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Feb 26, 2010

NYT: Business Afternoon Update

  Business Aftternoon  Update

Germany’s Export Prowess Weighs on Euro-Zone
Thousands of small German exporters are giving a shot of growth to the E.U., but their success makes it harder for neighbors with high deficits to adjust.

Sharp Drop in Existing Home Sales in January
Sales of existing homes fell 7.2 percent; analysts had expected an increase. Meanwhile, the first revision of G.D.P. for late 2009 shows that the economy grew at a 5.9 percent annual pace.

‘Shutter Island’ Got Plenty of Gold From the Olympics
The movie made $41 million in its first week, a career best for Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese, thanks largely to its ad campaign.

A.I.G. Reports a Loss and Increases Its Reserves
The insurance giant attributed most of its $11 billion loss for the year to a fourth-quarter charge taken to reflect that its bailout had been restructured.

Citi to Reshape Its Board as 3 Directors Stand Down
Citigroup on Friday said it planned to reshape its board, nominating Ernesto Zedillo, a former president of Mexico, as a director as three others declined to seek re-election.

More Business News

From The Desk of Nick Nicolaas

As every  Friday, our friend Nick Nicolaas  has sent us  Adam Hamilton's  Zeal Intelligence Newsletter on  the Mining Interactive Website

Fernando Guzmán Cavero

Dear Friends:
Scott Wright, Adam Hamilton s business partner, has posted his weekly Zeal Intelligence Newsletter on the Mining Interactive Website. Click here:
Have a great weekend and - - - Stay Tuned!!

Nick L. Nicolaas
Mining Interactive Ahead of the Pack
Nick L. Nicolaas
President & CEO
Mining Interactive Corp.
Direct 24/7: +1 (604) 657-4058
Main Office: +1 (604) 569-0800
Fax: +1 (604) 569-0758
Skype: nicknicolaas
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MarketWatch: Weekly Roundup

Weekly Roundup
FEBRUARY 26, 2010

MarketWatch's top stories Feb. 22 - 26

By MarketWatch

U.S. stocks ended the day pretty much flat and the week with small declines. Investors seemed unable to make up their minds about the news, first driving stocks one way, then the other as the week progressed.

The week limped to a close, with New York trading hit by a sharp snowstorm that blew into town on Friday that kept many at home and volume low.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (.DJI) rose 4.23 points on Friday, a tiny percentage gain, to close at 10,325.26. For the week, the index is down 0.7%. The Nasdaq Composite Index (.COMP) rose 4.04 points or 0.2% on the day to close at 2,238.26 while dipping 0.3% for the week. The broader Standard & Poor's 500 Index (.SPX) climbed 1.6 points or 0.1% on Friday to close at 1,104.49. For the week the index was down 0.4%.

Click on through to MarketWatch this weekend for all the news you need to manage your life and your portfolio. Our weekend features include a look at five gadgets that are changing the face of technology stocks and an examination of how badly the euro currency has been hurt by the financial crisis and the sovereign debt crisis roiling Europe.

Also, please take a few moments to have a look at our weekly preview videos.

 Europe's Week Ahead: Banks and Airlines Report

 Asia's Week Ahead: Australia Rates, Japan Data

-- Christopher Noble, assistant managing editor

Blue Dogs and progressives unite?

President Barack Obama needs House Democrats to pass health-care reform. But can fiscally conservative Blue Dogs worried about cost, liberals disappointed by the lack of a public option and anti-abortion lawmakers concerned about federal funding for the practice unite to pass a bill? Read MarketWatch's story about health care reform.

Coke adds bottles

Coca-Cola's purchase of fundamentally alters a century-old relationship with its bottler and puts the company on the hook for risks it has long shied away from. Can Coke be a success at running a low-return, capital intense business? Read MarketWatch's story on Coca-Cola buying its bottler.

The top 10 places to retire

Where do you want to live in retirement? Most folks age in place. But there are those who spend their golden years in dreamy locales. Where are those places?
See Robert Powell.

Credit card offers abound, but terms have changed

For the first time in three years, credit-card issuers are ramping up their mailbox solicitations, but don't expect to see your father's credit-card appeals. Variable interest rates, higher annual fees and a host of new charges will be hidden in the fine print of these offers.
See Consumer Watch.

Self sabotage

The United States, lulled by power, wealth and a sense of invincibility, is on the road to financial ruin, write Paul Farrell. Just like great powers in ages past, eventually, U.S. dominance led to arrogance and a state where greed consumes the country and gambling has replaced real work. Can America pull itself back from the brink? Read Paul Farrell's column on the death of Capitalism.

