Did Investors Learn Anything From 2008's Crash?
The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable is a philosophical treatise on uncertainty that managed both to entertain readers and to predict the financial meltdown of 2008. Nassim Nicholas Taleb—the book's author, who is also a trader and university professor—has reissued his 2007 best seller in a second edition that includes a new 73-page essay, "On Robustness and Fragility." Businessweek.com interviewed Taleb in early July about his views on investing and the dangerous Black Swans—i.e. unpredictable events with big consequences—that could lie in wait for financial markets.
About 18.9 million homes in the U.S. stood empty during the second quarter as surging foreclosures helped push ownership to the lowest level in a decade. The number of vacant properties, including foreclosures, residences for sale and vacation homes, rose from 18.6 million in the year-earlier quarter, the U.S. Census Bureau said in a report. The ownership rate, meaning households that own their own residence, was 66.9 percent, the lowest since 1999.
U.S. consumer confidence sank in July to its lowest since February on job market worries, underscoring the slow path to economic recovery, and home prices rose in May but without signs of a sustained rebound, reports released Tuesday showed. The Conference Board, an industry group, said consumer attitudes worsened this month as did their expectations about jobs being hard to get. The group's index of consumer attitudes fell to 50.4 in July from an upwardly revised 54.3 in June, below the median forecast of 51 in a Reuters poll.
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