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  • Ponzi Schemes Remain a Threat to Investors - 4 September 2014
  • Hi-yield investment and Ponzi schemes remain among the top threats to investors and small business owners according to a list compiled by security regulators in the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA). Despite the name-and-shame publicity given to various scammers, investors continue to be drawn in by promises of high rates of returns, giving scam artists the opportunity to fleece investors.

  • US Markets Respond Positively to FOMC Minutes - 21 August 2014
  • The minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee meeting held in July were the driving force behind fluctuations on Wall Street in the final hours of trading on Wednesday as investors absorbed the implications of the central bank holding back on raising interest rates for now. Stocks initially trimmed the day's gains, but rebounded soon after, with both the Dow Jones industrial average and the S&P 500 returning to positive territory before the end of the regular session on Wall Street.

  • Wall Street Banks to Resubmit Resolution Plans - 7 August 2014
  • When U.S. banks deemed too-big-to-fail were in danger of failing in 2008, the government stepped in and bailed these banks out, largely at the expense of taxpayers. The reasons for this unprecedented action, which raised a storm of protest from many quarters, were many, and the matter of accountability remains a much debated issue. In 2010 the Dodd-Frank act was passed in an attempt to strengthen regulation of large financial institutions and thereby avoid the necessity of government bailouts in the future. As part of the new regulations, banks were required to submit Resolution Plans, more commonly referred to as ‘living wills’, detailing strategies for going through the bankruptcy procedure in a controlled and orderly manner should this ever become necessary.

  • M&A Activity Flourishing in US Markets - 19 June 2014
  • Mergers and acquisitions in US markets are making a notable comeback, with deals since the beginning of the year totaling $785.5 billion – close to the 2007 total of $880.7 billion for the entire year, and more than 60 percent up on the 2013 figure of $487.7 billion. The current low interest rates for borrowing, along with cash-on-hand held by many businesses, are cited as motivating factors behind the current M&A activity which is taking place in a number of industries. Recent and ongoing deals include Sandisk's (NASDAQ: SNDK) $1.1 billion acquisition of Fusion-io (NYSE:FIO); Williams Companies Inc (NYSE:WMB) negotiation of a controlling $6 billion stake in Access Midstream Partners (NYSE:ACMP); Medtronic's (NYSE:MDT) acquisition of Coviden (NYSE:COV) in a $42.9 billion deal; Level 3 Communications (NYSE:LVLT) $5.7 billion acquisition of TW Telecom (NASDAQ: TWTC); and the proposed merger of T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS) and Sprint (NYSE:S) in a $32 billion deal.

  • Wal-Mart Tops Fortune 500 - 5 June 2014
  • First published in 1955 by Fortune magazine, the Fortune 500 ranks the top 500 privately held and publicly traded companies in the United States by gross revenue. Created by Fortune editor Edgar P. Smith, the report only lists companies that make their revenues publicly available, and gross revenue excludes excise taxes incurred by individual companies. In addition to the Fortune 500 list, Fortune magazine also compiles the Fortune Global 500, Fortune India 500, 40 under 40, and Fortune 500 Computer Software and Information Companies. Initially the Fortune 500 was restricted to companies in the manufacturing, mining and energy exploration sectors, but in 1994 the magazine included service companies, resulting in 291 new entrants on the list, three of which were counted in the Top 10 – Wal-Mart Stores Inc., AT&T Corp., and Sears, Roebuck & Co.

  • FOMC Minutes Boost Market - 22 may 2014
  • Stocks on Wall Street rebounded Wednesday, partly in response to minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee's meeting held on April 29-30 which were released in the afternoon. The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 158.75 points to close at 16,533.06, while the Standard & Poor's 500 rose 15.20 points to 1,888.03 and the Nasdaq composite index gained 34.65 points to 4,131.54. The Russell 2000 index for small-company stocks also picked up by 5.73 points to close at 1,103.63. All ten of the S&P 500's industry sectors rose, with consumer discretionary and energy stocks in the lead. While not to the extent experienced in 2008, the market has been seesawing day-to-day for up to 60 percent of the time since the beginning of the year.

  • Pharmaceutical Sector Shake-up - 8 may 2014
  • In an effort to boost share prices and profits, thereby keeping shareholders satisfied, major pharmaceutical companies are currently negotiating mergers, acquisitions and hostile takeovers which will essentially narrow their focus, allowing them to specialize in various fields. This latest trend of divesting assets is quite a turnaround from a few years ago when drug companies were diversifying through acquisitions to avoid an 'eggs-in-one-basket' scenario. Analysts note that deals currently underway are focusing on cutting costs and boosting sales to produce results investors have come to expect based on performance over the last two decades or so. However, the bullish activity in the pharmaceutical sector has been driven, in large part, by marketing of new products. With patents expiring and generic medicines flooding the market, many drugmakers have seen their revenue level out, or dip in recent months and will be hard-pushed to match past performances.

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