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Feb 23, 2010

The Economist :Doing Buisiness In London

GATA DISPATCHES: CFTC too Examime Trading in Metals Markets

CFTC to examine trading in metals markets

By Tom Doggett
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission said on Tuesday it will hold a public meeting on March 25 to examine whether position limits are needed for gold, silver, and copper futures markets.
The CFTC, the top regulator for futures markets, has long enforced position limits for grains trading, and is now mulling similar restrictions on the number of contracts speculators can hold for other markets.
The March 25 meeting will look at "the application of speculative position limits to address the burdens of excessive speculation in the precious and base metals markets; how such limits should be structured; how such limits should be set; the aggregation of positions across different markets; and the types of exemptions, if any, that should be permitted," the CFTC said in its official notice.
The meeting will hear from experts from all segments of the markets, the CFTC said. The names will be announced later. The CFTC will also accept public comments until April 30.
Currently, the CFTC is considering public comments on position limits to prevent concentration in energy markets.
Those limits were proposed last month, after some blamed speculators for soaring commodity and energy prices in 2008.
CFTC Chairman Gary Gensler has said he believes position limits should be applied consistently to all markets overseen by the agency.
CFTC Commissioner Bart Chilton had pushed for metals to be included in the rule-making process for energy contracts, but he said last month that CFTC lawyers had decided the agency would need to treat the two matters separately.
"It is my sincere hope and expectation that the upcoming hearing on position limits with regard to metals will enable us to move more expeditiously on a parallel regulatory process for metals," Chilton said at the energy hearing on Jan. 14.
The three other commissioners who comprise the CFTC have expressed concerns that position limits could drive trading to unregulated over-the-counter and overseas markets unless the U.S. Congress broadens the CFTC's authority.
Metals traders have said it would be difficult for the CFTC to clamp down on speculation in precious metals because most trading takes place outside the United States, especially in physical markets.

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CNBC Evening Brief ::20 Stocks with the potential to pop

LATEST STORIES I Febgruary 23, 2010

»click here to see the latest top stories from

Tom Brokaw Reports: Boomers!
CNBC 360 The Epic Story of A Generation
Tom Brokaw defined the "Greatest Generation" and now he tells the story of their children - the largest, most influential generation ever. Through the eyes of boomers themselves, he chronicles an age that took us from hula hoops to healthcare. This landmark documentary documentary examines the challenges ahead for a generation 78 million strong that continues to shape our world. Premieres Thursday, March 4 at 9p ET/PT
»more info


The New York Times: Business Afternoon Update

Deal to Sell Hummer to China Company Nears Collapse
Hostility from Chinese regulators and bank financing problems have raised 

obstacles to plans by a Chinese machinery company to buy the G.M. unit.

Administration Makes Push for Consumer Agency
The creation of a Consumer Financial Protection Agency has emerged as 

the main stumbling block in the Congressional debate over legislation to
overhaul financial regulations.

U.S. Home Prices Rise Modestly
While the 20-city home price index rose 0.3 percent from November to

December, the index was off 3.1 percent from December a year ago.

Shares Slip as Consumer Confidence Weakens
Several retailers reported better-than-expected earnings as investors have

been looking for signs that consumers are spending more.

New Hotel for the Common Man
The InterContinental will be the largest hotel built from the ground up to 

open in the city since the Westin in 2002.

More Business News

MarketWatch : Personal Finance Daily , February 23,2010

Personal Finance Daily
FEBRUARY 23, 2010

Wednesday's Personal Finance stories

By MarketWatch

Don't miss these top stories:

Our kids are fat, to put it bluntly, or overweight or obese, to put it medically. And who can blame them? Look who they have as role models -- us, a supersized America hooked on high-fructose corn syrup and infatuated with french fries.

You can trace at least some of the problem to the end of the age of innocence: Where we used to feel safe dumping our children outside to bicycle or skateboard across the neighborhood in search of pals for a game of pickup ball we now drive them to play dates and group lessons or whatever and don't much think about the physical activity we deprive them of.

