DailyFinance – “Then and Now: How the Economy Has Changed Since 9/11”

Think back to the evening of Sept. 10, 2001: It’s been 10 years, and in some ways, it’s as if nothing has changed. That Monday night, the United States was coming off a recession stemming from a bursting bubble, consumer confidence was declining, and predatory lending was in the headlines.

But as we all know, everything did change the next morning, in ways that we are still working to understand.

Over the last decade, consumer confidence and housing prices have gone through a dramatic rise and fall, and two massively expensive wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were initiated. 

AOL’s DailyFinance asked economists including Lubin’s Niso Abuaf, to share their thoughts on two questions: What were the most significant economic shifts between 2001 and 2011; and if that decade had a headline, what would it be. 

The Great Disappointment in Real Wage Growth and European Integration

Niso Abuaf, professor of finance, Pace University

“Technology [the innovation of the ’90s] bore fruit and the productivity gains we have experienced in technology, media and telecom sectors have been tremendous with the iPhone, iPad, Blackberry and virtual workplace. But has that accrued to the typical U.S. worker or European worker?  Unfortunately, those productivity gains have not translated into real wage gains and it has been a disappointment. Wages have not kept up with productivity gains. Another disappointment is that Europe’s lack of political union and its response to crisis in [the PIIGS nations] has not been as decisive and quick a response as the U.S. response during the Great Contraction.”

NewsFactor: “Wall Street Traders Mine Tweets for Investing Clues”

A Study done by a Pace PhD candidate Arthur O’Connor which showed a correlation between stocks and social-media was mentioned in the NewsFactor article “Wall Street Traders Mine Tweets for Investing Clues”.

A Study done by a Pace PhD candidate Arthur O’Connor which showed a correlation between stocks and social-media was mentioned in the NewsFactor article “Wall Street Traders Mine Tweets for Investing Clues”. NewsFactor.com reports that the “Online surveillance of social-networking sites is emerging as a must-have tool for hedge funds, big banks, high-frequency traders and black-box investment firms that run money via computer programs.”

Excerpt from the article:

Interest in the marriage of social media and finance remains high. In March, a study done by a Ph.D. candidate at Pace University showed a positive correlation between stock price performance and the social-media “popularity” of well-known brands Starbucks, Coca-Cola and Nike. The Pace author, Arthur O’Connor, also found that brand popularity online may be a “lead indicator” of stock performance. And a team of economists at TUM School of Management, or Technical University of Munich, has created a Web site, TweetTrader.net, that attempts to profit from similar Twitter research.

Read the full article on NewsFactor.com.

TheBlaze.com and Business Insider: “Congressman Wants Justice Department To Investigate ‘Terrorist Plans’ In Former Union Official’s Bank Plot”

At The Left Forum at Pace’s downtown campus earlier this month, one of the several thousand participants, Stephen Lerner, a former SEIU official, repeated earlier calls for “a new financial crisis,” according to coverage by Fox news and other media.

At the Left Forum earlier this month, Stephen Lerner, a former SEIU official no longer with the union, revealed what several media called a “secret” plan to “cause a new financial crisis.'” Fox News covered the story; so did the websites The Blaze and Business Insider, which reported on a letter from U.S. Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) to the US Attorney General requesting an investigation.

Stephen Lerner


Read the full letter in TheBlaze.com or Business Insider.

Crain’s New York Business: Pace’s Lubin School moves up 15 places in US News ranking

The graduate business program at Pace University’s Lubin School of Business has moved up 15 places in the U.S. News Media Group’s rankings. It is now tied with the program at Fordham University.

Pace University’s Lubin School of Business has moved up 15 spots to 97th, tying with Fordham University in U.S. News Media Group’s 2012 ranking of the best business graduate schools.

Officials at U.S. News, which has been publishing these rankings for 22 years, said job prospects for the graduates in these programs were improving. The number of MBA graduates who found jobs after three months of graduation jumped 4.9% for the class of 2010 from the previous year.

“After two brutal recessionary years, signs are showing a positive outlook for prospective graduate students and graduates this spring,” said Brian Kelly, editor of U.S. News & World Report.

The Wall Street Journal: “The Case for and Against Gold, Don’t Buy”

“Gold is a gift; not an investment” advises Lubin Professor Lewis J. Altfest in an editorial appearing in the March 14 issue of The Wall Street Journal.

“Gold does look beguiling when the world is full of fear or concerned about a coming bout of inflation,” writes Altfest. “To some, that may sound like today’s difficulties. To me, that is rearview-mirror investing.”

“It’s hard to beat a solid gold piece of jewelry as a gift,” writes Lubin Professor Lewis J. Altfest in a Wall Street Journal editorial on March 14.

“And if you want to escape a country in turmoil with closed borders, a gift of a few ounces of gold will work wonders.  Fundamentally, the problem of gold as a portfolio investment is that it isn’t a real investment.  Real investments are stocks, bonds, income-producing real estate and private businesses, all of which, except for bonds (which produce interest instead), produce profits.  These are paid out as income in the form of dividends or are reinvested and grow.

“In contrast, bullion just sits there hoping to look attractive.  Since the price of gold is not supported by anything other than the mood of investors, its value can plummet just as quickly as it soared.”

NEW YORK TIMES: Theater Review | ‘The Merchant of Venice’

At a time when “anti-Semitism… has blighted if not ended two major careers” in fashion and show business,” the “terrific” production of Shakespeares “The Merchant of Venice” now at Pace is “oddly fitting,” according to The New York Times’s rave review. http://theater.nytimes.com/2011/03/05/theater/reviews/05merchant.html?ref=arts

Evoking the “bottom-line obsessed world of today’s Wall Street,” F. Murray Abraham’s Shylock has “a fierce hatred in his heart, but on the surface struggles to maintain a steady cool,” says the reviewer, Charles Isherwood. Abraham”s performance in many ways exceeds even that of Al Pacino, Isherwood says.

What Price a Pound of Flesh?


If you’ve scanned the headlines recently, you have no doubt been freshly reminded that the toxin of anti-Semitism has hardly been eradicated from contemporary culture. In the last couple of weeks it has surfaced spectacularly in the worlds of show business and fashion, blighting, if not ending, two major careers.

How oddly fitting, in these strange circumstances, that New York should play host to a terrific production of “The Merchant of Venice,” arriving just weeks after the last one closed. The new staging, from Theater for a New Audience, features F. Murray Abraham as Shylock. (I don’t need to remind you of who starred in the just-closed Broadway version, do I?) The production, directed by Darko Tresnjak and originally produced in 2007, can be seen at the Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts at Pace University through March 13 before a tour to Chicago, Boston and Los Angeles.

Modern dress is often the default choice of directors trying to signpost Shakespeare’s relevance today, but Mr. Tresnjak’s version, evoking the bottom-line-obsessed world of today’s Wall Street, resonates more deeply than most in suggesting how the calculations of profit and loss are integral to even the most intimate human relationships. With the businessmen of Venice attired in sleek dark suits and sporting the latest in high-tech gadgetry, Mr. Tresnjak’s nuanced interpretation also points toward the casual, collective prejudice — whether it is anti-Semitism, misogyny or homophobia — that still germinates among all-male societies today.

Most impressive, however, are the fully realized performances in literally all of the play’s roles. Mr. Tresnjak and his superb cast allow us to see with unusual clarity the light and the dark in Shakespeare’s characters, not just the wronged but vengeful Shylock and his nemesis, the casually bigoted Antonio (Tom Nelis), but also the wise, loving Portia (Kate MacCluggage), who sees fit to test her husband’s love with unnecessary calculation, and comparatively insignificant players like the servant Launcelot Gobbo (a spirited, funny Jacob Ming-Trent).

Shakespeare’s profound understanding of human complexity is rendered with such care that we register sharply how both cruelty and compassion, ignorance and intelligence, mercy and injustice reside not just in any human heart, but also in every human heart. A late-coming speech we often only half-hear, a celebration of the music of the spheres from the minor character Lorenzo (Vince Nappo), makes a powerful impression, encapsulating the lamentable truth the production illuminates.

Gazing up at the stars, he muses, “Such harmony is in immortal souls,/But whilst this muddy vesture of decay/Doth grossly enclose it, we cannot hear it.” Disharmony is the condition of fallen humanity, and even the noblest and most loving hearts are deeply flawed.

