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Apr 19, 2010

FOX BUSINESS: Banks Spark Late-Day Pop. April 19th, 2010



wall street traders 08
Banks Spark Late-Day PopThe Dow closed solidly higher as Citigroup’s blow-out earnings inspired confidence, but the Nasdaq Composite lagged behind.
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Blankfein in the Hot Seat

Goldman Sachs' board of directors has given the company's CEO a vote of confidence, but many say he's no longer the man to lead the firm. | WATCH

Safeguarding Executive Travel

The tragic Polish aviation accident earlier this month could serve as a wake-up call for corporate America.

Spring Cleaning Your Finances

Money Tree Grab a calculator and roll up your sleeves: Here are six tips to healthier financial help.
 

CNBC: Latest Stories IBM; Profit Forecats: Company Boosts Guidance. April 19th, 2010

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Bove on Financial Fallout
Why Goldman is a buy, with Richard Bove, Rochdale Securities.
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NYT: Afternoon Business Update, April 19th, 2010




Afternoon Business Update

Appliance Rebates Come and Go, Quickly
By TOM ZELLER Jr.
Consumers across the country are snapping up government rebates for energy-efficient appliances.

Senior Executives at Goldman Had a Role in Mortgage Unit
By LOUISE STORY
As the bank deals with a fraud suit from the S.E.C., former workers say that in 2006, executives sided with traders who thought home prices would decline.

Drop in Commodity Prices Pushes Major Indexes Down
By JAVIER C. HERNANDEZ
Wall Street tried to recoup some losses on Monday, but a drop in commodity prices weighed on materials and energy stocks.

Greek Debt Unsettles Bond Market
By MATTHEW SALTMARSH
A delay in a crucial meeting has renewed worries about Greece’s ability to raise $14.8 billion in May.

Lexus to Recall S.U.V. With Handling Problem
By NICK BUNKLEY and MICHELINE MAYNARD
A recall of the 2010 Lexus GX 460 will address a problem with the way the vehicle handles on curves.

More Business News

RTTNews: Evening Market Wrap: April 19th, 2010

Evening Market Wrap Mon Apr 19 17:01 2010 

Commentary

Apr 19, 2010 Stocks Move Higher As Leading Indicators, Citigroup Buoy Markets - U.S. Commentary Stocks saw some strength on Monday, as bargain hunting following Friday's sell-off, an upbeat reading on leading economic indicators and strong quarterly results from Citigroup (C) drove the day's upside. Meanwhile, uncertainty regarding the future of Goldman Sachs (GS) remains a significant overhang in the marketplace. Full Article

Economic News

Apr 19, 2010 Leading Economic Index Rises More Than Expected In MarchIn an upbeat sign for the economy, the Conference Board released a report Monday morning showing that its index of leading economic indicators saw a notable increase in the month of March, with the index rising for the twelfth consecutive month. The Conference Board said its leading economic index rose by 1.4 percent in March following an upwardly revised 0.4 percent increase in February. Full Article

