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Aug 18, 2010

NYT: Breaking News Alert : U.S. Plans to Double Private Security Force in Iraq After 2011 Military Pullout. August 18th., 2010

Breaking News Alert
The New York Times
Wed, August 18, 2010 -- 8:26 PM ET

U.S. Plans to Double Private Security Force in Iraq After 2011 Military Pullout

As the United States military prepares to leave Iraq by the
end of 2011, the Obama administration is planning a
remarkable civilian effort, buttressed by a small army of
contractors, to fill the void.

By October 2011, the State Department will assume
responsibility for training the Iraqi police, a task that
will largely be carried out by contractors. With no American
soldiers to defuse sectarian tensions in northern Iraq, it
will be up to American diplomats in two new $100 million

To protect the civilians in a country that is still home to
insurgents with Al Qaeda and Iranian-backed militias, the
State Department is planning to more than double its private
security guards, up to about 7,000, according to
administration officials who disclosed new details of the

Read More:

ABC News :Morning Australia Business News: Govt on nose with business. August 18tth., 2010

ACCC allows dairy farmers' collective bargaining
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has decided to allow Queensland and New South Wales dairy farmers to continue collective bargaining with milk company Parmalat.

Govt on nose with business
New figures show business support for the State Government is falling in Tasmania.

BMA wants 'fly-in, fly-out' condition dropped on $4b mine
Mining company BMA says it wants the Queensland Government to alter the conditions of a $4 billion coal project in the state's north to allow 100 per cent of the workforce to operate on a fly-in, fly-out basis.

 More Business Stories >

GATA DISPATCH : THE GATA DISPACT: Alasdair Macleod: Central banks in deep trougust 18th., 2010uble for their gold manipulation. A

Alasdair Macleod: Central banks in deep trouble for their gold manipulation

5:40p ET Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Dear Friend of GATA and Gold:
In his latest commentary, published this week, economist and former banker Alasdair Macleod quotes GATA's Adrian Douglas in support of his forecast that the latest central bank gold price suppression scheme is "on the verge of the most spectacular failure." Macleod writes: "Here is a major banking crisis in the making, mainly as a result of the central banks' continual attempts to rig the market finally coming to a head. It is a time when the whole idea of a world monopolized by fiat currencies is losing credibility."
Macleod's commentary is headlined "Gold Manipulation: Central Banks Are Now in Deep Trouble" and you can find it at his Internet site, Finance and Economics, here:
CHRIS POWELL, Secretary/Treasurer
Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee Inc.

Join GATA here:
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Saturday-Sunday, September 25-26, 2010
Metro Toronto Convention Center, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

The Silver Summit
Thursday-Friday, October 21-22, 2010
Davenport Hotel, Spokane, Washington

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Wednesday-Saturday, October 27-30, 2010
Hilton New Orleans Riverside Hotel

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CNBC : Evening Brief : GM Files Landmark IPO, Now on Road to Repaying Bailout.- August 18th., 2010



  • Zell Bets on Brazil
    Real estate mogul Sam Zell's firm is bullish on the New York market but really sees tremendous opportunity in the growing economy of Brazil, which Zell calls the US in 1950.
    » Watch Video

CNBC's Phil LeBeau discusses the details of GM's
filing to offer 500 million common and preferred
shares of stock
» Watch Video

Starwood CFO on Business Travel
Vasant Prabhu, CFO of Starwood Hotels & Resorts,
tells CNBC business travel is making a comeback.
» Watch Video  

GM: IPO for the People?
Discussing the highly-anticipated General Motors
IPO with Austin Ligon, former CEO of Carmax, the
largest used car dealer in the US. 
» Watch Video

Stop Trading, Listen to Cramer!
Mad Money host Jim Cramer shares his stock
picks with CNBC's Erin Burnett.
» Watch Video  

»click here to see the latest top video from

MarketWatch: Personal Finance Daily : Personal Finance Stories.- August 18th.2010


Personal Finance Daily
AUGUST 18, 2010

Wednesday's Personal Finance stories

By MarketWatch

Don't miss these top stories:
If you're employed by a large company, a new survey finds that changes may well be coming to your health benefits next year, and those changes are both good and bad news.

More employers plan to remove caps on lifetime benefits and let kids up to age 26 stay on their plans. Those provisions are thanks to the health-care reform law passed earlier this year, and I'd say they are good news.

But, also thanks in part to the new law, higher costs are coming, too. While health reform is expected to bring cost reductions in future years, those savings are not here yet. Bad news.

Plus, more employers are embracing high-deductible health plans. While some people trumpet the benefits of these types of plans, I tend to think the trend is bad news, especially for lower-income Americans.

Read Kristen Gerencher's Vital Signs column today for more on what large U.S. employers' plans are for health benefit offerings in 2011.

