Marketplace Scratch Pad

Morning Reading

Scott Jagow Apr 21, 2009

Looks like GM and Chrysler are getting more money from the government. Chrysler will receive half a billion to help tie up a partnership with Fiat. GM will get up to $5 billion to try and restructure out of bankruptcy. Other things that caught my eye:

Bank profits appear out of thin air (Sorkin/NYT)
“Investors reacted by throwing tomatoes. Bank of America’s stock plunged 24 percent, as did other bank stocks. They’ve had enough. Why can’t anybody read the room here? After all the financial wizardry that got the country — actually, the world — into trouble, why don’t these bankers give their audience what it seems to crave? Perhaps a bit of simple math that could fit on the back of an envelope, with no asterisks and no fine print, might win cheers instead of jeers from the market.”

A back door nationalization (WSJ)
“The occasion for this latest nationalization trial balloon is the looming result of the Treasury’s bank strip-tease — a.k.a. “stress tests.” Treasury is worried, with cause, that some of the largest banks lack the capital to ride out future credit losses. Yet Secretary Timothy Geithner and the White House have concluded that they can’t risk asking Congress for more bailout cash.”

When it comes to markets, nothing lasts forever (Allan Sloan/Washington Post)
Numbers can talk. And one of the key indicators of this year’s Fortune 500 — the companies’ stock market value — is absolutely shouting. It’s telling us that nothing is forever, and that people, businesses and governments can no longer depend on rising financial markets to bail them out.

Obama to lean on credit card CEOs (CNN Money)
“The bills would, among other things, ban card companies from abruptly jacking up interest rates and fees and prevent young adults from getting credit cards.”

Robots are narrowing the gap with humans (McClatchy)
“Nevertheless, robots guided by their own computer “brains” now can pick up and peel bananas, land jumbo jets, steer cars through city traffic, search human DNA for cancer genes, play soccer or the violin, find earthquake victims or explore craters on Mars.

At a “Robobusiness” conference in Boston last week, companies demonstrated a robot firefighter, gardener, receptionist, tour guide and security guard.”

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