Cheaper alternatives to cosmetic surgery

Minor cosmetic treatments are increasingly popular and a cheaper alternative to plastic surgery.

Bothered by that crease between your eyebrows? Unhappy with the shade of your teeth? For minor problems you see in the mirror, you have easy alternatives to full-fledged plastic surgery.

While the growth of cosmetic surgeries has stalled, minimally invasive — and less costly — procedures such as Botox injections and laser hair removal climbed 20% over five years, to 13 million in 2012 (1 million of which were performed on men).

To get started, ask your primary-care doctor for a referral to an experienced specialist who is trained in the procedure you want, is prepared for any complications, and can discuss the risks and benefits.

Check out these four popular spruce-up options, along with strategies for beauty on a budget:

Botulinum Toxin Type-A injections

What they do: Remove wrinkles between the eyebrows, on the forehead, and at the corners of the eyes using a paralyzing toxin injected into the face. Botox is the best-known brand. Effects last three to 4½ months, says San Francisco dermatologist Richard Glogau.
The cost: $370 a session, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, compared with $3,370 for a forehead lift. (Prices are national averages.) As is the case with the other fixes, you can’t deduct them on your taxes or pay with a flexible spending account.
How to save: Your doctor may discount your next visit if you schedule it while you’re still in the office; Salt Lake City plastic surgeon Renato Saltz, for example, knocks off 17%.
Best drugstore alternative: Over-the-counter retinol creams can improve the appearance of finer lines for $20 or so, but you won’t be able to replicate the shots’ ability to smooth your deepest wrinkles.

Teeth whitening

What it does: Lightens yellow or stained teeth with the application of a high-strength gel. Results can last about two years without maintenance, says La Jolla, Calif., cosmetic dentist John Weston.
The cost: $300 to $700, based on estimates from several dentists.

Related: Cutting health care’s cost

How to save: From your dentist, get a take-home kit with a lower-strength gel (price: $150 to $300). Using it for an hour or so a day for about two weeks produces results similar to those of an in-office session, according to Weston.
Best drugstore alternative: Try over-the-counter strips or gels (under $40), which Weston says are plenty effective for some people.

Laser hair removal

What it does: Eliminates hair on the face or body, often for years, by zapping follicles with lasers or light pulses. The process works best on dark, coarse hair and lighter skin, but is ineffective on light blond, white, or gray hair, says Glogau.
Cost: $330 a session, reports the plastic surgeons’ trade group. Coarse hair on legs takes up to five visits, says Glogau; fine hair on the upper lip, three or four.
How to save: Ask if there are multi-session packages available for a lower per-procedure cost.
Best drugstore alternative: Lower-strength, FDA-cleared home devices will do the job but take more time, says New York City dermatologist Bruce Katz. The maker of the $449 Tria Hair Removal Laser 4X, for example, recommends weekly sessions for at least three months.

Related: Healthy savings: Fewer lab tests

Dermal filler injections

What they do: Reduce folds and wrinkles — such as the crease between the bottom of the nose and the top of the mouth — using a gelatinous substance injected under the skin. The popular Juvéderm and Restylane brands last six to nine months, says Pittsburgh plastic surgeon Leo McCafferty.
Cost: From $430 to over $1,600 per treatment, depending on the filler. Cheek implant surgery, by comparison, runs $2,720.
How to save: Watch doctors’ websites for seasonal promotions; McCafferty, for one, runs specials ranging from $50 to $200 off. Ask the physician which product he or she recommends for your specific need — and see if there’s a longer-lasting one that will require less frequent sessions, advises Katz.
Best drugstore alternative: Moisturizers including peptides and antioxidants can somewhat improve the appearance of small wrinkles, while lip plumpers such as Too Faced ($28) can temporarily add volume. To top of page

Minor cosmetic treatments are increasingly popular and a cheaper alternative to plastic surgery.

Bothered by that crease between your eyebrows? Unhappy with the shade of your teeth? For minor problems you see in the mirror, you have easy alternatives to full-fledged plastic surgery.

While the growth of cosmetic surgeries has stalled, minimally invasive — and less costly — procedures such as Botox injections and laser hair removal climbed 20% over five years, to 13 million in 2012 (1 million of which were performed on men).

To get started, ask your primary-care doctor for a referral to an experienced specialist who is trained in the procedure you want, is prepared for any complications, and can discuss the risks and benefits.

Check out these four popular spruce-up options, along with strategies for beauty on a budget:

Botulinum Toxin Type-A injections

What they do: Remove wrinkles between the eyebrows, on the forehead, and at the corners of the eyes using a paralyzing toxin injected into the face. Botox is the best-known brand. Effects last three to 4½ months, says San Francisco dermatologist Richard Glogau.
The cost: $370 a session, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, compared with $3,370 for a forehead lift. (Prices are national averages.) As is the case with the other fixes, you can’t deduct them on your taxes or pay with a flexible spending account.
How to save: Your doctor may discount your next visit if you schedule it while you’re still in the office; Salt Lake City plastic surgeon Renato Saltz, for example, knocks off 17%.
Best drugstore alternative: Over-the-counter retinol creams can improve the appearance of finer lines for $20 or so, but you won’t be able to replicate the shots’ ability to smooth your deepest wrinkles.

Teeth whitening

What it does: Lightens yellow or stained teeth with the application of a high-strength gel. Results can last about two years without maintenance, says La Jolla, Calif., cosmetic dentist John Weston.
The cost: $300 to $700, based on estimates from several dentists.

Related: Cutting health care’s cost

How to save: From your dentist, get a take-home kit with a lower-strength gel (price: $150 to $300). Using it for an hour or so a day for about two weeks produces results similar to those of an in-office session, according to Weston.
Best drugstore alternative: Try over-the-counter strips or gels (under $40), which Weston says are plenty effective for some people.

Laser hair removal

What it does: Eliminates hair on the face or body, often for years, by zapping follicles with lasers or light pulses. The process works best on dark, coarse hair and lighter skin, but is ineffective on light blond, white, or gray hair, says Glogau.
Cost: $330 a session, reports the plastic surgeons’ trade group. Coarse hair on legs takes up to five visits, says Glogau; fine hair on the upper lip, three or four.
How to save: Ask if there are multi-session packages available for a lower per-procedure cost.
Best drugstore alternative: Lower-strength, FDA-cleared home devices will do the job but take more time, says New York City dermatologist Bruce Katz. The maker of the $449 Tria Hair Removal Laser 4X, for example, recommends weekly sessions for at least three months.

Related: Healthy savings: Fewer lab tests

Dermal filler injections

What they do: Reduce folds and wrinkles — such as the crease between the bottom of the nose and the top of the mouth — using a gelatinous substance injected under the skin. The popular Juvéderm and Restylane brands last six to nine months, says Pittsburgh plastic surgeon Leo McCafferty.
Cost: From $430 to over $1,600 per treatment, depending on the filler. Cheek implant surgery, by comparison, runs $2,720.
How to save: Watch doctors’ websites for seasonal promotions; McCafferty, for one, runs specials ranging from $50 to $200 off. Ask the physician which product he or she recommends for your specific need — and see if there’s a longer-lasting one that will require less frequent sessions, advises Katz.
Best drugstore alternative: Moisturizers including peptides and antioxidants can somewhat improve the appearance of small wrinkles, while lip plumpers such as Too Faced ($28) can temporarily add volume. To top of page

Minor cosmetic treatments are increasingly popular and a cheaper alternative to plastic surgery.

Bothered by that crease between your eyebrows? Unhappy with the shade of your teeth? For minor problems you see in the mirror, you have easy alternatives to full-fledged plastic surgery.

While the growth of cosmetic surgeries has stalled, minimally invasive — and less costly — procedures such as Botox injections and laser hair removal climbed 20% over five years, to 13 million in 2012 (1 million of which were performed on men).

To get started, ask your primary-care doctor for a referral to an experienced specialist who is trained in the procedure you want, is prepared for any complications, and can discuss the risks and benefits.

Check out these four popular spruce-up options, along with strategies for beauty on a budget:

Botulinum Toxin Type-A injections

What they do: Remove wrinkles between the eyebrows, on the forehead, and at the corners of the eyes using a paralyzing toxin injected into the face. Botox is the best-known brand. Effects last three to 4½ months, says San Francisco dermatologist Richard Glogau.
The cost: $370 a session, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, compared with $3,370 for a forehead lift. (Prices are national averages.) As is the case with the other fixes, you can’t deduct them on your taxes or pay with a flexible spending account.
How to save: Your doctor may discount your next visit if you schedule it while you’re still in the office; Salt Lake City plastic surgeon Renato Saltz, for example, knocks off 17%.
Best drugstore alternative: Over-the-counter retinol creams can improve the appearance of finer lines for $20 or so, but you won’t be able to replicate the shots’ ability to smooth your deepest wrinkles.

Teeth whitening

What it does: Lightens yellow or stained teeth with the application of a high-strength gel. Results can last about two years without maintenance, says La Jolla, Calif., cosmetic dentist John Weston.
The cost: $300 to $700, based on estimates from several dentists.

Related: Cutting health care’s cost

How to save: From your dentist, get a take-home kit with a lower-strength gel (price: $150 to $300). Using it for an hour or so a day for about two weeks produces results similar to those of an in-office session, according to Weston.
Best drugstore alternative: Try over-the-counter strips or gels (under $40), which Weston says are plenty effective for some people.

Laser hair removal

What it does: Eliminates hair on the face or body, often for years, by zapping follicles with lasers or light pulses. The process works best on dark, coarse hair and lighter skin, but is ineffective on light blond, white, or gray hair, says Glogau.
Cost: $330 a session, reports the plastic surgeons’ trade group. Coarse hair on legs takes up to five visits, says Glogau; fine hair on the upper lip, three or four.
How to save: Ask if there are multi-session packages available for a lower per-procedure cost.
Best drugstore alternative: Lower-strength, FDA-cleared home devices will do the job but take more time, says New York City dermatologist Bruce Katz. The maker of the $449 Tria Hair Removal Laser 4X, for example, recommends weekly sessions for at least three months.

Related: Healthy savings: Fewer lab tests

Dermal filler injections

What they do: Reduce folds and wrinkles — such as the crease between the bottom of the nose and the top of the mouth — using a gelatinous substance injected under the skin. The popular Juvéderm and Restylane brands last six to nine months, says Pittsburgh plastic surgeon Leo McCafferty.
Cost: From $430 to over $1,600 per treatment, depending on the filler. Cheek implant surgery, by comparison, runs $2,720.
How to save: Watch doctors’ websites for seasonal promotions; McCafferty, for one, runs specials ranging from $50 to $200 off. Ask the physician which product he or she recommends for your specific need — and see if there’s a longer-lasting one that will require less frequent sessions, advises Katz.
Best drugstore alternative: Moisturizers including peptides and antioxidants can somewhat improve the appearance of small wrinkles, while lip plumpers such as Too Faced ($28) can temporarily add volume. To top of page

Minor cosmetic treatments are increasingly popular and a cheaper alternative to plastic surgery.

Bothered by that crease between your eyebrows? Unhappy with the shade of your teeth? For minor problems you see in the mirror, you have easy alternatives to full-fledged plastic surgery.

While the growth of cosmetic surgeries has stalled, minimally invasive — and less costly — procedures such as Botox injections and laser hair removal climbed 20% over five years, to 13 million in 2012 (1 million of which were performed on men).

To get started, ask your primary-care doctor for a referral to an experienced specialist who is trained in the procedure you want, is prepared for any complications, and can discuss the risks and benefits.

Check out these four popular spruce-up options, along with strategies for beauty on a budget:

Botulinum Toxin Type-A injections

What they do: Remove wrinkles between the eyebrows, on the forehead, and at the corners of the eyes using a paralyzing toxin injected into the face. Botox is the best-known brand. Effects last three to 4½ months, says San Francisco dermatologist Richard Glogau.
The cost: $370 a session, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, compared with $3,370 for a forehead lift. (Prices are national averages.) As is the case with the other fixes, you can’t deduct them on your taxes or pay with a flexible spending account.
How to save: Your doctor may discount your next visit if you schedule it while you’re still in the office; Salt Lake City plastic surgeon Renato Saltz, for example, knocks off 17%.
Best drugstore alternative: Over-the-counter retinol creams can improve the appearance of finer lines for $20 or so, but you won’t be able to replicate the shots’ ability to smooth your deepest wrinkles.

Teeth whitening

What it does: Lightens yellow or stained teeth with the application of a high-strength gel. Results can last about two years without maintenance, says La Jolla, Calif., cosmetic dentist John Weston.
The cost: $300 to $700, based on estimates from several dentists.

Related: Cutting health care’s cost

How to save: From your dentist, get a take-home kit with a lower-strength gel (price: $150 to $300). Using it for an hour or so a day for about two weeks produces results similar to those of an in-office session, according to Weston.
Best drugstore alternative: Try over-the-counter strips or gels (under $40), which Weston says are plenty effective for some people.

Laser hair removal

What it does: Eliminates hair on the face or body, often for years, by zapping follicles with lasers or light pulses. The process works best on dark, coarse hair and lighter skin, but is ineffective on light blond, white, or gray hair, says Glogau.
Cost: $330 a session, reports the plastic surgeons’ trade group. Coarse hair on legs takes up to five visits, says Glogau; fine hair on the upper lip, three or four.
How to save: Ask if there are multi-session packages available for a lower per-procedure cost.
Best drugstore alternative: Lower-strength, FDA-cleared home devices will do the job but take more time, says New York City dermatologist Bruce Katz. The maker of the $449 Tria Hair Removal Laser 4X, for example, recommends weekly sessions for at least three months.

