The bull market is entering its third year, historically a time when investors grow wary. They’ll have good reason for caution in 2011, given the potential for higher interest rates, federal budget struggles, a surge in commodity prices, and the challenges corporations may find in churning out higher and higher profits. These stresses won’t necessarily end the party on Wall Street, just change it. Here are 10 investment trends to watch for in 2011:
Although the recession is technically over, many companies are still struggling to make up for lost profit, customers, and locations. But some companies have come out of the recession better than they went in, thanks to their adjustments to consumer demand and other smart business strategies. Here are five companies that have thrived despite the worst downturn since the Great Depression:
The Christmas storm of 2010, which dropped 31 inches of snow on some parts of New England and crippled New York City, will likely stand out as a memory-maker, something to tell the grandkids about – especially if you got stuck in the national air traffic snarl or localized mayhem in New York, where police cars got stuck in drifts and New Yorkers yelled at the mayor for failing to keep the streets clear. But the past decade – the snowiest since the 1970s – had several other memorable winter storms. Here's the five that got the most attention – and did the most damage.
Gallup released its annual “Most Admired” poll Monday. Since the organization started surveying people about this in 1946, sitting presidents have held the No. 1 spot for men 52 times. How did President Obama fare in the 2010 ranking? Read on to learn who earned the Top 5 spots for both men and women in the Gallup poll.
In many ways, 2010 is a year you may want to relegate to the filing cabinet quickly. It began with a massive earthquake in Haiti and wound down with North Korea once again being an enfant terrible – bizarrely trying to conduct diplomacy through brinkmanship. In between came Toyota recalls and egg scares, pat downs at airports and unyielding unemployment numbers, too little money in the Irish treasury and too many bedbugs in American sheets. Oil gushed from the floor of the Gulf of Mexico for three months, mocking the best intentions of man and technology to stop it, while ash from a volcano in Iceland darkened Europe temporarily as much as its balance sheets. Yet not all was gloomy. The winter Olympics in Canada and the World Cup in South Africa dazzled with their displays of athletic prowess and national pride, becoming hearths around which the world gathered. In Switzerland, the world's largest atom smasher hurled two protons into each other at unfathomable speeds. Then came the year's most poignant moment – the heroic and improbable rescue of 33 miners from the clutches of the Chilean earth. There were many transitions, too – the return of the Republicans in Washington and the Tories in Britain, the scaling back of one war (Iraq) and the escalation of another (Afghanistan), the fall of some powers (Greece) and rise of others (China, Germany, Lady Gaga). To get the new year off to the right start, we decided to ask various thinkers for one idea each to make the world a better place in 2011. We plumbed poets and political figures, physicists and financiers, theologians and novelists. Some of the ideas are provocative, others quixotic. Some you will agree with, others you won't. But in the modest quest to stir a discussion – from academic salons to living rooms to government corridors – we offer these 25 ideas.
History, it seems, will remember 2010 in the United States as the year of health-care reform, the Gulf oil spill, and the tea party movement. But the most widely covered stories are clearly not the only events that could shape the future of the nation. Here we note five overlooked stories of 2010 – developments that might have received some press coverage but perhaps not as much as they should have, given the impact they could have on various aspects of American life in the years ahead.
Christmas vacation is often no vacation for college-bound high school seniors, many of whom spend these weeks refining their list of schools, polishing their essays, and completing their applications. The application process can be exhausting, but it’s making the final choice that keeps you awake at night. Which school is “the one”? There’s no shortage of advice from parents and guidance counselors. But people who’ve recently been through the process – and come out the other end – have words of wisdom, too. Here are 10 things your future classmates say you should consider before sending in that deposit.
Faux holidays like “Seinfeld’s” Festivus, popularized in 1997, forgo the traditional in favor of another way to celebrate the season. Consider it Hollywood’s way of poking fun at – or maybe offering a little social commentary about – Americans’ tendency to go overboard on their Christmas observances. Festivus is not the only made-for-TV holiday – and it even may not be the only one to catch on in real life. Here’s the skinny on Festivus and three other invented days of celebration, brought to you by the Dream Machine.
A total of 66 cars were designated the 2011 safest cars, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety announced Wednesday. They include 40 cars, 25 SUVs, and one minivan, which “do the best job of protecting people in front, side, rollover, and rear crashes,” the institute says. Here are the 2011 safest cars, listed alphabetically by automaker. Did your dream car make the cut?
