Thursday, May 21, 2009

Quick Notes for the Day - May 21

April Leading Economic Indicators Rise - The recession will be less intense in the near term, and there could even be small growth in the second half of the year, the Conference Board said Thursday. The index of leading economic indicators rose 1% in April (the first increase in seven months) following a revised dip of 0.2% in March. "The question is how long before declines in activity give way to small increases. If the indicators continue on the current track, that point might be reached in the second half of the year," said Ken Goldstein, economist at the Conference Board. Of the 10 indicators that comprise the index, seven rose in April, with the largest positive contribution from stock prices. The largest negative contribution came from the real money supply.

Fed Buys More Treasurys; Treasury to Sell More - The Federal Reserve bought $7.398 billion in Treasurys maturing between 2013 and 2016 on Thursday, the latest in the central bank's program to keep borrowing costs lower and spur economic activity. Dealers offered $45.694 billion to be purchased. The Fed has two more operations scheduled next week.

The Treasury Department said Thursday it plans to sell $101 billion in debt next week in its monthly round of shorter-term note offerings. The government will sell $40 billion in 2-year notes on Tuesday. It will also offer $35 billion in 5-year notes on Wednesday and $28 billion in 7-year notes on Thursday.

OpenTable IPO Is Gobbled Up - OpenTable Inc. saw its shares jump more than 35% in its first minutes of trading Thursday following an IPO that priced above the company's expectations. Late Wednesday, OpenTable priced its initial public offering at $20 a share above its planned IPO range of $16 to $18 a share. The company was selling 3 million shares to generate $60 million in capital.


Bank of America Wants to Repay $45 Billion By Year End - By Patrick Jenkins,Greg Farrelll, Francesco Guerrera - The Financial Times - "Bank of America wants to pay back $45bn in bail-out funds by the end of the year, in a faster-than-expected move made possible by an accelerated programme to raise capital. BofA is on track to raise more than $35bn in capital by the end of September, say people familiar with the matter, which it must do before paying back the $45bn bail-out money it received under the Troubled assets relief programme."

About Those 'Speculators' . . . - The Wall Street Journal - "Indiana Treasurer Richard Mourdock revealed this week that his state's police and teacher pension funds have lost millions of dollars in the Chrysler 'restructuring.' Indiana's State Police Fund and Major Moves Construction Fund, which finances roads and bridges, together lost more than $1 million. And the Teacher's Retirement Fund 'suffered, at a minimum, a loss of $4.6 million due to the action of the Federal government,' reports Mr. Mourdock."

Poor, Poor Parliament - The New York Times - "Yet the latest scandal to rock Westminster is about Parliament members — and their expense accounts... The speaker of the House of Commons has now agreed to step down, although he won’t face decapitation like some of his predecessors from the mid-16th century."

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