New Appetite for Risk – Morning Business Memo

Mar 16, 2012 7:18am

The party continues on Wall Street where the Dow Jones index has risen seven trading days in a row. The large-stock Standard & Poor’s 500 index closed above 1,400 for the first time since June 2008. Apple – which launches the newest version of its red hot iPad today – is leading the charge. Apple shares shot up from $400 to nearly $600 since January.

Big bank shares are among this week’s strongest gainers after the Fed’s stress tests showed signs of improving financial health. The Wall Street Journal reports: “A growing appetite for risk is prompting some Wall Street banks and investment firms to show interest in buying the most complex and troubled derivatives tied to the bailout of AIG.” These include collateralized debt obligations, blamed for causing devastating losses across the financial industry in 2008.

More Americans may be dusting off their resumes. A Gallup poll says 19 percent of Americans say now is a good time to find a quality job while 78 percent say it’s a bad time. Sounds awful, but Gallup says that number is the most positive in three and a half years.

Wave that smart phone and snag a deal… PayPal has launched a mobile payments service that lets businesses accept credit cards using a small triangular card reader attached to an iPhone. PayPal Here is similar to existing mobile payments services such as Square. Customers will be able to pay using credit cards, their PayPal accounts or checks.

Senators are telling the trustee overseeing the failed trading firm MF Global that it would be outrageous to pay bonuses to top executives. They say it would be wrong to pay bonuses while about $1.6 billion of customers’ money hasn’t been recovered. All the members of the Senate Agriculture Committee signed a letter sent to former FBI director Louis Freeh, who acts on behalf of MF Global creditors as trustee. A published report last week said Freeh was planning to seek permission for paying bonuses.

Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC NEWS Radio twitter.com/daviesabc

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