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  • Facebook, Apple Exceed First Quarter Expectations - 24 April 2014
  • Six days of gains on Wall Street came to an end Wednesday with the S&P 500 index slipping 0.2 percent to 1,875, the Dow Jones industrial average losing 0.1 percent to close at 16,502, and the NASDAQ Composite closing at 4,127 – a decline of 0.8 percent. Facebook shares closed down more than 2 percent at $61.36, but after the closing bell were up $1.50, boosted by the release of the company's quarterly results. Facebook's success in the first quarter of 2014 is being attributed primarily to strong growth in the social media company's mobile advertising business, with revenue climbing by 72 percent to $2.5 billion, exceeding analyst expectations of $2.36 billion.

  • Markets Boosted by Fed's Interest Rate Stance - 10 April 2014
  • Markets responded positively Wednesday to minutes of the Federal Reserve's recent policy meeting which revealed that the central bank aims to keep interest rates low. This came as somewhat of a surprise to many investors and served to boost fragile investor sentiment. All three of Wall Street's major stock indexes closed the day up more than 1 percent, with eight of the ten Standard & Poor's 500 stock index sectors closing higher. The S&P 500 rose 20.22 points (1.1 percent) to close at 1,872.18, while the Dow Jones industrial average climbed 181.04 points (1.1 percent) to close at 16,437.18. The Nasdaq composite index increased by 70.91 points (1.7 percent) to close at 4,183.90. The day's biggest increases were among biotechnology and internet stocks.

  • King Digital Entertainment IPO Disappoints - 27 March 2014
  • With a reported net worth of $76 billion, founder of Microsoft Bill Gates is back at the top of the annual Forbes Billionaires list, having held that position for fifteen of the past twenty years. Second on the list, CEO of Oracle Larry Ellison has a reported net worth of $48 billion, followed by Google CEO Larry Page at $32.3 billion. Fourth in line is Amazon founder Jeff Bezos with $32 billion, followed closely by Google's Sergey Brin with $31.8 billion and Facebook CEO Mark Suckerberg with $28.5 billion – an noteable comeback after Facebook's disastrous 2012 IPO. Interestingly, at number eight with a net worth of $17.5 billion is Michael Dell, who removed his company from the stock market in October 2013.

  • Wall Street Bonuses Cause a Stir - 13 March 2014
  • Figures released Wednesday by New York State Comptroller, Thomas DiNapoli, revealed that bankers on Wall Street enjoyed an average increase of 15 percent on their annual bonuses for 2013. While this works out to an average bonus of $164,530 it should be noted that the bonus pool of $26.7 billion in 2013 includes all staff members, from the most junior to the most senior, and was reportedly padded out by compensation that had been deferred from previous years. Nonetheless, news of Wall Street banker bonuses climbing 15 percent while, for example, profits from NYSE broker-dealer operations fell 30 percent in 2013, lends credence to the call for regulators to tighten up on banks.

  • Comcast-TWC Merger Raises Consumer Concerns - 27 February 2014
  • Comcast's $45 billion bid to acquire Time Warner Cable has raised a host of objections from various consumer and social action groups, with the main concern being that the merging of the two companies would dominate the cable television and broadband industry, edging out competition and leaving consumers with fewer choices. The combined company would have up to 33 million cable subscribers and close to that number of broadband users, a scenario which could give it the power it needs to influence networks with regard to licensing fees, as well has being able to set market rates on its products and services.

  • 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.

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