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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Stocks rise extending best start since 1998 now 2012

Rising consumer spending boosted stocks on Friday, and Wall Street closed its best first quarter since 1998.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 66.22 points to close at 13,212.04. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 5.19 points to close at 1,408.47. The Nasdaq composite barely moved, falling 3.79 points to close at 3,091.57.
The bulls weren't bullish enough.

The stock market just had its best first quarter in 14 years. The surge has sent Wall Street analysts, some of whose forecasts seemed too sunny three months ago, scrambling to raise their estimates for the year.

"That it's up isn't surprising. It's the magnitude," says Robert Doll, the chief equity investment manager at BlackRock, the world's biggest money manager.
For the quarter, the Dow posted an 8 percent gain and the S&P a 12 percent gain, the best for those indexes in 14 years. The gain was 19 percent for the Nasdaq, its best since 1991.

Oil prices rose again on Friday, up 23 cents in New York to $103.02 per barrel.

Nine out of 10 industry groups in the S&P 500 rose. The biggest-gaining category was energy stocks, although refiners fell because of the higher oil prices. Health care stocks rose, too, with two of the biggest gainers being health insurers UnitedHealth Group Inc. and WellPoint Inc. Technology stocks fell slightly. Barry Knapp, head U.S. equity strategist at Barclays Capital, said he’s bullish on technology stocks but the rest of the market has “overshot the fundamentals.” He said he’s sticking with his target for the S&P this year: 1,330, which would be a drop of about 6 percent from Friday’s close.

Other skeptics of the surge point to the role of central banks around the world in lifting markets by printing money, lending at near-zero rates, and buying bonds and other securities.

The fear is that once that support is removed, stock prices could fall, and all the talk about profits could prove beside the point.

In every case since the market hit a 12-year low in March 2009, prices jumped on the Fed moves, then fell when the Fed programs ended. A question above the chart asked whether it was time to move more money into stocks.

Michael Hartnett, chief global equity strategist at Bank of America, said no. The bank expects the S&P to end the year at 1,400, almost exactly where it is now.

Business MasterCard to probepossible data breach

MasterCard Inc., the second-biggest payments network, said it’s investigating a potential breach of account data and that card issuers and law enforcement have been notified.

Data may have been targeted at a “U.S.-based entity,” and MasterCard’s own systems “have not been compromised in any manner,” the Purchase, New York-based company said today in an emailed statement. It didn’t specify how many accounts may have been affected.

MasterCard Inc. and Visa Inc. warned Thursday that some of the data in their cardholder accounts may have been breached. MasterCard said that it had notified banks, as well as law enforcement, of a potential problem with a third party “U.S.-based entity.” The Wall Street Journal reported that the company declined to say how many cards were at risk, but people familiar with the investigation estimated that it could be hundreds of thousands.

The company said it “identified and self-reported unauthorized access into a portion of its processing system.” It added that in early March it “determined that card data may have been accessed.”

Global Payments didn’t disclose what type of data had been accessed, but said it had notified “appropriate industry parties to allow them to minimize potential cardholder impact.”

News of the breach broke yesterday in the morning, however Global Payments confirmed it only after the market close.  Global Payments shares fell almost 10% to $47.50 a share on the New York Stock Exchange, after people involved in investigating the breach identified the company to The Wall Street Journal as the victim of the attack.  The stock was halted at midday.  The company is scheduled to report quarterly earnings on April 4.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

New Black Panther Party in US 2012

New Black Panther Party in US 2012
world bank panther
 The New Black Panther Party is offering a $10,000 reward for the capture of George Zimmerman, the shooter who shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin dead
Members of the New Black Panther Party are offering a $10,000 reward for the "capture" of George Zimmerman, leader Mikhail Muhammad announced during a protest in Sanford on Saturday.

When asked whether he was inciting violence, Muhammad replied: "An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth."
The New Black Panther Party is offering a $10,000 reward for the capture of the killer of a black guy in Florida. As prosecutors and defence lawyers get ready to battle it out in the case of Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old black guy shot dead in Florida by a neighbourhood watch volunteer, although he was unarmed and had not committed any crime, the African-American militant group New Black Panther Party put up a $10,000 (over 7,500 euro) reward for the capture of the Martin's killer, George Zimmerman..
The bounty announcement came moments after members of the group called for the mobilization of 5,000 black men to capture George Zimmerman, the Neighborhood Watch volunteer who shot Trayvon Martin last month.

Muhammad said members of his group would search for Zimmerman themselves in Maitland and Jacksonville -- where the 28-year-old worked before the shooting. But he declined to say when they will begin their hunt.

Muhammad said the group's national chairman, Dr. Malik Zulu Shabazz of Washington, D.C., is receiving donations from black entertainers and athletes. The group hopes to collect $1 million by next week, Muhammad said.

The party said it would not release the names of donors nor would it provide documentation to support the existence of donations.

The New Black Panthers announced the reward at a protest in Sanford on Saturday, the activist group's third protest in the past two weeks over the fatal shooting of the Miami Gardens teen.
lil wayne panther
The group called for Zimmerman's arrest and threatened to find and detain him if police were not willing to do so. But group members didn't call for the mobilization of thousands until Saturday.

Muhammad led the group in chanting "Justice for Trayvon!" and "Black Power!"

"If the government won't do the job, we'll do it," Muhammad said, leading his group of eight party members in chants like "Freedom or death" and "Justice for Trayvon" while making the iconic gesture of raising their fists.

The party members said they are tired of the inaction of government officials -- from Sanford city officials up to the governor, accusing them of lying and delaying justice.

They accused newly appointed special prosecutor Angela Corley of being an enemy of the black community.

"She has a track record of sending innocent young black men and women to prison," he said.

Sanford police arrived toward the end of the demonstration Saturday asking onlookers and media to avoid walking into the street in front of the Retreat at Twin Lakes, where Trayvon was killed.

As the officer walked back to his cruiser, Muhammad berated and pointed angrily at him, saying, "If you'd had shown this much concern, Trayvon may still be alive today."

The fiery rhetoric and often profanity-laden diatribes made some visitors to the impromptu memorial uncomfortable.

The Rev. Moses Brown of Tampa said he was disappointed with the Panthers' approach.

"We believe in a message of justice, not hate," said Brown, who was in town to pray at the memorial and attend the Monday event at Sanford's Civic Center. "We believe justice will come through the court system."

Brown, who is also the Chief executive officer of Feed Our Children, said he has been meeting with other Christian ministers to discuss the case.

While the Panthers chanted behind him, Brown said: "I see parallel versions of how we are coping with this as a community. Some in anger and us, in prayer. But we are in America, where we have our rights to expression."

The Southern Poverty Law Center says the New Black Panther Party, a black-separatist group founded in 1989, is "virulently racist and anti-Semitic," and its leaders have encouraged violence against whites, Jews and law officers.

Trayvon was killed Feb. 26 in the gated Retreat at Twin Lakes community while walking back to his father's fiancee's town house. Zimmerman spotted the unarmed teen and called the Sanford Police Department's nonemergency line to report a suspicious person.

Zimmerman shot Travon before officers could respond. Zimmerman told police he acted in self-defense. He has not been arrested and is not charged with a crime.

US Heart Transplant of Former Vice President Dick Cheney

Former Vice President Dick Cheney had a heart transplant Saturday and is recovering at a Virginia hospital, his office said.
More than 3,100 Americans currently are on the national waiting list for a heart transplant. Just over 2,300 heart transplants were performed last year, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing. And 330 people died while waiting.
An aide to Cheney disclosed that the 71-year-old, who has had a long history of cardiovascular trouble including numerous heart attacks, had been waiting for a transplant for more than 20 months.

‘‘Although the former vice president and his family do not know the identity of the donor, they will be forever grateful for this lifesaving gift,’’ aide Kara Ahern said in a written statement that was authenticated by several of the Republican politician’s close associates.

More than 3,100 Americans currently are on the national waiting list for a heart transplant. Just over 2,300 heart transplants were performed last year, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing. And 330 people died while waiting. Former Vice President Dick Cheney was recovering Saturday at a Virginia hospital after receiving a heart transplant, his office said.

Cheney was in the Intensive Care Unit of Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, his office said.

Cheney, 71, who served as vice president in the George W. Bush administration, has had a long history of heart trouble and has been on the cardiac transplant list for more than 20 months.

"Although the former Vice President and his family do not know the identity of the donor, they will be forever grateful for this lifesaving gift," aide Kara Ahern said in a written statement that was authenticated by several close associates of the former vice president.
"Vice President Cheney is in our thoughts and prayers tonight, as he recovers from surgery," Newt Gingrich said, also in a written statement. "Callista and I hope that his recovery is peaceful, and we wish him and his family all of the best. He has been a colleague and friend for many years, and we are glad that the surgery went well."

