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Feb 18, 2010

The Discount Rate Clarifying Its Concep

The Discount Rate Clarifying Its Concept

The discount rate, is the rate the Federal Reserve Banks (from now on FED) charge its members banks for direct  loans. Here we have a first issue to make a reflection about.

When and Why the Federal Reserve System raises or decreases the  discount Rate?

Allow me to go back  a little bit to give you an idea of the importance and consequences of the discount rate:
When banks begin experiencing  deficits in their cash reserves position , they have to cover this deficit, and accordingly, to keep in  balance the deficit cash position,  they have  to borrow money.
There are three  sources from which the deficit can be balanced.

  1. Reducing interest-earning assets on hand by selling securities.
  2. Borrow from other banks, "federal fund markets" also called the overnight interest rate, and finally,
  3. Borrow from the FED, through the known "Discount Window"
Borrowing from the FED, is the last resource of funds, banks member of the FED should go.
Here we have, that this is the way  by which the  FED governs  the interest rate, banks must pay for funds borrowed,which at its turn, this interest rate, banks will transfer to the economy for lending money.

In theory, and as a  clean and sane behaviour of banks , they will  use the lowest cost of interest forgone, on any of the alternatives  they have to borrow money. The same reason, but in the opposite direction, should be applied by the FED  in terms of discouraging banks from using the discount window.

If this were the case, in a sane and not manipulated economy, "Central Banks" will set the interest rate a little higher then the other alternatives, as a source of funds.  The point is that, from the mid seventies to our days, the policy was to finance the banking sector deficits, manipulating the discount window, in order to facilitate the biggest and most unethical earnings  the financial sector, ever had had,  distributed among a few  immesurably profit seekers, in detriment of the real economy.

Fernando Guzmán Cavero


Unexpectedly the FED raises  the discount rates from 0.5 to 0.75  for the reaction  of the markets, and its incidence on diferent financial products worldwide , we will have to wait until major markets are opened..

In the mean while I leave you with CNBC video  on this announcement

NYT : Afternoon business Update

Afternoon Business Update

Wal-Mart Posts Profit but Issues Tepid Outlook
The retail giant forecast earnings for the current quarter that could miss

Wall Street estimates.

Shares Hesitate but Try to Push Higher
As concerns about the debt crisis in Greece eased somewhat, European traders

found reasons to be optimistic about a U.S. recovery.

Europe’s Top Monetary Official Moves to New Role
Joaquín Almunia, the official most responsible for not raising greater alarm

about Greece’s finances, moved into a new role as the E.U. antitrust chief.

Task Force Warns Anew on Terrorist Funding From Iran
Iran leads the list of countries that have failed to crack down on money 

laundering and terrorist financing, a global task force said.

Ticketmaster Settles With F.T.C. Over Springsteen Tickets
As part of the settlement, the company will pay refunds and, in a move that 

could have a wide impact on the multibillion-dollar resale business, make 
disclosures about the availability of the tickets it resells.

More Business News

MarketWatch: February 18, 2010

Personal Finance Daily
FEBRUARY 18, 2010

Thursday's Personal Finance stories

By MarketWatch

Don't miss these top stories:

Flying somewhere soon? Chances are you don't have a lot of choice as to which airport you'll be using. Sure, major metro areas have more than one option, but if you're at all concerned about the price of the airfare and face some restrictions with your schedule -- like most folks -- that usually leaves you with no choice at all. You're going to use the airport that has the cheapest flight at the most convenient time.

That lack of real choice makes it all the more wonderful and refreshing when you arrive at an airport that serves travelers well. You didn't choose to be there, you don't want to be there, but lo and behold, there's lots of good food, some stores where you actually want to shop, decent computer connections. It's like paradise in purgatory.

Oh, and that part about shopping? Can someone tell me why there's rarely decent shopping at airports? I'm not a big shopper -- I always put off buying essential clothing and make-up, for instance -- so to arrive at an airport that sells things I really need is useful (like the Body Shop at San Francisco International). It means I can get an errand done.