Corporate News

Apr 19, 2010 Citigroup Posts $4.4 Bln Q1 ProfitBanking giant Citigroup Inc. (C) reported Monday a turn to profit for the first quarter of fiscal year 2010 from a loss last year. The turnaround reflected mainly an increase in revenues and lower provisions for credit losses, as capital markets stabilized and global business climate improved. Full Article
Apr 19, 2010 British Airways Says Volcanic Ash Cloud Costing £15-20 Mln A DayEuropean carrier British Airways Plc (BAY.L, BAIRY.PK) said Monday it has grounded virtually all its flights since April 15 mid-morning due to the closure of UK airspace, as the Icelandic volcanic dust that caused flight chaos throughout Europe showed no signs of let up. Full Article
Apr 19, 2010 Eli Lilly Q1 Profit Declines On CostsDrugmaker Eli Lilly & Co. (LLY) reported Monday a decline in first-quarter profit, impacted by costs related to the U.S. health care reform and the continued weakness in the U.S. Dollar. However revenues grew 9%, helped by an increase in volume, but was below consensus. Full Article
Apr 19, 2010 M&T Bank Q1 Profit More Than DoublesBank holding company M&T Bank Corp. (MTB) on Monday reported a profit for the first quarter that more than doubled from the year-ago period, helped by lower credit costs and a wider net interest margin that reflected lower interest rates on deposits and long-term borrowings. Full Article
Apr 19, 2010 Arch Coal Slips To Loss In Q1; Boosts 2010 Profit ViewCoal producer Arch Coal, Inc. (ACI) reported Monday a loss for the first quarter compared to a profit last year, hurt by charges and a decline in average sales price, despite sales and volume growth. The company also boosted its adjusted earnings forecast for the full-year 2010 as metallurgical coal sales are projected to more than triple from last year. Full Article
Apr 19, 2010 Halliburton Q1 Profit Drops 45%Oilfield services provider Halliburton Co. (HAL) Monday said first-quarter profit declined over 45% from last year, as revenues decreased in the recession-hit economy and the company incurred some charges related to the devaluation of Venezuela's currency. Net income attributable to the company in the first quarter decreased to $206 million or $0.23 per share. Full Article
Apr 19, 2010 Toy Sales, Tax Benefit Boost Hasbro Q1 ProfitGames and toys maker Hasbro Inc. (HAS) on Monday posted a sharp growth in first-quarter profit, boosted by the strong performance of all its major product categories as well as a tax benefit. Additionally, the company's board has authorized it to repurchase an additional $625 million of common stock. Full Article
Apr 19, 2010 Philips Turns To Profit In Q1Consumer electronics company Koninklijke Philips Electronics NV (PHG) reported Monday a profit for the first quarter of fiscal 2010 compared to a loss last year. The turnaround reflected strong sales growth in all sectors and regions as well as continued sound cost management. Full Article
Apr 19, 2010 Pace Sees Volume, Revenue Growth In FY10Digital TV technologies developer Pace Plc (PIC.L), Monday, in its interim management statement, said trading since its preliminary results announcement in early March has continued in line with its expectations, with good demand for products. For the full year 2010, the company expects mid single digit revenue growth as well as increases in volumes and gross margins. Full Article
Apr 19, 2010 Alliance Trust Posts Full-year Profit; NAV RisesInvestment firm Alliance Trust PLC (ATST.L) Monday reported a profit for the year ended January 31, 2010, compared to a loss last year, as the company's portfolio benefited from the recovery in global equity markets. Net asset value increased over 19% in the year and total return improved more than 22%. Full Article

Political News

Apr 19, 2010 Reid Spokesman Calls On McConnell And Cornyn To Provide Details Of Wall Street MeetingA spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., released a statement Monday calling on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ken., and Senator John Cornyn, R-Texas, to provide specifics about what was discussed during a meeting they held with Wall Street executives in New York City. Full Article
Apr 19, 2010 McCain And Kyl Unveil New Border Security PlanSenators John McCain, R-Ariz., and Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., unveiled a 10-point border security plan Monday to combat illegal immigration, drug and alien smuggling, and violent activity along the southwest border. In announcing the plan, McCain said the situation along the U.S./Mexico border has "spiraled out of control." Full Article
Apr 19, 2010 New Poll Shows McCollum With Slight Lead In Florida Gubernatorial RaceA new Quinnipiac University poll released Monday showed Republican State Attorney General Bill McCollum with a narrow lead over Democratic Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink in Florida's gubernatorial race. According to the poll, which surveyed 1,250 Florida voters April 8 - 13, McCollum holds a 40% to 36% lead over Sink. Full Article
Apr 19, 2010 Mahoney Launches Campaign For New Hampshire House SeatFormer Republican National Committeeman Sean Mahoney announced Monday that he is seeking the GOP nomination to challenge for Rep. Carol Shea-Porter's, D-N.H., House seat. In a video launching his campaign, Mahoney attacked both Shea-Porter and his fellow Republicans for the current state of the economy. Full Article
Apr 19, 2010 Obama To Talk Financial Reform In Trip To New York CityThe White House announced Monday that President Barack Obama will travel to New York City Thursday to deliver remarks at Cooper Union on financial regulatory reform. Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said, "Almost two years after the crisis hit and almost one year after the Administration first laid out a detailed plan for holding Wall Street accountable and protecting consumers, [Obama] will call for swift Senate action." Full Article
Apr 19, 2010 New Poll Shows Most Americans Still Confident In Obama On EconomyA new Gallup poll released Monday showed that many Americans are still most confident in President Barack Obama when it comes to the economy. According to the poll, which surveyed 1,020 adults April 8 - 11, 54% of Americans have either a great deal or a fair amount of confidence in the President on matters of the economy. Full Article
Apr 19, 2010 Clinton Pledges US Solidarity With Israel; Vows To Protect Its SecurityUnited States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reiterated the strong U.S.-Israel relations in a video message congratulating the allied nation on its 62nd Independence Day. In the message sent on Sunday night, she said: "This is an opportunity to celebrate all that Israel has accomplished and to reaffirm the bonds that unite our two nations-- our strategic partnership, our shared values, and our common aspirations." Full Article