-- Andrea Coombes , Personal Finance editor

Large employers recast health plans for 2011

U.S. workers may want to brace themselves for a new set of health-care tradeoffs.
See Kristen Gerencher's Vital Signs on large employers recast health plans for 2011.


Unemployment hits your wallet for a long time

Since being laid off as a machine operator more than a year ago, Robert Blalock has drained his individual retirement account. Now the 56-year-old resident of Fernley, Nev., doesn't expect to retire until his 70s.
See Ruth Mantell's Diary of a Recession Baby on unemployment's long-term effects.


Commentary: Why H-P is a buy after the CEO scandal

I read an article in The New York Times over the weekend that said fallen Hewlett-Packard Co. Chief Executive Mark Hurd was "disliked" by the company employees and H-P's board.
See story on why H-P is a buy after CEO scandal.

After disasters, shareholder pressure tactics get new life

A whole new form of shareholder pressure is starting to bear down on U.S. energy companies, arising out of some recent catastrophes.
See story on after disasters, shareholder pressure tactics get new life.

In your flight to safety, don't crash

These are tricky times for investors. The economic recovery appears to be flagging. Fears of deflation are becoming widespread. And investors are building portfolio safety nets -- stashing cash in money markets, gold, government bonds and the like. But this flight to safety is an overreaction, some say.
See Robert Powell's Your Portfolio on investors' flight to safety.

Fund managers notch better second quarter, with more to come

Second-quarter financial results at asset management firms suggest they are steadily putting the tough times behind them, according to Wall Street analysts. And the recovery should extend into months ahead.
See story on fund managers notch better second quarter, with more to come.


GM files paperwork for massive IPO

General Motors Co. filed Wednesday for a long-awaited public offering that will take its place among the biggest IPOs in history, and set the stage for the U.S. government to exit the car business.
See story on GM files paperwork for massive IPO.

Commentary: Governors' races are bad news for Democrats

The governor's race that may have the biggest impact on Democrats this fall is former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's dash to stay out of jail.
See story on governors' races are bad news for Democrats.

Commentary: Is there anyone the right doesn't hate?

Whenever America faces her toughest challenges, you can always count on the right to be there.
See story on is there anyone the right doesn't hate?

RTTNews:,- Evening Market Wrap: Stocks Close Modestly Higher After Seeing Early Weakness - U.S. Commentary . August 18th., 2010

Evening Market Wrap Wed Aug 18 17:01 2010 


Aug 18, 2010 Stocks Close Modestly Higher After Seeing Early Weakness - U.S. Commentary Stocks showed a notable turnaround over the course of the trading day on Wednesday, with the markets recovering after seeing considerable weakness in early trading. After moving lower at the open, the major averages climbed well off their lows for the session and into positive territory. Full Article

Economic News

Aug 18, 2010 MBA: Home Refinancing Activity Highest Since May 2009 Mortgage activity in the United States rose sharply last week, as extraordinarily low interest rates spurred the biggest jump in refinancing in more than a year. Still, new purchase applications tailed off, indicating further weakness in the housing market following the expiration of the popular home buyer tax credit offered through April. Full Article
Aug 18, 2010 EIA: U.S. Crude Inventories Dip For A Third Week Crude inventories in the U.S. were down during the week ended August 13, the government's weekly report released Wednesday revealed. The official data stood in stark contrast to yesterday's industry data from the American Petroleum Institute, which noted a significant build up in crude stockpiles. Full Article

Earnings News

Aug 18, 2010 Target Earnings Match Estimates Despite Soft Sales Target (TGT) announced a quarterly profit Wednesday that rose from last year and met what market analysts were predicting. Sales came in lower than expected, but the retailer was able to maintain profitability by keeping costs under control. The company reported second-quarter net earnings of $679 million, up from $594 million in the year ago quarter. Earnings per share climbed 17 percent to $0.92 from $0.79 last year. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected the company to report earnings of $0.92 per share for the quarter. Analysts' estimates typically exclude special items. Full Article
Aug 18, 2010 Deere Earnings Top Expectations Despite Weakness In Europe Farm equipment maker Deere & Co. (DE) announced a quarterly profit Wednesday that rose from last year and topped the expectation of market analysts. The company benefited from a 16 percent rise in sales, though it still complained of weakness in some of its key sectors. Full Article

Forex Top Story

Aug 18, 2010 Dollar Stays Near 15-year Low Versus Yen The dollar barely budged versus other major currencies on Wednesday in the absence of first-tier economic data from the United States. While industry data hinted at continued weakness in the housing market, traders took to the sidelines wanting more clues about the general direction of the global economy. Full Article