"Ann and I send our thoughts and prayers to Vice President Cheney for a fast and full recovery,"

Friday, March 23, 2012

Southwest Airlines Increasing Business

Southwest Airlines Increasing Business
Southwest Airlines Co is banking on new planes to help it fight surging fuel costs and bolster revenue as it looks to compete better against rivals that have cut their costs.
Southwest Airlines Co. is rolling out some new, larger planes that will start hauling passengers next month and could eventually be used on a Hawaii route.
The traditional discount airline on Wednesday held a "launch party" at its Dallas headquarters, complete with confetti and balloons, to mark the arrival of the first of 33 737-800 planes it will take this year. Southwest (LUV.N) primarily flies the Boeing (BA.N) 737; the newest model Southwest took can carry 175 passengers, 38 more than the version the carrier currently flies.

Chief Operating Officer Mike Van de Ven told employees the new plane marks "a new era" for Southwest.

"It's going to make us more profitable from Day One," Van de Ven said to loud applause.

Southwest, which for decades was the envy of its peers, is now finding it must work harder to stand out and stay profitable as fuel costs rise.

The company's once-celebrated fuel hedges are no longer as effective in blunting surging costs. And because Southwest's labor costs have risen while bigger competitors downsized in bankruptcy, its overall cost advantage against rivals has narrowed.

"The competition is much leaner and meaner than it has been in the past," said William Swelbar, a research engineer with MIT's International Center for Air Transportation. "Southwest I think is struggling mightily to differentiate itself."

Gary Kelly, who became Southwest's chief executive in 2004, said the company is still determined to be the industry's low-cost carrier, despite the macro challenges.

"The big game changer the last decade has been fuel costs," Kelly told reporters on Wednesday. "Our costs are substantially higher today if for no reason than that."

"The rest of our cost structure is in good shape but we have to continue to look for opportunities to become more efficient," he added. "There are lower-cost competitors out there today and we can't accept that."


On March 13, Southwest warned it would not post the profit Wall Street had been expecting for the first quarter. At least one analyst downgraded the carrier on that news, questioning whether revenue growth is suffering as the Dallas company integrates last year's AirTran acquisition.

Southwest posted its 39th straight annual profit in 2011. Profit misses and losses have been rare for the company.

"The first quarter was a tough quarter" for all airlines, said Savanthi Syth, an airline analyst with Raymond James. Still, she said Southwest faces its own unique challenges apart from other carriers as its cost advantage isn't as wide as it used to be.

Southwest is "trying to figure out where their niche is and how to differentiate themselves and continue to drive that revenue," Syth said. "I think buying AirTran was one way of doing it, just finding growth and that next leg to push things."

Southwest enjoyed a major cost advantage over competitors in the middle of the last decade thanks to layers of hedges that ensured its fuel costs were well below market prices, which in turn enabled Southwest to pass along lower fares to consumers. Those hedges have since expired and the industry playing field is more level.

"The legacy airlines love the fact that Southwest doesn't have the big fuel hedges it had before because now they can compete ... and be a little more stingy with the cheaper airfares," said Tom Parsons, chief executive of discount travel website

While Southwest still offers competitive fares, it isn't always the first with the lowest prices now, Parsons said. And in the past year, Southwest has led the industry in some rounds of airfare increases, according to data from

Kelly cautioned staff in a late 2011 memo that Southwest's labor rates had become the industry's highest and the carrier needed to keep costs down. In the wake of American Airlines' Chapter 11 filing last year, Southwest is the only major U.S. carrier that has not filed to restructure through bankruptcy.

The cost challenge has some wondering how long Southwest's "Bags Fly Free" policy -- the airline does not charge for a first or second checked bag -- can continue to fly.

Kelly said on Wednesday that Southwest has no plans to retract that policy, which has helped the company gain market share and goodwill with passengers.

Buying bigger Boeing planes -- Southwest dubbed the jet it showed off on Wednesday as "Warrior One" -- is a key plank in new revenue initiatives Southwest is looking to complete by 2015. They also include integrating the AirTran acquisition, last year's revamp of its frequent flier program and a planned upgrade of the airline's reservation system.

Southwest will be the first customer for the Boeing 737 MAX, having ordered 150 of the new planes that will be equipped with fuel-efficient engines and are expected to be delivered by 2017. At that time, Southwest also ordered 58 of the 737 Next Generation models.

The 737-800, which offers about 8 percent better fuel savings than the older 737s it will replace, will enable Southwest to fly longer-haul routes, transport more people to slot-controlled markets such as Washington, D.C., and offer service to international destinations and Hawaii. Extra seating is a recurring theme at Southwest, which needs more revenue to offset high jet fuel costs. The airline is installing new, thinner seats on its 369 Boeing 737-700s, making room for another row with six seats.

The 737-800 is Southwest’s first new model since it added the 737-700 in 1997. The bigger plane means Southwest flights will require an additional flight attendant, but executives said that will be offset by more revenue and lower fuel and maintenance costs than with older jets.

Southwest has the world’s largest all-Boeing fleet.

Battle for World Bank presidency nears end

The U.S. has until Friday to 23 hours to nominate a candidate for the prestigious position of president at the World Bank. Which is released by the departure of Robert Zoellick.

The current CEO was announced mid-February that he step down halfway through this year. According to an unwritten rule does America always the boss of the World Bank and is the leader of the IMF's sister organization - now the Frenchwoman Christine Lagarde - always from Europe.

Pressure increases
But the pressure on Washington is now growing for someone to nominate themselves because even though several strong candidates from emerging countries have signed.

Wednesday, Jose Antonio Ocampo, a former Minister of Finance in Columbia and director of the Central Bank, have already applied for the position. The Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is in the running for the job.

The American economist Jeffrey Sachs beginning of the month had shown interest in the released position at the World Bank. Sachs (57) is best known for his expertise in the field of development.

The new president is elected in April.

World Bank Obama favorite Kim for World Bank top job is a doctor and rapper

World Bank Obama favorite Kim for World Bank top job is a doctor and rapper
U.S. President Obama wears Jim Yong Kim as the new head of the World Bank. The unknown Kim is a physician and scientist and Korean-American descent. The nomination was surprising because Kim was not previously mentioned on lists of possible candidates.
U.S. President Barack Obama wears Jim Yong Kim as the new leader of the World Bank. Kim is a physician and he can do quite a bit of rap too, always useful.

Kim is the heir of Robert Zoellick said in February his departure as president of the World Bank announced. Obama will be nominated later on Friday officially known. Traditionally, the top position with the World Bank for an American, while the IMF's sister organization led by a European.

The World Bank took last year, however, suggest that should lead to candidates from other countries a chance on the job. This is Kim, at least on paper, not sure of the job. There are at least two other candidates, former Colombian Minister of Finance Jose Antonio Ocampo and the Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

Born in 1959 in Seoul Kim studied medicine at Harvard University. He made international experience at the World Health Organization (WHO). He also directs the Department of HIV / AIDS. He was also part of the founders of Partners in Health, a charitable organization that deals with health care in poor countries.

The unknown Kim is a physician and scientist of Korean-American descent. He is currently chairman of the University Dartmouth College in New Hampshire.

Kim is the heir of Robert Zoellick said in February his departure as president of the World Bank announced. Obama will be nominated later on Friday officially known. Traditionally, the top position with the World Bank for an American, while the IMF's sister organization led by a European.

The World Bank took last year, however, suggest that should lead to candidates from other countries a chance on the job. This is Kim, at least on paper, not sure of the job. There are at least two other candidates, former Colombian Minister of Finance Jose Antonio Ocampo and the Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

Born in 1959 in Seoul Kim studied medicine at Harvard University. He made international experience at the World Health Organization (WHO). He also directs the Department of HIV / AIDS. He was also part of the founders of Partners in Health, a charitable organization that deals with health care in poor countries.
"Jim has experience worldwide," Obama said at the announcement. "That experience makes it suitable for connection to forge over the world."

Kim currently leads the University Dartmouth College in New Hampshire and was was previously chief of the AIDS program of the WHO. He was also the founders of Partners in Health, a charitable organization dealing with health care in poor countries.

Kim (52) Robert Zoellick must follow in February announced his departure as CEO of the World Bank. Traditionally, the World Bank led by an American, while the head of the IMF is a European.
Against Candidates

Kim is not quite sure of his job. The World Bank took last year which also proposals to candidates from countries other than the U.S. may qualify.

There are therefore two other candidates: former Colombian Minister of Finance Ocampo and the Nigerian Finance Minister Okonjo-Iweala. Many developing countries want to see that even someone from another continent is chosen.
Charitable Organization

Born in 1959 in Seoul Kim studied medicine at Harvard. He made international experience at the World Health Organization, where he headed the department of HIV / AIDS. Kim was also the founders of Partners in Health, a charitable organization dealing with health care in poor countries.

With the nomination of the half-Korean Kim Barack Obama would respond to critics who want to come to the automatic appointment of an American.

