This column highlights the most interesting and useful business and financial commentary from around the Web each day. Use our comments section to post your own suggestions for blog content that you've read or written.
"Wall Street is examining whether it will benefit from a little-known section of a broad new law that President Obama is expected to sign on Thursday. Provisions tucked into the so-called JOBS Act, or the Jumpstart Our Business Startups, will roll back some major securities regulations and parts of a landmark legal settlement struck almost a decade ago. That 2003 settlement built a Chinese wall between Wall Street research analysts and investment bankers, an effort to prevent analysts from improperly promoting stocks to help their firms drum up business from corporate clients. "(For related content, see Will the JOBS Act Open Floodgates of Innovation or Fraud?
The Capital Spectator
"Initial jobless claims fell again last week, touching a new four-year low and signaling that the labor market will continue growing in the foreseeable future. For the week through March 31, new filings for unemployment benefits dropped 6,000 to a seasonally adjusted 357,000. Last week’s decline was no quirk, considering that the four-week moving average of new claims also dipped to a new four-year low. There’s no seasonal issue clouding the trend either. Unadjusted claims are 12% below last year’s level, which is to say that the annual decline remains in the 10%-15% range of decrease that’s prevailed for the past 12 months."
"There are two competing narratives about the federal government budget in the political mainstream today. The first is that we are, or soon will be, in crisis, because of runaway government spending. To avoid this crisis, we should cut spending by a great deal and as soon as possible. The second view is that all talk of a fiscal crisis is essentially a hoax; we have a jobs crisis, and we should spend as much as necessary to get us out of the deep recession. From this perspective, we should fix the budget once the economy is back on an even keel." (Also read Taking Steps Toward a Way Out of Debt and Deficits
"Whatever one thinks about Lord Wolfson’s euro-skeptical meddling, it certainly has been entertaining. The British baron’s offer of a £250,000 prize for the best ideas to deal with a possible breakup of the eurozone has brought all sorts of people out of the woodwork. (Including this precocious 11-year old.) But one of the most fascinating ideas on the shortlist has come from Neil Record — although I’m not sure that my takeaway was his main intent."
"If you venture into a coffee shop in the coming months and see someone with a pair of futuristic glasses that look like a prop from 'Star Trek,' don’t worry. It’s probably just a Google employee testing the company’s new augmented-reality glasses. On Wednesday, Google gave people a clearer picture of its secret initiative called Project Glass. The glasses are the company’s first venture into wearable computing. The glasses are not yet for sale. Google will, however, be testing them in public. "(Also read Google Goggles Grows a Bigger Brain
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