March 11th, 2009
12:23 PM ET

Financial Dispatch: Repeat on Wall Street?

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Andrew Torgan
CNN Financial News Producer

Stocks on Wall Street opened modestly higher today, extending yesterday’s massive rally. But will we see the first back-to-back gains in more than a month?

On Tuesday, stocks surged after a Citigroup memo said the battered bank was profitable in January and February, and amid talk that the government may reinstate a restriction on short-selling - a Depression-era rule aimed at preventing a massive plunge in a stock price caused by a wave of selling.

The Dow rallied 379 points - the biggest gain of 2009 - one day after finishing at a 12-year low.

An update today on what many consider to be the single-most important effort underway to heal the financial sector.

The Obama Administration will soon unveil details of its plan for dealing with the toxic assets that lie at the heart of the financial crisis, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Tuesday.

Geithner predicted that the plan, which calls for low-interest government financing to help private investors buy up the bad assets held by banks, would succeed. But he said it would take time to end the financial crisis.

"It's going to take a lot to work through this… we start with - just a deep mess," Geithner said on “The Charlie Rose Show.” “And it is our obligation to clean it up and to fix it,” he said.

A massive spending bill that funds the U.S. government for the rest of the budget year passed the Senate on Tuesday despite complaints about nearly $8 billion in what critics called "pork-barrel" projects.

Senators voted 62-35 to cut off debate on the $410 billion measure and passed it on a voice vote immediately afterward.

The omnibus spending bill includes more than 8,000 congressional "earmarks," which total almost $8 billion. The earmarks have caused critics to question President Barack Obama's pledge to end wasteful spending, but White House officials say the bill is a holdover from the previous Congress and the Bush administration.

Earmarks make an easy target for politicians, but they may not be as big a problem as you think. Check out CNNMoney.com’s “Earmarks: Myth and Reality

Alleged swindler Bernard Madoff will plead guilty later this week to 11 counts, including money laundering, perjury and fraud that could bring a sentence of 150 years in prison.

Prosecutors stressed that there had been no plea deal and that Madoff, 70, will have to forfeit any proceeds he accrued from the crimes he is accused of committing.

As unemployment soared in January, four states' jobless rates climbed higher than 10%, according to federal data released today.

Michigan tops the list at 11.6%, followed by South Carolina at 10.4%, Rhode Island at 10.3% and California at 10.1%.

Mortgage applications are up for the first time in three weeks as near record-low interest rates spurred demand for home refinancing and purchase loans.

The jump in demand came several weeks after the unveiling of the strongest government action yet to aid homeowners since the housing market's meltdown began and may help gauge what is in store this spring, the peak home-buying season.

Gas prices dropped 3-tenths of a cent overnight to $1.938 a gallon. 11 states have regular unleaded gas prices of $2 and higher. 39 states and the District of Columbia have regular unleaded gas prices below $2. The highest gas prices are in Alaska ($2.519). The cheapest gas prices are in Wyoming ($1.738)

Finally, getting time off from work is usually considered a good thing - but not when it's unpaid and unexpected.

As companies strive to avoid layoffs, unpaid furloughs have become the cost-cutting strategy du jour. The money-saving method requires workers to take days off without pay, and can last anywhere from a few days to more than a year.

Eleven percent of businesses surveyed have already instituted mandatory furlough programs and another 6% plan to in the next 12 months, according to a recent study by consulting firm Watson Wyatt. And the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the number of temporarily laid-off workers hit a 25-year as of December.

Filed under: Andrew Torgan • Economy • Finance • Gasoline Theft • Oil • Unemployment • Wall St.
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Sharon S


    I think you have some good ideas I totally agree with the fact that too many of these people have been in office way too long, look at Ted Kennedy just as one!
    It gets old they know how to play the game they get jaded and tired and just go along and forget why they were there in the first place!

    And frankly I would prefer to elect people who are not born into wealthy families, why can't we elect normal people who worked for everything they have? I'm sick of all these politicians who were born wealthy they have no way of relating to most of America because they were not brought up like us! The one Thing I give Obama he was not born wealthy so maybe he does understand more of how we feel about things but people like Ted Kennedy he needs to retire and take care of his health!

    March 11, 2009 at 8:02 pm |
  2. ELIZA, AC360°

    This has become my daily fix.

    March 11, 2009 at 1:55 pm |
  3. Bostonian

    Here are a couple of radical thoughts/ideas for our Senators/Representatives

    1) Let's all demand that we set ' term limits' on these Senators/Representatives(who supposedly represent the people...yeh right).

    Currently a senator's term is 6 years, let's demand that no senator can be elected to office beyond 2 continuous terms(possibly can get back in after a break of 10 years).

    Similary a house representative's term is 2 years, let's demand that no representative can be elected to office beyond 5 continuous terms(possibly can get back in after a break of 10 years).

    This would give an opportunity to the younger generation to participate in our democracy. This would certainly end the practice of lobbying.

    2) We should demand that all current Senate/Representatives and their staff should take a pay/salary cut effective immediately, to demonstrate solidarity with the people of this country that are suffering, due to loss of jobs/homes etc.

    March 11, 2009 at 1:37 pm |
  4. Josh D.

    everything financially is just a mess, what the economy needs is consumer confidence (amongst other things i.e. Another Stimulus Check). Everybody is afraid, well to that I treat this like any other time and I'm doing well enough to enjoy life. I realize the importance of supporting and I regularly do my shopping at stores. I admit that I haven't been spending as much due to lack of hours at work but nonetheless we need to get out there and buy and also get our government, who gets pay increases and pork-barrel bonuses regularly, to actually do something and moderate the banks. They can at least get up once in a while.

    JMD. Colorado Springs,CO.

    March 11, 2009 at 1:26 pm |
  5. earle,florida

    If it weren't for the "Short Sellers",this financial debacle could have gone on for at least another year,thus almost creating a catastrophic event never seen in our "Financial Banking System's" history! Just think of short sellers as," necessary garbage/vaccum cleaners" cleaning up the systems bad guys (actually doing the regulators work for them)! Now,so as not to confuse the," up-tick rule" being reinstated with short-sellers, is like comparing apples with oranges. The up-tick rule was in part ,one of the integral parts of our financial downfall for hedge-funds could basically run the company into the ground,with said companies having no recourse. Think of it as the Limit-Up/Limit Down Parameters Wall Street inacted after the Asian Crises. JMHO(:

    March 11, 2009 at 1:24 pm |
  6. Braiden Harvey

    Maybe more news is Coming.

    Braiden Harvey

    March 11, 2009 at 1:06 pm |
  7. Savannah

    In relation to the stock market; it has to get worse before it can get better.

    March 11, 2009 at 12:39 pm |