Financing Strategies ...!!
Here is a collection of finance articles that covers a wide variety of topics for your different needs. Begin with the articles about developing a budget on a debt management plan and the appropriate ways to manage debts.

Whether its customers including

4:09 AM

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, below right, subpoenaed American International Group's credit-default swap data to see whether its customers including Goldman Sachs Group, Societe Generale and Deutsche Bank were improperly compensated with taxpayer dollars.

AIG's Financial Products subsidiary, which sold the credit-default swaps blamed for crippling the company, has been under fire after paying out $165 million in retention bonuses this month while its parent company was taking federal bailouts valued at more than $170 billion.

AIG sold swaps to more than 20 U.S. and foreign banks. After the company was rescued from collapse last year, banks that bought credit-default swaps got $22.4 billion in collateral and $27.1 billion in payments to retire the contracts, the insurer said this month. Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and Societe Generale were among the largest recipients.

AIG Unit Gets Fed Financing

The New York Federal Reserve has signed off on American International Group's latest cash infusion for its aircraft leasing unit, a lifeline aimed at keeping it in business until it can be sold. International Lease Finance, one of the world's largest buyers of airliners, had warned that a failure to come up with new loans from AIG or someone else could threaten its survival.

AIG had loaned $800 million to the unit to cover its March spending. ILFC Chief Financial Officer Alan Lund said that another $900 million AIG loan for April was approved this week by the New York Federal Reserve. The money will be received on Monday; Lund said ILFC has $600 million in debt that will mature two days later. ILFC said in a filing that AIG will continue to offer such loans until March 2010 or until the unit is sold, whichever comes first.

AIRLINES

Southwest Reaches Labor Deal

Southwest Airlines said it has reached a tentative deal that provides raises for its 9,800 flight attendants. The company said the four-year contract was reached with Local 556 of the Transport Workers Union, which represents the attendants.

Details of the terms were not disclosed.

Southwest now has tentative or approved labor agreements with nearly all its unionized workers, including pilots and mechanics.

The union said the agreement for flight attendants included pay raises, an increase in contributions to workers' 401(k) retirement plans and improvements in leave and job security. The union said it made no economic concessions.

Southwest earned $178 million last year, but that was down 72 percent from the year before, and the airline posted losses in the last two quarters of 2008. The airline has been cutting capacity as consumers and businesses reduce travel
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economic recovery bill President Obama

4:00 AM
More savings needed for health care costs

Prospective retirees need to be socking away more savings to cover medical costs, according to Fidelity Investments' latest health care cost estimate.

A 65-year-old couple retiring this year will need about $240,000 to cover medical expenses in retirement, an increase of 6.7 percent from the 2008 estimate.

The cost estimate assumes individuals don't have employer-provided retiree health care coverage, but are relying on Medicare.

Over the last seven years, the amount needed for retiree health care costs soared 50 percent, Fidelity said.

Gas back above $2

Oil prices hit a new high for the year Thursday, and the national average retail price for gasoline rose above $2 per gallon for the first time since November.

Benchmark crude for May delivery rose $1.57 to settle at $54.34 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

In Chicago, the average price of unleaded regular gasoline was $2.16 Thursday, up from $1.93 a month ago and down from $3.42 a year earlier, according to AAA. Nationally, gas prices rose 2.3 cents a gallon overnight to a new national average of $2.009 per gallon, according to AAA, Wright Express and Oil Price Information Service. Pump prices are 10.9 cents higher than a month ago, but $1.252 lower than the same period last year.

Extra disability cash

People who collect Social Security or disability benefits will share $13 billion in federal money, each receiving a one-time, $250 payment beginning in May, Vice President Joe Biden said Thursday.

Recipients won't have to do anything to get the money, which will be sent separately from their regular monthly benefit.

The money comes from the economic recovery bill President Obama signed into law in February.

