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Signs of the UK economy improving and the S&P reaches four-year high

The latest quarterly survey from the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said the the UK economy has shown a few signs of improvement in the last three months. It is refreshing to see an article that is positive, as the majority of articles highlight the potential fallout from a Euro-zone breakup. The BCC expects economic growth of 0.3% in the quarter 1 of 2012, which is in contrast to the announcement of the OECD last week which predicts the UK economy to contract. This would be quarter on quarter contraction and deemed as a technical recession. I am sure that George Osborne and Sir Meryvn King are hoping that the BCC rather than the think tank OECD are correct.

The Royal Bank of Canada has been accused by the US futures regulator the CFTC for an alleged multi-hundred-million-dollar trading scheme to gain lucrative Canadian tax benefits.

Shares in the on-line discount retailer Groupon were in free-fall after the company announced further losses than previously announced as customers requested refunds on deals bought. Groupon’s fourth quarter total net loss is market at a staggering $65.4 million. If the company operates as poorly as its unsubscribe function for its daily deals I can see why it is in trouble. On numerous occasions I have attempted and failed and continue to receive unwanted emails. Perhaps this is a method of theirs to keep ‘subscribers’ from falling?

Bullish economic data from the US pushed the S&P 500 to a four year high. The ISM factory data came in at higher than expected 53.4 higher than the expected 52.4. If the number prints above 50 this shows that there is expansionary growth. In contrast US construction spending fell, with February recording its largest drop in 7 months, but the bulls seemed to brush this data off and continue to bid up equities.

Newspaper Headlines

Hungarian President quits in scandal surrounding plagarism of his doctorate - The Wall Street Journal

SEC’s risk monitors meet boards in efforts to raise accountability – Financial Times

Granny tax: Government promised to keep raising pension allowances - The Daily Telegraph

AstraPoker site plays Trump card to crack America - The Times

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