Thursday, March 12, 2009

Financial Crisis, 12 Mar 2009: Dow 7,170.06, +239.66 (+3.46%)

For the third straight day, the Dow Jones has ended higher. For the first time this month, the Dow closed above the 7,000 mark at 7,160.06.

A Dimmed Light Shines Brighter

General Electric, even though it was downgraded by Standard & Poor’s from AAA to AA+, jumped up $1.08 a share, up 12.72%, to $9.57. Investors had worried the downgrade would have been even worse.

If Not a Bottom, a Ledge

Meanwhile other aspects of the economy looked to be settling according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. Retail spending in February, though still down slightly by 0.1%, was not as bad off as some forecast. Excluding automotive industry, it was actually up 0.7%. Overall retail spending in January, even including the automotive market, was actually up 1.8%. Unemployment remains a chief worry to the sustainability of the consumer spending rate.

The present week has been a welcome relief to a market that has seemed nearly in free-fall since October of last year. While prospects are still too murky to determine if this is a bottom to the crevasse, it is possibly at least a ledge that the market has landed safely upon.

Madoff Guilty

Today also marks the day that Bernie Madoff pled guilty to running a massive corrupt investment scheme that lost billions. “I operated a Ponzi scheme,” he told the U.S. District Court judge.

Go to G20

The leaders of the G20 are preparing to meet this week. The U.S. is proposing two major initiatives:
  • Push for a 2-year stimulus plan from all G20 nations equal to 2% of that nation’s GDP. The U.S. stimulus plan signed by President Obama is already equivalent to 3% of GDP.
  • Expand the IMF’s emergency fund for developing nations from $50 billion to $500 billion. The U.S. would contribute $100 billion to that fund and would seek other nations to underwrite the other $400 billion in necessary funds.
Many of the nations, however, are so strapped for cash and credit that they are not willing to make such a commitment.

Stay tuned for the news from the G20 summit later this month.

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