Absent that convenience, how about shorter security lines?

-- Andrea Coombes , Personal Finance editor

New York ranks low in airport ranking

Pity the poor traveler who must fly in and out of New York City. Consumers gave some of the weakest scores to the area's three main airports -- John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International and LaGuardia International -- for everything from baggage handling to security checkpoints in J.D. Power & Associates' North America Airport Satisfaction Study for 2010.
See Travel.

How to save money on hotel WiFi

Looking to save money on hotel WiFi charges? Here's how. You can also save money by planting your own birdseed. Corn, anyone? Also Burger King implements some cheesy changes to its burgers.
 Listen to MarketWatch Radio's News Break.


Commentary: New credit-card rules hurt the best borrowers

Credit-card holders: Your card issuers have been trying to tell you something with mailers and in actions that you need to know but have probably missed.
See Chuck Jaffe.


State pension plans face $1 trillion shortfall

A train wreck waiting to happen. That's the only way to describe the mess that state pension systems are in right now, according to a report published Thursday by the Pew Center on the States.
See Robert Powell.

Tax issues confront retirees

As you enter retirement, probably the largest and most daunting item of expense that you encounter will be taxes. We're talking not just of a benign single item of expense, but quite possibly many different kinds of levies. Each one of our 50 states can enact and enforce state and local taxes by the dozen, as well as property taxes by the hundreds, among others.
See Marshall Loeb.

How well is your 401(k) plan serving you?

There are many reasons why your neighbor might have a much brighter retirement outlook than you, or vice versa. Maybe one of you sets aside more each month, started saving younger or chose investments that fared better in the downturn. But to what degree does your 401(k) plan itself make a difference?
See Andrea Coombes' Ways and Means.

Stay the savings course

If there's one message that the mutual-fund industry wants you to internalize, it's this: No matter what happens in the markets, don't stop contributing to your 401(k).
See Robert Powell's Retirement Blog.


Health Minute: Retail clinics

At numerous walk-in clinics at retail stores around the country, you don't need an appointment or insurance and the average bill is $60. But you'll be seeing a nurse, not a doctor, so rely on them only for routine medical needs. Kristen Gerencher reports.
 Watch Health Minute: Retail Clinics


Tape delay irks views

Jason Gay says that the editing and packaging of the Olympic Games irritates viewers who would like the games in their entirety.
 Watch Video Report.

Shaun White flies high

Shaun White stuns Vancouver's crowds and Lindsey Vonn becomes the first U.S. woman to get the gold in downhill. The WSJ's Olympics team has the latest insights on the Vancouver Olympics.
 Watch Video Report.


Why the financial bailout is good for investors

Despite Monday-morning quarterbacks lambasting the government bailout of the financial system, investors can actually use it to their advantage, says Dow Jones Adviser columnist James Altucher.
 Watch Video Report.

People are investing with hearts, not heads

"The problem is investors oftentimes don't invest with their heads. They invest with their hearts." That is how Don DeWaay, founder and chief executive of DeWaay Capital Management, explains today's disconnect between poor earnings and economic news with a positive market.
 Listen to Radio Report.

Commentary: Vancouver stock-picker gets the gold

Lindsey Vonn isn't Vancouver's only top performer: It's also the home of the current leading stock-picker. The Linde Equity Report, which focuses on U.S. stocks, is up 135% by Hulbert Financial Digest's count over the past 12 months, vs. 34.93% for the dividend-reinvested Wilshire 5000 Total Stock Market Index.
See Peter Brimelow.

Commentary: Your property rights are under attack

Americans, watch out! Your property rights are under attack. While so far it is only a minor problem, that's no reason to get complacent. The impact could be years of slower economic growth.
See Simon Constable.


Sometimes the best jobs are hidden from view

Job seekers: Toss out the help-wanted ads and channel your inner Sherlock Holmes. Finding a good job might require some old-fashioned detective work.
 Listen to Radio Report.