Can Palm save itself?

The mood at Palm Inc. is darker than at any time in its recent history. Last year Palm bet its future on WebOS, a new smartphone operating system that wowed analysts and tech reviewers. But sales have not followed. After the company warned its revenue would fall short of expectations, investors are openly discussing whether Palm can continue as an independent concern. Read MarketWatch's story about Palm.

Danger, inflation ahead.

The recovery may appear hesitant. Unemployment may be high and business may have a lot of spare capacity. But inflation is back and the Federal Reserve should be looking at taking steps to rein in price increases, says Irwin Kellner, chief economist for MarketWatch. Read Irwin Kellner's column.

His name on every car.

Toyota president Akio Toyoda told Congress this week that he was "deeply sorry" for the accidents suffered by drivers of his cars and said he took the problems at the company seriously. He told members of Congress he took full responsibility. He also said he believed there was no problem with the electronic throttle system that some have blamed for the sudden acceleration experienced by some drivers. Read MarketWatch's story about Toyoda's appearance in Washington.

Damaged goods?

The euro is tarnished. It's been dented by the financial crisis and the debt crisis that followed. The currency's weakness has revealed the shortcomings of European economic and monetary union and raised questions about whether the single currency can survive. Read MarketWatch's story about how the debt crisis has affected the euro.

Strikes rattle Greece

Protesters and police clashed this week in Athens as Greeks took to the streets to demonstrate their unhappiness with planned austerity measures the government says it has to take in order to lower its debt and bring its spending under control. The austerity moves follow revelations that Greece's national debt and deficit were higher than previously thought and highlight spreading sovereign debt problems in several euro zone countries. Read MarketWatch's story about strikes in Greece.

CFTC : Enforcement Press Releases, February 26th, 2010

The following Enforcement press release has been published:
See the CFTC News Room for the latest news and events or News Room Archives for previous releases.

RTTNEWS : Forex Market Update, February, 26,20120

Forex Market Update Fri Feb 26 09:07 2010

Economic News

Feb 26, 2010 New Zealand Logs NZ$269 Mln Trade Surplus In JanuaryNew Zealand had its best January trade surplus as a percentage of exports in two decades, figures released by the government show. Full Article
Feb 26, 2010 U.K. Consumer Confidence Improves For Second MonthBritish consumer confidence improved for the second month in February, the results of a closely watched survey show. Full Article
Feb 26, 2010 Japan Industrial Output Up 2.5% On Month In JanIndustrial production in Japan was up a seasonally adjusted 2.5 percent on month in January, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said on Friday, climbing for the 11th consecutive month. Full Article
Feb 26, 2010 India Pegs Budget Deficit At 5.5% For Next Fiscal YearIndian Finance Minister, Pranab Mukherjee, while presenting his budget of the United Progressive Alliance or UPA government for the year 2010-11, estimated lower fiscal deficit over last year. Full Article
Feb 26, 2010 South Korea Manufacturers' Confidence Hits 7-Year HighMorale among South Korean manufacturers boomed to a seven-year high heading into March, figures released by the central bank show. Full Article
Feb 26, 2010 Spain HICP Inflation Rate Eases To 0.9% In FebruarySpain's harmonized index of consumer prices increased for the fourth straight month in February, a flash estimate from the Madrid-based statistical office INE showed on Friday. Full Article
Feb 26, 2010 U.S. GDP Increases By Revised 5.9% In Q4U.S. economic activity in the fourth quarter expanded by more than previously expected, according to a report released by the Commerce Department on Friday, with the upward revision partly due to a smaller than previously expected drop in inventories. Full Article
Feb 26, 2010 Swiss Feb KOF Economic Barometer Highest Since 2007 The KOF leading indicator for Switzerland rose to its highest level since 2007 in February. The KOF economic barometer that indicates the strength of the economic recovery in the coming months reached 1.87 points in February, up from January's revised reading of 1.81. It beat forecast for a reading of 1.80. The indicator gathered increasing momentum after bottoming out in April 2009. Full Article