Weekers Secretary visits South America

Weekers Minister of Finance from Sunday 25 March to Sunday, April 1 on mission in South America. He successively to Brazil, Chile and Colombia. Purpose of travel is the good relations between the Netherlands and South American countries to further enhance and concluding tax treaties.

Frans Weekers: "Our extensive network of tax makes the Netherlands a popular country for foreign companies and investors. And Dutch entrepreneurs doing business abroad know thanks to the conventions exactly where they stand. Therefore we also conclude treaties with Chile and Colombia. "

In Brazil, where the Secretary of State on Monday 26 and Tuesday 27 March, he visited the Brazilian banks and companies. He will also in talks with the top of the Dutch industry and Dutch banks. Are also meetings with the Ministry of Finance, the tax authorities and the central bank of Brazil on the program.

On Wednesday 28 March, Weekers in Chile where he met with the Chilean Minister of Finance and a meeting with the Association of Chilean entrepreneurs attending, where he delivered a speech will keep on the euro crisis and the importance of a growing industry for the economy.

On Thursday 29 March the Secretary of State continues his visit to Colombia where he talks with the Minister of Finance. He also visits a Dutch flower grower in Bogota.

Netherlands currently has no tax treaty with Chile and Colombia. Use of this visit is, therefore, with both Chile and Colombia to conclude a treaty to avoid double tax is paid and double exemptions.

Stocks bounce around on global economic worries 2012

Stocks bounce around on global economic worries 2012
 Stocks are bouncing between small gains and losses as investors weigh the prospects of a global economic slowdown even as several U.S. companies report strong earnings.
Stocks are opening slightly lower as investors weigh the prospects of a global economic slowdown even as several U.S. companies report strong earnings.

Companies from a wide range of sectors— Nike, Oracle, FedEx, Tiffany and Discover Financial — have reported stellar earnings this week. However, the strength comes tinged with worry for some of the companies that rely on sales in Asia and Europe, such as FedEx and Tiffany. Reports in China and Europe earlier in the week pointed to a likely slowdown in those economies.

Oil prices are continuing to march higher, which could hurt consumer spending and the U.S. real estate hasn’t emerged out of its slump.

The Commerce Department said new-home sales fell 1.6 percent last month. Sales have fallen nearly 7 percent since December. Prices surged to their highest level in eight months, suggesting that builders anticipate more demand in the months ahead. The drop in home sales hurt stocks of home builders — PulteGroup fell 7 percent, while Lennar fell over 3 percent.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 27 points to 13,020 in the first half-hour of trading. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell four to 1,388 and the Nasdaq composite fell 15 points to 3,047.

The dollar fell against the euro and the yen. Treasury prices and gold rose. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.22 percent. Markets were broadly lower in Europe. Germany’s DAX fell 0.8 percent and France’s CAC-40 fell 0.9 percent.

American consumers, who drive two-thirds of the economy, are spending more in stores and restaurants. But investors are worried about how long that will last if oil prices continue to rise.

Darden Restaurants, which operates Olive Garden and Red Lobster, beat Wall Street forecasts with a 8.5 percent increase in profits after warm weather brought more people to its restaurants. Athletic gear maker Nike also beat expectations. The company said its revenue rose in all regions, especially in North America and emerging markets. Despite the strong results, both stocks fell. Nike was off 2.5 percent, Darden 3.5 percent.

Crude oil rose 1.7 percent after a brief downturn Thursday. Gasoline has risen 59 cents per gallon since Jan. 1 and the average price nationwide is above $4 in at least eight states, plus the District of Columbia.

And then there is China and Europe. New surveys showed a contraction in the manufacturing sector in China, a bellwether for world demand as it produces and exports a huge amount of consumer goods, and one of the world’s largest mining companies expects reduced demand there. In Europe, Ireland dipped back into recession.

Oil prices are continuing to march higher, which could hurt consumer spending. A decline in new home sales suggested that the U.S. real estate market hasn't emerged from its slump.
Stocks are bouncing between small gains and losses as investors weigh the prospects of a global economic slowdown even as several U.S. companies report strong earnings.

Oil prices are continuing to march higher, which could hurt consumer spending. A decline in new home sales suggested that the U.S. real estate market hasn't emerged from its slump.

The Dow Jones industrial average edged up 28 points to 13,073 at midday Friday, March 23. The Standard & Poor's 500 index inched up two points to 1,395 and the Nasdaq composite fell five to 3,058.

Home builders and home improvement stocks fell after the Commerce Department said sales of new homes fell 1.6 percent last month. Sales have fallen nearly 7 percent since December. Prices surged to their highest level in eight months, suggesting that builders anticipate more demand in the months ahead. PulteGroup and Lowe's fell 2 percent, while Home Depot was down close to 1 percent.

A wide range of companies including Nike, Oracle, FedEx, Tiffany and Discover Financial have reported stellar earnings this week. However, the strength comes tinged with worry for some of the companies that rely on sales in Asia and Europe, such as Nike, FedEx and Tiffany. Reports in China and Europe earlier in the week pointed to a likely slowdown in those economies.

Nike was off 3 percent, FedEx down less than 1 percent and Tiffany was off close to 2 percent.

American consumers, who drive two-thirds of the economy, are spending
The Dow Jones industrial average edged up 28 points to 13,073 at midday Friday. The Standard & Poor's 500 index inched up two points to 1,395 and the Nasdaq composite fell five to 3,058.

Home builders and home improvement stocks fell after the Commerce Department said sales of new homes fell 1.6 percent last month. Sales have fallen nearly 7 percent since December. Prices surged to their highest level in eight months, suggesting that builders anticipate more demand in the months ahead. PulteGroup and Lowe's fell 2 percent, while Home Depot was down close to 1 percent.

A wide range of companies including Nike, Oracle, FedEx, Tiffany and Discover Financial have reported stellar earnings this week. However, the strength comes tinged with worry for some of the companies that rely on sales in Asia and Europe, such as Nike, FedEx and Tiffany. Reports in China and Europe earlier in the week pointed to a likely slowdown in those economies.

Nike was off 3 percent, FedEx down less than 1 percent and Tiffany was off close to 2 percent.

American consumers, who drive two-thirds of the economy, are spending more in stores and restaurants. But investors are worried about how long that will last if oil prices continue to rise.

Darden Restaurants, which operates Olive Garden and Red Lobster, beat Wall Street forecasts with a 8.5 percent increase in profits after warm weather brought more people to its restaurants. Darden fell 2.4 percent.
more in stores and restaurants. But investors are worried about how long that will last if oil prices continue to rise.

Darden Restaurants, which operates Olive Garden and Red Lobster, beat Wall Street forecasts with a 8.5 percent increase in profits after warm weather brought more people to its restaurants. Darden fell 2.4 percent.

And then there is China and Europe. New surveys showed a contraction in the manufacturing sector in China, a bellwether for world demand as it produces and exports a huge amount of consumer goods, and one of the world's largest mining companies expects reduced demand there. In Europe, Ireland dipped back into recession.

New home sales fell in February, but prices rose 2012

 New home sales fell in February, but prices rose 2012
The pace of new-home sales fell last month even as prices jumped to their highest level since June, according to figures released Friday by the Commerce Department, capping a week of mixed housing data that showed a market with signs of recovery but still deeply in turmoil.

The agency said sales of new homes fell 1.6 percent in February from the previous month, to an annualized rate of 313,000, a figure lower than many economists had predicted. Still, the numbers represent an 11.4 percent increase from the previous February. The median sales price of new homes sold last month rose more than 8 percent to $233,700 — the highest mark in eight months. The average sales price was $267,000, the Commerce Department said.

Friday’s numbers served as yet another reminder that while bright spots have emerged in certain areas of the nation’s wounded housing market, a full recovery remains nowhere in sight.

On Monday, a report showed that confidence among U.S. homebuilders held steady at the highest level since 2007, and that sales expectations among builders had continued to climb. On Wednesday, new data from the National Association of Realtors showed that the sale of previously-owned homes dropped 0.9 percent in February to a seasonally-adjusted rate of 4.59 million. The figure marked an 8.8 percent increase in sales over the previous year.

The week’s sales figures disappointed some economists and housing industry representatives who had expected more brisk sales due to historically-low interest rates, an improving job market and one of the warmest winters on record. But other experts argue that the numbers point to a housing market on the mend, particularly data showing that the steep price drops of the recent past seem to have leveled off.

What remains certain is that plenty of uncertainty lies ahead.

The number of “underwater” mortgages — in which borrowers owe more than their homes are worth — stand at their highest level since 2009, according to a report released this month by CoreLogic. Currently, more than 11 million homeowners are underwater on their houses.

In addition, foreclosures that had been put on hold after reports of widespread paperwork problems have begun to move forward again in parts of the country. That new wave of foreclosures eventually should help the housing market hit bottom and begin to recover. But in the short term, such actions are likely to clog court systems, leave many borrowers in a state of limbo and flood local housing markets, at least temporarily driving down prices.

