Today's stock market news, August 22, 2014: With members of the U.S. Federal Reserve and notable economists meeting in Jackson Hole, Wyo., investors await new insight today (Friday) into when the central bank might raise interest rates and plans to sustain growth in the U.S. economy. For the first time, protesters have descended on the small ski town, questioning the Fed's policies and the "so-called" strength of the U.S. economic recovery. Fed Chair Janet Yellen will speak this morning.
Here's a list of today's top stock market news...
U.S. federal reserve
FOMC Meeting: Fed Keeps Same Narrative, Taper Proceeds – but Markets Move
The U.S. Federal Reserve stuck to its usual script today after the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting. The Fed announced the expected $10 billion cut to its almost two-year-old bond-buying program and reaffirmed its intention to keep interest rates low for a "considerable" period of time.And yet the markets reacted to this "non-news" as if it were a surprise...
Dow Jones Today: Energy and Pharma Mergers Top News
Dow Jones today, July 14, 2014: The Dow Jones Industrial Average rallied late on Friday after a surge by tech stocks overshadowed growing banking concerns in Portugal. This week, earnings season kicks into high gear with a handful of the nation's largest banks reporting. The markets are also highly anticipating a speech by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen on Wednesday, as we continue to watch for signs that the central bank will increase interest rates.Here are the top stories that will be impacting the Dow Jones today:
Dow Jones Futures Slip 142 Points; U.S. Markets Brace for Fat Losses Today
U.S. markets today, July 10, 2014: Dow Jones futures today (Thursday) were down 142 points, S&P 500 futures slipped 16 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures fell 35 points as of 8:30 a.m. EDT.
European and Portuguese losses are dragging U.S. markets. Additional downward pressure comes from a delayed negative reaction to Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting minutes released Wednesday, which revealed Fed plans to end its bond-buying program in October.Here's a roundup of the top stories affecting the stock market today...
Silver Prices Today Ride FOMC Minutes to Slight Gains
Silver prices began to flounder this week coming off impressive gains in the previous month, but the U.S. Federal Reserve provided a quick spark in afternoon trading Wednesday.Here are the details...
New Gold Price Chart: Fed Minutes and Middle East Solidify Gold Above $1,320
Gold prices today (Wednesday) finished back over $1,320 an ounce after the release of the latest U.S. Federal Reserve minutes, and amidst turmoil in the Middle East.Take a look at our new gold price chart that reflects the current June-July rally, and get the latest on gold futures, spot gold price per ounce, and news driving up the price of gold...
Silver Prices May Be Cooling Down, but They're Ready for Second-Half Gains
Silver prices have been sideways this week, cooling off from a mid-June rally sparked by inflation-minded investors wary of the U.S. Federal Reserve's dovish talk.But the second half of the year looks good - here's why ...
FOMC Meeting Today: Lower Growth, Higher Rates
The two-day Federal Open Market Committee meeting wrapped up today (Wednesday) with the U.S. Federal Reserve revising down its previously more optimistic economic growth forecasts, and reinforcing expectations that interest rates will climb faster than what was previously anticipated.Here are the details.
The Tone of Today's FOMC Meeting Matters for Gold and Silver
Gold, silver, and the FOMC meeting today: Precious metal prices were fairly steady Wednesday morning awaiting the typically market-moving statement from the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting today. The spot gold price was last trading down $0.90 at $1,271.50. July silver prices were last quoted up $0.003 at $19.735 an ounce.
Over the last several years, investors have shown a keen interest in shiny assets as the U.S. Federal Reserve liberally printed money and distrust in dollars grew. But that interest has waned as the Fed slows its bond buying.Now an FOMC meeting can be a strong headwind for gold and silver...
Feds Finally Put Their Scopes on the “Too Big to Jail”
Late last month, depending on how you look at it, either something wonderful happened - or the feds continued their cowardly, conniving ways.
A group of federal prosecutors met in Washington and in New York with various financial regulators to discuss filing criminal charges against and coercing guilty pleas out of two giant banks. This looks to be a historic occurrence.But two things say we shouldn’t pop open the champagne just yet...
- FOMC Meeting Today: How the Taper Is Affecting Markets The Federal Reserve went forward with its taper plans yesterday, announcing it would reduce its bond-buying by $10 billion per month. But that is no guarantee the Fed will continue to taper, especially if the economy falters. And now that the Fed has a new chief in Janet Yellen, we could be in for some surprises this year...
2014 State of the Union Address: Nine Ideas You'll Hear Tonight and Why They Matter
SOTU 2014: U.S. President Barack Obama will deliver his fifth State of the Union address tonight, which means tomorrow most media outlets will graph and "wordcloud" his most used buzzwords like "jobs," "invest," and "innovate."
Instead of waiting until after the SOTU, we put together the nine phrases you're likely to hear tonight - as well as why President Obama needs to address them.
Here's your outline of State of the Union 2014:To continue reading, please click here...
Five Winners in the Stock Market Today
It appears the stock market is headed for its fifth straight negative day as the markets opened lower on continued global concerns.
Any optimistic sentiments from Europe's recent summit and bailouts have passed, as Germany still is not committed to measures in the agreements.
After Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy announced surprisingly harsher austerity plans for Spain, there were riots in Madrid where more than 70 people were injured.
