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Showing posts from February, 2008

Worries Grow for Worse 'Stagflation'

By Jeannine Aversa, AP Economics Writer

Worries Grow for Twin Evils of 'Stagflation' -- Stagnant Economy, Lost Jobs, Surging Inflation

WASHINGTON (AP) -- It's a toxic economic mix the nation hasn't seen in three decades: Prices are speeding upward at the fastest pace in a quarter century, even as the economy loses steam.

Economists call the disease "stagflation," and they're worried it might be coming back.

Already, paychecks aren't stretching as far, and jobs are harder to find, threatening to set off a vicious cycle that could make things even worse.

The economy nearly stalled in the final three months of last year and probably is barely growing or even shrinking now. That's the "stagnation" part of the ailment. Typically, that slowdown should slow inflation as well -- the second part of the diagnosis -- but prices are still marching higher.

The latest worrisome news came Tuesday: a government report showing wholesale prices climbed 7.4 perc…

What's Ahead in 2008

JIM PUPLAVA: Well, here we are at the beginning of the year, and as we always do at the beginning of the year, people are looking for predictions, and especially with all of the volatility and unpredictability of the markets. But just like the polls in the United States, which seem to be missing out on things, it’s getting more difficult to predict.

Joining us on the program this year is Dr. Marc Faber, he’s the editor of The Gloom, Boom & Doom Report.

And Marc, I want to start out with something you said in your January newsletter, and you quote Lao Tzu, the 6th Century Chinese poet, where he said: Those who have knowledge don’t predict; those who predict don’t have knowledge. Isn’t this going to be one of those difficult years to predict where the markets are going? It just seems like there are too many crosscurrents this year.

MARC FABER: I don’t think that it is all that difficult to predict markets, but we have to understand that you can’t give a target for, say, the Dow Jone…

Fighting the Financial Fear Factor

by Suze Orman
Declines of more than 10 percent in the major stock market indexes over the past few months, along with the growing expectation of a recession, have set off a massive investor call to action.By action I mean the urge to flee stocks for the apparent safety of bonds or cash. For the vast majority of investors, that move can be a costly mistake.There Will Be a TestAt the same time that many people are overreacting to the recent market volatility, they're underreacting to other facets of their financial lives. The same fear that causes someone to bail out of a stock fund when the markets slip causes them to not act when faced with bills they don't think they can pay.Be it a credit card statement or an impending mortgage reset, the tendency is to do nothing, and that inaction ends up costing a ton in the long run. Fear is natural, but there's a right way and a wrong way to handle fear when it comes to finances. Knowing when to act and when not to act is one of the …

Love me, spoil me

A survey has found that Singapore women expect their dates to pay for meals, see them home and carry their handbags

By Mak Mun San

CONFIDENT. Assertive. Practical. Not into mind games. That's what 21st-century Singaporean women are, right?

All efficiency in their smart suits, they have rolled up their sleeves and proven their mettle, earning good money as they show their savvy in the workplace, flood into top universities and make their point in politics.

But not when it comes to dating, it would seem.

Whether shopgirl or career gal, these Miss Independents turn into pampered princesses who expect the mere male of the species - as they view him - to be at their beck and call.

That's according to a recent survey of 200 singles by the Social Development Service, which found that women's expectations of their male dates are more like they are going out with Prince Charming than a real, live man.

Get this: The survey found that they expect their men to pay for their dates, depos…

Jeff Saut: Not Your Father's Recession

Much has been written recently about whether the nation is “in” a recession, going into a recession, or not going into a recession. To answer this question, one first needs to define what a recession is. Back in the 1960’s we used to say, “A recession is not when your neighbor loses his job, it’s when you lose your job!” Of course, the modern day definition has become: “Two or more consecutive quarters of negative growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP).” However, I could make a pretty cogent argument that the population employment growth increases by roughly 1% a year and, therefore, if GDP growth falls below 1%, we are not employing all the available talent, and consequently, the country by default would be in a recession -- but nobody agrees with my definition.

The most accurate definition is proffered by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) that frames it this way:

A recession is a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy, lasting more than a few…

The Three Most Crucial Elements To Investing: Discipline, Discipline And Discipline

There's no secret to losing weight. Proper diet and regular exercise are essential, especially for the modern, sedentary lifestyle. But it's so hard because most of us love pasta and chocolate cake. And speaking for myself, exercise stinks. The key, then, is discipline. That means doing things you don't want to do -- like spending 30 minutes on the treadmill -- and refraining from urges that are bad for you.

