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Monthly Archives: May 2011

Ron Paul: “I think we are going to be in Pakistan, I think that’s going to be our next occupation, and I fear it,”

“GOP 2012 hopeful Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) thinks U.S. troops will soon be on the ground for an occupation of Pakistan — and he said so on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Wednesday morning.

Paul called America’s relationship with Pakistan “an impossible situation,” where the U.S. hailed both its friendship with and suspicion of the country.

“I think we are going to be in Pakistan, I think that’s going to be our next occupation, and I fear it,” Paul said. “It’s ridiculous. I think our foreign policy is such we don’t need to be doing this.”

Paul said he had no inside information on Congress authorizing or ordering troops to invade Pakistan. He simply said based on U.S. history, he wouldn’t be surprised to see further U.S. involvement there.

“Right now, Pakistan is a big problem,” he said. “We have created a civil war there, and the fact that we go over there and we violate their security and the people rebel against the government because they see their government as being a puppet of the American government, so it’s total chaos and I’m afraid, and I hope I’m absolutely wrong, but I’m afraid we’ll be in Pakistan trying to occupy that country, and it will probably be very unsuccessful.”

In the weeks since President Barack Obama announced that Navy SEALs had killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, Paul has said that he would not have given the go-ahead for the mission.

“I think the real tragedy of this is that we didn’t get him 10 years ago when we could have and should have,” he said.”

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Federal Reserve: States Can Drop Dead

Okay not in those words, but behavior is everything.

” “Ford to New York: Drop Dead,” said a famous headline in 1975. President Ford had declared flatly that he would veto any bill calling for “a federal bail-out of New York City.” What he proposed instead was legislation that would make it easier for the city to go bankrupt.

Now the Federal Treasury and Federal Reserve seem to be saying this to the states, which are slated to be the first ritual victims in the battle over the budget ceiling. On May 2, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner saidthat the Treasury would stop issuing special securities that help state and local governments pay for their debt. This was to be the first in a series of “extraordinary measures” taken by the Treasury to avoid default in the event that Congress failed to raise the debt ceiling on May 16. On May 13, the Secretary said these extraordinary measures had been set in motion.

The Federal Reserve, too, has declared that it cannot help the states with their budget problems — although those problems were created by the profligate banks under the Fed’s purview. The Fed advanced $12.3 trillionin liquidity and short-term loans to bail out the financial sector from the 2008 banking collapse, 64 times the $191 billion required to balance the budgets of all 50 states. But Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke declared in January that the Fed could not make the same cheap credit lines available to state and local governments — not because the Fed couldn’t find the money, but because it was not in the Fed’s legislative mandate.

The federal government can fix its own budget problems by raising its debt ceiling, and the too-big-to-fail banks have the federal government and Federal Reserve to fall back on. But these options are not available to state governments. Like New York City in 1975, many states are teetering on bankruptcy.

A Beacon in the Storm

Many states are in trouble, but not all. North Dakota has consistently boasted large surpluses, aided by a state-owned bank that is showing landmark profits. On April 20, the Bank of North Dakota (BND) reportedprofits for 2010 of $62 million, setting a record for the seventh straight year. The BND’s profits belong to the citizens and are produced without taxation………”

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Senate Wins Round 1 of Retaining $2 Billion in Tax Breaks For Big Oil

Big Oil is getting to keep its billion-dollar federal tax breaks, for the time being.

On a mostly partisan vote, the U.S. Senate defeated an attempt to eliminate government subsidies for five top petroleum producers: BP, Exxon Mobil, Shell, Chevron and ConocoPhillips. The vote was 52 to 48, with three Democrats joining 45 Republicans in opposing the bill that had the backing of the Obama administration and fiscal watchdog groups. Although a majority of Senators voted in favor of advancing the bill, it needed 60 votes to proceed.

The legislation would have eliminated five different tax breaks that could have boosted federal revenues by $21 billion over 10 years.

Supporters of the plan argued that the Big Oil doesn’t need federal help because the companies’ profits are soaring. They also contend it is unfair to provide taxpayer-supported subsidies to businesses that keep raising the price of gasoline at the pump.

Republicans insisted the effort amounted to political grandstanding by Democrats seeking to gain points with voters for the 2012 election.

