Dow +133.40 (+1.09%)
Nasdaq -0.02 (-0.00%)
S&P 500 +9.73 (+0.73%)
News That Moved the Market
Buffet Causes Rally. The markets were positive for most of the day off news that Warren Buffet offered through Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A, -0.2%) to assume $800 billion in municipal bond liabilities from MBIA (MBI, -15.3%), Ambac (ABK, -15.1%), and FGIC Corp. The offer should dissolve fears of a large municipal bond sell off, but Buffet said he would not touch the companies' troubled structured-finance business. Berkshire said it would take on the liabilities for the specific bonds in exchange for 1.5 times the premium the companies had received. This was not a bail out and still leaves the bond insurers at risk to lose their AAA ratings. Despite this, the markets reacted extremely positively to the news, trading higher, but on light volume. A late day sell off erased gains for the Nasdaq, but other major indices finished with well into the green.
GM Reports Largest Annual Decline. GM (GM, -1.9%) reported a loss of $38.7 for last year, and still seems far away from reaching real sustainable profitability. However, it announced it would be offering buyouts to 74,000 United Auto Workers members to lower costs.
Paulson Announces Foreclosure Freeze. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and a group banks responsible for half the U.S. mortgage market announced plans to offer 30 day foreclosure freezes. The plan is to help and encourage troubled homeowners to contact their mortgage banks to modify their loans. So far, only 16% of homeowners who were sent a letter explaining they were at risk of foreclosure have contacted a lender.
Notable Earnings (Full List Here):
Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) Before Open
Waste Management (WMI) Before Open
Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU) After Close
Economic Events (Times given in EST):
8:30 AM: Retail Sales
10:00 AM: Business Inventories
10:30 AM: Crude Inventories