Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Interesting tidbits

Feldstein: Recession likely to linger into next year

There is a good chance the U.S. will need to implement a second economic stimulus as the recession persists beyond this year, said economist Martin Feldstein, a member of President Barack Obama's Economic Recovery Advisory Board. The Harvard University professor said he does not know when the recession will end, but "the forecasts that it'll end later this year, I think, are too optimistic." Reuters.
No argument here on that.

S&P downgrades Berkshire Hathaway's ratings outlook

Berkshire Hathaway's ratings outlook was lowered from stable to negative by Standard & Poor's. The rating agency attributed the change to a drop in capital for Berkshire's insurance operations that came as a result of the stock market's decline. The Wall Street Journal.
Fitch was ahead on this one on 3/12.

Unexpected inflation spike hits U.K. economy
In a development that economists did not anticipate, inflation in Britain rose to 3.2% in February, driven primarily by food prices. Experts had expected a 2.6% increase for the consumer-price index.

The U.S. Treasury's plan for removing troubled assets from the balance sheets of banks will likely force those institutions, including Bank of America, Citigroup and Wells Fargo, to take substantial write-downs, analysts and executives said. The losses might force the banks to raise additional capital from investors or taxpayers. "The unspoken fear here is that selling off loan portfolios would lead to more government capital injections into major banks," one bank executive said. Financial Times.
Sound somewhat familiar?

Fidelity creates fund for commodity stocks

Fidelity Investments plans to launch Tuesday an equity fund that invests in the stocks of companies in agriculture, energy and metals, both within the U.S. and worldwide. The Fidelity Global Commodity Stock Fund will offer adviser- and retail-class shares. Unlike many commodity funds that invest in derivatives, this fund will buy stocks.

So expect stocks of these three categories of companies to pop while Fidelity ramps up the holdings of these funds.

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