Economy still mixed

It could’ve shaped up to be a good week. After all, the Senate pushed through a vote on bank reform, bellwether earnings weren’t all that bad, BP finally seems to have halted the spewing oil in the Gulf, the Northeast got a small reprieve from the heat wave — and last but not least — Apple announced plans to rectify “Antennagate.” Nevertheless, U.S. stocks ended the week on a sour note, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged more than 250 points Friday.

Bank reform moves ahead. This week,  the Senate approved the most historic shakeup of the regulation of U.S. banks since the Great Depression. The legislation would place new fees and restrictions on the nation’s biggest banks, impose new restrictions on the Federal Reserve and craft a major new consumer-protection division for mortgage and credit-card products. Read more about the bank-reform legislation .

Just-in-case stimulus. Federal Reserve officials agreed it would be a good idea to study what to do if the economy were to worsen severely, according to a summary of June’s closed-door meeting released this week. Officials said the outlook for the recovery had softened between April and June, but changes to their forecast were “relatively modest” and “not warranting policy accommodation beyond that already in place.” Read more about the Fed minutes .

BP cap seems to be holding. BP shares (BP) slipped Friday as euphoria over the company’s apparent success in stopping the flow of crude from its ruptured well gave way to the realities surrounding the worst oil spill in U.S. history. In its latest update, BP said the well cap continues to hold. But the ruptured well isn’t dead yet, prompting a cautious tone from President Obama in his remarks on the spill. Read more about BP’s efforts to contain the leak .

Also, the latest from Bill Conerly.

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