Editor's Choice for the Week of November 23, 2009: Housing, the Fed, and Compensation

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In a holiday-shortened week (all markets are closed on Thanksgiving and the bond market closes on Black Friday at 2:00 PM) in which actual news may be in short supply, the focus will be on reports and surveys that tell us what happened in the recent past.

They include October existing home sales on November 23, the September S&P Case-Shiller home price index on November 24, and new home sales for October on November 25.

Last week, the Census Bureau reported that overall retail sales for October were up 1.4%, while this week the Bureau of Economic Analysis of the Commerce Dept. issues revised third quarter GDP on November 24 (consensus is for a downward revision), the same day that minutes of the November Federal Reserve Open Market Committee meeting are released.

The House and Senate are in recess until November 30, but before the lawmakers left town, Chris Dodd, the Senate Banking Committee chairman, said confirmation hearings for Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's second term will be held on December 3. While Obama Administration pay czar Kenneth Feinberg canceled a speech set for November 23 in Washington at the National Press Club, researchers at Harvard Law School's Program for Corporate Governance reported that at least in the case of Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers, top executive did not feel any compensation heat as their firms failed.

Finally, speaking of failures and bailouts, the special inspector general for the TARP program, Neil Barofsky, issued a report November 17 that sharply criticizes the Federal Reserve and the then-president of the New York Fed, now Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, for their actions before and during the AIG bailout.

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