Finance Globe

U.S. financial and economic topics from several finance writers.

U.S. Government Takes Charge of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson announced on Sunday that the government will take charge of the Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA), commonly known as Fannie Mae, and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (FHLMC), commonly know as Freddie Mac. The two government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) are responsible for buying or backing about half of all U.S. mortgages, and are vital to the housing market.Referring to the Treasury's earlier plans, in July, to lend additional funds to the GSEs,...
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TransUnion Offers Settlement on Class-Action Lawsuit

The years of unsolicited junk-mail you've received from credit card issuers and loan companies may have finally paid off. Millions of American consumers could be awarded free credit monitoring services from TransUnion, one of the three major credit reporting agencies in the U.S.A class-action lawsuit accuses TransUnion of selling personal and financial consumer information to third parties for targeted marketing. TransUnion discontinued the practice in 2001 and does not admit to wrongdoing or breaking the law,...
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Gas Prices Drop for the 7th Week in a Row

More relief for drivers in the U.S., gas prices are dipping lower for the 7th week in a row. The average price for gas in the U.S. is $3.67 a gallon for regular unleaded. Crude oil prices are down 25%, now at a five-month low. It reached its all-time high of $147.27 in July. Analysts predicted in May that crude oil may top $200 a barrel, but the current price of $109 a barrel tells a...
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Inflation Picks Up the Pace

Inflation rates in the U.S. have risen faster than economists have predicted. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor, the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) rose at a rate of 5.6 percent for the twelve-month period through July of 2008. This is the fastest leap in consumer prices since 1991. Producer prices have escalated by 9.8 percent, the most since 1981.A nearly 30 percent increase in the...
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Unemployment Rate Hits Four-Year High

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the unemployment rate rose to 5.7 percent for July, the highest it's been in four years. Non-farm payroll employment continues to trend down, at a loss of 51,000 jobs. Employment continues to fall for occupations in construction, manufacturing, and certain service-providing industries, while mining and health care jobs are being added.The number of unemployed persons has risen by 1.6 million over the last twelve months; currently 8.8 million people...
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Federal Deficit Reaches Record High

The White House expects a record-breaking federal deficit.The federal budget deficit for fiscal 2009 is estimated to top a record-high of $482 billion, according to a Bush administration report released on Monday. The last highest deficit record was set in 2004, in the amount of $413 billion.Earlier deficit projections for 2009, released in February, were estimated to be $407 billion. White House officials say that the Economic Stimulus Package is partly to blame for the higher-than-expected...
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Minimum Wage Increase

The new federal minimum wage of $6.55 an hour goes into effect today, which amounts to a $.70 pay raise for the roughly two million American workers who must make ends meet on minimum wage.This increase is the second in a three-year plan to increase the federal minimum wage; minimum wage workers can expect another $.70 wage increase next summer, to bring to federal minimum wage to $7.25 an hour. If the state and federal minimum...
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Food Costs Keep Rising

In the midst of a weak economy, high gas prices, falling real estate values, and a slowing job market, we also have to tighten our budget for the rising cost of food. Many have already noticed their grocery bills edging upward; food prices have already risen over 5% this year, increasing at the fastest rate since 1990. And those costs are expected to keep on rising, many types of foods will see another 15% increase in...
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Gas Prices Take a Dip

Gas prices, here in my town, have hovered just over $4/gallon for months, hitting a high last month at around $4.09. It was actually quite surprising to see a gas price sign for $3.99/gallon last night. Though any relief is better than no relief, we're still paying over a dollar a gallon more than we were last year around this same time. What has caused gas prices to drop ever so slightly?Dolly's threat temporarily pushed gas...
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U.S. Government Plans to Aid Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac

The Federal Reserve and Treasury announced plans on Sunday to lend a hand to mortgage giants, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, by temporarily extending their long-standing credit lines if needed. The two companies would be able to borrow funds from the Fed at a rate of 2.25%, the same rate given to commercial banks and big Wall Street Firms.The Fed said that this should helps the companies' ability "to promote the availability of home mortgage credit...
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