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  • Fed's Tapering Process Continues - 30 January 2014
  • In a process that has been described as 'tapering', the Federal Reserve made it known that it will be reducing its bond-buying program by a further $10 billion in February, following its January reduction of the same amount. The Federal Reserve had been buying $85 billion in bonds on a monthly basis since September 2012 as part of its plan to stimulate the economy. It started tapering this amount in January by spending $75 billion on bonds and, following the final meeting chaired by Ben Bernanke, an official statement by the Fed noted that the data generated since its last meeting in December indicates that economic activity had picked up sufficiently to warrant the reduction in bond buying. The decision to continuing tapering bond buying was reportedly unanimous among the ten voting members of the Federal Reserve, despite the weak December jobs report which showed that hiring dropped from the average of 205,000 per month in the past three months, to 74,000 jobs.

  • Google's Buyout of Nest Raises Privacy Concerns - 16 January 2014
  • Google's announcement that it's buying Nest Labs for the amount of $3.2 billion has raised a number of concerns, particularly regarding privacy within one's own home. Described as the 'next generation thermostat', the Nest Thermostat claims to reduce a household's heating and cooling bills by up to 20%, and it does this by learning the schedule of the household and adjusting accordingly. It can also be controlled from a phone. Many consumers are concerned that unhindered access to Nest Thermostats will allow Google to gather even more information about internet users, to use or share to its own advantage. Co-founder of Nest, Matt Rogers has assured consumers that the company's privacy policy limits the use of customer information to improving the products and services of Nest, going on to say that this policy will not change and Nest will remain an independent brand.

  • Cautious Optimism on Wall Street for 2014 - 2 January 2014
  • With the CBOE Volatility Index down and major Wall Street indexes all up on the final trading day of 2013, investors are looking forward to 2014 with an air of cautious optimism. The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 26.5 percent in 2013, being its best annual performance since 1995, while the Standard & Poor's 500 rose 29.6 percent over the past 12 months, its best performance since 1997. The Nasdaq composite index registered its best performance since 2009 with an increase of 38.3 percent. Moreover, the so-called "fear index" the VIX, fell 23.9 percent over the year, being its largest annual drop since 2009 and seen as a strong indication of improved investor sentiment.


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