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Oct 28, 2010

RBA will hold off lifting interest rates till December, first US-listed fund investing exclusively in producers of strategic metals including rare earths.

(The Australian): PAUL Bloxham believes the RBA will hold off lifting interest rates till December, when a 25-basis point move up is more than likely. HSBC's chief economist for Australia and New Zealand today forecast the Reserve Bank of Australia is not likely to tighten policy at its November meeting next Tuesday, but investors should expect higher rates stemming from its meeting in December.
Mr Bloxham's views are closely watched given he recently joined HSBC from the RBA, where he held a range of roles in the economic analysis department over a 12-year period.
He was among only six economists in a Dow Jones Newswires poll of 25 who correctly forecast the central bank would hold its overnight target steady at 4.5 per cent in October.
The HSBC economist said that, with third-quarter core inflation proving more benign than anticipated, policy makers have another month to assess developments before making their first move since May.

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VAN ECK Global has launched the first US-listed fund investing exclusively in producers of strategic metals including rare earths.
The metals, used in electronics and military applications, have come under the spotlight recently as China, which produces virtually all of the globe's rare earths, has cut back exports of the materials.
Shares of Market Vectors Rare Earth/Strategic Metals ETF fell US99c, or 5 per cent, to $US19.51 in their first day of trade on the New York Stock Exchange.
Prices of some of the 17 rare-earth materials have risen as much as 10-fold in the past two months alone, as some Japanese companies had reported delays in receiving shipments from China due to more-stringent customs checks by Chinese authorities.
Japan had said China was using the unofficial ban on exports to the nation as a bargaining chip in some territorial disputes.

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MarketWatch: Personal Finance Daily.- Contribution limits on 401(k)s wont rise in 2011

Personal Finance Daily
OCTOBER 28, 2010

Thursday's Personal Finance stories

By MarketWatch

Don't miss these top stories:
Low inflation can bring low prices at the store, sure, but it also means no Social Security benefit hike for recipients, two years running now, plus no increase in the contribution limit for 401(k) and other retirement-plan savers. See related story on costs rise even though Social Security doesn't.

The IRS announced Thursday that the maximum amount workers can contribute to 401(k), 403(b), or 457(b) plans will remain unchanged in 2011, at $16,500. Same goes for the catch-up contribution limit people aged 50 and over: unchanged at $5,500.

Of course, plenty of people aren't able to save anywhere near the maximum annual amount, which equals $1,375 a month for the younger folks, and some have argued that those people who can afford to save the maximum are perhaps not in dire need of additional retirement-savings tax breaks. But that's a story for another day.

If you're contributing to a traditional IRA and you take advantage of the tax deduction for doing so, and you are also participating in an employer-sponsored retirement plan, the IRS said Thursday, that tax deduction is phased out for single filers and head-of-household filers with modified adjusted gross income between $56,000 and $66,000 — those dollar amounts are unchanged from this year.

But the income phase-out increased for married couples. Here's what the IRS said in its statement: "For married couples filing jointly, in which the spouse who makes the IRA contribution is an active participant in an employer-sponsored retirement plan, the income phase-out range is $90,000 to $110,000, up from $89,000 to $109,000. For an IRA contributor who is not an active participant in an employer-sponsored retirement plan and is married to someone who is an active participant, the deduction is phased out if the couple's income is between $169,000 and $179,000, up from $167,000 and $177,000."

The income phase-out if you want to contribute to a Roth IRA will rise to $169,000 to $179,000 for married couples, up from $167,000 to $177,000 this year. And that phase-out range rose for singles and heads of household, too. It's now $107,000 to $122,000, up from $105,000 to $120,000. And, if you're married filing separately and an active participant in an employer-sponsored retirement plan, the phase-out range remains $0 to $10,000.

Meanwhile, the income limit for claiming the saver's credit also rises in 2011, to $56,500 for married couples filing jointly, up from $55,500 in 2010; $42,375 for heads of household, up from $41,625; and $28,250 for single filers and married individuals filing separately, up from $27,750.

