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Markets

  • 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.

  • Wall Street Banks to Resubmit Resolution Plans - 7 August 2014
  • When U.S. banks deemed too-big-to-fail were in danger of failing in 2008, the government stepped in and bailed these banks out, largely at the expense of taxpayers. The reasons for this unprecedented action, which raised a storm of protest from many quarters, were many, and the matter of accountability remains a much debated issue. In 2010 the Dodd-Frank act was passed in an attempt to strengthen regulation of large financial institutions and thereby avoid the necessity of government bailouts in the future. As part of the new regulations, banks were required to submit Resolution Plans, more commonly referred to as ‘living wills’, detailing strategies for going through the bankruptcy procedure in a controlled and orderly manner should this ever become necessary.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.


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