Posted May 18, 2012 at 3:00 am
by Adam Shell
Investors looking for a safe place to stash cash and a way to sidestep Europe’s deepening debt crisis are dumping risky assets such as stocks and piling into the perceived haven of U.S. government bonds, driving down yields Thursday to new all-time lows.
In what Wall Street dubs the “risk-off” trade, huge amounts of capital is flowing into long-term Treasury bonds. The yield on the 10-year note, which moves in the opposite direction of price, dipped to a record low 1.69% Thursday.
It hit its previous low of 1.73% on Sept. 22, when markets were fretting over issues similar to ones they are dealing with now — the possibility of Greece defaulting on its debt and dropping out of the eurozone, and the potential aftershocks from that.
The plunge in rates has also been driven by renewed hopes that Europe’s woes and a still-tepid economy at home boosts the odds that the Federal Reserve will inject more stimulus into the system to support the economy, says Gregory Whiteley, a portfolio manager who trades government securities at DoubleLine Capital.
“It seems like every time we get to new lows (on the 10-year note) people say we can’t go any lower, but we do,” says Whiteley.
“Uncertainty is what motivates people to buy Treasuries,” he says, adding that investors are selling riskier commodities and stocks and reinvesting the proceeds in U.S. debt.
[ Details / Source: Above is our hand-picked KEY excerpt(s) from this full article: "Yields hit record low: Fears ratchet up Treasury traffic" ]
WW Editor’s Note: You don’t have to succumb to less than 2% annual rates to secure your money. You can get conservative, but above money-market, returns ON your principal or deposited amount. These vehicles may not be as super-liquid as “cash equivalents” but they will offer reliable, higher-yielding interest payouts. Learn more…
Posted May 17, 2012 at 2:19 am
by David Kirkpatrick
Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg aspires to build the identity infrastructure for the planet. That is an overweening ambition, but not an irrational one given its astonishing success thus far. Facebook plays a larger role in human interactions worldwide than any other company.
It is increasingly a universal directory—a place where you can find and reach anyone even if you don’t know their email address or phone number. More than 900 million people routinely spend time there.
It may be most helpful to think of Facebook as a movement—that’s a word Zuckerberg himself has used since 2007. To understand where he may take the company, think of him more as a social revolutionary than a businessperson.
“I often say inside the company that my goal was never to just create a company,” Zuckerberg told me in May 2009 when I was reporting my book, The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company That is Connecting The World. Even then he faced criticism for his attitudes, but like many of his era, he believes the point of business is more than to make money.
“A lot of people have been misinterpreting that as if I don’t care about revenue or profit or any of those things,” he continued. “That’s not actually it at all. You need to do those things to succeed in any meaningful way.
“Building a good economic engine is what allows all these other platform companies and advertisers and other partners to exist, and be a part of this ecosystem. Ultimately what not being just a company means to me, is just not being just that—building something that actually makes a really big change in the world.”
That really big change in the world is happening. Facebook helps us take our friends and interests with us wherever we go. It convinced us for the first time to use our real names and genuine identities on the Internet, and helped us build our digitized “social graph”—a representation of relationships with friends and things that interest us.
It succeeded so well at this that it can fairly be called a monopoly. Then it built a platform, a software infrastructure that lets Websites and companies take advantage of all that information to help users and customers create communities around any business or activity.
Now, as we are increasingly connected to the Internet everywhere we go using smartphones and other portable devices, those capabilities can come along.
[ Details / Source: Above is our hand-picked KEY excerpt(s) from this full article: "Mark Zuckerberg, Social Revolutionary" ]
Posted May 4, 2012 at 12:43 am
by Paul A. Eisenstein
It’s hard to say whether there’s a direct link between the strong surge in April car sales and the four-year high the Dow Jones industrial average is on track to set today, but both are clearly delivering a dose of much-needed news about an uncertain economic recovery.
With the last few automakers finally reporting, the industry appeared to continue gaining momentum despite worries about fuel prices and other economic issues. General Motors boosted its forecast for all of 2012 by a full 500,000 vehicles, to somewhere between 14 million and 14.5 million.
Chrysler posted a 20 percent overall jump in April, with all of its brands exceeding the industry average sales increase. The Fiat brand surged 336 percent after a painfully slow launch of the little Fiat 500. It was, in fact, the 25th consecutive month of sales gains for Chrysler and the 14th month in a row when the maker beat the industry average increase.
“Chrysler continues to surprise on the upside every month now,” said analyst Joe Phillippi, of AutoTrends Consulting. “The new products, the Grand Cherokee, the 300 and even the 200 are doing well.”
Can the market maintain its momentum? Analyst Phillippi is upbeat, at least for the near-term, suggesting that even the modest U.S. economic recovery is sending buyers back to showrooms. That’s particularly true for products like the F-Series and Nissan Titan.
[ Details / Source: Above is our hand-picked KEY excerpt(s) from this full article: "It's official: Auto industry firing on all cylinders" ]
Posted May 4, 2012 at 12:21 am
by Stacy Curtain
The Daily Ticker headed to Los Angeles this week to cover the Milken Institute’s annual Global Conference where many of the world’s most influential investors, economists, CEOs, innovators and policymakers met to discuss some of the most imminent and dire problems facing America and the world.
For a change of pace, we asked our guests to tells us what makes them most optimistic about the America today. We got a wide-range of responses, but many added one caveat to their answer: the hindrance of political dysfunction in Washington and its negative drag on prosperity in America.
Here’s what they said:
Posted April 30, 2012 at 3:43 am
by Matt Hougan
The No. 1, best-returning ETF since inception is … the MSCI Investable Mexico Market Index Fund!
Amazingly, it’s not even close, with EWW leading all comers by more than 100 percentage points. It helps that this fund has been around forever—it launched in 1996 [679% ROI since inception].
But honestly, the bulk of that positive return didn’t happen until around 2003, when the Mexican markets went on an unprecedented tear.
EWW’s returns have been driven by its concentrated portfolio. The fund’s net assets are 22.15 percent invested in the Carlos Slim-controlled telecommunications company America Movil. Slim also happens to be the richest man in the world, in case you missed that—and no wonder.
Also, EWW has 11.6 percent of its holdings in Walmart de Mexico. Both companies have had consistent year-over-year growth, increasing their earnings-per-share by 21.6 percent and 9.25 percent, respectively, in the last year alone.
Of course, you know what they say about eggs in too few baskets. But up until now, EWW has been a really great ETF to invest in.
[ Details / Source: Above is our hand-picked KEY excerpt(s) from this full article: "The Five Best ETF Investments Ever" ]
Posted April 25, 2012 at 11:41 pm
The Fed described the economy as expanding moderately, just as it did in March, and said the unemployment rate had declined but remains elevated.
Officials noted a pick up in inflation but said it was largely attributable to energy cost hikes that will affect price growth only temporarily.
Economic conditions “are likely to warrant exceptionally low levels for the federal funds rate at least through late 2014,” the central bank said in its policy statement.
Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker again dissented against the decision, saying he believed rates would need to be raised before that time frame.
[ Details / Source: Above is our hand-picked KEY excerpt(s) from this full article: "Fed holds rates at record lows, notes some improvement in economy" ]
Posted April 24, 2012 at 3:40 am
Upcoming elections in France and elsewhere will likely show massive popular resistance to the austerity policies needed to save the common European currency
by Michael Sivy
Quite simply, in most of the countries that make up the euro zone, there is no longer a substantial majority willing to make the sacrifices needed to keep the euro currency system together.
This has always been true to some extent. Commentators have long talked about the euro zone’s “democratic deficit,” meaning Europe’s economic system is largely the creation of powerful political and business interests and lacks transparency, accountability and a broad popular mandate.
But up until now, support by the elites has been more than sufficient to keep the system intact.
Over the next few weeks, however, the elites are likely to start losing their grip. A number of key European countries are facing elections, and the political parties that support the euro are expected to fare.
The real problem is that as popular support for the euro diminishes across the political spectrum, governments will be less willing to take the aggressive and sometimes painful measures needed to keep the euro zone together.
[ Details / Source: Above is our hand-picked KEY excerpt(s) from this full article: "Democracy Could Destroy the Euro" ]
Posted April 23, 2012 at 3:26 am
by D.M. Levine
Mark Gorton is the new face of Wall Street. Gorton is a high-frequency trader. His company, Tower Research Capital LLC, with its 275-person global staff of engineers and computer science and physics majors, is part of an industry that today is responsible for more than half of all stock trading in the United States, according to the Tabb Group, a financial markets research and strategic advisory firm. Gorton’s is an industry under scrutiny.
People like Gorton are increasingly replacing the traders in traditional stock exchange pits — those nervous-looking people in vests, furiously hand signaling buy and sell orders in a sort of rapid-fire sign language. But instead of huddling on the floor of an exchange, high-frequency traders sit at their computers tweaking and retweaking algorithms that do the buying and selling electronically far faster than any human can.
Gorton’s job then is not to buy and sell stock, but rather to oversee a business filled with programmers who devise the algorithms to automatically trade those stocks, bonds and futures far faster than his competitors. “What we do is try to identify patterns and trading strategies that might work in the market, and if we find something that works, we deploy it,” Gorton says matter-of-factly.
[ Details / Source: Above is our hand-picked KEY excerpt(s) from this full article: "Is Speed Trader Mark Gorton Killing Wall Street?" ]
Posted April 18, 2012 at 1:18 am
by Derek Kravitz
The average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage dropped near its all-time low this week, making home-buying and refinancing a bargain for those who can qualify.
Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the rate on the 30-year loan fell to 3.88% from 3.98%. That’s just above the rate of 3.87% reached in February, the lowest since long-term mortgages began in the 1950s.
The 15-year mortgage, a popular option for refinancing, plunged to a fresh low of 3.11% from 3.21% last week. The previous record of 3.13% was hit last month.
Mortgage rates are lower because they tend to track the yield on the 10-year Treasury note. Last week’s disappointing report on March job growth led more investors to sell stocks and buy Treasurys, which are considered safer investments. As demand for Treasurys increases, the yield falls.
Employers added just 120,000 jobs last month — half the monthly pace from the previous three months. Many economists downplayed the weak March figures, noting that a warmer winter may have led to some earlier hiring in previous months.
The mild winter has helped lift expectations for the [continue]….
Posted April 15, 2012 at 4:05 pm
via Business Insider
The rise of cheap imports, technological advancements and the financial crisis have collectively delivered a harsh blow to some U.S. industries.
IBISWorld is out with a list of 10 American industries that have seen sharp revenue declines, a fall in industry participants and a declining life cycle stage between 2002 and 2012.
Some of the worst hit industries include newspaper publishing, women’s and girls apparel manufacturing and appliance repair industries.
Take a look at the slideshow [continue]…