Author Archives: Colin Barr
  • Goldman's uphill buyback battle

    What if you announced a $10 billion stock buyback and drew a bunch of yawns in response?

    That's where Goldman Sachs (GS) finds itself a week after its disappointingly soft second quarter. The torpid reaction is only the latest sign that a weak economy, creaky markets and tightening  capital rules are squeezing the once mighty megabanks.

    Perhaps hoping to ease some of the sting of its rare earnings miss, Goldman said last MORE

    - Jul 26, 2011 7:35 AM ET
  • A new way to bet on Japan

    If you're thinking of rolling the dice on Japan, the betting just got a little easier.

    This month marks the debut of an exchange-traded fund that tracks Japan's most widely followed stock index. The Maxis Nikkei 225 index fund, listed under ticker NKY, began trading last week.

    The launch is noteworthy because it gives investors an easy way to wager on corporate Japan at a time when the world's third-biggest economy is MORE

    - Jul 22, 2011 12:22 PM ET
  • Chewing on Dodd-Frank spaghetti

    Today is Dodd-Frank's birthday.

    Not that you forgot, but now it's time to celebrate with a late lunch of regulatory reform spaghetti, courtesy of the banking team at Deloitte:

    Just 206 items in the 2,000-page-plus legislation are awaiting next steps, the Deloitte chart shows. The thing where the Securities and Exchange Commission has been charged with implementing this massive piece of legislation in a hurry at a time when its budget is being MORE

    - Jul 21, 2011 3:35 PM ET
  • Wells Fargo's big mortgage ripoff

    What do you have to do to get slapped with the Federal Reserve's biggest-ever consumer-protection fine?

    You have to rip off mortgage borrowers by the thousand. The Fed alleges Wells Fargo (WFC) did just that during the housing boom, bilking "possibly more than 10,000" out of sums reaching as high as $20,000 by slapping them with high-cost loans when they would have qualified for cheaper ones.

    The Fed fined Wells $85 million MORE

    - Jul 20, 2011 5:41 PM ET
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  • The Fed's scary doomsday drill

    Hoping Aug. 2 will come and go uneventfully? Read Wednesday's comments from Philadelphia Fed President Charles Plosser and weep.

    Plosser (right) says the Federal Reserve is gearing up for a possible U.S. default should the loons in Congress fail to raise the debt ceiling. He stresses in an interview with Reuters that he isn't predicting this baleful outcome, but he doesn't underplay how quickly a default might spin out of control.

    The MORE

    - Jul 20, 2011 5:05 PM ET
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  • Bernanke's pain point: a 17% stock drop

    How low would stocks have to go to bring Ben Bernanke off the sidelines?

    A 17% drop in the U.S. blue chips would probably suffice, say big fund managers surveyed this month by Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

    The S&P 500 would have to hit 1100 to get the Fed buying more bonds to prop up domestic demand for goods and services, according to the survey of 265 managers overseeing nearly $800 MORE

    - Jul 20, 2011 9:52 AM ET
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  • Goldman slumps on 'disappointing' quarter

     Goldman Sachs stock fell to its lowest level since April 2009 after the bank admitted it had a "disappointing" second quarter.

    The New York-based investment firm made $1.09 billion, or $1.85 a share. That's up from the year-ago $613 million, or 78 cents a share, but those numbers were hit by a $550 million legal settlement and a $600 million hit on the U.K. bank tax. Revenue at Goldman (GS) fell 18% MORE

    - Jul 19, 2011 8:23 AM ET
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  • BofA posts $8.8 billion loss

    Bank of America posted an $8.8 billion second-quarter loss as the biggest U.S. bank by assets tries to put its disastrous acquisition of Countrywide in the rearview mirror.

    The Charlotte-based bank lost 90 cents a share in the quarter, reversing the year-ago profit of $3.1 billion, or 27 cents a share. Revenue, hit by $13 billion in mortgage litigation costs, plunged 54% from a year earlier to $13.5 billion.

    Excluding the mortgage MORE

    - Jul 19, 2011 7:32 AM ET
  • Tides of March: Did U.S. economy crest this spring?

    Did the U.S. economic expansion wilt this past spring, allowing another recession to take root?

    Gluskin Sheff economist David Rosenberg believes it did. It isn't just that the unemployment rate bottomed out in March at 8.8%. Rosenberg notes that real disposable income, household employment, real business sales and manufacturing output all peaked that month.

    Skepticism about U.S. growth is catching lately, what with Goldman Sachs and Bank of America both cutting their MORE

    - Jul 18, 2011 2:16 PM ET
  • Foreigners still buying U.S. bonds

    Foreigners continued to buy American in May.

    Overseas investors bought $45 billion worth of U.S. stocks and bonds, the government said Monday in its monthly Treasury International Capital report. That's up from $31 billion in April and above the $40 billion net purchase forecast by economists.

    Among the big purchasers, as usual, were China, whose official stock of U.S. Treasury holdings rose by $7 billion to a globe-topping $1.16 trillion, and Japan, MORE

    - Jul 18, 2011 9:36 AM ET
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About This Author
Colin Barr
Colin Barr
Senior Writer, Fortune

Colin Barr has covered finance for since November 2007. Previously he was a writer and editor for, winning a 2006 Society of American Business Editors and Writers award for "The Five Dumbest Things on Wall Street," and for Dow Jones Newswires. He is a 1991 graduate of Penn State and lives in Port Washington, N.Y., with his wife Meena Bose and their two kids.

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