Posts by Nicole Goodkind
The U.S. economy grew 4.0% in the second quarter of 2014, its fastest pace since fall of 2013. First-quarter GDP was revised to negative 2.1% from a previously reported contraction of 2.9%.
So is the economy back in action? Not so fast, says New York Times senior economics correspondent Neil Irwin. "It's a good news, bad news story," he says.
“A big chunk of the growth we saw in the second quarter was driven by inventories,” he says. “That doesn’t really tell you anything about the future, that just means there’s more stuff on store shelves and warehouses which means that maybe growth isn’t going to skyrocket in the quarters ahead.”
Still, Irwin has a solid outlook for the quarters ahead. A contraction of 2.1% isn’t the true state of the economy, he says, “but also 4% isn’t the true underlying trend, and it’s not quite as good as it might sound.”
Irwin predicts that the growth rate for the year will remain between 2%-2.5%. “It’s steady growth, not a recession and not a down-turn, but also not a boom or expansion," he says.
This session of Congress, the 113th, is currently the least productive Congress ever. With only 125 public laws enacted since it began nearly two years ago and an August recess coming up leading straight into midterm elections, it seems like the record for least done is all but won.
“Even by [congress’] terrible standards, they’re going to underwhelm,” says Douglas Holtz-Eakin, former director of the Congressional Budget Office and chief economic policy advisor to U.S. Senator John McCain.
“Our nation has many deep needs for permanent reforms, whether they’re immigration, or education, or entitlements taxes. You look around and there’s big legislation that’s really necessary. Congress is doing none of that,” says Holtz-Eakin, now president of American Action Forum. “They can’t even get the little things done like … the annual spending bills.”
So will this Congress be able to get anything done before the next one starts? Holtz-Eakin has little hope for any big initiatives but he does think there will be some tax extenders, and possibly reauthorization of terrorism risk insurance and the Export-Import Bank.
Athleisure, the fashion trend that swept the nation and hurt jeans retailers nationwide (just ask the CEO of Levi Strauss), is still chugging along. The fad, where teens wear active wear as everyday clothing, now comprises 14.4% of their purchases.
But what do these “athleisure” companies like Lululemon (LULU) and Nike (NKE) do when teens already own their products? According to an article featured in The New York Times this morning, they innovate. High-tech athleisure is now all the rage, and companies are racing to find the next big thing.
- Nicole Goodkind at Yahoo Finance4 days ago
Robot hitchhiker sounds like the name of an old horror movie but today, it’s actually a friendly reality. Two professors at McMaster and Ryerson University have created “HitchBOT,” a robot programmed to hitchhike across Canada, and they’re putting it to the test this summer.
HitchBOT looks like “somebody has cobbled together odds and ends to make the robot, such as pool noodles, bucket, cake saver, garden gloves, Wellies, and so forth,” says one of its creators, Dr. David Harris Smith. The bot is programmed to entertain drivers with its Wikipedia-based knowledge. It also regularly tweets and Instagrams its adventures; so far it has more than 12,000 followers on Twitter and the number is only going up. The robot began its journey in Nova Scotia Sunday and its creators hope it will eventually end up in Victoria, British Columbia-- nearly 4,000 miles away.
- Nicole Goodkind at Yahoo Finance6 days ago
Next week will be huge for the big-macro picture. Tuesday and Wednesday mark the FOMC meeting and statement, real GDP for the second quarter is released at 8:30am ET on Wednesday and July employment numbers come out at 8:30am ET on Friday. Yahoo Finance’s boldest and brightest joined Lauren Lyster to discuss and preview some of the biggest events of the last week in July. Jobs Report: “We got a nice fourth of July surprise to the upside,” says Yahoo Finance’s Shibani Joshi. “We've got the best five-month streak of job creation since 2006.” And economists expect that trend to continue. A Bloomberg survey projects 230,000 jobs were added in the month of July and the unemployment rate is expected to hold steady at 6.1%.
“We just need this to keep riding out,” says Joshi.
- Nicole Goodkind at Yahoo Finance7 days ago
According to a new study by S.&P. Dow Jones Indicies, only two out of 2,862 mutual funds managed to attain top-quartile performance for the five years between March 2010 and current day. One of those two funds was the family-run Hodges Small Cap Fund based in Dallas, Texas.
Yahoo Finance spoke with Craig Hodges, president and portfolio manager of the small cap fund about his success. “We’re doing something that’s become rare in the last five to six years,” says Hodges. “Which is actively managing portfolios.”
Hodges believes that it’s become easier to pick between companies that will provide great returns and those that won’t, but finds that the markets tends to treat those companies as correlated.
In order to make big returns, Hodges looks for businesses with large barriers to entry. “We look for industries that are getting harder to get into—where there’s been a lot of consolidation, where there’s regulation. Cement companies and steel companies, the airlines which have gone from eight big players down to four, the railroads,” he says.
- Nicole Goodkind at Yahoo Finance9 days ago
Two U.S. appeals courts issued opposing rulings on Obamacare subsidies Tuesday -- one in favor of the White House’s Affordable Care Act and the other against.
Obamacare took a hit early Tuesday afternoon when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled that subsidies and tax credits could not be made available for people in states that use the federal marketplace, essentially making the Affordable Care Act unaffordable for over four million Americans. Just hours later, however, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Virginia, ruled that subsidies would be allowed.
“The first thing I would say is, ‘Let’s take a moment to calm down,’” says George Kalogeropoulos, one of three creators of Health Sherpa, a leading Obamacare registration website. “We’ve had dozens of customers calling us panicked and worried that they’ll lose their subsidies. The answer is no, it’s still very early and there are still a lot of open questions about this.”
- Nicole Goodkind at Yahoo Finance10 days ago
Renaissance Technologies, a hedge fund management company with more than $24 billion in assets, has avoided more than $6 billion in U.S. income tax over the past 14 years, according to a Senate committee.
According to the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, Renaissance used structured financial products, known as “basket options” from Barclays (BCS) and Deutsche Bank (DB) in order to reclassify rapid trading gains as long-term capital gains, which are taxed at a lower rate.
- Nicole Goodkind at Yahoo Finance18 days ago
Doom-and-gloom investors are hurting their bank accounts says Howard Gold of GoldenEgg Investing. The phrase 'don't bet against the Fed' proves true according to Gold, "why do people cling to their discredited beliefs and act against their own self-interest?" he asks. Though some pundits claim another Great Depression is around the corner and that gold is the commodity to invest in, the stock market is consistently hitting new highs while gold is trading well below its record highs and nowhere near the $5000 an ounce that some have forecasted. Hyperinflation is nowhere to be found, says Gold. Related: Dow 20,000 is pretty likely: WSJ Editor-in-Chief Gerard Baker
- Nicole Goodkind at Yahoo Finance20 days ago
The American Dream has been a focal point and topic of debate since the financial crisis of 2008: Citizens and politicians alike are asking whether it's time to redefine what success looks like in the U.S.
According to Howard Gold, columnist for MarketWatch and founder of GoldenEgg Investing, the white picket fence and security that hard work can bring is still alive, but it will cost you ... a lot. In a USA Today article, Gold calculated that, for a family of four, living out the American Dream costs just over $130,000 a year.
"This isn’t about being rich,” Gold tells Yahoo Finance. "It’s about providing security and a good life for your children and opportunities for your children... this is probably what a good middle class to upper-middle class life in America would cost."
Considering that the average household in the United States makes $51,371 per year, it seems that the dream is unobtainable to most. In fact, according to Gold’s estimates, only one in eight, or about 16 million, American households achieve this standard of living.