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ozymandius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 06:05 AM
Original message
STOCK MARKET WATCH, Friday May 2
Source: du

STOCK MARKET WATCH, Friday May 2, 2008

COUNTING THE DAYS
DAYS REMAINING IN THE * REGIME 264

DAYS SINCE DEMOCRACY DIED (12/12/00) 2658 DAYS
WHERE'S OSAMA BIN-LADEN? 2383 DAYS
DAYS SINCE ENRON COLLAPSE = 2674
Number of Enron Execs in handcuffs = 19
ENRON EXECS CONVICTED = 10
Enron execs conveniently deceased = 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 May 1, 2008

Dow... 13,010.00 +189.87 (+1.48%)
Nasdaq... 2,480.71 +67.91 (+2.81%)
S&P 500... 1,409.34 +23.75 (+1.71%)
Gold future... 850.90 -14.20 (-1.67%)
30-Year Bond 4.48% -0.01 (-0.29%)
10-Yr Bond... 3.75% -0.01 (-0.27%)






GOLD,EURO, YEN, Loonie and Silver



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









Read more: du
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ozymandius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 06:16 AM
Response to Original message
1. Market WrapUp: What's Behind the Slide in Gold and Silver?
BY GARY DORSCH

After watching the price of silver soar to as high as $15/ounce in May 2006, Warren Buffett, the Oracle of Omaha, offered some sagely words of wisdom. What the wise man does at the beginning, the fool does at the end. At the start of the party, the punch is flowing and everythings going well, but you know at midnight, its all going to turn into pumpkins and mice. People think theyll be able to get out just before midnight, but everyone else thinks that too. The problem is that, in commodities there are no clocks on the wall, Buffett warned.

Nine years earlier in 1997, Buffett had begun accumulating 130-million ounces of silver, or nearly one-third of the entire worlds supply, at roughly $4.50 per ounce for around $572 million. His public announcement of the silver purchases sent the price up to $7.50 an ounce from just under $6.00 in a few weeks. Then it was discovered that Mr. Buffett was taking delivery of March silver while selling July futures contracts. As quickly as silver prices soared, they plunged.

But by May 2006, silver was spiraling higher again doubling to $15/oz, and Buffett lamented before his shareholders that he had sold his silver too early and did not profit much from the sale. Still, Buffett's warning of a commodity bubble that was ready to deflate was initially proven correct when silver tumbled 32% and gold fell 24% over the next five weeks.

.....

The May-June 2006 slide in the silver market was triggered by a surprise rate hike by the Fed to 5.25%, above the perceived neutral rate of 5%, leaning on the side of restraint to keep the powerful Commodity Super Cycle in check. Fed chief Ben Helicopter Bernanke was anxious to shed his dovish reputation after he had secretly confided to CNBC reporter Maria Bartiromo, Its worrisome that people look at me as dovish and not as an aggressive inflation-fighter.

.....

On April 9th former Fed chief Paul Volcker lashed out at the Bernanke Feds super-easy monetary policy, which has fueled the biggest commodity bubble since the 1970s. When concerns about recession are rife, the central bank will be tempted to subordinate the fundamental need to maintain a reliable currency, to the impulse to shore up a flagging economy. The danger is that you lose both battles, as the US did in the 1970s, and wind up with stagflation, he warned. The Fed has a particular duty to defend the integrity of the fiat currency in its charge, Volcker added.

http://www.financialsense.com/Market/wrapup.htm
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plasticsundance Donating Member (786 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 09:44 AM
Response to Reply #1
39. I would stick with Gold and precious metals.
http://goldmoney.com/en/commentary.php#current

Both gold and silver declined last month, but both have respectable year-to-date and 12-month gains. Though up 26.8% over the past twelve months, gold only rose in seven of those months. Silver achieved its 22.7% 12-month gain even though it rose in only six months. These results are evidence that it's always a bumpy ride with markets like the one we are experiencing at the moment. But use these bumps wisely by continuing to accumulate precious metal. Here's how I explained it recently in an email responding to a question about the gold cartel and their ongoing effort to cap the gold price:

"I am not adverse to setbacks like the current one, or indeed, the ongoing capping by the gold cartel. They have in fact done us a favour. Their action is keeping gold at prices lower than they would be if the gold cartel were not in there intervening to cap gold. This has enabled me and everyone else who has been buying gold to acquire it at prices lower than the gold price would otherwise be without the price capping. In short, the gold cartel is keeping dollars and other fiat currency overvalued and gold undervalued, thus enabling me and others to accumulate gold month after month with available new earnings generated each month. That's a good thing in my view. Think back to the 1960s. The gold cartel was active then too, trying to keep gold at $35 per ounce when it was worth much more than that. We all know what happened to gold in the 1970s after the gold cartel was eventually overwhelmed back then by their foolish price capping activity. The same thing is happening this time around, except that the gold cartel is allowing the gold price to rise somewhat each time they recognize that they are losing a battle -- they retreat to fight another day. So in conclusion, the gold cartel may be able to keep gold under $1,000 for a few weeks, or perhaps even months. That just gives us more time to accumulate it with new earnings we generate each month. But eventually, values will be realized (like happened in the 1970s) and gold will soar over $1,000."

When asked about the gold cartel, its activity and its motivation, I often refer to an interesting observation by former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker. It is from the Nikkei Weekly, which in 2004 published excerpts from his memoirs commenting on monetary policy and the rising gold price in the 1970s: "Joint intervention in gold sales to prevent a steep rise in the price of gold, however, was not undertaken. That was a mistake." It was a 'mistake' in his view because the gold price did something the government didn't like. It laid bare for all to see the government's empty rhetoric that it would fight inflation.

The parallel to today is simply too obvious to ignore, given the government's so-called 'strong' dollar policy, but the government is not making the same 'mistake' again. There is today "joint intervention" by central banks to interfere with the normal supply/demand activity in the gold market. These efforts are aimed at preventing gold from doing what it has always done throughout history. Gold is a monetary barometer because its rising price signals the mismanagement of a national currency.



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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 02:51 PM
Response to Reply #39
67. Thank You For This Sensible Commentary
That's the most well-reasoned, plausible explanation and prediction I've ever heard.
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ozymandius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 06:18 AM
Response to Original message
2. Today's Reports
08:30 Average Workweek Apr
Briefing.com 33.7
Consensus 33.7
Prior 33.8

08:30 Hourly Earnings Apr
Briefing.com 0.3%
Consensus 0.3%
Prior 0.3%

08:30 Nonfarm Payrolls Apr
Briefing.com -70K
Consensus -75K
Prior -80K

08:30 Unemployment Rate Apr
Briefing.com 5.2%
Consensus 5.2%
Prior 5.1%

10:00 Factory Orders Mar
Briefing.com 0.4%
Consensus 0.2%
Prior -1.3%

http://www.briefing.com/Investor/Public/Calendars/Econo...
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UpInArms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 08:33 AM
Response to Reply #2
17. U.S. April nonfarm payrolls down 20,000 vs down 78,000
01. U.S. April unemployment rate 5.0% vs 5.1% in March
8:30 AM ET, May 02, 2008

02. U.S. April nonfarm payrolls down 20,000 vs down 78,000
8:30 AM ET, May 02, 2008
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UpInArms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 08:45 AM
Response to Reply #17
23. here's da spin:
http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/job-market-weak-n...

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) - The labor market wasn't as weak as expected in April, but it wasn't strong by any means.

The data released by the Labor Department on Friday continues to show any economy near or in recession, with more jobs destroyed than created for a fourth straight month. Nonfarm payrolls fell by 20,000 in April after job losses averaging 80,000 in the first quarter of the year. See full story.

Economists were looking for a loss of 78,000. See Economic Calendar.
But because of the unique nature of this downturn, the job market hasn't collapsed as it typically does during recessions.

The economy has two faces: Most industries dealing with the manufacture, shipping or sales of tangible goods or real estate is weak. And the boom in exports is keeping the factory sector from shedding as many jobs as it typically does. On the other hand, most industries dealing with providing services, such as health-care, education, professional services and accommodations, is doing better.

Rather than lay off workers who may be needed soon if the economy turns around, firms are cutting back hours sharply. Total hours worked in the economy sank by 0.4% in April and are down 0.6% since December.

...more really good spin at link...
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lib2DaBone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 09:52 AM
Response to Reply #23
41. I never was good at math
Thanks for the link. I was just reading that article. What a great work of fiction! Funny, I counted close to 100K jobs lost in April? But what do I know? If George Bush says it's only 20K..then by god..that's what it is! Everyone else is lying and George is telling the truth. :patriot:



snip_______________
Planned job cuts in U.S. companies totaled 90,015 last month, up from 53,579 in March and up 27 percent from a year earlier, employment consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. reported.

The April layoffs were the steepest since the 100,315 cuts announced in September 2006.


http://www.reuters.com/article/domesticNews/idUSNAT0039...


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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 02:53 PM
Response to Reply #41
69. Things That Never Rose Simply Cannot Collapse
and we never recovered from Day One of BushWorld, let alone the last 7 years of him.
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Roland99 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 09:03 AM
Response to Reply #17
27. Dow futures +117. Gotta love the good bad news!!
:eyes:

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UpInArms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 08:34 AM
Response to Reply #2
19. April factory jobs down 46,000; services up 90,000
U.S. April factory jobs down 46,000; services up 90,000
8:31 AM ET, May 02, 2008

(?????)
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UpInArms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 08:36 AM
Response to Reply #2
20. U.S. April average hourly earnings up 0.1%, up 3.4% yr-on-yr
01. U.S. April average hourly earnings up 0.1%, up 3.4% yr-on-yr
8:32 AM ET, May 02, 2008

03. U.S. April average workweek falls 6 minutes to 33.7 hours
8:32 AM ET, May 02, 2008

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UpInArms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 10:01 AM
Response to Reply #2
42. U.S. March factory orders up 1.4% vs. 0.2% expected
01. U.S. March durable goods up rev. 0.1% vs down 0.3% prev est
10:00 AM ET, May 02, 2008

02. U.S. March factory orders up 1.4% vs. 0.2% expected
10:00 AM ET, May 02, 2008
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UpInArms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 10:50 AM
Response to Reply #42
47. Feb Factory Orders rev'd to -1.3% from -0.9% as reported
March's factory orders climbed 1.4%, which is better than the 0.2% increase that economists expected. Last month's orders were revised from a 0.9% downturn to a 1.3% downturn.

what will March's numbers be rev'd to read?
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UpInArms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 05:27 PM
Response to Reply #42
88. "Higher prices factored into the rise."
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080502/ap_on_bi_go_ec_fi/f...

