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

Economy Watch: June 21, 2009 - June 27, 2009

Lunch With Buffett Draws Less Interest Than Last Year

Another sign of the recession: So far, bids for Warren Buffett's annual lunch-with-Warren-for-charity are up to "only" $600,000 as bidding concludes at midnight tonight on eBay. Last year, the winning bidder, hedge fund manager Zhao Danyang, paid $2.1 million to...

By Frank Ahrens  |  June 26, 2009; 4:39 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Warren Buffett  
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Consumer Confidence Jumps in June

U.S. consumer confidence continued to rise in June's numbers, hitting its highest level since February 2008. This means that consumers think the economy is better than it was, which is true. Consumers also ratcheted back their expectations for the future,...

By Frank Ahrens  |  June 26, 2009; 1:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: consumer confidence  
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More Bad News For Boeing: Qantas Cancels Orders for 15 Dreamliners

I'm sure everyone else has written it, but The Ticker hasn't yet, so let's go ahead and pile on: Boeing's hope for the future, its 787 Dreamliner, has turned into a Nightmareliner. Thank you, thank you! We'll be here all...

By Frank Ahrens  |  June 26, 2009; 11:23 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Boeing, Dreamliner, Qantas  
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Markets Flat at Opening

Wall Street was on pace for a blah week until yesterday's big 2 percent surge in the Dow. Today we'll see if traders keep the momentum going or take some of yesterday's profits in a sell-off. In the first 15...

By Frank Ahrens  |  June 26, 2009; 9:49 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Dow Jones, nasdaq, s&p 500  
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Bernanke Emerges From Hearing Bloodied But Unbroken

UPDATED at 1:24 p.m.: Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke just wrapped up more than three hours of grilling at the hands of a hostile House Oversight committee digging to find out if Bernanke forced Bank of America chief executive Ken Lewis...

By Frank Ahrens  |  June 25, 2009; 1:24 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Bank of America, Ben Bernanke, Darrell Issa, Federal Reserve, Ken Lewis, Merrill Lynch  
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Markets Open Flat

Wall Street opened flat this morning, as traders digested data showing that the economy shrank at a rate of 5.5 percent in the first quarter. In the first 15 minutes of trading, the Dow, the broader S&P 500 and the...

By Frank Ahrens  |  June 25, 2009; 9:54 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Bank of America, Ben Bernanke, Dow Jones, Hank Paulson, Ken Lewis, Merrill Lynch, nasdaq, s&p 500  
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GM Bankruptcy Court Today: Are Automaker's Advisers Making Too Much in Fees?

General Motors is back in federal bankruptcy court today for a hearing on a series of contested matters. At issue are payments GM is seeking to make to its financial advisors, Evercore Partners, a boutique investment bank, and AlixPartners, a...

By Sara Goo  |  June 25, 2009; 8:50 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  
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Rep. Issa: Bernanke Engaged In 'Cover-Up' In Bank of America-Merrill Merger

UPDATED below at 3:22 p.m. with internal e-mail obtained by The Post: Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke engaged in a "cover-up" to disguise his actions in strong-arming the merger of Bank of America and Merrill Lynch last fall, Rep. Darrell Issa...

By Frank Ahrens  |  June 24, 2009; 3:22 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Bank of America, Ben Bernanke, Hank Paulson, Issa, Ken Lewis, Merrill Lynch  
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Buffett: 'Don't See How You Could Do Better' Than Bernanke

World's richest man and super-investor Warren Buffett just gave Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke a ringing endorsement -- something that President Obama has yet to do. In an interview concluded moments ago on CNBC, Buffett was asked whether Bernanke should be...

By Frank Ahrens  |  June 24, 2009; 11:55 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett, Washington Post Co.  
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New-Home Sales Dipped in May

Sales of new homes in May dipped 0.6 percent compared with April, and were down 33 percent compared with last May, the Commerce Department said this morning. The number fell short of forecasters' projections for May, indicating that this housing...

By Frank Ahrens  |  June 24, 2009; 11:53 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Commerce Department, home prices, home sales, housing crisis  
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Report: Worst Over, But Recovery Will Be Long, Weak

The Paris-based Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said today that the worst of this recession -- now in its 18th month in the U.S. -- is over, but recovery will be weak and take a long time. The...

By Frank Ahrens  |  June 24, 2009; 11:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, World Bank  
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Markets Up at Opening

Wall Street opened up this morning, boosted by a surprise jump in durable goods orders in May, the Commerce Department reported this morning. In the first 15 minutes of trading, the Dow was up about 50 points, or a little...

By Frank Ahrens  |  June 24, 2009; 9:48 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Dow Jones, nasdaq, s&p 500  
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Wal-Mart Aims to Hold Onto New Recession Customers by Going Upscale -- Just a Little

Wal-Mart has been one of the few winners in this 18-month recession (along with McDonald's) thanks to what economists call the "trade-down effect": Instead of shopping at Target during a recession, folks who've never gone to a Wal-Mart now shop...

