Your Money: U.S. teachers take hands-on approach to financial literacy

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Wood-cased coloured pencils are pictured in a shop at Faber-Castell manufacturer in Stein © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Wood-cased coloured pencils are pictured in a shop at Faber-Castell manufacturer in Stein

By Chris Taylor

NEW YORK (Reuters) – There are a lot of hard truths about money, but here is one of the hardest: We are really bad at passing along money smarts.

As it stands, only 57% of American adults can be considered financially literate, according to a global survey by Standard & Poor’s.

A new initiation from education fundraising website DonorsChoose.org and the Charles Schwab (NYSE:) Foundation is aiming to change that with a new hands-on approach. Rather than kids reading about starting a business, why not actually open a school store? Rather than reading about concepts like supply and demand, why not start making T-shirts, and see if they can sell them?

The “Innovation Challenge” prompts teachers to craft creative FinLit projects, helps them get funded, and then monitors which ones pay off.

“Experiential learning is so important, especially for lower-income families,” said Casey Cortese, managing director of Schwab’s community services, which is taking a new hands-on approach to teaching financial literacy. “If you make lessons tangible and real, it really cements learning.”

This year’s overall winner of an online fan vote: Students of Rapunzel Galang in Lanham, Maryland, undertook virtual-reality field trips to different historical landmarks through time. They did that using VR headsets – but first they had to plan, budget, and pay for such trips, by researching about the places they wanted to visit.

Another innovative project: Xavier Lewis in Dayton, Texas, combined financial literacy with a “Mission to Mars” STEM project. Students earned money in their virtual bank accounts with attendance, class participation, and completing assignments. They could then spend that money to buy supplies to assemble rockets, rovers and hovercrafts for a simulated flight to Mars.

Other projects included creating a virtual-reality bank, filming a how-to video series on personal finance, using dinosaurs to pass along money lessons, and teaching the idea of “wants versus needs” via dramatic play.

KEEP IT GOING

While 92% of teachers say financial education is important, only 12% actually undertake it – because they just don’t have the resources, said Cortese.

To combat that with the Innovation Challenge, 15 of the top projects were developed into full lesson plans. Teachers across the country could then download them for free and use them in their own classes. The first 200 teachers who did so, and submitted a report on how it went, got a $ 250 credit to apply to future projects on the site.

The initiative has encouraged educators to think bigger and more creatively than just using a crowdfunding site like DonorsChoose to cover things like basic supplies. Since the Innovation Challenge first got started, “There has been a 66% increase in FinLit projects posted,” said Rianne Roberts, partnerships manager for the fundraising site.

Financial literacy is a long game, though. You can teach a third grader about money smarts today, but you will not know for years whether those habits have actually taken root.

When the Schwab Foundation first started partnering with the site in 2017, 350 teachers participated in its financial literacy campaigns, reaching 36,000 students. In 2019, in comparison, they have already reached 1,600 teachers and 250,000 students.

So far this year, Schwab donated $ 375,000 to the Innovation Challenge, and $ 500,000 total to DonorsChoose. Of those teachers who used the resulting materials, 98% said they plan to keep teaching financial literacy in schools.

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Michael B Jordan, Jamie Foxx take on wrongful convictions, racism in ‘Just Mercy’

By Nichola Saminather and Robert Mezan

TORONTO (Reuters) – Michael B. Jordan and Oscar-winner Jamie Foxx tackle the subjects of wrongful convictions and racism in ‘Just Mercy,’ which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on Friday.

Jordan plays real-life U.S. civil rights attorney and social justice activist Bryan Stevenson in the film based on the latter’s 2014 book ‘Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption.’

It tells the story of his fight to free wrongly accused Alabama death row inmate Walter McMillian, played by Foxx.

“As a black man, our communities were preyed upon and to be able to do my part and use my platform to get this story out is extremely important to me,” Jordan told Reuters on the red carpet in Toronto.

The film chronicles Stevenson’s efforts to wade through the legal and political morass that put McMillian, convicted of the murder of a white female store clerk, on death row for six years in Alabama, and fight the racial bias that kept him, and others like him, there. He was eventually freed when his conviction was overturned by the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals in 1993.

