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  • FINRA Proposes New Measures to Curb Market Volatility - 20 may 2010
  • The dramatic 'flash crash' on Wall Street on May 6 served as a wake-up call to regulators that the growing trend of automated high-speed trading calls for updated regulations in order to deal with stock market volatility. With this in mind, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) filed a proposal for public comment on Tuesday 18 May whereby trading on individual stocks will be paused if the price moves either way by 10 percent or more within a period of five minutes. Should the proposal become a reality, it will most likely be instituted as a six-month pilot program to test the waters, starting mid-June.

  • The Perils of High-Speed Trading - 17 may 2010
  • While talk of a stock exchange generally brings to mind the vibrant organized chaos of dealers on the floor shouting buy and sell instructions - scoring spectacularly, or failing dismally, wiping out fortunes in a heart-beat - the reality of modern-day stock market trading is quite different. The majority of today's trading is carried out by state of the art technology, often being referred to as high-frequency trading, or high-speed trading – an apt description by any measure. On Thursday May 6, the Dow Jones Industrial Average experienced an intraday drop of close to 1,000 points, and although stock market regulators have not yet pinpointed the cause of the dramatic drop, it has been conceded that high-speed trading is likely to have contributed to the incident, but was unlikely to have been the sole cause. Critics of the constantly evolving manner of modern trade, however, point to this incident as being evidence of the risks linked to high-speed trading.

  • United-Continental Merger Raises Fare-Price Concerns - 13 may 2010
  • With any merger between two key players within an economic sector there are bound to be objections from many quarters, as well as concerns regarding competition, or rather lack thereof, and avoiding the creation of a monopoly. The merger of United Airlines and Continental Airlines (the third and fourth largest commercial airlines in the US) is no different, especially when taking into account that the merger will reportedly create the world's largest airline, with estimated revenue of around US$30 billion and carrying in excess of 120 million passengers annually. It has been proposed that the holding company will be called United Continental Holdings, while the airline itself will operate under the banner of United Airlines.

  • The Fat-Finger Phenomenon - 11 may 2010
  • The gut-wrenching intraday drop of 998.5 points in the Dow Jones Industrial Average on Thursday last week has raised speculation that it was due to a so-called 'fat-finger' incident in which a trader inadvertently hits the wrong keys when placing a trade on the market. Unnamed, but apparently reliable, sources have been quoted as saying that a fat-fingered trade took place on the Nasdaq exchange involving an exchange-traded fund holding shares of some of the market's most widely traded stocks.

  • Power of Credit Rating Agencies Questioned - 6 may 2010
  • Following the downgrading of Greece's credit rating to junk earlier this week, as well as the downgrading of both Spain and Portugal, with speculation that Portugal is in the firing line for a further downgrading, the call for the creation of a European credit rating firm to balance out the US dominance of this function is gaining momentum. The credit rating reductions by US rating services such as Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s Investors Service, has had a severe impact on worldwide markets, with investors selling bonds issued by the three countries, in turn driving up their borrowing costs and increasing the need for bailouts financed by the European Union. Furthermore, the Euro dropped to a 13-month low, due primarily to concerns being raised over the ability of other European countries to meet their obligations without intervention.

  • BP, Goldman Sachs, United & Continental Feature in Week Ahead - 3 may 2010
  • The upward swing of the market over the past two months, with the Dow enjoying its longest run of positive performance in six years, was brought to an end last week. Heading into the month of May, there varying opinions among stock market investors as to whether the market is entering bear territory, or if this is a minor setback that will be resolved in the coming week.

  • NeighborWorks America – Strengthening Communities - 29 April 2010
  • Operating under the name of NeighborWorks America, the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation is a non-profit, congressionally chartered organization dedicated to its mission of "revitalizing older urban neighborhoods by mobilizing public, private and community resources at the neighborhood level." It is generally agreed that strong and stable communities are the backbone of a country, and in light of the ongoing turmoil of the global economy which has resulted in many job losses, communities need all the help they can get from individuals and authorities in a position to extend meaningful assistance.

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