Stocks To Watch

Aug 18, 2010 BSD Medical wins FDA endorsement for tissue-removal device BSD Medical Corp (BSDM) said it received FDA approval to market its soft tissue ablation device that targets the oncology market and an European approval is on the cards. The device, called the MicroThermX Microwave Ablation System or MTX-180, delivers targeted microwave energy to destroy soft tissue that connects, supports or surrounds non-skeletal structures in the body, such as ligaments, tendons and fat. BSD Medical estimates the soft tissue ablation world market potential to exceed $2 billion and believes that the MicroThermX System provides significant advantages over currently available radiofrequency energy that is utilized most frequently in the interventional oncology ablation market. Published studies have demonstrated that the use of microwave energy has numerous advantages over RF energy for the delivery of ablation therapy, and for these reasons, interventional oncology key opinion leaders regard microwave as the future of soft tissue ablation therapy, the compan Full Article

NYT: Afternoon Business Update: Beyond Fossil Fuels. August 18th., 2010


Beyond Fossil Fuels

Filling the Gas Tank With Something Else

A new federal agency is financing attempts to find a renewable replacement for gasoline and diesel fuel, like a new liquid fuel or a much better battery.

BHP Makes Hostile Bid for Potash

BHP said Wednesday that it would take its nearly $40 billion cash offer for Potash directly to shareholders.

New Bank Capital Rules Will Eventually Foster Growth, Studies Assert

The rules will initially make borrowing more expensive, but the effects will be short-lived, according to the studies by central bankers and regulators who are writing the new rules.

Druckenmiller to Shutter Hedge Fund

Stanley Druckenmiller, the hedge fund magnate who led George Soros's famous bet against the British pound, is calling it quits.

G.M. to Develop Small Engines With China Partner

The plan to develop fuel-efficient engines and advanced transmissions with S.A.I. C. deepens G.M.'s cooperation with one of its major partners in China.

MarketWatch Lartest Financial Services News: Hedge Funds : Duquesne closure suggest bigger may not be better. August 18th., 2010


Hedge Funds: Duquesne closure suggests bigger may not be better  
By Alistair Barr MarketWatch

Stanley Druckenmiller has called it quits not once, but twice. Both times the hedge fund veteran said size was the problem. 

By John Spence MarketWatch

Recent filings from hedge funds managed by George Soros, John Paulson and other high-profile investors show they are using a $50 billion exchange-traded fund to buy gold – even as the ETF’s growing clout may be chipping at gold’s role as an asset that moves to its own beat. 

By Alistair Barr MarketWatch

A hedge-fund veteran’s decision to exit the industry highlights the recent struggles faced by so-called global macro managers that trade on broad economic trends. 

By Greg Morcroft MarketWatch

Mortgage refinance applications rise 17% from the previous week and lift the percentage of refinancing as a part of the total mortgage market to its highest level since January 2009, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. 

U.S. Markets At Close Snapshot. August 18th., 2010

Market Snapshot
Index Last Change %Change  
DJIA 10,415.54 +9.69 0.09% Hilighted
Nasdaq 2,215.70 +6.26 0.28%  
S&P 500 1,095.88 +3.34 0.31%  
FOX 50 792.00 +1.66 0.21%  
DIJA Chart

FOX BUSINESS :Breaking News.-Bankruptcies Tick Up . August 18th., 2010

Sad Man with Bills
Bankruptcies Tick Up Bankruptcy filings reached the highest level since 2005, as the economy slows and the unemployment rate hovers just below double digits.


Hurdles to Housing Finance Reform

Is the World Broke? Social agendas remain a stumbling block for change in housing market.

Mixed Picture on Wall Street

Markets were mixed as Wall Street balances rallying retail stocks with weakness in the energy sector.

Watch: LIVE

WATCH Why start-up costs are lower than ever and how to make your small business cool. 

GM to List on NYSE, TSX

The auto maker will reportedly list its shares on the Big Board and Toronto Stock Exchange.

Do You Know Where Your Friends Are?

Facebook is expected to unveil on Wednesday a new location-sharing feature for the social network.

WSJ : Markets Alert:GM Expected to File for IPO on Wednesday. August 18th 2010

Markets Alert
from The Wall Street Journal

General Motors is expected to file registration papers for an initial public offering later Wednesday, allowing the U.S. Treasury to begin offloading the 60% stake it hold in GM. The offering is expected late this year.