Phew. You'd think it could all be a little simpler. If only.

Andrea Coombes , Personal Finance editor

Calif. Chamber of Commerce fights pot proposition

A California ballot initiative that would legalize adults' recreational use of small amounts of marijuana is raising questions about its potential impact on workplaces in the Golden State should the measure pass on Nov. 2.
Read more on Calif. Chamber of Commerce fights pot proposition.


Warning: Retirement Disaster Ahead

Don't let the rally in the stock and bond markets fool you. Many Americans are still hurtling towards a retirement disaster. Few realize it. Even many of those running the big pension funds don't know.
Read more on retirement disaster ahead.


Rate on 30-year mortgages up second straight week

Interest rates on fixed-rate mortgages ticked up this week, but 5-year adjustable-rate mortgages hit their lowest levels since 2005, Freddie Mac said Thursday.
Read more on rate on 30-year mortgages up second straight week.


Wall St. banking on GOP to ease new rules

Wall Street has shifted its financial contributions away from Democrats in this election cycle and into the coffers of Republicans with two goals in mind: to ease tougher new regulations on the financial industry and prod some priorities beyond the Capitol Hill gridlock.
Read more on Wall St. banking on GOP to ease new rules.

Commentary: Report from a parallel political universe

Here's a liberal's version of a parallel universe. President Barack Obama's surprise announcement that he would address the nation from the Oval Office on Wednesday instead of appearing on a comedy show came as a welcome surprise to those of us disappointed in the president.
Read more on report from a parallel political universe.

Military contractors may sing tea-party blues

A resurgence of Republican control in Congress is typically good news for the Pentagon. That might not be the case, however, if the tight-fisted tea party has its way.
Read more on military contractors may sing tea-party blues,


Jobless claims drop 21,000 to 434,000

The number of people who filed new claims for unemployment benefits fell 21,000 to 434,000 in the latest week, marking the third straight decline and the lowest level since early July, the U.S. Labor Department reported Thursday.
Read more on jobless claims drop 21,000 to 434,000.


A treat for markets, a trick for the rest of us

The most telling moments of the Buttonwood Gathering — a conference sponsored by The Economist to bring together some of the greatest, and some of the once-powerful, authorities on economics and finance — were predictably unscripted.
Read more on a treat for markets, a trick for the rest of us.

Beyond TIPS: ways to play inflation

The Federal Reserve next week is expected to announce another round of asset buying to juice the economy and prevent deflation. Investors on Monday showed confidence that the Fed will succeed: For the first time ever, an inflation-protected Treasury note was auctioned with a negative yield—meaning it will have a positive return only if consumer prices rise more than half a percentage point.
Read more on beyond TIPS: ways to play inflation.


Engineering, Computer-Science Pay More Than Liberal Arts

The starting pay of certain liberal arts majors generally clocks in well below that of graduates in engineering fields, according to a Wall Street Journal study.
Read more on engineering, computer science pay more than liberal arts.

CNBC Evening Brief: Financial Reform Gridlock Seen After Midterm Elections in US


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RTTNews: Evening market Wrap.-Stocks Close Mixed As Markets Await Midterm Elections, Fed QE - U.S. Commentary .

Evening Market Wrap Thu Oct 28 17:01 2010


Oct 28, 2010 Stocks Close Mixed As Markets Await Midterm Elections, Fed QE - U.S. Commentary Stocks ended on a mixed note Thursday after being unable to sustain any clear direction over the course of the day ahead of next week's midterm elections and the Federal Reserve's anticipated announcement regarding further stimulus. The lack of conviction came despite an unanticipated decline in jobless claims to a three-month low. Full Article

Economic News

Oct 28, 2010 U.S. Jobless Claims Unexpectedly Dip To 3-Month Low First-time claims for unemployment benefits in the U.S. unexpectedly saw a modest decrease in the week ended October 23rd, according to a report released by the Labor Department on Thursday, with jobless claims falling to a three-month low. The report showed that initial jobless claims fell to 434,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 455,000. The decrease surprised economists, who had expected claims to edge up to 458,000 from the 452,000 originally reported for the previous week. Full Article

