Saturday, July 9, 2011
Key points :
1] GAS WILL STABLE BE STABLE IN USA OVER THE SUMMER
2] CRUDE OIL ESCALATION BETWEEN SEPT AND FIRST WEEK OF DECEMBER 2011
3] REVOLUTIONS WILL CONTINUE IN ALL MUSLIM COUNTRIES EXCEPT SAUDI ARABIA
4] GOLD AND SILVER WILL RISE BY 20 TO 35 % BY DECEMBER 2011
5] OIL RESERVES OPEN IN GULL ISLAND AND BAKKEN US RESERVE DEPOSITS PER MAY 12TH CONGRESSIONAL BILL ANNOUNCEMENT - OBAMA OPENED THE STRATEGIC OIL RESERVE SOLD AT 97$ PER BARREL TO BUY BACK AT $150 TO $200 DOLLARS IN OCTOBER ... ORDERED BY THE GLOBAL ELITE
inside the global elite, discussing the current status of the globalist agenda; Patriot Network News; Lessons in Liberty: Purchasing firearms; Spy 101: How to become a covert operative! What political figure in your lifetime do you believe has made the biggest impact on history?
"The nations of the world, especially China, are dumping U.S. currency and buying gold. "The reason why it is getting so hard for people to buy gold is that "they" do not want people to be able to protect themselves." "They don't want people to have something that is REAL." "They fear people buying gold because it is something "they" can NOT control. They feel that only they, the elite, should own gold.""They regard it as real money." Gold and Oil generally move in tandem i.e., when oil goes up, so does gold. This has not been the case since the oil market collapsed. Gold has shown huge relative strength to the price of oil. Because of intense world wide demand and speculation the relationship between gold and oil will no longer continue. Gold will now move independently of oil.
As the jobless rate inches up and the economic recovery sputters, investors looking for a few good stocks may want to follow the money -- or rather the TV, the beloved Fender guitar, the baubles from grandma, the wedding ring.
Profits at pawn shop operator Ezcorp Inc. have jumped by an average 46 percent annually for five years. The stock has doubled from a year ago, to about $38. And the Wall Street pros who analyze the company think it will go higher yet. All seven of them are telling investors to buy the Austin, Texas, company.
Is the economy still just in a soft patch? A hard patch? Will the market rise or drop? Even experts are just guessing. In investing, it's often better to focus on what you can safely predict, even if that safety is found in companies that thrive on hard times. One good bet: The jobless aren't likely to find work anytime soon. And companies profiting from their bad fortune will continue to do so.
-- Stock in payday lender Advance America Cash Advance Centers (AEA) has doubled from a year ago, to just under $8. Rival Cash America International Inc. (CSH) is up 64 percent, to $58. Such firms typically provide high interest loans -- due on payday -- to people who can't borrow from traditional lenders.
-- Profits at Encore Capital Group, a debt collector that targets people with unpaid credit cards bills and other debts, rose nearly 50 percent last year. Encore has faced class action suits in several states, including California, over its collection practices. The Minnesota attorney general filed a suit in March. No matter. The stock (ECPG) is up 59 percent from a year ago, to more than $30.
-- Stock in Rent-A-Center (RCII), which leases televisions, couches, computers and more, is up 57 percent from a year ago to nearly $32. Nine of the 11 analysts covering the company say it will rise further and that investors should buy it.
The idea of investing in companies catering to the hard-up might not be palatable to some people. But it is profitable.
Mark Montagna, an analyst at Avondale Partners in Nashville, has developed what he calls "value retail" index of 11 companies -- dollar stores, off-price shops and clothing and footwear chains favored by shoppers looking for deals. The index is up 149 percent since February 2009, which marked the lowest month-end closing value for the S&P 500 during the recession.
