Stock markets have been swinging wildly of late. Even though corporate earnings have shown strength over the past year and not all economic indicators have been gloomy, investors are on edge. Uncertainty looms on several fronts – from concerns about the basic health of the economy to doubts about fiscal policies in the United States and Europe. Here's a look at the forces weighing on investors' outlook:
Mortgage refinancing would have benefited them last year, Fed study says. But 2.3 million either were 'underwater' or didn't have credit scores to qualify for mortgage refinancing.
Stocks fell sharply on a variety of factors – from a pessimistic Federal Reserve to reports that Europe might be headed for a recession. But falling stocks don't guarantee a recession is coming.
Fortune 500 companies are supposed to be stable, rock-solid institutions, where CEO change rarely happens. But it doesn't always happen that way. Just ask Hewlett-Packard, which announced Thursday that Meg Whitman would be the company's new chief executive officer, the fourth HP CEO in six years. In the past six years, only 16 companies on the Fortune 500 or S&P 500 have had three CEOs, according to executive search firm Crist Kolder Associates in Hinsdale, Ill. Besides HP, only two have had four or more. Can you guess who these CEO change champions are? [Editor's note: This story was updated 9/23/2011.]
Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman reportedly is the choice of the troubled company's board to replace the current HP CEO, Leo Apotheker. Despite her past achievements, some question whether she is up for the daunting task.
The frequent-flier programs for United and Continental airlines were announced Wednesday. The new frequent flier program, which will take effect early next year, will reward travelers who buy the most expensive tickets.
At about noon Thursday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was off 370 points, or 3.3 percent. On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve said 'there are significant downside risks to the economic outlook.'
Congress made a deal to avoid an FAA shutdown. The next deadlines involving spending and government debt will be harder.
Medicare and Medicaid could save the money through coordinating care, a study says. Some 9 million elderly are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid.
Lower interest rates for mortgages, other loans could help consumers. But Fed's move to lower interest rates hurts savers and may not buoy stocks.
Treasury bonds set new lows for interest rates. Federal Reserve plans to push down interest rates on Treasury bonds to try to get the economy expanding more quickly.