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

Economy Watch: December 6, 2009 - December 12, 2009

Business heroes of the 2000s -- and some who could go either way

Join me at 11 a.m. on Monday for a live online chat about my picks for the U.S. business world's heroes and villains of this decade. You can submit a question to the chat, weigh in with your picks in...

By Frank Ahrens  |  December 11, 2009; 4:57 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Alan Greenspan, Ben Bernanke, Elizabeth Warren, Hank Paulson, Indra Nooyi, Jeff Bezos, Michael Eisner, Nouriel Roubini, Steve Jobs, Warren Buffett  
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Boeing's troubled 787 Dreamliner set for maiden flight next week

I've written in this space many times about Boeing's troubled bet on its future, the ultra-high-tech 787 Dreamliner, which has struggled with many setbacks over the past year, pushing down the company's stock. So it's only fair that I report...

By Frank Ahrens  |  December 11, 2009; 1:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Boeing, Dreamliner 787  
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Early December consumer sentiment surges

The early measure of consumer sentiment in December showed a surprise surge, well besting expectations. According to the Reuters/University of Michigan index, consumer sentiment jumped from 67.4 in November to 73.4 in early December. This beat the December expectation of...

By Frank Ahrens  |  December 11, 2009; 10:17 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: consumer confidence  
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Stocks up following retail sales numbers, overseas gains

Stocks opened up this morning, following a better-than-expected November retail sales number released before the bell and news that Chinese exports are increasing, spurring hopes of a global recovery. In the first 15 minutes of trading, the Dow is up...

By Frank Ahrens  |  December 11, 2009; 9:52 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Dow Jones, nasdaq, retail sales, s&p 500  
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Watch me talking about the Aol spinoff on Fox 5

I was on Washington's Fox 5 newscast this morning, talking about Dulles-based Aol restarting life as a stand-alone company. If your browser doesn't play the video below, click here to go to the Fox 5 site. -- Frank Ahrens Sign...

By Frank Ahrens  |  December 11, 2009; 9:31 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Fox 5, Frank Ahrens  
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November retail sales rise more than expected

November retail sales rose 1.3 percent, the Commerce Department said moments ago, beating forecasters' expectations of a .5 percent rise. The November number beats the October number, which showed retail sales rose 1.1 percent from the month before, so it...

By Frank Ahrens  |  December 11, 2009; 8:40 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: import prices, retail sales  
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Another instance of bad economy meets bad industry: Editor & Publisher magazine folds

UPDATED with comments from E&P editor: Editor & Publisher magazine, which has covered the newspaper industry for 125 years, is folding, its publisher announced today. "We've made the decision to cease operations for Editor & Publisher and Kirkus Reviews," E&P...

By Frank Ahrens  |  December 10, 2009; 1:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: editor & publisher, kirkus reviews, nielsen, the hill  
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October trade gap makes surprise job, thanks to weak dollar

The trade gap between the United States and other countries unexpectedly dropped 7.6 percent from September to October, as a weak dollar made U.S. exports a bargain for the rest of the world. The trade gap now stands at $32.9...

By Frank Ahrens  |  December 10, 2009; 11:03 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: China, debt, dollar, trade gap, weak dollar  
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Geithner: Here's how I'll wind down bailout

The taxpayer-funded bailout has been a success, but now it's time to narrow its focus and think about winding it down, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said in written testimony before the congressional oversight committee in charge of evaluating how the...

By Frank Ahrens  |  December 10, 2009; 10:23 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: TARP, Tim Geithner, bailout  
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Stocks open strongly

Stocks opened strongly this morning, possibly laying the groundwork for an end-of-the-year Santa Claus rally. In the first 15 minutes of trading, the Dow is up nine-tenths of 1 percent. The broader S&P 500 is up eight-tenths of 1 percent...

By Frank Ahrens  |  December 10, 2009; 10:02 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: AOL, Aol, Dow Jones, Time Warner, nasdaq, s&p 500  
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New jobless claims unexpectedly rise

New jobless claims filed last week made a surprise jump to 474,000, the Labor Department said moments ago, up from 457,000 the week before. Continuing claims dropped to 5.16 million last week from 5.46 million the week before. Forecasters expected...