Desperation stocks continue to be lifted by a drumbeat of bad news. Consumer spending, adjusted for inflation, has fallen for two months in a row -- the first back-to-back fall since November 2009. On Friday, the government reported the unemployment rate rose to 9.2 percent in June, sending stocks in tailspin. On top of that, one in seven Americans now live below the poverty line, a 17-year high.
"It's been a good year," says John Coffey Jr., a Sterne Agee analyst, referring to the companies he follows, not the economy. Coffey created a stir late last month when he issued a report arguing shares of Ezcorp (EZPW), which also makes payday loans, were worth a third more than their price and urged investors to buy. The stock rose 7 percent in just a few hours.
The next day a widely followed survey showed consumer confidence at a seven month low.
"Here we are celebrating the second year of recovery and confidence is at levels consistent with a recession," says David Rosenberg, an economist at money manager Gluskin Sheff. "The folks in the survey are probably not the same folks shopping at Tiffany's." (That company's stock is also up nearly 50 percent since March, to about $82.)
But they probably are shopping at Dollar General Corp. Stock in the discount retailer recently hit $34.13, up 50 percent from its IPO in late 2009. And it may be worth about a third more, at least according Avondale's Montagna.
"People are broke. They're all chasing value. It's a seismic shift in mindset," he says.
Some experts think these down-and-out stocks are just as likely to fall now instead of rise. It's not that they think the recovery will turn brisk and people will get jobs and shop elsewhere. It's that things could get worse -- making customers too poor to borrow or buy even from these outfits. Rent-A-Center, the furniture store, is already suffering. Some of its core low-income shoppers have seen money they would have spent leasing a couch or cocktail table eaten up by rising food and fuel bills.
But not to despair. According to Nick Mitchell, an analyst at Northcoast Research, wealthier customers, say those making $45,000, are feeling so strapped lately that they're starting to rent furniture, too.
Montagna, the Dollar General bull, says he's seeing people earning $70,000 or more at that chain, too. Even he shops there now.
"If I'm driving past one, I stop in," he says, adding triumphantly, "I just bought toothpaste -- Crest -- two tubes for $4."
Buffett on today's job numbers and why he's confident we'll get the 2.5 million jobs lost in the current recession back:
"Because the American economy works that way. We have gone through, I don’t know how many recessions, perhaps 15 in the history of this country."
"But, our system over-shoots periodically. And in this particular case we had a huge bubble. So the fact that there’s a correction after that should not be unexpected. But our system always comes back and it will this time. And it already is."
On whether the country will recover most of the 2.5 million lost jobs by the 2012 elections:
"I think there’s a good chance of that. We will come back big-time on employment when residential construction comes back. And we way over-produced in houses. I mean we were forming a million or 1.2 million households and we were building close to two million residential units."
"Big surprise, we ended up with too many houses. We’re not going to blow them up. We’re not going to have kids start getting married at 12 or something. There’s a natural correction. The only way a correction takes place is to have households formation exceed new construction by a significant amount for a significant period of time."
"We’ve had it for quite a while. And when you see these figures of five or 600,000, that means we’re sopping up housing inventory and I don’t know exactly when that hits equilibrium, but it isn’t five years from now I know that. And I think it actually could be reasonably soon."
On the unemployment rate:
"I think that certainly within a few years we’ll see it back at six [percent]…It just depends when housing turns."
On President Obama's Jobs Council and whether it is misguided to look at the White House to help create jobs:
"People get their expectations too high…The system cures itself….I would say that that’s the biggest single factor. Government can do things to make it worse and they did in The Great Depression. And government can help some."
"The president is not [making the situation worse]. We know the things to do that can help, but they are not, in my view, the prime determinate. I mean there are things to work through. If you have too many houses, what can government do? Like I said, they can say well the 12-year-olds should get married and then we’d need a lot of houses."
"I would say by far the biggest factor in corrections of the business cycle over time is what I would call the natural regenerative powers of capitalism. Capitalism works."
