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

Economy Watch: April 5, 2009 - April 11, 2009

Treasury: March Added $192 Billion to 2009 Budget Deficit

Treasury said this afternoon that the budget deficit increased by a record $192.3 billion in March, pushed higher by the recession and the cost of the financial bailout, and is nearing $1 trillion for 2009, halfway through the fiscal year....

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 10, 2009; 4:43 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Obama, deficit  
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April 10, 2009

The Washington Post staff share their picks for readings around the Web. Ten Principles for a Black Swan-proof World Nassim Nicholas Taleb | The author of The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable, offers his 10 principles...

By Sara Goo  |  April 10, 2009; 12:28 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Neil Irwin's Must Reads  
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Obama: 'We're Starting To See Progress'

President Obama said "we're starting to see progress" toward an economic recovery, following his skull session with his top economic advisers and agency heads at the White House this morning. "If we stick with it, if we don't flinch in...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 10, 2009; 12:13 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Obama, Small Business Administration, credit market, recession, recovery  
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Economists: Recession to End This Year, But Unemployment Will Hit Nearly 10%

In the good-news/bad-news spirit of Good Friday comes this report from the Blue Chip Economic Indicators survey of private economists out today: 86 percent of of them think that the recession will end in the second half of this year....

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 10, 2009; 11:16 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: recession, unemployment  
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Markets Closed Today for Good Friday

The Wall Street markets are closed today in observance of Good Friday. In Washington, President Obama is summoning his top economic advisers and agency heads to the White House, and an update on the economy from the president is expected...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 10, 2009; 9:46 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Obama, Tim Geithner, economy  
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Obama Buys 17,600 Detroit-Made Vehicles

First, President Obama generally subsidized the struggling U.S. automakers by pouring in billions of government bailout money to keep them in business. Now, he's specifically subsidizing GM, Ford and Chrysler by using $285 million in government bailout money to purchase...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 9, 2009; 3:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Chrysler, Ford, GM, Obama, bailout  
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Larry Summers Code-Pinked in Washington

The boisterous protest group Code Pink picked a new target today: White House economic adviser Lawrence Summers, The Post's Lori Montgomery reports. Summers was answering questions about the U.S. recession before a packed luncheon hosted by the Economic Club of...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 9, 2009; 3:29 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Code Pink, Larry Summers, Lloyd Blankfein  
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Belgians 'Boss-Nap' Fiat Executives in Brussels

Woe betide European executives who try to negotiate labor give-backs with the rank-and-file. They're likely to get "boss-napped," as three Fiat executives now find themselves in Brussels. Executives from Fiat -- which is completing a tie-up with struggling U.S. automaker...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 9, 2009; 12:54 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Chrysler, Fiat  
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New Jobless Claims Down, But Still at Elevated Levels

New unemployment claims fell more than expected last week but the number of people getting benefits neared 6 million for the 10th straight week, the Labor Department said this morning. The number of first-time jobless claims fell to a seasonally...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 9, 2009; 11:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Labor Department, unemployment  
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Obama Welcomes Washington Homeowners To White House

President Obama welcomed several Washington-area homeowners to the White House this morning to participate in his housing refinance roundtable, along with Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. The White House is encouraging eligible homeowners to take advantage of low interest rates and...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 9, 2009; 10:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Obama, mortgage workouts  
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Surprise Wells Fargo Good News Boosts Markets At Opening

Wells Fargo's eye-popping first-quarter projections this morning lit a match under Wall Street this morning, pushing the major indices up at opening. In the first 15 minutes of trading, the Dow is up 145 points, or nearly 2 percent. The...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 9, 2009; 9:48 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Dow Jones, Wells Fargo, nasdaq, s&p 500  
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B of A CEO Lewis: 'We'll Never Know' If I Overpaid for Merrill

Bank of America chief executive Ken Lewis said “we’ll never know" if he overpaid for brokerage Merrill Lynch, which his bank bought for $28 billion last fall. "The critics would say we should have waited until Monday and have things...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 8, 2009; 3:11 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Bank of America, Countrywide, Ken Lewis  
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Chrysler Exec: Bankruptcy Not Our Goal, But...

Chrysler vice chairman Jim Press said that bankruptcy is "not our objective or goal" and that "no one is trying to force us in that direction" but if his company can't conclude its tie-up with Fiat in the next month,...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 8, 2009; 12:58 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: CNBC, Chrysler, GM, Obama, Steven Rattner  
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Treasury Announces Bailout Money for Auto Parts Suppliers

Treasury announced this morning the launch of its bailout program for American auto parts suppliers, which was reported last month. "The U.S. Treasury Department is pleased that both GM and Chrysler have moved quickly to launch Supplier Support programs," Treasury...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 8, 2009; 11:01 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Chrysler, GM, Treasury, bailout  
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Wholesalers Slash Inventories in Feb.