Related: Healthy savings: Fewer lab tests

Dermal filler injections

What they do: Reduce folds and wrinkles — such as the crease between the bottom of the nose and the top of the mouth — using a gelatinous substance injected under the skin. The popular Juvéderm and Restylane brands last six to nine months, says Pittsburgh plastic surgeon Leo McCafferty.
Cost: From $430 to over $1,600 per treatment, depending on the filler. Cheek implant surgery, by comparison, runs $2,720.
How to save: Watch doctors’ websites for seasonal promotions; McCafferty, for one, runs specials ranging from $50 to $200 off. Ask the physician which product he or she recommends for your specific need — and see if there’s a longer-lasting one that will require less frequent sessions, advises Katz.
Best drugstore alternative: Moisturizers including peptides and antioxidants can somewhat improve the appearance of small wrinkles, while lip plumpers such as Too Faced ($28) can temporarily add volume. To top of page

Minor cosmetic treatments are increasingly popular and a cheaper alternative to plastic surgery.

Bothered by that crease between your eyebrows? Unhappy with the shade of your teeth? For minor problems you see in the mirror, you have easy alternatives to full-fledged plastic surgery.

While the growth of cosmetic surgeries has stalled, minimally invasive — and less costly — procedures such as Botox injections and laser hair removal climbed 20% over five years, to 13 million in 2012 (1 million of which were performed on men).

To get started, ask your primary-care doctor for a referral to an experienced specialist who is trained in the procedure you want, is prepared for any complications, and can discuss the risks and benefits.

Check out these four popular spruce-up options, along with strategies for beauty on a budget:

Botulinum Toxin Type-A injections

What they do: Remove wrinkles between the eyebrows, on the forehead, and at the corners of the eyes using a paralyzing toxin injected into the face. Botox is the best-known brand. Effects last three to 4½ months, says San Francisco dermatologist Richard Glogau.
The cost: $370 a session, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, compared with $3,370 for a forehead lift. (Prices are national averages.) As is the case with the other fixes, you can’t deduct them on your taxes or pay with a flexible spending account.
How to save: Your doctor may discount your next visit if you schedule it while you’re still in the office; Salt Lake City plastic surgeon Renato Saltz, for example, knocks off 17%.
Best drugstore alternative: Over-the-counter retinol creams can improve the appearance of finer lines for $20 or so, but you won’t be able to replicate the shots’ ability to smooth your deepest wrinkles.

Teeth whitening

What it does: Lightens yellow or stained teeth with the application of a high-strength gel. Results can last about two years without maintenance, says La Jolla, Calif., cosmetic dentist John Weston.
The cost: $300 to $700, based on estimates from several dentists.

Related: Cutting health care’s cost

How to save: From your dentist, get a take-home kit with a lower-strength gel (price: $150 to $300). Using it for an hour or so a day for about two weeks produces results similar to those of an in-office session, according to Weston.
Best drugstore alternative: Try over-the-counter strips or gels (under $40), which Weston says are plenty effective for some people.

Laser hair removal

What it does: Eliminates hair on the face or body, often for years, by zapping follicles with lasers or light pulses. The process works best on dark, coarse hair and lighter skin, but is ineffective on light blond, white, or gray hair, says Glogau.
Cost: $330 a session, reports the plastic surgeons’ trade group. Coarse hair on legs takes up to five visits, says Glogau; fine hair on the upper lip, three or four.
How to save: Ask if there are multi-session packages available for a lower per-procedure cost.
Best drugstore alternative: Lower-strength, FDA-cleared home devices will do the job but take more time, says New York City dermatologist Bruce Katz. The maker of the $449 Tria Hair Removal Laser 4X, for example, recommends weekly sessions for at least three months.

Related: Healthy savings: Fewer lab tests

Dermal filler injections

What they do: Reduce folds and wrinkles — such as the crease between the bottom of the nose and the top of the mouth — using a gelatinous substance injected under the skin. The popular Juvéderm and Restylane brands last six to nine months, says Pittsburgh plastic surgeon Leo McCafferty.
Cost: From $430 to over $1,600 per treatment, depending on the filler. Cheek implant surgery, by comparison, runs $2,720.
How to save: Watch doctors’ websites for seasonal promotions; McCafferty, for one, runs specials ranging from $50 to $200 off. Ask the physician which product he or she recommends for your specific need — and see if there’s a longer-lasting one that will require less frequent sessions, advises Katz.
Best drugstore alternative: Moisturizers including peptides and antioxidants can somewhat improve the appearance of small wrinkles, while lip plumpers such as Too Faced ($28) can temporarily add volume. To top of page

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Stocks end higher on strong jobs report

Click for more market data.

A strong jobs report sent stocks higher Friday, capping a weekly gain for the market as investors set aside concerns about the Federal Reserve and focused on the improved outlook for economic growth.

The Dow Jones industrial average, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq gained about 0.9%. For the week, the Dow and the S&P 500 both rose more than 1.5%, while the Nasdaq gained over 2%.

The government said U.S. payrolls grew by 195,000 jobs in June, more than economists had expected. But the unemployment rate held steady at 7.6%.

Traders said volumes were light Friday since many money managers took the day off. U.S. markets were closed Thursday for the Fourth of July holiday.

Double edged sword. Investors were encouraged to see signs of improvement in the job market, but the report also makes it more likely that the Fed will begin to taper its stimulus policies later this year.

The U.S. central bank has signaled that it will begin to slow the pace of its $85-billion-per-month bond buying program when it sees significant improvement in the unemployment rate.

While the unemployment rate was unchanged last month, economists say the gains in hiring — including past months that were revised higher — mean the rate should head lower in the months ahead.

There will be two more reports on the unemployment rate and hiring before the Fed’s next scheduled meeting in September.

The June report was “more than strong enough to keep the Fed on track for tapering in September,” said Jim O’Sullivan, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics.

Bond yields spike. Investors in the bond market seemed to view the good news as bad news.

The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note rose to 2.72%, the highest level since August 2011. Investors have been selling bonds, driving yields higher, in anticipation of fewer Fed purchases.

Some economists worry that an abrupt rise in interest rates could hurt the U.S. economy. Mortgage rates have spiked in the past few weeks, raising concerns about the housing market.

Still, the sell-off in Treasuries comes on light volume and may be an overreaction, said Kevin Giddis, head of fixed-income at Raymond James.

“I would caution against putting too much into today’s move on the Treasury market,” said Giddis. But he added that interest rates are headed higher as the Fed moves away from quantitative easing, as its bond buying program is known, later this year.

“I do believe that we have set sail on an upward trend of interest rates that will likely lead to the Fed’s tapering of QE in September or October,” said Giddis.

What’s next. In the long run, any tapering by the Fed would reflect an improved outlook for the economy and should bode well for stocks. But traders say volatility will remain high in the short run as the Fed’s next move remains uncertain.

“We’re going through a transition from a liquidity-driven equity market to a market more driven by economic and corporate fundamentals,” said Bernard Kavanagh, vice president of portfolio management at Stifel Nicolaus.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar rose versus its main trading partners. The greenback has been strong recently as investors bet the U.S. economy will grow faster than most other developed economies.

What’s moving. Gold prices fell 3%, to $1,214.50 an ounce. That put pressure on shares of Newmont Mining (NEM, Fortune 500), which sank 4%.

Shares of large homebuilders were under pressure as investors worry that higher mortgage rates will cool the housing market. Lennar (LEN) and D.R. Horton (DHI) fell more than 3%.

Meanwhile, shares of regional banks, which are expected to benefit from rising interest rates, rallied. Lincoln National (LNC, Fortune 500), KeyCorp (KEY, Fortune 500), SunTrust (STI, Fortune 500) and Comerica (CMA) all gained more than 3%.

Mixed news overseas. Europe got a boost Thursday when the region’s central banks signaled that interest rates would remain at unusually low levels for an extended period of time. But European markets gave back some gains Friday. The DAX in Germany fell 2.3%.

Related: Fear & Greed Index

Investors also monitored the political turmoil in Egypt, which has sent oil prices higher in the past few days, and in Portugal, where leaders are trying to prevent a government collapse that would undermine its 78-billion euro bailout.

Asian markets ended with gains. The Hang Seng index and the Nikkei in Japan both ran up by roughly 2%. To top of page

Click for more market data.

A strong jobs report sent stocks higher Friday, capping a weekly gain for the market as investors set aside concerns about the Federal Reserve and focused on the improved outlook for economic growth.

The Dow Jones industrial average, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq gained about 0.9%. For the week, the Dow and the S&P 500 both rose more than 1.5%, while the Nasdaq gained over 2%.

The government said U.S. payrolls grew by 195,000 jobs in June, more than economists had expected. But the unemployment rate held steady at 7.6%.

Traders said volumes were light Friday since many money managers took the day off. U.S. markets were closed Thursday for the Fourth of July holiday.

Double edged sword. Investors were encouraged to see signs of improvement in the job market, but the report also makes it more likely that the Fed will begin to taper its stimulus policies later this year.

The U.S. central bank has signaled that it will begin to slow the pace of its $85-billion-per-month bond buying program when it sees significant improvement in the unemployment rate.

While the unemployment rate was unchanged last month, economists say the gains in hiring — including past months that were revised higher — mean the rate should head lower in the months ahead.

There will be two more reports on the unemployment rate and hiring before the Fed’s next scheduled meeting in September.

The June report was “more than strong enough to keep the Fed on track for tapering in September,” said Jim O’Sullivan, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics.

Bond yields spike. Investors in the bond market seemed to view the good news as bad news.

The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note rose to 2.72%, the highest level since August 2011. Investors have been selling bonds, driving yields higher, in anticipation of fewer Fed purchases.

Some economists worry that an abrupt rise in interest rates could hurt the U.S. economy. Mortgage rates have spiked in the past few weeks, raising concerns about the housing market.

Still, the sell-off in Treasuries comes on light volume and may be an overreaction, said Kevin Giddis, head of fixed-income at Raymond James.

“I would caution against putting too much into today’s move on the Treasury market,” said Giddis. But he added that interest rates are headed higher as the Fed moves away from quantitative easing, as its bond buying program is known, later this year.

“I do believe that we have set sail on an upward trend of interest rates that will likely lead to the Fed’s tapering of QE in September or October,” said Giddis.

What’s next. In the long run, any tapering by the Fed would reflect an improved outlook for the economy and should bode well for stocks. But traders say volatility will remain high in the short run as the Fed’s next move remains uncertain.

“We’re going through a transition from a liquidity-driven equity market to a market more driven by economic and corporate fundamentals,” said Bernard Kavanagh, vice president of portfolio management at Stifel Nicolaus.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar rose versus its main trading partners. The greenback has been strong recently as investors bet the U.S. economy will grow faster than most other developed economies.

What’s moving. Gold prices fell 3%, to $1,214.50 an ounce. That put pressure on shares of Newmont Mining (NEM, Fortune 500), which sank 4%.

Shares of large homebuilders were under pressure as investors worry that higher mortgage rates will cool the housing market. Lennar (LEN) and D.R. Horton (DHI) fell more than 3%.

Meanwhile, shares of regional banks, which are expected to benefit from rising interest rates, rallied. Lincoln National (LNC, Fortune 500), KeyCorp (KEY, Fortune 500), SunTrust (STI, Fortune 500) and Comerica (CMA) all gained more than 3%.

Mixed news overseas. Europe got a boost Thursday when the region’s central banks signaled that interest rates would remain at unusually low levels for an extended period of time. But European markets gave back some gains Friday. The DAX in Germany fell 2.3%.

Related: Fear & Greed Index

Investors also monitored the political turmoil in Egypt, which has sent oil prices higher in the past few days, and in Portugal, where leaders are trying to prevent a government collapse that would undermine its 78-billion euro bailout.

Asian markets ended with gains. The Hang Seng index and the Nikkei in Japan both ran up by roughly 2%. To top of page

Click for more market data.

A strong jobs report sent stocks higher Friday, capping a weekly gain for the market as investors set aside concerns about the Federal Reserve and focused on the improved outlook for economic growth.

The Dow Jones industrial average, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq gained about 0.9%. For the week, the Dow and the S&P 500 both rose more than 1.5%, while the Nasdaq gained over 2%.

The government said U.S. payrolls grew by 195,000 jobs in June, more than economists had expected. But the unemployment rate held steady at 7.6%.

Traders said volumes were light Friday since many money managers took the day off. U.S. markets were closed Thursday for the Fourth of July holiday.

Double edged sword. Investors were encouraged to see signs of improvement in the job market, but the report also makes it more likely that the Fed will begin to taper its stimulus policies later this year.

The U.S. central bank has signaled that it will begin to slow the pace of its $85-billion-per-month bond buying program when it sees significant improvement in the unemployment rate.

While the unemployment rate was unchanged last month, economists say the gains in hiring — including past months that were revised higher — mean the rate should head lower in the months ahead.

There will be two more reports on the unemployment rate and hiring before the Fed’s next scheduled meeting in September.

The June report was “more than strong enough to keep the Fed on track for tapering in September,” said Jim O’Sullivan, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics.

Bond yields spike. Investors in the bond market seemed to view the good news as bad news.

The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note rose to 2.72%, the highest level since August 2011. Investors have been selling bonds, driving yields higher, in anticipation of fewer Fed purchases.

Some economists worry that an abrupt rise in interest rates could hurt the U.S. economy. Mortgage rates have spiked in the past few weeks, raising concerns about the housing market.

Still, the sell-off in Treasuries comes on light volume and may be an overreaction, said Kevin Giddis, head of fixed-income at Raymond James.

“I would caution against putting too much into today’s move on the Treasury market,” said Giddis. But he added that interest rates are headed higher as the Fed moves away from quantitative easing, as its bond buying program is known, later this year.

“I do believe that we have set sail on an upward trend of interest rates that will likely lead to the Fed’s tapering of QE in September or October,” said Giddis.

What’s next. In the long run, any tapering by the Fed would reflect an improved outlook for the economy and should bode well for stocks. But traders say volatility will remain high in the short run as the Fed’s next move remains uncertain.

“We’re going through a transition from a liquidity-driven equity market to a market more driven by economic and corporate fundamentals,” said Bernard Kavanagh, vice president of portfolio management at Stifel Nicolaus.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar rose versus its main trading partners. The greenback has been strong recently as investors bet the U.S. economy will grow faster than most other developed economies.

What’s moving. Gold prices fell 3%, to $1,214.50 an ounce. That put pressure on shares of Newmont Mining (NEM, Fortune 500), which sank 4%.

