US Stocks Hold Near Flatline Ahead Of Facebook Debut - NASDAQ US Stocks Hold Near Flatline Ahead Of Facebook Debut - NASDAQ

Friday, May 18, 2012

US Stocks Hold Near Flatline Ahead Of Facebook Debut - NASDAQ

US Stocks Hold Near Flatline Ahead Of Facebook Debut - NASDAQ

--U.S. stocks hug flatline as Facebook optimism offset by Europe worries

--Moody's downgrades Spanish banks, Fitch cuts Greece rating

--Facebook shares expected to debut for trading around 11 a.m. EDT

By Tomi Kilgore


NEW YORK -(Dow Jones)- U.S. stocks idled near unchanged levels as optimism ahead of the much-anticipated trading debut of Facebook shares helped distract investors from increasing concerns over contagion risk from Greece.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 17 points, or 0.1%, to 12459 in midmorning trade.

Standard & Poor's 500-stock index gained one point, or 0.1%, to 1306. The Nasdaq Composite rose points, or 0.1%, to 2815.

Facebook's initial public offering priced at $38 a share, the high end of its recently increased expected range. That gives the social media company a market value of $104 billion, making it the biggest-ever valuation by an American company at the time of its IPO.

The stock, under the ticker "FB," is expected to start trading around 11 a.m. EDT.

"Facebook is a nice, one-day diversion," said Paul Nolte, managing director at Dearborn Partners. He said that once the positive tone from Facebook's debut passes, investor focus will turn back to Europe, and the growing concerns about contagion from Greece.

"It feels as though we're further away from a resolution today than we were two months ago," Nolte said.

European stocks pared earlier losses but remained mostly lower, after Moody's Investors Service downgraded a number of Spanish banks and Fitch Ratings cut Greece's credit rating further into junk status. The Stoxx Europe 600 was down 0.8%, but had been down as much as 1.4% earlier in the session.

Asian markets closed sharply lower on the back of U.S. losses and the early selloff in Europe. Japan's Nikkei Stock Average slid 3%, and China's Shanghai Composite shed 1.4%.

Crude-oil futures gave up 0.7% to $91.88 a barrel, while gold futures rose 1.2% to $1,593.80 an ounce. The U.S. dollar lost ground against both the euro and the yen.

There are no major economic releases due out on Friday.

In other corporate news, shares of Kraft Foods advanced 0.7% after the blue chip food company said the Internal Revenue Service provided a favorable tax ruling, confirming the tax-free status of its planned North American grocery spinoff.

Autodesk slumped 17% after the design software maker reported fiscal first-quarter earnings that matched estimates but provided a somewhat downbeat second-quarter outlook.

Foot Locker jumped 10% after the athletic footwear seller reported fiscal first-quarter earnings that were well above expectations, backed by increasing margins and same-stores sales. climbed 9.7% after the business-software maker reported fiscal first-quarter earnings and revenue that beat expectations, and provided an upbeat outlook for the year.

Marvell Technology added 2.3% after the semiconductor company reported better-than-expected fiscal first-quarter earnings and revenue, initiated a quarterly dividend of six cents a share and increased its share repurchase program by $500 million.

-By Tomi Kilgore, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2470;

    (END) Dow Jones Newswires   05-18-121043ET   Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. 

Mr Money: 20 per cent discounts should be the norm - Daily Telegraph

* If you’ve got £23,000 and you’re looking for a last-of-the-line but brand new and unique piece of motoring history, sign up for one of just 26 hand-finished, right-hand-drive Saab 9-3 Convertibles that are now on sale.

Three levels of specification are available – SE, Aero and Independence Edition. The all-turbo powertrain range comes with a 160bhp or 180bhp, 1.9-litre twin-turbo diesel or a 2.0-litre petrol engine with 163bhp or 220bhp.

The Independence Edition has the 180bhp diesel with a six-speed automatic gearbox as standard. Amber Orange metallic paint and a limited edition serial number etched into the rear side windows make it a car for collectors.

The last of the Saabs start at £22,750. Full details from one of 87 authorised Saab repairers, or via

* The total cost of pothole damage to motorists over the last 12 months is £739 million, claims Kwik Fit. That’s 56 per cent up on the previous year. The average cost of repairing cars damaged by these flawed road surfaces is £150, it says.

* A reminder that from July 1 anyone driving in France is required to carry a single-use disposable breathalyser kit. They’re £2.25 (excluding VAT) each from the Freight Transport Association website, or call 08717 111111.

Is it time to hire a daily money manager? -

Is it time to hire a daily money manager?

A DMM can help those overwhelmed or confused by financial details

By Erica Sandberg

Overweight? Hire a personal trainer. Dirty house? Call a cleaning service. But to whom do you turn to get a grip on overspending and debt? A daily money manager can come to your rescue.

What's a daily money manager?
As the title implies, daily money managers (DMMs) assume a client's basic yet often irksome financial duties. "Generally speaking, we manage the personal administrative and financial business of individuals, families and seniors," says Alison Salisbury, founder and owner of Fiscally Fit, a Palo Alto, Calif., daily money management service provider. Specifically, they do everything people tend to avoid, including:

Consumers are getting smarter about credit scores
  • Sorting mail.
  • Creating paper and digital financial file systems.
  • Setting up Quicken or Quickbooks and training clients to use the software.
  • Paying bills.
  • Reconciling accounts.
  • Producing cash flow reports.
  • Establishing budgets and spending plans.
  • Resolving creditor disputes.