Corporate News

Oct 28, 2010 Eastman Kodak Q3 Loss ShrinksImaging technology products maker Eastman Kodak Co. (EK) Thursday reported a narrower loss for the third quarter on improved profit margins and continued operational improvements, despite a marginal fall in revenues. The company reported a loss from continuing operations of $43 million or $0.16 per share for the quarter, which narrowed from $111 million or $0.41 per share loss reported in the year-ago period. In the second quarter, loss from continuing operations was $167 million or $0.62 per share. Full Article
Oct 28, 2010 Fortune Brands Q3 Profit Down; Confirms OutlookFortune Brands Inc. (FO), a manufacturer of distilled spirits, home products and golf equipment, Thursday reported a decline in third-quarter profit, impacted by restructuring costs and a loss from the sale of brands and related assets. Adjusted earnings per share also were lower than the prior-year quarter and came in below Street view. However, the company confirmed its earnings forecast for fiscal 2010. Full Article
Oct 28, 2010 PotashCorp Q3 Profit Soars, Tops View; Lifts ForecastCanadian fertilizer maker Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc. (POT, POT.TO), which is an acquisition target for mining giant BHP Billiton (BHP, BLT.L, BHP.AX, BBL), Thursday reported a surge in third-quarter profit, driven by strong demand for potash, phosphate and nitrogen products amid strengthening market conditions. Both earnings per share and sales came in above Wall Street analysts' estimates. The company also lifted its earnings outlook for fiscal 2010. Full Article
Oct 28, 2010 Dow Chemical Q3 Adj Profit Tops ViewDow Chemical Co. (DOW) reported Thursday a decline in third-quarter net profit, mainly due to charges and the absence of prior year's sales gains. On an adjusted basis, earnings per share more than doubled from last year and surpassed market projections, with double-digit sales growth across all geographic areas and operating segments. Full Article
Oct 28, 2010 Syniverse To Be Taken Private By Carlyle In $2.6 Bln. DealWireless voice and data service provider Syniverse Holdings Inc. (SVR), said Thursday it has agreed to be taken private by global alternative asset manager The Carlyle Group for about $2.6 billion in cash. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2011, subject to customary closing conditions. Following the news, the company's shares gained more than 28% in the intra-day trading. Full Article
Oct 28, 2010 Stryker To Buy Boston Scientific's Neurovascular Unit For $1.5 Bln.Michigan-based surgical equipment provider Stryker Corp. (SYK) said Thursday that it has agreed to acquire the assets of the neurovascular division of Boston Scientific Corp. (BSX) in an all cash transaction for $1.5 billion. The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2010. Full Article
Oct 28, 2010 AutoNation Q3 Profit FallsAutomotive retailer AutoNation, Inc. (AN) Thursday reported a lower profit for the third quarter, as costs increased, despite a rise in sales. Earnings per share rose from the prior year, yet missed Wall Street estimates. The company's third-quarter net income slipped to $56.9 million from $65 million last year. Earnings per share were $0.38, up from $0.36 in the prior year on lower share count. Full Article
Oct 28, 2010 Motorola Q3 Profit SoarsMobile phone maker Motorola, Inc. (MOT) reported Thursday a profit for the third quarter that climbed from last year, reflecting continued strong sales of smartphones. The company introduced 22 smartphones in 2010. The company shipped 9.1 million handsets in the quarter, including 3.8 million smartphones that operate on Google Inc.'s Android software and compete with Apple's system. Full Article
Oct 28, 2010 Exxon Mobil Q3 Profit Surges, Tops EstimatesExxon Mobil Corp. (XOM), the world's largest publicly traded oil company, reported Thursday a strong growth in profit for the third quarter, above market projections, mainly driven by higher crude oil and natural gas realizations, improved refining margins, and solid chemical results. Full Article

