Program Note: Tune in to hear more from Ali Velshi tonight on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.
CNN Chief Business Correspondent
President Obama delivered a speech in which he outlined what the government is doing – and has done – to get out of this recession, which is now (I think) in its 17th month. Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke said today that there are "tentative signs" that the economy's slide is slowing, but that a full recovery won't come until the financial sector stabilizes.
Markets are having a rough day, largely because of some economic indicators that show things aren’t all that rosy. Retail Sales for March, as measured by the government, were weaker than expected, after seeing what seemed to be an uptrend. And inflation continues to be lower, as consumer demand fails to pick up.
So where do we stand right now?
Banks are starting to show signs of life, but it may have something to do with the fact that they got low interest money from the government and got to loan it out at higher interest. TARP only has about $135 BILLION left (of $700 BILLION) and there’s no appetite on Capitol Hill to be giving Wall Street more money. BUT, a number of banks (Wells Fargo, Goldman) are talking about giving back their TARP money – this could end up adding $50-$100 BILLION to TARP. Still, we don’t know how this Treasury ‘Bank Plan’ is going to work.
The market has been up each week for 5 straight weeks – pretty impressive by any measure. Will the winning streak end this week? Is this just a “bear market rally” or is it time to get back into this market?
Unemployment is at 8.5% and most (including the administration) expect it to go higher; potentially, millions more jobs may be lost. Unemployment was at 4.9% when the recession started. Best case scenarios have us back down to those levels around 2013.
Housing prices continue to fall. Best case scenario is that they could bottom by the end of this year. Interest rates remain at more than 50 year lows. More houses are being sold, but at lower prices, because there are so many distressed and foreclosed homes on the market.
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
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