On whether President Obama has "led us to the right place" as Buffett was quoted as claiming at a 2007 fundraiser:
"I think he’s leading us to the right place, yeah. I don’t think it’s easy to do. It takes some cooperation from Congress. But he has ideas about what America can and should be that are in synch with mine. It’s some of the social issues and some of its distribution of wealth and that sort of thing."
"I think for example we’ve had a period in the last 15 years where the 400 top taxpayers in the United States -– if you go back 15 years they had an average income of about $45 million. Now they have an average income of $350 million in the most recent figures. Whereas their tax rates went from 27 percent down to 16 percent."
"That’s not my idea of America. I mean I want everybody to get rich, but I think that the rich have a responsibility to pay higher tax rates."
On whether the wealthy should be targeted and if Buffett's friends that fall into this category agree with him:
"Yeah…I look around at my friends here paying lower tax rates than the people who are serving us the food."
"I think some do [agree with this idea]. Yeah some do. And many don’t."
On the debt ceiling and what would happen if a deal isn't reached by the August 2nd deadline:
"Nobody knows and that’s why it’s a crazy. If you don’t get a deal, you are putting a gun to your head. And you’re saying this cylinder has six chambers and we’re going to stick a bullet in one and spin it and pull the trigger and see what happens."
"Nothing may happen. Nobody knows. We don’t have a parallel for it in the past. But it’s crazy. I mean which would you rather have borrowing in the markets five years from now, a U.S. government that’s interrupted payments because of a squabble within its Congress."
"The United States -- we’re a very special place, there’s no question about it. And we will pay our debts."
On Bernanke and whether he has Buffett's support:
"His foot has been on the gas pedal as far as it will go."
"I think that he and other administration officials have done a heroic job since the fall of 2008."
On the possibility of QE3:
"If one of trillion dollars in excess reserves are not doing anything, I do not think it will make any sense."
On whether Greece is too big to fail:
"Greece is certainly too big to fail from the standpoint of the Europeans in that it will cause a lot of other people to fail. They are worried about the next domino and it could it tilt over other dominoes. We decided that Fannie and Freddie were too big to fail. There might be institutions where the feeling is not that they're too big to fail, but they're too big to fail without toppling others and getting a series of dominoes going."
"If Lehman Brothers could have failed in a vacuum, it would have been one thing, but we learned they could not fail in a vacuum."
On Jamie Dimon:
"He is a fabulous banker, and probably writes the best annual report in America…I grabbed his report when it comes in and my friends do, too."
On whether he's considered buying into JPMorgan:
"We own stock in Wells Fargo and MNC, and banking will not be as profitable as it has been in the past. It is still quite possible, but you make money in banks and assets, and now you have less essence in relation to capital."
On Elizabeth Warren:
"We need a lot of correction. You see what happened in the mortgage issuance market of five years ago. It is up to the industry and the government to correct it. It is great if the industry does it by itself, but it is clear you need a policeman, and she is a pretty good policeman. You want people to take out mortgages where it is appropriate, where they know what they are doing, and where they can handle the problems. You always said people that lose jobs, where there are deaths or something, so you will have foreclosures, but you should not have mass amounts of people entering into transactions they do not understand. It is a huge transaction. There is a real job to be done in making sure that people both understand the contract and can handle a contract under most circumstances."
On reports that Treasury Secretary Geithner may step down:
"Timothy Geithner, we are very fortunate to have him there during this period."
By Jack Farchy
Financial Times, London
Thursday, July 7, 2011
Central banks have pulled 635 tonnes of gold from the Bank for International Settlements in the past year, the largest withdrawal in more than a decade.
The move, disclosed in the BIS's annual report, marks a sharp reversal from the previous year, when central banks added to deposits of gold at the so-called "bank for central banks" rather than lending it directly to the private sector amid growing concerns over counterparty risk.
Central banks and other official institutions collectively hold about 30,000 tonnes of bullion in their reserves, and many seek to earn an income on their gold by lending it out, just as any other currency.