Shares of large homebuilders were under pressure as investors worry that higher mortgage rates will cool the housing market. Lennar (LEN) and D.R. Horton (DHI) fell more than 3%.

Meanwhile, shares of regional banks, which are expected to benefit from rising interest rates, rallied. Lincoln National (LNC, Fortune 500), KeyCorp (KEY, Fortune 500), SunTrust (STI, Fortune 500) and Comerica (CMA) all gained more than 3%.

Mixed news overseas. Europe got a boost Thursday when the region’s central banks signaled that interest rates would remain at unusually low levels for an extended period of time. But European markets gave back some gains Friday. The DAX in Germany fell 2.3%.

Related: Fear & Greed Index

Investors also monitored the political turmoil in Egypt, which has sent oil prices higher in the past few days, and in Portugal, where leaders are trying to prevent a government collapse that would undermine its 78-billion euro bailout.

Asian markets ended with gains. The Hang Seng index and the Nikkei in Japan both ran up by roughly 2%. To top of page

Click for more market data.

A strong jobs report sent stocks higher Friday, capping a weekly gain for the market as investors set aside concerns about the Federal Reserve and focused on the improved outlook for economic growth.

The Dow Jones industrial average, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq gained about 0.9%. For the week, the Dow and the S&P 500 both rose more than 1.5%, while the Nasdaq gained over 2%.

The government said U.S. payrolls grew by 195,000 jobs in June, more than economists had expected. But the unemployment rate held steady at 7.6%.

Traders said volumes were light Friday since many money managers took the day off. U.S. markets were closed Thursday for the Fourth of July holiday.

Double edged sword. Investors were encouraged to see signs of improvement in the job market, but the report also makes it more likely that the Fed will begin to taper its stimulus policies later this year.

The U.S. central bank has signaled that it will begin to slow the pace of its $85-billion-per-month bond buying program when it sees significant improvement in the unemployment rate.

While the unemployment rate was unchanged last month, economists say the gains in hiring — including past months that were revised higher — mean the rate should head lower in the months ahead.

There will be two more reports on the unemployment rate and hiring before the Fed’s next scheduled meeting in September.

The June report was “more than strong enough to keep the Fed on track for tapering in September,” said Jim O’Sullivan, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics.

Bond yields spike. Investors in the bond market seemed to view the good news as bad news.

The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note rose to 2.72%, the highest level since August 2011. Investors have been selling bonds, driving yields higher, in anticipation of fewer Fed purchases.

Some economists worry that an abrupt rise in interest rates could hurt the U.S. economy. Mortgage rates have spiked in the past few weeks, raising concerns about the housing market.

Still, the sell-off in Treasuries comes on light volume and may be an overreaction, said Kevin Giddis, head of fixed-income at Raymond James.

“I would caution against putting too much into today’s move on the Treasury market,” said Giddis. But he added that interest rates are headed higher as the Fed moves away from quantitative easing, as its bond buying program is known, later this year.

“I do believe that we have set sail on an upward trend of interest rates that will likely lead to the Fed’s tapering of QE in September or October,” said Giddis.

What’s next. In the long run, any tapering by the Fed would reflect an improved outlook for the economy and should bode well for stocks. But traders say volatility will remain high in the short run as the Fed’s next move remains uncertain.

“We’re going through a transition from a liquidity-driven equity market to a market more driven by economic and corporate fundamentals,” said Bernard Kavanagh, vice president of portfolio management at Stifel Nicolaus.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar rose versus its main trading partners. The greenback has been strong recently as investors bet the U.S. economy will grow faster than most other developed economies.

What’s moving. Gold prices fell 3%, to $1,214.50 an ounce. That put pressure on shares of Newmont Mining (NEM, Fortune 500), which sank 4%.

Shares of large homebuilders were under pressure as investors worry that higher mortgage rates will cool the housing market. Lennar (LEN) and D.R. Horton (DHI) fell more than 3%.

Meanwhile, shares of regional banks, which are expected to benefit from rising interest rates, rallied. Lincoln National (LNC, Fortune 500), KeyCorp (KEY, Fortune 500), SunTrust (STI, Fortune 500) and Comerica (CMA) all gained more than 3%.

Mixed news overseas. Europe got a boost Thursday when the region’s central banks signaled that interest rates would remain at unusually low levels for an extended period of time. But European markets gave back some gains Friday. The DAX in Germany fell 2.3%.

Related: Fear & Greed Index

Investors also monitored the political turmoil in Egypt, which has sent oil prices higher in the past few days, and in Portugal, where leaders are trying to prevent a government collapse that would undermine its 78-billion euro bailout.

Asian markets ended with gains. The Hang Seng index and the Nikkei in Japan both ran up by roughly 2%. To top of page

Click for more market data.

A strong jobs report sent stocks higher Friday, capping a weekly gain for the market as investors set aside concerns about the Federal Reserve and focused on the improved outlook for economic growth.

The Dow Jones industrial average, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq gained about 0.9%. For the week, the Dow and the S&P 500 both rose more than 1.5%, while the Nasdaq gained over 2%.

The government said U.S. payrolls grew by 195,000 jobs in June, more than economists had expected. But the unemployment rate held steady at 7.6%.

Traders said volumes were light Friday since many money managers took the day off. U.S. markets were closed Thursday for the Fourth of July holiday.

Double edged sword. Investors were encouraged to see signs of improvement in the job market, but the report also makes it more likely that the Fed will begin to taper its stimulus policies later this year.

The U.S. central bank has signaled that it will begin to slow the pace of its $85-billion-per-month bond buying program when it sees significant improvement in the unemployment rate.

While the unemployment rate was unchanged last month, economists say the gains in hiring — including past months that were revised higher — mean the rate should head lower in the months ahead.

There will be two more reports on the unemployment rate and hiring before the Fed’s next scheduled meeting in September.

The June report was “more than strong enough to keep the Fed on track for tapering in September,” said Jim O’Sullivan, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics.

Bond yields spike. Investors in the bond market seemed to view the good news as bad news.

The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note rose to 2.72%, the highest level since August 2011. Investors have been selling bonds, driving yields higher, in anticipation of fewer Fed purchases.

Some economists worry that an abrupt rise in interest rates could hurt the U.S. economy. Mortgage rates have spiked in the past few weeks, raising concerns about the housing market.

Still, the sell-off in Treasuries comes on light volume and may be an overreaction, said Kevin Giddis, head of fixed-income at Raymond James.

“I would caution against putting too much into today’s move on the Treasury market,” said Giddis. But he added that interest rates are headed higher as the Fed moves away from quantitative easing, as its bond buying program is known, later this year.

“I do believe that we have set sail on an upward trend of interest rates that will likely lead to the Fed’s tapering of QE in September or October,” said Giddis.

What’s next. In the long run, any tapering by the Fed would reflect an improved outlook for the economy and should bode well for stocks. But traders say volatility will remain high in the short run as the Fed’s next move remains uncertain.

“We’re going through a transition from a liquidity-driven equity market to a market more driven by economic and corporate fundamentals,” said Bernard Kavanagh, vice president of portfolio management at Stifel Nicolaus.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar rose versus its main trading partners. The greenback has been strong recently as investors bet the U.S. economy will grow faster than most other developed economies.

What’s moving. Gold prices fell 3%, to $1,214.50 an ounce. That put pressure on shares of Newmont Mining (NEM, Fortune 500), which sank 4%.

Shares of large homebuilders were under pressure as investors worry that higher mortgage rates will cool the housing market. Lennar (LEN) and D.R. Horton (DHI) fell more than 3%.

Meanwhile, shares of regional banks, which are expected to benefit from rising interest rates, rallied. Lincoln National (LNC, Fortune 500), KeyCorp (KEY, Fortune 500), SunTrust (STI, Fortune 500) and Comerica (CMA) all gained more than 3%.

Mixed news overseas. Europe got a boost Thursday when the region’s central banks signaled that interest rates would remain at unusually low levels for an extended period of time. But European markets gave back some gains Friday. The DAX in Germany fell 2.3%.

Related: Fear & Greed Index

Investors also monitored the political turmoil in Egypt, which has sent oil prices higher in the past few days, and in Portugal, where leaders are trying to prevent a government collapse that would undermine its 78-billion euro bailout.

Asian markets ended with gains. The Hang Seng index and the Nikkei in Japan both ran up by roughly 2%. To top of page

Egypt stocks rally as army ousts president

People dance and cheer in Tahrir Square after former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy was ousted from power.

Egyptian investors are clearly relieved that the country’s democratically elected president Mohamed Morsy has been ousted by the military.

Egypt’s main stock market index surged by more than 7% Thursday, the day after the military took control. The gains helped the index recover most of a massive 17% drop during June.

Violent demonstrations had been ripping through the nation as protesters called on the defiant leader to step down. The military backed the opposition and gave Morsy 48-hours to “meet the demands of the people”.

When the deadline passed Wednesday, the military took over and handed power to interim president Adly Mansour.

Investors are betting that the military’s intervention to oust the country’s leader will help restore stability to the region’s most populous nation.

Related: 9 insights for Egypt’s new rulers

“The ousting of Morsy from the Egyptian presidency has been received by the markets as a risk-on event,” wrote FOREX.com’s research director Kathleen Brooks in a note.

Of course, it’s not all smooth sailing from here. Egypt’s military is now faced with the daunting task of holding democratic elections to find a new president, and the timetable for this could drag on. Morsy supporters are also fighting back and staging street demonstrations Friday.

“In the coming weeks, a lot of effort will be focused on … holding presidential and parliamentary elections, revising the constitution, and strengthening the country’s institutions,” explained Pimco’s CEO Mohamed A. El-Erian, a leader in the global bond market.

On Friday, Fitch Ratings downgraded Egypt’s default ratings to B- from B, meaning it believes political instability threatens the country’s economy and creditworthiness.

U.S. President Barack Obama expressed deep concern on Wednesday about the political upheaval, calling for a quick return to civilian leadership. He also ordered a review of aid to the Middle East ally.

Related: What next for Egypt’s entrepreneurs?

Egypt is seen as a critical country for the global oil market, and oil prices touched a 2013 high Friday, driven up by anxiety over continuing violence.

U.S. oil futures for the August contract rose as high as $102.44 a barrel, though the price eased in later trading.

Egypt produces a negligible amount of oil. But the Suez Canal, which passes through the north African nation, is a major shipping route between the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea and Persian Gulf. Roughly four million barrels of oil come through the Suez Canal each day. To top of page

People dance and cheer in Tahrir Square after former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy was ousted from power.

Egyptian investors are clearly relieved that the country’s democratically elected president Mohamed Morsy has been ousted by the military.

Egypt’s main stock market index surged by more than 7% Thursday, the day after the military took control. The gains helped the index recover most of a massive 17% drop during June.

Violent demonstrations had been ripping through the nation as protesters called on the defiant leader to step down. The military backed the opposition and gave Morsy 48-hours to “meet the demands of the people”.

When the deadline passed Wednesday, the military took over and handed power to interim president Adly Mansour.

Investors are betting that the military’s intervention to oust the country’s leader will help restore stability to the region’s most populous nation.

Related: 9 insights for Egypt’s new rulers

“The ousting of Morsy from the Egyptian presidency has been received by the markets as a risk-on event,” wrote FOREX.com’s research director Kathleen Brooks in a note.

Of course, it’s not all smooth sailing from here. Egypt’s military is now faced with the daunting task of holding democratic elections to find a new president, and the timetable for this could drag on. Morsy supporters are also fighting back and staging street demonstrations Friday.

“In the coming weeks, a lot of effort will be focused on … holding presidential and parliamentary elections, revising the constitution, and strengthening the country’s institutions,” explained Pimco’s CEO Mohamed A. El-Erian, a leader in the global bond market.

On Friday, Fitch Ratings downgraded Egypt’s default ratings to B- from B, meaning it believes political instability threatens the country’s economy and creditworthiness.

U.S. President Barack Obama expressed deep concern on Wednesday about the political upheaval, calling for a quick return to civilian leadership. He also ordered a review of aid to the Middle East ally.

Related: What next for Egypt’s entrepreneurs?

Egypt is seen as a critical country for the global oil market, and oil prices touched a 2013 high Friday, driven up by anxiety over continuing violence.

U.S. oil futures for the August contract rose as high as $102.44 a barrel, though the price eased in later trading.

Egypt produces a negligible amount of oil. But the Suez Canal, which passes through the north African nation, is a major shipping route between the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea and Persian Gulf. Roughly four million barrels of oil come through the Suez Canal each day. To top of page

People dance and cheer in Tahrir Square after former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy was ousted from power.

Egyptian investors are clearly relieved that the country’s democratically elected president Mohamed Morsy has been ousted by the military.

Egypt’s main stock market index surged by more than 7% Thursday, the day after the military took control. The gains helped the index recover most of a massive 17% drop during June.

Violent demonstrations had been ripping through the nation as protesters called on the defiant leader to step down. The military backed the opposition and gave Morsy 48-hours to “meet the demands of the people”.

When the deadline passed Wednesday, the military took over and handed power to interim president Adly Mansour.

Investors are betting that the military’s intervention to oust the country’s leader will help restore stability to the region’s most populous nation.

Related: 9 insights for Egypt’s new rulers

“The ousting of Morsy from the Egyptian presidency has been received by the markets as a risk-on event,” wrote FOREX.com’s research director Kathleen Brooks in a note.

Of course, it’s not all smooth sailing from here. Egypt’s military is now faced with the daunting task of holding democratic elections to find a new president, and the timetable for this could drag on. Morsy supporters are also fighting back and staging street demonstrations Friday.

“In the coming weeks, a lot of effort will be focused on … holding presidential and parliamentary elections, revising the constitution, and strengthening the country’s institutions,” explained Pimco’s CEO Mohamed A. El-Erian, a leader in the global bond market.

On Friday, Fitch Ratings downgraded Egypt’s default ratings to B- from B, meaning it believes political instability threatens the country’s economy and creditworthiness.

U.S. President Barack Obama expressed deep concern on Wednesday about the political upheaval, calling for a quick return to civilian leadership. He also ordered a review of aid to the Middle East ally.

