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need to know
Gold jumps to 3-month high as stocks sell off
European stocks drop to 15-month low
Oil sinks again as fears of oversupply persist
Apple supplier Imagination Tech warns of loss
FTSE 100 stuck in tight range after selloff
• Nikkei rises, as Asian markets ponder Fed
Credit Suisse CEO asks for bonus to be slashed
Struggling LeapFrog bought by VTech

Twitter said to plan algorithm for timeline

Randgold raises dividend after record output
Rio Tinto, 5 others quit London Metal Exchange
Moody’s cuts rating on W. Australia iron ore

Fundamentals are no longer relevant for gold
Anglo American CEO: Tough 2016 ahead

Venezuela can’t get Saudis to cut oil production
Only place left to invest if ‘Oilmageddon’ hits
Iran sets crude oil export volumes for Europe
Mark Mobius no longer investing in Petrobras


China’s forex reserves poised for another record drop
China’s foreign-currency reserves drop $99 bln
Will China soon burn through its reserves?
When is China stock market closed for holiday?
Japan's current account surplus quadruples


Tesla earnings: Model 3 spending, Model X sales in focus
Tesla earnings: Model 3, Model X in focus
Disney, Coca-Cola headline earnings week

John Bogle dismisses index-fund 'danger'
John Bogle dismisses index-fund ‘danger’

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In U.S., socialism is no longer a dirty word

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Soros: EU is ‘on the verge of collapse’
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Europe wakes up to the danger of immigration


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as a spirit

How to retire early and still avoid 10% penalty
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3 things to avoid in first 3 years of retirement

N. Korea faces new sanctions after rocket test
North Korea fires long-range rocket
The 6 most corrupt countries in the world


Investors dump stocks, scoop up bonds for 5th straight week
Investors again dump stocks, scoop up bonds
FANG stocks take big bite out of Nasdaq

20 dividend stocks that Wall Street loves the most
The 20 dividend stocks that Wall Street loves most
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All the bad things Hillary Clinton
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Clinton to ‘look into’ paid-speech transcripts
Polls show Sanders nearly even with Clinton
Why do young voters like Sanders so much?

How to know if your tax preparer is a crook
How to know if your tax preparer is a crook

Tax software firm warns of data breach

Four reasons the January jobs report is fishy
Why the Fed is likely to stay put in March
Chicken-little investors, read jobs report

Barron's: Here comes $20 oil
Here comes oil for just $20 a barrel


Morgan Stanley gives up on higher oil prices

Bank stocks have taken enough punishment, UBS analyst says
Bank stocks have taken enough punishment, analyst says

The best biotech plays once sector stabilizes
/conga/frontpage.html 367302

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Price Chg %Chg 1 Day
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/quotes/zigman/33772884/delayed 1,175 +17 1.49%
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/quotes/zigman/2260836/delayed 30.12 -0.77 2.49%
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/quotes/zigman/3173262/delayed 5,738 -110 1.89%
DAX
/quotes/zigman/2380246/delayed 9,050 -236 2.54%
CAC 40
/quotes/zigman/3173214/delayed 4,098 -103 2.44%
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/quotes/zigman/2380150/delayed 318 -7 2.29%
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/quotes/zigman/6959860/realtime 2,507 -3 0.12%
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/quotes/zigman/5986735/delayed 17,004 +185 1.10%
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/quotes/zigman/1859015/delayed 2,763 -18 0.63%
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/quotes/zigman/1652085/delayed 24,287 -330 1.34%
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/quotes/zigman/1709939/delayed 2,623 +65 2.53%
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/quotes/zigman/16008136/realtime/sampled 1.11 0.00 0.38%
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/quotes/zigman/16008150/realtime/sampled 116.73 -0.15 0.12%
Pound
/quotes/zigman/16008140/realtime/sampled 1.44 -0.01 0.68%
Australia$
/quotes/zigman/16008115/realtime/sampled 0.71 +0.00 0.25%
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/quotes/zigman/1652083/delayed 97.15 +0.11 0.11%
WSJ $ Idx
/quotes/zigman/41508961/realtime 89.98 +0.17 0.19%
U.S. 10yr
/quotes/zigman/15866666/realtime 1.83 -0.01 0.47%
German 10y
/quotes/zigman/15866409/realtime 0.26 -0.04 14.01%
Italy 10yr
/quotes/zigman/15866497/realtime 1.58 +0.02 1.47%
Spain 10yr
/quotes/zigman/15866444/realtime 1.68 +0.03 2.08%
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GOOG /quotes/zigman/59527964/composite 683.57 -24.44 -3.45%
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C /quotes/zigman/5065548/composite 39.86 -0.93 -2.28%
F /quotes/zigman/264304/composite 11.45 -0.08 -0.69%
T /quotes/zigman/398198/composite 36.88 0.35 0.96%
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Rates »

