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  • U.S. Automakers Dilemma And Citigroup Job Cuts Negatively Impact Markets - 18 November 2008
  • The uncertainty regarding the future of U.S. automakers, reservations about key economic reports to be released later this week, the reality of weak manufacturing data, and Citigroup’s announcement of planned drastic job cuts are all being cited as reasons behind the U.S. stock market’s dismal performance on Monday. The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 2.63 percent, or 223.73 points, at 8,273.58. Standard & Poor’s 500 index was also down 2.6 percent and the Nasdaq composite dropped 2.3 percent. Markets in Europe didn’t fare any better, with London’s FTSE 100 falling 2.4 percent, while Germany’s DAX dropped 3.3 percent and France’s CAC-40 index recorded a 3.3 percent decline.

  • U.S. Stocks Slump As Treasury Bailout Plan Changes Direction - 13 November 2008
  • U.S. stocks fell for the third consecutive day with a number of reasons being cited for the continuing decline. For one thing, the U.S. Treasury has shifted the goalposts on the much debated $700 billion bailout plan. Instead of buying up troubled assets from mortgage lenders as originally planned, the focus has moved to consumer credit and shoring up consumer lending. Additionally, news of American Express changing its status to commercial banking in order to avail itself of government aid (see Tuesday November 11 article), sent its shares tumbling by 10 percent. Other factors include the largest electronics retailer in the United States, Best Buy Inc., lost 8 percent after revealing that it anticipates future profits to decrease in the difficult economic climate, and Occidental Petroleum Corporation declined 11 percent due to the price of crude dropping below $57 a barrel.

  • Yield Curve : Investment and Economic Indicator - 10 November 2008
  • In his book The Strategic Bond Investor, author and bond-market strategist, Tony Crescenzi, notes that a yield curve is “the closest thing the bond market has to a crystal ball”. That being the case, it is a good idea to understand what a yield curve is and how it can assist in investment decisions. A yield curve is a line representing the interest rates (cost of borrowing), at any given time, of bonds with equal credit quality, but different maturity rates. A yield curve is also referred to more formally as the term structure of interest rates.

  • Post-Election Markets Remain Volatile - 6 November 2008
  • Instead of the anticipated post-election euphoria, U.S. stock markets gave way to post-election anxiety with major indexes plunging on Wednesday following Barack Obama’s history-making victory. While investors can lay to rest the uncertainty surrounding who would next be in the driving seat of the world’s superpower, the U.S. and the rest of the world are still facing enormous financial challenges for which there is no quick fix. The Dow Jones industrial average lost as much as 513 points during the day, rallying slightly later to close at a loss of 486 points, or 5 percent. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index dropped 5.3 percent and the Nasdaq composite index declined by 5.5 percent.

  • October Marks Worst US Trading Month in 21 Years, World Leaders Prepare To Review Global Finance Regulations. - 3 November 2008
  • Although trading picked up substantially on Friday, ending on a positive note for the second day in a row, it nonetheless brought to a close the worst month that the US stock market has experienced in 21 years. For the month of October the Dow Jones industrial index declined 14.1 percent, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 index was down 16.9 percent, which many agree that, although being down, is better than was anticipated. The advance in Friday’s market, primarily as a result of investors taking a chance on buying up bargain stocks, fueled hopes that Wall Street has indeed bottomed out.

  • General Motors Seeks Government Aid For Merger With Chrysler - 29 October 2008
  • U.S. vehicle manufacturing giants, General Motors and Chrysler (owned by Cerberus Capital Management), have appealed to the U.S. government for $10 billion to facilitate a merger of the two companies. The proposed package would include the U.S. government buying $3 billion worth of preferred stock in the merged company, meaning that the U.S. taxpayer would have a direct stake in the GM-Chrysler merger. Moreover, the merging companies have asked the government to take over $3 billion in pension liabilities as well as buying GM short-terms notes to strengthen the company’s liquidity. Should the merger go through, the combined company would control roughly one-third of the auto market in the United States.

  • Markets Remain Volatile as World Leaders Seek Solutions to Global Financial Crisis - 24 October 2008
  • Many investors, brokers, analysts and others who make a living from the U.S. stock markets have all but given up trying to understand why markets are remaining as volatile as they are and have resigned themselves to expect the unexpected as each new trading day dawns. While the reasons behind the current global financial crisis are no doubt many and varied, it would seem that fear is one of the key factors behind the ups-and-downs of the market, and the problem with fear is that it is by nature irrational.

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