But another part of the problem has been the medical community and attendant institutions like health insurers, who for too long paid little heed to childhood obesity. But those attitudes are changing and at least one initiative from the American Heart Association and the William J. Clinton Foundation is aiming to reach more than 6 million at-risk kids with targeted help from pediatricians and dieticians.

Hopefully, in the process, we can start getting the parents off their duffs as well.

-- Steve Kerch, assistant managing editor


Coverage for treating kids' obesity gets more comprehensive

Parents of overweight and obese children face a heavy burden in navigating a complex health-care system that does little to help them change their kids' course. But a growing number of employers and health insurers are trying to make it easier to get such help.
See Vital Signs.

Anthem faces scrutiny from California lawmakers

Anthem Blue Cross faces the first of two days of legislative scrutiny Tuesday as the insurer goes before a California Assembly committee to justify proposed rate hikes up to 39% or more.
See Health Care.

Lawsuits, state competition key to Republican health plans

Ending "junk" lawsuits, allowing Americans to buy insurance across state lines and creating high-risk insurance pools for the sick are high on Republicans' list of ideas to bring to the White House health-care "summit" on Thursday.
See Capitol Report.


Few used-car bargains in wake of Toyota recalls

Toyota cars, long known for their quality and reliability, are just about holding their own in resale value despite the massive recall of vehicles for sudden-acceleration problems and other issues.
See Cars.

Toyota U.S. president faces hostile crowd in Washington

Lawmakers sharpened their claws Tuesday ahead of testimony from Toyota's top U.S. executive relating to the automaker's handling of safety failures that led to massive recalls worldwide.
See Cars.


Almost 10% of FDIC-insured banks on 'troubled' list

Driven by expanding problems with commercial real estate loans, the number of distressed banks in the U.S. rose to 702 in the fourth quarter, marking the highest level in 16 years, according to a report released Tuesday by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.
See Banks.

U.S. consumer confidence plunges

Consumer confidence fell sharply in February as Americans turned more pessimistic about job prospects and the U.S. economy, the Conference Board reported Tuesday.
See Economic Report.

Commentary: Americans losing hope on finding work

Rarely have Americans been more pessimistic about an economy that's growing so well. The official statistics may show that the economy is growing close to its long-term rate of 3% and that job losses are lessening, but the people don't see it. They are losing hope that the economic recovery will lead to more jobs any time soon.
See MarketWatch First Take.

Wall Street bonuses climbed 17% in 2009

Wall Street bonuses climbed 17% to $20.3 billion last year as stock and corporate bond markets rebounded strongly amid unprecedented government support, according to an estimate released Tuesday by New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.
See Banks.

Commentary: Inflation is moving faster than it looks

Danger: inflation ahead. Later this week, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will present his semi-annual report on monetary policy to the Congress. In it he will probably go to great lengths to reassure policymakers that the Fed intends to keep flooding the economy with liquidity for a while longer.
See Irwin Kellner.

Commentary: The death of American capitalism

Good news, Americans are "downbeat about today. Upbeat about tomorrow," says the latest USA Today/Gallup Poll. "Americans feel battered by hard times, record home foreclosures, stubbornly high unemployment rates and war."
See Paul B. Farrell.


Commentary: Never sell a dull market short

"Another dreary day with nothing accomplished." So commented Richard Russell, editor of Dow Theory Letters, after the close of Monday's trading, in which the Dow Jones Industrial Average finished a lackluster session with just an 18-point loss.
See Mark Hulbert.


Strikes disrupt European air travel

Airline passengers in Europe endured a second day of flight disruptions as a strike by French air-traffic controllers forced cancellations out of Paris and as disruptions were expected to linger through the week after Lufthansa pilots narrowly averted union action.
See Travel.