Mr. Abraham’s Shylock is probably the finest I’ve seen, although the British actor Henry Goodman was terrific in a National Theater production in London some years ago. It would be coy to avoid any comparisons with Al Pacino’s exciting, savage-spirited performance for the Public Theater production in Central Park and, later, Broadway. Both Mr. Abraham and Mr. Pacino are first-rate actors, I need hardly say, but Mr. Abraham is the more rigorous classicist, phrasing the language with an attentive care for rhythm and clarity.

Mr. Pacino brought intense fire and a revelatory anger to Shylock’s most famous speech (“If you prick us, do we not bleed?”). Mr. Abraham delivers it with a complicated mixture of bitterness and implacable logic. As a man who must negotiate the decorous halls of the contemporary business world, Mr. Abraham’s Shylock keeps a tighter lid on his rage, and on his humiliation, too. In flashing asides we see how the treatment he has received has stoked a fierce hatred in his heart, but on the surface he struggles to maintain a steady cool, even when he is being taunted and beaten.

Mr. Abraham’s Shylock is also piercingly moving when he gives way to a desperate grief at the loss of his daughter (and, yes, the ducats on which his pride as a successful businessman in an antipathetic world rests). Speaking to Tubal of the ring he cherished as a remembrance of his wife, he breaks down in tears, and Mr. Abraham makes us feel acutely how his suffering and his thirst for revenge are tragically, inextricably linked.

As Portia, Ms. MacCluggage radiates a forthright intelligence inflected with both humor and, when she has declared her love for Bassanio (Lucas Hall), a glowing warmth. Mr. Hall’s Bassanio is touching in the sincerity and simplicity of his ardor, and in his deep filial feeling for Antonio, as well. (I think the impulsive kiss in the trial scene is a mistake, however; hints of homosexuality don’t violate the word of the text, but is such literalism necessary?)

Mr. Nelis’s Antonio bears himself with an upright stoicism, and his affection for Bassanio is written in gentle but true colors. We see, too, the reflexive prejudice that has him unthinkingly take out his handkerchief to wipe his hand after shaking Shylock’s. And yet it is of course Antonio, rather more than the unflinching Portia (in disguise), who grants Shylock at least a little of the mercy she so eloquently invokes in the trial scene.

The smaller roles are filled equally well: Ted Schneider is a frat-boyishly funny Gratiano, Christen Simon Marabate a poised Nerissa. Melissa Miller and Mr. Nappo are unusually vivid as Shylock’s daughter, Jessica, and her beloved Lorenzo, their uneasy relations clearly haunted by the shadow of the prevalent prejudice against Jews and by her guilt at having abandoned her father.

Love in Shakespeare’s plays is rarely a simple matter, but it is almost always presented as an example of humanity’s noblest impulses, the best of what man can become. Blissful unions conclude most of the great comedies.

“The Merchant of Venice,” which is technically classified as a comedy, is no exception. But in this troubling play the love matches bring grief in their wake, just as the pursuit of justice — ostensibly a righteous mission — also proves an act of inhuman cruelty. Without piling on the atmospheric gloom, as Daniel Sullivan’s Broadway production sometimes did, Mr. Tresnjak’s first-rate interpretation makes these complications get under your skin in a way they rarely do. You are left with the disheartening thought that it is possible to do right and wrong at the same time.

Read the article with photos on the New York Times web site here.

MarketWatch.com (Wall Street Journal) and AmericanBankingNews.com: Global Investment Research Challenge finals

A Pace team placed fourth in a regional competition for the Global Investment Research Challenge, which was covered by MarketWatch.com (a website owned by the Wall Street Journal), and AmericanBankingNews.com.

A Pace team placed fourth in a regional competition for the Global Investment Research Challenge held by the CFA Institute, which was covered by MarketWatch.com (a website owned by the Wall Street Journal), and AmericanBankingNews.com.

Read more about Pace’s successful Lubin School of Business here!

