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ozymandius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-05-06 05:17 AM
Original message
STOCK MARKET WATCH, Thursday 5 January
Thursday January 5, 2006

COUNTING THE DAYS
DAYS REMAINING IN THE * REGIME 3 YEARS, 17 DAYS
DAYS SINCE DEMOCRACY DIED (12/12/00) 1841 DAYS
WHERE'S OSAMA BIN-LADEN? 1540 DAYS
DAYS SINCE ENRON COLLAPSE = 1502
Number of Enron Execs in handcuffs = 19
ENRON EXECS CONVICTED = 3
Other Arrests of Execs = 54


U.S. FUTURES & MARKETS INDICATORS
NASDAQ FUTURES-----------------------------S&P FUTURES




AT THE CLOSING BELL WHEN BUSH TOOK OFFICE on January 22, 2001
Dow - 10,578.24
Nasdaq - 2,757.91
S&P 500 - 1,342.90
Oil - $27.69/bbl
Gold - $266.70/oz.


AT THE CLOSING BELL ON January 4, 2006

Dow... 10,880.15 +32.74 (+0.30%)
Nasdaq... 2,263.46 +19.72 (+0.88%)
S&P 500... 1,273.46 +4.66 (+0.37%)
10-Yr Bond... 4.36% -0.01 (-0.32%)
Gold future... 535.60 +3.10 (+0.58%)






GOLD, EURO, YEN, Dollars and Loonie


PIEHOLE ALERT

Heads Up!
Preliminary info on appearances by Bush & Co. throughout the country. Details & links are added as they become available so check back. And if you know more, are organizing something, or would like to, contact actionpost@legitgov.org

For information on protests and other actions Citizens For Legitimate Government






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ozymandius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-05-06 05:22 AM
Response to Original message
1. WrapUp by Mike Hartman
U.S. Economy Weakens with Probable Dollar Problems Ahead

With only a few tidbits of economic news today, traders and market analysts are looking for follow-through of yesterdays market action following the minutes of the Fed meeting. The overall consensus has the Federal Reserve backing-off on future rate increases with possibly one or two quarter-point hikes to come. With the news, stocks took off while the dollar and bonds were sold lower. In afternoon trading the Dow Industrials are only a few points higher, with the smaller cap stocks in the NASDAQ performing slightly better. The U.S. dollar is still selling-off, but bonds have firmed as traders look toward economic data tomorrow and Friday.

The economic data was light, but stocks didnt get much help from the report on Factory Orders this morning. Orders in November came close to expectations with a gain of 2.5%, but excluding transportation orders showed no increase. The results for October were adjusted lower from the estimated 2.2% gain to the actual gain of 1.7%. Non-defense capital goods orders excluding aircraft declined 2.1%. This is the second decline in the last three months and doesnt bode well for capital spending over the near term.

-cut-

I believe that one of two things is going to happen. We will either have a large escalation of the war in the Middle East to include Iran, or the dollar will lose its global monopoly as the worlds reserve currency to share that position with the euro. Back in August, Toni Straka submitted an article to the Financial Sense University titled, Iranian Oil Bourse Could Kill the U.S. Dollar. An oil bourse is an exchange where oil is traded such as the N.Y. Mercantile Exchange. As it stands, all current exchanges are denominated in U.S. dollars, but the proposal for the Iranian exchange has them doing business exclusively in euros. In the article Mr. Straka makes the point that, A renunciation of the dollar is worse than an Iranian nuclear attack. Believe me folks, HE IS RIGHT!!


more...

http://www.financialsense.com/Market/wrapup.htm
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ozymandius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-05-06 05:44 AM
Response to Reply #1
4. from the referenced article
As this development poses a very real and big danger to the superior status of the greenback and the interests of the USA the "president of war" can be expected to steer a close reach against the winds blowing from the Middle East. One may be reminded that the Iraqi despot Saddam Hussein had entered into discreet talks with the EU, proposing to sell his oil for Euros. That was in the year before the first oil war of this century.

In my conclusion the IOB this way could help the Euro to become the interim primary reserve currency before China and India will rise to the first two slots in the global economic ranking in the next few decades, an issue discussed in the post "What will be the next big reserve currency."
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54anickel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-05-06 06:32 AM
Response to Reply #1
7. Morning Ozy and all. Isn't it amazing how the MSM continues to ignore
the Iranian Oil Bourse? We've been covering that announced plan here whenever there's been an article in the foreign press, yet the Murikan big media remains silent. I still believe the petro-dollar is going down along with it's world reserve currency status. Just a matter of when.

Short morning for me again, just wanted to peek at the futures and the Wrap-up. :hi:
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ozymandius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-05-06 05:35 AM
Response to Original message
2. Today's Reports
8:30 AM Initial Claims 12/31
Briefing Forecast 320K
Market Expects 320K
Prior 322K

10:00 AM ISM Services Dec
Briefing Forecast 60.0
Market Expects 59.0
Prior 58.5

10:30 AM Crude Inventories 12/30
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Maeve Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-05-06 07:52 AM
Response to Reply #2
14. Jobless claims sink to 5-year low
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The number of U.S. workers filing new claims for unemployment aid plunged by an unexpectedly large 35,000 last week to the lowest level in more than five years, a government report showed Thursday.

The Labor Department said 291,000 initial claims for state jobless benefits were filed in the week ended Dec. 31, the lowest number since September 2000 and down from a revised 326,000 in the prior week. It was the largest weekly drop since late September.

A department analyst said there were no special factors to account for the decrease, but cautioned there is often great volatility in the data around holidays.

The decrease in claims was much larger than analysts on Wall Street had anticipated. Forecasters had expected initial claims to dip slightly to 320,000 last week from the originally reported 322,000 for the prior week.


http://money.cnn.com/2006/01/05/news/economy/jobless_cl...

:party:
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AnneD Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-05-06 08:53 AM
Response to Reply #14
31. Morning Marketeers,
:donut: I see the jobless claim but I am not buying it. Too many big companies announcing too many big layoffs.
I was listening to NPR today and they were talking about obscure indicators and predicting the economy. I realized that I mainly use middle class (real mid to lower mid class) indicators such as Walmart, Target. I also look at for closures, auto repossessions. I look at Neimans and luxury goods for upper middle class (although that can be deceiving as there is great pressure on upper middle class to look the part). I look at IRS info too. In Houston (home office to many energy co's) we have easy access to oil indicators. Card board boxes foretelling manufacturing, etc.
The author of the story was talking about some obscure indicators for world economy such as copper (used in everything from iPods to new home wiring) as a global indicator. Another economist used the warehouse space in Belgium as a 3-6 mos indicator in Europe. My question is... what obscure indicators do you swear by.
Happy Hunting and watch out for the bears.....
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UpInArms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-05-06 09:03 AM
Response to Reply #2
34. U.S. pending home sales fall 2.5% in Nov.
http://www.marketwatch.com/news/newsfinder/pulseone.asp...

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- Pending U.S. home sales dropped 2.5% in November, the National Association of Realtors said Thursday. The pending home sales index -- which measures signed contracts for existing homes -- fell to 120.6, down 2.5% from November 2004. The third consecutive decline in the index from August's record 129.2 shows the market is in a "transition" from a boom to a more sustainable level, said David Lereah, chief economist for the trade group. Pending sales remain high by historic standards, he said.

10:00am 01/05/06 U.S. PENDING HOME SALES INDEX SHOWS SLOWING: NAR

10:00am 01/05/06 U.S. NOV. PENDING HOME SALES INDEX DOWN 2.5% Y-O-Y

10:00am 01/05/06 U.S. NOV. PENDING HOME SALES INDEX FALLS 2.5% TO 120.6
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UpInArms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-05-06 09:09 AM
Response to Reply #34
36. U.S. pending home sales index slips in November
http://today.reuters.com/investing/financeArticle.aspx?...

WASHINGTON, Jan 5 (Reuters) - Pending sales of U.S. homes fell in November to the lowest level in 10 months, showing a slowdown has begun in the housing market after a five-year rally, the National Association of Realtors said on Thursday.

The Pending Home Sales Index, based on contracts signed in November, stood at 120.6 in November, down 2.5 percent from both October and a year ago. The reading marked the lowest level for the index since matching that level in January 2005.

David Lereah, the group's chief economist, said the index remains at a high level, but that the housing market has begun to transition.

"We are clearly experiencing a market transition, moving from a prolonged boom to a more balanced period of sustainable sales," Lereah said.

"In other words, home sales have been peaking for the last five years and we will land on a high plateau in 2006 -- a market that will be healthy for both buyers and sellers," he said. "Investment fundamentals for housing remain solid, preserving generally favorable affordability conditions while offering solid returns as well as a place to live."

...more...
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UpInArms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-05-06 02:36 PM
Response to Reply #36
61. Freddie Mac sees home sales down 6% to 8% in 2006
http://www.marketwatch.com/news/newsfinder/pulseone.asp...

