More Bad News Expected in Reports Released Later Today

While figures released by the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development indicated that the U.S. is plumb in the middle of a recession now, the good news appears that the country may see some improvement by the third quarter of next year, according to a Reuters report. U.S. household wealth has taken an estimated $7 trillion hit from the tumbling housing and stock markets, and consumers are already curbing spending to try to recoup some of those losses, which hurts growth because consumer spending accounts for two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, the report stated.Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reported that fresh optimism from the U.S. spilled over into Asian markets today, sending Tokyo’s benchmark stock index up 5.2 percent and most regional markets higher. Before U.S. markets open today, the Commerce Department is due to release its new reading on gross domestic product, which is expected to show that economic activity contracted at a 0.5 percent annual rate in the July-September quarter, according to the consensus estimate of Wall Street economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters, the Associated Press reported. The third-quarter reading of the Standard & Poors/Case-Shiller index, a widely tracked measurement of home prices, is also due out before the Wall Street opens, too, the reported stated.The Case-Shiller 20-city housing index dropped a record 16.6 percent in August from a year ago, the largest drop since its inception in 2000. Also today, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., is scheduled to give an update on how many banks were on the agency’s list of troubled institutions and detail how weak the banking industry’s results were in the third quarter and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is scheduled to brief reporters on the government’s financial bailout program, as well, according to the Associated Press.Across the world, Pakistan obtained a $7.6 billion bailout from the International Monetary Fund to help prevent the country defaulting on its debt, Bloomberg reported. The IMF has approved more than $40 billion of loans in recent weeks to prevent the global financial crisis and recession from undermining the stability of developing nations. Ukraine, Serbia and Iceland have already got funds from the IMF. Belarus has requested $2 billion and Turkey may also agree to emergency funding, the report stated.