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

Economy Watch: March 14, 2010 - March 20, 2010

Stocks seek direction at opening

Stocks are seeking direction at opening this morning, on the last trading day before the weekend when lawmakers hope to resolve the health-care reform legislation. In the first 20 minutes of trading, the Dow is essentially flat. The broader S&P...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 19, 2010; 9:57 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Dow Jones, nasdaq, s&p 500  
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Video: Why is inflation so low?

The government said Thursday that February consumer inflation remained low, and estimates it will be for some time. Why? "Slack in the economy," the government says. But what does that mean? Watch the video below to find out. Follow me...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 18, 2010; 7:03 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Data , The Ticker  | Tags: Frank Ahrens, inflation, slack in the economy  
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Feds: Brakes were not applied on runaway N.Y. Prius

Funny how a little research can change things. Last week, there were two runaway Prius incidents within a few days of each other. Feverish headlines swirled around both, and it was starting to look like Toyota had an epidemic on...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 18, 2010; 3:52 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (26)
Categories:  Autos , Corporations , The Ticker  | Tags: Runaway acceleration, Toyota Prius, Toyota problems, prius hoax, runaway prius, toyota  
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Sign up for The Post's free new morning business e-mail newsletter. Do it now!

If you're like me, you've often said to yourself: I wish there was a one-stop shop that would arrive in my e-mail in-box every morning FOR FREE that told me everything I need to know about the day ahead at...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 18, 2010; 2:31 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Regulation  | Tags: Economic Agenda, daily economic news, intersection of Washington and Wall Street  
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Warren Buffett has cameos in new Geico ads

Yes, that is world's third-richest man Warren Buffett rocking the mic as a DJ at the 4:40 mark in this new "We're Geico" Web video. And -- shudder -- yes, that is Buffett dressed as, whom? Axl Rose? at the...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 18, 2010; 1:44 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Personalities , The Ticker  | Tags: Geico, Warren Buffett  
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A way for corporations to contribute to political campaigns and preserve democracy at the same time

In January, the Supreme Court ruled in a 5 to 4 decision, Citizens United v. the Federal Election Commission, that corporations and unions essentially enjoy the same First Amendment protection of free speech as do individuals, because the groups are...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 18, 2010; 10:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Corporations , The Ticker  | Tags: Citizens United, Nell Minow, Supreme Court, campaign spending, corporate spending on political candidates, first amendment  
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Stocks seek direction following inflation, jobs data

Stocks are mixed at opening following this morning's news on inflation and jobless claims. In the first 30 minutes of trading, the Dow is up two-tenths of 1 percent. The broader S&P 500 is essentially flat and the tech-heavy Nasdaq...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 18, 2010; 10:02 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker , Wall Street  | Tags: Dow Jones, nasdaq, s&p 500  
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Feb. inflation flat, new jobless claims in line with expectations

Consumer inflation in February remained unchanged from the month before, the government said moments ago, giving some relief to a nation struggling with high unemployment and a sluggish, halting recovery. Also, 457,000 new jobless claims were filed last week, the...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 18, 2010; 8:46 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  The Ticker , Unemployment  | Tags: consumer price index, inflation, jobless claims  
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Dow hits a new one-year high

Should you start singing, "Happy Days Are Here Again"? Not yet, but it is encouraging news for investors that earlier today the Dow hit a new one-year high. In midday trading, the Dow is trading at 10,728, up nearly four-tenths...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 17, 2010; 12:34 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  The Ticker , Wall Street  | Tags: Dow Jones, nasdaq, s&p 500  
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Stocks up at opening following Fed's inaction on interest rates

Stocks are up at opening this morning, following the decision by central banks in the U.S. and Japan to keep interest rates low. In the first 15 minutes of trading, the Dow is up three-tenths of 1 percent. The broader...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 17, 2010; 10:20 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Dow Jones, nasdaq, s&p 500  
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Fed leaves rate unchanged, but for how long?

Today, the Fed's Federal Open Market Committee said it would keep its short-term interest rate at historically low levels -- between zero and 0.25 percent -- for an "extended" period of time. But just how long is "extended"? And what...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 16, 2010; 5:51 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Fed Reserve , The Ticker  | Tags: Federal Reserve, fed leaves interest rate unchanged, interest rates, mortgages  
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Fed funds rate remains unchanged at historically low levels

The Federal Reserve said moments ago that its main interest rate, the fed funds rate, will remain at historically low levels between zero and 0.25 percent in order to keep what it admits is a soft recovery moving along. "While...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 16, 2010; 2:26 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Fed Reserve , The Ticker  | Tags: Federal Reserve, inflation, interest rates  
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Data: Toyota drivers experience more runaway acceleration than owners of other vehicles

Speaking about Toyota on MSNBC last Saturday, I said that I was going to spend at least part of this week looking into complaints about runaway acceleration in non-Toyota vehicles, to see whether Toyota's problems were atypical. Well, auto-research site...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 16, 2010; 11:49 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Autos , Corporations , The Ticker  | Tags: Ford, Runaway acceleration, Toyota Prius, Toyota problems, runaway prius, toyota  
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Stocks seek direction ahead of Fed report

Stocks are seeking direction at opening ahead of today's Fed report and after not-so-bad February housing data. In the first 20 minutes of trading, the Dow is flat. The broader S&P 500 is up nearly one-tenth of 1 percent and...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 16, 2010; 9:53 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  The Ticker , Wall Street  | Tags: Dow Jones, nasdaq, s&p 500  
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Toyota casts doubt on runaway Prius driver's story

Toyota today said that extensive testing of the 2008 Prius hybrid that allegedly took a Southern California driver on a 30-mile runaway ride last week casts serious doubts on his story. San Diego real estate salesman James Sikes, 61, was...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 15, 2010; 5:51 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Autos , Corporations , The Ticker  | Tags: Runaway acceleration, Toyota Prius, Toyota problems, james sikes, runaway prius, toyota  
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Dodd's bill includes 'Volcker rule,' ability to sue credit-rating agencies

A couple of pieces of news emerged from the summary sheet of Sen. Chris Dodd's (D-Conn.) sprawling financial industry regulation reform bill, which he rolled out today. Most of what is included was anticipated. But there were a couple of...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 15, 2010; 3:24 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Congress , The Ticker , Wall Street  | Tags: Volcker Rule, chris dodd  
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Advice to drivers of runaway cars: Shift into neutral

I thought that this message was implicit in all the coverage I -- and many others -- have written about Toyota and its runaway acceleration issue. But I've received enough e-mails from enough readers to convince me that it's worthwhile...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 15, 2010; 3:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Autos , Corporations , The Ticker  | Tags: Runaway acceleration, Toyota problems, runaway prius, toyota  
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Financial industry reform bill to be rolled out this afternoon -- what's in it

I was away for a few days last week watching my beloved West Virginia Mountaineers win the Big East tournament, but now I'm back on the economic beat. Today's a big day for financial regulation reform. This afternoon, Sen. Chris...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 15, 2010; 12:21 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Congress , Corporations , Fed Reserve , Regulation , The Ticker  | Tags: Ben Bernanke, Bob Corker, Hank Paulson, chris dodd, financial regulations  
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Stocks mixed at opening on China monetary concerns

Stocks opened mixed this morning, as the markets continue to watch China's monetary tightening. In the first 30 minutes of trading, the Dow is up less than one-tenth of 1 percent. The broader S&P 500 is just below water and...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 15, 2010; 10:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  The Ticker , Wall Street  | Tags: Dow Jones, nasdaq, s&p 500  
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