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Wall Street Aristocracy Got $1.2 Trillion in Secret Loans

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Citigroup Inc. and Bank of America Corp. were the reigning champions of finance in 2006 as home prices peaked, leading the 10 biggest U.S. banks and brokerage firms to their best year ever with $104 billion of profits. By 2008, the housing market’s collapse forced those companies to take more than six times as much, $669 billion, in emergency loans from the U.S. Federal Reserve. The loans dwarfed the $160 billion in public bailouts the top 10 got from the U.S. Treasury, yet until now the full amounts have remained secret.



WASHINGTON (AP) -- Foreclosures made up roughly one-third of all home sales this spring. While that's a smaller share of sales from the previous quarter, it's six times the percentage of foreclosures in a healthy housing market. Foreclosure sales, which include homes purchased after they received a notice of default or that were repossessed by lenders, accounted for 31 percent of the market in the April-June quarter, foreclosure listing firm RealtyTrac Inc. said Thursday. The share of the market would likely have been larger this spring if not for a state and federal investigation into faulty paperwork by banks and servicers. The probe has led many banks to delay foreclosure sales. Once that is complete, foreclosures will likely surge later this year.



NEW HAVEN – One number says it all. The number is 0.2%. It is the average annualized growth of US consumer spending over the past 14 quarters – calculated in inflation-adjusted terms from the first quarter of 2008 to the second quarter of 2011. Never before in the post-World War II era have American consumers been so weak for so long. This one number encapsulates much of what is wrong today in the US – and in the global economy.



TOKYO (Reuters) - Moody's Investors Service cut its rating on Japan's government debt by one notch to Aa3 on Wednesday, blaming a build-up of debt since the 2009 global recession and revolving-door political leadership that has hampered effective economic strategies. Japan is preparing to elect its sixth leader in five years to replace unpopular Prime Minister Naoto Kan, under fire for his handling of the response to a March tsunami and subsequent radiation crisis at a crippled nuclear power plant.





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