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  • Tue, Feb 10 2009
  • 9:32 AM » Obama Says Economic Crisis Comes First
    Published Tue, Feb 10 2009 9:32 AM by Washington Post
    President Obama declared last night in his first prime-time news conference that the task of saving and creating jobs is more important than cultivating the bipartisan cooperation he promised to bring to Washington, and he pressed his case for the massive economic stimulus plan working its way...
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Washington Post
  • 9:31 AM » UBS: $7 Billion Loss; to Cut 15,000 Jobs
    Published Tue, Feb 10 2009 9:31 AM by Calculated Risk Blog
    Press Release: Update: From the WSJ: UBS AG Tuesday reported a narrower fourth-quarter net loss and said it will cut 15,000 jobs by the end of this year in its loss-making investment bank. The confessional is still very busy. And oldie (Source: ) Here is the actually .
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Calculated Risk Blog
  • 9:30 AM » Some Improvement in Bond Market
    Published Tue, Feb 10 2009 9:30 AM by Calculated Risk Blog
    From the WSJ: A growing number of big companies are taking advantage of the thawing credit markets to raise large sums of money at low interest rates, with Cisco Systems Inc. Monday selling $4 billion in bonds ... The big Cisco offering follows a string of successful efforts just in the past five weeks to tap the market for corporate debt. The size of the offering -- and the relatively low risk premiums attached to the bonds -- indicate that investors are hungry for debt from highly rated companies that issue infrequently. ... Cisco's 10-year notes were sold Monday at two percentage points above Treasurys for a yield of 4.979%, while a 30-year portion of Cisco's offering sold for a yield of 5.916%. ... Cablevision Systems Corp. had to pay interest of 9.375% to borrow $500 million on Monday. [10 year notes] ... Other companies are still shut out of the market completely. The following graph shows the spread between 30 year Moody's Aaa and Baa rated bonds and the 30 year treasury. The Moody's data is from the : Moody's tries to include bonds with remaining maturities as close as possible to 30 years. Moody's drops bonds if the remaining life falls below 20 years, if the bond is susceptible to redemption, or if the rating changes. Click on table for larger image in new window. There has been some improvement (decline in spread) in recent weeks, but the spreads are still very high - even for higher rated paper - but especially for lower rated paper like Cablevision.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Calculated Risk Blog
  • 9:29 AM » GM to Cut Salaried Staff by 14%
    Published Tue, Feb 10 2009 9:29 AM by WSJ
    General Motors will shed 10,000 white-collar jobs this year as the auto maker copes with a severe sales slump. Salary cuts are also planned.
  • 9:29 AM » Treasury Aims to Strengthen Banks
    Published Tue, Feb 10 2009 9:29 AM by WSJ
    Financial-rescue efforts have been "inadequate," and the government needs to focus on ways to strengthen banks' balance sheets stronger, Geithner will say.
  • 9:29 AM » UBS Cuts Jobs After $7 Billion Loss
    Published Tue, Feb 10 2009 9:29 AM by NY Times
    Swiss bank UBS announced it would cut about 1,600 more jobs at its investment bank after it posted a $7 billion) loss in the fourth quarter, missing forecasts.
  • 9:11 AM » Mortgage Companies Losing Funding Lines
    Published Tue, Feb 10 2009 9:11 AM by
    Officials say one of the largest privately owned mortgage companies in Mississippi has laid off about 300 employees in several states after Countrywide Financial Corp. froze its line of credit this week
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 9:02 AM » Fannie, Freddie Funding Needs May Pass $200 Billion, FHFA Says
    Published Tue, Feb 10 2009 9:02 AM by Bloomberg
    Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the mortgage-finance companies seized by regulators, may need more than the $200 billion in funding pledged by the U.S. government if the housing market continues to deteriorate, Federal Housing Finance Agency Director James Lockhart said.