RTTNews: Daily Market Analysis: Stocks May Face Difficulty Finding Direction Amid Lack Of Catalysts. August 18th., 2010

Daily Market Analysis Wed Aug 18 09:26 2010 

Aug 18, 2010 Stocks May Face Difficulty Finding Direction Amid Lack Of Catalysts - RTTNews Daily Market Analysis The major U.S. index futures are pointing to a higher opening on Wednesday, with sentiment suggesting an extension of the uptrend witnessed in the previous session. Global cues are mixed, with Asian stocks closing mostly lower, while the European averages are trading on a mixed note. In the absence of any major economic catalysts, markets may reveal a lack of direction, although traders may derive some comfort from positive retail earnings. Full Article

RTTNews : Forex Market Update: Today's Forex News Update: Mauritius Maintains 2010 Tourist Arrivals Forecast. August 18th., 2010

Forex Market Update Wed Aug 18 09:11 2010 

Economic News

Aug 18, 2010 Mauritius Maintains 2010 Tourist Arrivals ForecastTotal tourist arrivals to Mauritius increased during the first half of the year, the Central Statistics Office said while maintaining the government's forecast of receiving nearly 1 million tourists this year. Full Article
Aug 18, 2010 Spain Drives Eurozone Construction ReboundEurozone construction rebounded strongly in June led by higher output in Spain, official figures showed on Wednesday. Full Article
Aug 18, 2010 Greek June Current Account Deficit NarrowsGreece's current account deficit narrowed from a year ago, official data showed Wednesday. Full Article
Aug 18, 2010 Iceland Cuts Interest Rates To 7.00%Iceland's central bank decided to lower its benchmark interest rates more than expected on Wednesday, as the island nation seeks to get its economy back on track. Full Article

Analyst Economic Comments

Aug 18, 2010 Leading Indicators Suggest Slowing China Growth, Capital Economics SaysForward looking indicators for China suggest that the economy will loose growth momentum and authorities may need to loosen policy further to prevent a hard landing, macroeconomic research consultancy Capital Economics said Tuesday. Full Article

Forex Top Story

Aug 18, 2010 Australia Leading Index Growth Continues To SlowA leading indicator of the Australian economy continued to surge ahead in June despite a moderation in the pace of growth, new figures showed on Wednesday. Full Article
Aug 18, 2010 Policy Makers Voted 8-1 To Retain Key Rate: BoE MinutesPolicy makers of the Bank of England was not unanimous in holding interest rate at a historic low in August, the minutes of the meeting showed Wednesday. Full Article
Aug 18, 2010 Malaysia's Economic Growth Cools In Q2Malaysian economic growth eased in the second quarter from a decade-high recorded in the first three months of the year. However, the latest expansion exceeded economists' expectations. Full Article
Aug 18, 2010 MBA: Home Refinancing Activity Highest Since May 2009Mortgage activity in the United States rose sharply last week, as extraordinarily low interest rates spurred the biggest jump in refinancing in more than a year. Full Article


Aug 18, 2010 Gold Hovers Around $1,225 Amid Rising EquitiesThe price of gold eased Wednesday morning amid recovery in equity markets. Full Article
Aug 18, 2010 Crude Slips Below $75 Ahead Of Official Inventories DataThe price of crude oil moved back below $75 Wednesday morning after industry data overnight showed an unexpected rise in U.S. crude oil stockpiles. Full Article

Political News

Aug 18, 2010 Russia Hosting Quadrilateral Summit WednesdayRussian President Dmitry Medvedev is hosting a quadrilateral summit Wednesday where the situation in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region and an effective policy to combat global terrorism and drug-trafficking are likely to be discussed. Full Article
Aug 18, 2010 India May Take US Visa Fee Hike To WTOIndia may take up Uncle Sam's new "protectionist" move to hike the fees of professional visas--a step that will make Indian IT companies less competitive in the American market--to the World Trade Organization (WTO). Full Article
Aug 18, 2010 Israeli Jets Strike Several Targets In GazaIsraeli fighter jets attacked several targets in central and southern Gaza Strip Tuesday night in retaliation to a mortar attack by Palestinian militants, according to officials and local news reports. Full Article
Aug 18, 2010 E.U.-U.S. Leaders To Meet In LisbonU.S. President Barack Obama is expected to meet with leaders of the European Union (E.U.) on the sidelines of a previously- planned NATO summit to be held in Portuguese capital Lisbon November 20, E.U. and U.S. officials confirmed Tuesday. Full Article
Aug 18, 2010 Romania To Expel Russian Diplomat In RetaliationRomania's Foreign Ministry has announced that Moscow had been told that a Russian diplomat would be expelled from Bucharest in retaliation to the expulsion of a Romanian diplomat from Moscow a day earlier. Full Article

Currency Alerts

Aug 18, 2010 Australian And New Zealand Dollars Decline Against Most MajorsWednesday in Asia, the Australian and the New Zealand dollars edged down against most major currencies as some Asian stocks pared their early gains. Full Article
Aug 18, 2010 Pound Spikes Up Amid BoE MinutesDuring early European deals on Wednesday, the pound made a sharp spike higher against its major counterparts after the release of the minutes of the Bank of England's August meeting showed at 4:30 am ET that eight members voted to retain the interest rate at a record low of 0.5%, while Andrew Sentance sought a 25 basis point hike. Full Article
Aug 18, 2010 Euro Mixed Against MajorsDuring early European deals on Wednesday, the euro showed mixed trading against other major currencies. Full Article
Aug 18, 2010 Vietnam Devalues Its Currency Against U.S. DollarVietnam devalued its currency again on Tuesday with an intention to control trade deficit. This was the third devaluation of the dong since November 2009. Full Article

