Texas wins college football $ title and Stocks poised for early pop

–(www.FinancialNewsUSA.com)– 01/03/2010 – Financial News industry news provided by Financial News USA. The University of Alabama’s Crimson Tide may be the top ranked team heading into college football’s national championship game on January 7. But in one key measure, the team clearly trails the No. 2 University of Texas: money.

Texas has no peer when it comes to both revenue and profits, according to figures from the nation’s colleges. During the 2008 season, the most recent for which figures are available, Texas took in $87 million in revenue and had a profit of $65 million after reported expenses, both well ahead of any school.

This is the fifth time in the last six seasons that Texas topped the revenue and profit ranks, a dynasty that would make not only other schools but most professional teams envious.

No. 2 in revenue in 2008 was Ohio State, which took in $68 million, while No. 2 in profits was the University of Georgia, which earned $45 million after expenses. [Read the full article]

Stocks were poised to open the final trading session of 2009 with modest gains after a report on initial jobless claims came in better than expected, giving investors even more reason to celebrate a year of solid market advances.

The Dow Jones industrial average, Nasdaq-100 and S&P-500 futures were higher. Futures measure current index values against their perceived future performance and offer an indication of how markets may open when trading begins.

Stocks were choppy Wednesday but ended slightly higher, with the Dow and Nasdaq reaching 2009 highs. All three indexes have posted substantial gains year-to-date and are set to end the year up over 20%.

The markets will remain open for a full session Thursday, the last trading day of the year, but trading volume will be light, with many market participants on vacation. The markets will be closed Friday in observance of New Year’s Day. [Read the full article]

The number of Americans filing first-time claims for unemployment insurance fell sharply last week to the lowest level in 17 months, the government said Thursday. Analysts had expected an increase.

There were 432,000 initial jobless claims filed in the week ended Dec. 26, down 22,000 from the previous week’s revised 454,000, the Labor Department said. The figure is the lowest since July 19, 2008, when there were 413,000 claims filed.

The 4-week moving average of initial claims totaled 460,250, down 5,500 from the previous week’s revised average of 465,750.

“It’s encouraging to see that we’re continuing to move in the right direction toward 400,000 claims,” said Tim Quinlan, economic analyst at Wells Fargo. “We’re certainly off the highs we saw earlier this year.

Jobless claims have been trending downward since the end of March, when they peaked at 674,000, the highest figure since 1982. [Read the full article]

“It’s a very illiquid market today, and it’s getting worse by the hour,” said Neil Mellor, currency strategist at the Bank of New York Mellon in London. “The year is winding down with sharp movements in price, but there are no new stories behind those movements.”

The dollar edged lower against the euro to $1.4390 and versus the pound to $1.6192. It was slightly higher against the yen, at ¥92.7070.

The buck has climbed against other major currencies during the final month of the year, as investors have been winding down trades and reaping profits on high-yielding currencies that have performed well during the year.

The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against the euro, yen and four other currencies, is up 3.6% in December, but down 4% for the year.

“The principal factor for the dollar’s weakness has been the Federal Reserve’s commitment to keep interest rates on the floor,” Mellor said. [Read the full article] About Financial News USA

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