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August 31, 2012

Stocks: Good news is bad news

Filed under: loans, technology — Tags: , , , — Snowman @ 8:56 am

U.S. stocks fell Thursday as a string of positive economic reports dimmed hopes that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke would announce new stimulus on Friday.

The Dow Jones industrial average, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq lost between 0.8% and 1%.

Analysts said a steady string of positive economic indicators this week — including a report that the U.S. economy grew slightly faster than initially reported as well as signals that the housing market is recovery — is dashing expectations that Bernanke will come out strong on support for new economic stimulus during his Jackson Hole, Wyo., speech tomorrow.

Although Thursday’s jobless claims report wasn’t as good as economists expected, the news wasn’t as bad as it could have been, either. A separate report showed that both personal income and spending rose in July.

“Jackson Hole is the elephant in the room today, as the market is starting to adjust its expectations that QE3 might not happen,” said Doug Cote, chief market strategist at ING Investment Management. “Investors aren’t digesting that the economic fundamentals are strong and that we don’t need it. Instead, they’re focusing on the fact that they don’t want the punchbowl taken away.”

Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta President Dennis Lockhart further cooled stimulus expectations, telling CNBC Thursday that he sees “limited benefits from more action.” However, he added that there “wouldn’t be much of a question about policy” should the climate worsen.

Europe remained in focus Thursday, following an auction of 5- and 10-year Italian bonds. Italy’s borrowing costs fell, signaling that investors are more confident that the European Central Bank will stage a major intervention in the bond market.

A Wednesday op-ed by ECB president Mario Draghi added to that optimism, as he reiterated that “exceptional measures” are justified to stabilize financial markets. The ECB will hold its next policy meeting on Sept. 6 and investors are keen to hear Draghi’s plans.

World Markets: European stocks closed in the red Thursday. Britain’s FTSE 100 shed 0.4%, the DAX in Germany fell 1.6% and France’s CAC 40 edged lower 1%.

The European Commission’s Economic Sentiment Indicator fell in August, as European consumers continue to lose confidence in the eurozone, particularly when it comes to retail trade and construction managers.

The Business Climate Indicator, however, edged higher, helped by an improvement in managers’ assessments of exports and past production Same day payday loans.

Meanwhile, Asian markets ended lower Thursday. The Shanghai Composite was flat, while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong lost 1.2%, and Japan’s Nikkei fell 1%.

Economy: The U.S. Labor Department reported that number of Americans filing for first-time unemployment claims totaled 374,000 during the week ending August 25, unchanged from the previous week’s revised figure. Claims were expected to total 370,000, according to a survey of analysts conducted by Briefing.com.

The Bureau of Economic Analsysis said personal income increased $42.3 billion, or 0.3%, in July, in line with Briefing.com’s consensus.

Personal consumption expenditures increased $46 billion, or 0.4%, for the month. That was slightly below the 0.5% increase expected by economists polled by Briefing.com.

Companies: The Nasdaq and S&P 500 were being dragged lower by , Fortune 500), which is getting kicked out of the S&P 500 next week. ), which manufactures chemicals and refines crude oil, will replace Sears, when it leaves the S&P 500 after the closing bell on Sept. 4.

) shares jumped 14%, as the music streaming service said it broke even in its most recent quarter.

) named Antony Jenkins as the bank’s new chief executive Thursday morning. Jenkins currently leads Barclays retail and business banking business. Former Barclays CEO Bob Diamond resigned in July amid a scandal over the manipulation of Libor rates. Shares of the bank were edged lower.

Same-store sales data from several leading retailers, including , Fortune 500), , Fortune 500), , Fortune 500) and , Fortune 500), exceeded expectations.

A voluntary recall of Mr. Coffee Single Cup Brewing System Units prompted ) to clarify that the recall will not have an impact on its Keurig brewers. Despite the fact that the recall will not affect Green Mountain’s brand, shares of the company fell by 3.4% Thursday.

Shares of network equipment maker ) fell 19.5% following disappointing second-quarter earnings.

Currencies and commodities: The dollar rose against the euro, but lost ground against the British pound and the Japanese yen.

Oil for October delivery fell by 94 cents to settle at $94.62 a barrel.

Gold futures for December delivery lost $5.90 to end at $1,657.10 an ounce.

Bonds: The price on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury rose, pushing the yield down to 1.61% from 1.65% late Wednesday.

