US jobs post solid gains; unemployment flat

Posted by Forexsq 63 days ago (
img U.S. job gains in July fell slightly short of expectations, and the unemployment rate did not budge from June, the Labor Department reported Friday.

American companies added 215,000 jobs for the month, while the unemployment rate remained at 5.3 percent, the department said. The labor force participation rate also remained flat at 62.6, its lowest level since 1977.

Economists polled by Reuters expected nonfarm payroll gains of 223,000 in July, with the unemployment rate at 5.3 percent. However, the payroll growth was directly in line with a Dow Jones estimate of 215,000.

The U.S. stock markets, worried about a possible Federal Reserve interest rate increase, opened slightly lower Friday after the report was issued.

The Fed has scrutinized job market data as it determines when to raise the federal funds rate for the first time in nine years. After its most recent meeting late last month, the central bank's policy committee said the labor market "continued to improve" while

Household Worth in U.S. Rose by $1.5 Trillion in Fourth Quarter

Posted by Forexsq 211 days ago (
img Household wealth in the U.S. increased from October through December by the most in a year as stock prices advanced to an all-time high at the end of 2014.

Net worth for households and non-profit groups rose by $1.5 trillion in the fourth quarter, or 1.9 percent from the previous three months, to $82.9 trillion, the Federal Reserve said Thursday from Washington in its financial accounts report, previously known as the flow of funds survey.

Record stock prices and steadily increasing home values have made U.S. households wealthier as the economic expansion lumbered on. While faster job growth and low fuel prices also have helped lower-income households, bigger wage gains will strengthen balance sheets further.

“The recovery is broadening its reach -- it’s not just hitting the upper-level of income distribution but starting to help a broader segment of the population, and that’s some good news,” said Dana Saporta, a U.S. economist at Credit Suisse Securities USA in New York. At

France’s Hollande Casts Fate With Ex-Banker Macron

Posted by Forexsq 214 days ago (
img French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron got an earful in January from U.S. technology and retail executives as they lectured him in a meeting at the Venetian hotel in Las Vegas about France’s inhospitable business reputation.

They complained that the government meddles too much, the labor market is too rule-bound and corporate taxes are onerous, including a two-year 75% tax on salaries of more than €1 million ($1.1 million) imposed by President François Hollande after his election in 2012.

The 37-year-old Mr. Macron, a former investment banker who became France’s top economic official last August, folded his hands prayer-like and then responded with the message he had flown from Paris to deliver: “I agree with everything.”

He added: “I think the 75% tax was a big mistake.”

Mr. Macron’s dig at his own boss was no slip of the tongue. For years, he prodded Mr. Hollande and his ruling Socialist Party to carry out a long-delayed modernization of France’s economy, the eurozone’s

The Greek debt crisis: catastrophe postponed

Posted by Forexsq 224 days ago (
img Today the German parliament approved a four-month extension of Greece’s bail-out, after an 11th-hour deal struck by euro-zone finance ministers a week ago. Thus closes the latest act in the Greek debt drama. But if the immediate danger of bank runs and capital controls has been averted, further down the road the problems are only multiplying. Having finally yielded to demands from Germany and others that it extend the bail-out, Greece must now convince its creditors that its reform plans are serious. Trust between the two sides has evaporated since Syriza, a radical-left party, formed the Greek government. The IMF and the European Central Bank—also among the creditors—have cast doubt on Greece’s proposals, many of which look vague and uncosted. Moreover, reviewing them may take up to two months, and no one seems quite to know how Greece will fund itself until then.

Obama pushes protections for retirement accounts

Posted by Forexsq 228 days ago (
img The White House says it wants greater protections for retirement investing.

It unveiled broad strokes of a proposal Monday that would hold financial advisers handling individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and 401(k)s to a higher standard than they currently are.

The change means financial advisers would be held to a so-called fiduciary standard. Translation: They would formally have to put the best interests of their clients ahead of their own interests by recommending the best product -- even if that means taking a smaller fee for their services.

The White House acknowledged that many financial advisers already do that, but it wants to extend the standard industrywide.

"[O]utdated regulations, loopholes, and fine print make it hard for working and middle class families to know who they can trust," the White House wrote.

ECB unveils €1.1tn QE plan to stimulate eurozone economy

Posted by Forexsq 260 days ago (
img Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank, has announced that he will pump €1.1tn – €60bn (£46bn) a month – into financial markets until September 2016, in a bid to prevent the fragile eurozone economy from grinding to a halt.

In a keenly anticipated announcement at the ECB’s headquarters in Frankfurt, Draghi said the operation would continue, “until we see a sustained adjustment in the path of inflation”.

By buying eurozone governments’ bonds using electronically created money – so-called quantitative easing – the ECB hopes to shore up confidence, boost inflation, and drive down the value of the euro on foreign exchanges, helping to boost exports and kickstart growth. The €60bn a month figure includes the purchases of private sector assets that the ECB had already begun in a bid to unlock credit markets.

Draghi said the decision on the ECB’s governing council was made with “so large a majority that no vote was necessary”.

The launch of QE is likely to infuriate

IMF Lowers Global Growth Forecast by Most in Three Years

Posted by Forexsq 262 days ago (
img The IMF made the steepest cut to its global-growth outlook in three years, with diminished expectations almost everywhere except the U.S. more than offsetting the boost to expansion from lower oil prices.

The world economy will grow 3.5 percent in 2015, down from the 3.8 percent pace projected in October, the International Monetary Fund said in its quarterly global outlook released late Monday in Washington. The Washington-based lender also cut its estimate for growth next year to 3.7 percent, compared with 4 percent in October.

The weakness, along with prolonged below-target inflation, is challenging policy makers across Europe and Asia to come up with fresh ways to stimulate demand more than six years after the global financial crisis. Central bankers and government officials including Bank of England Governor Mark Carney and the Bank of Japan’s Haruhiko Kuroda may talk about options when they convene this week at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland

How easy money has cracked the global economy

Posted by Forexsq 276 days ago (
img Global financial markets face serious economic and non-economic risks in 2015 that are above and beyond the challenges seen in 2008.

Social stresses are increasing. High levels of unemployment have persisted, despite economic recovery in many countries. Some older or less skilled workers face a bleak future, with no real prospect of ever returning to the work force. Youth unemployment is also high, creating a real risk of a lost generation — especially in Europe. For those with work, income levels are stagnant or falling and working conditions are deteriorating.

Work pressures, combined with rising inequality, are driving political changes. Major parties in many countries have lost support. More extreme and populist parties have gained support, complicating political decision-making and increasing uncertainty. And economic difficulties and loss of faith in traditional political parties contributed to the rise of fascism and communism in the 20th Century.

Despite a small group

Manufacturing in U.S. Grew Less Than Forecast in December

Posted by Forexsq 280 days ago (
img Manufacturing in the U.S. cooled in December, settling into a more sustainable pace of growth as the year drew to a close.

The Institute for Supply Management’s factory index dropped to a six-month low of 55.5 from 58.7 in November, a report from the Tempe, Arizona-based group showed today. The reading in October matched a three-year high. Figures greater than 50 indicate growth and the median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for a December reading of 57.5.

A slowdown in orders growth indicates companies are beginning to scale back capital spending plans as overseas markets slow and lower oil prices hit American oil producers. At the same time, U.S. factory floors will probably stay busy early this year as employment gains and cheap gasoline boost consumer spending.

“We’d get more acceleration in manufacturing if there was any pickup in global markets,” Gennadiy Goldberg, U.S. strategist at TD Securities USA LLC in New York, said before the report. “The man

Think we’re in a bubble now? Just wait until 2015

Posted by Forexsq 284 days ago (
img Just when we get to the point where Ebola is about as scary as granola here in the States, the mere mention of a man being tested for the virus in Tokyo triggers a swift reversal in Japanese stocks. That’s the way it goes on slow-news and light-volume days. It doesn’t take all that much to rattle markets, a truism both at home and abroad during periods like this.

