Dow falls below 15,000
For the first time since May 6, 2013 the Dow slid below the 15,000 mark on Wednesday, ending at 14,960. According to the Wall Street Journal, no single issue led to the decline rather it was caused by ongoing jitters regarding when the Federal Reserve may change its policies, the upcoming May employment report, volatility in Japan, and poor European economic data. The market is down 3.6 percent from its all-time high hit on May 21, 2013.
Federal Reserve's Beige Book shows moderate growth
The Fed's "beige book" survey, which is a summary of economic conditions across the central bank's 12 districts, said that the Dallas district has "strong" growth while the others reported "modest to moderate" growth. The Wall Street Journal reports that growth is slowing is the second quarter after expanding modestly at 2.4 percent in the first quarter. Some blame the slower growth on the spending cuts known as sequestration. The Beige Book, however, was optimistic indicating that manufacturing expanded in most districts. Residential real estate and construction were reported as increasing at a "moderate to strong pace" in most districts. The beige book survey is one piece of information the Fed will rely upon when it meets later this month.
IMF Acknowledges Mistakes in Greek Bailout
The International Monetary Fund, or IMF, released an internal report on Wednesday sharply criticizing itself and how it handled its first bailout program for Greece, according to the New York Times. The report says that the severity of Greece's downturn was underestimated and the fund broke three out of four of its own rules. The report also says that the IMF miscalculated whether Greece would be able to go to the public markets and the ability for the country to politically implement the agreed upon measures. The calculations, or fiscal multipliers, used were also faulty. Overall it was indicated that the "troika" which includes the IMF, European Central Bank and the European Commission could have worked together more effectively.
Germany reports slump in manufacturing data
Germany, which has traditionally had the strongest economy in the European Union, reported a steeper than expected 2.3 percent drop in industrial orders in April, according to Reuters. This was the steepest drop since November and economists had anticipated a drop of only 1 percent. Germany still remains the strongest economy in the EU. France, the second largest economy, is suffering from its highest unemployment rate in 14 years.
Mortgage rates rise above 4 percent
For the first time since April 2012, fixed rate mortgages have passed the 4 percent mark, averaging 4.07 percent for a thirty year fixed rate. USA Today reports that while higher rates will slow refinancings they probably will not impact the national housing recovery. Experts expect rates to settle in at the 4-5 percent range for the next 12 months. The slight increase may even cause buyers to rush to purchase in order to benefit from lower rates.
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.