5 yr CD
1.3%
2 yr CD
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MMA $10K+
0.2%
MMA $50K+
0.4%

National averages from Bankrate.com

You Don’t Need Another Credit Card, You Need A Better One.
Avg. APR Last Week 6 Months
Low Interest 11.96% 11.88% 11.62%
Business 13.12% 13.11% 12.85%
Student 13.42% 13.42% 13.14%
Balance Transfer 14.35% 14.30% 14.12%
Airline 15.17% 15.16% 15.10%
Cash Back 15.26% 15.23% 15.27%
Reward 15.28% 15.25% 15.14%
Instant Approval 18.21% 18.18% 18.00%
Bad Credit 22.88% 22.88% 22.73%
Source:CreditCards.com

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Encore
A blog about living in and planning for retirement

Pensions Facing More Changes Than You Think

Alicia Munnell, the director of the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, is a weekly contributor to “Encore.

A recent press story highlighted proposed pension cuts in San Diego and San Jose, California as pioneering efforts to rein in pension costs. These cuts were deemed newsworthy because they reduced future benefits for current participants, an action which at the beginning of the financial crisis was thought to have been impossible under most state laws. In fact, the San Diego and San Jose actions are consistent with developments in a number of other states where sponsors have recognized that they need the freedom to adjust future benefits to solve their pension funding problems.

How benefit promises have actually played out in the public sector in the wake of the financial crisis is an interesting story. On the one hand, public plan participants were thought to have a higher degree of protection than their private sector counter­parts. Whereas the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) protects private sector benefits earned to date, it does not prohibit changes in future benefits for current workers. In contrast, in many states the constitution prescribes or the courts have ruled that the public employer is prohibited from modifying the plan. This prohibition means that employees hired under a public retirement plan have the right to earn benefits as long as their employment continues. Thus if the employer wants to reduce the future accruals of ben­efits, such a change usually applies only to new hires.

On the other hand, in the wake of the financial crisis, in many instances the “pension wealth” of both current employees and retirees has been reduced. The most direct way this reduction has occurred for current workers is through increases in required employee contributions. Such increases were possible because, while constitutions and state laws preclude benefit changes, they usually place no restrictions on how much the state can ask the employee to pay. Thus the employee continues to accrue the expected benefit, but the net contribution from the employer has been reduced.

The diminution of employer-provided benefits has not been limited to active workers. In some states, retirees have seen the reduction or suspension of their cost-of-living-adjustments (COLAs). In four states – Colorado, Minnesota, New Jersey, and South Dakota – the suspension has been challenged in court and the court upheld the change. The judges tend to argue that the COLA is separate from the core promised benefits, that retirees knew that the COLA was subject to change, and that the COLA suspension was necessary to prevent the long-term fiscal deterioration of the pension plan. In three states – Maine, Rhode Island, and Washington – suspensions have been put in place, and challenges are in court.

If one perceives the COLA as an integral part of the benefit, then the suspension would violate the ERISA provisions, which protect all benefits earned to date. Of course, almost no private sector defined benefit plans have COLAs, so a direct comparison is not possible.

Finally, both New Jersey and Rhode Island have cut benefits across the board for current employees. These cuts are currently being challenged in court.

The key point is that plan sponsors need to be able to cut future benefits for current employees. State constitutions and case law make this difficult. Nevertheless, a number of states have ploughed ahead and made changes, hoping the courts will uphold them based on the fiscal necessity to control benefit costs. So more reining in of benefits is going on than observers generally perceive.

Comments

We welcome thoughtful comments from readers. Please comply with our guidelines. Our blogs do not require the use of your real name.

Comments (5 of 9)

View all Comments »
    • Can Someone Please Spell BANKRUPTCY ???

    • Quoting Justin …”Public employees should pay 50% of the costs of the pension. No more and no less”

      Wrong. The goal should be equal Public vs Private Sector Total compensation (cash pay + pensions + benefits). Currently, cash pay is very close in both sectors, but pensions and benefits are FAR FAR greater in the Public Sector. With equal cash pay, Taxpayers should pay no more towards Public Sector worker pensions than they get from their employers …. which is typically 3-5% of pay into a 401K Plan.

