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

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

Bernanke to Appear Sunday on '60 Minutes'

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke will sit for a rare and lengthy interview at 7 p.m. Sunday on CBS's "60 Minutes" to talk about the economy, according to the show's site. Bernanke, interviewed by Scott Pelley, will talk about "what went...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 13, 2009; 1:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Ben Bernanke  
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Summers: White House Stimulus Action May Have Stabilized Consumer Spending

UPDATED 12:09 p.m., below, with Q-and-A: Larry Summers, President Obama's top economic adviser, just concluded remarks to the Brookings Institution and said the president's stimulus plan may be working. "It is surely too early to gauge the broader economic impact...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 13, 2009; 12:08 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (23)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Larry Summers, Obama, consumer confidence, stimulus plan  
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Markets Open Flat, Look To Extend Rally

Wall Street opened up flat this morning, as the markets attempt -- inauspiciously, so far -- to complete a week-long rally. In the first 20 minutes of trading, the Dow is up about 12 points, or barely holding positive. The...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 13, 2009; 9:50 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Dow Jones, nasdaq, s&p 500  
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FASB Head: Mark-To-Market Relaxation Within Three Weeks

The head of the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) -- which, along with the SEC, oversees corporate accounting -- told a House panel today that "in three weeks" his organization will issue new guidance on mark-to-market rules, allowing financial firms...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 12, 2009; 2:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Kanjorski, Robert Herz, mark to market  
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GM to Feds: We Won't Need That Extra $2 Billion

This is a call we bet General Motors enjoyed making: GM has told the White House that $2 billion worth of government bailout money that the automaker had previously requested will now not be needed. The struggling Detroit automaker said...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 12, 2009; 2:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: GM, automakers, bailout  
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BofA's Ken Lewis: We Won't Need More Bailout Money

In remarks to the Chief Executives Club of Boston right now, Bank of America chief executive Ken Lewis -- possibly the most embattled banker on Wall Street -- said that he believes his bank will not require more taxpayer bailout...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 12, 2009; 1:58 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Bank of America, Ken Lewis  
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Geithner Reaffirms $1 Trillion to Clean Up Toxic Assets

UPDATED: Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, who finished testimony before the Senate Budget committee moments ago, reaffirmed that the cost of cleaning up all the toxic assets clogging the balance sheets of sick financial institutions will be at least $1 trillion....

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 12, 2009; 12:26 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Tim Geithner  
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GE Loses Top Credit Rating

Standard & Poor's cut the credit rating of industrial giant GE today from AAA to AA+, reflecting troubles in GE Capital, the company's lending arm, which is facing the same problems as most big banks. S&P affirmed the company's "stable"...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 12, 2009; 10:21 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: GE, Jeff Immelt  
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Markets Open Slightly Down

Wall Street wandered out of the gates slightly down this morning, as traders and investors look to see if the markets can put together a three-day winning streak. In the first 15 minutes of trading, the Dow is down about...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 12, 2009; 9:47 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Dow Jones, nasdaq, s&p 500  
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Madoff Arrives In Court, Expected To Plead Guilty

Investment fund manager Bernie Madoff, who confessed in December to running a $50 billion Ponzi scheme, arrived in federal court in New York City this morning and is expected to plead guilty to bilking investors. The 70-year-old Madoff will not...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 12, 2009; 9:42 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Bernie Madoff  
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New Unemployment Claims Jump Higher Than Expected

The number of people filing for unemployment benefits for the first time rose to 654,000 in February, a higher level than expected, government data out today show, while retail sales fell for the seventh time in eight months. Most economists...

By Kendra Nichols  |  March 12, 2009; 9:12 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
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WJLA Paying Remaining Employees To Buy Cars

WJLA-7, the Rosslyn-based television station owned by struggling Allbritton Communications, said today that it would give its employees $2,000 to buy a new car and $1,000 to buy a used car. This comes less than two months after WJLA laid...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 11, 2009; 5:58 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Allbritton, WJLA, auto dealers  
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J.P. Morgan's Dimon: 'What Caused the Crisis? You Did.'

J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. chief executive Jamie Dimon told a room full of people at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce today that they caused the current economic crisis. Dimon asked the audience members how many of them had pulled...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 11, 2009; 4:01 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: JP Morgan, Jamie Dimon, U.S. Chamber of Commerce  
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Geithner To G-20: We Need To Give IMF $500 Billion

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner told members of the G-20 nations (the world's biggest industrialized economies) that they should raise $500 billion to give to the International Monetary Fund to help nations in trouble. "The G-20 countries must take strong macroeconomic...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 11, 2009; 1:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Geithner, IMF, Treasury  
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SEC's Schapiro: Flexibility Likely Coming In Mark-To-Market

