Eagle Eye Opener: British Prime Minister May Seek Public Vote to Join EU; Watch for ObamaCare Insurance Boom; Merchants May Pass along Credit Card Fees to Customers

Eagle Eye Opener

When You Least Expect It, Expect It (AP)

Just when European Union (EU) investors thought there was a little light at the end of the tunnel, that light turned out to be a train barreling at them in the London tube.  In a move that could forever change the EU’s make-up, British Prime Minister David Cameron said that he would ask Britain’s citizens to vote on membership in the bloc, should his Conservative party win the next election. Euro leaders across the board responded with alarm — warning that Cameron should be more mindful of international relations and less worried about domestic perspective about his party. Stay tuned.

The Beginnings of Obamacare Insurance Boom? (YahooFinance)

Indianapolis, Ind.-based insurance superstar WellPoint reported that its Q4 2012 earnings came in 38 percent ahead of the comparable quarter in 2011. The nation’s second-largest health insurer reported it made more than $464 million, or $1.51 per share, for the quarter — crushing analysts’ expected earnings of 94 cents. Looking ahead, the Blue Cross Blue Shield company expects to earn $7.60 per share in 2013, while analysts are more optimistic that Obamacare funds will strengthen those earnings to $7.94. It looks like the only ones not getting stronger during Obamacare might be patients.

Ready to Pay Your Wal-Mart Checkout Toll? (MSN)

Beginning this Sunday, merchants like Wal-Mart, Target, Safeway, Macy’s and any that accept credit card payments may start running their businesses like the Jersey Turnpike.  That is, you’ll pay a toll — as much as 4 percent — just for using the “convenience” of shopping at their locations. Last summer, an agreement was reached between merchant stores, banks and Visa/Mastercard whereby previous swipe fees charged by the credit card companies (to merchants for each card use) now could be charged by merchants to their customers. This situation could create an enormous new revenue stream for merchant companies — a consideration investors should take to the checkout counter.

Exclusive  Eagle Eye Opener: IT Push to “Big Data”, Personalized Styling Websites – Holiday Shopping Made Easy

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China badly underperformed most global stock markets for most of 2012. Despite coming on strong at the end of the year, China even underperformed the crisis-wracked Greek stock market. But recent economic data from the Middle Kingdom is breaking bearish investors' sentiment. The Shanghai Composite stock market index has been surging of late. Since hitting a low of 1960 on Dec. 3, it has jumped 18.8% in just eight weeks.

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