General Motors and Chrysler submitted “financial viability” plans to the U.S. Treasury on February 17 that included combined requests for another $18.6 billion in federal bailout funds — $16.6 billion for GM and $5 billion for Chrysler.

Citigroup Chicago buildingWill the banks be nationalized? That question would have seemed preposterous prior to the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program to bailout major financial institutions. But with the TARP money comes federal control, and that  control could be strengthened to the point of full-blown nationalization, particularly if the already congressionally authorized $700 billion is deemed insufficient to “rescue” the banks.

Oil fieldOil prices dropped from $141 per barrel to below $40, but experts say that this decline is going to end in 2009, according to 24/7 Wall Street. When oil prices tumbled, OPEC made an attempt to reduce production, calling on OPEC nations to produce less, but its efforts were largely unsuccessful because, it is speculated, some OPEC nations bucked the cartel and kept production high, maintaining falling prices. About the only thing that kept the prices at U.S. pumps from falling even lower than they did is that some California refineries shut down for routine yearly maintenance.

Apple logoOn Monday Apple's stock rose dramatically, gaining 4.22 percent by the end of trading and closing at $94.58. Analysts attribute this dramatic rise to an announcement made today by Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO, regarding his health situation.

Chrysler logoThe federal government handouts to the auto industry continued over the weekend with the announcement of a $4 billion bridge loan to Chrysler LLC to help keep the Big Three automaker afloat. Chrysler, be it duly noted, is 81 percent owned by Cerberus Capital Management LP, one of the world's largest hedge funds, which has been inexplicably unwilling to use any of its own billions to help the troubled automotive giant.

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