News / USA

US Stocks Edge Higher After Senate Passes Reform Bill

Multimedia

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

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs