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  • Thu, Apr 30 2009
  • 9:14 AM » Personal Income and Outlays, March 2009
    Published Thu, Apr 30 2009 9:14 AM by
    Personal income decreased $34.4 billion, or 0.3 percent, and disposable personal income (DPI) decreased $1.8 billion, or less than 0.1 percent, in March, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Personal consumption expenditures (PCE) decreased $24.2 billion, or 0.2 percent. In February, personal income decreased $24.3 billion, or 0.2 percent, DPI increased $0.2 billion, or less than 0.1 percent, and PCE increased $39.1 billion, or 0.4 percent, based on revised estimates.
  • 9:13 AM » Fresh gains add to markets rally
    Published Thu, Apr 30 2009 9:13 AM by
    A powerful rebound in the world's stock markets gained fresh impetus in spite of poor economic data, deteriorating company results and the threat of a swine flu pandemic
  • 9:12 AM » Real Estate: Rentals and Sales Prices Out of Sync
    Published Thu, Apr 30 2009 9:12 AM by Seeking Alpha
    submits: This simple graph from Nomura reveals how an index of rentals and sale prices for residential properties in the US moved completely out of sync during the first few years of this decade.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Seeking Alpha
  • 9:11 AM » Treasurys dip on economic optimism
    Published Thu, Apr 30 2009 9:11 AM by CNN
    Treasury prices fell Thursday morning as stocks rallied overseas on a growing sense of optimism about the U.S. economy that undermined demand for safe-haven assets.
  • 9:11 AM » Chrysler Bankruptcy Looms as Deal on Debt Falters
    Published Thu, Apr 30 2009 9:11 AM by
    Last-minute efforts by the Treasury Department to win over recalcitrant Chrysler debtholders failed Wednesday night, setting up a near-certain bankruptcy filing by the American automaker, The New York Times's Zachary Kouwe and Micheline Maynard reported, citing people briefed on the talks. Barring an agreement, which looked increasingly difficult, Chrysler was expected to seek Chapter 11 protection [...]
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 9:11 AM » Housing: False Bottom Exposed
    Published Thu, Apr 30 2009 9:11 AM by Seeking Alpha
    submits: DataQuick reported that 135,431 default notices were filed in California during the 1st quarter 2009. This is an all time high since 1992 when DataQuick began tracking default notices. Here are the numbers for comparison: 1Q08: 113,809 2Q08: 121,673 3Q08: 94,240 4Q08: 75,230 1Q09: 135,431 Laws passed in California along with some foreclosure moratoriums slowed default filings last year, creating a false bottom. The current high number of defaults reflects a little bit of catching up by banks but also represents the coming wave of foreclosure activity from the bad loans written in and around 2006. Many of the bad loans from 2006, which had those nice introductory rates, reset to their normal rate in 2008. My bet has been that loans of this kind will take about a year from the time they reset before they become an REO. The current default data seems to be proving up my assumptions. I should have placed that bet! Disclosure: No positions
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Seeking Alpha
  • Wed, Apr 29 2009
  • 8:38 PM » BofA vote ends in ignominous defeat for Lewis
    Published Wed, Apr 29 2009 8:38 PM by
    For Ken Lewis, the Bank of America chief executive who rose to the pinnacle of US finance through his extraordinary organisational abilities, Wednesday's shareholder meeting went dangerously off-script before it ultimately ended in defeat
  • 3:10 PM » Banks urge Senate to reject mortgage relief bill
    Published Wed, Apr 29 2009 3:10 PM by Washington Post
    WASHINGTON -- A dozen financial groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and American Bankers Association, on Wednesday urged every member of the U.S. Senate to reject a key piece of President Barack Obama's plan to keep tens of thousands of Americans from losing their homes.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Washington Post
  • 3:09 PM » Geithner pushes for credit card reform
    Published Wed, Apr 29 2009 3:09 PM by Washington Post
    WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration is pressing for passage of legislation to rein in credit card practices and eliminate sudden rate increases and late fees that have entangled millions of American consumers.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Washington Post
  • 3:09 PM » Report: Loan Servicer Safe Harbor Will Foster Shoddy Loan Mods
    Published Wed, Apr 29 2009 3:09 PM by
    Legislation aimed at providing a so-called “safe harbor” for loan servicers will actually lead to more abuse and shoddy loan modifications, according to a report from Amherst Securities Group. The bill is intended to give loan servicers, including big banks like Bank of America and Citi, breathing room to modify loans more easily without having to [...]