Second act for banker turned thespian

Alistair Scott, investment banker by day, pursued his true calling -- the theater -- on the side, using long flights to learn his roles. But when the bank offered early retirement, he seized the chance to become an actor full-time. WSJ's Thomas Di Fonzo reports.
 Watch Video Report.

Engineer starts second career as photographer

When Evangelo Costadimas lost his job as a telecommunications engineer, he spun his layoff into an opportunity to pursue his love: photography and art. Now he's a freelance photographer and curator. WSJ's Lam Thuy Vo reports.
 Watch Video Report.

Hedge-fund analyst turns passion for yoga into job

Exercise kept worn-out hedge-fund analyst Tingting Peng going during her long workdays. When she lost her job, she turned her passion -- yoga -- into a business. WSJ's Lam Thuy Vo reports.
 Watch Video Report.


Mortgage rates dip again

Mortgage rates fell again this week, with the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage dropping to an average 4.93%, according to Freddie Mac's weekly survey of conforming rates, released on Thursday.
See Mortgages.

Private investors will return to mortgage market: Housing official

Private investors will once again buy mortgage-backed securities after the Federal Reserve wraps up its program to purchase $1.25 trillion in MBS by the end of March, a key U.S. government housing official said Thursday.
See Real Estate.


Fed hikes discount rate

The Federal Reserve announced late Thursday that it was raising its discount rate to encourage banks to borrow from the private market for short-term credit.
See The Fed.

Jobless claims rise

The number of people filing initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose by 31,000 to a seasonally adjusted 473,000 last week, the Labor Department reported Thursday, a sign that labor markets remain very weak.
See Economic Report.

Eyes on November, conservatives mount spirited rally

Chuck DeVore in California. Marco Rubio in Florida. And a conservative -- any conservative -- in Indiana. Those are some of the names and some of the states on which conservatives are pinning their hopes as they look ahead to November's midterm elections, and as Republicans' electoral prospects improve amid a weak economy.
See Capitol Report.

As Senate squabbles, prospects for consumer agency dim

Liberal groups and left-leaning Democrats are beginning to face the harsh reality that the chances of achieving their goal of creating an independent Consumer Financial Protection Agency to write rules for credit cards and mortgage products are fading.
See Capitol Report.

Italian derivatives draw scrutiny as Greece tensions heighten

With tensions heightening over Greece's past use of currency swaps, attention turned to potential problems with local public finances in Italy stemming from the use of derivative contracts, currency strategists said.
See International Report.

Obama taps pair to head deficit reduction panel

The president named two experienced Washington hands -- Democrat Erskine Bowles and Republican Alan Simpson -- to head a bipartisan effort to balance the federal budget.
See Capitol Report.


Hewlett-Packard unlikely target in IRS crackdown

Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ) has become an unlikely member of a group of companies targeted by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service in a coordinated legal assault on suspect international tax credits.
See full story.

Business Week The Economist Print Edition

Business this week
Feb 18th 2010
From The Economist print edition

Barclays reported that pre-tax profit almost doubled in 2009, to £11.6 billion ($18.2 billion). More than £6 billion of that came from the sale of the British bank’s fund-management business last summer. Almost half of the rest came from its investment-banking unit, which acquired the American operations of Lehman Brothers after the Wall Street firm failed in 2008. Unlike some of its big rivals, Barclays refused to take aid from the British government during the financial crisis.

Barclays’ chief executive and president both said they would forgo their bonuses for a second year. But a shareholder row was brewing at HSBC on speculation the bank would increase executive pay by up to 40%. Meanwhile, after a shareholder revolt a year ago, Royal Dutch Shell unveiled changes to the way it rewards top executives and froze the salaries of its chief executive and chief financial officer.
BNP Paribas, France’s biggest bank, saw net profit almost double last year, to €5.8 billion ($8 billion), helped by its acquisition of Fortis. Société Générale, BNP’s rival, didn’t fare as well, posting sharply reduced net income for 2009 of €678m as it took write-downs related to its American business.
India’s Bharti Airtel launched a fresh bid to expand into Africa’s telecoms market by entering talks to buy most of the African business of Zain, a mobile-phone operator based in Kuwait. The proposed deal, valued at $10.7 billion, comes almost five months after Bharti’s second attempted acquisition of MTN in South Africa was rebuffed. See article
A $2.5 billion bid materialised from a consortium for NITEL, Nigeria’s former state telecoms monopoly, which has been losing customers in its mobile and fixed-line services. China Unicom, a state-controlled corporation, denied media reports that it was part of the consortium.

