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Dec 2, 2010

Stocks Extend Rally After Strong Retail, Housing Numbers - U.S. Commentary . RTTNews - Evening Market Wrap

Evening Market Wrap Thu Dec 2  2010


Dec 2, 2010 Stocks Extend Rally After Strong Retail, Housing Numbers - U.S. Commentary Stocks continued to rally on Thursday, as the markets digested better than expected reports on comparable retail sales and pending home sales. The news helped to eclipse a pickup in weekly jobless claims that was larger than economists had anticipated. Full Article

Economic News

Dec 2, 2010 U.S. Weekly Jobless Claims Rise By More Than Expected After reporting first-time claims for unemployment benefits in U.S. at a two-year low in the previous week, the Labor Department released a report on Thursday showing that initial jobless claims rebounded by more than expected in the week ended November 27th. The report showed that jobless claims rose to 436,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 410,000. Economists had been expecting jobless claims to increase to 422,000 from the 407,000 originally reported for the previous week. Full Article
Dec 2, 2010 ECB Extends Liquidity Measures Through April 2011With Europe struggling to cope with a deepening debt crisis, the European Central Bank said Thursday it will continue to conduct its main refinancing operations "for as long as necessary" and at least until April of next year. After the central bank retained its key interest rate at a record low of 1% for the nineteenth straight month, Jean-Claude Trichet announced it will continue its exceptional liquidity measures to support commercial banks, but did not mention any plans to expand the the size of the program. Full Article
Dec 2, 2010 U.S. Pending Home Sales Unexpectedly Surged Up 10.4% In October Pending home sales unexpectedly jumped in the month of October, according to a report released by the National Association of Realtors on Thursday, with pending home sales extending a positive uptrend seen since they bottomed in June. NAR said its pending home sales index increased by 10.4 percent in October after falling by 1.8 percent in September. The significant increase came as a surprise to economists, who had expected pending home sales to come in unchanged. Full Article

Corporate News

Dec 2, 2010 Kroger Swings To Q3 Profit, Tops View; Narrows 2010 OutlookGrocery chain operator Kroger Co. (KR) reported Thursday a profit for the third quarter compared to a loss last year, boosted by sales growth and as the year-ago quarter was weighed down by significant impairment charges. Adjusted earnings per share for the quarter grew 19% from last year, and came in line with analysts' expectations. However, the company also narrowed its earnings forecast range for the full-year 2010. Following the announcement, the company's stock is trading down nearly 10%. Full Article
Dec 2, 2010 Del Monte Q2 Profit Up 30%; Backs 2011 Earnings Outlook - UpdateBranded food and pet products producer Del Monte Foods Co. (DLM) reported Thursday a 30% year-over-year growth in profit for the second quarter, despite a marginal 1.9% drop in sales on weakness in Pet Products, boosted by higher margins and lower interest expense. Earnings per share from continuing operations topped analysts' consensus by seven cents. The company also backed its earnings forecast for the full-year 2011. Full Article
Dec 2, 2010 Toronto-Dominion Posts Lower Q4 Profit - UpdateToronto-Dominion Bank (TD) Thursday reported lower fourth-quarter profit despite revenue growth, hurt by higher tax provision. The revenue growth was supported by strong top line results in the bank's business segments except in Wholesale Banking. Fourth-quarter net income available to common shareholders was C$946 million, compared with C$962 million last year. Earnings per share declined to C$1.07 from C$1.12 in the prior-year quarter. Full Article
Dec 2, 2010 PepsiCo To Acquire 66% Stake In Wimm-Bill-Dann For US$3.8 Bln - UpdateFood and beverages giant PepsiCo, Inc. (PEP) Thursday announced that it has agreed to acquire 66% of Russia's leading branded food-and-beverage company Wimm-Bill-Dann Foods OJSC (WBD) for US$3.8 billion. PepsiCo expects the transaction to be modestly accretive to earnings in the year one, excluding one-time transaction costs and fees and the combination to have the potential for total pre-tax annual run-rate synergies of approximately $100 million by 2014. Full Article
Dec 2, 2010 Toll Brothers Turns To Profit In Q4 On Tax BenefitLuxury homebuilder Toll Brothers, Inc. (TOL) Thursday reported a profit for the fourth quarter compared to a loss last year, primarily reflecting a tax benefit due to the reversal of valuation allowances on taxable losses incurred. For the fourth quarter, the company's net income was $50.48 million or $0.30 per share, compared to loss of $111.43 million or $0.68 per share last year. Results for the quarter included a net tax benefit of $59.9 million, compared to a $4.7 million net tax expense in the prior-year quarter. Full Article
Dec 2, 2010 J.C. Penny, Bon-Ton Stores, Saks, Stage Stores Gain In November CompsWith a strong Thanksgiving weekend, retailers J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (JCP), Bon-Ton Stores Inc. (BONT), Saks Inc. (SKS) and Stage Stores, Inc. (SSI), Thursday reported a revamping performance in comparable store sales for November, compared to the same month last year. Among the companies, J.C. Penny reported the highest comparable store sales increase of 9.2%, followed by Saks, Bon-Ton Stores and Stage Stores, with comparable store sales increasing 5.3%, 2.9% and 2.4%, respectively. Full Article

