Syria Conflict Worries Markets
Renewed worries regarding a possible U.S. military strike against Syria kept global markets lower on Wednesday. The Associated Press reports that despite strong economic indicators, including a strong U.S. manufacturing survey, both Britain’s FTSE and Germany’s DAX fell 0.5 percent. The Nikkei rose 0.5 percent but other Asian markets fell. The Dow closed at 14,810 on Tuesday and is expected to slip at its open on Wednesday.
U.S. Factories Expand at Quickest Pace in Two Years
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that U.S. manufacturing expanded at its quickest pace in more than two years. The latest report from the Institute for Supply Management’s purchasing managers index rose to 55.7 in August, the highest reading since a 55.8 in June 2011. Readings above 50 indicate that an economy is growing. New orders fueled the growth from the July reading. Signs of improvement in Europe and China, combined with growth at home, are part of the overall expansion.
Competitiveness of U.S. Economy Rises
According to the Associated Press, the competitiveness of the U.S. economy is increasing after four years of decline. The World Economic Forum released its survey of competitive economies on Wednesday and ranked the US fifth, compared to the seventh place received last year. Switzerland, Finland, Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom were all in the top ten. Switzerland was ranked number 1, followed by Singapore and then Finland. The top three were unchanged from a year ago.
Domestic Energy Production Supports 1.2 Million Jobs
USA Today is reporting that domestic energy production now supports 1.2 million jobs, directly or indirectly. That number is anticipated to grow to 3.3 million by 2020. New energy’s contribution to U.S. families’ disposable incomes will hit $2,000 per household by 2015. The introduction of hydraulic fracking and horizontal drilling has reached previously unused oil reserves and driven a 58 percent increase in the size of the reserves since 2007. The biggest impact on most U.S. households thus far has been lower electricity and heating bills. Residential natural gas prices, which vary by state, have fallen between 12 percent and 32 percent since 2008.
Microsoft Purchases Nokia to Gain Foothold in Mobile Industry
Microsoft is purchasing Nokia’s phone business with the hope that the combined companies can take on Apple and Google. According to the Wall Street Journal, Microsoft has been working with Nokia for three years but remains a distant third in the smartphone market at only 4 percent. Microsoft generates $70 billion of annual revenue and the integration of Nokia’s 32,000 employees into Microsoft’s 100,000 is not anticipated to cause too much of a challenge. Nevertheless, Microsoft’s shares fell 4.6 percent on Tuesday, ending at $31.88. Nokia has been the dominant maker of Windows smartphones, while other major smartphone makers have devoted their attention to Android.
Catherine S. McBreen is President of Millionaire Corner. McBreen plans and develops content for Millionaire Corner. Catherine balances editorial content to meet the informational needs of both new and seasoned investors. She designs special monthly surveys on topical issues affecting the economic environment.
McBreen has a B.S. in speech communications from Northwestern University and a J.D. from DePail University College of Law. She is a member of the American Bar Association, the Illinois Bar Association, and the Chicago Bar Association.
Well-known for her expertise in the affluent and retirement arenas, McBreen is a frequent speaker at industry conferences. She has been quoted widely by the financial media, including The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Research, Private Asset Management, On Wall Street, Reuters, Bloomberg News, The Dow Jones Newswires and Worth. Cathy has appeared as a guest on CNBC Closing Bell, First Business Morning News, Neal Cavuto at Fox Business News, ABC and CBS radio.
McBreen is co-author with Spectrem President George H. Walper, Jr. of the book "Get Rich, Stay Rich, Pass It On: The Wealth-Accumulation Secrets of America's Richest Families" (Portfolio, January 2008)
Catherine is the mother of four and is involved in many school and community events.