REUTERS :Deals Today, April 19th 2010






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MON 19 Apr 2010 
Most free marketers are happy to overlook a certain amount of outsmartiness from investment banks. After all, these are the rocket scientists who made mountains of cash by piling multiple levels of risk on dodgy investments and calling them hedges. Sure, such alchemy blew up in many a face, but the logic behind the free market does have a role to play here. Shorting synthetic CDOs would have ultimately helped force the market to recognize how much hot air was behind the subprime-fueled boom. But by not disclosing a mechanism built to fail -- the Abacus CDO in question -- Goldman Sachs may have taken too deep a bite out of the hand that feeds it.

When companies are being investigated by the SEC, they get a Wells Notice. They usually tell the markets when they get one. It's a disclosure thing -- you need to be upfront with the market about information that could be material to your results. There is no crime in not telling markets that you've received a Wells Notice, so long as the information is not material. But Goldman's share price is tumbling, and even if it wins its battle with the SEC, Goldman could face angry shareholder charges for not revealing much sooner that it faced potential civil liability.

In those corners of the markets so consumed with conspiracy theory, it's hard not to notice how close the timing of the charges comes to the debate on Capitol Hill about financial regulatory reform. On CNBC this morning, Democratic Senator Barney Frank dissed the idea of a conspiracy, as he would have been expected to do, but he admitted that the timing of the Goldman explosion helps Democrats' chances of getting legislation through Congress.

It may have been misguided for Goldman to sit on its Wells Notice because it was expecting to settle with the government in such a way that would be immaterial to its financial performance. But it would have been delusional to think the issue would not become a defining one with Washington frothing over financial reform.

--Christopher Kaufman
Australia blocks NAB bid for AXA unit, clears AMP's
United broaches alliance with US, Continental: sources
Paulson to buy about 13 percent stake in American Capital
Arriva says D.Bahn makes offer worth 1.5 billion pounds
Unilever to sell Italian frozen foods: sources
EU regulators mull Goldman fraud charge fallout
Macarthur Coal bid twist: Gloucester deal collapses
In Asia, Goldman clients stay loyal for now
Scotiabank may buy Commerzbank Brazil unit: report

Australia blocks NAB bid for AXA unit, clears AMP's
April 19, 2010 07:47 AM ET
SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia's competition watchdog blocked National Australia Bank's (NAB) $13 billion bid for AXA Asia Pacific Holdings , putting the agreed deal in limbo and allowing rival bidder AMP to make a comeback.

Full Article
United broaches alliance with US, Continental: sources
April 19, 2010 12:28 AM ET
NEW YORK (Reuters) - United Airlines is continuing separate merger talks with US Airways and Continental Airlines, and has also discussed the option of deepening a three-way marketing alliance between the carriers absent a merger, people familiar with the matter said.

Full Article
Paulson to buy about 13 percent stake in American Capital
April 19, 2010 12:06 PM ET
(Reuters) - Billionaire investor John Paulson is buying about 13 percent stake in American Capital as the business development company gets a much-needed capital infusion to restructure debt, sending its shares up 14 percent.

Full Article
Arriva says D.Bahn makes offer worth 1.5 billion pounds
April 19, 2010 12:53 PM ET
BERLIN (Reuters) - German state rail company Deutsche Bahn is willing to offer just over 1.5 billion pounds (1.8 billion euros) in cash to buy Arriva, the British train and bus operator said Monday.

