sábado, 5 de abril de 2008
You know, we should have paid a little closer attention to Microsoft's decision yesterday to extend Windows XP sales to "June 2010 or one year after the general availability of Windows 7" -- if the company was really planning on shipping Windows 7 in 2010, that first date doesn't make a lot of sense unless the plan is to ship Windows 7 much, much earlier. And hey -- what's Bill Gates doing telling investors this afternoon that Windows 7 will come "in the next year" and that he's "super-enthused" about it? As far as we know, the official Windows 7 timeline hasn't changed, so Bill might just talking about beta versions, but something's clearly up Windows-wise in Redmond -- perhaps Vista's wow is not long for this now.
sexta-feira, 4 de abril de 2008
from The Kirk Report by Charles E. Kirk
S&P 500: Últimos 5 Dias
No ano, a Dow está com -4.9%, o S&P 500 -6.7%, a Nasdaq -10.6%, e oRussell 2000 -6.8%.
Tenha um bom fim de semana... :-)
Juliana Rangel - O Globo
RIO - Com ganhos de 0,48% nesta sexta-feira, a Bolsa de Valores de São Paulo encerra os negócios com a maior valorização semanal do ano, de 6,6%. Já o dólar fechou em queda de 0,47%, para R$ 1,710, com perda acumulada de 2,45% na semana. O risco Brasil fechou praticamente estável, aos 263 pontos centesimais.
Why does the Fed change the interest rate?
You hear about it a few times a year: The Fed has raised interest rates, or the Fed delivered an interest rate cut after its latest meeting. Excited, you go to your local bank to check out its brand-new rates on car loans. To your disappointment, they're the same as they were yesterday. What gives?
The Fed, formally known as the Federal Reserve Bank, does have a tremendous amount of power. It can just take awhile to trickle down -- which would explain your disappointment over your bank's rates.
Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images
The Federal Reserve Bank is the government-owned bank that controls the movement of money throughout American finance. The Fed actually used to control the amount of money available to circulate. But these days, it has the same effect without having to turn the money spigot on and off. Economists still keep an eye on the amount of money in circulation, called money aggregates. This refers to where Americans are keeping their money.
The aggregates most closely watched are in the form of things like currency and checking accounts, as well as savings accounts and mutual funds. Economists use these as a measuring stick when they make decisions regarding monetary policy [source: FRBSF]. These are the places where money can be most easily spent -- it's easier to write a check than it is to cash a bond. In 2002, the use of this indicator was discontinued as a tool for making sweeping economic decisions.
This makes life for Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke even more difficult. Bernanke's job is among the most stressful in the world. To be a Fed chairman, one must be an "oracle" [source: CNN Money]. Bernanke is responsible for the economic health of Americans -- from the assembly line worker to the major investment banker. With so much at stake, why would the Federal Reserve bother changing anything at all?
Read about the delicate nature of interest rate adjustments on the next page.
The Effects of Changing Interest Rates
The Fed has the power to control interest rates though government-backed securities. These investment instruments can be bought or sold, depending on what the Fed decides. If the central bank wants to lower interest rates, it buys a lot of securities, infusing the banking system with cash (kind of like in the old days when the Fed actually controlled the amount of money on the market). With more money available, interest rates decrease. If the Fed wants to raise interest rates, it sells securities. This adjusts the federal funds rate -- what banks charge one another for short-term loans. The Fed can also adjust the discount rate, which is the interest rate it charges banks for loans obtained directly from the Federal Reserve [source: FRB New York].
Bernd Kammerer/AFP/Getty Images
But why would the Fed want to change interest rates at all, let alone raise them? Because changing the interest rates can stimulate economic growth and fight inflation. It's trickier than it sounds.
There's a lag between the Fed's actions and recognizable results. And time is of the essence when quelling inflation or stimulating the economy, because opposite forces are at work. While taking action may have negative consequences, doing nothing can have a detrimental effect, too.
The average person is interested in real interest rates. "Real interest" is the difference between nominal interest (what's set by the Fed) and the rate inflation. Real interest rates are the ones you get from your bank when you purchase a car or take out a credit card. If it looks like inflation will go up in the future, real interest will be set at a higher rate.
But if the real interest rate is low, the costs of living, doing business and investing are also low. This stimulates the economy because home and car loans are more affordable. If people can borrow more, they'll spend more. Low real interest rates also generally weaken the dollar, which (in the short term) can be a good thing. When the dollar is weak, foreign goods are more expensive, so Americans tend to buy American-made goods. This stimulates the economy even further because high demand for American goods increases employment and wages [source: FRBSF].
