The First Draft: More pain ahead

February 20, 2009

Guess what? The economy is still in terrible shape.MARKETS-STOCKS/

The Dow Jones Industrial average plunged to its lowest level in six years yesterday, and all signs point to another lousy day on Wall Street today.

U.S. stock index futures are falling in early morning trading as worries about the fate of major banks mount. Shares of Citigroup were down 6.4 percent and Bank of America was down 8 percent in trading on the Frankfurt exchange.

President Obama has had a busy week. After signing the stimulus bill, unveiling his mortgage rescue plan and visiting Canada, he’ll talk up the stimulus at 10:30 a.m. today.

Every other economic indicator is in the toilet these days. How’s inflation? We’ll find out at 8:30 a.m., when the Labor Department releases its Consumer Price Index figures. Analysts say the numbers are expected to be moderate, with deflation more a concern than rising prices.

Authorities have tracked down accused fraudster Allen Stanford in Fredericksburg, Virginia. The FBI served the billionaire cricket promoter with civil charges accusing him of masterminding a “massive, ongoing fraud” with a price tag of roughly $8 billion.

Hillary Clinton had some tough talk for North Korea. On her first foreign jaunt as Secretary of State, she called the isolated country a “tyranny” and said it needs to settle down and return to nuclear talks.

Looks like they have a new prime minister in Israel. Right-wing leader Benjamin Netanyahu will be asked to form the next governent, 10 days after a parlaimentary election provded no clear winner.

Photo credit: REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

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