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Portugal, Ireland woes dominate EU summit

Thu, 24 Mar 2011 15:43:49 EDT

BRUSSELS -- Just on the day EU leaders were hoping to present the final version of their plan to solve the region's debt crisis, their summit in Brussels was overwhelmed Thursday by debate over Portugal's political crisis and Ireland's banking woes.

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Moody's downgrades ratings of Spanish banks

Thu, 24 Mar 2011 13:59:34 EDT

MADRID -- Moody's downgraded the debt of 30 Spanish banks Thursday but left untouched the ratings of the country's three largest banks, highlighting the weaknesses in Spain's financial system a day after the government in neighboring Portugal fell.

Markets brush off Portuguese bailout concerns

Thu, 24 Mar 2011 13:04:09 EDT

LONDON -- Markets on Thursday brushed aside mounting speculation that Portugal would soon be tapping a European bailout fund amid hopes that the continent's debt crisis may be about to claim its final scalp - for now.

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Japan disaster reminds businesses about insurance

Thu, 24 Mar 2011 12:25:05 EDT

NEW YORK -- It might be inconceivable to small business owners that a disaster hundreds or thousands of miles away could shut them down. But the earthquake and tsunami in Japan have interrupted shipments of parts and finished goods to companies in the U.S., and sent many of them to call their...

Irish economy shrinks for 3rd straight year

Thu, 24 Mar 2011 10:53:15 EDT

DUBLIN -- Ireland's economy shrank in 2010 for the third straight year and the yields on Irish bonds rose to euro-era highs Thursday amid fears that the cost of rescuing the country's failed banks will overwhelm its finances even with the international bailout.

Egypt stock market resumes decline after reopening

Thu, 24 Mar 2011 09:01:05 EDT

CAIRO -- Egypt's benchmark stock index fell for the second consecutive day on Thursday, closing almost 4 percent lower but paring steeper losses earlier in the session as investors looked to unload holdings after the market's nearly two month closure.

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Texas businessman guilty in $100M insurance scheme

Wed, 23 Mar 2011 20:50:23 EDT

RICHMOND, Va. -- A Texas businessman faces decades in prison after being convicted in a $100 million life insurance fraud scheme in which his company used investors' money to buy policies at less than face value then collected benefits when the insured people died.

Europe debt market tensions worsen ahead of summit

Wed, 23 Mar 2011 17:41:38 EDT

BRUSSELS -- Europe's debt market jitters flared up again Wednesday as investors worried about the near-term fates of Portugal and Ireland, an ill omen on the eve of a summit where EU leaders plan to complete their crisis-fighting plan.

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Stocks edge higher on strong gas demand

Wed, 23 Mar 2011 16:49:50 EDT

NEW YORK -- Stocks edged higher Wednesday after a government report showed stronger demand for gasoline.

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Investors flock to Japanese stocks after quake

Wed, 23 Mar 2011 16:39:51 EDT

NEW YORK -- Investors are flocking to Japanese stocks in the wake of the costliest natural disaster in history.

In blow for BofA, Fed rejects its dividend plan

Wed, 23 Mar 2011 16:28:28 EDT

NEW YORK -- It was one more blow for Bank of America: the Federal Reserve didn't allow nation's largest bank to increase its dividends.

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Bernanke says bank overhaul will help small banks

Wed, 23 Mar 2011 14:38:50 EDT

WASHINGTON -- Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told a group of executives from smaller banks Wednesday that the financial overhaul will level the playing field for them with the industry's giants.

SAfrica's MTN launches mobile insurance program

Wed, 23 Mar 2011 14:20:38 EDT

JOHANNESBURG -- A South African mobile phone giant has joined with an insurance company to launch a program in Ghana that will allow subscribers to pay for life insurance through their mobile phones, a company official said Wednesday.

Egypt exchange plunges on reopening after uprising

Wed, 23 Mar 2011 12:11:27 EDT

CAIRO -- Egypt's stock market plummeted almost 9 percent in its first day of trading Wednesday in nearly two months, with foreign investors leading a sell-off that offered a window into concerns about the country's stability after mass protests toppled former President Hosni Mubarak.

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Leggett, Montgomery County unions spar over pension costs

Tue, 22 Mar 2011 16:50:04 EDT

For years, officials in wealthy, liberal Montgomery County have avoided difficult decisions on scaling back pensions and health-care benefits for retirees. Now, the long-term shortfall is $4.8 billion.

