Filed under: Economy

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Risky subprime bonds making a comeback

Subprime and other residential mortgage bonds that helped trigger the financial crisis are back in vogue with long-term investors, in the latest sign that American credit markets are healing after the worst downturn in a generation. Get the full story »

Beef leading commodity price surge

Last year, consumer spending on beef totaled $74.3 billion. (AP Photo/Jayme Halbritter)

Surging commodity prices have consumers paying more for groceries such as eggs, milk, cereal and particularly beef.

In February, the average retail price per pound for beef was $3.87, up 12.4 percent from a year earlier, according to market research firm FreshLook Data. Get the full story »

Fed turns down AIG bid to rebuy dodgy assets

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York has turned down an offer by American International Group to repurchase dodgy mortgage bonds that the Fed had taken off the insurance company’s hands during the financial crisis. Get the full story »

CEO confidence hits record high

U.S. chief executives’ view of the economy brightened in the first quarter, with 92 percent expecting sales to rise over the next six months and more than half looking to add jobs, according to a survey. Get the full story »

U.S. gasoline demand flat in latest week

U.S retail gasoline demand was flat last week but fell from year-earlier levels as higher prices pressured demand while an improved employment outlook provided support, MasterCard Advisors’ SpendingPulse report showed Tuesday. Get the full story »

S&P downgrades Portugal, Greece

Rating agency Standard & Poor’s delivered a damning verdict of the euro zone’s new plans for resolving sovereign debt crises, downgrading two of the euro zone’s most troubled member states on Tuesday. Get the full story »

Evans: Fed should complete $600B in bond buys

The U.S. Federal Reserve Bank should complete its planned $600 billion in bond purchases, but probably does not need to do buy additional bonds to support the economy, a top Fed official said on Monday. Get the full story »

Cocoa supply concerns rise for Blommer, others


Ivory Coast’s increasingly violent political crisis has cast doubt not only over the availability of this year’s cocoa crop, but also its quality. The country supplies around one-third of the world’s cocoa.

“Concerns now are being raised in regard to how a long drawn out solution could negatively impact the quality and quantity of the country’s upcoming mid crop,” said Kip Walk, head of cocoa at Chicago-based Blommer Chocolate Co., one of the world’s largest cocoa processors that sells to major candy makers. Get the full story »

Evans: Fed doesn’t need to extend bond-buying

The Federal Reserve should complete its current round of bond-buying, designed to support the recovery, and likely does not need to extend it, Chicago Fed President Charles Evans said on Friday. Get the full story »

March consumer sentiment lowest in over a year

Consumer sentiment in March fell to its lowest level in more than a year as gasoline and food prices rose, a survey released on Friday showed. Get the full story »

Fourth-quarter GDP revised up to 3.1%

The U.S. economy grew more quickly than previously estimated in the fourth quarter as businesses maintained fairly solid spending and restocked shelves. Gross domestic product growth was revised up to an annualized rate of 3.1 percent, the Commerce Department said in its final estimate, close to its initial estimate of 3.2 percent. Get the full story »

Fed, in historic shift, to brief media on policy

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will start holding regular media briefings on monetary policy next month, a historic shift to greater openness at the traditionally secretive U.S. central bank. Get the full story »

VIX heading for biggest 6-day drop since ‘08

The benchmark measure of U.S. stock options headed for its biggest six-day drop since November 2008 as concern that this month’s Japanese earthquake will curb the global economy eased. Get the full story »

GM to sell preferred shares of Ally for $1B

General Motors Co. says it will sell all of its shares of a certain type in Ally Financial Inc., its former finance arm, for $1 billion. The shares to be sold represent all of Ally’s Series A preferred stock outstanding, the automaker said Tuesday. Get the full story »

U.S. retail gas demand up 1.7% in latest week

A BP station at Ashland and Fullerton in Chicago, March 7, 2011. (Nancy Stone/Chicago Tribune)

U.S. retail gasoline demand rose 1.7 percent last week but remained below year-earlier levels, MasterCard Advisors’ SpendingPulse report showed Tuesday.

Average gasoline demand by the world’s top consumer hit 9.3 million barrels per day in the week to March 18, the report showed, the second straight week of gains. Get the full story »