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

Economy Watch: April 12, 2009 - April 18, 2009

BB&T Earnings Beat Expectations

Moving the focus briefly away from the mega Wall Street banks, BB&T -- a big regional bank -- reported today that first-quarter earnings dropped sharply compared to last year but easily beat Wall Street expectations. The bank reported earnings of...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 17, 2009; 4:29 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: BB&T, Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers  
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Bernanke: Damage From Crisis 'Likely to be Long-Lasting'

Speaking to the Fed Reserve's Community Affairs Research Conference in Washington today, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said "the damage from this turn in the credit cycle -- in terms of lost wealth, lost homes and blemished credit histories -- is...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 17, 2009; 1:56 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Ben Bernanke, Fed, Federal Reserve, credit cards  
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GM CEO: More Plant Closings Coming

Fritz Henderson -- who took over as General Motors chief executive after Rick Wagoner was forced out by the White House -- said GM will be forced to close a yet-to-be-announced number of manufacturing plants in coming months. The remarks...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 17, 2009; 11:19 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: . Rick Wagoner, Fritz Henderson, GM, Steven Rattner  
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Markets Indifferent At Opening

Wall Street is hovering around even at the opening today, despite Citibank's positive first-quarter earnings. In the first 15 minutes of trading, the Dow is up about 12 points, a percentage gain of little substance. The broader S&P 500 is...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 17, 2009; 9:49 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: CNBC, Dow Jones, nasdaq, s&p 500  
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Arlington's Rosetta Stone Pulls Off Successful IPO: How?

Rosetta Stone, the Arlington-based language-learning business whose ads feature Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, staged a successful initial public offering on Wall Street this morning, becoming only the third business to do so this year and the first to sell above...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 16, 2009; 4:36 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: IPO, rosetta stone  
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AIG Sells Car Insurance Unit For $1.9B

Troubled insurance giant AIG, seeking to raise cash to pay back government bailout money, sold its auto insurance subsidiary to Zurich Financial Services Group today for $1.9 billion. The sale price won't eat much into the $182.5 billion in government...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 16, 2009; 3:33 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: AIG, Edward Liddy  
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Report: Foreclosures Up 9 Percent In First Quarter

The U.S. foreclosure rate soared 9 percent in the first three months of this year, totaling 803,489 properties, compared to the last three months of 2008, according to RealtyTrac numbers out today. The number marks a 24 percent increase compared...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 16, 2009; 1:56 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: foreclosure  
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Markets Flat at Opening

Markets are flat this morning, as some early enthusiasm burned off quickly. The retreat comes after a brief opening spurt, as the markets were spurred upward by better-than-expected first-quarter earnings from big Wall Street bank J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.,...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 16, 2009; 9:54 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Dow Jones, JP Morgan, nasdaq, s&p 500  
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Geithner Changes Mind, Says China Not Manipulating Currency

The White House will not cite China as a nation that manipulates its currency in order to gain an unfair trade advantage, the Associated Press is reporting. This report -- which comes from Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner's agency -- comes...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 15, 2009; 5:06 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: China, Obama, Tim Geithner, trade, trade deficit  
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Fed's Beige Book: Pace of Decline Slowing In Parts Of U.S.

Earlier this afternoon, the Federal Reserve released its most recent version of its Beige Book -- the eight-times-per-year collection of anecdotal economic reports from the Fed's 12 districts across the nation. Though it still paints a pretty dim picture of...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 15, 2009; 2:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Beige Book, Federal Reserve  
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Home Builder Sentiment Takes Big Jump In April

Home builder sentiment -- as measured by the National Association of Home Builders -- took its biggest leap up in five years in April. This falls into the "not so bad is the new good" category. The NAHB's home builders...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 15, 2009; 1:23 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: National Association of Home Builders, homebuilder sentiment, housing bubble  
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Obama: We Need To Simplify 'Monstrous' Tax Code

President Obama is using Tax Day to extol his ideas for tax reform and praise his tax policies. It's also the day when hundreds of "Tea Party" protests are scheduled around the country, opposing not only Obama's tax policies but...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 15, 2009; 12:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Obama, Tea Parties, taxes  
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Fiat CEO Threatens to Walk Away From Chrysler Deal

Fiat chief executive Sergio Marchionne said that the Italian automaker is "absolutely" prepared to call off a proposed merger with on-life-support Chrysler if it cannot win concessions from creditors and the United Auto Workers. This is really, really bad news...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 15, 2009; 10:48 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Chrysler, Fiat, automakers  
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Capital One Reports Rising Credit Card Losses

