Wall Street is feeling optimistic after last week and hoping to extend the performance of its stocks and exchange traded funds (ETFs) into the new week. So far, it seems to be succeeding.
Stocks are mostly higher midday, and invesotrs got an extra lift from comments by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, reports Stephen Bernard for the Associated Press. He said on Sunday that the recession could end this year if the government’s program to lift the banking industry is successful.
Industrial output dropped for the fourth consecutive month in February to the lowest level in more than 50 years of record-keeping, reports Martin Crutsinger for the Associated Press. The reported drop of 1.4% was even slightly worse than the 1.2% decline analysts expected. The decline included a 0.7% drop in manufacturing output, which sent the operating rate at U.S. factories to 67.4% of capacity.
Across some industries, there were interesting numbers: production at auto plants rose 10.2% after extended shutdowns; output in the mining industry (which includes gas and oil drilling) fell 0.4%; utility plant production fell 7.7%.
American International Group (AIG) revealed the names of dozens of banks to which it has paid money from the bailout funds it received from the government, reports Mary Williams Walsh for The New York Times. Among the comapnies receiving money are Goldman Sachs (GS), Merill Lynch, Bank of America (BAC), Citigroup (C) and Wachovia. It also listed the 20 largest states, starting with California, that stood to lose money that AIG was holding.
The list came out after pressure from the government after news that the insurer was paying out hundreds of millions in bonuses, to the outrage of many.
The Financial Select Sector SPDR (XLF) is down 34.6% year-to-date.
The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.