The Market: Limping Along
As the nation waited for the Supreme Court’s ruling on health care, there was a reprieve (though only partial) from economic anxiety.
Let’s get the bad news over first: The Federal Reserve said Wednesday that the economy would continue to limp along: It predicted that unemployment, which is at 8.2%, is not likely to change much by year’s end and again pushed down long-term interest rates, which are already at record lows, in order to encourage spending.
Happily, Europe (and the world) relaxed a bit after Greece’s Sunday elections brought to power a pro-bailout coalition government, forestalling a messy exit of Greece from the euro zone. Meanwhile, two independent analyses of Spain, whose economy is also sputtering, determined the country will need nearly $80 billion in fresh funds to absorb losses in the coming years.
On our shores, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon testified about the bank’s multibillion-dollar trading loss to lawmakers in two sessions, not revealing much new in the process, but prompting Massachusetts Representative Barney Frank to order him to “stop filibustering.”
Meanwhile, the largest insider trading scandal to date took down another bigwig: Rajat Gupta, a former honcho at corporations including McKinsey & Co., Goldman Sachs and Proctor & Gamble, who will be sentenced in October. Finally, the Facebook IPO debacle prompted lawmakers to petition the SEC to overhaul the IPO process to help small investors.
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