The economy in review in the land of milk and honey (As reported by the Media)

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Bank of America beats expectations with $2.4-billion second-quarter profit. Although troubled loans are still a drag on its business, Bank of America gets a boost from its mortgage-writing business. Citigroup Inc. also reports a better-than-expected performance today. Bank of America has joined a chorus of financial institutions reporting surprisingly good earnings this week. The Charlotte, N.C., bank beat the expectations of analysts by saying today that it had a $2.42-billion second-quarter profit after the payment of preferred dividends. (Los Angeles Times).

Goldman Sachs had done its part, reporting record profit and revenue for any quarter in the three months ended June 30. Profit was $3.4 billion, or $4.93 a share, up 65 percent from earnings in the same 2008 period. The New York-based bank was looking like the juggernaut of old, taking risk and managing it well — while competitors, chastened by horrendously failed trades of the recent past, were more conservative. Goldman’s earnings were ballooned by record trading gains in securities, commodities and currencies and record underwriting revenue. Revenue from the business that includes trading jumped to $6.8 billion from $2.4 billion in the same 2008 period. That revenue was $6.6 billion in the first quarter. The company earmarked $6.7 billion, or 48 percent of its total revenue, for compensation. That number was certain to irritate politicians who would see Goldman Sachs as continuing the same pattern of heavy risks hoping for huge payoffs that led to collapses of the subprime mortgage and credit default swaps markets.  (Bloomberg News)

Citigroup surprised Wall Street Friday as the embattled banking giant reported a $4.3 billion profit in the second quarter.But the results were boosted largely by a $6.7 billion after-tax gain related to the completion of its sale of a majority of its Smith Barney wealth management division to Morgan Stanley.On a per share basis, the company said it earned 49 cents a share. Analysts were expecting the New York City-based bank to record a loss of $1.07 billion, or 37 cents a share. (CNNMoney News)

JPMorgan Chase & Co., the second- largest U.S. bank, said profit rose for the first time since 2007 on record investment-banking fees. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon predicted more losses on consumer loans. Second-quarter earnings increased to $2.7 billion, or 28 cents a share, from $2 billion a year earlier, the New York- based bank said today in a statement. The average estimate of 14 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg was 5 cents a share, including costs to repay government bailout funds and an assessment by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.  (Bloomberg News)

Foreclosure filings across the country increased 9 percent in the first six months of 2009 compared with the same period in 2008. One in every 84 U.S. homes had a filing during that time, according to RealtyTrac of Irvine, Calif., which tracks foreclosures nationwide. Filings continued to be concentrated in the Southwest and Florida and in Midwest states dependent on the auto industry, where unemployment has been rising. (Philadelphia Business Today)

Unemployment . The Federal Reserve predicted on Wednesday that unemployment in the United States will top 10 percent this year, but noted that the end of the recession might be in sight. The pace of job losses in the United States quickened in June to 467,000, driving the jobless rate to 9.5 percent, the highest in more than 26 years, the Labor Department reported last week. Since the recession began in December 2007, the U.S. economy has lost a net total of 6.5 million jobs. (China View)

Personal bankruptcies are up sharply – 34% nationwide.

Corporate Bankruptices A report by D&B Deutschland says that the U.S. and Europe will be hit with a flood of filings in the second half of this year, with U.S. bankruptcies increasing by 60 percent. Business failures in the rest of Europe will be less pronounced, the reports says, predicting that Spain will see the highest increase in insolvencie. (The AM Daily Law)

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