By Frank Ahrens  |  June 23, 2009; 4:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: McDonald's, Target, Wal-Mart  
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Boeing Delays 787 Dreamliner -- Yet Again

This is becoming a recurring theme on The Ticker: Boeing delaying the first flight of its new 787 Dreamliner passenger jet, the plane the company has pinned most of its hopes upon. The aerospace giant and manufacturing-sector heavyweight delayed the...

By Frank Ahrens  |  June 23, 2009; 3:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: 787 Dreamliner, Boeing  
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Obama Takes Free-Market View of Lowering Minority Unemployment

At a news conference just concluded, President Obama was asked a question about black unemployment in the U.S., which might hit 20 percent by the end of the year -- more than twice that of the total population's jobless rate...

By Frank Ahrens  |  June 23, 2009; 3:02 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Obama, Reagan  
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GM Back in Bankruptcy Court Today

A group of bondholders opposing General Motors' bankruptcy plan are in federal court today seeking "official" committee status. If successful, the group will hold more influence over the bankruptcy proceedings, potentially threatening the automaker's government-backed plan to create a new,...

By Sara Goo  |  June 23, 2009; 1:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  
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June 23, 2009

The Washington Post staff share their picks for readings around the Web. What the Hard Data Show Money and Markets | While most pundits are still grasping at “green shoots,” Martin D. Weiss says the hard data just released...

By Sara Goo  |  June 23, 2009; 12:16 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Neil Irwin's Must Reads  
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Government Finally Doles Out Original Aid to U.S. Automakers

Remember that $25 billion in loans that Congress approved to be given to automakers to help them retool their factories to make more fuel-efficient cars? Remember that, way back in last summer, before the world blew up and two of...

By Frank Ahrens  |  June 23, 2009; 11:20 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Chrysler, Ford, GM, Nissan, Stephen Chu, Tesla, bailout  
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Madoff Asks for Leniency in Sentencing

Bernie Madoff's attorney today asked for leniency for his client at his June 29 sentencing, saying the 71-year-old confessed Ponzi schemer should not spend the rest of his life in prison. In a letter filed in Manhattan federal court, Madoff...

By Frank Ahrens  |  June 23, 2009; 10:47 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Bernie Madoff  
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Existing Home Sales Rise Tepidly In May

Sales of existing homes rose a less-than-expected 2.4 percent in May compared to April, the National Association of Realtors reported moments ago. The May sales rate converts to an annual sales rate of 4.77 million homes. Analysts surveyed by Thomson...

By Frank Ahrens  |  June 23, 2009; 10:18 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: National Association of Realtors, home sales  
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Markets Flat At Opening

Wall Street meekly tried to recoup some of yesterday's big losses at opening today, coming out of the gates flat, rather than falling off a cliff, like they did yesterday. In the first 15 minutes of trading, the Dow is...

By Frank Ahrens  |  June 23, 2009; 9:50 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Dow Jones, nasdaq, s&p 500  
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Blue Monday on Wall Street

To quote that feel-good band of the '90s, New Order, it was a blue Monday on Wall Street. And that's not even the half of it. Sure, it was the worst day for stocks in two months. Sure, the S&P...

By Frank Ahrens  |  June 22, 2009; 4:44 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Dow Jones, nasdaq, s&p 500  
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Possible Madoff Co-Conspirators Charged

The SEC today charged a brokerage firm called Cohmad Securities and four people with securities fraud, saying they were "feeder funds" that channeled billions into Bernie Madoff's alleged $50 billion Ponzi investment scheme. The SEC charged that Madoff, currently in...

By Frank Ahrens  |  June 22, 2009; 3:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Bernie Madoff  
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Car Quality: Toyota Still Tops, Detroit Makes Gains, Mini Cooper at Bottom

Toyota's Lexus brand is the highest-quality vehicle being made, according to the most recent J.D. Power and Associates study released today. The survey asks owners about mechanical and design problems they experience in the first 90 days of ownership. At...

By Frank Ahrens  |  June 22, 2009; 2:28 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Chrysler, Cooper Mini, Ford, GM, GMC, Honda, Hyundai  
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Iacocca: Government Is 'on You Day and Night'

In a rare interview, former Chrysler celebrity chief executive Lee Iacocca urged his former company to pay back the government loans as quickly as possible because, "they're on you day and night." Iacocca, 84, ran Chrysler from 1978 to his...

By Frank Ahrens  |  June 22, 2009; 11:02 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Chrysler, Ford, GM, Lee Iacocca  
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Markets Down Sharply at Opening

Wall Street opened down sharply across the board, as the World Bank significantly cut its global economic forecast for 2009 this morning. In the first 15 minutes of trading, the Dow was down 98 points, or more than 1 percent....

By Frank Ahrens  |  June 22, 2009; 9:49 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Dow Jones, World Bank, nasdaq, s&p 500  
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