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 3:09 PM » FHA Commissioner Nomination Held Up by Lawsuit
    Published Wed, Apr 29 2009 3:09 PM by
    More shenanigans at the FHA. The nomination of FHA commissioner David H. Stevens was held up yesterday thanks to a lawsuit involving his current employer Long & Foster. The Washington D.C.-based real estate brokerage where Stevens has been president for seven months was accused of violating federal anti-kickback laws through its affiliated lending arm Prosperity Mortgage. Though Stevens [...]
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 11:38 AM » Stress Test: Tangible Common Equity, 3/31/09
    Published Wed, Apr 29 2009 11:38 AM by Google News
    Ahead of official announcements regarding , OA thought we’d publish our latest update for banks’ tangible common equity, a metric that is likely to figure prominently. A recent Reuters said “U.S. regulators want the top 19 banks being stress-tested to have at least 3% [TCE].” In other words, regulators want leverage ratios below 33x.* Surreal, no? That the banking system has grown so bloated that 32x leverage can be considered “healthy?” (For a tutorial on TCE, go to and follow the links at the top.) Anyway, using the 3% Test, the results for the nation’s nine largest banks are mixed…..four pass, five fail. And by the way, this is before “stressing” the balance sheet per future “adverse” scenarios. As you can see, most banks fail the test before they even sit for it… (Click to enlarge) To be clear, this is not a prediction of the government’s verdict. As Jack Ciesielski of points out: “there is no iconic definition of TCE. Treasury may come up with one of their own that takes into account questionable items” so that all the banks pass. That would be totally consistent with … The banks themselves have varied definitions of TCE. The measure is supposed to be the true acid test of bank capital, which means it should be calculated conservatively. ALL intangible assets have to be backed out.* Banks’ own methodology for calculating TCE varies. My calculation is in the “Tangible Common Equity Column;” banks reported figures are in the “reported TCE” column. The “% overstated” column is meant to show which ones have taken the most liberties with their internal calculation. (Interested parties can contact OA via to purchase our data set containing more detailed info about each bank’s calculation methodology, as well as quarterly TCE data and Level 1/2/3 assets dating back to Q1 ‘08.) A huge caveat with this data is that each of these companies has off-balance sheet commitments. Some of them huge. And many have big chunks of “other assets” on balance sheet, some of which may be...
  • 11:37 AM » Manufacturing profits plunge with no rebound in sight
    Published Wed, Apr 29 2009 11:37 AM by Reuters
    BOSTON (Reuters) - Diversified U.S. manufacturers Textron Inc and Rockwell Automation Inc slashed their 2009 profit targets, saying they saw no sign of the global recession ending any time soon.
  • 11:36 AM » A hundred days of hyperactivity
    Published Wed, Apr 29 2009 11:36 AM by
    Buoyant polls and a defecting senator keep Barack Obama in a strong position AFTER 100 days in office, Barack Obama is still enjoying a hectic honeymoon. Despite occasional foul-ups, fully 70% of Americans like him as a person. He scores less well as a president, but not much. A poll by YouGov/Polimetrix for The Economist found that 59% approve of the way he is handling the job. He is much more popular than Congress and slightly more popular than the policies he espouses. So long as this lasts, he is in a strong position to cajole lawmakers into approving his agenda. On Tuesday April 28th his position grew even stronger. Arlen Specter, a moderate Republican senator from Pennsylvania, defected to the Democrats. If the Democrats also win a disputed seat in Minnesota, as seems likely, Mr Specter’s defection would give them a 60-vote supermajority in the Senate. This would make it much easier for Mr Obama to pass his two big domestic proposals: heath-care reform and a cap-and-trade system for curbing carbon emissions. ...
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 11:36 AM » Congress Set to Pass Budget Endorsing Obama's Agenda
    Published Wed, Apr 29 2009 11:36 AM by CNBC
    Congress is set to give President Obama a gift for his 100th day in office: passage of a budget plan that endorses much of his ambitious agenda.
  • 11:36 AM » Retail Stocks: Rebound in consumer spending cheers retail stocks
    Published Wed, Apr 29 2009 11:36 AM by Market Watch
    Retail stocks headed higher Wednesday as Commerce Department data showed a rebound in consumer spending while the U.S. economy contracted again in the first quarter. Jones Apparel Group Inc. shares jumped after the company’s profit excluding items exceeded analysts’ estimates.
