Archives for April 2011

April 2011 - Page 8 of 9 - Money Morning - Only the News You Can Profit From

Double-Dip in Home Prices Could Restrain Economic Recovery

With the latest data pointing to a double-dip in home prices, it has become increasingly clear that the wobbly economic recovery won't be getting any help from the housing sector.

Existing home sales in February sank 9.6% from the previous month, while prices fell 5.2% to a median of $156,000, the lowest since April 2002. Existing homes comprise 90% of the housing market.
Meanwhile, new homes sales in February plummeted to an annual rate of 250,000, far below the norm of 700,000 and a level half that of 1963, when the United States had 120 million fewer residents than its current population of 310 million. The median sales price plunged 8.9% year-over-year.

Read More…

Debt Ceiling Woes: Four Moves to Make as a Government Shutdown Looms

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is once again worried that we're going to hit our debt ceiling (this time by May 16), and the resultant debate has once again brought our government to the brink of a "shutdown."

I don't know why: The entire debt ceiling concept – as well as the investor fear, political-posturing, self-aggrandizing behavior and government-shutdown debates this budget limit repeatedly spawns – is a joke, albeit it a very bad one.

Unfortunately, the speed at which headlines are crossing my desk suggests that the entire affair will turn into yet another Capitol Hill debacle – this one with additional consequences for an already battered Main Street.

But I've got four recommendations that will help you sidestep the government shutdown/debt ceiling fallout, and perhaps even bolster your retirement holdings along the way.

For those four strategies, please read on...

U.S. Nears Colombia Trade Deal, Strengthening Economic Ties with Latin America

The United States has resolved labor issues with Colombia, paving the way for approval of a stalled free-trade agreement (FTA) and strengthening economic ties between the countries.

The United States and Colombia were expected to announce the agreement this week after months of talks, people familiar with the matter said Tuesday.

Former U.S. President George W. Bush first signed a U.S.-Colombia FTA in November 2006 with then-Colombian President Alvaro Uribe. The legislation stalled in Congress because Democrats refused to ratify the agreement until the Colombian government improved labor standards.

Read More…

Cushion Your Retirement by Investing in IRAs

If I were to recommend a stock and guarantee a return of 10% to 28% on your investment in a single day, you'd no doubt line up at your broker's door to place your orders.

But then why do so many people fail to make the maximum contribution to their Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs)? After all, in its traditional version, an IRA offers exactly the same return, depending on your personal tax bracket.

Contributions to a traditional IRA are immediately deductible from income for the tax year in which they are made.

Read More…

2012 Budget Plan: How Do You Feel About the GOP's Proposed Spending Cuts?

Proposals for how to fix the U.S. government's spiraling federal budget deficit have led to little more than political gridlock and public frustration.

But House Republicans aimed to make progress this week. They released an ambitious 2012 budget plan yesterday (Tuesday), setting the stage for heated debate with Democrats over the best way to pull America out of its debt hole.

House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul D. Ryan, R-WI, said the GOP's main goal is to avoid the national debt crisis America is headed toward.

Read More…

Looming U.S. Government Shutdown Sign of Future Financial Crisis

Washington for months has been tangled in a messy political debate over the 2011 federal budget. The newest deadline to reach a budget deal – April 8 – is just a couple of days away.

The phrase "government shutdown" is being used with increasing frequency.

Temporary funding measures have kept the government running this year as U.S. lawmakers repeatedly extended the final budget deadline. An end to negotiations is still nowhere in sight – stoking the shutdown discussions.

Read More…

Inflation Fears: A Sanguine Fed is Underestimating the Escalating Threat

Pretty much everyone but U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke sees that inflation is returning: After all, even Bernanke's favorite inflation measure, the Personal Consumption Expenditure (PCE) deflator, was up 0.4% in February – which hints at an annualized inflation rate of almost 5%.

What folks don't see, however, is just how bad inflation will get.

To learn how to invest in the face of spiking inflation, please read on…

Read More…

Republican Budget Plan Targets Medicare With $4 Trillion in Total Spending Cuts

House Republicans will release their 2012 budget plan today (Tuesday), proposing more than $4 trillion in cuts over the next decade and trimming billions of dollars from Medicare expenses.

House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul D. Ryan, R-WI, prepared the spending outline for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1.

Ryan told Fox News Sunday that U.S. President Barack Obama was "punting on the budget and not doing a thing to prevent a debt crisis, which every single economist tells us is coming sooner rather than later in this country."

He said the plan went beyond the recommendations of President Obama's debt commission because they kept spending too high to significantly reduce the deficit.

Ryan's proposal reshapes the Medicare program to tackle its soaring costs. Medicare cost $396.5 billion in 2010 and is projected to rise to $502.8 billion in 2016.

"You have to address the drivers of our debt," Ryan told Fox News Sunday. "We need to engage with the American people on a fact-based budget, on stopping politicians from making empty promises to people and talk to the country about what is necessary to fix these problems."

Read More…

Stocks Look to Shrug Off Dwindling Consumer Confidence

High prices for commodities last month sent consumer confidence spiraling to a three-month low, but that doesn't necessarily mean the stock market will suffer.

On the contrary, stocks over the past two years actually have performed remarkably well in the months following sharp declines in consumer confidence.

In the four prior instances since the start of 2009 in which consumer confidence fell by more than 10% in a month, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index rose an average of 7.2% the following month with positive returns every single time, according to Bespoke Investment Group.

That makes March's steep decline in consumer confidence somewhat easier to stomach. The Conference Board's confidence index fell 11.9% in March to a three-month low of 63.4.

Read More…

Gold and Silver and The Endgame for U.S.A Inc.

I'm going to take a leap of faith and assume the reader harbours a sufficiently enlightened mind to be aware of several key facts regarding the world as we know it. The fatuous commentary suggesting gold is a bubble, gold has peaked, gold is a bad investment, etc shall from this point forward be consigned to its rightful place in the Horribly Flawed Thinking dumpster and discussion of same restricted to the hopelessly naïve (or sublimely clever and duplicitous) CNBC. Henceforth we proceed under the assumption that ;

The United States dollar is in a state of terminal deterioration, and its continuing viability as a fiat unit of trade value is for a limited time only.

1. Gold and silver, as the principle monetary metals, as well as platinum and palladium (secondary monetary metals) will be part of the formula that determines the fair value of any future global currency.

2. The new global currency must be accepted by the entire G8 block and a majority of the G20 to be viable.

Read more here…

Read More…