General News

Aug 18, 2010 US Judge Dismisses Piracy Charges Against Six SomalisA US federal judge in Virginia dismissed Tuesday piracy charges against six Somali men accused of attacking a US warship off the coast of Africa in April, ruling that the prosecutors had failed to prove that the men had violated US piracy law. Full Article
Aug 18, 2010 UN General Assembly To Discuss Pakistan Flood ThursdayA special session of the U.N. General Assembly will discuss on Thursday further efforts to help millions of people in peril in flood-ravaged Pakistan. Full Article
Aug 18, 2010 India's Maoist Rebels Call For 3-Month CeasefireA Left-wing extremist Maoist group, which has been spreading terror with serial mass murder of security forces and civilians in north-eastern India, has suggested a three-month bi-lateral ceasefire and talks with government for a peace process. Full Article
Aug 18, 2010 Uganda Charges Dozens Over Kampala BombingsUgandan authorities Tuesday charged 32 suspects in connection with the twin deadly suicide-bombings that killed more than 70 football fans watching live telecast of the World Cup final in capital Kampala on July 11. A Somalia-based Islamist group claimed responsibility for the suicide-bombings. Full Article
Aug 18, 2010 Two Former Blackwater Employees Enter Not Guilty Pleas To Afghan KillingsTwo former employees of a security firm, earlier known as Blackwater, entered not guilty pleas Tuesday to charges related to the killing of two Afghan civilians in May last year. Full Article

RTTNews Morning Market Briefing : Australia Leading Index Growth Continues To Slow . August 18th., 2010

Morning Market Briefing Wed Aug 18 09:01 2010  

Economic News

Aug 18, 2010 Australia Leading Index Growth Continues To Slow A leading indicator of the Australian economy continued to surge ahead in June despite a moderation in the pace of growth, new figures showed on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the coincident index, which is a measure of current conditions, grew at an above trend rate for the second straight month. Full Article
Aug 18, 2010 Policy Makers Voted 8-1 To Retain Key Rate: BoE Minutes Policy makers of the Bank of England was not unanimous in holding interest rate at a historic low in August, the minutes of the meeting showed Wednesday. Full Article
Aug 18, 2010 Malaysia's Economic Growth Cools In Q2 Malaysian economic growth eased in the second quarter from a decade-high recorded in the first three months of the year. However, the latest expansion exceeded economists' expectations. Full Article
Aug 18, 2010 MBA: Home Refinancing Activity Highest Since May 2009Mortgage activity in the United States rose sharply last week, as extraordinarily low interest rates spurred the biggest jump in refinancing in more than a year. Full Article

Earnings News

Aug 18, 2010 Target Corp. Q2 profit rises 14%, meets StreetWednesday, Target Corp. (TGT) posted a 14.3% rise in profit for the second quarter, as revenue grew 3.1% from last year on contribution from new stores. Earnings came in line with the Street view, while revenue fell short of estimates. Comparable store sales improved 1.7% year-over-year. Full Article
Aug 18, 2010 Chicos Q2 profit doubles, beats estimateWednesday, Chico's FAS Inc. (CHS) reported a two-fold rise in profit for the second quarter, reflecting a 10.8% growth in revenue, as well as the absence of hefty impairments that hurt year-ago results. Earnings per share came a penny above the Street view, while revenue fell short of expectations. The company also said it opened 21 new stores and closed 2 during the quarter. Full Article
Aug 18, 2010 Suntech Power slips to loss in Q2 on chargesWednesday, Suntech Power Holdings Co. Ltd. (STP) said it slipped to loss in the second quarter, despite a 94.8% surge in revenues, hurt by hefty impairment of thin film equipment and provision for prepayments to Shunda Holdings. Revenue came in above the estimate of analysts, who were expecting profit for the quarter. The company recorded a 181.7% year-over-year rise in total photovoltaic shipments. Looking ahead, the company lifted its shipment target for the full year. Full Article
Aug 18, 2010 BJ's Wholesale Club Q2 profit rises 2%, yet misses Street; cuts FY10 viewBJ's Wholesale Club Inc. (BJ) posted a 2% increase in profit for the second quarter, as revenue grew 8.5% from last year. Earnings came in below the Street view, while revenue surpassed expectations. Comparable club sales for the quarter improved 4.4% year-over-year. Looking ahead to the full year, BJ's cut its earnings guidance to a range well below the current estimate of analysts. The firm also trimmed its revenue growth outlook for fiscal 2010. Full Article
Aug 18, 2010 Deere Q3 profit up 47%, beats Street; guides Q4 earningsWednesday, Deere & Co. (DE) reported a 47% jump in earnings for the third quarter, as total sales from Agriculture & turf and Construction & forestry businesses grew 18% from last year. Earnings came in above the Street view, while revenue fell short of estimates. Looking ahead, Deere provided earnings guidance for the fourth quarter. Full Article
Aug 18, 2010 Analog Devices Q3 profit more than triplesTuesday, Analog Devices, Inc. (ADI) reported more than a three-fold jump in its third-quarter profit, reflecting a 46% growth in revenue, as well as improved margins. Earnings per share came in above the Street view. Looking ahead, the firm guided fourth-quarter revenue and earnings above the current estimates of analysts. Full Article

Corporate News

Aug 18, 2010 Windstream to buy Q-Comm for $782 mln in cash, stock deal with debtTuesday, Windstream Corp. (WIN) said it agreed to buy private equity firm Q-Comm Corp. in a $782 million deal, including debt assumpion. Windstream said it woould issue shares worth $237 million, and pay around $278 million in cash consideration for the outstanding stock of Q-Comm. Further, the firm agreed to bear the target company's debt burden of $267 million. The company expects the transaction, which includes Q-Comm's units Kentucky Data Link, Inc. and Norlight, Inc., to close in the fourth quarter of 2010. Full Article
Aug 18, 2010 Phoenix Technologies accepts Marlin Equity Partners' $139 mln bidTuesday, Phoenix Technologies Ltd. (PTEC) said it agreed to be bought by Marlin Equity Partners for about $139 million cash in total consideration. The $3.85 a share deal, represents a premium of about 27% above Phoenix's closing price on Tuesday. The company also revealed that its board has approved the deal, and now awaits shareholders' consent plus regulatory clearance. Full Article
Aug 18, 2010 BHP Billiton to make hostile bid for Potash Corp.Wednesday, BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP) said it plans to take its $38.6 billion or $130 per share bid for Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan, Inc. (POT) directly to the target company's shareholders. BHP's proposal was rebuffed Tuesday by Potash Corp., which considered the deal to be "grossly inadequate." Potash Corp. is reportedly trying to fend off the takeover by resorting to poison-pill. Full Article
Aug 18, 2010 Nidec to buy Emerson Electric's motor UnitWednesday, Nidec Corp. (NJ) said it agreed to purchase the motor and controls unit of Emerson Electric Co. (EMR) in an all cash deal, as the company seeks to broaden its home appliance and automotive business in the U.S. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Nidec revealed that it will use available cash to consummate the deal. Full Article
Aug 18, 2010 Las Vegas Sands to dissolve $1 bln plus debtWednesday, Las Vegas Sands Corp. (LVS) said it would pay off over $1 billion in outstanding debt, in concurrence with its earlier announced proposed amendment of its credit facility. The company said apart from bolstering its cash position, the payment would favor its growth in emerging gaming markets. Last month, the company reported a narrower second-quarter loss, thanks to a robust business in China and the newly opened casino in Singapore. Full Article

Todays WS Events

Aug 18, 2010 Deere Q3 10 Earnings Conference Call At 10:00 AM ET Deere & Co. (DE) will conduct a conference call at 10:00 AM ET, August 18, 2010, to discuss its Q3 10 financial results. To access the live webcast, log on at
Aug 18, 2010 Target Q2 10 Earnings Conference Call At 10:30 AM ET Target Corp. (TGT) will host a conference call at 10:30 AM ET, August 18, 2010, to discuss its Q2 10 earnings results. To access the live webcast, log on at
Aug 18, 2010 Applied Materials Q3 10 Earnings Conference Call At 4:30 PM ET Applied Materials Inc. (AMAT) will host a conference call at 4:30 PM ET, August 18, 2010, to discuss its Q3 10 earnings results. To access the live webcast, log on at
Aug 18, 2010 NetApp Q1 11 Earnings Conference Call At 5:00 PM ET NetApp Inc. (NTAP) will host a conference call at 5:00 PM ET, August 18, 2010, to discuss its Q1 11 earnings results. To access the live webcast, log on at

The Washington Post : Wonkbook : Geithner gives Fannie and Freddie clues; major health care regs announced; future Fed .- August 18th., 2010

 Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Wonkbook: Geithner gives Fannie and Freddie clues; major health care regs announced; future Fed action unlikely

