Investment & Business News Headlines

In the 21st Century, taxes may need to be much, much higher

These words were recently spoken by Thomas L Hungerford of the US Congressional Research Service. He said: “The top [US] income tax rates have changed considerably since the end of World War II. Throughout the late-1940s and 1950s, the top marginal tax rate was typically above 90 per cent; today it is 35 per cent. Additionally, the top capital gains tax rate was 25 per cent in the 1950s and 1960s, 35 per cent in the 1970s; today it is 15 per cent. The average tax rate faced by the top...Read More

So banks resort to work of devil

It’s been a busy week for QE. Japan hit the virtual printing press again. This time it was QE7. The latest minutes from the Bank of England’s interest setting committee implied more QE is on the cards. And you will no doubt recall that the US Fed released its latest version...Read More

Posted Sep 24, 2012

In the 21st Century, taxes may need to be much, much higher

These words were recently spoken by Thomas L Hungerford of the US Congressional Research Service. He said: “The top [US] income tax rates have changed considerably since the end of World War II. Throughout the late-1940s and 1950s, the top marginal tax rate was typically above 90 per cent; today it...Read More

Posted Sep 24, 2012

Green shoots revisited

The search for green shoots continues.

Last week we said that evidence of a UK recovery is mounting: industrial production saw its biggest jump in 25 years in July, numbers employed in the three months to July rose 236,000, the OECD predicted a pick-up for the UK next year, and the...Read More

Posted Sep 24, 2012

First the UK must fix productivity

A lot of economists don’t get it. Why oh why, oh why? The UK economy has been contracting of late, but employment rising. In Q1 of this year UK labour productivity, measured as output per hour, fell by 1.3 per cent, and UK unit labour costs increased by 1.4...

Read More

Posted Sep 24, 2012

Is the UK on the mend?

Whether you believe the UK downturn is slowly ending does to an extent depend on what you believe caused its problems in the first place.

Let’s look at the data, the theories, and the policies and ask: do they stack up?

First there’s data on employment. It has improved and that’s good,...Read More

Posted Sep 17, 2012

Tablets wars begin, is Tesco and co sleeping at the wheel?

So Amazon’s marketing in on fire, It is literally on fire, for much rests on the success of the Kindle Fire, its answer to the Apple’s iPad. And now a UK launch is imminent.

In the US the product is selling big time, the message is spreading like… well like wild...Read More

Posted Sep 10, 2012

Stop dithering and squatting

So David Cameron chose a newspaper that rhymes with nail, to reveal his ideas. But did he hit it on the head?

The ideas Mr Cameron presented seemed to match the wishes of the ‘Daily Mail’ readership pretty much head on, except for one. It was a good idea, but not...Read More

Posted Sep 03, 2012

UK versus US house prices: overpriced and over here

So, are UK house prices too high? Let’s make a comparison with the US.

Take Dean Baker, an economist from Down Under. You have to feel sorry for the Aussies. They can’t play sport, but at least they have good economists. For Mr Baker is a good economist; he predicted the...Read More

Posted Sep 03, 2012

House prices – the danger of leverage

Then there is the Halifax. It calculated that the cost of buying a home in terms of percentage of income required to fund a mortgage is now at its lowest in 15 years. Apparently, the average buyer now only has to put away 26 per cent of disposable income towards...Read More

Posted Sep 03, 2012

House prices: the penny is far from dropping

It’s been a busy few days for news on the UK housing market.

Last month, something rare happened. Hometrack, Nationwide, and Halifax were in agreement. Well, prices can either go up or down. Strictly speaking the odds that the three of them might agree are one in four. In practise, it...Read More

Posted Sep 03, 2012

Green shoots revisited

The search for green shoots continues.

Last week we said that evidence of a UK recovery is mounting: industrial production saw its biggest jump in 25 years in July, numbers employed in the three months to July rose 236,000, the OECD predicted a pick-up for the UK next year, and the...Read More

Posted Sep 24, 2012

So banks resort to work of devil

It’s been a busy week for QE. Japan hit the virtual printing press again. This time it was QE7. The latest minutes from the Bank of England’s interest setting committee implied more QE is on the cards. And you will no doubt recall that the US Fed released its latest version...Read More

Posted Sep 24, 2012

First the UK must fix productivity

A lot of economists don’t get it. Why oh why, oh why? The UK economy has been contracting of late, but employment rising. In Q1 of this year UK labour productivity, measured as output per hour, fell by 1.3 per cent, and UK unit labour costs increased by 1.4...

Read More

Posted Sep 24, 2012

Is the UK on the mend?

Whether you believe the UK downturn is slowly ending does to an extent depend on what you believe caused its problems in the first place.

Let’s look at the data, the theories, and the policies and ask: do they stack up?

First there’s data on employment. It has improved and that’s good,...Read More

Posted Sep 17, 2012

Green Shoots

This is no wind up. The last week or so has seen hints. The green shoots may not be big, peeking above the surface like scared mice, but they have been there all the same. So is this for real? Has the recovery begun?

Yesterday on the Andrew Marr Show former...Read More

Posted Sep 17, 2012

Patents in disarray, as Apple ruling threatens an end to innovation

In California, Steve Jobs is worshiped. At least in the region surrounding the Apple headquarters he is. It’s not like those Egyptian Pharaohs, who became gods after they died, but it is not that much different.
And so it was that court based no more than half an hour’s drive...Read More

Posted Sep 10, 2012

Are UK house prices justified by low supply?

The argument that house prices are justified by low supply does have some merits.

But let’s take a look at some key points here.

For one thing, there is evidence to suggest that around six million home owners live in houses that are bigger than they need – two spare bedrooms or...Read More

Posted Sep 03, 2012

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