“Bryan Stevenson, once I met him, he really became the heart and soul of the entire production,” director Destin Daniel Cretton, who also co-wrote the screenplay, said on Friday. “He’s one of the most incredible humans I’ve ever met.”

Brie Larson plays Eva Ansley, operations director of Stevenson’s Equal Justice Initiative.

Foxx won an Oscar in 2005 for his portrayal of rhythm and blues musician Ray Charles in ‘Ray.’ Jordan’s notable roles include supervillain Erik Killmonger in ‘Black Panther’ and Adonis Johnson Creed in the Rocky franchise’s ‘Creed’ movies. Larson won an Oscar for her role in ‘Room’ and went on to play Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel in the ‘Captain Marvel’ and ‘Avengers: Endgame’ films.

‘Just Mercy’ will open in U.S. movie theaters in December.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.

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Take some time to read Central Bank statements

A wealth of information 

A wealth of information 

It is always worth having a look through central banks minutes as they are often helpful in providing background information or a general overview on the present market conditions. I recommend beginner traders taking some time to do this as it starts to key them in with the major market themes. So, as an example, one question that the RBNZ answeredin their last policy statement was, ‘How are weaker global conditions affecting New Zealand’s economy?’ The following answers, and more, were given by the RBNZ to the question above:

  1. New Zealand is a ‘small open economy, so global economy and financial market conditions have a large influence on our business cycle’.
  2. The RBNZ’s domestic forecasts are based on the channels which impact the NZ economy and the highest levels are, ‘trade, financial markets and confidence business/uncertainty’
  3. Weaker global conditions often lead to lower prices for NZ exports, imports and reduced tourist spending.

These minutes were enough to give a clue as to the importance of the business confidence data coming up on Thursday. So, always worth reading the minutes through from time to time.

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New Argentine treasury minister set to take charge of troubled economy

© Reuters. Newly appointed Argentina's Economy Minister Hernan Lacunza attends a news conference at the Casa Rosada Presidential Palace in Buenos Aires © Reuters. Newly appointed Argentina’s Economy Minister Hernan Lacunza attends a news conference at the Casa Rosada Presidential Palace in Buenos Aires

By Hugh Bronstein and Jorge Otaola

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) – A new treasury minister, Hernan Lacunza, took charge of Argentina’s troubled economy on Tuesday after the local peso took a dive last week following business-friendly President Mauricio Macri’s harsh beating in the Aug. 11 primary election.

Lacunza, formerly the chief of economy for Buenos Aires province, was sworn in by Macri before the local financial markets opened.

“I ask you to focus on reducing the cost that this electoral process is having on the day to day life of our people, and to reduce the uncertainties that are doing damage,” Macri told Lacunza during the swearing-in ceremony.

Macri, struggling to revive his campaign for a second term in the Oct. 27 general election, is betting that the new treasury chief can help stabilize the recession- and inflation-racked economy.

The cost of insuring against an Argentine sovereign default rose on Monday after opposition candidate Alberto Fernandez said the country would struggle under present conditions to repay a loan to the International Monetary Fund. Fernandez, a center-left Peronist, is the front-runner ahead of the October vote.

The peso tumbled 18% last week to 55 to the U.S. dollar.

In early action on Tuesday, the bond market registered more nervousness about a possible Fernandez presidency. Argentina’s portion of the JP Morgan Emerging Markets Bond Index Plus saw the country’s risk spread shoot to 1,880 basis points from 1,659 on Friday. Monday was a market holiday in Argentina.

Lacunza was expected to give a news conference to outline his policy plans later Tuesday morning. Outgoing treasury minister Nicolas Dujovne quit on Saturday, saying he believed the country needed “significant renewal” of its economic team.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.

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U.S. and Britain discuss trade deal that could take effect on Nov. 1

© Reuters. U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton arrives for a meeting with Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid  at Downing Street in London © Reuters. U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton arrives for a meeting with Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid at Downing Street in London

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain and the United States are discussing a partial trade accord that could take effect on Nov. 1, the day after Britain is due to leave the European Union, a senior Trump administration official said on Tuesday.

The official also said visiting U.S. national security adviser John Bolton and British trade minister Liz Truss had discussed the possibility of the two countries’ leaders signing a road map declaration toward a trade deal at this month’s G7 summit meeting in France.

