Nikkei Opens Higher On Wednesday
We had an itty bitty rally today with the DOW up 86 and the S&P up 10. Now all we need is another 6,000 points more on the DOW and we're fine....
Reuters: Nikkei gains 0.8 percent as exporters rise on yen
“Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something." Plato
...allow the 16-year-old AmeriCorps and other government-backed service programs to expand from 75,000 positions to 250,000.
Middle and high school students participating in summer programs could get up to $500 to help pay education costs. Service corps volunteers, who are usually college age, could get as much as $5,350 next year to help with the cost of college, up from the current $4,725.
In another innovation, people over 55 could qualify for "Silver Scholar Awards" of $1,000 for at least 350 hours of service, or "Encore Fellowships" that would help them make a transition into full or regular part-time service.
The exurbs were among the fastest growing counties during the boom -- entire civilizations built around the idea of owning real estate. With home prices falling and unemployment rising, more people are renting -- just as they had before the boom -- and turning the community into a rental economy.
While the economy still appears on a downward path, the slope is not as steep as many had feared.Reuters: U.S. stock futures point to higher open
"We can see some green shoots out there in the economy, but that's not enough at this point to tell me definitively that we are close to bottoming out in this process..."
U.S. consumer confidence due out at 1400 GMT is expected to have edged up in March from the record low hit in February.
"In this context, my administration will offer General Motors adequate working capital over the next 60 days. And during this time, my team will be working closely with GM to produce a better business plan. They must ask themselves: Have they consolidated enough unprofitable brands? Have they cleaned up their balance sheets, or are they still saddled with so much debt that they can’t make future investments? Above all, have they created a credible model for how not only to survive, but to succeed in this competitive global market?"Reuters: Frustrated Americans cheer Obama's tough auto moves
...Chrysler needs a partner to remain viable. Recently, Chrysler reached out and found what could be a potential partner -- the international car company Fiat, where the current management team has executed an impressive turnaround. Fiat is prepared to transfer its cutting-edge technology to Chrysler and, after working closely with my team, has committed to build -- building new fuel-efficient cars and engines right here in the United States. We've also secured an agreement that will ensure that Chrysler repays taxpayers for any new investments that are made before Fiat is allowed to take a majority ownership stake in Chrysler.
Stephen Hess, a presidential scholar at the Brookings Institution, said...he (Obama) could succeed because he seemed to have a good "internal gyroscope" on reading the mood of the public.
The financial giant Goldman Sachs spent tens of millions of dollars to bail out two senior executives last fall who were short on cash, according to the bank’s proxy statement filed on Friday sourceReuters: GM,Chrysler rocked by Obama autos team hard line
The Obama administration pledged only to fund GM's operations for the next 60 days while it develops a sweeping restructuring plan, instead of granting GM's request for up to a further $16 billion in loans.Reuters: U.S. stock futures signal losses on automaker woes
On the positive side, U.S. President Barack Obama said in an interview published on Sunday that he saw "glimmers of stabilization" in some areas of the U.S. economy, including pockets of the domestic housing market.
The elite, who have hollowed out the democratic system to serve the corporate state, rule through image and presentation.
We live in an age of moral nihilism. We have trashed our universities, turning them into vocational factories that produce corporate drones and chase after defense-related grants and funding. The humanities, the discipline that forces us to stand back and ask the broad moral questions of meaning and purpose, that challenges the validity of structures, that trains us to be self-reflective and critical of all cultural assumptions, have withered.
A senior Spanish judge has ordered prosecutors to investigate whether key Bush aides should be charged with crimes over the Guantanamo Bay detention center...
...Garzon accepted the complaint under Spanish law because there were several Spaniards at Guantanamo who allegedly suffered torture.
A vast electronic spying operation has infiltrated computers and has stolen documents from hundreds of government and private offices around the world, including those of the Dalai Lama..
...the system was being controlled from computers based almost exclusively in China.
Analysts said there was an emerging consensus that economic data could not get much worse, opening the door to possibly more gains, but the extent of the recent run-up also made it likely that stocks may consolidate gains and see some profit-taking.
Dunigan points to recent better-than-expected data on retail sales, which bumped up in January and held in February, as well as an unexpected February increase in sales of existing homes.
..."It seems that economic activity fell so sharply from September through January . . . that some key economic indicators may be starting to bounce off their bottoms for this cycle."
I think, frankly, we may have found a bottom for the stock market, although I think we don't go straight up from here..."
"If you squint your eyes and look at the charts, we may have found a bottom there."
The idea of creating a global currency, as espoused by China earlier this week, is interesting, has a certain amount of merit and is simply not going to happen any time soon.
