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Janet Yellen: high spirits, low rates

•  The Federal Reserve’s first formal policy statement with the new Chair of the Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen, brought assurance that interest rates will remain low for the coming year. Yellen’s comments were not without uncertainty, however. Disagreements among committee members led the market to believe rates will rise more aggressively than originally thought.

•  The teenage thriller “Divergent,” a movie based on the book series of the same name, took the top slot at the box office this past weekend. The victory is another large move for Lions Gate Entertainment Corp., whose previous winners, including “Twilight” and “The Hunger Games,” attracted a similar audience.

•  The results of the Fed’s most recent stress test are in, and they are positive. 29 out of the 30 banks that underwent the lengthy analysis passed. The stress test examines whether the large financial institutions have enough cash in reserve to withstand a large jolt or surprise to the economy and market. The necessity of the stress test came about following the financial meltdown of 2008.

• Apple and Comcast, technology and communications giants, are talking about teaming up to create a television streaming service. The service would use an Apple set-top box to allow users to stream both live and on-demand programs on special treatment Comcast cables. The special cables would give users the ability to bypass congestion on the web and increase viewing speeds.

•  While the low prices of natural gas over the past several years have been hurting big oil and gas companies, chemical and plastic companies have been taking advantage of the cheap fuel and used the time to expand. The cheap and abundant fuel has created something of a manufacturing renaissance in the United States for petrochemical companies. Many manufacturers of plastics, rubber resins and metals have even moved plants from countries in South America and Asia to the United States.


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