  • 10:02 AM » TBAC Meeting Minutes
    Published Wed, Apr 29 2009 10:02 AM by US Treasury
    April 29, 2009 TG-112 Minutes of the Meeting of the Treasury Borrowing Advisory Committee of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association April 28, 2009 The Committee convened in closed session at the Hay-Adams Hotel at 10:30 a.m. All Committee members were present. Acting Assistant Secretary for Financial Markets Karthik Ramanathan welcomed the Committee and gave them the charge. The first item on the charge related to Treasury's short, intermediate, and long term financing needs given recent guidance provided by the Office of Management and Budget and estimates provided by other agencies. Treasury requested the Committee's perspective on debt issuance in consideration of each of these horizons in terms of adjustments to size, frequency, or debt instruments. Assistant Secretary Ramanathan delivered a presentation to the Committee which highlighted current fiscal conditions and potential factors to consider in addressing these issues. Assistant Secretary Ramanathan stated that recent adjustments in the bill and coupon cycles created enough capacity to address market estimates of over $8 trillion in gross Treasury issuance and $2 trillion in net issuance in fiscal year 2009. For comparison, in fiscal year 2008, there was $5.5 trillion in gross issuance and $700 billion in net issuance. Assistant Secretary Ramanathan clearly outlined the path which Treasury has taken over the past 18 months to manage the change in the fiscal situation. Specifically, Assistant Secretary Ramanathan stated that Treasury increased bill financing to address sudden outflows related to economic stability measures and Federal Reserve liquidity initiatives, while at the same layering in predictable increases in nominal coupon issuance to address budgetary trends. Securities were adjusted in terms of frequency on or added to the auction calendar after consultation with market participants regarding supply and demand dynamics and sensitizing financial market to these potential...
  • 9:15 AM » Treasurys rise after GDP report
    Published Wed, Apr 29 2009 9:15 AM by CNN
    Treasurys rose Wednesday morning after the government said the nation's economy suffered a bigger-than-expected drop in the first quarter.
  • 8:59 AM » Before the Bell: GDP data, Time Warner, Qwest in focus
    Published Wed, Apr 29 2009 8:59 AM by Market Watch
    U.S. stock futures pointed higher Wednesday, though they pared gains after the latest figures showed a sharper-than-expected contraction in the U.S. economy in the first quarter.
  • 8:59 AM » 3 Former Officials at Mortgage Firm Charged With Fraud
    Published Wed, Apr 29 2009 8:59 AM by Washington Post
    The Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday charged former top executives at one of the big beneficiaries of the housing boom, American Home Mortgage Investment Corp., with accounting fraud and making false disclosures at the start of the mortgage crisis in early 2007.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Washington Post
  • 7:45 AM » WSJ/NBC Poll: Obama Not Tough Enough on Banks
    Published Wed, Apr 29 2009 7:45 AM by WSJ
    President Barack Obama ’s biggest flaw so far is not cracking down hard enough on Wall Street, the latest shows. While Mr. Obama got overall positive ratings for his job performance from almost seven in 10 of those surveyed, 36% said their most negative feelings stemmed from Obama not being tough enough on banks, companies and Wall Street firms. Coming in at a close second, 31% said he was spending too much and increasing the budget deficit. While Americans’ pessimism about the state of the economy still shone through, there were glimmers of increased optimism scattered throughout. The share who said they were somewhat or very dissatisfied by the economy dropped 10 percentage points to 82%, compared to two months ago. And while just 18% said they were somewhat or very satisfied by the economy, that’s 11 percentage points higher than in February. There was a bit more optimism on personal finances this month too, with 58% saying they were somewhat or very satisfied with their personal financial situation, up from the 50% who said the same two months ago. Meanwhile, 41% said they were somewhat or very dissatisfied with their financial situation. Despite a rising unemployment rate, people’s feelings about their job security didn’t change much since they were last asked about in January. A majority, 68%, said they were somewhat or very satisfied with their security whereas 30% said they were somewhat or very dissatisfied. People said the recession is still hitting them hardest in their savings. About a quarter of those surveyed, the same as when this was asked in December, said drops in the stock market, retirement funds and savings have the biggest economic impact on their families. Second to that, at 22%, they listed job security and wages. As for a potential recovery, Americans were evenly split on predictions for their personal finances. Thirty-eight percent said the worst was over while 39% said it was still to come. More people, 38%, said the economy as a whole would...
