Financial news on December 31, 2008

Business and Financial news
Ad Agencies Fashion Their Own Horn, and Toot It

A blog about Michelle Obama’s clothes shows how agencies are moving from promoting to creating brands. Read more..

By CLAIRE CAIN MILLER - The New York Times

Debt Trap: College Borrowing Catches Up

As a college student, Stefan Heise relied on student loans and credit cards to pay for his education. Now out of school, he is more than $80,000 in debt and facing bankruptcy. Read more..

Matthew Orr|Emily B. Hager - The New York Times

Estate Planning Is More Than Avoiding Taxes

J.P. Morgan Private Bank has devised a program to detect liquidity deficits, the naming of wrong heirs and other common oversights in estate planning. Read more..

By PAUL SULLIVAN - The New York Times

Executive Leaving Merrill Lynch

Merrill Lynch’s vice chairman, Jeffrey N. Edwards, is leaving in January to pursue other interests, Gregory J. Fleming, the company’s president, said in a memorandum. Read more..

By BLOOMBERG NEWS - The New York Times

Ford Hybrid Emphasizes High Mileage

The midsize Fusion Hybrid is Ford’s strongest effort yet to break the dominance of Japanese automakers in hybrid passenger cars. Read more..

By BILL VLASIC - The New York Times

Gazprom Refuses to Back Off Threat to Cut Gas Supplies

Gazprom maintains Ukraine owes $2.1 billion for natural gas shipments and for late fees. It has threatened to cut off supply on Thursday if payment is not adequate. Read more..

By ANDREW E. KRAMER - The New York Times

In 2009, Economy Will Depend on Unlocking Credit

The length of the economic crisis will depend on the availability of credit in all its forms. Read more..

By ERIC DASH and VIKAS BAJAJ - The New York Times

Madoff Case Faces Crucial Disclosure Deadline

Bernard L. Madoff must provide federal regulators with a full accounting of his assets by Wednesday. Read more..

By DIANA B. HENRIQUES - The New York Times

Madoff Spotlight Turns to Role of Offshore Funds

Offshore investment funds used as tax havens are being investigated as part of the Madoff fraud case. Read more..

By LYNNLEY BROWNING - The New York Times

Village Voice Lays Off Nat Hentoff and 2 Others

Three writers were laid off, including Nat Hentoff, the prominent columnist who has worked for the paper since 1958, contributing opinionated columns about jazz, civil liberties and politics. Read more..

By STEPHANIE CLIFFORD - The New York Times

Stock Markets

Values are reported in US Dollars

StockTicker symbolOpenHighLowCloseVolume
General ElectricGE15.8216.3415.7716.2060.3M
MicrosoftMSFT19.3119.6819.2719.4446.4M
Wells Fargo & Co.WFC28.6930.4928.2029.4845.1M
Cisco SystemsCSCO16.1816.5516.1216.3037.5M
IntelINTC14.7114.9214.5614.6634.1M
PfizerPFE17.6517.9717.5717.7132.5M
ExxonMobilXOM78.4280.5978.2979.8330M
JPMorgan ChaseJPM30.7031.9430.4431.5325.9M
Oracle Corp.ORCL17.8117.9917.6817.7323.4M
AppleAAPL85.9787.7485.3485.3521.7M
AT&T Inc.T28.1928.8827.8528.5020.8M
ComcastCMCSA16.2916.9416.2816.8820.5M
AltriaMO15.3715.4115.0315.0618.3M
Verizon CommunicationsVZ33.1834.3433.0333.9017.4M
Bristol-Myers SquibbBMY22.9523.4122.6423.2516.3M
Home DepotHD23.1423.8022.9723.0215.1M
Wal-Mart StoresWMT55.2756.3354.7756.0613.9M
ConocoPhillipsCOP51.1352.4750.8451.8013M
HP Inc.HPQ36.1436.9635.9436.2912.8M
MerckMRK29.7030.5729.6930.4012M
Johnson & JohnsonJNJ59.1860.0559.0759.8311.9M
Abbott LaboratoriesABT53.2553.7453.0753.3711.8M
Procter & GamblePG61.3562.2061.0761.8210.8M
ChevronCVX72.9074.6372.9073.979.96M
Walt Disney & Co.DIS22.5722.9522.5222.699.01M
SchlumbergerSLB41.9043.3741.6942.338.54M
AmazonAMZN50.7451.6949.9151.287.79M
Coca-ColaKO45.1745.5045.0645.277.78M
International Business MachinesIBM83.5085.0083.5084.166.67M
AmgenAMGN57.1158.2257.0657.756.29M
McDonald'sMCD61.6462.3961.3262.196.23M
Gilead SciencesGILD51.4852.2651.0351.146.02M
AlphabetGOOGL304.20311.00302.61307.655.77M
UnitedHealth GroupUNH27.0627.3126.2026.605.58M
BoeingBA41.5943.0541.5042.675.44M
PepsicoPEP55.0355.5754.6154.775.02M
United TechnologiesUTX53.1554.0853.0453.604.63M
VisaV50.6152.7750.6052.454.09M
3MMMM57.2357.9256.6857.544.01M
Union PacificUNP46.8048.3246.4747.803.28M
Berkshire HathawayBRK.B3040.003248.003000.003214.0040.1K
Exchange Rates of December 31, 2008
CurrenciesExchange Rates
US DollarJapanese Yen1 USD = 90.650 JPY1 JPY = 0.011 USD
US DollarCanadian Dollar1 USD = 1.218 CAD1 CAD = 0.821 USD
US DollarSwiss Franc1 USD = 1.070 CHF1 CHF = 0.934 USD
US DollarChinese Yuan1 USD = 6.824 CNY1 CNY = 0.147 USD
EuroJapanese Yen1 EUR = 126.670 JPY1 JPY = 0.008 EUR
EuroPound Sterling1 EUR = 0.955 GBP1 GBP = 1.047 EUR
EuroAustralian Dollar1 EUR = 1.987 AUD1 AUD = 0.503 EUR
EuroCanadian Dollar1 EUR = 1.705 CAD1 CAD = 0.587 EUR
EuroSwiss Franc1 EUR = 1.494 CHF1 CHF = 0.670 EUR
EuroChinese Yuan1 EUR = 9.529 CNY1 CNY = 0.105 EUR
Japanese YenPound Sterling1 JPY = 0.754 GBP1 GBP = 1.326 JPY
Japanese YenAustralian Dollar1 JPY = 1.570 AUD1 AUD = 0.637 JPY
Japanese YenCanadian Dollar1 JPY = 1.348 CAD1 CAD = 0.742 JPY
Japanese YenSwiss Franc1 JPY = 1.181 CHF1 CHF = 0.847 JPY
Pound SterlingAustralian Dollar1 GBP = 2.081 AUD1 AUD = 0.481 GBP
Pound SterlingCanadian Dollar1 GBP = 1.782 CAD1 CAD = 0.561 GBP
Pound SterlingSwiss Franc1 GBP = 1.566 CHF1 CHF = 0.639 GBP
Pound SterlingChinese Yuan1 GBP = 9.961 CNY1 CNY = 0.100 GBP
Australian DollarCanadian Dollar1 AUD = 0.857 CAD1 CAD = 1.167 AUD
Australian DollarSwiss Franc1 AUD = 0.752 CHF1 CHF = 1.330 AUD
Australian DollarChinese Yuan1 AUD = 4.785 CNY1 CNY = 0.209 AUD
Canadian DollarSwiss Franc1 CAD = 0.877 CHF1 CHF = 1.141 CAD
Canadian DollarChinese Yuan1 CAD = 5.582 CNY1 CNY = 0.179 CAD
Swiss FrancChinese Yuan1 CHF = 6.376 CNY1 CNY = 0.157 CHF

See what else happened on December 31, 2008