Currency Alerts

Oct 28, 2010 Dollar Back On The Ropes As Relief Rally Peters OutThe greenback failed to follow through on a recent relief rally Thursday, losing ground amid speculation that it needs to fall further in order to generate the Federal Reserve's targeted inflation levels. With the Fed expected to reveal a second asset purchase plan next week, the dollar has not been able to sustain any upside momentum in recent weeks, and remains near its lowest level in a year versus a basket of a major counterparts. Full Article


Oct 28, 2010 Oil Edges Up Above $82 On Weak Dollar, Better US Jobs Data Oil prices edged higher Thursday amid a weaker dollar and better-than-expected data from the US labor market. December crude oil on the New York Mercantile Exchange added $0.24 to $82.18 a barrel. The price of oil has struggled for direction in the recent days, after rising to a five-month high above $84 earlier this month. Full Article

Political News

Oct 28, 2010 Poll Shows Crist Narrows Rubio's Lead In Florida Senate RaceRepublican Marco Rubio is holding on to a lead in the three-way Florida Senate race, according to the results of a Quinnipiac University poll released on Thursday, although Florida Governor Charlie Crist has gained some ground less than a week before the election. The poll showed that 42 percent of likely Florida voters support Rubio compared to 35 percent that support Crist, who is running as an independent. Democratic Rep. Kendrick Meek, D-Fla., receives just 15 percent support. Full Article
Oct 28, 2010 Polls Indicate Voters Want Obama And GOP To CompromiseWith Republicans likely to at the very least narrow Democrats' majorities in Congress and possibly even take control of both houses in next week's midterm elections, many expect Washington D.C. to be in gridlock for the next two years of President Barack Obama's administration. However, recent polls suggest that voters want Obama and members of Congress from both parties to compromise in order to address the issues that continue to impact the nation. Full Article
Oct 28, 2010 White House Touts Small Business Lending Following Bill PassageSmall Business Administration head Karen Mills Thursday sought to highlight successful increases in small business lending in the wake of a jobs bill that U.S. President Barack Obama signed last month. Writing on the White House's blog, Mills said that the Small Business Jobs Act had allowed the SBA to make more than $3 billion in loans to more than 5,000 businesses across the country in just the last month. Full Article

F & F I N : NFA orders monetary sanction of $320,000 against New York forex firm IKON Global Markets.

Financial & Forex Info News ( F & F I N ) : Reuters Daily Investor Update.


Wall St eases ahead of Fed and elections
Microsoft profit up 51 percent, shares rise
BP and Halliburton ignored Macondo cement flaws: panel
GM to repay taxpayers $2.1 billion, prepares for IPO
Exxon, Shell profits bubble higher with oil prices
Tea Party groundswell signals challenges to Fed
Jobless claims fall to three-month low
Amid industrial profits are reasons for caution
Chrysler to invest $600 million in Illinois plant
Potash results surge but stock drops on bid fears

NYT: Afternoon Business News.-Verizon Wireless Settles Complaint Over Data Fees.


Verizon Wireless Settles Complaint Over Data Fees

The company will pay $25 million to the Treasury and has agreed to pay a minimum of $52.8 million in refunds to its customers.

Google Agrees to Change Ad Policy to Settle Case

In a deal in France that has global implications, Google agreed to adopt conditions when it rejects ads.

Blackstone Posts $339 Million Quarterly Profit

The Blackstone Group on Thursday reported a $339 million profit for its third quarter, a jump over last year as the private equity giant saw gains in most of its businesses.

Shares Wander as Wall Street Focuses on Earnings

Markets tried to regain lost ground late in the day amid an unexpected drop in first-time jobless filings and mixed earnings.

Positive Signs on Europe and Central Asia Recovery

A key economic sentiment indicator in Europe rose more than expected, while raised forecasts for ex-Communist countries came out.

