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March 31st, 2010

The Markets

(Michael Schwartz) - The stock market seems to be climbing the proverbial "wall of worry." Despite potential road hazards such as sovereign debt issues, rising interest rates, a weak job market, and a stalled housing recovery, investors bid up stock prices last week to an 18-month high, according to MarketWatch. Of course, these things could eventually affect stock prices, but, for now, stocks are riding the momentum of improving earnings and some underlying stability in the economy.

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December 3rd, 2009

Financial Markets

(Michael Schwartz) - Two steps forward, one step back might be an appropriate description of the financial markets these days.

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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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September 25th, 2009

Durable Goods Disappoints

(Lee Siler) - Stocks have been struggling all week and barring a great day for the averages, we will be closing down on the week. What's more, the commerce department released the durable goods figures, which were less than economists had expected. Durable goods orders dropped 2.4% in August after increasing a revised 4.8% in July. Wall Street was expecting a gain of 0.5%. Stock futures were pointing to a slightly higher opening, until these numbers were released and are now looking to trade much lower.

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August 24th, 2009

Bernanke Says: Economy Recovering

(Lee Siler) - Stocks look to build on last week's gains, on comments from Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke. Bernanke said on Friday that the economy is on the verge of recovery. Obviously, this has been a long painful process that started with the decline in housing. The good news is that also on Friday, a report showed that existing home sales came in better than expected. According to some economists, this is an element necessary to make a full rebound.

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July 30th, 2009

Market Set to Rally

(Lee Siler) - Markets will try to rally this morning on positive earnings and unemployment data. The Labor Department reported that the number of Americans collecting unemployment benefits unexpectedly dropped last week to 6.2 million. Economists had been expecting 6.3 million.

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June 30th, 2009

How Markets Really Work

(Ted Schwartz) - The best explanation of the forces that are at work in markets comes not from traditional economists but from game theorists. In Mark Buchanan's book, Ubiquity, Why Catastrophes Happen, he examines a wide array of occurrences using theoretical physics.

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June 25th, 2009

Commerce Department Releases 1st Quarter Revised GDP

(Lee Siler) - As the market continued to lack direction, the Federal Reserve announced that interest rates would be left alone for the foreseeable future. With the economy still at risk of a more significant downturn, monetary policy will remain status quot.

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June 24th, 2009

Fed Meeting Ends Today

(Lee Siler) - Stocks traded flat with a downward bias, while the Fed concludes its 2-day meeting today. Wall Street will be looking for any signal from the Fed with regards to the fate of interest rates. Obviously, rates are at historic lows, but as the economy tries to bottom there will be a need to tighten monetary policy. However, the question is when? Many economists think the Fed will have to start raising rates towards the end of the year to try and head off inflation. Keep in mind that the Fed Funds target rate is 0.00%-0.25%. That leaves a lot of room to ratchet up rates over the next several months.

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May 18th, 2009

Economic Update for the Week of May 18, 2009

(Lee Siler) - The Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index climbed to 67.9 for May; it hasn’t been this high since before the credit crunch. The index’s consumer expectations gauge was 69.0, up from 63.1 in April.

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