Related: What next for Egypt’s entrepreneurs?

Egypt is seen as a critical country for the global oil market, and oil prices touched a 2013 high Friday, driven up by anxiety over continuing violence.

U.S. oil futures for the August contract rose as high as $102.44 a barrel, though the price eased in later trading.

Egypt produces a negligible amount of oil. But the Suez Canal, which passes through the north African nation, is a major shipping route between the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea and Persian Gulf. Roughly four million barrels of oil come through the Suez Canal each day. To top of page

People dance and cheer in Tahrir Square after former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy was ousted from power.

Egyptian investors are clearly relieved that the country’s democratically elected president Mohamed Morsy has been ousted by the military.

Egypt’s main stock market index surged by more than 7% Thursday, the day after the military took control. The gains helped the index recover most of a massive 17% drop during June.

Violent demonstrations had been ripping through the nation as protesters called on the defiant leader to step down. The military backed the opposition and gave Morsy 48-hours to “meet the demands of the people”.

When the deadline passed Wednesday, the military took over and handed power to interim president Adly Mansour.

Investors are betting that the military’s intervention to oust the country’s leader will help restore stability to the region’s most populous nation.

Related: 9 insights for Egypt’s new rulers

“The ousting of Morsy from the Egyptian presidency has been received by the markets as a risk-on event,” wrote FOREX.com’s research director Kathleen Brooks in a note.

Of course, it’s not all smooth sailing from here. Egypt’s military is now faced with the daunting task of holding democratic elections to find a new president, and the timetable for this could drag on. Morsy supporters are also fighting back and staging street demonstrations Friday.

“In the coming weeks, a lot of effort will be focused on … holding presidential and parliamentary elections, revising the constitution, and strengthening the country’s institutions,” explained Pimco’s CEO Mohamed A. El-Erian, a leader in the global bond market.

On Friday, Fitch Ratings downgraded Egypt’s default ratings to B- from B, meaning it believes political instability threatens the country’s economy and creditworthiness.

U.S. President Barack Obama expressed deep concern on Wednesday about the political upheaval, calling for a quick return to civilian leadership. He also ordered a review of aid to the Middle East ally.

Related: What next for Egypt’s entrepreneurs?

Egypt is seen as a critical country for the global oil market, and oil prices touched a 2013 high Friday, driven up by anxiety over continuing violence.

U.S. oil futures for the August contract rose as high as $102.44 a barrel, though the price eased in later trading.

Egypt produces a negligible amount of oil. But the Suez Canal, which passes through the north African nation, is a major shipping route between the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea and Persian Gulf. Roughly four million barrels of oil come through the Suez Canal each day. To top of page

People dance and cheer in Tahrir Square after former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy was ousted from power.

Egyptian investors are clearly relieved that the country’s democratically elected president Mohamed Morsy has been ousted by the military.

Egypt’s main stock market index surged by more than 7% Thursday, the day after the military took control. The gains helped the index recover most of a massive 17% drop during June.

Violent demonstrations had been ripping through the nation as protesters called on the defiant leader to step down. The military backed the opposition and gave Morsy 48-hours to “meet the demands of the people”.

When the deadline passed Wednesday, the military took over and handed power to interim president Adly Mansour.

Investors are betting that the military’s intervention to oust the country’s leader will help restore stability to the region’s most populous nation.

Related: 9 insights for Egypt’s new rulers

“The ousting of Morsy from the Egyptian presidency has been received by the markets as a risk-on event,” wrote FOREX.com’s research director Kathleen Brooks in a note.

Of course, it’s not all smooth sailing from here. Egypt’s military is now faced with the daunting task of holding democratic elections to find a new president, and the timetable for this could drag on. Morsy supporters are also fighting back and staging street demonstrations Friday.

“In the coming weeks, a lot of effort will be focused on … holding presidential and parliamentary elections, revising the constitution, and strengthening the country’s institutions,” explained Pimco’s CEO Mohamed A. El-Erian, a leader in the global bond market.

On Friday, Fitch Ratings downgraded Egypt’s default ratings to B- from B, meaning it believes political instability threatens the country’s economy and creditworthiness.

U.S. President Barack Obama expressed deep concern on Wednesday about the political upheaval, calling for a quick return to civilian leadership. He also ordered a review of aid to the Middle East ally.

Related: What next for Egypt’s entrepreneurs?

Egypt is seen as a critical country for the global oil market, and oil prices touched a 2013 high Friday, driven up by anxiety over continuing violence.

U.S. oil futures for the August contract rose as high as $102.44 a barrel, though the price eased in later trading.

Egypt produces a negligible amount of oil. But the Suez Canal, which passes through the north African nation, is a major shipping route between the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea and Persian Gulf. Roughly four million barrels of oil come through the Suez Canal each day. To top of page

Samsung and HTC smartphone momentum comes to screeching halt

Samsung expects record second quarter profits but analysts were hoping for more.

Two earnings previews from Asian cell phone manufacturers on Friday showed that Apple’s not the only top-tier smartphone company with something to worry about.

Samsung and HTC’s second-quarter outlooks both disappointed financial analysts, who had largely expected their latest high-end devices to launch the companies to new heights. Although Samsung’s Galaxy S4 and HTC’s One have sold well so far, neither company met analysts’ forecasts for sales or profit.

That’s particularly troubling, since several smartphone industry forecasts have indicated that interest in Samsung and HTC’s best smartphones has likely peaked.

Shares of Samsung fell 4% on Friday, while HTC’s shares rose 1%.

South Korea-based Samsung said it would report operating profit of $8.1 billion to $8.5 billion for the three months ended June — which works out to a minimum increase of 44% over the same period last year. Sales were also higher than last year, rising a minimum of 18% to around $50 billion.

That marked the company’s best-ever earnings guidance for the second quarter — but it still fell short of analyst expectations.

Though analysts say HTC’s One has sold admirably, it didn’t stop HTC from continuing its downward spiral. The Taiwanese company said its second-quarter profit would come in at around $42 million, down 83% from a year earlier. HTC reported sales would be $2.35 billion, down 22%.

Related: Want to invest in Samsung? Good luck!

Samsung shares have lost around 12% this year, and HTC’s stock has fallen 37%.

The tale is a familiar one. Apple’s (AAPL, Fortune 500) iPhones have also been selling well, but growth has slowed and investors have punished the stock lately. BlackBerry has also struggled to gain traction with its new Z10 smartphone, and its stock has plummeted.

Apple shares have lost 21% of their value since January 1, while BlackBerry (BBRY) has lost 19% and fallen below $10 per share.

Now that Samsung and HTC, two of Apple’s biggest rivals, are mirroring that trend, industry analysts believe that the top tier of the market is becoming saturated.

Apple is rumored to be creating a lower-end version of its smartphone to expand its share and better compete with No. 1 Samsung, whose phones run on the Android operating system from Google (GOOG, Fortune 500).

Samsung is scheduled to deliver full results for the second quarter at the end of July.

-CNNmoney’s David Goldman contributed to this report. To top of page

Samsung expects record second quarter profits but analysts were hoping for more.

Two earnings previews from Asian cell phone manufacturers on Friday showed that Apple’s not the only top-tier smartphone company with something to worry about.

Samsung and HTC’s second-quarter outlooks both disappointed financial analysts, who had largely expected their latest high-end devices to launch the companies to new heights. Although Samsung’s Galaxy S4 and HTC’s One have sold well so far, neither company met analysts’ forecasts for sales or profit.

That’s particularly troubling, since several smartphone industry forecasts have indicated that interest in Samsung and HTC’s best smartphones has likely peaked.

Shares of Samsung fell 4% on Friday, while HTC’s shares rose 1%.

South Korea-based Samsung said it would report operating profit of $8.1 billion to $8.5 billion for the three months ended June — which works out to a minimum increase of 44% over the same period last year. Sales were also higher than last year, rising a minimum of 18% to around $50 billion.

That marked the company’s best-ever earnings guidance for the second quarter — but it still fell short of analyst expectations.

Though analysts say HTC’s One has sold admirably, it didn’t stop HTC from continuing its downward spiral. The Taiwanese company said its second-quarter profit would come in at around $42 million, down 83% from a year earlier. HTC reported sales would be $2.35 billion, down 22%.

Related: Want to invest in Samsung? Good luck!

Samsung shares have lost around 12% this year, and HTC’s stock has fallen 37%.

The tale is a familiar one. Apple’s (AAPL, Fortune 500) iPhones have also been selling well, but growth has slowed and investors have punished the stock lately. BlackBerry has also struggled to gain traction with its new Z10 smartphone, and its stock has plummeted.

Apple shares have lost 21% of their value since January 1, while BlackBerry (BBRY) has lost 19% and fallen below $10 per share.

Now that Samsung and HTC, two of Apple’s biggest rivals, are mirroring that trend, industry analysts believe that the top tier of the market is becoming saturated.

Apple is rumored to be creating a lower-end version of its smartphone to expand its share and better compete with No. 1 Samsung, whose phones run on the Android operating system from Google (GOOG, Fortune 500).

Samsung is scheduled to deliver full results for the second quarter at the end of July.

-CNNmoney’s David Goldman contributed to this report. To top of page

Samsung expects record second quarter profits but analysts were hoping for more.

Two earnings previews from Asian cell phone manufacturers on Friday showed that Apple’s not the only top-tier smartphone company with something to worry about.

Samsung and HTC’s second-quarter outlooks both disappointed financial analysts, who had largely expected their latest high-end devices to launch the companies to new heights. Although Samsung’s Galaxy S4 and HTC’s One have sold well so far, neither company met analysts’ forecasts for sales or profit.

That’s particularly troubling, since several smartphone industry forecasts have indicated that interest in Samsung and HTC’s best smartphones has likely peaked.

Shares of Samsung fell 4% on Friday, while HTC’s shares rose 1%.

South Korea-based Samsung said it would report operating profit of $8.1 billion to $8.5 billion for the three months ended June — which works out to a minimum increase of 44% over the same period last year. Sales were also higher than last year, rising a minimum of 18% to around $50 billion.

That marked the company’s best-ever earnings guidance for the second quarter — but it still fell short of analyst expectations.

Though analysts say HTC’s One has sold admirably, it didn’t stop HTC from continuing its downward spiral. The Taiwanese company said its second-quarter profit would come in at around $42 million, down 83% from a year earlier. HTC reported sales would be $2.35 billion, down 22%.

Related: Want to invest in Samsung? Good luck!

Samsung shares have lost around 12% this year, and HTC’s stock has fallen 37%.

The tale is a familiar one. Apple’s (AAPL, Fortune 500) iPhones have also been selling well, but growth has slowed and investors have punished the stock lately. BlackBerry has also struggled to gain traction with its new Z10 smartphone, and its stock has plummeted.

Apple shares have lost 21% of their value since January 1, while BlackBerry (BBRY) has lost 19% and fallen below $10 per share.

Now that Samsung and HTC, two of Apple’s biggest rivals, are mirroring that trend, industry analysts believe that the top tier of the market is becoming saturated.

Apple is rumored to be creating a lower-end version of its smartphone to expand its share and better compete with No. 1 Samsung, whose phones run on the Android operating system from Google (GOOG, Fortune 500).

Samsung is scheduled to deliver full results for the second quarter at the end of July.

-CNNmoney’s David Goldman contributed to this report. To top of page

Samsung expects record second quarter profits but analysts were hoping for more.

Two earnings previews from Asian cell phone manufacturers on Friday showed that Apple’s not the only top-tier smartphone company with something to worry about.

Samsung and HTC’s second-quarter outlooks both disappointed financial analysts, who had largely expected their latest high-end devices to launch the companies to new heights. Although Samsung’s Galaxy S4 and HTC’s One have sold well so far, neither company met analysts’ forecasts for sales or profit.

That’s particularly troubling, since several smartphone industry forecasts have indicated that interest in Samsung and HTC’s best smartphones has likely peaked.

Shares of Samsung fell 4% on Friday, while HTC’s shares rose 1%.

South Korea-based Samsung said it would report operating profit of $8.1 billion to $8.5 billion for the three months ended June — which works out to a minimum increase of 44% over the same period last year. Sales were also higher than last year, rising a minimum of 18% to around $50 billion.

That marked the company’s best-ever earnings guidance for the second quarter — but it still fell short of analyst expectations.

Though analysts say HTC’s One has sold admirably, it didn’t stop HTC from continuing its downward spiral. The Taiwanese company said its second-quarter profit would come in at around $42 million, down 83% from a year earlier. HTC reported sales would be $2.35 billion, down 22%.

Related: Want to invest in Samsung? Good luck!

Samsung shares have lost around 12% this year, and HTC’s stock has fallen 37%.

The tale is a familiar one. Apple’s (AAPL, Fortune 500) iPhones have also been selling well, but growth has slowed and investors have punished the stock lately. BlackBerry has also struggled to gain traction with its new Z10 smartphone, and its stock has plummeted.

Apple shares have lost 21% of their value since January 1, while BlackBerry (BBRY) has lost 19% and fallen below $10 per share.

Now that Samsung and HTC, two of Apple’s biggest rivals, are mirroring that trend, industry analysts believe that the top tier of the market is becoming saturated.

Apple is rumored to be creating a lower-end version of its smartphone to expand its share and better compete with No. 1 Samsung, whose phones run on the Android operating system from Google (GOOG, Fortune 500).

Samsung is scheduled to deliver full results for the second quarter at the end of July.

-CNNmoney’s David Goldman contributed to this report. To top of page

Stocks: Happy 5th of July!

Click on chart to track premarkets

One day after celebrating the nation’s independence, investors welcomed a report Friday that showed a larger-than-expected gain in U.S. payrolls.

U.S. stock futures were all moving up by roughly 1% ahead of the opening bell after the Labor Department said the U.S. economy added 195,000 jobs in June. However, the unemployment rate held steady at 7.6%

Economists surveyed by CNNMoney predict the U.S. economy added 155,000 jobs, while the unemployment rate was expected to have ticked down to 7.5%.

