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Sun May 18, 2014, 07:25 PM

STOCK MARKET WATCH -- Monday, 19 May 2014

[font size=3]STOCK MARKET WATCH, Monday, 19 May 2014[font color=black][/font]

SMW for 16 May 2014

[center][font color=green]
Dow Jones 16,491.31 +44.50 (0.27%)
S&P 500 1,877.86 +7.01 (0.37%)
Nasdaq 4,090.59 +21.00 (0.00%)

[font color=red]10 Year 2.53% +0.02 (0.80%)
30 Year 3.35% +0.02 (0.60%)[font color=black]


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[font size=2]Market Conditions During Trading Hours[/font]


[font size=2]Euro, Yen, Loonie, Silver and Gold[center]




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[font color=black][font size=2]Handy Links - Market Data and News:[/font][/font]
Economic Calendar
Marketwatch Data
Bloomberg Economic News
Yahoo Finance
Google Finance
Bank Tracker
Credit Union Tracker
Daily Job Cuts

[font color=black][font size=2]Handy Links - Essential Reading:[/font][/font]
Matt Taibi: Secret and Lies of the Bailout


[font color=black][font size=2]Handy Links - Government Issues:[/font][/font]
Open Government
Earmark Database
USA spending.gov

[font color=red]Partial List of Financial Sector Officials Convicted since 1/20/09 [/font][font color=red]
2/2/12 David Higgs and Salmaan Siddiqui, Credit Suisse, plead guilty to conspiracy involving valuation of MBS
3/6/12 Allen Stanford, former Caribbean billionaire and general schmuck, convicted on 13 of 14 counts in $2.2B Ponzi scheme, faces 20+ years in prison
6/4/12 Matthew Kluger, lawyer, sentenced to 12 years in prison, along with co-conspirator stock trader Garrett Bauer (9 years) and co-conspirator Kenneth Robinson (not yet sentenced) for 17 year insider trading scheme.
6/14/12 Allen Stanford sentenced to 110 years without parole.
6/15/12 Rajat Gupta, former Goldman Sachs director, found guilty of insider trading. Could face a decade in prison when sentenced later this year.
6/22/12 Timothy S. Durham, 49, former CEO of Fair Financial Company, convicted of one count conspiracy to commit wire and securities fraud, 10 counts of wire fraud, and one count of securities fraud.
6/22/12 James F. Cochran, 56, former chairman of the board of Fair, convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit wire and securities fraud, one count of securities fraud, and six counts of wire fraud.
6/22/12 Rick D. Snow, 48, former CFO of Fair, convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit wire and securities fraud, one count of securities fraud, and three counts of wire fraud.
7/13/12 Russell Wassendorf Sr., CEO of collapsed brokerage firm Peregrine Financial Group Inc. arrested and charged with lying to regulators after admitting to authorities he embezzled "millions of dollars" and forged bank statements for "nearly twenty years."
8/22/12 Doug Whitman, Whitman Capital LLC hedge fund founder, convicted of insider trading following a trial in which he spent more than two days on the stand telling jurors he was innocent
10/26/12 UPDATE: Former Goldman Sachs director Rajat Gupta sentenced to two years in federal prison. He will, of course, appeal. . .
11/20/12 Hedge fund manager Matthew Martoma charged with insider trading at SAC Capital Advisors, and prosecutors are looking at Martoma's boss, Steven Cohen, for possible involvement.
02/14/13 Gilbert Lopez, former chief accounting officer of Stanford Financial Group, and former controller Mark Kuhrt sentenced to 20 yrs in prison for their roles in Allen Sanford's $7.2 billion Ponzi scheme.
03/29/13 Michael Sternberg, portfolio mgr at SAC Capital, arrested in NYC, charged with conspiracy and securities fraud. Pled not guilty and freed on $3m bail.
04/04/13 Matthew Marshall Taylor,fmr Goldman Sachs trader arrested, charged by CFTC w/defrauding his employer on $8BN futures bet "by intentionally concealing the true huge size, as well as the risk and potential profits or losses associated."
04/04/13 Matthew Taylor admits guilt, makes plea bargain. Sentencing set for 26 June; faces up to 20 years in prison but will likely only see 3-4 years. Says, "I am truly sorry."
04/11/13 Ex-KPMG LLP partner Scott London charged by federal prosecutors w/passing inside tips to a friend in exchange for cash, jewelry, and concert tickets; expected to plead guilty in May.
08/01/13 Fabrice Tourré convicted on six counts of security fraud, including "aiding and abetting" his former employer, Goldman Sachs
08/14/13 Javier Martin-Artajo and Julien Grout charged with wire fraud, falsifying records, and conspiracy in connection with JP Morgan's "London Whale" trade.
08/19/13 Phillip A. Falcone, manager of hedge fund Harbinger Capital Partners, agrees to admit to "wrongdoing" in market manipulation. Will banned from securities industry for 5 years and pay $18MM in disgorgement and fines.
09/16/13 Javier Martin-Artajo and Julien Grout officially indicted on charges associated with "London Whale" trade.
02/06/14 Matthew Martoma convicted of insider trading while at hedge fund SAC (Stephen A. Cohen) Capital Advisors. Expected sentence 7-10 years.
03/24/14 Annette Bongiorno, Bernard Madoff's secretary; Daniel Bonventre, director of operations for investments; JoAnn Crupi, an account manager; and Jerome O'Hara and George Perez, both computer programmers convicted of conspiracy to defraud clients, securities fraud, and falsifying the books and records.