The Obama administration opened its conference on the future of housing policy yesterday with Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner promising both an overhaul of Fannie and Freddie and a continued federal role in backstopping mortgages. Meanwhile, the national insurance commissioners' organization has released rules governing what insurers can count as medical costs, one of the first decisions made under health care reform. And despite its mild actions last week, the Fed's forecast suggests it will likely not adopt more aggressive measures. In fact, some Fed leaders worry that the market overinterpreted last week's mild actions as, well, I don't know: Moderate? Lukewarm? Vaguely engaged? The Fed may be strange, but the market is even stranger. Due to electrical problems, the Red Hook Lobster Pound Truck is still not on the streets. Sigh. At least Wonkbook is still here for you.
Top Stories

The administration's housing policy conference offered some clues as to their likely direction on Fannie and Freddie, reports Zachary Goldfarb: "The Cabinet secretaries, who are leading the housing overhaul effort, said they envision a hybrid system that relies far more on private companies to provide funding for home loans but still features a government backstop for those loans. The remarks by Geithner and Donovan -- and their selection of like-minded panelists from industry, think tanks and other sectors -- suggested that the administration is not prepared to embrace more radical proposals offered by a few of the conference participants. Bill Gross, who runs the world's biggest bond firm, Pimco, argued that the mortgage market should be completely nationalized."
The Fed's economic forecast suggests that further action is unlikely, reports Neil Irwin: "Some economists outside the Fed -- and a handful inside it -- are advocating that the central bank respond to the weaker economic outlook by undertaking more unconventional efforts, such as resuming major asset purchases. The Fed's leadership, however, has set the bar higher for using less-conventional measures than it has for using the better-understood federal funds rate. That's because policymakers aren't sure exactly how much impact, if any, buying $500 billion of Treasury bonds would have on the economy."
The Minneapolis Fed chair worries that the markets misread the Fed's modest asset buy as more interventionist than it actually was, writes Catherine Rampell:
Joseph Gagnon, a former associate director of monetary affairs at the Fed, lays out a plan for what the Fed could do if it felt like actually being interventionist:
The National Insurance Commissioners of America has adopted rules governing medical-loss ratios under health care reform, reports Sarah Kliff: "The National Association of Insurance Commissioners approved Tuesday morning a preliminary outline of what insurers will be able to count as medical costs, a document necessitated by the health reform bill’s requirement that insurers spend at least 85 percent of subscriber premiums on medical costs in the large group market and 80 percent for small group and individual plans."
Glasgow pop interlude: Belle & Sebastian play "Lazy Line Painter Jane".
Still to come: Warren meets with bank lobbyists; experts dispute the spill's impact; DOJ may sue Arpaio; and 2010 midterm election stories presented with CGI animation, in Mandarin.

Perhaps preparing for a future appointment, Elizabeth Warren has been meeting with banking lobbyists, reports Brady Dennis: "Warren and Roundtable President Steve Bartlett spoke at length in his office about the role of the new regulatory agency, which -- despite the group's objections -- was included in the far-reaching financial legislation signed into law by President Obama last month...Neither Roundtable officials nor Warren were eager to publicize last week's encounter. 'We don't confirm or deny any meetings,' said Scott Talbott, the group's chief lobbyist. Through a spokesman, Warren also declined to comment."
Tom Friedman thinks the US economy faces structural problems, and he suggests some structural solutions:
St. Louis Fed chair James Bullard is suggesting more aggressive Fed action, reports Jon Hilsenrath: "Mr. Bullard noted that many measures of core inflation - which exclude volatile food and energy prices - are running around 1%, which is below the Fed’s informal target of 1.5% to 2%. To bring inflation up to that target, such purchases might be necessary. He said there was a 50-50 chance such a program will be needed."
A study suggests state jobs agencies are underperforming:
Investment firms are buying mortgages and helping homeowners avoid foreclosure, reports James Hagerty: "Selene buys loans to make a profit on them, not as a public service, but company officials say it is often more profitable to keep the borrower in the home than to foreclose. If a delinquent loan can be turned into a 'performing' loan, with the borrower making regular payments, the value of that loan rises, and Selene can turn around and either refinance it or sell it at a profit."
Households are continuing to reduce their debt levels:
Neil Irwin extends the farm-in-a-drought metaphor for the economic recovery: "If they pipe water in, they're not sure how much will get to the fields--it might be too little to do much good, and it might be so much as to cause flooding. They're not sure about the impact of helicopter airlifts either; they might be effective at getting more water onto the fields, but there's a small chance they'll crash and burn and thereby set the fields on fire. (That's what would happen if quantitative easing by the Fed caused global investors to believe they would continue printing money to fund budget deficits indefinitely, which could cause a big rise in inflation expectations and a long-term loss of confidence in the U.S. economy)."
Simon Johnson and James Kwak propose their fiscal plan for the US:
Allan Sloan argues letting the Bush tax cuts expire wouldn't wreak havoc on the markets: "Bush 43, during whose administration the market lost 34 percent, took office just before the Internet stock bubble burst and left in the middle of a market-destroying financial panic. Thus, stocks were artificially high when he assumed office and artificially low when he left. It makes no sense to attribute the market's losses to his tax policy. It's possible that higher rates on investment income kept stocks lower than they otherwise would have been, and lower rates kept them higher. But someone would need to prove that to me -- and I'm not sure it's provable."
Interdisciplinary lecture interlude: Walter Lewin explains how to look at 20th century art like a physicist.

