Thursday, August 13, 2009

Financial Headlines 8/13/2009

  • In case you missed it yesterday, the Fed left the fed funds target unchanged at roughly zero, and plans to wind down its purchases of treasuries by October. The statement released by the FOMC also stated that economic activity was "leveling out." Not "bouncing back mightily" but "leveling out", as in "no longer plummeting." The Fed is slowly taking its foot off the gas pedal and hoping it doesn't squash the recovery.
  • Retail sales fell 0.1% in July despite the car-selling spree going on at auto dealerships due to the government's "cash for clunkers" program. This was a huge disappointment for Wall Street, which was somehow expecting everyone to turn back into the shopping crazed maniacs of 2007 despite high unemployment, curbs in credit card lending, lack of home equity to draw from, and all those other minor details that are still the economic reality of 2009.
  • Wal-Mart's earnings were better than expected, but same-store sales fell 1.2%. Net income for the retailing giant was $3.44 billion, down from $3.45 billion but net sales decreased 1.4% to $100.08 billion. Declining sales at the world's largest retailer? Not good.
  • Jobless claims rose to 558,000 from a revised 554,000 the week before. But continuing claims fell by 141,000 to 6.2 million.
  • Some loon who lost her life savings to Bernie Madoff has actually written a book disclosing an extramarital affair with the imprisoned ponzi schemer. I'm not sure why anyone would ever admit to this, or who on earth actually will want to read the steamy details of Bernie Madoff's love life, but the book will be hitting the shelves by August 25th. Sheryl Weinstein penned the tome, with the help of a ghostwriter, perhaps to raise the cash to make up for the fact that she lost her family's life savings by investing in a ponzi scheme. Or maybe she's hoping the proceeds can help her reimburse the Hadassah foundation's $40 million investment, which she was entrusted to invest and funneled to Madoff? One thing I know for sure, if I were her husband of 37 years, I'd be calling my divorce lawyer right about now.

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