      With the TYPICAL Public Sector Plan requiring a level annual 30% of pay (50% of pay for the richer Plans of Police officers) to fully fund the pension over the working career of the employee, there is ZERO justification for Taxpayers to pay half of that high percentage.

      If Public Sector workers want such VERY rich Pensions THEY (NOT Taxpayers) should fund the entire amount greater than the 3-5% of pay that Private Sector Taxpayers typically get from their employers.

    • The sad fact is that current taxpayers are stuck paying for work that was done many year ago. All cost and no benefit.
      When public workers complain about contract rules, they don’t realize that their position will have to lead to two-tier benefit rules, and then to removing the expensive first tier employees. It is inevitable that many govt employees will have to face this choice.

    • So instead of being a nation based on laws, we are now a country that goes which ever way the wind blows. Contracts, and legally enforceable negotiations no longer mean what was agreed on by the parties. That my friends is a very slippery slope. If past employment and benefit contracts can be voided or alerted in the future where will it end. Soon a car dealer who begins to lose money will see fit to come to you and demand more money saying he didn’t negotiate the correct price at the bargaining table. Or the Doctor who has been treating your cancer says his past treatments are not covering his future costs so you’ll need to pay more, not only for the treatments in the past, but future ones too.
      We are a nation of laws for reasons of clarity, guidance and sanity. Otherwise chaos and anarchy rules. Public employees should pay 50% of the costs of the pension. No more and no less. Vesting in a pension systems should only occur after 10 years of actual service and miminum retirement ages should mirror community standards.
      Altering pensions, ones promised, earned and relied upon after 20, 30 or more years of service is wrong and everyone knows it, in their heart and in their head.

    • Quoting SeanN … “And what’s the primary reason those pensions are in trouble? Underfunding by state legislators (they failed to make actuarially required payments)”

      That statement taken by itself is the tail waging the dog.

      Not stated (because it would conflict the the writer’s agenda) is the ROOT cause of WHY full funding was not made …. because ALL Public Sector pensions (when compared to those of their Private Sector counterparts) are excessively generous (the taxpayer paid-for share of which is ROUTINELY 2, 4 even 6 times for safety workers, greater in value at retirement) ….. and THEREFORE extremely costly and difficult to fully fund.

      And …. under typical cost-sharing, the workers’ contributions (including all the investment earnings thereon) rarely pay for more than 10-20% of total Plan costs.

      With Public Sector workers earning no less in cash pay, there is ZERO justification for ANY greater pensions let alone ones that are multiples greater. Equal cash pay plus (the MUCH) greater pensions results in significant overcompensation. This is not necessary to attract and retain a qualified workforce and is grossly unfair to Taxpayers.

      Bottom line …… the excessive Plan benefits and the 80-90% cost share allocated to Taxpayers makes these Plans impossible to fully fund in the absence of stratospheric
      investment returns.

About Encore

  • Encore examines the changing nature of retirement, from new rules and guidelines for financial security to the shifting identities and priorities of today’s retirees. The blog also explores news that affects retirement, from the Wall Street Journal Digital Network and around the web. Lead bloggers are reporter Catey Hill and senior editor Jeremy Olshan. Other contributors include The Wall Street Journal’s retirement columnists Glenn Ruffenach and Anne Tergesen; the Director for the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, Alicia Munnell; and the Director of Research for Pinnacle Advisory Group, Michael Kitces, CFP.

MarketWatch - Stock Market Quotes, Business News, Financial News
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need to know
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/conga/frontpage.html 367302

Markets »

