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Developments in Greece evolved rapidly over the weekend. In the early morning hours on Saturday, Greek Prime Minister Tsipras called for a national referendum, to be held on July 5, to determine if his government should accept the conditions offered by its creditors for an extension of its existing financial bailout agreement.

However, since the existing bailout agreement expires on June 30, Greece needed a five day extension in order to meet its financial obligations due at month end, including 1.5 billion euros due to the International Monetary Fund. European Union finance ministers refused to grant an extension, turning their focus instead on containing the fallout from a possible Greek default, all but ensuring that Greece will miss the scheduled payments.

 



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Minneapolis(June 24, 2015) – Ameriprise Financial (NYSE: AMP), today released the results of the new Retirement 2.0SM  study, revealing that the majority of Gen Xers (76%) report proactively planning for their retirement, with eight in 10 (79%) respondents currently saving through a 401(k) plan, and seven in 10 (69%) investing in an IRA or similar account.
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MINNEAPOLIS – June 22, 2015 – Ameriprise Financial, Inc. (NYSE: AMP) plans to announce its second quarter 2015 financial results on Wednesday, July 22, 2015 after the close of the New York Stock Exchange. The company will host a conference call to discuss the results on Thursday, July 23, 2015 at approximately 9:00 a.m. (ET).
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At last week’s meeting the Federal Reserve adjusted lower both its assessment of 2015 U.S. GDP growth and the projected rate of increase in fed funds over the next two years. In doing so it moved slightly closer to the prevailing view of the marketplace, which has been consistently less optimistic about the pace of the economic recovery. But it also maintained its expectation of two quarter point rate increases this year, implying a likely liftoff in September, assuming the data between now and then reinforces the Fed’s acknowledgement of the recent rebound of activity from the sluggish first quarter.



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MinneapolisJune 18, 2015 – Ameriprise Financial, Inc. (NYSE: AMP) employees, advisors and clients are joining forces to help the 49 million Americans, including 16 million children and 5.3 million seniors, who face hunger in the U.S. On June 19, more than 4,000 Ameriprise volunteers will spend time packaging and preparing meals at 200 hunger-relief nonprofits from coast-to-coast. The events, organized by Ameriprise in partnership with Feeding America®, are part of two nationwide service days, which bring together nearly 15,000 volunteers to help end hunger. View More

At times, the negotiations between Greece and its creditors have been reminiscent of the bank robber who points the gun at his own head and tells the teller to, “Give me all your money or I’ll shoot.” After all, it is Greece that needs the money and yet is trying to dictate the terms and has the most to lose if it doesn’t get it.

But, maybe Greece is not so crazy after all. The ability to acquiesce to the demands of its creditors for further economic reform is always present, so why not hold out as long as possible in hopes of a better deal? The problem is that accidents do happen. Intransigence on either side could lead to deadlines and payments being missed. There are now just two weeks to go before the existing bailout agreement expires, with a sizeable bundled payment due to the International Monetary Fund at the end of June and apparently no money to pay it.
 



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May jobs report bolstered the case of those expecting a September rate increase from the Federal Reserve. A surprisingly robust 280,000 new non-farm jobs were created, bringing the monthly average this year to 217,000 including the weak 119,000 jobs created in March. The unemployment rate rose one tenth to 5.5 percent, but the labor force participation rate rose as well.



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Despite mostly better than expected economic data last week, stocks drifted lower, unable to muster much enthusiasm. It didn’t seem to matter that reports on durable goods orders, new and pending home sales and consumer sentiment were all generally encouraging.

Inasmuch as the economy’s sluggish start to the second quarter (after the contraction in the first) has weighed on investor sentiment, such stronger data might have elicited a more optimistic response. Unfortunately, that was not the case, and the S&P 500 fell 0.9 percent, suffering its first decline in four weeks.



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Fed chair Janet Yellen reminded us last Friday that we can expect an interest rate hike this year. Vice-chair Stanley Fischer, while admonishing us not to fixate on when that first rate hike might occur, reiterated that the timing remains data dependent. If you look at the Fed’s dual mandate of full employment and stable prices, an argument could be made that those conditions have already been met.



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MINNEAPOLISMay 19, 2015 – Ameriprise Financial, Inc. (NYSE: AMP), today announced its support for U.S. service members with a $100,000 grant to Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP). The donation will be directed to the Warriors to Work® program, which provides career guidance and services to WWP Alumni transitioning to the civilian workforce. This year, the program aims to place 2,500 wounded service members in employment that is well suited for their skills, with an ultimate goal of employing 10,000 injured veterans by 2017.
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