Full Article











REUTERSwww.reuters.com

ABC. Goldman Sachs CEO LLoyd Blankfein tried to rallied his troops over the weekend... April 19th , 2010




ABC NEWS/ MONEY

Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein tried to rally his troops over the weekend following the Securities and Exchange Commission's investor fraud charges, leaving his staff two voice mails.


Wall Street powerhouse charged with selling securities designed to fail.
In one message left Sunday night, Blankfein said, "The extensive media coverage on the SEC's complaint is certainly uncomfortable, but given the anger directed at financial services, not completely surprising."
The purpose of the voice mails, Goldman officials told ABC News, was to inform employees about the firm's reaction to the charges and to keep them focused on the task at hand: servicing Goldman's clients. But officials are also trying to boost morale at a crucial time for the bank.
While the fallout continues from the SEC charges, the bank announces first-quarter earnings Tuesday, and Blankfein is set to testify before a Senate panel on April 27.
Federal regulators Friday charged investment bank Goldman Sachs with fraud over the sale of risky subprime mortgage securities that were secretly designed to fail, costing investors $1 billion.
In a civil suit, the SEC alleged that Goldman Sachs didn't tell investors that a massive hedge fund -- Paulson & Co. -- had handpicked the subprime mortgages that went into the securities in question, all with an eye toward picking those most likely to go bust. The securities were then bundled up and sold to investors, who were told the mortgages had been picked by an independent third party.
Goldman issued a lengthy statement on its Web site, asserting that its losing $90 million on the deal proves it did not design a ticking time bomb. But it flat out denied a key point, that Goldman misled ACA Management, the money manager it assigned to the deal. The SEC said Goldman, in arranging for Paulson to assist ACA in selecting the mortgages that went into the deal, told ACA that Paulson would be a long investor, when his intent was to short the deal, in effect betting against it. Goldman said it never told ACA that Paulson would be a long investor.
"Goldman Sachs has never condoned and would never condone inappropriate activity by any of our people," Blankfein said in one of the voice mails to staff. "We have faced challenges before, and our people have always responded through their skills, talent and focus on our clients. We will do that now, and in the process, reaffirm everything that defines Goldman Sachs."

The Washington Post: Today's Headlines Afternoon Edition. April 19th, 2010

1) Militia movement will be packing heat at rally on the Potomac

Daniel Almond, a three-tour veteran of Iraq, is ready to "muster outside D.C." on Monday with several dozen other self-proclaimed patriots, all of them armed. They intend to make history as the first people to take their guns to a demonstration in a national park, and the Virginia rally is...

2) First European airports reopen to limited traffic

LONDON -- Britain sent warships across the English Channel on Monday to rescue Britons stranded by the volcanic ash cloud, wire services reported, while a few small European airports reopened and airline officials blasted widespread closures that they said were overzealous and costing airlines "a...

3) al-Qaeda in Iraq leaders killed, prime minister says

BAGHDAD -- The two leaders of the Sunni insurgent group al-Qaeda in Iraq have been killed in an air strike carried out by American troops, Iraqi and U.S. officials announced Monday.

4) Labor groups break off from N.C. Democrats

RALEIGH, N.C. -- A political rebellion is brewing inside an old funeral home near the state Capitol here. Frustrated liberals and labor organizers are taking aim at the Democratic Party, rushing to gather enough signatures to start a third party that they believe could help oust three Democratic...

5) Populism of privilege

The Tea Party represents a small minority and won't determine the 2010 elections.

6) Venezuelan boxing champ commits suicide

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuelan champion boxer Edwin Valero hanged himself with his own clothes early on Monday from the bars of a prison cell where he had been detained for killing his wife.

7) 'McVeigh': A chilling portrait of seething hate

Fifteen years ago today, Timothy McVeigh parked a Ryder truck filled with explosives and ammonium nitrate fertilizer in front of the Oklahoma City federal building and detonated a bomb so strong it sheared off half the building and killed 168 people. History is still puzzling through the event's ...

8) NATO: F-16 fighters damaged by volcanic ash

BRUSSELS -- Several NATO F-16 fighters suffered engine damage after flying through the volcanic ash cloud covering large parts of Europe, a senior Western diplomat said.