  • Mon, Feb 9 2009
  • 4:43 PM » Housing group to protest at executives' homes
    Published Mon, Feb 09 2009 4:43 PM by Washington Post
    NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- A non-profit housing advocacy group said Monday it will rally at the homes of those it calls "financial predators" _ investors and banking executives it says are balking at helping struggling homeowners refinance their mortgages.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Washington Post
  • 4:42 PM » OFHEO Chief: Fighting Foreclosures
    Published Mon, Feb 09 2009 4:42 PM by CNBC
    Insight on how to solve the housing crisis, with James Lockhart, Federal Housing Finance Agency director and CNBC's Jane Wells & Erin Burnett. MEDIA:
  • 4:42 PM » The Republicans' no-bang mortgage plan
    Published Mon, Feb 09 2009 4:42 PM by
    The US government should not – because it cannot – try to determine whether housing prices are too high or too low, write Gary Becker and Edward Lazear
  • 4:42 PM » More than 1,000 banks may fail in coming years, analyst says
    Published Mon, Feb 09 2009 4:42 PM by Market Watch
    More than 1,000 banks may fail during the next three to five years as the recession intensifies and loan losses climb, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets estimates.
  • 12:29 PM » Mortgage fraud increases in 2008
    Published Mon, Feb 09 2009 12:29 PM by Google News
    The military in Iraq wasn’t the only thing surging in 2008. Mortgage fraud also reached a new high last year, according to the FraudBlogger Index. Federal investigators have identified an increase in frauds and schemes in the real estate business as well. Mortgage fraud activity that might have otherwise gone undetected was uncovered as falling home prices and rising defaults pushed these crimes to the surface,” said Publisher Sam Garcia. “Although Fraud is being uncovered at an increasing pace, the actual level of fraud on more recent originations has likely tumbled as production has dwindled and lenders have tightened guidelines.” FraudBlogger reports that more than $5 billion in mortgage fraud cases were tracked during 2008. That’s up from $4 billion in 2007. Quarterly activity more than doubled in the fourth quarter over the previous quarter and was nearly 300 percent higher than the fourth quarter in 2007. The ten states experiencing the most mortgage fraud in the final quarter of 2008 were: California with $1,095,840,000 New York with $374,334,000 Florida with $344,634,286 Minnesota with $208,300,000 Nevada with $101,200,000 Virginia with $77,213,822 Texas with $70,000,000 Colorado with $50,800,000 Ohio with $41,469,500 Pennsylvania with $40,800,000 California jumped to the to the top of the list followed by New York, a newcomer to the top ten ranking. Much of California’s increase was tied around 11,000 mortgage fraud investigations reported by the U.S. Attorney in San Francisco. In addition, special agents with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Criminal Investigation division investigate mortgage fraud. These agents an uniquely equipped to investigate such fraud and similar illegal activities because they are skilled financial investigators whose mission is to “follow the money” and collect evidence to prove applicable tax or money laundering violations. Once the investigation is complete, the IRS agents forward their investigation to the Department...
  • 12:23 PM » Geithner Plans to Bring in Private Investment for Toxic Assets
    Published Mon, Feb 09 2009 12:23 PM by Bloomberg
    reasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is seeking to draw investors into the U.S. financial-rescue program, aiming to add private funding as a new component of proposals to address the toxic debt clogging banks’ balance sheets.