The outgoing 111th Congress is among the most productive in history, in spite of its reputation for gridlock and 13 percent approval rating. Democrats controlled the House and the Senate, and used their large majorities to push through landmark legislation with barely any GOP support. The post-election lame-duck session – typically a mopping-up operation to get out of town – also made history, passing key pieces of legislation, often with greater input from Republicans than had earlier been the case. People can argue the merits of what Congress did, but it’s hard to quibble with the scope of the undertaking. Here are six of this Congress’s major accomplishments, in the order in which they were approved.
Like many a robotic planetary mission, you've gotta love the Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn – a joint effort between NASA and the European Space Agency. It launched in 1997 and for the past six years (yes, it took some time to get there), Cassini has been the gift that keeps on giving. Saturn's largest moon, Titan, continues to be one of Cassini's most intriguing targets. It's the only planetary satellite with a thick atmosphere – a hydrocarbon haze that makes a smoggy day in Los Angeles look crystal clear by comparison. And although it's a cold moon, with lakes of liquid methane, Titan has many of the compounds that on Earth were the building blocks for organic life. It's high on the list of "let's go back" destinations among astrobiologists. So far, Cassdini has performed 73 flybys of Titan, including eight this year. Here are some of this year's eye-popping discoveries associated with Cassini's observations of Titan.
London's Heathrow Airport, one of the world's busiest, is getting back on its feet after winter storms led to massive delays and left more than 100,000 travelers stranded. Even though flights are resuming, the backlog means that it will be at least another day before the flight schedule returns to normal. Finger-pointing for the delays abound and the chief executive of BAA, the company that operates Heathrow, said he will not take his annual bonus due to the mess. Is he to blame? What else could be the cause?
In America, second chances are, if not quite a constitutional right, a cherished value. And the power of presidents and governors to pardon lawbreakers and commute sentences can take on special significance. Such enormous executive powers are often misused, critics say, but they can also provide snapshots of Americans' political and cultural priorities. Many pardons occur around Christmas, in a nod to the spirit of the season. Also, around that time, many American's aren't paying much attention to the news – and some outgoing leaders are making their final decisions. Here are the Top 6 cases of pardon or clemency in 2010.
Which state has more people per square mile than India? Which state saw its smallest population growth in at least a century? The data released Tuesday gives Americans a first look at what Census 2010 is saying about the United States. For example, the US population grew more slowly this past decade – 9.7 percent – than in any decade since the 1930s. Back during the Great Depression, six states lost population. In the first 10 years of the 2000s, only one state was a loser. Do you know which one?
On the grand scale of nuclear arms reduction, the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty President Obama signed with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev last April – known in Washington shorthand as New START – is considered a modest document. Yet it has become a lightning rod for contentious debate over related issues like missile defense and US-Russia relations, which the treaty does not directly address. The push is on for the Senate to ratify New START before the lame-duck session ends. The treaty is endorsed by former President George H.W. Bush (R), whose support may offset the suggestion that New START’s ratification would mainly be a foreign-policy boost to a Democratic president whom the Republicans just a month ago had on the ropes. Here’s a look at three things New START would accomplish – and three things it would not.
Senate leaders decided to scrap a 1,900-page omnibus spending bill that contained $8 billion in home state spending projects – otherwise known as earmarks, pet projects, or "pork." Government spending and the deficit became an issue in the midterm election, and lawmakers are keenly aware of voter anger about large, catch-all bills that are quickly passed. The following senators have been ranked by the monetary value of earmarks they backed, whether alone or with others, in the now-scuttled omnibus spending bill. The earmark process became more transparent with the 2006 Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act, which required creation of a database of all government spending. The watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense used the database to compile this ranking. Sen. Tom Coburn (R) of Oklahoma, who co-sponsored the legislation, also has a list of the disclosed earmarks in the omnibus bill on his website. *This is the amount requested both alone and with other members of Congress.
Any booklover on your list will appreciate the classic, timeless gift of a book. For lists of the best nonfiction, fiction, and children’s book titles recommended by the Monitor, click on the links above. But if your gifts have gotten so predictable that you no longer need to wrap them, you might want to try giving one of these more unusual non-book gifts for booklovers.
Even middling years can yield marvelous movies. Despite all the frazzled franchises and star-studded misfires of 2010, there were still wonders to behold –historical dramas of the finest intelligence, animation of great wit and delicacy, documentaries that brought out the human drama behind the headlines, and small, independent movies that showcased the emerging artists of tomorrow. If you haven't yet seen any or all of my top 10, listed here alphabetically, I envy what awaits you.