Fed Chairman to Hold Quarterly Pressers
For the first time in the Federal Reserve's history its chairman is going to start holding news conferences. Chairman Ben Bernake announced Thursday that he'll meet with reporters four times a year following the release of the bank's interest rate decisions to talk about those decisions and the economy. The first conference is set for late April.
Financial Fears in Portugal
There's been a flare-up in financial instability in Europe. Moody's downgraded the debt of 30 Spanish banks on Thursday, though it spared the country's three largest banks. The move comes a day after Portugal's prime minister quit his job after failing to get agreement from opposition parties on a debt-reduction plan. That has raised the fear that the heavily indebted nation is close to financial collapse.
In the U.S., companies bought fewer computers and machines last month. The commerce department reports that durable goods orders fell nearly one percent. Wells Fargo's chief economist John Silvia said that CEOs are still uncertain about the direction of the economy. "This is a significant challenge to a lot of institutions to figure out what is our scale, what is our competitive position here, when you have growth, but it's not a boom," he said. "And that's why I think a lot of people are frustrated today."
The Dow added 85 points, to close at 12,171.
The S&P added 12 points, ending the day at 1,310.
The NASDAQ closed at 2,736, adding 38 points.
Outsourcing Vs. In-sourcing
Recent reports and government audits have shone a harsh light on New York City's outsourcing of information technology projects. This has been especially true for CityTime, the payroll program that was supposed to cost $63 million but has ballooned to more than $700 million. Now, one of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's deputy mayors is arguing that the answer to cost overruns and fraud is in-sourcing — relying more on the city's own paid workforce. WNYC's Bob Hennelly spoke with Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith. He explains what Goldsmith means by in-sourcing, and why the city isn't already using it.