November 16, 2022

Few financial sectors are as volatile as cryptocurrency, with the price of bitcoin down by more than 60 percent since the start of the year. The coin’s recent drop can be directly attributed to the downfall of FTX, a crypto exchange once valued at more than $32 billion. Founded by Samuel Bankman-Fried, FTX attracted the interest of top venture capital firms who invested hundreds of millions in the seemingly promising project. The company purchased mainstream legitimacy with their immense capital, Continue reading

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July 29, 2022

Consumer confidence in the economy has taken a nosedive as prices climb higher due to rising inflation, potentially indicating that the U.S. is on the road to a recession. This video looks at how the government collects data on consumer confidence while also examining the ways that low economic expectations can further fuel inflation.

Questions:

  1. Why does the government collect data on consumer confidence? What sort of questions do they ask participants?
  2. How can declining consumer confidence potentially drive inflation even higher?
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July 22, 2022

The U.S. dollar is the world’s most important currency, serving as one side of 90 percent of all foreign exchange transactions. Before the pandemic, the U.S. dollar accounted for $6 trillion in daily activity as everyone from tourists to multinational corporations depended on this customarily stable currency. After the turmoil of the last few years, however, the dependable dollar has skyrocketed in value to its highest level in 20 years. 

The value of the dollar has jumped 10 percent Continue reading

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June 24, 2022

Last week, we looked at how declining stock prices are signaling to analysts that an economic recession could be on the horizon. This video looks at how the recent downturn has been especially grim for tech companies, whose shares are down significantly due to rising interest rates and global instability. 

Questions:

  1. What are some factors that have caused tech stocks to fall sharply in recent months?
  2. How have hiring decisions by companies like Facebook contributed to the tech stock downturn
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June 17, 2022

Yesterday, the S&P 500 dropped more than 3 percent, continuing a long decline for stocks despite investors’ hopes for a rally. This places the index down 24 percent from its previous highs in January, further pushing stocks into bear market territory. Stock markets turn from bulls to bears once they drop more than 20 percent from recent peaks, potentially indicating that the economy is headed towards a recession. In fact, if losses continue at this rate, the S&P could experience Continue reading

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Over the last few years cryptocurrency has gone from the fringes of finance to the mainstream, complete with celebrity Super Bowl ads and widespread interest from Wall Street. But while more people know about crypto than ever before, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a safe investment. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Americans have lost more than $1 billion to cryptocurrency scams since the beginning of last year. In fact, crypto con jobs now account for a fourth Continue reading

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iPhone with downward sloping stock graphShare prices plummeted across all three major stock indexes last Friday, wrapping up a terrible month that brought markets to their lowest levels since the start of the pandemic. On that single day, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 939 points while the S&P 500 dropped 155 points, amounting to respective contractions of 2.8 percent and 3.6 percent. Worst of all was the Nasdaq, which shrank by 4.2 percent after dropping 536 points. 

The numbers look even worse when Continue reading

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March 17, 2022

With inflation rising to its highest levels in 40 years, the Federal Reserve plans to take action by raising interest rates in an effort to get the money supply under control. This video looks at the ways the Fed guides the economy by influencing the federal funds rate, which then affects everything from banking policies to the housing market. 

Questions:

  1. Why is the Fed planning to raise the federal funds rate?
  2. How does the federal funds rate eventually affect Continue reading
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February 25, 2022

In theory, overdraft fees charged by banks are meant to be a “convenience” for customers so that their purchases are not declined when they are unknowingly low on funds. In practice, however, these fees have become a major revenue generator for banks that charge an average of $33.58 for each overdraft. That means consumers can be hit with multiple fees if they accidentally make numerous purchases while past the limits of their account. Studies show that this practice particularly harms Continue reading

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November 2, 2021

As debates in Washington about raising the debt ceiling once again make the news, this video provides a comprehensive and straightforward explanation of the U.S. national debt. Along with examining the sale of government bonds, the video also considers whether or not the country should retain the debt limit. 

Questions:

  1. How does the sale of bonds benefit both investors and the government? 
  2. Do you think the U.S. should continue to maintain a debt limit? Why or why not?
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