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Jan 30, 2010

MarketWatch: Week top personal Finance Stories

The week's top Personal Finance stories

By MarketWatch

In case you missed them, here are the top 10 Personal Finance stories from MarketWatch for the week of Jan. 25-29:

Economy forces changes in thinking about retirement homes

If your idea of a dream retirement home is a luxury contemporary overlooking a championship golf course in the desert, you better be prepared for some mighty small block parties: When it comes to retirement living, golf courses are out.
See full story. 

Say goodbye to the McMansion

Times have changed, and the square footage of new American homes is dropping. Supersized homes are out, and efficiency and versatility are in. MarketWatch's Amy Hoak reports on the latest building trends.
 Watch Video Report. 

Many taxpayers qualify for free help and e-file software, services

How often do you see real passion when it comes to tax preparation? Meet Dr. Edward Kane, of Venice, Fla. Kane is one of over 34,000 AARP Tax-Aide volunteers. This retired orthodontist was introduced to the Tax-Aide program 17 years ago at his church in Pacific Beach, Calif.
See TaxWatch. 

Three smart, simple steps to a more financially secure retirement

Bitten by the bear one too many times and uncertain about their jobs and the economy, investors have avoided stocks even after the market's rapid ascent. Indeed, the market's strong rebound over the past 10 months only makes many sidelined buyers more afraid to get on board. Their mantra: We won't get fooled again.
See Jonathan Burton's Life Savings. 

Obama's proposals don't go far enough, some retirement experts say

Good, but not enough. That's how academics and advisers characterize President Barack Obama's plans to help Americans save more for retirement. Obama wants to expand tax credits that reward retirement savers, and he wants to require all employers to provide workplace-based retirement savings plans, the so-called automatic IRA.
See Robert Powell. 

Much riding on stalled legislation as Obama tells Congress 'Let's get it done'

What would the proposed health-care overhaul do for regular Americans? President Barack Obama tried to answer that question and regain control of the issue in his State of the Union address Wednesday after the stunning result of last week's Massachusetts special election sunk the prospects for quick passage of a comprehensive health-care overhaul.
See Vital Signs. 

The 20 cities with the highest foreclosure rates in '09

The Las Vegas metropolitan area suffered a foreclosure rate that was five times the national average and the highest rate in the country in 2009, according to a report on Thursday by RealtyTrac, an online foreclosure marketplace.
See full story. 

Study abroad? It will cost you, but experience is priceless

Patti Ristau said she was terrified when she first landed in Seville, Spain, for a semester studying abroad. Though the 2009 University of Wisconsin graduate had a double major that included Spanish and felt sure of herself speaking the language in Mexico and the Caribbean, Ristau, 22, was worried she would be like a taco at a tapas bar in Seville. And she was all alone.
See full story. 

Tips for sleep-deprived working parents

It takes a Marine to raise a baby, at least in our household. My husband, Dan, who left the service in 2004, took care of Eve's 1 a.m., 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. feedings during her first few weeks of life as I recovered from a C-section and a nasty bug caught in the hospital.
See Diary of a Recession Baby. 

The new crusade against Alzheimer's

One of the truly great human accomplishments of the past century has been the revolution in longevity. People in most of the world are living longer, by far, than their forebears. That is an upheaval with profoundly positive economic consequences. But there are also some drastic downsides to the vast expansion in population.
See Marshall Loeb. 

Jan 29, 2010

Forbes. com : Financial News

Mel Lindauer

How to buy, redeem and get the highest return from U.S.

 inflation protected bonds.

Edited by Neil Weinberg and Janet Novack

Tips for new parents, first-time homebuyers, 
new entrepreneurs
 and more.

David K. Randall

Expecting parents should follow these financial tips.

Asher Hawkins

What you need to know about shopping for foreclosures, 

saving on homeowners insurance and more.

David K. Randall

Tips on how to make your first business grow.

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Struggling retailers are staying as far away from bankruptcy courts as possible this year after being traumatized by a slew of liquidations in 2008 and having a general feeling that the bankruptcy code is unfair to them.

While the most recent holiday shopping season was better than 2008, some retailers whose holiday was only so-so, could benefit from being able to reduce their size or get out of onerous leases in bankruptcy.

But retailers are increasingly viewing filing for bankruptcy as the beginning of the end, and are increasingly wary that they could turn out to be the next Circuit City.

The Turnaround Management Association on Thursday reunited several of the major players in the Circuit City case, who said the bankruptcy code's new bias toward speed was one of the main reasons any attempt to save a portion of Circuit City failed.

"Quick bankruptcies are a good thing, but they're not necessarily good for a retailer," said Richard Pachulski, an attorney at Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones who represented unsecured creditors in the case.