Investing is the same way. "The stock market is completely counterintuitive," IBD founder and Chairman William O'Neil has said -- more than once. So you haven't bought First Solar yet, perhaps the hottest stock in the market's hottest group, solar power companies. Its last entry was a cup-shaped base, which the stock pushed past over 123.31 in the week ended Oct. 5. It hasn't really tested its 10-week moving average since that breakout, and you're losing patience.What the heck, maybe you should just buy some right here, right? Wrong.

First…

Four Steps to Maintain Discipline in Volatile Markets

By: Nazy Massoud

Have you told yourself, “I know exactly what is wrong and how to fix it, but I can't?”
Have you ever blamed yourself for not having enough discipline to follow your plans?
If so, you are not alone. People think that if you don't have self-discipline, you don't have control. They forget about the fear that creeps in.

If you look at the markets, listen to the news and notice that the Dow Jones has dropped 1,000 points in a span of 8 to 10 days, it is normal to feel fear. You are glued to CNBC, Bloomberg or any other news source, listening to the bad news piling up. They bring in one expert after another with contrasting points of view. You are looking at different securities with good potential, yet their prices are falling down. Nothing makes sense and it is confusing.

You are looking at the screen and wondering what is happening. You are frozen to your screen and cannot move. You think, “Is this really happening? Is this another crash? Am I going to lose a…

Degree holder - is your Income above the Median?

So, you slogged through more than 10 years of your life to get that coveted degree.But are you earning a decent monthly income?Let’s define “decent” as being at least slightly more than 50% of your cohort, or what’s called the median.If you’re getting way below the median, maybe you need to do something about it.Based on data from the latest MOM report on the labour force (for 2007), the median gross monthly income for degree holders in their 30s is $4,880; and that for degree holders in their 40s is $7,000.The numbers are higher for males, by more than 5%. I’m not sure why…The gross monthly income reported includes bonuses, commissions and other allowances that can be construed as income.The following are the median gross monthly income for the various age groups (those for males are in brackets):Age group 25-29: $3,250 (males $3,270)Age group 30-39: $4,880 (males $5,130)Age group 40-49: $7,000 (males $7,580)Age group 50-59: $7,500 (males $7,930)Age 60 & above: $7,250 (males $8,…

Industries with Highest Proportion Earning 5-Figure Monthly Income

Which are the industries that pay the highest monthly salaries?We’ll look specifically at the industries that has the highest proportion of employees making $10k or more in monthly income.The results are derived from recently released data from MOM.At number 1, we have “Financial & Insurance Services”. A whopping 17.3% of employed residents working in this industry are making $10,000 & over in gross monthly income. The income includes all bonuses.In contrast, the proportion of such high earners across all industries is only 4.7%.At number 2, we have “Professional, Scientific & Technical Services”. But only 10.4% here are making 5-figure salaries a month.Coming in close at number 3 is “Information & Communications”, with 10.0% making $10k+ per month.There you have it. The top 3 industries.Does it mean that if you’re in these industries, you’ll have a higher chance of making $10k+? You think so? …Reference: Statistical Table 58, Report on Labour Force in Singapore 2007,…

Bernanke’s Fed

by Jeremy Siegel, Ph.D.

This isn't your grandfather's Fed. Nor is it Alan Greenspan's. This is Ben Bernanke's Fed - a far more dynamic and assertive creature.Last Wednesday, Bernanke lowered short-term rates by 50 basis points, adding to the record 75 basis point drop he engineered on January 22nd. These two moves, barely a week apart, brought the Federal Fund's rate down a whopping 225 basis points -- 43% below where it stood less than five months ago. This is more aggressive than any decline that Alan Greenspan orchestrated during his almost two-decade tenure as Fed chief.Bernanke is acting decisively and preemptively to try to stave off a recession, even though most economic indicators, including the Fed's official forecast, do not predict one. In fact, on the day of the emergency rate cut, no economic news, except for the sharp decline in world stock markets, occurred.Is Bernanke right in moving so precipitously? Or is he caving into to political pressures …

The right time for a conservative portfolio

Age isn't the only factor in deciding when to safeguard your retirement nest egg. You need to assess your willingness and need for risk before you can decide on when to change your investment mix.
By The Mole, Money Magazine's undercover financial planner
NEW YORK (Money) -- Question: My husband and I disagree on when it is time to diversify our retirement accounts. We are 46 and plan to work until full retirement age. Our accounts are invested mostly in mutual funds that are solely invested in stocks.We don't want our retirement nest egg taking a hit from a market downturn at a time when we are getting ready to retire and can't wait for the market to turn back around. At what age or point does one begin to diversify accounts to include bonds? The Mole's Answer: Answering this question is one of the most valuable services a financial planner can provide to their client. The answer is a combination of mathematical probabilities and the much more complex understanding …