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  • Third Quarter Results and QE2 Under Spotlight on Wall Street - 18 October 2010
  • With seven Dow blue-chip stocks due to release 2010 third-quarter result during this week, investors may have their attention temporarily diverted from the implications of the 'quantitative easing' proposed by the Federal Reserve as a means to boost the economy. The seven blue-chip Dow components are Bank of America, Johnson & Johnson, IBM, Caterpillar, American Express, McDonalds and Verizon. Other major companies in the banking sector releasing third-quarter results in the upcoming week include Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, and Wells Fargo, while the tech sector releases include Apple and Yahoo. While analysts acknowledge that it's too early in the third-quarter earnings season to make any judgments, thus far of the results posed, 83 percent have beaten estimates by analysts – an observation that adds an element of optimism for the week ahead.

  • FINRA Proposes New Measures to Curb Market Volatility - 20 may 2010
  • The dramatic 'flash crash' on Wall Street on May 6 served as a wake-up call to regulators that the growing trend of automated high-speed trading calls for updated regulations in order to deal with stock market volatility. With this in mind, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) filed a proposal for public comment on Tuesday 18 May whereby trading on individual stocks will be paused if the price moves either way by 10 percent or more within a period of five minutes. Should the proposal become a reality, it will most likely be instituted as a six-month pilot program to test the waters, starting mid-June.

  • The Perils of High-Speed Trading - 17 may 2010
  • While talk of a stock exchange generally brings to mind the vibrant organized chaos of dealers on the floor shouting buy and sell instructions - scoring spectacularly, or failing dismally, wiping out fortunes in a heart-beat - the reality of modern-day stock market trading is quite different. The majority of today's trading is carried out by state of the art technology, often being referred to as high-frequency trading, or high-speed trading – an apt description by any measure. On Thursday May 6, the Dow Jones Industrial Average experienced an intraday drop of close to 1,000 points, and although stock market regulators have not yet pinpointed the cause of the dramatic drop, it has been conceded that high-speed trading is likely to have contributed to the incident, but was unlikely to have been the sole cause. Critics of the constantly evolving manner of modern trade, however, point to this incident as being evidence of the risks linked to high-speed trading.

  • Market Rallies While Regulatory Structures Questioned - 24 August 2009
  • Investors are no doubt hopeful that the Wall Street rally of late last week will continue into the coming week, in a time of year which is known to present light trading volumes. The unexpected rally was boosted by a statement from Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke in which he revealed that authorities believe the US economy is approaching a recovery, while at the same time pointing out that economic recovery is likely to be slow, with the rate of unemployment remaining high.

  • Wall Street Rally Over As GM & Chrylser Cut Dealerships - 18 may 2009
  • By Wednesday of last week, when markets took a dive on Wall Street following the worse-than-expected retail sales results for April, as well as dismal results on housing and employment, there was still some optimism that Thursday and Friday could possibly see markets recoup their losses and extend the two month rally - but this was not to be. As more bad news filtered through to investors, Friday was somewhat of a roller coaster ride, ending the week with all three major indexes – the Dow Jones Industrial Average, Standard & Poor’s 500 and Nasdaq Composite - declining for the first time in ten weeks.

  • Wall Street Dealt a Blow by Dismal Retail Results - 14 may 2009
  • Dismal retail results and rising foreclosure numbers dealt Wall Street a blow on Wednesday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ending the day down 2.18 percent, the Standard & Poor’s 500 losing 2.69 percent and the Nasdaq Composite dropping 3.01 percent. The next two days will determine whether the markets will recover sufficiently to end the week on a positive note. Having rallied since hitting an early March low, Wall Street traders were optimistic that the rally would be extended into this week. This optimism was based on a string of economic reports that exceeded expectations, as well as indications that some of the nation’s largest banks may be turning around and have weathered the financial crisis storm.

  • Swine Flu Outbreak, U.S. Government’s Stress Test Impact on U.S. Markets - 28 April 2009
  • While health authorities grapple with preventing the spread of the swine-flu outbreak, it could not have come at a worse time for the already battered global economy. Stock market analysts are hopeful that, as with past crises such as SARS and bird flu, this outbreak will be short lived, however, it has already impacted negatively on both U.S. and world markets, and investors will no doubt be keeping a close eye on developments. Some see Monday’s Wall Street sell-off as a case of investors cashing in profits they may have accumulated in recent weeks when markets were rallying, and the day’s light trade supports this. Yet others believe the sell-off was motivated by fear and this view appears to be supported by the fact that stocks relating to airlines and other travel-related business took the hardest knock as authorities step up travel security measures. The possibility that the swine-flu outbreak is swaying markets can be seen in the increase in pharmaceutical stocks, most notably Gilead Sciences and GlaxoSmithKline – both manufacturers of flu treatments.

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