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Judge rejects Amish request to deal privately with alleged Ponzi schemer

Tue, 22 Mar 2011 00:58:00 EDT

Citing the separation of church and state, federal bankruptcy judge Russ Kendig said it would be unconstitutional for the court to cede control of the bankruptcy filing of alleged Ponzi schemer Monroe Beachy to the Amish community.

Fed to name banks that took loans

Tue, 22 Mar 2011 00:51:00 EDT

The Federal Reserve will release details of which banks it lent money to during the financial crisis, as it lost a court battle to keep the information private.

Geithner to decide on regulation of foreign-exchange swaps

Mon, 21 Mar 2011 15:41:00 EDT

The Dodd-Frank bill gave Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner broad new power, such as his upcoming decision on regulating foreign-exchange swaps.

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Citi resumes dividend, will do reverse stock split

Mon, 21 Mar 2011 12:53:08 EDT

NEW YORK -- Citigroup Inc., one of the worst-hit banks during the financial crisis, is taking more steps to get back in the good graces of shareholders.

Treasury: Will begin selling mortgage securities

Mon, 21 Mar 2011 12:34:02 EDT

WASHINGTON -- The Treasury Department announced Monday that it will begin selling its remaining $142 billion in holdings of mortgage-backed securities purchased during the financial crisis.

Lessons learned from 4 years of 401(k) volatility

Mon, 21 Mar 2011 10:25:43 EDT

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Americans who were afraid to open their 401(k) statements during the recession are finding good news inside the envelope now: For the most part, their accounts have come all the way back and then some.

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Japan earthquake to exacerbate Asia's slowdown

Mon, 21 Mar 2011 07:35:47 EDT

-- Japan's devastating earthquake will further slow growth in Asia, where rising oil prices and higher interest rates are already cooling an engine of the global economy, economists say.

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World Bank: Japan reconstruction may take 5 years

Sun, 20 Mar 2011 23:40:47 EDT

SINGAPORE -- Japan may need five years to rebuild from the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami that has caused up to $235 billion of damage, the World Bank said Monday.

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Citing pension costs, Costa Mesa, Calif., plans to lay off nearly half its employees

Sun, 20 Mar 2011 22:51:01 EDT

In all, about 210 of the city's 472 employees, many of whom have worked there for decades, were given pink slips.

Volatile week underscores bull market's fragility

Sun, 20 Mar 2011 16:58:41 EDT

NEW YORK -- When it comes to the mood of the market, strategist Brian Gendreau called what happened on Wednesday Exhibit A.

Health insurers respond to overhaul law by acquiring less-regulated lines of business

Sun, 20 Mar 2011 15:27:00 EDT

Companies respond to overhaul law by acquiring less-regulated lines of business.

Insurance brokers seek protection as health-care law squeezes payments to them

Sun, 20 Mar 2011 15:08:00 EDT

Brokers, worried their livelihoods are in jeopardy from the health law, are pressing Congress and state legislatures to safeguard agent commissions and guarantee them a role in new online marketplaces where consumers will shop for coverage.

Maryland budget fights will focus on benefits for state workers, tax increases

Sun, 20 Mar 2011 11:32:00 EDT

Maryland's emerging budget plan, with which few say they are pleased, is a case study of conflicting priorities in one of only 10 states that are a fully Democratic laboratory.

Citing pension costs, Costa Mesa, Calif., plans to lay off nearly half its employees

Sun, 20 Mar 2011 08:45:00 EDT

In all, about 210 of the city's 472 employees, many of whom have worked there for decades, were given pink slips.

With planned $1.9 billion Macau resort, family enterprise hopes to extend winning run

Sun, 20 Mar 2011 06:12:03 EDT

Casino billionaire Francis Lui's family-run company holds one of six licenses to operate casinos in the biggest casino market on Earth. Now it's planning its biggest development:a $1.9 billion, 2,200-room Galaxy Macau resort with five gaming areas, three hotels, 50 restaurants and a rooftop beach.

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Union-free Virginia not spared state pension woes

Sat, 19 Mar 2011 19:05:00 EDT

Virginia is one of only a handful of states that prohibit collective bargaining for public employees in state and local government.