The stock market wasn't quite as violent, but after the U.S. Federal Reserve's minutes revealed no signs of QE3, the markets took a hit before finishing the day slightly higher. Today the market is still reeling as all three major indexes opened well in the red.
Even news of the lowest number of initial unemployment claims filed since March of 2008 could not lift the market. The Labor Department announced that initial claims seasonally adjusted came in at 350,000, down 26,000 from the previous week. Analysts had expected on average between 355,000 to 395,000 claims to be filed.
Those numbers may not be reliable, as many economists say the claims are lower due to automakers choosing to keep their plants open throughout the summer.
Typically many auto plants close for two weeks in the summer and lay off workers temporarily as the plants are prepped for new models. With higher demand this year many plants have remained open through July.
"It seems like the Labor Department is pretty adamant that this is more of a wonky seasonal adjustment than something we need to put too much stock in," Michael Hanson, U.S. economist at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch told Reuters. "The underlying trend in claims is probably still in the 370,000 range."
Those numbers are also low due to the fact that they are gathered from the holiday-shortened 4th of July week.
Even with the markets' slide today, there are still winners to be found. Here are five of the best performing stocks today:
Merck and Co. Inc. (NYSE: MRK) announced it received favorable results for its latest experimental osteoporosis drug, odancatib, and ended trials early because it worked so well. The drug is supposed to prevent bone fractures in women with osteoporosis and has been in testing since 2007.
Merck stock is up almost 4.5% as of noon.
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Gold Prices: Central Banks See Shine in Yellow Metal
When Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke failed to hint at more monetary stimulus last week, gold prices took a small hit.
But the picture for gold investors just brightened again thanks to increased activity from central banks.
Central banks are buying the yellow metal in copious amounts, marking the first time since 1965 that bankers have been such steady buyers.
Central banks amplified their gold stores by 400 metric tons, the equivalent of almost 2,205 pounds, in the 12 months through March 31. That was an increase from 156 tons in the same period a year ago, according to data from the World Gold Council.
Barron's reported Saturday that the World Gold Council "is now confident that central banks will continue to buy gold and has added official sector purchases as a new element of gold demand," according to a report from London-based bullion dealer Sharps Pixley.
The fresh facts indicate that central bank purchasing will continue for the foreseeable future.
That is quite a turnaround from the heavy selling the banks made from 1966 through 2007. During that time central bankers engaged in substantial selling, with only short periods of meager buying.
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Five Economic Blunders of 2011 and Five Fixes for 2012
Government's ability to fix the economy's problems may be limited, but it at least should try not to make matters worse.
Unfortunately - but not surprisingly - many of the things that happened in Washington this year did the U.S. economy more harm than good.
More than two years after the official end to the recession, the U.S. economy is still suffering through sluggish growth and an 8.6% unemployment rate.
"They've been wrong from the beginning, and they're still wrong," said Money Morning Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald of U.S. government policymakers. "It makes you wonder if any of these people passed Economics 101."
That said, here are five of the government's worst economic blunders of 2011:
- The Debt Ceiling Crisis: While Congress did step back from the brink of plunging the nation into default, the fear and uncertainty resulting from the battle over raising the debt ceiling unnerved stock markets and was the main reason Standard & Poor's cut the U.S. credit rating from AAA to AA+ for the first time ever. The worst part of it was that the whole battle was unnecessary. Congress votes often to raise the nation's debt ceiling, a necessity to keep borrowing the 40% of the federal budget not covered by receipts.
- The Bungled Federal Budget: In mid-January, the federal government will have operated without an official budget for 1,000 days. The lack of a real budget makes it harder for government agencies to plan, as funding depends on a series of "continuing resolutions" by Congress. Failure to pass one of these stopgap measures would result in a government shutdown, which both Republicans and Democrats have used as a threat to try to force the other party's hand. Even worse, lawmakers argued about, but ultimately took no action on, reducing the crippling $15 trillion national debt or the huge annual deficits that keep driving it higher. Both are anchors on the U.S. economy.
- The U.S. Federal Reserve's Loose Money Policies: Led by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, the central bank has used every policy tool at its disposal to flood the U.S. economy with money in a futile effort to spur growth. Not only has it held interest rates near zero for more than two years, but it has conducted two "quantitative easing" bond-buying programs (not to mention mortgage-backed securities). Those policies have failed to implement either of the Fed's dual mandates to hold down the unemployment rate and control inflation.
- U.S. President Barack Obama's Jobs Bill: Despite a lot of dramatic rhetoric, President Obama's American Jobs Act was more of a re-election ploy than a serious attempt to deal with the high U.S. unemployment rate. The president knew Republicans would object to many of its provisions, as well as its hefty $447 billion price tag, but also knew those same provisions would appeal to his political base. Even if it had passed intact, economists said it would at best lower unemployment only by a single percentage point.
- The Payroll Tax Cut: While the House Republicans were foolish to fight the Senate and President Obama on the deal that was made to extend the payroll tax cut for two months, they were right about one thing: Any extension should have been for the full calendar year. Instead of resolving the issue, Congress merely postponed the fight over further extending the 2% cut in the Social Security tax deduction until February. Apart from that, who thought putting money into Americans' pockets by lowering payments into the already-threatened Social Security Trust fund was a good idea? Talk about mortgaging the future.
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