However, demand to borrow gold has fallen sharply in the past decade, driving interest rates on gold lending to record lows.
Hedging by gold miners, which is typically structured to involve borrowing gold, was traditionally the largest source of demand. But since miners have cut back their hedging programmes to almost zero, the gold lending market, which is mediated by large bullion-dealing banks, has dwindled.
Lending gold for six months earned a rate of 0.1 per cent on Thursday, according to benchmark market assessments published by the London Bullion Market Association.
In response to e-mailed questions, the BIS confirmed that the fall in the value of gold deposits disclosed in its annual report represented "a shift in customer gold holdings away from the BIS."
"The Bank's gold deposit liabilities declined by around 635 tonnes between 31 March 2010 and 31 March 2011," it added. Comparison with previous annual reports showed the withdrawal was the largest in at least 10 years.
Traders said the move of gold holdings away from the BIS probably reflected a combination of factors.
Some central banks, unimpressed with the paltry interest rates on offer, may have taken the decision not to lend their gold at all.
"My perception is there's less and less gold being put out by the central banks into the gold market," said one banker.
However, some central banks may have rediscovered an appetite for lending gold to the private sector, which can earn higher rates depending on the credit rating of the counterparty and structure of the transaction.
"As commercial banks' balance sheets have started to look better, there may have been a switch back to lending to the private sector," said Philip Klapwijk, executive chairman of GFMS, a consultancy.
"Yield enhancement can be a powerful inducement to a central banker," an industry executive added.
Lakshman Achuthan was on CNBC yesterday to discuss the outlook for the economy. The head Economist of the ECRI predicted the slow-down that the economy is currently undergoing, but maintains that the recent uptick in data is a “dead cat bounce”. Achuthan says this global industrial slow-down will be sustained and is likely just beginning. He says:
“There’s some false hope that there is a rebound here in the economy or in global industrial sectors in the second half….The global industrial slowdown is going to be present through year-end,”
Achuthan says the long leading indicators are pointing to persistent slow-down and that the recent uptick in PMI’s (short leading indicators) will prove temporary:
Individuals within the 25 to 34 age group may have already conducted a financial analysis at an earlier age. However, regardless of whether you've already done this, a reassessment must be done periodically to determine whether changes must be made to your financial habits, including those that affect your budgeting and debt analysis. The frequency with which a financial analysis must be done will vary among individuals, and may also be affected by other factors, such as changes in interest rates, fiscal responsibilities and recurring expenses. For instance, if the interest rates on mortgages have been reduced since an individual received a mortgage loan, it may make sense to determine whether the mortgage should be refinanced. Also, if the individual's marital status has changed, retirement goals may need to be redefined. (To read more, see The Reverse Mortgage: A Retirement Tool and Revealing The Hidden Costs Of Weddings.)
Tip: A financial analysis is a necessity and is one of the most important steps toward identifying areas in which you are doing well and areas in which improvements are required. It may be worthwhile to have the analysis done by a competent financial professional.
Refinancing a Mortgage
Refinancing a mortgage can be advantageous, provided it either increases the individual's available cash by lowering the monthly payments, or reduces the amounts paid for interest over the period of the mortgage. In most cases, individuals should refinance when the current interest rates on mortgages are lower than the interest rate that they are receiving on their current mortgage. Reasons for refinancing include the following:
Individuals who refinance their mortgages may want to shop around for the lowest interest rate and closing costs - even a 0.5% percentage difference will result in a significantly greater expense to the borrower, leaving less cash available for other uses. (For more information on mortgages, see Shopping For A Mortgage and Mortgages: How Much Can You Afford?)
Tip: Most fees charged for mortgages, including refinancing, are negotiable. Don't be afraid to ask if certain fees can be waived, or if your interest rate can be dropped even 0.25% lower. Remember, the odds of receiving a favorable response are 50%!