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who believes that 2009 will be a “dangerous year”

7:55 PM

Robert ZoellickRobert Zoellick, President of the World Bank, and a man who believes that 2009 will be a “dangerous year”, will be speaking on March 31st and has agreed to take questions from Reuters readers.

Zoellick has been outspoken during the current economic crisis predicting the first shrinking of the economy since the ’30s, warning that increased government spending will simply create a ‘sugar high‘ until banks’ toxic assets are dealt with properly, and urging a tougher stand against protectionism.

But the World Bank’s primary focus is on helping developing nations and alleviating poverty. Earlier this month it published research showing that the spreading crisis will push 46 million more people into poverty in 2009 on top of 130-155 million pushed into poverty in 2008.

With the London summit of the Group of 20 nations on April 2nd fast approaching what do you want to know about the World Bank’s role in shoring up the world economy and helping poorer nations? Use the comments section below, or use the #askwb tag on Twitter, and I’ll get as many of your questions to Robert Zoeliick as possible

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The attack occurred shortly after President Hugo Chávez

6:44 PM

Venezuelan prosecutors have charged eight police officers and three other people in connection with a break-in and vandalism in January at Caracas’s largest synagogue, prosecutors said Thursday.

The prosecutors said in a statement that they had asked a court to approve the charges, including robbery, “acts of contempt against a religion” and concealing firearms.

The suspects include a police officer who worked as a bodyguard for a rabbi. Another suspect is one of two security guards on duty during the attack. The guard is suspected of helping intruders by deactivating an alarm and an electric fence surrounding the building.

Vandals broke into the synagogue, Tiferet Israel, on Jan. 31, shattering religious objects, spray-painting anti-Semitic slogans and stealing a computer database with the names and addresses of Jews in Venezuela.

Investigators believe that the assailants had planned to steal a large amount of money they thought was inside.

The attack occurred shortly after President Hugo Chávez severed diplomatic ties with Israel in protest of its military campaign in Gaza, provoking concerns among some Jewish leaders that his fiery rhetoric was encouraging a wave of anti-Semitism.

Mr. Chávez, who condemned the synagogue attack, has repeatedly said he simply opposes Israeli policies toward the Palestinians and holds nothing against the Jewish people.

Venezuela’s Jewish population numbers nearly 15,000.

In late February, assailants threw an explosive device at a Jewish community center in Caracas, but nobody was hurt in the blast. No one claimed responsibility for that attack.
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A.I.G. Sues Government for Return of $306 Million in Tax Payments

7:38 PM

While the American International Group comes under fire from Congress over executive bonuses, it is quietly fighting the federal government for the return of $306 million in tax payments, some related to deals that were conducted through offshore tax havens.

A.I.G. sued the government last month in a bid to force it to return the payments, which stemmed in large part from its use of aggressive tax deals, some involving entities controlled by the company’s financial products unit in the Cayman Islands, Ireland, the Dutch Antilles and other offshore havens.

A.I.G. is effectively suing its majority owner, the government, which has an 80 percent stake and has poured nearly $200 billion into the insurer in a bid to avert its collapse and avoid troubling the global financial markets. The company is in effect asking for even more money, in the form of tax refunds. The suit also suggests that A.I.G. is spending taxpayer money to pursue its case, something it is legally entitled to do. Its initial claim was denied by the Internal Revenue Service last year.

The lawsuit, filed on Feb. 27 in Federal District Court in Manhattan, details, among other things, certain tax-related dealings of the financial products unit, the once high-flying division that has been singled out for its role in A.I.G.’s financial crisis last fall. Other deals involved A.I.G. offshore entities whose function centers on executive compensation and include C. V. Starr & Company, a closely held concern controlled by Maurice R. Greenberg, A.I.G.’s former chairman, and the Starr International Company, a privately held enterprise incorporated in Panama, and commonly known as SICO.

The lawsuit contends in part that the federal government owes A.I.G. nearly $62 million in foreign tax credits related to eight foreign entities, with names like Lumagrove, Laperouse and Foppingadreef, that were set up or controlled by financial products, often through a unit known as Pinestead Holdings.

United States tax law allows American companies to claim a credit for any taxes paid to a foreign government. But the I.R.S. denied A.I.G.’s refund claims in 2008, saying that it had improperly calculated the credits. The I.R.S. has identified so-called foreign tax-credit generators as an area of abuse that it is increasingly monitoring.

The remainder of A.I.G.’s claim, for $244 million, concerns net operating loss carry-backs, capital loss carry-backs, a general refund claim and claims for refunds of other tax-related payments that A.I.G. says it made to the I.R.S. but are now owed back. The claim also covers $119 million in penalties and interest that A.I.G. says it is due back from the government.

In part, A.I.G. says it overpaid its federal income taxes after a 2004 accounting scandal that caused it to restate its financial records. A.I.G. says in part that it is entitled to a refund of $33 million that SICO paid in 1997 as compensation to employees, which it now says should be characterized as a deductible expense.

A.I.G.’s lawyers in the case, at Sutherland Asbill & Brennan, referred calls to the company. Asked about the lawsuit, Mark Herr, an A.I.G. spokesman, said Thursday that “A.I.G. is taking this action to ensure that it is not required to pay more than its fair share of taxes.”
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As Dollar Shrinks, Oil Rises Above $50

7:35 PM

The Federal Reserve’s decision to fire up the printing presses and buy $1 trillion in debt continued to wash over world financial markets on Thursday, dragging down the value of the dollar and pushing the prices of oil and gold higher.

But on Wall Street, stocks slid into negative terrain, a day after they bounced higher in response to the Fed’s surprise announcement that it would purchase $750 billion in mortgage-backed securities and $300 billion in Treasury debt.

Financial shares, which had pulled Wall Street higher on Wednesday, tugged markets in the opposite direction. Shares of Citigroup fell 15.6 percent, to $2.60, as the banking giant announced a reverse stock split. Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo were all lower.

As commodity prices rebounded, shares of companies that produce basic goods like plastics, chemicals and metals moved higher, softening Wall Street’s losses.

The Dow Jones industrial average opened higher but quickly sagged and closed down 85.78 points, or 1.2 percent, to 7,400.8, its deepest decline in a week. The broader Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index fell 10.31 points, or 1.3 percent, to 784.04. The technology-heavy Nasdaq index was off 0.5 percent.

Many analysts hailed the Fed’s latest plan as a bold but risky gambit to stimulate the economy and lower mortgage rates.

“What you’ve done is you’ve created affordability,” said Scott Simon, head of mortgage-backed securities at the Pacific Investment Management Company. “This will make housing bottom sooner.”

Mortgage rates across the country dropped to 4.98 percent for the week ending Wednesday, from 5.03 percent the week earlier, according to data released Thursday by the government-controlled housing giant Freddie Mac.

Unable to cut its target rate any more to try to jump-start the economy, the Fed is now ratcheting up other efforts, like buying securities and essentially printing money, to try to loosen credit markets. But economists said such efforts could lead to long-term inflation, and could drive down the value of the dollar.

“They clearly bit the bullet,” said James Knightley, senior economist at ING Financial Markets in London. “There’s no guarantee that this will actually work. While they are expanding the money supply, it’s only going to generate economic activity if people actually borrow. You need the demand on the other side to actually get the credit growth.”

As the euro, the yen and other major currencies continued to gain ground against the dollar on Thursday, the price of oil — which is traded in dollars — rose $3.47 to settle at $51.61 a barrel in New York, its highest point since late November. While crude oil is still cheaper than its summertime peaks of more than $145 a barrel, prices have rebounded from their lows of $33 a barrel.

The rise in oil prices gave a boost to some energy companies, including Chevron and Marathon Oil.

The price of government bonds, which rose sharply following the Fed’s announcement, fell back slightly.

The Treasury’s 10-year note fell 19/32, to 101 9/32. The yield, which moves in the opposite direction from the price, rose to 2.6 percent, from 2.53 percent late Wednesday.
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FedEx Profit Drops 75%, More Than Estimated

7:31 PM
The FedEx Corporation said on Thursday that it was taking market share from competitors despite a recession that drove its profit down 75 percent.

The company also announced additional cost cuts, including reducing capacity at its FedEx Express and FedEx Freight units, and slashing personnel and work hours.

The company, based in Memphis, reported net income for its fiscal third quarter, which ended Feb. 28, of $97 million, or 31 cents a share, down from $393 million, or $1.26 a share, in the period a year earlier. Analysts had expected 46 cents a share, according to Reuters Estimates.

FedEx said third-quarter revenue fell 14 percent, to $8.14 billion, from $9.44 billion in the quarter a year ago.

“If this is what FedEx can do in really tough times, imagine what they can do when things bounce back,” said Sandeep Kar, a transportation analyst at the consulting company Frost & Sullivan. “They are going to emerge as a lean and mean company that will experience rapid growth.”

Like its main rival, United Parcel Service, FedEx is considered a bellwether of economic activity. When the economy does well, companies and consumers ship more goods; in a recession, package volumes drop.

For the current quarter, FedEx said it expected to earn 45 cents to 70 cents a share, below the average of 72 cents expected by analysts.

In December, the company said it had suspended matching contributions to its 401(k) retirement plan for a minimum of one year as of Feb. 1 and would impose pay cuts for all salaried personnel.

Package volumes at both FedEx and UPS have been hit by the downturn. The Deutsche Post unit DHL closed its American domestic service in January, citing the economic slump and its inability to compete in a market dominated by FedEx and UPS.

Shares of FedEx rose 4.76 percent, or $2.05, to $45.10.
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Millions of Americans are discovering talk isn’t cheap

6:48 PM

Millions of Americans are discovering talk isn’t cheap, at least on their mobile phones.

As the recession deepens, as many as 60 million Americans are cutting cellphone costs, according to a study published Thursday by the New Millennium Research Corporation.

“The true era of cellphone penny-pinching is here,” said Allen Hepner, a scholar with the New Millennium Research Council, in a conference call Thursday.

The survey, which polled 2,005 adults over the age of 18 by phone in early March, found that 39 percent of Americans with traditional, or contract-based cellphone plans were likely to downgrade their cellphone plans to save money. The study also found that 26 percent of consumers with a traditional cellphone plan were considering switching to prepaid and pay-as-you-go cellphone plans due to job losses and concerns about the tumultuous economy.

“A potentially major shift in consumer habits, at the expense of contract-based cellphone service, is underway,” said Graham Hueber, a senior researcher at the Opinion Research Center, a national polling firm that conducted the survey.

About 15 percent of cellphone users in the U.S have already cut back on expensive features and plans because of financial concerns, Mr. Hueber said.

As I reported last month, pay-as-you-go phones are winning over recession-battered consumers looking to cut costs and avoid the lengthy contracts and billing surprises that come with traditional cellphone plans. As prepaid carriers begin offering smartphones and other sleek handsets, the leap from contract to pay-as-you-go may become even more appealing for cellphone users.

The report comes at a time when major wireless carriers are facing considerable hurdles as they struggle to continue growing their subscriber bases.
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7 poin berharga untuk Dompet yang Tipis

5:37 AM

Dalam buku fenomenalnya yang berjudul The Richest Man In Babylon, George S. Clason memberi pelajaran-pelajaran berharga dalam hal keuangan.
Salah satu bab yang layak untuk saya bagi pada Anda ada pada halaman 35, di mana Clason memberi tujuh poin berharga yang ia sebut sebagai “Seven Cures for A Lean Purse” atau “Tujuh Obat untuk Dompet yang Tipis”.
Apa saja ketujuh obat tersebut?
Sebenarnya tips berikut hampir sama dengan apa yang disebutkan oleh Robert Allen, tapi ada beberapa perbedaan - dan yang ini lebih original, karena Clason lebih dahulu menulis tentangnya.


