This week in finance was marked by red cards from the U.S. court system, poor economic defense and Warren Buffett's World Cup soccer picks. (Did you miss last week's recap? Check out Water Cooler Finance: Billion Dollar Summits and Barack Vs. BP.)

IN PICTURES: Biggest Stock Scams

Judges Change the Playing Field
Obama's attempt at putting a halt to deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico was ruled against by a federal judge in New Orleans. Despite dealing with the worst oil spill in U.S. history, the judge ruled that a total ban was too broad and not in the best interest of the public. The White House will appeal the decision. (For more, see The Most Expensive Oil Spills.)

In the Supreme Court, judges ruled that the use of the "honest services" federal law, used to convict Enron's Jeffrey Skilling and Hollinger International's Conrad Black, violates the Fifth Amendment. The decision will have a huge impact on the way white-collar crime cases are prosecuted, as it takes away the grounds on which many of these cases are brought to court. (Find out what went wrong in Pages From The Bad CEO Playbook.)

Speaking of convicts, former lobbyist Jack Abramoff who pleaded guilty to felony counts of conspiracy, fraud and corruption, has been hired at a kosher pizza joint in Baltimore, Maryland, as part of his transition out of prison. It's a long way from his previous job as the owner of a kosher restaurant, but I'm sure he finds comfort working in a familiar industry.

Market May Need a Time Out
Apparently we don't buy houses nowadays unless there's a tax credit involved. The month of May saw the lowest level ever for the sales of new homes in the United States, with levels collapsing 33% from the previous month.

Freddie Mac announced on Thursday that the rates on 30-year mortgages were at their lowest level in 40 years, and the news prompted the Dow Jones to fall nearly 146 points that day. The S&P 500 index continued its longest losing streak in seven weeks. All of this sounds troublesome, but if you are a homeowner looking to refinance, or a prospective home owner, those low mortgage rates have put you in a great financial position. Homeownership may be more easily within your reach than you think.

Consumers should also keep an eye on Congress as the houses vote on a financial reform bill that would create an independent "Consumer Financial Protection Bureau", charged with writing and enforcing rules for private student loans, payday lenders, credit-card companies, banks and mortgage lenders. The vote should take place in the coming week.

World Watches World Cup
World Cup fever is rampant among us – and the financially-inclined are no exception. For the U.S.-Algeria game on Wednesday, volume at the New York Stock Exchange dipped 32% lower than average as traders stopped to watch the 0-0 game as it hit the 72nd minute. At the same time, England was playing Slovenia, and trading didn't return to normal levels until both games were finished, according to CNBC.

Speaking of soccer, you might want to turn to Warren Buffett for more than just investment advice. The Oracle of Omaha bet $30 million against France, who was eliminated by South Africa earlier this week. Is there anything this man can't predict? (For more on the Oracle, check out Think Like Warren Buffett.)

The Bottom Line
If the economic news is getting you down, take heart – Apple (Nasdaq:AAPL) has sold three million iPads in 80 days. We may not be buying houses, but we are always buying Apple products. And at least you aren't playing an eleven-hour tennis match. There's always something to be thankful for. (Apple isn't the only company to come back from the edge, find out more in Biggest Corporate Comebacks.)

Related Articles
  1. Professionals

    4 Must Watch Films and Documentaries for Accountants

    Learn how these must-watch movies for accountants teach about the importance of ethics in a world driven by greed and financial power.
  2. Active Trading

    10 Steps To Building A Winning Trading Plan

    It's impossible to avoid disaster without trading rules - make sure you know how to devise them for yourself.
  3. Investing Basics

    4 Iconic Financial Companies That No Longer Exist

    Learn how poor management, frauds, scandals or mergers wiped out some of the most recognizable brands in the finance industry in the United States.
  4. Retirement

    What Was The Glass-Steagall Act?

    Established in 1933 and repealed in 1999, the Glass-Steagall Act had good intentions but mixed results.
  5. Active Trading

    What Is A Pyramid Scheme?

    The FTC announced it had opened an official investigation of Herbalife, which has been accused of running a pyramid scheme. But what exactly does that mean?
  6. Options & Futures

    Terrorism's Effects on Wall Street

    Terrorist activity tends to have a negative impact on the markets, but just how much? Find out how to take cover.
  7. Professionals

    7 Careers That No Longer Exist

    Learn how technology and innovation has led to the near-extinction and elimination of seven careers that once employed hundreds of thousands of people.
  8. Investing Basics

    How Financial Statements Are Manipulated

    Financial statement manipulation is an ongoing problem, and investors who buy stocks or bonds should be aware of its signs and implications.
  9. Economics

    Management Strategies From A Top CEO

    Jack Welch is a legend in the business world: during the two decades he was CEO of General Electric, the company’s value rose by 4000%.
  10. Professionals

    What Financial Advisors and Brokers Need to Know About Rule 407

    Learn about NYSE Rule 407 and how it may impact you as a financial advisor or investment broker. What you don't know about this regulation can hurt you.
  1. Does consumer protection cover my debts?

    The most impactful consumer protection laws and regulations in the United States are overseen by the Federal Trade Commission ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What are some high-profile examples of wash trading schemes?

    In 2012, the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) was accused of a complex wash trading scheme to profit from a Canadian tax provision, ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. What are some of the major regulatory agencies responsible for overseeing financial ...

    There are a number of agencies assigned to regulate and oversee financial institutions and financial markets, including the ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What are examples of inherent risk?

    Inherent risk is the risk imposed by complex transactions that require significant estimation in assessing the impact on ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What are the advantages and disadvantages of listing on the Nasdaq versus other stock ...

    The primary advantages for a company of listing on the Nasdaq exchange are lower listing fees and lower minimum requirements ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What is the difference between wash trading and insider trading?

    Wash trading is an illegal trading activity that artificially pumps up trading volume in a stock without the stock ever changing ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Take A Bath

    A slang term referring to the situation of an investor who has experienced a large loss from an investment or speculative ...
  2. Black Friday

    1. A day of stock market catastrophe. Originally, September 24, 1869, was deemed Black Friday. The crash was sparked by gold ...
  3. Turkey

    Slang for an investment that yields disappointing results or turns out worse than expected. Failed business deals, securities ...
  4. Barefoot Pilgrim

    A slang term for an unsophisticated investor who loses all of his or her wealth by trading equities in the stock market. ...
  5. Quick Ratio

    The quick ratio is an indicator of a company’s short-term liquidity. The quick ratio measures a company’s ability to meet ...
  6. Black Tuesday

    October 29, 1929, when the DJIA fell 12% - one of the largest one-day drops in stock market history. More than 16 million ...
Trading Center