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The Cybersecurity Play That Doubled Once – Will Double Again

Not long ago, a relative of mine was the victim of identity theft. And I have to tell you that I really felt for the entire family.

The thief ran up nearly $20,000 in charges, opened new accounts and tried to open others.

And I can tell you that the frustrations over the losses (most of which ended up being covered) were dwarfed by the helplessness that came whenever new charges showed up – and the worry that was spawned by never finding out how the whole mess started.

As we watch the headlines about data breaches and cybercrime – and watch as the violations move closer and closer to home – those worries only escalate.

  • Featured Story

    Could QE3 Really Do Less for the Economy Than the iPhone 5?

    Investors are eagerly waiting to hear if U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will announce QE3 this week. Bernanke speaks Thursday at the conclusion of the two-day Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting and many expect him to announce some form of stimulus to revive the struggling U.S. economy.

    But there's another huge event scheduled this week, one that could provide a tool other than printing money for boosting U.S. gross domestic product (GDP).

    Believe it or not, analysts at JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NSYE: JPM) estimate that the Apple iPhone 5, expected to be unveiled tomorrow (Wednesday) afternoon and on sale by the end of this month, will raise GDP by 0.5% in the fourth quarter of this year.

    Money Morning Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald appeared on Fox Business' "Varney & Co." program Tuesday morning to discuss the possibility of this iPhone effect and what it implies.


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  • Bernanke Jackson Hole speech

  • QE3 Still on Table, Bernanke Says in Jackson Hole Speech The Federal Reserve is looking at more action to prop up the lagging U.S. economy, including a third round of quantitative easing (QE3), Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said in a speech today (Friday).

    Much of the speech, delivered at the Fed's annual retreat at Jackson Hole, WY, made a case for the effectiveness of the central bank's easy-money policies since 2007, including "nontraditional" actions such as QE1, QE2, and Operation Twist.

    The Fed chairman said that the stimulus purchases "have provided meaningful support to the economic recovery while mitigating deflationary risks."

    And in a hint to expect more of the same -- namely, QE3 -- Bernanke said that the costs of such policies, "appear manageable, implying that we should not rule out the further use of such policies if economic conditions warrant."

    Bernanke also voiced concern over the sluggish economic recovery, and in particular the "painfully slow" improvement of the U.S. unemployment rate, which has changed little in 2012.

    That's the sort of bad economic news that has pushed the Fed to take action in the past.

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  • Stock Market Today: Markets See-Saw on Bernanke Speech Here are the major headlines in the stock market today.

    Bernanke makes case for QE3- In his much awaited speech at Jackson Hole, WY Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke did not signal any new monetary easing was coming but took the Fed's well-used approach of leaving the door open if conditions worsen. He called the constant high-unemployment a "grave concern" and stated the current economy is "far from satisfactory." Bernanke did bring up concerns associated with unconventional monetary policy... Read More...
  • Gold Prices Going Up Regardless of Jackson Hole Outcome Investors want to know if this week's Jackson Hole, WY meeting of central bankers will result in further stimulus measures and a rally in gold prices - but they don't have to wait to know gold is headed higher in 2012.

    Gold fought back from its Tuesday morning low of $1,659.10 an ounce after a read on consumer confidence showed sentiment dropped in August to its lowest level in nine months. Americans have become increasingly worried about their employment scenarios and the overall outlook on the sluggish U.S. economy.

    "Bad news is good news for gold again," Charles Nedoss of Kingsview Financial told CNBC.

    Gold for December deliverylost $5.90, or 0.4%, to end at $1,669.70 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange - but the slip won't last.

    "Before you know it, gold is going to push for the next level, somewhere above $1,700 an ounce," Michael K. Smith, president of T & K Futures in Florida, told MarketWatch.

    Gold glistened last week on news of possible additional monetary intervention from the U.S. Federal Reserve.

    Following the release of the Federal Reserve's minutes last Wednesday, gold prices climbed to a 16-week high on hopes the central bank may engage in a fresh round of monetary stimulus to give life to the besieged U.S. economy.

    "Many members judged that additional monetary accommodation would likely be warranted fairly soon unless incoming information pointed to a substantial and sustainable strengthening in the pace of the economic recovery," according to the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting minutes from July 31 - Aug 1.

    Gold futures for December delivery hit $1,655.90 an ounce Wednesday after the 2 p.m. announcement, marking a then four-month high.

    Gold prices continued the rally Thursday, gaining some $32.70 as the metal relished in renewed safe-haven buying. The precious metal was buoyed by an uninspiring manufacturing report from China revealing production fell to a nine-month low in August. The data suggested more action may be needed to boost the Asian nation's lackluster economy.

    Now analysts see even more upside potential as the gold-price trend slopes upward. Deutsche Bank AG (NYSE: DB) expects U.S. and Chinese policy measures to support gold's growth over the next quarter or so.

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  • Jackson Hole Speech: Fed Can't Fix Economy Without Washington's Help The U.S. Federal Reserve has exhausted nearly all of its resources in trying to help the U.S. economy, Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said in a speech Friday at Jackson Hole, WY.

    Now it's up to the federal government to do its part by fixing U.S. fiscal policy.

    "Most of the economic policies that support robust economic growth in the long run are outside the province of the central bank," Bernanke said in his address to the annual conference in sponsored by the Kansas City Fed.

    Some analysts thought Bernanke would hint at a third round of quantitative easing, but instead he handed off responsibility for reviving the economy to Congress and the White House.

    The absence of any policy changes at first disappointed Wall Street - the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 220 points immediately following the speech - but the negative sentiment didn't last. The Dow closed up 134.72 points, or 1.21%, while the Standard & Poor's 500 Index rose 17.53 points, or 1.51%.

    "The Federal Reserve Chairman may have left the door open for more easing measures, but he has given the markets nothing concrete this morning," John Kilduff, a partner at Again Capital LLC, told Reuters. "It appears the Fed has stepped back, leaving us to await efforts from the White House and Congress, if any, to bolster theeconomy. This is a bearish development."

    The only tidbit of fresh information Bernanke offered in his Jackson Hole speech was the extension of the Federal Open Market Committee's (FOMC) September meeting from one day to two (Sept. 20-21), "to allow a fuller discussion" of the "merits and costs" of the Fed's policy options.

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