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Currency Hedge Funds Get Long The Dollar

“After hitting a 33-month low in late April, the dollar has bounced back with a vengeance. And that has led FX Concepts to drop its bearish stance on the currency. The firm is the world’s largest currency hedge fund manager, with almost $9 billion under management.

The dollar has gained 4 percent against the euro in the last two weeks alone. That has turned into a problem for FX Concepts, which has shorted the dollar, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The firm’s flagship Global Currency Program has dropped 5 percent so far this month, thanks partly to the dollar’s rebound. Until last week FX Concepts wasn’t worried about a long-term rally by the greenback, but now it’s starting to reconsider.”

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Goldman’s Hatzius: No Double-Dip, but Slow Growth for Years Read more: Goldman’s Hatzius: No Double-Dip, but Slow Growth for Years

“Expect the recovery to last for years, not a double-dip recession as some fear, says Jan Hatzius, chief economist at investment bank Goldman Sachs. But that’s not necessarily the good news.

“There’s still a long way to go. The unemployment rate is still 9 percent, we’re nowhere close to a really tight labor market that usually predicates a recession, so I think we’re still be in a recovery for a few years,” Hatzius told CNBC.

Unemployment is falling and growth will remain “above trend,” although the Fed is likely to keep steady on interest rates. Falling commodity prices also mean less short-term risk of a return to recession, he said.

A Gallup poll on May 2 found that 55 percent Americans think the United States is still in either a recession or a depression. Officially, the last recession ended in June 2009, nearly two years ago.

It’s cold comfort, perhaps, that the definition of recession according to the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) is the moment when the economy bottoms and returns to expansion, even if that expansion is slow and uneven.”

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Robert Shiller Warns The Markets are About to Take a Dirt Nap For 10 Years

“Is the stock market about to take a 10-year nap? That’s the warning coming from fund managers and stock market historians, including Yale University professor and housing guru Robert Shiller.

Shiller sees stocks gaining between 2 percent and 3 percent during the coming decade. He sees no reason to believe in a resurgence of consumer spending, considering that the real unemployment rate, by his calculation, is 15.9 percent, and housing is headed south again.

“Even at this point, with the recession technically over, we are in the worst financial shape we’ve been in since the Great Depression,” he told an audience in Las Vegas, reported InvestmentNews.com.

Shiller’s unemployment figure counts unemployed, underemployed, and people forced into early retirement by the economy.

On top of all that, consumer confidence is weak and the foreclosure crisis continues to spread, Shiller notes.

“It worries me because if people don’t have confidence, they don’t spend money,” said the professor, who is best known for the widely cited S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price indexes.”

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How Inflation May Not Just Be “Transitory”

“As of late, I’ve been expressing my concern about inflation, how I believe our overly generous monetary policies of the past two years and other factors would give rise to sudden and unexpected inflation in America. Inflation, as you know, is already a big problem in many countries.

A week ago today, the U.S. Labor Department reported that consumer prices rose in April by 3.2% from April 2010—the highest year-over-year increase since October 2008. In the U.K., inflation jumped to 4.5% in April. Even core inflation in the U.K. is out of control, presently running at the fastest pace in 14 years—3.7%.

The blessing in the U.S., many believe, is the stock market. If things pan out as I predict, and the stock market starts moving lower after the current bear-market rally ends, the falling stock market will join the housing market in placing deflationary pressure on prices. Or will it?

If your investments (your stock portfolio) are down sharply, do you feel like spending money? Of course not; your mood is ruined, your wallet tightened.

If the Dow Jones Industrial Average makes a run at its March 2009 low of 6,440 (I know, I’m the only market commentator out there that believes it will), consumer demand will drop, and companies will need to drop the prices of their goods and services. This is all deflationary.

But unlike the last time the Dow Jones Industrials visited 6,440, the money will not be running to U.S. Treasuries this time. No, money will actually be running away from the greenback….”

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Japan Expected to Crank Up The Printing Press to Paper Their Way Through a 3rd Recession

“Japanese consumers are making deeper cutbacks after the March 11 earthquake than anticipated, heightening the urgency for policy makers to unveil measures to end the nation’s third recession in a decade.

