We understand that financial news can become monotonous on a week-to-week basis. This company is merging with that company; CEO so-and-so is being indicted with this or that. So, to break this repetitive streak, this week's Water Cooler Finance will not mention British Petroleum, oil spills or Barack Obama. (Did you miss last week's recap? Check out Water Cooler Finance: The iPhone Launch, Buffett's Lunch And BP's Lashing.)

IN PICTURES: 6 Hot Careers With Lots Of Jobs

Thinking Outside of the Spill
President Barack Obama's administration has successfully lobbied to have British Petroleum (NYSE:BP) place $20 billion into a fund that will be used to pay for the company's recent oil spill. Not without criticism over his seemingly disconnected handling of the matter, Obama's demand for BP to take financial and environmental responsibility for the spill came to a head in a televised speech last Tuesday. Obama, who has been running a "clean energy" policy since he was in the election race, said the money will be used by BP to purchase and operate machinery that should be able to clean and dispose of up to 90% of the oil that was spilled into the Gulf of Mexico.

The $20 billion fund will be independently operated. And while thousands of organizations and individuals have submitted ideas to both stop the leak and clean up the oil - ranging from using human hair as an absorbent to multi-million dollar plugging and casing systems - only a small number are being seriously considered.

As of publication time, the solution being considered most favorably is a device created over 20 years ago by a researcher at the Idaho National Laboratory. The organization claims that its machine can separate up to 200 gallons per minute of oil from water. Since 1993, Idaho National Laboratory has had this device licensed to an organization called Ocean Therapy Solutions, which is owned by Hollywood's own Kevin Costner. Normally, I'd insert a joke about blowing up a tanker that's being manned by Dennis Hopper here, but it's just too soon. Besides - who stayed awake through Waterworld, anyway?

Living "House Poor"
New home construction has fallen 10% since the Homebuyer Tax Credit expired a few months back. Since the housing and mortgage markets were such an integral catalyst for the economic recession, it is feared that this drop in the non-incentive housing market could mean that economic recovery is still far from being realized.

The drop in housing starts is also affecting other markets. Since new homes are not being built by developers, interest rates and overall inflation have not begun a full rebound yet.

The homebuyer's tax credit was extended to April 30 earlier this year. It is suspected that this low level of housing activity will remain at least throughout the summer - which is usually the high season for home builders, sellers and buyers. (Learn more in The Truth About The First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit.)

A Costly Summit
Despite its regular protesters and detractors, a recent survey sent to 1,000 Canadians regarding the G-20 and G-8 summits shows that most Canadians believe the meetings are important and worth the $1 billion bill.

Later this month, the Group of Twenty Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors (G-20) will meet in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and the Group of Eight (G-8) will meet in Huntsville, Ontario, Canada. While the two summits attract annual protests, the telephone survey revealed that 76% agreed that they are important. Approximately 20% were opposed.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been criticized over the price tag of the summits. Specifically, the PM recently built a fake lake in downtown Toronto that is meant to cater to journalists and media visitors attending some of the events surrounding the G-8 summit. Price estimates for the lake have ranged from $57,000 to $1.9 million.

Of the key topics to be covered, health improvements for women in third-world countries, clean energy investment framework and the world economy are drawing a large amount of attention. (To learn more, see An Introduction To The International Monetary Fund.)

Dave's not Here, Man!
U.K. medical company GW Pharmaceuticals PLC has released the world's first prescription drug made from cannabis. The drug - Sativex - is marketed as a treatment for the symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis for patients who aren't responsive to other treatment attempts. Initially, Sativex is only available in the U.K. (though it was also tested on a limited number of patients in Canada), but meetings are planned to market the drug as a painkiller for cancer patients on our side of the pond.

Sativex is estimated to rake in between GBP50 million and GBP100 million from willing patients. (For more, check out Measuring The Medicine Makers.)

The Bottom Line
BP's woes are set to continue as the company warns that the spill may not be plugged until August. However, the world's attention will at least temporarily be turned to southern Ontario as the G-8 and G-20 summits get underway at the end of this month.

Related Articles
  1. Stock Analysis

    How Rollins Inc. Transformed from Radio to Pest Control

    Discover how Rollins, Inc. grew and expanded, making numerous acquisitions, transitioning from the radio industry to the pest control industry.
  2. Entrepreneurship

    Mark Cuban Success Story: Net Worth, Education & Top Quotes

    Learn more about America's favorite billionaire: Mark Cuban, outspoken owner of the Dallas Mavericks and star of the hit show "Shark Tank."
  3. Professionals

    Advisors: Warn Clients About These Audit Triggers

    There are several factors that may increase the risk of an audit, especially with high-net-worth clients.
  4. Investing News

    Acquisition of Zulily Inc

    On August 17, 2015, Zulily Inc (ZU), an e-commerce company that caters mothers and children, announced that it will be strategically acquired by QVC, a part of Liberty Media Corporation (LMCA), ...
  5. Entrepreneurship

    What's the Purpose of IRS Form 1065?

    Business partners need the information on this form to complete their own tax returns. Here are the details.
  6. Investing Basics

    3 Companies You Never Thought Would Go Bankrupt

    Understand more about company bankruptcy and why a company would file for bankruptcy. Learn about three companies that went from industry leaders to bankruptcy.
  7. Stock Analysis

    Drugmaker Extraordinaire: How Eli Lilly Grows

    Drugs mean big profits in America. Here's how the country's oldest pharmaceutical firm keeps its toehold in the market.
  8. Economics

    The Biggest Items Obama Is Still Missing From His Mandate

    Learn how the biggest items missing from Obama's mandate include various forms of tax reform and closing the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba.
  9. Economics

    4 Top Changes Obama Has Made with His Mandates

    Learn how Obamacare, equal pay for women and an executive order on immigration represent some of Obama's biggest changes during his presidency.
  10. Investing

    Is It Time To Buy Commodities?

    Despite the news, the Athens Stock Exchange is down less than 5 percent year-to-date, while the Shanghai Composite remains up more than 10 percent.
RELATED TERMS
  1. European Sovereign Debt Crisis

    A period of time in which several European countries faced the ...
  2. Lean Enterprise

    A production and management philosophy that considers any part ...
  3. Working Tax Credit (WTC)

    A tax credit offered to low-income individuals working in the ...
  4. Global Recession

    An extended period of economic decline around the world. The ...
  5. Obamanomics

    A buzzword used to describe the economic philosophies of United ...
  6. Draghi Effect

    The calming effect of European Central Bank President, Mario ...
RELATED FAQS
  1. What are the best free online calculators for calculating my taxable income?

    Free online calculators for determining your taxable income are located at Bankrate.com, TaxACT.com and Moneychimp.com. Determining ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Can I get a tax credit from conducting research and development?

    It is possible for a company to qualify for a research and development tax credit for conducting research and development. ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. What are the advantages and disadvantages of the International Monetary Fund?

    Established following World War II to help with post-war recovery, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) serves as a lender ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. How did Enron use off-balance-sheet items to hide huge debts and toxic assets?

    Prior to its infamous accounting scandals and collapse, Enron used off-balance-sheet special purpose vehicles (SPVs) to hide ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Where did the term 'Nostro' account come from?

    The term "nostro" is Italian in origin. It means "our" or "ours." In accounting and finance, nostro accounts are often differentiated ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. How do externalities affect equilibrium and create market failure?

    The International Monetary Fund (IMF) was created in 1945 and is governed by and accountable to its 188 member countries. ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Trading Center
×

You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!