Friday, May 29, 2009
Stocks ended a volatile session higher Thursday as the government's most recent debt auction saw solid demand and a rise in oil prices boosted shares of energy producers. Dow up 103 points.
Durable goods orders enjoy biggest gain in 16 months
Up 1.9% in April –vs- March’s 2.10% decline.
Claims for first time Unemployment benefits dropped 13,000 to 623,000 last week.
Continuing claims at an all time high of 6.78 Million.
10 Year Treasury bond rates increased pushing Mortgage rates up:
-30-year fixed-rate mortgages, with fees averaging 5.45% Up this week
-15 year fixed mortgage rates moved up to an average of 4.86% UP
-The average jumbo 30-year fixed rate rose to 6.6% Up
Mortgage applications dropped 14.2% this week- Refinance applications down 19%.
New home sales increased .3% in April. The median sales price fell to $209,700, a 15% drop from this time last year.
The Mortgage Bankers Association reported the largest quarter-over-quarter increase in foreclosure starts since it began keeping records in 1972. Lenders initiated foreclosures on 1.37% of all first mortgages during the quarter, a 27% increase. more than 616,000 mortgages were hit with foreclosure actions.
Mortgage Delinquencies also hit record highs, with the seasonally adjusted rate at 9.12% of all loans.
Gold prices up $8 Thursday to $963.20 an ounce.
Oil prices for July delivery rose above $66 Friday to $66.05.
OPEC decided to keep production at the current level of 25 million barrels a day.
New report shows US Oil reserves down 2 million barrels.
General Motors moves closer to a Bankruptcy filing after making a deal with its bondholders for a 15% stake in the company and the opportunity to buy another 10% at low stock prices.
Fiat may close on the purchase of Chrysler Friday.
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Thursday, May 21, 2009
Join us talking about MONEY!!
Monday, May 18, 2009
Be sure to tune in to 540 WFLA on Friday May 22 from 3-6pm as I sit in for Bud Hedinger on The Bud Hedinger Live Radio Show.
If you are out of the listening area, tune in at www.540wfla.com.
It's our chance to talk about more than money including today's hot topics. If you have some ideas let me know.
See you on the Radio!
P.S. I am also sitting in for Bud on May 28 and 29th! Don't miss the shows.
Friday, May 15, 2009
Key provisions of the most recent version of the bill included:
- Bringing back and extending the grace period to give consumers realistic time to mail payments.
- Eliminate the Universal Default Penalty - I've said in the past that this was the worst scourge on consumers in history, where, if you were late on a car payment your credit card interest rate could double.
- Get rid of teaser rate spikes - 0% to 22% after a six month promotional period should be a thing of the past.
- Cap penalty periods - OK you missed a payment, you pay a higher interest rate penalty. Congress wants your sentence to end eventually.
- Regulate student borrowing - Will they keep credit card companies off campus? Likely not. Too much money to be made by now financially hurting Universities and Colleges. But, those under 21 who want a credit card will have to either prove income or have a co-signer. Credit limits will be capped at either $500 or a percentage of their stated income, and any increases to the credit limit will have to be approved by the co-signer before taking effect.
- Set rules for how banks manage overpayment allocations - If you make a payment above your minimum payment, the card company will have to apply that overage to the portion of the balance that's being charged the highest interest rate.
Bank regulation is the flavor of the day the president wants a comprehensive bill by Memorial Day. So we will get laws. The byproducts will be less credit availability for people who should not be using credit anyway, like young people, low income earners, and people who have low credit scores due to past issues. The real benefit of this bill as I see it is to help consumers extricate themselves from a system they should not be in but, under the current system's rules, cannot get out in one financial piece. The system is designed to squeeze every penny out of delinquent consumers before they go bust and to force borderline credit users into default to boost the profit potential on them as well.
The banks will see lower profits from their credit card divisions as a result of this new regulation, at least for a while. But, to keep the federal bailout funds flowing, it's apparently a trade-off bankers must be willing to make right now.
Monday, May 11, 2009
Identity Theft - Easy Tips To Stay SafeAuthor: Richard Adams
Identity theft keeps on growing at a worrying rate and stories abound of people who have had their identities stolen only to find themselves later getting refused for credit cards, mortgages and the like. The reason, of course, is that someone else has already applied for such things in their name and then not paid them back. You end up credit blacklisted - sometimes literally leading to massive financial problems as you try to explain away the unpaid loans - while the criminal often gets off without trouble because they are so hard to trace.
So what common-sense things can we be doing to avoid this unfortunate situation?
The first and most important element that I personally have implemented is the use of a paper shredder. Use a good quality shredder to destroy any paperwork with sensitive information about you before disposing of it. Good examples of what you should shred include bank statements, receipts, any letters related to your finances (loan offers, credit card statements etc.) and personally I even go to the extra point of shredding anything with my full name and address on.
This means that most envelopes I receive are shredded too, though I believe this small amount of additional time spent on protecting myself is well worthwhile.
Next, try not to give out your details wherever possible. For example, try to stay off mailing lists that may sell your information to other companies. After all, the fewer copies of your full name and address there are around, the less chance there is of someone getting hold of your details for malicious uses.
A common problem that has been outlined in the press is companies ringing you up at home or on your cell phone and claiming they are from a legitimate organization and just need a few details. In the UK at present, this often reveals itself as a cell phone upgrade. A call on your phone tells you that you are entitled to another new phone, they just need to take a few details from you. Typically these people never see a new phone, but many see charges they never expected on their bank statement or credit record. So take care with these details.
Speaking of credit reports, as credit report are so easy and cheap to come by these days, consider getting a copy of your own records just to check them for an inaccuracies. Take note of anything suspicious so you can follow them up. Awareness of the problem - and how to control it - is vital.
Take care when using your details online and ensure that you only enter them into a secure form as evidenced by your internet browser, and regularly check your computer for viruses and spyware that may be keeping a log of all your details as you type them in, posing a risk for the future.
Lastly, be aware that there are now a number of banks and credit card companies that offer identity theft protection. These institutions not only help to offer you more protection but will also assist you in resolving issues with identity theft if and when they occur.
A great first step to protecting your identity is to buy a paper shredder
Stay vigilant during this unprecedented time in our economic history.