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

Economy Watch: April 11, 2010 - April 17, 2010

Burning questions about the SEC fraud charge against Goldman Sachs

Image via WikipediaThe big business news of the day -- heck, of the quarter, I'd say -- is today's bombshell SEC fraud charges against Goldman Sachs and one of its executives, a 31-year-old Frenchman named Fabrice Tourre. You don't need...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 16, 2010; 5:06 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Tags: Andrew Cuomo, Business, Financial instrument, Goldman Sachs, Hedge fund, SEC, Subprime lending, Wall Street  
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March housing starts rise but on strength of cheaper multifamily homes

Image by Getty Images via DaylifeMarch housing construction rose for the second straight month, up more than expected and hitting its highest level in 16 months, but the gain came almost entirely from new multifamily homes, which make up only...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 16, 2010; 8:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Tags: Business, Commerce Department, Construction, Housing starts, Real estate economics, Seasonally adjusted annual rate, Single-family detached home, United States Department of Commerce  
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Preliminary report to Obama: W.Va. mine had 'significant history of safety issues'

The Upper Big Branch coal mine in West Virginia, where 29 miners were killed in an explosion last week, "was a mine with a significant history of safety issues, a mine operated by a company with a history of violations,...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 15, 2010; 5:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Tags: Barack Obama, Coal mining, Massey Energy, Mine Safety and Health Administration, United States, Upper Big Branch, West Virginia, west virginia mine disaster  
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New jobless claims unexpectedly rise by 24,000

New weekly jobless claims unexpectedly rose by 24,000 to 484,000 last week, the government said this morning, increasing worries that high unemployment will stick around for a long time. Forecasters had expected the new jobless claims number to come in...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 15, 2010; 8:50 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (43)
Tags: Online Communities, Social network, Spain, Trending and Popularity, Twitter, Unemployment, United States, Work  
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European Central Bank: National debt approaching danger levels across Europe

Image via WikipediaThe head of the European Central Bank (ECB) said today that the overall euro area debt-to-GDP ratio could hit the dangerous 100 percent level in coming years if tough measures to reduce spending are not enacted. This is...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 14, 2010; 6:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
Tags: Economic growth, Economy of the United States, European Central Bank, European Commission, Greece, Gross domestic product, Monetary policy, United States  
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The case for a flat tax -- and the arguments against

It's that time of year. And, by "that time," I mean, "time to talk about the flat tax again." Thursday is tax day, and every year -- as regular as the cherry blossoms -- tax day causes another debate...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 14, 2010; 12:54 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Cato Institute, Clemson University, Economic, Internal Revenue Service, Itemized deduction, Steve Forbes, Tax, U.S. News & World Report, United State, regressive tax  
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Business inventory growth hits 2-year high

Interesting piece of economic data out this morning: The rate in increase in business inventories -- what businesses keep on their shelves -- hit a two-year high, according to the Commerce Department. Inventories rose for the second straight month, up...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 14, 2010; 12:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Tags: Business, Commerce Department, Economy, Inventory, Recession, Retailing, United States Department of Commerce, Wholesale  
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Inflation remains flat, retail sales improve

Consumer inflation remained essentially unchanged in March compared with February and retail sales rose slightly more than expected, providing some welcome spring news to a halting economy. Inflation rose only 0.1 percent in March compared with February and was up...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 14, 2010; 8:46 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Tags: Economy, Energy, Federal Reserve, Federal Reserve System, Gasoline, Inflation, Interest rate, Unemployment, consumer price index, core inflation, inflation  
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Former WaMu head defends actions; his former employees do not

Image by Getty Images via Daylife Kerry Killinger, the former chief executive of Washington Mutual, which executed the biggest banking failure in American history, defended his actions before a Senate panel today. Two of his former top employees, however, did...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 13, 2010; 3:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Tags: Adjustable-rate mortgage, Business, JPMorgan Chase, Kerry Killinger, Subprime lending, United States, United States Senate Homeland Security Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, Washington Mutual  
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Consumer Reports on Lexus SUV: Don't buy it

Image via WikipediaConsumer Reports has given its rare "don't buy" rating to the Lexus GX 460, saying the SUV can roll over in certain driving situations, adding to the string of problems being suffered by Lexus's owner, Japanese auto giant...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 13, 2010; 11:38 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Tags: Automobile, Consumer Reports, Lexus, Lexus GX, Recreation, Rollover, Sport utility vehicle, Toyota  
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Stocks mixed at opening following trade gap news

Stocks opened mixed this morning following encouraging news about the U.S. trade gap. In the first 25 minutes of trading, the Dow is flat. The broader S&P 500 is down more than one-tenth of 1 percent, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 13, 2010; 9:44 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Tags: Balance of payments, Business, Commerce Department, Export, International trade, Twitter, United States, United States Department of Commerce  
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Sen. Levin's committee poised to assess blame for WaMu failure beginning Tuesday

Image via WikipediaSen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and his Senate Permanent Committee on Investigations is ready to bring the hammer to failed thrift Washington Mutual beginning on Tuesday. Washington Mutual, or WaMu, was the largest thrift failure in the United States....

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 12, 2010; 6:04 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Tags: Carl Levin, Financial crisis, JPMorgan Chase, Natural disaster, United States, United States Senate, Wall Street, Washington Mutual  
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Dow closes above 11,000 for first time in 18 months

Image via WikipediaThe Dow Jones Industrial Average of 30 blue-chip stocks closed above 11,000 today for the first time in 18 months, crossing another important psychological barrier on the road to recovery. The Dow barely made it over the threshold,...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 12, 2010; 4:48 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (41)
Tags: Business, Dow Jones Industrial Average, Equities, Investing, Nasdaq, Research and Analysis, S&P 500, Stocks and Bonds  
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March budget deficit is nearly a third of what it was one year ago

The federal government's budget deficit in March was $65 billion, Treasury said moments ago, nearly one-third the budget deficit one year ago. March income was $153 billion, while spending came in at $219 billion, Treasury said. The income figure is...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 12, 2010; 2:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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Dow cracks 11,000 again in opening trading

The Dow has jumped back above 11,000 in the opening moments of trading to kick off the week. In the first 20 minutes of trading, the Dow is up nearly two-tenths of 1 percent at 11,015. The broader S&P 500...

By Frank Ahrens  |  April 12, 2010; 9:56 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  The Ticker , Wall Street  
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