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  • NASAA: Protecting Main Street Investors - 16 October 2014
  • With its membership consisting of 67 administrators from United States territories, districts and states, as well as from the provinces of Canada and Mexico, the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) has as its main aim the protection of consumers who purchase investment advice and/or securities. To this end, the NASAA has jurisdiction over a wide range of intermediaries and issuers offering securities to members of the public. The Association also facilitates information sharing and multi-state enforcement actions for the state securities agencies it represents, and arranges training and education programs and seminars for securities agency staff at state, district and provincial level. The Uniform Securities Agent State Law Exam, referred to as 'Series 63', required as a qualification for securities agents in most states, was formulated by the NASAA and is administered by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

  • Markets Boosted by Fed's Interest Rate Stance - 10 April 2014
  • Markets responded positively Wednesday to minutes of the Federal Reserve's recent policy meeting which revealed that the central bank aims to keep interest rates low. This came as somewhat of a surprise to many investors and served to boost fragile investor sentiment. All three of Wall Street's major stock indexes closed the day up more than 1 percent, with eight of the ten Standard & Poor's 500 stock index sectors closing higher. The S&P 500 rose 20.22 points (1.1 percent) to close at 1,872.18, while the Dow Jones industrial average climbed 181.04 points (1.1 percent) to close at 16,437.18. The Nasdaq composite index increased by 70.91 points (1.7 percent) to close at 4,183.90. The day's biggest increases were among biotechnology and internet stocks.

  • Is the 'January Effect' Still Valid? - 7 February 2013
  • First observed by investment banker Sidney B. Wachtel in the early 1940s, the term the 'January Effect' is used to described a market anomaly where financial security prices experience an increase in the month of January. There are a number of reasons for the January Effect, with the most common theory being that individual investors holding small stocks may sell their stocks at year end, thereby allowing them to claim a capital loss for tax purposes, and then reinvest in the new year. Another reason suggested is that many investors who receive year-end bonuses in January use these bonuses to purchase stocks, pushing up stock prices.

  • 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.

  • Wall Street Upbeat For Week Ahead - 14 February 2011
  • While Egypt may appear far removed from Wall Street, in a world that has become a global village, what happens in one country often has an effect elsewhere, and US markets responded well to the prospect of stability brought about by the resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Although there is no clear-cut path set out for the road to stability in the Egyptian government, the end of violent protests allows authorities to focus their energies on the task of moving ahead. However, with the Middle East experiencing rumblings of unrest at different levels, this region is likely to remain under the spotlight for some time. Believed mainly to be in response to developments in Egypt, the Dow Jones industrial average climbed 0.4 percent (43.97 points) on Friday to close at 12,273.26 thereby clocking up a gain for the week of 1.5 percent. Likewise, the Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.7 percent (18.99 points) to close Friday on 2,809.44, recording a 1.5 percent gain over the week before. The S&P500 rose by 0.6 percent (7.28 points) on Friday to end the day on 1,329.15 and end the week up 1.4 percent over the previous week.

  • 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.

  • Markets Rally Wednesday on Encouraging Job Market Reports - 25 November 2010
  • Ever mindful of the fact that consumer spending is considered to be the backbone of a country's economy, on Thursday US markets rallied by more than one percent in response to the substantial drop in unemployment claims, which indicate an improvement in the embattled job market. While other indicators play a role in influencing markets, either positively or negatively, many agree that the job market, as monitored by unemployment claims, continuing claims and other information, tend to have a significant effect on markets, with a drop in jobless claims acting as a booster, and an increase in claims putting the brakes on. This good news about the job market couldn’t have come at a better time , with Black Friday right at the doorstep and retailers set to battle for the lion's share of consumer dollars.

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