Recession Briefing 1.27

by Sara Clemence on January 27, 2009 in News

What you need to know today to survive and thrive in the recession.

U.S. Stocks Set to Open Higher (WSJ)
U.S. stock futures edged cautiously higher Tuesday, as investors faced another flood or corporate earnings.

Senate Confirms Geithner for Treasury (NY Times)
Timothy F. Geithner was sworn in as secretary of the Treasury on Monday evening, confirmed by a Senate majority that concluded that his experience in government and finance outweighed concerns about recent disclosures of some $34,000 in past tax delinquencies.

Thain Says He’ll Repay Remodeling Costs (NY Times)
John A. Thain, the former chief executive of Merrill Lynch, defended on Monday his decisions on several fronts as he made his exit from Bank of America. But Mr. Thain sounded a bit contrite about that $35,000 commode. Related:  John Thain’s Phone Date With Denial (NY Magazine)

U.S. Retail Sales May Post First Drop in 14 Years, Group Says (Bloomberg)
Sales at U.S. retailers may decline in 2009, the first annual drop in at least 14 years, as consumers continue to spend less and only purchase items that are discounted.

Japan Offers $16.7bn to Troubled Firms (FT)
The Japanese government threw a $16.7bn lifeline to companies threatened by the global financial crisis on Tuesday, to try to shield the shrinking economy from more job losses and bankruptcies.

Hamptons Housing Catches Cold (NY Observer)
At a time when Manhattan dwellers struggle with lackluster year-end bonuses and job losses, the Hamptons has suffered its own crisis: one of real estate, the East End playground’s great arbiter.

Lehman’s Fuld Sold Florida Mansion to Wife for $100 (Reuters)
The 62-year old executive, who could face civil lawsuits after overseeing the storied investment bank’s collapse into Chapter 11 proceedings last September, transferred ownership of the 3.3 acres seaside home on November 10, records show.

Data Show College Endowments Loss Is Worst Drop Since ’70s (NY Times)
The value of university endowments fell about 23 percent on average in the five months ended Nov. 30, according to two newly released reports. Related:  Brandeis Says It Plans to Sell Art Collection to Raise Cash

Davos Savors $1,700 Chateau Petrus as Crisis Dodged for Now (Bloomberg)
Cushioned by a blanket of snow and early hotel bookings, Davos has so far been protected from the market turmoil that caused $62 billion in writedowns and more than 16,000 job cuts at the two largest Swiss banks alone. As the annual conference rolls into town tomorrow to discuss the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, locals wonder when the slump will hit.

It Can Be Done: Landing a Raise In a Recession (WSJ)
With raise season under way, many employees may be stumped about whether they should ask for a salary increase this year. During a recessionary period, people often find themselves working harder but wonder whether it’s realistic to expect to be compensated for bearing the extra burden when many companies are facing losses. The answer is, probably, but with a catch.

Robert Schiller: Animal Spirits Depend on Trust (WSJ)
President Obama is urging Congress to pass an $825 billion stimulus package as soon as possible. But even that may not be enough to stabilize the economy, since it fails to take into account the downward spiral of animal spirits that is underway and may continue to worsen.

M&A: Will the Recession Spark a Rebound? (BusinessWeek)
Most bankers and M&A experts expect the recession to eventually spark waves of consolidation in many industries. Weakened companies will need buyers to survive, while strong firms will take advantage of low stock market valuations to buy troubled rivals at discounts.

How to Inspire Workers in Tough Times (BusinessWeek)
Despite living through possibly the worst economic recession since the Great Depression, some offices may still be filled with truly motivated people—energetic, driven, ambitious, hard-working, competitive. These are just the sort of traits needed to turn a company around.

Period of Adjustment (Condé Nast Portfolio)
Editors tweak book plots and release dates to cash in on the crash.

Existing Home Sales Rebound…Whew, It’s Over! (Real Estate Matrix)
When I heard the latest NAR existing home sale stats released today, I fought back the urge to ignore them because of the past spin of David Lereah and the fact there is no national housing market, blah, blah, blah.

Just Got Laid off? Get Better Severance (Fortune)
if you’ve just left your boss’s office with the dire news that your position is being eliminated, what do you do?

O’S Clothier Goes Broke (NY Post)
Hartmarx Corp., a Chicago-based maker of men’s suits, including President Barack Obama’s inauguration tuxedo, has filed for bankruptcy protection.

New Prime-Time Ads Act Now! (Washington Post)
As economy ails, ShamWow And Snuggie get big break.

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