Foreclosures and short sales still account for more than one-third of all existing home sales, according to data from earlier this week.

The Obama administration and lawmakers on Capitol Hill have continued to press the independent regulator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to allow the government-backed mortgage giants to undertake more “principal reductions” — lowering the loan balances of people underwater on their loans.

Government officials and five major banks also finalized a landmark $25 billion foreclosure settlement in March, which won’t heal the housing market’s woes but should aid a select group of struggling homeowners and force the banks to do additional principal reductions.
Sales of new homes in the United States fell in February for the second straight month, a reminder that the depressed housing market remains weak despite some improvement.

The Commerce Department said Friday that new-home sales dropped 1.6 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 313,000 homes. Sales have fallen nearly 7 percent since December.

While a mild winter and three months of strong job growth have lifted re-sales, those conditions haven't benefited the new-home market. The current pace is less than half the 700,000 that economists consider to be healthy.

Economists cautioned that the housing market is a long way from fully recovering.

"Despite renewed hopes over the turn of the year for an imminent turn in housing, it appears that it is too early for such optimism to translate into a rapid pick-up in real activity," said Yelena Shulyatyeva, an analyst at BNP Paribas.

There were some positive signs in the report. The government revised December's sales figures up to show an annual rate of 336,000, the best sales pace in a year.

And the median sales price for new homes surged in February more than 8 percent, to $233,700. That's the highest median price since June and could suggest builders are anticipating more sales in the months to come.

Just 150,000 new homes were for sale in January and February -- the lowest on records dating back to 1963. The supply of new homes on the market has consistently fallen over the past two years, which could help stabilize prices.

Jennifer Lee, senior economist at BMO Capital Markets, said the price increase was possibly "an indication of homebuilders' growing confidence in their sector."

Though new-home sales represent less than 10 percent of the housing market, they have an outsize impact on the economy. Each home built creates an average of three jobs for a year and generates about $90,000 in tax revenue, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

Builders are growing more confident after seeing a growing number of people express interest in buying this year. They have responded by requesting the most permits to build single-family homes and apartments since October 2008.

Sales of previously occupied homes have risen more than 13 percent since July. And January and February made up the best winter for re-sales in five years, when the housing crisis began.

A key reason for the dismal sales in the new-home market is that builders must compete with foreclosures and short sales -- when lenders accept less for a house than what is owed on the mortgage.

Foreclosure activity surged in February across half of the states. The pace of foreclosures is increasing now that states have reached a settlement with the nation's five biggest mortgage lenders over foreclosure abuses.

Builders have also stopped working on many projects because it's been hard for them to get financing or to compete with cheaper resale homes. For many Americans, buying a home remains too big a risk more than four years after the housing bubble burst.

Sales were mixed across the country. They fell 2.4 percent in the Midwest and 7.2 percent in the South. They rose 8 percent in the West and 14.3 percent in the Northeast.
In addition, Bank of America this week announced a “mortgage to lease” pilot program in which a small number of borrowers facing foreclosure will be allowed to relinquish ownership in their homes without penalty and remain as tenants. The initial phase will include less than 1,000 people invited by the bank to participate in markets such as Arizona, Nevada and New York.

If the program proves successful, Bank of America officials said, it could be expanded to more homeowners in additional markets.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Highlights of New Scheme of Studies and Curriculm

Highlights of New Scheme of Studies
1- Islamiat will be taught as an integrated subject in Classes I-II and a separate full fledged subject from III to XII.
2- Ethics/Morality will be taught to non Muslim students in lieu of Islamiat.
3- Advanced Islamic Studies will be offered in Classes IX-X and XI-XII as an elective subject in Humanities Group.
4- General Science will be compulsory from Classes IV-VIII.
5- Pakistan Studies will be compulsory up to Class-X and Advance Pakistan Studies will be offered as Elective subject for Class-XI & XII.
6- History and Geography will be taught as compulsory subjects in Classes VI-VIII. The Curriculum will include History of the Sub Continent up to the creation of Pakistan in 1947.
7- Teaching of Computer Literacy (applied/ hands on) will be compulsory for Classes VI- VIII after years.
8- Computer Science will be an elective subject in Classes IX-X and will be offered as a Group in XI-XII.
9- Elective Subjects for Humanities Group will be offered in combinations of three related subjects for Classes IX-X and XI-Xii.
10- Foreign Students may opt History and Geography of Pakistan in Lieu of Urdu Compulsory.
11- Medical Technology Group (Six technologies) at Classes XI and XII introduced.
12- After 5 years Science and Mathematics will be taught in English in all schools.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Business licenses bring strong revenue in City

Business license fees are a major source of revenue for the town of Bluffton. Over the past 10 years we have seen a major increase in licenses, going from 62 to more than 2,000. We appreciate the business community and want to help them in any way possible. We have set up a one stop shop in Town Hall to aid in getting new businesses the start-up info they need, as well as making it easier to pay your renewals. Bluffton believes in business.

The town mailed out about 2,100 business license renewals for 2012 in January. Please be aware that your license expired on Dec. 31, 2011. However, because of the nature of our renewal period, there is a grace period and your business license will be considered valid until April 16, 2012.

All business licenses are renewable annually, based on the previous year’s gross sales for business conducted in the town of Bluffton. To date, the town has received 498 renewals; 229 from in town businesses and 269 from out of town businesses.

For the first time this year we are accepting credit cards payments (Visa, MasterCard and Discover) in addition to the previously accepted cash and business check. Please stop in to our newly-renovated customer service center in Town Hall at 20 Bridge St. if you have questions or need assistance in renewing your license.

The town of Bluffton requires businesses operating within the town limits, including home occupations, to obtain a town of Bluffton business license. Applications are available on the town’s website. New business license applications are made by submitting a completed application either by mail or in person at the business license office at Town Hall.

If you have any questions or comments regarding business licenses, or to notify us of a change of address or closure of your business, please contact the business license department.

For Improving Business Porsche staff to work on Saturdays

For Improving Budiness Porsche staff to work on Saturdays
Employees of the German sports car manufacturer Porsche must go further in the coming weeks. Due to the high demand for the 911 this spring in Stuttgart are also some Saturday services inserted. A company spokesman confirmed this Saturday.

Last year, Porsche sold a record number of cars in Germany. Sales rose 15 percent to 18,690 cars. The Porsche 911 was the best selling model with 6,993 units, an increase of 11 percent.

Curb Painting is Best Home Based Business

A new report from Shoestring Publishing says that curb painting is one of the best high profit and easy start up businesses for home-based business owners, even though most people have never heard of the curb painting business. "It might surprise some people that one of the best home-based business opportunities in the world is curb painting, it has great profit potential and can be started in only two days by almost anyone," says Justin Douglas of Planet Amazing. A new report and course from Planet Amazing shows the student exactly what to do to start this business. "Curbing is the act of painting your house number on the curb in front of your house, or business, so it can be seen by any visitors, friends, family, delivery trucks like FedEx or UPS, pizza delivery, police, fire, ambulance and more," Mr. Douglas says. "Our course is taught by people who have successfully started this business, plus you get over ten bonus courses that will help you run your new business. In a recession, owning your own business has great benefits."

Rich Wilkinson is one of the course teachers who has started many curb painting businesses. He says that this business can be started in two days by almost anyone, and that all the information you need to know is in the course: "The curb painting start up business is not a trendy new business that's going to go up or down. It's been sold for several years and will be sold for several more. The curb painting business has unlimited income potential. You can grow your business as big as you want it. If you want to be a single operator with no employees you can do that and I've always earned a nice income every time I've been in the curb painting business by myself. If you want to grow your business even bigger you can do it with employees, partnerships or even subcontractors that sell your service or paint the curbs for you for you. This business can be built quickly. It can be as big as you want it to be. I've made a pretty decent living in the curb painting business and I know other people who have made a lot more money than me."

This is one of the best businesses in the world to be in," Mr. Wilkinson says, "because you can start at the very bottom and work your way all the way to the top just by pure ingenuity, hard work and sweat equity. The curb painting business is fast to start. You can usually start your own curb painting business in less than two days. By using my methods and following the instructions you'll see in this course, you'll be able to hit the ground running and get your business started in as little as two days."

Mr. Douglas identifies six benefits to the curb painting start up business:

1. The market is wide open. Every home owner in your area is a potential client.
2. Low start up costs. You can open a curb painting business for less than $20.00
3. Anyone can do it! It takes no special skills, you can learn all there is to know in less than 30 minutes.
4. It's the easiest thing in the world to sell. Every home owner wants it and chances are the only reason they don't have it is that no one has offered yet.
5. Work when you want. Remember, your the boss! Work as much or as little as you want.
6Full time or part time, this is the easiest money you will ever make.

The course teaches how to start a curb painting business, and also has a start up boot camp that covers business topics like accounting, marketing and legal issues, all focused on the person starting this business. For more information, visit the Curb Painting Start up Course website.