Verizon-Skype deals underscores wireless evolution

The deal struck by Verizon Wireless with the Web-calling service Skype last week reflects an ongoing evolution in the mobile-phone business toward the openness that already exists on the Internet.
See Telecom Report.


Jobs bill moves forward in Senate

A job-creation bill that would give businesses tax breaks for hiring workers and would allow companies to write off some expenses cleared a key Senate procedural vote Monday.
See story on jobs bill.

Mitt Romney plays the jobs card

Is Mitt Romney for real? Romney, who may well be President Barack Obama's opponent in 2012, had a great time last week blaming the president for the current jobs shortage.
See Brett Arends.


Commentary: The easy times are over for phony 'free credit report' pitchmen

Finally, the Federal Trade Commission is shutting up the singing credit minstrels and guys like Ben Stein who promise free credit reports without saying upfront that you'll pay a fee for other services to get them.
See MarketWatch First Take.


Peter Grandich: Perma-gold bears hitting new lows

1a ET Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Dear Friend of GATA and Gold:
Agoracom's market analyst Peter Grandich offers some criticism of Canada's Business News Network for indulging in a little too much frivolity about gold, and in the process he drops a compliment for GATA. Grandich's commentary is headlined "The Perma-Gold Bears Hitting New Lows" and you can find it at Agoracom here:
CHRIS POWELL, Secretary/Treasurer
Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee Inc.

* * *

Support GATA by purchasing a colorful GATA T-shirt:
Or a colorful poster of GATA's full-page ad in The Wall Street Journal on January 31, 2009:
Or a video disc of GATA's 2005 Gold Rush 21 conference in the Yukon:
* * *
Help keep GATA going
GATA is a civil rights and educational organization based in the United States and tax-exempt under the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. Its e-mail dispatches are free, and you can subscribe at:
To contribute to GATA, please visit:

FDIC For Immediate Release, February,23

FDIC-Insured Institutions Report Earnings of $914 Million in the Fourth Quarter of 2009
Full-Year Net Income Totaled $12.5 Billion

February 23, 2010
Media Contact:
Andrew Gray (202) 898-7192

Commercial banks and savings institutions insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) reported an aggregate profit of $914 million in the fourth quarter of 2009, a $38.7 billion improvement from the $37.8 billion net loss the industry sustained in the fourth quarter of 2008, but still well below historical norms for quarterly profits. More than half of all institutions (50.3 percent) reported year-over-year improvements in their quarterly net income. Almost one-third of all institutions (32.7 percent) reported net losses for the quarter, compared to 34.6 percent a year earlier. For the full-year, banks reported net income totaling $12.5 billion – up from $4.5 billion in 2008.

"Consistent with a recovering economy, we saw signs of improvement in industry performance," said FDIC Chairman Sheila C. Bair. "But as we have said before, recovery in the banking industry tends to lag behind the economy, as the industry works through its problem assets."

Several factors contributed to the year-over-year improvement in quarterly earnings. Noninterest income was $21.7 billion (53.2 percent) higher in the fourth quarter than a year earlier and noninterest expense declined by $16.2 billion (14.2 percent). Realized losses on securities and other assets were $8.7 billion lower and net interest income was $1.7 billion (1.8 percent) higher. Provisions for loan losses totaled $61.1 billion in the quarter, a decline of $10.0 billion (14.1 percent) from the fourth quarter of 2008. This is the first time since the third quarter of 2006 that quarterly loss provisions have been below year-earlier levels.
The FDIC noted that indicators of asset quality continued to deteriorate during the fourth quarter, although the pace of deterioration slowed for a third consecutive quarter. Insured banks and thrifts charged off $53.0 billion in uncollectible loans during the quarter, up from $38.6 billion a year earlier, and noncurrent loans and leases increased by $24.3 billion during the fourth quarter. At the end of 2009, noncurrent loans and leases totaled $391.3 billion, or 5.37 percent of the industry's total loans and leases.

