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Wire: FEDERAL RESERVE BALANCE-SHEET RISES TO $2.07 TRILLION IN WEEK

The Federal Reserve’s aggressive unconventional policy measures to revive dormant credit markets have again pushed the central bank’s balance sheet above $2 trillion, according to data the Fed released on Thursday.
Liabilities on the Fed’s balance sheet rose to $2.050 trillion as of March 18 from $1.882 trillion the previous week. That number is expected to continue rising following a new vow in the Fed’s policy statement this week to spend over $1 trillion more in buying Treasuries and mortgage bonds…

Bloomberg: The size of the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet climbed 8.8 percent to $2.07 trillion in the past week as the central bank snapped up mortgage-backed securities in its campaign to lower U.S. home-loan rates.

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The Economist: Barney Frank Doubts Federal Reserve’s Future Ability to Regulate Banks

U.S. Representative Barney Frank spoke to “The Economist” and said: “The Fed has taken a bit of a hit over this AIG issue…[the] political case for the Fed as systemic risk regulator is going to have to be rebuilt, re-examined.”


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Stocks Fail to Rally a Fifth Day After Profit Taking Brings Indices Down

US Session Key Developments

  • Bernanke: No More Bank Failures Under My Watch
  • American Express Reports Rising Credit-Card Defaults
  • Citigroup Surges 30.9% to $2.33

Stocks Fail to Rally a Fifth Day After Profit Taking Pushes Indices Down

Wall Street traded most of the day in positive territory with the Dow and S&P 500 rising as much as 2.34% before finally slipping into the red the session’s final hour. The early advance came after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said that he would not allow any banks from hereon to fail, in a 60 Minutes interview yesterday. Mid-day trading revealed bad financial news that seemed to have forced some of the selling. American Express erased an 8.1% advance after reporting rising credit-card defaults. Despite this, Citigroup surged 30.90% to $2.33 after having traded at $0.96 two weeks ago. Bank of America also rose, by 7.29% to $6.18. The session’s day was filled with mixed performance. In fact, only 210 stocks in the S&P 500 finished up while 286 ended down.

Dow 30                    7216.97                  -7.01                      -0.10%
The Dow opened the day and traded most of the day in positive territory, rising as much as 2.34% before profit-takers forced the index down into the red in the final hour of trading. Basic Materials outperformed, rising 3.60% while Health Care plummeted 1.26%. Citigroup was the most active stock after seeing 287.02 million shares of its stock traded through the New York Stock Exchange.

NASDAQ                 1404.02                  -27.48                   -1.92%
The NASDAQ performed the worst of three indices, spending most of the day in the red and rising by as much as only 0.96% but closing near the day’s lows. SanDisk may have led the slide in tech-stocks after a Bank of America analyst report downgraded the stock’s performance to ‘underperform.’

S&P 500                  753.89                     -29.38                   -0.35%
The S&P 500 had a mixed day, with only 210 stocks rising and 286 ending the day below par. The fear gauge, which shows the implied volatility of call options on the S&P 500, rose for a second straight day, by 3.25% to 43.74.

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Recession May End in ’09; Banks Need Not Be Nationalized, Bernanke Says

Bernanke: ‘There is a reasonable prospect’ that the economy will recover by year’s end

“I don’t see any reason to destroy the franchise value or to create the huge legal uncertainties of trying to formally nationalize a bank when it just isn’t necessary.”

Markets Rally After Bernanke's Speech

Markets Rally After Bernanke's Speech

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