In The News:

The Future…May Not Be Bright…. 

Analyst at the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) issued a stark warning about the long term budget outlook on Tuesday. The announcement comes as Congress and the White House face two fiscal battles in the near future. According to the CBO’s calculations the US nation debit is now 73% of gross domestic product, the highest it’s been in history.

Despite a slight reduction in spending this year, due to the sequester,  the CBO cautions the longer term outlook could see  the national debt growing to 100% of GDP by 2025, if the current laws remain in place.  Bottom Line: Today’s announcement comes less than two weeks before the end of the government’s fiscal year and after last month’s warning from Treasury Sec. Jack Lew, ,that the US will hit the debt ceiling by October. Will all of this cause Congress to actually work or are they going to once again kick the can down the road?

Sold…

5 years ago, in the mist of the financial crisis, the UK government bailed out Lloyds Bank, by buying a 37.5% stake in the company. As part of the bailout deal the government paid average price of £73.6 (pounds) per share.  In a sign the bank and the economy are starting to get stronger the UK government yesterday started the process of selling its stake. The sale, 6% to institutional investors, at a price of 75 pounds per share represents a £586M cash profit for both the government and UK tax payers. Not a bad profit for a 5 year investment…

Weak Demand…

Apple shares continued their decent Tuesday on fears China demand is dropping. China Unicom, the country’s second largest wireless carrier, said preorders topped out at 100K- well below the 300K preorder for the previous IPhone model. Apple was betting the new cheaper iPhone would be a big hit in China as the company tries to fend off heavy overseas competition from Android devices. Both iPhone 5S and 5C will officially be available for purchase starting Friday, September 20.

The market has not been kind to Apple since their big announcement on September 9. Apple shares have dropped 8.9% in the last week including a decline Tuesday of $10.52.

To Taper or Not to Taper…

All eyes will be on the Fed Wednesday as the FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee)  may announce to the world  whether it will begin to taper off its asset purchases, also known as QE (Quantitative Easing), in September or wait to start later in the year. Most Wall Street analysts agree the committee will announce a slow decrease in the purchase starting this month. If they are right, tomorrow afternoon global investors may be in for a wild ride. If they don’t decide to taper get ready for another round of the game: will they/won’t they.

In The Markets:

Asia:

Asian markets closed overall mixed on Wednesday, as investors played it cautious waiting on the much-anticipated US Federal Reserve policy meeting.

Europe:

European shares retreated from their 5 year highs Tuesday as investors play the wait and see game with the Fed.

US:

US stocks held on to modest gains Tuesday ahead of today’s Fed meeting and possible announcement. DJIA: +35.33 15530.11, NASDAQ: +27.85 3745.70, S&P +7.23 1704.83

In Dinner or Drink:

Double Crusted Chicken Pot Pie

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 medium leeks, sliced
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 (14.5-oz.) can chicken broth
  • 3 cups chopped cooked chicken
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen cubed hash browns with onions and peppers
  • 1 cup matchstick carrots
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 (17.3-oz.) package frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed
  • 1 large egg

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 375°. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat; add leeks and sauté 3 minutes. Sprinkle with flour; cook, stirring constantly, 3 minutes. Whisk in chicken broth; bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Remove from heat; stir in chicken and next 5 ingredients.

2. Roll each pastry sheet into a 12- x 10-inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Fit 1 sheet into a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate; spoon chicken mixture into pastry. Place remaining pastry sheet over filling in opposite direction of bottom sheet; fold edges under, and press with tines of a fork, sealing to bottom crust. Whisk together egg and 1 Tbsp. water, and brush over top of pie.

3. Bake at 375° on lower oven rack 55 to 60 minutes or until browned. Let stand 15 minutes.