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Nations Economic Health
Nations Economic Health

Federal Reserve Bank Chairman Ben Bernanke said Tuesday that financial education is important not to individual well-being but, to the nation's economic health. Bernanke said in remarks for a Teacher Town Hall at the central bank's headquarters, "As the recent financial crisis illustrates, consumers who can make informed decisions about financial products and services not only serve their own best interests, but, collectively, they also help promote broader economic stability." Teachers need to pass along the essential skills and concepts that students will require to make major financial choices, he said. If students understand that it is important to shop around for a loan to get the lowest interest rate, to review fees and how to contact financial advisers, they are more likely to make good decisions, the Fed Chief said.

Boston Federal Reserve Bank President Eric Rosengren - a non voting member of the Federal Open Market Committee this year - on Tuesday said the U.S. economy is "only treading water" and central bankers need to launch another, open-ended, asset purchase program to spur demand. Rosengren said the Fed should set out to buy a specific dollar amount of mortgage-backed securities per month but not set an end-date until there was a clear improvement in the economy. "My hope would be that the policy would be substantial enough that we actually wouldn't have to carry it on for that long and that we would start to see real improvements in the economy," said Rosengren. He said more QE would boost asset prices and could help the housing market that already has 'some legs'. Rosengren also said he would support trimming the 0.25% rate that banks receive for parking excess cash at the central bank.

Shares of Fossil Inc. (FOSL), Richardson, Texas, soared higher by 32% into mid afternoon trading Tuesday to become the best performer on the S&P 500 Index (SPX) after the watch maker assuaged worries about business slowing in Europe and Asia. In its second biggest decline in history on May 8, Fossil sank by 38% after reporting unexpected weakness in Germany and Korea, its top markets in Europe and Asia, as sales in Italy and Spain turned negative. Across all geographies from the first quarter, sales to department stores and other customers have picked up. Wholesale sales rose 14% in Europe and increased 27% in Asia. In 'strategically identified markets' consisting of China, Japan and Korea, sales surged 29%. Because of increased store openings, retail and other direct-to-consumer sales rose 18% and on a comparable-store basis, they rose 1.8%. Excluding currency conversion impact, the sale of watches rose 23%. Fossil's Q3 forecast fell short of Wall Street expectations as it guided a sales shift to Q4. The company lowered its outlook from its May guidance to a profit range of $5.25 a share toas much as $5.40 a share. “There is a lot of uncertainty and lack of visibility in the global marketplace,” said Chief Executive Kosta Kartsotis, adding that a big part of the reduced profit target came from a stronger dollar that would hurt converted overseas sales. “We feel it’s prudent for us to plan our guidance more considerably. Our brands remain strong and in high demand with consumers. Watch trends remain favorable.”

The U.S. Labor Department reported Tuesday that job openings at U.S. workplaces increased to 3.76 million in June from 3.66 million in May. Job openings rose 16% compared with the prior year, private job openings increased 17% to 3.4 million and government job openings rose 10% to 363,000. When the recession began in December 2007 there were more than 4 million jobs available. In June 2012, with about 12.75 million people unemployed, there were nearly 3.4 potential job seekers for every opening available, down slightly from 3.5 in May. In June 2011, there were nearly 14.02 million unemployed people or nearly 4.3 potential seekers for every available opening. The total number of hires decreased to 4.36 million from 4.46 million with the level of hires about 5 million when the recession began. The number of separations such as quits and layoffs fell to 4.28 million in June from 4.46 million in May.


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Aug 7, 2012


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