What’s the Story

by CC September 12, 2012 9:13 am • Commentary


The Federal Reserve is likely to announce a third round of bond purchases tomorrow, according to almost two-thirds of economists in a Bloomberg survey, while also extending the duration of its zero-interest-rate policy into 2015.

Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and his colleagues on the Federal Open Market Committee will once again roll out unconventional policies to bolster economic growth of less than 2 percent in the second quarter and bring down unemployment stuck above 8 percent for 43 straight months, the survey showed.


The new iPhone 5 has to be more than just another smartphone as it carries the weight of Apple Inc’s future on its slim frame.

Five years after the first iPhone upended the mobile industry, analysts say Apple is looking increasingly defensive as Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and other rivals have been first to market with phones that sport bigger screens or run on faster wireless networks.

Apple will try to close that gap on Wednesday with the unveiling of the newest iPhone, which is widely expected to offer 4G wireless technology for the first time, and a 4-inch display, up from the current 3.5 inches.

But it remains to be seen if Chief Executive Tim Cook has any surprises up his sleeve, and if he will show off any technological breakthroughs that can put the iPhone 5 head and shoulders above the competition.

Calculated Risk

From the MBA: Mortgage Applications Increase in Latest MBA Weekly Survey

The adjusted Refinance Index increased 12 percent from the previous week. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 8 percent from one week earlier.

The holiday adjusted numbers may overstate the level of refinance applications because some lenders who rely primarily on the internet/consumer direct channel for originations saw little if any decline in applications for Labor Day as compared with the drops for lenders relying on retail offices, perhaps because borrowers had additional time over the Labor Day weekend to complete online refinance applications.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($417,500 or less) decreased to 3.75 percent from 3.78 percent, with points increasing to 0.44 from 0.37 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.

The index is now up 13.99% for 2012 and 0.31% off its interim high. From a longer-term perspective, the S&P 500 is 111.9% above the March 2009 closing low and 8.4% below the nominal all-time high of October 2007.