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Stock market rises to continue?

Stock market graph
BBC Radio 4's Money Box
Saturday, 06 November 2010 at 1204 GMT on Radio 4 and Online

US and UK shares have hit a two-year high as global stock markets reacted positively to the decision by the Federal Reserve to pump £373bn into the US economy to try to boost its recovery.

Both the FTSE and Dow Jones indexes closed up 2% on Thursday, while leading indexes in France and Germany rose sharply.

What are the longer term consequences for savers and investors?

Money Box speaks to Liz Webb, a chartered Financial Planner at Origen, and Justin Urquhart Stewart of Seven Investment Management

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Pension fund shortfall at lowest level for a year

Rising equity markets seem to be significantly reducing the deficits of defined - benefit pension schemes, including those final salary schemes which remain.

The 200 largest schemes had a collective deficit of £69 billion at the end of the October, down from one of £80 billion at the end of September and the lowest level since September 2009, according to the firm Aon Hewitt.

We speak to Marcus Hurd who is the principal and actuary at Aon Hewitt.

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Unauthorized overdraft fees

From next February customers of RBS and NatWest will pay a flat fee of £6 for every day they exceed their overdraft limit. This follows a trend set by other banks including Halifax and Bank of Scotland who introduced a similar system at the end of last year.

But are the new charges fair?

Bob Howard reports

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Time to fix?

With the Bank of England holding UK interest rates at a record low for the 20th consecutive month, some homeowners who have come of fixed rate mortgages onto a standard variable rate have grown used to cheap mortgages. Will this continue or is now the right time to fix?

We speak to Ray Boulger, technical manager with mortgages brokers, John Charcol.


Student fees

The government has announced plans to allow universities in England to charge students tuition fees of up to £9,000 a year by 2012.

The "basic threshold" will be £6,000 but there will be an absolute limit of £9,000 if institutions take part in schemes to increase take-up among poor students.

Liz Webb, Chartered Financial planner with Origen Financial Services, suggests way for parents in the UK to save to meet the increased cost.

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BBC Radio 4's Money Box: Saturday 06 November at 1204 GMT and Sunday 07 November at 2102 GMT.



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