Politicians in both Greece and the U.S. are struggling to find the common ground necessary to keep their governments from defaulting on their debts; QE2 hasn't ended yet, and already the Fed is considering QE3; and the SEC finally starts to regulate Wall Street's hedge funds.
Despite a steady six-month rally, lots of investors still haven't jumped back into equities. While plenty of official economic reports say things are getting better, these investors are following other signs -- often closer to home -- that say beware.
When a Federal Reserve committee meets Tuesday to consider the federal interest rate, it will likely revise its glum outlook into something brighter. But will it also acknowledge the U.S.'s growing inflation problem?
The U.S. services sector is growing strong, providing additional evidence that the U.S. economy is recovering and might not need more stimulus funding. But that's contingent upon oil staying below $120 per barrel.
Inflation has inched higher in the past six months, but that's not a danger sign, but rather a harbinger of improving economic conditions and a strengthening recovery. And that, in turn, should lead to higher wages and more hiring in the year ahead.
Compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the ECI usually gets little attention from the general media. Here's why it's a statistic worth tracking: Its current tiny increases are helping keep inflation in check and allowing the Fed to stick to its stimulative policies.
While most analysts don't expect a major departure from the December Fed meeting, the voting lineup has changed substantially. Now, Chairman Bernanke has to deal with three new members of the rate-setting committee who have expressed reservations about quantitative easing.
Although retail sales -- share prices -- have rallied back to 2007 highs, retail real estate prices remain depressed. Investors beware: A deeper look at the reasons behind that split suggest harder times ahead for major, publicly held retailing companies.
With corporate earnings season in full swing -- watch for McDonalds, along with Catepillar, Amazon and other -- and with the Fed meeting on interest rates, the GDP estimate and housing numbers coming out -- the week ahead is expected to be quite busy.
The Federal Reserve is doling out billions to buy bonds in hopes of keeping interest rates low and stimulating the economy. However, several powerful forces are working against that low-rate strategy, ranging from investor psychology to global competition for capital.
Debt and government spending are firmly at the top of the new Congress's agenda. And just the threat that the U.S. wouldn't pay its bills has traders worried and wondering if the U.S. could end up on the same chaotic economic path taken by Greece or Spain.
The U.S. economy has strengthened, but not enough for the government to pare down its bond-buying program, according to the latest Fed minutes. In late 2010, investments rose and the job market improved -- but the housing market remained depressed.
Doomsayers insist the recent rapid rise in yields means the nation's creditors are finally getting fed up with financing U.S. deficits. But a stronger argument says the cause is better-than-expected economic reports that have been piling up recently.
Republican leaders may be worried about the Federal Reserve's second round of quantitative easing, but the stock and credit markets are delighted: They've improved significantly since the plan was announced. But can the rally be solely attributed to QE2?