The euro continued to be buffeted by uncertainty about a resolution to the Greek debt crisis. One poll in France found that 69% regretted losing the franc, up from 39% in 2002.
Simon Property revealed it had made a $10 billion offer for General Growth Properties, a rival which is in bankruptcy protection. If a merger is successful, the ownership of around a third of America’s shopping malls will be under the same roof. See article
America’s car-safety watchdog asked Toyota to provide documents for its investigation into whether the carmaker’s recent huge recall was conducted in a timely manner. The company said it would co-operate fully. More problems emerged, this time with the steering on the Toyota Corolla. Akio Toyoda, Toyota’s boss, declined an invitation to appear before a congressional hearing on the recall scheduled for next week.
The decade-long quest by American Airlines and British Airways to collaborate on ticket prices and flight schedules on transatlantic routes was given preliminary antitrust immunity in the United States. The pair are already members of the oneworld airline alliance. The decision to allow them to strengthen their co-operation was made public shortly before a meeting between American and European officials on reinforcing the 2007 “open skies” agreement.
Pilots at Lufthansa voted to take strike action. The German airline has countered that any disruption will only make a further dent in its business.

BP America, Caterpillar and ConocoPhillips pulled out of the United States Climate Action Partnership, a group of companies and environmental organisations set up in 2007 to push Congress to take action to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. Conoco praised USCAP but said current proposals in Congress “disadvantaged the transportation sector and its consumers, left domestic refineries unfairly penalised versus international competition and ignored the critical role that natural gas can play in reducing…emissions”.
A company building two nuclear-power reactors in Georgia was granted $8.3 billion in federal loan guarantees, the first to be awarded under the American government’s clean-fuel initiative, which envisages a big role for nuclear energy. And a dispute over the cost of a nuclear-power project in Texas was settled, allowing a group led by NRG to proceed with its request for a loan guarantee.

It emerged that EMI is considering selling its Abbey Road studios in London, used by many top bands and orchestras and immortalised by the Beatles. EMI was bought out by Terra Firma Capital Partners in 2007. The private-equity firm has since struggled with its investment and needs to raise funds to avoid defaulting on a bank loan backed by EMI. 

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CFTC: Press Release, February 18, 2010

Release: 5781-10
For Release: February 18, 2010

CFTC Imposes a $1 Million Penalty on California Resident Craig A. Riley and His Firm, Pressio Capital Management, LP, for Commodity Pool Fraud

Washington, DC - The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) today issued an order imposing a $1 million penalty against Craig A. Riley of Ladera Ranch, Calif. and his firm, Pressio Capital Management, LP (PCM), for fraudulently operating a commodity pool and misappropriating pool participant funds. The CFTC administrative order also permanently bars the respondents from engaging in any commodity-related trading activities, including soliciting funds, registering with the CFTC and trading on behalf of themselves or others.
The order finds that, beginning in the fall of 2006 and continuing through February 2008, respondents fraudulently operated a commodity pool, known as Pressio LP, which traded a variety of instruments, including commodity futures contracts. Riley solicited more than $3 million from approximately 19 individuals through false representations that the pool would be a conservative, diversified balanced asset fund. However, as the order finds, contrary to such claims, Riley lost approximately $2.5 million almost exclusively trading commodity futures and misappropriated the remainder of the funds for personal and business expenses and for paying back existing pool participants.
The order further finds that the respondents issued false account statements to pool participants to conceal the trading losses and misappropriations. Based on the false account statements, respondents then persuaded participants to invest additional funds in the pool.
In addition, the order finds that PCM and Riley violated CFTC regulations by failing to register as a Commodity Pool Operator and Associated Person and failing to comply with requirements for Commodity Pool Operators.
In a related criminal action, on January 12, 2009, Riley pled guilty to fraud in connection with a scheme to defraud or obtain money or property by means of materially false pretenses, representations or promises. Riley is currently serving a 41-month sentence. Criminal restitution was set at $3,044,384.59. (United States v. Riley, Case No. SA CR 09-0001 (C.D. Cal. filed Jan. 12, 2009).)
The CFTC thanks the United States Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California for their assistance in this matter.
The following CFTC Division of Enforcement staff members are responsible for this case: Timothy M. Kirby, Luke B. Marsh, Gretchen L. Lowe and Phyllis Cela.

