- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 17, 2012

FDIC

Under new rule, big banks must show breakup plans

The largest banks must show how they would break up their assets if they were in danger of failing, under a rule approved Tuesday.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. voted to require banks with $50 billion or more in assets to submit so-called “living wills.” Seven banks with more than $250 billion in assets will have to show their plans by July. The other 30 affected by the rule have until 2013.

The FDIC also proposed a separate rule that would require banks with more than $10 billion in assets to conduct annual stress tests.

The tests show how each bank is positioned to handle worsening economic conditions, such as increasing unemployment and falling home prices. The regulator put the rule out for public comment and is expected to finalize it by July. It will affect roughly 190 banks.

Both rules were mandated under the 2010 financial overhaul.

WALL STREET

Stocks close up on Europe debt sales, China growth

Slight improvements in Europe’s troubled debt markets and China’s economy were enough to lift stocks Tuesday. The Dow Jones industrial average rose as many as 151 points in the morning before fading to a 60-point gain at the close.

Debt auctions by Spain, Greece and Europe’s bailout fund drew solid interest from investors, easing fears that recent credit-rating downgrades would prevent them from obtaining funds. The downgrades threatened to increase borrowing costs and intensify the region’s debt crisis.

The Chinese government said earlier that its economy slowed less dramatically in the fourth quarter than analysts had expected.

There’s so much money sitting in short-term accounts and earning zero return that even a shred of good news can jolt the market higher, said David Kelly, chief market strategist with J.P. Morgan Funds.

The Dow rose 60.01 points, or 0.5 percent, to close at 12,482.07.

INTERNET

Top sites start using new ‘phone numbers’ in June

GENEVA — Internet giants including Yahoo, Facebook and AT&T will start using a new system of numerical addresses to connect users to websites June 6.

An alliance of major tech companies said Tuesday it is pressing ahead with plans to permanently roll out new “phone numbers” for Internet-connected devices following a successful test last June.

Engineers say the new system, known as IPv6, is necessary because the relentless growth of the Internet means the old way of assigning online addresses has almost reached its limit.

Equipment manufacturers such as Cisco and D-Link are also taking part in the launch.

AUTO

Average age of vehicles hits record 10.8 years

DETROIT | That clunker in America’s driveway has reached a record old age, but there are signs that people may be growing confident enough in the economy to get a whiff of that fresh new car scent very soon.

The average age of a car or truck in the U.S. hit a record 10.8 years last year as job security and other economic worries kept many people from making big-ticket purchases such as a new car.

That’s up from the old record of 10.6 years in 2010, and it continues a trend that dates to 1995, when the average age of a car was 8.4 years, according to a study of state vehicle registration data by the Southfield, Mich.-based Polk automotive research firm.

Polk Vice President Mark Seng, however, says that a rebound in sales last year and expected growth for the next couple of years is likely to slow the growth rate in the age of cars as a whole in America.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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