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Easy Street

Easy Street: April 27

Heidi Moore Apr 27, 2011

Easy Street is Marketplace’s daily roundup of the most interesting news stories and commentary about Wall Street, Washington and the curious world of finance.

Top Story: Fedstock

Yes, Fedstock: That’s Woodstock for Federal Reserve watchers. Today was the most exciting day in all of recent financial history, because the Federal Reserve held its first post-statement press conference. Everyone had something to say about it! Here are the best:

What the Fed said, in decoder-ring form: Marketplace contributor Jill Schlesinger has a great, accessible conversation with experts, breaking down today’s meeting.

Play-by-play: In case you didn’t DVR it, the Journal’s Real Time Economics live-blogged the event.

Traders agree: Which means it may be time to worry. But Wall Street is betting it will take at least two more Fed meetings before the central bank even starts to think about raising interest rates.

B+: Pimco portfolio manager gives The Bearded One a more than passing grade.

Long-term unemployment: Our problem and every other country’s.

When the dollar cries: The greenback dove downward after today’s Fed press conference.

Your questions: Today I talked with Brian Lehrer about the Fed meeting. Listeners called in and compared banks with gangsters and grasshoppers.

The Other Top Story: Berkshire Hathaway

Illegal: Warren Buffett’s former heir apparent, David Sokol, was damned with that one word. The Berkshire Hathaway board said he bought shares of a company that he then convinced Berkshire to buy.


Mergers: Exelon is considering a $7 billion-plus acquisition of Constellation Energy.

Related: Exelon would be able to start developing some energy projects that Constellation is currently too poor to contemplate.


Mortgage putbacks: An area in which Bank of America is “in an unfortunate league of its own.”

Hedge Funds

Riot grrrls: Women actually shine in the hedge-fund world.

Recreational Reading

Is Capitalism Moral?: Discuss.

Related: Is Capitalism Immoral? An oldie from 2008.

America, land of insiders: Credit-default swaps are contracts that allow traders to bet against companies or countries – like, say, the United States. There was a big spike in US CDS just before S&P announced that it was going to downgrade us (in two years, if we didn’t pull it together.) This strongly suggests that people in the markets were tipped off about the S&P event.

Fine print: The Supreme Court said today that companies can protect themselves from class-action lawsuits by throwing a little more legalese in there.

Turn on the Goo Goo Dolls: U.S. home ownership has fallen to 1998 levels.

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