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

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 tech-heavy Nasdaq all were flat.

The news on GDP wasn't quite as bad as expected. Forecasters predicted a 5.7 percent contraction in the first quarter.

The big news today is Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's 10 a.m. showdown before the House Oversight Committee, as it continues to probe the federal government's role in last year's Bank of America-Merrill Lynch merger.

Yesterday, committee ranking member Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) accused Bernanke of a "coverup" in his dealings with the merger.

B of A chief executive Ken Lewis has testified twice under oath that Bernanke told him (Lewis) that he and the B of A board would be removed if they backed out of their deal with Merrill. Lewis grew increasingly squirrely over the tie-up as last year ended and Merrill's losses mounted.

Bernanke and then-Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson believed that an already crippled financial sector would be pushed over the edge if B of A pulled out of the Merrill deal.

The showdown begins at 10 a.m. Check back as we live-blog it.

-- Frank Ahrens

By Frank Ahrens  |  June 25, 2009; 9:54 AM ET
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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