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  • Fed's Tapering Process Continues - 30 January 2014
  • In a process that has been described as 'tapering', the Federal Reserve made it known that it will be reducing its bond-buying program by a further $10 billion in February, following its January reduction of the same amount. The Federal Reserve had been buying $85 billion in bonds on a monthly basis since September 2012 as part of its plan to stimulate the economy. It started tapering this amount in January by spending $75 billion on bonds and, following the final meeting chaired by Ben Bernanke, an official statement by the Fed noted that the data generated since its last meeting in December indicates that economic activity had picked up sufficiently to warrant the reduction in bond buying. The decision to continuing tapering bond buying was reportedly unanimous among the ten voting members of the Federal Reserve, despite the weak December jobs report which showed that hiring dropped from the average of 205,000 per month in the past three months, to 74,000 jobs.

  • FHFA to Bulk-Sell Foreclosed Homes - 22 March 2012
  • As home foreclosures continue and Americans are forced to find alternative housing, the rental market in major centers is reportedly taking strain in keeping up with the demand. This may very well be alleviated by the bulk sale of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac-owned houses to investors-turned-landlords. It has been reported that among the high-profile investors showing an interesting in the bulk buying of foreclosed homes are OakTree Capital Management, Starwood Capital, Och-Ziff Capital Management, and TPG Capital.

  • High Frequency Trading - 8 March 2012
  • With the anniversary of the May 2010 "flash crash" coming up, high frequency trading continues to be a somewhat controversial topic, with proponents pointing out that any major shift in investing tends to unsettle investors and traders, and critics voicing concern that nanosecond trading could bring the whole system to its knees. On May 6, 2010, at 14h42 EDT the Dow Jones industrial average plummeted by 600 points in just 6 minutes before rebounding by 15h07. It was the index's most volatile intraday activity in its 114-year history and high frequency trading is thought to have been the trigger.

  • World Markets Affected by Greek Debt Resolution Delays - 9 February 2012
  • As the European Central Bank struggles to reach consensus on how it will contribute to the restructuring of Greece's debt, stocks on Wall Street closed higher than expected. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 5.75 points to 12,884; the Nasdaq Composite climbed 11.8 points to 2,916; and the Standard & Poor's 500 rose by 2.9 points to close the day at 1,350. In contrast London's FTSE dropped by 0.24 percent, with Germany's DAX closing down 0.08 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index rose 1.54 percent, and Japan's Nikkei Average close 1.1 percent up.

  • Dodd-Frank, Operation Twist & Wall Street - 22 September 2011
  • It's been a year since the Dodd-Frank bill was signed into law, putting a whole new perspective on the term "too big to fail" and putting the brakes on taxpayer bailouts for failing financial institutions. With the downgrading of the credit ratings of three major banks – Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Citigroup – on Wednesday, it appears that the time has come to test the effectiveness of the Dodd-Frank bill. Commenting on the downgrade of Wells Fargo's stock, Moody's noted that, because the risks of contagion have become less acute, allowing a financially troubled large bank to fail is more likely to happen now than would have been the case during the financial crisis. This is seen as a vindication of the stance lawmakers took in passing the bill. Instead of propping up failing financial institutions with taxpayers' money, the federal government has the option of unwinding these banks in a controlled and orderly manner. Each of the three banks in question is required to present a plan by July next year outlining steps for distribution of assets in the event of becoming insolvent.

  • Scripophily: An Intriguing Hobby - 31 December 2008
  • Scripophily is a specialized field of numismatics (the study and collection of currency) which focuses on the study and collection of old bonds and stocks. What makes scripophily particularly interesting is the historic context of each document, as well as the artistic design and intricate detail on many of these valuable documents. Scripophily first gained recognition as a hobby in the early 1970s, with the word being coined from a combination of the English word “scrip” representing a certificate or substitute for currency in which the payer and payee recognize its value, and the Greek word “philos” meaning to love, and has grown to include thousands of collectors worldwide.

  • Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae Placed Under U.S. Government “Conservatorship” - 9 September 2008
  • In what has been described as the world’s biggest emergency nationalization ever, the U.S. government stepped in once again to rescue ailing mortgage giants Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. However, this time round it is not just a bail out, but a complete take-over, or what authorities are calling a “conservatorship”. Understandably, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae shares took a plunge, but the general market rally yesterday may indicate that many investors are hopeful that this move by the federal government could mean the end of the ongoing credit crunch.

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