Berikut saya beri ringkasannya untuk Anda :


Obat #1: Simpan 10% dari Penghasilan Anda
Mungkin Anda sering mendengar prinsip ini. Artinya, prinsip ini memang berhasil jika diterapkan :) Anda harus menyimpan 10% dari penghasilan Anda untuk diri sendiri. Jangan berikan 10% tersebut pada saya, penjual mobil, supir taksi, tukang bakso, dan lain lain. Sebagai gantinya, Anda bisa menggunakan 90% dari pendapatan Anda untuk itu semua.

Obat #2: Kendalikan Pengeluaran Anda
Jika Anda bertanya, “bagaimana jika saya tak punya cukup uang untuk ditabung?” Clason memberi jawabannya pada obat kedua: Anda harus membedakan antara keinginan dan kebutuhan.
Dalam bukunya, Clason menyebutkan bahwa apakah seseorang itu penghasilannya tinggi atau rendah, semuanya bisa memiliki dompet yang sama-sama kosong. Karena itu, masalahnya ada pada mengendalikan pengeluaran secara bijak.

Obat #3: Lipat Gandakan Penghasilan Anda
Menyimpan 10% saja tidak cukup. Anda juga perlu melipatgandakan atau meningkatkan pendapatkan Anda. Anda bisa melakukannya dengan melakukan investasi pada bisnis yang Anda suka. Mungkin saja investasi deposito, real estate, bisnis afiliasi, atau hal-hal lain yang mampu Anda lakukan. Intinya adalah, Anda harus memiliki pemasukan yang terus mengalir.

Obat #4: Jaga Uang Anda
Jangan biarkan hasil kerja keras Anda hilang begitu saja. Jika Anda ingin meminjamkan uang, pastikan bahwa orang yang akan Anda pinjami mampu membayar hutang tersebut. Kemudian, jika Anda ingin melakukan kerjasama bisnis dengan orang lain, pastikan ia tahu apa yang ia lakukan. Artinya, jangan bekerjasama dengan orang yang salah atau tidak ahli dalam bidangnya.

Oh ya...dalam salah satu eBook saya, Aturan-Aturan Emas Sukses Finansial, Anda juga dapat menemukan konsep ini. Kunjungi financing-strategies jika Anda ingin melihat konsep-konsep lain.

Obat #5: Buat Rumah Anda Sebagai Investasi yang Menguntungkan
Clason merekomendasikan Anda untuk memiliki rumah sendiri. Rumah Anda adalah harta yang berharga, yang bisa memberi perlindungan untuk Anda, keluarga, dan juga harta Anda yang lain. Jadi, buatlah rumah Anda sebagai investasi yang berharga, sehingga rumah tersebut dapat memberi Anda kenyamanan dan rasa percaya diri dalam usaha Anda.

Obat #6: Amankan Masa Depan Anda
Amankan masa depan Anda sehingga Anda dan keluarga mendapat perlindungan finansial di masa depan. Lakukan yang terbaik pada hari ini untuk mempersiapkan segala kebutuhan masa depan.

Obat #7: Tingkatkan Kemampuan Anda untuk Mencari Uang
Jangan pernah berhenti belajar, selalu tingkatkan keahlian dan pengetahuan Anda dalam bidang Anda saat ini. Dengan begitu, maka pendapatkan Anda juga bisa meningkat, karena Anda akan berkembang menjadi orang yang lebih bijaksana, dan Anda juga akan mampu untuk bekerja dengan lebih baik dalam bidang Anda saat ini. Saya percaya Anda telah melakukannya, karena Anda sedang membaca artikel ini :)

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6:54 PM
Motorola MC5590
Enlarge picture
Motorola has recently announced the introduction of yet another line of devices that fits into the company's EDA (Enterprise Digital Assistants) family, the MC55. The new business handhelds come with Windows Mobile 6.1 and have been rugged so as to be able to withstand drops on the floor or accidental spills of fluids.
Among the devices included in the line we can spot the MC5590, a product that features Wi-Fi connectivity, as well as VoIP capabilities. In addition, it is also reported to include a 2.5G GSM modem, which is able to work on both AT&T and T-Mobile networks. The device should be already familiar to users, as it has already been on sale for quite a while now.

