7 High-Growth Sectors the White House is Watching

Jun 9, 2011, 11:48 am EST
7 High-Growth Sectors the White House is Watching

I was one of two dozen financial journalists attending the White House’s first-ever Personal Finance Online Summit on Wednesday. Top Obama administration officials — including the President — gave their stump speeches on economic policies and job creation methods. (Read my article about financial tips from the president himself).

While there was admittedly plenty of politicking, a few business sectors stood out as clear winners based on White House policies and the overall direction of the American economy in the next few years. While no specific companies were named – in fact, some leaders in these industries may not even exist next year – it was clear these seven sectors are the ones that the Obama administration thinks will drive the economy forward:

Digital healthcare: Forget about your feelings over recent health care legislation or efforts to overturn the law. According to Aneesh Chopra, the administration’s chief technology officer, the real revolution in healthcare is going to happen due to new communication techniques that allow for secure sharing of digital medical records and remote doctor’s appointments. Chopra credits the “liberation of data” to creating a whole new industry regarding IT-focused medical services. Read 

Maybe Bernanke Should Keep His Big Mouth Shut

Jun 8, 2011, 4:00 am EST

Well, someone sure knows how to throw cold water on a celebration! Stocks were putting on a nice rally Tuesday afternoon, with the Dow up 88 points shortly before 2:30 p.m. EST. But then, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke stepped to the podium to deliver his “U.S. Economic Outlook” speech in Atlanta, and the market turned tail, shedding all its gains for the session (and more).

The takeaway from this incident? Maybe Fedheads ought to say less in public (nothing at all, if they can help it). Alan Greenspan, in his glory days, was a master at saying nothing while pretending to say something really profound.

However, Bernanke seems committed to his own version of perestroika, as they used to call it in the Soviet era — and his openness bothered Wall Street today. Specifically, traders fretted because Dr. Ben, after admitting the economy has slowed of late, simply predicted that growth would pick up in the second half of the year. Read 

4 Obama Administration Tips to Achieve Financial Security

Jun 8, 2011, 12:26 am EST
4 Obama Administration Tips to Achieve Financial Security

I had the honor and privilege of attending the White House’s first ever Personal Finance Online Summit on Wednesday afternoon. The event gave me and two dozen other financial journalists access to top Obama Administration officials – including a brief Q&A with the president himself.

I solicited questions for Obama’s team from InvestorPlace.com readers like you, and was thrilled to see so many suggested questions. You can read a full list of your fellow investors’ concerns here, and I promise I will post more on the event when I have a chance to dig into my notes.

But I wanted to share some general thoughts in my first piece from this summit… namely, lessons you can use as an investor trying to protect your retirement funds. Read 

What if Uncle Sam Ran a Household on $200k, Not a Bureaucracy on $2 Trillion?

Jun 6, 2011, 12:04 am EST
What if Uncle Sam Ran a Household on $200k, Not a Bureaucracy on $2 Trillion?

The United States budget is broken, and broken far beyond fixing. We could cut out all the pork, slash entitlements by 30% and still not have enough money to pay the bills.

There are people who say such dire talk over the budget deficit is just scare tactics. Once the economy turns around, tax revenue will pick up in kind. True, but our profligate spending has long outstripped even the revenue generated in a strong economy. Based on the pre-recession trillion in tax income, we would still be $800 billion in the hole.

Here are the cold numbers: This year we will spend about $3.5 trillion, and take in nearly $2.2 trillion. Read 

5 Hard Questions for Obama’s Economic Team

Jun 5, 2011, 4:16 pm EST
5 Hard Questions for Obama’s Economic Team

If you could ask one question to the top economic officials of the Obama administration – about personal finance, the economy or the stock market – what would it be?

I’ve been given the privilege of an invitation to participate in the White House’s first Personal Finance Online Summit next week on Wednesday, June 8. And while the schedule isn’t set yet, I’ve been told that some top Obama administration officials will be on hand to explain policies targeting deficit reduction, the debt ceiling, gas prices and other key economic issues.

And while I don’t pretend to believe it will be a round table discussion, I am hopeful that there will be an opportunity to raise my hand and offer up a question or two. Read 

New Bond Offerings Soaring Amid Political Drama

May 24, 2011, 8:47 am EST

Last week, the S&P 500 logged its third straight weekly decline, and stocks plunged Monday on European debt worries, but I believe this is merely a “pause that refreshes” before the next earnings reporting season begins in July. There is good reason to believe that second-quarter corporate earnings will continue delivering positive surprises, but the big news last week reads more like a gossip column, involving dissension at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Fed.

Despite the fact that former IMF Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn dominated the gossip pages last week, his sudden departure from the IMF seemed to undermine the euro a bit, since the IMF was in the midst of drafting a controversial plan to help Greece restructure its debt. Soaring yields on Greek debt have been crippling that nation from paying down its original European Union/IMF loan. Last Friday, Fitch Ratings downgraded Greece three notches to B+, meaning that Greek bonds have gone from junk to smelly junk!

Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve Board is fighting an ongoing civil war between its hawks and doves. On Wednesday, the minutes of the last Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting revealed that the FOMC is now composed of five “doves” (whom President Obama named to the Fed). These doves do not want interest rates to rise as long as unemployment remains high. On the other side, five hawks advocate raising rates fairly soon. In effect, the “independent” Fed has been invaded by White House doves! When traders realize that the Fed is becoming a political pawn, I expect that the U.S. dollar will resume its decline. Read 

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