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Finance

Financial Perspectives With Trey Williams

Association Impact
June 14, 2016 9:52 AM

What’s new in the financial world as it relates to Michigan Associations? Trey Williams, CPA of Maner Costerisan reviews charitable requirements and federal grant recipients. He explains the services of the firm and the differences between audits and reviews. 

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Reports and Announcements for the Week of June 6, 2016

Week in Review
June 10, 2016 2:00 PM

The U.S. created just 38,000 new jobs in May and nearly half a million people dropped out of the labor force, raising doubts about the strength of the economy and possibly forcing the Federal Reserve to scuttle plans to raise interest rates this summer.  The increase in hiring was the smallest since the fall of 2010.  More than half of the nation’s major industries eliminated jobs last month, the first time that’s happened in several years. In another bad sign, temp employment fell by 21,000 and it’s down 64,000 so far this year, the Labor Department said.  In a surprising twist, the unemployment rate fell to 4.7% from 5% to mark the lowest level since the month before the Great Recession began in December 2007

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Wall Street Wrap - Investors turned cautious on the last trading day of the month

Week in Review
June 10, 2016 12:00 PM

U.S. stocks ended mostly lower on Tuesday, as investors turned cautious on the last trading day of the month and ahead of key economic data releases this week. The main indexes ended the month with small to modest gains.

Electric-vehicle makers are swallowing up lithium, a lightweight material that some call “white petroleum” for its use in lithium-ion batteries that power electric cars.  Lithium carbonate prices rose 47% in the first quarter compared with the average price in 2015, according to the most recent available data from data provider Benchmark Mineral Intelligence.

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Wall Street Wrap Up May 30, 2016

Week in Review
June 2, 2016 7:00 PM

Prices for liquefied natural gas have sunk to a 7 year low in Asia as demand has failed to keep up with rising supply from countries such as the US and Australia. The average spot price in Asia for LNG for delivery in May dropped 42.5% year over year to $4.24 per million British thermal units, the lowest monthly average since July 2009, according to Platts.  In the US, benchmark natural gas has been trading about $2.06 per million BTUs, down 17.2% from a year ago.  LNG is natural gas that is cooled to a liquid form so it can be transported by ship.  Prices have recently come under intense pressure in Asia, which makes up 70% of global demand, thanks to a gusher of new supply.  In February, Cheniere Energy dispatched a shipment of LNG to India, making it the first batch of US shale gas to be delivered in Asia.  Analysts have said they expect the US to become a major exporter of gas into global markets in the next few years. 

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ATM Skimming Malware is Getting Scarier

Bottom Line IT
June 1, 2016 8:00 PM

In 2009, malware called “Skimer” surfaced and security firms took notice. Skimer is essentially malware that gives hackers full access to an ATM without needing to install any physical hardware, like a card skimmer. According to a new investigation by Kaspersky Lab, the malware is not only seems in use, but it’s also become more powerful. Kaspersky discovered the latest version of Skimer this month after investigating a break-in at a bank. While the bank found no evidence that it had been attacked, the security firm found that a new version of Skimer had been used and featured improvements that make it harder to detect. This is very scary, because the the Russian-based software makes it relatively easy for hackers to take complete control of any ATM.

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Once Again, Thieves Enter Swift Financial Network and Steal

Bottom Line IT
June 1, 2016 6:00 PM

Thieves have again found their way into what was thought to be a the most secure financial messaging system in the world and stolen money from a bank. The crime appears to be part of a broad online attack on global banking. New details about a second attack involving Swift, the messaging system used by thousands of banks and companies to move money around the world, are emerging as investigators are still trying to solve the $81 million heist form the central bank of Bangladesh in February.

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Reports and Announcements for the Week of May 23, 2016

Week in Review
May 30, 2016 12:00 PM

Sales at U.S. retailers and restaurants grew at the fastest pace in more than a year last month, a sign consumers stepped up spending after a slow start to 2016. Retail sales advanced 1.3% in April from the prior month to a seasonally adjusted $453 billion, the Commerce Department said. It was the best monthly gain since March 2015. Compared with a year earlier, retail sales grew 3%.

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Crooks Go Deep With “Deep Insert” Skimmers

Bottom Line IT
May 28, 2016 10:00 AM

ATM maker NCR Corp. says it is seeing a rapid rise in reports of what it calls “deep insert skimmers,” wafer-thin fraud devices made to be hidden inside of the card acceptance slot on a cash machine. NCR says these deep insert skimming devices, usually made of metal or PCB plastic, are unlikely to be affected by most active anti-skimming jamming solutions, and they are unlikely to be detected by most fraudulent device detection solutions.

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Wall Street Wrap Up May 23, 2016

Week in Review
May 27, 2016 12:09 PM

Energy shares climbed as crude oil prices hit a fresh 2016 high, contributing to a broad rally in US stocks on Monday. The Dow rose 175, the S&P advanced 20 and the Nasdaq added 58.  Stocks on Tuesday essentially erased their gains from the day before after a monthly gauge of inflation showed prices increased last month at the fastest pace in three years.  The Dow fell 181, the S&P dropped 19 and the Nasdaq shed 60.  S. stocks finished little-changed late Wednesday following a bumpy session after minutes from the Federal Reserve’s most recent meeting indicated that “most” of its members are ready to lift rates as early as June.  The Dow lost 3, the S&P was flat and the Nasdaq gained 23. The Dow fell for a third straight session and the S&P erased its gains for the year on Thursday.  The Dow fell 91, the S&P lost 8 and the Nasdaq dropped 27.  U.S. stocks closed higher on Friday as fears of an interest-rate hike ebbed with the S&P and the Nasdaq posting weekly gains, but the Dow extended its losing streak for a fourth week.  The Dow gained 66 to 17,501, the S&P rose 12 to 2,052 and the Nasdaq added 57 to 4,770.

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The Moral and Economic Costs of Inflation

Dollars and Sense
May 23, 2016 2:00 PM

Patrick Heller caught up with Steve Horwitz, Economics Professor at St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York who delivered the second annual Hans and Mary Sennholz Memorial Lecture at James Madison College at Michigan State University. The title of his speech was "The Moral and Economic Costs of Inflation". 

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