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Financial 411: Weekly Business Roundup

Friday, June 03, 2011

This week brought a succession of disappointing economic reports, from housing to industrial production, and on Friday - job creation.

The economy added just 54,000 jobs last month. That's much lower than the number that was expected, and a lot less than the 200,000 or so we've been averaging for the past several months.

While there may not be a double-dip — yet — in the overall economy, Forbes magazine proclaimed this week that we're having a housing double-dip. The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index found that March home prices have fallen bellow the 2009, trough, to levels that haven't been seen since 2002.

This week also brought troubling news for Goldman Sachs, in the form of a critical report by a Senate committee. There are currently no charges against Goldman, or anyone else in the probe. District Attorney Cy Vance hasn't released the details of what this is all about, but it's a story that could develop in the coming weeks.

Greg David, director of the Business & Economics Reporting Program at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, said the details are in a 300-page  report from the Senate committee, "which said Goldman did terrible things."

"First of all, it bet against housing when it was putting its clients in housing, and it lied about it to Congress," he said.

Some believe the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Justice Department — not New York prosecutors and senate committees — should be going after the big banks. David explains what power local authorities have to make a case against these banks, and reviews this week's business and economics headlines.

Markets

It was the fifth straight week of stock market declines. The Dow gave up 97 more points on Friday, reacting to the bad jobs numbers. The index closed at 12,151. The Nasdaq lost 41 points, ending at 2,733. The S&P 500 slumped to 1,300, down 13 points.

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