Marketplace Scratch Pad

Morning Reading

Scott Jagow May 8, 2009

Good news, bad news on the job front this morning. The economy lost 539,000 jobs last month
. That’s the lowest monthly total since October. But the unemployment rate shot up to 8.9%, which is the highest rate since September 1983. The reason? Job numbers for February and March were revised upward. Other things to read:

The stress test’s biggest loser: GMAC (Felix Salmon/Reuters)
“Most banks have a healthy amount of capital available to absorb losses — something in the 5% range. GMAC’s resources for absorbing losses appear, by contrast, to be negative. The reason is that it has very little in the way of loan loss reserves, and it also has very little in the way of expected future profitability.”

The rest of us should be very, very afraid (Paul Krugman/NY Times)
“Those are frightening words. They suggest that while the Federal Reserve and the Obama administration continue to insist that they’re committed to tighter financial regulation and greater oversight, Wall Street insiders are taking the mildness of bank policy so far as a sign that they’ll soon be able to go back to playing the same games as before.”

What Keeps Me Awake At Night: Economy Edition (Information Arbitrage)
“The Administration and Congress have clearly taken the path of least resistance. Wiping out of the stockholders and unsecured bondholders of our largest financial institutions would have been a political nightmare, but it would have enabled the market to purge the excesses that our system has wrought over the past decade.”

Obama budget nixes aid for jailing illegal immigrants (The Hill)
“It’s hard to justify getting rid of it honestly,” Krikorian said. “It’s a necessary program because the federal government is reimbursing states and localities for the federal government’s own mistakes.”

Toyota’s first annual loss in 6 decades (USA Today)
Toyota, whose quarterly loss was bigger than General Motors’, also warned Friday that because of the global auto slump its net loss would deepen in the year through March 2010 to 550 billion yen ($5.55 billion) from 436.94 billion yen ($4.4 billion) in the just-ended fiscal year.

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