Bill Gates, Warren Buffett  
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Dow Testing November Lows

Despite how bad the news has been over the past few months -- post-holiday bankruptcies continue to pile up, the unemployment rate rises, state governments struggle to meet payrolls -- one positive has endured: The Dow Jones has kept its...

By Frank Ahrens  |  February 17, 2009; 10:48 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Dow Jones  
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Dow Dives Deeply at Opening

The markets fell off a cliff in today's early trading following the long weekend, as they continue to probe bottom. In the first 15 minutes of trading, the Dow is down 203 points, or 2.6 percent. The S&P 500 and...

By Frank Ahrens  |  February 17, 2009; 9:47 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Big Three, Dow Jones, Obama, nasdaq, s&p 500, stimulus plan  
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