About Shoestring Publishing
It is the premier online publisher of "extra income opportunities" that anyone can use to earn additional income. Unlike 99% of the so-called "opportunities" that promise to make millions overnight, the Shoestring Publishing mission is to show legitimate methods to earn a little extra income in a short period of time. Shoestring Publishing brings the very best in business start up courses to the public. They don't promise to make their students millionaires, but they do promise to show REAL strategies for earning extra cash that don't involve any special skills or a massive learning curve. All students need is an internet connection, an open mind and a willingness to learn.

New Business in Illinois town

When Stoney Falk was looking to start a new business, he came up with an old one.

He renovated an old building to create Side Pocket Billiards in Moweaqua, a town of about 1,900, 20 miles south of Decatur.

"The original floors were just completely gone," explained Falk, 31, who got a lot of help from his family. "We drove skid steers in here and just cleaned it all out."

Now, new wood floors and four pool tables glint under refurbished overhead lights. The building, more than a century old, is back to what it used to be before it fell into disuse and decay: a pool hall.

"It had been a pool hall for 100 years, and I wanted to bring it back, to make it something cheap and affordable for people but also modern and nice and kind of classic," Falk said.

The renovation took 18 months, and the business opened in November. Players can rent tables at $3.50 per person per hour and cues for $1.

In central Illinois, the terms pool and billiards are often used interchangeably. Strictly speaking, though, pool is another term for "pocket billiards," as other billiards games are played without pockets.

Falk's father, Dave Falk, 53, describes pool as a "game of mathematics." He adds: "You've got to be able to figure out the correct angles to get around the table. You've got to be able to see which way the ball is going to hit, where it's going to go next."

Moweaqua player Fain McFarling, who regularly oversees the Side Pocket for Falk, said pool is fascinating because you are either thinking offense — sinking the balls yourself — or defense — stopping your opponent from sinking his.

McFarling, 62, says pool has also benefited from an image break over the years, as sleazy pool halls have been replaced by such places as Side Pocket, which welcome families.

Starship Billiards & The Enterprise Grill has been in Decatur for 16 years and offers a full dining menu and caters to a family audience and lots of league players.

"On Saturdays now, they offer a junior league because a lot of people playing in the adult leagues found their kids were getting into it," said Michael Trostle, the kitchen manager for Starship. "They want to play because Mom and Dad play, and now we're planting the seeds of the future with these little kids."

Start a new Business in the Europe

In central Havana, not far from Revolutionary Square, a teal mural sports the words "Defend Socialism" in white capital letters. Just steps from the square, a sign says "53 years since our victory," referring to the communist revolution.

Despite the trappings, there are subtle fissures in the social fabric that Fidel Castro fought so hard to keep seamless during his reign. His younger brother, President Raul Castro, is making major concessions, allowing more Cubans to open up small businesses and make a living outside a meagre state-issued paycheque. They are concessions experts say are needed for the country to survive.

Before the economic reforms in late 2010, only 140,000 people in Cuba's workforce of four million- less than three per cent - were self-employed.

Approximately 350,000 Cubans have now been granted smallbusiness licences and that number is likely to grow.

Some ferry tourists across the cobblestone streets of Havana on three-wheeled bikes. Others have set up stands selling books, handmade jewelry, wooden trinkets and artwork, most of which immortalizes celebrated revolutionary figure Che Guevara.

Ernesto Estrada, 33, takes a taxi 20 kilometres every day from his home in Matanzas City to Varadero, the tourism heart of this tiny island, to work at his uncle's stand in a popular market. It costs him $2, but he quickly notes that's the fare for him, not tourists - most taxi drivers will charge $10 for tourists heading a few kilometres.

Estrada is encouraged by the new self-employment policy touted by Raul Castro.

"The government start to open the life for Cuban people," he said, pausing from his work to talk to me during a trip to the country in late February. "It's better for us," he added. "The pay [in Cuba] is very bad."

If his uncle sells $100 worth of portable wooden chess sets, carved wooden turtles or maps of Cuba painted on pieces of leather, Estrada will make $10 that day. That's not bad, considering most Cubans make $20 a month.

Estrada is trying to save money to open a stand of his own.

When the self-employment policy was announced in September 2010, Raul Castro promised to eliminate up to one million publicsector jobs by 2015, laying off 500,000 people by March 2011.

Archibald Ritter, an economist at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University who specializes in the Cuban economy, said the roll-out of the plan was a disaster. Layoffs had to be drastically scaled back, because the government had yet to liberalize the private sector or lift the debilitating restrictions on small business.

While some of the limitations on small businesses have been lifted, Ritter said they don't go far enough.

Up until November 2010, a private restaurant could only have 12 chairs. Now, restaurants can have 50 chairs.

Small businesses can employ a maximum of five people - an improvement from banning employees altogether.

The government still prohibits professional activities from being sold in a small-business enterprise. Businesses like accounting services, engineering consultancies and private law offices, which fill phone books in North America, are not allowed in Cuba.

The government is allowing many state-run businesses to shift to private enterprises selling the exact same service.

Ritter said this will make the economy more efficient, eliminating the complex and bureaucratic hierarchy that regulates state-run services.

"You have to have a big bureaucracy to organize everything. If they're just operated by little family firms, then each one is independent - they rise or fall depending on the demand they produce. So it's a direct relationship between the entrepreneur and the customer."

Francisco Yoslay, a charming, fashionably dressed 30-year-old, paced outside a cigar shop popular with tourists, briskly asking if they wanted fine Cuban cigars.

"Cohibas, I have Cohibas, very good price," he said with a smile.

Yoslay insists he gets them from family members who work in the state-run factory. Without having to pay the store commission, he can sell them at a better rate.

I asked if he considers himself a businessman and he replied: "Always."

"It's better than working for the government," he said, before leading me down a secluded alleyway to show off his wares.

Most people will tell you cigars not sold from behind a store counter are black market, but Yoslay's pitch was convincing. He rolled the thick Cohiba in his palms to show that the tobacco wouldn't fall out. He let customers smell the pungent aroma and showed off the engraved, cedar wood Cohiba box. One Canadian tourist took him up on the offer and bought 10 for 60 convertible pesos ($60).

Some of the government's draconian restrictions have led Cubans to cheat the system by stealing or selling services under the table.

Ritter said during a trip to Cuba last year, he was walking by a state-run cigar factory when he struck up a conversation with a night watchman.

The security guard asked Ritter if he wanted some cigars and led him to a cache of stolen cigars that he was selling out of the security booth.

- - -

Most Cubans live on a monthly income of $20 US, even though their country has a large professional workforce. The government provides people with housing, food rations, education and medical care.

As much as the ideology of socialism demands that there be no class divisions among the people, two distinct classes have emerged. There are those who work in the tourism business and those who don't.

More than two million tourists a year visit the Caribbean nation, providing the country with one of its main sources of revenue.

Waiters, bartenders, taxi drivers, tour guides and housekeepers are in the enviable position of making tips in Cuban convertible pesos, which are worth 25 times more than the Cuban peso.

Ismary Castillo, a waitress at a resort buffet in Varadero, is an engineer by profession. She took the job waiting tables to support her extended family. In addition to tips, tourists also shower her with a host of North American consumer goods - things like shampoo, makeup and brand-name clothes. Most of the coveted items go to her 17-year-old daughter, who is studying to get into a university architecture program.

Castillo said her daughter, Isis, sometimes gets frustrated studying and working so hard for what will be little pay in the future.

"My daughter, she say, 'Mom, why I study here? There is nothing.' I say, 'It's your future. If you do go to another country, you have to be a professional.' She says, 'But you're an engineer and you're waitressing.' But I'm always an engineer. I have that."

Hamet Manson Guerra, 42year-old, is a taxi driver, barman and mechanic. He has two sons, ages 15 and seven, whom he's encouraging to learn English fluently in the hopes that when they are older, they'll be able to leave the country for opportunities abroad.

Cubans are not allowed to leave the country unless they marry a non-Cuban, are artists or intellectuals or are sponsored by someone outside the country. Those who leave rarely come back for fear of reprisals.

"The people want to see a difference, they want to feel more freedom, you know what I mean?" said Guerra, wearing a crisp white shirt and perspiring in the hot Havana sun while taking a break from his taxi service. "The people can buy house, can sell it, can buy car, can buy the engines."

Guerra said the move to allow more small businesses is evident on the bustling streets of Havana.

"You can see - everybody have a small cafeteria, people open some restaurants, they drive the three-wheeled taxis," he said.

Santiago Pons said he makes good money running a taxi service in Varadero.

"It's a good business now - it's good money, driving taxi," he said from behind the wheel of a shiny white 1955 Cadillac Eldorado with a red interior and a loud engine.

"This is the only one in Cuba," he said with pride.

Pons also makes money repairing cars, a steady business given that most Cuban cars are decades old, thanks to the ban on foreign imports. "You [meet] many people, it's a nice job," he said.

