Labor's Fall -- Not Oil's Rise -- Is Key to Inflation

Despite all the worry over the impact of rising oil prices, recall that the U.S. is now a largely services-based economy, and observe that the rising wages that have led to real overall cost rises in decades past are nowhere to be found today. Exhibit A is in Wisconsin.

Why a Little Inflation Is a Good Thing for Americans

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.

Inflation Warning: Should the Fed Raise Interest Rates?

It's no surprise that consumer prices are rising -- the prices of commodities from cotton to copper are near record levels, thanks to shrinking supplies and rising demand worldwide. The question is whether the Fed will raise rates to combat this price inflation -- and whether it should.

Currency Wars: How Ben Bernanke Outsmarted China

After years of exhorting China to increase the value of its yuan, the currency is finally rising: It has appreciated some 3.5% since June while China battles inflation and works to cool its red-hot economy. Here's how the Fed managed to succeed where political wrangling fell short.

Why Interest Rates Keep Rising, Despite QE2

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.

Markets Are On the Rise Since the Fed Launched QE2

Republican leaders may be worried about the Federal Reserve's second round of quantitative easing, but the stock and credit markets are not: They have improved significantly since the QE2 plan was announced, Bloomberg reported Friday. But can that rally be solely attributed to QE2?

Consumers May Get Hit With Higher Debit Card Fees

New rules proposed by the Fed for debit card transactions may mean that consumers end up paying much more for using their cards, while big retailers save billions. The proposed rules would sharply limit the transaction fees sellers have paid, which could push banks to recoup that money directly from buyers.

Citing 'Insufficient' Growth, Fed Keeps Policy Steady

The Federal Reserve Tuesday kept its current accommodative monetary policy going steadily and continued its program of quantitative easing, saying that the economic recovery is continuing, but the growth rate "has been insufficient to bring down unemployment."

Does the Stock Market Need to 'Take a Breather'?

Stock traders face plenty of economic news this week, and considering how much progress the market has recently made, it could be time for a bit of a pullback. But at least one trader thinks that's just what's needed to create a base for further gains ahead.

U.S. Households Grow 2.2% Wealthier

U.S. household wealth increased 2.2% in the third quarter as stock prices rose and consumers cut debt, according to a new Federal Reserve report.

Bank of America Says It's Ready to Exit TARP

Bank of America has told U.S. regulators that it has met the final condition that was set on its plan to exit the government's Troubled Asset Relief Program. BofA, which repaid $45 billion in TARP funds in December 2009, needed to raise $3 billion in capital by the end of 2010.

Federal Reserve Releases Massive Amount of Bailout Data

The Fed on Wednesday released detailed information about the efforts it took to stabilize financial markets during the recent downturn. The Fed, which is facing increasing criticism from conservatives, defended its actions, and noted that no money was lost on its bailout programs.

The Fed Sees a Slower Recovery and Jobs Rebound

In its latest meeting minutes, the Fed said it now expects the U.S. economy to grow more slowly in both 2010 and 2011, with as many as six years needed to return unemployment to normal levels of 5% to 6%.

The New Bank Stress Tests Show Just How Serious the Mortgage Mess Is

This week, the Congressional Oversight Panel recommended that the nation's big banks be stress tested again, because if problems with mortgage-backed securities are widespread, the consequences could be dire. Now, the Fed has agreed to run those tests, which it wouldn't do if it wasn't worried.

Fed Sets 'Stress Test' Deadline for Biggest Banks

The Federal Reserve has set a Jan. 7 deadline for the largest banks to prove they have the capital to withstand another financial crisis. Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Citibank and 16 others will have to file so-called "stress test" documentation by then.

Why the Fed's Stimulus Only Boosts Emerging Markets

When QE2 is complete, the Fed's bond purchases will have injected $1.7 trillion in liquidity into the markets since 2008 in an effort to boost corporate investment in new production and new jobs in the U.S. Instead, companies are taking cash raised here and investing it in emerging markets.

Daily Blogwatch: Is Google a Monopoly?

Some of the best reads for investors from around the Web, including posts evaluating how consumers spend their money, whether Google could be considered a monopoly and the debate about the Fed's policy on quantitative easing.

Fed Eases Lending Standards, but Small Businesses Don't Bite

The more lenient lending policies enacted by the Federal Reserve last month have so far failed to increase demand from small businesses, indicating that the federal government's attempts to spur the U.S. economy through more aggressive monetary policy may need more time to take effect.

The Fed Tries Again to Buy Economic Growth

U.S. Federal Reserve today launched the second phase of its quantitative easing program, the so-called QE2, saying it will buy up to $600 billion more in long-term U.S. Treasury bonds to help stimulate a U.S. economy that's growing too slowly.

With All Eyes on Election, Stocks Barely Budge

Stocks closed essentially unchanged Friday as mixed economic news and earnings data failed to distract traders from next week's mid-term elections and Federal Reserve policy statement.

As the Dollar Weakens, Commodities Shine

Market watchers lately have loudly proclaimed the end of the dollar, which has left investors looking to stay ahead with a choice of betting on stocks, which have 17% fallen in the last decade, or staying "safe" in very low-yield money market funds. But there is an alternative: Commodities.

China Hikes Rates, and the World Stumbles

China surprised international markets Tuesday by raising key interest rates for the first time in three years. The action, taken primarily for domestic reasons, caused a worldwide sell-off driven by the worry that it could cause the Chinese economy to slow down.