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  • Wall Street Faces Earnings, Economic Data and Pre-Election Tension - 25 October 2010
  • Wall Street traders will be facing what some are referring to as the 'three Es' in the upcoming weeks, being earnings, elections and economic data. Third quarter earnings reports will pick up momentum during the week, with stock exchange listed companies due to report including Comcast, Procter & Gamble, 3M, Motorola, Exxon Mobil and Microsoft. While earnings reported have generally been better than expected so far, and the market has responded positively to this, some analysts are sounding a warning bell that the market may have become vulnerable to big sell-offs. Add to the third quarter earnings, the implications of the outcome of upcoming mid-term elections, a host of important economic reports, and the possibility of the Federal Reserve’s proposed quantitative easing measures which include the buying up of bank assets, and it is understandable that there are concerns over possible market volatility.

  • Quantitative Easing – Economic Recovery’s Latest Buzzword - 21 October 2010
  • Leading up to the Federal Reserve's November 2-3 meeting, at which economic stimulus measures will be high on the agenda, the concept of 'quantitative easing' as a means of encouraging economic growth is garnering its fair share of both critics and supporters. Quantitative easing had been used by the Fed earlier in the current economic crisis, but with limited success. Aptly named QE2, a second round of quantitative easing seems likely to be put into place in which the US central bank will buy up (mostly toxic) assets from banks in an effort to pump money into said banks. The banks in turn can lend this money to businesses, allowing the businesses, in turn, to increase their labor force, thereby channeling money to consumers, boosting consumer spending and jumpstarting the economy.

  • Third Quarter Results and QE2 Under Spotlight on Wall Street - 18 October 2010
  • With seven Dow blue-chip stocks due to release 2010 third-quarter result during this week, investors may have their attention temporarily diverted from the implications of the 'quantitative easing' proposed by the Federal Reserve as a means to boost the economy. The seven blue-chip Dow components are Bank of America, Johnson & Johnson, IBM, Caterpillar, American Express, McDonalds and Verizon. Other major companies in the banking sector releasing third-quarter results in the upcoming week include Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, and Wells Fargo, while the tech sector releases include Apple and Yahoo. While analysts acknowledge that it's too early in the third-quarter earnings season to make any judgments, thus far of the results posed, 83 percent have beaten estimates by analysts – an observation that adds an element of optimism for the week ahead.

  • JP Morgan Chase Start Banking Sector Third Quarter Reporting - 14 October 2010
  • As the first of U.S. big banks to report its third quarter results, JP Morgan Chase revealed that it had earned $4.4 billion during this time, representing an increase of 23 percent compared to the same period last year. Earnings per share for the New York-based Fortune 500 company was recorded at $1.01, beating polled expectations of 90 cents a share. Furthermore, the funds set aside to cover bad loans, referred to as the provision for credit losses, was reduced to $3.2 billion, down a whopping 67 percent compared to last year's third quarter. The increase of sales volume in the card services division of the bank was 7 percent, with the commercial banking unit reporting $1.5 billion in revenue. Conversely, there was a decline of 33 percent in the company’s investment banking profits. Nonetheless, Chief Executive Jamie Dimon noted that he was cautiously optimistic about the economic outlook of the country, as well as that of JP Morgan Chase. He further reiterated that the bank is fully committed to promoting economic recovery and anticipated hiring more than 10,000 workers throughout the United States in the coming year. Moreover, Dimon revealed that he was hopeful that the bank's quarterly dividend will be reinstated in the first quarter of 2011 – good news indeed for investors.

  • A Brief History of Competition Law – Part 3 - 11 October 2010
  • Continued from Part 2

    It was following WWI that other countries started to implement competition policies along the lines of those introduced by the United States. Competition regulators were formed to ensure that competition and antitrust policies and laws were adhered to. Following the 2nd World War, the Allies introduced regulations to break up cartels and monopolies that had formed during the war years. At the time, this was mainly aimed at Germany and Japan. In the case of Germany, it was feared that large industry cartels were manipulated in a manner that gave total economic control of the country to the Nazi regime. With Japan, big business was a hotbed of nepotism resulting in multi-industry conglomerates that controlled the Japanese economy. However, the surrender of both Germany and Japan to the Allied forces at the end of WWII allowed for tighter controls to be enforced, and these controls were based on the principle of those being used in the U.S.

  • A Brief History of Competition Law – Part 2 - 7 October 2010
  • A Brief History of Competition Law – Part 1 While the term 'Renaissance' originally referred to a cultural movement that characterized the period from around the 14th to 17th centuries, it has also come to refer to an historic era affecting other aspects of daily life, including that of trade and competition. During this Renaissance period, particularly from the 16th century onward, international trade started booming. While much of this trade and the resultant wealth were illicit, authorities saw the need to regulate trade to engender a spirit of fairness and free competition. The precursor of modern patent laws, known as the Statute of Monopolies, was passed by England's parliament in 1623. Prior to the Statute of Monopolies, patent laws were subject to abuse by authorities. History reveals that Elizabeth I was known to have granted patents for everyday household commodities such as salt and starch, thereby creating monopolies on necessities. Her successor, James I, followed in her footsteps, making life very difficult for their citizens.

  • Biomass Companies Growing Feedstock on Location - 5 October 2010
  • Throughout the emerging and developed world, energy powers development! Without a stable generation output, energy costs will increase and growth opportunities will slow. Governments know that affordable, clean, energy is the key to sustained higher gross domestic product and commercial growth.

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