After signing the Wall Street reform bill they co-wrote into law on July 21, 2010, President Barack Obama congratulates Sens. Christopher Dodd and Barney Frank. Win McNamee/Getty Images On July 15, 2010, the U.S. Senate voted 60-39 to approve the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. The bill -- representing the most sweeping financial restrictions since the Great Depression -- gives Congress the right to break up corrupt banks and other financial institutions, eliminates proprietary trading, and ends the practice of bailing out banks in trouble. In other words, it increases oversight of the financial industry in an effort to prevent the kinds of practices that many believe have led to -- or worsened -- the financial crisis. But what about the average Joe (or Jane) with 2.5 kids, a car and a mortgage? After all, regular people have also felt the effects of everything from corrupt lending practices to policies that work in businesses' favor while … [Read more...] about What’s the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection?
Retail industry averages financial ratios
Some engines are super-efficient, thanks to their engineers playing with a little thing called compression ratio. See pictures of car engines. Duangkamon Khattiya/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images Have you noticed the wave of cars with great gas mileage hitting the market? The Mazda3 with the SkyActiv engine can get 42 miles per gallon (17.9 kilometers per liter). The Chevrolet Cruze Eco can get 40 miles per gallon (17 kilometers per liter), and the Hyundai Elantra can too. And get this: Even though these cars get some of the best gas mileage in the industry, they're not using gasoline-electric hybrid technology, alternative fuels or other green tricks. They're powered by the old-fashion internal combustion engine. So what makes their fuel economy so good? Their engines are super-efficient, thanks to their engineers playing with a little thing called compression ratio. Your basic car engine works by turning chemical energy from a controlled explosion of the mixture of air, … [Read more...] about What’s the connection between compression ratio and fuel economy?
If you watch the news, you hear all the time about the Dow Jones Industrial Average and other averages like the S&P 500 or The Russel 2000. These are "market averages" designed to tell you how companies traded on the stock market are doing in general. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is simply the average value of 30 large, industrial stocks. Big companies like General Motors, Goodyear, IBM and Exxon are the kinds of companies that make up this index. See Dow Jones & Company for details on how the average is calculated. See The Investment FAQ for a list of the companies in the average. The thing to understand is that the Dow Jones Industrial Average is nothing magic -- someone has chosen 30 companies and averaged their values together by following a specific formula. That's all it is. There are all sorts of averages out there. The S&P 500 is the average value of 500 different large companies. The Russel 2000 tracks the average of 2,000 smaller companies. And there are … [Read more...] about What is the Dow Jones Industrial Average?
While many home sites have sat virtually untouched during the construction bubble, large and small green construction jobs have thrived. See more pictures of home construction. AbleStock.com/Thinkstock Unless you've been in a coma for the past three years, you've probably heard something about the real estate bubble that burst in the late 2000s. The real estate bust affects all sectors of the economy, from attorneys to home decorating, but few areas have been quite as directly affected as the construction industry. As the country -- and the world -- continues to dig its way out of the Great Recession, construction jobs and contracts remain below the peak from the boom years of 2005 and 2006. But it hasn't been all doom and gloom. Throughout the recession, one sector of the construction industry has consistently shown signs of growth: green building. Through the darkest days of the financial collapse, green jobs have proven to be somewhat recession-proof. That's partly because … [Read more...] about Did any part of the construction industry escape the bubble burst?
A lot of people give gift cards as presents during the winter holidays. Starbucks, for example, sold almost 2.5 million gift cards in the U.S. and Canada on Christmas Eve in 2014. Richard Levine/Corbis via Getty Images The Wall Street Journal revealed on June 1 that Starbucks holds as much money for its customers as a bank — and not even a small bank. Starbucks gift cards and mobile debit accounts stored $1.2 billion in customer funds during the first quarter of 2016. According to Shane Ferro on the Huffington Post, "that amount of deposits would make it a respectable midsize institution." Industry numbers put it somewhere between The Bancorp ($2.68 billion) and Mercantile Bank ($680 million). Starbucks has pretty much mastered the prepaid realm. On Christmas Eve 2014, Starbucks sold almost 2.5 million gift cards in the U.S. and Canada alone. The company says one in seven Americans received a Starbucks card for the holidays that year. It's "Starbucks' secret sauce," writes … [Read more...] about The Secret Life of the Gift Card Industry