Last updated: August 19. 2013 10:29PM - 561 Views

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Key events this week

will impact markets

With economic data thin on the ground Monday, financial markets have started the week on a subdued note.

But as the focus of attention remains on whether the U.S. Federal Reserve will start to reduce its monetary stimulus next month, investors will have a raft of key events to digest toward the second half of the week.

Recent economic data and public statements by Fed policymakers have led investors to conclude that the Fed will begin winding down its $85 billion a month in asset purchases as early as September. The policy, which is intended to lower interest rates to shore up the U.S. recovery, has also been credited for boosting stocks over the past few years as investors look for better returns than have existed in bond markets.

Key events this week include U.S. housing data, the minutes to the last policy meeting of the Fed and the start of the annual meeting of global central bankers and policymakers in Jackson Hole, Wy.

Samsung has a

‘Mega’ smartphone

With a screen measuring 6.3 inches diagonally, the Galaxy Mega is almost as big as a 7-inch tablet computer. The difference: It makes phone calls.

Samsung says the Mega is a hybrid that combines the portability of a smartphone with the immersive experience that a tablet offers for movies, books, music and games. Phones of this size are typically referred to as phablets.

Samsung Electronics Co. is known for big phones. Its flagship Galaxy S4 is 5 inches, while the Galaxy Note 2 is 5.5 inches. Apple’s iPhone 5 is 4 inches.

AT&T Inc. says it will start selling the Mega on Friday for $150 with a two-year service contract. The Mega is also coming to Sprint and U.S. Cellular. Dates and prices weren’t available for those carriers.

Amnesty program

coming to an end

The Department of Labor & Industry reminds Pennsylvanians that after the unemployment compensation amnesty program concludes in two weeks, those who still owe overpayments to the UC fund will lose discounts on interest and penalties accrued and face possible prosecution.

The program began June 1. Claimants who have received more UC benefits than they were entitled to and employers who have not made mandatory tax contributions to the UC Trust Fund have until midnight Aug. 31 to make it right.

More than 130,000 individual claimants and nearly 50,000 employers received letters advising them of the amnesty program, how much they owe, and how to pay it back.

Those with outstanding UC payments are encouraged to visit the UC Amnesty Program website,

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