Eagle Eye Opener: Student Debt Rises; Oil Prices Sink; Costco Announces Special Dividend

Eagle Eye Opener

Student Debt Rises as Overall Consumer Debt Falls (New York Times)

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York released its Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit, which showed that overall U.S. consumer debt fell again, as it has for four consecutive years. As equities markets applauded the news of less consumer debt, it also recognized one sector flying in that trend’s face: the growth of student debt — which has risen every quarter since 2003. With the amount of outstanding student loans hitting $956 billion, projections call for the total to reach $1 trillion by next quarter.

Despite Middle East Unrest, Oil Sinks Below $87 (AP)

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) gave oil investors a pause when it reduced its growth forecast for the United States and the European Union (17 countries using euro as currency) — causing oil to drop 23 cents and close at $86.96 in Bangkok and at $87.16 in New York. The OECD placed the blame for the reduced forecast on the European debt toxin poisoning the global economy. It also said that the U.S. forecast wouldn’t change, even if a fiscal cliff deal is made by the government.

Cost Conscious Consumers Produce Special Costco Dividend (YahooFinancial)

One company is rewarding investors with excellent performance in 2012 — despite the majority of the S&P 500 missing earnings estimates. That company is retail giant Costco Wholesale Corp (COST), of Issaquah, Washington, which announced it would pay its shareholders a special dividend of $7 a share on Dec. 18. This dividend will be on top of the regular cash dividend that was declared on Oct. 30. With COST closing yesterday at $96.51, that $7 dividend represents more than a 7% reward to investors. Total sales for November were up 9% over last year, heading into the holiday buying season.

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