The Financial Landscape: BofA Deal Nixed; Goldman Sachs Deal Exposed


Not So Fast, B of A:

A small group of bond investors called Walnut Place has thrown a wrench into Bank of America's (BAC) massive mortgage securities settlement by rejecting the deal, which they say is tilted in favor of larger investors. Shares of the nation's largest bank by assets fell 3% Wednesday.

And on Thursday B of A suffered a loss in court, as a district judge in New York ruled that homeowners who contend that the bank stiffed them on mortgage-modifications intended to prevent foreclosure can proceed with a class-action lawsuit.

Goldman and the Government Cookie Jar, Cont'd: The Federal Reserve finally released details of a secret 2008 lending program for banks, revealing that a unit of Goldman Sachs (GS) took the largest single loan. The New York Times reports that Goldman "borrowed $15 billion from the Federal Reserve on Dec. 9, 2008, the Fed said in data released on Wednesday. The Fed made 28-day loans from March 7, 2008, to Dec. 30, 2008, as part of an $80 billion initiative... The information was released in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by Bloomberg." This news is of some interest since CEO Lloyd Blankfein has adamantly insisted that his firm could have survived the financial crisis without government assistance.

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Social Safety Net on the Table: According to The Washington Post, "President Obama is pressing congressional leaders to consider a far-reaching debt-reduction plan that would force Democrats to accept major changes to Social Security and Medicare in exchange for Republican support for fresh tax revenue." Obama seems to sense an opportunity for a major legislative achievement -- "something big," in the words of Reuters -- that addresses the looming budgetary crisis in entitlement spending. Obama's meeting with top congressional leaders is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m.

Strong Results in Retail: Reuters reports "no misses so far" in same-store sales for June: All 10 retailers who have reported -- including Limited Brands (LTD), Costco (COST), Hot Topic (HOTT), and Wet Seal (WTSLA) -- beat their estimates. Fourteen companies have yet to report. According to Reuters, the retail outlook is good: "Summer vacation started and there's been an increase of teenagers shopping at the mall. Positive same store sales are expected across the board, as retailers managed leaner inventories. Warm weather is driving seasonal items that seem to have sold well in the second quarter, positioning retailers well for the Back-to-School season."

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