In fact you could say the dollar’s “extraordinary” strength can only be fully explained when you take into account the fact that foreign central banks keep piling up huge reserves of the thing and that it is the international medium of exchange for commodities and energy, well really for global trade and financial intermediation.
Sharply lower prices, record low mortgages interest rates, and the government's $8,000 tax credit for first-time home buyers have been the key to increasing home sales in California.
Padmanabhan was the department's chief counsel on Guantanamo litigation. He says it was "foolish" for the Bush administration to declare that detainees were beyond the reach of U.S. and international laws and the Geneva Conventions.
He told the AP Friday that "Guantanamo was one of the worst overreactions of the Bush administration."
South Carolina...11 percent
North Carolina...10.7 percent
California and Rhode Island tied for fifth place at 10.5 percent each.
The deal would repeal many of the mandatory minimum prison sentences now in place for lower-level drug felons, giving judges the authority to send first-time nonviolent offenders to treatment instead of prison.
The plan would also expand drug treatment programs and widen the reach of drug courts at a cost of at least $50 million.
...a jump in the student-loan default rate to 6.9%, from 5.2% a year earlier.
U.S. stocks rallied for a second straight day on Thursday, taking the Nasdaq back into positive territory for the year-to-date, on increasing optimism that the economy's worst days are past after the government reported data that was less dire than expected.Reuters: Long, bumpy road ahead for Obama financial reforms
New financial instruments were also invented without much regulation of either the risk-taking involved or the mechanics of trading them. While poor credit controls in the sub-prime home mortgage market contributed to the U.S. housing boom, the lack of regulatory supervision of new instruments, such as collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) and credit default swaps (CDS), may have exacerbated the property market crash.
"The Nikkei could even test 9,000 today on the improving situation -- the U.S. 'bad bank' scheme is progressing and housing and consumer situations appear to be getting better."
Investors are “way too optimistic” about the prospects for a recovery in the economy and earnings, Roubini said.
With “deflationary forces” lingering for as long as three years, Roubini said U.S. government bond yields will remain low and American house prices will fall as much as 20 percent in the next 18 months.
Luo Jie, a tour organizer for those wanting to buy U.S. property, concurred: "You can buy a much better home in America for $400,000 or $500,000 than you can buy here." Luo pulled out a promotional folder written in Mandarin with numerous listings of foreclosed U.S. properties in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Boston and New York.
At 10 a.m. EDT, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is set to outline proposals for new, tougher requirements on major financial firms to protect the financial system and new rules to prevent financial fraud and abuse against consumers and investors.
Japan's Nikkei average slipped 0.1 percent on Thursday, as falls in defensive stocks such as drugmakers offset gains in exporters after unexpectedly strong economic data buoyed Wall Street.Reuters: Wall St. rallies late as data offsets bond sale gloom
Stocks rose in a late rally on Wednesday as unexpectedly strong housing and durable goods data fueled hopes the economy is finally on the mend...
"Za," "qi" and "zzz" were added recently to the game's official word list for its original English-language edition.
The main mechanism is a government guarantee that would allow investors to buy junk with a 12 to 1 leverage ratio, where they only risk the downside on their own investment, not the borrowed money.
Now these investors will have the opportunity to buy these assets with large subsidies from the government, allowing them to make substantial profits.
...recognizing that most of any potential loss will be born by the government. This route might prove especially attractive for one of the zombie banks, who would effectively have nothing to lose anyhow, since they are already bankrupt.
It is also worth noting that this is a situation that invites all manner of fraud since there are very large government subsidies that could be appropriated through clever schemes.
Congress's drive to recoup bonuses at American International Group is slowing significantly as passions on the issue cool, potentially removing a wedge that has threatened to derail the Obama administration's broader agenda, reported the Wall Street Journal.
"There is a fair amount of debate about what has been proposed ... and whether this is actually going to solve the problem or not..
WASHINGTON: We are living through a time of global economic challenges that cannot be met by half measures or the isolated efforts of any nation. Now, the leaders of the Group of 20 have a responsibility to take bold, comprehensive and coordinated action that not only jump-starts recovery, but also launches a new era of economic engagement to prevent a crisis like this from ever happening again.
No one can deny the urgency of action. A crisis in credit and confidence has swept across borders, with consequences for every corner of the world. For the first time in a generation, the global economy is contracting and trade is shrinking.
Trillions of dollars have been lost, banks have stopped lending, and tens of millions will lose their jobs across the globe. The prosperity of every nation has been endangered, along with the stability of governments and the survival of people in the most vulnerable parts of the world.
Once and for all, we have learned that the success of the American economy is inextricably linked to the global economy. There is no line between action that restores growth within our borders and action that supports it beyond.