Fed deems several major banks healthy enough to boost dividends

Sat, 19 Mar 2011 13:03:00 EDT

The nation's large banks have made major progress rebuilding capital levels that had been depleted during the financial crisis, the Federal Reserve said Friday, as it gave many of the firms the green light to pay dividends to their shareholders.

SEC accuses IBM of misconduct in providing gifts to Korean, Chinese officials

Sat, 19 Mar 2011 00:06:00 EDT

The Securities and Exchange Commission accused IBM on Friday of bribing government officials in South Korea with cash payments and free computers.

SEC moves toward charging Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac executives

Fri, 18 Mar 2011 20:22:01 EDT

setting up a clash with the housing regulator that oversees the companies.

Housing paperwork can pile up at tax time - here's what to keep, and for how long

Fri, 18 Mar 2011 19:40:01 EDT

Many taxpayers are preparing for their annual battle with IRS form 1040 by gathering up all their documents, statements, checks and other assorted papers. At the end of this process, taxpayers are often left with piles of neatly sorted, tabulated and cross-indexed piles. From a homeowner's perspe...

With short-sale offer refused, foreclosure may end up the best option

Fri, 18 Mar 2011 19:23:01 EDT

Q. We built a spec house in 2007 as the market declined. We've tried to do everything to get it sold and recently received a short-sale offer on the home.

Cisco announces first dividend

Fri, 18 Mar 2011 18:23:32 EDT

NEW YORK -- Cisco Systems Inc., the world's largest maker of computer networking gear, on Friday said its first-ever cash dividend will amount to 6 cents per share and will be paid on April 20.

State attorneys general tackle mortgage servicing

Fri, 18 Mar 2011 16:54:03 EDT

State attorneys general will accept nothing less than wholesale changes to the way the nation's largest mortgage servicers treat troubled homeowners, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, who leads the coalition of 50 attorneys general, said in an interview

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EU: 2011 bank stress tests to be tougher than 2010

Fri, 18 Mar 2011 13:11:47 EDT

BRUSSELS -- Upcoming stress tests on banks will be harsher than last year's, the European Union's bank regulator said Friday, although important elements of the exercise deemed crucial to the region's crisis strategy remain undecided.

U.S., other industrialized nations join in currency intervention to help yen

Fri, 18 Mar 2011 09:50:02 EDT

Major industrialized nations will combine in a rare coordinated currency intervention to keep the Japanese yen from rising too sharply in value in the wake of the country's recent natural disaster, a sign of the deep global concern about the health of the world's third largest economy.

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FDIC sues WaMu execs for $900M in bank collapse

Fri, 18 Mar 2011 09:46:00 EDT

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. has filed a $900 million civil suit against three former top executives of Washington Mutual Bank, alleging their negligence and risk-taking caused the bank's 2008 collapse.

FDIC too slow to sue officers and directors at failed banks, critics say

Fri, 18 Mar 2011 03:37:02 EDT

To date, the FDIC has sued officers at only five of the 345 banks that have collapsed since 2008, or about 2 percent of the total.

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Unrest hurts trade in 'business friendly' Bahrain

Thu, 17 Mar 2011 11:52:01 EDT

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Bahrain's stock exchange and a few bank branches reopened Thursday, but business remained far from normal a day after soldiers and riot police overran an anti-government protest camp in the Gulf island kingdom.

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U.S. advisers didn't report early signs of trouble at Kabul Bank, probe finds

Thu, 17 Mar 2011 10:57:00 EDT

American officials could have mitigated the fallout from fraudulent loans and cronyism.

Average rate on 15-year mortgage dips below 4 pct.

Thu, 17 Mar 2011 10:40:50 EDT

NEW YORK -- Fixed mortgage rates tumbled this week and the 15-year loan dipped below 4 percent for the first time in three months. Rates followed the yield on U.S. Treasury bonds, which fell on worries that the crisis in Japan could slow economic growth.

Elizabeth Warren defends consumer agency's role in mortgage settlement talks

Thu, 17 Mar 2011 09:58:02 EDT

Federal consumer bureau headmakes no apologies for the new agency's involvement in talks with mortgage servicers.

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India hikes rates by quarter point on oil fears

Thu, 17 Mar 2011 05:19:48 EDT

MUMBAI, India -- India hiked key interest rates by a quarter point Thursday - its eighth hike in a year - warning that rising oil prices will aggravate already high inflation in Asia's third-largest economy.