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[font size=3][font color=red]This thread contains opinions and observations. Individuals may post their experiences, inferences and opinions on this thread. However, it should not be construed as advice. It is unethical (and probably illegal) for financial recommendations to be given here.[/font][/font][/font color=red][font color=black]

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Reply STOCK MARKET WATCH -- Monday, 19 May 2014 (Original post)
Tansy_Gold May 2014 OP
Demeter May 2014 #1
Warpy May 2014 #4
Demeter May 2014 #2
Demeter May 2014 #3
xchrom May 2014 #5
xchrom May 2014 #6
xchrom May 2014 #7
Demeter May 2014 #8
Demeter May 2014 #9
Demeter May 2014 #10
xchrom May 2014 #11
xchrom May 2014 #12
xchrom May 2014 #13
xchrom May 2014 #14
xchrom May 2014 #15
xchrom May 2014 #16
xchrom May 2014 #17
xchrom May 2014 #18
xchrom May 2014 #19
xchrom May 2014 #20
xchrom May 2014 #21
xchrom May 2014 #22
xchrom May 2014 #23
xchrom May 2014 #24
xchrom May 2014 #25
xchrom May 2014 #26
xchrom May 2014 #27
xchrom May 2014 #28
Fuddnik May 2014 #29

Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Sun May 18, 2014, 07:44 PM

1. Good Cartoon


I understand they are bringing Ronald McDonald back...not having TV, I was unaware that he was gone...

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Response to Demeter (Reply #1)

Sun May 18, 2014, 09:01 PM

4. Maybe they'll also introduce my favorite character

Stom Mc Pump.

I think they dumped Ronald after some focus group determined that a lot of kids are afraid of clowns. I just wonder why they're bringing him back. Maybe they think Millennials are nostalgic or something.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Sun May 18, 2014, 07:58 PM

2. Trekked-Out Boca Raton Estate For Sale



We're assuming that Marc H. Bell, a financier and two-time Tony Award-winning producer of the plays Jersey Boys and August: Osage County, is a major Star Trek fan. Why do we assume this? Well, his Boca Raton, Florida, estate features a Star Trek-themed theater room (complete with Borg alcove) and a Star Trek: The Next Generation Enterprise bridge-themed theater (with TOS sound effects for the doors). In fact, the 27,000-square-foot estate -- which is currently South Palm Beach County's most expensive single-family home listing -- also boasts a Call of Duty-themed videogame room, a half-size college football field and a massive game room, not to mention a fully stocked wine cellar, a bar, a gym, a volleyball/basketball court, a library, eight bedrooms and 16 bathrooms.

Did we mention the asking price? It's all yours for just $35 million. Get the details at The Palm Beach Post: http://realtime.blog.palmbeachpost.com/2014/05/09/35-million-boca-manse-with-star-trek-enterprise-replica-for-sale/?cp=all#comments


Inside the mind of NSA chief Gen Keith Alexander BY GLENN GREENWALD
A lavish Star Trek room he had built as part of his 'Information Dominance Center' is endlessly revealing


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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Sun May 18, 2014, 08:01 PM

3. Every Great American City Deserves a Shot—Including Detroit REP. JOHN CONYERS



Policymakers should remember the core lesson from New York City's fiscal crisis: The key to recovery is investment—not austerity.

A major American city teeters on the brink of financial ruin. Garbage goes uncollected. Crime is rampant. Municipal officials are so desperate for cash to pay creditors that they have to beg the local teachers union for financial assistance.

If this sounds like Detroit, think again.

The city was New York. The year was 1975.

Thanks to sensible assistance from federal and state government and a focus on economic growth rather than just reckless cuts, the Big Apple emerged from insolvency in the mid-1970s to become the most prosperous urban center in the modern world. As Motown navigates its current fiscal crisis, policymakers should remember the core lesson from New York's experience: The key to recovery is investment.