WASHINGTON - U.S. factories saw demand for their products rebound in March, following a two-month slump.

The Commerce Department reported Friday that orders placed with U.S. manufacturers rose 1.4 percent in March. That was an improvement from the 0.9 percent dip reported in February and the 2.3 percent drop in January.

The latest snapshot of manufacturing activity was better than many economists were forecasting. They were predicting a smaller, 0.2 percent rise in orders.

Most of the pickup in March came from "nondurable" goods — a broad category including food, paper products, and petroleum and coal products. Orders for nondurables rose 2.6 percent in March, following a 1.1 percent drop in February. Higher prices factored into the rise.

...more...
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UpInArms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 11:00 AM
Response to Reply #2
50. US weekly economy gauge in recession territory-ECRI
http://www.reuters.com/article/bondsNews/idUSNAT0039892...

NEW YORK, May 2 (Reuters) - A gauge of future U.S. economic growth slipped in the latest week and continues to point to a U.S. economy in recession, a research group said on Friday.

The Economic Cycle Research Institute, a New York-based independent forecasting group, said its Weekly Leading Index edged down to 131.9 in the week to April 25 from 132.1 in the prior week.

The decline was due to higher jobless claims and lower housing activity. These positive factors were partly offset by lower interest rates, said Melinda Hubman, research associate at ECRI.

<snip>

"While the WLI has recovered slightly in the last four weeks, it remains close to its March low and in a clear recessionary downswing," Hubman said.

...more at link...
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ozymandius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 06:20 AM
Response to Original message
3.  Oil prices drop to $112 a barrel on stronger dollar
SINGAPORE - Oil prices retreated further Friday from the early-week record near $120 a barrel as a strengthening U.S. dollar prompted investors to exit the market.

As the greenback has recovered this week against the euro and yen, the front-month crude futures contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange has dropped nearly $8 from its high to benchmark oil's lowest level since April 14.

The rise of the dollar has stripped away some of oil's appeal to investors who have been betting that the greenback would continue to falter. When the dollar gains ground, commodities such as oil lose their value as a hedge against inflation, prompting selling. Also, a stronger dollar makes oil more expensive to investors overseas.

Light, sweet crude for June delivery fell 49 cents to $112.03 a barrel in electronic trading on the Nymex by midafternoon in Singapore. The contract fell 94 cents to settle at $112.52 a barrel on Thursday.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/oil_prices
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ozymandius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 06:25 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. U.S. gas: So cheap it hurts
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Despite daily headlines bemoaning record gas prices, the U.S. is actually one of the cheaper places to fill up in the world.

Out of 155 countries surveyed, U.S. gas prices were the 45th cheapest, according to a recent study from AIRINC, a research firm that tracks cost of living data.

The difference is staggering. As of late March, U.S. gas prices averaged $3.45 a gallon. That compares to over $8 a gallon across much of Europe, $12.03 in Aruba and $18.42 in Sierra Leone.

.....

In the U.S., the federal tax on gas is about 18 cents a gallon, pretty low by international standards.

But those relatively low gas taxes make it hard now for Americans to deal with gas prices that have risen from around $1 to over $3 a gallon in the last seven years.

http://money.cnn.com/2008/05/01/news/international/usga...



Cheap as this article says gasoline is: the relative nature of pricing, year-over-year, does not make me feel much better about paying $14 more to fill my tank than it cost one year ago. Nice try -- I guess.
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Roland99 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 06:45 AM
Response to Reply #4
10. Wholesale Gas at $2.88/gal
It's dropped about 15 cents in the last couple of days. But, gas prices here are stuck on $3.75/gal all week.
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Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 10:52 AM
Response to Reply #10
48. HUGH price drop here!
It went from $3.45 to $3.43! See? The beneficent oil companies are passing their savings right along to us!
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Shipwack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 08:21 AM
Response to Reply #4
15. Yes, other countries are higher, but...
European prices are higher because of higher taxes. I'd happily pay more for gas if I could take a cheap train to Atlanta or NYC, or have cheap healthcare.
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Hugin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 09:07 AM
Response to Reply #15
28. Good point, Shipwack.
I don't see anyone else mentioning that little tidbit.
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wordpix Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-03-08 12:40 AM
Response to Reply #15
100. same with Canada---high tax, low cost subsidized health care
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UpInArms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 09:12 AM
Response to Reply #3
31. Chevron net rises 10% to $5.17 billion on higher price of fuel
http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/chevron-net-incom...

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- Chevron Corp. on Friday said first-quarter net income climbed 10% as revenue jumped by $19 billion on higher prices for crude oil, natural gas and refined products.

The San Ramon, Calif. integrated oil and gas giant said earnings for the three months ended March 31 increased to $5.17 billion, or $2.48 a share, from $4.72 billion, or $2.18 a share in the year-ago period, which included a one time $700 million gain.

Revenue rose to $65 billion from $46 billion, as the company's oil and gas production business grew, even as its refining and marketing results were essentially break-even for the period.

Wall Street analysts expected Chevron (CVX) to earn $2.39 a share, according to a survey by FactSet.

"Upstream earnings benefited from a significant increase in the price of crude oil from a year ago," said Chairman and CEO Dave O'Reilly. "However, market conditions prevented our downstream business from fully recovering these higher costs through the price of gasoline and other refined products."

...more...
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skoalyman Donating Member (751 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 10:18 AM
Response to Reply #3
43. turkey conveniently drops bombs in iraq sending oil back up
113.45 up 0.93 who'd a thunk :nopity:
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 02:56 PM
Response to Reply #43
70. What??!! Where's a Link?
Don't just drop bombs like that and walk away!
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Ghost Dog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 04:58 PM
Response to Reply #70
86. Turkey confirms air strikes on Kurd rebels in N.Iraq
Fri May 2, 2008 5:26pm BST
ANKARA/ARBIL, Iraq (Reuters) - Turkish warplanes launched intensive bombing raids on Kurdish rebel targets in northern Iraq overnight, the Turkish General Staff said on Friday, but there were no reports of casualties.

Turkish forces have stepped up strikes against Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets in northern Iraq in recent weeks in addition to operations against them in Turkey. Turkish troops conducted a large-scale incursion across the border in February.

"Turkish Air Force planes struck targets belonging to the terror group in a comprehensive and effective air operation from 2300 (9 p.m. British time)," the General Staff said in a statement on its website.

The military said all its planes returned safely after the attack, which was launched after PKK targets were identified in the Qandil mountain region. A second statement said it struck a major blow against the PKK and put a large number of "terrorists" out of action, but did not give any figures.

...

"There has been heavy bombing and many Turkish planes were involved. So far, we have no word of any casualties," PKK spokesman Ahmed Danees told Reuters by telephone.

Military sources told Reuters that at least 30 planes were involved in the raids, which they said targeted senior PKK members in Iraq's remote Qandil mountains.

/... http://uk.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUKL0122059320...
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ozymandius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 06:26 AM
Response to Original message
5.  Economists predicting that employers cut jobs yet again
WASHINGTON - The country is bracing for more bad news on the jobs front. In advance of Friday's employment snapshot from the Labor Department, economists were predicting that employers cut jobs yet again in April. That would mark the fourth straight month of job losses. The unemployment rate, now at 5.1 percent, is expected to edge up a notch.

-very short-

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080502/ap_on_bi_go_ec_fi/e...
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Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 10:55 AM
Response to Reply #5
49. Have y'all been window shopping lately?
Have you been in any of the stores in the mall, looking at stuff you might buy if you weren't worried your job is next to be sent to Asia?

If you have, you know the places are deserted and as soon as you set foot into them, you're deluged with bored salespeople eager to help.

I found myself ducking behind displays yesterday to avoid oversolicitous sales people and left without getting what I'd gone for.
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Hugin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 11:18 AM
Response to Reply #49
51. I'd love too... But, even a "Breakfast at Tiffany's" is out of my price range.
Can't afford it. I'm saving up for a life-threatening medical event. Like needing an aspirin or maybe some
whole wheat toast.



(Yeah, pretty scary... :scared: )
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AnneD Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 11:40 AM
Response to Reply #49
52. Morning Marketeers.....
:donut: and lurkers. I am not much of a mall shopper to begin with, Warpy, but I will vouch for you. Lately the malls only have business on Friday (the young crowd and teens), Saturday (an actual cross section of serious shoppers), and Sunday (some shoppers some window shoppers). Forget restaurants-same story. I have noticed the good moderately priced local neighbourhood places are doing a bit better. The poor are going to the fast food places where their family or friends work and getting the employee discounts. Monday through Thursdays are ghost towns in most of these places-even in Houston-and we are better off than most.

Angry, hungry, unemployed people overthrow governments. And that's all I'll say about that.

I did talk to Mom last night and of course we got to politics. I told her I knew she was a proud Arizonian and I knew she would vote for McSame. And of course she started defending him. She knows that I preferred McCain over Bush in 2000 (I still voted Gore) so she's not too upset. I told her it didn't matter to me who won because this year I would make history either way I voted. She paused for a minute then cracked up. I went on to say that I was a yeller dog democrat this year. She figured as much. But one thing we did agree on-she came down really hard on Greenspan and Bernanke. She isn't one to follow the economy much but she had choice words to say about Greenspan (pompous geriatric ass comes to mind-she's in her 70's BTW) and Bernanke (diddling twit). Ya gotta love her.