While hiring was stronger than expected last month, the unemployment rate remains above the level at which the Federal Reserve has said it would begin to consider reducing its stimulus policies.

Investors have been encouraged by signs of improvement in the economy, but many say the recovery remains weak enough to justify further central bank support.

Jim O’Sullivan, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics, said the report suggests the Fed will begin tapering its $85 billion per day bond buying program later this year.

“Employment growth continues to look more than strong enough to keep unemployment trending down — even though the rate was only flat in June — and probably more than strong enough to lead to Fed tapering starting in September,” said O’Sullivan.

Europe got a big boost Thursday when the region’s central banks signaled that interest rates would remain at unusually low levels for an extended period of time. These dovish statements pushed down both the euro and pound sterling versus the U.S. dollar.

European markets rallied strongly Thursday and were mixed in Friday midday trading.

Related: Fear & Greed Index

Investors will also be monitoring the political turmoil in Egypt, which has sent oil prices higher in the past few days, and in Portugal, where leaders are trying to prevent a government collapse that would undermine its 78-billion euro bailout.

U.S. stocks finished slightly higher Wednesday. American markets were closed Thursday for the Fourth of July holiday.

Asian markets ended with gains. The Hang Seng index and the Nikkei in Japan both ran up by roughly 2%. The Shanghai Composite index edged up by 0.1%. To top of page

Click on chart to track premarkets

One day after celebrating the nation’s independence, investors welcomed a report Friday that showed a larger-than-expected gain in U.S. payrolls.

U.S. stock futures were all moving up by roughly 1% ahead of the opening bell after the Labor Department said the U.S. economy added 195,000 jobs in June. However, the unemployment rate held steady at 7.6%

Economists surveyed by CNNMoney predict the U.S. economy added 155,000 jobs, while the unemployment rate was expected to have ticked down to 7.5%.

While hiring was stronger than expected last month, the unemployment rate remains above the level at which the Federal Reserve has said it would begin to consider reducing its stimulus policies.

Investors have been encouraged by signs of improvement in the economy, but many say the recovery remains weak enough to justify further central bank support.

Jim O’Sullivan, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics, said the report suggests the Fed will begin tapering its $85 billion per day bond buying program later this year.

“Employment growth continues to look more than strong enough to keep unemployment trending down — even though the rate was only flat in June — and probably more than strong enough to lead to Fed tapering starting in September,” said O’Sullivan.

Europe got a big boost Thursday when the region’s central banks signaled that interest rates would remain at unusually low levels for an extended period of time. These dovish statements pushed down both the euro and pound sterling versus the U.S. dollar.

European markets rallied strongly Thursday and were mixed in Friday midday trading.

Related: Fear & Greed Index

Investors will also be monitoring the political turmoil in Egypt, which has sent oil prices higher in the past few days, and in Portugal, where leaders are trying to prevent a government collapse that would undermine its 78-billion euro bailout.

U.S. stocks finished slightly higher Wednesday. American markets were closed Thursday for the Fourth of July holiday.

Asian markets ended with gains. The Hang Seng index and the Nikkei in Japan both ran up by roughly 2%. The Shanghai Composite index edged up by 0.1%. To top of page

Click on chart to track premarkets

One day after celebrating the nation’s independence, investors welcomed a report Friday that showed a larger-than-expected gain in U.S. payrolls.

U.S. stock futures were all moving up by roughly 1% ahead of the opening bell after the Labor Department said the U.S. economy added 195,000 jobs in June. However, the unemployment rate held steady at 7.6%

Economists surveyed by CNNMoney predict the U.S. economy added 155,000 jobs, while the unemployment rate was expected to have ticked down to 7.5%.

While hiring was stronger than expected last month, the unemployment rate remains above the level at which the Federal Reserve has said it would begin to consider reducing its stimulus policies.

Investors have been encouraged by signs of improvement in the economy, but many say the recovery remains weak enough to justify further central bank support.

Jim O’Sullivan, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics, said the report suggests the Fed will begin tapering its $85 billion per day bond buying program later this year.

“Employment growth continues to look more than strong enough to keep unemployment trending down — even though the rate was only flat in June — and probably more than strong enough to lead to Fed tapering starting in September,” said O’Sullivan.

Europe got a big boost Thursday when the region’s central banks signaled that interest rates would remain at unusually low levels for an extended period of time. These dovish statements pushed down both the euro and pound sterling versus the U.S. dollar.

European markets rallied strongly Thursday and were mixed in Friday midday trading.

Related: Fear & Greed Index

Investors will also be monitoring the political turmoil in Egypt, which has sent oil prices higher in the past few days, and in Portugal, where leaders are trying to prevent a government collapse that would undermine its 78-billion euro bailout.

U.S. stocks finished slightly higher Wednesday. American markets were closed Thursday for the Fourth of July holiday.

Asian markets ended with gains. The Hang Seng index and the Nikkei in Japan both ran up by roughly 2%. The Shanghai Composite index edged up by 0.1%. To top of page

Click on chart to track premarkets

One day after celebrating the nation’s independence, investors welcomed a report Friday that showed a larger-than-expected gain in U.S. payrolls.

U.S. stock futures were all moving up by roughly 1% ahead of the opening bell after the Labor Department said the U.S. economy added 195,000 jobs in June. However, the unemployment rate held steady at 7.6%

Economists surveyed by CNNMoney predict the U.S. economy added 155,000 jobs, while the unemployment rate was expected to have ticked down to 7.5%.

While hiring was stronger than expected last month, the unemployment rate remains above the level at which the Federal Reserve has said it would begin to consider reducing its stimulus policies.

Investors have been encouraged by signs of improvement in the economy, but many say the recovery remains weak enough to justify further central bank support.

Jim O’Sullivan, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics, said the report suggests the Fed will begin tapering its $85 billion per day bond buying program later this year.

“Employment growth continues to look more than strong enough to keep unemployment trending down — even though the rate was only flat in June — and probably more than strong enough to lead to Fed tapering starting in September,” said O’Sullivan.

Europe got a big boost Thursday when the region’s central banks signaled that interest rates would remain at unusually low levels for an extended period of time. These dovish statements pushed down both the euro and pound sterling versus the U.S. dollar.

European markets rallied strongly Thursday and were mixed in Friday midday trading.

Related: Fear & Greed Index

Investors will also be monitoring the political turmoil in Egypt, which has sent oil prices higher in the past few days, and in Portugal, where leaders are trying to prevent a government collapse that would undermine its 78-billion euro bailout.

U.S. stocks finished slightly higher Wednesday. American markets were closed Thursday for the Fourth of July holiday.

Asian markets ended with gains. The Hang Seng index and the Nikkei in Japan both ran up by roughly 2%. The Shanghai Composite index edged up by 0.1%. To top of page

Chipping away at Swiss bank secrecy

Credit Suisse is among the Swiss banks that is in ongoing discussions with the U.S. Department of Justice to avoid legal action.

Switzerland issued new guidelines this week to its banks that should make it easier for the U.S. to catch American tax evaders who are hiding money in offshore accounts.

Switzerland has been under intense pressure to find a way to allow its banks to share information with U.S. authorities so they may avoid potentially crippling legal action.

The Swiss government intervened after parliament nixed changes to a rule that prevented the banks from cooperating with the U.S.

The new guidelines allow the banks to apply for permission to provide the U.S. with certain information about offshore bank accounts. They’re still blocked from revealing information about individual clients, but can share details about employees who worked on the accounts and about accounts that were transferred to other banks.

Related: Got a Swiss bank account? Time to fess up.

The change formalizes an approach that allowed UBS (UBS) to settle tax evasion claims with U.S. authorities in 2009 at a cost of $780 million in fines and restitution, and chips away further at the country’s strict banking secrecy laws.

Those laws helped foster the world’s largest $2.2 trillion offshore banking industry, where account holders were able to hide assets and avoid taxes in their home countries.

Swiss banks have slowly been losing their unique selling point of extreme client anonymity and discretion, and the latest move could accelerate change in the industry .

Billions of dollars have been withdrawn from Swiss offshore accounts in recent years and the industry is facing increasing pressure from rising financial powers in Asia-Pacific.

London research firm WealthInsight expects that Singapore will overtake Switzerland to become the largest global offshore wealth center by 2020.

While the outlook may seem bleak, Swiss banks are likely to welcome the ability to reveal certain information to authorities if it reduces the risk of harsh U.S. legal action and hefty fines.

In early 2012, Swiss bank Wegelin and Co. was forced to shut down after being charged by the Department of Justice with helping American taxpayers hide more than $1.2 billion from the Internal Revenue Service.

Related: U.S. citizens ditch passports in record numbers

Swiss banks have been planning for secrecy rule adjustments for well over a decade, said Kinner Lakhani, a senior equity analyst at Citi Research.

“They expected that banking secrecy would not last forever,” he said.

The banks are now focusing their efforts on helping clients transition to onshore, transparent accounts, he said. They are also expanding in emerging markets and improving their offerings for ultra high-net-worth individuals, he said.

“This is part of an ongoing process of normalization of the Swiss banking landscape,” said Lakhani. “There will be further evolution that will take Switzerland into the direction of being a private banking center for reasons other than banking secrecy,” he said.

Other European countries are also caving into pressure to share more information about bank accounts.

Luxembourg announced in April that it would begin sharing information about depositors’ accounts in 2015, just two days after fellow hold-out Austria signaled it would enter EU negotiations to do the same. To top of page

Credit Suisse is among the Swiss banks that is in ongoing discussions with the U.S. Department of Justice to avoid legal action.

Switzerland issued new guidelines this week to its banks that should make it easier for the U.S. to catch American tax evaders who are hiding money in offshore accounts.

Switzerland has been under intense pressure to find a way to allow its banks to share information with U.S. authorities so they may avoid potentially crippling legal action.

The Swiss government intervened after parliament nixed changes to a rule that prevented the banks from cooperating with the U.S.

The new guidelines allow the banks to apply for permission to provide the U.S. with certain information about offshore bank accounts. They’re still blocked from revealing information about individual clients, but can share details about employees who worked on the accounts and about accounts that were transferred to other banks.

Related: Got a Swiss bank account? Time to fess up.

The change formalizes an approach that allowed UBS (UBS) to settle tax evasion claims with U.S. authorities in 2009 at a cost of $780 million in fines and restitution, and chips away further at the country’s strict banking secrecy laws.

Those laws helped foster the world’s largest $2.2 trillion offshore banking industry, where account holders were able to hide assets and avoid taxes in their home countries.

Swiss banks have slowly been losing their unique selling point of extreme client anonymity and discretion, and the latest move could accelerate change in the industry .

Billions of dollars have been withdrawn from Swiss offshore accounts in recent years and the industry is facing increasing pressure from rising financial powers in Asia-Pacific.

London research firm WealthInsight expects that Singapore will overtake Switzerland to become the largest global offshore wealth center by 2020.

While the outlook may seem bleak, Swiss banks are likely to welcome the ability to reveal certain information to authorities if it reduces the risk of harsh U.S. legal action and hefty fines.

In early 2012, Swiss bank Wegelin and Co. was forced to shut down after being charged by the Department of Justice with helping American taxpayers hide more than $1.2 billion from the Internal Revenue Service.

Related: U.S. citizens ditch passports in record numbers

Swiss banks have been planning for secrecy rule adjustments for well over a decade, said Kinner Lakhani, a senior equity analyst at Citi Research.

“They expected that banking secrecy would not last forever,” he said.

The banks are now focusing their efforts on helping clients transition to onshore, transparent accounts, he said. They are also expanding in emerging markets and improving their offerings for ultra high-net-worth individuals, he said.

“This is part of an ongoing process of normalization of the Swiss banking landscape,” said Lakhani. “There will be further evolution that will take Switzerland into the direction of being a private banking center for reasons other than banking secrecy,” he said.

Other European countries are also caving into pressure to share more information about bank accounts.

Luxembourg announced in April that it would begin sharing information about depositors’ accounts in 2015, just two days after fellow hold-out Austria signaled it would enter EU negotiations to do the same. To top of page

Credit Suisse is among the Swiss banks that is in ongoing discussions with the U.S. Department of Justice to avoid legal action.

Switzerland issued new guidelines this week to its banks that should make it easier for the U.S. to catch American tax evaders who are hiding money in offshore accounts.

Switzerland has been under intense pressure to find a way to allow its banks to share information with U.S. authorities so they may avoid potentially crippling legal action.

The Swiss government intervened after parliament nixed changes to a rule that prevented the banks from cooperating with the U.S.

The new guidelines allow the banks to apply for permission to provide the U.S. with certain information about offshore bank accounts. They’re still blocked from revealing information about individual clients, but can share details about employees who worked on the accounts and about accounts that were transferred to other banks.

Related: Got a Swiss bank account? Time to fess up.

The change formalizes an approach that allowed UBS (UBS) to settle tax evasion claims with U.S. authorities in 2009 at a cost of $780 million in fines and restitution, and chips away further at the country’s strict banking secrecy laws.

Those laws helped foster the world’s largest $2.2 trillion offshore banking industry, where account holders were able to hide assets and avoid taxes in their home countries.

Swiss banks have slowly been losing their unique selling point of extreme client anonymity and discretion, and the latest move could accelerate change in the industry .

Billions of dollars have been withdrawn from Swiss offshore accounts in recent years and the industry is facing increasing pressure from rising financial powers in Asia-Pacific.

London research firm WealthInsight expects that Singapore will overtake Switzerland to become the largest global offshore wealth center by 2020.

While the outlook may seem bleak, Swiss banks are likely to welcome the ability to reveal certain information to authorities if it reduces the risk of harsh U.S. legal action and hefty fines.

In early 2012, Swiss bank Wegelin and Co. was forced to shut down after being charged by the Department of Justice with helping American taxpayers hide more than $1.2 billion from the Internal Revenue Service.

Related: U.S. citizens ditch passports in record numbers

Swiss banks have been planning for secrecy rule adjustments for well over a decade, said Kinner Lakhani, a senior equity analyst at Citi Research.

“They expected that banking secrecy would not last forever,” he said.