Japan sprays more cash over jittery markets

Thu, 17 Mar 2011 02:10:17 EDT

TOKYO -- Japan's central bank sprayed more cash over jittery money markets Thursday as ATMs at a major bank suffered a two and a half hour outage nationwide and the yen shot to a record high.

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Oversight board investigates lack of warnings by auditors before financial crisis

Thu, 17 Mar 2011 01:06:00 EDT

Some observers are wondering why audit firms did not prevent or warn investors about problems that had a devastating effect on the economy.

6 banks repay bailouts; program nears break-even

Wed, 16 Mar 2011 19:13:16 EDT

WASHINGTON -- Six more banks repaid their government bailouts, bringing the bank capital program close to 99 percent recovery, the Treasury Department said Wednesday.

UN chief says Afghan transition faces obstacles

Wed, 16 Mar 2011 19:10:41 EDT

UNITED NATIONS -- U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Afghans must overcome "major obstacles" to demonstrate their ability to control the country's future, including a dispute over the status of parliament and an impasse over the embattled Kabul Bank.

Nuclear crisis rocks Japanese, global markets

Wed, 16 Mar 2011 18:52:03 EDT

The worsening nuclear crisis in Japan is triggering a near-collapse in that nation's financial markets and major losses in markets around the globe.

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U.S. markets plunge on fears of nuclear catastrophe in Japan

Wed, 16 Mar 2011 17:09:05 EDT

U.S. stocks dropped sharply into the red early Tuesday following a global sell-off on fears that what appeared to be a serious but contained nuclear accident in Japan is turning into a full-blown catastrophe.

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Bills would delay swipe fee rules

Wed, 16 Mar 2011 10:56:00 EDT

Lawmakers embarked Tuesday on an uphill battle to delay a controversial law that would reduce the fees banks receive from merchants each time a debit card is swiped.

U.S. stocks fall despite 5.7% jump in Nikkei

Wed, 16 Mar 2011 10:44:03 EDT

U.S. stocks fell in early trading Wednesday despite large gains in Japan's Nikkei stock index overnight.

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Tricare target of Pentagon cuts as health care projected to reach $65B

Wed, 16 Mar 2011 10:31:00 EDT

Among government workers, one group enjoys lifetime health benefits virtually unmatched in the United States: military retirees.

Congressional pensions fall on high end of scale

Wed, 16 Mar 2011 10:25:00 EDT

Members receive much heftier retirement packages than most private-sector employees and state workers do.

Japan shares surge, central bank adds further $43B

Tue, 15 Mar 2011 23:44:33 EDT

TOKYO -- Japanese stocks rebounded Wednesday, recovering some of the massive losses sustained the last two days following a devastating earthquake and tsunami. Other Asian indexes also bounced back even as the economic toll from the disasters, including an escalating nuclear crisis, remained...

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Japan disaster another worry for global economy

Tue, 15 Mar 2011 19:01:44 EDT

-- Japan's earthquake and nuclear crisis have put pressure on the already fragile global economy, squeezed supplies of goods from computer chips to auto parts and raised fears of higher interest rates.

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A look at economic developments around the globe

Tue, 15 Mar 2011 14:33:56 EDT

-- A look at economic developments and activity in major stock markets around the world Tuesday:

Treasuries climb as official says Obama to seek spending freeze

Tue, 15 Mar 2011 13:07:01 EDT

Yields on 10-year notes fell the most in almost three months as the Bank of Japan's efforts to provide liquidity and expand an asset-purchase program failed to stem an equity selloff, which sent the Nikkei 225 Stock Average down as much as 14 percent and sapped U.S. stocks. Two-year note yields...

Tricare target of Pentagon cuts as health care projected to reach $65B

Tue, 15 Mar 2011 12:58:01 EDT

Among government workers, one group enjoys lifetime health benefits virtually unmatched in the United States: military retirees.

Nevada's boom ends in record number of empty homes

Tue, 15 Mar 2011 12:29:52 EDT

LAS VEGAS -- The promise of palm tree groves and low-priced real estate lured Alan and Katherine Ackerly across the Rocky Mountains from Denver to Nevada in 2004, where thousands of new houses beckoned brightly as any neon sign.

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