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The "Gnomes of Zürich" Created a Financial Nightmare

Stock market futures

On Halloween, the Bank of Japan unleashed a massive quantitative easing program that included the purchase of bonds, stocks and ETFs in a desperate attempt to revive the terminally ill Japanese economy. This coincided with the end of the Federal Reserve's third round of QE in October.

At that point, the world entered the terminal phase of central banking that unleashed heightened volatility in stocks, bonds and currencies.

This week, the Swiss National Bank effectively abandoned the euro by removing the peg between the Swiss franc and the common European currency. With this move, which shocked financial markets and inflicted huge losses on currency traders around the world, the terminal phases accelerated to a dangerous new level.

Two Protective Currency Plays to Make Ahead of the Looming Recession

There's a hurricane headed for the U.S. economy, one that'll send stocks tumbling and rip gains out of your portfolios - especially if you aren't ready with some protective currency plays.

The "hurricane" I speak of is the looming recession.

You see, the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) annual growth rate has fallen for the past four quarters. The last time that happened, in 2008, growth fell to a negative rate for the following six quarters.

What My Mother Taught Me About the Global M&A Market

When PPL Corp. (NYSE: PPL) agreed to buy British power distributor Central Networks from German owner E.On AG (PINK ADR: EONGY) last week, the $5.6 billion bid by the Allentown, Pa.-based utility highlighted a key advantage that U.S. firms have when it comes to corporate-takeover battles in the international arena: In most countries, the staff and customers of the target company prefer a U.S. suitor to those from most other nations.

How do I know this? Simple ... my mother told me.

Investing in Sweden - A Cold Country with a Hot Economy

What comes to mind when you think of Sweden: Blonde hair, pale skin, and a pair of sullen blue eyes piercing through a whiteout - or an economy that grew 5.5% last year?

Too often, it's the former when it should be the latter.

Indeed, chances are you've never thought about investing in Sweden. But the country that is so often thought of as being cold - if it's thought of at all - is actually overheating.

The Swedish economy expanded by 5.5% last year, making it the fastest growing economy in Western Europe. Sweden's central bank, the Riksbank, was the first central bank in the European Union (EU) to raise interest rates. It has lifted its key repurchase rate five times since last July, squelching inflation.

The Seven Golden Rules That Will Keep You Safe in Today's 'New Normal' Markets

Pundits are talking about the "New Normal," a not-so-subtle hint at the sub-par growth that's expected from the U.S. economy.

Those pundits have picked the right book. But as far as investors are concerned they're reading from the wrong chapter. The "New Normal" isn't just about the economy. It's an epic story about not-so-great expectations - for the financial markets.

And - unlike its Dickensian counterpart - this tale doesn't have an especially happy ending.

Money Morning Mailbag: Can Anyone Fix the Fiscal Mess?

As opinions continue to pour in to the Money Morning mailbag, something is becoming quite clear: People are getting fed up with the national and global "fiscal mess." The pessimists outweigh the optimists and are tired of standing idly by watching ineffective financial policies.

As the United States continues to spar with China on currency issues and Greece has yet to make substantial strides toward recovery, U.S. taxpayers and investors fear that our country is headed for worse economic times. Despite the fact there's a financial reform bill on the horizon, there is overwhelming doubt that the government will implement as much of a financial system overhaul that's needed. 

Here are some of the more passionate views on the government mistakes that caused a U.S. financial quagmire, threatening the country's future stability.

Why Fourth Quarter Earnings Season Will Bode Well for Stocks

As earnings season kicks into high gear in the coming weeks, many analysts expect an abundance of good news, mostly because earnings last year were abnormally low. And that bodes well for investors.

For the first time since the second quarter of 2007, earnings of stocks in the Standard & Poor's 500 Index should be higher than they were the year before. That would break the longest losing streak since S&P began keeping track of operating earnings in 1991.

"It's going to be on the plus side again," James Swanson, chief investment strategist at MFS Investment Management told The Wall Street Journal.

The 10 Rules for Successful Investing

[Editor's Note: This essay is adapted from "Fiscal Hangover," which will be published on Monday (Nov. 16).]

With all the financial woes in the global economy, the worst thing an investor can do is to "freeze up." With all the ups and downs in the market, it's all too easy for investors to allow their emotions to take control. That's when the smallest mistakes turn into the biggest mistakes.

There's one antidote for this problem ... remembering a few basic rules. Just embrace the 10 ideas that follow and you'll be in line to make some serious money in the months ahead.

Five Ways to Ride the Commodities Bull

The commodities bull has already run a long way and the "pundits" are saying the boom is over. Don't believe it for a minute. As long as central banks keep interest rates low, the commodities boom will continue. Read this report for five ways to make money on skyrocketing commodities prices.

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Continued Corruption on Wall Street is Sapping Investor Confidence on Main Street

A couple of days ago, I caught an episode of the American Experience on my local PBS station that covered 1929 stock market crash. The episode in question had premiered in 1990, and featured first-hand accounts - as well as interviews - with historian Robert Sobel and economist John Kenneth Galbraith. It has an interview with Patricia Livermore, daughter-in-law of trading great Jesse L. Livermore and the subject of the annotated version of "Reminiscences of a Stock Operator" that I just completed. (Publication date is Jan. 10).

Why Dividends and Gold Are the Keys to Permanent Wealth

The path to permanent wealth is paved with high-yielding dividend stocks and reinforced with gold.

With a housing market that's in tatters and an economy that's reeling, most U.S. investors see the current market as perhaps the worst ever to even think about such topics as saving, investing and wealth. Corporate profits are plunging, as unemployment soars. Investors have watched as the worst bear market since the Great Depression savaged their savings and plundered their pensions.

But Money Morning Contributing Editor Martin Hutchinson, a well-known expert on income investing, says that today's beaten-down market may represent the best opportunity in years to create real wealth - in fact, permanent wealth. And Hutchinson believes that there are right now two simple secrets that can pave that pathway to permanent wealth.

One is high-yielding dividend stocks.

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