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Top Business Tech Stories of 2009

We’ve seen a lot of things happen in 2009, some things were expected, some were not, some were shocking, and some were simply never seen or heard of before.

From the biggest Ponzi scheme ever seen in U.S. history, to the global financial credit crisis, to historic health care reform championed by the first black President of the United States.

A lot has happened in 2009, and we’ve compiled it all up for you with the top 8 topics of the entire year.

1. The Global Financial Crisis

90w18o Top Business Tech Stories of 2009With the near collapse of the global credit market, and unprecedented actions being taken by global leaders to stave off a global economic meltdown, the financial crisis was plastered in the media almost every day and even became a primary presidential voting issue, thereby making it the story of 2009. With billions provided in emergency bailout loans to financial intermediaries, Wall Street was still paying millions in bonuses with outstanding government loans, while millions of Americans faced forclosurer and high unemployment rates. The Obama administration later moved to block $165-million in AIG bonuses alone and later blocked bonuses from being paid while the financial intermediaries had outstanding government debt. Warren Buffet’s company Berkshire Hathaway even reported its biggest loss ever (only its second loss in its history). There were also opportunities for firms to act on, such as Disney who acquired Marvel Entertainment for $4B. Despite households losing significant amounts of money primairly from their positions in risky equity positions, some did profit (though not for too long)…Bearnie Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison following a conviction for operating the biggest Ponzi scheme ever seen in U.S. history that saw $50 billion defrauded from investors.

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GM starts repaying government loans

GM Chairman and CEO Ed Whitacre

GM Chairman and CEO Ed Whitacre (left)

Breaking now: General Motors just said that it has made payments to both the U.S. Treasury and Canadian federal and Ontario provincial governments to start paying down the emergency government loans made by the respective countries.

GM confirmed today the company returned $192 million to Canada, and $1 billion the U.S. Treasury. Aggregately, GM still owes both nations $5.77 billion.

The Canadian government firstly committed $2.8 billion in emergency loans to the Canadian auto sector, a proportional amount based on Canada’s 20-percent North American auto sector market share.

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Obama wants new stimulus, small business tax cuts

Obama urges government to do more to create jobs during Washington speech

President Obama today just wrapped up a speech at the Brookings Institution in Washington urging the federal government to do more to help smaller businesses to help create jobs.

Obama’s new proposal aims at investing $50 billion for infrastructure, the removal of capital-gains taxes on new investments for up to a year, more investments in clean energy, and likely most importantly, a tax break for small businesses. The main hope, besides getting firms to increase capital spending, is to get small businesses to hire more people as U.S. unemployment remains above 10-percent.

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Bank of America posts massive $2.2B Q3 Loss

The Bank of America reported a massive $2.2B Q3 loss as more people default on their mortgages and lines of credit as unemployment continues to rise

bank of america Bank of America posts massive $2.2B Q3 LossThe U.S. second-largest bank, the Bank of America, has posted poor Q3 (July to Sept) 2009 earnings, posting a massive $2.2 billion (a loss of $0.26 per share) loss in the quarter.

Revenue was up 33-percent in Q3 to $26.04 billion, but the increased losses stemming from an increasing number of people defaulting on their mortgage and credit loans resulted in those two units losing more than $1 billion in the period.

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Obama delivers speech from Wall Street

President Obama just finished delivering a speech from NY’s Federal Hall, a day before the anniversary of the collapse of Goldman Sachs.

Obama urged Congress to pass a sweeping bill by the end of this year to help ensure firms don’t make irresponsible trades or make irresponsible lending decisions.

Obama said, “I did not run for president to intervene in financial markets,” but gave a stern warning that, “Those on Wall Street cannot resume taking risks without regard for consequences, and expect that next time, American taxpayers will be there to break their fall.”

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U.S. July 2009 home sales up 7.2%

According to new data released today by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), July marked the fastest sales growth in homes that we’ve seen in the last two-years.

In July, the annual rate of home sales hit 5.24 million homes (7.2-percent up), beating analyst expectations of only 5 million units. Just a month before, in June, that number was 4.89 million.

The rate also grew consecutively in the last four-months, the last time there was a four-month consecutive upswing was in June 2004.

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US unemployment up, 467,000 jobs lost in June 2009

The U.S. Labour Department has released new nationwide unemployment figures for June 2009.

According to the report, 467,000 jobs were lost in U.S. in June 2009, with the jobs lost across major industry sectors, including in manufacturing, professional, and industrial industries. Of the June total, 9 million were people who wanted full-time work but simply could not find.

The job losses in June brought the total number of people unemployed in the U.S. to 14.7 million, up from 14.5 million the month before, pushing the U.S. unemployment rate to 9.5 percent, the highest in 26 years.

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GM to sell Hummer brand to Chinese firm Sichuan Tengzhong

GM, the struggling auto giant under bankruptcy protection, has sold its Hummer brand to Chinese industrial firm Sichuan Tengzhong.

The move comes part of a restructuring strategy where GM will sell-off some of its less profitable brands including Pontiac, Saab, Saturn, and possibly others.

GM introduced the Hummer brand in 1999. The Hummer brand is the first causality part of the restructuring process.

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American foreclosures up 24% in Q1 2009

American homes facing foreclosure were up 24% in Q1 of 2009. 804,000 homes got foreclosure notices, up from 650,000 in the same period last year. 191,000 properties completed foreclosure in Q1 2009.

The news comes as banks will start to reissue foreclosure notices after a government backed foreclosure break. The numbers are only expected to get worse.

President Obama is also set to put his mortgage plan into action, offering banks $75 billion in incentives to help curb the foreclosure crisis with modified loans.

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Goldman Sachs reports strong $1.8B quarterly profit

goldmansachs Goldman Sachs reports strong $1.8B quarterly profitInvestment Bank Goldman Sachs has reported a strong quarterly profit of $1.8 billion ($3.39 per share), beating analyst’s expectations of $1.64 per share, sending the stock surging.

The majority of the income was from Goldman’s fixed income business where revenue was up 34% to $6.56 billion YoY. Goldman still experienced a significant $1.41 billion loss in the quarter stemming from its principal investments division that includes real-estate investments. Read the full story

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