9) Europe's time warp

Did you know that volcanic ash can bring down airplanes?

10) With W.Va. coal politics, a new edge

In southern West Virginia, it used to look as if three Democrats, who have served in Washington for a combined 115 years, had figured out the delicate, occasionally violent politics of Appalachian coa

1) Militia movement will be packing heat at rally on the Potomac

Daniel Almond, a three-tour veteran of Iraq, is ready to "muster outside D.C." on Monday with several dozen other self-proclaimed patriots, all of them armed. They intend to make history as the first people to take their guns to a demonstration in a national park, and the Virginia rally is...

2) First European airports reopen to limited traffic

LONDON -- Britain sent warships across the English Channel on Monday to rescue Britons stranded by the volcanic ash cloud, wire services reported, while a few small European airports reopened and airline officials blasted widespread closures that they said were overzealous and costing airlines "a...

3) al-Qaeda in Iraq leaders killed, prime minister says

BAGHDAD -- The two leaders of the Sunni insurgent group al-Qaeda in Iraq have been killed in an air strike carried out by American troops, Iraqi and U.S. officials announced Monday.

4) Labor groups break off from N.C. Democrats

RALEIGH, N.C. -- A political rebellion is brewing inside an old funeral home near the state Capitol here. Frustrated liberals and labor organizers are taking aim at the Democratic Party, rushing to gather enough signatures to start a third party that they believe could help oust three Democratic...

5) Populism of privilege

The Tea Party represents a small minority and won't determine the 2010 elections.

6) Venezuelan boxing champ commits suicide

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuelan champion boxer Edwin Valero hanged himself with his own clothes early on Monday from the bars of a prison cell where he had been detained for killing his wife.

7) 'McVeigh': A chilling portrait of seething hate

Fifteen years ago today, Timothy McVeigh parked a Ryder truck filled with explosives and ammonium nitrate fertilizer in front of the Oklahoma City federal building and detonated a bomb so strong it sheared off half the building and killed 168 people. History is still puzzling through the event's ...

8) NATO: F-16 fighters damaged by volcanic ash

BRUSSELS -- Several NATO F-16 fighters suffered engine damage after flying through the volcanic ash cloud covering large parts of Europe, a senior Western diplomat said.

9) Europe's time warp

Did you know that volcanic ash can bring down airplanes?

10) With W.Va. coal politics, a new edge

In southern West Virginia, it used to look as if three Democrats, who have served in Washington for a combined 115 years, had figured out the delicate, occasionally violent politics of Appalachian coa

1) Militia movement will be packing heat at rally on the Potomac

Daniel Almond, a three-tour veteran of Iraq, is ready to "muster outside D.C." on Monday with several dozen other self-proclaimed patriots, all of them armed. They intend to make history as the first people to take their guns to a demonstration in a national park, and the Virginia rally is...

2) First European airports reopen to limited traffic

LONDON -- Britain sent warships across the English Channel on Monday to rescue Britons stranded by the volcanic ash cloud, wire services reported, while a few small European airports reopened and airline officials blasted widespread closures that they said were overzealous and costing airlines "a...

3) al-Qaeda in Iraq leaders killed, prime minister says

BAGHDAD -- The two leaders of the Sunni insurgent group al-Qaeda in Iraq have been killed in an air strike carried out by American troops, Iraqi and U.S. officials announced Monday.

4) Labor groups break off from N.C. Democrats

RALEIGH, N.C. -- A political rebellion is brewing inside an old funeral home near the state Capitol here. Frustrated liberals and labor organizers are taking aim at the Democratic Party, rushing to gather enough signatures to start a third party that they believe could help oust three Democratic...

5) Populism of privilege

The Tea Party represents a small minority and won't determine the 2010 elections.

6) Venezuelan boxing champ commits suicide

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuelan champion boxer Edwin Valero hanged himself with his own clothes early on Monday from the bars of a prison cell where he had been detained for killing his wife.

7) 'McVeigh': A chilling portrait of seething hate

Fifteen years ago today, Timothy McVeigh parked a Ryder truck filled with explosives and ammonium nitrate fertilizer in front of the Oklahoma City federal building and detonated a bomb so strong it sheared off half the building and killed 168 people. History is still puzzling through the event's ...

