financial markets

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Wall St. Plotting for Debt Doomsday

Prospect of default fraying nerves

(Newser) - As lawmakers scramble to hammer out a debt deal, Wall Street firms are working on ways to deal with America defaulting on its debt—and on ways to make a buck out of any upheaval. Treasury bonds function like a currency on Wall Street and default after the Aug. 2... More »

Madoff Is Wall Street's Hot New Investment

Banks buying up Ponzi claims to cash in later

(Newser) - The wizards of Wall Street have found a way to turn Bernard Madoff into a hot investment. Big banks have been buying up the claims of the victims of Madoff's massive Ponzi scheme, offering scammed investors a fraction of what they are owed in the hopes of making big... More »

Asia Stocks Plunge

Markets down on US unemployment, Europe debt

(Newser) - Following a dismal day on Wall Street, Asian markets fell sharply today on news of an unexpectedly high US unemployment rate and worries about the growing debt crisis in Europe. The MCSI Asia Pacific Index was down 1.6 percent at 111.79, a 9-month low. Japan's Nikkei 225 stock... More »

Movie Stock Exchange Proves Wall Street's Mad

Speculation doesn't really help anyone

(Newser) - The announcement that investors can soon buy “futures” in Hollywood movies, shouldn’t be too surprising—it’s the logical extension of what financial markets have become. Once tools for raising capital for real businesses, the markets “have turned themselves into high-tech casinos,” writes Steven Pearlstein of... More »

US Woes Send Asian Stocks Tumbling

Nikkei, Hang Seng have their worst day in weeks

(Newser) - Stocks in Asia tumbled to their worst finish in weeks, reports the Wall Street Journal, as continued fears about the US economy led to a sell-off of resource companies and exporters. The Nikkei in Tokyo and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong both closed down about 3%, echoing a decline... More »

Bond Sales Drive Dow Up 32

(Newser) - Markets were up today on a successful sale of 30-year Treasury notes and other indicators of economic recovery, the Wall Street Journal reports. Bank of America saw a 9% upswing after its CEO testified on Capitol Hill. The Dow gained 31.90 to 8,770.92. The S&P rose... More »

Banks Rally Late; Dow Up 1

(Newser) - The market was level today as financials awaited notice of which companies would be allowed to pay back TARP funds, the Wall Street Journal reports. The good news contrasted with a drop-off in commodities and a poor performance by Apple, which announced new iPhones, laptops, and operating systems. The Dow... More »

Obama's Financial Regulation Plan Nearly Ready

(Newser) - The Obama administration is finalizing a legislative proposal that would strengthen the reach of financial regulatory agencies, the New York Times reports. The plan wouldn’t likely consolidate the four major bank regulators, which could meet with fierce opposition in Congress. “I don’t mind overlap as much as... More »

Cramer Ain't That Bad a Stock Picker, Actually

(Newser) - Jon Stewart, take note: Jim Cramer is not that bad at picking stocks, the New York Times reports. A study of Cramer’s televised market advice shows that the former hedge fund manager beat the market in 2005-07. The raw numbers from the fictional “Cramer portfolio” outperformed the S&... More »

Drugs, Oil Push Dow Up 50

(Newser) - Financials dipped today as firms continued stock sell-offs to finance TARP repayments, but strong performance by drug and energy companies stabilized the market, the Wall Street Journal reports. Merck and Pfizer were up as much as 2% and 6%, respectively; oil got a boost from $60 barrels. The Dow was... More »

NFL's Model Is Better Bet Than Big Biz

(Newser) - The business world’s dependence on its own form of gambling—the “expectations,” or stock market—helped fuel the current financial crisis and the dot-com crash, writes Roger Martin in the Financial Times. “Neither would have happened if our business and capital markets theories had been as... More »

This Rally May Be the Real Deal

Positive indicators, better policy, historical benchmarks; the time is right for a bottom

(Newser) - The tentative rally on Wall Street is reason enough for one economist to feel hopeful: "I’m ready to take another shot at calling the bottom," writes Michael Mandel in BusinessWeek. Since (apparently) bottoming out March 9, stocks have risen 20%, and the reasons behind the climb are... More »

Dow Drops 86 on Financials

(Newser) - Financial stocks led declines today as the boost from the Fed’s announcement of new plans to lower lending costs faded, the Wall Street Journal reports. Citigroup and Bank of America shares both fell at least 10%, giving back recent gains. Crude oil rallied to $50.80 a barrel, the... More »

'Viking Bankers' Pillaged Iceland

How Iceland went from fishing to finance to ruin

(Newser) - The bankers who ruined Iceland’s economy possessed the mentality of its fishermen—daring, aggressive, and devoted to the “lucky catch," Michael Lewis writes in Vanity Fair. It's no surprise—after all, they were the sons of fishermen whose massive profits helped modernize Iceland in the 1970s. But... More »

US Risks 'Lost Decade' With Zombie Banks

Japan's mistake of liquidity vs. solvency being repeated: Baker

(Newser) - Japan’s economic troubles in the 1990s—the so-called “lost decade”—provides a cautionary tale for America’s current problems, writes James Baker, a Reagan Treasury Secretary, in the Financial Times. Japan used piecemeal bailouts and implicit guarantees to insolvent banks rather than swift action. So the “... More »

Jittery Investors Seek Direction From Feng Shui Gurus

In Asia, when a feng shui master talks, people listen

(Newser) - Hong Kong investors are invoking feng shui—the ancient Chinese art associated in the Western mind with interior decorating—to guide their depleted portfolios, the Wall Street Journal reports. Two inauspicious lunar eclipses have already predicted a grim year, and masters are warning investors to beware of the land of... More »

Battered Markets Crawl Into 2009

2008 finishes as the worst year for the Dow since 1931

(Newser) - Weary relief that 2008 was finally over greeted the final bell at the New York Stock Exchange yesterday, but shaken investors worry about what 2009 holds, the New York Times reports. The final tally confirmed that the year was the worst for stockholders since the Great Depression. Stock plunges across... More »

Cramer Shares 'Obama Portfolio'

Guru picks hot stocks for 2009

(Newser) - America isn’t out of the economic woods, but savvy investors should drop some kindling on their investment fires, James Cramer writes in New York. “Obama’s swift transition and desire to spend trillions to get us moving could prove that happier days will eventually beckon, at least for... More »

Firms Wary of Treasury's Stalled Toxic-Asset Bailout

As Treasury shifts gears from assets to equity stakes, firms shy away

(Newser) - A survey of more than 400 financial institutions found a large percentage are reluctant to participate in the $700 billion bailout program because of confusion, the Wall Street Journal reports. As Treasury hastily shifted gears from the original plan to buy toxic debt to taking equity positions in banks, more... More »

Hedge Fund Selloffs Behind Swooning Dow

Investors cashing out in record numbers to meet obligations

(Newser) - Hedge funds are increasingly to blame for the swooning Dow, the Wall Street Journal reports, as demands from investors to withdraw funds have sparked a securities selling frenzy in recent days. The rush to withdraw comes as investors—endowments and  pension funds as well as wealthy individuals—see other investments... More »

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