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

Economy Watch: April 19, 2009 - April 25, 2009

Both Sides Of 'Better Than Expected'

The stock markets have climbed this week boosted by positive corporate earnings, which invariably have been described as "better than expected." The Dow and the S&P 500 are on pace for a 1 percent gain on the week; the Nasdaq...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 24, 2009; 3:24 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Diane Garnick, Invesco, Motley Fool, Tim Hanson, earnings  
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March New Home Sales Down Slightly, But Better Than Expected

New home sales dipped .6 percent in March, compared to February, but the drop was less than expected, the Commerce Department said this morning. March's seasonally adjusted annual sales rate was 356,000, higher than the 340,000 expected by economists. The...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 24, 2009; 10:24 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Commerce Department, home sales  
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Markets Up At Opening

The markets opened up this morning, as 19 of the nation's banks learn the results of the federal government's "stress test" set to be delivered today. In the first 25 minutes of trading, the Dow is up about 62 points,...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 24, 2009; 9:53 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Dow Jones, nasdaq, s&p 500  
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Fiat: We Might Be Interested in Opel, as Well as Chrysler

Fiat chief executive Sergio Marchionne said completing an alliance with Chrysler next week is “my first and foremost objective,” yet the Italian automaker has also expressed interest in General Motors' Opel brand in Germany, The Post's Kendra Marr reports. “If...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 23, 2009; 2:57 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Chrysler, Fiat, GM, Opel  
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Obama: New Law Should Require 'Plain Vanilla' Credit Cards

President Obama, in remarks just released from the White House following his summit with top credit card issuers, laid out his four principles for reform of the credit card industry, pushing for simplification and an end to high fees. One...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 23, 2009; 2:44 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Bank of America, Citi, Obama, USAA, Wells Fargo, credit cards  
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Auditor: 'Hundreds Of Billions' Of Bailout Could Be Lost To Fraud

UPDATED at 11:40 A.M.: Neil Barofsky, the special inspector general at Treasury for the bailout program, warned of "hundreds of billions of dollars in fraud" if the government bailout funds are not closely monitored. Barofsky, testifying before a joint economic...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 23, 2009; 11:40 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: AIG, Bank of America, Ben Bernanke, Hank Paulson, Ken Lewis, Neil Barofsky, TARP, bailout  
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Markets Slightly Up At Opening

Stocks are trying to inch up at opening today, following good news/bad news earnings news. Yesterday, Apple easily bested Wall Street expectations. But this morning, UPS -- the world's largest shipper -- missed expectations. In the first 15 minutes of...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 23, 2009; 9:48 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Dow Jones, bailout, nasdaq, s&p 500  
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McDonald's Rolls Out $4 Burger: Why?

With the nation in its deepest recession in decades, why would McDonald's pick this moment to launch a $4 burger? You may have noticed the signs that just went up on some McDonald's drive-through menus: The new Angus burger. It...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 22, 2009; 4:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (42)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Dollar General, McDonald's, Starbucks, Wal-Mart  
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Credit Union Group Opposes 'Cramdown' Legislation

The fight over legislation to allow bankruptcy judges to modify mortgage terms, including slashing the principal owed by borrowers, took another turn today, reports The Post's Renae Merle. The National Association of Federal Credit Unions sent a letter today to...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 22, 2009; 2:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Obama, Rick Durbin, cramdown, mortgage workouts  
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April 22, 2009

The Washington Post staff share their picks for readings around the Web. Irrational Everything Haaretz.com | An exceptionally lucid explanation of how economic models led the world astray--and why there might not be much we can do to prevent...

By Sara Goo  |  April 22, 2009; 1:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Neil Irwin's Must Reads  
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Geithner Can't Say If Taxpayers Will Recoup AIG Bailout

It's unclear whether taxpayers will get back the $182 billion in government bailout funds given so far to troubled insurance giant AIG, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner implied this morning. In questions following his speech to the Economic Club of Washington...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 22, 2009; 11:11 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Tim Geithner  
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Markets Open Lower On Mixed Results

Mixed first-quarter earnings results out this morning pushed Wall Street down at opening. In the first 15 minutes of trading, the Dow is down 45 points, or half of 1 percent. The broader S&P 500 is down less than 1...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 22, 2009; 9:27 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: AT&T, Bank of America, Citigroup, Dow Jones, McDonald's, Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo, nasdaq, s&p 500  
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AP: 'Stress Test' Tougher On Loans Than Toxic Assets

The federal government stress test being applied to check the health of the nation's banks takes a tougher view of banks with a lot of loans on their books than banks saddled with toxic assets, the Associated Press is reporting...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 21, 2009; 4:28 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: credit cards, credit default swaps, stress test  
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Citigroup Shareholders Meeting A Raucous Affair

Citigroup's annual shareholders meeting has had a lively past, as holders of Citi stock parade to the microphone and let the company's managers have it, but today's meeting may have contained the most anger. The bank, considered along with Bank...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 21, 2009; 3:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Citigroup, Richard Parsons, Vikarm Pandit  
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Geithner Cannot Describe AIG Exit Strategy

UPDATED at 11:32 A.M.: Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner could not give an answer to this question, posed moments ago by Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Tex.): "What is the exit strategy from AIG?" Geithner is testifying before a congressional oversight committee headed...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 21, 2009; 11:32 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (26)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Ben Bernanke, Elizabeth Warren, Tim Geithner, bailout  
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April 21, 2009

The Washington Post staff share their picks for readings around the Web. The Economics of Structured Finance Harvard Business School | Paper explores the economics of why complex securities known as structured products have melted down so spectacularly. (PDF)...

By Sara Goo  |  April 21, 2009; 11:29 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Neil Irwin's Must Reads  
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Markets Open Flat

Wall Street opened flat this morning, as the markets continue to digest first-quarter earnings. In the first 20 minutes of trading, the Dow is down about 15 points, or essentially flat. The S&P 500 is up by an equally irrelevant...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 21, 2009; 9:51 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Dow, Tim Geithner, nasdaq, s&p 500  
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Caterpillar Reports First Loss Since 1992

Caterpillar, the world's largest maker of construction equipment, this morning reported its first quarterly loss since 1992. The Peoria, Ill.-based maker of bulldozers, graders and other big yellow machines was pulled into the red by a jaw-dropping $558 million in...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 21, 2009; 9:44 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Caterpiller  
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Will B of A's Ken Lewis Keep His Job?

For months, Bank of America chairman and chief executive Ken Lewis has been described as "embattled." Soon, he may be described as "fired." Lewis's bank has been deemed one of the sickest on Wall Street, its balance sheet clogged with...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 20, 2009; 2:19 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Bank of America, Ken Lewis, Michael Eisner, Walt Disney  
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Schwarzenegger: Detroit 'Will Be Back'

In an interview on CNBC that concluded moments ago, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) applied one of his most famous lines to the Big Three automakers: " 'I'll be back.' That's what Detroit is saying now." ("Terminator" references never get...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 20, 2009; 11:08 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Hummer, Schwarzenegger, auto industry, greenhouse gas  
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Markets Open Down

Wall Street opened down sharply this morning despite higher-than-expected first-quarter earnings from Bank of America, one of the two most troubled big banks (Citibank, which also posted a good first quarter, being the other). In the first 15 minutes of...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 20, 2009; 10:10 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Dow Jones, nasdaq, s&p 500  
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Housing Data Could Signal if Bust is Over

Economy-watchers are searching for evidence that the housing market is starting to hit bottom. And in recent months, there has been some evidence that the end of the great housing bust may be near. This week offers a reality check,...

By Sara Goo  |  April 20, 2009; 9:41 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  
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