The banks are now focusing their efforts on helping clients transition to onshore, transparent accounts, he said. They are also expanding in emerging markets and improving their offerings for ultra high-net-worth individuals, he said.

“This is part of an ongoing process of normalization of the Swiss banking landscape,” said Lakhani. “There will be further evolution that will take Switzerland into the direction of being a private banking center for reasons other than banking secrecy,” he said.

Other European countries are also caving into pressure to share more information about bank accounts.

Luxembourg announced in April that it would begin sharing information about depositors’ accounts in 2015, just two days after fellow hold-out Austria signaled it would enter EU negotiations to do the same. To top of page

Credit Suisse is among the Swiss banks that is in ongoing discussions with the U.S. Department of Justice to avoid legal action.

Switzerland issued new guidelines this week to its banks that should make it easier for the U.S. to catch American tax evaders who are hiding money in offshore accounts.

Switzerland has been under intense pressure to find a way to allow its banks to share information with U.S. authorities so they may avoid potentially crippling legal action.

The Swiss government intervened after parliament nixed changes to a rule that prevented the banks from cooperating with the U.S.

The new guidelines allow the banks to apply for permission to provide the U.S. with certain information about offshore bank accounts. They’re still blocked from revealing information about individual clients, but can share details about employees who worked on the accounts and about accounts that were transferred to other banks.

Related: Got a Swiss bank account? Time to fess up.

The change formalizes an approach that allowed UBS (UBS) to settle tax evasion claims with U.S. authorities in 2009 at a cost of $780 million in fines and restitution, and chips away further at the country’s strict banking secrecy laws.

Those laws helped foster the world’s largest $2.2 trillion offshore banking industry, where account holders were able to hide assets and avoid taxes in their home countries.

Swiss banks have slowly been losing their unique selling point of extreme client anonymity and discretion, and the latest move could accelerate change in the industry .

Billions of dollars have been withdrawn from Swiss offshore accounts in recent years and the industry is facing increasing pressure from rising financial powers in Asia-Pacific.

London research firm WealthInsight expects that Singapore will overtake Switzerland to become the largest global offshore wealth center by 2020.

While the outlook may seem bleak, Swiss banks are likely to welcome the ability to reveal certain information to authorities if it reduces the risk of harsh U.S. legal action and hefty fines.

In early 2012, Swiss bank Wegelin and Co. was forced to shut down after being charged by the Department of Justice with helping American taxpayers hide more than $1.2 billion from the Internal Revenue Service.

Related: U.S. citizens ditch passports in record numbers

Swiss banks have been planning for secrecy rule adjustments for well over a decade, said Kinner Lakhani, a senior equity analyst at Citi Research.

“They expected that banking secrecy would not last forever,” he said.

The banks are now focusing their efforts on helping clients transition to onshore, transparent accounts, he said. They are also expanding in emerging markets and improving their offerings for ultra high-net-worth individuals, he said.

“This is part of an ongoing process of normalization of the Swiss banking landscape,” said Lakhani. “There will be further evolution that will take Switzerland into the direction of being a private banking center for reasons other than banking secrecy,” he said.

Other European countries are also caving into pressure to share more information about bank accounts.

Luxembourg announced in April that it would begin sharing information about depositors’ accounts in 2015, just two days after fellow hold-out Austria signaled it would enter EU negotiations to do the same. To top of page

Next hot trend: Mini smartphones

Samsung recently released the Galaxy S4 Mini, which is a cheaper and smaller version of its popular Galaxy S4 model.

These days, picking out a smartphone is almost like trying on shoes. Does a four-inch, four-and-a-half-inch, or five-inch screen fit best?

For years, the trend in major smartphone brands’ screen sizes had been the bigger, the better. Whether it was the iPhone 5’s extra row of apps or the giant, tablet-sized Android “phablets,” phones had definitely been getting larger.

But recently, that trend has begun to reverse. Samsung and BlackBerry (BBRY) released mini versions of their top-of-the-line smartphones and Apple (AAPL, Fortune 500) and HTC are rumored to follow suit. The Samsung Galaxy S4 mini has a 4.3-inch screen, which shaves off more than a half-inch off its larger version. The BlackBerry Q5 isn’t smaller in size than the top-of-the-line Q10, but it uses all of last year’s technology inside.

One factor behind the looming mini smartphone wave: Smartphone growth is beginning to slow in developed markets like the United States and Western Europe, where giant smartphones with the latest features are a hot commodity. Emerging markets will be “the key future growth driver,” according to Macquarie Securities analyst Kevin Smithen, but consumers in those regions are more budget-conscious.

Larger screens can contribute significantly to the price of a smartphone, so smaller devices released by low-cost smartphone makers like China-based Huawei, ZTE and Lenovo are wildly popular in those regions. The iPhone isn’t even in the top five list of best-selling smartphones in China.

Top-tier smartphone makers “are finally waking up to the fact and starting to fight back” with a wave of “smartphone mini” launches this year, said Smithen.

But other analysts are doubtful that the top smartphone brands are truly getting the message.

“It’s not about size so much as the price,” noted Sarah Rotman Epps, an analyst at Forrester.

China’s major smartphone makers have been focused on producing devices that cost less than $350. The Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini is currently selling in the United Kingdom, its first market, for $530. That’s cheaper than the Galaxy S4 which goes for about $600, but perhaps by not enough.

Related story: Attack of Galaxy S4 gadget spam

That’s why Ryan Reith, an analyst at IDC, believes that Samsung’s launch of mini devices may have just been a way for the Korean smartphone maker to “test the waters” when it comes to display size. As the market for smartphones becomes saturated, companies may aim to offer variety and hit every price point.

“The smartphone market is not one size fits all,” said Jeff Kagan, an independent technology industry analyst. Some people want a smaller phone because they have small hands or wish to fit their smartphones in their pockets. Other people want to use their smartphones to watch movies and play games which are better displayed on a larger screen.

As for rumors surrounding Apple and a new, smaller iPhone, it definitely would be an out-of-character move for a company used to marketing exclusively to the high-end of the market. But it has been six years since they entered the smartphone market and there’s now more competition.

“They would be smart to come out with two devices, maybe more, and let the customer choose,” Kagan said.

Even if price trumps screen preference in emerging markets for now, it may not be a tradeoff customers will have to face going forward.

“There is no question display costs are coming down and we expect five-inch devices to be the norm for low-end emerging market adoption in 2014 and beyond,” Reith said. To top of page

Samsung recently released the Galaxy S4 Mini, which is a cheaper and smaller version of its popular Galaxy S4 model.

These days, picking out a smartphone is almost like trying on shoes. Does a four-inch, four-and-a-half-inch, or five-inch screen fit best?

For years, the trend in major smartphone brands’ screen sizes had been the bigger, the better. Whether it was the iPhone 5’s extra row of apps or the giant, tablet-sized Android “phablets,” phones had definitely been getting larger.

But recently, that trend has begun to reverse. Samsung and BlackBerry (BBRY) released mini versions of their top-of-the-line smartphones and Apple (AAPL, Fortune 500) and HTC are rumored to follow suit. The Samsung Galaxy S4 mini has a 4.3-inch screen, which shaves off more than a half-inch off its larger version. The BlackBerry Q5 isn’t smaller in size than the top-of-the-line Q10, but it uses all of last year’s technology inside.

One factor behind the looming mini smartphone wave: Smartphone growth is beginning to slow in developed markets like the United States and Western Europe, where giant smartphones with the latest features are a hot commodity. Emerging markets will be “the key future growth driver,” according to Macquarie Securities analyst Kevin Smithen, but consumers in those regions are more budget-conscious.

Larger screens can contribute significantly to the price of a smartphone, so smaller devices released by low-cost smartphone makers like China-based Huawei, ZTE and Lenovo are wildly popular in those regions. The iPhone isn’t even in the top five list of best-selling smartphones in China.

Top-tier smartphone makers “are finally waking up to the fact and starting to fight back” with a wave of “smartphone mini” launches this year, said Smithen.

But other analysts are doubtful that the top smartphone brands are truly getting the message.

“It’s not about size so much as the price,” noted Sarah Rotman Epps, an analyst at Forrester.

China’s major smartphone makers have been focused on producing devices that cost less than $350. The Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini is currently selling in the United Kingdom, its first market, for $530. That’s cheaper than the Galaxy S4 which goes for about $600, but perhaps by not enough.

Related story: Attack of Galaxy S4 gadget spam

That’s why Ryan Reith, an analyst at IDC, believes that Samsung’s launch of mini devices may have just been a way for the Korean smartphone maker to “test the waters” when it comes to display size. As the market for smartphones becomes saturated, companies may aim to offer variety and hit every price point.

“The smartphone market is not one size fits all,” said Jeff Kagan, an independent technology industry analyst. Some people want a smaller phone because they have small hands or wish to fit their smartphones in their pockets. Other people want to use their smartphones to watch movies and play games which are better displayed on a larger screen.

As for rumors surrounding Apple and a new, smaller iPhone, it definitely would be an out-of-character move for a company used to marketing exclusively to the high-end of the market. But it has been six years since they entered the smartphone market and there’s now more competition.

“They would be smart to come out with two devices, maybe more, and let the customer choose,” Kagan said.

Even if price trumps screen preference in emerging markets for now, it may not be a tradeoff customers will have to face going forward.

“There is no question display costs are coming down and we expect five-inch devices to be the norm for low-end emerging market adoption in 2014 and beyond,” Reith said. To top of page

Samsung recently released the Galaxy S4 Mini, which is a cheaper and smaller version of its popular Galaxy S4 model.

These days, picking out a smartphone is almost like trying on shoes. Does a four-inch, four-and-a-half-inch, or five-inch screen fit best?

For years, the trend in major smartphone brands’ screen sizes had been the bigger, the better. Whether it was the iPhone 5’s extra row of apps or the giant, tablet-sized Android “phablets,” phones had definitely been getting larger.

But recently, that trend has begun to reverse. Samsung and BlackBerry (BBRY) released mini versions of their top-of-the-line smartphones and Apple (AAPL, Fortune 500) and HTC are rumored to follow suit. The Samsung Galaxy S4 mini has a 4.3-inch screen, which shaves off more than a half-inch off its larger version. The BlackBerry Q5 isn’t smaller in size than the top-of-the-line Q10, but it uses all of last year’s technology inside.

One factor behind the looming mini smartphone wave: Smartphone growth is beginning to slow in developed markets like the United States and Western Europe, where giant smartphones with the latest features are a hot commodity. Emerging markets will be “the key future growth driver,” according to Macquarie Securities analyst Kevin Smithen, but consumers in those regions are more budget-conscious.

Larger screens can contribute significantly to the price of a smartphone, so smaller devices released by low-cost smartphone makers like China-based Huawei, ZTE and Lenovo are wildly popular in those regions. The iPhone isn’t even in the top five list of best-selling smartphones in China.

Top-tier smartphone makers “are finally waking up to the fact and starting to fight back” with a wave of “smartphone mini” launches this year, said Smithen.

But other analysts are doubtful that the top smartphone brands are truly getting the message.

“It’s not about size so much as the price,” noted Sarah Rotman Epps, an analyst at Forrester.

China’s major smartphone makers have been focused on producing devices that cost less than $350. The Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini is currently selling in the United Kingdom, its first market, for $530. That’s cheaper than the Galaxy S4 which goes for about $600, but perhaps by not enough.

Related story: Attack of Galaxy S4 gadget spam

That’s why Ryan Reith, an analyst at IDC, believes that Samsung’s launch of mini devices may have just been a way for the Korean smartphone maker to “test the waters” when it comes to display size. As the market for smartphones becomes saturated, companies may aim to offer variety and hit every price point.

“The smartphone market is not one size fits all,” said Jeff Kagan, an independent technology industry analyst. Some people want a smaller phone because they have small hands or wish to fit their smartphones in their pockets. Other people want to use their smartphones to watch movies and play games which are better displayed on a larger screen.

As for rumors surrounding Apple and a new, smaller iPhone, it definitely would be an out-of-character move for a company used to marketing exclusively to the high-end of the market. But it has been six years since they entered the smartphone market and there’s now more competition.

“They would be smart to come out with two devices, maybe more, and let the customer choose,” Kagan said.

Even if price trumps screen preference in emerging markets for now, it may not be a tradeoff customers will have to face going forward.

“There is no question display costs are coming down and we expect five-inch devices to be the norm for low-end emerging market adoption in 2014 and beyond,” Reith said. To top of page

Samsung recently released the Galaxy S4 Mini, which is a cheaper and smaller version of its popular Galaxy S4 model.

These days, picking out a smartphone is almost like trying on shoes. Does a four-inch, four-and-a-half-inch, or five-inch screen fit best?

For years, the trend in major smartphone brands’ screen sizes had been the bigger, the better. Whether it was the iPhone 5’s extra row of apps or the giant, tablet-sized Android “phablets,” phones had definitely been getting larger.

But recently, that trend has begun to reverse. Samsung and BlackBerry (BBRY) released mini versions of their top-of-the-line smartphones and Apple (AAPL, Fortune 500) and HTC are rumored to follow suit. The Samsung Galaxy S4 mini has a 4.3-inch screen, which shaves off more than a half-inch off its larger version. The BlackBerry Q5 isn’t smaller in size than the top-of-the-line Q10, but it uses all of last year’s technology inside.

One factor behind the looming mini smartphone wave: Smartphone growth is beginning to slow in developed markets like the United States and Western Europe, where giant smartphones with the latest features are a hot commodity. Emerging markets will be “the key future growth driver,” according to Macquarie Securities analyst Kevin Smithen, but consumers in those regions are more budget-conscious.

Larger screens can contribute significantly to the price of a smartphone, so smaller devices released by low-cost smartphone makers like China-based Huawei, ZTE and Lenovo are wildly popular in those regions. The iPhone isn’t even in the top five list of best-selling smartphones in China.

Top-tier smartphone makers “are finally waking up to the fact and starting to fight back” with a wave of “smartphone mini” launches this year, said Smithen.

But other analysts are doubtful that the top smartphone brands are truly getting the message.