FINANCIAL & FOREX INFO NEWS ( F & F I N ) : U.S. Markets At Close Snapshot

U.S. Markets At Close Snapshot:

Major Indexes
LastChange% Chg
DJIA*11113.95  -12.33-0.11
Nasdaq*  2507.37   4.11 0.16
S&P 500*  1183.72   1.33 0.11
DJ Total Stock Market*12403.03  4.76 0.04
Russell 2000   701.70 -3.20-0.45

Source The Wall Street Journal


MarketWatch: Special Financial Services.- Microsoft, McAfee results due in late session

After Hours: Microsoft, McAfee results due in late session
By Carla Mozee MarketWatch

Thursday evening’s trading session will feature results from Microsoft, KLA-Tencor, Expedia and more.  

Most Read Articles on the Washington Post - Afternoon Edition

Washington Post

Most Viewed Articles on

1) Just who does Jon Stewart think he is?

These days, he can claim to be many things: political satirist, pseudo-anchorman, media critic, author, successful businessman, philanthropist, Emmy Award magnet. On Monday he arrives in Washington in a new, self-anointed role: as our national voice of reason, moderation and rationality -- a unit...

2) On the Daily Show, the joke was on Obama

On Comedy Central, the joke was on President Obama Wednesday night.

3) Jon Stewart, President Obama debate on 'The Daily Show'

Chief executive sparred with chief fake-news comedian over the velocity of change Wednesday evening, separated only by a desk designed like a slice of the Capitol dome -- and by a gap in perception over the accomplishments of the Obama administration in its first 21 months.

4) Obama is a guest as Jon Stewart brings his 'Daily Show' gags to town

In search of the surest way to reach and encourage his core constituency during the midterm elections, President Obama visited "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart" Wednesday night -- a show that prides itself on never taking anything seriously but still treated him with sympathetic awe.

5) Feds arrest N.Va. man in D.C. Metro bomb plot

Federal law enforcement authorities arrested a Northern Virginia man Wednesday in connection with an alleged plot to carry out terrorist bombings at stations in the Washington Metro system.

6) Tea party antics could end up burning Republicans

The tea party's volatile influence on this election year appears to be doing more harm than good for Republicans' chances in some of the closest races in the nation, in which little-known candidates who upset the establishment with primary wins are now stumbling in the campaign's final days.

7) Across the country, anger, frustration and fear among voters as election nears

Travel through the political battlegrounds in these final days before Election 2010, and it becomes clear how much the tenor of this recession-plagued country has changed in the two years since Barack Obama was elected president on his message of hope and change.

8) The Fix: Why Lisa Murkowski can win

1. There is a growing sense among the Republican professional political class that Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) is on the verge of winning a three-way race next week, a victory that would make her the first write-in candidate to be elected to the Senate since Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.) in 1954.

9) Linda McMahon vs. Richard Blumenthal: Connecticut's wrestling match

That Linda McMahon is doing so well in Connecticut shows just how much the political landscape's changed.

10) Tea party's Judson Phillips defends essay attacking congressman for being Muslim

The founder of one of the country's most prominent tea party organizations said in an interview Wednesday that he stands by an Internet column in which he urged the defeat of U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, a Minnesota Democrat, because he is Muslim.

F & F I N : NFA orders $459,000 monetary sanction against New Jersey forex firm Gain Capital Group LLC.

MarketWatch: Special Financial Services


Telecom Stocks: RIM drops, Motorola gains on smart-phone outlook
By Dan Gallagher MarketWatch

Growing demand for smart phones is not helping all handset vendors equally, as Research In Motion struggles with negative sentiment over its flagship BlackBerry family, and Motorola gets a boost from strong Android position.  


October 28, 2010 Compiled: 10:21 AM


Some analysts are warning that regulators must watch closely to prevent money laundering as the Islamic bond market spreads beyond the Gulf states and Malaysia.