The MC5574 is another handset that comes with the new Motorola line, which is a new device. This product, as is the case with the MC5590, features a QWERTY keyboard, with models that have been specifically designed for Germany or France. At the same time, it seems that the handset can also be packed with a laser bar code scanner or a 2D one, as well as with a 2-megapixel color camera with a bar code scanner.

Motorola MC5574
Enlarge picture
The devices are powered by 520 Mhz processors and sport a 3.5" touchscreen that can deliver a 320x240 pixel resolution. In addition, they also include a MicroSD memory card slot and Bluetooth connectivity, and can provide users with about six hours of talk time. Moreover, the company also offers a comprehensive service and support package that covers accidental breakage.

Furthermore, Motorola's EDA line includes the MC75, MC70, MC9090 and MC35, and now the MC55 handsets. The new devices are more affordable than MC75, which is the top of the line, yet they do not feature 3G capabilities or the VGA screen available on MC75. At the same time, the new products seem to be faster than the MC35, which is cheaper.

The MC55 is priced at $1695-$2035, yet the device is expected to cost much less, given the fact that it is usually sold as part of large enterprise bulk purchase deals, with high discounts. The company has announced that the full line will start shipping by the end of the month.
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12:49 AM
House of Three Joins The Scrapblog Marketplace
The gals from House of Three have hung up their sign in the Scrapblog
Marketplace. Kick up the creativity of your Scrapblog pages by using their super
chic content. These stickers and backgrounds will beg to be used over and over
again in your scrapblogs.

See Them In Action!
Here is just one of many examples of how you can use the various stickers and backgrounds that House of Three offers...

Their Style, Your Creativity
House of Three brings product innovation and excitement that is perfect for creating cards, books and keepsakes that will impress your friends and family. Below are just a few of their super cool stickers, but there are many more available in the Marketplace.

Who is House of Three?
House of Three is an amazing trio of some of the most creative designers in the industry; Heidi Swapp, Rhonna Farrer, and Janet Hopkins. Each designer brings their own unique style to produce innovative art that will spark your imagination.

How do these artists feel about joining the Scrapblog Marketplace?

Rhonna Farrer - "We are so excited to be a part of Scrapblog's amazing Marketplace! Combining the House of Three flair with the ease of Scrapblog is a creative paradise! The House of Three store is filled with coordinating papers and unique stickers to create scrapbook pages, cards & books. Be sure to check out the "inked" or "sanded" edges on your photos for a totally unique and cool touch to your own Scrapblog!"

Janet Hopkins - "Being a part of the Scrapblog Marketplace is such an exciting opportunity for us to really show what House of Three is all about. Our uniquely fresh design style allows the Scrapblog users endless possibilities for all their creative projects...so go and check out all of the fabulous goodies that the House of Three store has to offer. You will be glad you did!"
Heidi Swapp - "Wooohooo!! we are so thrilled that our Scrapblog Marketplace is good to go! We can't wait to get creating and sharing at Scrapblog! We think that Scrapblog ROCKS... and we are totally excited to be a part of it!"
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What's Your Problem?

12:44 AM
Good evening guys,
Yesterday, insurance giant AIG announced a $62 billion loss for the fourth quarter of 2008. 62 BILLION DOLLARS! That's more than Bill Gates' net worth. It would pay A-Rod's salary 2,200 times. To lose $62 billion yourself, you'd have to spend $1 million every day for the next 169 years. AIG managed to do it in just 92 days.
Losses like these cause problems that are going to take a long time to solve. It's easy to poke fun, but failures like AIG have resulted in shrinking stock values and over 2 million job losses in just a few months. With unemployment reaching record numbers, staying employed is going to be a big problem for most people reading this for the next 12-18 months.