8) NATO: F-16 fighters damaged by volcanic ash

BRUSSELS -- Several NATO F-16 fighters suffered engine damage after flying through the volcanic ash cloud covering large parts of Europe, a senior Western diplomat said.

9) Europe's time warp

Did you know that volcanic ash can bring down airplanes?

10) With W.Va. coal politics, a new edge

In southern West Virginia, it used to look as if three Democrats, who have served in Washington for a combined 115 years, had figured out the delicate, occasionally violent politics of Appalachian coa

U.S.Department of the Treasury Press Roompartment of the Treasury, Saves, Green, April 19th, 2010

Press Room
Treasury Goes Green, Saves, Green
April 19, 2010
TG-644
Treasury Goes Green, Saves, Green
Broad New Initiative Will Increase Electronic Transactions, Save More Than $400 Million, 12 Million Pounds of Paper in First Five Years Alone
WASHINGTON – With Americans poised to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Earth Day this week, the U.S. Department of the Treasury today announced a broad new initiative to dramatically increase the number of electronic transactions that involve Treasury and millions of citizens and businesses, a move that is expected to save more than $400 million and 12 million pounds of paper in the first five years alone.  In addition to greatly reducing costs, enhancing customer service and minimizing Treasury's environmental impact, the move from paper to electronic transactions will increase reliability, safety and security for benefit recipients and taxpayers.
"Treasury must lead the way in developing methods to deliver payments that are safe and secure in a manner that is efficient and reliable," said Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner.  "By moving to all-electronic payments, Treasury will save hundreds of millions of dollars and substantially reduce our environmental impact, making this a win-win for all Americans."
Starting today, Treasury will begin implementing a three-pronged initiative to dramatically reduce the number of transactions that are conducted on paper by moving them to electronic systems.  First, Treasury will require individuals receiving Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, Veterans, Railroad Retirement and Office of Personnel Management benefits to receive payments electronically.  Individuals will be able to receive benefits either through direct deposit into a bank account or Treasury's Direct Express debit card.  Today, one million Americans are receiving their benefit payments through Direct Express and they have found the card safe, convenient and easy to use.  The requirement will apply to new enrollees beginning on March 1, 2011 and to existing check recipients beginning on March 1, 2013.  Currently, 85 percent of federal benefit recipients receive their payments electronically.  Moving all recipients of these benefits to electronic payments is expected to save upwards of $300 million in the first five years.
Second, businesses currently permitted to use paper Federal Tax Deposit coupons will have to make those deposits electronically beginning in 2011 with a few exceptions, primarily businesses with $2,500 or less in quarterly tax liabilities that pay when filing their returns.  Currently, nearly 98 percent of all business tax dollars are paid electronically through Treasury's free Electronic Federal Tax Payment System.  IRS research has shown that businesses using EFTPS are 31 times less likely to make an error. This change will save an estimated $65 million in the first five years. 
Finally, Treasury will eliminate the option to purchase paper savings bonds through payroll deductions for federal employees on September 30, 2010 and for the private sector by January 1, 2011.  This policy covers only paper savings bonds purchased through payroll sales; individuals will still be able to purchase paper savings bonds at financial institutions for themselves and as gifts.  Payroll savers will be encouraged to continue their purchases through Treasury Direct, a web-based system that allows investors to buy and hold electronic savings bonds.  Transitioning employees to electronic payroll purchases saves employers administrative costs and allows employees to manage their own bond accounts.  This is estimated to save nearly $50 million in the first five years.
The benefits of electronic transactions are well documented.  Aside from the large cost savings, electronic transactions provide safety, convenience and control for payment recipients, taxpayers and savings bond holders.  These initiatives do not require new legislation and can be accomplished by changes to Treasury's existing regulations.
As Treasury moves towards an all electronic payment environment, the Administration is strengthening protections for individuals who receive Direct Deposit.  Treasury and the federal agencies that issue benefit payments have published a notice of proposed rulemaking to ensure that exempt federal benefit payments are protected from garnishment after they are directly deposited into accounts.  Also, Treasury will soon issue a notice of proposed rulemaking that reaffirms the longstanding policy that federal benefits must be directly deposited into an account in the name of the recipient and not into an account of a third party.  This rule will prevent entities such as payday lenders from establishing a master account to receive payments on behalf of multiple beneficiaries.  The rule address concerns that benefit recipients do not have control over their funds in these arrangements.  In addition, this proposed rule will permit the direct deposit of benefit payments into master accounts established by organizations such as nursing homes, as long as certain consumer protections are provided for their residents. 

