Market volatility gauge at lowest level in six years
The Chicago Board Options Exchange’s Volatility Index or VIX, is at its lowest level in six years, according to the Wall Street Journal. The wild swings that dominated the market during the financial crisis have begun to ease. The VIX measures investor anxiety by looking at prices they are willing to pay for options tied to the Standard and Poor’s 500 stock index. The measure dropped as low as 11.51 on Monday, the lowest level since April of 2007.
SEC charges Illinois over pension funding
The SEC has charged the state of Illinois with misleading municipal bond holders by failing to disclose how it was massively underfunding the state’s pension system. According to the Wall Street Journal, the SEC said Illinois officials, in numerous municipal bond documents, understated how the pension system posed financial risks to the state’s bonds. The SEC settled the case with Illinois without imposing any fines or penalties on the state.
OECD says economic outlook improving, led by US
Reuters is reporting that the OECD believes that the economic outlook in major industrialized economies is improving with the US and Japan leading the way. The Organsation for Economic Cooperation, based in Paris, said its latest monthly leading indicator, which covers 33 countries, was at its highest level since June of 2011. While the US showed the strongest improvement, the Index for Japan also rose. The readings for Italy and France did not decline and Germany’s Index improved. The reading for China indicated “moderating growth”.
Profits of US corporations parked abroad
US tax rules that create incentives for companies to maximize the earnings and holdings of foreign subsidiaries are causing many companies to hold assets offshore. According to the Wall Street Journal, an analysis of 60 large US companies found that together they parked a total of $166 billion offshore last year. That shielded more than 40 percent of their profits from US taxes, but it also made the money off-limits for paying dividends. Each of the companies held at least $5 billion offshore in 2011. Tax rates on corporations are higher in the US than in many foreign countries.
Billionaire Paulson considers move to Puerto Rico to avoid US taxes
Billionaire John Paulson is considering abandoning his native New York City to shield his fortune from US tax collectors, according to the Financial Times. Paulson, a hedge fund manager, who is worth about $11.2 billion, according to the Forbes rich list, has considered Puerto Rico due to new laws which allow new immigrants who have not lived in Puerto Rico for the last fifteen years, to move there and avoid US taxes, as long as they spend 183 days in Puerto Rico. Ten wealthy hedge fund managers have already take advantage of the tax break and relocated. Last year Paulson donated $100 million to Central Park.
Boeing confident it has permanent 787 battery fix
Boeing is confident that its proposed changes to the 787 Dreamliner will provide a permanent solution to the battery problems, according to Reuters. The solution is being evaluated by the US regulators. Boeing continues to see demand for new planes despite the issues with the Dreamliner.
Blackstone bets on residential real estate
Blackstone Group is betting heavily on real estate and is now the largest owner of individual houses in the US, according to CNBC. Blackstone currently owns $3 billion of residential real estate. Blackstone is not buying and selling real estate; it is buying and renting out the real estate. While the real estate market is just starting to re-emerge, Blackstone has become a big proponent of real estate investment in the future because it is “good for America”. Blackstone is also looking at ways to support entrepreneurship through its Blackstone Charitable foundation, another effort to invest in America.
Easter Peeps celebrate 60 years
Just Born, the privately held company that produces Peeps Easter candy, is celebrating the 60th birthday of the famous candy. According to USA Today, the candy industry has been recession proof and last year saw $33 billion of revenue. Just Born will make about 1 billion Peeps this Easter and will use the birthday of the candy as one of the few marketing events it has initiated throughout the years. Just Born recently opened Peeps retail stores in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Minnesota. The company has other candy brands including Hot Tamales, Mike and Ike and Goldenburg’s Peanut Chews. The company has never had an unprofitable year.
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.