“It’s not about size so much as the price,” noted Sarah Rotman Epps, an analyst at Forrester.

China’s major smartphone makers have been focused on producing devices that cost less than $350. The Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini is currently selling in the United Kingdom, its first market, for $530. That’s cheaper than the Galaxy S4 which goes for about $600, but perhaps by not enough.

Related story: Attack of Galaxy S4 gadget spam

That’s why Ryan Reith, an analyst at IDC, believes that Samsung’s launch of mini devices may have just been a way for the Korean smartphone maker to “test the waters” when it comes to display size. As the market for smartphones becomes saturated, companies may aim to offer variety and hit every price point.

“The smartphone market is not one size fits all,” said Jeff Kagan, an independent technology industry analyst. Some people want a smaller phone because they have small hands or wish to fit their smartphones in their pockets. Other people want to use their smartphones to watch movies and play games which are better displayed on a larger screen.

As for rumors surrounding Apple and a new, smaller iPhone, it definitely would be an out-of-character move for a company used to marketing exclusively to the high-end of the market. But it has been six years since they entered the smartphone market and there’s now more competition.

“They would be smart to come out with two devices, maybe more, and let the customer choose,” Kagan said.

Even if price trumps screen preference in emerging markets for now, it may not be a tradeoff customers will have to face going forward.

“There is no question display costs are coming down and we expect five-inch devices to be the norm for low-end emerging market adoption in 2014 and beyond,” Reith said. To top of page

June jobs report: Hiring beats expectations

The job market made solid improvement last month, sending signals to markets that the Federal Reserve is on track to start pulling back on its stimulus program.

The economy added 195,000 new jobs in June, beating economists’ expectations of 155,000 jobs and matching the revised pace from May. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 7.6%.

Spring hiring was also stronger than previously thought. The number of jobs created in April was revised up by 50,000 positions, while May was revised higher by 20,000 jobs.

The report was being watched particularly closely by investors, in light of recent comments from Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke that caused wild swings in the markets.

Prior to Friday, the S&P 500 was down nearly 3% since May 22, when clues first emerged that the Fed may slow purchases of bonds and mortgages as early as this year. Bernanke later said the stimulus program could end altogether if unemployment hits 7% — which the Fed expects by the middle of next year.

Despite no change in the unemployment rate, the underlying strength of the report led investors to believe that the bedrock of the economy is improving, and that the Fed will start to pull back sooner rather than later.

Stocks rose slightly and bonds sold off following the news.

For the last couple of weeks both stocks and bonds had been selling off, as investors fretted the Fed may be ending its stimulus program too early.

“Investors are beginning to believe that the economy actually may be strong enough to grow without the extreme monetary support,” said Bill Hampel, chief economist at the Credit Union National Association. “When will we finally get back to the day when good news for the economy is taken as good news by the stock market? It looks like we might finally be there.”

Related: America’s slow job growth

The report contained little in the way of bad news, with the size of the labor force growing and the participation rate rising slightly. The number of long-term unemployed people also fell.

The biggest job gains were in leisure and hospitality (up 75,000), professional and business services (up 53,000), and retail (up 37,000). Construction and manufacturing were little changed.

The federal government shed 5,000 positions, continuing a trend brought on by the budget cuts that have eliminated 65,000 jobs in the last 12 months.

The number of people working part time because they couldn’t find a full-time position rose by 322,000 from the month before. Some experts also pointed out that many of the newly-created jobs are in low-wage sectors.

“Three quarters of these would qualify as low-quality jobs,” said J.J. Kinahan, chief strategist at TD Ameritrade.

Still, Kinahan noted that wages in June grew faster than the 12-month average, and was pleased with the report overall.

“This proves what the Fed has been saying — the economy is improving,” he said.

Related: Skilled workers still can’t find jobs

One of the few groups reeling may be those looking for a mortgage. Interest rates on home loans have surged over the last few weeks.

On average, the economy has created roughly 182,000 jobs a month over the last year. That’s not bad, but it’s not great either. Economists say that level of job growth barely keeps pace with the rising population, and is a far cry from the 250,000 jobs a month created during the boom times of the mid 1990s. To top of page

The job market made solid improvement last month, sending signals to markets that the Federal Reserve is on track to start pulling back on its stimulus program.

The economy added 195,000 new jobs in June, beating economists’ expectations of 155,000 jobs and matching the revised pace from May. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 7.6%.

Spring hiring was also stronger than previously thought. The number of jobs created in April was revised up by 50,000 positions, while May was revised higher by 20,000 jobs.

The report was being watched particularly closely by investors, in light of recent comments from Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke that caused wild swings in the markets.

Prior to Friday, the S&P 500 was down nearly 3% since May 22, when clues first emerged that the Fed may slow purchases of bonds and mortgages as early as this year. Bernanke later said the stimulus program could end altogether if unemployment hits 7% — which the Fed expects by the middle of next year.

Despite no change in the unemployment rate, the underlying strength of the report led investors to believe that the bedrock of the economy is improving, and that the Fed will start to pull back sooner rather than later.

Stocks rose slightly and bonds sold off following the news.

For the last couple of weeks both stocks and bonds had been selling off, as investors fretted the Fed may be ending its stimulus program too early.

“Investors are beginning to believe that the economy actually may be strong enough to grow without the extreme monetary support,” said Bill Hampel, chief economist at the Credit Union National Association. “When will we finally get back to the day when good news for the economy is taken as good news by the stock market? It looks like we might finally be there.”

Related: America’s slow job growth

The report contained little in the way of bad news, with the size of the labor force growing and the participation rate rising slightly. The number of long-term unemployed people also fell.

The biggest job gains were in leisure and hospitality (up 75,000), professional and business services (up 53,000), and retail (up 37,000). Construction and manufacturing were little changed.

The federal government shed 5,000 positions, continuing a trend brought on by the budget cuts that have eliminated 65,000 jobs in the last 12 months.

The number of people working part time because they couldn’t find a full-time position rose by 322,000 from the month before. Some experts also pointed out that many of the newly-created jobs are in low-wage sectors.

“Three quarters of these would qualify as low-quality jobs,” said J.J. Kinahan, chief strategist at TD Ameritrade.

Still, Kinahan noted that wages in June grew faster than the 12-month average, and was pleased with the report overall.

“This proves what the Fed has been saying — the economy is improving,” he said.

Related: Skilled workers still can’t find jobs

One of the few groups reeling may be those looking for a mortgage. Interest rates on home loans have surged over the last few weeks.

On average, the economy has created roughly 182,000 jobs a month over the last year. That’s not bad, but it’s not great either. Economists say that level of job growth barely keeps pace with the rising population, and is a far cry from the 250,000 jobs a month created during the boom times of the mid 1990s. To top of page

The job market made solid improvement last month, sending signals to markets that the Federal Reserve is on track to start pulling back on its stimulus program.

The economy added 195,000 new jobs in June, beating economists’ expectations of 155,000 jobs and matching the revised pace from May. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 7.6%.

Spring hiring was also stronger than previously thought. The number of jobs created in April was revised up by 50,000 positions, while May was revised higher by 20,000 jobs.

The report was being watched particularly closely by investors, in light of recent comments from Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke that caused wild swings in the markets.

Prior to Friday, the S&P 500 was down nearly 3% since May 22, when clues first emerged that the Fed may slow purchases of bonds and mortgages as early as this year. Bernanke later said the stimulus program could end altogether if unemployment hits 7% — which the Fed expects by the middle of next year.

Despite no change in the unemployment rate, the underlying strength of the report led investors to believe that the bedrock of the economy is improving, and that the Fed will start to pull back sooner rather than later.

Stocks rose slightly and bonds sold off following the news.

For the last couple of weeks both stocks and bonds had been selling off, as investors fretted the Fed may be ending its stimulus program too early.

“Investors are beginning to believe that the economy actually may be strong enough to grow without the extreme monetary support,” said Bill Hampel, chief economist at the Credit Union National Association. “When will we finally get back to the day when good news for the economy is taken as good news by the stock market? It looks like we might finally be there.”

Related: America’s slow job growth

The report contained little in the way of bad news, with the size of the labor force growing and the participation rate rising slightly. The number of long-term unemployed people also fell.

The biggest job gains were in leisure and hospitality (up 75,000), professional and business services (up 53,000), and retail (up 37,000). Construction and manufacturing were little changed.

The federal government shed 5,000 positions, continuing a trend brought on by the budget cuts that have eliminated 65,000 jobs in the last 12 months.

The number of people working part time because they couldn’t find a full-time position rose by 322,000 from the month before. Some experts also pointed out that many of the newly-created jobs are in low-wage sectors.

“Three quarters of these would qualify as low-quality jobs,” said J.J. Kinahan, chief strategist at TD Ameritrade.

Still, Kinahan noted that wages in June grew faster than the 12-month average, and was pleased with the report overall.

“This proves what the Fed has been saying — the economy is improving,” he said.

Related: Skilled workers still can’t find jobs

One of the few groups reeling may be those looking for a mortgage. Interest rates on home loans have surged over the last few weeks.

On average, the economy has created roughly 182,000 jobs a month over the last year. That’s not bad, but it’s not great either. Economists say that level of job growth barely keeps pace with the rising population, and is a far cry from the 250,000 jobs a month created during the boom times of the mid 1990s. To top of page

The job market made solid improvement last month, sending signals to markets that the Federal Reserve is on track to start pulling back on its stimulus program.

The economy added 195,000 new jobs in June, beating economists’ expectations of 155,000 jobs and matching the revised pace from May. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 7.6%.

Spring hiring was also stronger than previously thought. The number of jobs created in April was revised up by 50,000 positions, while May was revised higher by 20,000 jobs.

The report was being watched particularly closely by investors, in light of recent comments from Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke that caused wild swings in the markets.

Prior to Friday, the S&P 500 was down nearly 3% since May 22, when clues first emerged that the Fed may slow purchases of bonds and mortgages as early as this year. Bernanke later said the stimulus program could end altogether if unemployment hits 7% — which the Fed expects by the middle of next year.

Despite no change in the unemployment rate, the underlying strength of the report led investors to believe that the bedrock of the economy is improving, and that the Fed will start to pull back sooner rather than later.

Stocks rose slightly and bonds sold off following the news.

For the last couple of weeks both stocks and bonds had been selling off, as investors fretted the Fed may be ending its stimulus program too early.

“Investors are beginning to believe that the economy actually may be strong enough to grow without the extreme monetary support,” said Bill Hampel, chief economist at the Credit Union National Association. “When will we finally get back to the day when good news for the economy is taken as good news by the stock market? It looks like we might finally be there.”

Related: America’s slow job growth

The report contained little in the way of bad news, with the size of the labor force growing and the participation rate rising slightly. The number of long-term unemployed people also fell.

The biggest job gains were in leisure and hospitality (up 75,000), professional and business services (up 53,000), and retail (up 37,000). Construction and manufacturing were little changed.

The federal government shed 5,000 positions, continuing a trend brought on by the budget cuts that have eliminated 65,000 jobs in the last 12 months.

The number of people working part time because they couldn’t find a full-time position rose by 322,000 from the month before. Some experts also pointed out that many of the newly-created jobs are in low-wage sectors.

“Three quarters of these would qualify as low-quality jobs,” said J.J. Kinahan, chief strategist at TD Ameritrade.

Still, Kinahan noted that wages in June grew faster than the 12-month average, and was pleased with the report overall.

“This proves what the Fed has been saying — the economy is improving,” he said.

Related: Skilled workers still can’t find jobs

One of the few groups reeling may be those looking for a mortgage. Interest rates on home loans have surged over the last few weeks.

On average, the economy has created roughly 182,000 jobs a month over the last year. That’s not bad, but it’s not great either. Economists say that level of job growth barely keeps pace with the rising population, and is a far cry from the 250,000 jobs a month created during the boom times of the mid 1990s. To top of page

Oil prices at 2013 high above $103 a barrel

Oil prices rose 8% over the last month

Oil prices reached their highest point in more than a year Friday, driven by anxiety over a military coup in Egypt.

U.S. oil futures for the August contract rose $1.98, or nearly 2%, to settle at $103.22 a barrel. That’s the highest closing price since May 2, 2012, when oil settled at $105.22 per barrel.

The Egyptian army seized control of the government Wednesday amid violent protests, deposing the country’s first democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsy of the Muslim Brotherhood. On Friday, the African Union announced that it was suspending Egypt.

Egypt produces a negligible amount of oil. But the Suez Canal, which passes through the north African nation, is a major thoroughfare for oil shipping that links the Mediterranean Sea with the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf.

“I think most folks don’t believe that violence in Egypt is going to cause a shutdown of the Suez Canal,” said Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst for Gasbuddy.com.

But he also said that military coups make traders nervous about energy supply, prompting them to buy oil and drive up prices.

Related: Beware dire predictions on Obama’s war on coal

Oil was on the rise even before the Egyptian coup. Oil prices have climbed more than 8% in the last month, driven by economic growth.

Brent crude, the benchmark for oil prices in Europe, rose $1.67, or 1.6%, to $107.43 a barrel.

To top of page

Oil prices rose 8% over the last month

Oil prices reached their highest point in more than a year Friday, driven by anxiety over a military coup in Egypt.

U.S. oil futures for the August contract rose $1.98, or nearly 2%, to settle at $103.22 a barrel. That’s the highest closing price since May 2, 2012, when oil settled at $105.22 per barrel.

The Egyptian army seized control of the government Wednesday amid violent protests, deposing the country’s first democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsy of the Muslim Brotherhood. On Friday, the African Union announced that it was suspending Egypt.

Egypt produces a negligible amount of oil. But the Suez Canal, which passes through the north African nation, is a major thoroughfare for oil shipping that links the Mediterranean Sea with the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf.

“I think most folks don’t believe that violence in Egypt is going to cause a shutdown of the Suez Canal,” said Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst for Gasbuddy.com.

But he also said that military coups make traders nervous about energy supply, prompting them to buy oil and drive up prices.

Related: Beware dire predictions on Obama’s war on coal

Oil was on the rise even before the Egyptian coup. Oil prices have climbed more than 8% in the last month, driven by economic growth.