General News

Dec 2, 2010 Russia To Host 2018 World Cup, Qatar Tops US For 2022Russia will host soccer's World Cup for the first time in 2018, while the 2022 tournament was awarded to Qatar, FIFA announced Thursday in Zurich. For Russia, the chance to host the sport's premier event comes at the expense of fellow European bidders England, Spain/Portugal, and Belgium/The Netherlands. Full Article

Political News

Dec 2, 2010 Crapo And Coburn Announce Support For Deficit Commission PlanTwo key Republican Senators on President Obama's deficit reduction commission Thursday announced their support for the panel's final recommendations that were released Wednesday. Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, and Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., issued a joint statement saying that they support the commission's final recommendations. Their support, along with the support of Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., means that all three GOP Senators on the 18-member panel have publicly announced their support. Full Article
Dec 2, 2010 House Approves Extension Of Middle-Class Tax CutsIn a largely party-line vote, the House of Representatives Thursday passed a bill that would extend the Bush tax cuts for the middle-class but allow the tax cuts for the wealthy to expire. The House voted 234 to 188 in favor of the bill, with Democrats largely voting for the bill, while nearly all of the chamber's Republicans voted against it. The bill extends the Bush-era tax cuts for individuals earning under $200,000 a year and couples earning less than $250,000 a year. Full Article
Dec 2, 2010 McCain: It May Be "Premature" To Repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"While a Pentagon report released earlier this week showed that repealing the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy is not likely to impact military effectiveness, Senator John McCain, R-Ariz., said Thursday that it may still be "premature" to repeal the policy, which bans homosexuals from serving openly. Full Article

QE2 will be regularly reviewed: Fed officials.| Financial And Forex Info News | Reuters - Daily Investor Update


House passes symbolic tax-cut renewal
Deficit-cutting plan advances in uphill climb
Wall Street rallies as euro concerns ease, data eyed
Data shows fresh signs of improving economy
QE2 will be regularly reviewed: Fed officials
Barry Diller steps down as IAC CEO, buys out Malone
ECB reported buying bonds in euro zone debt crisis
JPMorgan countersues Lehman in battle over billions
Shareholders open attack on WaMu's bankruptcy plan
Pepsi to buy Russia's WBD in biggest foreign foray

Wall St jumps on brighter outlook | Financial And Forex Info News | The Australian Business Briefing.

