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

Economy Watch: May 17, 2009 - May 23, 2009

Don't Take a Summer Vacation From Your Investments

Despite stock market spikes and troughs, larger, long-term cycles underlie and drive the markets. Smart investors study the cycles and gamble on them. With Memorial Day unofficially kicking off summer, what might a summer cycle bring for your investments? Start...

By Frank Ahrens  |  May 22, 2009; 4:43 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Dow Jones, Wall Street, market cycles, nasdaq, s&p 500, stock cycles  
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May 22, 2009

Neil Irwin shares his picks for readings around the Web. Green Shoots or Yellow Weeds Global EconoMonitor | Nouriel Roubini, who famously predicted much of the current crisis, thinks visions of green shoots in the economy are premature. Warrant...

By Washington Post editors  |  May 22, 2009; 3:18 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Neil Irwin's Must Reads  
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GOP Lawmakers Push Geithner on GM 'Main Street' Bondholders' Behalf

Yesterday, The Ticker reported on the case of General Motors' self-described "Main Street bondholders:" Those Moms and Pops who bought safe-seeming GM bonds and that collectively hold $7 billion worth of the company's debt. They are complaining that the government-backed...

By Frank Ahrens  |  May 22, 2009; 12:06 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Eric Cantor, GM, Jeb Hensarling, Mike Pence, Pete Sessions, UAW, main street bondholders  
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D.C.'s Carlyle Group Buys Into Failed Florida Bank

Washington's Carlyle Group -- the private equity firm run by former Carter White House adviser David Rubenstein -- is one of a few high-profile investors in BankUnited, a failed Florida bank seized and bailed out by the FDIC for $4.9...

By Frank Ahrens  |  May 22, 2009; 10:47 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: BankUnited, FDIC, IndyMac, great depression  
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Markets Flat at Opening

Wall Street opened largely flat this morning, as the markets looked to reverse a poor week on a light trading day ahead of the long holiday weekend. In the first 15 minutes of trading, the Dow, the broader S&P 500...

By Frank Ahrens  |  May 22, 2009; 9:51 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Dow Jones, Sears, nasdaq, s&p 500  
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AIG's Liddy Repeats Promise To Step Down When Replacement Found

Ed Liddy, appointed by the U.S. government to run troubled insurance giant AIG last September and who is receiving a salary of $1 per year, today repeated his pledge to step down once his successor is found. Liddy, who left...

By Frank Ahrens  |  May 21, 2009; 4:48 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: AIG, Edward Liddy  
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'Main Street' GM Bondholders Feel Left Out, Blame Obama

A group of small General Motors bondholders calling themselves the "Main Street bondholders" complained today in Washington that the Obama administration has left them out of negotiations with the failing Detroit automaker and that their needs -- and investments --...

By Frank Ahrens  |  May 21, 2009; 4:07 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Chrysler, GM, Obama, bankruptcy, main street bondholders  
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Geithner: IRS Will Get Half of Treasury Budget Hike

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner has asked Congress to increase his agency's budget by 5.3 percent to $13.4 billion for 2010, according to testimony he is delivering today to a House panel. Nearly half of the $676 million increase -- $332...

By Frank Ahrens  |  May 21, 2009; 12:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: 2010 budget, Tim Geithner, Treasury  
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U.K. In Danger Of Losing AAA Credit Rating

A number of U.S. companies have seen their credit rating downgraded during this recession, now in its 17th month. But today an entire nation -- the government of the United Kingdom -- now stands in danger of losing its blue-chip...

By Frank Ahrens  |  May 21, 2009; 11:24 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: IMF, Standard & Poor's  
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Markets Dive at Opening

Wall Street opened sharply down across the board this morning, as the eventual "sideways" movement predicted by many traders since the start of the March rally may be beginning. In the first 15 minutes of trading, the Dow is down...

By Frank Ahrens  |  May 21, 2009; 9:48 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Dow Jones, nasdaq, s&p 500  
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Sen. Corker's Novel AIG Wind-Down Plan

Something caught The Ticker's attention during today's long testimony of Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner before the House Banking committee: Sen. Bob Corker's (R-Tenn.) plan for granting a federal agency "one-off" authority to wind down troubled insurance giant AIG, instead of...

By Frank Ahrens  |  May 20, 2009; 5:13 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: AIG, Ben Bernanke, Bob Corker, Tim Geithner  
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Treasury: $98.7 Billion Left In Bailout Funds

This morning the Treasury Department released its tally so far of how much has been spent so far of the $700 billion government bailout, or TARP program, which stands for Troubled Asset Relief Program (Although, of course, none of the...

By Frank Ahrens  |  May 20, 2009; 2:41 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: AIG, Bank of America, Bush, Citi, Obama, TALF, TARP, Treasury, automakers, bailout  
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House Passes Credit Card Crackdown Legislation

The House moments ago passed a bill placing new restrictions on companies that issues credit cards by a vote of 361-64. The vote follows yesterday's Senate passage of the bill, which now heads for President Obama's promised signature. The House...

