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Daily Digest - Dec 13

Saturday, December 13, 2008, 8:51 AM

World's largest illegal Ponzi scheme unravels, GDP to Debt, escaping your retirement fund prison, auto sales plunge for Japanese brands (too), Dead Cat Bounce and IBS (both humor), news outfits take a hit, retail charts for November, DIP loan freeze,  who needs Congress?, and the Z.1 report.

Economy

$50 billion at stake after Wall St broker Bernard Madoff is arrested over ‘world's biggest swindle'

Shock and panic spread through the country clubs of Palm
Beach and Long Island after Bernard Madoff, a trading powerbroker for
more than four decades, allegedly confessed to a fraud that will cost
his wealthy investors at least $50 billion - perhaps the largest
swindle in Wall Street history.

GDP to Debt

Michael Saunders from CitiGroup has calculated ‘external debt' - ie, what Britain owes the rest of the world. It is not 40% but 400% of GDP, the highest in the G7 by some margin. The next down, France, is 176%. America, flagellating itself for blowing such a debt bubble, is just 100%. Japan is about half America. The below graph shows ‘external debt' - both in mid-2008, and five years ago.

Escaping Retirement Fund "Prison" for Fund Profits

Are you one of the ones who had to sit there helplessly watching through the August, September, October and November 2008 Takedowns, as your hard-earned accumulated savings over decades were cut by 40% or 50%, because your only alternative to staying in deteriorating Equities in your retirement funds was to go into cash? And cash is no secure haven either, as we point out below.

Auto sales plunge Nissan down 37% Toyota down 32% Honda down 24%

Across the board, auto executives said Americans had either walked away from vehicle purchases or been stymied by a lack of financing or requirements for larger down-payments. 

Dead Cat Bounce (Technical (humor) Chart of DJIA)

Dr. Decline IBS (Irritable Bailout Sundrom) (Humor)

Fed regulators shut 2 banks in Georgia, Texas

NEW YORK (AP) -- Regulators on Friday closed Haven Trust Bank in Georgia and Sanderson State Bank in Texas, bringing to 25 the number of U.S. bank failures this year.

WUSA Moves to One-Person News Crews

The march of technology and the shrinking economy are beginning to take a toll on the traditional means of television news-gathering: the TV news crew.

Report: Detroit papers likely to cut delivery

DETROIT (AP) -- The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press are leaning toward cutting home delivery to three days a week, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

Auto sales plunge Nissan down 37% Toyota down 32% Honda down 24%

Across the board, auto executives said Americans had
either walked away from vehicle purchases or been stymied by a lack of
financing or requirements for larger down-payments.

Retail Sales (November- Chart)

Inventory to Sales Ratio (Chart)

DIP loan freeze may cause preemptive bankruptcies

Instead of securing a debtor-in-possession (DIP) loan, which has traditionally been made to fund a company as it reorganizes in bankruptcy, the company reached an alternative financing deal with Barclays Capital.

Who Needs Congress?

Dec. 12 (Bloomberg) -- General Motors Corp. Chief Executive Officer Rick Wagoner spoke today with White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson about a short-term rescue plan to keep the automaker solvent, a person familiar with the talks said

Fed Z.1 (The "Flow of Funds" report - total credit market debt, assets and liabilities, etc. in there...)

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