There is no doubt that Detroit’s current situation is difficult. The fragile municipal tax base was decimated in the Great Recession, and the city now has thousands of abandoned properties, unacceptably slow emergency response rates, and painful levels of unemployment and poverty. But it’s hardly the first American metropolis to face such a dire fiscal situation. In the 1970s, New York, faced skyrocketing rates of crime and homelessness, unprecedented blight, persistent fiscal shortfalls, and multiple credit downgrades. On October 17, 1975, New York Mayor Abraham Beame famously declared that the city would run out of money if the teachers union did not immediately move $150 million from its pension fund into municipal securities.

While many pundits have been quick to blame Detroit's current crisis on local mismanagement, the ultimate causes have been much the same as the causes of New York's 1970s crisis: not just overspending, but deindustrialization driven by outside forces—including national trade policy decisions—a loss of population to surrounding suburbs, and disproportionate impacts of national economic troubles. Just as the recession of the mid-1970s hit New York's economy particularly hard, the Great Recession left one in five Detroit homes in foreclosure.

The similarities between 1970s New York and today’s Detroit are striking. But, with regard to recovery, there’s a critical difference: Where New York benefitted from partnerships with state and federal authorities, Detroit has been abandoned.

The federal government took steps, including the Seasonal Financing Act of 1975 and the Loan Guarantee Act of 1978, to stabilize New York City's borrowing costs and help restore the city’s solvency. What made these arrangements particularly effective was a partnership with New York’s government to monitor finances and borrow funds on the city’s behalf. While the city made serious sacrifices—including raising transit fares and imposing tuition for the first time at City University—most pension contracts and key city services were protected. All stakeholders were in agreement on a common point: The city could not simply cut its way to growth.

Contrast this with Detroit’s current situation. While the Obama administration has admirably sought to free up some federal funding to aid retired city workers, a root cause of the crisis has been the Michigan legislature’s unprecedented disinvestment in local residents.

Between 2010 and 2013, nearly half of the total decline in city revenue was attributable to cuts in state revenue-sharing with the city. The state-appointed emergency manager unilaterally filed for a fast-tracked Chapter 9 bankruptcy process that puts workers’ pension contracts and city services—including lighting, sanitation, and emergency response—in jeopardy. Bankruptcy-driven cuts to the pensions of municipal employees—some of whom are ineligible for Social Security—come on top of $160 million in concessions agreed to by unions in 2012. These cuts reduce Detroiters’ purchasing power, damage the local economy, and exacerbate population loss, further diminishing the tax base. If the goal is to restore Detroit’s solvency, these extreme cuts are simply counterproductive.

For ethical and economic reasons, Detroit should not be subjected to a double standard. As in the case of New York, well-designed assistance can be not only essential to the city’s success, but also fiscally responsible for state and federal authorities. New York paid back every penny on time or ahead of schedule, and, in preventing a default crisis, state and federal authorities averted more widespread economic shockwaves.

There’s no shortage of cost-effective federal policy options to help Detroit. Congress should pass legislation to revive the popular Build America Bonds program to empower Detroit and other struggling cities to make investments in future growth, at borrowing costs closer to those the federal government pays. Lawmakers should also take steps to ensure that Chapter 9 of the bankruptcy code affords stronger protections to municipal employees and retirees. Ultimately, Congress and the administration must commit to a 21st century urban agenda that prioritizes full employment, good livelihoods, and sustainable economic growth.

Given that Detroit is not alone in its dire fiscal straits, I believe we can build a critical mass in Congress to advance these priorities.

Looking at New York’s incredible wealth today, it’s easy to forget that the city was in dire straits a few decades ago. While Detroit is a much smaller city—and one that’s taken a harder hit from deindustrialization—it nonetheless has the workforce, the firms, the research institutions, and the drive to regain solvency and reemerge as an economic engine. Detroit deserves that chance.

Rep. John Conyers, a Democrat, represents the 13th congressional district of Michigan, which includes the City of Detroit. He is the ranking member of the House Committee on the Judiciary.


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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Mon May 19, 2014, 07:13 AM

5. The Birth of a Eurasian Century: Russia and China Do Pipelineistan by Pepe Escobar


China is building its own pipeline networks to help deliver Russia's resources to its people and for export.

HONG KONG -- A specter is haunting Washington, an unnerving vision of a Sino-Russian alliance wedded to an expansive symbiosis of trade and commerce across much of the Eurasian land mass -- at the expense of the United States.

And no wonder Washington is anxious. That alliance is already a done deal in a variety of ways: through the BRICS group of emerging powers (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa); at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Asian counterweight to NATO; inside the G20; and via the 120-member-nation Non-Aligned Movement (NAM). Trade and commerce are just part of the future bargain. Synergies in the development of new military technologies beckon as well. After Russia’s Star Wars-style, ultra-sophisticated S-500 air defense anti-missile system comes online in 2018, Beijing is sure to want a version of it. Meanwhile, Russia is about to sell dozens of state-of-the-art Sukhoi Su-35 jet fighters to the Chinese as Beijing and Moscow move to seal an aviation-industrial partnership.

