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  • Google's Buyout of Nest Raises Privacy Concerns - 16 January 2014
  • Google's announcement that it's buying Nest Labs for the amount of $3.2 billion has raised a number of concerns, particularly regarding privacy within one's own home. Described as the 'next generation thermostat', the Nest Thermostat claims to reduce a household's heating and cooling bills by up to 20%, and it does this by learning the schedule of the household and adjusting accordingly. It can also be controlled from a phone. Many consumers are concerned that unhindered access to Nest Thermostats will allow Google to gather even more information about internet users, to use or share to its own advantage. Co-founder of Nest, Matt Rogers has assured consumers that the company's privacy policy limits the use of customer information to improving the products and services of Nest, going on to say that this policy will not change and Nest will remain an independent brand.

  • 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.

  • 2012 DJSI Review Results Announced - 20 September 2012
  • Launched in 1999, and managed jointly by the Dow Jones Indexes and Sustainable Asset Management, the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes (DJSI) offer a benchmark for measuring the sustainability performance of 2,500 companies listed on the Dow Jones. As the longest running index of its kind, the DJSI has become a vital reference used by companies and investors in making sustainability investing decisions. Ethical consumers may also look to the DJSI for direction on which companies to support, an issue which is gaining momentum as members of the public become increasingly aware of the need to make changes to save the environment. To be included in the DJSI, companies are assessed on their long-term social, economic and environmental asset management plans. Companies are monitored throughout the year and indexes are updated annually in September.

  • Fed Minutes, China Slowdown, Europe Crisis Impact on Wall Street - 12 July 2012
  • Wall Street responded to the Federal Reserve minutes released on Wednesday afternoon with a significant slump, managing to recover to some extent and ending the day with only slight losses. Among other issues, the Federal Reserve identified a number of threats to the recovery of the US economy, with the slowdown in China and an upcoming budget crunch in Washington being cited as two examples. Most notable is that the Fed gave no indication of new strategies for stimulating the economy, as investors were hoping they would. The Dow responded to the release of the Fed's minutes at 2pm by dropping 118 points as investors digested the news, managing a recovery in the hour before the closing bell. The Dow ended the day 48.59 points down, the Standard & Poor's 500 index dropped 0.02 of a point and the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index lost 14.35 points – the fifth consecutive day stocks have closed lower on Wall Street.

  • US Job Market, Europe Crisis, Earnings of Interest in Week Ahead - 31 October 2011
  • With analysts warning that the current climate of market uncertainty is far from over, it appears that Wall Street is set to end the month of October on a high, with the Dow recording the greatest October gain ever. Despite the fact that French President Nicolas Sarkozy has been reported as saying that Greece should never have been permitted entrance to the Eurozone in 2001, European authorities have reached an agreement and mapped out a plan to rescue ailing European countries, including Greece, Italy and Spain. This has done much to boost confidence among Wall Street investors who will continue to keep an alert eye on Europe as leaders of nations forming the G-20 gather in Cannes, with the debt crisis a highlight on the agenda for discussion.

  • Eurozone Hopes, Mortgage Rates, Corporate Earnings in Week Ahead - 10 October 2011
  • With the "Occupy Wall Street" protests continuing to gain ground, America's financial system and economy remain hot topics for debate on both Wall Street and Main Street. Calling themselves "the 99 percent" these protestors, among other issues, are highlighting the fact that ordinary Americans are battling to cope, and their call has resonated with supporters around the world. Investors are painfully aware that the economy is significantly affected by consumer spending, which has been dramatically curtailed due to the ongoing jobless situation. Moreover, a recent survey revealed that workers are taking huge pay cuts to secure employment, with little hope of receiving increases, certainly not to the extent of raising them back to the pay level they may have been at before losing their jobs – all of which has a negative effect on disposable income and the economy.

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