The official told reporters that Bolton and British finance minister Sajid Javid had discussed the possibility of a temporary trade agreement that covered all sectors and could last for something like six months.

During his two-day London visit, Bolton told British Prime Minister Boris Johnson that President Donald Trump wanted to see a successful British exit from the European Union on Oct. 31 and that Washington would be ready to work fast on a U.S.-UK free trade agreement.

Bolton, who has now left Britain, was seeking an improved U.S.-British relationship with Johnson after sometimes tense ties between Trump and Johnson’s predecessor, Theresa May.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.

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AUD lower: Australian flash PMIs key take away is on the employment market

The PMIs slowed a little in July, data is here ICYMI:

Still expanding, just more slowly.

  • Softer new order growth
  • a reduction in new export orders … manufacturers posting a decline for the third time in the past four months
  • slower rise in new orders
  • softer accumulation of backlogs of work
  • Outstanding business increased at the weakest pace in five months … manufacturers posted a decrease for the third time since April

And, this, bolding mine:

  • Employment decreased for the first time since April, and to the greatest extent since the survey began in May 2016. The overall reduction was centred on the service sector, while manufacturers continued to see job creation. 

ICYMI, the RBA is focused on the jobs market, wanting to see unemployment around 4.5% from its current 5.2% The Bank lowered its cash rate in June and again in July in effort to drive this forward. 

The employment indication in this report from CBA/Markit, while mixed (services down, manufacturing up) will be  a nigle for the RBA. Fowrad indicators for the labour market have turned for the worse. 

AUD lower:

The PMIs slowed a little in July, data is here ICYMI:

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YouTube: ‘We don’t take you down the rabbit hole’

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YouTube has defended its video recommendation algorithms, amid suggestions that the technology serves up increasingly extreme videos.

On Thursday, a BBC report explored how YouTube had helped the Flat Earth conspiracy theory spread.

But the company’s new managing director for the UK, Ben McOwen Wilson, said YouTube “does the opposite of taking you down the rabbit hole”.

He told the BBC that YouTube worked to dispel misinformation and conspiracies.

But warned that some types of government regulation could start to look like censorship.

YouTube, as well as other internet giants such as Facebook and Twitter, have some big decisions to make. All must decide where they draw the line between freedom of expression, hateful content and misinformation.

And the government is watching. It has published a White Paper laying out its plans to regulate online platforms.

In his first interview since starting his new role, Mr McOwen Wilson spoke about the company’s algorithms, its approach to hate speech and what it expects from the UK government’s “online harms” legislation.

Algorithms

YouTube uses algorithms to recommend more videos for you to watch. These video suggestions appear in the app, down the side of the website and also show up when you get to the end of a video.

But YouTube has never explained exactly how its algorithms work. Critics say the platform offers up increasingly sensationalist and conspiratorial videos.

Mr McOwen Wilson disagrees.

“It’s what’s great about YouTube. It is what brings you from one small area and actually expands your horizon and does the opposite of taking you down the rabbit hole,” he says.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

“Very often it doesn’t take you to content that’s exactly like the one you’ve watched before.”

Even so, Mr McOwen Wilson says YouTube has started adding a sort of “warning” label to certain conspiracy topics.

“If it’s misinformation, we provide correct information around that. We work with Encyclopaedia Britannica and Wikipedia to provide knowledge panels that come up on the side of the screen. So if you’re watching a flat Earth video… we will present to you a link to the facts about that.”

Facebook used to do something similar with fake news. It would label false stories as “disputed” with a red warning label, and offered up other sources of information. But the social network later said this had often entrenched people’s pre-existing views and made the problem worse.

“We haven’t found that,” says Mr McOwen Wilson. He says the platform reduces the spread of content designed to mislead people, and raises up “authoritative voices”.

He names BBC News, the Guardian, the Telegraph and the Sun as examples of authoritative sources.

Some conspiracy theories – such as Holocaust denial – have been banned on the platform completely.

LGBT row

In June, a row erupted between two YouTube video-makers.

Vox reporter Carlos Maza posted a video showing all the times that comedian Steven Crowder had mocked him for being gay, or used insulting language attacking his sexual orientation and ethnicity. Mr Crowder said the videos were “friendly ribbing”.

