Stocks jumped on Thursday on the back of investors buying up shares in financial institutions. “The S&P 500 Index climbed 3.6% to trade just shy of the 1200 level, led by a 9% jump in its financial sector. The Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 3.5% as some big technology companies posted solid gains. Computer maker Dell was recently higher by about 12%,” reported The Wall Street Journal.
The world credit crisis has now claimed HBOS, the largest mortgage lender in Britain. “Lloyds TSB, Britain’s largest provider of checking accounts, on Thursday announced a £12.2 billion ($21.85-billion) deal to take over struggling HBOS,” according to the Associated Press.
Morgan Stanley has begun preliminary talks with Wachovia Corp. and other banks regarding a possible merger, after Morgan Stanley’s stock dropped $6.95, or 24%, to $21.75 yesterday, “its lowest level since 1998.”
Sources indicate that Washington Mutual has hired Goldman Sachs to initiate an auction for the sale of the ailing bank. “The news comes the same day as a Securities and Exchange Commission filing Wednesday that says private equity firm TPG, which led the $7.2 billion capital injection involving several other investors this spring, has decided to waive certain rights in its $2 billion investment in the Seattle-based thrift,” the Street reports.
“The world's biggest central banks said Thursday they would inject massive amounts of liquidity into the financial system in a bid to alleviate extreme distress in short-term money markets,” according to MarketWatch.
Russia announced Thursday that its military had launched a test fire of a "new-generation strategic missile from a submarine." This marks the latest firing of weapons with multiple warheads created to break past anti-missile shields.
Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni has won her party’s election and will now attempt to form a coalition government with her ruling Kadima Party, “putting her on a path that could make her Israel’s first female prime minister in 34 years.”
Yemeni authorities have arrested 30 suspects in connection to the suicide bombings at the U.S. embassy in the country yesterday that killed 16 people. Those arrested are believed to be associated with al-Qaida.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed two treaties with the Georgia breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia on Wednesday, saying Russia will defend the countries if they are attacked. Medvedev went through with the treaties despite international opposition and warnings from the Bush administration.
Senior members of the National Congress (ANC) have decided that South African President Thabo Mbeki’s position is “untenable” and the president could lose his position within days, “after a court found that he influenced prosecutors to bring fraud and corruption charges against his rival and successor as the party's president, Jacob Zuma,” according to The Guardian.
Ariz. Sen. John McCain said at a rally in Iowa that if he were elected president, he would fire SEC Chair Christopher Cox, and blamed government market oversight bodies of being "asleep at the switch" during periods of market volatility.
At a minor-league baseball stadium in Las Vegas yesterday, Ill. Sen. Barack Obama launched a number of attacks against Ariz. Sen. John McCain in front of about 14,000 of people. Sen. Obama focused on Sen. McCain’s involvement in the current state of the economy.
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin had her first town hall meeting on Wednesday, appearing alongside McCain in front of an audience in Michigan. “The 70-minute evening event featured alternating vows from Palin, 44, and McCain, 72, to shake up Washington, drill for offshore oil and defeat terrorism,” according to the Grand Rapids Press.
Regulators in California have temporarily prohibited train operators from text messaging while working. A South California commuter train crashed last week. It has been confirmed the train’s engineer was text messaging while on duty. Twenty-five people died and more than 130 were injured in the crash.
The FDA announced on Thursday it will review food and drug products that come from genetically modified animals. “The FDA published detailed proposed guidelines that producers of genetically engineered animals would have to follow to determine if there are any risks to humans, the environment and the animals themselves,” Reuters reports.
Less than 14 months after a portion of a I-35W overpass in Minneapolis collapsed, killing 13 people, the new "smart bridge" opened today. The “smart bridge” technology includes sensors to detect weight, weather conditions and if intruders enter unauthorized zones on the bridge.
On Wednesday, California’s budget deal approved by the state legislature began to collapse. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has disapproved of the budget and said he would veto it, and now it appears that the lawmakers will have trouble overriding that veto.
The White House has announced that President George W. Bush will not be traveling to Florida and Alabama as planned today in order to focus his attention on the economy. “On Wednesday, the White House defended its decision to bail out troubled national insurance giant American International Group Inc,” CNN reports.
“Between 30 and 80 percent of people who suffer concussions also develop post-concussion syndrome, a disorder in which concussion symptoms last for days, weeks or months,” according to the Billings Gazette of Montana.
“A government agency has dropped plans for a study of a controversial treatment for autism that critics had called an unethical experiment on children,” the Associated Press reports. “The National Institute of Mental Health said in a statement Wednesday that the study of the treatment—called chelation—has been abandoned.”
Scientific American reports that, “A community of engineers, designers and innovators is collaborating online to make better prosthetic hands and arms for amputees. One of the lead engineers lost his own arm in Iraq.”
Dallas Mavericks forward Josh Howard’s off-court troubles have continued with a new YouTube video showing him at a charity football game. During the National Anthem Howard says, “The Star Spangled Banner is going on right now. I don’t even celebrate that [expletive]. I’m black.”
Even though Vikings Coach Brad Childress told the media that Tavaris Jackson would remain the team’s quarterback following Sunday’s loss to the Colts, he has now named veteran Gus Frerotte the starting quarterback for the rest of the season. “I’m just not seeing right now the aggressiveness from Tavaris that I saw throughout the offseason, training camp, the two preseason games that he played in,” Childress said.
The Microsoft television ads featuring comedian Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates, which have received poor reviews, will be pulled. “Microsoft spokesman Frank Shaw said the end of the Seinfeld ads was planned well in advance, and wasn’t coming in response to any criticism of the spots. ‘All along we said we were having a teaser campaign,’ he said. ‘We’re getting ready to start the second phase. This was the plan all along.’”