Mineweb: Top Stories.- Vale reports ‘a stellar performance' with ‘best ever financial result'

Mineweb logo

TOP STORIES | Thursday , 28 Oct 2010                                                     

Vale reports ‘a stellar performance' with ‘best ever financial result'

Vale said it will pay total dividends of US$3 billion in 2010, the most paid in a single year, on the back of record net earnings and cash generation    Thursday , 28 Oct 2010

HSBC, JP Morgan sued for conspiring to drive down silver prices

The two banks were hit with two lawsuits on Wednesday by investors who accused them of conspiring to drive down silver prices and reaping illegal profits    Thursday , 28 Oct 2010

San Dimas sale, Los Filos production drop hits Goldcorp 3Q gold yield

The gold miner said gold production fell to 592,000 ounces in Q3, compared to 621,100 in the same period last year but, said will double its annual dividend to 36-cents this year.    Thursday , 28 Oct 2010

First Quantum goes on the record

First Quantum says that reported statements suggesting the DRC has won the Kolwezi case, or now has a right to transfer the Kolwezi assets, "are completely without foundation".    Wednesday , 27 Oct 2010

Current scenario suggesting much higher gold prices in the next 12 months - Embry

The world remains in a financial bind, the likes of which it has probably never seen and those people calling for corrections or bubbles in the gold market are flat out wrong.    Wednesday , 27 Oct 2010

Rare earths not a bargaining tool - China

A spokesman for the Ministry of Industry and Information technology said the country would not use its dominance of the global rare earths supply as a bargaining tool with foreign economies    Thursday , 28 Oct 2010

Copper ETFs likely to face hurdles - Credit Agricole

While most analysts expect base metal ETPs to be popular concerns have been raised about whether or not such products might lead to price distortions because of the tight supplies and high storage costs    Wednesday , 27 Oct 2010

SA Gold miners profits hit by strong rand

The strong rand is expected to limit the benefit of strong gold prices on september quarter profits for South Africa's gold miners Wednesday , 27 Oct 2010   

Anglo American to develop long-term projects worth $50bn across a range of minerals and regions

Anglo CEO, Cynthia Carroll, told a discussion forum in Johannesburg, the group has one of the world's "greatest long-term pipeline".    Thursday , 28 Oct 2010

Rio's Zim unit forecasts rise in 2010 diamond output

The Global miner's Zimbabwe unit said diamond production should increase this year from the 124,000 carats produced in 2009 but didn't give an exact figure    Thursday , 28 Oct 2010

Canadian parliament defeats proposed mining legislation

The bill that would have increased human rights and environmental standards followed by Canadian companies overseas has been criticised for the potential to put Canadian mining companies at a disadvantage    Thursday , 28 Oct 2010

Norseman Gold back on track after accident setback

Mixed fortunes for Norseman Gold in the September quarter, with mining shut down temporarily at the OK shaft after a serious accident and a rise in unit costs, but countered with better gold price receipts.    Wednesday , 27 Oct 2010

Van Eck Global to launch rare earth ETF

The fund manager said Wednesday it is launching the US-listed rare earth and strategic metals ETF and expects it to start trading Thursday    Thursday , 28 Oct 2010

Collahuasi miners overwhelmingly vote to strike

In a move that could hit output at the Chilean copper deposit, workers at the mine voted to strike in a wage-offer ballot yesterday Thursday , 28 Oct 2010   

Kahn shares surge on second favourable Mongolian court ruling

Shares in the Canadian miner were up as much as 23% on the announcement that it had received another favourable ruling in its dispute over uranium mining licenses    Thursday , 28 Oct 2010

Gold, silver, platinum all weaken on QE speculation

Another day of weakness for gold and other precious metals on the markets on speculation that the next stage of U.S. Quantitative Easing may be smaller than previously anticipated.    Thursday , 28 Oct 2010

Rare earths: Is there is a classic bubble in the making?

Analysts are concerned about the frenzy being whipped up in the world of rare earths as investors, concerned about China's dominance, search out new supplies    Wednesday , 27 Oct 2010

BHP should buy back shares - Blackrock

The mining giant's biggest shareholder said Wednesday the group should buy back shares regardless of whether or not its bid for Potash Corp succeeds    Wednesday , 27 Oct 2010

Yesterday's Top Story: Has gold paused or peaked?

Despite the G20 meeting deciding little apart from countries paying lip service to currency stability, gold has suffered a minor setback from its peak, but is this the start of a collapse or just a pause in its upwards rise?    Wednesday , 27 Oct 2010