So guys-put your BS ear protectors on...

Happy hunting and watch out for the bears.
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Hugin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 11:54 AM
Response to Reply #52
53. Which brings us to today's Market Sing-along: "I Think Were Alone Now" -- Tiffany
Selected more due to the comments of Warpy and the odd way they fit into the title of this song...

"I Think Were Alone Now"

"Children behave
Thats what they say when were together
And watch how you play
They don't understand
And so were

Chorus:
Running just as fast as we can
Holding on to one another's hand
Trying to get away into the night
And then you put your arms around me
And we tumble to the ground
And then you say

I think were alone now
There doesn't seem to be anyone around
I think were alone now
The beating of our hearts is the only sound

Look at the way
We gotta hide what were doing
cause what would they say
If they ever knew
And so were

Repeat chorus

I think were alone now
There doesn't seem to be anyone around
I think were alone now
The beating of our hearts is the only sound"
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 02:58 PM
Response to Reply #53
71. I Never Thought You to Be Such a Sentimental Softy
Good choice.
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Hugin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 03:49 PM
Response to Reply #71
78. It's kind of funny...
If you think of various members of the financial world running around holding hands.

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AnneD Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 07:54 PM
Response to Reply #78
98. One day we will have to play....
MATCHing GAME.
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kineneb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 02:33 PM
Response to Reply #52
64. drove to SF Bay Area last Sat.- parking at outlets!
stopped at the outlets in Vacaville to hit my favorite store- Sanrio (yes, Hello Kitty)...there were parking places on a Saturday! People wandering around, but certainly no buying frenzy.
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ozymandius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 06:28 AM
Response to Original message
6.  April auto sales plunge 14 percent
DETROIT (Reuters) - U.S. auto sales fell 14 percent to their lowest annual rate in a decade in April as weak consumer confidence and rising gas prices hit the industry's most profitable vehicles hardest.

General Motors Corp, Ford Motor Co and Chrysler LLC posted deeper sales declines than expected, led by a sharp drop in trucks and SUVs. GM sales fell 23 percent, Ford 19 percent, and Chrysler nearly 30 percent, the automakers said on Thursday.

Asian competitors also struggled, with Toyota Motor Corp posting a 5 percent decline, and Nissan Motor Co sales dropping almost 2 percent.

...more bleak news...

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080502/bs_nm/usa_autosales...

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ozymandius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 06:29 AM
Response to Original message
7.  Sun Microsystems' third-quarter loss stuns Wall Street
SAN JOSE, Calif. - Wall Street expected Sun Microsystems Inc.'s global sales base to help it weather the U.S. economic slowdown and turn a profit in the first three months of the year.

Instead, the Santa Clara-based server and software maker stunned investors Thursday by reporting a loss in its third quarter, caused in part by sagging sales to U.S. consumer-oriented companies that are putting off big-ticket spending for better times.

Sun's shares were quickly punished, dropping almost 15 percent in after-hours trading.

.....

Sun said after the market closed Thursday that it lost $34 million, or 4 cents per share, in the three months ended March 30. That's down from a profit of $67 million, or 7 cents per share, during the year-ago period.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080502/ap_on_hi_te/earns_s...
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UpInArms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 07:02 AM
Response to Reply #7
13. Sun Micro cutting up to 2,500 jobs
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080501/bs_nm/sunmicro_jobs...

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Sun Microsystems Inc (JAVA.O) said on Thursday it would cut 1,500 to 2,500 jobs in the face of U.S. economic weakness and delays in orders from some customers.

Sun will take a charge of $130 million to $220 million in its fiscal fourth quarter to account for the cuts, executives said on a conference call following a disappointing quarterly earnings report.
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ozymandius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 06:35 AM
Response to Original message
8.  Home Depot to close 15 underperforming US stores (Nardelli sports a bloody nose, twice)
ATLANTA - It's been 4 1/2 years since former Home Depot Chief Executive Bob Nardelli's bold prediction that the home improvement retailer could sustain "unlimited growth" without significantly affecting sales at established stores. <<KAPOW!>>

.....

The Atlanta-based company, under different leadership, a different growth philosophy and amid an ailing housing market, put the brakes Thursday on some of its future expansion plans and said it would do what was previously unthinkable close 15 of its underperforming flagship stores.

It is the first time the world's largest home improvement store chain has ever closed a flagship store for performance reasons. The move, to be completed within the next two months, will affect 1,300 employees.

.....

Nardelli, now the chief at automaker Chrysler LLC, had other ideas on Nov. 18, 2003, when he told The Associated Press that The Home Depot Inc.'s robust new store growth would continue unabated and suggested the retailer may one day expand into Europe and Asia. <<KAPOW!>>

.....

The stores Home Depot said Thursday it plans to close consist of three in Wisconsin, two in Ohio, two in New Jersey, two in Indiana and one each in Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, North Dakota, New York and Vermont.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080501/ap_on_bi_ge/home_de...
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ozymandius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 06:38 AM
Response to Reply #8
9. Also raises this question:
Edited on Fri May-02-08 06:39 AM by ozymandius
How do the good people at Chrysler feel right now about having this chest-thumping goon as their top boss?

Foresight: That's what you need to succeed in business.


Foresight.

Alas.
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54anickel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 07:52 AM
Response to Reply #9
14. That and maybe a wee bit of common sense and sense of reality. Sad part is that
that chest-thumping goon image applies to 90% of the top management I've known or dealt with in my professional lifetime. It's all about talking shit and padding resumes. It's all about them when things are going well, it's the damned, no good, labor's fault when things go bad and a freaking misunderstanding on everyone elses part when they are caught in a blatant lie. :eyes:
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TalkingDog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 08:49 AM
Response to Reply #14
24. We definitely don't live in a meritocracy.
If we did, I'd be...well, I wouldn't be president. But I also wouldn't be unemployed.

Braggarts, show-boaters and chest-thumpers.

We might as well be sitting in the jungle watching the Alpha male put on a dominance display. Throwing branches around and impressing us with his fierce bravery by running through a creek.

*sigh*
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Hugin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 09:02 AM
Response to Reply #24
26. It isn't working?

"We might as well be sitting in the jungle watching the Alpha male put on a dominance display. Throwing branches around and impressing us with his fierce bravery by running through a creek."

Rats.

And I was trying so hard.

Uh, I could fish termites out of a mound with a small stick... I'm very good with tools.





( :rofl: )



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AnneD Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 11:56 AM
Response to Reply #26
54. Prag....
I'm fascinated by your termite gathering prowess-but the way to a woman's heart is grooming her for bugs. :spray:
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 03:00 PM
Response to Reply #54
72. Grooming Her Computer System For Bugs
or for the more traditional woman, fixing her car.
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Ghost Dog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 05:33 PM
Response to Reply #72
89. Absolutely. May help if you're an imaginative cook
and can handle housework, as well as the handyman stuff, fellas...
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-03-08 08:15 AM
Response to Reply #89
102. I'd Settle for An Appreciative Eater, Myself
instead of a whiner who doesn't eat this, doesn't eat that, runs 100 miles a week and therefore has no energy to do anything else physical, etc, etc.
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InkAddict Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 09:26 AM
Response to Reply #24
36. I've heard that Punji sticks put a dead stop to that kind of display. n/t
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UpInArms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 06:55 AM
Response to Original message
11. dollar watch


http://quotes.ino.com/chart/?s=NYBOT_DX&v=i

Last trade 73.174 Change -0.080 (-0.11%)

How Will Non-Farm Payrolls Impact the US Dollar?

http://www.dailyfx.com/story/bio1/How_Will_Non_Farm_Pay...

The US dollar has strengthened across the board today ahead of Friday’s non-farm payrolls release. This may befuddle some traders as the greenback’s price action conflicts with the higher jobless claims report and the deterioration in the employment component of manufacturing ISM. According to our non-farm payrolls preview, job growth should decline for the fourth consecutive month. The market is currently expecting non-farm payrolls to fall by 78k and for the US unemployment rate to rise to highest level in 3 years. There is even a possibility that job losses could hit -100k. Over the past month, consumer confidence hit a record low and planned layoffs as reported by Challenger Gray and Christmas increased 27.4 percent. Continuing claims are also on the rise as the problems in the US economy escalate. Many people including Warren Buffet will agree that the US economy is already in a recession. During the last 3 recessions, there was a string of job losses that lasted for a minimum of 10 months. If this is true, we could see far more than 4 consecutive months of job losses ahead of us. In each of the past 3 recessions, the largest single month job loss was more than 300k. In this context, a 100k drop in April or May is not only realistic but nearly guaranteed. However, weak non-farm payrolls may not be enough to halt the recent rally in the US dollar. After the hawkish minutes from the FOMC yesterday, traders have rallied the greenback on the expectation that the Federal Reserve will not be raising interest rates again in June. Even if the drop in non-farm payrolls in the month of April is greater than the -80k decline in March, the Federal Reserve has the benefit of seeing the non-farm payrolls report for the month of May before making their next monetary policy decision. Therefore the market’s reaction to a bad number may be tempered for the time being and a good number of course would add fuel to the current rally in the US dollar. Sentiment and technicals also point to further gains for the US dollar and weakness in the Euro, which is discussed further in our Euro commentary. Meanwhile the manufacturing ISM number was stronger than expected along with core PCE. Although the 48.6 reading is still reflective of contractionary conditions, the performance of the manufacturing sector would have probably been worse had it not been for the benefits of a weaker dollar.

...more...


Will Non-Farm Payrolls Recover?

http://www.dailyfx.com/story/topheadline/Will_Non_Farm_...

