The ghost of mortgage-backed securities reappeared this week. Bank of America agreed to pay $8.5 billion to settle claims with several major institutional investors who said they had been misled about the poor quality of mortgage-backed securities. These were bonds purchased from Countrywide Financial, which was later absorbed by Bank of America.
In other banking headlines, Goldman Sachs announced it will let go of 230 employees in New York City. We've had reports that other banks are looking at issuing pink slips. We'll talk about reasons for the cuts.
Turning to energy and the environment, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg got into a verbal tit-for-tat this week over the Indian Point nuclear power station. It's a big part of the downstate energy mix, supplying between 20 and 25 percent of our electricity. Cuomo wants to shut it down, and Bloomberg said the city needs that energy. But the ultimate decision isn't up to them — it's up to federal regulators.
This was the best week for markets since March 2009. They may have received a boost by positive manufacturing reports, and the news that Greece approved new austerity measures, clearing the way for it to receive international loans.
The Dow gained 168 points on Friday, to close at 12,583. The S&P 500 added 19 points, to end the day at 1,340. The Nasdaq rose 43 point, to close at 2,816.