See 9 Tips to Survive the 2009 Recession
One of our tips is that you should get certified now. Even if you have a job, updating your resume now will help you bounce back if the worst happens. Right now, PrepLogic has an MCSE training program that can help. I won't go into all the details, our people on the phone can do that better than I can. But it amounts to this; you get complete training for three specialized MCSE certifications, the most valued certification in the industry. And we pay the $125 price for all 10 exams you have to take.

MCSE Video Learning : 1-800-418-6789
Compared to other industries, IT has fared well. The March 3 broadcast of CNN Newsroom had a feature called "Who's Hiring?" They reported that "Information Technology Management Specialist" is the #5 Occupation in Demand according to USAJOBS.gov. There's still strong demand for your skills. But as this recession advances, there is going to be more competition. Both from within the industry, and from the millions of unemployed people who've gotten wind that IT is hiring.
Maybe you've been lucky, only taken a dent to your 401K. Still, the truth is that no job is truly secure this year. Take some time and consider your credentials. Will they stand up to scrutiny? If you're not sure that they will or have any questions about this, give us a call at 1-800-418-6789.

Have a good night,
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The Crisis Of Confidence

12:36 AM
By Colin TwiggsMarch 3, 2009 8:00 p.m. ET (12:00 midday AET)

These extracts from my trading diary are for educational purposes and should not be interpreted as investment or trading advice. Full terms and conditions can be found at Terms of Use.
The key to economic recovery is consumer confidence. As discussed in last week's Shoveling Dollars Into A Bottomless Pit, we are experiencing a crisis of confidence in the financial system. Consumers are not going to revert to normal consumption patterns until their faith in the system is restored. We need to monitor this closely. The best indicators of consumer confidence levels are confidence surveys, retail sales, housing affordability (a combination of prices, mortgage rates, employment and incomes), manufacturing levels, and unemployment.
Confidence Levels
Consumer confidence as measured by the Conference Board is at an all-time low since the start of the series in 1997, while Consumer sentiment is testing the low of 50 from 1981. No sign of a recovery at present.

Retail Sales
The drop in retail sales is the most severe, percentage wise, since the early 1980s. A fall to $150 million would equate, roughly, to the early 1980s twin recessions.
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11:58 PM

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BI cuts 50bps in line with our expectation

11:51 PM

BI cuts 50bps in line with our expectation

  • BI cut policy rates by 50bps, in line with our expectations but more than the 25bps that consensus was expecting.
  • Despite renewed IDR volatility on global risk aversion, we think the growing downside risks to Indonesia's economic activity, as shown by the recent collapse in motorcycle/vehicle sales and much worse than expected export and import growth readings, and easing inflation (8.6% in February) prompted Bank Indonesia to push for another 50bps cut.
  • The accompanying comments look dovish to us, with BI saying that they expect annual inflation to be at the low-end of their 5%-7% range - we are forecasting 6% average this year - and though they expect growth to be at 4%, they see "quite big downside" to its real GDP growth estimate (we are forecasting 3.5% growth this year on expectation of a sharper slowdown in domestic demand).
  • We expect BI will continue to ease towards a terminal BI rate of 7% this year, though downside risks to inflation trends this year could test the policy rate even lower. While we expected that the current 50bps cut will be the last one before they switch to 25bps increments of cuts, the worse-than-expected global backdrop and accompanying dovish statements could tilt BI to frontload the rate cuts and go for another 50bps in April.
    We think BI's view that the pass-thru of IDR volatility on inflation has eased, as well as the country's improved external liquidity position following the US$3bn sovereign bond deal likely emboldened a relatively aggressive easing stance.
  • We don't think the 50bps cut will have a huge impact on IDR spot given that market consensus was not particularly overwhelming, with a few people in the market expecting 50bps as well, and BI has been capping IDR weakness, and should have greater FX reserve ammunition following
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