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    The Federal Reserve's top two leaders-- Chairwoman Janet Yellen and Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer-- have spoken extensively in the past few days about the outlook for the economy and monetary policy. Here is a quick summation of what we have learned:. They are worried about the global economy: Yellen in her comments in Rhode Island last week said, "growth in many other parts of the global economy, including China and some other emerging market economies, has slowed.

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    - Toll Brothers Inc (TOL) , the largest U.S. luxury homebuilder, reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit, helped by a lower tax provision. The company, whose homes can cost more than $2 million, also raised the low end of its average selling price by $5,000 to $730,000.

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    The U.S. federal funds rate, which banks charge each other to borrow excess reserves, averaged 0.12 percent on Tuesday, down from 0.13 percent on Friday, U.S. Federal Reserve data released early Wednesday showed. The fed funds rate, which the Fed targets to achieve its rate objective, traded in a range of 0.07 percent to 0.3125 percent for a third day on Tuesday.

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    Don't mess with Texas: it's got several of America's fastest growing cities. Three of the top five fastest growing U.S. cities are in Texas, according to new U.S. Census Bureau data on population growth between 2013 and 2014. The figures are another sign that young American adults and some Baby Boomers are flocking to cities, choosing an urban life over suburban or rural towns.

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    Updated from 6:57 a.m. Here are 10 things you should know for Wednesday, May 27: 1. -- U.S. stock futures were tentatively rising as investors digested a big cable-TV deal and debated when the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates.

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    The United States urged international creditors to show more flexibility in negotiations with Greece's cash-strapped government to avert a possible Greek default and exit from the euro zone with incalculable consequences. U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew issued the warning on Wednesday in a stopover in London on his way to a meeting of Group of Seven finance ministers in Dresden, Germany.

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    Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen will not attend this summer's central bank meeting in Jackson Hole, Wyo., one of the highest-profile gatherings of international economists and policymakers.The intimate, invite-only gathering in the Grand Tetons has been an important stage for Fed officials to signal shifts in policy. With the central bank in the midst of debating when to raise its benchmark interest rate for the first time in nearly a decade, the conference would have been a logical opportunity for Yellen to map out the path forward. The topic at the heavily academic conference this year is inflation, which has been running persistently -- and perplexingly -- below the Fed's goal of 2 percent.“Chair Yellen does not plan to attend the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s Jackson Hole Economic Policy Symposium in August," a Fed spokesperson said. "However, she looks forward to participating in the symposium from time to time in future years as part of a public speaking schedule that includes a wide variety of venues and events." Traditionally, the Fed chair delivers the first speech of the conference, and it has often been a particularly meaty one. Then-Fed chairman Ben S. Bernanke hinted that the central bank would inject more stimulus into the economy during his speech there in 2010. By the end of the year, the Fed launched its second round of large-scale asset purchases designed to hold down long-term interest rates. In 2012, Bernanke's Jackson Hole speech once again signaled that the Fed stood ready to ensure the recovery remained on track. A few months later, the central bank announced an open-ended asset purchase plan that set long-term rates plummeting to record lows.Conversely, Bernanke set tongues wagging when he opted to skip the conference in 2013 -- the first time in 25 years that the leader of the Fed did not attend. And indeed, Bernanke stepped down from his position once his term ended early the next year.Yellen attended the conference last year -- her first as Fed chief --  delivering a speech expressing her confidence in the improving labor market. It is very unlikely that her absence this year is any indication that she is ready to call it quits -- far from it. However, Bernanke and Yellen do share low-key styles that do not seek out the limelight. And Yellen has been comfortable letting Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer represent the central bank at influential international gatherings.This was Bernanke's response when questioned about why he decided to skip Jackson Hole. It's unknown if Yellen feels the same way."I think there’s a perception that the Jackson Hole conference is a Federal Reserve system-wide conference. It’s not. It’s a conference sponsored by one of the 12 Reserve Banks," Bernanke said. "Every one of the 12 Reserve Banks has conferences, has meetings, and this is the one I’ve gone to the most of probably any of the Reserve Banks, so I think it’s not inappropriate to go to different conferences, different meetings, and to essentially meet all the constituents that I have in these different Reserve Banks."




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    By Paige Bowers and Pedro Nicolaci da Costa. BATON ROUGE, La.-- Richmond Federal Reserve Bank President Jeffrey Lacker said Tuesday he still hasn't decided whether to vote for an interest-rate increase at the central bank's June 16-17 meeting. Weak economic data during the first quarter-- and a shaky start to the second-- have pushed back market expectations for Fed rate rises toward the end of the year, with estimates converging around September.

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    Ben Bernanke, the former chairman of the Federal Reserve, said Wednesday he saw no evidence of extreme movements in U.S. markets, including real estate, according to a Reuters report citing his comments at a conference in the South Korean capital Seoul. Bernanke also reportedly said an expected U.S. interest-rate hike would be a positive sign, as it would represent a vote of confidence in the economy from the Fed. "As long as the financial system is healthy, even if there's movement in...

