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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.

  • Optimism High For 2011 Market Activity - 3 January 2011
  • US stock market investors are reportedly looking to the New Year with a measure of enthusiasm and optimism as economic recovery strategies, such as the much-touted QE2, are poised to be executed. Looking back at this time a year ago there were also signs encouraging optimism for economic recovery at that time, but these were dealt a blow by debt problems and economic turmoil in European countries, as well as less than promising results of stimulus spending, sparking fears for a 'double dip' in the economy by the middle of 2010. A fear of history repeating itself may act as somewhat of a restraint on investor confidence going into 2011, but analysts have indicated that there are solid reasons for optimism in the coming year.

  • Signs of Continued Economic Recovery Sparks Cautious Optimism - 13 December 2010
  • Movement in US markets last week revealed that investors are somewhat encouraged by increasing signs of economic recovery – albeit it very slow – creating an air of cautious optimism for the week ahead. Last week ended with the Dow Jones industrial average having remained virtually static, but with the Standard & Poor's 500 hitting its highest level since September 2008 and the Nasdaq composite closing at its highest point since December 2007. As things stand right now, analysts generally agree that there is a strong possibility for both the S&P 500 and the Dow to finish the year with gains of at least 10 percent, while the Nasdaq looks headed toward a 16 percent gain. The recently published interview with Warren Buffet in which he acknowledges that, while recovery is slow, the economy is definitely in recovery, will surely be a boost to optimism among investors. With some investors still shell-shocked by market volatility experienced since the events of 2008, it is no surprise that any optimism remains tempered by caution. Additionally, concerns over debt problems in Europe and the increase in China's inflation rate remain a cause for concern. Moreover, the Congressional debate regarding tax cut extension and fiscal stimulus feature strongly in investor decision making. Speculation abounds that if economic recovery continues at a steady pace, the quantitative easing (QE2) program unveiled in November encompassing the Federal Reserve's plan to buy $600 billion in US Treasuries may be curtailed.

  • Hopes High For Tax Cut Extension - 6 December 2010
  • Economic recovery and stability are undoubtedly common goals for U.S. policymakers regardless of where their allegiance may lie politically, but that does not mean that there is complete agreement on how to reach that goal. The economic turmoil experienced by governments worldwide for more than two years now, has presented a number of unprecedented circumstances that have called for some drastic measures to deal with, and decision-makers charged with overseeing the economic welfare of many countries have often found themselves sailing uncharted waters. Investors have certainly been on a roller-coaster ride of note, with high-speed trading presenting additional challenges to overcome, making the stock market a place that is not for the faint-hearted to venture into.

  • US Markets Respond to Economic Recovery Indications - 2 December 2010
  • In an effort to capture as many consumer dollars possible, some US retailers started Black Friday sales on Thursday, while others extended their specials through to the end of the week following the biggest retail event on US consumer calendars. The results revealed that shopping patterns are shifting, and according to the National Retail Federation, US consumers spent on average $365.34 as compared to last year’s $343.31 for this period. The total amount spent over the Thanksgiving and Black Friday weekend was around $45 billion, with more than 212 million shoppers swelling the crowds, apart from consumers who did their shopping online. So, in general, both retailers and shoppers scored from the frenzied spending spree, and the outlook for economic recovery brightened with the good start to the holiday season.

  • Black Friday – Splurge Now, Pay Later - 22 November 2010
  • With Thanksgiving and Black Friday cutting short the upcoming trading week on Wall Street, many investors have their hopes pinned on major retailers raking in the money as millions of consumers throw caution to the wind and cash in on specials offered on this day. Black Friday is an American tradition which takes place the Friday after Thanksgiving, so-named because it drags a large number of retailers out of the red and into the black financially speaking. Many of these retailers rely on Black Friday sales to keep their heads above water, while retailing giants take advantage of the phenomenon to capture as much of those consumer dollars as possible. Competition is fierce and consumers who have the patience and pushiness to survive the Black Friday rush are likely to come away with that coveted item at a bargain price.

  • FTC – Consumer & Antitrust Watchdog - 11 November 2010
  • While consumer spending is widely considered to be the driving force behind a country’s economic wellbeing, many consumers do not have the skills and knowhow to negotiate the minefield of modern financial systems, especially when it comes to making large purchases on credit. Recognizing the need to protect consumers, not only from unscrupulous suppliers, but also from their own tendency to live beyond their means, a number of consumer protection agencies and services have sprung up in the past few decades. As an independent agency of the US government, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is one of the older organizations looking out for consumers. Established in 1914 by the Federal Trade Commission Act under the auspices of President Woodrow Wilson, the FTC has as its main objectives the protection of consumers, as well as preventing antitrust practices which are counterproductive to consumers and to the economy.

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