Forex Top Story

Feb 26, 2010 Japan January Core CPI Falls 1.3% On YearCore consumer prices in Japan declined 1.3 percent on year in January, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said on Friday, declining for the 11th straight month and reinforcing deflationary fears. Full Article
Feb 26, 2010 Indian Economic Growth Slows More Than ExpectedIndia's economic growth slowed more than expected during the December quarter despite strong performance by the manufacturing sector. Full Article
Feb 26, 2010 U.K. House Prices Fall For First Time In 10 Months Amid Icy WeatherAfter recording nine months of consecutive increases, British house prices fell in February as icy weather cooled demand. Full Article
Feb 26, 2010 U.K. Q4 GDP Grows Better Than EstimatedThe British economy recovered from recession at a quicker than estimated pace in the fourth quarter mainly due to an upward revision in service sector output. Still, the outlook remains uncertain. Full Article
Feb 26, 2010 Eurozone Inflation Rises Moderately In JanuaryEurozone inflation rose at a very slow pace in January, giving reasons for the European Central Bank to hold its key interest rate at a record low. Full Article

Political News

Feb 26, 2010 U.S. Rejects Iranian Claims Of Jundallah LinksThe Pentagon has rejected Tehran's accusations of aiding and abetting the outlawed Jundallah (God's soldiers) Sunni insurgent outfit prior to the arrest of its leader Abdolmalek Rigi by Iranian authorities earlier this week. Full Article
Feb 26, 2010 Swiss Mulls Law To Disclose Tax Evaders' Details To U.S.Switzerland may enact a special law to enable it to hand over bank account details of alleged American tax-evaders to the U.S. authorities. Full Article
Feb 26, 2010 Closeness Between Syria And Iran Undermines Damascus' Position: USThe United States Thursday said growing closeness between Syria and Iran witnessed during Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's visit to Syria was undermining Damascus' position in the Middle East. Full Article
Feb 26, 2010 U.S. Willing To Talk To N. Korea On Peace Treaty: Special EnvoyThe United States is prepared to hold talks with North Korea on establishing diplomatic ties and signing a peace treaty if Pyongyang returned to the Six-party talks, Washington's special envoy Stephen Bosworth said in Seoul Friday. Full Article
Feb 26, 2010 Gaddafi Urges "Jihad" Against Switzerland Over Minarets' BanLibyan leader Muammar Gaddafi Thursday called for a "Jihad" (holy war) against Switzerland over the Swiss vote banning construction of minarets on mosques. Full Article

Analyst Currency Comments

Feb 26, 2010 Risk Appetite Returns In Asian Markets – Westpac Westpac analysts noted that Asian markets generally traded higher on Friday and the U.S. equity futures rose modestly despite weak closes by Europe and U.S. stock markets yesterday on dismal U.S. jobless claims report and concerns over Greece rating downgrade. Full Article
Feb 26, 2010 Danske Bank Sees Increasing Risks In SEE Currency MarketResearch firm Danske Bank said Friday that risks are on the rise in the South East European currencies, and in particular, the Romanian leu and Hungarian forint on the back of contagion from the Greek crisis and political tensions in Turkey. Full Article

Currency Alerts

Feb 26, 2010 Australian And New Zealand Dollars Climb On Most Asian Stocks RallyThe Australian and the New Zealand dollars strengthened against their major opponents on Friday morning in Asia as a rally in most Asian stocks fueled investors' risk appetite. Full Article
Feb 26, 2010 Dollar And Yen Falls As Most Asian Stocks AdvanceFriday morning in Asia, the U.S. dollar and the Japanese yen slipped against their major counterparts as a rally in most Asian stocks reduced demand for safe-haven currencies. Full Article


Feb 26, 2010 IMF Sees Substantial Rise In Consumer Fuel Subsidies In 2010Petroleum product subsidies have started to rise again after falling during the financial crisis and a "substantial" increase is expected this year, the International Monetary Fund says. Full Article

General News

Feb 26, 2010 Several Killed In China Starch Plant ExplosionMore than 19 persons were killed and five others reported missing after a huge explosion at a plant in northern China producing starch, state media said Friday. Full Article

FDIC : Financial Institution Letter Regulatory Capital Standards, February 26, 2010

Financial Institution Letter

Regulatory Capital Standards
Clarification of the Risk Weights for FDIC Claims and Guarantees
February 26, 2010

Summary: The federal banking agencies (the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Reserve Board, and the Office of Thrift Supervision) are clarifying the risk weights for claims on or guaranteed by the FDIC for purposes of banking organizations' risk-based capital requirements.

FDIC-Supervised Banks (Commercial and Savings)
Complete Financial Institution Letter:

Forbes .com : Intelligent Investing

Intelligent Investing with Steve Forbes


Intelligent Investing
JPMorgan: Too Big Not To Buy
The Volcker Rule isn't even a rule yet and much less a law, but already it looks like JPMorgan Chase is challenging it.
With David Serchuk
Intelligent Investing
Applying Murphy's Law To Retirement
If you can envision all that might go wrong with retirement planning, you can take steps to reduce your risk.
With Liz Davidson

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.

Real Clear Politics: Friday26, 2010

Real Clear Politics Friday

Big Political Challenges in Passing Health Legislation - Kim Strassel, WSJ
Afflicting the Afflicted - Paul Krugman, New York Times
Health Care: Hiding Spending Doesn't Reduce Spending - Rep. Paul Ryan
No Thaw Yet in Frozen Health Debate - Michael Tomasky, The Guardian
Time Has Come for Confrontation - Bob Shrum, The Week
Why Mitch Daniels is on the Short List for 2012 - Mona Charen, NRO
Eminent Domain as Central Planning - Nicole Gelinas, City Journal
A Better Way to Invest in Education - Arne Duncan, Washington Post
Impossible-to-Fire Teachers - John Stossel, FOX Business
How Will the Fed Exit? - Michael Bordo & John Landon Lane, Financial Times
Climate Data Under Scrutiny - Jeffrey Ball & Keith Johnson, Wall St. Journal
Bring Sheik Mohammed's Trial to D.C. - Thomas Jackson, Washington Post
Brutal, Yes; 'Torture,' Probably Not - Stuart Taylor, National Journal
Falklands Shows Administration's Cluelessness - James Corum, Telegraph
Has Pakistan Turned on the Taliban? - Steve Coll, The New Yorker
Carter: How Not to Defend Your Legacy - Jeremy Lott, RealClearPolitics
Toyota and the Price of Modernity - Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post
Politics Nation: Texas Showdown, Polls / 2010 Polls: NC,NV,MA,SD,IL,DE
RCP Blog: Paterson Won't Run For Re-Election


The Way Forward on Health Care? - Los Angeles Times
Obama Needs to Cut a Deal With GOP - Christian Science Monitor
Defining ObamaCare Down - Wall Street Journal
Health Care: Smaller, Bipartisan Fixes Could Make Progress - Oregonian

Political News & Analysis

Obama Plans to Use Federal Contracts to Lift Wages - New York Times
Supreme Court to Define Reach of Gun-Control Laws - USA Today
GOP Cries Foul Over Amendment to Intel Bill - The Hill
Republicans Talk Up Daniels for 2012 - Politico

Transcripts & Speeches

Obama's Remarks to the Business Roundtable - Barack Obama
Semiannual Monetary Policy Report to the Congress - Ben Bernanke
Interview with Senator Judd Gregg - On the Record
Panel Previews the Health Care Summit - Special Report w/Bret Baier
Geithner's Testimony to the House Budget Committee - Timothy Geithner

Best of the Blogs

What the Summit Taught Us - E.J. Dionne, Post Partisan
A Fiscal Disaster - Allahpundit, Hot Air
Taxing Investment Income - Kathryn Nix, The Foundry
Summit Winners and Losers - Chris Cillizza, The Fix
In Closing - Kate Pickert, Swampland

Real Clear World

America Needs a Drone Doctrine - Roger Cohen, New York Times
The Gospel According to Dave Cameron - Simon Heffer, New Statesman
Kashmir Peace Needed to Defeat Taliban - Con Coughlin, Daily Telegraph
What Is Britain's Role in the World? - Adrian Hamilton, The Independent
India, Pakistan Talk for America - M K Bhadrakumar, Rediff

Real Clear Markets

How Will the Fed Exit? - Michael Bordo & John Landon Lane, Financial Times
Stocks Neither Cheap Nor Expensive Now - Mark Hulbert, MarketWatch
Interview with Madoff Hunter Harry Markopolos - James Bandler, Fortune
How to Clean Up the Impossibly Messy Tax Code - Bruce Bartlett, Forbes
The Reality About 'Green Job' Creation - Sunil Sharan, Washington Post

Real Clear Sports

Kim Yu-na Delivers Performance for the Ages - L. Robertson, Miami Herald
Rochette Skates Through Pain to Bronze - Rosie DiManno, Toronto Star
Why U.S. Has Owned the Podium - Christine Brennan, USA Today
Great Atmosphere During and After Women's Game - L. Olson, FanHouse
Ruggiero, U.S. Women Savor Experience - Steve Kelley, Seattle Times
Sign Up