Wall St jumps on brighter outlook
Wall St UPDATED Donna Kardos Yesalavich US stocks rallied for a second day after strong retail sales and housing data painted a brighter picture of the world's biggest economy
No sugar-coating CSR anger with NZ
CSR EXCLUSIVE Damon Kitney CSR shareholders are incurring costs of as much as $300,000 a day because of delays by the New Zealand foreign investment regulator.
ECB extends 'bare minimum' support
Jean Claude Trichet Christopher Emsden THE European Central Bank has abandoned its plans to wind down emergency support for banks and government debt markets.
Boost skilled migration, leaders say
Sam Walsh Annabel Hepworth, Matt Chambers and Tracy Lee BUSINESS leaders are demanding an immigration rise to avoid a wages blowout as skills shortages spread from resources to the wider economy.
APRA defends its regulatory framework
Banks Scott Murdoch THE financial regulator has played down claims its prudential and legislative framework has stopped new bank entrants and limited competition.
Telstra slays opponents in broadband
Telstra Tracy Lee DATA detailing the explosive growth in broadband customers shows Telstra's plan to aggressively pursue market share is bearing fruit.
Business bullish on NBN outlook
National Broadband Network NBN Mitchell Bingemann AUSTRALIAN businesses have high hopes for the government's National Broadband Network, a survey of more than 500 enterprises has found.
Qantas can sue Rolls-Royce on engines
Qantas A380 Steve Creedy QANTAS has reserved its right to take legal action against Rolls-Royce under the Australian Trade Practices Act.
Financial Markets
Gold flirts with return to $US1400
gold bullion Tatyana Shumsky GOLD flirted with the $US1400 mark today but settled with modest gains as positive news from Europe boosted investor appetite for risk.
Miners lead European shares higher
Regional funds passport seen as boon
Financial Markets Coverage
Mining & Energy
Gold flirts with return to $US1400
gold bullion Tatyana Shumsky GOLD flirted with the $US1400 mark today but settled with modest gains as positive news from Europe boosted investor appetite for risk.
Demand talk drives uranium
Thiess wins 20-year India coal contract
More Mining & Energy Coverage

NYT: Afternoon Business News .- U.S. Retail Chains Report a Robust November.


U.S. Retail Chains Report a Robust November

The results released reinforced reports over the weekend that consumers shopped, spent and were buying non-necessities again.

Madoff Trustee Sues JPMorgan

The lawsuit seeks to recover nearly $1 billion in fees and profits as well as $5.4 billion in damages.

Pepsi to Buy Russian Drinkmaker

PepsiCo agrees to buy a two-thirds stake in dairy and juice maker Wimm-Bill-Dann in one of the biggest foreign investments in Russia in years.

Diller Steps Down as C.E.O. of IAC

An asset swap with Liberty Media will see John Malone's company give up its voting stake in IAC/Interactive

Nissan Sees Electric Car Envy in Critics of the Leaf

Carlos Ghosn, chief executive at Nissan, dismisses the scoffing as his rivals' lack of imagination.

The Washington Post Afternoon Edition: most read Articles

Washington Post

1) A strange way to honor the founding fathers

If the congressman reveres the Framers, why does he want to redraft their work?

2) The Republican case for ratifying New START

The Senate ought to put politics aside and ratify the treaty.

3) Obama's time-warp focus on the New START treaty

If verification is increasingly important, is Russia decreasingly trustworthy?

4) Obama's dangerous debt compromises

Obama's decision to freeze federal workers' pay is one curious move.

5) From the debt commission proposal, a bipartisan path forward

Bowles and Simpson have opened the door to awaken our slumbering economy.

6) Our default is killing terrorists by drone attack. Do you care?

Limits on detention have had the perverse effect of encouraging lethal policy.

7) A fiscal mess our leaders won't face

It's too bad our leaders won't make the changes the fiscal panel wants.

8) Editorial: Congress can help young immigrants fulfill their promise through the DREAM Act

MICHELLE RODRIGUEZ, who turns 24 in a few days, has wanted to be a Marine ever since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, when she was in ninth grade. After graduating from high school - she was the first to do so in her family - she tried to enlist but was turned away. For even though Ms. Rodriguez has...

9) Among the wealthy, a new voice for fiscal sacrifice

Some millionaires realize they are better off letting the Bush tax cuts expire.