139.01MDow Volume:
Avg Vol: 128.61M
Unchanged
165
Decliners
4918
Advancers
1419
Price Chg %Chg 1 Day
Range: 1 Day
  • 1 Day
  • 5 Days
  • 1 Month
  • 3 Months
  • 6 Months
  • 1 Year
  • 2 Years
Dow
/quotes/zigman/627449/realtime 16,205 -212 1.29%
Nasdaq
/quotes/zigman/12633936/realtime 4,363 -146 3.25%
S&P 500
/quotes/zigman/3870025/realtime 1,880 -35 1.85%
GlobalDow
/quotes/zigman/629063/realtime 2,125 -14 0.65%
Gold
/quotes/zigman/33772884/delayed 1,175 +17 1.49%
Oil
/quotes/zigman/2260836/delayed 30.12 -0.77 2.49%
FTSE 100
/quotes/zigman/3173262/delayed 5,738 -111 1.89%
DAX
/quotes/zigman/2380246/delayed 9,050 -236 2.54%
CAC 40
/quotes/zigman/3173214/delayed 4,098 -103 2.44%
FTSE MIB
/quotes/zigman/1482176/delayed 16,923 -328 1.90%
IBEX 35
/quotes/zigman/2759620/delayed 8,275 -225 2.64%
Stoxx 600
/quotes/zigman/2380150/delayed 318 -7 2.29%
Asia Dow
/quotes/zigman/6959860/realtime 2,507 -3 0.12%
Nikkei 225
/quotes/zigman/5986735/delayed 17,004 +185 1.10%
Hang Seng
/quotes/zigman/2622475/delayed 19,288 +105 0.55%
Shanghai
/quotes/zigman/1859015/delayed 2,763 -18 0.63%
Sensex
/quotes/zigman/1652085/delayed 24,287 -330 1.34%
Singapore
/quotes/zigman/1709939/delayed 2,623 +65 2.53%
Euro
/quotes/zigman/16008136/realtime/sampled 1.11 0.00 0.38%
Yen
/quotes/zigman/16008150/realtime/sampled 116.73 -0.15 0.12%
Pound
/quotes/zigman/16008140/realtime/sampled 1.44 -0.01 0.68%
Australia$
/quotes/zigman/16008115/realtime/sampled 0.71 +0.00 0.27%
DXY Index
/quotes/zigman/1652083/delayed 97.15 +0.11 0.11%
WSJ $ Idx
/quotes/zigman/41508961/realtime 89.98 +0.17 0.19%
U.S. 10yr
/quotes/zigman/15866666/realtime 1.83 -0.01 0.47%
German 10y
/quotes/zigman/15866409/realtime 0.26 -0.04 14.01%
Italy 10yr
/quotes/zigman/15866497/realtime 1.58 +0.02 1.47%
Spain 10yr
/quotes/zigman/15866444/realtime 1.68 +0.03 2.08%
U.K. 10yr
/quotes/zigman/15866328/realtime 1.52 -0.05 2.93%
Japan 10yr
/quotes/zigman/15866525/realtime 0.04 +0.01 25.61%
Crude Oil
/quotes/zigman/2260836/delayed 30 -1 2.49%
Gold
/quotes/zigman/33772884/delayed 1,175 +17 1.49%
Corn
/quotes/zigman/25518691/delayed 365 -1 0.34%
DJIA F
/quotes/zigman/48241424/delayed 15,930 -201 1.25%
S&P F
/quotes/zigman/43106711/delayed 1,852 -24 1.27%
Silver
/quotes/zigman/32655632/delayed 15 +0 1.23%

Quotes

Symbol Price Change % Change
FB /quotes/zigman/9962609/composite 104.07 -6.42 -5.81%
AAPL /quotes/zigman/68270/composite 94.02 -2.58 -2.67%
GOOG /quotes/zigman/59527964/composite 683.57 -24.44 -3.45%
BAC /quotes/zigman/190927/composite 12.95 -0.30 -2.26%
C /quotes/zigman/5065548/composite 39.86 -0.93 -2.28%
F /quotes/zigman/264304/composite 11.45 -0.08 -0.69%
T /quotes/zigman/398198/composite 36.88 0.35 0.96%
BP /quotes/zigman/247026/composite 30.46 -0.15 -0.49%
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Rates »

5 yr CD
1.3%
2 yr CD
0.7%
1 yr CD
0.5%
MMA $10K+
0.2%
MMA $50K+
0.4%

National averages from Bankrate.com

You Don’t Need Another Credit Card, You Need A Better One.
Avg. APR Last Week 6 Months
Low Interest 11.96% 11.88% 11.62%
Business 13.12% 13.11% 12.85%
Student 13.42% 13.42% 13.14%
Balance Transfer 14.35% 14.30% 14.12%
Airline 15.17% 15.16% 15.10%
Cash Back 15.26% 15.23% 15.27%
Reward 15.28% 15.25% 15.14%
Instant Approval 18.21% 18.18% 18.00%
Bad Credit 22.88% 22.88% 22.73%
Source:CreditCards.com

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