UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS AT 5 WEEK HIGH
In a sign that the job market remains sluggish, the number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits rose last week to a five week high. The Labor Department, as reported by the Associated Press, said that unemployment aid rose 10,000 for a seasonally adjusted 383,000. The four week average also increased. Analysts expect the May unemployment number that will be released on Friday will remain at 8.1 percent.
CONSUMER SPENDING INCREASES IN MAY
Major retailers all posted bigger than expected gains in May, especially when compared to a year ago, according to a report by the International Council of Shopping Centers and reported by USA Today. Target reported that its earnings were up 4.4 percent. The Limited indicated its earnings were up 6 percent. Costco was up 4 percent.
DOW LOSES 161 POINTS ON EUROPEAN WORRIES
Strong demand for safe investments in light of the European debt crisis pushed yields on the 10 year US Treasury Note to the lowest yield since WWII. Spain’s borrowing costs spiked to its highest level since moving to the euro and Greece’s future remains uncertain. According to the Wall Street Journal, all of these factors pushed the Dow to lose 161 points on Wednesday to closes at 12,419.
EU THROWS SPAIN A LIFELINE
The European Union provided two critical aid components to Spain on Wednesday, by offering more time to reduce its budget deficit and supplying direct aid to recapitalize its stressed banks. Reuters reports that Spain has been given until 2014 to bring its deficit down to the EU limit of 3 percent of GDP if Madrid presents a solid two year budget plan. The measures were called for as Spain’s borrowing costs rose to 6.65 percent, near their euro era peak. All of this occurred while the EU Commission issued a report recommending greater integration of EU banks and a separation of the banks from the various governmental entities.
HOME SALES DROPPED IN APRIL
The National Association of Realtors said on Wednesday that its index of home sales dropped to 95.5, down from 101.5 in March. According to the Associated Press, this was the biggest decline in a year, however, it is still above the 83.5 level of last year. Experts believe that the mild winter accelerated the traditional spring home buying season thus resulting in higher levels of sales in March.
CLOSING BANK ACCOUNTS IS COST PROHIBITIVE
In a survey conducted by Consumers Union of the 10 largest banks in the country it was found that closing an account to switch to a smaller bank was costly for consumers. The Associated Press reports that Consumers Union, a policy and advocacy group, found that fees ranged from an account closing fee of $25 if the account is closed before a specified period of time to wire transfer fees to move the account balance. Additionally, opening a new account can take a few days or up to two weeks for paperwork to be completed. Re-routing automatic payments and direct deposits may also lead to additional fees. The ten banks surveyed included BB&T, Bank of America, Chase, Citibank, HSBC, PNC, SunTrust, TD Bank, US Bank and Wells Fargo.
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.