After a series of muddled statements on Twitter, YouTube eventually confirmed that Mr Crowder had not broken its hate speech rules.

“Was the language used hate speech? Was there incitement against Carlos Maza from the other creator? In that instance, we found that there was not,” says Mr McOwen Wilson.

“I think that remains the right policy decision to have made.”

That decision disappointed Mr Maza’s supporters – and many of YouTube’s own staff. More than 100 signed a petition asking for Google to be kicked out of the San Francisco Pride parade.

The language may not have been “hate speech”, but critics argue that mocking somebody for being gay crosses a line into bullying.

“It doesn’t currently breach our harassment policies,” says Mr McOwen Wilson.

But he adds: “We are inarguably pro-LGBT. I wouldn’t want anyone to judge us only on that. I don’t think it invalidates everything else that we’ve done.”

He points out that YouTube has provided a platform for people to express their sexuality in a largely “supportive environment”.

“I don’t think any of that should be invalidated because of where we have drawn this line on the Maza-Crowder issue.”

Time well spent

YouTube tells its video-makers that one key to success on the platform is “watch time”: making sure viewers stick around for longer.

Facebook, on the other hand, has been talking more about “time well spent” on the platform. It says it is more important that people have a good time on Facebook.

How do the two approaches compare?

“One of the biggest and most positive steps that was taken on the platform, that drove down a huge amount of trashy content, was the shift from ‘views’ to watch time”, says Mr McOwen Wilson.

“The best way for an audience to tell us whether they like what they’re being served isn’t whether they click on it in the first place, but whether they spent any of their time with it.”

But does the system encourage video-makers to make longer videos, and draw out simple how-to clips into a 20-minute extravaganza?

Mr McOwen Wilson says the videos which are most viewed are those that people watch in their entirety.

And he adds: “Clearly a longer one that is viewed the whole way through by the majority of its audience is more likely to come up.”

Regulation

The UK government is currently weighing up how online platforms such as YouTube could be regulated. In April, Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright said the “era of self-regulation for online companies is over”.

Is YouTube worried?

“The moment you put somebody in charge… there is somebody who is filtering what content goes out,” warns Mr McOwen Wilson.

“If they’re government-appointed, that begins to look very much like censorship, and we don’t launch in markets where that is a risk.

“I don’t think it would be the right answer to have anybody at YouTube – or indeed anywhere else – editorialising all of the content that comes up on to our platform.”

And either way, it would be impossible. About 500 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute.

The summer holidays have started – or are about to start – across the UK for thousands of children.

“By the time most of them go back to school, there will be more content uploaded to YouTube than has ever been created in the history of television or film globally,” says Mr McOwen Wilson.

He suggests a regulator could determine areas where online platforms should have policies, but the platforms themselves should create the policies.

“The world will be watching where the UK lands on this,” he says.

“There are regimes out there who will mirror – in their own ways – the position that they view the UK has taken.

“There is a risk – and actually a huge opportunity – for the UK to show leadership on what balanced regulation could look like in an open environment.”

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If you think about trading USDCAD, take two aspirin and lie down until the feeling goes away.

Brutal up and down price action

Looking at the USDCAD price action of late, I am reminded of what an old colleague of mine at Citibank used to say when markets were particularly choppy. 

He would say “If you think about trading ____________, take two aspirin and lie down until the feeling goes away.”   

You can fill in the blank with the “USDCAD” of late.  There has been lots of choppy action including today’s run lower on the higher core CPI, and the snap back rally that erased the declines.  

Nevertheless, in the ugliness, is there any broader technical themes in play when you see such price action.  This is what I think:

  1.  Realize that anything is possible.  I am always looking for a break in an up and down market, but realize that there can also be failures
  2. On the chart, find technical areas that “seem” to be working.  Put faith that they will  give bias clues and levels to lean against to define risk, 
  3. Be humble and don’t fall in love with positions
Brutal up and down price action

Looking at the hourly chart of the USDCAD, the 1.32966 area was home to 4 swing lows (see red circles). Yes there was a failed break on April 9 (anything can happen), but subsequently the price level was reestablished as a low on Monday (red circle 3 and 4).  Key level. 

The other thing is the 200 hour MA (green line in the middle of the chart) has done a good job of dissecting bullish and bearish bias in the middle of the up and down range.