Of course, investors placing their bets on the Land of the Rising Sun don’t really need another reason to be fearful. Abenomics seems to be doing the trick all on its own.

Foreign investors threw record amounts of cash at Japan last year but haven’t done much of anything this year. In fact, inflows are down 94%, according to Bloomberg, which puts them on pace for their lowest total since the 2008 financial crisis.

Meanwhile, U.S. markets are in a deep slumber, volume-wise. Michael O’Rourke of Jones Trading pointed out that the last time a full day of trading registered lower volume than Friday was back on Dec. 26, 20

No need for ECB to buy sovereign bonds now: German economic adviser

Posted by Forexsq 285 days ago (
img The head of the panel of economic experts that advises the German government said on Sunday there was no reason for the European Central Bank (ECB) to start buying up sovereign bonds now to bolster euro zone growth.

ECB President Mario Draghi has opened the door to further measures to help the currency union which is suffering from an economic slowdown, and said the bank would decide early next year whether to take fresh action.

He has said the bank's Governing Council would not need to be unanimous to start sovereign bond buying.

Germany is resistant to such a move and many politicians argue that this kind of a stimulus program would diminish the political will in some countries, such as France, to carry out structural reforms needed for long-term growth.

"The Central Bank has already introduced various measures to help growth ... we see no reason to buy up state bonds now," Christoph Schmidt, head of the so-called economic "wisemen" told the Welt am Sonntag weekly. The

U.S. Jobless Claims Fall to 280,000 - WSJ

Posted by Forexsq 289 days ago (
img The number of Americans filing for first-time unemployment benefits fell last week to its lowest level since early November, a new sign the labor market is rounding out the year on a strong note.

Initial jobless claims declined by 9,000 to a seasonally adjusted 280,000 in the week ended Dec. 20, the Labor Department said Wednesday. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected 290,000 new claims.

Claims, a proxy for layoffs, fell below the 300,000 level in late July and have held there pretty steadily since then, except for a spike in early November. Before this year, the last time they consistently held below the 300,000 level was in 2006.

“What we have seen in the data over the past few months looks favorable for the labor market,” J.P. Morgan Chase economist Daniel Silver said.

The four-week moving average for initial claims, which smooths out weekly volatility, fell 8,500 to 290,250.

Wednesday’s report also showed the number of people filing continuing

Aging Europe needs the migrants it doesn't want

Posted by Forexsq 311 days ago (
img Europe is aging faster than any other region of the world. It badly needs immigrants. But many Europeans don't want them.

The "old continent" may be able to offset the impact of a graying workforce until around 2020 by bringing more women and elderly people into work, encouraging mobility within Europe and making better use of existing migrants, EU and OECD experts say.

But in the medium to

Japan Unexpectedly Enters Recession as Abe Weighs Tax: Economy

Posted by Forexsq 326 days ago (
img Japan unexpectedly sank into a recession last quarter as the world’s third-largest economy struggled to shake off the impact of an April sales-tax boost, raising the odds of a delay in a second bump in the levy.

Gross domestic product shrank an annualized 1.6 percent in the three months through September, a second straight drop -- matching the textbook definition of a recession. Unadjusted for

House Passes Bill to Approve Keystone Over Obama Objections

Posted by Forexsq 329 days ago (
img The House of Representatives passed a bill to approve building the Keystone XL pipeline in defiance of President Barack Obama, who today challenged supporters’ arguments the pipeline will help the U.S. economy.

The Republican-led House approved the measure 252-161 with 31 Democrats in support. The bill will be considered in the Senate Nov. 18, where it faces a higher hurdle in the Democratic-l

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