Bernanke will testify about ‘too big to fail’ bank bailouts

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will testify this week about his role in the bank bailouts that sent billions of taxpayer dollars to banks deemed “too big to fail.”

Bernanke will testify Thursday before the bipartisan Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission. The panel was created by Congress to investigate the roots of the financial panic that rocked Wall Street and the global economy starting in 2008.

Bernanke and other officials considered the banks “too big to fail” because they feared the banks’ failures could spread panic and bring down the broader financial system. The government rescued insolvent companies such as Bear Stearns, Merrill Lynch and American International Group Inc. by brokering their sale to competitors or putting them under government control.

 

Stocks fall in thin trading ahead of economic reports

Stocks fell in thin trading Monday after more signs of slowing economic growth got investors worried ahead of a key report on jobs later this week.

The Dow Jones industrial average lost ground throughout the day and closed with a loss of 141 points. Other indexes also fell more than 1 percent. Bond prices rose, sending interest rates lower, as money moved back into the Treasury market.

The latest cause for worry on the economy came in a report early Monday showing that personal incomes rose less than expected in July.

The Dow fell 140.92, or 1.4 percent, to close at 10,009.73. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 15.67, or 1.5 percent, to 1,048.92, while the Nasdaq composite index fell 33.66, or 1.6 percent, to 2,119.97.

Stocks have largely been moving on major economic reports and less on individual corporate news during the past month. The Labor Department’s monthly employment report comes out Friday, a report on private employment comes out Wednesday, and first-time claims for unemployment insurance for last week will come out Thursday.

 

Movies bring record revenue despite lower attendance

Hollywood is finishing its summer with record revenue but the lowest actual movie attendance in five years.

Domestic receipts from the first weekend in May through the upcoming Labor Day weekend should come in at about $4.35 billion – $100 million more than the record set last year, said Paul Dergarabedian, box-office analyst for Hollywood.com.

Attendance is down because of a steep rise in ticket prices, related largely to a surge in 3-D screenings, which cost a few dollars more than regular movie admissions.

Through Labor Day, the actual number of tickets sold during the summer season is expected to come in at 552 million, the lowest since 563.2 million tickets were sold in summer 2005, Dergarabedian estimated Monday.