Marketplace Scratch Pad

Morning Reading

Scott Jagow Dec 4, 2009

Good morning. Finally, a jobs report we can call encouraging. After months and months of substantial losses, the job market flattened out in November. And the unemployment rate actually dropped.

Read the whole report here:

The unemployment rate edged down to 10.0 percent in November, and nonfarm
payroll employment was essentially unchanged (-11,000), the U.S. Bureau of
Labor Statistics reported today. In the prior 3 months, payroll job losses
had averaged 135,000 a month.

TARP working out better than expected. Or not. (LA Times):

The TARP fund may break even, that is, on its first and biggest use of taxpayer money: investing billions — $205 billion as of Monday — directly in banks…

One expert, however, predicts the TARP fund will end up as much as $150 billion in the red because of losses on additional uses that the Bush and Obama administrations found for the program’s money.

Why Wells Fargo hasn’t paid the taxpayers back (Fortune):

…Wells has a thinner capital cushion than its rivals and a lot of loans in California, whose cities have some of the nation’s highest unemployment and foreclosure rates.

It also has promised to repay its borrowings in a “shareholder-friendly” way. That’s Wall Street code for “we aren’t planning more stock sales” — at a time when the feds want big banks to have as much cushion as possible.

So don’t expect Wells to follow Bank of America’s lead any time soon.

Why many home modifications fail (New York Times)

The bad Ben Bernanke bet (Infectious Greed)

The estate tax explained: Who it hits and who it doesn’t (NPR):

“After someone dies, and someone comes in and steals from them, we consider that reprehensible, that’s just despicable,” he said. “But when the government comes in — because we have the power to pass laws and legalize theft — it’s OK.”

NBC-Comcast deal could reshape the media landscape (PBS NewsHour)

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