Ritter doesn't see Cuba's economic reforms as a major shift in ideology so much as a necessary move to keep the economy afloat.

"It means that the regime is trying to save itself," he said. "The Castro brothers have been the dominating force for more than half a century. They want to get the economy working well, but with themselves in power."
Pay per click advertising

Saturday, March 17, 2012

OrangeSoda Announces a New Advertising Product for Local Businesses 2012

 OrangeSoda Announces a New Advertising Product for Local Businesses 2012
OrangeSoda Inc. today announced the release of Blend, a new advertising product for local businesses. Blend is a mix of SEO (search engine optimization), PPC (pay-per-click advertising), Maps Optimization, dedicated account support, a first-page guarantee, and a mobile-friendly website starting at $475/mo.

"We took a mix of all the things that make online marketing great and put them in one place," said Todd Crofts, VP of Product and Marketing for OrangeSoda. "We made a mix of advertising products that do more when combined than they ever could have done by themselves."

OrangeSoda's simplified product comes after five years of serving small- and medium-sized businesses with online marketing services including SEO (search engine optimization), PPC (pay-per-click), Maps Optimization and their branded mobile-friendly websites called MyPages. "We believe that businesses want online marketing to be simple, and that's what we've made it. We've created the simplest way for businesses to get online and start marketing themselves," said Mark Delorey, Director of Research and Development. "Blend takes the guesswork out of online marketing. It gives business owners access to an industry expert who will take care of the marketing and help business owners strategize about how to best find more customers. It's a full-service solution."

Unlike most online advertising services and Yellow Pages advertising, Blend is focused not only on placement but on promising and producing meaningful results. "Blend has been engineered from the ground up with one question in mind: How do we deliver more new customers to our advertisers? Blend is the answer to that question," said Delorey.Pay per click advertising

About OrangeSoda
Founded in 2006, OrangeSoda offers online marketing to local businesses with a unique blend of intelligent service and simple technology. By harmonizing services that cover the entire search engine results page, OrangeSoda provides the best return on investment. By using insider knowledge of how people use the Internet and how local businesses work, OrangeSoda always targets the right customers for clients. By integrating services and technology, OrangeSoda makes it easy for partners to provide Internet marketing services to their customers.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Unchanged - Dow Jones is at a standstill 2012

 Unchanged - Dow Jones is at a standstill 2012
The U.S. stock markets on Friday came after the recent significant gains in part on the spot. The Dow Jones was about two hours before the close of trading from 0.02 percent to 13250.56 points, after he had closed the last seven trading days, all in positive territory, rising to its highest level since late 2007. Seen over the week, the Dow was down, despite the moderate discount on Friday last another 2.5 percent.

The broader S & P 500 on Friday last by 0.13 percent to 1404.49 points and noted that more than the mark of 1,400 points, which he did on Thursday for the first time exceeded since 2008. On the U.S. Nasdaq stock exchange, it went down slightly. The Nasdaq Composite Index 0.03 percent to 3055.39 expiated one point, while the NASDAQ 100 index range 0.05 percent to 2713.38 points gave.

There was little impetus on Friday of the economic and business side. The published data on the economic situation were mixed. While consumer prices had risen about as expected, industrial production had stagnated in February as a surprise. Consumer confidence had deteriorated at the University of Michigan also.

"It looks as if it would continue - albeit not very fast pace - go up," said a trader at the New York Stock Exchange. The greatest danger he sees in the current oil price. Should go on the top, this could impact on the stock markets. If this does not happen in the coming days, the first quarter could be measured in the stock market on the S & P 500 is the best since 1998. The index has been climbing since the beginning of the year by almost twelve percent for the top.

When the individual values, the papers were the focus of Apple. The shares of computer maker reported a day from the sales launch of the new iPad 0.13 percent to 584.82 U.S. dollars. Dealer justified this with profit-taking. The share price had climbed for the first time on Thursday over the mark of $ 600. End of 2011, Apple's share was to be had for around $ 400.

Down it went with the other hand, the Dow Jones traded securities of United Technologies. The conglomerate announced on Thursday to try to separate the financing of the acquisition of assets. The shares lost 1.86 percent to $ 85.43 recently.

Dow Jones closes seventh consecutive day in positive territory

Dow Jones closes seventh consecutive day in positive territory
Good news from the U.S. labor market spur the exchanges. Dow Jones, S & P and Nasdqaq continue their upward trend. Apple shares, however fell short of expectations.

The U.S. stock markets have continued their recent upward trend on Thursday. Good economic data from the domestic economy ensured that the Dow Jones and the seventh consecutive trading day ended with a gain. The final bell, he was up 0.44 percent to 13252.76 points and went on to its highest level since late 2007 from the market.

A record also broke the broader S & P 500 index. For the first time since mid-2008, he climbed back over the threshold of 1400 points. Ultimately, he won 0.60 percent to 1402.59 points. Friendly, it was also on the Nasdaq: The Composite Index gained

0.51 percent to 3056.37 points and strengthened the mark of 3,000 points, which he had skipped the last time in 2000. The selection index Nasdaq 100 rose by 0.24 percent to 2714.79 while points.

Good news from the labor market

There was good from the labor market in the U.S. reported: Initial applications for unemployment benefits had fallen in the past week more than expected, reaching its lowest level in four years. This was backed up from better-than-expected economic sentiment indicators.

Contrary to expectations, the mood of the manufacturing sector in the State of New York had brightened further in March. In addition, the business climate in the Philadelphia area was increased for the same month more than expected.

The peak in the Dow Jones climbed the day before as the title of Bank of America, which rose by 4.52 percent to 9.24 U.S. dollars upwards. Shares of JPMorgan were at a premium of 2.57 percent is the second biggest winner.

Outside the benchmark index, the shares of Goldman Sachs and Citigroup rebounded yesterday from their losses. They rose by 2.23 or 3.01 percent.

Apple in the center of attention

Worst performer in the Dow, meanwhile, were announced after a purchase of the shares of Cisco Systems. The world's largest network equipment manufacturers willing to take on a pay-TV solutions, specialized software company NDS. The purchase price includes debt of around five billion dollars. Cisco's shares subsequently gave around 1.39 percent, to $ 19.91.

In addition, Apple's shares once again drew attention to himself. In anticipation of the new iPad available starting Friday, they reached the commercial launch for the first time the mark of $ 600.

They turned then down quickly and gave it to the end by 0.68 percent, to $ 585.56. Previously, she had six trading days in a row and closed in positive territory won in the top since the beginning of almost half its value.

Guess shares slump from

Meanwhile, there were major losses in the shares of the retailer Guess, which sagged because of a disappointing outlook by slightly more than 10 percent. Also, an IPO was in sight: Shares of software maker Demandware soared by almost half to the top, after they were issued at $ 16.00.

The euro has recovered somewhat from its recent losses. The common currency cost in New York trading last $ 1.3089. Ten-year U.S. bonds, however, gave a 5/32 points according to 9714/32 counter. Your margin rose accordingly to the seventh trading day in a row and is now 2.288 percent, which means the highest level since October.

US Stocks Stall After Sentiment Data 2012

US Stocks Stall After Sentiment Data 2012
Stocks traded flat as a weaker-than-expected reading on consumer sentiment kept gains in check.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell two points, or less than 0.1%, to 13251, in Friday afternoon trading. On Thursday, blue chips stretched their winning streak to seven sessions, the longest since an eight-session run ended in February 2011.The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index rose two points, or 0.1%, to 1404, and is on pace to notch its fifth consecutive weekly gain and is up 12% this year. On Thursday, the S&P 500 topped 1400 for the first time in almost four years. The Nasdaq Composite edged down one point, or less than 0.1%, to 3056.

Stocks opened higher, but dipped into the red after the Reuters/University of Michigan consumer-sentiment index declined. Elsewhere on the U.S. economic data front, consumer prices leapt in February, though slightly less than expected, a rise due almost entirely to a surge in gasoline prices. Meanwhile, industrial production was unchanged in February, but lower than expectations.

Energy and material stocks were the best-performing sectors on the S&P 500, while utility and consumer-discretionary stocks lagged behind. Bank of America BAC +5.09% gained and United Technologies UTX -1.38% slid, the biggest movers among Dow components.

Apple AAPL -0.10% declined as its third-generation iPad went on sale Friday, after briefly touching $600 for the first time on Thursday.In Europe, markets were mostly higher, with the Stoxx Europe 600 rising 0.5% to reach an eight-month high, amid optimism about global economic growth and waning concerns over euro-zone sovereign debt.
Related Video

On the day of the iPad release, Apple shares were edging towards $600 a share but the question is how long their momentum will last, Paul Vigna reports on the News Hub. Photo: Reuters.

In Asia, Japan's Nikkei Stock Average rose 0.1% to post its sixth straight weekly gain. China's Shanghai Composite rallied 1.3% but suffered a second consecutive weekly loss.

