Interest rate swaps - sold as a way to save money on public financing - have turned into municipal bombs.» Read More
Foreclosure filings rose 9 percent from June to July and surged 93 percent over the same period last year, with Nevada, Georgia and Michigan accounting for the highest foreclosure rates nationwide, a research firm said Tuesday.
U.S. stocks ended mixed but were well off the day's lows amid sustained credit market worries. "We're probably through the brunt of the volatility stage," said Keith Wirtz, chief investment officer at Fifth Third Asset Management.
The company ran ads meant to reassure customers after several armed with withdrawal slips descended on branches last Thursday and Friday, worried that their money was not safe even with Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. backing.
Investors may soon get what they are clamoring for: a cut in the benchmark federal funds rate. But they should be careful for what they wish for. Economists say that if the Fed cuts the overnight bank lending rate before a scheduled Sept. 18 meeting, it would result from the near-panic market conditions seen last week.
Stocks closed the week lower as credit market concerns had investors running for safety but a reversal of misfortune late in the week cut losses significantly.
Stocks rallied Friday as investors were encouraged by a cut in discount rates by the Fed. "As long as we can stay out of the woods with further credit problems, we can build from this base and go forward steadily," said James Maguire, Sr., managing director at LaBranche. "I think we've hit the bottom. We might fish around here for a bit, but I'm very confident."
On Friday, the Federal Reserve announced that it had approved a 50 basis-point cut in the discount rate it charges for loans made directly to banks, via its regional Federal Reserve lenders . Was the discount-rate cut merely in reaction to a temporary credit crunch -- or a sobering signal that Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke perceives deeper troubles in the U.S. financial sector? CNBC's Market Task Force and expert guests took on the question -- and offered survival advice to investors.
France's economy minister and the head of the country's biggest listed bank, BNP Paribas, met on Friday to discuss the U.S. subprime mortgage crisis, which has affected some of BNP's funds.
Countrywide Financial provided further details on the $11.5 billion it drew down to improve its liquidity, a Friday regulatory filing showed.
A strong rally during the final half-hour of trading erased much of Wall Street's losses in another volatile trading session. The rebound was led by recently battered financial shares on optimism regulators may let Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two biggest U.S. mortgage funding companies, play a bigger role in steadying the ailing industry.
Despite ongoing mortgage market turmoil, regulators for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have given no signal they will lift a cap on the companies home loan holdings, and opposition to such a move still appears firm within the Bush administration.
Fannie Mae, the nation's largest source of home loan funding, increased its holdings of risky subprime loans in 2006 while its profits fell that year, the company said Thursday in a long-delayed report.
The European Commission will review a voluntary code used by credit rating agencies as they appeared too slow in warning about problems in the U.S. subprime mortgage sector, a spokeswoman said on Thursday.