By Frank Ahrens  |  May 20, 2009; 2:26 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Obama, credit cards  
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Geithner: 'I Would Not Give One Penny' To AIG Counter-Parties If I Didn't Have To

UPDATED at 12:03 P.M.: Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, who just finished testifying before Sen. Chris Dodd's (D-Conn.) Senate Banking committee, said that "it's not fair" that AIG counter-parties are getting paid 100 cents on the dollar by government bailout money...

By Frank Ahrens  |  May 20, 2009; 12:03 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Chris Dodd, Small Business Administration, Tim Geithner, bailout  
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Markets Open Up

Wall Street opened up this morning on some better-than-expected earnings and the promise of an upbeat message from Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, who is about to begin testimony before Congress on the progress of the federal bailout. In the first...

By Frank Ahrens  |  May 20, 2009; 9:46 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Dow Jones, Toll Brothers, nasdaq, s&p 500  
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'Fear Index' Hits Lowest Number Since Pre-Lehman Collapse

The S&P 500 Volatility Index -- an implied measure of how much stock option prices jump around, sometimes called the "fear index" -- hit its lowest mark today since just before Lehman Brothers collapsed in September. The Ticker likes to...

By Frank Ahrens  |  May 19, 2009; 4:44 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Barron's, VIX, s&p 500, volatility index  
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Allstate Turns Down Federal Bailout Funds

Allstate has become the second life insurance company to turn down the option of a federal bailout, The Post's David S. Hilzenrath reports. Allstate said today that it will not accept the infusion of taxpayer funds for which it received...

By Frank Ahrens  |  May 19, 2009; 3:52 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: AIG, Allstate, Ameriprise, Hartford, Lincoln Financal Group, Principal Financial Group, Prudential, bailout  
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May 19, 2009

The Washington Post staff share their picks for readings around the Web. My Personal Credit Crisis New York Times Magazine | A New York Times economics reporter explains how he got in way too deep in mortgage and other...

By Sara Goo  |  May 19, 2009; 3:26 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Neil Irwin's Must Reads  
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Senate Passes Bill Cracking Down On Credit Card Companies

Updated 1:14 pm with vote tally. Moments ago, the Senate passed a bill, 90-5, sponsored by banking committee chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) that would place new restrictions on credit card companies, which Dodd says will benefit consumers. Voting against the...

By Frank Ahrens  |  May 19, 2009; 1:14 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Chris Dodd, credit cards  
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Geithner Names Deputy at Treasury

Neal S. Wolin, another alum of the first Bob Rubin-Larry Summers tour in Washington, has been hired as deputy to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, the agency announced this morning. Wolin, who has roots in the Clinton White House's National Security...

By Frank Ahrens  |  May 19, 2009; 12:04 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Lawrence Summers, Neal Wolin, Robert Rubin, Tim Geithner, Treasury, Wilmer Cutler & Pickering  
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Senate Moves Toward Vote on Credit Card Regulations

The Senate is moving at this hour toward a vote on new restrictions on credit card issuers designed to regulate what the companies can charge consumers. The so-called "credit card bill of rights," as sponsored by banking committee chairman Sen....

By Frank Ahrens  |  May 19, 2009; 11:49 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Chris Dodd, Obama, credit cards  
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No Relief for Luxe Retailers

How can you tell we're still in a recession? Same-store sales at Saks are down 28 percent compared to this time last year, the company said this morning. Bargain retailers such as Wal-Mart and McDonald's have not only survived but...

By Frank Ahrens  |  May 19, 2009; 11:13 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Louis Vuitton, Neiman Marcus, Norstrom, Saks, retail  
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Markets Slightly Off At Opening

Wall Street opened slightly down this morning, responding to pressure from record-low housing construction in April. In the first 15 minutes of trading, the Dow is down about 20 points, or about one-quarter of 1 percent. The tech-heavy Nasdaq is...

By Frank Ahrens  |  May 19, 2009; 9:50 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: dow, nasdaq, s&p 500  
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Expert: Obama Should Follow Bush's, Not Democrats', Path With India

The U.S. economy sits at a turning point with the world's third-largest economy, India, which has just reelected its free-market prime minister, Manmohan Singh. The United States is well -positioned to enjoy the fruits of its relationship with the Indian...

By Frank Ahrens  |  May 18, 2009; 3:51 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: India, Jagdish Bhagwati, Manmohan Singh, Obama  
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LIBOR Drops Most Since March As Credit Thaws

The cost of borrowing money between banks fell to its lowest rate in two months today, a powerful sign that the credit markets are unfreezing. The LIBOR -- or the London Interbank Offered Rate, the rate at which banks charge...

By Frank Ahrens  |  May 18, 2009; 11:06 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: LIBOR  
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Markets Zoom Out Of Gate

Wall Street opened well up this morning, rebounding strongly from last week's losses. In the first 15 minutes of trading, the Dow is up 93 points, or about 1 percent. Both the broader S&P 500 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq are...

By Frank Ahrens  |  May 18, 2009; 9:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Dow Jones, homebuilder sentiment, nasdaq, s&p 500  
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This Week: Minutes of Fed Meeting

Compared with some of its recent moves, the Federal Reserve's late April policymaking meeting was a snoozer. No interest rate cuts. (How could they, when rates are already basically at zero?) No new emergency lending programs announced. (They already have...

By Sara Goo  |  May 18, 2009; 6:48 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  
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