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  • Investors Hopeful of Continued Upward Trend - 26 April 2010
  • While stock market investors have their hopes pinned on Wall Street continuing its upward trend of the past eight weeks, some analysts are of the opinion that caution should rule in the coming week, as first quarter results flood in and Fed meeting outcomes regarding interest rates are made known on Wednesday. The positives that have driven the market upward in recent weeks include American Express, Citigroup and Apple, among others, producing results exceeding expectations. Moreover, government reports revealed signs of recovery in the US housing market, as March new home sales experienced a dramatic rise over February's figure. Some of the negatives hounding investors include the SEC’s possible fraud charges against Goldman Sachs, (which some fear may open a Pandora’s Box), as well as issues regarding reforms on Wall Street.

  • 2010's First Quarter Results Remain Under Spotlight - 19 April 2010
  • The trickle of first quarter results released last week is set to gain momentum in the week ahead as 123 companies, representing around 25 percent of the S&P 500, make their results known. Last week's results from Intel, Google, Bank of America, General Electric and JP Morgan Chase, turned out to be better than expected, sparking a wave of optimism that this positive trend will continue in the weeks ahead. Companies expected to take the lion's share of attention include IBM, Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Apple and Goldman Sachs – the financial powerhouse currently facing fraud charges relating to real estate securities and involving investor losses of up to $1 billion.

  • Business Ethics Relating to Knowledge and Skills - 15 April 2010
  • It is not uncommon for corporate companies to admit that its employees are among its most valuable assets, especially if those employees have sought-after skills. While recognizing this important fact, it is virtually impossible to put an actual monetary value on these assets, which usually go way beyond their monthly remuneration. Business ethics enter an almost intangible realm when dealing in concepts such as knowledge and skills. For example, when an employee comes up with an idea that proves to be of value to the company he/she works for it can become a matter of debate as to who has the right to the idea – the employee, or the company who trained the employee. Generally, these issues would be clearly set out in the employee’s initial letter of appointment, especially in a Research & Development scenario, thereby avoiding any ambiguity in the future.

  • First Quarter Earnings Start to Trickle In - 12 April 2010
  • Two weeks into the second quarter of 2010, stock market players have plenty to look forward to as first quarter results start to trickle in. With the Dow ending last week just short of the 11,000 mark (after having crossed it and retreated during the day on Friday), and the Nasdaq index and S&P 500 reaching almost two year and 18 month highs respectively, it appears that investors have cause to be optimistic. After earnings that were boosted by cost-cutting measures mid-2009, followed by mediocre performances, the general opinion seems to be that US companies which have survived the economic turmoil will start to show profits. Earnings are expected to have climbed by around 37% for the first quarter of 2010 as measured against the same period in 2009. Revenues are looking at a 10% increase for the same time period.

  • The Value of Business Ethics - 8 April 2010
  • In a world that is becoming increasingly corrupt, with questionable behavior tainting virtually all levels of society, the definition of Business Ethics can become somewhat blurred and often differs quite drastically depending on who you may be speaking to. Some even claim that ethics are irrelevant to the field of business, taking the stance that the main responsibility of a company CEO is to make money, and if one needs to use some "creative accounting" to do so, then so be it. This approach was promoted by Milton Friedman (1912-2006), a well respected multiple award-winning American economist and statistician associated with the Chicago School of Economics, who was reported as saying that corporations are amoral, cannot have social responsibilities and that CEOs have a single duty, that of maximizing the profits of the company they have been entrusted to run.

  • Improved US Job Market Likely to Boost Market - 5 April 2010
  • Following the three-day Easter weekend, stock market investors return to a week ahead that holds some promise of better things as news on the US job market indicates that the economy may have reached a genuine turning point. Prior to the Good Friday closure of the market, it was revealed that employers had added up to 162,000 jobs in March, a monthly figure not seen in more than three years. Although economists were expecting 184,000 jobs to be added for March, the report was nonetheless greeted positively as it is seen as a move in the right direction for the labor market. A separate survey revealed that the unemployment rate remained at 9.7%, as was expected.

  • Closed-end and Open-end Funds - 2 April 2010
  • Closed-end and open-end funds are both forms of collective investment schemes. In the case of a closed-end fund a set number of shares exist, new shares are not generally issued after the fund is launched, and shares may not be redeemed until the fund liquidates. Should an investor wish to buy shares in a closed-end fund, this would have to be done on a secondary market from another investor, broker, or market maker and not from the fund itself, whereas an open-end fund creates new shares and redeems shares as part of its day-to-day business.

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