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Archive | Quarterly Review

Changing Consumer Behavior [Jan 11, 2009]

At Visa, the No. 1 card company, debit spending could surpass credit this year. The profits on debit cards are not as plump since banks do not collect interest on them. Comerica Bank won the right this year to issue debit cards to the estimated 4 million Social Security recipients who do not have bank accounts. In a basic change, debit is becoming the plastic card of choice for the American public.

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Secrecy [Jan 11, 2009]

Dark pools are electronic venues where funds can buy and sell blocks of shares without publishing bids or offers. The funds value the anonymity of the dark pools and the fact that trades are not public until after their execution. In that way, their orders do not push the price of the stock away from them. Currently, they represent somewhere between 8 and 10 percent of the overall daily U.S. equity volumes, and that is growing fast.

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Financial Complexity [Jan 11, 2009]

Complexity is nature’s way of protecting against change. Natural ecosystems depend upon a bewildering degree of complexity to remain adaptable and resilient. This degree of elasticity in an ecosystem–its ability to absorb harmful interactions or infusions –determines its “fitness” for survival. In this light, complexity is really a fundamental truth for us all, and as such is increasingly a right of every conscious individual.

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