World stocks rise on rumors of EU action and US stimulus
Stocks around the world are rising based upon rumors that the ECB may initiate a rate cut and that the Federal Reserve may initiate QE3 or extend Operation Twist, according to the Associated Press. While the markets were disappointed that the European Central Bank took no action after its meeting yesterday, it hinted at a rate cut. Similarly, both the second in charge at the Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen, and the head of the Atlanta Federal Reserve, Dennis Lockhart, indicated that recent economic reports would justify more action to support the economic recovery. Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernanke, is scheduled to visit Capital Hill today and will be questioned regarding the Feds plans to boost the economy. The Dow was up 286 points on Wednesday to close at 12,414. Asia saw some of its biggest gains in several months and European markets are positive.
LinkedIn, EHarmony suffer data breaches
Social networking site, LinkedIn, and online dating service, EHarmony, warned that some passwords had been breached after security experts discovered scrambled files with passwords for millions of online accounts, according to Reuters. The two companies declined to say how many accounts had been breached. The technology news site ArsTechnica reported on Wednesday that a total of 8 million encrypted passwords were published on underground forums by a hacker know as “dwdm” who was seeking help unscrambling them. LinkedIn indicates it will issue new passwords once it is sure the hacker is no longer within the system while EHarmony is ready to issue passwords to those impacted.
China scales back European investment
The head of the China Investment Corp, Lou Jiwie, sees mounting risks of a breakup of the euro zone and has scaled back its holdings of stocks and bonds across Europe, according to the Wall Street Journal. Mr. Jiwie indicated the China Fund will not be an investor in European government issued bonds. Instead it will invest in private equity and venture capital in Europe. The Fund is focusing on Russia, Africa and South America for growth.
Student loans account for two thirds of consumer lending
The Wall Street Journal indicates that a May 31 report from the Federal Reserve showed the largest jump in consumer borrowing in more than a decade. Economists expect another rise when April figure are released on Thursday. The concern is that student loans represent two thirds of all debt while auto loans and credit card balances have decreased. Unfortunately, many student loans are taken out by students who don’t finish school or who can’t find a job. Default rates are higher and 8.7 percent of student loans were are least 90 days overdue at the end of the first quarter. In contrast, 11.3 percent of credit cards were 90 days late, but higher interests rates offset losses. Economists say the numbers released on Thursday must be carefully screened for their source.
Taco Bell to provide Gourmet Mexican
Taco Bell, the purveyor of inexpensive Mexican food, often late at night, is going upscale. According to USA Today, Taco Bell will roll out a menu created by celebrity chef, Lorena Garcia, in July. The new menu will include herb marinated chicken and black beans with cilantro rice. It will also be introducing a new chain called Cantina Burrito Bowl. The changes are being made to allow Taco Bell to compete more effectively with Chipotle and Qdoba Mexican Grill.
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.