Quote of the week. “Popularity: it is glory’s small change.”– Victor Hugo
“Volcker rule” worries Wall Street. Investors frowned last week as the President talked of rules that would bar banks and bank holding firms from getting involved in hedge funds or conducting proprietary trading operations. Crafted with input from former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker and past SEC head William Donaldson, the new regulatory proposal is likely to face stiff opposition from Senate Republicans.1,2
Big gain in leading indicators. The Conference Board’s index of leading indicators rose 1.1% in December, with November’s gain revised to 1.0% from 0.7%. The index, a forecast of future economic activity, rose 5.2% across the second half of 2009.3
PPI up 0.2% for December. That gain was much smaller than November’s 1.8% jump. Core producer prices (minus food and energy) were flat last month.4
Encouraging housing news. While new home construction decreased by 4.0% in December, housing starts were up 0.2% from a year before, marking the first year-over-year gain since March 2006. Building permits were up 10.9% in December.5
30-year loans back under 5%. For the third consecutive week, Freddie Mac measured a decline in average rates on 30-year FRMs: they were at 4.99% last week, down from 5.06% a week prior. 15-year FRMs averaged 4.40%. Rates on 5-year and 1-year ARMs respectively averaged 4.27% and 4.32%.6
A quick pullback. Besides the envisioned limits on bank risk, investors got news of China’s instruction to its banks to raise capital ratios. These factors took stocks south: the Dow closed Friday at 10,172.98, the NASDAQ at 2,205.29, and the S&P 500 at 1,091.76.7
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C.W. Copeland "Your Personal CFO" C.W. Copeland & Associates Lifestyle Management Advisors 3401 Norman Berry Drive Suite 253 East Point, GA 30344 404.567.3275 (direct) 404.601.9534 (fax) www.PhDinMoney.com
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A degreed engineer (in a past life) business owner, business development coach, project manger, and organizational strategist with a strong background in surveillance, ES&H redesign, project management, process engineering, organizational operations, management, business law, and ISO internal auditing. Am an organzing member of NSBE-AE, Organizing Board member Greenwood Festival Chorale, former Omega Psi Phi Graduate Chapter President (Baselius) a former Shelter BOD Chair, a former Regional Chair, former Lander Board of Visitors Member, former Chamber BOD member, as well as many other organizational leadership positions. Owner Spearman Enterprises and Managing Partner Top Flight LLC.