This week should provide the first real fireworks in the celebration of a new Eurasian century-in-the-making when Russian President Vladimir Putin drops in on Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing. You remember “Pipelineistan,” all those crucial oil and gas pipelines crisscrossing Eurasia that make up the true circulatory system for the life of the region. Now, it looks like the ultimate Pipelineistan deal, worth $1 trillion and 10 years in the making, will be inked as well. In it, the giant, state-controlled Russian energy giant Gazprom will agree to supply the giant state-controlled China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) with 3.75 billion cubic feet of liquefied natural gas a day for no less than 30 years, starting in 2018. That’s the equivalent of a quarter of Russia’s massive gas exports to all of Europe. China’s current daily gas demand is around 16 billion cubic feet a day, and imports account for 31.6% of total consumption.

Gazprom may still collect the bulk of its profits from Europe, but Asia could turn out to be its Everest. The company will use this mega-deal to boost investment in Eastern Siberia and the whole region will be reconfigured as a privileged gas hub for Japan and South Korea as well. If you want to know why no key country in Asia has been willing to “isolate” Russia in the midst of the Ukrainian crisis -- and in defiance of the Obama administration -- look no further than Pipelineistan.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Mon May 19, 2014, 07:18 AM

6. After Huge Tax Cuts For The Rich, Kansas’s Economy Is Foundering


In a time of slack economic growth and high unemployment around the country, Kansas lawmakers thought they had the solution: massive tax cuts for the wealthy would lure economic activity and jump-start the state’s economy. But after Gov. Sam Brownback (R) signed $1.1 billion worth of tax cuts into law over the past two years, the state is behind the national average for economic growth.

A new forecast from Kansas’s budget officials projects that “personal income in Kansas will grow more slowly than U.S. personal income in 2014 and 2015,” the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) writes. The projections come from Brownback’s own Division of the Budget, which expects personal income growth of 3.8 percent this year and 4.2 percent next year. The state’s overall economic growth is now projected to fall behind the nation’s after two decades of keeping pace, the think tank adds.

At the same time that Brownback’s promised economic growth is failing to materialize, his critics‘ predictions about the tax cuts are largely coming true. The tax package is starving the state of revenue. With less money coming in, Kansas is cutting public services. The state Supreme Court has ordered lawmakers to restore funding to poor school districts, saying that the spending levels they enacted were so low as to be unconstitutional. But given the state’s revenue problems, the way that the legislature is going about correcting the underfunding problem simply takes money away from other schools that need it.

Things are also getting worse for the neediest people in the state. Last fall, Census data revealed that the poverty rate in Kansas had risen each year since the governor was elected after vowing to reduce child poverty. A study by Kansas Action for Children last fall found that child poverty continues to rise in the state.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Mon May 19, 2014, 07:21 AM

7. Ask This State Whether A Higher Minimum Wage Kills Jobs


There’s more real life evidence that a higher minimum wage may not be harmful for job creation.

In their new analysis of small businesses and job growth, Paychex and IHS report that Washington, the state with the highest minimum wage, topped the list for the biggest increase in small business employment, with jobs growing by 2.22 percent over the last year. The state’s minimum wage is currently $9.32, the highest in current law, although a handful of others have passed increases that will bring theirs higher

When it comes to cities, the story is the same. San Francisco, which has the highest big city minimum wage at $10.74, was the city with the greatest growth in small business employment. Seattle, which currently follows Washington’s minimum wage, came in a close second.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Mon May 19, 2014, 07:39 AM

8. What Happens When a Global Billionaire Is Backed Into a Corner?



Eike Batista used to be one of the richest men in the world. Now he’s charged with insider trading, money laundering, and market manipulation.

Eike Batista used to be the richest man in Brazil. At his peak, in 2010, he commanded a fortune of $34 billion dollars. He was named by Forbes as the world’s 8th richest man. He vowed to become number 1, aiming for a net worth of $100 billion. While his commodity and logistics empire had experimented overseas--in Canada, Greece, Russia, and China--he made his biggest profits back home...Then, in under 4 years, Batista lost his entire fortune. Business journalists have performed a number of autopsies on his career in capital allocation, the best and most gory of which might be Bloomberg’s BusinessWeek feature.

Beyond the ups and downs of the money game however, there’s another story. Last Thursday, the rule of law stung Batista himself. A federal court froze $55 million of his remaining assets. He’s charged with insider trading, money laundering, and market manipulation. Local newspapers revealed that he started hiding his assets last year, in anticipation of bankruptcy. What happens when a member of the global elite is backed into a corner?

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Mon May 19, 2014, 07:47 AM

9. The Man Who Made $3.5 Billion Last Year



Institutional Investor's Alpha magazine recently announced that the 25 highest earners running hedge funds brought home $21 billion last year.

The man on top, David Tepper of Appaloosa Management, led the way for a second year in a row, with a paycheck of $3.5 billion.

