Tuesday, December 15, 2015 - Article by: Mark Hemingway - Security Financial Services, LLC -
Oil prices continue to drift lower hitting 11-year lows as a glut of oil supply flows through the global pipelines. West Texas Intermediate oil fell to $34.53 in today's trading. The drop in oil prices has led prices lower at your local gas stations. The national average price for a regular gallon of gasoline is at $2.01, while prices have fallen below $2 a gallon in 41 states. Last year at this time prices at the pumps averaged $2.55, and prices have fallen from the $2.17 seen a month ago. The drop in prices could boost holiday spending, but we will see when the numbers are reported in a few weeks.
The two-day Federal Open Market Committee meeting kicks off on Tuesday and will culminate on Wednesday with the 2:00 p.m. ET release of the monetary policy statement. It is widely expected that the central bank will raise its benchmark Fed Funds Rates by a 1/4 point for the first time in nine years. The Fed has kept the fed Funds Rate near zero percent since 2008 in an effort to promote economic stability and job growth. The Fed Funds Rate is the rate in which financial institutions lend balances held at the Federal Reserve to one another on an overnight basis. The increase could raise interest rates on bank fees, car loans and credit cards.
Be on the lookout for the Grinch in your neighborhood when getting packages delivered from the Post Office, UPS, FedEx and the like this season. U.S. online sales during the season pose a big feast when those packages lay idle at your doorstep. A recent report shows that an estimated 23 million Americans have had packages stolen from their homes and the number is expected to increase as online shopping begins to overtake the traditional brick and mortar stores. So called "Porch Pirates" usually trail a delivery truck and pounce on the merchandise as soon as the driver is out of sight. Delivery companies are now giving alternatives to how they receive their packages. UPS is expanding its UPS Access Point network, which offers package pickup and drop off primarily at neighborhood convenience and grocery stores, dry cleaners and delicatessens to 8,000 U.S. locations and 22,000 worldwide by the end of this year.
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