Archive for the ‘stock market’ Category

Longer recession blues as more jobs are lost in USA

December 5, 2008

As the first week of December ends, Americans are bracing for bleaker economic news today as the report of joblessness from last November will be released by the Labor Department.

From October’s 6.5%, the unemployment rate is expected to rise to about 6.8% as more pink slips for laid-off workers, estimated to be about 320,000, are issued as the Christmas holiday closes in.

“Just in recent days, household names like AT&T Inc., DuPont, JPMorgan Chase & Co., as well as jet engine maker Pratt & Whitney, a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp., and mining company Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. announced layoffs.”—AP (12/05/08, Aversa, J)

It is said that since the start of the year 1.2 million jobs have been lost. It is feared that this can further aggravate the financial woes being suffered by the three big US auto companies: General Motors Corp (GM,) Chrysler LLC and Ford Motor Co.

Partly due to confusion, anger, and lack of knowledge, ordinary Americans are divided if bail outs of these companies are the solution to the problem. Capitol Hill is still weighing in whether to give the $34 billion asked for by the auto industry managers for their company’s survival.

The guarantee of tax-payers’ money to rescue these failing companies are the last that Americans want, but they seem to have little options. With a national debt of about $10.7 trillion dollars, America still talks big about money and spending. There are those who have been not been roused to the reality that the economy is truly in bad shape.

But, the conscientious public is thinking whether the nation can afford the extravagance, greed, and recklessness its leaders and citizens have been used to. In spite of assurances, the competence and ethical integrity of those running America are now being questioned. The issue of confidence in the American system is causing ripples in business circles worldwide.

As predicted by many business analysts, USA is likely to be stuck for a long haul in a deep recession whose post-war average duration is 10 months, the longest at 16 months. This December marks the 12th month of the current recession whose existence has been muddled for sometime by economic experts until just recently.

At the disclosure of the recession, President-elect Barack Obama announces a 2.5 million job generation plan which may cost the government $500 billion to finance. The staggering amount make the ordinary citizens dizzy as the new administration is headed for a glittery inaugural bash in January 20, 2009.

Confidence on America’s leaders has been under the cloud of doubt since the down-turn of the stock market and the failure of banking and housing industries. Next comes the the auto industry. The fall-out of these economic troubles to the world in spite of optimistic assurances isn’t completely known, but many are hurting and many more are going to be hurt. (Photo Credits: =0=

RELATED BLOGS: “Mr. Fix & the tall challenge to keep USA & the world to believe that we can quickly come out of the financial mess” Posted by mesiamd at 11/22/2008; “Like Filipinos, Americans Have Money Troubles Too!” Posted by mesiamd at 7/16/2008

Worsening US financial crisis spreads overseas

September 29, 2008

The Asian markets open today with grim news that the Dow Jones industrials plunged 780 points after the US government failed to pass the $700 billion bail-out package that is hoped stabilize the floundering economy. Today’s trading is expected to be bad overseas. With little time to waste, Capitol Hill is back to rewrite a bill that is deemed vital in averting a domino-effect in cash-strapped financial institutions threatened by bankruptcies.

But Wall Street found further reason for worry overseas, as the fallout from U.S. economic problems keep spreading. Three European governments agreed to inject Fortis NV with a $16.4 billion bailout. Fortis, with has headquarters in Brussels, Belgium and Utrecht, Netherlands, is Belgium’s largest retail bank.

The British government, meanwhile, said it is nationalizing mortgage lender Bradford & Bingley, which has a $91 billion mortgage and loan portfolio. It was the latest sign that the credit crisis has spread beyond the U.S. “—-AP (09/129/08,Paradis,T)

Americans, skeptical of the political maneuverings in the Congress, are enraged by the uncertainty Wall Street has placed their jobs, savings, homes, investments, and retirement plans. With few options in sight, they wait for the government to shore-up the economy with the bail-out proposal whose final result is unclear. The public seems inclined to focus on a solution for now, but the blame is trickling in, highlighting the greed, negligence and corruption. =0=

With market still bleeding, corporate greed blamed for financial woes in Wall Street

September 17, 2008

With last week’s unprecedented government bail out of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, the United States and the financial world are finding ways to avoid further meltdown in Wall Street. Spooked by financial uncertainties, money institutions are finding ways to avert market collapse.