Capital One disclosed this morning that losses in its credit card portfolio rose sharply in March, fresh evidence that borrowers are struggling to repay all kinds of bank loans, The Post's Binyamin Appelbaum reports. The company said that the annualized...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 15, 2009; 10:32 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Capital One, credit cards  
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Markets Open Down Slightly

Wall Street opened slightly off this morning, as the companies continue to send mixed signals and the rally that began March 9 appears to be taking its foot off the gas a bit. In the first 20 minutes of trading,...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 15, 2009; 9:54 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Dow Jones, Intel, nasdaq, s&p 500  
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Bernanke: We See 'Tentative' Signs of Recovery

9:14 A.M.: Bernanke plans to say later this morning that he is seeing signs of economic improvement. "Recently we have seen tentative signs that the sharp decline in economic activity may be slowing," Bernanke plans to say, according to remarks...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 14, 2009; 3:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Ben Bernanke, Wholesale prices, retail  
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Bernanke: Minorities Need To 'Strengthen Their Financial Literacy'

American minorities need to "strengthen their financial literacy," Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke told students and faculty at Atlanta's historically black Morehouse College in Atlanta today. On a day when President Obama delivered an Economic Crisis 101 lecture to students and...

By Sara Goo  |  April 14, 2009; 3:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (17)
Categories:  The Ticker  
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Obama: Wall Street Built U.S. Economy On Sand, Not Rock

UPDATED at 12:42 P.M. Addressing students and faculty at Georgetown University right now, President Obama quoted from Jesus's Sermon On the Mount (Matthew 7:24-27), comparing the former U.S. economy to a house built on sand and the future U.S. economy...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 14, 2009; 12:42 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Obama, economic contraction, recession  
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GM Issues Recall For Underhood Fire Danger

As if General Motors didn't have enough troubles, today it has issued a "voluntary" recall for 1.6 million Chevys, Pontiacs and Buicks made between 1996 and 2003 to address the "extremely rare" possibility of a fire under the vehicle hood....

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 14, 2009; 11:38 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: GM, recalls  
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Markets Sharply Off at Opening

Well, so much for the Goldman Sachs rally. Traders expected that yesterday's strong after-close first-quarter earnings news from Goldman would rally the markets at today's opening, as Wall Street would be cheered by more good news from the troubled financial...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 14, 2009; 9:56 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Dow Jones, Goldman Sachs, nasdaq, s&p 500  
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Goldman Returns To Profit In First Quarter

Goldman Sachs released its first-quarter earnings moments ago and they beat expectations, as the former king of the investment banks returns to profitability. The news will no doubt send the markets surging at tomorrow's opening. For the first quarter of...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 13, 2009; 4:34 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo  
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What's Bringing Back the Markets Today?

With about 45 minutes to go in the trading day, Wall Street is threatening to go positive across the boards for the first time today, after diving off a cliff at the opening this morning. One word: banks. The Dow,...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 13, 2009; 3:21 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Bank of America, Citigroup, Dow Jones, banks, nasdaq, s&p 500  
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Geithner to Host G-7 Leaders in Washington Next Week

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner will host the finance leaders of the other G-7 nations in Washington on April 24, Treasury said moments ago. The meeting -- the first Geithner has hosted as Treasury secretary -- will be followed by a...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 13, 2009; 11:43 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: G-7, G7, Tim Geithner, Treasury  
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Sallie Mae: Students Use Credit Cards More to Pay for Education

Students in higher education are using their credit cards at record levels to pay for their schooling, reports a study out from Sallie Mae this morning. Students charged an average of $2,200 in direct eduction expenses -- such as tuition...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 13, 2009; 11:13 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Sallie Mae, college tuition, credit cards  
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Markets Open Lower, Anticipating Earnings, GM Bankruptcy

Wall Street opened lower this morning, as traders brace for first-quarter earnings reports from important market components and GM appears more likely than ever headed for bankruptcy. In the first 15 minutes of trading, the Dow is down 101 points,...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 13, 2009; 9:53 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Citigroup, Dow Jones, GE, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, nasdaq, s&p 500  
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The Economy This Week: Retail, Manufacturing, Beige Book

As economy-watchers everywhere continue their desperate search for green shoots -- little signs that the recession won't last too much longer -- this week could bring some sobering news. Retail sales, excluding autos, were up a healthy 0.7 percent in...

By Sara Goo  |  April 13, 2009; 6:34 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  
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