Last Updated: February 18, 2010

NFA NOTIFICATION: Dallas firms Frontline Financial, Inc. and Frontline Advisors LLC ordered to permanently withdraw from NFA membership

For Immediate Release For More Information Contact:
Larry Dyekman (312) 781-1372,
Karen Wuertz (312) 781-1335,

Dallas firms Frontline Financial, Inc. and Frontline Advisors LLC ordered to permanently withdraw from NFA membership
February 18, Chicago - National Futures Association (NFA) has accepted a settlement offer from Frontline Financial, Inc. (FFI) and Frontline Advisors LLC (FAL) to permanently withdraw from NFA membership. FFI and FAL are Commodity Pool Operators and Commodity Trading Advisors located in Dallas, Texas. The Decision, issued by an NFA Hearing Panel, is based on an NFA Complaint filed in August 2009 and a settlement offer submitted by FFI, FAL and its principal, Charles G. Rice. Rice agreed to withdraw from NFA membership for a period of five years. Rice must pay a fine of $10,000 in the event that he reapplies for NFA membership after the five-year bar.
The Complaint charged that FFI and Rice failed to disclose material information to the participants in a pool which they operated, e.g., that the pool would loan money to third parties in exchange for promissory notes; that the issuers of these promissory notes defaulted on the notes causing the pool to incur losses; that FFI charged pool participants a monthly management fee even after one of the notes was in default; that FFI redeemed its interest in the pool; and that FFI ultimately wrote off the notes without providing details of the write-offs to pool participants. Additionally, the Complaint charged that FFI failed to file an exemption notice, disclosure document or annual financial statement for the fund.
The complete text of the Complaint and Decision can be found on NFA's website (
NFA is the premier independent provider of innovative and efficient regulatory programs that safeguard the integrity of the futures markets.

Forbes. com : Daily Opinions, February 18,2010

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Moneney Morning: The Five Factors That Could Rescue U.S. Stocks, February 18, 2010

February 18, 2010
The Five Factors That Could Rescue U.S. Stocks

By Jon D. Markman, Contributing Writer, Money Morning

When the stock market is enduring as much trouble as it has been lately, it pays to remember that there are still many positive catalysts that are in place and working to buoy securities prices.

Let's take a few moments to consider the top candidates:

  • A Friendly Fed: The current U.S. Federal Reserve under Chairman Ben S. Bernanke is the most accommodative in history and is likely to keep short-term interest rates at or near zero for the remainder of this year. Occasionally there will be rumblings of an increase - as there was in The Wall Street Journal last Monday, but they are likely just smoke screens.
To find out about the other four factors - as well as three possible profit plays - please read on ...

Markman on...
- Europe-China Connection Could Rattle Stocks

- Soaring Lumber Prices and Strong D.R. Horton Report May Not Signal an Immediate Rebound in Housing Stocks

This market manipulation is legal - for now

Most investors recognize that the markets are manipulated... But don't understand to what degree. Fact is, the next 1,000-point down day has practically been scripted and assigned a date. Knowing how this works can produce some outrageous gains - legally. At least for now. Renowned analyst Jon Markman has the details here.

