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Political Economy: November 28, 2010 - December 4, 2010

Korea-U.S. trade talks advance

Korean and U.S. negotiators are nearing completion of a free trade agreement that the Obama administration hopes will add billions of dollars annually to U.S. exports and build momentum for a larger trade agenda. Three days of talks this week...

By Howard Schneider  | December 3, 2010; 1:06 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Trade  
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Unemployment jumps to 9.8 percent, a sign of slower recovery

After three months of holding steady, the unemployment rate rose to 9.8 percent in November, with U.S. payroll employment showing little growth, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today, in another sign of weakness in the recovery.

By Peter Whoriskey  | December 3, 2010; 9:13 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (44)
Categories:  Auto industry, Housing, U.S. Labor Department, Unemployment  
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Economic agenda: Friday, Dec. 3, 2010

At 8:30 a.m. -- The Labor Department is scheduled to release data on U.S. unemployment in November. At 9 a.m. -- The national commission investigating the BP oil spill meets to discuss the causes of the disaster and to consider...

By Mike Shepard  | December 3, 2010; 6:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  *Economic agenda  
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Qatar to host World Cup 2022: A boon for the country's stock market?

The announcement that Qatar beat out the U.S., Australia, Japan and South Korea to play host to this major international sporting event could be giving a boost to the small Middle Eastern nation's stock market. Bloomberg News is reporting that...

By Sarah Halzack  | December 2, 2010; 11:18 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Congressional hearing: Do banks lack the legal standing to foreclose?

A state judge, law professor and consumer attorneys will testify before Congress Thursday that many of the banks trying to foreclose on borrowers have the legal standing to do so, according to prepared remarks. New York State Supreme Court Justice Dana Winslow said in written remarks that "standing has become such a pervasive issue" in the cases he sees "that I frequently use the term 'presumptive mortgagee'" to describe the entity trying to foreclose. Winslow described a litany of problems with documentation about mortgages that go far beyond the "robo-signing" that led to the current uproar over foreclosures. He said it's "unclear" whether MERS, the electronic system used by the majority of lenders to record mortgage assignments, gives it the right to foreclose, as well as whether trusts where many mortgages wound up after they were pooled and traded have that right. However, Winslow acknowleged that "the judiciary may have inadvertently contributed to the creation of the foreclosure crisis, by accepting, without question, the submissions of lending institutions seeking foreclosure," Winslow said. The hearing before the House Judiciary Committee chaired by John Conyers (D-Mich.) is the second on foreclosures this week. During the first hearing, held Wednesday by the Senate Banking Committee, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac blamed mortgage servicers for causing the current foreclosure crisis.

By Ariana Eunjung Cha  | December 2, 2010; 10:51 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
Categories:  Congress, Housing  
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Economic agenda: Thursday, Dec. 2, 2010

At 8:30 a.m. -- The Labor Department releases data on weekly claims for unemployment benefits. At 9:30 a.m. -- Elizabeth Warren, special assistant to President Obama on consumer financial affairs, delivers a speech on "Priorities for the New Consumer Financial...

By Mike Shepard  | December 2, 2010; 6:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  *Economic agenda  
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Fannie, Freddie say mortgage servicers triggered foreclosure crisis

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac defended their role in the foreclosure crisis in prepared testimony to Congress on Wednesday, while at least one federal regulator said the mortgage giants had contributed to the problem. Speaking to the Senate Banking Committee at a hearing on the national foreclosure debacle, Fannie and Freddie executives emphasized that they are not responsible for managing payments by borrowers on home loans or foreclosing on homeowners when they default.

By Zachary A. Goldfarb  | December 1, 2010; 12:27 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Housing  
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Economic agenda: Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2010

At 8:30 a.m. -- The Labor Department releases data on productivity in the third quarter. At 9:30 a.m. -- The Senate Banking committee holds a hearing on the widespread documentation problems with mortgages and foreclosures. Witnesses include Federal Deposit Insurance...

By Mike Shepard  | December 1, 2010; 6:26 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  *Economic agenda  
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Next WikiLeaks leak: Bank of America?

The financial world is abuzz with guesses about which bank's secret documents Wikileaks has gotten ahold of.WikiLeaks' Julian Assange promised to release a trove of documents in early 2011 that "could take down a bank or two." He said the documents will show "flagrant violations" and "unethical practices" at the executive level.

By Ariana Eunjung Cha  | November 30, 2010; 3:01 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (31)
Categories:  Corporations  
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Consumer groups: Fed proposal would 'eviscerate' powerful remedy to stop foreclosures

Consumer groups: Fed proposal would 'eviscerate' powerful remedy to stop foreclosures

By Ariana Eunjung Cha  | November 30, 2010; 2:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Federal Reserve, Housing  
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Cities show shift of growth to emerging markets in Asia and Latin America, Brookings reports

Cities show shift of growth to emerging markets in Asia and Latin America, Brookings reports

By Howard Schneider  | November 30, 2010; 1:03 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  International Economics  
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Economic agenda: Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2010

At 9 a.m. -- The S&P/Case-Shiller Home price index for September and the 3rd quarter is released. At 10 a.m. -- The Conference Board releases its index of consumer confidence. At 3:30 p.m. -- The chairmen of the presidentially appointed...

By Mike Shepard  | November 30, 2010; 6:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  *Economic agenda  
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Watchdog: U.S. Chamber just looking out for CEOs

A union-backed watchdog group says the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is pushing for a permanent extension of the Bush tax cuts largely to protect the salaries of its chief executive members.

By Jia Lynn Yang  | November 29, 2010; 2:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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Cyber Monday wraps up Thanksgiving shopping bonanza

he post-Thanksgiving shopping frenzy heads into its fourth day Monday as retailers roll out new discounts for what has become known as Cyer Monday. All signs are pointing to a successful start to the season," said Heather Dougherty, director of research for Experian Hitwise, which tracks Web traffic. "I think we saw everyone come out kind of guns-a-blazing with promotions."

By Ylan Mui  | November 29, 2010; 11:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Retail  
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