  • 12:14 PM » Official: Plan will buy some of banks' bad assets
    Published Mon, Feb 09 2009 12:14 PM by Washington Post
    WASHINGTON -- An administration official said Monday the overhaul of the government's $700 billion financial rescue program is likely to include a partnership with the private sector to buy troubled assets.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Washington Post
  • 12:14 PM » Mortgage Rates Likely Headed to 4.5%: Pimco's Gross
    Published Mon, Feb 09 2009 12:14 PM by CNBC
    Posted By: Government action to shore up the economy and improve the housing climate probably will send mortgage rates to 4.5 percent, Bill Gross, co-CEO at the Pimco bond fund, said Monday. Topics: | | | | | | | | | MEDIA:
  • 11:11 AM » US Financials Rise, Boosted By Banks Ahead Of Rescue Details
    Published Mon, Feb 09 2009 11:11 AM by Market Watch
    Bank stocks carried over a Friday rally Monday morning, rising ahead of details from the latest government plan to rescue the industry and inject capital to the financial system and supporting the broader financial sector. Regional banks Fifth Third Bancorp , Huntington Bancshares Inc. and Regions Financial Corp. headed the list of gainers, each adding more than 10%. Among the larger money center banks, Citigroup Inc. rose 2.8% and Bank of America Corp.
  • 11:00 AM » GM, Chrysler May Face Bankruptcy to Protect U.S. Debt
    Published Mon, Feb 09 2009 11:00 AM by Bloomberg
    General Motors and Chrysler LLC may have to be forced into bankruptcy by the U.S. government to assure repayment of $17.4 billion in federal bailout loans, a course of action the automakers claim would destroy them.
  • 9:47 AM » Sam Zell’s Empire, Underwater in a Big Way
    Published Mon, Feb 09 2009 9:47 AM by
    In 2007, Sam Zell, the billionaire Chicago investor, sold a portfolio of 573 properties he had assembled over three decades, Equity Office Properties Trust, to the Blackstone Group for $39 billion. It was the largest private equity deal in history, but Blackstone did not stop there: it immediately flipped hundreds of the buildings for $27 billion.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 9:44 AM » Barclays Profit Exceeds Estimates; Lehman Off to ‘Strong Start’
    Published Mon, Feb 09 2009 9:44 AM by Bloomberg
    Barclays Plc reported second-half profit that exceeded analysts’ estimates, and President Robert Diamond said the investment bank had an “extremely strong” start to 2009 after buying Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. assets.
  • 9:43 AM » Central Banks Sacrifice Independence as Crisis Grows
    Published Mon, Feb 09 2009 9:43 AM by Bloomberg
    The global financial crisis is forcing the world’s central bankers to surrender some of their prized independence. Regaining it won’t be easy.
  • 9:38 AM » Wells ad slams press accounts on junkets as "nonsense"
    Published Mon, Feb 09 2009 9:38 AM by Reuters
    NEW YORK (Reuters) - After canceling employee outings last week in the face of public indignation over lavish ways on Wall Street, Wells Fargo & Co. went on the offensive in a full-age advertisement in Sunday's New York Times.
  • 9:38 AM » Fannie, Freddie to ease mortgage payments?
    Published Mon, Feb 09 2009 9:38 AM by CNN
    Read full story for latest details.
  • 9:37 AM » Commercial Real Estate Bubble Is Set to Burst
    Published Mon, Feb 09 2009 9:37 AM by Seeking Alpha
    The artificial growth in the housing sector created a pile of excess liquidity in the consumer’s hands. Rising housing prices gave the “something for nothing” crowd the ability to use the growing home equity as a 4 bedroom 2 bathroom credit card. The money was used to make mortgage payments, eat at fancy restaurants, get that new car, and buy everything else you can imagine. As the pile of liquidity grew, the commercial real estate sector followed suit in order to service the fake wealth.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Seeking Alpha
  • 9:35 AM » Fed Lacks Consensus on Treasuries as Yields Rise
    Published Mon, Feb 09 2009 9:35 AM by Bloomberg
    Federal Reserve officials have failed to resolve an internal debate over whether to purchase long-term Treasuries, even as rising yields on the securities threaten to undermine the central bank’s objective of cutting borrowing costs for consumers and businesses.