White Plains Patch (and others in Westchester area): “Pace University Financial Planning Certificate Program Information Session”

Pace will be holding a free information session on its financial planning certificate program on the Westchester campus on February 16th. This was picked up by the Patch in many of the Westchester towns.

Pace will be holding a free information session on its financial planning certificate program on the Westchester campus on February 16th. This was picked up by the Patch in many of the Westchester towns.

There will be speakers who will talk about the curriculum and possible career tracks.
For more information visit the White Plains Patch.

Visit Pace’s Lubin School of Business here.

TV Tokyo: “Dictionary of Money” – Arbitrage (Episode 18); Bid-Ask (Episode 20)

TV Tokyo, one of the major TV networks in Japan, features a weekly business news program called “Dictionary of Money.”

The purpose of the program – which has approximately 10 to 15 MILLION viewers nationwide – is to educate its audience about the U.S. economy and New York City as the financial center of the world.

Lubin School of Business Professors are becoming “regulars” with recent guest appearances by:

* Iuliana Ismailescu, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Finance, who discussed “Arbitrage” (the practice of taking advantage of a price difference between two or more markets).

* Aron Gottesman, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Finance, who explained the concept of “Bid-Ask” (essentially the difference in price between the highest price that a buyer is willing to pay for an asset and the lowest price for which a seller is willing to sell it).

Dr. Iuliana Ismailescu simplifies “Arbitrage” for Dictionary of Money’s almost 15 million viewers, by explaining:

* What is it?
* How does it work?
* Is it risk-free?
* Who/What is an arbitrageur?


Dr. Aron Gottesman, on the subject of “Bid-Ask,” discusses:

* Where and how is this used in the market/NYSE etc.
* Who bids, and who asks.
* Defines what roles they play.
* Gives examples of how the process works.


Click on the links, then the forward arrow to the bottom left of the TV screen, to learn more about these topics.

NY1: College Students Learn Budget Lessons With Combo ID-Debit Card

Pace students and staff were interviewed by NY1 about the use of the Pace Higher One card.

From NY1:

By: Tara Lynn Wagner

Debit cards are replacing cash and ID cards on some college campuses. NY1’s Money Matters reporter Tara Lynn Wagner filed the following report.

When it comes to doling out student loans, college administrators across the country are choosing plastic over paper. During orientation, students at Pace University are issued a “Higher One” card, which serves as both their student ID and, when activated, a debit card for their loan money.

“The grants and loans that are left over from my tuition are transferred immediately onto my Pace card, usually by the second week of the semester,” says Pace student Edward Grant.

Students can still choose to receive a paper check, but that check is also issued by Higher One, saving the university time and money.

“It’s cost avoidance for us. We no longer have to produce thousands of paper checks, which is great savings. We no longer have to produce the plastic ID cards,” says Mary Lieto of Pace University.

On campus, the card can be swiped at the bookstore, the library and the cafeteria. Since it bears a MasterCard logo, it can also be used off-campus, such as the local mall or when studying abroad.

It is not a credit card, so students cannot run up a debt, but they may learn soon to budget.

“It’s a tool that will help them to manage their finances and teach them a little bit more about financial literacy,” says Lieto.

Of course, plastic does come with some pitfalls. For one thing, people do not tend to be as conscious of their spending as they are when they are using cold hard cash.

“I don’t really think of it as money. I just kind of blindly swipe my card,” says Pace student Alexandria Tribble.

In addition, consumer advocates from New York Public Interest Research Group say students are being hit with an array of fees that chip away the value of their student loan.

“If you use the card and you swipe it and choose to use debit instead of credit, you’re charged 50 cents. If you use an outside bank and you withdraw money, it’s $2.50,” says NYPIRG campus supervisor Megan Ahearn.

There is also an abandon account fee of up to $19 after nine months of inactivity. Higher One points out that to date, only 1 percent of the 4.8 million students they serve have been subject to this penalty, and say the other charges are either avoidable or common in the banking industry.

Still, with more and more lenders looking to tap into the collegiate market, Ahearn warns administrators to do their homework.

“Campuses should definitely look into the contracts that they’re making with any company, whether it’s Higher One, whether it’s another bank,” says Ahearn. “And they should do so with an eye on their students’ interests at the forefront.”

Watch the video.