torsdag 13 september 2007

Bank of England's King refuses to bail out banks, hints interest rates at their peak

"Other things being equal, that would lower the inflation outlook." LONDON : Bank of England Governor Mervyn King stood firm against bailing out struggling banks on Wednesday, but hinted that interest rates had reached their peak as he made his first comments since the credit ... via International Herald Tribune - Original Story

tisdag 11 september 2007

Al-Qaida Says 2nd Bin Laden Video Coming

"I invite you to embrace Islam." Osama bin Laden will appear for the second time in a week in a new video to mark the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, presenting the last will and testament of one of the suicide hijackers, al-Qaida announced Monday.Each year, al-Qaida has released videos of last statements by hijackers on the anniversary of the 2001 attacks, using the occasion to rally its sympathizers.But this year's releases underline how bin Laden is re-emerging to tout his leadership _ whether symbolic or effective _ of the jihad movement. While past anniversary videos featured old footage of bin Laden, the latest appears likely to include a newly made speech. Read more - Original Story

söndag 9 september 2007

Iowa's foreclosure rate increases

"It's preferable for the family, the lender and the neighborhood" The state's rate of foreclosures ranks ninth in the nation as loan troubles continue, according to a new report from the Mortgage Bankers Association. via Muscatine Journal - Original Story

lördag 8 september 2007

Likelihood of Fed Rate Cut Less Clear

"It certainly does not rise to the sort of anecdotal deterioration that would require an immediate monetary policy response"

The arrival of September was supposed to bring more clarity to the economic impact of the current credit crisis. Instead, each new bit of data coming out seems to be creating more confusion.

The first labor market contraction in four years, as revealed Friday in a weaker-than-expected jobs report, shows that the housing and mortgage collapse is putting some strain on the economy. And the continued dislocation in commercial paper markets, where companies raise cash to fund their operations, should be taken as a warning sign _ in flashing red _ that more bad news may be coming.

Clinton Yearns for Husband's Economy

"A large part of the Clinton legacy is higher taxes on Social Security benefits, and Hillary has made it clear that she intends to pay for her policy proposals by increasing taxes for Americans of all ages."

Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton wistfully recalled her husband's presidency on Friday, saying the Bush administration had squandered the nation's economic strength under Bill Clinton to fund tax cuts for the rich and the war in Iraq.

'Just seven years ago we had a balanced budget and a surplus and we had a plan to ensure Social Security's solvency until 2055,' the presidential contender and former first lady told thousands of senior citizens attending an AARP lifestyles forum. 'Now we have been set back, by endless deficits.'

Social Security Campaign Costs Tallied

"We did not incorporate any changes based upon this comment as GAO does not believe such a distinction is warranted"

The Bush administration spent at least $2.8 million traveling around the country promoting its plan to let many people divert a portion of their Social Security taxes into private retirement accounts, congressional investigators said Friday.

The Government Accountability Office, acting on a request from Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., counted 228 different Social Security reform public speaking events by Bush administration officials in 2005. The departments participating ranged from the Labor Department to the Commerce Department to the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Countrywide to Cut Up to 12,000 Jobs

"During the past two years the growth in home price appreciation has stopped dead in its tracks and in many areas of the country it has turned in the wrong direction"

Struggling lender Countrywide Financial Corp. said Friday it will cut as many as 12,000 jobs as it struggles to deal with challenging conditions in the mortgage industry. The company said the cuts, amounting to as much as 20 percent of its work force, are needed because it expects new mortgages to fall about 25 percent in 2008 from this year's levels.

The job cuts are expected to center primarily on the company's production divisions and its general and administrative support areas, Countrywide Chief Executive Angelo Mozilo said in a letter distributed to employees Friday.

Stocks Plunge After Weak Jobs Report

"The markets are repricing for lower growth and expectations of Fed cuts."

Stocks plunged while bonds surged higher Friday after the government reported payrolls in August fell for the first time in four years rather than rising as had been expected. The Dow Jones industrial average fell more than 200 points.

Investors were unpleasantly surprised by the Labor Department's report that payrolls fell by 4,000 in August, the first decline since August 2003. The unemployment rate held steady at 4.6 percent as expected.

Wall Street has been awaiting the report as it tries to determine how well the economy is holding up under the weight of a faltering housing market, a rise in mortgage defaults and tightening availability of credit. While the report is backward looking and not predictive, investors regard it as an important reading of the economy's health.

Farmers Struggle With Insurance Costs

"Those who purchase insurance in the non-group market are more likely to face financial strains due to medical costs than other insured people"

The cost of health care in the U.S. is putting a pinch on many family farmers and ranchers who struggle to pay high premiums and out-of-pocket expenses, a new report has found.

About 90 percent of the more than 2,000 farmers and ranchers who were surveyed said they had some sort of health coverage, according to the 2007 Health Insurance Survey of Farm and Ranch Operators released Thursday.

However, many complained of high premiums, and more than a quarter said high out-of-pocket insurance costs were creating financial problems, the report found.

Lehman, National City Scale Back

Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and National City Corp. said Thursday more than 2,000 workers will be laid off as the financial institutions scale back their struggling mortgage businesses.

The moves represent just the latest wave of layoffs in the mortgage industry, which is suffering from decaying credit quality, slipping home prices, and a drainage of demand among investors and banks for home loans.

Two weeks after closing its BNC Mortgage LLC subsidiary, Lehman Brothers said it is winding down some of its U.S. and U.K. home lending businesses. The Wall Street brokerage is laying off 850 people, closing its Korean mortgage business, and folding its businesses in the U.S., Japan and Europe into a single unit called Lehman Mortgage Capital.