Saturday, May 2, 2009

Quick Notes & Points of View - May 2

May Starts Positive - On Friday, stocks began May by finishing the week with gains as the major indexes finished the session modestly ahead. The Dow rose 44.29 points (0.5%). The S&P 500 ended up 4.71 points (0.5%). The Nasdaq added 1.90 points (0.1%).

Three Banks Close - The small bank closures, including one in Georgia, continued on Friday with three more banks failing. Between 2008 and 2009 there have been 57 bank closures with 11 coming from the state of Georgia. In 2009 alone, there have been 32 banks closed with 6 coming from Georgia.

A total of 57 banks closings may seem large, but when you look at the list and see the vast majority are very small private banks then it does not look quite that bleak. The latest in Georgia, Silverton Bank, NA, did not take deposits from the general public nor did it make loans to consumers. It was a commercial bank that provided correspondent banking services to its client banks.

One of the reasons that Georgia seems to be a central figure in the bank closures is that Atlanta is the central hub of all financial activity in the Southeast and its own growth.

Points of View

Why Congress Won't Investigate Wall Street - By Thomas Frank - The Wall Street Journal - "It's probably not going to happen, though, in the comprehensive way that it should. The reason is that understanding our problems, this time around, would require our political leaders to examine themselves."

Succeeding Souter - The Wall Street Journal - "With Justice David Souter's announced retirement, a Democratic President will replace a Republican appointee to the Supreme Court. Normally, this would be a chance to alter the ideological balance of a closely divided Court. Justice Souter's replacement is unlikely to do that, but who President Obama does choose will tell us whether Mr. Obama's early move to the left on domestic issues is mirrored in his judicial picks."

The Stealth Justice - By Jeffrey Rosen - The New York Times - "As soon as Justice David Souter announced his intention to retire from the Supreme Court, he was greeted with praise from the left and derision from the right."

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