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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid