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Business / Business Education / Finance / Money / Personal Finance

Opening Bell: 2.22.18

Opening Bell: 2.22.18

Fed Officials Say Economy Is Ready for Higher Rates [NYTimes]
The Fed did not raise its benchmark interest rate at the meeting on Jan. 30 and 31, but the account reinforced investor expectations the Fed would raise rates at its next meeting in March.
The account said Fed officials have upgraded their economic outlooks since the beginning of the year and listed three main reasons: The strength of recent economic data, accommodative financial conditions and the expected impact of the $1.5 trillion tax cut that took effect in January.

Bridgewater’s Dalio sees 70 percent chance of recession before 2020 [Reuters]
Dalio said the U.S. economy is not currently in a bubble. But he reasoned that it might not take long to get there and then to move on to a “bust” phase.
”I think we are in a pre-bubble stage that could go into a bubble stage … The probability of a recession prior to the next presidential election would be relatively high, maybe 70 percent, Dalio said during an appearance at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics.

Ford North America President Raj Nair to step down due to ‘inappropriate behavior’ [CNBC]
The announcement follows an internal investigation into reports of inappropriate behavior, Ford said Wednesday. The inquiry determined “certain behavior by Nair was inconsistent with the company’s code of conduct.”
“We made this decision after a thorough review and careful consideration,” said Ford President and CEO Jim Hackett. “Ford is deeply committed to providing and nurturing a safe and respectful culture and we expect our leaders to fully uphold these values.”

Berkshire’s CEO Succession Heightens Interest in Buffett Letter [Bloomberg]
Themes Buffett may address, along with the company’s future leadership, include the recent U.S. tax overhaul, underwriting challenges affecting the insurance business, and the widely watched health initiative teaming Berkshire with JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Amazon.com Inc.

UK economy lags behind G7 after 2017 growth rate cut [Reuters]
The downgrade of the full-year and fourth-quarter growth rates also raised questions about the strength of the economy as the Bank of England prepares to raise interest rates.
Gross domestic product growth slowed to a quarterly 0.4 percent from a previous estimate of 0.5 percent, wrong-footing economists and reducing 2017 growth as a whole to 1.7 percent, its lowest since 2012.

Companies Could Get More Flexibility to Start IPOs [WSJ]
Securities regulators hoping to spur more initial public offerings are weighing a deregulatory move that would allow all companies—not just smaller firms—to stage private talks with investors before announcing they will sell stock, according to people familiar with the matter.
Congress in 2012 gave smaller companies and some startups the freedom to “test the waters” for an IPO through the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act. A decision by the Securities and Exchange Commission to expand that benefit to all companies regardless of size could help advance SEC Chairman Jay Clayton’s goal to boost the number of public companies.

Goldman Has a $500 Million Army of Little Guys to Buff Its Image [Bloomberg]
So in 2009, Goldman Sachs, facing blowback over the almost $17 billion it set aside for employee compensation, launched the 10,000 Small Businesses program. It pledged $300 million for financing to small firms through community lenders, and another $200 million for training and education. More than 6,700 entrepreneurs have since passed through the program.
It capped off that progress with last week’s event, which it called the largest-ever gathering of small business owners in the nation’s capital. It was an evangelical-like revival that showed the lengths the firm will go for positive publicity.

China cracks down on funeral strippers [NYPost]
As part of the new crackdown, a special “hotline” will be set up for the public to report any “funeral misdeeds” in exchange for a monetary reward, according to news outlet.
It has been a longtime tradition in rural China for residents to hire strippers to partake in bawdy performances at funerals in order to attract a larger attendance of mourners.

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