MarketWatch: Personal FInance Stories: Remodeling that Makes sense Today. April 19th, 2010

Monday's Personal Finance stories

By MarketWatch



Don't miss these top stories:

There aren't many home remodeling projects in which you come away with less living space than when you started out. But if there were, you can bet a lot of people today would opt to pursue them. That's because the trend toward downsized houses -- and the downsized outlays a small house entails -- is a strong one.

But since bulldozing the two-story family room isn't really an appealing option, more folks today are choosing to upgrade the bones and guts of their houses, doing budget-minded projects that either spruce up the homestead with less-expensive finishes or remake exteriors or systems to save money down the line on energy expenses.

All of this is a far cry from the middle of the decade, when the sky was the limit on home improvements as equity soared and buyers were willing to pay up for a house with the latest and greatest interiors. Frugality is the order of the day, and with home prices still under pressure in many places it's likely to be the order for several years to come.

Yes, simply steam-cleaning the carpet isn't as sexy as replacing it with a legacy hardwood floor. But you still get a fresh look and a far lower bill.

-- Steve Kerch, assistant managing editor

REAL ESTATE

Sensible remodels for a flat housing market

With housing values in the tank and any substantial price appreciation in the distant future, sinking money into a remodeling project is a tough sell for many homeowners now.
See Amy Hoak's Home Economics.


Reverse mortgages now look cheaper

Reverse mortgages have long been considered one of the most expensive ways to extract cash from your house. But that is changing as some of the country's biggest reverse-mortgage lenders are slicing closing costs -- helping even some affluent homeowners who want to generate additional income.
See Real Estate.


Signs of life in zombie housing market

Economic data have been so upbeat in the last few days that economists are pondering an almost unthinkable question: Could there be signs of life in the zombie housing sector?
See Economic Preview.


INVESTING

These Web sites let you invest with the top pros -- or be one

Joey Windham used to have a stockbroker, but no longer. Now he invests with help from a history professor, an accountant and a doctor whose trading activity he follows online.
See Weekend Investor.


How to play the bubbles like the pros

How can investors deal with the new environment? Analysts offer a range of suggestions, including dropping buy-and-hold strategies, holding more cash and purchasing a range of downside protection, such as options and so-called inverse exchange-traded funds.
See Investing.


How to draft a winning team of mutual funds

If you evaluated mutual funds the same way pro football teams scrutinize prospects and needs in preparation for this week's draft, you almost certainly would come away with a better portfolio.
See Chuck Jaffe.


The market bull keeps charging

Despite everything -- mounting home foreclosures, stubbornly high unemployment, rising interest rates, and fears of deflation -- this bull market keeps rolling.
See Outside the Box.


The bull case for stocks

Shelley Bergman, a top financial adviser at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, explains why stocks should keep climbing and why he likes big multinationals.
 Watch Video Report.


CARS

2010 Acura ZDX: It's what's inside that counts

Give the luxury division of Honda credit for one thing. They wanted the ZDX to look like nothing else on the road and they succeeded -- with the possible exception of the BMW X6.
See Auto Review.


TRAVEL

Stranded travelers seek alternative ways home

For four London-based bankers stranded in Madrid last week, the trip home took nearly 48 hours, but at least they got back in time for Sunday supper. For many millions of travelers stuck around the globe following the eruption of a volcano in Iceland early last week, the journey home promises to be much longer, particularly if they face financial constraints.
See Travel.


Passengers stranded by ash turn to train travel

Eurostar is carrying thousands of extra passengers this weekend as air travel across Europe continues to be affected by volcanic ash.
 Watch Video Report.


TECHNOLOGY

Keeping a cyber eye on your texting teen

Technology is helping parents keep a closer eye on what their kids are up to on their cell phones.
 Watch Video report.