Are We Finally Getting a Pulse?
Cut from Rueters:
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Federal Reserve's aggressive interest-rate cuts have failed to push mortgage rates lower and thus have done little to help the battered U.S. housing market, said Bill Gross, chief investment officer at PIMCO, the world's largest bond fund.
"A 20 percent decline in housing prices is a serious serious asset deflation," said Gross. "People mentally compare it to the stock market where we've had bear markets of 30 or 40 percent in the past -- and the conclusion is that we can survive this."
He said: "Well, a 20 percent decline in housing prices is much different. It's confidence destabilizing, it's credit imploding and it's very unlike the stock bear-market as the Japanese experience in the 90s and yes the Depression in the 30s would prove."
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Lowe's Cos., the nation's second biggest home improvement retailer, said Monday that a softer U.S. housing market helped drive its fourth-quarter earnings down 33.4 percent....
Same-store sales -- which counts sales at stores open at least a year -- declined 7.6 percent for the fourth quarter. Same-store sales are considered a good gauge of retail health.
WASN'T LOWE'S DISCOUNTING HEAVILY IN Q4?
Feb. 25 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. municipal borrowers from Camden, New Jersey, to Sacramento, California, may face a third week of higher interest costs as failures in the auction-rate bond market persist.
Auctions run by banks to determine the rate on more than $45 billion of bonds didn't attract enough buyers last week, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co. research. Even some successful auctions resulted in rates that were twice what borrowers paid in January, as investors who submitted bids demanded higher yields.
``The market right now is very predatory,'' said Marcia Maurer, chief financial officer of the Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District. The agency's weekly expense on $250 million of debt more than doubled to $343,000 from last month....
The collapse accelerated as banks including Citigroup and UBS, which have taken losses of about $162 billion from securities related to the collapse of subprime mortgages, grew unwilling to commit capital to support the auctions.
IF BANKS ARE UNWILLING TO LOAN MUNICIPALITIES MONEY, YOU THINK THEY ARE GOING TO LOAN YOU OR YOUR BUSINESS MONEY?
"Nearly all the top home equity lenders I know of are doing this or considering doing this," said Joe Belew, president of the Consumer Bankers Association, which represents some of the nation's largest home equity lenders. "They are all looking at how to protect themselves as real estate values go down, and it's just not good for the borrowers to get so overextended."
Countrywide Financial, the nation's largest mortgage lender, suspended the home equity lines of 122,000 customers last month after reviewing their property values and outstanding loan balances. The company, like others, has an internal automated appraisal system that tracks values.
THAT ANSWERS THAT.