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    Thoughtful Investor

    "Business culture in the banking industry is favoring, or at least tolerating, fraudulent or unethical behaviors."

    That's what Ernst Fehr told reporters in a telephone interview last week.

    Fehr is an economist at the University of Zürich in Switzerland who co-led a study about business behavior.

    Fehr's study proves what we've all long known - but it wasn't the only piece of news last week that demonstrates the crookedness of bankers.

    Today I'll show you how Wall Street's manipulations are affecting the prices we pay for everything from the cars we drive to our pots and pans.

    So you know you want to know more about this...

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Here's What the Secret Goldman Sachs Tapes Really Mean (NYSE: GS)

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"The Secret Recordings of Carmen Segarra" was broadcast on NPR's "This American Life" on Sept. 26. Carmen Segarra, a former Fed examiner in the bowels of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS), secretly recorded some of the goings-on there.

And what was revealed in those tapes speaks a lot to who's really running the show there - the Fed or the big banks.

We’re all screwed. Here’s why…

Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) Lines Up Its Next Victim: Ecuador

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Unbowed by fines and new regulations, Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) has simply looked elsewhere for fresh victims.

In a deal that barely registered with the mainstream media, Ecuador's central bank agreed earlier this week to swap half of its gold reserves - worth $580 million - with Goldman in exchange for liquid assets.

The Ecuadorian central bank thinks it's going to earn $16 million to $20 million in profit over the three-year duration of the deal.

But Ecuador doesn't seem to realize it's dealing with Wall Street's most notorious pirate...

Stock Market Today: New Rules for Big Banks

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Stock market news today, April 9, 2014: The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 10 points yesterday to finish at 16,256. The Nasdaq increased 33 points to finish at 4,112, while the S&P 500 added 6 points to end the day at 1,851.

Today, the FOMC will release minutes from its March meeting. Investors are seeking clues on when Fed Chair Janet Yellen and the central bank will exercise an increase in interest rates.

Here are the five things to know to make your day profitable:

GrubHub IPO: Mobile Market Key to GrubHub's Success

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Investors can add another deal to the 2014 IPO calendar, with the GrubHub IPO expected to take place on Thursday, April 3.

Today, Grubhub officials announced that they have upped the price range on Grubhub stock to $23 to $25, from a previous range of $20 to $22.

Last week, GrubHub officials announced that they plan to raise approximately $155 million in an initial public offering by selling 7.03 million shares.

Now that the GrubHub IPO financial info has been released, investors are investigating the company.

These are the numbers they'll want to watch...

Stock Market Today: Dow Jones Industrial Average Gets Hammered

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Stock Market Today, Feb. 3: U.S. stocks closed down Monday after a rough trading session on the heels of a disappointing report on U.S. manufacturing and ahead of a busy week for economic indicators.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 326.05 points, or 2.1%, at 15,372.80 points; the S&P 500 Index closed down 2.28%, or 40.7 points, at 1,741.89; and the Nasdaq Composite Index closed down 2.61%, or 106.92 points at 3,996.96.

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Pandora Media (NYSE: P) Stock Up 15%, Can It Keep Climbing?

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Pandora Media (NYSE: P) stock climbed as much as 15% today to a high of $37.95, after analysts at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) estimated that the stock could nearly double in the next year.

Goldman Sachs analyst Heath Terry told investors that "if Pandora doubles advertising, increases its mix of local commercials to half of all ads and leverages fixed-content costs," the stock could go as high as $60.

Find out if NYSE: P could turn out to be one of the best investments this year...

This Is a True "Ground Floor" Opportunity

Editor's Note: You're getting special access to Bill's Private Briefing today because this technology will change the way you encounter everyday life. It could change the way you invest, too...

Once I get my son Joey off to school each morning - meaning I can switch away from SpongeBob Squarepants or Scooby Doo - I'll put on CNBC as I get ready for my commute to the office.

You know the drill... I leave it on in the background and sort of half listen as I finish dressing. Invariably, a story or two will pique my interest, causing me to give it my full attention.

Full Story...

Don't Be Fooled by Goldman Sachs' (NYSE: GS) Earnings Beat

Stock Market Performance Today

Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) stock rose 1.22% yesterday (Wednesday) to $178.75, ahead of today's Q4 earnings release.

Analysts project EPS of $4.21 on revenue of $7.71 billion. Those figures are down from last year, when GS reported EPS of $5.60 on revenue of $9.24 billion.

The bank is scheduled to report earnings at 7:30 A.M. EST and will follow up with a conference call at 9:30 A.M.

GS stock has performed well lately, up 10% in the last three months and 29% in the last year.

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Big Bank Earnings Is One of the Most Significant Events of 2014 – And It Could Bring You a Fortune

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The Big Banks reporting earnings this week will be one of the most significant events of 2014. In the big picture, how the banks fare and what their future prospects are could single-handily determine the trajectory and breadth of the recovery we've been hoping for. Even more importantly,

their "financials" could have major implications for your money...

Earnings Today: Citigroup (NYSE: C), Coca Cola (NYSE: KO), and Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ)

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Third-quarter earnings season has picked up, with a number of companies posting earnings today before the opening bell and two tech giants set to report after the close.

When Q3 earnings kicked off a week ago, analysts estimated third-quarter earnings would come in 6.5% higher than the same quarter a year ago.

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Stock Market Today: Biggest Winners and Losers

The stock market today rallied for a second session on hopes lawmakers in Washington will ink a fiscal cliff deal before year's end.

In afternoon trading Tuesday all three major index were sharply higher. The Dow Jones Industrial Average soared some 90 points by 2:30 p.m., the Standard & Poor's 500 Index climbed 11, and the Nasdaq jumped 33. That followed Monday's gains of 100.38 points, 16.78 points and 39.27 points, respectively.

With few economic releases scheduled for Tuesday, investors' focus was pinned on Washington. House Speaker John Boehner, R-OH, and U.S. President Barack Obama continued to haggle over a fiscal cliff deal, with the president making a counter offer late Monday.

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It Looks Like the Market Is Saying "OMG"

Today I want to talk about a few things I've been scratching my head over lately.

First, about those polls leading up to the presidential contest.

How come they were so wrong? How come the candidates were inches apart right up to the finish line, and then it's like a "tortoise and the hare" kind of ending?

Did Romney even finish? Is he finished? Is the Republican Party finished?

Maybe the problem is the questions they ask, the pollsters, that is, or the way they ask them. Maybe they ask questions like a lawyer leading a witness would.

You have to wonder who pays for those polls, too. Survey says: the Super PACs - or is that the stupid hacks? Don't you wish they'd post the questions they asked along with the "Survey Says" results?

And, how stupid are the markets, make that investors, you know who you are. The day of the election, the market was anticipating a Romney victory, after all the polls said it was more than possible, so we got a smart little rally.

Then reality set in. Four more years. And you think it's going to get better?

Here's something else to chew on. If you think the Republicans are going to roll over and play dead, now that they are dead, think again.

The only way to fight back when you're dead is to kill the other guy, so you're both dead. Then, of course, you say, I was dead first, I couldn't have killed the economy, I couldn't have driven us over the fiscal cliff, they did it!

It looks like the market is saying, OMG (that's Oh My God, for you non-texters), we're going over the cliff and there's no stopping us.

Trust me on this one, that cliff everyone's been talking about - it ain't the only cliff.

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