The Federal Reserve cut interest rates by 25bp yesterday and hinted that they will pause when they meet again in June. In response to this shift, the market immediately priced in an 85 percent chance that interest rates will be left at 2 percent at the next two monetary policy meetings. Since then the expectations have eased slightly as traders gear up for Friday’s non-farm payrolls report. The sell-off in the US dollar following the FOMC rate decision suggests that many market participants are not necessarily convinced by the hawkish comments from the Federal Reserve. If the labor market continues to weaken, the central bank may have no choice but to pick up where they left off and only hope that slower US demand will be enough to bring down inflation. The level of non-farm payrolls in the month of April will help to determine whether the Federal Reserve will really keep interest rates unchanged in both June and August and where the US dollar is headed next.

Could Non-Farm Payrolls Drop by 100k?

Nearly everyone in the market seems to agree that non-farm payrolls will fall for the fourth month in a row, but will the job losses be more severe than what has been reported over the past 3 months? Job growth has been a sore point for the US economy for sometime and in March, the labor market reported its worst performance since March 2003. Analysts are currently looking for a mild improvement, but we believe that the conditions in the US labor market will worsen. In fact, non-farm payrolls could have even drop by 100k last month given the level of layoff announcements that have been announced. Here is a sampling of the most notable ones and although these jobs are expected to be cut over the course of the next few months, they certainly do not paint a pretty picture for the labor market.

Layoff Tally

-3500 GM 4.30.08
-1100 United Air 4.22.08
-9000 Citigroup 4.18.08
-4000 Merrill Lynch 4.17.08
-4000 AT&T 4.17.08
-730 Harley 4.17.08
-1600 AMD 4.17.08
-4000 Aloha Airlines and ATA 4.07.08
-1000 Home Depot 4.05.08
-2600 Motorola 4.04.08
-8800 Dell 4.04.08
-5500 Schering-Plough 4.03.08

Most people including Warren Buffett already believe that the US economy is in a recession and during recessions the labor market usually deteriorates. Over the past 3 decades, the US economy has gone through 3 recessions. In each of those 3 recessions, there was a string of job losses that lasted for a minimum of 10 months. Many people argue that the current downturn in growth could be more severe than the recession in the early 2000s due to the triple blow of a housing crisis, credit crunch and skyrocketing commodity prices. If this is true, we will see far more than 4 consecutive months of job losses. In each of the past 3 recessions, the largest single month job loss was more than 300k. In this context, a 100k drop during the month or April or May is not only realistic but nearly guaranteed.



The following chart illustrates the strong correlation between the employment component of service sector ISM and non-farm payrolls. The last time, the employment component (blue line) was at current levels, job losses were double the drop in February. The drop in March does not get us even near the levels that the charts suggest which means that job losses could have worsened last month. If NFPs rebound, we would only consider it a recovery before a more serious deterioration in the US labor market.



...more...


...more...
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UpInArms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 06:57 AM
Response to Original message
12. Treasury officials are crossing the legal line in official capacity
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080502/bs_nm/treasury_meet...

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Treasury Department officials plan private meetings with Wall Street executives and bankers, in an apparent attempt to counter Congressional Democrats seeking stronger steps to handle the housing crisis, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

Six meetings with investors, loan servicers and bankers are planned on Friday, and one of them is to be held at the NewYork City offices of JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N), the report said.

Neel Kashkari, a senior adviser to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, and Phillip Swagel, assistant secretary for economic policy will lead the Treasury's Friday efforts, the Journal said.

...more...
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Hugin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 09:25 AM
Response to Reply #12
35. There's the problem...
"Treasury Department officials plan private meetings with Wall Street executives and bankers"

These guys have gone rogue, they've totally lost touch with who they represent... Hey guys, it's "We the People".

They can say the Fed is not U.S. Government, but, the Treasury Department sure as hell -IS- and I know for a
fact each and every one of you took an oath to protect that very same document.
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UpInArms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 09:36 AM
Response to Reply #35
37. thanks for understanding my outrage, Prag
these people belong in prison for selling out their country to a political agenda.
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Hugin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 09:47 AM
Response to Reply #37
40. These days I seem to be specializing in 'Outrage'...
Edited on Fri May-02-08 09:51 AM by Prag
Some of the pieces posted over the past couple of days and the fact this little closed-door hokie-pokie is being held at
JPM&C has me wondering if there isn't some massive CYA and loose-end eliminating over the Bear Stearns Scandal.

:tinfoilhat:
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antigop Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 10:41 AM
Response to Reply #40
46. my outrage meter has been on overload for quite some time n/t
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Ghost Dog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 12:36 PM
Response to Reply #40
56. Why I'm keeping quiet (for now) and concentrating on other things.
Edited on Fri May-02-08 12:37 PM by Ghost Dog
I've made my short-to-near-term predictions and positionings (to next month; to summer's-end) and will be prioritizing mental and physical health (at least for a while) while keeping an eye on just a few significant flags (of which, for me, the info and mood here in DU are very significant, thanks guys).

Stay cool (in the non-commercial sense) :freak: :hi: :hippie:
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AnneD Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 04:10 PM
Response to Reply #56
82. Was wondering about the absences.....
you are missed and thought of kindly when you take your sabbaticals.
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Ghost Dog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 04:51 PM
Response to Reply #82
85. ... Thanks AnneD. I thought it should be worthwhile (in the non-commercial sense)
looking into investigating/getting involved in some local grass-roots stuff, eg:

possibility for forming a local eco/organic foods etc. cooperative;

an 'initiative' (from the ruling local powers that be), apparently still so far almost entirely undocumented, although lobbied-for, to turn around 45% of this island into an 'arid lands' National Park. The intentions of which may not be as positive as they at first sound, since the project may be designed to lift the few restrictions that at the moment apply in order to allow the almost complete urbanisation of the other half of the island to create a tourism monoculture at least a hundred times larger than at the present (which has already multiplied many-fold over these last twenty years)...

plenty more...

So that involves 'making friends and influencing people' (in the non-cynical sense). And using the more-or-less Spanish-speaking part of my head much more on a daily basis...
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 03:01 PM
Response to Reply #40
73. Did You See My Tinfoil Post Yesterday on That?
The more stupid things that happen, the more credible it gets.
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Hugin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 03:48 PM
Response to Reply #73
76. Yes, that's exactly what came to mind...
Um... Tinfoil protected mind. Mind, you. :tinfoilhat:
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wordpix Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-03-08 12:43 AM
Response to Reply #12
101. Treasury getting the full picture from across the economic spectrum-just like Cheney's energy task
Edited on Sat May-03-08 12:45 AM by wordpix
force :puke: Never ceases to amaze me the staying power of the 'pukes and how the evildoers operate the same dangerous, moronic way at every turn. :nuke:
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UpInArms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 08:27 AM
Response to Original message
16. Fed up the credit limit for investment banks
04. Fed ups Term Auction Facility to $75 billion from $50 bln
8:22 AM ET, May 02, 2008

05. Federal Reserve expands swap lines with Europe central banks
8:18 AM ET, May 02, 2008
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Ghost Dog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 04:36 PM
Response to Reply #16
84. Global central banks extend lifeline to credit mkts
WASHINGTON/FRANKFURT, May 2 (Reuters) - The U.S. Federal Reserve joined two European central banks on Friday in expanding programs to spread more cash through the banking system in hopes of restoring confidence in credit markets.

The Fed said it would increase the size of cash auctions to banks, while the European Central Bank and the Swiss National Bank will boost their auctions of U.S. dollar funds.

In addition, the Fed said it would widen one of its lending programs to allow big bond market firms to swap a broader array of hard-to-trade securities for top-rated and liquid U.S. Treasury debt.

"They're trying to target their actions," said Rick Meckler, president of LibertyView Capital Management in Jersey City, New Jersey. "I don't think this will be the last move either. They'll continue to look to restore markets to the conditions they were before the crisis."

...

The Fed's announcement on Friday signals policy-makers feel they need to rely on measures besides rate cuts to calm markets and get at the problems besetting the economy.

UNSTICKING THE MARKETS

Beginning next week, the U.S. central bank will begin accepting top-rated asset-backed securities as collateral in its auctions of Treasury securities for Wall Street firms. The move aims to increase liquidity in the market where student loans, auto loans and credit card receivables are securitized.

Financial firms and some lawmakers in Washington had urged the Fed to take the step to try to free up credit for student loans. Share of student lenders rose on the news.

"The wider pool of collateral should promote improved financing conditions in a broader range of financial markets," the Fed said.

In addition to the steps taken by the Fed, ECB and SNB, the Bank of England said it will allow British banks to hold more funds at the central bank to give it greater scope to provide liquid funds to financial markets on any given day.

/... http://www.reuters.com/article/marketsNews/idINL0284415...
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 08:34 AM
Response to Original message
18. The Coming Global Economic Slowdown and Rising Inflation: Is Stagflation-Lite in the Cards?
The Coming Global Economic Slowdown and Rising Inflation: Is Stagflation-Lite in the Cards? Nouriel Roubini

http://www.rgemonitor.com/blog/roubini/252537 /

Is the global economy headed towards a global recession? Or should we worry more about the rising inflationary forces in the global economy? Or will both evils emerge in a stagflationary outcome of contracting output and rising inflation? Certainly recessionary pressures are mounting in many economies; while inflationary pressures are mounting in other ones.

So let us consider in more detail the recessionary and inflationary risks in the global economy

First, there is a group of economies that is clearly headed toward a recession and where inflationary forces will be kept over time at bay by the contraction in aggregate demand (relative to supply) and the slack in labor markets that such a recession will entail. The recession club includes the US that is already in a recession (regardless of whether the official Q1 GDP growth this week will show a small positive or a small negative sign). It will also soon include in Europe the UK, Spain and possibly Ireland where the bust of their housing bubbles is starting in earnest. In the rest of Europe Italy and Portugal also look like in near recessionary territory. While in Eastern Europe one cannot exclude significant financial pressures and possible distress given their external and other imbalances - in countries such as Latvia, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary and Turkey. Going to Asia, Japan now looks near a recession (as the US recession and the stronger yen are starting to take a toll while domestic demand is still comatose).

