Marketplace Scratch Pad

Morning Reading

Scott Jagow Apr 14, 2009

Retail sales were down in March and stocks are down this morning. But Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke sees signs of recovery. Other things to read:

Goldman Releases Earnings Early; Has World Gone Crazy? (Seeking Alpha)
…”reflecting strength across most businesses, including record results in interest rate products and commodities.” Wonder if GS’s AIG CDS unwind trades falls into this group? (never mind, that is rhetorical)

TARP the Life Insurers? This Is Nuts (Real Clear Markets)
While commercial banks of all sizes are increasingly profitable and want to pay back their TARP money, the Treasury Department is now proposing to extend bailout funds to life-insurance companies, most of which are in no danger of failing. And for those that are in danger, surely it’s time for a bankruptcy proceeding instead of more taxpayer money.

Has the economy turned the corner? (The Telegraph)
So where are we? Probably at the start of the process of turning the corner. That can happen quite quickly in the capital markets and much less so in the real economy. In equity markets, rallies similar to the current one are likely, based on what might be called the reduction of extreme pessimism.

The Biggest Cause of the Financial Crisis (Motley Fool)
A few weeks ago, we set out to determine who deserved the most blame for this financial mess we’re in … March Madness style. Sixteen contenders competed in our blame bracket. Now, only one remains to claim the agony of victory.

New plan for GM may put government at odds with creditors (Daily Finance)
But the one thing that the government will not control is what a sitting judge will decide about the rights of labor, creditors, and suppliers in a Chapter 11 proceeding. That could wreck whatever plans Uncle Sam has for GM’s future.

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