UPDATED SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro said moments ago in a House hearing that new guidance in mark-to-market accounting -- which should give firms holding distressed assets some flexibility in accounting for them -- ought to be coming in the second...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 11, 2009; 11:52 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Bernie Madoff, Mary Schapiro, SEC, mark to market  
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Washington Area Unemployment Rates Rise Again

The Washington D.C. region's unemployment rate rose again in January, according to numbers from the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics released moments ago. The District's unemployment rate in January jumped to 9.3 percent from 8.8 percent in December. Virginia's...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 11, 2009; 10:36 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: unemployment  
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Markets Open Slightly Up

Wall Street is trying feebly to extend yesterday's vigorous rally but has been unable to match yesterday's out-of-the-gate roar. In the first 15 minutes of trading, the Dow is up about 28 points, or well less than half of 1...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 11, 2009; 9:46 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Dow Jones, nasdaq, s&p 500  
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'Saturday Night Live's' Take On Geithner

NBC's "Saturday Night Live" aired a good send-up of Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner over the weekend, in which Geithner (played by Will Forte) hosts a call-in show. The best caller: the Nigerian con-man. If the video player doesn't load, click...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 10, 2009; 6:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Saturday Night Live, Tim Geithner  
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Madoff Attorney: Guilty Plea Likely on Thursday

Ira Sorkin, attorney for Bernie Madoff, alleged multibillion-dollar Ponzi schemer, said there is a "fair expectation" that his client will plead guilty Thursday to swindling investors, although a judge said he would not be sentenced that day. The government is...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 10, 2009; 3:48 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (33)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Bernie Madoff  
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Report: Rep. Frank Says Uptick Rule Should Be Restored 'Within a Month'

Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), the head of the House Financial Services committee, said that the SEC should restore the so-called "uptick" rule within a month, Reuters is reporting. The uptick rule forces short-sellers to sell at a price higher than...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 10, 2009; 12:57 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Barney Frank, uptick rule  
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Citigroup's Pandit: Bank Is Profitable So Far This Year

Citigroup chief executive Vikram Pandit rocked Wall Street this morning -- in a good way, for a change -- with the public release of an e-mail he sent to Citi employees this morning saying the bank is profitable through the...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 10, 2009; 11:12 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Citigroup, Vikarm Pandit  
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Markets Open Strongly Higher

Whether it's seller fatigue or a reaction to Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's speech this morning or any of a hundred other factors, the markets roared out of the gates and opened up strongly this morning. In the first 15 minutes...

By Sara Goo  |  March 10, 2009; 9:47 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
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Bernanke Calls for Broad Regulatory Reforms

Updated 9:28 a.m. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, speaking at the Council on Foreign Relations right now, said that broad overhaul of the financial regulatory system is necessary to prevent another crisis from happening. Specifically, he said, the problem of...

By Sara Goo  |  March 10, 2009; 9:19 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (33)
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Ford Union Workers Ratify Changes to Retiree Health Benefits

United Auto Worker employees of Ford have ratified changes to their retiree health-benefits package to save costs at the troubled automaker. The deal, as reported last month in The Post, was ratified today by 59 percent of UAW production workers...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 9, 2009; 3:13 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Chrysler, Ford, GM, UAW  
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Romer: Let Stimulus Do Its Work

UPDATED Christina Romer, chairwoman of President Obama's council of economic advisers, said the stimulus spending just approved must be monitored to see how it's working before a second package is approved, The Post's Jason Ukman reports. Romer is speaking right...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 9, 2009; 2:42 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Christina Romer, Obama  
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Buffett: U.S. Economy Has 'Fallen Off a Cliff'

Berskshire Hathaway chief executive and super-investor Warren E. Buffett had a three-hour sit-down interview with CNBC this morning, taking questions from reporter Becky Quick and viewers. Buffett said the U.S. economy has "fallen off a cliff" but that he'd rather...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 9, 2009; 11:02 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Berkshire Hathaway, CBNC, The Washington Post Co., Warren Buffett  
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New York Times Co. Completes Sell-Leaseback On HQ Building

The struggling New York Times Co. announced this morning that it has completed a sell-leaseback deal on 21 floors of its 52-story nearly-brand-new Manhattan headquarters. The Times Co. will receive $225 million from W.P. Carey & Co. and will pay...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 9, 2009; 10:08 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: New York Times Co.  
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Markets Open Down but Try to Claw Back

Wall Street is trying to make a recovery from its dreadful performance last week, which saw the Dow lose 6 percent of its value. The Dow continued its plunge at the opening but is now rising back toward even. In...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 9, 2009; 9:53 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Dow Jones, nasdaq, s&p 500  
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Capital One Slashes Dividend

Capital One became the latest big company to slash its dividend, saying this morning that it will cut it by 87 percent in an attempt to save $500 million per year. Capital One will cut its dividend from $0.375 cents...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 9, 2009; 9:39 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Capital One, Citigroup, JP Morgan, Pfizer  
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