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  • 2010 Fourth Quarter Results Highlight of Coming Week - 10 January 2011
  • While the first week of 2011 showed market gains, thereby reinforcing the air of cautious optimism, the coming week is likely to present a challenge to US stock market investors as 2010 fourth quarter results start trickling in. With much of the improvement in profits registered by noteworthy companies during last year being attributed to cost cutting exercises, investors and stakeholders are looking for genuine revenue growth in the upcoming year. How companies ended 2010 should give a good indication as to whether these expectations will be met.

  • Dell – SecureWorks Deal in Pipeline - 6 January 2011
  • With IT security increasingly becoming a matter of top priority for businesses and institutions on all levels, world-renowned computer manufacturer Dell Inc. has taken positive steps to remain ahead of would-be hackers by putting in an offer to purchase IT security provider SecureWorks Inc. With the deal expected to close early in 2011, this strategic move will ensure that Dell customers will have the latest innovations in IT security at their fingertips.

  • Saving is Priority One, But Investing is Everything Thereafter - 5 January 2011
  • The past two years have been some of the severest on record when it comes to measuring how tough economic times can affect a family’s financial well being, much less the nation as a whole. Budgeting and priority setting become tougher elements of a prudent financial plan, but short-term thriftiness can bode well for long-term financial security, as long as you stick to your plan.

  • Optimism High For 2011 Market Activity - 3 January 2011
  • US stock market investors are reportedly looking to the New Year with a measure of enthusiasm and optimism as economic recovery strategies, such as the much-touted QE2, are poised to be executed. Looking back at this time a year ago there were also signs encouraging optimism for economic recovery at that time, but these were dealt a blow by debt problems and economic turmoil in European countries, as well as less than promising results of stimulus spending, sparking fears for a 'double dip' in the economy by the middle of 2010. A fear of history repeating itself may act as somewhat of a restraint on investor confidence going into 2011, but analysts have indicated that there are solid reasons for optimism in the coming year.

  • Moral Hazard – Part 2 - 30 December 2010
  • While there are many reasons behind the current economic crisis, the term 'moral hazard' has been applied to risky decision making actions by lenders which led to the chaos in large financial institutions, referred to as the US subprime mortgage crisis, or the 2007-2010 financial crisis. It appears that the whole too-big-to-fail mindset may have resulted in extreme leniency when assessing the ability of borrowers to repay their loans – to the detriment of both lenders and borrowers. A number of financial giants took a tumble, with some being bailed out with government/taxpayers money and others being taken over by previous competitors, shifting at least part of the burden of bad decision making elsewhere.

  • Moral Hazard – Part 1 - 27 December 2010
  • Renowned in financial circles for his work on incentives relating to asymmetric information, Professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Bengt Robert Holmström defines the term 'moral hazard' in the 1979 Bell Journal of Economics as follows: "It has long been recognized that a problem of moral hazard may arise when individuals engage in risk sharing under conditions such that their privately taken actions affect the probability distribution of the outcome." Economist Professor Paul Krugman put it in a nutshell by describing moral hazard as being "any situation in which one person makes the decision about how much risk to take, while someone else bears the cost if things go badly."

  • Coercive and Natural Monopolies - 22 December 2010
  • Competition is one of the key elements of a healthy economy, and in all major economies of the world authoritative bodies are in place to enforce competition and antitrust laws to prevent monopolies from dominating the market. However, not all monopolies are formed with the intent of deliberately squeezing out the competition. Some monopolies result from a situation where the first supplier in a newly created market, in other words the innovator of either a product or service, becomes firmly entrenched to the extent that potential competitors find it difficult, if not impossible, to break into the market. This type of monopoly is referred to as a 'natural' monopoly and the obstacles faced by potential competitors may be referred to as 'barriers to entry'. Examples of natural monopoly would include providers of public utilities such as water services, electricity and landline telecommunications in countries where these are supplied by private companies, or under government contract. Setting up these services requires substantial capital outlay, which is difficult to match.

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