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

Economy Watch: January 24, 2010 - January 30, 2010

Listen to me talking on CNBC today about Obama vs. the GOP

How's this for a 21st-century media moment: I'm watching President Obama take questions from Republican leaders this afternoon in a pretty extraordinary bit of live TV. I'm tweeting the questions and answers pertaining to the economy and tweeted the testy...

By Frank Ahrens  |  January 29, 2010; 5:34 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: CNBC, Frank Ahrens, Jeb Hensarling, Obama, Russell Crowe  
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Stocks end January in the red -- a bad sign, historically

Stocks ended the first month of the year in the red, which historically has been a bad sign for the remainder of the year. For all of January, the Dow was down 360.72 points, or 3.46 percent, closing the month...

By Frank Ahrens  |  January 29, 2010; 5:13 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Dow Jones, nasdaq, s&p 500, unemployment  
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Today's GDP numbers should have pushed markets higher -- what happened?

UPDATED with closing numbers at 4:40 p.m. Fourth-quarter U.S. gross domestic product, released this morning, blew estimates out of the water: the economy grew at a 5.7 annual rate, well above the 4.6 percent rate forecasters predicted. Yet the stock...

By Frank Ahrens  |  January 29, 2010; 4:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: GDP, unemployment  
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Smart advice for tough economic times: Haggle

Here's a good piece by my Post colleague and buddy (even though he's a Pitt fan) Mike Rosenwald that will appear in Sunday's Post Outlook section. Mike takes up the time-honored tradition of haggling for a price at retail establishments...

By Frank Ahrens  |  January 29, 2010; 4:22 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Michael Rosenwald, Washington Post, haggling, recession  
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Jan. consumer confidence higher than expected

UPDATED at 12:15 p.m.: January consumer sentiment came in higher than forecasters expected, signaling a brighter mood in the marketplace. The consumer confidence index number for this month finished at 74.4, up from the 73 number forecasters expected and the...

By Frank Ahrens  |  January 29, 2010; 12:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: GDP, consumer confidence  
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Stocks higher at opening following positive GDP data

Stocks are higher at opening this morning, following a stronger-than-expected report on fourth-quarter U.S. gross domestic product. In the first 20 minutes of trading, the Dow is up half of 1 percent. The broader S&P 500 is up half of...

By Frank Ahrens  |  January 29, 2010; 9:56 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Dow Jones, GDP, nasdaq, s&p 500  
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Stocks trim day's losses but close down

UPDATED at 5:30 p.m. Stocks trimmed their lows on the day but still finished underwater, dragged down by disappointing forecasts from tech companies that portend a poor recovery. The tech-heavy Nasdaq was the day's worst performer, closing down 1.9 percent...

By Frank Ahrens  |  January 28, 2010; 5:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Dow Jones, jobless claims, nasdaq, s&p 500  
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Is Apple's iPad saving something that no one wants saved -- newspapers and magazines?

I don't know if Steve Jobs and Apple set out to save the newspaper and magazine industries when they designed the iPad, which rolled out yesterday, but plenty of people in my industry think it could be our salvation. The...

By Frank Ahrens  |  January 28, 2010; 4:32 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Apple, Steve Jobs, Washington Post, iPad  
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Overlooked business story from Obama's speech: nukes

To my hearing, the overlooked business story from Wednesday night's State of the Union address was President Obama's tip o' the cap to nuclear power; specifically, building new nuke plants in the U.S. Here's his exact language from the speech:...

By Frank Ahrens  |  January 28, 2010; 3:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (29)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Chernobyl, France, General Electric, Obama, Three Mile Island, nuclear power  
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Report: 12 'least ethical' companies in the world

A Swiss research firm called Covalence has released its list of the 12 least ethical companies in the world, which is a fine starting point for a number of debates. According to the Huffington Post, which brought this list to...

By Frank Ahrens  |  January 28, 2010; 1:29 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Barrick Gold, Chevron, Freeport-McMoRan, Grupo Mexico, Halliburton, Mediaset SpA, Monsanto, Occidental, Philip Morris, Ryanair, Syngenta, Total SA  
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Washington Post sells shuttered College Park printing plant

UPDATED at 6:38 p.m. The Washington Post Co. has sold its College Park printing plant -- which it opened in 1999 -- for $12 million to the nearby University of Maryland, the university and newspaper said this afternoon. The Post...

By Frank Ahrens  |  January 27, 2010; 6:38 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Washington Post  
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Geithner, Paulson grilled on what they knew about AIG payments

UPDATED at 3 p.m. The current and former Treasury secretaries got a classic Capitol Hill grilling today over bailed-out insurance giant AIG and the secrecy surrounding the disclosure that AIG's counter-parties would get get full value for what they were...

By Frank Ahrens  |  January 27, 2010; 3:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (44)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: AIG, Darrell Issa, Hank Greenberg, Tim Geithner  
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Stocks open mixed as Geithner heads to Hill for grilling

Stocks are mixed this morning, as Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner heads to Capitol Hill for what is sure to be a bloody whipping over, once again, AIG. In the first 15 minutes of trading, the Dow is down just a...

By Frank Ahrens  |  January 27, 2010; 9:51 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: AIG, Apple, Hank Paulson, Tim Geithner, Toyota  
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Toyota to halt sales of many vehicles for sticking accelerator pedal

Toyota is "temporarily" halting the sales of many of its passenger cars and trucks because it can't figure out why the accelerator pedal has stuck in some instances. These vehicles already are under recall. Now, Toyota is taking the extraordinary...

By Frank Ahrens  |  January 26, 2010; 6:09 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Toyota, sticking accelerator pedal  
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Ford's Mulally: We haven't even thought about buying political ads yet

In an interview with Washington Post editors and reporters that ended moments ago, Ford chief executive Alan Mulally said that his company has no plans yet to buy campaign ads, following last week's Supreme Court decision clearing the way for...

By Frank Ahrens  |  January 26, 2010; 4:36 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Alan Mulally, Chrysler, Ford, GM, GMAC, Washington Post  
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Apple Tablet/iSlate/Whatever fever runs high -- and we don't know if it exists yet!

I just heard the smartest thing I've ever heard on CNBC: Anchor Sue Herera was pressing guest analyst Andy Hargreaves about Apple, asking him how much he thinks the company's "Tablet," expected to be revealed tomorrow, will add to 2010...

By Frank Ahrens  |  January 26, 2010; 1:31 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Apple, Bill Keller, New York Times, Steve Jobs, iSlate, tablet  
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Stocks rebound, rally on consumer confidence data

Stocks shook off their morning sluggishness, rebounding and are rallying as the trading day progresses. As of 1 p.m., the Dow is up eight-tenths of 1 percent. The broader S&P 500 is up six-tenths of 1 percent and the tech-heavy...

By Frank Ahrens  |  January 26, 2010; 1:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Dow Jones, nasdaq, s&p 500  
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Paulson to testify Wednesday on AIG payments and possible coverup by N.Y. Fed

Former Treasury secretary Hank Paulson is a late add to the lineup at Wednesday's big Hill hearing on AIG and whether the New York Fed covered up government payments to the struggling insurance giant's counter-parties. The session, before the oversight...

By Frank Ahrens  |  January 26, 2010; 12:01 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: AIG, Hank Paulson, Oversight committee, Tim Geithner  
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Watch me talking about the economy on Fox 5

Here's a clip of me talking about the economy on Washington's Fox 5 (WTTG) morning news today, one day before President Obama's much-anticipated state of the union address: Follow me on Twitter at @theticker...

By Frank Ahrens  |  January 26, 2010; 11:46 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Fox 5, Frank Ahrens, Obama, WTTG  
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Cato: Federal Government creates 2,000th subsidy

The conservative Cato Institute, which likes to keep track of such things, notes that the federal government has passed the 2,000 mark in the number of federal subsidies it maintains. (Two new ones at the Justice Department pushed the number...

By Frank Ahrens  |  January 25, 2010; 3:38 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Cato Institute, Department of Agriculture, Department of Health and Human Service, George Bush, Reagan, Small Business Administration, subsidies  
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Are unions still the answer to sustaining the middle class?

For decades, American labor unions had the power to set fixed prices for labor, dictating wages to employers via the threat of strikes. In the process, unions essentially created the middle class. Now, President Obama tells us that the American...

By Frank Ahrens  |  January 25, 2010; 2:28 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (33)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Bureau of Labor Statistics, labor unions, unemployment, wages  
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December existing home sales crater

Sales of existing homes in December dropped by the largest percentage ever, as home buyers retreated from the market anticipating the end of the government home-buying stimulus. Sales of existing homes dropped 16.7 percent in December, compared with November, the...

By Frank Ahrens  |  January 25, 2010; 10:15 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: National Association of Realtors, existing home sales, home sales  
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Stocks rebound at opening

Stocks are up at opening, as they attempt to reverse their three-day slide from the end of last week. In the first 25 minutes of trading, the Dow is up three-quarters of 1 percent. The broader S&P 500 is up...

By Frank Ahrens  |  January 25, 2010; 9:58 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Dow Jones, GM, nasdaq, s&p 500  
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