In total, he's made a staggering $5.7 billion over the last two years alone, continuing a remarkable run since 2009 in which his net worth skyrocketed from $3 billion to $10 billion.

And while Tepper isn't yet a household name like Warren Buffett, there is one thing to learn which they both share.

One of Warren Buffett's better known quotes is:

Be fearful when others are greedy, and be greedy when others are fearful.

And this is one Tepper lives by...

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Mon May 19, 2014, 07:52 AM

10. The Case Against the Bernanke-Obama Financial Rescue



Atif Mian and Amir Sufi are convinced that the Great Recession could have been just another ordinary, lowercase recession if the federal government had acted more aggressively to help homeowners by reducing mortgage debts.

The two men — economics professors who are part of a new generation of scholars whose work relies on enormous data sets — argue in a new book, “House of Debt,” out this month, that the government misunderstood the deepest recession since the 1930s. They are particularly critical of Timothy Geithner, the former Treasury secretary, and Ben Bernanke, the former Federal Reserve chairman, for focusing on preserving the financial system without addressing what the authors regard as the underlying and more important problem of excessive household debt. They say the recovery remains painfully sluggish as a result...


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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Mon May 19, 2014, 07:56 AM

11. Young Adults, Student Debt and Economic Well-Being


Student debt burdens are weighing on the economic fortunes of younger Americans, as households headed by young adults owing student debt lag far behind their peers in terms of wealth accumulation, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of government data. About four-in-ten U.S. households (37%) headed by an adult younger than 40 currently have some student debt—the highest share on record, with the median outstanding student debt load standing at about $13,ooo.

An analysis of the most recent Survey of Consumer Finances finds that households headed by a young, college-educated adult without any student debt obligations have about seven times the typical net worth ($64,700) of households headed by a young, college-educated adult with student debt ($8,700). And the wealth gap is also large for households headed by young adults without a bachelor’s degree: Those with no student debt have accumulated roughly nine times as much wealth as debtor households ($10,900 vs. $1,200). This is true despite the fact that debtors and non-debtors have nearly identical household incomes in each group.

While these stark differences in wealth accumulation are accounted for in part by outstanding student debt, that’s only part of the story. Since the typical young student debtor household has about $13,000 in outstanding student loan obligations and the overall wealth gap is much larger, clearly other factors are also at work. Specifically, student debtor households are accumulating less wealth, in part, because they tend to owe relatively large amounts of other debt as well, from car loans to credit card debt. Among the young and college educated, the typical total indebtedness (including mortgage debt, vehicle debt and credit cards, as well as student debt) of student debtor households ($137,010) is almost twice the overall debt load of similar households with no student debt ($73,250). Among less-educated households, the total debt load of student debtors ($28,300) is more than ten times that of similar households not owing student debt ($2,500).

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Mon May 19, 2014, 08:00 AM

12. A Fragile Rebound for EU Image on Eve of European Parliament Elections


Support for the European Union may be rebounding just in time for the European Parliament elections, according to a new survey of seven EU nations by the Pew Research Center. After a dramatic decline in the wake of the euro crisis, EU favorability is now on the rise in France, the United Kingdom, and Germany. And faith in one of the EU’s founding principles – that European economic integration is good for their own country – is up in the UK, Poland and Germany.

But, as the electorate heads to the polls beginning May 22, publics across Europe overwhelmingly think that their voice is not heard in Brussels, home to the EU. Majorities in most countries complain that the EU does not understand their needs and is intrusive and inefficient. And they express little enthusiasm for giving the EU greater power on economic issues.

Moreover, in most of the countries surveyed, ratings for the EU have yet to return to pre-crisis levels. Italians are increasingly critical of the institution and are divided over whether to keep using the euro as their currency. And Greeks, who have suffered most from the economic downturn, remain deeply skeptical of many aspects of the European project.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Mon May 19, 2014, 08:12 AM



BEIJING (AP) -- Global stocks were mostly lower Monday after a subdued increase in Chinese house prices fanned fears of weakness in the world's No. 2 economy.

The Chinese government is trying to restrain housing costs that have surged in recent years with lending and other curbs. But any weakness in sales prompts fears of repercussions for other industries and possible debt problems if developers default on loans. The Chinese data comes on top of weaker-than-expected economic growth in Europe.

"There could be concerns about increased risks of a hard landing in the property market," said Mizuho Bank in a report.

In Europe, Germany's DAX shed 0.8 percent to 9,548.82 and France's CAC 40 dropped 0.7 percent to 4,425.71. Britain's FTSE 100 lost 0.6 percent to 6,814.49.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Mon May 19, 2014, 08:14 AM



WASHINGTON (AP) -- While the U.S. economy has improved since the Great Recession ended five years ago, part-time and "contract" workers are filling many of the new jobs.