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- U.S. home sales should decline by between 6% to 8% this year, Freddie Mac's (FRE) chief economist said Thursday. But Frank Nothaft and other economists said housing will continue to be a strong engine for the U.S. economy in 2006. The National Association of Realtors predicted new home sales would drop by 5% to 6% in 2006, and that existing home sales would fall by 4% to 5%. "The boom is obviously winding down," said NAR economist David Lereah. But "the fundamentals are still good in housing," he said. Lereah and Nothaft spoke during a conference call with reporters.
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UpInArms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-05-06 09:06 AM
Response to Reply #2
35. Dec ISM @ 59.8%
Edited on Thu Jan-05-06 09:08 AM by UpInArms
10:02am 01/05/06 U.S. DEC. ISM SERVICES PRICES 69.5% VS 74.2% IN NOV.

10:02am 01/05/06 U.S. DEC. ISM SERVICES EMPLOYMENT 57.1% VS 57.0% IN NOV.

10:00am 01/05/06 U.S. DEC. ISM SERVICES ABOVE CONSENSUS 58.9%

10:00am 01/05/06 U.S. DEC. ISM SERVICES 59.8% VS 58.5% IN NOV.

(edited to correct my mathematical morning brain fart)
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UpInArms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-05-06 09:34 AM
Response to Reply #2
43. DOE Petroleum Inventories Report
10:30am 01/05/06 NATURAL-GAS STOCKS UP 1 BLN CUBIC FEET: ENERGY DEPT

10:31am 01/05/06 U.S. CRUDE STKS DOWN 1 MLN BRLS LAST WK: ENERGY DEPT

10:31am 01/05/06 U.S. DISTILLATE STKS UP 2.1 MLN BRLS: ENERGY DEPT

10:31am 01/05/06 U.S. GASOLINE STKS UP 1.4 MLN BRLS: ENERGY DEPT
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UpInArms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-05-06 09:46 AM
Response to Reply #2
44. Crude stocks, product stocks rise: API
http://www.marketwatch.com/news/newsfinder/pulseone.asp...

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- The American Petroleum Institute said crude inventories fell 1.8 million barrels for the week ended Dec. 30, compared with the Energy Department's reported decline of 1 million. Motor gasoline inventories were up 2.8 million barrels, the API said. Distillate stocks climbed 3.9 million barrels.
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UpInArms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-05-06 09:47 AM
Response to Reply #2
45. Natural-gas stocks up 1 bln cubic feet: Energy Dept
http://www.marketwatch.com/news/newsfinder/pulseone.asp...

MarketWatch) -- U.S. natural-gas stocks rose by 1 billion cubic feet for the week ended Dec. 30, the Energy Department reported Thursday. Analysts surveyed by Platts expected a decline of 49 billion. Total stocks now stand at 2.641 trillion cubic feet, down 79 billion cubic feet from the year-ago level, but up 168 billion cubic feet from the five-year average, the government data said. February natural gas was last trading down 66.7 cents, or 6.6%, at $9.55 per million British thermal units.
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ozymandius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-05-06 05:42 AM
Response to Original message
3. Oil prices fall before US inventory data
LONDON (AFP) - World oil prices eased before the latest weekly snapshot of US crude inventories and after a New Year rally that had been caused by the Russia-Ukraine gas dispute.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in February, fell 19 cents to 63.23 dollars per barrel in electronic dealing.

-cut-

"The market will be focusing on the next set of US inventory data, which is expected by the market to show a 1.5 million-barrel fall in crude stocks," analysts at the Sucden brokerage firm said on Thursday.

They added that the data was forecast to show gains in stocks of gasoline (petrol) and distillates as refinery utilisation continued to grow and because of milder US weather lowering demand for heating oil.

more
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AnneD Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-05-06 08:59 AM
Response to Reply #3
32. Here in Houston....
We are still down on the rig count. Skilled rig hands are at a premium-who knows where they are. And if they do want to work, their families cannot find housing. Refineries are doing better but I suspect it is more imported oil verses gulf of Mexico oil (don't have the numbers to back that up-but rember reading it a month ago in the Chronicle).
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UpInArms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-05-06 09:12 AM
Response to Reply #3
38. Feb Crude @ $63.20 bbl - Feb NatGas @ $9.87 mln btus
10:07am 01/05/06 FEB CRUDE FALLS 22C TO $63.20/BRL AHEAD OF U.S. SUPPLY DATA

10:07am 01/05/06 FEB NATURAL GAS FALLS 32.7C TO 5-MO LOW OF $9.87/MLN BTUS
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UpInArms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-05-06 11:14 AM
Response to Reply #38
53. Feb Crude @ $63.30 bbl - Feb NatGas @ $9.60 mln btus
12:02pm 01/05/06 FEB NATURAL GAS DOWN 59.7C, OR 5.6%, AT $9.60/MLN BTUS

12:02pm 01/05/06 FEB CRUDE FALLS 12C TO $63.30/BRL AFTER $62.60 LOW
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UpInArms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-05-06 09:27 AM
Response to Reply #3
40. Sempra to settle energy crisis suit, pay $580 million -CA price rigging
http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/business/20060105-99...

Seeking to close a case that could have bankrupted the company, Sempra Energy agreed yesterday to pay $580 million to settle a class-action suit alleging it rigged natural gas supplies around the time of the state's power crisis in 2000 and 2001.

<snip>

At the heart of the plaintiffs' case was the allegation that Sempra's utility companies – SoCal Gas and SDG&E – conspired with El Paso Natural Gas Co. to restrict the supply of gas into this region. In 2003, El Paso settled a case making similar allegations on terms California officials valued at $1.6 billion.

By restricting natural gas supplies, according to the plaintiffs' allegations, Sempra not only inflated prices of that commodity but substantially inflated the price of electricity during the 2000-01 energy crisis when power prices soared and California consumers ultimately paid what state officials have estimated as tens of billions of dollars in overcharges.

Because most electricity in the state is generated from plants burning natural gas, increasing the fuel's cost increases the price of electricity.

A key incident, according to the plaintiffs, occurred in 1996 when 11 executives of the companies involved in the alleged conspiracy gathered in a Phoenix hotel room without staff or counsel present.

...more...
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ozymandius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-05-06 05:55 AM
Response to Original message
5. Automakers post lower US sales, Toyota gains
DETROIT (Reuters) - U.S. automakers posted lower December sales on Wednesday, capping a tumultuous year in which Detroit's Big Three struggled to come to terms with changing consumer tastes prompted by high gas prices.

In sharp contrast, Japan's Toyota Motor Corp. (7203.T) -- which is poised to unseat General Motors Corp. (DCXGn.DE) as the world's largest automaker -- posted an 8.2 percent increase in December sales and grabbed more market share from U.S. automakers last month.

Toyota, including its Lexus and Scion brands, outsold DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler in December and its U.S. market share of 13.3 percent last year puts it well within striking distance of Chrysler's 13.6 percent.

General Motors and Ford Motor Co.(NYSE:F - news), each facing a deepening financial crisis, said December sales were down 10.2 percent and 8.7 percent, respectively, with steep declines in SUV sales. Demand at the two automakers was down for the year, too.

more...
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trogdor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-05-06 06:58 AM
Response to Reply #5
11. Toyota joins the Big Three
Dayum.
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UpInArms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-05-06 11:57 AM
Response to Reply #5
56. S&P cuts Ford, Ford Credit deeper into junk status
http://today.reuters.com/investing/financeArticle.aspx?...

NEW YORK, Jan 5 (Reuters) - Standard & Poor's on Thursday cut its ratings on Ford Motor Co. (F.N: Quote, Profile, Research) deeper into junk territory, citing a slide in market share and doubts about the automaker's ability to turn around its North American auto operations.

S&P also cut its ratings on Ford's finance arm, Ford Motor Credit, deeper into speculative grade. Most of Ford's $142 billion of consolidated debt is issued by Ford Credit.

Ford has seen its profit margins squeezed by fierce competition from foreign rivals and a slowdown in sales of large sport utility vehicles due to high gasoline prices. Ford is also highly subject to pricing actions by its competitor General Motors Corp. (GM.N: Quote, Profile, Research) and could suffer from further turmoil at GM, S&P said.

...more...
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ozymandius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-05-06 05:56 AM
Response to Original message
6. U.S. factory orders rise on strong aircraft demand
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Hefty orders for U.S. aircraft buoyed otherwise weak factory orders in November, a report showed on Wednesday, the second in as many days to raise concerns about U.S. manufacturing.

Separate data showed mortgage applications fell for the fourth straight week as the U.S. housing market gave further signs of slowing after a five-year boom.

New orders at U.S. factories rose 2.5 percent in November, in line with forecasts. But when transportation orders were stripped out, factory orders were unchanged from the previous month, a Commerce Department report showed. Orders for cars and machinery dropped.

more
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54anickel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-05-06 06:38 AM
Response to Original message
8. Any more Trillion Dollar Bubbles?
http://www.prudentbear.com/internationalperspective.asp

IS THERE JUST ONE MORE MULTI TENS OF-TRILLION $ BUBBLE OUT THERE SOMEWHERE YET TO BE INFLATED?

