News / USA

US Stocks Edge Higher After Senate Passes Reform Bill

Multimedia

TEXT SIZE - +

U.S. stock prices edged higher Friday after the U.S. Senate passed the biggest overhaul of the nation's financial system since the 1930s. The Senate measure must be reconciled with a version passed earlier in the House of Representatives, but it still marks a major policy victory for President Barack Obama. What remains uncertain is the bill's effect on the world economy.

The European debt crisis continues to hammer global stocks as fears grow that Europe's problems could have a wider impact.

Art Cashin, the floor director at UBS Financial Services, says many investors worry that the uncertainty in Europe could trigger another global meltdown. "Everybody keeps wondering if Greece is going to be the Bear Stearns of nations.  The fear is, if they go under, it might get another set of dominoes moving," he said.

Despite a $1 trillion rescue plan approved by eurozone nations to give low cost loans to member countries, the continuing weakness of Europe's common currency has driven many of the world's leading stock markets to their lowest levels this year.  

In the U.S., the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell briefly below 10,000 points on Friday.

But equities analyst Alec Young at Standard and Poor's says the declines are part of a normal market reaction. "So while we're not really forecasting another meltdown, we're more in the correction camp, you certainly have to warn investors that it is a possibility, we could be in for maybe a slightly smaller version of the roller coaster that we went through in 2008," he said.

The 2008 meltdown  brought down some of the largest financial institutions in the U.S. and led to massive taxpayer funded bailouts.  

President Obama, who has made Wall Street reform one of his top priorities, says the reform package passed by the Senate late Thursday means financial firms will now be held accountable for their actions. "There will be no more taxpayer-funded bailouts, period.  If a large financial institution should ever fail, we will have the tools to wind it down without endangering the larger economy," he said.

Besides expanding the Federal Reserve's powers to police banks and speculative markets, the measure also contains provisions to prevent financial institutions from becoming too big to fail.  It also gives consumers new protections against predatory lenders.

But Art Cashin says Wall Street remains wary. "The concern down here is it may intimidate some of the financial institutions, and therefore make credit less available and less likely and hurt the recovery," he said.

Some investors, such as Steven Special, say the uncertainty is too big a gamble. "I'm not investing because of the euro crisis, the euro crisis that is happening.  I still think everything is not perfect in our mortgage situation in the U.S., and the dollar is rallying, but that's a bad thing right now.  So yeah, I'm sitting in cash right now, I'm not doing too much investing right now," he said.

Despite concerns about the impact of reforms on Wall Street, the three major U.S. indexes  closed higher on Friday.

You May Like

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid