The Federal Reserve said on Wednesday in the Feds Beige Book, that the
U.S. economy continued to grow at a 'modest to moderate pace' over the
last month. The term is the same adjective used to describe the economy
in the prior two reports. Every region covered by the Fed's 12 districts
grew, ranging from 'modest' in the Cleveland and St. Louis regions to a
'faster pace' in the Kansas City area.
The U.S. Treasury Department reported Wednesday that the U.S. government
ran a budget deficit of $198 billion in March. The March figure pushed
the deficit up to $779 billion for the first six months of fiscal 2012.
The deficit for the first half of fiscal 2012 is lower than the one
recorded in the same period in 2011, but the government remains on track
to post another deficit of more than $1 trillion for the entire 2012
Boston Federal Reserve Bank President Eric Rosengren on Wednesday said
prime money-market funds, which make up a big chunk of the $2.7 trillion
industry, have structural problems that could amplify a future
financial crisis if further reforms are not adopted. "Some prime funds
have taken on significant credit risk - at times incurring losses that
necessitated the support of the parent or sponsor of the fund, and in
one case substantial government support," said Rosengren. The Securities
and Exchange Commission may soon propose new capital restrictions on
money funds, coupled with limitations or fees on redemptions by
consumers or other money fund purchasers. Rosengren added that with
'appropriately calibrated' capital and redemption policies. the
incentive for investors to run would be greatly reduced. The move would
reduce the risk that investors would not receive the full value of their
redemptions, he added. Comments from Rosengren come after Fed chairman
Ben Bernanke on Monday evening reiterated his concerns about money
On Wednesday, Kansas City Fed President Esther George said the most
important step in restoring market discipline to the financial system
would be to eliminate too-big-to-fail policies, including taking
advantage of a provision in the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act that would force
divestitures or termination of new activities within 180 days if a
financial holding company isn't well managed or capitalized. George also
said bank capital standards, in particular leverage requirements tied
to equity capital, need to be strengthened as she fretted about the
lengthy transition period of Basel III. Risk-based capital standards is a
concern of George because banks are quick to arbitrage whatever
standards there are and because it is hard to say risk weights have been
accurate measures of risk. George supported the implementation of the
Volcker Rule and added there may be more financial activities that are
incompatible with public safety nets.
The U.S. Labor Department said Wednesday that the prices paid for goods
imported into the U.S. climbed higher by 1.3% in March, mainly because
of higher oil costs. Compared to a revised 0.1% decrease in February,
import prices in February were originally reported up 0.4% and fuel
costs surged higher by 4.3% as the price of oil soared. Excluding fuel
prices, import prices rose by only 0.3% last month. The price of U.S.-
made goods exported to other nations, rose 0.8% in March.
President Barack Obama on Wednesday touted the controversial and, in
many quarters unpopular, 'Buffett rule' that would force the wealthiest
Americans to pay taxes at the very least at the same rate as regular
wage earners. In a twist aimed to needle conservative opposition, Obama
said the principle was once supported by a 'wild-eyed socialist,
tax-hiking, class warrior' named Ronald Reagan, who once said it was
'crazy' that loopholes allowed millionaires to avoid paying their share
of taxes. Congress should approve the so-called Buffett Rule, President
Barack Obama reiterated on Wednesday, keeping up a push for what he
calls tax fairness. The rule, named after Berkshire Hathaway chairman
Warren Buffett, would require millionaires to pay at least 30% of their
income in taxes before charity. Speaking in Washington, Obama said a
vote next week in Congress is an opportunity for lawmakers 'to stand up
for the middle class and make the tax system fair'.
On Wednesday, Tim Fox, a judge in Arkansas, slapped Johnson &
Johnson with a fine of more than $1.1 billion following a jury ruling
that the company's Janssen subsidiary hid risks associated with
Risperdal, an antipsychotic drug. Judge Fox found that Johnson &
Johnson committed about 240,000 violations of the state's Medicaid fraud
law, one for each Risperdal prescription issued to Medicaid patients
over a 31/2-year period, with each violation carrying a $5,000 fine.
Johnson & Johnson said it was 'disappointed' with the decision and
plans to appeal.
Sign up today for a one week trial to our Day Trading Rooms for stocks,
futures or forex plus, Weekly Swing Trades for stocks. Professional
Training Programs available for stocks, futures and forex traders.
Stock calls focus on NYSE, NASDAQ and AMEX. Futures calls focused on YM,
NQ and ES. Forex calls focused on New York trading session include
GBPUSD, USDCAD, USDJPY, EURUSD, GBPJPY, USDCHF, EURJPY, EURAUD, AUDJPY,
CHFJPY, EURCAD, GBPCAD and AUDUSD.
Detailed historic performance available on our Market Commentary section.
Monthly Trading Lesson provides new trading subject every month.
Opt-in to our free Weekly Market News sent via email, first trading day
of the week. Includes recap of markets from previous week as well as
active stocks plus, see what is ahead for the upcoming trading week.
Register now for our Free Chat Rooms - penny stocks, options, stocks,
futures and forex! Chat with other traders during off-peak market hours.