A protracted and severe recession in the US, in parts of Europe and in Japan would then lead to a sustained global economic slowdown. Canada and Mexico that are linked to the US by trade would suffer first. Other Eurozone economies will slow down sharply (as a deflation of housing bubbles, the effect of the credit crunch, high oil prices, a euro close to 1.60, the US import contraction and an ECB stubbornly on hold) will take a toll on Eurozone and European growth. Already recent data show a sharp weakening of consumption and retail sales throughout the Eurozone. And if Europe slows down sharply the new EU accession countries will start hurting too with some facing outright financial distress.

Farther east in Asia a severe and protracted US recession would hurt China that is significantly dependent on the US consumer. A mild V-shaped recession in the US would be ok for China; but the US recession ends up being U-shaped and lasting four to six quarters the impact on Chinese growth could be significant. And if China were to slow down significantly (say towards 7-8% growth) the rest of East Asia would suffer too given its crucial trade links with China.

A US recession and a significant Chinese slowdown would be bad news not just for East Asia but also for commodity exporters among the emerging markets and advanced economies. In Australia and New Zealand the negative effect on growth of the deflation of their housing bubbles has been cushioned by the sharply rising commodity prices. But if the two engines of the global economy US on the demand side and China on the supply side stall all commodity exporters and many emerging market economies would suffer.

These emerging market economies have benefited from their much better policies (after the financial crises of the 1994-2003 decade) and the rise of Chindia. But they were also lucky as you had the best global conditions for the last five years: high global growth, high and rising commodity prices and low risk aversion of international investors searching for yield. Thus lower global growth, lower commodity prices and higher risk aversion will be painful for emerging market economies, especially those with macro, policy and financial vulnerabilities (current account deficits, fiscal deficits, excessive credit growth, weak policy credibility, fixed or semi fixed exchange rates, overvalued currencies and currency and maturity mismatches)....

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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 08:40 AM
Response to Original message
21. The Financial Policies of Never-Never Land / DailyReckoning.com
what we reckon today is that two extraordinary things happened yesterday related to one another and equally absurd.

Yesterday, the Fed did what it was widely expected to do it lowered rates by 25 bps, bringing the key Fed lending rate down to 2%, or about half the rate of consumer price inflation. And that is where we begin to wonder. What kind of a bank would lend money for less than the inflation rate? Isnt it sure to lose money?

Yes, of course...but its a long, long story...

The other extraordinary thing that happened was that the U.S. federal government began sending people tax rebates. Of course, they are not tax rebates at all. Everyone who filed a tax return will get $300, whether he owed any taxes or not. A taxpayer will get another $300. Plus, children and dependents will get $300 each.

Alas, todays news tells us that much of the presumed benefit from the giveaway program will be lost because of higher fuel and food prices.

(And here we offer some helpful advice: Weve heard that SUVs arent selling very well anymore. Maybe the feds should give every family an SUV one made in America, of course. That would be good for the auto industry and then people could take the money they save from not having to buy a new car themselves and use it to buy gasoline and groceries.)

The U.S. government is already $9.3 trillion in debt (not to mention the other $40 trillion financing gap). It is giving out money it doesnt really have $106 billion worth. But it is doing so for good reason or so it believes. The president of all the Americans George W. Bush said that the handouts will be good for the consumer economy.

Lending money below the inflation rate...giving out money you dont have, when you are already so deep in debt you will never get out how could any of this be good for the real economy? But by this time we are so far into Never-Never Land that we will never find our way back.

A consumer economy may benefit from consumer spending but only if consumers have money to spend. If giving away phony money, which you dont really have, could make things better why stop at $300 a head? Why not give away $1,000 a person...or $5,000?

Likewise, if its a good idea to lend money at 2% below the inflation rate...why not lend it at 10% below the inflation rate?

The really extraordinary thing is that the brightest minds in the nation think they can control the economy in these extraordinary ways. But they would think so, wouldnt they? The guy who believes drinking doesnt affect his driving is always the guy with the whiskey bottle.
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 08:42 AM
Response to Reply #21
22. On Foodstocks and Commodities / DailyReckoning
Our commodities superstar, Kevin Kerr, recently went to meet with corn and soybean farmers (as well as feedlot operators) and he told MarketWatch , the conversation was positive but also fearful.

The overwhelming sense of farmers here is that the average urbanite is unfazed by what farmers are going through. After all, costs for the average farmer are up more than 100%. Profit margins have narrowed or become non-existent and fuel costs, especially diesel, have been a killer.

Farmers feel that the average consumer blames them and think the farmer is getting rich of these food costs; when in reality there are no yachts in Waseca, Minn., only farmers trying to grow their crops and take care of their families.

The increase in input costs has been as big a burden on farmers as it has on the rest of us. The average person living in the city is relatively unconcerned as long as the water is running, they have a job, the ATM works and there is food on the shelf. Most urbanites are likely more concerned with who got the boot on American Idol then the possible approaching food disaster.

One thing is for sure, agriculture markets are not like other commodities, and demand and pent-up demand are real. This year, the corn crop needs to be a bumper crop or there will be a shortfall. Its likely that we will have a low yield crop, and $7.50 corn is a real possibility.

Corn-based ethanol remains the law of the land, and like it or not, nothing is going to change in an election year. All bets are off until we know who will be president.
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AnneD Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 12:14 PM
Response to Reply #22
55. When we had a wheat shortage in the 70's
and grocery prices were going through the roof...it wasn't the farmer...but the middle man that folks understood as the major culprit. I don't see many Benzs down on the farm either, but I know a lot of Agribusiness execs that ride in them. In my book-farmers are every day heroes. Farming is done with the heart. You can't do it unless you truly love it.
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 08:53 AM
Response to Original message
25. Chavez raises Venezuelan minimum wage 30 percent
http://www.newspress.com/Top/Article/article.jsp?Sectio...





CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) - President Hugo Chavez is raising Venezuela's minimum wage by 30 percent as inflation continues to soar in the oil-producing nation.

The socialist leader has signed a degree that will fix the monthly minimum wage at U.S. US$372 (euro239), starting May 1, International Workers' Day. Chavez says the move will give Venezuela the highest minimum wage in Latin America.

All public employees' wages will also increase by 30 percent.

If food stamps are taken into account, Chavez says the minimum wage will actually reach U.S. US$558 (euro359).

''There is no socialism without the working class,'' he said Wednesday.


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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 09:09 AM
Response to Original message
29. Fed Weighs Increasing Term Auction Facility Yet Again
http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2008/04/fed-weighs-incre...

When the Fed's innovation, the Term Auction Facility, which is in effect an improved discount window, was implemented last December, its size was $40 billion, which was considered extraordinary, a sign of how desperation conditions in the money markets were. Now that several increases put the facility at $100 billion, the banking community and the press treat the idea that it might need to be enlarged yet again as something comparatively routine, rather than a sign that banks are still under serious stress despite concerted measures by central banks,

Yet again, the Fed is acting out the cliche, "if all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail." Central banks know how to deal with liquidity crises; the TAF and its other facilities are well suited for that sort of problem. But fundamentally, the financial services industry is suffering from a solvency problem. Too many of the assets on its balance sheets contain loans to borrowers who lack the ability (and in some cases the desire) to make good on their debts. Forcing interest rates into negative real interest rate territory will only help a portion of the underwater borrowers. In addition, a distortion this severe is almost guaranteed to produce more misallocation of capital, which is not good for the US in the long term. And if the Fed miraculously manages to keep asset values from falling further, it is merely delaying the day of reckoning, and Japan is the poster child of the results of such a Phyrric victory.

From Bloomberg:

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke may need to step up his effort to unfreeze bank funding markets as a surge in borrowing costs blunts the impact of the cash auctions the central bank introduced in December.

The cost of obtaining funds for three months has risen by 0.33 percentage point since the Federal Open Market Committee's last meeting on March 18. The jump may force homeowners with variable-rate mortgages and some companies to pay more on their loans at a time when economic growth is faltering.....

``There's clearly a need for the Fed to do more,'' said Charles Lieberman, a former New York Fed economist who's now chief investment officer of Advisors Capital Management LLC in Paramus, New Jersey. ``The underlying problem'' is that banks and other investors are ``still nervous'' about lending to each other, he said.....

Investors' focus may instead shift to the Fed's attempt to stem the surge in bank funding costs that began in August, when the subprime-mortgage market's collapse spurred concern about losses at financial firms.......
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UpInArms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 09:25 AM
Response to Reply #29
34. Subprime Today: Fed expands funding, to accept asset-backed securities
http://www.marketwatch.com/News/Story/fed-expands-fundi...

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- The Federal Reserve, along with other central banks, said Friday that it was increasing the funding it provides to banks and that, for the first time, it was willing to accept bonds backed by auto loans and credit cards.

"In view of the persistent liquidity pressures in some term funding markets, the European Central Bank, the Federal Reserve and the Swiss National Bank are announcing an expansion of their liquidity measures," the Fed said in a statement.

Three-month London interbank offered rate -- a benchmark for lending between banks -- was 2.78% Thursday, well above the 2% Fed funds rate.

The Federal Reserve announced an increase in the amounts auctioned to eligible depository institutions under its biweekly Term Auction Facility to $75 billion from $50 billion, beginning with the auction on May 5.

This increase will bring the amounts outstanding under the TAF to $150 billion.
The Federal Open Market Committee also has authorized further increases in its existing temporary currency-swap arrangements with the European Central Bank and the Swiss National Bank.

