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Aug 6, 2010

WSJ: The Intelligent Investor: Will Online Financial Planning Catch On?. August 6th., 2010

Screen Savers: Will Online Financial Planning Catch On? 

With the "flash crash" seared into investors' minds, would they trust a financial planner who climbs out of a computer?
New online financial-planning services, led by a Philadelphia-based startup called Veritat Advisors, aim to replace the traditional in-person approach with a faster, cheaper beam-me-into-your-living-room model.
Here, you feed details about your income and net worth into a secure website. Aided by advanced software, an adviser then generates a comprehensive financial plan and investment recommendations, followed by live video chats.
Cheap, trustworthy advice is in desperately short supply. The economist Robert Shiller of Yale University has estimated that roughly 50 million Americans with no access to professional advice could benefit from it.
But the typical financial adviser can serve only about 70 to 90 clients at a time, reckons Mark Tibergien, managing director of Pershing Advisor Solutions. It would thus take well over 550,000 advisers to cater to the needs of everyone who needs help with saving, borrowing, investing, retirement, taxes and estate planning.
There are 62,000 certified financial planners in the U.S., according to the CFP Board of Standards. They often charge upward of $150 an hour for a consultation and $3,500 for a comprehensive financial plan—rates that scare off many potential clients.
But if financial planning could be moved online and automated at low cost and high speed, the game might change. Tom Mooney, a certified financial planner at Veritat, thinks he could serve as many as 1,000 clients a year thanks to automation. (The service, which goes live this month, has only a few dozen clients so far.)
Of course, when computer models go awry, they can contribute to monster-size problems, like the flash crash or the flawed assumptions that helped precipitate the financial crisis.
Veritat's brain trust certainly seems impressive enough. Its president is Kent Smetters, a risk-management professor at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School who also teaches applied mathematics and computer science. Veritat's software draws on academic research to solve common problems in financial planning, such as when to spend and when to save for retirement, how to adjust stocks and bonds in a portfolio, and how to determine insurance needs.
Veritat's backers include Andrew Rudd, co-founder of the financial-information firm Barra, and Arnold Wood, head of Boston money manager Martingale Asset Management. Mr. Smetters says the firm has so far secured about $1.25 million in funding.
"The problem with traditional financial planning is that it's a labor-intensive human resource that's very high cost," Mr. Smetters says. "But most people actually want to talk to somebody about their financial plan."
Veritat charges a $250 upfront planning fee, plus $40 a month. That includes three initial consultations and quarterly and annual reviews, all conducted via online video chat.
A similar service, People's Financial Advisor, charges $99 for a computer-generated financial plan and $99 for each telephone consultation with a human adviser.
Neither firm charges commissions. Both favor index funds, rather than the pricier investments often pushed by brokers and financial planners.
All this makes sense, but will it work? "A number of folks have chased this dream of online advice," says Bill Doyle, an analyst at Forrester Research. "It's likely that more will fail before someone actually succeeds."
Adam Apt, a financial adviser in Cambridge, Mass., who has worked at two firms that sought to provide computerized financial advice online, warns that the strength of the idea also is its weakness. "Who is most likely to go for automated investment advice?" he asks. "People who don't have a lot of assets outside a retirement plan." That makes it difficult for the advisory firm to earn adequate income from money-management fees.
Robert Schumann of People's Financial Advisor says that in three years his online firm has sold only "a couple of hundred" financial plans.
He says a bank bought a plan for each of its roughly 200 workers. "But only about 25% of them actually used it," he says, "even though they didn't have to pay anything for it."
One obstacle, says Mr. Schumann: Many people feel financial planning is worthwhile only for the wealthy. Others are suspicious that there must be a catch hidden behind the low cost.
So far, says Mr. Doyle of Forrester Research, "the lack of a well-integrated human touch" has been the undoing of most attempts at online financial planning. He says he thinks Veritat's blend of automation and personalization might have wide appeal. If he is right, the middle class might finally stand a decent chance of getting upper-class advice.
—Email: Write to Jason Zweig at


MarketWatch : Personal Finance Daily: Baby boomers are a needy lot. August 6th., 2010


Personal Finance Daily
AUGUST 06, 2010

Friday's Personal Finance stories

By MarketWatch

Don't miss these top stories:
We all spend money on things we don't need. Question is, how many of the things that we buy are basic needs that we really cannot do without?

For boomers, the answer appears to be: a lot. From haircuts to travel to pet care, some people in the 45-to-60-something set claim to have a lot of needs.

Read Catherine Carlock's story today for more on how needy boomers are -- and what that's going to mean for their retirement lifestyles.

Plus, don't miss our real-estate coverage, including a video on net-zero-energy homes, a report on how your mortgage-insurance company may come after you if you walk away from your loan, and a story with some startling insights from borrowers who've gone through the home-loan-modification process.

