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  • Fri, Sep 17 2010
  • 4:41 PM » About Those Expiring Tax Cuts . . .
    Published Fri, Sep 17 2010 4:41 PM by The Big Picture
    Dan Gross has written what is likely you will read about the tax cut expiration debate this entire year. I want to excerpt all 5 bullet points — but I would end up posting the entire piece. Points 1, 2 and 3 are the most informative, but point 4 is the most amusing — so that’s the one I will excerpt here: 4) The bold and confident assertions made about the links between tax rates and economic growth, market performance, and prosperity are almost certainly wrong . Turn on CNBC or look at the Wall Street Journal op-ed page these days, and you’ll learn that we must keep tax rates on capital gains, dividends, and income precisely where they are because shifting them to different levels will retard economic growth. Keep this in mind : The people who designed the current, unsustainable tax system promised us that lower marginal rates, and lower taxes on capital and dividends, would boost the economy, promote investment, create jobs, spur market performance, and raise everybody’s income. They were wrong. (It’s no coincidence that these same people also warned us that raising taxes in 1993 would kill market returns and the economy. They were wrong then, too. They’re pretty much always wrong.) As I’ve pointed out, the years under the current tax regime have been a lost decade. Pick your metric—median income, employment, stock market returns, economic growth—the low-tax ’00s sucked. Yet proponents of keeping the tax cuts persist in making the argument: To avoid a repeat of the past decade, we must have the exact same tax policies as we did for the past decade. Shorter version : You suck now, you sucked then, you are highly likely to suck in the future, too! > Source : Five points to keep in mind as Congress debates the Bush tax cuts. Daniel Gross Slate, Sept. 16, 2010
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: The Big Picture
  • 4:41 PM » FHFA Report Shows GSE Loans Outperformed Private-Label MBS Loans
    Published Fri, Sep 17 2010 4:41 PM by National Council of State Housing Agencies
    On September 13, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) data on the Government-Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: National Council of State Housing Agencies
  • 4:41 PM » CoreLogic Predicts Days On Market Could Double
    Published Fri, Sep 17 2010 4:41 PM by Google News
    The real estate analysts at CoreLogic believe that with the tax credit expiring and inventory levels high, properties could take twice as long to sell.
  • 1:35 PM » Consumer Sentiment declines in September, lowest level in a year
    Published Fri, Sep 17 2010 1:35 PM by Calculated Risk Blog
    From MarketWatch: The UMich index declined to 66.6 in September - the lowest level since August 2009 -- from 68.9 in August. Click on graph for larger image in new window. Consumer sentiment is a coincident indicator - and this is further evidence of a sluggish economy. This was a big story in July when consumer sentiment collapsed to the lowest level since late 2009. Now it is even lower ...
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Calculated Risk Blog
  • 1:34 PM » Economists React: What Are Risks of Deflation?
    Published Fri, Sep 17 2010 1:34 PM by WSJ
    Economists and others weigh in on the increase in consumer prices.
  • 1:34 PM » Real Estate News: Fannie and Freddie Are Reluctant Realtors
    Published Fri, Sep 17 2010 1:34 PM by Google News
    Here is a look at real-estate news in today's WSJ:
  • 1:34 PM » About 44 million in U.S. lived below poverty line in 2009, census data show
    Published Fri, Sep 17 2010 1:34 PM by Washington Post
    In the second year of a brutal recession, the ranks of the American poor soared to their highest level in half a century and millions more are barely avoiding falling below the poverty line, the Census Bureau reported Thursday. - - - -
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Washington Post
  • 1:34 PM » Busch: Time for a Bold Move to Save Housing
    Published Fri, Sep 17 2010 1:34 PM by CNBC
    Busch: Time for a Bold Move to Save Housing
  • 1:34 PM » Did You Know: Homeownership by Age Group
    Published Fri, Sep 17 2010 1:34 PM by Google News
    Did you know that national homeownership rate peaked in 2004, but has since fallen in every age group?
