NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- While the first Friday of the month is usually a big day in the finance world, many people may be making their #NFPGuesses -- guesses on growth in non-farm payrolls, for the uninitiated -- from home instead of from their cubicle.
The Chartered Financial Analyst CFA exam is on Saturday, which means that many aspiring rainmakers may be taking Friday off to sharpen their No. 2 pencils and make sure their HP-12C calculator has back-up batteries.
A record number of people are registered to sit for one of the exam's three levels. On Saturday, 159,889 have chosen to spend six hours of their Saturday in a tightly proctored room.
If past performance is indicative of future results, many of the test-takers may find their efforts insufficient. The tests are notoriously difficult, though the likelihood of passing increases with each level. The pass rates over the last 10 years are as follows: Level I, 39%; Level II, 44%; and Level III, 53%.
American Express (AXP) may no longer be the platinum card of choice, according to Nomura Holdings Inc. The credit card issuer is relying on its quality customer service and its history of being an elite brand, but the highest-value rewards cards are offered by Visa (V) and MasterCard (MA) card issuers JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and Capital One (COF), Nomura said in a note to clients.