Total loans and leases declined by $128.8 billion (1.7 percent) during the quarter. This is the sixth consecutive quarter in which the industry's loan balances declined. Loans to commercial and industrial (C&I) borrowers declined by $54.5 billion (4.3 percent) and real estate construction and development loans declined by $41.5 billion (8.4 percent).
Referring to more stringent lending standards and lower real estate values, Chairman Bair said, "Resolving these credit market dislocations will take time. We encourage institutions to lend using a balanced approach as outlined in the recent interagency policy statements. Institutions should neither over-rely on models to identify and manage concentration risk nor automatically refuse credit to sound borrowers because of those borrowers' particular industry or geographic location."
Total assets of insured institutions declined by $137.2 billion (1.0 percent). Banks' investments in mortgage-backed securities increased by $44.8 billion (3.3 percent) and U.S. Treasury securities rose by $15.9 billion (18.3 percent).

Financial results for the fourth quarter and the full year are contained in the FDIC's latest Quarterly Banking Profile, which was released today. Among the other findings:
Full-year revenues were higher than in 2008. Noninterest income, which had fallen in each of the two previous years, was $52.8 billion (25.4 percent) higher than in 2008, while net interest income was $38.1 billion (10.6 percent) higher. These improvements were partially offset by a $71.5 billion (40.6 percent) rise in loan loss provisions in 2009. Fewer than half of all institutions (41 percent) reported increased net income in 2009, and 29.5 percent of all insured institutions posted net losses for the year.

As expected, the number and total assets of institutions on the FDIC's "Problem List" continued to rise. At the end of December, there were 702 insured institutions on the "Problem List," up from 552 on September 30. In addition, the total assets of "problem" institutions increased during the quarter from $345.9 billion to $402.8 billion. Forty-five institutions failed during the fourth quarter, bringing the total number of failures for the year to 140, the highest annual total since 1992.

The FDIC's liquid resources – cash and marketable securities -- increased to $66 billion at year-end from $23 billion at the end of September. To provide the funds needed to resolve failed institutions in 2010 and beyond without immediately reducing the industry's earnings and capital, the FDIC Board approved a measure on November 12th that required most insured institutions to prepay about three years worth of deposit insurance premiums – almost $46 billion – at the end of 2009.
The Deposit Insurance Fund (DIF) balance – the net worth of the fund – decreased by $12.7 billion during the fourth quarter. The fund balance of negative $20.9 billion (unaudited) as of December 31 reflects a $44 billion contingent loss reserve that has been set aside to cover estimated losses. Just as banks reserve for loan losses, the FDIC has to set aside reserves for anticipated losses to the DIF from insured institution failures. Combining the fund balance with this contingent loss reserve shows total DIF reserves of $23.1 billion.
Total insured deposits increased by 13.5 percent ($641.3 billion) during 2009, which reflects the temporary increase in the standard maximum FDIC deposit insurance amount from $100,000 to $250,000.
The complete Quarterly Banking Profile is available at on the FDIC Web site.

Looking At Silver for All the Wrong Reasons .

Late in 2009 a lot of folks began asking us about buying silver instead of gold. At the time, we stated exactly how we felt, in that, why would you try to buy something that is not in the same league as gold? The two markets are completely different and are driven by a different set of emotions and fundamentals.
This is the first video that I've done on silver in quite some time, but I think it's an important one for you to see.

One of the standout features that I noticed was the fact that when gold was making new all-time highs in early December, silver failed to take out the March 2008 high. I consider this to be a negative.
In this short video you will very quickly see how we feel about silver and how you can benefit from looking at this market from a different perspective.
As always our videos are free to watch and there are no registration requirements.

I hope you find this video both informative, educational, and enjoyable and that you have time to comment on blog about this video.

All the best,

Adam Hewison
Co-creator, MarketClub

Forbes. com : Quality Stocks Get Their Turn

Quality Stocks Get Their Turn
Nathan Slaughter
The sketchiest stocks were the biggest winners coming out of the bear market. Look for mature leaders at this stage.