Scientists disagree on the effect of the Gulf oil spill, reports John Collins Rudolf: "A team of Georgia researchers has codified that dissent, using the government’s own data to craft a report estimating that as much as 79 percent of the oil spilled from the Deepwater Horizon well in fact remains at large in the Gulf of Mexico, where it still poses a threat to the marine ecosystem. The estimates, by researchers with the University of Georgia and Georgia Sea Grant, are difficult to contrast with those in the federal report as they do not take into account the roughly 800,000 barrels of oil captured by BP directly at the wellhead. And the Georgia report, unlike the federal analysis, was not subject to peer review."
Global warming is increasing the frequency of extreme weather events:
Hurricane Katrina is still wreaking ecological havoc, reports Nina Shen Rastogi: "Anderson suspects that fisheries in the Gulf are likely to be the long-term victims of the oil. That's ironic, he notes, because fish populations had been doing rather well, post-Katrina. Certain seafood species, like oysters and some kinds of shrimp, were harmed by the hurricanes, but these populations bounced back relatively quickly. Fish actually got a bit of a break after Katrina: Since the storm wrecked the fishing industry's human infrastructure, marine animals enjoyed five years of reduced fishing pressures. This was supposed to be the year that the industry ramped back up to its pre-2005 catch capacity--but the BP spill has probably put the kibosh on that."
The military is moving to reduce its emissions footprint:
Laura Vanderkam makes the environmental case against the lawn: "Mowing itself requires fuel, just like our cars, with a similar impact on the environment. And all these woes are before you even get to the issue of water. According to Kress, maintaining non-native plants requires 10,000 gallons of water per year per lawn, over and above rainwater. That water doesn't just show up by itself; it requires energy to get to your hose. In California, for example, the energy required to treat and move water amounts to 19% of total electricity use in the state."
The EPA is outlining its global greenhouse gas emissions plans:
Sharon Begley believes that the public is dangerously ignorant on energy efficiency: "The scientists next asked people to estimate how much energy different appliances used and how much different behaviors saved. More said line-drying clothes saves more than changing the washing-machine settings (the reverse is true). Most people also think trucks and trains that transport goods use about the same energy; in fact, trucks use 10 times more to move one ton of goods one mile."
Foreign press interlude: Taiwan's Apple News animates the biggest 2010 midterm stories.
Domestic Policy

The Justice Department may sue anti-immigration Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, report Jerry Markon and Stephanie McCrummen: "The civil rights division's investigation began in March 2009 and focuses on whether Arpaio's department engaged in 'discriminatory police practices and unconstitutional searches and seizures,' along with allegations that his jail discriminated against Hispanic inmates, according to letters the division sent to Arpaio. A complaint to the Justice Department said that even bilingual jail guards are required to speak to inmates only in English and that the rule could endanger prisoners' medical care."
Student college preparedness is stagnating:
Even with stimulus funds, schools are waiting before rehiring, reports Motoko Rich: "Though preserving jobs will be good for the economy, it will disappoint out-of-work teachers and parents who have been expecting a surge in rehiring. Many districts, like Kansas City, Kan., face the likelihood of midyear cuts, and administrators will count themselves lucky to save jobs. In the nation’s fifth-largest district in Clark County in Las Vegas, administrators are eager to hire some teachers, though they wonder what they will do when the federal money runs out."
Alyssa Katz explains how Section 8 rental subsidies is helping the housing market: "Americans irked by the idea of tenants getting a free ride from taxpayers would do well to remember that renters overall receive far less in federal aid than homeowners, who benefit from generous help like the home-mortgage interest deduction. And far from being a big government program, the vouchers were championed by the Nixon and Reagan administrations as a way to redirect public housing funds to stimulate the private real-estate market. "
Steven Pearlstein makes the case for liquor store privatization:
Ken Terry explains how low cost, low benefit plans could kill the exchanges:: "A restrictive approach would mean that most plans offered outside of the state exchanges would have to be similar to those inside of them. This offers the best chance for the exchanges to survive...But if HHS takes a looser stance, and mini-plans endure, many healthy people and firms with healthy employees will buy their insurance outside the exchanges, even without subsidies. If so, the exchanges will become unprofitable for insurance companies to participate in
Closing credits: Wonkbook compiled with the help of Dylan Matthews and Mike Shepard.