...more...
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 02:48 PM
Response to Reply #34
65. If They Want to Give the Country Away, Shouldn't The Citizens Get First Pick?
and not the fraudulent corporations?
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 09:11 AM
Response to Original message
30. Borders still matter; "the world isn't as flat as it used to be" Brad Setser
http://www.rgemonitor.com/setser-monitor/252534/borders... /

On Monday, Bob Davis of the Wall Street Journal argued that the world isnt flat, or at least it isnt as flat as it used to be. National borders matter more. Barriers to the free flow of goods oil as well as grain are rising. Barriers to the free flow of capital too.

He is right. I actually think he didnt push his thesis as far as it could be pushed.

Consider energy. Most oil exporters sell their oil abroad for a higher price than they sell their oil domestically. That means that the same good has one price domestically and another price internationally. It isnt hard to see why they have adopted this strategy: if opening up to trade raises export prices, it can leave those who consume the countrys main export worse off. Only exporting what cannot be sold domestically is one way of mitigating that effect. And for most of the oil exporters, it is one (small) way of sharing the bounty that comes from the countrys resource wealth.

This isnt new. Saudi Arabia and Russia have long sold oil domestically at a lower price than internationally. What is new is that a host of food exporters are adopting a similar policy.

Argentina was perhaps the first. After its devaluation it taxed its agricultural exports that was a way of raising revenue, but also a way of keeping food cheap domestically. As global prices have increased, Argentina has stepped up its restrictions on say beef exports helping to keep Argentinas national food affordable domestically.

Argentinas farmers arent happy. They prefer selling for a higher price abroad than selling for a lower price domestically.

But with food prices rising, more and more countries seem to be adopting the same policies for their rice and wheat that Saudi Arabia and Russia have adopted for their oil. They only export what cannot be sold domestically at a price well below the world market price. That helps domestic consumers at the expense of domestic producers....

MUCH MORE AT LINK

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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 09:13 AM
Response to Original message
32. The Slippery Slide Towards Insolvency
http://www.financialarmageddon.com/2008/04/government-b...


Amid all the talk of homeowner bailouts, bank rescues, and nationwide stimulus packages, one important detail seems to have been largely ignored: how we -- the taxpayers -- are supposed to pay for it all.

In reality, there was never really much doubt. Washington has decided to go with the same strategy that many cash-strapped Americans are using to stay afloat as economic conditions deteriorate: they are tapping credit lines that are still open and piling on the debt.

Of course, I'm sure most people would welcome the opportunity to emulate the governent and borrow at AAA-type rates, even though deteriorating financial cirumstances suggest the U.S. should probably be paying a troubled borrower's premium.

Mark my words, though. That day will come.

Anyway, in "Government Brings Back One-Year Treasury Security," the Associated Press brings us the latest sorry chapter of America's slippery slide towards insolvency.

The Bush administration, moving to cope with soaring budget deficits, says it is bringing back the one-year Treasury bill that it stopped issuing seven years ago when the budget was in surplus.

The administration said today it would begin selling the one-year bill, also referred to as a 52-week bill, at an initial auction in June. New one-year securities will be auctioned every four weeks.

The government is looking for various ways to borrow the billions of dollars in extra cash it will need to cover a budget deficit that is expected to jump to an all-time high this year, surpassing the old mark of $413 billion set in 2004.

A big part of the increased borrowing reflects the need to pay for economic-stimulus rebates to 130 million households. The government began disbursing the payments on Monday in an effort to give the economy a jump start.

The government stopped issuing the one-year securities in February 2001, a year when the government recorded a surplus of $127 billion.

That was the fourth consecutive surplus but was also the last time the government's books were in the black. The budget was pushed back into the red by a recession, increased spending to fight wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and, Democrats contend, by President Bush's first-term tax cuts.

The return of the one-year security was announced as officials reported the government's borrowing needs for the current quarter, which will include separate auctions next week to raise $15 billion with the sale of 10-year Treasury notes on May 7 and $6 billion in the sale of 30-year Treasury bonds on May 8.

"Over the last several months, changes in economic conditions, financial markets and monetary and fiscal policy have impacted Treasury's marketable borrowing needs," said Anthony Ryan, Treasury's assistant secretary for financial markets.

"Financial market strains have impacted the real economy and the nation has experienced lower economic growth, lower receipts and increased outlays."

Officials reported that the decision to lower the minimum amount that can be purchased at a Treasury auction to $100 had been a success, sparking increased demand. They said exact figures on the increase were still being compiled.

The Treasury Department began in April allowing investors to purchase Treasury securities in amounts as low as $100 as a way of boosting demand among small investors. The reduction was the first since 1998, when the purchase minimum amount was reduced to $1,000.

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UpInArms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 09:14 AM
Response to Original message
33. Linens 'n Things says to close 120 stores
Edited on Fri May-02-08 09:22 AM by UpInArms
02. Linens 'n Things gets $700M in DIP financing from GE Capital
9:06 AM ET, May 02, 2008

03. Linens 'n Things names Robert DiNicola executive chairman
9:06 AM ET, May 02, 2008

04. Linens 'n Things names Michael Gries interim CEO
9:06 AM ET, May 02, 2008

06. Linens 'n Things says to close 120 stores
9:05 AM ET, May 02, 2008

07. Linens 'n Things files voluntary petition under Chapter 11
9:03 AM ET, May 02, 2008

adding link and blurb on edit:

http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/linens-n-things-f...

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) - Linens Holding Co., the operator of Linens 'n Things home furnishings retail chain, said Friday it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The chain will shut 120 underperforming stores and continue to operate without interruption as it secures $700 million in debtor in possession financing from General Electric Capital Corp. Chief Executive Robert DiNicola will become executive chairman while restructuring expert Michael Gries was named chief restructuring officer and interim CEO.
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Robbien Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 03:39 PM
Response to Reply #33
75. Just another victim of private equity raiders loading down their victim
Edited on Fri May-02-08 03:40 PM by Robbien
with debt and leaving them staggering around trying to find their way to the bankruptcy courts. After being taken private by Apollo Management, Linen and Things didn't have a chance.

Other private equity victims recently heading to bankruptcy court include Sharper Image , Lillian Vernon , Bombay Co. and Levitz Furniture. Wickes didn't bother with bankruptcy and just shut its doors.

Of course news reports are blaming all the difficulties on the consumer.
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Hugin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 04:05 PM
Response to Reply #75
81. Yup, we're just not shoppn'...
Mostly because we have no money... Because we've been loaded down with debt... There's a cycle in here, somewhere.
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 06:35 PM
Response to Reply #75
90. That's Exactly What Will Happen to My Co-op
The greedy here wanted to go condo in the worst way, so they could double the "value" of their homes, have a deed, get a mortgage "just like other adults".

And the worst way is how it will be. Waiting only 4 years (3.5, now) would have cut the cost in half, not counting inflation's effects. Mortgage rates are unlikely to change significantly, and those greedy folk would have to sell to realize their "capital gains" and to whom?

Michigan's 7 year Depression shows no signs of ending, and is only getting worse. 154 homes sold at auction in this county last month. And these greedy guts want a mortgage?

I have to figure out what to do now. One thing I am not doing is getting a mortgage. Even if I could qualify, which I'm sure I can't, not at any interest rate....
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DemReadingDU Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 09:43 AM
Response to Original message
38. Could Countrywide creditors get stiffed?


May 2, 2008, 7:14 am
Could Countrywide creditors get stiffed?

There are more questions about Bank of Americas (BAC) planned purchase of Countrywide (CFC). A Bank of America regulatory filing this week notes that the big bank hasnt decided whether to guarantee Countrywide debt after BofAs $4 billion takeover of Countrywide, due to be completed later this year. A decision not to guarantee the parent companys $38 billion in debt would be unusual and could leave Countrywide debtholders facing default, Bloomberg reports.

The wording of the filing has some observers wondering if Bank of America chief Kenneth Lewis may be playing chicken with all of us, reasoning that worries of a Countrywide default could push the price of its bonds lower, allowing Bank of America to buy them at a discount rather than redeeming at par. But if not, says Chris Whalen of Institutional Risk Analytics, investors could be in for quite a shock. If Bank of America were to let the Countrywide debt go into default, it could adversely affect the entire market for bank debt. What investor in their right mind would want to hold the debt of any bank holding company were BAC to elect the nuclear option and place into a bankruptcy? he asks.

If bondholders get stiffed by Bank of America, it will scare the hell out of everyone, Whalen tells Bloomberg. This is called thinking the unthinkable.

http://dailybriefing.blogs.fortune.cnn.com/2008/05/02/c... /
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UpInArms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 02:11 PM
Response to Reply #38
61. BofA filing sparks questions about Countrywide bonds
http://www.reuters.com/article/bondsNews/idUSN025134752...

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Countrywide Financial Corp's bonds may be at risk of default if Bank of America does not guarantee its debt when it acquires the mortgage lender, an analyst said.

Given that potential danger, Countrywide's bonds should be trading at 50 cents on the dollar, instead of their current 90 cents, said Christopher Whalen, managing director at Institutional Risk Analytics.

Other analysts, however, raised the possibility that Countrywide may receive implied support from Bank of America.

Bank of America (BAC.N: Quote, Profile, Research), which said in January it would buy Countrywide (CFC.N: Quote, Profile, Research) for $4 billion, said in a filing earlier this week there was no assurance it would guarantee Countrywide's debt.

Bank of America said Countrywide had outstanding debt of about $97.23 billion as of December 31, including Federal Home Loan Bank advances to Countrywide Bank of about $47.68 billion, which it expects will remain outstanding until repaid by Countrywide Bank.

Bank of America said it was examining options to dispose of remaining Countrywide indebtedness, including redeeming, assuming or guaranteeing some or all of this debt or allowing it to remain outstanding as obligations of Countrywide.

But the bank has made "no determination in this regard, and there is no assurance that any of such debt would be redeemed, assumed or guarantee," it said in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing this week.

