Who gets the blame for the slowing economy?

Who gets the blame for the slowing economy?, not an easy question. ECONOMIC alarm bells are ringing: Financial markets have wilted. Forecasters have been slicing their projections for future growth. And some leading wise men — including the megabillionaire George Soros — are predicting a return to disastrous 2008 conditions. That’s almost certainly an overly pessimistic view. But without a doubt, the leading global economies are in a major slowdown. So, who gets the blame for the slowing economy? Not evident is whether another recession looms. While current data suggests…

Stock Buyback Plans Can Backfire

Stock Buyback Plans, Seen as Shareholder Boon, Can Backfire Stock buyback plans are a boon for shareholders, right? That’s been the spin, anyway, as hedge fund activists have pushed corporate managers to spend billions repurchasing shares in recent years. But not all stock buyback plans are created equal, and exhibit A is LPL Financial Holdings, a brokerage and investment advisory firm in Boston. LPL recently completed a $275 million stock buyback spree that was exceedingly costly, increased the company’s debt and wound up primarily benefiting a powerful insider investor. Shareholders typically like repurchase programs because…

Asian Stocks Buoyed by China Stimulus

Asian Stocks Buoyed by China Stimulus as Crude Climbs Above $34 Asian stocks rallied, emerging-market currencies strengthened and crude oil climbed to an eight-week high as monetary stimulus in China brightened prospects for the world’s second-largest economy. European equity futures declined. Benchmark share indexes advanced across most of Asia after the People’s Bank of China cut lenders’ reserve requirements, freeing up funds to help spur lending in the nation. The yuan gained for the first time in eight days and higher oil prices buoyed Malaysia’s ringgit. Copper retreated after a…

Stocks Rise After Fourth-Quarter GDP Revised Higher

Stocks moved higher on Friday after the latest data showed fourth-quarter growth in the U.S. economy wasn’t as bad as feared. The S&P 500 was up 0.38%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.39%, and the Nasdaq rose 0.72%. The second estimate of fourth-quarter GDP was revised up to an annual rate of 1% from 0.7%, suggesting that the U.S. economy was in better shape than expected to close out last year. Economists had expected GDP to be revised down to 0.4% growth. A stronger U.S. dollar and an inventory buildup continued to hurt manufacturing, though, with exports…

Before the market opening

6 things about stocks you need to know before the market opening It’s shaping up to be a feel-good Friday. U.S. stock futures are pointing up and nearly all global markets are posting strong gains. Here are the six things you need to know before the opening bell rings in New York: 1. Calm in China: Chinese stock markets were calm Friday following a sharp, unexpected drop on Thursday. Investors may have been placated by comments from the head of China’s central bank, Zhou Xiaochuan, who said the central bank still has the ability and…

5 things to look for in Warren Buffett’s annual letter to investors

It’s time for another eagerly anticipated epistle from the Warren Buffett. Berkshire Hathaway BRK.A, -0.15% BRK.B, +0.03%  will release its annual report at around 8 a.m. Eastern Time on Saturday, but the main draw will be the annual letter to shareholders from Buffett, the firm’s chairman and chief executive. This will mark the 51st year Buffett, 85, has written a letter to Berkshire investors. His track record — combined with his folksy ability to explain his investment philosophy, long-term strategic decisions and even his biggest regrets — have made the letters a must-read for investors and…