European Central Bank ramps up response to crisis
On Thursday, the head of the European Central Bank Mario Draghi, indicated that the ECB will do “whatever it takes” to preserve the euro. He indicated that the ECB would re-ignite its bond purchasing program, according to the Wall Street Journal. The ECB purchased approximately $267 billion of bonds from the southern European countries and Ireland, but has not purchased any bonds in several months. The ability of the ECB to print unlimited euros and its pledge to help in stabilizing markets caused stocks to rally on Thursday. The Dow was up 211 points to close at 12,887. Asian markets were positive on Friday, however, European markets are mixed.
Facebook’s shares fell to a new all time low as its first earnings report as a company showed a continued slowdown in revenue and flat profits. The Financial Times reports that a fall in advertising revenues and failure to convert to successfully achieve mobile advertising revenue is behind the poor numbers, especially as the company continues to invest in technology. The company reported an overall loss of $157 million or 8 cents per share. The shares that were offered at $38 per share at the IPO in May closed at $23.84.
Marketers use social media during Olympics
The 11 biggest corporate sponsors have doled out nearly $1 billion for the rights to flaunt the Olympic seal during the London Games via their Facebook and other social media marketing. USA Today reports that it is expected that social media will result in more than 500 billion “peer influence impressions” during the games. The challenge is that users are seeking out info on the athletes and not the marketing brands. But many athletes themselves are using social media and effectively linking it to brands. They are sharing stories, health tips and other content through their marketing relationships. During the 2008 games there were 100 million Facebook followers. That number has increased to 900 million for 2012 along with 6 million Twitter followers.
Madoff trustee soon to pay out $2.4 billon
Irving Picard, the trustee assigned to the Madoff bankruptcy, has asked the judge to allow him to make a $2.4 billion payout, more than double the amount released so far. This payout would be made to more than 1,000 investors. There are challenges, however, including whether investors should be awarded interest on the money deposited into Madoff’s fund. Some believe that investors are owed 9 percent interest while Picard believes they are not owed any interest. If the judge sides with Picard, each investor will get about $2 million per account.
Soda companies seek perfect drink
Coke and Pepsi are attempting to create a soda with no calories, no artificial sweeteners and no after taste, according to the Associated Press. The hope is that this combination will silence health concerns and reverse the decline in consumption of soft drinks. The ingredient, however, that makes soda taste so good is high fructose corn syrup, which is considered unhealthy. The popular sweetener stevia apparently leaves an aftertaste. Soda makers are confident, however, that a “sweetener breakthrough” is achievable within the next few years.
July may be the hottest month on record
With 5 days to go in July, preliminary data indicates that the heat could top records set decades ago. USA Today reports that 1936 was the warmest July for the contiguous United States. St. Louis, Indianapolis, Chicago, Detroit and Denver are all on pace to shatter previous records. In Death Valley, California, the low temperature dropped to 107 degrees after hitting 128 degrees the previous day. The Climate Prediction Center is forecasting more excessive heat for the southern parts of the Midwest in the next few days.
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.