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  • The Conference Board - 30 July 2009
  • Promoted as providing "Trusted Insights for Business Worldwide", The Conference Board is a well-respected authority in the business world. With its main offices based on Third Avenue in New York City, this non-profit global business organization also has offices in Hong Kong and Brussels. Functions of The Conference Board include holding conferences with high profile executives from all over the world, and conducting business management research relevant to the current global market. One of the reports compiled by The Conference Board is its Consumer Confidence Index, which is of great interest to stock market traders, bearing in mind that a healthy economy is largely reliant on consumer spending.

  • Will Wall Street Rally Continue? - 27 July 2009
  • Last week ended on an upbeat note on Wall Street, with the Dow Jones industrial average making it past the 9,000 mark for the first time since January this year. The Standard & Poor's 500 and the Nasdaq composite also rallied during the week, primarily on the strength of better than expected second quarter results and/or improved future forecasts by a number of corporate companies across the board, including AT&T, 3M Co, Wyeth, Caterpillar and Hershey. Investors were reassured, to some extent, that Wall Street had resumed the rally after hitting a bumpy patch in mid-June over concerns regarding economic recovery.

  • Factor Financing - 23 July 2009
  • The practice of factor financing improves cash flow and is the life-blood of many small businesses. With factor financing, a company sells its accounts receivable to a financing company, known as the factor, for immediate cash. The factor pays out a percentage of the value of the invoice, which can be anything from 70 to 90 percent depending on what is negotiated. The company using the service gets the benefit of immediate cash, instead of waiting for the 30 to 60 days or more that their debtors would take to settle the invoice.

  • Fallen Angels of the Stock Market - 20 July 2009
  • While there may be some dissension in the world of finance with regard to the meaning of the term "fallen angels", in general it refers to stocks that were once highly sought after and, due to any number of reasons, have fallen from grace with investors. The recent spate of companies that have had their credit ratings downgraded to below investment grade or "junk" status are considered to be fallen angels.

  • Second Quarter Earnings Season Kicks Off on Positive Note - 16 July 2009
  • Investors caught sight of a glimmer of hope when the second quarter earnings season got off to a positive start with better than expected results and optimistic forecasts from high-profile market sector leaders, Johnson & Johnson, Intel Corp and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Investor optimism was reflected in activity on Wall Street resulting in the Dow Jones industrial average gaining 3.1 percent, or 256.72 points, finishing at 9,616.2, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 3 percent, or 26.84 points, to 932.68, and the Nasdaq Composite index climbed 3.5 percent, or 63.17 points to 1,862.9 at closing time.

  • Collusion – A Barrier to Competition - 13 July 2009
  • In the business world, collusion is an agreement between rival companies to collaborate to gain an unfair advantage in their particular market sector. Instead of competing, they work together to drive up profits. Although this is an illegal practice in most countries, with the United States, Canada and the majority of European Union member countries having antitrust and competition laws in place to prevent it, collusion nevertheless does take place. Depending on how many suppliers there are in a market sector, collusion generally takes the form of price fixing, where all parties agree to sell their products at the same price, but can also take the form of limiting production and supply and division of market share. Collusion is most often found in an industry where there is a duopoly, where only two companies are competing for the same market, or an oligopoly, where more than two but nevertheless a limited number of companies are competitors.

  • Credit Rating Agencies - 10 July 2009
  • With the current unpredictability and volatility of the global financial system, investors are making use of all the tools at their disposal to assist them in their investment decision making. While critics may point out shortcomings of credit rating agencies (CRA), they are nevertheless seen as being useful in gauging the financial health and credit-worthiness of various entities, including companies, non-profit organizations, state and local governments, and even national governments. The independent measurement of relative credit risk provided by credit rating agencies is believed to increase the scope of investment options for investors and can increase market efficiency and supply of risk capital, leading to stronger economic growth.

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