- The Commerce Department announced that housing starts fell 14 percent, month-over-month, in December. That's an incredible 38.2 percent lower than one year ago. And it will get worse. Building permits also fell sharply, down 8.1 percent month-over-month.
- Merrill Lynch announced a $10 billion dollar loss for the fourth quarter amid writedowns of $14.6 billion dollars of bad debt.
Ben Bernanke, testifying before Congress Thursday morning:
"I think a fiscal stimulus package could be helpful in the current circumstances. "
P.S. Don't miss Roger Lowenstein's fabulous (and long) piece on Bernanke, the Fed, and the economy in the New York Times.