Sound good? It gets better. They work on your schedule and some daily money managers even make house calls.

DMMs help you delete debt
If a haphazard (or nonexistent) cash and credit plan is your main reason for overcharging, a daily money manager can be particularly useful. Their job is to shed light on payment and budgetary problems -- and do much of the hard work to establish a clear spending plan.

According to Vivian M. Wright, a daily money manager and president of the Atlanta-based Common Sense Solutions, DMMs dig deep into their client's transactions to track where money is being spent and whether it's coming from checking, savings or credit card accounts. "Analyzing spending and following guidelines for each category of spending avoids debt," says Wright.

Since daily money managers quickly become attuned to a person's financial habits, they can  pinpoint trouble spots and offer solutions to keep borrowing in check. "I work with my clients to learn to live within their means and not to have to rely on credit cards at all," says Salisbury. "Several of my clients have stopped using credit cards entirely since working with me."

Daily money managers also take on laborious but important tasks such as consolidating accounts. So rather than you being on the phone for hours, they'll make the calls to transfer high interest credit card balances to those with lower rates, and then prioritize them for the most-efficient debt deletion. They'll also develop spreadsheets that will map out how long it will take to pay down each card, keeping you on track and motivated.

More, DMMs can even identify fraudulent liabilities. Wright recalls a client who was inadvertently paying someone else's credit card bill. "Our system of accounting allowed us to see very quickly what was happening and perform the forensic accounting for the civil law suit against the individual."

Get out and stay out: your role in the goal
Achieving a positive net worth is one thing, but remaining that way is another. Sometimes, a daily money manager's findings can be enough to instigate change.

"Most of the people I work with who have overspending issues are not aware of the severity of the problem until they see a cash flow report that shows their spending over time," says Salisbury. "I let the numbers speak for themselves, and once my client recovers from the initial shock, we discuss the numbers and how they got that way. From there we talk about what the client would like to see, and do some goal setting."

For formidable issues like compulsive debting, a daily money manager might take a more creative and authoritarian approach. "One of my clients has a serious shopping addiction and just couldn't stop using her credit cards," says Salisbury. "I finally put them all in a Ziploc bag which I then filled with water and put in the freezer. She was aghast, and said, 'now I won't be able to use them!,' to which I replied, 'but you can use them anytime you want. You'll just have to wait until they thaw to get to them,' giving her time to think about what she was about to do."

Ultimately, though, it's up to the client to change unhealthy ways, says Louann A. Webber, president and professional daily money manager for Your Money Inc., an Arlington, Va., direct money management company. "We try to give them the information to show they are overspending, but we are not the money police. We can't control a person who is determined to spend, but we have found that presenting information in a form that is understandable and not overwhelming goes a long way."

DMMs can save your marriage
Fighting about finances with your spouse? The odds are in your favor. According to a 2012 American Institute of CPAs survey, American couples average three money arguments per month. As an objective professional, a daily money manager can smooth over relations with a plan that suits each person's needs and desires.

"Because I'm a third party, couples often find it easier to talk about money than when they're together by themselves," says Salisbury "I'm not a therapist, but I am a good listener. I'm a great believer that everyone just wants to be heard." And once the person is understood, the daily money manager can develop a suitable budget and may even suggest helpful resources. For example, says Salisbury, "with one couple, I shared Barbara Stanny's book 'Overcoming Underearning.' They did all the exercises in the book and discovered a lot about their individual values and beliefs about money, which helped them understand each other without judgment."

Of course, even the best efforts of a daily money manager can fall short if one or both of you are not willing to adjust. Wright recalls a married couple with a young child who wanted to get ahead but, even after receiving her advice, could not stop shopping for unaffordable luxuries. "Their inability to manage their cash flow led to a divorce. The husband came for help and cooperated fully; the wife unfortunately was unable to commit to the plan, so the efforts were unsuccessful."

How to choose the right DMM
As with bringing anyone into your private affairs, check credentials. "First, go to the American Association of Daily Money Managers website and look for a DMM in your area who is certified as a PDMM" (professional daily money manager), says Webber. "That means a daily money manager has passed a certification process that includes an exam and minimum hours of experience."

Then meet with a few before you decide. "Most DMMs will grant an initial phone interview for no charge, giving both the client and the daily money manager an opportunity to determine if the shoe fits on both feet, so to speak," says Wright.

As for rates, most daily money managers charge between $75 to $100 per hour. The more complicated your situation is, the more you can expect to pay. Therefore, if you also need assistance with such complex matters as Medicare and Social Security, be prepared for steeper fees.

Ultimately, says Salisbury, you need to find someone with whom you can be absolutely honest, especially about debt. "Many of my clients feel they are the worst money managers ever, and are filled with embarrassment or shame. A big part of my job is to help them overcome those feelings and develop a positive attitude about moving forward."

See related: Avis Cardella writes on overcoming shopping addiction, Over your head in debt? 5 extreme budgeting ideas

Published: May 18, 2012

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