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

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

Citigroup's Pandit To Employees: I'm Fighting Congress For Your Bonuses

This is an e-mail sent from Citigroup chief executive Vikram Pandit to his employees this afternoon: "Our industry has recently seen a tide of negative sentiment rising in Washington, D.C. regarding compensation. Of course, some of it is warranted. But...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 20, 2009; 4:52 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (38)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Citigroup, Vikarm Pandit, bonuses  
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Rattner: GM, Chrysler May Need 'Considerably' More Govt. Money

Ailing Detroit automakers GM and Chrysler may need “considerably” more government bailout money than they've already asked for, said Steve Rattner, Treasury's de factor "car czar." So far, GM and Chrysler have asked for $21.6 billion. But Rattner said that...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 20, 2009; 1:49 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Chrysler, GM, Steven Rattner, automakers, bailout  
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Bernanke to Small Bankers: Stay Vigilant

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke is addressing community bankers in Phoenix right now. "You should all continue to exercise good risk management -- including strong underwriting for individual exposures and proper management of credit concentrations in your portfolios," Bernanke plans to...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 20, 2009; 12:09 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Ben Bernanke  
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Rep. Frank: Govt. Should Cancel Fannie, Freddie Bonuses

Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), chairman of the House Financial Services committee, said today that the government should step in and cancel the retention bonuses given to executives of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which The Post's Zach Goldfarb reported here...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 20, 2009; 11:40 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Barney Frank, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, bonuses  
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Citigroup CFO To Take Over Troubled Bank Unit

Citigroup chief financial officer Gary Crittenden has been assigned to take over Citi Holdings, one of the sickest units of Citigroup, in an effort to wind down the division and improve Citigroup's overall health. Citi Holdings has some $850 billion...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 20, 2009; 10:57 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Citigroup  
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House Passes Bill Taxing AIG Bonuses at 90 Percent

The House just passed a bill that would put a 90 percent tax on bonuses awarded by companies that get at least $5 billion in federal bailout money by a vote of 328-93. The legislation is targeted at AIG, which...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 19, 2009; 2:21 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: AIG, bonuses  
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I-270 Corridor Has Nation's Lowest Unemployment Rate

The I-270 corridor stretching from Bethesda to Frederick has the nation's lowest unemployment rate among large metro areas in January, according to data released this morning by the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Washington area (including D.C., Arlington,...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 19, 2009; 11:28 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Labor Department, unemployment  
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13 Firms Getting Bailout Money Owe Back Taxes

In a Hill hearing underway, Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) revealed that 13 firms receiving government bailout money owe more than $220 million in back taxes. Two of the firms, Lewis said, owe more than $100 million apiece. The news comes...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 19, 2009; 10:56 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: bailout  
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Liddy: AIG's Financial Products Division Kept Out Company's Risk Managers

6:11 P.M.: UPDATED: AIG chief executive Edward Liddy said moments ago that AIG's risk-managers were "generally not allowed to go into Financial Products." Translation: AIG's Financial Products division -- the unit that sold more derivatives than AIG could back, nearly...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 18, 2009; 6:11 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (121)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: AIG, Edward Liddy  
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4 Fannie Execs Each to Get $400K in Govt.-Okayed Bonuses

At least four Fannie Mae executives are slated to receive more than $400,000 in bonuses each this year as a result of the company's government-approved retention program, The Post's Zach Goldfarb reports. The executives include chief operating officer Michael Williams...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 18, 2009; 2:22 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (47)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, bonuses  
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Obama: We're Moving Toward Broader Regulation

In remarks underway now, President Obama said he is pushing toward new and broader regulation of the financial sector that he hopes will prevent the "bubble/bust mentality" and prevent larger systemic risk. What the president is talking about is a...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 18, 2009; 12:38 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Obama, regulation  
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Markets Open Down

Wall Street opened down this morning, as the bear rally struggles to find some forward momentum. In the first 15 minutes of trading, the Dow is down about 50 points, or less than 1 percent. The broader S&P 500 is...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 18, 2009; 9:53 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Dow Jones, nasdaq, s&p 500  
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$1 Million Bonuses for at Least 73 AIG Executives

2:57 P.M.: UPDATED BELOW WITH MORE DETAILS: At least 73 employees of AIG's Financial Products unit -- the London-based division of the insurance giant that sold the high-risk derivatives blamed for the company's near-collapse -- got bonuses of at least...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 17, 2009; 2:57 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: AIG, Cuomo, bonuses  
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Grassley: That AIG Suicide Thing? Didn't Really Mean It.

