News / USA

US Stocks Edge Higher After Senate Passes Reform Bill


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

US, China Have Dueling Definitions of Cybersecurity

Analysts say attribution or or proving that a particular individual or government is responsible for a hack, is a daunting task More

Snowden: I'd Go to Prison to Return to US

Former NSA contractor says he has not received a formal plea-deal offer from US officials, who consider him to be a traitor More

Goodbye Pocahontas: Photos Reveal Today's Real Native Americans

Weary of stereotypes, photographer Matika Wilbur is determined to reshape the public's perception of her people More

This forum has been closed.
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.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs