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

Economy Watch: February 21, 2010 - February 27, 2010

Oversight chair accuses Toyota of withholding court documents, keeping secret 'Books of Knowledge'

UPDATED with Toyota response at 11:39 p.m. Rep. Ed Towns (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform committee -- which heard testimony from Toyota President Akio Toyoda earlier this week -- accused the company of withholding documents that...

By Frank Ahrens  |  February 26, 2010; 11:39 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (19)
Categories:  Congress , Corporations , The Ticker  | Tags: Akio Toyoda, Ed Towns, Toyota, Toyota problems, Yoshimi Inaba, toyota congressional hearings  
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NHTSA buys car that belonged to Runaway Lexus Lady for $42,500 -- twice Blue Book value

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said moments ago that it has purchased the 2007 Lexus ES350 that took a terrified Rhonda Smith on a 100-mph, six-mile near-death ride in 2006 in order to test the vehicle to find out...

By Frank Ahrens  |  February 26, 2010; 4:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Congress , Corporations , The Ticker  | Tags: NHTSA, Ray LaHood, Toyota problems, toyota, toyota congressional hearings, toyota recall model and years  
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Feb. consumer confidence takes a hit

Consumer confidence took a step backward in February, fueled by increased concerns that the government isn't doing enough to spur job growth. According to the Reuters/University of Michigan survey index, sentiment slipped from 74.4 in January to 73.6 in February....

By Frank Ahrens  |  February 26, 2010; 12:28 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: consumer confidence  
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Stocks slightly off at opening

Stocks are off slightly at opening this morning, following an upward revision in fourth-quarter GDP. In the first 45 minutes of trading, the Dow is down two-tenths of 1 percent. The broader S&P 500 is down less than two-tenths of...

By Frank Ahrens  |  February 26, 2010; 10:22 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker , Wall Street  | Tags: Dow Jones, nasdaq, s&p 500  
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Fourth-quarter GDP revised upward to 5.9 percent

Fourth-quarter 2009 gross domestic product was revised upward to 5.9 percent from its initial reading of 5.7 percent, the government said moments ago. Quarterly GDP is always reported with an initial number, then, after more data comes in, a revision...

By Frank Ahrens  |  February 26, 2010; 8:43 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (19)
Categories:  Data , Fed Reserve , The Ticker  | Tags: GDP  
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This week's economic data paint a gloomy forecast

There is an old joke in journalism that if three of anything happens, you've got a trend story, no matter how vaguely tied together the three things may be. In economics, however, three data points can tell you something. Consider...

By Frank Ahrens  |  February 25, 2010; 5:37 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Data , The Ticker  | Tags: Dow Jones, consumer confidence, inflation, new home sales, stocks  
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Stocks stage mighty rally but fall short

UPDATED at 4:16 p.m. They couldn't quite make it. Stocks fell off the table at opening this morning and spent the rest of the day staging a mighty rally in an attempt to recoup losses. In the end, they fell...

By Frank Ahrens  |  February 25, 2010; 4:16 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Dow Jones, healthcare reform, jobless claims, nasdaq, s&p 500  
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New jobless claims unexpectedly rise 22,000

Unemployment claims filed last week rose unexpectedly, coming in at 496,000, up 22,000 from the previous week. Taken with other discouraging news released this week -- record-low January new home sales and a slide in consumer confidence -- the new...

By Frank Ahrens  |  February 25, 2010; 8:47 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
Categories:  Data , The Ticker , Unemployment  | Tags: durable goods, jobless claims  
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Bilbray to Toyoda: Will you hand over data about Toyota problems in other countries? Toyoda: 'Hai.'

UPDATED at 6:13 p.m. Toyota president Akio Toyoda and Toyota North America chief Yoshimi Inaba wrapped up their hours-long testimony a short while ago before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which has now moved on to hearing from...

By Frank Ahrens  |  February 24, 2010; 6:13 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (106)
Categories:  Congress , Corporations , The Ticker  | Tags: Akio Toyoda, Ray LaHood, Toyota problems, Yoshimi Inaba, toyota, toyota congressional hearings  
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Stocks up at opening, anticipating Bernanke testimony

Stocks are up at opening ahead of Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's semiannual report to Congress on the state of the economy. In the first 15 minutes of trading, the Dow is up half of 1 percent. The broader S&P 500...

By Frank Ahrens  |  February 24, 2010; 9:51 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Ben Bernanke, Dow Jones, nasdaq, s&p 500, toyota congressional hearings  
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Rep. Issa readies for lead role today as inquisitor of Akio Toyoda

Today will be a classic Washington political showdown: Embattled Toyota President Akio Toyoda, grandson of the company's founder, comes to Capitol Hill to testify, to apologize, to pledge reform of his Japanese auto giant. His chief inquisitor will be...

By Frank Ahrens  |  February 24, 2010; 8:14 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Congress , Corporations , The Ticker  | Tags: Akio Toyoda, Darrell Issa, Prius, Tim Geithner, Toyota problems, toyota  
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Stocks mixed at opening following good housing news

Stocks are mixed at opening, following encouraging news on housing prices. In the first 20 minutes of trading, the Dow is up about one-tenth of 1 percent. The broader S&P 500 is just below water and the tech-heavy Nasdaq is...

By Frank Ahrens  |  February 23, 2010; 9:51 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker , Wall Street  | Tags: Dow Jones, nasdaq, s&p 500  
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Rep. Engel asks pointed questions of Toyota, expresses doubts

UPDATED at 4:30 p.m. Rep. Eliot Engel of New York asked Toyota’s James Lentz what he knew and when he knew it. Engel went on to say, "I hope you can appreciate that we are very skeptical because it seems...

By Frank Ahrens  |  February 23, 2010; 2:16 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (93)
Categories:  Congress , Corporations , The Ticker  | Tags: Akio Toyoda, Ray LaHood, Toyota problems, Yoshi Inaba, toyota congressional hearings, toyota recall model and years  
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Documents show NHTSA closed 2007 probe of runaway Toyota acceleration even though it knew the problem was 'dangerous'

The document dump on the Toyota problems continues, damaging now not just Toyota but the Transportation Department's National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. Representatives of each will be called before House panels on Tuesday and Wednesday. In the most recent documents...

By Frank Ahrens  |  February 22, 2010; 6:34 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Congress , Corporations , The Ticker  | Tags: Darrell Issa, Toyota problems, toyota, toyota recall model and years, unintended acceleration  
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Does recent M&A activity mean the economy's getting better?

There has been a flurry of recent mergers and acquisition activity, including today's $11.34 billion takeover of Smith International by Schlumberger, two big oil field suppliers. Since the December, we've seen Swiss pharma Novartis buy a 77 percent stake in...

By Frank Ahrens  |  February 22, 2010; 4:19 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Corporations , The Ticker , Wall Street  | Tags: M&A, Miller Tabak, Peter Boockvar, Schlumberger  
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Waxman: Documents show Toyota dismissed electronics in runaway acceleration cases, misled public about fixes

UPDATED at 3:25 p.m. with NHTSA response: Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) just gave Toyota and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood a glimpse of what their day is going to be like tomorrow on Capitol Hill when they testify before one of...

By Frank Ahrens  |  February 22, 2010; 3:25 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Congress , Corporations , The Ticker  | Tags: Henry Waxman, Toyota recall update, toyota, toyota recall model and years, unintended acceleration  
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Toyota loses D.C. lobbyist to conflict of interest

Washington lobbying firm Quinn Gillespie has dropped Toyota as a client just as the embattled Japanese automaker is heading into two tough, high-profile days of Capitol Hill testimony on Tuesday and Wednesday, Roll Call is reporting. The K Street lobbying...

By Frank Ahrens  |  February 22, 2010; 2:25 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Congress , Corporations , The Ticker  | Tags: Quinn Gillespie, State Farm, Toyota recall update, toyota, toyota recall model and years  
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Toyota official: Our deal with U.S. regulators avoided massive recall, saved us $100 million

UPDATED Monday at 12:30 p.m. with Toyota statement: A top Toyota official claimed that a negotiated agreement with U.S. government auto-safety regulators prevented a widespread vehicle recall and saved the Japanese auto giant more than $100 million, according to a...

By Frank Ahrens  |  February 22, 2010; 12:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (41)
Categories:  Congress , Corporations , The Ticker  | Tags: Akio Toyoda, Toyota problems, Toyota recall update, toyota, toyota recall model and years, unintended acceleration  
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Stocks open positive but then go flat

Stocks opened higher this morning but then quickly turned flat following some good merger activity and earnings numbers. In the first 20 minutes of trading, the Dow is down less than one-tenth of 1 percent. The broader S&P 500 and...

By Frank Ahrens  |  February 22, 2010; 9:50 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker , Wall Street  | Tags: Dow Jones, nasdaq, s&p 500  
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