Crude-oil prices tacked on 1%, to $106.22 a barrel, while gold slipped 0.3%, to $1,655.40 a troy ounce. The dollar fell against the yen and the euro. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.297%.

In other corporate, Sprint Nextel AAPL -0.10% rose after the company confirmed it will terminate a 15-year spectrum-hosting agreement with LightSquared. On Thursday, The Wall Street Journal reported that Sprint S +1.79% will return $65 million in prepayments to the wireless start-up. The move comes after federal regulators said earlier this year that they intended to block LightSquared from operating its planned nationwide fourth-generation network.

Google GOOG +0.53% rose after The Wall Street Journal reported that the Internet search company is being investigated by U.S. and European Union regulators for bypassing the privacy settings of millions of users of Apple's Safari Web browser.

Dole Food DOLE +10.33% climbed after reporting its fourth-quarter loss narrowed as the fruit-and-vegetable producer continued to cut costs, offsetting a revenue decline in its main selling segment.

ATP Oil & Gas ATPG +4.88% advanced after reporting a narrower-than-expected fourth-quarter loss and revenue that topped estimates.

Packaging maker Rock-Tenn NWY +5.16% fell after the company predicted fiscal second-quarter earnings below analyst expectations, noting increased plant downtime and pricing pressure on exports.

Obama's budget would add $6.4 trillion to debt

Obama's budget would add $6.4 trillion to debt
Lawmakers on Friday were handed the official score card on President Obama's proposed budget for 2013.

The Congressional Budget Office concluded that the president's budget would add less to the country's debt than if lawmakers simply extend a number of favored policies, such as the Bush-era tax cuts. And yet debt levels at the end of the decade under Obama's budget would remain too high for comfort.

The president's budget would add $6.4 trillion in deficits between 2013 and 2022, the CBO said.

Under the so-called alternative fiscal scenario, where Congress simply extends a number of favored policies, cumulative deficits would reach nearly $11 trillion.

The president's proposals would bring debt held by the public to 76% of GDP at the end of the period measured, up from 68% last year.

Debt held by the public includes U.S. bonds bought by investors, but excludes money owed to government trust funds, such as Social Security and Medicare.

Independent deficit watchdogs have been urging lawmakers to put in place a debt-reduction plan to lower public debt to at least 60% by the end of the decade.
Obama's unveil's $3.8 trillion budget

One reason why Obama's budget fails to do so is because it doesn't adequately address entitlement costs, such as Medicare.

The president has publicly advocated striking a "grand bargain" -- which would involve entitlement and other spending cuts as well as tax increases -- to reduce the country's long-term debt burden. But fraught negotiations with House Republicans fell apart over the summer.

The CBO analysis shows that the president's budget would end up stabilizing the debt -- meaning the country's deficits stop growing faster than the economy. The annual deficit in his proposal would fall to 2.5% of GDP by 2017 -- well below the 8.1% projected for this year. But they would climb back to 3% by 2022. And barring any more significant debt-reduction plans, deficits thereafter would continue on a northward trek.
Obama: Slash corporate tax rates and breaks

Annual spending levels in Obama's fiscal blueprint average 22.5% of GDP, above the 20.7% historical average. But his budget would put discretionary spending on a downward trajectory, from 8.4% of GDP this year to 5.2% at the end of the decade.

Under the president's budget, the government's revenue intake would climb to an average of 19.4%, above the 18.1% historical norm and well above the 60-year lows reached during the recession.

Part of the reason for the increase is due to a strengthening economy. But partly it's due to the estimated $950 billion in new revenue he'd raise from a host of proposals, the largest of which is his call to limit the value of itemized deductions for high-income households, which alone is estimated to raise $520 billion over a decade.

At the same time, he puts forth a number of measures that would shrink tax receipts significantly relative to where they would otherwise be. The most costly is his oft-repeated proposal to make permanent the Bush-era tax cuts for the majority of Americans, followed by a proposal to index the Alternative Minimum Tax to inflation, and expanding stimulus measures and creating new tax cuts for families.

While no president's budget is ever adopted by Congress wholesale or even in large part, this year there isn't likely to be any real action on anyone's budget proposal -- including one expected next week from House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan -- until after the presidential election in November.

That's when Congress will face a number of fateful fiscal decisions, such as whether to extend the Bush-era tax cuts and whether to replace nearly $1 trillion in automatic spending cuts that nobody wants but which are scheduled to take effect in January 2013.

How Lehman gets $850 million from sale of Neuberger stake 2012

How Lehman gets $850 million from sale of Neuberger stake 2012
Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc LEHMQ.PK received $850 million from the sale of its equity in investment management business Neuberger Berman and said the funds will be available for distribution to unsecured creditors.

Lehman said when completed the sale will fetch it around $1.5 billion and combined with previous proceeds from the sale of its stake it has till date received over $1 billion.

In addition to boosting Lehman's creditor paybacks, the sale paves the way for the elite wealth manager to become fully employee owned and independent.

"This transaction provides an immediate and significant recovery to Lehman's creditors, and we expect to provide additional value to creditors as Neuberger Berman moves toward 100 percent employee ownership over the next few years," said William Fox, chief financial officer of Lehman and director of Neuberger Berman.

Neuberger was a pioneering mutual fund manager and one of the country's leading investment firms when it listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 1999. Lehman acquired it in 2003 for $2.6 billion, and the company thrived as part of the fast growing investment bank and securities firm.

Earlier this month, one-time financial powerhouse Lehman emerged from bankruptcy after three and a half years and is now a liquidating company whose main business in the coming years will be to pay back its creditors and investors.

On April 17, Lehman will start distributing what it expects to be a total of about $65 billion to creditors.

US Lawmakers urge Obama to act on China auto parts 2012

US Lawmakers urge Obama to act on China auto parts 2012
A group of 188 lawmakers on Friday urged President Barack Obama to crack down on "predatory" Chinese pricing practices, which they said are threatening the auto parts industry.

"We can not wait until further damage is done," the group said in a letter to Obama. "Seventy-five percent of the jobs in the automotive sector are in auto parts, and these jobs are at risk in every state in the nation."

The lawmakers included many from the auto manufacturing states of the upper Midwest, which will likely be important in Obama's bid for re-election in November.

They said China uses a "vast array of policies" to give its auto parts producers an unfair trade advantage.

Those include Chinese limits on imports of foreign auto parts and subsidies that drive down the prices auto parts that are made in China, the lawmakers said.

"These tactics are working. Chinese auto parts exports are rapidly growing and have increased almost 900 percent since 2000," the lawmakers said.

The appeal follows Obama's recent decision to establish an interagency task force to boost U.S. enforcement of trade agreements. The lawmakers urged Obama "to use all existing authorities" to protect the U.S. auto parts sector, but did not outline a particular course of action.

Advocates have said the administration's options include bringing a case at the World Trade Organization or initiating an action under U.S. trade remedy laws that would lead to duties or other restrictions on imports from China.

Supreme Court to release audio in healthcare cases 2012

Supreme Court to release audio in healthcare cases 2012
The U.S. Supreme Court said on Friday it will release audio recordings and transcripts of oral arguments in the healthcare challenge immediately after the March 26-28 sessions, responding to what it called "extraordinary public interest."

The court rejected a request, however, from C-SPAN, endorsed by some members of Congress, to allow video recordings of the arguments. The court has long barred cameras from its white marble setting - a practice that has drawn criticism from Congress and media groups. Demand to see arguments in the trio of cases centering on the 2010 Obama-sponsored healthcare overhaul is high. The core of the dispute tests the constitutionality of a provision requiring most people in the United States to buy health insurance by 2014.

The courtroom seats a maximum of 400 and most of those seats already have been reserved for people associated with the cases or connected to the justices and other court officials.

The usual high court practice is to release audio recordings at the end of each week of arguments. In the court's announcement Friday, it said it would post the audio recordings and transcripts from the morning sessions March 26-28 by about 2 p.m. A recording and transcript of the March 28 afternoon session is likely to be available by 4 p.m.

Tapping oil stash may be trickier than expected 2012

Tapping oil stash may be trickier than expected 2012
As President Barack Obama moves closer to an unprecedented second release of the U.S. emergency oil stockpile in a bid to bring down near-record fuel prices, experts say dramatic logistical upheavals in the U.S. oil market over the past year may now make such a move slower and more complicated.

Moving to tap the four giant Gulf Coast salt caverns that hold 700 million barrels of government-owned crude would still almost certainly knock global oil futures lower, delivering some relief at the pump for motorists and helping Obama in the November election if he can prevent gasoline from rising above $4 a gallon nationwide.

On Thursday, prices fell by as much as $3 a barrel after Reuters reported that Britain was set to agree to release stockpiles together with the United States later this year. UK officials said the timing and details of the release would be worked out prior to the summer, when prices often peak.

But the logistics of getting that crude oil to willing refiners are more complicated than ever.