To be fair, when it comes to needs versus wants, "pet care" is a tough one. Sure, the initial decision to own a pet is a luxury. But once you own that pet, you have a responsibility to it. So pet care is, in a sense, a need. Or at least a duty. When it comes to rabies shots, you don't want to be cutting costs.

The $300 dog bed? That's another story ...

-- Andrea Coombes , Personal Finance editor

Boomers say Internet, travel, pet care are basic needs

Do you need or just want your Internet connection and an annual family vacation? What about your pet? For many baby boomers, those are all basic needs, not luxuries, according to a new survey.
See story on what boomers consider basic needs.


Houses that make their own energy

Net-zero-energy homes are gaining in popularity, but before buying a green home or an add-on product designed to generate energy, you'll want to do your homework, MarketWatch's Amy Hoak reports.
 Watch video on houses that make their own energy.

Walk away from your mortgage? Insurers may follow

Question: I am currently living in a house with a mortgage that is upside-down. My house in Pennsylvania is probably valued at $175,000, and my outstanding loan balance is $250,000.
See Realty Q&A on the perils of walking away from your mortgage.

Tips on surviving a home-loan modification

When Karol Enferadi finally received a contract for her home-loan modification, she wrote "rejected" on it in large letters and mailed it back to Wells Fargo.
See tips on surviving a home-loan modification.


What the Social Security shortfall means for you

Starting this year, Social Security will pay out more in benefits than it collects in payroll taxes. MarketWatch's Catherine Carlock talks with financial adviser Ira Fateman about what the program's deficit means for Americans' retirement plans.
 Watch video on what the Social Security shortfall means for you.


Commentary: Congress has more to do on jobs

Financial markets can be excused for seeing in Friday's jobs numbers a mirror image of the hot summer weather blanketing the United States.
See story on what Congress can do about jobs.

Nonfarm payrolls drop 131,000; private payrolls up 71,000

U.S. employers continued to hire but at a sluggish pace that adds to pessimism about the economic outlook and may put pressure on the Federal Reserve to take more steps to support the economy, government data indicated Friday.
See story on the unemployment rate and job market.

July jobs data turn up heat on Democrats

Friday's jobs report earned congressional Democrats a fresh drubbing from their Republican opponents, as both sides gear up for midterm elections already expected to result in losses for members of President Barack Obama's party.
See story on July jobs data and the Democrats in Congress.

Commentary: Millions have simply given up on a job

The July nonfarm payrolls report wasn't nearly as bad as it looks on first glance, but it's still pretty discouraging.
See story on the millions who have simply given up on a job.


Obama seen picking from insiders for economy post

White House officials including Austan Goolsbee are among potential successors for Christina Romer as she exits the Council of Economic Advisers, a high-profile position that requires advising the president and selling the Obama administration's policies to the public.
See story on Obama's likelihood of picking from insiders for economy post.


For-profit educators slump on regulation fears

Shares of the for-profit companies granting university and college degrees declined Friday after the Washington Post Co. said proposed U.S. regulation of for-profit educators could harm its Kaplan division.
See story on for-profit educators and their regulatory fears.

FOX BUSINESS Breaking News NEWS: HP CEO Mark Hurd Resigns. August 6th., 2010

HP Headquarters 276
HP CEO Mark Hurd ResignsHewlett-Packard CEO Mark Hurd resigned following a sexual harassment investigation.

Labor Pains Continue

Is the World Broke? A look at why the employment situation remains stuck in a rut.

Fed Meeting in Focus

Week Ahead The Federal Reserve meets Tuesday following an ugly jobs report.

Romer Discusses Why She's Leaving

WATCH Former Council of Economic Advisors Chair Christina Romer on how taxes have impacted employment and her reasons for leaving her position.

Keeping Prescription Costs Down

Health-care reform helps lower drug prices, but there are steps you can take to further reduce costs.

RTTNews: Daily Stocks to Watch.- Sotheby's impressionable Q2 - Stocks To Watch. August 6th 2010

Daily Stocks to Watch Fri Aug 6 09:01 2010 

Stocks To Watch

Aug 6, 2010 Sotheby's impressionable Q2 - Stocks To WatchAuction house Sotheby's (BID) posted better-than-expected second-quarter results, thanks to strong sales at its recently held Impressionist and Modern Art auction in London. Full Article
Aug 6, 2010 Introducing RTT Growth & Value StocksThe Growth & Value Stocks service is designed with a disciplined approach of extensive fundamental analysis to cater swing traders and investors. The service identifies growth stocks that are generally overlooked and value stocks that are usually undervalued by the market. The growth and value stocks we select have significantly outperformed the broader market indices. Full Article

RTTNews: Morning Market Briefing.- Stocks Poised For Steep Losses Following Dismal July Jobs Number - U.S. Commentary . August 6th., 2010

Morning Market Briefing Fri Aug 6 09:01 2010  


Aug 6, 2010 Stocks Poised For Steep Losses Following Dismal July Jobs Number - U.S. Commentary Stock futures are pointing to a notably lower open on Friday, as July's headline payroll number saw a much sharper than expected decline, prompting pessimism in the markets. The major index futures are firmly in negative territory, with the Dow futures down by 70 points. Full Article

Economic News

Aug 6, 2010 U.K. June Manufacturing Output Grows For Second Month U.K. manufacturing output increased for a second month in a row, while maintenance work in the oil fields dragged down industrial production in June. Output price inflation eased slightly in July suggesting easing inflationary pressures. Full Article
Aug 6, 2010 RBA: Interest Rate Appropriate; Growth, Inflation Outlook Largely UnchangedThe Reserve Bank of Australia said Friday that the current setting of the cash rate is appropriate at this stage. Full Article
Aug 6, 2010 Employment Falls By More Than Expected In July Reflecting a notable decrease in temporary workers hired for the census, the Labor Department's report on the employment situation in the month of July showed that total employment fell by much more than expected for the month. Full Article
Aug 6, 2010 Italian Economy Continues To ExpandThe Italian economy expanded for the second straight quarter, suggesting that the recovery from the worst recession is continuing, despite the currency bloc's debt crisis. Full Article

Earnings News

Aug 6, 2010 Pepco Holdings swings to loss in Q2; backs FY10 EPS ViewFriday, Pepco Holdings, Inc. (POM) posted a loss in the second quarter, compared to profit last year, as revenue dipped almost 2% from last year. However profit from almost doubled on lower costs. The results of the latest quarter was hurt by hefty loss from discontinued operations. Looking ahead to the full year, the company reiterated its earnings guidance. Full Article
Aug 6, 2010 AIG slips to loss in Q2 on goodwill impairmentFriday, American International Group, Inc. (AIG) said it slipped to loss in the second quarter, hurt by hefty goodwill impairments. Adjusted earnings, however, grew 17% from last year. In the firm's General Insurance business, net premiums earned dipped 3.5%, while net investment income climbed 28.1% year-over-year. Life insurance premiums and other considerations slid 1.2%, while net investment income climbed 18.3%. Full Article
Aug 6, 2010 Magna swings to profit in Q2Friday, Magna International, Inc. (MGA) sad it returned to profit in the second quarter, as sales surged 63.3% to surpass the Street view. The company attributed the increase in turnover to higher sales in North America and Europe, as well climb in vehicle assembly, tooling, and engineering sales. The company also noted that North American vehicle production advanced 75%, and European production increased 13% from the same period last year. Full Article
Aug 6, 2010 AES Q2 profit plummets, trims FY10 EPS viewFriday, The AES Corp. (AES) said its second-quarter profit more than halved from last year, despite a 22.2% growth in revenue, hurt by the absence of hefty gain on sale of investments that boosted year-ago results. The company noted that revenue improved on higher volumes and prices in Latin America, as well as a weaker dollar, offset by lower margins in North America. Looking ahead, AES trimmed its earnings guidance for fiscal 2010. Full Article
Aug 6, 2010 Kraft Foods profit climbs 13% on Cadbury businessThursday, Kraft Foods Inc. (KFT) reported a 13% climb in its second quarter, reflecting sales by Cadbury, which the company acquired this February. Adjusted earnings came in above the Street view. In North America, revenue grew 6.3%, despite a 2% dip in volume and mix, while in Europe, revenue rose 34.1%, as volume and mix increased 7.9%. In the developing markets, revenue jumped 73.4%, as volume and mix rose 8.7%. Looking ahead, the company reiterated its earnings guidance for fiscal 2010, but lowered its revenue growth outlook. Full Article
Aug 6, 2010 Activision Blizzard Q2 profit up 12%, beats Street; guides Q3 below consensusThursday, Activision Blizzard Inc. (ATVI) posted a 12% increase in second-quarter profit, reflecting lower development costs. However, revenue slid 7% on fewer game launches, despite strong demand for 'Call of Duty' and other popular computer games. Adjusted earnings came a penny above the Street view, while revenues fell short of expectations. For the third quarter, the company guided earnings and revenue below the current estimate of analysts, and maintained its outlook for calendar year 2010. Full Article
Aug 6, 2010 Southwestern Energy Q2 profit inches up, yet miss estimateThursday, Southwestern Energy Co. (SWN) reported a 0.8% increase in profit for the second quarter, as an increase in output was offset by lower prices and higher costs. Earnings came a penny below the Street view. Revenue grew 23.5%, as production went up 32% from the year-ago quarter. Further, for the third and fourth quarters, the company reiterated its production guidance. Full Article
Aug 6, 2010 Microchip Technology Q1 profit more than triplesThursday, Microchip Technology Inc. (MCHP) reported over a three-fold jump in its first-quarter profit, reflecting better margins and a 66% growth in sales. Both earnings and revenue came in above the Street view. The company also announced dividend payments of 34.3 cents per share payable on September 2. Full Article
Aug 6, 2010 PerkinElmer Q2 profit rises sharply, beats Street; boosts FY10 viewThursday, PerkinElmer Inc. (PKI) posted 168% leap in its second-quarter profit, helped primarily by higher revenues from Human Health and Environment Health business. Both earnings and revenues came in above the Street view. Further, upbeat on the results, the company lifted its earnings outlook for fiscal 2010. Full Article
Aug 6, 2010 Harman International returns to profit in Q4Thursday, Harman International Industries, Inc.(HAR) said it turned to profit in the fourth quarter, reflecting higher margins and a 29% increase in sales, due to improved performance by its automotive and professional units. The company elaborated that gross margin for the period expanded 560 basis points to 26.3% on better factory utilization and improved productivity. Full Article
Aug 6, 2010 Royal Bank Of Scotland swings to profit in Q2Friday, Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) said it bounced back to a profit in the second quarter, reflecting a decline in bad-debt charges, as well as 11.9% growth in net interest income. Wednesday, the company had announced that it agreed to sell 318 branches, along with associated assets and liabilities, to Spain's Banco Santander for about US$2.6 billion in cash. Full Article
Aug 6, 2010 Warner Chilcott Q2 profit doublesFriday, Warner Chilcott plc (WCRX) said its second-quarter profit doubled year-over-year, as revenue surged 225.2% to race well ahead of the Street view. Excluding special items, quarterly profit went up 150% from the previous year. The company attributed the rise in topline to products acquired from The Procter & Gamble Co. (PG). Further, Warner Chilcott reiterated its guidance for the full year. Full Article
Aug 6, 2010 Progress Energy Q2 net profit up 3.4%, adj. EPS beats Street; narrows FY10 EPS viewFriday, Progress Energy Inc. (PGN) reported a 3.4% rise in second-quarter profit, helped by favorable weather, impact of the repowered Bartow Plant and higher clause recovery. However, earnings per share was flat with the past year. On the other hand, adjusted earnings was same as in the previous year, and adjusted EPS dipped by a penny, but surpassed the Street view by a penny. The company also noted that a sharp decline in fuel costs was offset by higher interest charges. Looking ahead to the full year, the company narrowed its earnings guidance range. Full Article

Corporate News

Aug 6, 2010 SAP accepts TomorrowNow copyright infringement charges, but says Oracle's claims overstatedThursday, SAP AG (SAP) said it agreed to bear TomorrowNow's financial liability arising out of legal settlement with Oracle Corp. (ORCL), which had earlier charged the company for stealing confidential data. However, SAP added that it will still contend Oracle's overstated damages claims of $1 billion. Full Article

Broker Ratings Changes

Aug 6, 2010 FBR Capital Markets Lifts Hyatt Hotels Corp. (H) To Market Perform From Underperform With $44 up from $38 Price Target
Aug 6, 2010 FBR Capital Markets Upgrades TFS FINANCIAL CORP. (TFSL) To Outperform From Market Perform With $13 Price Target

Todays WS Events

Aug 6, 2010 EOG Resources Q2 10 Earnings Conference Call At 9:00 AM ET EOG Resources (EOG) will host a conference call at 9:00 AM ET August 6, 2010, to discuss its Q2 10 earnings performance. To access the live webcast, log on to
Aug 6, 2010 AES Q2 10 Earnings Conference Call At 10:00 AM ET The AES Corp. (AES) will host a conference call at 10:00 AM ET, August 6, 2010, to discuss its Q2 10 earnings results. To access the live webcast, log on at To hear the live call, dial 1-888-566-7708 (US) or +1-517-308-9025 (International) with passcode 8610. A replay of the call can be heard by dialing 1-800-331-1949 (US) or +1-402-220-0191 (International) with passcode 8610.
Aug 6, 2010 Progressive Investor Conference Call At 10:00 AM ET Progressive Corp. (PGR) will host a conference call on Friday, August 6, 2010, beginning at 10:00 AM ET, to discuss its Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q with the SEC. The management will respond to questions relating to these published reports and the its operations. To access the webcast, log on at A replay will be available by calling 1-800-839-3139.
Aug 6, 2010 Progress Energy Q2 10 Earnings Conference Call At 10:00 AM ET Progress Energy Inc (PGN) will host a conference call at 10:00 AM ET, August 6, 2010, to discuss its Q2 10 earnings results. To access the live webcast, log on at To hear the live call, dial 913-312-1240 with passcode 3503446. A replay of the call can be heard by dialing 719-457-0820 with confirmation code 3503446.
Aug 6, 2010 Pepco Holdings Q2 10 Earnings Conference Call At 11:00 AM ET Pepco Holdings, Inc. (POM) will host a conference call at 11:00 AM, ET, to discuss Q2 10 earnings results, on August 6, 2010. To access the live webcast, log on at To hear the live call, dial 1-866-356-4281 (US) or 1-617-597-5395 (International) with passcode 67137875. A replay of the call can be heard by dialing 1-888-286-8010 (US) or 1-617-801-6888 (International) with passcode 85742855.

FOX BUSINESS Breaking News.-: U.S. Economy Loses 130,000 Jobs in July. August 6th., 2010

March 2010 Traders 07 276
Futures Slide on Jobs DataStock futures sank into the red following a worse-than-expected July employment report.

Canada Sees First Jobs Loss of the Year

Is the World Broke? Canada's economy unexpectedly shed 9,300 jobs in July.

AIG Swings to a Loss in 2Q

AIG reported a net loss of $2.7 billion mostly as a result of a large goodwill impairment charge.

Senators Want SEC FOIA Powers Killed

Four lawmakers introduced a bill to strike the provision in the Dodd-Frank Act that potentially gives the SEC powers to deny FOIA requests.

Illinois's Pension System in Trouble

WATCH State Rep. Karen May, (D-Ill.), discusses the impact of corruption on Illinois's pension system.

The Washington Post; Wall Sreet Journal: Wonlbook. August 6th., 2010

Wonkbook: Romer out; Voinoivch questions tax cuts; Kagan confirmed; Delicious lobster
Lots of economic news today: Council of Economic Advisors chair Christina Romer is resigning at the end of the month, which, combined with Peter Orszag's departure, leaves the Obama economic team without two of its lead players. MIT professor Peter Diamond's nomination to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors has been sent back to the White House by the Senate because of GOP opposition. And we're starting to see some opposition to extending the Bush tax cuts without offsets among Republicans, including swing-vote George Voinovich.
Meanwhile, the Senate released the Kagan yesterday, approving the former-solicitor general's nomination to the Supreme Court 63-37, and then passed a $4.7 billion school nutrition bill. Speaking of nutrition, DC's set to get a lobster-roll truck next week; just one more entrant into the city's delicious food-cart renaissance. But ever wonder why DC's suddenly getting so many food trucks and carts? Policy, my friends. Delicious, delicious policy.
It's Friday, and now I want lobster for breakfast. Welcome to Wonkbook.
Top Stories
Christina Romer is leaving the White House to return to UC Berkeley, reports Lori Montgomery: "Obama and his chief economic adviser, Lawrence H. Summers, praised Romer on Thursday, noting that she will continue to serve the administration as a member of the Economic Recovery Advisory Board led by former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker...It was not immediately clear who would replace Romer. White House observers called Austan Goolsbee, a member of the Council of Economic Advisers, an obvious choice, but that would leave Obama without a woman on his senior economic team."
Opposition to extending the Bush tax cuts is spreading among Republicans, reports Walter Alarkon: "Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio), President Reagan's budget chief David Stockman and former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan have each argued that extending the tax cuts -- set to expire at year's end -- would increase the nation's $13 trillion debt. 'It's like tax reductions, you don't need to pay for them? To me, that's nonsense,' Voinovich said."
Today's job report could determine the Fed's decision on pursuing more monetary stimulus:
Elena Kagan has won confirmation, but the tight margin suggests future confirmation battles will be brutal, reports Josh Gerstein: "Goldstein said Kagan's margin is uncomfortably close to the 60-vote threshold the majority party needs to end a filibuster...Comparing Ginsburg's 96-3 landslide with Kagan's 63-37 tally offers the best evidence of how much things have changed. As the former head of the American Civil Liberties Union's women's rights project, Ginsburg clearly had liberal credentials, though she also had more than a decade of experience as an appellate court judge."
The Senate has passed a $4.5 billion school nutrition bill, reports Abby Phillip: "Senators...funded the reauthorization using a different set of budget offsets from the food stamp or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which the Senate also used to fund a $26 billion state aid and education funding bill on Thursday. SNAP received a funding boost in the 2008 stimulus bill, but has suffered deep cuts this week, with a $19.9 billion used from the emergency state aid bill; the child nutrition bill will siphon off another $2.2 billion from the program. In a conference call with reporters on Thursday, Lincoln said the money cut from SNAP would not have been spent until 2013."
Scandinavian pop interlude: Jens Lekman plays "Your Arms Around Me" live.
Still to come: Fannie and Freddie are helping attorneys profit from foreclosures; the Senate has kicked back one of Obama's nominees to the Fed's Board of Governors; environmental groups are avoiding staff shakeups after the failure of cap and trade; and an opossum gets a pedicure.
Economy/ FinReg
The Senate has returned Peter Diamond's nomination to the Fed Board of Governors, report Pedro da Costa and Rick Cowan: "The animosity toward Diamond, who has said he is more worried about deflation than inflation, first emerged during the Senate committee vote...Richard Shelby, the committee's top Republican, said at the time that Diamond did not have the right sort of experience for the job. 'I do not believe the current environment of uncertainty would benefit from monetary policy decisions made by board members who are learning on the job,' the Alabama senator said...It was unclear whether Obama would resubmit Diamond's nomination or name someone else to the post."
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are assisting lawyers who profit from foreclosures, reports Andy Kroll: "Hiring lawyers on a case-by-case basis was burdensome, so Fannie and Freddie put together a stable of law firms, prime contractors prepared to litigate large bundles of foreclosures quickly and cheaply. They urged these handpicked firms to bring in-house all of the related services--inspections, eviction notices, sales of repossessed properties, and so forth--or at least to retain a suitable subcontractor to handle the tasks. Thus emerged the foreclosure supermarket."
Jobless claims are up, against economists' predictions:
The Senate state aid bill received final passage, report Lori Montgomery and Jenna Johnson: "Even as the federal government is preparing Friday to release new unemployment figures likely to underscore the weakness of the economic recovery, a separate jobs bill aimed at spurring hiring by small businesses was stalled in the Senate and unlikely to move until after Labor Day. Obama urged the Senate to quickly wrap up work on the package. Aides said a final Senate vote is likely Thursday afternoon. The package would then go to the House, whose members will return to Washington on Tuesday, House leaders said."
A bipartisan group of Senators support eliminating SEC's exemption from FOIA requests:
Paul Krugman thinks Paul Ryan is hardly the truthteller he's made out to be: "The Tax Policy Center finds that the Ryan plan would cut taxes on the richest 1 percent of the population in half, giving them 117 percent of the plan's total tax cuts. That's not a misprint. Even as it slashed taxes at the top, the plan would raise taxes for 95 percent of the population...In its first decade, most of the alleged savings in the Ryan plan come from assuming zero dollar growth in domestic discretionary spending, which includes everything from energy policy to education to the court system. This would amount to a 25 percent cut once you adjust for inflation and population growth. How would such a severe cut be achieved? What specific programs would be slashed? Mr. Ryan doesn't say."
Paul Michel and Henry Nothcraft make the case for patent reform as a jobs strategy:
Steven Pearlstein argues that philanthropy is not enough to fight economic inequality: "Yes, philanthropy has been important, but so have unions, which ensured a fair distribution of corporate profits. So have antitrust laws that prevented successful companies from snuffing out entrepreneurial competition. So have norms of corporate behavior that made it socially unacceptable for top corporate executives to pay themselves 350 times what their workers made. And so have tax-supported schools, playgrounds and hospitals that were good enough to be used by rich and poor alike."
Questionable moments in animal hygiene interlude: How to give a pedicure to an opossum.
Green groups won't shake up their leadership following the cap and trade defeat, reports Coral Davenport: "EDF had spent $20 million on climate legislation since October 2008. Al Gore's Alliance for Climate Protection pledged in 2006 to spend $300 million, but it's unclear how much it ended up using. Enraged environmentalists flooded the White House with phone calls after the quotation appeared in publication. Publicly, they decried the finger-pointing and insisted they aren't alone in deserving fault, saying Obama failed to use his bully pulpit and moderate Senate Republicans weren't allowed by their leaders to fully negotiate."
Gulf residents are skeptical of the apparent good news:
BP has finished cementing the leaking oil well, reports Guy Chazan: "Privately, some BP officials say that with the well now cemented shut, there is less need to kill the well using a so-called bottom kill procedure via the relief well. On Thursday, Retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, who heads the federal oil-spill response, reiterated that the operation would only be considered complete once the relief well was drilled, partly because there could be no guarantee that the cement BP had pumped into the well had filled it completely."
Lobbyists are rushing to influence the final oil spill response bill:
David Roberts thinks environmentalists and libertarians can find common ground on climate change: "Some regulatory incentives degrade environmental and economic performance. You could point to fossil-fuel subsidies, antediluvian utility regulations, unpriced carbon emissions, any number of tax breaks and incentives that favor industry incumbents, even parts of the Clean Air Act. These are market distortions that incentivize inefficiency (i.e., stupidity) and therefore waste (i.e., pollution). Removing or rationalizing them -- making a more perfect market, with more competition, better information, and lower barriers to entry -- would improve environmental performance."
The hidden side of Washington interlude: David Deal photographs the physical infrastructure of DC.
Domestic Policy
The Medicare trustee's report suggests health care reform helped the program's solvency, reports Jackie Calmes: "Medicare's hospital insurance trust fund should remain solvent until 2029, or 12 years more than projected in last year's report, the trustees said. The long-term, 75-year shortfall for the hospital fund also is reduced, as are the projected costs of the separate Medicare Supplementary Insurance program. But both parts of the Medicare system will require additional reforms to be financially sustainable, the trustees say."
Medicare actuary Richard Foster is challenging the trustees' report:
The FCC has ended net neutrality talks with business, reports Cecilia Kang: "The participants also debated whether carriers could offer faster downloads for some Web sites offered to customers as 'specialized services.' The parties agreed that dedicated capacity for things such as telemedicine could be allowed, but some feared that allowing that could result in tiered service offerings where a carrier would charge for better-quality channels dedicated to YouTube, for example, over Netflix."
Charles Krauthammer thinks the administration is using executive authority to circumvent the will of Congress: "Last week, a draft memo surfaced from the Department of Homeland Security suggesting ways to administratively circumvent existing law to allow several categories of illegal immigrants to avoid deportation and, indeed, for some to be granted permanent residency. Most disturbing was the stated rationale. This was being proposed "in the absence of Comprehensive Immigration Reform."...Regardless of your feelings on the substance of the immigration issue, this is not how a constitutional democracy should operate. Administrators administer the law, they don't change it. That's the legislators' job."
Some Senators are decrying how Ivy League-centric the Supreme Court has become:
Adam Winkler thinks the Kagan hearings showed the confirmation process works: "Even the politicization of the process is salutary. Every nominee's record is closely examined for controversial statements or ideas, meaning some qualified people are excluded. But the consequence is that anyone who does make it through the process is likely to have more or less mainstream views. Radicals whose jurisprudence would likely take us too far left or too far right need not apply. This is a net positive: the Court should stay within the broad mainstream of American political thought."
David Leonhardt notes the benefits of education don't end in kindergarten:
Closing credits: Wonkbook compiled with the help of Dylan Matthews and Mike Shepard.

FGC BOLSA - FGC FINANCIAL MARKETS . MarketWatch - Industrry - Financial Services. August 6th., 2010


 Allianz net profit drops 46% on lower asset sales
By Simon Kennedy MarketWatch

The insurance giant books fewer gains from its investments, though operating profit grows strongly thanks to strength in property and casualty insurance. See full story

 Indications: Stock futures trade flat ahead of key jobs report

By Polya Lesova MarketWatch

Caution dominates, with U.S. stock futures trading flat, as traders await a key report expected to show a decline in July nonfarm payrolls. See full story

London Markets: Insurance stocks help British shares to gains

By Sarah Turner MarketWatch

British shares advance, with earnings-related gains for Old Mutual helping to boost the insurance sector. See full story

Mineweb . Top Stories.- 2Q10 metals mega deals exceed all 2009 sector mega deals combined. August 6th.., 010

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FEATURED PODCAST                                                     

Gold Fields CEO expects lower gold price Nick Holland - CEO, Gold Fields

Gold Fields CEO Nick Holland discusses safety, electricity costs, true empowerment and the gold price.

TOP STORIES | Friday , 06 Aug 2010                                                     

2Q10 metals mega deals exceed all 2009 sector mega deals combined

A PricewaterhouseCoopers report on second-quarter 2010 global metals industry M&A finds the need for steel and iron ore materials drives mega deals in the sector.    Friday , 06 Aug 2010

Mining's cash trains are back in town

Earnings results are in and many of the world's biggest miners are showing a substantial increase in operating cash flows after the turmoil of 2008.    Thursday , 05 Aug 2010

Lonmin sucker punched in new BEE debacle

Erstwhile Lonmin director Sivi Gounden identified as mover and shaker behind 'order' from South Africa's DMR that the miner stop selling minerals outside the PGM classification    Thursday , 05 Aug 2010

Depressed moly prices in June, July could hurt Thompson Creek's 3Q results

Despite a price correction, Thompson Creek CEO Kevin Loughrey says molybdenum demand projections remain "quite favorable."    Friday , 06 Aug 2010

Chinese steel executive jailed for leaking commercial secrets

Once touted as the future head of steelmaker, Shougang, A Chinese executive was jailed for leaking commercial secrets to employees of Rio Tinto    Thursday , 05 Aug 2010

About 30 miners trapped in Chile mine collapse

The accident at a small mine in northern Chile late on Thursday has trapped around 30 miners. No deaths are yet reported but only preliminary information is available    Friday , 06 Aug 2010

Gold on a fast boat to China

As China's position in the global economy expands, so the reaction from the West should perhaps be less antagonistic and more like that of gold    Thursday , 05 Aug 2010

DRC begins proceedings to liquidate First Quantum project

The dispute between the Canadian miner and the DRC escalated as First Quantum said Wednesday a court in the Congo has initiated proceedings to liquidate its KMT project at Kolwezi.    Thursday , 05 Aug 2010

Randgold Resources cuts 2010 production target

But, the miner focused on West Africa said that profit almost doubled in Q2    Thursday , 05 Aug 2010

Rusoro expects Venezuela to ease gold export restrictions

The Russian-Canadian miner said it expects the government to ease restrictions enabling private firms to sell up to 50% of output abroad    Friday , 06 Aug 2010

Vale announces plans to extend new Peru mine

Vale CEO, Roger Agnelli said the Bayoyar phosphate mine will be expanded over the next 18 months and added that he expects iron ore prices to hold steady around $140 per tonne    Friday , 06 Aug 2010

Polyus Gold may be forced to halt KazakhGold operations

The Russian miner says if its Kazakh bank accounts remain frozen (as a result of a legal battle) it will be unable to pay its bills and operations at its subsidiary will be halted    Friday , 06 Aug 2010

Coal of Africa dismisses legal merits of Vele appeal

The South African miner said it would vigorously defend appeals brought against its Vele mine    Thursday , 05 Aug 2010

Outotec shares rise on strong sales pipeline

But, while the mining technology firm is forecasting higher sales, Q2 profits fell below expectation    Thursday , 05 Aug 2010

Yesterday's Top Story: If Gold's not at $1,500 and $2,000 in the next 18 months, I'm dead wrong - Embry

Gold's soggy summer days are coming to an end and the price is likely to begin a parabolic move upwards, says Sprott Asset Management's chief investment strategist, John Embry    Wednesday , 04 Aug 2010

PODCASTS / RADIO                                                     

Wesizwe CEO steps down: Mike Solomon - CEO, Wesizwe Platinum

‘I'll be around…for at least another six months.’

Gold heading for a parabolic rise - John Embry

"If gold is not between $1,500 and $2,000 in the next 18 months, I'm dead wrong."

Metals Weekly - Earnings season focus

Charles Gibson of Edison Investment Research helps us through some of the earnings numbers that have come out, with a particular focus on the big miners, including a preview of what to expect from Rio Tinto and a focus on iron ore pricing

Money Morning.- Why America will be the next banana republic

August 6, 2010
The 7 most dangerous lies your doctor's telling you (even if he doesn't know it)...
In the next 22 minutes, 100 Americans will die under the care of sincere conventional MDs. Discover what could have saved 95 of them...And one of them might be YOU.

Save yourself a lot of pain, money - and maybe even your own life.

Get the real story here, right now...

It's Time to Keep America From Becoming Just Another Banana Republic

By Shah Gilani, Contributing Editor, Money Morning

The great American tradition of individualism, entrepreneurship and revolution is being systematically undermined by a cadre of financial strongmen bent on turning us into just another "banana republic" - where a subdued and apathetic population is subjugated by a ruling class of wealthy oligarchs.

The gross irony is that the same capitalist system that molded America into the strongest, most productive and richest nation in history, has been transformed into a mostly private moneymaking enterprise whose beneficiaries are those who actually produce nothing but paper profits.

The story of America's transformation from great experiment to another banana republic is one in which economic crises were manipulated to create a political front for an elite banking class.

It's a story that's worth examining...

To find out why America is headed for banana-republic status, please read on...

Don't Get Stuck Playing the Oil Majors...
The big boys of oil just don't command the money and power they used to. Buy shares of Exxon Mobil, and you might end up with a slightly better annual return than the average bank CD... if you're lucky. Right now, the real energy money belongs to a small, niche sub-sector of the oil-production process. And it's about to create a wave of "new energy" millionaires. Here's how to become one yourself.

Strong Second-Quarter Earnings Can't Keep the Bears at Bay

By Jon D. Markman, Contributing Writer, Money Morning

The second-quarter earnings season has gotten off to a strong start, but it's been no match for bears who are less than thrilled with future earnings prospects.

More than half of the companies on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index have reported second-quarter earnings results. And so far, they've been strong, with two-thirds of those companies beating earnings estimates, three-fifths beating on sales and almost half beating on both earnings and sales.

As a result, the consensus second-quarter earnings per share estimate has climbed to $20.63 from $19.60 at the beginning of the month. Merrill Lynch analysts expect final second-quarter earnings per share to come in at $20.75 - a 5% sequential improvement from the first quarter.

That would be a deceleration from the 15% sequential growth seen between the fourth quarter of 2009 and the first quarter of 2010, but it's good growth nonetheless. In fact, it puts 2010 S&P 500 earnings at about $83 per share. And at current prices, that gives the market a price-to-earnings multiple of just 13.3-times - below the long-term historical average of 15.

Read full story...

By Kerri Shannon, Associate Editor, Money Morning

The BP PLC (NYSE ADR: BP) oil spill disaster has shone a spotlight on oil industry pollution. While BP takes the brunt of public anger, no oil company has escaped the wrath of critics who are eager to expose an industry they feel shortcuts safety standards for profit.

Comments from readers with first-hand industry experience continue to pour into Money Morning's Mailbag, sharing their thoughts on the oil industry's operations.

Read full story...