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July 6, 2012

Lagarde Says IMF to Cut Growth Outlook as Global Economy Weakens - Bloomberg

Filed under: online ads, technology — Tags: , , , — Snowman @ 11:32 pm

The International Monetary Fund will reduce its estimate for global growth this year on weakness in investment, jobs and manufacturing in Europe, the U.S., Brazil, India and China, Managing Director Christine Lagarde said.

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July 5, 2012

German Factory Orders Unexpectedly Rose on Euro-Area Demand - Bloomberg

Filed under: money, technology — Tags: , , , — Snowman @ 5:48 am

German factory orders unexpectedly rebounded in May, driven by demand from the euro region.

Orders, adjusted for seasonal swings and inflation, rose 0.6 percent from April, when they declined a revised 1.4 percent, the Economy Ministry in Berlin said today. Economists forecast orders would hold steady in May, according to the median of 36 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey. From a year earlier, orders fell 5.4 percent when adjusted for work days.

German exports and record-low unemployment have helped insulate Europe

June 23, 2012

Anna Schwartz, Economist Friedman

Filed under: mortgage, technology — Tags: , , , — Snowman @ 3:00 pm

Anna Schwartz, an economist and co- author with Milton Friedman of a book on monetary policy that shaped the views of central bankers including Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke, has died. She was 96.

She died today at her home in Manhattan after a long illness, said her daughter, Naomi Pasachoff.

The first book that Schwartz wrote with Friedman,

June 20, 2012

Foreign Ownership of Japanese Debt Rises to Record on Europe - Bloomberg

Filed under: finance, technology — Tags: , , , — Snowman @ 2:08 am

Foreign ownership of Japanese government debt rose to a record in 2011, signaling increasing dependence on investors abroad to finance the world

June 5, 2012

Stocks dominated by investor fear

Filed under: news, technology — Tags: , , , — Snowman @ 11:16 am

Worries about a global growth slowdown and uncertainty surrounding Europe’s debt crisis kept investors on edge and trading choppy on Monday.

Still, U.S. markets ultimately closed the day not far from where they opened.

"Europe is front and center, back, left and right," said Dan Greenhaus, chief global strategist at BTIG.

Anxieties over the health of the Spanish banking system and the possibility that Greece could soon exit the euro remain high.

"Last week was so terribly negative that even the absence of negative news gives some support to the market," Greenhaus added.

Still it’s impossible to ignore the fear factor still gripping the markets as 10-year Treasury yields remain near all-time record lows. That shows that global investors are willing to forego returns simply for the safety of holding debt backed by the U.S. government.

Fear and Greed Index

CNNMoney’s Fear and Greed Index remained deeply entrenched in extreme fear territory.

There are also worries about slowing growth in emerging markets such as China and India. Recent reports out of China last week showed the manufacturing sector contracted more than expected in May.

The S&P 500 () closed flat. The Nasdaq () gained 12 points, or 0.5%. The Dow Jones industrial average () dropped 17 points, or 0.1%.

Trading was light on both sides of the Atlantic Monday, according to several traders. Investors are wary of making major moves before they know whether central bankers in Europe and the U.S. would consider further stimulus.

Investors pin hopes on central bankers

Investors are betting that European leaders might be willing to make tough choices to stave off larger problems in the region.

"There’s a belief that with their backs against the wall, European leaders will at least come up with a short-term resolution to help the Spanish banking system," said Peter Boockvar, equity strategist at Miller Tabak.

U.S. stocks tumbled more than 2% Friday in the worst trading day of the year. The Dow erased all its gains for 2012, and the S&P 500 and Nasdaq moved into correction territory — down more than 10% from the year’s highs.

Bond prices retreated slightly in Monday trading, allowing the yield on the 10-year note to rise just above 1.5%.

World markets: European stocks closed mixed. The DAX () in Germany fell 1.2%, while France’s CAC 40 () rose 0.1%. British markets were closed for a bank holiday.

Asian markets ended lower in their first day of trading since the U.S. jobs report. The Shanghai Composite () tumbled 2.7%, and the Hang Seng () in Hong Kong fell 2%. The Nikkei () in Tokyo fell 1.7%.

Economy: Factory orders declined 0.6% in April, the government reported Monday. The report was weaker than the 0.1% increase expected by economists surveyed by Briefing.com. The March decline was revised to a deeper 2.1% drop.

Post-Facebook IPO market frozen

Companies: Shares of Facebook (), which have gotten hammered since the company’s IPO, continued to fall.

Groupon () shares dropped more than 7% after falling sharply Friday. The online discount service, which has been dogged with questions about its accounting practices since its initial public offering in November, ended its lock-up period Friday, meaning that insiders who own shares are now able to sell them.

