King joins in sponsoring bill to curtail Wall Street risks

By:  Portland Press Herald - Staff Writer
Massachusetts' U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren is trying to make good on a key campaign pledge to protect consumers from Wall Street gambles.

The Democrat and three other senators, including Maine independent Angus King, on Thursday introduced a modern version of the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act.

The bill would separate traditional banks that have savings and checking accounts and are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation from riskier financial institutions that offer services such as investment banking, hedge funds and private equity activities.

The original act was passed after the stock market crash of 1929 and separated commercial banks from investment banks. Many of its core provisions were repealed in 1999.

Warren was also joined in introducing the bill by Arizona Republican John McCain and Washington Democrat Maria Cantwell.

Unemployment rises, but level still indicates hiring

WASHINGTON – The number of people applying for U.S. unemployment benefits rose 16,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 360,000, although the level remains consistent with steady hiring.

The Labor Department said Thursday that the less volatile four-week average increased 6,000 to 351,750.

Consumer sentiment climbs for fourth week in a row

WASHINGTON – Consumer sentiment climbed for a fourth straight week, reaching the highest level in more than five years as Americans grew more upbeat about their finances.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index improved to minus 27.3 in the period ended July 7, its highest level since January 2008, from minus 27.5 a week earlier. A measure of personal finances increased to the second-strongest reading since April 2008, while the buying climate gauge rose to a nine-week high.