As we head into 2006, the latest and grandest of bubbles seems to be beginning to leak some air. Obviously, we are referring to the global residential real estate ZEPPELIN fostered over the last few years by low rates and phenomenal liquidity increases. We have also had a global economic expansion nurtured by the same over-abundance of liquidity and interest rates searching for previously untested bottoms. A concomitant energy bubble can also be postulated. Government budgets, in many instances, have been repaired by taxes on the gains these expansions have promoted. Equity markets virtually across the globe joined in the festive celebration, particularly in 2005, although it looks as though the largest, in the U.S., may be more restrained than in the days of 0% interest rates. Certainly the year- end momentum play in airlines, or having the top performing groups for the year the utilities and the transports, should give pause. As we write, existing home sales slipped in November and inventory hit an 19 year high. The vaunted Christmas retail blast seems to have been muted in contrast to the last several years of blossoming cheer.

First: WE WANT TO ADMIT THAT WE BLEW IT IN 2005 IN MOST RESPECTS ON THE MACRO-ECONOMIC FRONT! WE WILL ATTEMPT TO EXAMINE THE REASONS FOR THIS FAILURE AND THEN WITH GREAT TREPIDATION LOOK TO THE COMING YEAR.

We realized we had a worthy consort in the above respect, recently, when reading the following from Steve Roach of Morgan Stanley, a perspicacious analyst we respect who recently wrote: A year ago, the macro debate was dominated by concerns over mounting global imbalances. Our (Morgan Stanleys) 2005 outlook piece, modestly entitled How to Fix the World probed in great detail the coming rebalancing of a lopsided world economy. The passage of time (a whole year) has not treated this outcome kindly. Global imbalances have continued to mount, but few seem to care these days. I suspect that 2006 will be a year when that ambivalence is shattered. In our view, not only do few seem to care as we end 2005 but the comments that exist are not ambivalent but gleeful as in the Bernanke and Snow adjurations that what imbalances there are simply provide an outlet in U.S. consumer spending for the glut in global savings as we borrow them anew.

First, to the boredom of most readers, we would like to list a series of improbabilities during the year that seemingly created the benign climate for acceleration in the imbalances Steve speaks of that were instrumental in promoting the 4% GDP growth rate in the U.S., the dollar's 13% climb and the growth and optimism in the other global markets.

more...
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54anickel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-05-06 06:45 AM
Response to Original message
9. It's all about the data
http://www.prudentbear.com/midweekanalysis.asp

On Tuesday, the Federal Reserve released the minutes from the December 13 FOMC meeting. Last month, the Fed removed the reference to policy being accommodative, which signaled that further increases would be limited. The minutes confirmed this assessment. The committee said that future action would depend on the incoming data and added given the information now in hand, the number of additional firming steps required probably would not be large.'

The problem with this assessment of the economy is that the economy is not balanced. While growth in several areas of the economy has moderated recently, it is likely that the drop in interest rates will boost economic activity. This has happened a few times over the past two years, with housing being the driving force. Residential real estate is still the wild card. If mortgage rates drop again, or lenders continue to find creative ways to finance homebuyers, economic growth will likely reaccelerate.

snip>

Earnings estimates have dropped slightly since the beginning of December. Analysts now expect earnings for the S&P 500 to increase 13.0%, down from 13.5% last month. This is substantially lower than hen the fourth quarter started. On October 1, earnings were expected to increase 16.6%. This would be the first time since the second quarter of 2002 that earnings didnt exceed the estimates at the beginning of the quarter. It is also worth noting that the last time the trend switched from beating initial estimates to missing was the third quarter of 2000.

Margins have improved over the past couple years as companies reduced costs. These lower costs were further leveraged by a strong rebound in economic growth. Most cost cutting measures have already been done so it will be difficult to squeeze anymore margin improvement from cost cutting. Additionally, companies were able to recapitalize their balance sheets at much lower interest rates, which also boosted margins. Without margin improvement, earnings growth will more closely align with revenue growth. During 2004, earnings outpaced revenue by an average of ten percentage points each quarter. During the first three quarters of 2005, this has dropped to only about three percentage points. Earnings expectations are high for 2006 with analysts expected 13% earnings growth. This will likely prove too high if the economy slows and if the economy does not slow, investors will have to face higher interest rates.

more...
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54anickel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-05-06 06:50 AM
Response to Original message
10. A New Year risk analysis for your portfolio
Gold-buggy, yet I can't help think of that line from Mogambo yesterday....Safety should be your number one concern in the coming years of the collapse of the current world economic and political order. The world could not have had two more ignorant and dangerous men in power than Bush and Bernanke


http://www.prudentbear.com/archive_comm_article.asp?cat...

snip>

When instead of being private the disaster is public, and financial, the number of victims can easily grow by a thousand times, or even a million. The UK Lloyds of London debacle ruined tens of thousands of Britains wealthy. The Argentinian collapse ruined millions of scrupulous and trusting savers, as did the stock market crash of the early seventies, and the bursting of the worldwide dotcom bubble at the end of the nineties. Meanwhile the Great Depression wiped out the financial fortunes of tens of millions of industrious and successful citizens of the world. Nothing like these numbers of wealthy people have ever been affected by all the insured premature deaths, house fires, personal injuries or liability claims of the twentieth century put together. Yet all these financial disasters, and many more like them, have occurred within the last 100 years.

The fact is that big financial crises are really quite common, and the seed-corn of these accidents is that the victims suffer a collective memory failure which sets up the circumstances. Typical is the the way the population of the western world ignores trade and budget deficits spiralling to ever more unsustainable levels, and tolerates outstanding derivative credit within financial corporations which already exceeds $300 trillion (about $250,000 for every man, woman and child in the developed world).

Against this backdrop look at how most wealthy people have secured their accumulated capital. They have already bought a nice house, and their surplus is invested in deposits, stocks, bonds, mutuals, property, or whatever else their private investment preference dictates, which together yield a few percent of their current annual outgoings.

All of this wealth is at risk in a general financial crisis. In a financial collapse almost nothing can be sold. Profits fall. Dividends are cut. Banks cannot pay back depositors and government deposit guarantees become hyperinflationary and are worthless. This happens in at least 1% of years, ordinarily in circumstances not so dissimilar to those around us now.

more...
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RawMaterials Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-05-06 07:22 AM
Response to Original message
12. Commodities Rise to Record on Sugar, Copper Gains


Jan. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Commodity prices extended their four- year rally by rising to a record today, led by gains in copper, sugar and gold, amid concerns about supplies and the pace of inflation.

The Reuters Jefferies CRB Index of 19 commodities rose 2.12, or 0.6 percent, to 338.49, after earlier reaching a record 338.78. The index has jumped 21 percent in the past year as demand for raw materials such as fuels and metals climbed, boosted by economic growth in China and the U.S.

Sugar was the biggest gainer today, jumping 4.9 percent to the highest price since 1995, after Brazil said its sugar-cane crop will be smaller than previously expected because of a drought. Copper, up 56 percent in the past year, rose to a record. Gold rallied for an eighth straight session, reaching the highest closing price since 1981.

``People have taken a look and seen how well commodities have done and don't see any reason why fundamentally things should change,'' said Robert Leary, a managing director at AIG Financial Products Corp., which makes markets in 30 commodities for institutional investors.

snip..

Gold prices are an indicator of future inflation, said Mike Armbruster, a broker and analyst at Altavest Worldwide Trading Inc. in Mission Viejo, California. ``When gold starts making a big move, commodities across the board move higher as well,'' he said. ``It's the inflation theme driving the market.''

Rally `Overdue'

The rally in commodities is ``well overdue,'' said Luke Dowd, who has traded sugar, cotton, orange juice, the CRB and other commodities for 17 years at Dowd Brokers Inc. in New York. Today's rally was ``pretty clearly across the board,'' Dowd said. ``A lot of people see commodities as a way to diversify funds with besides equities. Equities are kind of stale.''

The price of copper has more than doubled in the past two years as demand, led by China, the world's biggest buyer, exceeded supply from mines and scrap yards.

Copper rose to records in New York, London and Shanghai today as contract workers walked off the job at Chile's state- owned Codelco, the world's biggest producer of the metal used in construction and plumbing.

snip..

The price of lumber, which isn't part of the CRB index, rose the maximum allowed by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, reaching an eight-month high, on speculation that unusually mild weather in the middle of the U.S. will boost demand from builders during the normally slow winter months.

``People are anticipating building will be more robust than usual,'' said Brian Leonard, a market broker for Rosenthal Collins Group in Chicago. ``Inventories are usually reduced at year end and some people were forced to chase the market higher.''




http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=10000087&sid=alb...
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AnneD Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-05-06 09:09 AM
Response to Reply #12
37. FYI
Louisiana was a major producer and NOLA a shipping point. Tons of sugar were destroyed and crops lost. At the rate for reconstruction, my educated guess is that we will see even higher prices on sugar and products using sugar.
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RawMaterials Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-05-06 07:25 AM
Response to Original message
13. Do equity firms drain companies?



Paper reports buyout firms are saddling their purchases with debt to pay for lavish dividends.

The Wall Street Journal, citing statistics from Standard & Poor's, reported Thursday that in the past two years, private-equity firms have paid themselves more than $50 billion from so-called dividend recapitalizations of the companies they acquired. Such dividend financings were virtually unknown just five years ago, according to the paper.