Brent crude, the benchmark for oil prices in Europe, rose $1.67, or 1.6%, to $107.43 a barrel.

To top of page

Oil prices rose 8% over the last month

Oil prices reached their highest point in more than a year Friday, driven by anxiety over a military coup in Egypt.

U.S. oil futures for the August contract rose $1.98, or nearly 2%, to settle at $103.22 a barrel. That’s the highest closing price since May 2, 2012, when oil settled at $105.22 per barrel.

The Egyptian army seized control of the government Wednesday amid violent protests, deposing the country’s first democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsy of the Muslim Brotherhood. On Friday, the African Union announced that it was suspending Egypt.

Egypt produces a negligible amount of oil. But the Suez Canal, which passes through the north African nation, is a major thoroughfare for oil shipping that links the Mediterranean Sea with the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf.

“I think most folks don’t believe that violence in Egypt is going to cause a shutdown of the Suez Canal,” said Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst for Gasbuddy.com.

But he also said that military coups make traders nervous about energy supply, prompting them to buy oil and drive up prices.

Related: Beware dire predictions on Obama’s war on coal

Oil was on the rise even before the Egyptian coup. Oil prices have climbed more than 8% in the last month, driven by economic growth.

Brent crude, the benchmark for oil prices in Europe, rose $1.67, or 1.6%, to $107.43 a barrel.

To top of page

Oil prices rose 8% over the last month

Oil prices reached their highest point in more than a year Friday, driven by anxiety over a military coup in Egypt.

U.S. oil futures for the August contract rose $1.98, or nearly 2%, to settle at $103.22 a barrel. That’s the highest closing price since May 2, 2012, when oil settled at $105.22 per barrel.

The Egyptian army seized control of the government Wednesday amid violent protests, deposing the country’s first democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsy of the Muslim Brotherhood. On Friday, the African Union announced that it was suspending Egypt.

Egypt produces a negligible amount of oil. But the Suez Canal, which passes through the north African nation, is a major thoroughfare for oil shipping that links the Mediterranean Sea with the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf.

“I think most folks don’t believe that violence in Egypt is going to cause a shutdown of the Suez Canal,” said Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst for Gasbuddy.com.

But he also said that military coups make traders nervous about energy supply, prompting them to buy oil and drive up prices.

Related: Beware dire predictions on Obama’s war on coal

Oil was on the rise even before the Egyptian coup. Oil prices have climbed more than 8% in the last month, driven by economic growth.

Brent crude, the benchmark for oil prices in Europe, rose $1.67, or 1.6%, to $107.43 a barrel.

To top of page

Eurozone pulls back from the brink

Portugal has managed to avoid a political crisis for now but faces mounting opposition to the austerity measures needed to satisfy international lenders.

Fears of a new euro zone crisis have receded.

The economies of Portugal and Greece remain ravaged by recession and austerity measures tied to international bailouts. But Portugal has patched up its fraying coalition government, and it looks like Greece will reach a deal with lenders that should ensure its bailout cash keeps flowing.

Earlier in the week, borrowing costs in southern Europe had jumped on concern about the stability of both countries. The Portuguese government was shaken by the resignation of two key ministers. Meanwhile, Greece struggled to convince the EU and International Monetary Fund that it’s able to meet the terms of its bailout.

Yields on 10-year government bonds fell back on Friday. The drop was helped along by signs of progress in both countries and the European Central Bank’s commitment Thursday to keep rates at current levels or even lower for “an extended period.” Portugal’s 10-year yield was back below 7% after spiking to 8%.

Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho said late Thursday that he had found a “formula” to keep his coalition government together and head off the biggest political crisis the country had faced since it was granted a 78-billion euro bailout in 2011.

“The chances are that the crisis has been nipped in the bud,” said Christian Schulz, senior economist at German bank Berenberg. “Pressure from Brussels and the markets was combined with a remarkably calm response by Prime Minister Passos Coelho.”

Greece’s finance minister Yannis Stournaras said progress was being made on all fronts in talks with the EU and IMF officials. He now expects a deal can be reached so that eurozone finance ministers, who meet on Monday, can sign off on the release of the next chunk of rescue loans.

Related: France wants to delay EU-U.S. trade talks

Now in its sixth year of recession, Greece has fallen behind with reform of the public sector and health care, and privatization receipts will be lower than expected.

EU sources have said that the money — which Greece needs to redeem bonds maturing in August — could be withheld or released only in stages if ministers aren’t satisfied with Greek efforts to meet the conditions of its 240-billion euro bailout.

Portugal’s ministerial resignations were triggered by waning public support for austerity measures. They threatened to trigger fresh elections that could have slowed the pace of economic reform and raised fears that Portugal may need further financial support from its eurozone partners.

And while the threat of early elections has faded for now, popular anger at the painful reforms and rising unemployment could bring renewed instability.

“(G)rowing political uncertainty could derail Portugal’s forthcoming debt issuance and its hoped-for exit in 2014 from the (EU-IMF)-sponsored support program,” said Standard & Poor’s as it cut the outlook on Portugal’s BB long-term credit rating to negative from stable.

Portugal’s economy has paid a heavy price for the spending cuts and structural reforms demanded in return for the rescue loans. Gross domestic product is forecast to shrink by 2.3% in 2013, a third consecutive year of recession, and unemployment has hit a record high of close to 18%.

The government of Portugal has found it increasingly difficult to meet the terms of its bailout — some measures have been struck down by the country’s constitutional court. The country was given extra time earlier this year to hit EU budget deficit rules. To top of page

Portugal has managed to avoid a political crisis for now but faces mounting opposition to the austerity measures needed to satisfy international lenders.

Fears of a new euro zone crisis have receded.

The economies of Portugal and Greece remain ravaged by recession and austerity measures tied to international bailouts. But Portugal has patched up its fraying coalition government, and it looks like Greece will reach a deal with lenders that should ensure its bailout cash keeps flowing.

Earlier in the week, borrowing costs in southern Europe had jumped on concern about the stability of both countries. The Portuguese government was shaken by the resignation of two key ministers. Meanwhile, Greece struggled to convince the EU and International Monetary Fund that it’s able to meet the terms of its bailout.

Yields on 10-year government bonds fell back on Friday. The drop was helped along by signs of progress in both countries and the European Central Bank’s commitment Thursday to keep rates at current levels or even lower for “an extended period.” Portugal’s 10-year yield was back below 7% after spiking to 8%.

Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho said late Thursday that he had found a “formula” to keep his coalition government together and head off the biggest political crisis the country had faced since it was granted a 78-billion euro bailout in 2011.

“The chances are that the crisis has been nipped in the bud,” said Christian Schulz, senior economist at German bank Berenberg. “Pressure from Brussels and the markets was combined with a remarkably calm response by Prime Minister Passos Coelho.”

Greece’s finance minister Yannis Stournaras said progress was being made on all fronts in talks with the EU and IMF officials. He now expects a deal can be reached so that eurozone finance ministers, who meet on Monday, can sign off on the release of the next chunk of rescue loans.

Related: France wants to delay EU-U.S. trade talks

Now in its sixth year of recession, Greece has fallen behind with reform of the public sector and health care, and privatization receipts will be lower than expected.

EU sources have said that the money — which Greece needs to redeem bonds maturing in August — could be withheld or released only in stages if ministers aren’t satisfied with Greek efforts to meet the conditions of its 240-billion euro bailout.

Portugal’s ministerial resignations were triggered by waning public support for austerity measures. They threatened to trigger fresh elections that could have slowed the pace of economic reform and raised fears that Portugal may need further financial support from its eurozone partners.

And while the threat of early elections has faded for now, popular anger at the painful reforms and rising unemployment could bring renewed instability.

“(G)rowing political uncertainty could derail Portugal’s forthcoming debt issuance and its hoped-for exit in 2014 from the (EU-IMF)-sponsored support program,” said Standard & Poor’s as it cut the outlook on Portugal’s BB long-term credit rating to negative from stable.

Portugal’s economy has paid a heavy price for the spending cuts and structural reforms demanded in return for the rescue loans. Gross domestic product is forecast to shrink by 2.3% in 2013, a third consecutive year of recession, and unemployment has hit a record high of close to 18%.

The government of Portugal has found it increasingly difficult to meet the terms of its bailout — some measures have been struck down by the country’s constitutional court. The country was given extra time earlier this year to hit EU budget deficit rules. To top of page

Portugal has managed to avoid a political crisis for now but faces mounting opposition to the austerity measures needed to satisfy international lenders.

Fears of a new euro zone crisis have receded.

The economies of Portugal and Greece remain ravaged by recession and austerity measures tied to international bailouts. But Portugal has patched up its fraying coalition government, and it looks like Greece will reach a deal with lenders that should ensure its bailout cash keeps flowing.

Earlier in the week, borrowing costs in southern Europe had jumped on concern about the stability of both countries. The Portuguese government was shaken by the resignation of two key ministers. Meanwhile, Greece struggled to convince the EU and International Monetary Fund that it’s able to meet the terms of its bailout.

Yields on 10-year government bonds fell back on Friday. The drop was helped along by signs of progress in both countries and the European Central Bank’s commitment Thursday to keep rates at current levels or even lower for “an extended period.” Portugal’s 10-year yield was back below 7% after spiking to 8%.

Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho said late Thursday that he had found a “formula” to keep his coalition government together and head off the biggest political crisis the country had faced since it was granted a 78-billion euro bailout in 2011.

“The chances are that the crisis has been nipped in the bud,” said Christian Schulz, senior economist at German bank Berenberg. “Pressure from Brussels and the markets was combined with a remarkably calm response by Prime Minister Passos Coelho.”

Greece’s finance minister Yannis Stournaras said progress was being made on all fronts in talks with the EU and IMF officials. He now expects a deal can be reached so that eurozone finance ministers, who meet on Monday, can sign off on the release of the next chunk of rescue loans.

Related: France wants to delay EU-U.S. trade talks

Now in its sixth year of recession, Greece has fallen behind with reform of the public sector and health care, and privatization receipts will be lower than expected.

EU sources have said that the money — which Greece needs to redeem bonds maturing in August — could be withheld or released only in stages if ministers aren’t satisfied with Greek efforts to meet the conditions of its 240-billion euro bailout.

Portugal’s ministerial resignations were triggered by waning public support for austerity measures. They threatened to trigger fresh elections that could have slowed the pace of economic reform and raised fears that Portugal may need further financial support from its eurozone partners.

And while the threat of early elections has faded for now, popular anger at the painful reforms and rising unemployment could bring renewed instability.

“(G)rowing political uncertainty could derail Portugal’s forthcoming debt issuance and its hoped-for exit in 2014 from the (EU-IMF)-sponsored support program,” said Standard & Poor’s as it cut the outlook on Portugal’s BB long-term credit rating to negative from stable.

Portugal’s economy has paid a heavy price for the spending cuts and structural reforms demanded in return for the rescue loans. Gross domestic product is forecast to shrink by 2.3% in 2013, a third consecutive year of recession, and unemployment has hit a record high of close to 18%.

The government of Portugal has found it increasingly difficult to meet the terms of its bailout — some measures have been struck down by the country’s constitutional court. The country was given extra time earlier this year to hit EU budget deficit rules. To top of page

Portugal has managed to avoid a political crisis for now but faces mounting opposition to the austerity measures needed to satisfy international lenders.

Fears of a new euro zone crisis have receded.

The economies of Portugal and Greece remain ravaged by recession and austerity measures tied to international bailouts. But Portugal has patched up its fraying coalition government, and it looks like Greece will reach a deal with lenders that should ensure its bailout cash keeps flowing.

Earlier in the week, borrowing costs in southern Europe had jumped on concern about the stability of both countries. The Portuguese government was shaken by the resignation of two key ministers. Meanwhile, Greece struggled to convince the EU and International Monetary Fund that it’s able to meet the terms of its bailout.

Yields on 10-year government bonds fell back on Friday. The drop was helped along by signs of progress in both countries and the European Central Bank’s commitment Thursday to keep rates at current levels or even lower for “an extended period.” Portugal’s 10-year yield was back below 7% after spiking to 8%.

Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho said late Thursday that he had found a “formula” to keep his coalition government together and head off the biggest political crisis the country had faced since it was granted a 78-billion euro bailout in 2011.

“The chances are that the crisis has been nipped in the bud,” said Christian Schulz, senior economist at German bank Berenberg. “Pressure from Brussels and the markets was combined with a remarkably calm response by Prime Minister Passos Coelho.”

Greece’s finance minister Yannis Stournaras said progress was being made on all fronts in talks with the EU and IMF officials. He now expects a deal can be reached so that eurozone finance ministers, who meet on Monday, can sign off on the release of the next chunk of rescue loans.

Related: France wants to delay EU-U.S. trade talks

Now in its sixth year of recession, Greece has fallen behind with reform of the public sector and health care, and privatization receipts will be lower than expected.

EU sources have said that the money — which Greece needs to redeem bonds maturing in August — could be withheld or released only in stages if ministers aren’t satisfied with Greek efforts to meet the conditions of its 240-billion euro bailout.

Portugal’s ministerial resignations were triggered by waning public support for austerity measures. They threatened to trigger fresh elections that could have slowed the pace of economic reform and raised fears that Portugal may need further financial support from its eurozone partners.

And while the threat of early elections has faded for now, popular anger at the painful reforms and rising unemployment could bring renewed instability.

“(G)rowing political uncertainty could derail Portugal’s forthcoming debt issuance and its hoped-for exit in 2014 from the (EU-IMF)-sponsored support program,” said Standard & Poor’s as it cut the outlook on Portugal’s BB long-term credit rating to negative from stable.

Portugal’s economy has paid a heavy price for the spending cuts and structural reforms demanded in return for the rescue loans. Gross domestic product is forecast to shrink by 2.3% in 2013, a third consecutive year of recession, and unemployment has hit a record high of close to 18%.

The government of Portugal has found it increasingly difficult to meet the terms of its bailout — some measures have been struck down by the country’s constitutional court. The country was given extra time earlier this year to hit EU budget deficit rules. To top of page