Blog Posts by Stacy Curtin

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    After Friday's weaker than expected monthly jobs report, hopes are high for the Federal Reserve to take additional policy action at its two-day meeting, which culminates Thursday and is topped off with a press conference by Chairman Ben Bernanke.

    Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's economic adviser Glenn Hubbard joined The Daily Ticker to preview the outcome of the meeting.

    "It is likely the Fed will take some action," says Hubbard, who is also Dean of Columbia's Business School and the former chairman of President George W. Bush's Council of Economic Advisers. He points to Bernanke's Jackson Hole speech in late August where the chairman said:

    "As we assess the benefits and costs of alternative policy approaches, though, we must not lose sight of the daunting economic challenges that confront our nation. The stagnation of the labor market in particular is a grave concern not only because of the enormous suffering and waste of human

    Read More »from Bernanke Will Likely Take More Action But the Effects Won’t Last: Glenn Hubbard
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    Teachers in the Chicago Public School District went on strike for the first time in 25 years Monday after 10 months of contract negotiations came to an impasse over health benefits and teacher evaluations.

    "We are concerned that too much of the evaluations will be based on students' standardized test scores. This is no way to measure teacher effectiveness at all," said Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis Sunday night.

    The teacher walk-off in the nation's third largest school district has left families scrambling to find alternative childcare for the roughly 350,000 students who are affected by the strike. The school district plans to keep 144 of the city's 675 schools open on a limited basis with non-union workers.

    Lewis acknowledges that some progress has been made in the negotiations, including putting more than 500 teachers back to work, restoring some liberal arts classes to the curriculum and guaranteeing new textbooks on the first

    Read More »from Chicago Teacher Strike Underscores One of the Most Important Issues of Our Time
  • Why Investors Shouldn’t Lose Faith in Stocks: Motley Fool Co-Founders

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    While the stock market has rallied steadily in recent weeks and months, investor confidence has waned in the wake of a handful of scandals, including MF Global's $1.6 billion loss of client funds, Knight Capital's computer glitch that almost brought down the firm and the Libor-gate rate fixing matter.

    "Not seeing any punishment for anyone at MF Global is a little concerning for investors," says Tom Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool with his brother David Gardner. David adds, "It seems like every week there is another Ponzi scheme being discovered."

    [Related: Jon Corzine: Taken to Task for Excessive Chutzpah]

    In addition to the general distrust of the system, David also notes that a lack of investing education has led to diminished confidence in the markets. The Gardner siblings say they are on a mission to help restore investor confidence. They have marked Sept. 25 as World Wide Invest Better Day and have launched a campaign to "educate,

    Read More »from Why Investors Shouldn’t Lose Faith in Stocks: Motley Fool Co-Founders
  • Home Prices Are Rising But There’s Still No Rush to Buy: Robert Shiller

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    There is more good news for the U.S. housing market. Home prices continued on their upward trajectory in June, according to the latest S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index, beating analysts' expectations by a small margin.

    The price of a single-family home was up 0.9 percent from May on a seasonally adjusted basis and up 0.5 percent from June of last year. It is the first year-over-year gain since 2010 and if you exclude the first-time homebuyer tax credit it is the first year-over-year increase since 2006.

    So is now the time to buy (before prices creep higher)?

    "We seem to have upward momentum...but there are a lot of clouds on the horizon too," says Robert Shiller, economics professor at Yale and co-creator of the widely-followed index. Shiller says there is really no way to know if home prices will continue to rise in the near future.

    The "storm clouds" affecting prices include:

    • The European debt crisis
    • Weakening economies in Asia
    • The so-called
    Read More »from Home Prices Are Rising But There’s Still No Rush to Buy: Robert Shiller
  • Election 2012 Will Be Determined in Next 3 Weeks: Jim Bianco

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    President Barack Obama has a slight lead over presumptive Republican candidate Mitt Romney in a handful of major polls but the next three weeks will decide the fate of the 2012 election, according to Jim Bianco, president of Bianco Research.

    Why? The next 21 days includes major economic, political and market moving events that have the power to sway voters and the election, including:

    Aug. 27-30: The Republican National Convention starts in Tampa, FL.

    Aug. 31: Bernanke gives his annual speech in Jackson Hole, WY. "The Fed always tells us nothing of substance will be in the speech. [But] Last year Bernanke laid out Operation Twist and two years ago he laid out QE2. So, we'll see," Bianco writes in an email to The Daily Ticker.

    Sept. 4-6: The Democratic National Convention starts in Charlotte, NC.

    Sept. 5: The European Central Bank governing council meets. It is expected that eCB President Mario Draghi will outline his plans to do whatever it takes

    Read More »from Election 2012 Will Be Determined in Next 3 Weeks: Jim Bianco
  • HP’s Historic Loss: Can Meg Whitman Save the PC Giant? Can Anyone?

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    HP (HPQ) reported its worst quarterly loss in its 73-year history Wednesday.

