Before the Bell: The Bear Is Back

Welcome to the Reuters Before the Bell news mail.

The government’s plans to stabilize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could only temporarily distract Wall Street from its longstanding jitters about the financial sector. Stock futures are pointing down as investors fret over IndyMac’s collapse last week and worry about the future of other banks.

With that sort of backdrop, the appearances of Fed chief Ben Bernanke, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and SEC Chairman Christopher Cox before the Senate Banking Committee should be interesting, to say the least.

The dollar has hit a record low against the euro and is down against an index of major currencies. Gold and U.S. Treasuries, on the other hand, are doing pretty well as some of the favored destinations in the flight to safety.

Oil prices are higher even as some production has started up again in Nigeria, with support coming from the weakening dollar, tensions over Iran’s nuclear program, and a gathering storm in the Atlantic.

The data deluge has resumed, with retail sales, the producer price index, business inventories and the New York Fed’s Empire State Manufacturing survey on tap today.

General Motors is making another major restructuring announcement.

And now back to the financial sector. The Wall Street Journal says the Securities and Exchange Commission is subpoenaing more than 50 hedge fund advisers in an investigation of whether individuals spread false rumors to manipulate shares of Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns.

Meanwhile, the New York Post says Lehman is exploring ways to go private.

Until tomorrow,

Lisa Von Ahn

News Mail Editor

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