It also reported that calculations by some private-equity firms show that as much as 50 percent of the returns that buyout firms have paid their investors in the past two years came from such dividends, which were financed mostly with new debt.

In the past, private equity firms made their money by restructuring the companies they purchased and then either taking them public or selling them to cash out their investment. But they are now seeing quicker returns through the cash payments that match or top their original equity investment while they still own the firms, according to the report.


snip..

Some private equity firms are cashing out even quicker than that. The paper reports that the four firms that bought satellite operator Intelsat in 2005 -- Apax Partners Inc., Apollo Management, Madison Dearborn Partners and Permira Advisers -- paid themselves a $350 million dividend financed with newly issued Intelsat debt almost immediately after the deal closed.

Some critics told the paper they are worried that the companies being acquired by the private equity firms could fail due to the enormous debt being assumed. Should it "be about how far you can push things or should it be about how much flexibility you give your companies to deal with the unexpected? You can see reason to worry in how much they are pulling out," Josh Lerner, a professor at Harvard Business School who has done research on the performance of private-equity firms, told the paper.

http://money.cnn.com/2006/01/05/news/companies/private_...
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54anickel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-05-06 07:54 AM
Response to Original message
15. Speculators Turn Away From China, Making Revaluation Less Pressing
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/05/business/worldbusines...

HONG KONG, Jan. 4 - After several years of pouring huge amounts of money into China, speculators have abruptly stopped doing so, reducing somewhat the pressure for the Chinese to revalue their currency and helping to bring inflation down surprisingly sharply.

The weakening of attention toward China by international real estate investors and especially by currency traders, economists said, is making it harder for the Bush administration to push the authorities in Beijing to allow their currency, the yuan, to rise against the dollar.

Hundreds of billions of dollars have flowed into China in recent years, driving the country's total reserves beyond Japan's, to $860 billion. But this fall, only half as much money flowed into China as a year earlier.

Investors in the once red-hot Shanghai property market are walking away, and currency speculators who had bet that China would sharply strengthen the yuan have pulled back as it became clear that the authorities favor a slow approach to currency appreciation.

snip>

Slower growth in currency reserves has prompted the government to slow somewhat the pace at which it recycles the money by buying United States Treasury debt - purchases that finance American budget and trade deficits. But economists said that because many speculators had switched from investing in China to buying short-term Treasuries to profit from rising American interest rates, this may not have much effect on the United States.

more...
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54anickel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-05-06 07:59 AM
Response to Original message
16. Bolivia's Morales To Be `Radical' With Oil Companies (Update1)
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=10000086&sid=aiu...

Jan. 5 (Bloomberg) -- Bolivia's President-elect Evo Morales said he aims to be a democratic version of the Argentinian revolutionary Che Guevara and stop companies ``illegal'' operations as he embarks on a program to lift Bolivians out of poverty.

``The only difference with Che Guevara is that he used arms,'' Morales said at a press conference in Madrid late last night. ``We don't want to change things with bullets, but with votes.''

Morales, a Bolivian coca-farmers' leader, was elected president in a Dec. 18 poll pledging to challenge U.S. influence in Latin America and take more control of the country's oil and gas resources. He has forged alliances with Cuba's Communist leader Fidel Castro, who fought alongside Guevara in the Cuban revolution, and Venezuela's Hugo Chavez.

Morales said he will use Bolivia's oil and natural gas resources to benefit the majority of the Bolivian people as he bids to raise living standards in Latin America's poorest country.

``We will be radical with petrol companies that don't obey Bolivian law, that don't pay taxes and are smugglers,'' he said. ``Bolivia needs partners among private companies not owners of our natural resources.''

more...
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UpInArms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-05-06 08:08 AM
Response to Original message
17. daily dollar watch
http://quotes.ino.com/chart/?s=NYBOT_DX

Last trade 89.29 Change -0.01 (-0.01%)

Second Day For Majors’ Rallies Against Dollar

http://www.dailyfx.com/story/dailyfx_reports/daily_tech...

EUR/USD The EUR/USD pair sailed through former two month highs and the 50.0 fib of the 1.2589 – 1.1640 USD rally at 1.2085 and 1.2112 respectively following the largest one day gain in the euro since August of 2004. Though the pair has cleared significant resistance levels, the 1.2225-ceiling backed by a 61.8 fib and 200-day SMA looms just over the horizon. Price action has stopped short of this resistance; but its breach would leave the pair technically undefended for another 125 pips until the 76.0 fib at 1.2350, backed by consolidation areas throughout the second half of 2005, is reached. If the initial dollar retracement proves more than just a feigned attempt at taking back control, a greenback run could make quick work of the 1.2000 level before pushing to the ranged levels the pair was confined to in the final weeks of December. Indecision in the underlying seems to be fulfilling similar sentiment given by the indicators. Stochs are still pressing in the neutral range with the trend absent. Also noteworthy, momentum began to fizzle while the RSI has stopped short of reaching an overbought signal.

<snip>

USD/JPY A prominent doji formed in the Japanese Yen-backed major in Asian session trading confirming support offered by the December 19th swing low around 115.50. The confirmation of this level has in effect put USD/JPY in a range between it and resistance from the 50-day SMA up at 118.15. A run to this first strong level of yen strength looks to be a probable course for the pair. If dollar rallying pushes the pair beyond this level, consolidation back in November and December around 119.60 will be the next area for the bulls and bears to jostle for position. On the other hand, if the yen catches a second wind and breaks 115.50 support, it could be clear sailing for technical traders down to 113.75/95. A potent mixture of a 38.2 fib of the 101.70 – 121.45 USD rally and the July 20th spike high, not to mention the psychological significance of the 114.00 level, will offer a good base for dollar confidence to rebound. There is little consensus among the indicators for the pair, besides hints of indecision. The stochs and RSI despondently coast in neutral while the MACD tells little with its negative read and the ATR falls back off of its high mark. The ever weakening trend from the ADX however is showing signs of revitalization by nudging higher.

...more...
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UpInArms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-05-06 08:16 AM
Response to Reply #17
24. US on right path on China currency-Snow
http://today.reuters.com/investing/financeArticle.aspx?...

WASHINGTON, Jan 5 (Reuters) - U.S. government pressure on China to revalue its currency, the yuan, is working, U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow said on Thursday in defense of a decision not to cite China as a currency manipulator.

"They are putting in place mechanisms to allow their currency to have greater flexibility... so I think we're on the right course," Snow said on CSPAN television.

Snow also said the auction of 30-year bonds in February, the first since long bond auctions were suspended in 2001, is likely to be well-subscribed.
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UpInArms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-05-06 09:00 AM
Response to Reply #17
33. US's Snow-China should allow more yuan revaluation
http://today.reuters.com/investing/financeArticle.aspx?...

WASHINGTON, Jan 5 (Reuters) - U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow urged China on Thursday to allow further revaluation of its currency, the yuan, saying it would help world economies adjust from trade and current account imbalances.

"The trade deficit is influenced by lots of things, differential growth rates, differential savings rates and investment rates and so on. But clearly, getting the yuan more appropriately valued will be helpful to the global adjustment process," he said on CSPAN television.

But Snow defended the administration's decision not to formally cite China as a currency manipulator, saying U.S. pressure on Beijing has been effective and that Chinese policy-makers recognize further revaluation is in their national interest.

"They are putting in place mechanisms to allow their currency to have greater flexibility... so I think we're on the right course," Snow said.

Discussing a range of economic topics during a viewer call-in program, Snow said concerns about energy and slow global growth would top the agenda at a meeting of the Group of Eight major industrial economies in February.

...more...
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UpInArms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-05-06 08:09 AM
Response to Original message
18. Printing Press Report:Fed adds banking reserves via 14-day system repos
http://today.reuters.com/investing/financeArticle.aspx?...

NEW YORK, Jan 5 (Reuters) - The Federal Reserve on Thursday said that it added temporary reserves to the U.S. banking system through 14-day system repurchase agreements.

The benchmark fed funds rate last traded at 4.25 percent, the Fed's current target for the overnight lending rate.

Further details of the operation are available at: http://www.ny.frb.org/markets/omo/dmm/temp.cfm
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UpInArms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-05-06 08:10 AM
Response to Reply #18
19. US Treasuries extend losses on jobless claims drop
http://today.reuters.com/investing/financeArticle.aspx?...

NEW YORK, Jan 5 (Reuters) - U.S. Treasury debt prices extended early losses on Thursday after the government reported a big drop in weekly first-time jobless claims that brought the number of unemployed workers seeking benefits to the lowest level in five years.

Claims fell to 291,000 in the week ended Dec. 31 -- considerably lower than the 320,000 economists had expected and the 326,000 claims in the prior week.

Prices on benchmark 10-year notes shed 8/32 for a yield of 4.379 percent, versus 4.348 percent on Wednesday.

...more...
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UpInArms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-05-06 08:49 AM
Response to Reply #19
29. U.S. Treasuries lower ahead of ISM services data
http://today.reuters.com/PrinterFriendlyPopup.aspx?type...

NEW YORK, Jan 5 (Reuters) - U.S. Treasury debt prices briefly extended early losses on Thursday on a big drop in weekly first-time jobless claims that brought the number of unemployed workers seeking benefits to the lowest level in five years.

Claims fell to 291,000 in the week ended Dec. 31 -- considerably below the 320,000 economists had expected and the upwardly revised 326,000 claims in the prior week.

While some analysts said the data suggested a fairly robust job market, others dismissed the significance of a single week of data, adding that the holidays sometimes distort economic data.

As a result, the selling pressure faded fairly quickly, as the bond market focused attention on other economic reports being released on Thursday at 10 a.m. (1500 GMT), including data on the services sector in December and on pending real estate sales in November.

"I think that traders are looking at real estate sales," said Carol Hurley, a bond trader at Lind-Waldock in Chicago. That's the data that can affect the economy, so that's why it's important," Hurley said.

...more...
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UpInArms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-05-06 10:11 AM
Response to Reply #29
49. US Treasuries trim losses on weak real estate data
http://today.reuters.com/PrinterFriendlyPopup.aspx?type...

NEW YORK, Jan 5 (Reuters) - U.S. Treasury debt prices trimmed earlier losses after a measure of the real estate sector came in on the weak side, stoking concerns that the residential property market is weakening.

Still, analysts were quick to stress that the bond market was most concerned with Friday's non-farm payrolls report, the most closely watched U.S. economic data.

<snip>

NEW YORK, Jan 5 (Reuters) - U.S. Treasury debt prices trimmed earlier losses after a measure of the real estate sector came in on the weak side, stoking concerns that the residential property market is weakening.

Still, analysts were quick to stress that the bond market was most concerned with Friday's non-farm payrolls report, the most closely watched U.S. economic data.

<snip>

"It's got to be the real estate number, because everything else this morning has been pretty bond-unfriendly," said Don Kowalchik, a debt strategist at A.G. Edwards & Co. in St. Louis. Kowalchik was referring to a government report early Thursday showing a surprising drop in the number of workers seeking unemployment benefits, which pushed bond prices down.

...more...
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UpInArms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-05-06 08:44 AM
Response to Reply #18
28. Printing Press Report:Fed adds reserves via overnight system repurchases
http://today.reuters.com/investing/financeArticle.aspx?...

NEW YORK, Jan 5 (Reuters) - The Federal Reserve said on Thursday that it added temporary reserves to the U.S. banking system through overnight system repurchase agreements.

Earlier, the Fed added temporary reserves to the system through 14-day system repurchase agreements.

The benchmark fed funds rate last traded at 4.25 percent, the Fed's current target for the overnight lending rate.

Further details of the operation are available at: http://www.ny.frb.org/markets/omo/dmm/temp.cfm
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UpInArms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-05-06 10:06 AM
Response to Reply #18
47. Printing Press Report: U.S. Treasury to sell $34 bln bills on Tuesday
http://today.reuters.com/investing/financeArticle.aspx?...

WASHINGTON, Jan 5 (Reuters) - The U.S. Treasury Department said on Thursday it will sell $18 billion of three-month bills and $16 billion of six-month bills on Monday, Jan. 9.

The bills will be issued on Thursday, Jan. 12.

Proceeds from the sale will be used to refund an estimated $32.88 billion of publicly held 13- and 26-week bills maturing Jan. 12 and to raise about $1.12 billion of new cash. Also maturing is an estimated $14 billion of publicly held 4-week Treasury bills, the disposition of which will be announced Jan. 9.

The three-month bills mature on April 13, while the six-month bills mature on July 13.

...more...
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UpInArms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-05-06 10:07 AM
Response to Reply #18
48. Printing Press ALERT: Fed buying coupons, TIPS only
http://today.reuters.com/investing/financeArticle.aspx?...

NEW YORK, Jan 5 (Reuters) - The Federal Reserve said on Thursday it was buying coupons, but only for Treasury Inflation Protected Securities (TIPS), for delivery on Friday.

The Fed said it was buying coupons with maturities ranging from Jan. 15, 2007 to April 15, 2032. There was one exclusion: the 3-5/8 percent coupon maturing April 15, 2028.

Federal funds were trading at 4.25 percent at the time of the operation, the Fed's current target for the benchmark overnight interest-rate.
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UpInArms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-05-06 08:11 AM
Response to Original message
20. U.S. Dec layoffs rise by 8.6 percent - survey
http://today.reuters.com/investing/financeArticle.aspx?...

NEW YORK, Jan 5 (Reuters) - Planned U.S. layoffs rose by 8.6 percent in December, pushing the 2005 annual total of job cuts 3.1 percent higher than in 2004, according to a report released on Thursday.

The increases were due in large part to big jumps in job cuts in the government, non-profit and automotive sectors, Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc., an employment consulting firm, said.

Total announced layoffs in the month were 107,822 jobs, compared with 99,279 planned cuts in November, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc.

"Unfortunately for workers in these sectors, there does not appear to be any relief in the near term," John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, said in a statement.

"Budget deficits exist at all levels of government. At the federal level, military base closures will lead to continued job cutting in 2006," Challenger said.

In all of 2005, U.S. employers announced 1,072,054 job cuts, compared with 1,039,735 in all of 2004, marking the first time since 2001 that annual job cuts increased, Challenger said.

...more...
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UpInArms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-05-06 08:12 AM
Response to Reply #20
21. Job cuts in 2006 seen driven by legacy costs-Challenger
http://today.reuters.com/investing/financeArticle.aspx?...

NEW YORK, Jan 5 (Reuters) - Rising legacy costs and a slowdown in the U.S. housing sector may lead to more job cuts in 2006, but increased business spending will support job growth overall, according to a study released on Thursday.

Underfunded or mismanaged pension plans may force employers to cut costs and jobs in sectors like carmakers, transport, manufacturing, health care and education.

Budget deficits may also force government job cuts, said outplacement firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas in its annual report.

"The biggest problem in the coming year and for years to come for government employers is how to pay for rising legacy costs," Chief Executive John Challenger said in a statement.

A slowdown in the housing market may lead to increased job cuts in real estate, mortgage lending as well as some consumer-related businesses, the report said.

...more...
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UpInArms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-05-06 08:14 AM
Response to Original message
22. McGraw-Hill cuts 500 jobs in restructuring
http://www.marketwatch.com/news/newsfinder/pulseone.asp...

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- McGraw-Hill Cos. (MHP) Thursday said it has eliminated roughly 500 jobs as part of a restructuring effort in the fourth quarter. The New York-based media company expects to record a charge of $14.6 million, or 4 cents a share, in the quarter, primarily related to the job cuts. The company also reaffirmed its expectation for double-digit growth in earnings per share from continuing operations in 2005, including the impact of the restructuring. The stock closed Wednesday at $51.63, down 19 cents.
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UpInArms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-05-06 08:15 AM
Response to Original message
23. Mills Corp fires 14 executives to reduce costs
http://today.reuters.com/investing/financeArticle.aspx?...

NEW YORK, Jan 4 (Reuters) - The Mills Corp. (MLS.N: Quote, Profile, Research), owner, operator and developer of entertainment/shopping mall centers will take a fourth-quarter charge of about $5.1 million after it fired 14 executives as part of a cost-cutting program, the company said Wednesday in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The work force reduction was a first step in the company's on-going review of its operations and assets, Mills said. Its goal is to focus on core operations, development and to increase operation efficiencies and reduce costs.

The fourth-quarter cash charge will be for the staff cuts and "other fourth-quarter termination charges," the company said. Mills said it would provide more details regarding its plans in subsequent announcements.

In November, Mills reported quarterly funds from operations, or FFO, a widely accepted measure of REIT performance, that were down 54 percent and lowered its forecast for the year to a range of $3.55 to $3.65 per share from its prior outlook of $4.35 per share.

...more...
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UpInArms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-05-06 08:20 AM
Response to Original message
25. pre-opening blather
09:01 am : S&P futures vs fair value: -1.5. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: +2.0. Futures trade continues to suggest a lackluster open for the indices. Somewhat dampening the round of generally better than expected same-store sales reports are accompanying downside guidance announcements. Amongst retailers forecasting below consensus are ANN, BEBE, DG, HOTT, KSS, MW, and, as previously mentioned, WMT. Separately, investors await two more items on the economic front. At 10:00, the December ISM Services Index will hit the wires, followed by the (holiday-delayed) EIA report at 10:30. The latter may help to set a more definitive trading tone.

08:35 am : S&P futures vs fair value: -2.1. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: +1.5. The cash market remains poised to open in subdued fashion. Along with Wal-Mart's (WMT) Q4 guidance, Bank of America's downgrade of fellow Dow component Boeing's (BA) shares - to Neutral from Buy due to valuation - contributes to some early caution. A slate of better than expected sales reports from retailers teams with declining energy prices to help counter those effects. Natural gas futures are dropping for the third straight session, to four-month, pre-hurricane lows; crude futures are off 0.3% to $63.25 per barrel. Separately, jobless claims fell nearly 10% last week, to 291K (consensus 320K).