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    It's a little bit unclear what Bernie Sanders has against the deodorant aisle. It is apparently, in the eyes of the Vermont senator seeking the Democratic nomination for president, a proxy for the ills of the American economy. Too many deodorant choices are bad, and so are too many sneakers. As Sanders told CNBC'S John Harwood, on the day he officially announced his candidacy:If 99 percent of all the new income goes to the top 1 percent, you could triple it, it wouldn't matter much to the average middle class person. The whole size of the economy and the GDP doesn't matter if people continue to work longer hours for low wages and you have 45 million people living in poverty. You can't just continue growth for the sake of growth in a world in which we are struggling with climate change and all kinds of environmental problems. All right? You don't necessarily need a choice of 23 underarm spray deodorants or of 18 different pairs of sneakers when children are hungry in this country.The literal implication of that last sentence is that there some kind of a national trade-off between antiperspirant/Air Jordan variety and food for children. This makes sense if you believe that the government should be allocating the resources in the economy -- in this case, directing fewer of them to personal hygiene and footwear and more to child nutrition.It makes less sense if you look at economic history.All sorts of new brands and styles of deodorant have come onto the market in recent decades: roll-ons, clear sticks, dry sprays. Axe. Walmart.com doesn't list 23 items under deodorant - it lists 1,953. And yet, for all those choices, Americans spend substantially less of their incomes - about 36 percent less - on personal hygiene products today than they did a half-century ago.In part, that's because the price of those products is rising slower than inflation overall. The consumer price index increased about 2.4 percent a year over the last 15 years. The price index for the subset of personal care products that includes deodorant increased just 0.2 percent a year. Underarm dryness is getting cheaper, relatively speaking.The same is true of shoes - even more dramatically. Americans spent 8 percent of their earnings on apparel and footwear in 1959. They spent 3.2 percent on it in 2009. Food is the most dramatic drop of all, from 19.4 percent in 1959 to 7.8 percent in 2009.This isn't to say middle-class families have more money to spend these days on luxuries - they don't. What's consumed much more of our national income over the last 50 years are housing, financial services and, especially, health care.Sanders has a lot to say about finance and health care, guided by a general belief that more government intervention in those markets would lower prices for everyone. He also has a lot of criticism for the free-trade policies that have pushed down prices for some consumer goods, such as shoes, while driving U.S. jobs overseas.It's hard to see how deodorant helps him make any of those cases, especially when it's gotten easier for poor people to buy it.




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    It has always taken some financial wherewithal to purchase a newly built home. The Commerce Department on Tuesday reported that the pace of new home sales in April reached an annualized 517,000, adjusting for seasonal swings. Even with the caveat that the sales figures aren't measured well, this counted as good news: It suggested weak sales in March, when annualized sales came to just 484,000, were mostly about the weather.

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    HONG KONG-- The Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal may be controversial in the U.S., but in China it appears to be the object of great worry and, in some respects, seems to be driving policy in Beijing. The TPP agreement, strongly supported by President Barack Obama, would create the world's largest free-trade zone, stretching across half the globe. The treaty itself, as well as the "fast-track" negotiating authority sought by the Obama Administration, has come under criticism by some...

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    It wasn't until the Maffuccis found themselves living on cups of coffee, and coffee alone, that they finally called a food pantry for help. The couple had sold their suburban New Jersey home where they had raised three children and set out to pursue the glossy dream of an easygoing retirement in sunny southwest Florida.

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    Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen will skip this year's Jackson Hole conference, according to multiple press reports. In past years, the Fed chair has used the conference as a platform to make major monetary-policy addresses. (END) Dow Jones Newswires 05-26-15 1719 ET Copyright (c) 2015 Dow Jones& Company, Inc..

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    The yuan will likely join the basket some day-- but probably not this year. The debate over whether the Chinese yuan should be added to the International Monetary Fund's special drawing right is a tempest in a teapot, according to Capital Economics. It's unlikely that the yuan will be added to the exclusive basket of reserve assets this year, the economists said.

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    * Dollar up more than 1 percent against basket of currencies. * Euro falls below $1.09, Greek concerns growing. * U.S. data bolsters dollar buying. By Michael Connor. The dollar climbed more than 1 percent against other major currencies on Tuesday, extending recent gains on upbeat data that lifted expectations the Federal Reserve will start raising U.S. interest rates in 2015.

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    By Myra P. Saefong and Barbara Kollmeyer, MarketWatch, Eric Yep. Morgan Stanley says plenty of headwinds to higher prices. Oil futures finished lower on Tuesday, with U.S. benchmark prices logging their lowest settlement in a week and Brent crude prices at their weakest level of the month as the dollar rallied and analysts warned of near-term headwinds for the commodity.

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    Monetary policy divergence among central banks is breeding greater uncertainty in the global economy, but that is no reason to give up on European or U.S. stocks, says Frederic Babu, co-chief investment officer of Natixis Asset Management U.S. "One of our key themes this year is that there is light at the end of the tunnel, and we are still constructive on the world's riskier assets," he says, ...