  • Tue, Apr 28 2009
  • 2:55 PM » Advance Gross Domestic Product by Industry, 2008
    Published Tue, Apr 28 2009 2:55 PM by
    Downturns in manufacturing, retail trade, and finance and insurance industries were the leading contributors to the slowdown in U.S. economic growth in 2008, according to preliminary statistics on the breakout of real gross domestic product (GDP) by industry from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The economic slowdown was widespread: nearly two-thirds of private industries contributed to the deceleration in real GDP growth.
  • 2:55 PM » Quick Take: Monetary Exit Strategy
    Published Tue, Apr 28 2009 2:55 PM by Google News
    Inflation is nowhere in sight, but could easily pop up in a year or two.
  • 2:23 PM » Senate approves $490 mln to fight mortgage scams
    Published Tue, Apr 28 2009 2:23 PM by Market Watch
    The Senate voted Tuesday to give federal investigators more tools and $490 million to combat mortgage fraud and other scams.
  • 2:16 PM » Wilbur Ross' $1B Bank Bet
    Published Tue, Apr 28 2009 2:16 PM by Business Week
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Business Week
  • 2:15 PM » Rep Frank sees banks TARP-free in a year
    Published Tue, Apr 28 2009 2:15 PM by Washington Post
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. banking system could be free of government money within a year, the powerful chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Financial Services Committee said on Tuesday.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Washington Post
  • 2:14 PM » The CRA and Subprime Lending: Discerning the Difference
    Published Tue, Apr 28 2009 2:14 PM by
    The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) has been under much scrutiny amid the subprime lending bust. Critics of the CRA contend that the law pushed banking institutions to undertake high-risk mortgage lending. A Federal Reserve Board staff analysis finds that the CRA was neither a source nor driver of the housing market's collapse. In this issue of Banking and Community Perspectives, we examine the CRA and its role in the mortgage market and distinguish it from causes of the subprime failure.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 2:14 PM » New Fed plan will help with 2nd mortgages, home equity loans
    Published Tue, Apr 28 2009 2:14 PM by Google News
    . Under this program, the government will pay mortgage servicers $500 upfront and $250 a year for three years if they successfully modify a second mortgage, such as a home equity loan. The Treasury Department says second mortgages are a major problem for at risk and foreclosed properties. These mortgages have created significant challenges for borrowers avoid foreclosure. This is because borrowers trying to get their primary mortgage modified also need the permission of the company holding the second mortgage. According to the AP: Under the new plan: Lenders will get $500 upfront for each modified loan, plus $250 a year for three years as long as the borrower doesn’t default. Borrowers could get up to $1,000 applied to the principal balance of their primary mortgage over five years. , The government would pick up part of investors’ costs as well. Lenders would be given the ability to remove second mortgages entirely in exchange for larger government payouts. A senior administration official told Reuters: See also: is a veteran business journalist and social media consultant. He write the blog , a satirical look at marketing and business.
  • 2:14 PM » 90,000 NYC Apartments At Risk of Foreclosure
    Published Tue, Apr 28 2009 2:14 PM by
    Up to 90,000 apartment units in New York City face the prospect of going into foreclosure, according to remarks from the commissioner of the Department of Housing Preservation Development. Commissioner Rafael Cestero told the City Council Community Development Committee yesterday that 2.6 percent of the city’s apartments, up to 90,000 units, are in danger of foreclosure [...]
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 1:26 PM » Details of Obama Administration's Second Lien Modification Program
    Published Tue, Apr 28 2009 1:26 PM by US Treasury
    The Obama Administration today announced details of new efforts to help bring relief to responsible homeowners under the Making Home Affordable Program, including an effort to achieve greater affordability for homeowners by lowering payments on their second mortgages as well as a set of measures to help underwater borrowers stay in their homes.