...more...
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UpInArms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 02:49 PM
Response to Reply #38
66. S&P cuts Countrywide to junk status after BofA filing
http://www.reuters.com/article/bondsNews/idUSN022176242...

NEW YORK, May 2 (Reuters) - Standard & Poor's on Friday cut Countrywide Financial Corp's (CFC.N: Quote, Profile, Research) rating to junk status because Bank of America may not support some of the mortgage lender's debt once the two companies merge.

The rating agency said the downgrade was the result of a filing by Bank of America (BAC.N: Quote, Profile, Research) earlier this week, which introduced a new level of uncertainty about the ultimate legal status of Countrywide's creditors after the merger.

"The filing indicates that it is now possible that BAC would not support some of Countrywide's debt, including approximately $17 billion of medium-term notes, $4 billion of convertible debt, $2.2 billion of junior subordinated debt and $1 billion of subordinated debt currently outstanding," it said.

S&P cut Countrywide's rating to "BB-plus," the highest junk level, from "BBB-plus," the third lowest investment grade.

...more...
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UpInArms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 05:17 PM
Response to Reply #66
87. Countrywide said junk rating would hobble business
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080502/bs_nm/countrywide_r...

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Even as it prepares to be acquired by Bank of America Corp (BAC.N), Countrywide Financial Corp's (CFC.N) descent to a "junk" credit rating could hinder its ability to make loans and collect deposits, the mortgage company has warned.

The largest U.S. independent mortgage company faces some significant obstacles now that Standard & Poor's on Friday cut its credit rating to below investment grade, according to Countrywide's annual report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on February 29.

The disclosure was made more than a month after Countrywide agreed to be acquired by BofA for $4 billion, a deal that was expected to save the struggling home lender from ruin.

According to the filing, its ability to access funds for making loans and attract deposits may be "severely limited" if any of three rating agencies downgraded it to junk. These warnings, part of a routine run down of risk factors, have suddenly become more than a hypothetical problem.

"If we were to suffer a significant credit rating downgrade, it could have a substantial adverse impact on our operations," the company said.

...more...
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Robbien Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 06:40 PM
Response to Reply #87
92. They are blaming the rating agency
for their own bad financial status.

If they don't want a junk status rating, then they shouldn't have been using junk business practices.
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ozymandius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 07:03 PM
Response to Reply #92
96. Amen.
:hi:
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 03:04 PM
Response to Reply #38
74. I Truly Don't Understand Why BoA Hasn't Dropped Countrywide Like the Hot Potato It Is
Who has who by the short and curlies?
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ozymandius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 07:05 PM
Response to Reply #74
97. It's because Angelo Mozilo still has those pictures of Kenneth Lewis and his "friend".
:sarcasm:
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antigop Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 10:33 AM
Response to Original message
44. But yacht sales are up!
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,172440...

British yachtmaker Sunseeker launched its biggest boat yet at last year's London Boat Show: an $18 million, 121-ft. (37 m) superyacht. So far, it has built three of them; two are under construction at its boatyard in Poole, England; and eight more are on order. That kind of demand surprised Robert Braithwaite, managing director. "If we had sold five or six by now, I would be very happy." At this year's show, the company unveiled two more big boats, a $4.8 million 89-footer (27 m) and a $14 million 112-footer (34 m)--smaller than last year's model but still within the important superyacht category.

Worldwide credit crunch? Faltering stock markets? Oil at $110 a barrel? Mere trivialities for the $25 billion yacht industry. Annual sales over the past five years have grown 10% to 15% and show no signs of tanking, thanks to increasing numbers of wealthy buyers from developing countries. In the fiscal year ending September 2007, Sunseeker's sales jumped 18.5%, to $473 million. And other yachtmakers are enjoying similar returns. Italy's Ferretti, for example, saw its production value jump 21% last year, to $1.37 billion.
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Hugin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 10:37 AM
Response to Reply #44
45. Can't let the 'Welfare Barons' be seen in last year's yacht...
Wouldn't be good. :eyes:

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Roland99 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 01:42 PM
Response to Original message
57. 1:41pm - Whoops...course correction!
Dow 13,010.41 +0.41
Nasdaq 2,465.38 -15.33
S&P 500 1,408.98 -0.36
10 YR 3.83% 0.08

Oil $115.57 $3.05
Gold $858.80 $7.90


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AnneD Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 01:56 PM
Response to Original message
58. Regulators cracking down on 'unfair' credit cards
Edited on Fri May-02-08 02:26 PM by AnneD
WASHINGTON The Federal Reserve and other regulators are moving today to crack down on "unfair and deceptive" practices in the credit card industry that have added billions in debt to people already struggling to cope with the economic downturn.

In the most far-reaching crackdown on the credit industry in decades, the Fed and two government agencies are proposing rules that would stop credit card companies from unfairly raising interest rates and make sure they give people enough time to pay their bills.

Travis Plunkett, legislative director for the Consumer Federation of America, said that while he hadn't yet seen the details, the rules "appear to address some of the most significant abuses in the credit card marketplace right now."

Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., who has introduced legislation to protect consumers from credit card abuse, said in a statement that she was pleased the Fed had adopted some aspects of her legislation.

But she also expressed concern that "by the time the Fed gets around to finalizing these credit card reform proposals, they will be watered down and come too little too late for consumers who need relief now."

more...

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/business/5749048.ht...

I'm shocked, shocked I tell you that Congress might actually do something for the consumers. :eyes:
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AnneD Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 02:02 PM
Response to Original message
59. KBR earns $98 million, exceeds expectations
Edited on Fri May-02-08 02:26 PM by AnneD
KBR, the engineering company that split from Halliburton last year, rose the most in nine months in New York trading after first-quarter earnings beat analysts' estimates.

The stock gained $3.53, or 12 percent, to $32.06 at 9:33 a.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The Houston-based company's shares have climbed 48 percent in the past 12 months.

Earnings more than tripled, helped by a $51 million one- time gain from an arbitration award related to a project with Petroleos Mexicanos.

Net income climbed to $98 million, or 58 cents a share, from $28 million, or 17 cents, a year earlier, the company said in a statement today before the opening of U.S. markets. The average of 10 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg was for profit of 34 cents.

more....

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/business/5748481.ht...

This hurts my soul. War benefits few and destroys capital. Research creates and spreads wealth.
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AnneD Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 02:08 PM
Response to Original message
60. Prices inflate data on consumer spending
Edited on Fri May-02-08 02:27 PM by AnneD
WASHINGTON Don't be fooled by a larger-than-expected increase in consumer spending. People aren't buying more they're just paying more for what they buy.

That is raising doubts about whether the 130 million stimulus payments the government began sending out this week will be enough to lift consumers' sagging spirits.

The Commerce Department reported Thursday that consumer spending was up 0.4 percent, double the increase economists had forecast. However, once inflation was removed, spending edged up a much slower 0.1 percent.

The March reading was the fourth straight lackluster performance and did nothing to alleviate worries that consumer spending remains under severe strains.

more....

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/business/5747957.ht...

This is something we have been saying for months-everytime they roll out those bogus consumer spending numbers..!#&@* damn eCONomist :eyes:
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AnneD Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 02:19 PM
Response to Original message
62. The Mac in the Gray Flannel Suit
Edited on Fri May-02-08 02:28 PM by AnneD
Soon after Michele Goins became chief information officer at Juniper Networks (JNPR) in February, she decided to respond to the growing chorus of Mac lovers among the networking company's 6,100 employees. For years, many had used Apple's (AAPL) computers at home and clamored for them in the office as well. So she launched a test, letting 600 Juniper staffers use Macs instead of the standard-issue PCs that run Microsoft's (MSFT) Windows operating system. As long as the extra support costs aren't too high, she plans to open the floodgates. "If we opened it up today, I think 25% of our employees would choose Macs," she says.

Funny thing is, she has never received a single sales call from Apple. While thousands of other companies scratch and claw for the tiniest sliver of the corporate computing market, Apple treats this vast market with utter indifference. After a series of failed offensives by the company in the 1980s and 1990s, Chief Executive Steve Jobs decided to focus squarely on consumers and education customers when he returned to Apple in 1997. As a result, the company doesn't have ranks of corporate salespeople or armies of repairmen waiting to respond every time a hard drive fails. Nothing that could divert his minions from staying focused on Apple's core calling: creating the next cool thing for the world's consumers.

FADING RESISTANCE
And why not? In the March quarter, Mac sales blew away all forecasts, soaring 51% over the previous year, or more than three times the rate for the personal-computer industry. Throw in the iPod and iPhone, and Apple's total sales have surged from $5.2 billion in fiscal 2002 to $24 billion last year. Its share price has risen 2,300% over the past five years, giving the company a market capitalization, at $154 billion, that tops those of tech giants Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), Dell (DELL), and Intel (INTC).

more...

http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/08_19/b408...

I love my Mac and won't go back.
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AnneD Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 02:25 PM
Response to Original message
63. Baseball star Canseco loses home to foreclosure
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Former U.S. baseball star Jose Canseco said on Thursday he had lost his California mansion to foreclosure -- one of the first celebrities to publicly admit being a statistic in the U.S. housing crisis.

Canseco, 43, one of the most flamboyant U.S. baseball players until his retirement from the major leagues in 2001, told the celebrity TV show "Inside Edition" that it did not make financial sense to keep his 7,300 square-foot (678.2 sq-metro) home in the Los Angeles suburb of Encino.

"Inside Edition" said it had foreclosure documents showing Canseco owed a bank more than $2.5 million on the house.

"I've been out of the game for about eight or nine years and obviously this issue with the foreclosure on my home," he told "Inside Edition."
more.....

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080501/sp_nm/canseco_forec...
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Robbien Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 02:52 PM
Response to Original message
68. New futures market just opened. Betting on the jobs number
On Sunday, CME Group opened trade on nonfarm payrolls futures and options on futures. Futures traders were slightly more optimistic about the labor market than those doom-and-gloom Wall Street economists especially on Wednesday, when the Fed handed down an interest-rate decision and a statement that implied the central bank was becoming less concerned with sluggish economic growth.