    The PC-maker suffered an $8.9 billion loss in its fiscal third-quarter, or $4.49 a share. The hit to HP's bottom line was due in large part to an $8 billion write-off of its 2008 acquisition of Electronic Data Systems Corp. (EDS)

    Excluding one-time charges, HP earned $2 billion in the quarter, down from $2.3 billion a year-ago amid a 5 percent drop in overall revenues to $29.7 billion.

    The company's major PC business slowed in the quarter as sales dropped 10 percent from the previous year. Printer and notebook sales were down 23 percent and 12 percent, respectively.

    HP's stock was down nearly 7 percent in early trading Thursday to $17.92.

    While HP undergoes a major restructuring to offset declining PC sales and fend off growing competition from Asian PC makers, the company's newly minted CEO Meg Whitman remains "confident" HP can maneuver through its difficulties.

    "We are

    Read More »from HP’s Historic Loss: Can Meg Whitman Save the PC Giant? Can Anyone?
  • Shaun White’s Money Advice for New Olympic Medalists

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    The London Olympics are over but the real prizes for many Olympic medalists are yet to come. The money that comes with winning a medal -- $25,000 for a gold, $15,000 for silver and $10,000 for bronze -- pales in comparison to the sponsorships and endorsements deals that will be signed.

    [Related: Olympic Winners: Do They Deserve Tax Breaks?]

    Gold medalist Gabby Douglas became an instant millionaire after winning the all-around gymnastic competition in London. Douglas has already agreed to appear on the Kellogg's corn flakes box in a deal that is estimated to be worth between $1 million and $3 million. She will likely garner many more lucrative deals.

    Meanwhile, swimming champion Ryan Lochte already had a number of endorsements heading into the London games, but is sure to have many more after beating Michael Phelps in the 400 individual medley race. He is also vying to be the next 'Bachelor' on ABC's hit reality series, in exchange for a reported

    Read More »from Shaun White’s Money Advice for New Olympic Medalists
  • Why Apple’s Milestone Is “Not That Amazing”

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    Another major milestone for Apple (AAPL) on Monday when it became the most valuable publicly traded company ever (before adjusting for inflation).

    The tech stock ended the day up 2.63 percent to close at $665.15 a share, giving it a market capitalization of $623.52 billion. The stock is up more than 60 percent in the last year. Its market capitalization has doubled in the last 19 months.

    In early trading Tuesday the stock was up another 6 percent to $671 a share.

    Apple surpassed Microsoft's $616.34 billion market capitalization record set in 1999. However, after Apple eclipsed Microsoft's all-time high, many critics pointed out that Apple's blockbuster-figures have not been adjusted for inflation. Its stock price would need to top $900 in order to exceed Microsoft's record market value in real terms, which has been calculated by some analysts to be $850 billion.

    Apple's achievement is "astounding," says The Daily Ticker's Aaron Task in the

    Read More »from Why Apple’s Milestone Is “Not That Amazing”
  • Housing Starts Jump 20% in One Year: Recovery Ahead, Says Bill McBride

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    July housing starts registered a bit weaker than expected Thursday, raising questions yet again about the state of the U.S. housing market.

    Last month housing starts fell 1.1 percent from June to a seasonally adjusted 746,000, the Commerce Department reported. Construction of single-family homes fell 6.5 percent to the slowest pace since March, but multi-family home construction grew 12.4 percent.

    Despite the slowing month-over-month rate, there's a better way to look at the numbers says Calculated Risk's Bill McBride, a long-time housing bear turned bull at the beginning of this year.

    Single-family starts are up 21.5 percent from 2011 and overall starts are up 17 percent from last year, which is part of the reason why McBride remains optimistic about a housing rebound.

    After four years of some of the weakest housing construction growth in U.S. history (the government began tracking the data in 1959), "a 20 percent growth rate is pretty solid" at

    Read More »from Housing Starts Jump 20% in One Year: Recovery Ahead, Says Bill McBride
  • Clean Energy: Obama Says It’s the Future, Paul Ryan Calls It a Fad

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    Other than Mitt Romney's pick of Paul Ryan as a running mate, the big issue on the campaign trail this week has been U.S. energy policy.

    President Obama wants to extend the wind energy tax credit that's set to expire at the end of the year. The tax incentive is opposed by many Republican lawmakers including his presidential opponents. During an interview with 60 Minutes on Sunday, Ryan eluded to such tax incentives as a form of "crony capitalism and corporate welfare" and he essentially called green energy a "fad."

    During campaign stops last week in Colorado and this week in the battleground state of Iowa, Obama has been touting the benefits of America's bourgeoning wind industry.

    "America generates more than twice as much electricity from wind than when I took office," Obama said in the cornhusker state. "So my attitude is let's stop giving taxpayer subsidies to oil companies that don't need them, and let's invest in clean energy that will put

    Read More »from Clean Energy: Obama Says It’s the Future, Paul Ryan Calls It a Fad

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