Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Monday, September 29, 2008
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke say that a recession is "unavoidable" if the Wall St. bailout bill isn't passed, while the Senate Banking Committee calls the proposed $700 billion plan "unacceptable." As a refresher, let's review one of my all-time favorite School House Rock segments on how exactly a bill is passed...
Veteran journalist and author Nancy Hicks Maynard died this past Sunday after a long illness. Maynard was a staunch advocate for newsroom diversity. In 1968 at the age of 23, she became one of the youngest reporters and the first black woman to report for the Metropolitan staff for the New York Times, and went on to a life of outstanding and distinguished work for the Times, New York Post, and occasionally the McNeil-Lehrer News Hour, before co-founding The Maynard Institute for Journalism Education.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Let's just recap the timeline of events from this year on Wall St.:
- February 2008: The U.S. Congress approves a 150-billion-dollar spending package to stimulate the economy.
- March 2008: On the verge of collapse and under pressure by the Federal Reserve, the U.S. central bank, Bear Stears is forced to accept a buyout by U.S. investment bank JPMorgan Chase at a fire-sale price. The deal shakes confidence and sends seismic ripple effects throughout global financial markets.
- July 2008: The California mortgage lender IndyMac collapses.
- September 2008: The U.S. government takes over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The crisis at U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers deepens. Stock prices of other financial institutions also fall sharply, including those of the U.S. investment bank Merrill Lynch, the insurance giant American International Group (AIG), and Washington Mutual, the largest U.S. savings and loan bank.
- September 15, 2008, 'Black Monday': The investment bank Lehman Brothers filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after 158 years in business; Merrill Lynch, the world's largest stock broker agreed to be bought by Bank of America (BoA) for $50 BILLION. And finally, AIG, the world's largest insurance company, searched for ways of raising $40 billion in cash from the FED. Oh, and the Dow closed 500 points lower for the worst point drop in more than seven years...
On the original "Black Monday" (October 19, 1987), the Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted 508 points, losing 22.6% of its total value. The S&P 500 dropped 20.4%. This was the greatest loss Wall Street ever suffered in a single day.
...it's only Monday folks. Strap on your seatbelts 'cause it's going to be a bumpy ride. Next on the docket: stocks continue to fall (investors continue to dump due to a lack of confidence in the market); Washington Mutual and Wachovia, the clock is ticking and more than likely either JP Morgan or Goldman will snatch them.
On the flip side, the price of oil finished below $100 a barrel for the first time in six months...buuut gas prices rose to $4 a gallon in large parts of the South affected by Hurricane Ike.
This is a tragic day folks, and not only will it get worse, but the recession (yes, we are in one) will get deeper and last for the next year. This is what the next President will inherit...think about that this November 4th when you cast your vote.
UPDATE: So according to The Hollywood Reporter, "Fox is ready to revisit if greed is indeed good by pushing anew with its "Wall Street" sequel, titled "Money Never Sleeps."
Monday, September 15, 2008
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Back in 1994, a computer "hiccup" disrupted Nasdaq trades for 2 1/2 hours and caused a slight panic amongst traders. Having interned on Wall St. back in the day for two summers (ForEx, Swiss Francs), I can unequivocally attest to the fact that computers are the heart and soul of Nasdaq and Wall St. by allowing buyers and sellers to post prices and execute trades; billions of dollars are exchanged daily and every second counts. That particular day of computer malfunctions reduced the day's brokerage commissions (and put-off buying that yacht by a week), but fortunately not much else.
Fast-forward 14 years - computers are still wreaking havoc on Wall St. This past Monday (Sept. 8th), an article popped-up on the web that declared that United Airlines had announced that it was filing for bankruptcy and, taken as gospel, sparked a mass frenzy of selling/dumping of UA stock on Wall Street. The problem is, the story was false.
Why or how did this happen? Simple answer: Google search. Google discovered a six-year-old story on the Web site of a South Florida newspaper that did not have a date on it.
When Google found the article via its crawler, it applied the date of the search on that story and posted it on Google news. A reporter for a securities investment firm saw it, took it as being a new story, "United Declares Bankruptcy," punched it into Bloomberg, and it hit Wall Street like a tsunami where within a matter of minutes, more than 15 million shares had traded and United Airlines had lost 75 percent of its value.
Fortunes have been made and lost from rumors on Wall St. for longer than I've been alive, so that in itself is nothing new. What IS new is that these rumors can now be ignited and posted by anyone with a working knowledge of search and/or SEO, and Wall St. Now granted, this had a lot to do with human error, so the fault lies not just on Google; but realist that I am, I have to wonder if this could possibly serve as a blueprint for some unscrupulous bloke who wants to manipulate the system and short a stock (betting that it will go down) by planting a fake story that would cause the stock to crash. And if you had shorted that stock, you could stand to make a lot of money.