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The Russian government will save its national banks from any financial crisis caused by Western economic sanctions, or by other means. Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said Thursday that the country has $88 billion worth of an emergency cushion in its sovereign wealth fund, should the economy take a turn for the worse. As it is, Barclays Capital forecast this week Russian GDP to fall below 1% this year. On Wednesday, a number of banks, including VTB Capital, were either downgraded or put on credit watch negative by Standard & Poor’s because of sanctions.
It’s been a great year for IPOs. Well, except for yesterday when Candy Crush Saga game-maker King Digital debuted on the New York Stock Exchange and then fell 16%, making it the worst opening day for any initial public offering so far this year. Looking past King Digital, the IPO market has been hot. According to a report from Ernst & Young, in the first quarter of 2014, U.S. IPOs are up 113% from last year and have raised 36% more capital.
The U.S. economy grew at a 2.6 percent annual rate in the October-December quarter, slightly more than previously estimated, as consumer spending rose at the fastest pace in three years. The Commerce Department says the fourth-quarter growth rate was a bit stronger than its 2.4 percent estimate made last month. The revision reflected stronger consumer spending, which rose at an annual rate of 3.3 percent — its best quarterly pace since 2010. Even with the upward revision, growth in the overall economy slowed from a 4.1 percent pace in the July-September quarter.
Over the past three years, the city of Atlanta was one of the fastest growing local construction markets. In 2013, the number of building permits issued in Atlanta increased by 46 percent, marking its largest annual increase over the past five years. Growth over the past five years has been more or less evenly distributed between residential and commercial projects.