  • 10:42 AM » The U.S. Wealth Barbell
    Published Fri, Sep 17 2010 10:42 AM by The Big Picture
    Duly noted in a research piece by Merrill Lynch, the wealth gap continues to widen, poverty grows: The following article caught our attention on the Wall Street Journal Online, “Millionaire Population Soars – Again.” The Wall Street Journal is reporting on a survey performed by Phoenix Marketing International’s Affluent Market Practice. According to the survey, the number of American households with investible assets of $1 million or more rose 8% in the 12 months ended in June. In total, according to this survey, there are more than 5.55 million US households with investible assets of $1 million or more. The millionaire count has now returned to 2006 levels, but is still below the peak reached in 2007 of 5.97 million. In stark contrast to the previous article, the Census Bureau released its annual snapshot of American living standards. The Census Bureau found that the fraction of Americans living in poverty rose sharply to 14.3% in 2009, up from 13.2% previously. This is the highest level since 1994. In total, 43.6 million Americans were living in poverty last year. To read more, check out the Wall Street Journal Online article, “Poverty Rate Rises To 14.3%.” The Census snapshot also indicated that the gap between the best-off and worst-off Americans widened a bit more in 2009, a long-standing trend, but not by much. The top fifth of households accounted for 50.3% of all pre-tax income; the bottom two-fifths got 12%. In 1999, the top fifth claimed 49.4% and the bottom got 12.5% of the income. Have a look at page A1 of the WSJ, “Lost Decade for Family Income.” I hope to have more on the Census Bureau’s just-released report early next week, as it’s chock full of good data (as will be today’s release of the Fed’s Flow of Funds). Suffice to say the news is not good; it is saddening to see the poverty rate on the rise and engulf almost 44 million Americans.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: The Big Picture
  • 8:54 AM » Hotel Occupancy Rate: "Bumpy Week"
    Published Fri, Sep 17 2010 8:54 AM by Calculated Risk Blog
    Hotel occupancy is one of several industry specific indicators I follow ... From The U.S. hotel industry reported a decrease in average daily rate ADR for the first time in 13 consecutive weeks for the week of 5-11 September 2010, according to data from STR. ADR fell 2.0% to US$92.84, occupancy increased 2.7% to 54.2%, and revenue per available room ended the week virtually flat with a 0.7% increase to US$50.32. The following graph shows the four week moving average for the occupancy rate by week for 2008, 2009 and 2010 (and a median for 2000 through 2007). Click on graph for larger image in new window. Notes: the scale doesn't start at zero to better show the change. The graph shows the 4-week average, not the weekly occupancy rate . On a 4-week basis, occupancy is up 7.2% compared to last year (the worst year since the Great Depression) and 5.1% below the median for 2000 through 2007. The occupancy rate has fallen below the levels of 2008 again - and 2008 was a tough year for the hotel industry! Important: Even with the occupancy rate close to 2008 levels, 2010 is a much more difficult year. The average daily rate (ADR) is off 14% from 2008 levels - so even with the similar occupancy rates, hotel room revenue is off sharply. Data Source: Smith Travel Research, Courtesy of
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Calculated Risk Blog
  • 8:53 AM » Warren vows end to "tricks" with consumer agency
    Published Fri, Sep 17 2010 8:53 AM by Reuters
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Wall Street critic Elizabeth Warren said on Friday she accepted the job of setting up a consumer financial protection agency for U.S. President Barack Obama and declared that the time for financial "tricks and traps" was over.
  • 8:52 AM » Reluctant Realtors: Fannie, Freddie
    Published Fri, Sep 17 2010 8:52 AM by WSJ
    Fannie and Freddie face a new challenge: The mortgage-finance giants are becoming two of the nation's largest home sellers at a time when the housing market shows new signs of softening.
  • 8:52 AM » Where’s the Foreclosure Flood?
    Published Fri, Sep 17 2010 8:52 AM by Google News
    Housing analysts and investors—some with piles of cash waiting to pounce on distressed markets—have wondered why the flood of foreclosed properties hasn't materialized.
  • 8:52 AM » Lower Your Expectations for Home Prices, Sales
    Published Fri, Sep 17 2010 8:52 AM by Google News
    How much lower will home prices fall? In a report out Thursday, Moody's Analytics revised its estimate of the coming drop in home prices to 8% from 5%.
  • 8:52 AM » Gold Gains to Record on Haven Demand; Silver Nears 30-Year High
    Published Fri, Sep 17 2010 8:52 AM by Business Week
    Gold climbed to a record for a second day in London and New York as the dollar’s drop spurred demand from investors for wealth protection. Silver advanced to the highest price since March 2008.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Business Week
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