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  • Fed Interest Rate Policy Boosts Markets - 18 September 2014
  • Major indexes on Wall Street responded positively Wednesday to indications from the Federal Reserve that it intends to keep its near-zero short-term interest rate for a while still. The Dow Jones industrial average ended the day up 24.88 points (0.2 percent) at 17,156.85, being a record high for the year, while the S&P 500 climbed 2.59 points (0.1 percent) to 2,001.57, a figure just short of its September 5 high of 2,007.71. The Nasdaq composite gained 9.43 points (0.2 percent) to close at 4,562.19.

  • FOMC Minutes Boost Market - 22 may 2014
  • Stocks on Wall Street rebounded Wednesday, partly in response to minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee's meeting held on April 29-30 which were released in the afternoon. The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 158.75 points to close at 16,533.06, while the Standard & Poor's 500 rose 15.20 points to 1,888.03 and the Nasdaq composite index gained 34.65 points to 4,131.54. The Russell 2000 index for small-company stocks also picked up by 5.73 points to close at 1,103.63. All ten of the S&P 500's industry sectors rose, with consumer discretionary and energy stocks in the lead. While not to the extent experienced in 2008, the market has been seesawing day-to-day for up to 60 percent of the time since the beginning of the year.

  • Volcker Rule Set to Take Effect in April 2014 - 12 December 2013
  • Described by President Barack Obama as "a rule that makes sure big banks can't make risky bets with their customer's deposits", the Volcker Rule forms part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and is named for the man who proposed it – former United States Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker. A number of exceptions to the Volcker Rule are included in the Dodd-Frank law, but its main aim is to prevent the type of speculative activity which played a major role in the 2007-2010 financial crisis. The Volcker Rule was originally scheduled to come into effect with the Dodd-Frank law on July 21, 2012, but was delayed for various reasons, and is now scheduled to come into effect on April 1, 2014.

  • Talk of US Debt Default Unsettles Markets - 7 October 2013
  • Global markets continue to be affected by the grim possibility that the US government's partial shutdown could result in the world’s largest economy defaulting on its debt. Japan's Nikkei index dropped by more than 1 percent to 13,853.32 on Monday, with the Hang Seng index of Hong Kong falling 0.7 percent to 22,973.95 and India’s BSE 30 losing 0.5 percent to close at 19,808.71. Markets were closed for a public holiday on mainland China. Following Friday's modest gains, markets slumped ahead of the opening bell on Wall Street on Monday. The Dow Jones industrial average index futures dropped 0.8 percent, with the Nasdaq index futures falling 0.9 percent and Standard & Poor's 500 index futures slumping 1 percent. As the impasse between Republicans and the White House continues, investor anxiety has risen. The news that there would not be a vote on a straightforward bill to grant the government borrowing authority before the October 17 deadline has shaken markets as is evident in major indexes.

  • 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.

  • Fiscal Cliff Concerns Subdue Markets - 13 December 2012
  • Following a climb of up to 81 points, driven by the Fed's announcement that it would keep interest low and extend its $85 billion a month bond-buying plan, the Dow Jones industrial average closed Wednesday at 13,245.45, being down 2.99 points. While investors responded well to the Fed's announcement, this was soon dampened by the reality that high-level "fiscal cliff" budget talks were continuing to take place in Washington, the outcome of which could impact significantly on Wall Street and the economy in general, should Congress and President Barack Obama be unable to reach a deal to prevent a series of spending cuts and sharp tax increases taking place in January. The Standard & Poor's 500 finished 0.64 points higher to close at 1,428.48, while the Nasdaq composite lost 8.49 points to close at 3,013.81.

  • Looming ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Batters Consumer Confidence - 15 November 2012
  • The new buzz-words on Wall Street – 'fiscal cliff' – are being used to describe the automatic tax increases and spending cuts which are set to come into effect on January 1, 2013. As the date draws ever closer, economists are sounding the alarm that the combination of spending cuts and tax increases could very well result in the United States going into a recession, which would have a detrimental effect on global economies. An estimate by the Congressional Budget Office notes that the US economy will contract by 0.5 percent in 2013, with employment levels increasing to 9.1 percent – certainly not what average Americans want to hear as many continue to struggle to keep head above water.

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