Wholesalers slashed their inventories in February by 1.5 percent, the sharpest drop in 17 years, as companies worked to get their stockpiles in line with the reduced demand caused by the recession. The Commerce Department wholesale numbers, released moments ago,...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 8, 2009; 10:41 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Commerce Department, Wholesale investories  
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Markets Up At Opening

A merger! Some actual activity between major companies! Buy! Buy! That's how Wall Street reacted this morning to news that Michigan-based home builder Pulte Homes would buy Texas-based builder Centex for $1.3 billion in stock. In the first 15 minutes...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 8, 2009; 9:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Centex, Dow, Pulte, nasdaq, s&p 500  
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April 7, 2009

Washington Post staff writer Lori Montgomery, who covers business policy, shares her picks for readings around the Web. CCI Spring Meeting Lloyd C. Blankfein | The CEO of Goldman Sachs explains lessons of the crisis and his thoughts on...

By Sara Goo  |  April 7, 2009; 5:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Neil Irwin's Must Reads  
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Alcoa Earnings: Worse Than Expected, But Not a Lot Worse Than Expected

Aluminum giant Alcoa kicked off this quarter's earnings season with the release of its first-quarter numbers moments ago, saying it lost $480 million in continuing operations during the first three months of this year. “Alcoa responded swiftly to the declines...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 7, 2009; 4:37 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Alcoa, earnings  
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TARP Inspector General Looking Into AIG Payments to Goldman Sachs, Others

Neil Barofsky, the inspector general of the TARP funds for Treasury, sent a letter to Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and 26 other members of Congress last week saying he has opened an investigation into whether AIG paid more government bailout...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 7, 2009; 4:07 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: AIG, Elijah Cummings, Neil Barofsky, bailout, credit default swaps  
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Goldman Sachs CEO: Executive Pay Looked 'Greedy'

Lloyd Blankfein, chief executive of Goldman Sachs, spoke to the Council of Institutional Investors in Washington this morning and said that "decisions on compensation and other actions taken and not taken, particularly at banks that rapidly lost a lot of...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 7, 2009; 11:24 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Goldman Sachs, Lloyd Blankfein  
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March Business Defaults Hit Great Depression Rates, CEO Confidence Swoons

That was a nice little four-week rally in March, and the gains it put back in your 401(k) were real, but if anyone has started thinking that the economy is out of the woods, take a look at these two...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 7, 2009; 10:44 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: consumer confidence, defaults  
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Markets Dive at Opening

The markets took a tumble at opening this morning as Wall Street began earnings season, with aluminum giant Alcoa reporting after today's close. Alcoa is expected to kick off a run of pretty dreadful first-quarter numbers. In the first 15...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 7, 2009; 9:48 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Alcoa, Dow Jones, nasdaq, s&p 500  
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Wall Street Readies for 'Throw-Away' Earnings

Aluminum giant Alcoa reports first-quarter earnings tomorrow, taking its usual position as the first Dow component to report and leading the way for what some investors are calling a "throw-away" quarter. Forecasters predict Alcoa, for instance, will report a loss...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 6, 2009; 5:24 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Alcoa, Dow Chemical, Ford, GM, earnings  
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Treasury Extends Deadline, Eases Terms to Buy Toxic Assets

Treasury said today that it's extending its deadline to buy toxic assets from troubled financial institutions and is lowering the capital requirement for participation. Firms now have until April 24 to buy the toxic assets -- such as mortgage-backed securities...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 6, 2009; 12:42 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Treasury, toxic assets  
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Geithner Announces Crackdown on 'Bad Actor' Mortgage Workout Firms

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner moments ago announced a multi-agency effort to crack down on what he termed "bad actor" loan modification companies that target homeowners in distressed situations. Some of these companies promise to rework homeowners' mortgages and charge upfront...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 6, 2009; 11:28 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Tim Geithner, mortgage workouts  
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Ford Slashes Debt, Stays Ahead of GM and Chrysler

Ford, the only of the Big Three automakers to so far refuse government bailout money, said this morning that it has slashed the debt in its automotive division, enabling it to save $500 million per year in interest expense. Ford...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 6, 2009; 10:35 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Alan Mulally, Ford, automakers  
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Markets Open Down as Banks Are Rattled

On the first day following a robust March that included a four-week rally, the markets opened down this morning, and a negative research report on the big banks is being given at least partial blame. In the first 15 minutes...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 6, 2009; 9:48 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Dow Jones, banks, nasdaq, s&p 500  
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