Nation's $2.3 Trillion In Public Pensions Run By Dummies
Edward Siedle
How-to book illustrates sad state of public money management. Lowe's Comps Still Sag, But Profits Surprise
Paul Rubillo and Tom Reese
The home improvement store may be at the end of the housing meltdown tunnel; Schlumberger bulks up in the oil field.
Financial Elder Abuse Rampant In Economic Downturn
Jacob Zamansky
Lawmakers slow to act against Wall Street wrongdoing.
Sports Bets That Would Have Made You Rich In 2009
Derek Simon
Certain gambles pay off and, at least in the world of sports betting, some of those payoffs can be very handsome indeed.

Forbes. com : Intelligent Investing

Intelligent Investing with Steve Forbes


Intelligent Investing Panel
Don't Write Off Toyota
The reputation takes a huge hit, but with time and the right moves everything can be repaired.
With Alexandra Zendrian
Intelligent Investing
Decoding The Dollar, Gold And Copper
The dollar has room to strengthen relative to its paper peers, but don't look for it to gain ground on gold.
With Michael Berry

Video: Intelligent Investing With Steve Forbes

Intelligent Investing With Steve Forbes
Stiglitz Lambasts Out Of Control Risk
Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz chronicles how risk-taking got out of hand.

Deals Today

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Good Morning Fernando, TUE 23 Feb 2010 
China's Tengzhong is having a hard time selling the People's government on its big, bold plans to buy Hummer. That in and of itself should be enough to kill the deal. But there is some talk that the little-known construction machinery company, with no experience in the auto industry, is hungry enough for Hummer to use an offshore vehicle to buy the GM brand if it fails to win Chinese regulatory approval.

"Tengzhong has not given up hope yet to win government approval, but buying Hummer through an offshore investment vehicle could be an option if it can't get the green light," a source close to the deal, who asked for anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue, told our reporters Fang Yan and Jacqueline Wong report from Shanghai.

Analysts told them the production base of the off-road sport utility vehicle would have to remain outside China to get such a deal to fly. That could be a monster-truck-sized roadblock, since it would mean the company would not have access to China's biggest asset -- its giant, cheap labor force.

Chris Kaufman; DealZone Editor
Brookfield eyeing bid for General Growth stake: report
KKR, TPG nearing Morgan Stanley CICC deal: sources
New doubts surface over AIG's $2.2 billion Nan Shan deal
African Barrick Gold in $1 billion London IPO: sources
Gores interested in buying Gigaset: sources
More takeovers likely for hard-hit satnav firms
Wal-Mart Japan CEO: will actively seek M&A
Brazil Hypermarcas seeks share sale for takeovers
Triton buys Ambea from 3i

Brookfield eyeing bid for General Growth stake: report
February 23, 2010 07:36 AM ET
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Canada's Brookfield Asset Management Inc is preparing to bid for a large stake in No. 2 U.S. mall owner General Growth Properties Inc , aiming to outbid Simon Property Group Inc , the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.

Full Article
KKR, TPG nearing Morgan Stanley CICC deal: sources
February 23, 2010 12:59 AM ET
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Morgan Stanley is in late stage talks to sell its stake in China International Capital Corp to Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co and TPG Capital for more than $1 billion, according to three sources familiar with the situation.

Full Article
New doubts surface over AIG's $2.2 billion Nan Shan deal
February 23, 2010 09:56 AM ET
TAIPEI (Reuters) - American International Group's stalled $2.2 billion sale of its Taiwan unit to a group led by China Strategic faces a new hurdle after Taiwan's regulator sought talks with parliament over the deal, raising the prospect of a chill in the nascent cross-strait M&A market.

Full Article
African Barrick Gold in $1 billion London IPO: sources
February 23, 2010 08:14 AM ET
LONDON (Reuters) - African Barrick Gold (ABG), a spin-off of Barrick Gold Corp , has launched a London listing to raise as much as $1 billion, valuing its assets at about $4 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.

Full Article