It took only one day for Sen. Chuck Grassley (D-Iowa) to back away from comments he made yesterday saying AIG executives should "resign or go commit suicide." “What I’m expressing here obviously is not that I want people to commit...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 17, 2009; 2:39 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: AIG, Chuck Grassley, bonuses  
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Senators Take Their Turn Bashing AIG

Members of the Senate Banking Committee opened a hearing today on the arcana of insurance regulation by joining in Washington’s new favorite pastime -- bashing AIG, The Post's David Hilzenrath reports. “It smacks of greed and arrogance and worse,” said...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 17, 2009; 10:44 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: AIG  
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Nokia To Lay Off 1,700 Employees

Finnish phone maker Nokia, which has the largest slice of the global mobile market, said today it will lay off 1,700 workers worldwide, as the company copes with the recession. Nokia's market share has fallen from 40 percent in 2007...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 17, 2009; 10:40 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Nokia, layoffs  
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Markets Open Down Slightly

The markets opened down this morning, despite a surprise jump in February housing starts released this morning. In the first 20 minutes of trading, the Dow is off about 44 points, or about .6 percent. The broader S&P 500 is...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 17, 2009; 9:50 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Dow Jones, nasdaq, s&p 500  
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PPI Core Up .1 Pct; Housing Starts Improve in February

Government data just released moments ago show the producer price index rose .1 percent for the month of February, slightly above analysts' expectations. The index, released by the Labor Department, measures the wholesale price of goods. The slight increase last...

By Sara Goo  |  March 17, 2009; 8:49 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
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Cuomo Joins Fight Against AIG Bonuses, Delivers Subpoenas

UPDATED: Cuomo says on CNBC that subpoenas "are heading out the door right now." New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo sent a letter today to AIG chief executive Edward Liddy demanding a great deal of information about the most...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 16, 2009; 4:51 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (21)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: AIG, Andrew Cuomo, Edward Liddy  
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Proxy Mining: Citi's Pandit Made $38.2 Million Last Year

Vikram Pandit, who took over troubled Citigroup mega-bank in December 2007, received $38.2 million in total 2008 compensation -- all but $1 million of which came in stock and option awards. According to Citigroup's proxy, released today by the Securities...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 16, 2009; 2:25 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Citigroup, Vikarm Pandit, executive compensation  
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Obama Says AIG Bonuses Should be Blocked

President Obama is delivering remarks right now on the economy and here's an excerpt from his prepared statement relating to AIG, the insurance giant that's the recipient of billions in government bailout money and is still paying bonuses: "But before...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 16, 2009; 12:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: AIG, Geithner, Obama, executive compensation  
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Citigroup Nominates Four New Independent Directors

Embattled Citigroup, which has been criticized for investing too heavily in the housing market and for having a compliant board of directors, has nominated four new independent directors to stand for election in April, the company announced today. The nominees:...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 16, 2009; 10:59 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Citigroup  
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Industrial Output Down In February, But Autos Up

U.S. industrial output dropped for the fourth straight month, as falling consumer spending continued to force factories to reduce production. The Fed Reserve reported this morning that February industrial output dropped 1.4 percent, slightly worse than the 1.2 percent drop...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 16, 2009; 10:25 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Federal Reserve, industrial output  
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Markets Open Up, Extend Last Week's Rally

The markets opened up slightly this morning as Wall Street tried to extend last week's 9 percent rally. In the first 15 minutes of trading, the Dow is up about 70 points, or about 1 percent. The broader S&P 500...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 16, 2009; 9:44 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Ben Bernanke, Dow Jones, nasdaq, s&p 500  
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