By Frank Ahrens  |  December 10, 2009; 8:39 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (47)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: jobless claims, unemployment  
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Stocks finally break into positive territory

UPDATED at 3:05 p.m.: With an hour to go on the trading day, stocks have moved into positive trading territory and look to close on the upside. The Dow is up nearly three-tenths of 1 percent. The broader S&P 500...

By Frank Ahrens  |  December 9, 2009; 3:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Dow Jones, nasdaq, s&p 500  
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Debt troubles spreading across Europe

I've written before about the congenitally high unemployment rate in European countries, a piece you can read by clicking here. Today, two European nations -- Greece and Spain -- are experiencing serious debt troubles, raising concerns that could spread across...

By Frank Ahrens  |  December 9, 2009; 12:57 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Dubai, Fitch, Standard & Poor's, debt  
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Finally: Some not-terrible news on home prices

According to a couple of private research reports out this morning, home prices stabilized this year, after doing nothing but go down since their 2006 peak. During all of 2008, the entire U.S. housing market lost $3.6 trillion in value,...

By Frank Ahrens  |  December 9, 2009; 11:09 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Trulia, Zillow, home prices  
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Wholesale inventories tick up unexpectedly in October

Wholesale inventories rose three-tenths of 1 percent in October, the government said moments ago, a higher-than-expected tick upward. Forecasters expected wholesale inventories to drop about three-tenths of 1 percent. This means that wholesalers -- who sell products to retail stores...

By Frank Ahrens  |  December 9, 2009; 10:12 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: manufacturing, wholesale inventories  
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Obama: We can pay down deficit faster than we thought, create jobs with excess bailout money

UPDATED with reaction from Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) at 2:07 p.m.: In a speech earlier today at Washington's Brookings Institution, President Obama said money not spent by the TARP taxpayer-funded bailout put in place last year will "give us a...

By Frank Ahrens  |  December 8, 2009; 2:07 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Obama, unemployment  
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What to do with the extra bailout money?

Today at the Brookings Institution in Washington, President Obama is giving a speech that will propose some measures for easing the national unemployment rate, which now stands at 10 percent. Everyone wants to get the unemployment rate back down to...

By Frank Ahrens  |  December 8, 2009; 11:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Amity Shales, TARP, bailout, unemployment  
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Bad news, strong dollar push down stocks at opening

Some bad economic news and a strengthening dollar are pushing down stocks at opening. In the first 15 minutes of trading, the Dow is down 1 percent. The broader S&P 500 is down by about the same amount and the...

By Frank Ahrens  |  December 8, 2009; 9:55 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Dow Jones, nasdaq, s&p 500  
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Consumer credit drops, but far less than expected

Consumer credit -- the amount of credit that American consumers have outstanding -- fell for the ninth straight month, but not nearly as much as forecasters predicted, the Federal Reserve said this afternoon. Outstanding credit in October fell $3.5 billion...

By Frank Ahrens  |  December 7, 2009; 3:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: car loans, consumer credit, credit cards  
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Key test for Sarbanes-Oxley before Supreme Court today

The Supreme Court today is hearing arguments in an opaque-sounding case called Free Enterprise Fund v. PCAOB that could end up having wide-ranging impact on Washington oversight of publicly traded corporations. Without getting too far into the weeds, this case...

By Frank Ahrens  |  December 7, 2009; 12:44 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Free Enterprise Fund, SarbOx, Sarbanes-Oxley, Stephen Moore  
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Black teen unemployment rises to nearly 50 percent

Black teen unemployment in November hit a near-record high of 49.4 percent. The November U.S. unemployment numbers came out on Friday, showing the overall official unemployment rate dropped to 10 percent, from 10.2 percent in October. The numbers come from...

By Frank Ahrens  |  December 7, 2009; 10:59 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: black teens, unemployment  
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Stocks zigzag ahead of noon Bernanke speech

Stocks have been zigzagging at opening and are trading slightly up ahead of an important speech by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, during which some believe he may telegraph a sooner-than-expected hike in interest rates. In the first 20 minutes of...

By Frank Ahrens  |  December 7, 2009; 10:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Ben Bernanke, Dow Jones, consumer credit, nasdaq, s&p 500  
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