Dow slides over increasing tensions in the Ukraine and weak Chinese economic data. The Produce Price Index also falls. The IRS says more Americans filing on their own. BP allowed to drill in Gulf. Number of tattoos increase.
Dow slides more than 200 points
The Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbled 231.19 points, or 1.4 percent, ending at 16108.89. This was the fourth decline in a row, according to the Wall Street Journal, and the biggest one-day drop since Feb. 3. While no one piece of news drove the decline, it is believed that weak data from China and increasing tensions between the West and Russia over Ukraine may be driving the decline. The Chicago Board of Options Exchange Volatility Index, or “fear gauge”, jumped 12 percent to end at its highest level since February.
US agrees to allow BP back into Gulf to seek oil
On Thursday, the Environmental Protection Agency lifted a 2012 ban imposed on BP after it concluded that BP had not fully corrected problems that led to the well blowout in 2010 that killed 11 rig workers and spilled millions of gallons of oil and contaminated hundreds of miles of beaches. The New York Times reported that the lifting of the suspension would mean hundreds of dollars of new business for the company. The agreement requires BP to pass rules on ethics, corporate governance and safety procedures outlined by the EPA. The EPA will appoint an independent auditor to conduct an annual review and report on BP’s compliance with the standards.
Producer prices fall
US producer prices fell in February dropping 0.1 percent, according to CNBC. In the 12 months through February, producer prices increased 0.9 percent, the smallest one-year gain since May 2013. The PPI covers about 72 percent of services, which along with other factors will see it likely tracking closely to the Consumer Price Index over time. Final demand for goods rose 0.4 percent in February. Final demand for services dropped 0.3 percent. The Labor Department said about 80 percent of the decline in its services index was due to lower margins for retailers of apparel, footwear and accessories.
More Americans filing taxes on their own
The Internal Revenue Service indicates that more Americans are e-filing taxes on their own this year. According to USA Today, as of March 7th, nearly 27.4 million people had prepared their own taxes, a 5.8 percent increase over the same period last year when 25.9 million had filed at home. Roughly 34.8 million Americans have had their taxes e-filed by a professional, a decrease of 2.2 percent from last year. Traffic to IRS.gov has decreased 8.3 percent compared to last year. The average refund is up 2.6 percent to $2,969.
Number of tattoos increases
Twenty percent of Americans have at least one tattoo, up 13 percent from 2007, according to a Fox News poll. The number reporting they have two or more tattoos has doubled to 14 percent, up from 7 percent in 2007. People under age 45 are twice as likely as those 45 and over to have a tattoo (31 percent versus 14 percent.) When asked whether they like tattoos, 58 percent of individuals say “no”, however, 64 percent of women under age 35 say “yes”. Six in ten people believe that tattoos make a person less attractive. Only 8 percent believe that tattoos make a person more attractive. Even 10 percent of tattooed Americans say they don’t like tattoos.
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.