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  • Stock Market Simulators - 6 September 2010
  • Few would disagree that being a stock market player must be one of the most stressful, but also the most exciting, career paths to follow – especially in light of the global financial turmoil over the past two years or so. Have you ever wondered what it must feel like to win, or lose, a fortune as a result of a single decision? Or if slow and steady is your way, how would you best go about building up a comfy nest-egg by investing in the stock market? Before you leap into the world of high finance, you can test your aptitude for stock market trading, without any of the financial risk, by means of a stock market simulator.

  • GM Drop in Sales May Deter IPO Investors - 2 September 2010
  • In mid-August General Motors filed the necessary documentation with US regulatory authorities for an IPO reportedly to the value of around $50 billion. GM took this step to extricate the company from the US and Canadian authorities that are currently major shareholders, holding 72 percent of GM's equity. The success of the IPO would depend largely on whether investors are prepared to give General Motors another chance, after it had to be bailed out of potential bankruptcy more than a year ago. So, with a lot riding on the success of the IPO should it be approved, it was disconcerting news that GM's US market sales for August 2010 were around 25 percent lower than August 2009. It's true that the Obama administration’s "cash for clunkers" program did much to boost sales at that time, but even taking that into account, GM's August sales are a cause for concern and may deter investors from supporting the upcoming IPO.

  • Investigation Into Flash-Crash Continues - 23 August 2010
  • While the cause of the so-called Wall Street "flash crash" on May 6 this year has not yet been confirmed by regulators charged with investigating the incident, it is likely to lead to a tougher stance on controlling who has access to high-frequency trading on markets. The investigation includes scrutinizing brokers suspected of failing to thoroughly check high-frequency traders before allowing them market access, which raises a whole host of concerns, especially in light of the fact that around 60 percent of US trading volumes take place electronically. With brokers being in the position to grant traders direct access to run algorithms, the responsibility rests with brokers to ensure that they know exactly who they are granting access to, and those found to be negligent in this regard face the very real possibility of hefty fines.

  • GM Moves Ahead With IPO Plans - 19 August 2010
  • It was thirteen months ago that the U.S. government rescued General Motors from bankruptcy and landed up owning around 61 percent of the company in return for financial assistance to the tune of $50 billion. And now, despite the weak IPO market and a less than inspiring track record, GM is set to offer shares to the public once again in an effort to pay off their debt and reclaim full ownership of a company that was once part of the portfolio of many serious investors. But opinion is divided as to whether they will be able to rise to those prominent levels again, with the most obvious question being whether investors will give the automaker another chance.

  • US Small-Caps Take Strain in Current Economy - 16 August 2010
  • As concerns regarding the pace of economic recovery in the US persist, it has become apparent that small-cap businesses have been hardest hit by investor gloom. Despite fairly upbeat data on retail sales and consumer sentiment, Friday saw the Russell 2000 index of small-capitalization stocks fall by 1.21 percent, being 7.49 points. The total decline for the week was 6.33 percent, going on record as the second consecutive week down. The Standard & Poor's Small Cap 600 fared no better, dropping 1.31 percent, being 4.35 points, and ending the week down 6.04 percent. This turn of events from when small-caps were challenging blue-chip stocks a while ago, highlights the depth of risk aversion being experienced in current markets, primarily as a result of the Fed’s current outlook on economic recovery.

  • US Markets Slide Amidst Global Gloom - 12 August 2010
  • Stock market investing is surely not for the faint-hearted, especially in these times where every new day seems to bring a new, and often unprecedented, challenge. Following the announcement by the U.S. Federal Reserve that it would begin buying government bonds in an effort to stimulate the persistently sluggish economy, stocks and interest rates plummeted on Wednesday, reflecting the trepidation of investors with regard to economic recovery. Other factors that impacted negatively on markets included the news from the U.S. Commerce Department that, primarily due to the fall in exports, the trade deficit for June widened to reach its highest level in 20 months. It follows that a decline in exports will lead to a slow-down in U.S. manufacturing, which is particularly disappointing, given that the manufacturing sector had shown the most promising signs of recovery earlier this year.

  • A Brief History of Trade – Part 3 - 9 August 2010
  • (Cont.from Part 2) Bilateral and multilateral trade began to develop in the mid 19th century with the primary focus on national advantage as being the determining factor on whether to open a country's borders to imports or not. Building on the work of economists such as David Ricardo and his father, James Mill, John Stuart Mill went on to prove that a country with the trade monopoly on international markets could make use of tariffs to manipulate the terms of trade between countries, which is likely to result in reciprocity – the granting of benefits in return. It was argued that this form of trade was superior to the policy of free trade and was later proposed by Mill as a protection for fledgling industries as they tried to compete in a world which was rapidly becoming industrialized. Today, trade tariffs play an important role in the supply and demand of international trade.

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