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NEED TO KNOW NUMBERS CRUNCHER
Thursday, July 31, 2008
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* TODAY: Commerce Department reports on gross domestic product, second quarter, advance; Labor Department reports on employment cost index, second quarter and weekly jobless claims.

* Private-sector employment increased by 9,000 in July, according to the ADP National Employment Report. The news helped boost the stock market. Small businesses added 50,000 jobs, while medium and large businesses shed 41,000, the report said.

* Dozens of hedge funds, private equity groups and other investors have plunged into the beaten-down mortgage market in recent months, buying tens of thousands of distressed loans and foreclosed properties nationwide. They hope to profit from the woes of banks and other investors holding mortgages that have plummeted in value as home values sink and defaults soar. Many of the hedge funds, run by former Wall Street and lending industry executives, claim they can do a better job than banks or other investors of modifying mortgages at terms that consumers can afford.

"We're much easier to deal with than a bank," said Jacob Benaroya, managing partner of Rochelle Park-based Biltmore Capital Group, a hedge fund that's buying up to $100 million in mortgage debt per year. "We've bought [the loan] at enough of a discount that we can make special arrangements with the borrower."

* Public companies can use their Web sites exclusively to disseminate information to investors under guidelines adopted by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The guidelines replace the current requirement for companies to use either filings with the SEC or widely distributed news releases to issue the information, with the option of also putting it on their sites. The change is expected to save companies, especially smaller ones, time and money.

* The Federal Reserve said it is extending its emergency borrowing program to Wall Street firms and is taking other steps to ease a severe credit crunch that has hobbled the national economy.

The Fed said the program, where investment houses can tap the central bank for a quick source of cash, will now be available through Jan. 30.

Number of cars that paid to park at Newark Liberty International Airport over 12 months that ended April 30

Number of taxis dispatched to the airport in that period

Number of airline passengers flying from the airport in that period

Source: Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

* TODAY: Commerce Department reports on gross domestic product, second quarter, advance; Labor Department reports on employment cost index, second quarter and weekly jobless claims.

* Private-sector employment increased by 9,000 in July, according to the ADP National Employment Report. The news helped boost the stock market. Small businesses added 50,000 jobs, while medium and large businesses shed 41,000, the report said.

* Dozens of hedge funds, private equity groups and other investors have plunged into the beaten-down mortgage market in recent months, buying tens of thousands of distressed loans and foreclosed properties nationwide. They hope to profit from the woes of banks and other investors holding mortgages that have plummeted in value as home values sink and defaults soar. Many of the hedge funds, run by former Wall Street and lending industry executives, claim they can do a better job than banks or other investors of modifying mortgages at terms that consumers can afford.

"We're much easier to deal with than a bank," said Jacob Benaroya, managing partner of Rochelle Park-based Biltmore Capital Group, a hedge fund that's buying up to $100 million in mortgage debt per year. "We've bought [the loan] at enough of a discount that we can make special arrangements with the borrower."

* Public companies can use their Web sites exclusively to disseminate information to investors under guidelines adopted by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The guidelines replace the current requirement for companies to use either filings with the SEC or widely distributed news releases to issue the information, with the option of also putting it on their sites. The change is expected to save companies, especially smaller ones, time and money.

* The Federal Reserve said it is extending its emergency borrowing program to Wall Street firms and is taking other steps to ease a severe credit crunch that has hobbled the national economy.

The Fed said the program, where investment houses can tap the central bank for a quick source of cash, will now be available through Jan. 30.

Number of cars that paid to park at Newark Liberty International Airport over 12 months that ended April 30

Number of taxis dispatched to the airport in that period

Number of airline passengers flying from the airport in that period

Source: Port Authority of New York and New Jersey


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