Finally, there is a double top at the highs (see green circles 1 and 2). That was yesterday’s “best trade”.

So what happened today?

The price fell below the 200 hour MA earlier and stayed below (bearish).  On the CPI data, the pirice tumbled lower and below the 1.32966. That is even more bearish. The price should have gone lower below the 1.32966 level.  It did for a little while reaching 1.3273 on the break. 

However, the price rebounded and then held the low from April 9 at 1.32832.  Having the mindset that “anything can happen”, a red flag goes up.  You gotta be careful. You also have to be humble and realize you can’t be in love with positions. 

So sellers shifted – despite the bullish news – and turned to buyers.  The race was on to the upside.  

The price rise got close to the 200 hour MA (green line) at 1.33454 (high reached 1.3339). Sellers may be leaning and hoping the price stays below.  

What now?

You always have the option to take two aspirin, lie down and wait for the trading feeling to go away. 

Alternatively, you can lean against the 200/100 hour MAs and hope that the buyers off the low, are sellers against the MAs above.  

The hope is the the price retests the 1.32966 level again, but remember, anything can happen and be humble.  It will help you make sense of horrible up and down price action.  If you are lucky and nimble from the homework, you may make a few bucks (but don’t fall in love with the position).  

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Formula One celebrates 1,000th race, give or take a few

© Reuters. F1 Formula One - Austrian Grand Prix © Reuters. F1 Formula One – Austrian Grand Prix

By Alan Baldwin

LONDON (Reuters) – Formula One celebrates its 1,000th world championship race this weekend at the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai, one of the sport’s newer tracks, but the milestone requires careful wording.

The sport has often had a problem with anniversaries, with statisticians quibbling over how many starts teams and drivers have made according to different definitions, and this one is no exception.

The fact is that some of the 999 championship races thus far have been questionable grands prix and several past race winners never even drove a Formula One car.

From 1950 to 1960 — 11 races in all — the Indianapolis 500 was included as part of the championship even if very few Formula One drivers crossed the Atlantic to compete in it and homegrown racers took all the points and raced to their own rules.

Bill Vukovich finished seventh in the 1953 Formula One championship, and sixth in 1954, after winning the Indy 500 in those years but racing in no other rounds.

His death in the 1955 Indy technically made him the first driver to be killed while competing in a Formula One championship race.

Yet Vukovich never drove a Formula One car even if his F1 record stands at a remarkable two wins, one pole position, three fastest laps and 19 points from five races — all of them in Indiana.

By the time Britain’s Jim Clark won at The Brickyard in 1965, followed by compatriot and fellow F1 champion Graham Hill in 1966, the Indy 500 was no longer part of the F1 calendar.

In 1952 and 1953 the world championship was run to Formula Two rules due to there not being enough Formula One cars to fill the grid after Alfa Romeo pulled out.

That means, therefore, that 26 races included in the championship tally since the first at Silverstone in 1950 did not actually feature Formula One cars.

The sport cannot truly say China is the 1,000th grand prix either, since there have been such events since the early 20th century when France set the terms and language of automobile racing.

Hungarian driver Ferenc Szisz is generally regarded as the first winner of a grand prix, at Le Mans in 1906, while the Monaco Grand Prix, glamour race of the current calendar, dates back to 1929.

Silverstone, a former World War Two airfield in central England, hosted grands prix in 1948 and 1949 before Giuseppe ‘Nino’ Farina won the first Formula One world championship race there on May 13, 1950.

Calling China the 1,000th Formula One race would be similarly inaccurate since there have been numerous non-championship Formula One races staged down the decades.

The last was at Brands Hatch in 1983 when reigning world champion Keke Rosberg stood on top of a podium that also featured American Danny Sullivan and Australia’s 1980 F1 champion Alan Jones.

Nigel Mansell, Formula One world champion in 1992, was a non-finisher that day.

While it is often stated that only two women have raced in the Formula One world championship, South African Desire Wilson won a round of the British Formula One championship in a Wolf at Brands Hatch in 1980.

South Africa also had its own local Formula One championship in the 1960s and up until 1975.

The 1,000th race to count toward the official FIA drivers’ world championship standings? More accurate perhaps, if not exactly catchy.

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