The RAT (Recession Aptitude Test)

by Derek Loosvelt | December 17, 2008

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To see how well you’ve been keeping up with the latest news in finance since December 1, 2008—when the National Bureau of Economic Research declared that the U.S. has been in a recession for the past 12 months—take the RAT (Recession Aptitude Test) below:

1.Which bank has estimated its losses to be more than $500 million as a result of investing in ex-Nasdaq chief Bernie Madoff’s infamous hedge fund (aka $50 billion Ponzi scheme)?
B. Royal Bank of Scotland
C. Banco Santander
D. All of the above

2. Which man was NOT affiliated with an organization swindled by Madoff?
A. Academy Award winner Steven Spielberg
B. Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel
C. New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg
D. Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich

3. Which quote appears in The Snowball, Alice Schroeder’s recently published biography of investing guru Warren Buffett?
A. "There were people in Omaha who thought what I was doing was some sort of Ponzi scheme."
B. "There were people in Omaha who thought what I was doing was an imitation of the Fonz. "
C. "There were people in Omaha who thought a lot about the snow, among other things. "
D. All of the above.

4. True or false: The day on which Goldman Sachs reported its first quarterly loss as a public company (losing more than $2 billion), the price of Goldman’s shares rose 14 percent.

5. Which chief executive officer will receive a bonus for his work in 2008?
A. Lloyd Blankfein (Goldman Sachs)
B. John Mack (Morgan Stanley)
C. John Thain (Merrill Lynch)
D. None of the above

6. Which CEO (or ex-CEO) said, "Our job is to help the real creators of economic value, people who make things, and people who use them, get together and do business, and there should be some humility in that," while accepting American Banker’s 2008 Banker of the Year award on December 4th at New York’s Plaza Hotel?
A. Dick Fuld (Lehman Brothers)
B. Vikram Pandit (Citigroup)
C. Kenneth Lewis (Bank of America)
D. James Cayne (Bear Stearns)

7. How many jobs does Bank of America plan to cut over the next three years as it integrates its acquisition of Merrill Lynch?
A. 20,000
B. 25,000
C. 30,000
D. 35,000

8. True or False: Rahm Emanuel, recently named President-elect Barack Obama’s White House chief of staff, made nearly $20 million over a two-and-half-year period while working as an investment banker for the now-defunct Wasserstein Perella & Company.

9. According to recent Moody’s Investor Service estimates, how many U.S. jobs would be lost and what would the resulting unemployment rate be if the Big Three automakers were to file for bankruptcy without government assistance [hint: the current unemployment rate is 6.7 percent]?
A. 500,000 and 9 percent
B. 750,000 and 9.5 percent
C. 1,000,000 and 10 percent
D. 2,500,000 and 11 percent

10. On December 15th in Flint, Mich., the average price of a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline was:
A. $1.69
B. $1.79
C. $1.89
D. $3.33

11. True or False: The 1908 Ford Model-T is more fuel efficient than the 2009 Ford Taurus.

Answers: (1) d, (2) d, (3) a, (4) true, (5) d, (6) c, (7) d, (8) true, (9) d, (10) a, (11) true; the Model-T gets 25 miles per gallon and the Taurus gets 24 mpg

Filed Under: Finance

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