The experts on the panel said a 2005 rule that requires bankrupt companies to decide to assume or reject real estate leases within 210 days of filing for bankruptcy makes reorganizing extremely difficult for retailers who often concentrate a large portion of their annual sales around the holiday period.

Retailers now have to "make decisions about leases long before they have the information about which leases to keep," Edward Morrison, a Columbia Law School professor, said on the panel.

"You're shooting in the dark," Pachulski said .

For example, a retailer who files for bankruptcy in February would have to make all its decisions about which stores to close, without ever being able to go through another holiday season, when retailers typically do about 25 percent of their annual sales.

So what's a retailer to do? Apparently wait it out and hope. Turnaround experts at the conference were saying retailers shouldn't file for bankruptcy or be forced into bankruptcy unless they are sure what stores they want to close.

But on the panel, Morrison warned about the perils of "hope," citing Circuit City's dashed hopes that it would get a $75 million tax refund prior to filing for bankruptcy.

"A wise man once said hope is not a strategy," Morrison said.

Emily Chasan
Donald Trump eyeing Stuyvesant Town: report
Amplifon sounded on Siemens hearing aid tie: source
ING, OCBC complete Asian private banking deal
EA eyes Facebook sports games, more digital buys
Comcast, NBC promise to keep news, free TV
Warburg Pincus buys survival suit maker Survitec
Allianz exec says Swiss Life is not good fit
China to bar new auto projects without merger deals: report
BNY Mellon in talks to buy $2.5 billion PNC unit: report
Intrawest to sell Canada's Panorama ski resort

Donald Trump eyeing Stuyvesant Town: report
January 29, 2010 07:38 AM ET
(Reuters) - Real estate tycoon Donald Trump is considering whether to either buy or manage Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village housing complex in Manhattan, the New York Post reported.

Full Article
Amplifon sounded on Siemens hearing aid tie: source
January 29, 2010 09:36 AM ET
MILAN (Reuters) - Italy's Amplifon has been contacted by several private equity funds for a possible tie-up with the hearing-aid unit of Siemens and Germany's Geers, a person close to the talks said.

Full Article
ING, OCBC complete Asian private banking deal
January 29, 2010 06:36 AM ET
SINGAPORE/AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - ING Group NV completed the sale of its Asian private banking unit to Singapore's OCBC , the biggest deal in the private banking sector since the financial crisis.

Full Article
EA eyes Facebook sports games, more digital buys
January 29, 2010 06:17 AM ET
LONDON (Reuters) - Electronic Arts, maker of the Madden NFL and FIFA soccer video games, is looking to build sports games for Facebook after buying social-games maker Playfish for $275 million, and may buy other similar companies.

Full Article

GATA DISPATCHES, Funds flee Greece as Germany warns of 'fatal' eurozone crisis

Funds flee Greece as Germany warns of 'fatal' eurozone crisis

By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
The Telegraph, London
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Germany has triggered a near-panic flight from southern European debt markets by warning that there will be no European Union bailouts, even though it fears the region's economic crisis has turned dangerous and could prove "fatal" for the entire eurozone.
The yield on 10-year Greek bonds blasted upwards by over 40 basis points to 7.15 percent in a day of wild trading. Spreads over German Bunds reached almost 4 percentage points, by far the highest since Greece joined the euro, and close to levels that risk a self-feeding spiral. Contagion hit Portuguese, Spanish, Irish, and Italian bonds.
George Papandreou, the Greek premier, said in Davos, Switzerland, that his country had been singled out as the weak link in a "attack on the eurozone" by speculators and political foes. "We are being targeted, particularly by those with an ulterior motive."
Marc Ostwald from Monument Securities said the botched syndication of E8 billion (L6.9 billion) of Greek debt this week has made matters worse. Many of the investors were "hot money" funds that bought on rumours that China was emerging as a buyer, offering them a chance for quick profit. When the China story was denied by Beijing and Athens, these funds rushed for the exit.
However, a key trigger yesterday was testimony in Germany's parliament by economy minister Rainer Bruderle, who said there would be "no bailouts" for struggling debtors and no move to a "European economic government."
"A few European nations are exhibiting dangerous weaknesses. That could have fatal consequences for all countries in the eurozone," he said. Despite the warning, he said each country must solve its own problems.
"Germany is not in a mood to be the deep pocket for what they consider profligate, southern neighbours," said hedge fund doyen George Soros.
Mr Bruderle's hard line contradicts a report in Le Monde that Franco-German officials are discussing a rescue for Greece to keep the International Monetary Fund at bay.
The paper cited a source saying that EMU partners were ready to "help" Greece. "It is a question of credibility for the eurozone. The IMF might want to impose monetary conditions."
Le Monde's story was shot down by Berlin and Paris, but there is little doubt that certain officials have been trying to build momentum for a rescue. It is clear that the EU family is split on the issue. Jean-Claude Juncker, head of the Eurogroup of finance ministers, backs "assistance," with support of EU integrationists hoping to nudge the EU toward full fiscal union.
This is fiercely opposed by Berlin and the German-led bloc at the European Central Bank. There are reports that Berlin is deliberately bringing the crisis to a head, hoping to lance the boil early and force the Club Med states to reform before it is too late. If so, this is a risky strategy. German banks have huge exposure to Greek, Spanish, and Portuguese debt.
Hans Redeker, currency chief at BNP Paribas, said Greece will face "great trouble" if it has to pay 7 percent rates for long. Athens must raise E53 billion this year, mostly in the first half. It has a been relying on cheap short-term debt to fund the budget deficit of 13 percent of GDP, but this raises "rollover risk".
Tim Congdon from International Monetary Research said the danger is that wealthy Greeks may shift money to bank accounts abroad if they lose confidence (akin to Mexico's Tequila Crisis in 1994-1995). This would set off a banking crisis and become self-fulfilling.
Greece has been financing current account deficits -- 15 percent of GDP in 2008 -- through its banks, which have built up E110 billion foreign liabilities. "If foreign creditors want their money back, defaults and/or a macroeconomic catastrophe appear inevitable," Mr Congdon said.
Adding to worries, Moody's has issued an alert on Portugal's "adverse debt dynamics," saying Lisbon needs a "credible plan" to reduce a structural deficit stuck at 7 percent of GDP rather than "one-off measures."
The deeper concern is Spain, where youth unemployment has reached 44 percent and the housing bust has a long way to run. Nouriel Roubini, the economist known as "Dr. Doom," said Spain is too big to contain. "If Greece goes under, that's a problem for the eurozone. If Spain goes under, it's a disaster," he said.
Jose Luis Zapatero, Spain's premier, replied wearily: "Spanish public debt (52 percent of GDP) is 20 percent lower than Europe's average. Our treasury spends 5 percent of revenues on debt costs, less than France and Germany. Nobody is going to leave the euro."