08:03 am : S&P futures vs fair value: +0.9. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: +4.0. Versus fair value, futures trade points towards a flat to modestly higher open for Thursday's cash market. The torrent of December same-store sales reports from the retail industry are in focus this morning. Thus far, a majority of retailers exceeded expectations for sales during the crucial holiday shopping season -which accounts for about a fifth of the industry's annual revenue. Amongst the upside announcers are ARO, AEOS, COST, GYMB, JOSB, MW, JWN, WTSLA. The world's largest retailer, Wal-Mart (WMT), confirmed the 2.2% rise it had preannounced on Tuesday. While the result, which checked in at the low-end of its guidance, was no surprise, its Q4 EPS guidance may weigh on sentiment; the company estimates $0.82-0.86 versus the $0.83 consensus.
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UpInArms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-05-06 08:32 AM
Response to Original message
26. Fed deflation tools can work if understood - study
http://today.reuters.com/investing/financeArticle.aspx?...

WASHINGTON, Jan 4 (Reuters) - The Federal Reserve has several ways to boost the economy even if official U.S. interest rates were ever to hit zero, but the public needs to understand them to make them effective, a new Fed study says.

Two researchers at the Federal Reserve's Board of Governors used the U.S. central bank's economic model to evaluate some strategies that economists have suggested to get around the fact that rates cannot be pushed into negative territory.

Absent an effective way to lift the economy if rates had already hit rock bottom, a large economic shock could result in a severe recession exacerbated by deflation, which is a widespread collapse in consumer prices.

"Many of the proposals for dealing with the zero bound rely on influencing expectations, both of future interest rates and of future inflation," David Reifschneider and John Roberts said in the study, which was recently posted to the Fed's Web site.

"While recent experience suggests that financial markets may quickly understand and react to a shift in monetary policy, we think it is less likely that firms and households will respond immediately," they wrote.

...more...
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54anickel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-05-06 06:05 PM
Response to Reply #26
70. Holy shit! They are redefining monetary policy - just in case???
Financial markets will understand but business and households won't? What's this guys definition of financial markets anyway? Just who's money is in those "financial markets" if not business and households? F'ing banks getting ready to play games again - with OUR money!!!
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ozymandius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-05-06 08:33 AM
Response to Original message
27. Casino's open
9:33
Dow 10,871.75 -8.40 (-0.08%)
Nasdaq 2,265.70 +2.24 (+0.10%)
S&P 500 1,273.07 -0.39 (-0.03%)
10-Yr Bond 43.60 +0.04 (+0.09%)

NYSE Volume 43,593,000
Nasdaq Volume 58,785,000
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Roland99 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-05-06 08:49 AM
Response to Original message
30. Slow out of the gate
Edited on Thu Jan-05-06 08:49 AM by Roland99
DJIA 10,885.70 +5.50
Nasdaq 2,271.36 +7.90
S&P 500 1,275.50 +2.04
Russell 2000 690.04 +0.79
CBOE Volatility 11.38 +0.01
30 Yr Bond 4.55 +0.01
10 Yr Bond 4.36 +0.01



I'm sure it'll pick up steam. After all:


Jobless claims plunge to 5-year low
Seasonal volatility helps initial filings fall to 291,000
http://quotes.freerealtime.com/dl/frt/N?tmn_id={2A4D094...
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UpInArms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-05-06 09:15 AM
Response to Original message
39. 10:13 EST all's well again
Dow 10,894.32 +14.17 (+0.13%)
Nasdaq 2,274.07 +10.61 (+0.47%)
S&P 500 1,275.58 +2.12 (+0.17%)
10-Yr Bond 4.362 +0.06 (+0.14%)


NYSE Volume 386,944,000
Nasdaq Volume 400,489,000

10:00 am : As the Dow lingers in the red, the S&P sits on top of the flat line while the Nasdaq stands slightly above it. Seven of ten sectors opened on positive turf, but leadership is currently limited to 0.4% gains in Telecom and Technology. Following Xilinx's (XLNX 28.65 +1.72) upside revenue guidance and subsequent 6.4% surge, semiconductors demonstrate relative strength and help support the Nasdaq. Tech, to that end, continues to outperform for a third straight session. Boeing's (BA) downgrade-driven drop weighs heavily on the blue chip average, though, and at this point works to stunt the broader market's advance. Separately, the December ISM Index checked in at 59.8 -- slightly higher than the 59.0 read economists had expected.DJ30 -8.00 NASDAQ +2.96 SP500 +0.28 NASDAQ Dec/Adv/Vol 1221/1193/296.8 mln NYSE Dec/Adv/Vol 1325/1347/167.7 mln

09:40 am : As expected, the equity market started Thursday's session in subdued fashion. The flood of December same-store sales from the retail industry - which reflect revenue during the crucial holiday shopping period - is in the spotlight. While the majority of reporters have checked in ahead of expectations, accompanying downside guidance from a handful somewhat dampens sentiment. Namely, Wal-Mart (WMT) issued a forecast that, on the low-end, falls a penny short of the consensus estimate. Separately, gift card sales are not included in the data - and the market will thus not receive a full picture of the season until the end of this month. An analyst downgrade on Boeing (BA) shares and a target cut on IBM catalyzes some additional bearishness within the Dow. On the flip-side, raised revenue guidance from Xilinix (XLNX) provides some offsetting support; the largest maker of programmable chips credit of strong global end-market growth bodes well for the broader Tech sector. Declines in prices across the energy complex also lend support, but moves are minimal as traders await the EIA's latest energy inventories report at 10:30 ET. DJ30 -4.88 NASDAQ +6.30 SP500 +1.06
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UpInArms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-05-06 09:31 AM
Response to Original message
41. Houston Braces for Blow to Image as Enron Trial Looms
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=10000103&sid=a_G...

Jan. 5 (Bloomberg) -- Sandra Lord, owner of Discover Houston Tours, will introduce a tour called ``Lifestyles of the Rich and Infamous'' as the trial of Enron Corp.'s two former top executives begins.

The circuit will take people past the homes of former Chairman Kenneth Lay and Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Skilling, whose trial on fraud and conspiracy charges is scheduled to start Jan. 30 in federal court in Houston.

``I want to offer the tour because it's timely,'' said Lord. ``It's a Houston story like Howard Hughes,'' who was born nearby and buried in the city.

Others are cringing, rather than capitalizing. Just months after the fourth-largest U.S. city and its 1.9 million residents gained notice for sheltering evacuees of Hurricane Katrina, the Lay and Skilling proceedings will bring national attention back to Enron. The Houston-based company's 2001 collapse wiped out more than 5,000 jobs and $68 billion in market value.

<snip>

Enron, once the world's largest energy trader, failed amid disclosures of secret partnerships and hidden debt. Its December 2001 bankruptcy was then the largest in U.S. history. Books and movies later detailed the company's spiral, including tales of executive greed and fraud.

...more...
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AnneD Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-05-06 01:32 PM
Response to Reply #41
59. Suggested stops....
The Fed Courthouse where the trial will take place. The Fed jail where Leah Fastow did a few months of spa time. The Porsche dealership that was also moonlighted as the Co's management fleet dealer. The oppulent houses of Skilling, Lay, and Fastow. The sight of 'Just Stuff', Mrs. Lay's bidness (she sold all their antiques to pay for the lawyers). The unemployment center where many hard working employees had to go when the lost their jobs due to mismanagement. The downtown financial district, where investors and employees lost the bulk of there investment because they believed the company leaders. Ruths Chris Steak House and Tony's where many a politico was wined and dined. The GHWB condo-always a cozy centrally located money drop site......I could go on and on. I can even take you to see Howard Hugh's final resting site-but my fav spot....River Oaks, where the high society murders feature in the book Blood and Money occured.
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UpInArms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-05-06 09:33 AM
Response to Original message
42. Flyi Grounds Aircraft, 2,300 Local Jobs Hit By Airline Failure
http://www.leesburg2day.com/current.cfm?catid=28&newsid...

Jan 05, 2006 -- A Camelot for low air fares was scheduled to come to an end at approximately 8:30 p.m. today with the screech of tires touching down from Independence Air flight 1777 from White Plains, NY, touching down at Dulles Airport for the last time. That leaves most of Flyi’s 2,700 employees—2,300 based in Loudoun—out of work.

The airline ceased operations almost exactly 60 days after filing for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy on Nov. 7. The airline had hoped interested parties would invest in or buy the airline and its assets, which include a lease on more than 30 gates at Dulles’ Terminal A.

While there were reports of interest by Phoenix-based Mesa Air Group and bankrupt United Airlines, Independence CEO and Chairman Kerry Skeen announced Monday the airline would be quitting business Thursday because Flyi had run out of money to continue operations. No white knight had come forward at the last minute and the assets of the company would be going under the auctioneer’s hammer at a future undetermined date.

"There has not been a firm offer put forward that meets the financial criteria necessary to continue operations," he said in a statement Monday.

The airline’s chief executive broke the news to employees through the company’s telephonic notification system. Skeen said in the call, "Why did our brand succeed in customer satisfaction? It really falls on your shoulders; you did a great job. Hold your heads up high, as difficult as that might be."

<snip>

Skeen said one of the prime factors was the sharp increase in jet fuel prices because of the continuing war in Iraq and the back-to-back hurricanes that crippled the U.S. Gulf Coast, shutting down refineries and closing oil platforms and seaports to incoming oil supplies. Tuesday, Independence Air announced it was petitioning the federal bankruptcy court to pay up to $3.2 million in bonuses to attract a key team of employees to help shut things down after it stops operations.

...more...
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UpInArms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-05-06 09:49 AM
Response to Original message
46. 10:47 EST mexed missages
Dow 10,865.50 -14.65 (-0.13%)
Nasdaq 2,269.18 +5.72 (+0.25%)
S&P 500 1,271.16 -2.30 (-0.18%)
10-Yr Bond 4.344 -0.12 (-0.28%)


NYSE Volume 648,635,000
Nasdaq Volume 591,032,000

10:30 am : Technology's (+0.8%) rise helped the market assume more solid footing, and, after stalling yesterday's advance, the Financial sector's (+0.3%) return from the red provided a further boost. Following the recently-released EIA report, however, the indices have sunk back to the flat line. Last week, crude supply fell less than expected, while both distillates and gasoline levels rose more than had been anticipated. Specifically, there was a 1.01 million barrel drawdown in crude (versus the -1.25 million barrel consensus), a 2.11 million barrel build in distillates (analysts expected a 300K rise), and a 1.41 million barrel increase in gasoline (estimates were pegged at a 400K barrel build). Additionally, natural gas supply rose 1 billion cubic feet. While the data appears bullish for the broader market, it's incited a 1.6% market-dragging drop in the Energy sector.DJ30 -3.14 NASDAQ +8.14 SP500 -0.70 NASDAQ Dec/Adv/Vol 1257/1370/522.8 mln NYSE Dec/Adv/Vol 1438/1505/351.1 mln
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UpInArms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-05-06 10:53 AM
Response to Original message
50. WH preparing Hedge Fund Friends for low number?
Edited on Thu Jan-05-06 10:59 AM by UpInArms
11:46am 01/05/06 WHITE HOUSE SEES 176,000-JOB GROWTH IN DEC - CEA'S SLAUGHTER

Hedge funds are betting on 215K

:shrug:

now they are saying that is not Dec's number - but the average for each month of 2005

11:54am 01/05/06 CORRECT: WHITE HOUSE SEES 176,000/MONTH JOB GROWTH IN 2006

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UpInArms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-05-06 10:54 AM
Response to Original message
51. Feb Gold @ $528.80 oz - March Silver @ $8.89 oz
11:43am 01/05/06 FEB GOLD FALLS $6.80 TO $528.80/OZ AFTER $524 LOW

11:43am 01/05/06 MARCH SILVER DROPS 28C, OR 3.1%, TO $8.89/OZ
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Doctor_J Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-05-06 11:10 AM
Response to Original message
52. Toles nails it as usual
"it's too hard to define in DC" MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Ain't it the truth.
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UpInArms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-05-06 11:27 AM
Response to Original message
54. 12:26 EST numbers and blather
Dow 10,889.36 +9.21 (+0.08%)
Nasdaq 2,276.23 +12.77 (+0.56%)
S&P 500 1,275.30 +1.84 (+0.14%)
10-Yr Bond 4.346 -0.10 (-0.23%)


NYSE Volume 1,195,372,000
Nasdaq Volume 998,472,000

12:00 pm : Buyers and sellers alike are sticking to the sidelines today, following two sessions of broad-based gains and the four and a half year high hit by the S&P yesterday. The stream of same-store sales data from the retail industry sits center stage, and has helped to foster the market's mixed, somewhat cautious sentiment. An overall bullish energy inventory report adds to diffident action, as the selling it sparked across the Energy sector (-1.0%) weighs heavily.

Technology's streak continues, and surging semiconductors help drive the influential sector's leading 0.8% gain while fueling the Nasdaq's outperformance. Raised revenue guidance from Xilinix (XLNX 28.92 +1.99), which the company attributed to strong global end-market growth, has helped drive wide-spread buying interest. Joining Tech on positive ground are the Discretionary (+0.3%) and Financial (+0.2%) sectors. With respect to the latter, it's gain is modest yet, following yesterday's market-stunting stance, it serves as a crutch. The Discretionary sector, meanwhile, receives particular support from Disney (DIS 24.66 +0.67), following reports of an impending deal with, and possible buyout of, Pixar (PIXR 56.00 -2.16). As a side note, DIS is one of Briefing.com's recommended holdings for active investors. Fellow Dow component General Motors (GM 20.00 +0.59) lends strength - heading north after reports that sales in China rose over 35% in 2005. The retail industry, meanwhile, stands relatively unchanged on the day. While about half of the groups reports exceeded expectations for sales during the vital holiday shopping season - which accounts for about one-fifth of annual retail sales - the downside guidance several simultaneously issued serves as a dampening effect. In particular, Wal-Mart (WMT 46.00 -0.32) has guided Q4 EPS to the low-end of its forecast, a range that, on that the low-end, falls a penny short of Wall Street's estimate. Its reported 2.2% rise in December same-store sales was also at the low-end of expectations, but was pre-announced and thus has had little effect today. Rival Target (TGT 54.69 +0.04) reported in-line with estimates. Overall, the retail data's effect may be somewhat muted due to the fact that gift card sales have not yet been reflected.

Downgraded Boeing (BA 69.97 -1.20) shares is the Dow's sorest spot, and leaves the Industrial sector submerged. Merck's (MRK 32.71 -0.42) downgrade, meanwhile, has sent to a market-dragging decline. Pharmaceuticals had outperformed the prior two sessions, and MRK's rating cut has induced some profit-taking that leaves the Healthcare sector sitting on the unchanged mark. Both contribute to the session's blue chip vacillation.

Aside from the EIA report, the economic calendar featured two additional items: Last week's initial claims hit a five-year low, while The December ISM service index came in a bit stronger than expectations at 59.8. Neither has much impact today, as investors await tomorrow's employment report. DJ30 +12.49 NASDAQ +13.03 SP500 +1.33 NASDAQ Dec/Adv/Vol 1415/1410/923.3 mln NYSE Dec/Adv/Vol 1557/1583/774.2 mln
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UpInArms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-05-06 11:50 AM
Response to Original message
55. FDIC nervous: Hurricane's effects on banks unclear
http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story.asp?guid=%7B78D2D...

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) --- Though banks have traditionally survived national disasters, the magnitude of Hurricane Katrina may lead to a new chapter in U.S. banking history, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said Thursday.

"The economic losses associated with Hurricane Katrina will be of a much greater magnitude than our recent historical examples," said FDIC Chief Economist Richard Brown in a statement.

<snip>

For example, Hurricane Andrew, which hit the Florida coast in 1992, was pegged as the costliest natural disaster before Katrina which was estimated to cost $125 billion to $150 billion.

<snip>

The FDIC also evaluated the Loma Prieta earthquake that hit the San Francisco Bay area in 1989, the Northridge earthquake in Los Angeles in 1994, and the Grand Forks flood in North Dakota and East Grand Forks, Minn.

"While the effects of four recent natural disasters on the performance of local banks were by no means uniform, in none of these cases did banks exhibit significant financial deterioration in the years following the events," the FDIC report concluded.

That being said, the FDIC said that the economic loss from Katrina alone could amount to one-and-a-half times the economic loss from the four other disasters combined.

...more...
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ozymandius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-05-06 12:01 PM
Response to Original message
57. 1:00 update
Dow 10,868.62 -11.53 (-0.11%)
Nasdaq 2,273.29 +9.83 (+0.43%)
S&P 500 1,272.27 -1.19 (-0.09%)
10-Yr Bond 43.62 +0.06 (+0.14%)

NYSE Volume 1,347,157,000
Nasdaq Volume 1,112,935,000

12:30 pm : Range-bound trade persists, but the indices manage to retain positive footing. Sector standing is now split down the middle, with Tech continuing to pace the way higher largely on account of surging semiconductors. Financials have edged somewhat higher, with a relatively passive Treasury market and a slightly steepening yield curve helping to assuage tension. While the Energy sector has more than halved its post-EIA data decline, the 0.5% loss it still levies helps cap upward efforts. Consumer Staples (-0.2%), dragged by WMT, and Industrials (-0.3%), due to BA, add to the pressure the market faces. DJ30 +9.77 NASDAQ +12.76 SP500 +1.16 NASDAQ Dec/Adv/Vol 1387/1474/1.02 bln NYSE Dec/Adv/Vol 1471/1699/828.7 mln
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UpInArms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-05-06 01:14 PM
Response to Original message
58. Consumers were cautious in December
http://www.marketwatch.com/news/print_story.asp?print=1...

CHICAGO (MarketWatch) - Retailers turned in moderate sales gains for December, many slashing prices to lure shoppers in the final days before Christmas, but a weak profit outlook from industry leader Wal-Mart could set the tone for the challenges retailers face in 2006.

Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, disappointed investors and cast a pall on the industry with its tepid sales results and a warning that fourth-quarter profits could be pressured.