Debt consolidation usually involves consolidating multiple loans under the umbrella of the lowest (or a lower) interest rate, which can sometimes shorten the repayment period. The goal of debt consolidation is usually to reduce the overall amount of interest paid on credit and the amounts paid in installments.
Caution: If the consolidation involves multiple credit cards, it may be an indication that the individual needs professional assistance with managing debt. For more information on debt consolidation, see the Federal Trade Commission's website.
If the solution includes closing credit cards, the individual should seek advice on how this would affect his or her FICO score. (To learn more about your credit score, see Take Control Of Your Credit Cards.)
As your balance sheet and cost of living changes, so does the need to reassess your budget. The rebudgeting process will help you determine whether you should cut back on some expenses, or perhaps even whether you require additional income to maintain the standard of living you expect. A revision of the budget will help you to make important decisions relating to retirement savings, such as whether to increase or decrease the budgeted amount that you add to your nest egg.
Increasing the amount you contribute to your retirement savings may seem like the ideal choice if you are not on track with your retirement savings goal. However, you must consider that other areas of finance are part of the full retirement package, and will have an effect on your nest egg. For instance, if you have excessive debts, it may make sense to reduce the amounts budgeted for retirement contributions and redirect more to credit card payments. You should consult a financial planner for assistance in determining the optimal means of splitting available amounts between credit card payments and retirement plan contributions. (For more on budgeting, see The Beauty Of Budgeting and The Indiana Jones Guide To Getting Ahead.)
Tip: Retirement savings should be treated as a recurring expense. This helps to make sure the amount is saved regularly, making it easier to add to your nest egg. If your employer offers contributions via tax-deferral or after-tax payroll deductions, you should take advantage of this opportunity to increase your savings. After all, it's easier to treat the amounts deducted from a paycheck as non-disposable income, and there is a lower risk of the amount being used for other purposes.
Tax Filing for Married Individuals
There are many financial benefits available to individuals who are married and file joint tax returns. For instance, the standard deduction is higher for married couples who file a joint return. Another example is where one spouse has little or no income (referred to as the non-working spouse), and the working spouse's taxable income can be used as "eligible compensation" for purposes of funding the non-working spouse's IRA. This can result in a considerable increase in retirement savings for the couple by the time they retire. However, there are also circumstances where it may make better financial sense to file separate returns. For instance, if the family incurs a significant amount of medical expenses that were not reimbursed through a health plan, or if they have several miscellaneous deductions, filing separate returns may result in a lower tax bill. To be sure, couples should consult with a tax professional, who will be able to demonstrate the net financial effect of filing both options, making it possible to choose the one that will either result in the lowest tax liability or the greater tax refund amount. The amount saved could be used to fund a retirement account for one or both spouses. (For more on this, check out The Benefits Of Having A Spouse.)
Tip: IRA contributions for the year can be made from January 1 of the tax year up to April 15 of the next year, and can be made even after the individual has filed his or her tax return. If the decision is made to contribute to an IRA at the time the tax return is being filed, the tax preparer reflects the amount on the tax return - if applicable.
Note: Effective for tax years beginning 2007, individuals may use their tax refunds to make IRA contributions via direct deposit. See IRS Form 8888 at www.irs.gov.
Although these issues are most likely to apply to individuals between the ages of 25 and 34, they can apply to others as well; for instance, the choice of tax filing status for married couples, or the decision to refinance a mortgage can apply to any age group. When planning for retirement, your fiscal readiness will be more important than your age. As such, the actions that are recommended for 30-year-olds may also be recommended for 50-year-olds, depending on their personal situations. To ensure that you are taking the most appropriate steps toward securing your financial future, it may be wise to consult with a competent retirement plan consultant or financial planner.