Household spending had the largest back-to-back quarterly drop since the global financial crisis, the Cabinet Office said yesterday. The figures contrast with comments by Japan’s central bank, which holds a policy meeting today, that the economy’s main challenge is one of supply chain disruptions caused by the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan, whose public approval rating is less than 30 percent, has held off on outlining the scale of further reconstruction spending as officials gauge the impact of an initial 4 trillion yen ($49 billion) package. BOJ Governor Masaaki Shirakawa has taken a similar stance since the central bank expanded its asset-purchase fund on March 14.”

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Wall Street Makes Money The Old fashion Way

Instead of just milk the tax payer with those bond swaps….

“The social-networking investing frenzy that sent LinkedIn Corp.’s initial public offering soaring is creating a profit bonanza for Wall Street, which is expecting to reap $2.5 billion in fees from IPOs this year, the second-highest figure in more than a decade.”

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Goldman Waits on Subpoenas and Discovery Information From the Feds

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. executives expect to receive subpoenas soon from U.S. prosecutors seeking more information about the securities firm’s mortgage-related business, according to people familiar with the situation.

Officials at the New York company believe the Justice Department will demand certain documents and other information, possibly within days, these people said. Spokesmen for Goldman and the Justice Department declined to comment Thursday.

Subpoenas don’t necessarily mean criminal charges against Goldman or individuals at the firm are inevitable or even likely. The company turned over hundreds of millions of pages of documents to the Federal Crisis Inquiry Commission, a 10-member panel that examined the causes of the financial crisis. Goldman also gave tens of millions of documents to the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.”

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Flash: Intuit sees Q4 $(0.02)-0.02 vs ($0.01) Thomson Reuters consensus; sees revs $567-587 mln vs $587.20 mln Thomson Reuters consensus

Not good

Intuit beats by $0.05, beats on revs; guides Q4 EPS in-line, revs below consensus (55.90 +1.62)
Reports Q3 (Apr) earnings of $2.33 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.05 better than the Thomson Reuters consensus of $2.28; revenues rose 15.0% year/year to $1.85 bln vs the $1.82 bln consensus. Co issues guidance for Q4, sees EPS of $(0.02)-0.02, excluding non-recurring items, vs. ($0.01) Thomson Reuters consensus; sees Q4 revs of $567-587 mln vs. $587.20 mln Thomson Reuters consensus.

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Netanyahu Rejects Obama’s Palestinian Dream

He rejected Obama’s idea that the Palestinians should have a country with pre-1967 borders, calling such borders “indefensible.”

Netanyahu will be visiting the White House next week.

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Cargill Dumping Mosaic

The sale terms call for privately-held Cargill to swap about 179 million of its 286 million Mosaic shares with Cargill’s private stockholders — including, most notably, the charitable trust of the late Margaret Cargill, who died in 2006 — for some of all of their Cargill stock. Cargill’s remaining 107 million Mosaic shares would be doled out in exchange for Cargill debt owned by third parties.

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Today’s Biggest Winners/Losers

No. Ticker % Change
* LNKD 137.90
1 QPSA 25.80
2 PURE 23.30
3 QBC 13.96
4 OESX 13.64
5 WEBM 12.33
6 FFHL 12.20
7 TINY 12.18
8 ADAT 10.74
9 CXM 10.34
10 CABL 10.00
11 GENE 9.68
12 DATE 9.27
13 GLUU 9.04
14 GTN 8.99
15 PETD 8.13
16 TST 7.64
17 RAVN 7.64
18 STVI 7.63
19 FTEK 7.59
20 CIIC 7.42
21 MERC 7.27
22 KFS 7.14
23 PETM 7.06
24 TWMC 7.02
25 AVL 6.82
No. Ticker % Change
1 TDSC -51.27
2 CCSC -24.07
3 NEI -23.42
4 YRCW -19.47
5 YONG -17.32
6 CHBT -12.60
7 NQ -12.55
8 BKE -12.53
9 BIG -11.39
10 HEV -10.81
11 AAP -10.02
12 COIN -9.41
13 GFRE -9.36
14 LEXG.OB -9.15
15 HOTT -9.01
16 OINK -7.99
17 SHZ -7.80
18 WWIN -7.51
19 AACC -7.22
20 CMRG -6.87
21 DEXO -6.80
22 GMR -6.63
23 TDW -6.48
24 ONXX -6.44
25 CNTF -6.23

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