So why doesn't the Fed simply keep nominal rates low? The problem is that this also leads to inflation. If a society's demands for a certain good exceed the supply, then the product's price will go up. When inflation increases, economic growth begins to slow. The price of the good increases, and so demand for it wanes. Less demand leads to less production, and eventually, unemployment ensues.
To offset inflation, the Fed must raise interest rates. Since low interest rates generally indicate a weak dollar, the increase in interest rates can strengthen the dollar. High interest rates can attract foreign investors looking for high-yield returns on their investments. This causes more demand for the dollar, which increases its value. Eventually, the increased value of the dollar will ultimately slow foreign investment, since it takes more foreign currency to purchase a dollar.
But the flow of investment can reverse. A stronger dollar has more buying power worldwide, which allows Americans to purchase foreign goods and invest in foreign companies. This puts added pressure on American companies to compete with cheaper foreign products. If the companies can't compete, unemployment rates rise and domestic economic growth decreases. Abroad, U.S. exporters' growth may slow, too, since a strong dollar increases prices for American-made goods abroad [source: FRB Chicago].
So there's a real method to the madness. To learn more about the Fed, interest rates and other related topics, follow the links on the next page.
Lots More Information
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- How the Fed Works
- How Interest Rates Work
- How Banks Work
- How Stocks and the Stock Market Work
- How Recessions Work
- What is the Dow Jones Industrial Average?
More Great Links
- Isidore, Chris. "Why the Fed can't put out the fire." CNN Money. March 18, 2008. http://money.cnn.com/2008/03/17/news/economy/fed_response/
- Sivy, Michael. "The Fed chairman takes a bullish stand." CNN Money. July 19, 2005. http://money.cnn.com/2005/07/19/pf/sivy_greenspan_0508/
- "How does monetary policy affect the economy." Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. http://www.frbsf.org/publications/federalreserve/monetary/affect.html
- "The Fed's role." The Federal Reserve Bank. http://www.newyorkfed.org/education/role.html
- "Strong dollar, weak dollar: Foreign exchange rates and the U.S. economy." Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. http://www.chicagofed.org/consumer_information/strong_dollar_weak
- "How does the Fed determine interest rates to control the money supply?" Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. February 2005. http://www.frbsf.org/education/activities/drecon/answerxml.cfm
quinta-feira, 3 de abril de 2008
Para a taxa de desemprego, a expectativa é que o patamar suba para 5%. No mês passado, a taxa ficou em 4,8%. O índice será divulgado às 9h30.
Neste mesmo horário, o governo divulgará o Payroll e os dados sobre o ganho médio por hora dos norte-americanos. A expectativa é que a renda no país tenha subido 0,3%, mesmo índice verificado em fevereiro.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke testifies before the Senate Banking Committee hearing on the Bear Stearns situation along with Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Christopher Cox, Under Secretary of Treasury for Domestic Finance Robert Steel, and the President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York Timothy Geithner April 3, 2008. (Photo: TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images)
by Frank James
A lot of discussion this morning on Capitol Hill at today's hearing by the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee on the Federal Reserve's engineering of the $30 billion Bear Stears salvation plan (notice I didn't call it a bail-out.)
Fed Chair Ben Bernanke, Securities and Exchange Commission head Chistopher Cox et al are doing as much as they can to paint a pretty dire picture of what might have happened if Bear Stearns hadn't been helped. The crisis, in their view, would've infected the entire, already ailing economy in unpredicatble ways. Well, not entirely unpredictable. They predict there would've been some ghastly consequences.
In short, the financial markets would have gone south quickly if Bear Stearns had been allowed to go bankrupt, which it was only hours away from doing if nothing had been done on March 16-17.
Given the exceptional pressures on the global economy and financial system, the damage caused by a default by Bear Stearns could have been severe and extremely difficult to contain. Moreover, the adverse impact of a default would not have been confined to the financial system but would have been felt broadly in the real economy through its effects on asset values and credit availability.
To prevent a disorderly failure of Bear Stearns and the unpredictable but likely severe consequences for market functioning and the broader economy, the Federal Reserve, in close consultation with the Treasury Department, agreed to provide funding to Bear Stearns through JPMorgan Chase.
For those who say the federal government bailed out Wall Street while doing little for Main Street, Timothy Geithner, president of the New York Federal Reserve Bank had this message:
Absent a forceful policy response, the consequences would be lower incomes for working families, higher borrowing costs for housing, education, and the expenses of everyday life, lower value of retirement savings, and rising unemployment.
In other words, to save Main Street a lot of pain, federal officials had to save Wall Street. They could have let Bear Stearns take the bullet of bankruptcy, but that bullet would have had such a strong velocity it would have gone through the Wall Street firm and torn into millions of innocent bystanders behind it.
Cox of the SEC said that Bear Stearns was in such trouble it couldn't borrow money even when it put up as collateral Treasury bonds that were significantly in excess of the amount Bear wanted to borrow.
In their opening statements, several senators raised the issue of moral hazard, the idea that by helping Bear Stearns be acquired by JP Morgan, federal officials may have created the conditions that future firms might take the risks Bear Stearns did.
But Robert Steel, Treasury Under Secretary for Domestic Finance, indicated that one of the reasons for the low initial $2 a share price for Bear Stearns was to factor in a penalty that would speak to the moral hazard concerns.
Not a whole lot of contention this morning. It's clear most of the senators accept the line of the federal officials that they did what had to be done to save the economy from a massive implosion.
One senator, however, Jim Bunning, a Kentucky Republican, appeared to be out of step with his colleagues. He called the Bear Stearns transaction "socialism" and castigated the federal officials for not allowing the "invisible hand" of capitalism throttle Bear Stearns into the grave.
But his was a minority opinion.
What was the worst job interview question you were ever asked? Good interview questions can help employers judge the technical qualifications, people skills, problem solving approach, and team fit of prospective employees. Bad interview questions do none of those. Instead, they confuse, irk, or offend the applicant (often in combination). Our ten worst job interview questions exhibit one or more of the following characteristics:
|Illegal - Ask about certain topics and it’s “Do not pass Go; do not collect your next paycheck.” Your employer has been advised to reduce its liabilities, and that means you.|
|Useless - questions test trivial knowledge that has no bearing on aptitude or generate pseudopsychological responses that Dr. Phil could bloviate on for an entire episode.|
|Hackneyed - There’s an old saying: “If you’re one in a million, you have 1,000 clones in the People’s Republic of China.” These questions were once original, but they’ve been asked so many times that everyone has memorized ‘pat’ answers to them.|
Here are BusinessPundit’s ten worst job interview questions, along with the characteristics that got them on the list, and some possible rejoinders. Please note that being asked any of these questions should make you seriously consider whether you want to entrust your livelihood and sanity to this organization.
#10 - What interests you about our company?
“Um, I heard you were hiring?”
#9 - Have you ever brought a lawsuit against an employer?
You can’t ask about this or age, race, health/marital/personal/family issues, and arrests, among other things. You have a choice of responses to this one. You can use the old, boring “I don’t think that’s an appropriate question” line, or you can allow the interviewer to save face with something like “No, but I’m always open to new experiences”.
#8 - Why did you take the pen from me?
In this one, the interviewer picks up a pen and holds it out halfway between herself and the applicant, and then silently waits for a response. Eventually the person will ask “what are you doing”, or, more often, take the pen. I would recommend: “When I saw you holding out the pen, I knew what you were doing. Taking it was the fastest way to get the heck out of here. Good day!” If you want to stick around, you can always grab the pen with your thumb and forefinger just above the interviewer’s (ala the old sandlot baseball method for deciding who gets to bat first) and wait for her next move.
#7 - Can you work under pressure?
Who is going to say no? You could answer “I’ve been tested to 12 ft-lbs per square inch”, or if you can completely change the tenor of the conversation with “If I don’t get this job I’ll lose my house, my wife, and the eight third-world children I’ve been supporting will be doomed to starvation. How’m I doing so far?”
#6 - If you were a ‘Lost’ character, which one would you be?
Applicant: “Jack” Interviewer: (Raises eyebrow) “Jack?” Applicant: (Pauses and gazes upward as if in deep thought, and then looks interviewer directly in the eye) “Definitely. Jack. But what does that have to do with being an Accounts Payable Clerk 1?” This is a variant of the old “If you were an animal, which one would you be?” question. If asked that question, you might want to go with Sasquatch, noting that “I read that they are telepathic, and that would make this interview go a lot easier!”
#5 - How do you define sexual harrassment?
“You nailed it! Nice one.” Or if you’re ready to leave “Come closer and I’ll show you.”
#4 - What is the airspeed of an unladen swallow?
Upon further consideration, this could be a valid “team fit” question in certain technical disciplines.
#3 - Do you ever abuse alcohol or drugs?
“I didn’t realize I had to choose”, or the more tactful “You do realize that the people who test body fluid samples are part of the Teamster’s union? They don’t like people cutting in on their territory.”
#2 - What is your biggest weakness?
This question got serious consideration for the top spot, but it’s only the second most likely question to pop up in an interview. All the interviewing tactics books tell you to develop a response that actually demonstrates a strength. Don’t dignify an awful question with a thoughtful response. First, startle the interviewer by saying “I have two”, and then continue with “one, I have an aversion to kryptonite but it doesn’t normally affect my work, and two, you really don’t want me to work overtime during a full moon. Seriously.” You’ll be doing the parting handshake in no time.
#1 - Where do you see yourself in five years?
Possibly a Trifecta if family issues will effect your career planning! Undoubtedly you have either already heard it or you will in an upcoming interview. Depending upon how fast you want to get out of there you can go with: “In mirrors and on YouTube. Unless I’m undead; then only on YouTube.” Or the ever-popular: “Asking you this question as you ‘reinterview for your position’ “ (don’t forget the menacing air quotes). Rubbing your hands together and cackling works nicely, too.
Do you have a worse interview question? A better answer to one of these? Come on! Everyone has a job interview horror story. Let us hear it in the comments section!
O acompanhamento volatilidade não é atalho para lucros fáceis, como é evidente, mas às vezes oferece estratégias e pistas valiosas sobre os ciclos do mercado.
Note que em 2006 e 2007 a volatilidade estava bem mais baixa que o normal, o que sabemos agora ter sido um prelúdio para a reversão.
Dormir é uma das coisas mais complexas que o ser humano faz. Você já se perguntou por quê? Parece que não faz nenhum sentido sonhos desconexos. Entretanto, há razões para isso.
Se você já se perguntou por que as pessoas têm que dormir ou como os sonhos funcionam, continue lendo. Neste artigo, você vai descobrir tudo sobre o sono e o que ele faz por você.
Características do sono
Todos reconhecem uma pessoa que está dormindo:
- a pessoa se deita para dormir;
- os olhos ficam fechados;
- a pessoa não ouve nada e quando ouve, acorda imediatamente;
- a pessoa respira lentamente e num padrão rítmico;
- os músculos ficam completamente relaxados ao ponto de se a pessoa estiver sentada, poderá cair da cadeira.
- durante o sono, a pessoa se move na cama; isso acontece uma ou duas vezes por hora; essa pode ser uma maneira de o corpo não prender a circulação de algum membro ou tecido por um período muito longo.
Leia o artigo completo...
Fases do sono
A cafeína funciona mudando a química do cérebro. Ela bloqueia a ação natural de um componente químico do cérebro associado ao sono. É assim que funciona.
Se você leu o artigo Como funciona o sono, aprendeu que a substância química adenosina se une a receptores de adenosina no cérebro. Essa junção de adenosina causa sonolência ao diminuir a atividade das células nervosas. No cérebro, a combinação de adenosina também faz com que os vasos sangüíneos se dilatem (presumivelmente para permitir que entre mais oxigênio durante o sono).
A adenosina é produzida pela sua atividade diária. Por exemplo, o artigo Como funciona o exercício físico discute como os músculos produzem adenosina como um dos subprodutos da atividade física.
Para uma célula nervosa, a cafeína se parece com a adenosina. A cafeína, portanto, se combina aos receptores de adenosina. No entanto, ela não diminui a atividade das células da mesma forma. As células não conseguem mais perceber a adenosina porque a cafeína tomou todos os receptores aos quais a adenosina se junta. Então, ao invés de diminuir a atividade por causa do nível de adenosina, as células aumentam sua atividade. Você pode ver que a cafeína também faz com que os vasos sangüíneos do cérebro se contraiam, uma vez que bloqueia a capacidade da adenosina de dilatá-los. Este efeito explica por que alguns medicamentos para dor de cabeça contêm cafeína. Se você tiver uma dor de cabeça vascular, a cafeína vai fechar os vasos sangüíneos e aliviá-la.
Com a cafeína bloqueando a adenosina, aumenta a excitação dos neurônios no cérebro. A hipófise percebe toda essa atividade e pensa que algum tipo de emergência deve estar ocorrendo, então libera hormônios que ordenam que as glândulas supra-renais produzam adrenalina (epinefrina). A adrenalina é, sem dúvida, o hormônio do alerta "lutar ou correr" e tem vários efeitos em seu corpo:
- suas pupilas dilatam;
- seus tubos respiratórios se abrem (é por isso que algumas pessoas que sofrem ataques graves de asma tomam injeção de epinefrina);
- seu coração bate mais rápido;
- os vasos sangüíneos na superfície se contraem para diminuir o fluxo de sangue de cortes e aumentar o fluxo para os músculos; a pressão sangüínea aumenta;
- o fluxo sangüíneo para o estômago diminui;
- o fígado libera açúcar na corrente sangüínea para obter energia extra;
- os músculos se enrijecem para se movimentarem.
A cafeína também aumenta os níveis de dopamina, da mesma forma que as anfetaminas (a heroína e a cocaína também manipulam os níveis de dopamina ao diminuir a taxa de reabsorção dessa substância). A dopamina é um neurotransmissor que ativa o centro de prazer em certas partes do cérebro. É óbvio que o efeito da cafeína é muito menor que o da heroína, mas o mecanismo é o mesmo. Suspeita-se que o efeito da dopamina contribui para a dependência à cafeína.
É compreensível por que o corpo aprecia a cafeína, especialmente se você não deve dormir e precisar ficar em atividade:
- a cafeína bloqueia a recepção da adenosina e então você se sente alerta;
- ela provoca injeção de adrenalina no sistema para te dar força;
- e também manipula a produção de dopamina para que você se sinta bem.
O problema com a cafeína são os efeitos a longo prazo. Por exemplo, quando a adrenalina se acabar, você sentirá fadiga e depressão. Então o que você vai fazer? Vai tomar mais cafeína para que a adrenalina volte. Como você pode imaginar, manter seu corpo em um estado de emergência o dia todo não é muito saudável, e pode fazer com que você fique nervoso e irritado.
O maior problema a longo prazo é o efeito que a cafeína tem no sono. A recepção de adenosina é importante para o sono, especialmente para o sono profundo. A meia-vida da cafeína em seu corpo é cerca de seis horas. Isso quer dizer que se você consome uma xícara grande de café com 200 mg de cafeína às 3 da tarde, então às 9 da noite ainda há cerca de 100 mg de cafeína em seu organismo. Você pode conseguir dormir, mas seu corpo vai provavelmente sentir falta dos benefícios do sono profundo. Este déficit se acumula rapidamente. No dia seguinte você se sente pior, então precisa de cafeína assim que sai da cama. O ciclo continua a cada dia.
É por isso que 90% dos americanos consomem cafeína todos os dias. Uma vez que você entra nesse ciclo, tem que continuar a tomar a droga. E pior ainda, se você tentar parar de usar cafeína, fica cansado, deprimido e com uma dor de cabeça horrível, pois os vasos sangüíneos do cérebro se dilatam. Estes efeitos negativos o forçam a voltar para a cafeína mesmo que você queira parar.
Dizem que um dos motivos de tantos refrigerantes conterem cafeína é para que você fique dependente. Da mesma forma que a dependência de nicotina torna o cigarro um ótimo produto para as empresas tabagista, a cafeína dos refrigerantes de cola ajuda nas suas vendas.
quarta-feira, 2 de abril de 2008
Indexes will be pushed about this week by economic data ending with Friday’s unemployment report and amid fresh earnings reports.
The highlight Monday was the drop in oil prices caused by an easing in Iraqi tensions [the Iranians et al know how to push crude prices, eh?] and technical issues with futures contracts. The drop caused precious metals and commodity prices in general to decline sharply. Some asserted this was also due to dollar strength which frankly is ludicrous.
Volume was good on the NYSE but very low on the NASDAQ while breadth was just okay.
You can view “monthly” charts intra-month but that could be misleading since things can change dramatically, especially in this environment. But, it’s a good change to view important market sectors from this perspective since you can step back from all the noise and short-term confusion.
This is a critical week and indexes will get pushed around as usual but the light volume we’re seeing may be tension before the important employment data to come on Friday. It’s hard to imagine that over $1 trillion in credit market losses are “priced in” to current market prices. But, after 35 years of being in the business, nothing would surprise me. Let’s see what happens.
Have a pleasant day.
Disclaimer: Among other issues the ETF Digest maintains long or short positions in SH, MYY, RWM, IWM, PSQ, IEF, USO, UDN, GLD, EFA, EEM and FXI.
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