Contract workers made up less than half of one percent of all U.S. employment in the 1980s but now account for 2.3 percent. Economists predict contract workers will play a larger role in the years ahead.

They are a diverse army of laborers, ranging from janitors, security officers, home-care and food service-workers to computer programmers, freelance photographers and illustrators. Many are involved in manufacturing. Many others are self-employed, working under contracts that lay out specific responsibilities and deadlines.

Labor leaders and many economists worry. Contract workers have less job security and don't contribute to the economy through spending as much as permanent, full-time workers. Nor do they have the same job protections. Few are union members.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Mon May 19, 2014, 08:21 AM



VATICAN CITY (AP) -- The Vatican has seen a spike in the number of suspicious financial transactions being reported as its troubled bank goes through its books to review accounts.

The Vatican's financial watchdog agency released its annual report Monday. The report showed that there were 202 suspicious transactions reported to the Financial Information Authority in 2013 compared with only six a year earlier and just one in 2011. Five of those 202 were referred onto Vatican prosecutors for possible investigation.

Authority Director Rene Bruelhart said the spike doesn't mean that more illicit activity is taking place. He said it just means that new laws and procedures are being implemented and are working to flag potentially problematic transactions that may require further investigation.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Mon May 19, 2014, 08:25 AM



FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) -- Deutsche Bank AG says its plan to raise 8 billion euros ($11 billion) in new capital from investors will strengthen its finances as it faces tighter regulation and uncertain costs from litigation.

Co-CEO Anshu Jain told analysts during a conference call Monday that the fresh capital would also help it meet "unforeseen challenges" that may lie ahead. Jain said it was "impossible to quantify" the additional demands regulators may place on banks as they press ahead with efforts to make the financial system more resistant to trouble.

Chief Financial Officer Stefan Krause said on the call that the bank also faced a "challenging and unpredictable litigation environment" even after setting aside billions for fines and lawsuits, much of it relating to events that occurred years ago.

The capital increase comes as banks across Europe have been shedding risky investments and raising new financial buffers as they seek to meet new regulatory standards. The European Central Bank is conducting a detailed review of large banks' finances and holdings as it prepares to take over as the European Union's centralized banking supervisor in November.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Mon May 19, 2014, 08:27 AM



BANGKOK (AP) -- Thailand's acting prime minister discussed the country's ongoing political crisis with a group of senators on Monday and insisted his government will not resign.

Prime Minister Niwattumrong Boonsongpaisan told two representatives of the Senate that the Cabinet is willing to cooperate with the upper house but will not step down because that might violate the constitution, said Sen. Wanchai Sornsiri, the spokesman of the Senate's coordinating panel.

The senators sought the meeting after saying Friday that a government with full authority is needed to conduct political reforms. They said the Senate would move to appoint a new government if the Cabinet steps down, but stopped short of directly calling on it to do so.

The Cabinet has operated in a caretaker capacity with limited power since former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra dissolved the lower house in December in a failed bid to ease the political crisis. A new government cannot normally be named until there are elections, which anti-government demonstrators have vowed to block unless political reforms occur first.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Mon May 19, 2014, 08:31 AM



BANGKOK (AP) -- Thailand's economy contracted by 2.1 percent in the first quarter, slammed by a protracted political crisis that is likely to slow growth for the rest of the year.

The National Economic and Social Development Board said Monday that consumer confidence declined as a result of political unrest, reducing domestic demand compared with the fourth quarter of last year.

Thailand has been hit by six months of anti-government protests that have shut down parts of Bangkok for weeks at a time and spawned violence in which 28 people have died and more than 800 have been injured.

The planning agency predicted the Thai economy, which is Southeast Asia's second largest, would grow by 1.5 to 2.5 percent in 2014, lower than the 3 to 4 percent growth it had forecast in February.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Mon May 19, 2014, 08:34 AM

19. Ukraine crisis will be 'game changer' for NATO


(Reuters) - Artillery and tank fire reverberate around a Baltic airstrip where U.S. paratroopers are fighting alongside Lithuanian soldiers. The battle is just an exercise and it only involves 150 U.S. soldiers - but the symbolism is clear.

With eastern European states nervous about Russia after it annexed Ukraine's Crimea region and massed 40,000 troops on Ukraine's borders, the United States and NATO allies want to show Moscow that former Soviet republics on the Baltic are under the alliance's security umbrella.

"We're ready if something were to happen, but we're not looking to start any problems," said Sergeant James Day, from the U.S. 173rd Airborne Brigade, during war games on the vast Gaiziunai training ground in western Lithuania.

That chimes with NATO's current posture. In an initial response to Russia's intervention in Ukraine, The United States has sent 600 soldiers to the three Baltic countries - Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania - and Poland to take part in exercises to bolster NATO's presence in eastern Europe. But the alliance has no inclination to intervene militarily in Ukraine.