But elsewhere, many specialty apparel retailers and department stores posted brisk sales of full-priced merchandise in the crucial holiday shopping season, while larger chains showed sluggish growth.

<snip>

"There are some headwinds that have been holding back consumer spending," ICSC Chief Economist Mike Niemira said.

"We can probably still muddle through January on the gift cards, but the risks probably get more intense a little bit after that," Niemira said.

...more...
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trogdor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-05-06 01:36 PM
Response to Reply #58
60. Why would anyone give out Wal*Mart gift cards for Christmas?
I'd rather just give out the cash (or a 5-gallon can of gasoline) if I couldn't figure out what to buy.
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ozymandius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-05-06 03:55 PM
Response to Reply #60
67. It's a hard choice.
A gift card could be redeemed for either food or medicine. Many Wal-Mart shoppers and employees have to make that choice every day.
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UpInArms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-05-06 02:40 PM
Response to Original message
62. Puke Alert: Snow says press may be bored because economy is so good
http://www.marketwatch.com/news/newsfinder/pulseone.asp...

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- Treasury Secretary John Snow issued a wake-up call to the financial press. In a speech prepared for delivery to the Chamber of Commerce, Snow said the U.S. economy is on "solid footing." Snow said he agreed with a suggestion in an op-ed by columnist Robert Samuelson that good economic news is bad news for the news business. "The press may find this economy of ours to be downright boring...but I don't find it boring," Snow said. "Rather it is a reason for optimism," he said.

:puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke:

Ewwwwww! I need someone to hold my hair!

:puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke:
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UpInArms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-05-06 02:46 PM
Response to Reply #62
63. Oh No! There's More!Snow says keeping U.S. taxes low vital for growth
http://today.reuters.com/investing/financeArticle.aspx?...

WASHINGTON, Jan 5 (Reuters) - Treasury Secretary John Snow on Thursday said the United States was "the picture of economic health" and urged lawmakers to keep taxes low as a stimulant for steady expansion.

Speaking to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Snow asked the business group's help in lobbying Congress to make President George W. Bush's tax cuts permanent and said failure by Congress to do so would be tantamount to a tax hike.

"They've got to make all the president's tax cuts permanent; letting them expire would be a tax increase -- there is simply no other way to put it," Snow said. He added that would be "a terrible mistake, given the economic success that lower rates precipitated."


:puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke:
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AnneD Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-05-06 03:47 PM
Response to Reply #62
66. I'm wondering what wine do you serve with...
crow.
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UpInArms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-05-06 02:53 PM
Response to Original message
64. Matthews plans to close Indiana casket plant (sending 100 jobs to Mexico)
http://today.reuters.com/investing/financeArticle.aspx?...

CHICAGO, Jan 5 (Reuters) - Matthews International Corp. (MATW.O: Quote, Profile, Research) on Thursday said it plans to close a metal casket assembly plant in Indiana that employs about 100 workers, subject to talks with a local union.

The completion of a plant in Mexico and acquisition of a plant nearby in Indiana gives Matthews more than enough capacity to meet current and future needs, the company said in announcing its decision to close the plant in Lynn, Indiana.
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UpInArms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-05-06 03:05 PM
Response to Original message
65. Roger Williams Medical, three executives indicted on corruption charges
http://www.boston.com/news/local/rhode_island/articles/... /

PROVIDENCE, R.I. --Roger Williams Medical Center and three current and former hospital executives were charged Thursday in a federal investigation into influence peddling at the Statehouse.

The hospital, Chief Executive Robert A. Urciuoli and Peter Sangermano, president of an assisted-living facility affiliated with Roger Williams, were charged with conspiracy and 36 counts of mail fraud.

Urciuoli, who served as president of the hospital since 1988, has been on paid administrative leave since stepping down last month amid the investigation.

Fran Driscoll, once the hospital's senior vice president of public relations and development, was charged with conspiracy and one count of mail fraud. She left Roger Williams in the spring of 2000.

The 38-count indictment returned Thursday by a federal grand jury comes after a monthslong investigation into the hospital's hiring of former Sen. John Celona, who was charged last year in the probe and is cooperating with the government.

Celona, 52, received more than $260,000 as a consultant for Roger Williams, where he worked at the same time he was chairing a key Senate committee that considered legislation of interest to the hospital. He pleaded guilty in August to using his position to benefit Roger Williams, including introducing or opposing bills based on the hospital's interests.

...more...


http://www.boston.com/news/local/rhode_island/articles/... /

excerpt:

Still, political corruption made news again this year as former state Sen. John Celona admitted being paid for work he did for companies with an interest in legislation before the General Assembly.

The 52-year-old Democrat pleaded guilty in August to three federal mail fraud charges that accused him of using his legislative influence to benefit the companies that paid him.

Celona faces sentencing in the spring and has agreed to cooperate in a broader federal investigation.

At times, politics turned even more bizarre when a prominent lobbyist, Guy Dufault, was heard saying during a sound check for his television talk show that he could bring down Gov. Don Carcieri with a list of the governor's girlfriends.

...more...
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54anickel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-05-06 06:08 PM
Response to Reply #65
71. B-b-b-b-b-blather
4:20 pm : Lackluster trade left the market locked inside a very narrow trading range - within which blue chips swam below the flat line, while tech stocks continued their streak, for most of Thursday. Downgraded Boeing and Merck shares weighed heavily, and some uninspiring announcements from the retail industry catalyzed an early bearish bias. At the same, losses were kept in check. On the heels of an average 2.2% registered by the major indices since 2006's onset, traders on both sides of the aisle stood near the sidelines; anticipation of tomorrow's closely-watched employment report added to the cautionary stance.

Adding to the 5.3% it booked this week, surging semiconductors took the SOXX index 2.4% higher. That industry supported the Tech sector, sustaining its leadership position as well as the Nasdaq's. Raised revenue guidance from the world's largest maker of programmable chips, Xilinix (XLNX 28.55 +1.62), spurred another round of wide-spread buying interest across the tech board. The company's comment that its strength is rooted in strong global end-market demand boded well for the sector at large, and resonates with Briefing.com's view of the sector. The positive stance of the influential Financial sector helped the broader market hold within today's range; while its modest 0.4% gain was not enough to incite substantial advances, it's slight uptick just before the bell helped the Dow and S&P clear the flat line.

Telecom similarly contributed 0.3%, and the Consumer Discretionary sector clung to a 0.1% gain. With respect to the latter, Disney (DIS 21.41 +0.42) - one of our recommended holdings for active investors - and General Motors (GM 20.52 +1.11) were its bright spots; those issues simultaneously limited the Dow's decline. DIS rose upon reports of an impending deal with, and possible takeover of, Pixar (PIXR 56.00 -2.16), while reports of strong sales (+35% during 2005) in China perhaps deviated some attention from yesterday's dismal December U.S. data and drove GM north. After occupying much of the session's spotlight, retailers closed in the red. Although about half of the reporters exceeded analysts' expectations for the crucial holiday shopping season, the torrent of data was accompanied by several profit warnings that irked investors. Wal-Mart (WMT 45.69 -0.63) posted the smallest same-store sales growth (+2.2%) in five years, but, since that had been pre-announced Tuesday, it was its Q4 forecast that attracted sellers. The world's largest retailer expects EPS to check in at the low-end of its guidance - which, at that end, falls a penny short of Wall Street's estimate. TGT (+4.7%) reported in-line with expectations; warnings from KSS and DG were especial sore spots; JWN shined.

A bullish energy inventory report from the EIA, which showed a lower than expected drawdown in crude alongside better than expected builds in distillates, gasoline, and natural gas, ultimately had a bearish impact on the broader market. The stats induced profit-taking of the Energy sector's 3.4% week-to-date gain, and the 1.0% decline that resulted weighed heavily. Rocky crude trading was essentially overlooked, but crude futures did recede from the 11-week high at which they hovered. Industrials (-0.4%) also spent the day lower, following Bank of America's downgrade of BA; MRK's rating cut at Goldman Sachs ended the pharmaceutical industry's recent run and took the Healthcare sector 0.2% lower.

Separately, last week's initial claims hit a five-year low, while the December ISM service index, at 59.8, came in a bit stronger than expected. While neither had much impact on trading, the claims data sparked some bearishness for bonds. Today's economic front was essentially eclipsed by investors' anticipation of tomorrow's employment report, however.DJ30 +2.00 NASDAQ +13.41 SP500 +0.02 NASDAQ Dec/Adv/Vol 1423/1630/1.93 bln NYSE Dec/Adv/Vol 1482/1841/1.79 bln

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ozymandius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-05-06 03:57 PM
Response to Original message
68. closing shop without closing blather again
Dow 10,882.15 +2.00 (+0.02%)
Nasdaq 2,276.87 +13.41 (+0.59%)
S&P 500 1,273.48 +0.02 (+0.00%)
10-Yr Bond 43.56 0.00 (0.00%)

NYSE Volume 2,433,337,000
Nasdaq Volume 1,933,114,000
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Roland99 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-05-06 04:42 PM
Response to Reply #68
69. The EMTs will arrive tomorrow to do CPR on that flatliner.
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