  • 9:26 AM » Wikileaks releases 6,780 quasi-secret Congressional reports
    Published Mon, Feb 09 2009 9:26 AM by
    Wikileaks calls it: "Change you can download." In a move sure to cause an uproar in Washington, the whistleblower-enabling organization has just posted to its Web site 6,780 taxpayer-funded Congressional Research Service reports that generally see the light of day only when sponsoring officials judge their contents politically beneficial.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 9:22 AM » Bank rescue delay to weigh on stocks
    Published Mon, Feb 09 2009 9:22 AM by Reuters
    NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stocks headed for a lower open on Monday as a delay in the announcement of the Obama administration's bank rescue plan disappointed investors and another wave of poor earnings showed more economic upheaval.
  • 9:22 AM » Beyond Banker-Bashing
    Published Mon, Feb 09 2009 9:22 AM by Washington Post
    If this were a movie, we'd call it "TARP, the Sequel." The Obama administration will soon unveil its plan to bolster the nation's financial system. Given the widespread revulsion to financial "fat cats," the public reception may be underwhelming. But we need to move beyond populist denunciations of "bailing out Wall Street." The purpose of action is more compelling. It is to reverse a massive worldwide credit contraction that's clobbering the real economy of production and jobs.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Washington Post
  • Fri, Feb 6 2009
  • 6:29 PM » The Fed: New consumer loan facility on track to begin this month
    Published Fri, Feb 06 2009 6:29 PM by Market Watch
    A new program to try to get credit flowing for small business and consumers is on track to start later this month, the Federal Reserve says.
  • 6:28 PM » Top Ten: MarketWatch's top stories of the week, Feb. 2-6
    Published Fri, Feb 06 2009 6:28 PM by Market Watch
    Another week, another partisan battle over the economy and how to get it running smoothly.
  • 6:27 PM » Wells Fargo Offers to Reduce Some Wachovia Mortgages
    Published Fri, Feb 06 2009 6:27 PM by Calculated Risk Blog
    From Bloomberg: Wells Fargo ... offered to cut mortgage balances for some Wachovia Corp. customers by 20 percent ... Wells Fargo mailed letters to those borrowers, asking for proof of current income and a 2007 income-tax statement, bank spokeswoman Debora Blume said today in an e-mail. ... “We are encouraged by the response we are getting to our outreach efforts, as it means we will be able to help more people with a solution that works,” Blume wrote. ... San Francisco-based Wells Fargo inherited billions of dollars in future losses when it bought Wachovia for $12.7 billion. Wells Fargo said last week that Wachovia’s option adjustable-rate mortgage portfolio has close to $60 billion of impaired loans. The real cost of the Wachovia purchase was the pending losses on the Wachovia loan portfolio - and most of those losses will come from the $118.7 billion portfolio of “Pick-a-Pay” option ARMs Wachovia acquired in the Golden West Financial acquisition in 2006. The Wells offer is probably mostly to ex-Golden West borrowers. We can be pretty sure that Wells thinks this will minimize their losses on these loans. Remember Wells is also receiving that makes this more palatable (a somewhat hidden bailout from the taxpayers).
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Calculated Risk Blog
  • 6:26 PM » Washington Calendar: Washington events for Feb. 9 - 13
    Published Fri, Feb 06 2009 6:26 PM by Market Watch
    President Barack Obama travels to Elkhart, Ind., for a town hall meeting about the economic recovery plan.
  • 6:25 PM » NewsWatch: Obama sees 'catastrophe' without stimulus plan
    Published Fri, Feb 06 2009 6:25 PM by Market Watch
    Seizing on Friday morning's abysmal jobs report, President Barack Obama says the economic crisis threatens to turn into a "catastrophe" without quick action by lawmakers to approve the massive stimulus plan being debated in the Senate.