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Mon May 19, 2014, 08:38 AM

20. BoE says banks nervous over releasing details of health checks


(Reuters) - Banks in Britain broadly support Bank of England plans for yearly checks on their capital levels, although they disagree on how detailed the published results should be.

Eight of Britain's biggest banks, including Barclays, RBS, Lloyds and HSBC, will undergo a health check this year to see if they hold enough capital to withstand a 35 percent slump in house prices and a spike in interest rates to 4 percent.

This year's exercise begins what will become an annual test. It will be expanded to include other banks, to see if they can withstand market shocks without taxpayer money.

The BoE published on Monday a summary of the results of a consultation last year on how the stress test could be developed in the medium term. Responses to that consultation led the central bank to tweak this year's test.

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Mon May 19, 2014, 08:39 AM

21. New UK banking standards body to be launched this year


(Reuters) - A new standards body for British bankers will be launched this year, with a chairman appointed by an independent panel led by Bank of England Governor Mark Carney.

Richard Lambert, a former director general of the Confederation of British Industry, who was tasked with setting the body up, said the Banking Standards Review Council (BSRC) would be a champion for better banking standards in the UK.

"Rebuilding confidence and trust in the banks is especially vital in the UK, because of the size of the banking system and the importance to the economy of London’s role as an international capital market," Lambert said on Monday.

Britain's biggest banks pledged to set up the body last year after the industry was hit by scandals including the rigging of benchmark interest rates, breaches of anti-money laundering rules and the mis-selling of loan insurance and complex interest rate hedging products.

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Mon May 19, 2014, 08:53 AM

22. Any ECB bond-buying could halt slide in euro zone debt yields


(Reuters) - Any European Central Bank move to print money could raise investors' expectations for euro zone inflation and growth, pushing German Bund yields higher and potentially halting a two-year-old rally in peripheral debt.

Euro zone bonds have gained in recent weeks on growing expectations the ECB will eventually start buying government debt with new money to help bring inflation back to its target of just under 2 percent from 0.7 percent in April.

The central bank would have to pay a high price for those bonds and investors are buying them now with a view to selling them to the ECB for a profit later.

But if the ECB embarked on a programme of quantitative easing, or QE, investors would then have to consider that it was intended to boost longer-term inflation and growth and yields on benchmark 10-year bonds would have to adjust higher.

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Mon May 19, 2014, 08:55 AM

23. Foreign manufacturers maintain faith in Vietnam despite riots


(Reuters) - Most large companies operating in industrial parks hit by anti-China riots in Vietnam last week have resumed operations, underscoring the irresistible pull of the country as a low-cost manufacturing hub with a relatively skilled workforce.

Manufacturing has increasingly shifted away from China in recent years as wages there are climbing and there is a growing shortage of labour. The speed with which companies have returned to work in Vietnam's industrial parks, which were the focus of rioting just last week, demonstrates the economic draw of doing business in the country, despite the risks.

The riots, which erupted after protests over disputed territory in the South China Sea, had sparked speculation that foreign investors could flee the country, but most say they have no plans to do so.

Vietnam has about 200 industrial parks and they have been a major driver of the country's economic growth, accounting for more than 30 percent of exports and attracting around $110 billion (65 billion pounds) in foreign direct investment.

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Mon May 19, 2014, 08:58 AM

24. Resilience of Black Labor Force Participation


The black unemployment rate is currently 2.2 times higher than the white unemployment rate, a bigger discrepancy than at any point since 2007. While this would normally be a cause for alarm, a closer look at the data reveals an interesting dynamic at work, below referred to as the “resilience factor.” What this means is that unemployed African Americans have been less likely to give up the search for a job than other unemployed workers.

The black–white unemployment rate ratio has increased during the recovery because the black unemployment rate—3.3 percentage points higher than in 2007—has fallen slower than the white unemployment rate (which is just 1.2 percentage points higher than in 2007). This is the case for two reasons. First, black employment has rebounded by less than it has for whites. Indeed, the share of employed, African American, working-age adults in the population is 4.6 percentage points below the 2007 average, while the comparable figure for whites is down 3.9 percentage points.

The other reason the black unemployment rate has not recovered as much as the white rate is the aforementioned resilience factor. In other words, relative to whites, a higher share of jobless blacks have continued to seek work—which means they have remained in the labor force and therefore been counted as unemployed. This is reflected in the fact that the percentage of blacks in the labor force (employed or actively seeking work) has fallen by less than the comparable figure for whites (a 2.8 percentage-point decline versus a 3.3 percentage-point fall). Put simply, the resilience of African American labor force participation is actually contributing to the growing black–white unemployment rate gap.

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Mon May 19, 2014, 09:01 AM

25. Wall of Worry Rebuilt as Nasdaq Rout Sends Cash to High


Investors are losing their nerve in the stock market amid selling that has sent some industries down the most since 2008. In the past, that’s been a signal to buy.

