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  • Fed's Stimulus Strategy Unchanged - 19 September 2013
  • In recent months there has been widespread consensus on Wall Street that the Federal Reserve will start tapering off its economic stimulus strategies by about $10 billion per month for the balance of the year. So the announcement from the central bank that it would continue its bond-buying program indefinitely, as is, was met with a mixture of surprise and relief by Wall Street investors, pushing markets up considerably by close of trade Wednesday. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 146.44 points (0.94 percent) to 15,676.17, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index climbed 20.67 points (1.21 percent) to 1,725.43, and the Nasdaq Composite Index was up 37.94 points (1.01 percent) to 3,783.64.

  • August Auto Sales Boost US Markets - 5 September 2013
  • Wednesday saw US stocks rise for the second consecutive day, with strong auto sales lifting investor confidence. The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 97 points (0.65%), the S&P 500 gained 13 points (0.81%) and the Nasdaq Composite rose 36 points (1.01%). Shares for both Ford and General Motors rose to their highest level this year, with Ford jumping 3.5 percent to $16.91 and General Motors climbing 5 percent to $35.85. Statistics for August reveal that the Chrysler Group had an increase of 12% compared with August 2012; General Motors was up 15%; Ford rose 12%; Nissan climbed 22%; and Toyota experienced an increase of 23% year-over-year. Economists are of the opinion that auto sales are an important gauge of consumer spending. It has also been noted that Americans who have held on to their cars for eleven years or more are taking advantage of the lower interest rates to buy new vehicles.

  • Financial Crisis Accountability on the Cards - 22 August 2013
  • The recently released results of the review of the 2008 financial crisis by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has revealed that federal and state insurance regulators helped to minimize the economic turmoil and maintain general stability in the market. The GAO found that, with a few exceptions, the effects of the 2008 financial crisis on policyholders and insurers were limited. A coalition of state regulators under the banner of the National Association of Insurance Commissions took action during the crisis by insisting on detailed reports from insurers, as well as altering reporting rules and criteria for determining the risk factor of securities.

  • Wall Street Slips; BoA Faces Lawsuits - 8 August 2013
  • Wall Street slumped for the third session in a row in response to disappointing earnings reports and the news that the US government has filed lawsuits against Bank of America for alleged mortgage-backed securities fraud. Not surprisingly the financial sector reflected some of the biggest losses on Wall Street with Bank of America stocks falling 11 cents to $14.53. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 48.07 points to 15,470.67, the Nasdaq composite fell 11.76 points to 3,654.01 and the S&P 500 lost 6.46 points to close at 1,690.91 on Wednesday. Taking into account the gains of last week, the general consensus is that the losses of the past three days is not a cause for concern.

  • Second Quarter Results Boost Facebook Shares - 25 July 2013
  • Facebook continues to redeem itself with investors after its much-publicized, debated and, some might say disastrous, IPO in May 2012. The company's second quarter results reveal that Facebook continues to increase its overall user base, with its mobile users increasing by 51 percent over the last year. It's this market that Facebook has been focusing on for advertising, clearly with much success. Of Facebook's $1.81 billion in revenue, $1.6 billion came from advertising, being an increase of 61 percent from last year. Up to 41 percent of the advertising revenue came from mobile devices. The balance of the revenue was derived from payments (most notably game payments) and other fees. Facebook shares climbed by 19 percent in afterhours trading on Wednesday night, closing at $31.81, which is still below the May 2012 price of $35.

  • Fed Bond Purchases to Slow Down Later This Year - 11 July 2013
  • The minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting held in June were released yesterday, revealing the Fed's intentions for tapering off quantitative easing (QE) later this year, and sparking a minor rally on Wall Street. After moving into positive territory, the Dow dropped and closed slightly lower, breaking its four-day advance, while the S&P 500 closed with a small gain on Wednesday. When Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke suggested in June that the economy's expansion appeared strong enough to allow the central bank to slow down its bond purchases later in the year, investors apparently took this to mean that the Fed could potentially start pulling back as early as September. The FOMC minutes do not support this, but rather suggest that the job market needs to be stronger and steadier before the Fed would reduce bond purchases and while some felt confident this would be soon, remarks made by Bernanke at a news conference following the meeting suggested bond purchases would likely slow down later in the year, with a view to ending them in mid-2014, if the economy continued to show signs of strengthening.

  • Foreign Direct Investment Trends - 27 June 2013
  • The release of the 2013 World Investment Report by the United Nations Conference on Trade & Development (UNCTAD) yesterday revealed that global corporations invested more in emerging markets than Europe, the United States and Japan – the traditional supporters of these markets – for the first time in history. The preface of the report notes that as the international community makes its final push to achieve the Millennium Development Goals for 2015 set at the United Nations Millennium Summit in 2000, the World Investment Report takes on special significance. It also points out that as the United Nations works on strategies for post-2015 development, the information on foreign direct investment (FDI) provided in the report can contribute to the success of these endeavors.

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