December 22nd, 2009
11:37 AM ET

Financial Dispatch: Not so fast

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/09/21/politicians.sex.scandals/art.eliotspitzer.gi.jpg caption="Don't miss Christine Romans' interview with former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer."]

Gene Bloch
Managing Editor
CNN New York

Third time’s a charm, unless you’re talking about GDP estimates. The federal government today downwardly revised its estimate of how fast the economy grew in the third quarter. The Gross Domestic Product grew at an annual rate of 2.2% in the July through September period, the figure’s third and final revision. The number is smaller than expected and it represents a sharp decline from the original number reported two months ago – a gain of 3.5% (the number was revised last month to a gain of 2.8%).

Still it was the first quarter of growth we’ve seen after four straight quarters of contraction, and the best reading in two years. The growth has led many economists to speculate that the recession is over.

Christine Romans has a great interview with former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer. He’s speaking out about big banks, big bonuses and the financial crisis.

Spitzer criticized the recent meeting between President Obama and major bank CEOs, telling Christine that they weren’t pressured enough to be forthcoming about what they’re getting paid and how they justify that.

Existing home sales jumped by a much strong-than-expected 7.4% in November, as billions of federal aid to homeowners trying to avoid recession poured in. Prices continue to fall, but the National Association of Realtors says the price decline was the smallest in two years.

President Obama focuses again on the economy meeting with CEOs of small and community banks, and he’s expected to urge them to increase lending.

Later in the day the President meets with members of the National Economic Council.

And we’re keeping track of how retailers are doing so far this holiday season – the early numbers for last week are not good. On a same-store basis, a key index from the International Council of Shopping Centers and Goldman Sachs was up 0.6 last week from the prior week, and up just 0.4% from the sale period a year ago. It’s seen as confirmation that sales are weak and last weekend’s northeast blizzard took a bite out of sales. A lot is riding on the next few days as we approach Christmas.

On CNNMoney:

Obama’s Main Street favorites: What do 6 entrepreneurs the President has highlighted in past speeches think about health care reform?

Meet the hardest working Santas (Jessica Dickler)

Three ways to invest a $50,000 windfall (Money Magazine’s Ask the Expert)

Filed under: Economy • Eliot Spitzer • Finance • Gene Bloch
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