In the latest episode of Forbes‘ Intelligent Investing, Joel Greenblatt gives a wide-ranging interview on the market and investment strategy. In this clip, Greenblatt talks about how the institutionalization of the investment world has made for a major increase in short-term thinking, which opens up opportunities for patient, long-term investors — if they stay disciplined. “If you look at top performers over the last decade, the top 25% of managers that have outperformed — came out with the best record for the last ten years — 97% of those top managers spent at least three years in the bottom half of performance,” he says. “79% spent at least three years in the bottom quartile of performance. And almost half, 47%, spent at least three years in the bottom 10% of performance. So all their investors left if they did that, but these are the ones who ended up with the long-term record. Most people leave them, most people don’t stick around for long enough.”
Italian Yields Hit 9-Year High, Spreads Record High vs. Germany; Italy's Finance Minister in Rent Scandal
Italian bonds slid for the fifth straight day, driving yields to a nine-year high, as contagion from Greece’s fiscal crisis intensified in the region’s biggest government-debt market.
German 10-year yields fell the most since April after U.S. employers added less than a fifth of the workers economists estimated in June. The yield on 10-year Italian securities jumped to a euro-era record over German bunds as data showed industrial production in the Mediterranean nation dropped. Spanish, Irish and Greek bonds also fell.
“If you are talking about a default in Greece where contagion spreads through Ireland, Portugal and Spain, then Italy is the next stop,” said Charles Diebel, head of market strategy at Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets in London. “Italy has an awful lot of debt.”
Italian industrial output declined 0.6 percent in May from April, when it rose 1.1 percent, the Rome-based statistics office Istat said today. Economists had forecast a 0.1 percent decrease, according to the median of 22 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey.
RTE reports Italian finance minister in rent scandal
Italian finance minister Giulio Tremonti has found himself in hot water after it was disclosed that his former adviser - facing a possible jail term for corruption - had been paying his rent.
Naples prosecutors revealed late yesterday that Marco Milanese had been paying €8,500 a month for an apartment in Rome that was used by Tremonti.
Tremonti's right-hand man, Milanese resigned from the ministry at the end of June after being implicated in an alleged corruption ring known as 'P4'. The ring involved high-profile figures from the world of politics and economy.
Naples prosecutors called for Milanese - a member of Prime Minister Silvio Berlsconi's People of Freedom party (PDL) - to be imprisoned for his involvement in alleged corruption uncovered during an inquiry.
According to the magistrates, Tremonti's former adviser had received large sums of money - at least €450,000 in cash - as well as jewels, luxury cars and other gifts from a businessman who was being hounded by the law.
Milanese allegedly received kickbacks from two people in exchange for jobs within companies run by the finance ministry.
The Financial Times reports Italy’s finance minister under fire
Giulio Tremonti’s future as Italy’s finance minister appeared in doubt on Friday after Silvio Berlusconi, prime minister, launched a public attack on his handling of the centre-right government’s proposed austerity package.
The open criticism followed disclosures that Mr Tremonti had been dragged into a widening corruption investigation by magistrates who on Thursday requested the arrest of Marco Milanese, a member of parliament and until recently political advisor to the finance minister.
Friction between Mr Berlusconi and Mr Tremonti has been a constant theme since the centre-right government came to office three years ago, with the latter seen as one of several contenders to head a new government should the prime minister be forced to resign as a result of his personal scandals and court trials.
Tensions have come to a head over Mr Tremonti’s insistence on austerity in eliminating the budget deficit, and his reluctance to endorse tax cuts demanded by the prime minister. Mr Berlusconi’s attempted use of the budget law to insert a clause potentially favouring his Fininvest media empire has also soured relations between the two.
“You know, he [Tremonti] thinks he’s a genius and that everyone else is stupid,” the billionaire prime minister said. “I put up with him because I’ve known him for a long time and one has to accept the way he is. But he’s the only one who is not a team player.”
Spread is easy enough to calculate: 5.27 - 2.83 = 2.44.
Italy has nearly as much debt as Germany, in an economy nowhere near as big.