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Archive for November, 2009

November 30th, 2009

Dubai Rocks World Markets

(Lee Siler) - News that government owned Dubai World is in a financial crisis rocked stock markets worldwide. While our markets dropped more than 1.5% on a holiday shortened trading day, markets abroad took the bigger hit. After the dust settled, it appears that the U.S. has limited exposure in Dubai. However, the news is not as good in Europe. The talk is that the United Kingdom has the biggest exposure to this troubled state. Although Dubai World is owned by the country of Dubai, it is not guaranteed by the government. This should not be a surprise. All of the debt accumulated by Dubai World was accumulated with the understanding that it was not backed by the government. The good news is that the oil rich country and neighbor of Dubai, Abu Dhabi, said it would make sure the banks are solvent and lend some financial assistance.

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November 30th, 2009

Ethical Wills: Preserving a Legacy of Values for Your Family and Community

(Michael Schwartz) - What is an Ethical Will? Most people are familiar with the concept of a “last will and testament.” It is the means of distributing our accumulated assets to our loved ones and favorite charities, and to effect other important decisions at the time of our death

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November 26th, 2009

Gurus and 15 Minutes of Fame

(Michael Schwartz) - Every decade spawns market gurus who make a few correct calls, get massive media attention, then fizzle out. In the 1960s, we had Gerry Tsai, Fred Carr, and other mutual fund gunslingers. In the 1970s, we had Joe Granville and Henry Kaufmann. In the 1980s, it was Robert Prechter and Elaine Garzarelli. The 1990s brought us the high-flying internet stock managers. Today, Nouriel Roubini and Meredith Whitney are all the rage. But, eventually, they all return to earth.

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November 23rd, 2009

Do You Need Long Term Care Insurance?

(Michael Schwartz) - You don’t want to think about the day you may need help getting dressed or bathing, but according to America’s Health Insurance Plans about 19% of Americans 65 years of age and older presently deal with some degree of chronic physical impairment. Among those aged 85 and older, 55% could benefit from long term care. By the year 2020, its projected some 12 million older Americans will need long term care.

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November 20th, 2009

Dell Has a Rough Quarter

(Lee Siler) - Stocks continued their slide yesterday, as the dollar is starting to show some strength. This recent move in the dollar is likely an oversold bounce. Most experts do not see a significant dollar rally, especially since the Fed has stated that they will not raise rates for an extended period. Raising rates is the best tool the Fed has to prop up the dollar...

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November 19th, 2009

Avoiding the Money Pit: Tips for First-Time Homebuyers

(Michael Schwartz) - Remember the movie The Money Pit where a young couple struggles to repair a hopelessly dilapidated house that literally falls in around them? That 1980s slapstick comedy may not be funny for many first-time homebuyers dealing with unexpected bills that squelch the joys of home ownership. To avoid surprises that could move you from your dream house into the poor house, follow these suggestions:

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November 18th, 2009

New Home Starts Tank

(Lee Siler) - A significant drop in new housing starts has taken stock futures from a mildly higher opening to a slightly lower opening...Wall Street was expecting October new housing starts to improve by 1.7%, but instead saw a deep decline of 10.6%. The Commerce Department said that the seasonally adjusted annual rate of 529,000 units is the lowest since April and the percentage drop is the worst since January. Although single family home starts slowed by 6.8%, the biggest hit was from the multi-family starts which tumbled 34.6%.

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November 16th, 2009

Lowes Sees Improvement

(Lee Siler) - Stocks look to build on last week's gains, as this week will be packed with economic data. This morning, retail sales came in a little better than expected. The Commerce Department reported that retail sales increased by 1.4% during the month of October. However, if you strip auto and auto parts sales, the number came in less than expected. Ex-auto's, economists had been expecting a jump by 0.4%, but actually came in about half of that number at 0.2%.

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November 16th, 2009

Are You Prepared for the Unthinkable?

(Michael Schwartz) - I think it’s safe to say that most of us can’t imagine the pain and burden that is placed on a surviving spouse in the event of the untimely death of their mate. Not only do people not think that far in advance, but because it’s such an unpleasant thought, most people try to avoid addressing the issue at all cost – until, of course, it is forced upon them. But, imagine for a moment –what would happen if the death of your spouse ended a monthly income that you had come to depend upon?

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November 12th, 2009

Wal-Mart Disappoints

(Lee Siler) - The nation's largest retailer, Wal-Mart reported earnings that beat Wall Street's expectations. But the stock is indicating a lower opening, as their same-store-sales came in less than analysts had predicted. And although they did raise their 4th quarter outlook, their sales figures will be less than robust. Wal-Mart is expecting 4th quarter same-store-sales to range from down one percent to up one percent. These numbers are adding to the head winds in the market this morning. Obviously, Wal-Mart is the premier retail bellwether and if they're going to struggle, it's safe to assume the entire industry will be having a hard time during the holiday season...

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