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

Wall Street Down Slightly At Opening

If "Not So Bad" is the new "Good," then a raft of "Not So Bad" fourth-quarter earnings briefly pushed the markets' nose above water at the opening, though now it has sunk back down. Uncertainty still rules Wall Street, as it waits for Washington to make up its mind on toxic assets of the struggling financial sector.

In the first 15 minutes of trading, the Dow is down about 16 points.

The S&P 500 is about even and the Nasdaq is down less than 1 percent.

Drugmaker Merck reported a surprise fourth-quarter profit this morning while a homebuilder and food processor posting good earnings, as well.

At the same time, however, Wall Street is wrestling with President Obama's "bad bank" concept -- the creation of one federal government bank that will take all the toxic assets from private banks so they can clean up their balance sheets.

An initial thrill over the concept will quickly wear off, as the project bogs down in details, warned a Barclays analyst this morning, crushing the S&P 500.

“We suggest putting down the champagne glass and drinking a cup of coffee,” Barry Knapp, chief U.S. equity strategist at Barclays said in a report dated Jan. 30, Bloomberg reported this morning. “The policy euphoria associated with the ‘bad bank’ plan will prove to be short lived.”

-- Frank Ahrens
The Ticker is Twittering!

By Frank Ahrens  |  February 3, 2009; 9:51 AM ET
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Dow, Merck, nasdaq, s&p 500  
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