Shares of Chesapeake Energy (, Fortune 500) rose after the embattled natural gas company said it is replacing four members of its board of directors in response to urging from two of its largest shareholders, including Carl Icahn.

Shares of AutoNation (, Fortune 500), the largest U.S. car dealership, jumped after it reported its May new car sales rose 45%. That was almost twice as good as the 26% rise in industry-wide U.S. car sales reported by major automakers Friday. But the industry-wide sales pace was generally less than forecast, as it was the weakest pace of 2012.

Shares of Starbucks (, Fortune 500) rose after the coffee chain said its top executives would discuss new steps to boost its domestic retail business later Monday.

Research in Motion’s () stock sank to a low not seen since 2003 amid growing speculation that the BlackBerry maker will soon put itself up for sale.

Currencies and commodities: The dollar rose against the euro and Japanese yen, but fell versus the British pound.

Oil for July delivery gained $1.07 to $84.30 a barrel.

Gold futures for August delivery lost 70 cents to $1,621.40 an ounce.  

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May 14, 2012

Oil falls to near $95 amid China growth concerns

Filed under: economics, technology — Tags: , , , — Snowman @ 1:24 am

Oil prices fell below $96 a barrel Monday in Asia amid investor concern that China’s economy, the world’s second-largest, is slowing faster than previously expected.

Benchmark oil was down 40 cents to $95.73 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 95 cents to settle at $96.13 in New York on Friday.

Brent crude was down 40 cents at $111.86 per barrel in London.

Traders brushed off China’s announcement Saturday that it plans to cut its bank reserve requirement by 0.5 percentage points. The move, the third reserve ratio cut since November, is designed to boost lending and spark economic growth.

However, investors are worried by signs that China’s economy is faltering. The government said Friday that industrial production growth in April slowed and electricity output was little changed.

Investors are also eyeing political turmoil in Greece, where political parties have been unable to form a government after elections earlier this month easy payday loans.

Some analysts say the recent oil price slump _ crude is down more than 10 percent this month _ isn’t being driven by global supply and demand fundamentals, but rather the old market adage about selling assets at the beginning of the summer months.

“There’s little to the latest price action than the increasingly self-fulfilling prophecy of ’sell it in May and go away’, with broader macroeconomic concerns used as a lightening rod,” Barclays said in a report. “U.S. oil demand is improving while Asian demand remains robust.”

In other energy trading, heating oil was steady at $2.96 per gallon and gasoline futures were little changed at $3.00 per gallon. Natural gas fell 1.6 cents at $2.49 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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April 24, 2012

China leader under scrutiny shows still in control

Filed under: legal, technology — Tags: , , , — Snowman @ 6:20 am

A top Chinese leader connected to a major political scandal has called for Communist Party unity in a prominent essay that shows his authority holding despite the investigation.

The editorial signed by Zhou Yongkang calls for the party’s legal organs to closely follow policies set by president and party head Hu Jintao. It appeared Tuesday in the ruling party’s main newspaper, People’s Daily.

The editorial was replete with party jargon and repeatedly mentions Hu’s signature “scientific development” doctrine bad credit payday loans.

Zhou is the party’s security boss and its No. 9 ranking official. He has been closely associated with former party official Bo Xilai, who was suspended over a scandal involving his wife’s alleged participation in the murder of a British businessman.

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April 19, 2012

World markets rise on Spain debt news, China hopes

Filed under: news, technology — Tags: , , , — Snowman @ 9:24 am

World stock markets rose Thursday as Spain saw good demand in a key bond auction and as investors hoped China would take more steps to prop up its slowing economy.

Spain managed to sell off more debt than it had targeted, although it had to pay a higher premium, in an auction that was a test of confidence in Madrid’s ability to get a handle on its borrowings as its economy enters a recession.

The yield on the 10-year bond auctioned was 5.7 percent, up from 5.3 percent at the last auction on April 4. Demand was more than double the amount sold.

Traders focused on the strong demand, which suggests that Spain will continue to be able to easily tap financial markets to fund itself. That is crucial for the rest of Europe, as Spain would likely be too big to bail out.

Worries about Spain have in recent weeks seen a flare-up in Europe’s debt crisis, adding to ongoing worries about global economic growth just as China’s economy, the world’s second-biggest, slows.

Markets are anticipating some monetary loosening by China, possibly this weekend, to help ensure its slowdown isn’t too abrupt, said Jackson Wong, vice president of Tanrich Securities in Hong Kong.

Last week, China reported that its first-quarter economic growth was the weakest since the second quarter of 2009. The world’s No. 2 economy grew by 8.1 percent, down from the previous quarter’s 8.9 percent.

