Fed requires major banks to hold more capital

July 21st, 2015  // News

The eight biggest banks in the U.S. have to hold significantly more capital to protect themselves from collapse under rules finalized by the Federal Reserve. "This final rule will confront these firms with a choice: They must either hold substantially more capital, reducing the likelihood that they will fail, or else they must shrink their systemic footprint, reducing the harm that their failure would do to our financial system," said Janet Yellen, head of the central bank. Read more

Moving pension obligations to insurers is risky, IMF says

July 20th, 2015  // News

The practice of shifting pension obligations to insurers might increase risk within the U.S. financial system, the International Monetary Fund says in a report. Interconnectedness of the system increases when pension risk is transferred to the insurance industry through products such as longevity swaps, the report says. Read more

U.S. jobs, housing data reinforce rate rise scenario

July 17th, 2015  // News

Expectations of an interest-rate increase in the U.S. this year rose as jobs and housing data confirmed recent strength in those sectors. Initial claims for jobless benefits last week fell below expectations, and this month's National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index is at its highest point since 2005. However, a separate index of manufacturing activity added a sour note with evidence of continuing weakness. Read more

Labor issues guidance on worker classification

July 16th, 2015  // News

The Labor Department has released a 15-page memo on how a company should distinguish between employees and independent contractors. The guidance is meant to clarify the department's approach to determining employer compliance rather than introducing new rules, said David Weil, administrator of the Wage and Hour Division. Read more

June retail sales slip unexpectedly

July 15th, 2015  // News

U.S. retail sales dipped 0.3% in June from the previous month, according to the Commerce Department, missing economists' forecasts for an increase of 0.2% to 0.3%. Sales fell in eight of 13 major categories, including furniture, clothing, building materials and garden supplies. Read more

Practitioners should exercise caution in emerging tax areas

July 14th, 2015  // News

Speaking at an IRS Nationwide Forum in Fort Washington, Md., the deputy director of the IRS Office of Professional Responsibility warned practitioners that they should exercise due diligence when advising clients on emerging tax issues. He singled out foreign accounts, health care, marijuana businesses, and captive insurance as areas of particular concern. Read more

Greek rescue plan backed by eurozone leaders

July 13th, 2015  // News

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras have hammered out a rescue agreement for Greece that is unanimously supported by other eurozone leaders. European Council President Donald Tusk tweeted that a rescue program is ready and includes "serious reforms [and] financial support." Read more

IMF shrinks forecast for global growth this year

July 10th, 2015  // News

The International Monetary Fund has changed its projection for world growth in 2015 to 3.3%, down from a 3.5% estimate in April. The IMF cites a slowdown in the U.S. economy, which it expects to expand 2.5% this year, down from April's 3.1% forecast. Read more

Markets unnerved by nearly 4-hour shutdown of NYSE

July 9th, 2015  // News

The New York Stock Exchange abruptly shut down at 11:32 a.m. EDT and remained down for almost four hours, unnerving investors. NYSE President Thomas Farley said the problem "likely had to do with an upgrade, but that is premature, and it's something that will come about as part of a full analysis of the situation." Trading of shares listed on NYSE continued on other markets, including Nasdaq. Read more

EU sets Sunday deadline for deal to resolve Greek crisis

July 8th, 2015  // News

EU leaders have given Greece until Thursday to deliver a proposal to international creditors and have set a Sunday deadline for agreement to end the debt crisis. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker says his staff is prepared for potential outcomes, including a Greek exit from the eurozone. German Chancellor Angela Merkel says a comprehensive, multiyear plan is needed. Read more

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