If people in other countries cannot spend, markets dry up -- already we've seen the biggest drop in American exports in nearly four decades, which has led directly to American job losses. And if we continue to let financial institutions around the world act recklessly and irresponsibly, we will remain trapped in a cycle of bubble and bust. That is why the upcoming London Summit is directly relevant to our recovery at home.
My message is clear: The United States is ready to lead, and we call upon our partners to join us with a sense of urgency and common purpose. Much good work has been done, but much more remains.
Our leadership is grounded in a simple premise: We will act boldly to lift the American economy out of crisis and reform our regulatory structure, and these actions will be strengthened by complementary action abroad. Through our example, the United States can promote a global recovery and build confidence around the world; and if the London Summit helps galvanize collective action, we can forge a secure recovery, and future crises can be averted.
Our efforts must begin with swift action to stimulate growth. Already, the United States has passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act -- the most dramatic effort to jump-start job creation and lay a foundation for growth in a generation.
Other members of the G-20 have pursued fiscal stimulus as well, and these efforts should be robust and sustained until demand is restored. As we go forward, we should embrace a collective commitment to encourage open trade and investment, while resisting the protectionism that would deepen this crisis.
Second, we must restore the credit that businesses and consumers depend upon. At home, we are working aggressively to stabilize our financial system. This includes an honest assessment of the balance sheets of our major banks, and will lead directly to lending that can help Americans purchase goods, stay in their homes and grow their businesses.
This must continue to be amplified by the actions of our G-20 partners. Together, we can embrace a common framework that insists upon transparency, accountability and a focus on restoring the flow of credit that is the lifeblood of a growing global economy. And the G-20, together with multilateral institutions, can provide trade finance to help lift up exports and create jobs.
Third, we have an economic, security and moral obligation to extend a hand to countries and people who face the greatest risk. If we turn our backs on them, the suffering caused by this crisis will be enlarged, and our own recovery will be delayed because markets for our goods will shrink further and more American jobs will be lost.
The G-20 should quickly deploy resources to stabilize emerging markets, substantially boost the emergency capacity of the International Monetary Fund and help regional development banks accelerate lending. Meanwhile, America will support new and meaningful investments in food security that can help the poorest weather the difficult days that will come.
While these actions can help get us out of crisis, we cannot settle for a return to the status quo. We must put an end to the reckless speculation and spending beyond our means; to the bad credit, over-leveraged banks and absence of oversight that condemns us to bubbles that inevitably bust.
Only coordinated international action can prevent the irresponsible risk-taking that caused this crisis. That is why I am committed to seizing this opportunity to advance comprehensive reforms of our regulatory and supervisory framework.
All of our financial institutions -- on Wall Street and around the globe -- need strong oversight and common sense rules of the road. All markets should have standards for stability and a mechanism for disclosure. A strong framework of capital requirements should protect against future crises. We must crack down on offshore tax havens and money laundering.
Rigorous transparency and accountability must check abuse, and the days of out-of-control compensation must end. Instead of patchwork efforts that enable a race to the bottom, we must provide the clear incentives for good behavior that foster a race to the top.
I know that America bears our share of responsibility for the mess that we all face. But I also know that we need not choose between a chaotic and unforgiving capitalism and an oppressive government-run economy. That is a false choice that will not serve our people or any people.
This G-20 meeting provides a forum for a new kind of global economic cooperation. Now is the time to work together to restore the sustained growth that can only come from open and stable markets that harness innovation, support entrepreneurship and advance opportunity.
The nations of the world have a stake in one another. The United States is ready to join a global effort on behalf of new jobs and sustainable growth. Together, we can learn the lessons of this crisis, and forge a prosperity that is enduring and secure for the 21st century.
People who eat red meat every day have a higher risk of dying over a 10-year period -- mostly because of cardiovascular disease or cancer --than their peers who eat less red or processed meat, according to a new study of about half a million people.
Prominent economist Martin Feldstein said on Tuesday the recession in the United States will stretch well into next year, probably raising the need for another fiscal stimulus package at least as large as the first one.
As the past 14 months of recession have made painfully clear, however, a one-day stock rally hardly means the worst is over.
There's still great fragility in the financial systems. But we think that we are moving in the right direction," Obama said.
...selling the assets now at a low price will force the banks to post steep losses. Thus they'll probably need more capital on top of what they’ve already received.
...Krugman said it was a rehash of a "cash-for-trash" proposal the Bush administration floated last fall. He said the incentives meant investors could profit if asset values increase, but "walk away" if they fall.
"But the fact is that financial executives literally bet their banks on the belief that there was no housing bubble, and the related belief that unprecedented levels of household debt were no problem. They lost that bet. And no amount of financial hocus-pocus -- for that is what the Geithner plan amounts to -- will change that fact..."
