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  • Wall Street Bonuses Cause a Stir - 13 March 2014
  • Figures released Wednesday by New York State Comptroller, Thomas DiNapoli, revealed that bankers on Wall Street enjoyed an average increase of 15 percent on their annual bonuses for 2013. While this works out to an average bonus of $164,530 it should be noted that the bonus pool of $26.7 billion in 2013 includes all staff members, from the most junior to the most senior, and was reportedly padded out by compensation that had been deferred from previous years. Nonetheless, news of Wall Street banker bonuses climbing 15 percent while, for example, profits from NYSE broker-dealer operations fell 30 percent in 2013, lends credence to the call for regulators to tighten up on banks.

  • Crowd-Funding vs IPO - 6 October 2011
  • The concept of business crowd funding appears to be gaining ground as IPOs continue to be delayed, with a lack of confidence in Wall Street, and the economy in general, being cited as reasons behind the reluctance to launch initial purchase offerings right now. It is estimated that more than three hundred public offerings, including IPOs by high-profile companies such as Zynga and Groupon, have been put on ice this year, with no indication of when that ice is likely to thaw. The combined capital these IPOs are hoping to raise exceeds $180 billion, with more than fifty aiming to raise in the region of $100 million each. In the past, IPOs were the best means for raising funds to expand smaller companies, but with rapid advances in technology in the past two or three years alone, this need no longer be the case. There are alternatives - one of which is crowd funding.

  • Debit Card Fees Under Spotlight - 14 March 2011
  • Moody's recent credit update on the US banking sector noted that the credit rating agency is expecting a slow return to acceptable credit conditions. One of the numerous aspects of the report revealed that loan charge-offs had continued to decrease, reaching the level of 2.6 percent of loans in the fourth quarter of 2010. This is the lowest level since the fourth quarter 2008, but is still considered to be too high. Based on data indicating estimated losses on charge-offs being in the region of $744 billion between 2008 and 2011, and with around $548 billion in losses having already been incurred, Moody’s anticipates an estimated $198 billion being written off by the end of the year. So it appears that more consumers are in the position to settle their debt, and hopefully start spending again to boost the economy and the business of providing credit.

  • Quantitative Easing – Economic Recovery’s Latest Buzzword - 21 October 2010
  • Leading up to the Federal Reserve's November 2-3 meeting, at which economic stimulus measures will be high on the agenda, the concept of 'quantitative easing' as a means of encouraging economic growth is garnering its fair share of both critics and supporters. Quantitative easing had been used by the Fed earlier in the current economic crisis, but with limited success. Aptly named QE2, a second round of quantitative easing seems likely to be put into place in which the US central bank will buy up (mostly toxic) assets from banks in an effort to pump money into said banks. The banks in turn can lend this money to businesses, allowing the businesses, in turn, to increase their labor force, thereby channeling money to consumers, boosting consumer spending and jumpstarting the economy.

  • Personal Savings; Bank Failures; Week Ahead on Wall Street - 29 June 2009
  • Both the Dow Jones industrial average and the Standard & Poor’s 500 slipped on Friday ending on a low for the second week running, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite managed to notch up a small gain for the week. The rally which had been spurred on by speculation that the U.S. economy is beginning to stabilize, was pushed off track by recent economic reports indicating the road to recovery may still be some way off. A Commerce Department report released on Friday revealed that personal income had surged, however, savings had done the same. This is seen as a sign that investors are choosing to sit out the recession, rather than to spend at the present time. Savings in relation to income rose from 5.6 percent in April to 6.9 percent in May. Bearing in mind that economic growth is largely dependent on consumer spending, economist see the mounting personal savings rate as a cause of concern.

  • Bank Credit Rating Cuts Ahead of Regulator Overhaul - 18 June 2009
  • Fears that the recession may drag on longer than anticipated, made investors nervous and impacted negatively on Wall Street at the beginning of the week. A tech rally on Wednesday boosted the Nasdaq composite index with a gain of 0.7 percent. However, news of credit rating cuts for US banks caused financials to slide, dragging the Dow Jones industrial average with it, ending the day with a 0.1 percent loss, with a similar loss being recorded by the Standard & Poor's 500.

  • Wall Street Sees Burst of Investor Confidence Ahead of Stress Test Results - 7 may 2009
  • While the much-awaited bank "stress test" results are only due out after close of business on Thursday, investors have been responding with zeal to speculation, rumors and leaked information since markets opened on Monday morning. Despite the fact that most of the "information" doing the rounds indicates that anywhere between ten and fourteen of the banks being scrutinized are likely to be instructed by the government to raise capital, shares of all nineteen participants jumped on Monday. At least a dozen increased by more than 10 percent, with even the worst performer, Morgan Stanley, gaining 4.7 percent.

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