American International Group Inc. (AIG,) the largest insurance company of the world, suffered losses as its shares fell down 92% after fool-heartedly insuring risky bonds. The Federal Reserve had to loan $85 billion to save the company from financial ruin which could disrupt markets and put the economy in jeopardy if its losses aren’t contained. This is in addition to the Treasury Department’s commitment to infuse up to about $100 billion in funds to the Fannies, America’s top mortgage lenders to keep them from going insolvent. Merrill Lynch, Bear Stearns, and Washington Mutual suffer money problems too, feeding uncertainty, confusion, fear and distrust in the banking system. At this point it is unclear whether these measures will reverse the on-going bleeding in the market.

To where this economic woes will end is anybody’s guess. For ordinary citizens, the uncertainties that shake the market bring new realities and offer opportunities to reassess where their investments will go. In spite of their efforts to improve their finances, people have been gripped with scary concerns about jobs, higher taxes, social security, healthcare, retirement and the future in

The financial crisis had been predicted since the Clinton administration. When the stock market slumped in 2000, the housing market boom that followed built unrealistic expectations and over-taxed the lending system. After a long run of profitable home buying and selling, prices slumped in 2006 and continued to the fall thereafter. In the midst of mounting mortgage debts, many borrowers were unable to pay their loans, forcing them to default. The accrued losses quickly mounted, triggering the current financial crisis.

The crisis caused by multifactorial reasons didn’t happen overnight and the blame is shared in many fronts. Corporate greed of Wall Street is partly responsible. CEO’s and money managers, pandering on their interests, rake astronomical profits in overseeing stocks and investment funds to the disadvantage of regular shareholders. Government regulators were remiss in protecting the public when they did little to restrict flagrant money lending schemes and shady business deals of corrupt opportunists.

The Congress on the other hand had been slow in updating the laws that regulate the business of Wall Street. Loans in banks were approved by mortgage lenders in spite of the borrower’s questionable ability to pay. The bullish optimism among house-buyers had caught them ill-prepared for the ups and downs of the market. Investigation and prosecution of corporate malfeasance and abuses had been inadequate.

To promote stability, the government has little choice but to bail-out the floundering companies at the expense of tax payers. To clean up the mess, it has to recognize the weaknesses and failures of the system that lacks oversight. With a huge trade deficit, America needs a correction and tougher regulations in the financial markets to avoid further damage to the economy.

The adverse effects of this economic downturn have serious repercussions on the economies abroad. There is volatility of stocks traded abroad. There is worry across Europe, Asia and Russia. If the confidence to USA’s financial institutions weakens or altogether lost, economies worldwide will suffer affecting the most, the poorest nations.

axpayers, shareholders of investments and portfolio owners have to foot the bills to keep the economy going. They scramble for solutions to counter depreciation of homes and restore confidence in doing business. They need to bring back the profits in the stock market, lower the cost of borrowing, and stimulate the growth of businesses.

Yet new policies instituted by the emergence of global economy stand on the way. Saddled with debts and the on-going war on terrorism, the US finds itself in weaker economic footing now than in the past. If the American economy suffers further and reversal of the financial turmoil comes late, a possible worldwide recession can result to social and political instability.

The lessons learned from past hardships—the great depression and the world wars however make Americans resilient and hopeful. As they watch the events unfold, they try to find a wiggle room to solve their problems to escape the worst. The Bush administration is doing unprecedented measures to do just that, though its choices for solution are pretty limited. Photo Credits: Gingerbugjones; BeebsandChi; Steely.scott)=0=