Afternoon Roundup: Today's Top Stories

At The Motley Fool, we know our readers like to be informed. So we have scouted out today's most relevant news items and brought them to you all in one page. We hope you find this midday edition informative and useful.

1. The biggest talk today is the ending of QE2, also known as the Federal Reserve's "quantitative easing" initiative. This was the second round of the Fed's monetary policy in hopes of stimulating the U.S. economy. Since the fourth quarter of 2010, the Fed started buying up to $600 billion in long-term Treasuries. This in theory would have stimulated investment and pushed the yields of Treasuries and bonds down. But even with today's deadline, the economy continues to move at a sluggish pace. The Fed has bought nearly 85% of the Treasuries over the past eight months, while the yields continue to rise. Despite the economic environment being relatively favorable, the economy itself continues to lag. Read more at The Wall Street Journal. 

2. After days of violent protests and clashes between the Greek government and its people, an austerity plan was passed Wednesday. The plan was a requirement to receive a second aid package for the crippled Greek economy because without it the country would most likely default on its debt. German banks and the government agreed to roll over Greece's debt, if the plan were passed. France and Germany are the biggest holders of Greek bonds. Germany will design a plan based on France's complex measure and should reach an agreement by July 3. Read more at The New York Times.

3. With a subtle announcement, Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) has gotten positive reaction on its new product Google+. The company unveiled its new social networking service on June 28 on an invitation-only basis, much like the early Gmail. Since the announcement, the company has received "insane demand," as reported by Bloomberg, forcing Google to shut down the invite mechanism. After Google+ was unveiled, Google stock went up $6.36, or 1.3%. Read more at Bloomberg.

4. After the 2009 revamping of government bond auction rules, it turns out China may own a larger part of the American debt than expected. According to a Reuters' investigation, Chinese entities own at least $1.115 trillion in U.S. government debt. The Chinese may have been buying more debt than allowed, turning them into both a risk and a partial savior for the U.S. Read more at Reuters.

5. Some of the biggest players in the banking sector may shortly begin layoffs. Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS  ) notified the New York State Department of Labor that it could be laying off employees for economic reasons. In addition to Goldman's layoffs, Lloyds Banking (NYSE: LYG  ) said today that it planned to cut 15,000 jobs by the end of 2014. Read more at The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. 

So there you have it, Thursday's midday recap on the latest in the financial world. Check Fool.com throughout the day for commentary on this news and other stories.

Michelle Zayed owns no shares of any companies mentioned in this story. The Motley Fool owns shares of Google. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Google. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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