The housing data added to the optimism sparked earlier by the unveiling of a U.S. government plan to relieve banks of money-losing assets to revive the recession-hit economy
Asian stocks rose on Monday, with Japan's Nikkei at a one-month high, and oil prices climbed toward $53 a barrel on investor hopes a U.S. plan to rid banks of $1 trillion of toxic assets was closer to being implemented.
A disappointing plan could set the stage for a sharp, swift slide in the stock market, but a well-designed one could serve as a catalyst for further gains.
(1)...setting up an entity to be used by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp...to offer low-interest loans to private interests for buying up banks' soured assets...
(2) Second, the Treasury Department will hire investment managers to run public-private funds to invest for potential profit in troubled mortgages, with government capital matching private capital contributions...
(3) Finally, the Federal Reserve will...buy "legacy" assets...
Legacy assets are older securities, many of them tied to mortgage assets that have plunged in value after housing prices fell and have racked up massive losses for the banking system.
...received reports that 6,404 cattle were stolen or missing in 2008, up from 2,400 the year before.
...claims that Chinese-made drywall installed in some Florida homes is emitting smelly, corrosive gases and ruining household systems...
An Alabama-based homebuilder alleges that Chinese-manufactured drywall in 40 houses it built in 2005 and 2006 -- 32 in Alabama and eight in Florida -- caused corrosion or odor problems.
This plan will produce big gains for banks that didn’t actually need any help; it will, however, do little to reassure the public about banks that are seriously undercapitalized. And I fear that when the plan fails, as it almost surely will, the administration will have shot its bolt: it won’t be able to come back to Congress for a plan that might actually work.
Details of the Treasury Department's much delayed plan to sop up banks' toxic assets are expected early next week...
Next up in the aggressive campaign to resuscitate the economy is the toxic-asset plan, known as the Public Private Investment Fund, or PPIF...
A disappointing plan could set the stage for a sharp, swift slide in the stock market, but a well-designed one could serve as a catalyst for further gains.
A review of bird populations in the United States was released March 19 by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. Nearly a third of the United States’ 800 bird species are endangered, threatened or in significant decline, the new report shows.
Bird populations are critical indicators of the health of our environment — “like the canary in the coal mine,” Salazar said at a press conference.
But conservation projects have been successful in reversing declines in some bird populations. Populations of 39 different species of waterfowl have increased by more than 100 percent during the past 40 years, thanks to efforts to restore more than 30 million acres of wetlands, the report says.
CBO also issued gloomier forecasts for the U.S. economy, projecting that it will contract 3 percent in 2009 before growing 2.9 percent next year and expanding 4 percent in 2011.
The idea was to encourage more economic activity by lowering interest rates, including those on home loans, and to help the financial system as it struggles under the crushing weight of bad loans and poor investments.The negative aspects of this new Fed move including the fear of future inflation has affected the present market. The rally seems to be over for now.
But there were also clear indications that the Fed was taking risks that could dilute the value of the dollar and set the stage for future inflation. source
In the Northern Hemisphere spring officially begins at 7:44 a.m. ET on Friday, March 20, 2009—the vernal equinox, or spring equinox.
...90 percent tax on bonuses paid to employees with household incomes exceeding $250,000 a year at companies that have received at least $5 billion in federal bailout assistance.
The Labor Department said on Thursday that 5.47 million people stayed on the benefit rolls in the week ended March 7, up from 5.29 million the previous week and the highest on record. sourceTurning 180 degrees in the opposite direction, this article is big on investing and points out that the markets may have changed for the better. Exactly who do we listen to at this point. The conflicting information abounds and then to top it off corporations are burning up taxpayer bailout money like it was cotton candy. Go ahead tax bonuses, big deal.
...a strong message that monetary policy officials are prepared to do what it takes to reverse economic decline.
It is certainly true that some of the features of the old bull market have suddenly resurfaced -- plentiful liquidity, a declining dollar and a rising oil price, to name three.
The stench of human waste is enough to tell Falah abu Hasan that his drinking water is bad. His infant daughter Fatma's continuous illnesses and his own constant nausea confirm it.
...he says "don't use condoms - even to prevent the spread of Aids"...
...the "cruel epidemic" should be tackled through fidelity and abstinence rather than condoms...
...without newspapers serving as watchdogs no one would track local school boards, uncover scandals like Watergate or the Walter Reed Medical Center or give a voice to the vulnerable and mistreated.
"This is a temporary rebound, not a recovery."
"Under these circumstances, it's hard to understand how derivative traders at AIG warranted any bonuses, much less $165 million in extra pay," Obama said.