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Mineweb News, January, 29,2010

TOP STORIES > Friday , 29 Jan 2010                                                     

Kinross passes 50m-ozs milestone in total gold reserves

Friday , 29 Jan 2010
Kinross reported a net gain of 5 million ounces in new gold reserves at year-end 2009, well offsetting the mining of 2.7 million ounces in 2009.

Palladium ETF in the US soars - but don't be fooled

Thursday , 28 Jan 2010
The US fund isn't the only one - and at least one of the others has been shrinking

Time for gold majors to own up

Thursday , 28 Jan 2010
Gold quarterlies: the Ides of January (or, crunch time) as reporting season cranks into gear.

Despite lowest production in 20 years, PotashCorp records 3rd highest profit in history

Friday , 29 Jan 2010
PotashCorp forecasts continued production curtailments this year during transition from historically low levels to higher demand in 2011.

The miners the world forgot

Thursday , 28 Jan 2010
Diamonds may be forever, but the once-glamorous sector needs to rediscover its lost magic.

Is a big potash play in the offing?

Thursday , 28 Jan 2010
The world's two biggest miners continue hunting, and acquiring, in this exclusive area.

December quarter was kind to Newcrest

Thursday , 28 Jan 2010
The detailed December quarter report of Newcrest Mining provided several positives for Australia's dominant domestically-owned gold producer.

China; Caging the Tiger - or stroking it?

Thursday , 28 Jan 2010
The moves towards economic tightening, or at least the slowing in the local stimulus, in China was a key driver behind the falls in metals and other markets. There is a case for arguing that some of these markets have overreacted.

Alcoa to shut two Italian smelters by Feb 6

Friday , 29 Jan 2010
The Aluminium company did, however, commit earlier this week to restart one of the plants if it can secure cheap power from the Italian government

BHP to spend $1.93bn on Australian iron ore

Friday , 29 Jan 2010
The move comes as analysts predict contract iron ore prices could rise by 40% or more in 2010

JFE shares gain on Q3 profit

Friday , 29 Jan 2010
Despite a strong profit in the quarter, the group has stuck to an annual forecast that comes in below consensus

Yesterday's Top Story: Inside Sandfire Resources 7000% surge, and other exciting tales

Wednesday , 27 Jan 2010
A glance at the world's 100 hottest mining bets, currently trading an average of 679% above stock price lows.


2010 Mining Indaba, Cape Town, South Africa. February 1st to 4th. Most important annual mining investment event on the African continent. Mineweb is a media partner and also will be exhibiting.
PDAC 2010, Toronto, Canada March 7-10. The Annual PDAC Convention hosts the largest gathering of mineral exploration professionals, companies and investors held anywhere in the world. Mineweb is a media partner and will be attending and is contactable via the Infomine stand.


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Dorothy Kosich, Reno
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