FDIC: Statement of Martin J. Gruenberg, Vice Chairman, Federal Deposit

Statement of Martin J. Gruenberg, Vice Chairman, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation on the Condition of Small Business and Commercial Real Estate Lending in Local Markets before the Committee on Financial Services and Committee on Small Business of the U.S. House of Representatives delivered on February 26, 2010 are available at the following link:

MarketWatch:: Personal Finance Daily, February 25th, 2010

Personal Finance Daily
FEBRUARY 26, 2010

Friday's Personal Finance stories

By MarketWatch

Don't miss these top stories:

We all know the most devastating effects of the Great Recession -- job losses, bank failures, nest-egg reductions, budget deficits. But there are also more subtle changes that we'll see and that, unlike the job losses, won't be reversed when things finally get better.

Here's one that falls into the "I wouldn't have thought of that" category: With more folks having to stay on the job longer to make up for deficient retirement funds, a lot of older workers are going to find themselves working for a younger boss -- in some cases a much younger boss -- and confronting the idea that their supervisors will only get younger in the years ahead.

There is nothing inherently bad about that. But it does turn our longstanding corporate-ladder workplace model -- the older you are the more senior your position -- on its head. And it will mean major adjustments in attitudes for both employers and employees if we're to create a successful working environment in this new demographic reality.

Oh, the veterans will still be mentoring the kids. But it won't be so the kids can get ahead and do them proud. It will be so the kids don't fire them.

-- Steve Kerch, assistant managing editor


Recession widens generation gap at work

As older workers delay retirement because of the recession, more of them face a new challenge on the job: the younger boss. MarketWatch's Steve Potisk reports.
 Listen to Radio Report.

Tips for finance professionals seeking jobs editor Laura Lorber talks with career coach Roy Cohen about job-search tips for finance professionals.
 Watch Video Report.


Tough choices in a plummeting housing market

I have always been and still am a financially responsible and socially conscious taxpayer with a good credit score who lived in Michigan for years. I purchased this property in 2006 as my primary residence in Troy for $330,000. I had to move to Arkansas for work in late 2008. I have tried to refinance, rent and sell my Michigan house for months but I have not been successful because of the extremely depressed real-estate market. Where did I go wrong?
See Realty Q&A.

When it's OK to walk away from your home

Millions of Americans are now deeply underwater on their mortgage. If you're among them, you need to stop living in a dream world and give serious thought to walking away from the debt.
See Brett Arends.

Existing-home sales fall 7.2% to 7-month low

Resales of U.S. homes and condos fell 7.2% in January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.05 million, the lowest in seven months, raising concerns about the durability of the housing recovery, the National Association of Realtors reported Friday.
See Economic Report.


The top tax breaks you can get without itemizing

By 2020, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services projects a 1 million shortfall of full-time equivalent nurses. To fill the need, Hayley quit her job last year to go back to nursing school at her local hospital. But when you read IRS's rules for deducting education expenses, it turns out her hospital is not among the "eligible educational institutions" because it is not signed up with the government to receive federal funding. Can't she get any tax benefits?
See Tax Watch.


Boredom is risky, Hulbert says

Consumers are gloomy now, but investors don't have to be. So says Mark Hulbert in this edition of the Hulbert Financial Files. The editor of the Hulbert Financial Digest also looks at boredom, and how it can be an investor's worst enemy.
 Listen to Radio Report.

Extreme volatility rots a core mutual fund

In a few weeks the worst of the stock market's meltdown will fall off the short-term performance charts. In its place will be all of the rally, and one-year performance numbers that in some cases look downright showy. Yet investors will not soon forget the misery of 2008, and while they will be happier with the rebound numbers, they should look at the longer-term picture to see whether the ride they have been on is the one they signed up for. In many cases, it won't be.
See Chuck Jaffe.

Stocks neither extremely over- nor undervalued right now

MarketWatch readers have taken me to task in recent days for becoming what they see as a shameless shill for the stock market. My offense: Writing columns that adopted a contrarian perspective on the recent spate of bad news. So when the rest of the world reeled under the shocking news that consumers consider the economy currently to be in horrible shape, for example, I found a silver lining.
See Mark Hulbert.

Buffett gets his hands dirty

Shelly Banjo speaks with James Altucher about why Warren Buffett is investing in trash and how investors can piggyback on these plays.
 Watch Video Report.


Consumer sentiment tapers off in February

U.S. consumer sentiment fell slightly in February amid persistent concerns about a weak job market and a slow economic recovery, a closely followed survey reported Friday.
See Economic Report.