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Showing posts from October, 2017

Wall Street closes higher with rise in Nasdaq, tech

Wall Street inched to a higher close Tuesday to end the month with gains, thanks to a rise in tech stocks and another record finish for Nasdaq. The Dow added 28 points to end at 23,377. The S&P 500 rose two points to finish trading at 2,575. The Nasdaq increased 28 points to close at 6,727. The index has closed at record levels 62 days this year. That last time that happened was 1980. The Dow rose 4.3 percent in October, the S&P added 2.2 percent, and the Nasdaq gained 3.5 percent. Apple gained 1.4 percent to $169.04 -- a new record for the company that now has a market capitalization of $873 billion. The firm with the world's biggest market value will have its newest iPhone X model in stores Friday, and may continue to see its shares climb, according to experts. Credits:  Ovunc Kutlu

Trump downplays role of campaign aide after guilty plea

President Donald Trump sought to downplay Tuesday the role of a campaign advisor who he slammed as being a "liar", months after naming George Papadopoulos to be one of a handful of foreign policy advisors. "Few people knew the young, low level volunteer named George, who has already proven to be a liar," Trump wrote on Twitter. But even if only a "few people" knew of Papadopolous, Trump was certainly one of them. A photo posted to his Instagram account on March 31, 2016 shows the American president in a meeting with his national security team. Papadopolous is seated prominently four seats away from Trump. And in an interview with the Washington Post nearly two weeks prior, Trump described him as an "excellent guy" The campaign advisor admitted to lying to the FBI about trying to set up a meeting between Trump campaign officials and the Russian government that reportedly had “dirt” on presidential rival Hillary Clinton.

Federal Reserve Board announces approval of application by First Horizon National Corporation

The Federal Reserve Board on Monday announced its approval of the application under section 3 of the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956 by First Horizon National Corporation, Memphis, Tennessee, to acquire Capital Bank Financial Corp. ("CBFC"), Charlotte, North Carolina, and thereby indirectly acquire CBFC's subsidiary bank, Capital Bank Corp., Raleigh, North Carolina. FRB ORDER

Trump expected to nominate Powell as Fed chair

As expected President Donald Trump will likely announce his intention to nominate Federal Reserve Governor Jerome Powell as the next head of the U.S. central bank. Trump is expected to reveal his choice on Thursday. Stanford University economist John Taylor and current Fed chairman Janet Yellen, whose term expires in February, have also been under serious consideration. Markets are giving Powell an 82 percent chance of winning, according to political predictions website Predictit, which give both Taylor and Yellen less than 20 percent odds. Powell is expected to continue the Fed's current monetary policies which have led to four interest rate hikes since December 2015. But he is also known for being close to Trump on the view that financial regulations are hurting the American economy. "Regulation should always take into account the impact it has on markets," he said at a conference on Oct. 5 hosted by the New York Fed. "More regulation i

South Korea, China aim to repair frayed ties

South Korea and China have agreed to get their relationship “back on track” more than a year after Seoul’s decision to deploy the United States’ Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system. The American anti-missile system, which is designed to shoot down short, medium and intermediate range ballistic missiles in their terminal phase, is aimed at containing a North Korean missile attack. Viewed by Beijing as a security threat, the THAAD issue has prompted both overt protests by China and unofficial economic retaliatory measures such as barring large group tours to South Korea. A statement from Seoul’s Foreign Ministry carried by Yonhap News Agency Tuesday revealed the two sides have “agreed to expeditiously bring exchanges and cooperation in all areas back onto a normal track”. While China still “opposes the deployment,” according to the ministry, “the two agreed to engage in communication on THAAD-related issues”. A day earlier, Foreig

US welcomes KRG leader Barzani's resignation

The U.S. on Monday welcomed the resignation of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) leader Masoud Barzani, pledging to work closely with his successor. "President Barzani is a historic figure and courageous leader of his people, most recently in our common fight to destroy ISIS," State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said in a statement. "This decision represents an act of statesmanship during a difficult period." Barzani announced Sunday he would not participate in the Nov. 1 presidential elections. "As a Peshmerga, I will continue at the service of our people; I refuse to get any extension and will not continue in this position; law should not be amended for me,” he wrote in a letter read aloud during the regional government's parliamentary session. Nauert said the U.S. looked forward to engage with the new Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani, as well as the Deputy Prime Minister, Qubad Talabani. "A strong KRG with

Hundreds of thousands protest Catalan independence move

Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators took part in a massive rally in Barcelona this Sunday to protest against the regional Catalan government’s declaration of independence from Spain. The event was organized by the anti-independence group Societat Civil Catalana, which said more than a million people marched in the protest. But in the deeply-fractured northeastern region of Spain, even counting has become politicized, and local police said around 300,000 showed up. The pro-unity protest with the slogan “we are all Catalonia, common sense for co-existence” comes in response to the Catalan government’s dramatic declaration of independence last Friday. However, for the first time in Spain’s democratic history, the central government in Madrid has activated an article of the constitution that gives it direct control of the rebellious region. Political leaders have now been fired, although the region’s President Carles Puigdemont said Saturday that he does not recog

UK's May speaks out amid lawmaker harassment claims

British Prime Minister Theresa May has called for action after a series of allegations of sexual harassment and impropriety surrounding some of the country's lawmakers looks set to grow. Theresa May has written to House of Commons Speaker John Bercow, asking his office to “assist me in doing all we can to ensure the reputation of parliament is not damaged further by allegations of impropriety". May’s letter came after dozens of lawmakers, including 20 ministers, were accused of inappropriate behavior in a secret list reportedly compiled by party aides, researchers and office staff at parliament. Trade minister Mark Garnier has admitted asking a former assistant to buy sex toys and using inappropriate language to her. Former Welsh Secretary Stephen Crabb -- a one-time contender for leadership of the Conservatives -- has apologized for sending explicit messages to a young woman after a job interview at Westminster in 2013, according to a report by the Sunday