Sponsored content

Obama Looks to Restart U.S. Nuclear Industry With $8 Billion Federal Loan Guarantee

By Don Miller, Associate Editor, Money Morning

U.S. President Barack Obama gave the long-suffering U.S. nuclear industry a solid boost this week when he announced $8 billion in government loan guarantees in support of a new nuclear power plant in Georgia.

The move is intended to reduce usage of fossil fuels and meet America's future energy needs. It could also provide new profit opportunities for energy-sector investors.

"I know it has long been assumed that those who champion the environment are opposed to nuclear power," President Obama said in remarks made during a speaking engagement in Lanham, Md. "But the fact is, even though we have not broken ground on a new nuclear power plant in 30 years, nuclear energy remains our largest source of fuel that produces no carbon emissions."

Money Morning Mailbag

We'd like to hear from you! If you have an idea that amplifies something you've read in Money Morning, send it to us here to share:

"ALL BRANCHES... of our government ARE IN BUSINESS with Wall Street..."
from Money Morning Reader, T.S.

Seven Signs of the Fed's Eventual "Exit Strategy"

By Louis Basenese, Guest Writer, Money Morning

Looking for an exact date when U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and his fellow central bank policymakers will raise interest rates?

Experts refer to this eventuality as Bernanke's "exit strategy" - a financial euphemism for the interest-rate increases that are certain to come ... at some point.

That's just it - those experts can't tell you when that exit strategy will begin. I can't tell you that, either (Sorry, loaned my crystal ball to Miss Cleo for her new infomercial).

But what I can give you that the pundits can't is a "Road Map to Higher Interest Rates," which spells out the specific events that should precede the most-heavily anticipated U.S. central bank interest-rate increase in history. Follow it and you should be perfectly positioned to profit when the time comes.

(Remember, a few months ago, I introduced Senior Secured Floating Interest Rate Bonds, or SSFRs, an investment that you'll want to own when interest rates rise.)

So, without further ado...

Read full article...

Forbes: Intelligent Investing, February 18, 2010

Intelligent Investing with Steve Forbes


Intelligent Investing
Political Hot Air Leave Greece Blowing In The Wind
A mealy-mouthed statement by European political leaders doesn't do much to protect investors.
With Andrew Balls
Intelligent Investing
Housing Recovery Needs A Boost
A lack of available credit will keep the housing market weak, but Congress can get lending going again.
With Stuart Saft

Video: Intelligent Investing With Steve Forbes

Intelligent Investing With Steve Forbes
Wesbury Says Mark To Market Was The Problem
First Trust Advisors chief economist Brian Wesbury lays out the case that mark to market was the culprit for the market downturn.

The Economist Editor's Highlights : February18, 2010

Editor's Highlights: February 18,2010

What's gone wrong in Washington?

Imagine a democracy where politicians representing only a tenth of the population can frustrate the will of the majority, where the legislature is divided up into absurdly gerrymandered seats, where money politics is rife, where bipartisanship has disappeared—and where nothing ever gets done. With Congress failing to do anything about health care, climate change or the deficit, that is how an increasing number of Americans see Washington. Meanwhile businesspeople and politicians in the emerging world contrast this paralysis with China's autocratic efficiency. In our cover leader we look at the idea that Washington is broken. We argue that it is wrong to blame the system, not least because it lets Barack Obama off the hook. The main reason why his laws are not passing is because they are unpopular. He has done too little to win over independents and Republicans.
Here are some other pieces from this week's issue you might also be interested in. You can click straight through to each one and read it at
The Economist online using the links below.

This week's highlights
Assassination, after Dubai
A short history of political killing—and its future
Read more
Germany's fury about the euro
Let the Greeks ruin themselves
Read more
China's tetchy and brutal leadership
When things are going so well why is Beijing so edgy?
Read more
A machine that prints body parts
The latest in regenerative medicine
Read more
Charlie Wilson leaves for an even larger party
Our obituary of a congressman who loved fun and Afghanistan
Read more