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  • Financial Reform, BP Remain Hot Topics on Wall Street - 14 June 2010
  • As a new week starts, with the month of June already half-way through, analysts believe that US markets will face some tough challenges as investors remain cautious about the state of the global economy and its spin-off effect on US markets. On the home front, a number of economic reports are due through the week, and investors are mindful of the fact that the end of the second quarter of 2010 is fast approaching. Also under consideration, is the appeal by President Barack Obama to congressional leaders to approve an $80 billion proposal for extended unemployment benefits and tax breaks, as well as facilitating easier access to credit for small businesses. The letter from the President to the leaders of the House and Senate also reportedly sought support for a proposal to assist state and local government departments, thereby preventing layoffs and resultant service reductions. It is anticipated that these measures, if approved, will encourage consumer spending, which is a major driving force behind economic recovery.

  • Nervous Market Responds to BP Dividend Cut - 10 June 2010
  • Following the pattern of the previous two days, Wall Street experienced a late in the day decline on Wednesday with the Dow Jones industrial average falling 40.73 points, the Standard & Poor's 500 shedding 6.35 points and the Nasdaq Composite Index slipping 11.72 points, ending the day at 9899.25 points, 1055.65 points and 2158.85 points respectively. A major concern for investors, which is believed to have been the primary cause for Wednesday's dismal market performance with energy shares dropping and dragging other sectors down, was the likelihood of BP cutting its dividend in order to fund the cleanup of the oil spill disaster wreaking havoc in the Gulf of Mexico and beyond. There has been speculation on Wall Street that BP’s circumstances are so dire that they may take the route of seeking bankruptcy protection.

  • Euro Strain Impacts US Markets - 7 June 2010
  • In the not too distant past the euro was being hailed as the "new dollar" as it continued to gain ground as the currency of choice on international markets. However, with the economic turmoil in Europe, most notably that of Greece, Spain and Portugal, it is becoming apparent that a common currency for the diverse nations of Europe may not have been such a great idea after all. This comes as no surprise to some analysts who, back in the nineties, made known their viewpoints regarding the unlikelihood of the Euro succeeding. As Europe was gearing up for the launch of the Euro in 1999, renowned American economist Milton Friedman (1912-2006) reportedly declared that he did not believe that the Euro Zone would last more than ten years – a position that he maintained right up to his death in 2006 and with which many agreed.

  • FCIC Probes CRA Role in Financial Crisis - 3 June 2010
  • While a number of indicators suggest that the US economy is on the road to recovery, albeit a long and rocky road, the probe into what caused the financial crisis in the fist place continues. Recently it was suggested that credit rating agencies such as Moody's, Fitch and S&P, may be wielding too much power as Greece's credit was cut to junk status, and both Spain and Portugal were downgraded, with a negative impact on international markets. Relating to the global financial crisis, it has been suggested that these same credit rating agencies gave troubled banks misleadingly high ratings, while at the same time failing to act promptly to warn of the risks posed by bonds and other securities that were tied to subprime mortgages.

  • United/Continental Merger Hits Snag at Senate - 1 June 2010
  • With a merger being agreed upon by the relevant management teams and board members of Continental and United airlines, and varying opinions being aired as to possible benefits or disadvantages thereof, it seems the proposed merger to create the world's largest airline has hit a snag at Senate level. The CEOs of the two airlines faced a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee's Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights subcommittee on Thursday May 27, to defend issues and concerns related to the proposed merger, which would result in the formation of a holding company – United Continental Holdings – with the airline operating as United Airlines.

  • Darwinomics: Competition vs Cooperation - 27 may 2010
  • Even those who have not studied the works of Charles Darwin, readily equate the basic principle of 'survival of the fittest', otherwise known as the 'principle of natural selection', with the legendary evolutionist. This theory has two main elements to it: firstly, that nature is never static and a species that does not adapt to the ongoing changes in nature will eventually become extinct; and secondly, intense competition pervades any given habitat and only the fittest, or most adaptable, will survive. Recognizing that these principles apply to economics, the term Darwinomics was coined and apparently first used in an episode of the political TV drama West Wing. While these principles certainly apply to the economy of a country, they can also apply in business. This has become painfully apparent during the economic crisis that continues to wreak havoc around the world, where only the fittest (or some would argue that only those who have been at the front of the government bailout queue) continue to survive, and with the economic climate being a lot more volatile than nature, adapting to rapid change is key to survival.

  • Wal-Mart Results Reveal Shaky Consumer Confidence - 24 may 2010
  • While the state of the economy of a number of European Union countries continues to be a cause for concern, and the Euro continues to flounder, US stock market players will no doubt be turning their attention to their home ground as they face a flood of reports indicating the economic health of the United States in the coming week. Among the reports expected this week are key readings on labor, individual income, housing, consumer sentiment and spending trends, and the country’s GDP.

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