Global money managers raised cash holdings to a two-year high this month and say America is the worst place to invest, a Bank of America Corp. survey published last week shows. Investors have pulled about $10 billion from funds that buy U.S. equity this month, set for the biggest outflows since August, according to data compiled by Bloomberg and the Investment Company Institute.

After embracing stocks last year for the first time since the bull market began, individuals are showing signs of reverting to the skepticism that led them to pull more than $400 billion from mutual funds from 2009 through 2012. While hedge fund manager David Tepper says caution is appropriate now, others consider the lack of exuberance a healthy sign that sets the stage for more gains.

“Walls of worry are everywhere,” Robert Doll, who helps oversee $118 billion as chief equity strategist at Nuveen Asset Management in Chicago, told Tom Keene and Michael McKee on Bloomberg Radio’s “Surveillance” on May 14. “This is the least believed bull market that I’ve ever seen. From here it’s earnings, it’s fundamentals, it’s can the economy grow? And my guess is the answer to that question is yes.”

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Mon May 19, 2014, 09:02 AM

26. Greek Selloff Shows Rush for Exit Recalling Crisis: Euro Credit


Bondholders in Europe just got a wakeup call.

After a four-month rally in euro-region debt, yields (GGGB10YR) on Italian and Spanish bonds had their biggest one-day jump in almost a year last week as a selloff that started in Greece spread. With bids evaporating and prices sliding, traders poured into derivatives as they rushed to protect against losses. Italy’s and Spain’s bonds extended that slump today.

Even with borrowing costs from Ireland to Italy near record lows, the sudden price swing shows they’re not immune to the bouts of volatility that characterized the four-year debt crisis. The risk is that speculative traders, who bought debt on the assumption the European Central Bank would support the market, may try to flee at the same time if the outlook darkens.

“You only know how wide the door to the exit is when there are a few of you trying to push through at the same time,” Michael Riddell, a London-based fund manager at M&G Group Plc, which oversees the equivalent of $417 billion, said on May 16. “I don’t think liquidity has been that great in peripherals at any stage.”

Greece’s 2 percent bond maturing in February 2024 dropped 3.095, or 30.95 euros per 1,000-euro ($1,372) face amount, to 75.3 on May 15, the biggest outright decline in price since the securities were issued in March 2012.

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Mon May 19, 2014, 09:05 AM

27. Draghi Isn’t Doubted as Economists Await ECB Stimulus


Mario Draghi has left little room for doubt.

Ninety percent of economists in the Bloomberg Monthly Survey predict the European Central Bank president will ease monetary policy in June after saying on May 8 that officials are “comfortable” with acting then. While that allows investors to prepare for added stimulus and a weaker euro, it also sets them up for a bigger disappointment should he fail to deliver.

Almost a year after Draghi pledged to support the euro-area recovery with low interest rates, the central bank is faced with mediocre economic growth and inflation at less than half its goal. That’s increased the odds policy makers will step up their response with radical measures that could range from negative deposit rates to asset purchases.

“Draghi clearly pre-committed,” said Elwin de Groot, an economist at Rabobank in Utrecht, the Netherlands. “As any other central banker should know, he would risk his reputation, and a significant strengthening of the euro, if the ECB doesn’t follow through in June.”

In the Bloomberg survey, 47 of the 52 respondents said the ECB will ease policy when the Governing Council meets on June 5 in Frankfurt. A record 88 percent said Draghi’s guidance on interest rates, made every month since July, has been effective. That’s up from 48 percent in September, when the question was first included in the survey.

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Mon May 19, 2014, 09:12 AM

28. Thai Bonds Are Best in Region as Political Unrest Hurts Economy


Thailand’s government bonds are leading gains in Southeast Asia as a worsening political crisis and deteriorating economy prompt local investors to favor the safest assets.

The debt has returned 2.4 percent in local currency terms this quarter, Bloomberg indexes show. The 10-year yield dropped nine basis points to 3.47 percent since the May 7 ouster of Yingluck Shinawatra as prime minister, touching a one year-low of 3.42 percent on May 16. Gross domestic product fell 2.1 percent in the first quarter from the preceding period, when it increased a revised 0.1 percent, official data showed today.

Anti-government protesters derailed plans for a July 20 election and the army has said it may use force to counter any escalation of political violence after three people were killed last week in Bangkok. Thai bonds have rallied even as overseas investors, which hold around 16 percent of the debt, pulled $654 million from the securities this month, exchange data show.

“We see strong demand from domestic investors,” Pareena Phuangsiri, an analyst at Kasikornbank Pcl in Bangkok, said in a May 15 phone interview. “The political unrest weighs on the economy, and when the economy is weak you prefer bonds.”

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Mon May 19, 2014, 03:29 PM

29. John Oliver does GM. Kervorkianesque.

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