  • 11:46 AM » Money market rates continue to fall
    Published Tue, Apr 28 2009 11:46 AM by
    Money market rates have fallen sharply since the start of April month amid increasing signs that banks are starting to lend to each other. Three-month sterling interbank rates, for example, have fallen for 44 days in a row
  • 11:23 AM » Help on Second Mortgages to Be Unveiled by US
    Published Tue, Apr 28 2009 11:23 AM by CNBC
    Posted By: The Obama administration is expected to unveil measures to help homeowners and businesses modify second mortgages as well as primary ones. Topics: | | | | | | | Sectors: | MEDIA:
  • 11:23 AM » In Dubai, Defaults Hit Developers
    Published Tue, Apr 28 2009 11:23 AM by WSJ
    Developers in Dubai are scrambling to prevent a wave of investor defaults as they struggle to survive the city-state's real-estate bust.
  • 11:23 AM » WSJ: Regulators urge BofA, Citi to boost capital
    Published Tue, Apr 28 2009 11:23 AM by Washington Post
    WASHINGTON -- Bank of America Corp. and Citigroup Inc., which have each received $45 billion in government bailout funds, have been told by regulators that "stress test" results show they may need to raise additional capital, The Wall Street Journal said Tuesday.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Washington Post
  • 10:59 AM » Treasury has new mortgage incentives: official
    Published Tue, Apr 28 2009 10:59 AM by Reuters
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Treasury Department will on Tuesday tap a $50 billion housing rescue fund to pay off mortgage investors and reduce monthly payments for millions of borrowers, said a senior administration official.
  • 10:59 AM » Deutsche Bank back in black
    Published Tue, Apr 28 2009 10:59 AM by
    Better trading for many of the German bank's most important debt businesses helped it lift first-quarter net income to €1.2bn, above analysts' expectations
  • 10:59 AM » US Regulators Tell Citi, BofA to Increase Capital
    Published Tue, Apr 28 2009 10:59 AM by CNBC
  • Mon, Apr 27 2009
  • 7:49 PM » What the Fed is considering at this week's meeting
    Published Mon, Apr 27 2009 7:49 PM by Reuters
    CHICAGO (Reuters) - The Federal Reserve meets this week at a time when the U.S. economy has shown some signs of improvement, and the central bank is likely to restate its support for boosting the economy through both conventional and unorthodox means.
  • 5:26 PM » When Countries Go to Zero
    Published Mon, Apr 27 2009 5:26 PM by Seeking Alpha
    submits: I just had coffee with Mohamed El-Erian, who pointed out to me that he didn’t actually push the PPIP plan, as I he did. He just said that the government needed a plan to deal with toxic assets, and that some plans made a lot more sense than others. On the subject of PPIP, though, I did ask El-Erian about how much value there is in clipping tails. If the government promises to absorb all losses beyond the first 15 cents on the dollar, how much does that raise the amount of money you’re willing to pay for any given asset? I was trying, in effect, to come at a value for the FDIC guarantee in the PPIP plan, but I didn’t get very far.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Seeking Alpha
  • 5:26 PM » Statement for Treasury Borrowing Advisory Committee
    Published Mon, Apr 27 2009 5:26 PM by US Treasury
    April 27, 2009 TG-105 Director of the Office of Macroeconomic Analysis Ralph M. Monaco Statement for the Treasury Borrowing Advisory Committee of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association April 27, 2009 U.S.economic activity contracted sharply again at the start of 2009, more than a year after the economy slipped into recession. The housing correction entered its third year, financial market volatility persisted, and credit markets, though improved from the last quarter of 2008, remained impaired. Labor market conditions worsened notably. Over 2 million jobs were lost in the first quarter alone and the unemployment rate climbed to a 26-year high of 8.5 percent in March. The economy is still expected to contract through mid-year as the housing sector continues to adjust and imbalances in financial and credit markets dissipate, but there have been tentative signs that the pace of deterioration is slowing. Most economists see some growth in the second half of 2009, boosted by fiscal stimulus provided by the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) of 2009. Data for growth in the first quarter will not be available until April 29, but economic indicators released thus far suggest that real GDP declined sharply again in the first three months of 2009. In the fourth quarter of 2008, real GDP fell by 6.3 percent at an annual rate – the largest quarterly loss since early 1982. That followed a 0.5 percent decline in the third quarter. Private forecasters are looking for about a 5 percent decline in the first quarter. A sharp drop in consumer spending during the second half of 2008 was largely responsible for the downturn in economic activity. In both the third and fourth quarters, falling real personal consumption expenditures (PCE) accounted for close to 3 percentage points of the decline in real GDP. Consumer spending stabilized early in the first quarter, according to data available through February, and appears to be on track to make a modest positive...
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