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Financial 411: Weekly Business Roundup

Friday, March 18, 2011

Value of Yen Falls

The yen is lower against the dollar after the Group of Seven nations moved to weaken the Japanese currency. But the dollar also dropped against most other currencies Friday, following the coordinated currency intervention and word of a cease-fire in Libya.

Banks Say Stock Dividends Growing

Stock dividends will grow for those holding shares of JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and U.S. Bancorp. That's according to those banks. It appears they passed recent stress tests by the Federal Reserve, allowing them to increase their dividends. The Fed isn't saying who passed and who failed. During the financial crisis, banks slashed dividends to build capital cushions so they could absorb losses. Regulators barred banks from boosting dividends without obtaining approval.

Markets


Unemployment rose in nearly all large U.S. cities in January, compared to the previous month. But that was mostly because of seasonal changes, like layoffs of temporary retail employees hired for the holidays.

The Dow rose 84 points today, closing at 11,859. The index lost close to 200 points over the course of the week. The Nasdaq gained eight points, ending at 2,644. The S&P 500 settled at 1,279, after adding five points.

A Review of This Week's Business & Economics News

This week, world governments took extraordinary measures to blunt the spike in the value of the Japanese yen. Albany lawmakers wrangled over the state budget. And developer Bruce Ratner said that in order to cut costs, he might build the world's largest pre-fab tower in the heart of Brooklyn. Greg David, director of the Business & Economics Reporting Program at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, reviews this week's business and economics news.

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