Hundreds protest Myanmar in front of White House

Hundreds gathered in front of the White House on Sunday to protest the ongoing violence targeting the Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar. The nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organizations, Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), Muslim American Society (MAS) and many others took their grievances to the U.S. capitol. Civil society representatives from various backgrounds called on the Myanmar authorities to end the bloodshed and urged the Trump administration to act more effectively on the persecution in Rakhine state as well as use its influence on the Myanmar government. Since Aug. 25, 603,000 Rohingya have crossed from Myanmar's western state of Rakhine into Bangladesh, according to the UN. The refugees are fleeing a military operation and Buddhist mobs that killed men, women and children, looted homes and torched Rohingya villages. "If this is not a genocide, I do not know what is,&

Erdogan, Putin discuss Syria over phone

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin discussed the ongoing civil war in Syria over the phone on Saturday, according to a Turkish presidential source. The two leaders talked about bilateral ties apart from Syria, the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to the media, said. Erdogan and Putin also discussed energy cooperation between Russia and Turkey, including Akkuyu nuclear power plant and TurkStream natural gas pipeline project, the source said. The two leaders emphasized the importance of being in close contact and acting in coordination over the situation in Syria’s northwestern Idlib, the source said. The leaders also talked about a new peace meeting in Astana at the end of October, the source said. Earlier this week, Erdogan said the Turkish military concluded a military operation in Idlib. Under the operation, in line with agreements reached at peace talks in Astana, Kazakhstan

7th round of Syria talks in Astana to begin on Monday

The seventh round of peace talks aimed at ending the Syria conflict will begin on Monday in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana. The talks, which will focus on strengthening the cease-fire that came into effect on Dec. 30, have been brokered by Turkey, which backs the opposition, and Russia and Iran, who support Bashar al-Assad’s regime. The two-day meeting would also address the release of captives and hostages, and humanitarian action on mines, Kazakh Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov said on Oct. 6. The Turkish delegation will be chaired by Deputy Undersecretary of the Turkish Foreign Ministry Sedat Onal, while Special Envoy for Syria Alexander Lavrentiev will lead Russian team and Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Jaberi Ansari will head his country’s delegation, Abdrakhmanov said on Oct 27. Representatives of the Syrian regime, armed opposition groups, as well as delegations from the UN, Jordan and the U.S. will attend the talks, he confirmed. Syria has b

Federal Reserve Board issues consent order against Mid America Bank and Trust Company

The Federal Reserve Board on Thursday issued a Consent Order against Mid America Bank and Trust Company ("Mid America"), Dixon, Missouri, for deceptive practices in violation of section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act related to balance transfer credit cards issued to consumers by Mid America through third parties. The Consent Order requires Mid America to pay approximately $5 million in restitution to nearly 21,000 consumers. Under the terms of the Consent Order, Mid America will be required to refund fees paid by cardholders in connection with the deceptive marketing practices and, for certain consumers, refund the total qualifying payments and waive the remaining transferred balance. Mid America also will be required to take other corrective measures to remediate consumers' injuries, improve consumer compliance programs, and avoid violations of section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act in the future.

The Outlook for Inflation

In the December SEP, the median of projections for headline PCE price inflation in 2016 was 1.5 percent, a bit higher than in September. The median of projections for headline PCE price inflation was 1.9 percent in 2017 and 2.0 percent in 2018 and 2019, unchanged from September. Several participants projected that inflation will slightly exceed the Committee’s objective in 2018 or 2019. The medians of projections for core PCE price inflation were the same as in September, rising from 1.7 percent in 2016 to 1.8 percent in 2017 and 2.0 percent in 2018 and 2019. Figures 3.C provide information on the distribution of participants’ views about the outlook for inflation. The distributions of projections for headline and core PCE price inflation shifted up slightly relative to projections for the September meeting. Some participants attributed the upward shift in projected inflation this year and next to recent data that showed somewhat higher inflation than they had expected. A

A Challenging Decade and a Question for the Future

Moderator: Janet L. Yellen I am delighted to address the National Economists Club, and I am also honored on this occasion to be associated with Herb Stein, whose public service and scholarship--characterized by careful analysis, clear-eyed pragmatism, and sharp wit--exemplified the best in our profession. Herb was willing to consider new ideas and new approaches to government policy, and that openness fits with the subject of my remarks today. Namely, I will discuss the unconventional monetary policy tools used by the Federal Reserve since the start of the financial crisis and Great Recession and the role that those tools may play in addressing future economic challenges. Nearly 10 years ago, with our nation mired in its worst economic and financial crisis since the Great Depression, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) confronted a key challenge to the pursuit of its congressionally mandated goals of maximum employment and price stability: how to support a weakening

Federal Reserve Board announces new members of Community Advisory Council

The CAC is composed of a diverse group of experts and representatives of consumer, workforce, and community development organizations and interests, including from such fields as affordable housing, economic development, labor, small business, and asset and wealth building. CAC members provide information, advice, and recommendations to the Board on relevant policy matters and emerging issues of interest. The new members of the CAC, who will replace five departing members, were selected from a pool of individuals who applied to the Board's public call for applications. Each will serve a three-year term beginning in 2018. The new members of the CAC are: Juan Bonilla Deputy Director Lawrence CommunityWorks, Inc. Lawrence, Mass. Donald Hinkle-Brown President & CEO Reinvestment Fund Philadelphia, Pa. Barb Lau Executive Director Association of Women Contractors St. Paul, Minn. Jonny Price Senior Director Kiva U.S. San Francisco, Ca

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