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October 2014

10/29/14

Market and economic update: Economic activity outside the U.S. continues to appear sluggish

Market attention remains focused on monetary policy authorities and the likely direction of policy. U.S. economic data have been modestly supportive of a conclusion to Federal Reserve tapering this week, with September consumer prices rising just 0.1% and year-over-year prices (excluding food and energy) rising 1.7%. Falling energy prices remain a drag on inflation, but rising home prices reflect strengthening domestic economic activity.

Posted at 04:37 PM | Permalink | Comments

10/27/14

Cyber Security Awareness Month a great time to check online habits

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, and the timing is perfect given recent highly publicized security breaches affecting Home Depot, JP Morgan Chase, the iCloud, and the social media site Snapchat. IT departments worldwide work around the clock to protect their firms’ networks, but do we personally take all the measures necessary to protect our online lives?

Posted at 03:37 PM | Permalink | Comments

10/23/14

Market and economic update: U.S. economic data points to solid growth

U.S. economic data appear to support solid growth into the new year. Data reported last week consisted of weaker September retail sales (negative 0.3%) joined by stronger consumer sentiment (preliminary October University of Michigan consumer sentiment up 1.8 points to 86.4), improving September industrial production (1%), and weekly initial jobless claims that reached their lowest level in 14 years (264,000).

Posted at 08:29 AM | Permalink | Comments

10/20/14

Investing in a rising interest rate environment

After six years of holding interest rates at record low levels, the Federal Reserve recently began a subtle campaign that suggests interest rates will soon be rising. This month, while reiterating its longstanding position to keep short-term interest rates near zero for a “considerable time,” the Fed announced two important steps toward beginning the process of raising interest rates: the end of quantitative easing and two new interest rate hiking mechanisms.

Posted at 12:44 PM | Permalink | Comments

10/20/14

Why a woman needs an MBA to succeed in business

Ideas are nothing. Execution is everything. While women may have many ideas for starting their own businesses, or for improving an existing business, the problem is that far too few of us can execute those ideas.

Posted at 09:39 AM | Permalink | Comments

10/15/14

Market and economic update: U.S. markets worry about European slowdown

After the important September employment report, last week’s release of September Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting minutes and August data for job openings and turnover seems to pale in comparison. However, the FOMC minutes indicated the committee discussed concerns about the impact on the U.S. economy from slowing growth across the eurozone.

Posted at 03:27 PM | Permalink | Comments

10/13/14

Get ready to upgrade if you use Windows Server 2003

If your business uses Windows Server 2003 as its server operating system, it’s important to communicate to your IT staff that all security updates, fixes, and support from Microsoft will end as of July 14, 2015.

Posted at 01:14 PM | Permalink | Comments

10/08/14

Market and economic update: U.S. economic growth continues, but the pace slows

U.S. employment remains the strong positive story for the U.S. economy. For September, the unemployment rate fell to 5.9%, the lowest level in six years, helped by a decline in the labor force. The strong positive was seen in nonfarm payrolls rising 248,000, plus strong revisions (up 69,000) to the prior months.

Posted at 03:32 PM | Permalink | Comments

10/07/14

Small businesses would be harmed by change in energy rates

The business imperative to “decarbonize” was the topic at a timely forum held by Wisconsin Business Alliance, hosted by CUNA Mutual, and attended by over 60 local businesses last week. Walmart and other large retailers now require their suppliers to report their carbon output, and carbon accounting is becoming a reality for businesses that want to compete in the global marketplace.

Posted at 12:47 PM | Permalink | Comments: 3

10/06/14

New technology moves small businesses forward and protects customers from fraud

The process of completing a credit card transaction has become an ingrained part of our business culture. Since the 1970s, when the emergence of magnetic strip credit cards revolutionized how we purchase goods and services, electronic payments have become simpler and more accessible, opening up new business opportunities and attracting new customers while decreasing the burdens and losses businesses face when depending on cash and paper checks.

Posted at 02:10 PM | Permalink | Comments: 1

10/06/14

Who can put a stop to data breaches?

As more and more data breaches occur, every participant in the U.S. payment system must equally share the responsibility and liability associated with these events. Retailers, card networks, processors, and banks must work hand-in-hand and on a level playing field in order to protect consumers. It’s time to target those who are truly responsible for data breaches: the criminals stealing credit and debit card information.

Posted at 01:36 PM | Permalink | Comments: 2

10/01/14

Market and economic update: Q3 data appears to fall short of Q2

U.S. economic data points toward modest growth, in line with U.S. Federal Reserve expectations and indicating the Fed is likely to increase interest rates in the first half of 2015. As the third quarter draws to a close, the data seems to indicate the quarter will not be as robust as the second quarter, which grew at a 4.6% quarter-over-quarter annualized rate. However, data remain consistent with growth near a 3% rate, due to strength in employment and capital spending.

Posted at 04:47 PM | Permalink | Comments

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