Financial News and Headlines


Lottery Lawsuit

As throngs of hopeful lottery players prepare for Wednesday’s $650 million Powerball jackpot, the second-largest in US history, a former state lottery worker in Iowa is getting ready himself — for up to 25 years in prison for fixing games.

Disgraced computer programmer Eddie Tipton admitted in June to masterminding a multistate lottery-rigging scheme that let him pick winning numbers and rake in $2 million.

Tipton, 54, who was arrested in 2015, is scheduled for sentencing Tuesday.

Tipton admitted to fixing the lottery six times in five different states between 2005 and 2011.


Eclipse Causes $700 Million in Losses

$700 million… That’s the total projected cost to the American economy in lost productivity as workers watched this week’s solar eclipse, according to Chicago executive-outplacement firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas.

From Reuters:

“American employers will see at least $694 million in missing output for the roughly 20 minutes that outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas estimates workers will take out of their workday on Monday to stretch their legs, head outside the office and gaze at the nearly two-and-a-half minute eclipse.”

According to Andy Challenger, the estimate for how much time workers will ultimately lose to the eclipse  – approximately 20 minutes – is probably conservative. That’s because some people might take additional time to set up their telescopes, or just linger outdoors on what’s expected to be a beautiful summer day.

To get to $700 million figure, Challenger took one-third of the latest reading for US workers’ average hourly wage and multiplied it by the number of all workers 16 and over. By this logic, the final figure might be too generous, because only about half of Americans say they plan on watching the eclipse, according to a survey conducted earlier this month. Though that figure rises to 60% for workers in the eclipse’s narrow “zone of totality.”

“Compared to the amount of wages being paid to an employee over a course of a year, it is very small,” Challenger said.


Traders Wait for Jackson Hole’s Economic Symposium

There has been a sense of calm that has started to come over financial markets as traders begin to look ahead to the Jackson Hole Economic Symposium at the end of the week. With little economic data of any real significance to drive market sentiment, the total eclipse of the sun seems to have drawn focus away from President Trump’s crumbling administration.

The indicators of market stress have started to suggest a mild improvement in risk appetite, as the VIX volatility has started to drop back, whilst safe haven plays such as gold and the yen have lost ground and US Treasury yields have ticked higher. The US dollar has started to stabilize this morning, whilst equities are also finding support. It could easily now become a case of markets in summer mode, waiting for signals out of Jackson Hole and unwilling to take any major view.

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January 2019
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