World stock markets soar after big day on Wall Street
After a positive day on Wall Street on Tuesday, the world markets rose Wednesday, with Japan’s index closing at its highest level in seven months. On Tuesday, the Dow closed at 13, 117, up 217 points and the NASDAQ closed at 3039, according to CNBC. European markets are also up on Wednesday.
Four Banks Fail Stress Tests
Fifteen of nineteen major banks passed the Federal Reserve’s stress test on Tuesday, according to the Associated Press. This gives those banks the ability to boost dividends and take other actions to make their stocks more attractive. The positive outcome let the Fed signal that the banking sector is healthy again. The four banks that failed the test were Citigroup, MetLife, Ally Bank and SunTrust. Many of the other banks immediately announced plans to pay dividends.
Jobless rates fall in key election states
While the overall unemployment rate in the US has fallen in the last year from 9.1 percent to 8.3 percent, the unemployment rate has fallen specifically in some key election states. According to the Wall Street Journal, the biggest gains have come in the industrial Midwest in states like Ohio and Michigan. Six of 10 states expected to be closely contested have unemployment rates below the national rate. These key states include Michigan, Florida, Wisconsin, Iowa, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Colorado, Nevada, Ohio and Virginia.
Saudi Arabia vows to offset oil shortfalls while US demand falls
The Saudi Arabian oil minister vowed today to offset any shortfalls in oil supply due to market volatility. According to the Associated Press, his comments were clearly made in the context of any types of disruptions due to Iran. Oil remained around $106 per barrel when it was revealed that the US had a glut of oil due to falling demand caused by high gas prices.
China increases wages causing other Asian countries to follow
In January, China increased its minimum wage by 8.6 percent to $199 per month, according to the Wall Street Journal. This has caused other Asian countries, including Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam, to follow suit. Many of these governments fear the unrest that is occurring in the Middle East and believe raising salaries will help to offset this trend. At the same time, businesses that manufacture in Asia are being challenged. After many moved from China in recent years due to increasing costs, those same issues are now occurring in other Asian countries. Labor costs are becoming an increasing challenge for clothing manufacturers in particular.
UKto offer 100 year bonds
It is anticipated that tomorrow Britain’s finance minister will propose offering 100 year, or perpetual, bonds that continue to pay interest and are not recalled for a very long time. It is believed that these bonds would appeal to pensions and insurance companies that seek security over a very long time. It is not the first time that the UK has offered such bonds, according to the Associated Press. Similar bonds were offered after WWI. Currently, Mexico also offers 100 year bonds.
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.