  • 6:25 PM » Video-o-rama: Stimulus ad nauseum
    Published Fri, Feb 06 2009 6:25 PM by The Big Picture
    “Stimulus” and “fixing the banks” are the key words dominating this week’s batch of video clips. Although the mood is decidedly gloomy, if not outright doom, good viewing material was produced. A few of the more interesting clips are shared below, with the likes of Robert Arnott (whose Reseach Affiliates is a business partner), Frederic Mishkin, Julian Robertson, Paul Volcker, Carl Icahn, Nouriel Roubini, Martin Wolf, Ron Paul and Jim Rogers in attendance. In lighter vein, this week’s compilation kicks off with Stephen Colbert stimulating the psyche in his own unique way. Colbert Nation: The audacity of nope “If Republicans can’t have a perfect bill to stimulate the economy, they’d rather have no economy at all.” Source: Stephen Colbert, , January 29, 2009. Morningstar: Arnott - where the investment opportunities are Source: , February 3, 2009. Bloomberg: Interview with Oppenheimer’s Meredith Whitney Source: Bloomberg (via ), February 4, 2009. Bloomberg: Mishkin says US must fix banks for stimulus to succeed “Former Federal Reserve Governor Frederic Mishkin talks with Bloomberg’s Kathleen Hays about the need to ‘fix’ the US financial system for President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus package to succeed. Mishkin, an economics professor at Columbia University, also discusses the outlook for the US economy, proposals to rescue banks and Fed policy.” Source: , February 3, 2009. CNBC: Julian Robertson - how to fix the banking mess “Hedge fund legend Julian Robertson, chairman of Tiger Management, and David Roche, of Independent Strategy, discuss the best ways to fix the banking mess.” Source: , January 30, 2009. CNBC: Volcker on regulation “Former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker tells the Senate Banking Committee what he believes needs to be done to modernize the financial regulatory system.” Source: , February 4, 2009. CNBC: Obama & Geithner on executive compensation “President Barack Obama and Treasury Secretary Tim Getihner discuss executive compensation limits for TARP...
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: The Big Picture
  • 6:25 PM » America’s mortgage agencies: Government-sponsored anxiety
    Published Fri, Feb 06 2009 6:25 PM by
    A source of support for banks when markets first crumbled is causing concern THEY no longer hog the headlines, but America’s government-sponsored mortgage agencies, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, continue to rack up huge losses. As they wrestle under government “conservatorship”, fears are also growing over the health of their corporate cousins, the 12 Federal Home Loan Banks (FHLBs), which have so far survived the credit crunch. Fannie and Freddie, in the red for five consecutive quarters, have said in filings that they could need $51 billion of government aid, on top of $14 billion already handed to Freddie. Freddie is in particular trouble, with negative shareholders’ equity of $14 billion on September 30th. ...
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 5:21 PM » Monthly Economic Data from Treasury
    Published Fri, Feb 06 2009 5:21 PM by US Treasury
    US Monthly Economic Statistics
  • 4:08 PM » Geithner to outline U.S. banking fix on Monday
    Published Fri, Feb 06 2009 4:08 PM by Reuters
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner will spell out a "comprehensive plan" on Monday to stabilize the financial system, the Treasury Department said on Friday.
  • 2:34 PM » Bank CEOs taking commercial flights, Amtrak to DC testimony
    Published Fri, Feb 06 2009 2:34 PM by Market Watch
    NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- Take a good look at the guy crammed into the middle seat next to you on a trip to Washington next week: It might just be Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Chairman and Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein. Or it could be Citigroup Inc.'s Vikram Pandit, JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s Jamie Dimon, Morgan Stanley's John Mack, or Bank of America Corp.'s Kenneth Lewis.
  • 2:34 PM » SEC says magnitude of Ponzi schemes growing
    Published Fri, Feb 06 2009 2:34 PM by Reuters
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The frequency of Ponzi schemes is not increasing but the magnitude of the frauds is, a Securities and Exchange Commission official said on Friday.
  • 2:32 PM » PIMCO February Investment Outlook
    Published Fri, Feb 06 2009 2:32 PM by
    The current financial and economic crisis is difficult to appreciate, not only for the drop in elevation, but because of the swiftness of the declines.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

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