The reversal of a major Texas-to-Oklahoma pipeline will lower the distribution capacity of the SPR's largest cavern, according to John Shages, who oversaw the U.S. oil reserves during the Bush and Clinton administrations. A resurgence in domestic oil output and the potential closure of the East Coast's biggest refinery is curtailing demand for crude.

There is little doubt that SPR oil would eventually find buyers, since it is basically auctioned to the higher bidder. But it may move more slowly than the government hopes.

"The logistical system in the United States is shifting," said Guy Caruso, the former head of the Energy Information Administration. "That probably is going to cause SPR officials to rethink how that oil would be distributed especially in an extreme scenario."

The mechanics of the release may prove almost as tricky for Obama as rallying international support for a second intervention in as many years, or fending off attacks from Republicans who will likely brand it as a pre-election gimmick.


The U.S. shale oil boom and rising imports of Canadian oil sands crude have transformed the U.S. energy landscape, with industry now scrambling to move a glut of oil from the center of the country down to the U.S. Gulf Coast -- reversing historical trends that were the basis for the SPR's original planning.

The nation's emergency oil stockpile, created by Congress in the mid-1970s after the Arab oil embargo, was designed to transport oil primarily via pipeline from the Gulf to refineries in the area and to buyers further north.

"The fact that pipelines go south and not north is a major change," says Edward Morse, global head of commodities research at Citigroup and a former energy expert at the State Department.

The Department of Energy says the SPR can distribute crude to 49 refineries with a capacity of more than 5 million barrels per day -- about one-third the U.S. total -- and five marine terminals. It is designed to be capable of releasing oil within two weeks of an order, and to sustain a rate of 1 million bpd for as long as a year and a half, enough to meet 5 percent of U.S. demand.

Today it can discharge oil at a maximum rate of 4.25 million bpd, just below its 4.4 million bpd design capacity, a department official said. The reduction was due to a damaged storage tank.

Industry analysts, however, are skeptical.

Morse says that the maximum rate now appears unachievable, and that logistical problems constrained the government's release of 30 million barrels of oil last summer -- its largest ever -- in response to the disruption of Libyan oil supplies.

Oil from the reserves must compete with crude already being transported via pipeline or tanker, often on crowded waterways, so there may not be enough capacity in the system to immediately take in millions of additional barrels of oil.

The Energy Department released an average of 743,000 bpd last August.

The department said it conducts thorough assessments of commercial capabilities to move oil from the reserves on a routine basis and remains confident it could supply the market with 4.25 million bpd if needed.

Many analysts doubt that much would ever be needed at once.

"Absent a serious disruption of great magnitude, it is inconceivable that the U.S. would draw down its inventory of SPR at the maximum rate," said Shages, who now runs his own firm, called Strategic Petroleum Consulting, LLC.


Even so, the system now has less flexibility.

The move to reverse the flow of the 350,000 bpd Seaway Pipeline to move crude oil from Cushing, Oklahoma, where there is a glut, to Gulf Coast refineries will almost certainly hurt the distribution capability of the SPR's Bryan Mound storage tank in Freeport, Texas, says Shages.

Bryan Mound is the largest of the four sites, capable of holding about a third of the SPR's total crude. About 43 percent of last year's release came from Bryan Mound, data show.

After operator Enterprise Products completes the process of reversing the line by June, it will be limited to shipping crude via two Gulf of Mexico terminals and a system of local pipelines into Houston area refineries.

But Bryan Mound will still be able to discharge crude at a rate of 1.25 million bpd, according to an energy department official.

"When the pipeline is reversed, the distribution capability of crude from the SPR site will still be nearly 25 percent more than the site's maximum drawdown rate, ensuring more than sufficient distribution capability," the official said.

The Capline from Louisiana to Illinois, the largest such south-to-north pipeline, in theory has plenty of spare capacity since it has been running at less than a quarter of its 1.2 million bpd -- but that is because a glut of Canadian and North Dakota crude is already sating the big Midwest refiners.

Meanwhile Gulf Coast plants are filling up on growing output from the Eagle Ford shale in Texas, reducing import demand. Because most U.S. crude oil cannot legally be exported, SPR supplies will typically only displace seaborne imports.

U.S. crude oil imports into the Gulf Coast region, known as Padd 3, fell 8 percent last year to below 5 million bpd, the lowest level since the 1990s.

Last year, at least some of the crude released from the SPR traveled further afield, beyond the Gulf Coast.

Tesoro, whose only refineries are on the West Coast, bought 1.2 million barrels, while East Coast refiner Sunoco bought 1.4 million barrels. Obama issued 44 waivers to the Jones Act to allow companies to use non-U.S. tankers for shipments last year.

But the East Coast looks a less likely market this year. Sunoco is set to close its 335,000 bpd Philadelphia refinery before June if it does not find a buyer. That could cut the region's capacity to less than 700,000 bpd.

Ultimately the rate of release means little if you cannot get the oil quickly to those who need it most, says Mark Routt, a senior oil market consultant at KBR Advanced Technologies.

"To say that you have this drawdown capability, but you're putting oil in places it doesn't need to go, isn't really helpful to the market," Routt said.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Greece wraps up swap of bonds value $232.5 billion, is waiting for finalization of 2nd bailout

Greece integrated the greatest financial obligations writedown in history on Thursday, changing the bulk of its privately-held ties with new ones value less than half their original value.

Although the return will keep Greece favourable and at the getting end of enormous amounts in worldwide save loans, marketplaces were deflated amongst concerns that the nation's financial obligations load still continues to be far too heavy. A Financial Ministry declaration said ties released under Ancient law with a total face value of €177.2 million ($232.5 billion) were interchanged. A smaller set value €28.5 million, released under overseas law or by condition corporations, will be changed out in coming several days.

The financial obligations return reveals the way for Greece’s second worldwide bailout, predicted to be completed this weeks time by finance ministers from euro zone countries. It will also transfer many of the nation's financial obligations from personal into community ownership — its euro zone lovers and the International Monetary Fund.

Jean-Claude Juncker, the pm of Sweden who is also the main spokesperson for the 17 countries that use the dollar, said he desires the final approval for the bailout on Thursday, but indicated that was mainly a matter of procedure.

“There is no doubt that the second Ancient system will be approved,” he told correspondents as he arrived for a finance ministers’ conference in The city.

Without the substitute and the €130 million ($172 billion) bailout, Greece faced an out of hand standard on its financial obligations in less than two several days when a big rapport payoff was due.

Though the rapport substitute will remove €105 million ($138 billion) off Greece’s €368 million ($485 billion) financial obligations mountain, giving Athens space to enact more austerity, many experts think the nation's financial obligations continues to be not sustainable.

The makes on the new ties, with maturities of between 11 and 30 decades, are dealing at prices between 13 and 19 %. That indicates that traders think Greece needs to cut its financial obligations a lot more before it can come back to marketplaces for funding.

“Markets are telling us that Greece still encounters a Huge process,” said Patricia Cooper, marketplaces specialist at BGC Partners. “If the nation's problems were settled by the greatest ever sovereign reorientating ever and the first standard in Western European countries for 70 odd decades — the last one was Tuscany in 1940 — then why are the new and bright ties dealing for the first time today as junk?”

Greece won the other day in getting many its traders to agree to the debt-reduction deal.

It got the support of 83.5 % of many, who will take real failures of more than 70 % on their holdings of Ancient financial obligations. Of the traders holding ties controlled by Ancient law, 85.8 % decided. The timeline for foreign-law ties — which saw a 69 % takeup rate — has been extended to Goal 23.

Despite the success of the rapport substitute, the longer-term process experiencing the nation, which is due to hold elections within the next few months, is tough. After saying yes to a further set of severe changes to secure new bailout resources, Greece must now implement them.

The list includes cutting 15,000 city assistance jobs this season, joining or scrapping many community sector agencies, selling off condition resources and enacting deeply budget reduces. The nation must also rearrange its tax, health and judicial systems.

Even more austerity actions are required in May.

“From our side, the target is now the full rendering of the system and of course the come back of Greece to growth,” Financial Reverend Evangelos Venizelos said Thursday.

Since the beginning of 2010, Greeks have been clobbered with swells of retirement living and wage reduces amongst continuous tax outdoor hikes. Side effects have varied from union-organized hits and classes — many of which turned chaotic — to attacks on political figures and disturbance of parades. Last season alone, nearly 6,000 direct orders and classes were presented national, according to police figures.

On Thursday, Primary Reverend Lucas Papademos chaired a ministerial conference on potential assault during independence-day parties on Goal 25.

Greece has been fixed out of the marketplaces by sky-high prices and has been depending on resources from an preliminary €110 million ($145 billion) bailout since May 2010.

Despite getting more than €70 million ($92 billion) of the preliminary save loans and passing the austerity actions, the nation continues to be unable to assistance its financial obligations as the economy has stepped into an in-depth recession.

European commanders decided last August that Greece needed a second bailout if it was to avoid a crazy standard that could have ripped down the dollar.


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