But traders didnt get close to the real jobs number, either payrolls futures settled at a forecast of negative 80,000 jobs on Monday, negative 70,000 on Tuesday, a bet on negative 60,000 on Wednesday and negative 75,000 yesterday.

The nonfarm payrolls futures market is brand new and the contract is very thinly traded, said Felix Carabello, CMEs director of alternative investments, in a conversation Wednesday. Thats typical of new markets, and the next effort will be to get a critical mass of transactional activity, he said.

Traders can use the nonfarm payrolls contracts to offset the effect of jobs data on other commodities eurodollar or S&P 500 futures, for example or just to trade on the index itself. The contracts dont incorporate any later revisions to monthly jobs figures.

Traders ways to commoditize and monetize information, Mr. Carabello said. Established commodities markets are pretty efficient there needs to be another way to extract value.

http://blogs.wsj.com/marketbeat /

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Tansy_Gold Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 03:49 PM
Response to Reply #68
77. Does this mean what I think it means?
". . . there needs to be another way to extract value.

Correct me if I have read this wrong or interpretted it incorrectly, but does this mean that "traders" are going to be betting, er, investing, essentially on what the unemployment/employment figures are going to be?

Don't we have Las Vegas and street corner bookies for that sort of thing?

Tansy Gold, looking for the outrage icon




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Hugin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 03:59 PM
Response to Reply #77
79. Doesn't work does it?
Edited on Fri May-02-08 03:59 PM by Prag
: outrage :

:(
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 06:39 PM
Response to Reply #79
91. How About One of These?
x( :mad: :grr: :nuke:
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Tansy_Gold Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 11:33 PM
Response to Reply #91
99. Yeah, those work, but I want one even stronger. And bigger.
Like pulling one's hair out by the roots and screaming. it should look like Peter Finch in a trench coat.
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Robbien Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 04:01 PM
Response to Reply #77
80. Wall Street. Las Vegas.
There's a difference?

Taking a glance through the options markets is an eye opener. There are bets on everything. There is even a market on whether the Fed will cut rates. There are markets on betting whether housing prices in certain areas will go up or down. If you are jonesing for placing a bet on just about any event, I am sure the Chicago Board of Trade has a market for it.

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ozymandius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 06:59 PM
Response to Reply #77
94. Marketeers are ripe inspiration for new icons that Elad needs to create.
It's bet hedging. The Superbowl does not condone betting on the outcome of the game. Wall Street, however, appears to offer these bookies free office space.
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Robbien Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 04:27 PM
Response to Original message
83. How is this not big news? S&P will no longer rate mortgage back securities.
Or at least the ones based on second mortgages. Not one word on CNBC. Not a peep.:

http://www.housingwire.com/2008/05/02/s-cites-anamalous... /

Standard & Poors Rating Services on Thursday did something that very few market participants expected: the agency said it would stop rating RMBS backed by so-called closed-end seconds altogether, whether prime or subprime.

Home-equity loans, as closed-end seconds are more commonly referred to outside the Street, were a huge part of the recent housing market run-up. HELs were a huge boost to consumer spending during the housing boom, and also made it possible for many homeowners to skirt private mortgage insurance by piggy-backing a second lien that covered up to 20 percent of a homes purchase price.

After reviewing and analyzing the performance data available for U.S. closed-end second-lien (CES) mortgage loans and the related residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS), Standard & Poors Ratings Services believes that this market segment does not allow for a meaningful analysis of new issuance and securitization, the agency said in a press statement late Thursday.

No kidding. Most second lien holders finding loss severity to be at least 100 percent, if not greater. And with price declines showing no sign of letting up, S&P said that an unprecedented level of loan performance deterioration has essentially made it impossible to rate second-lien RMBS going forward.

Apparently, there simply isnt enough credit enhancement in the world to account for losses that reach that high
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ozymandius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 06:55 PM
Response to Reply #83
93. Slowly.... back.... away.... from the ..... train...hitting ..... the .... bus.
No amount of collateral can cover the potential losses here. No pooling and repackaging will fool anyone anymore on these boondoggle investments. Perfume on turds. That's what's being peddled these days for derivatives tied to residential real estate.

And this is a very important story.
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ozymandius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 07:02 PM
Response to Original message
95. Friday's last word on what we embarrassingly call "equities".
Dow 13,058.20 Up 48.20 (0.37%)
Nasdaq 2,476.99 Down 3.72 (0.15%)

S&P 500 1,413.90 Up 4.56 (0.32%)
10-Yr Bond 3.845% Up 0.096

NYSE Volume 3,960,359,250
Nasdaq Volume 2,279,720,250

4:30 pm : Friday opened markedly higher, looking to extend the prior session's gains, but buying interest gradually subsided. Still, the stock market closed the session with a modest gain of 0.3% and concluded the week with a 1.2% gain.

Early buying was encouraged by favorable employment data. The unemployment rate for April fell to 5.0% from 5.1% in March. April's unemployment rate was less than the consensus estimate of 5.2%. Nonfarm payrolls for April slipped by 20,000, which is less than the revised decline of 81,000 experienced in March and also less than the 75,000 decline economists expected. Importantly, these figures do not reflect the kind of weakness often associated with a recession.

Continuing to act in a proactive manner, the Fed announced today intentions to increase its Term Auction Facility to $150 billion from $100 billion, and also allow AAA asset-backed securities to be pledged as collateral. Moreover, the Fed is increasing swap lines with the Swiss National Bank to $12 billion from $6 billion and increasing swap lines with the European Central Bank to $50 billion from $20 billion in a multilateral effort to address persistent liquidity pressures.

Tech (-0.1%) was a relative underperformer for the majority of the session, hamstrung by Sun Microsystems (JAVA 12.64, -3.69) and Microsoft (MSFT 29.24, -0.16). Sun Microsystems announced today lackluster results for its most recent quarter, while various reports indicated the company will cut up to 2,500 jobs. Microsoft traded lower in response to word that it may enrich its offer to acquire Yahoo! (YHOO 28.67, +1.86). In turn, shares of YHOO were pushed higher, helping to offset the drag of JAVA and MSFT on the tech sector.

Record crude prices helped bolster Chevron's (CVX 95.32, +0.38) first quarter profits. The company reported first quarter earnings results of $2.48 per share, or $0.07 better than analysts anticipated. The energy sector finished 1.2% higher.

Crude closed $3.81 higher on the Nymex to finish at $116.33 per barrel. Crude climbed more than 3.5% during Friday's trading. The commodity had finished lower in each of this week's preceding sessions. It ended the week 1.8% lower.

Gold closed $7.90 higher at $858.80 per ounce after finishing lower in recent sessions. Gold ended the week unchanged.

The dollar extended its recent strength into Friday. The dollar index made its way up 0.3% to 73.5, its highest level in over one month.

In other economic news, factory orders for March climbed 1.4%, which is better than the 0.2% increase that economists expected. Orders for the prior month were revised from a 0.9% downturn to a 1.3% downturn.

Friday's focus on equities pushed the 10-year Treasury Note 24 ticks lower so that its yield increased to 3.86%. DJ30 +48.20 NASDAQ -3.72 NQ100 +0.1% R2K -0.6% SP400 +0.1% SP500 +4.56 NASDAQ Dec/Adv/Vol 1597/1225/2.27 bln NYSE Dec/Adv/Vol 1331/1769/1.27 bln
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-03-08 08:25 AM
Response to Reply #95
103. Here's a Laugh For You--Front Page of My Local Rag
Economy shows resilience; jobless rate falls as dollar rises By JEANNINE AVERSA AP

http://www.mlive.com/newsflash/business/index.ssf?/base...

WASHINGTON (AP) The economy showed off unexpected signs of resilience Friday as job losses slowed, the dollar gained a bit of muscle for a change and there were even indications that food prices may be easing. The unemployment rate dipped, though that may not last.

The latest barometers flashed encouraging signs that the economic slowdown may not be as pronounced as some had feared. Still, there's much caution about housing, credit and other problems.

"Economic or financial conditions could take an unexpected stumble at any time," warned Stephen Stanley, chief economist at RBS Greenwich Capital.

Employers eliminated 20,000 jobs in April not nearly as many as the 81,000 in March, and the fewest monthly losses so far this year, the Labor Department reported. The unemployment rate dropped to 5 percent, from 5.1 percent.

Stresses were still evident. It was the fourth straight month that employers cut jobs bringing total losses to 260,000.

Many analysts were bracing for much more carnage. Yet, the new figures "can't be taken as a signal that the economy is out of the recession woods," said Nigel Gault, of Global Insight.

On Wall Street, investors initially responded enthusiastically to the employment news, with the Dow Jones industrial average rising more than 100 points, but the market gave back part of that gain and closed up 48.20 points. Investors were keeping their euphoria in check, especially since stocks had already shot nearly 190 points higher on Thursday.

Still, the tone in the market was clearly more upbeat. Thursday's advance came on a growing sense that the economy isn't as wounded from the credit crisis as many people have feared.

Investors were also reassured by the dollar's show of strength this week. The greenback's latest gains have come on expectations that the Federal Reserve is likely to hold interest rates steady a trend that makes U.S. assets more attractive to overseas buyers. The U.S. currency rose this week to a five-week high against the euro.

In turn, the dollar's advance has had an impact in the commodities market. Food prices such as for wheat and soybeans eased. And while oil did rise Friday, that was because of supply concerns rather than moves in the dollar...

AND IT GOES ON FOR PAGES
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-03-08 08:26 AM
Response to Reply #103
104. So, Are We Going to Rename Them "Inequities?"
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ozymandius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-03-08 09:34 PM
Response to Reply #103
105. And I suppose this crap of an article says that these extraordinary
events will just keep moving with increased momentum?

I just cannot bear to read it all. The stupid burns.
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