Thursday, September 18, 2008

Stocks surge on report of entity for bad debt

By TIM PARADIS, AP Business Writer

Wall Street surged higher Thursday, with the Dow Jones industrials up more than 400 points after a report that the federal government is considering creation of a repository for banks' bad debt.

CNBC said Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is considering creation of an entity like the Resolution Trust Corp. that was formed after the failure of savings and loan banks in the 1980s.

Investors were cheered by the notion of a huge federal intervention like the establishment of RTC to acquire the real estate debt that has hobbled financial institutions and led to the intense volatility in the markets this week.

If there's an RTC-like entity, "it's going to take a lot of the bad debt off the balance sheets of these companies," said Scott Fullman, director of derivatives investment strategy for WJB Capital Group in New York. That would alleviate many of the pressures causing the credit crisis, he said, and open up the credit markets again.

However, Fullman added, "the devil's in the details."

In late afternoon trading, the Dow soared 406.29, or 3.83 percent, to 11,015.95.

Broader stock indicators also jumped. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 41.54, or 3.59 percent, to 1,197.93, and the Nasdaq composite index advanced 76.52, or 3.65 percent, to 2,175.37.

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