“China’s GDP is slowing down faster than a lot of people were thinking, and Premier Wen Jiabao said the government would act accordingly if the economy is deteriorating fast. So that pretty much is the hint,” Wong said.

Markets are hoping that Beijing will lower the ratio of deposits that banks must hold as reserves, a move that would boost lending, he said.

Overall, the news helped push European markets higher. Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 0.6 percent to 5,781.04 while Germany’s DAX added 0 business card templates.6 percent to 6,773.94 and France’s CAC-40 gained 0.8 percent to 3,266.67.

Wall Street also looked set for gains, with Dow Jones industrial futures rising 0.6 percent to 13,030 and S&P 500 futures adding 0.5 percent to 1,385.80.

Traders were more ambivalent in Asia, where Japan’s Nikkei 225 stock average slipped after the country _ which for decades has blanketed the world with its exports _ posted its biggest annual trade deficit ever.

The benchmark index fell 0.8 percent to close at 9,588.38 after the Finance Ministry said the trade deficit for the year was 4.41 trillion yen ($54 billion). With all but one of Japan’s 54 nuclear power reactors offline in the aftermath of last year’s nuclear disaster, the country has been forced to rely on imported oil and gas to generate electricity.

South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.2 percent to 1,999.86. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng held onto its gains, rising 1 percent to 20,995.01 while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 added 0.3 percent to 4,362.70.

Mainland Chinese shares fell. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.9 percent to 2,378.63 while the smaller Shenzhen Composite Index lost 0.2 percent to 954.27.

Looking ahead, on traders’ radar were U.S. quarterly financial results. Reports are expected later Thursday from Bank of America Corp., Microsoft Corp., DuPont Co. and Morgan Stanley, among others.

Benchmark oil for May delivery was up 51 cents to $103.18 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract declined $1.53 to finish at $102.67 per barrel on Wednesday.

In currency trading, the euro was up 0.1 percent at $1.3138 while the dollar rose to 81.58 yen from 81.24 yen late Wednesday in New York.

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March 22, 2012

FedEx says economy isn’t as robust as it hoped

Filed under: legal, technology — Tags: , , , — Snowman @ 6:12 pm

FedEx says the global economy isn’t growing as strongly as expected and customers are reacting by choosing cheaper means of shipping packages.

The world’s second-largest package delivery company is predicting a slower pace of growth this year for the U.S. and abroad than most economists.

Chief Financial Officer Alan Graf said the current economic environment and higher fuel prices are driving more customers to “trade down” or choose slower methods of shipping to save money, just like they did during the recession.

Its stock, which is close to a year-high, fell about 3 percent.

The comments on a conference call with analysts overshadowed a strong third quarter driven by holiday sales. Online holiday sales helped drive FedEx’s profit between December and February to more than double what it was a year earlier.

Higher prices from rate increases and surcharges that cover the rising cost also drove results. That was most notable in the ground segment that delivers packages by truck to consumers and businesses.

In its fiscal third quarter, FedEx earned $521 million or $1.65 per share, compared with $231 million, or 73 cents per share, a year earlier.

The company had record holiday package shipments. FedEx gains when more people shop online for the holidays. It also benefits when recipients return those ill-fitting sweaters or unwanted presents.

Excluding one-time items, FedEx earned $1.55 per share compared with 81 cents per share a year ago. The results beat both analysts’ and the company’s own expectations pay day loans.

Revenue rose 9 percent to $10.56 billion.

Sales at FedEx’s express segment, its largest, rose 8 percent to $6.54 billion. That was mostly due to higher prices and heavier packages in the U.S.

FedEx’s ground segment results were boosted by its home delivery services, which include directing packages between residential customers and major retailers. The segment’s revenue growth of 14 percent was the most at any of FedEx’s businesses.

The company’s freight segment reported a fourth straight profitable quarter. It ships bigger items like refrigerators and cars and was hardest hit during the recession. Its revenue rose 10 percent in the latest quarter.

FedEx narrowed its forecast for the fiscal year ending in May. It now expects to earn $6.43 to $6.68 per share compared with between $6.25 and $6.75 per share previously. Analysts, on average, predict $6.39.

FedEx Chairman and CEO Fred Smith declined to comment on rival UPS’ planned $6.77 billion purchase of Dutch parcel TNT Express. But he inferred his company won’t make a competing bid.

“I’m extremely pleased with our operations (in Europe) and we feel confident in our plans to continue the expansion through organic growth,” he said.

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