Monday, April 6, 2009

Quick Notes & Articles of the Day - April 6

Treasury Extends Deadline for Toxic Asset Plan - Fund managers will now have until April 24 to submit bids to the Treasury Department to participate in the public-private investment program to buy toxic assets from banks. The government extended the deadline to give more companies a chance to apply, and said it would consider firms that don't meet the standard of having $10 billion in assets under management. "Participation criteria will be viewed holistically -- failure to meet any one criterion will not necessarily disqualify a proposal," the Treasury said.

Ford Reduces Debt by $9.9 Billion - Ford said it reduced its debt by $9.9 billion, lowering its annual interest expense by more than $500 million as the struggling auto maker continues to resist going to the U.S. government for aid. Ford and Ford Credit will use $2.4 billion in cash plus 468 million shares of Ford common stock to reduce Ford's outstanding debt by $9.9 billion from $25.8 billion at Dec. 31. "The successful debt restructuring, together with previously announced agreements with the United Auto Workers, will substantially strengthen Ford's balance sheet," the auto maker said. "Ford is taking another step toward creating an exciting, viable enterprise," said Ford President and CEO Alan Mulally.

Oil Drops - Crude oil fell early Monday after last week's surge at the end. It seems that investors are trying to calculate the optimism over signs of recovery in the U.S. economy in the absence of any data. Crude oil dropped $0.76 to $51.74 a barrel.

Gold Falls as Optimism Sweeps the Globe - Gold futures fell early Monday for a third straight session. The fall has wiped out the gains for the year as hopes the global downturn may be bottoming out reduced the metal's appeal as a safe haven. Gold fell $14.30 (1.6%) to $881.30 an ounce. Gold has lost nearly 5% since April 1 and is now down slightly for 2009.


The Return of Jumbo Mortgage - By Amy Hoak - The Wall Street Journal - "Jumbo mortgages became more expensive and harder to come by as the nation's credit crisis deepened. That might be starting to change. 'Jumbo' refers to mortgages that are too large to be bought by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae. The 'conforming loan limit' for those government-backed entities is $417,000 in many parts of the country, but goes up to $729,750 in high-cost areas of the continental United States."

From Bubble to Depression? - By Steven Gjerstad and Vernon Smith - The Wall Street Journal - "Why the housing crash ruined the financial system but the dot-com collapse did not."

Sources: The Wall Street Journal, Marketwatch, CNBC

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