10) Former president on America's global fight against AIDS

It's important to national security, but also demonstrates our character as a country.

NFA announces publication of educational guide for retail forex traders

Where gold, USD Index and U.S./Chinese stock markets are heading.:Gold Mineweb

Mineweb logo


Where gold, USD Index and U.S./Chinese stock markets are heading

Technical analysis of the gold and Chinese and U.S. markets gives guidance as to the likely direction of these short term.    Thursday , 02 Dec 2010

Commodities boom alive and well regardless of global economics - Adrian Day

Whatever happens in global economies,Adrian Day reckons we can count on the commodities boom to continue. Gold Report Interview    Thursday , 02 Dec 2010

Stocks May Open Higher Despite Increase In Jobless Claims - U.S. Commentary . RTTNews - Morning Market Briefing

Morning Market Briefing Thu Dec 2  2010


Dec 2, 2010 Stocks May Open Higher Despite Increase In Jobless Claims - U.S. Commentary Stock futures are pointing to modest gains at the start of trading on Thursday, even as today's jobless claims figure rose by slightly more than expected. The major index futures are currently all in positive territory, with the Dow futures up by 22 points. Full Article

Economic News

Dec 2, 2010 Weekly Jobless Claims Rise To 436,000 After reporting first-time claims for unemployment benefits at a two-year low in the previous week, the Labor Department released a report on Thursday showing that initial jobless claims rebounded by more than expected in the week ended November 27th. Full Article
Dec 2, 2010 Eurozone Q3 GDP Growth Confirmed At 0.4% Eurozone economic growth moderated in the third quarter as expected as the impetus from investment disappeared and export growth slowed sharply on weak demand. Full Article
Dec 2, 2010 South Korea Growth Confirmed At 0.7%South Korea's economy grew 0.7% between July and September compared to three months earlier, confirming preliminary estimates, the central bank said on Thursday. Full Article
Dec 2, 2010 Japanese Companies Raise InvestmentCapital expenditure by Japanese companies rose for the first time in over three years between July and September, boding well for GDP growth during the quarter, a survey showed on Thursday. Full Article
Dec 2, 2010 Australia Posts A$2.625 Bln Trade SurplusAustralia saw a merchandise trade surplus of A$2.625 billion in October, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Thursday - higher than forecasts for a surplus of A$2.0 billion following the A$1.76 billion surplus in September. Full Article
Dec 2, 2010 ECB Retains Key Interest Rate, Anti-Crisis Measures Eyed The European Central Bank retained its key interest for the nineteenth straight month, but all eyes are on any probable measures the central bank will take to arrest Europe's spreading sovereign debt worries. Full Article
Dec 2, 2010 Swiss GDP Growth Slows Slightly In Q3 The Swiss economy grew at a slightly slower pace in the third quarter, but growth stayed well above market expectations, spurred by domestic demand. Full Article
Dec 2, 2010 U.K. Construction Sector Growth Improves Slightly In November British construction activity growth picked up slightly in November, despite many constructors facing challenging conditions. Full Article

Earnings News

Dec 2, 2010 Synopsys Q4 EPS on par with Street View; Revenues top estimatesSoftware and IP provider Synopsys Inc. (SNPS), Wednesday announced increased fourth-quarter earnings per share, or EPS, that was on par with analysts' estimates, while revenues beat the Street view. The growth in revenues, and gross margin, more than offset the increase in expenses. Full Article
Dec 2, 2010 Aeropostale Q3 Results Miss Street View; Co-CEO Johnson is now CEOAeropostale, Inc. (ARO), a clothing retailer,announced Wednesday that profit and sales fell short of expectations. Same-store sales were flat year-over-year, and gross margin also declined this quarter. The company also said that co-CEO Mindy Meads will step down immediately, and the reins will be handed to the other co-CEO, Thomas Johsnon. Full Article
Dec 2, 2010 TD Bank Q4 Profit downThe Toronto Dominion Bank (TD), Thursday announced a drop in fourth-quarter earnings reflecting an increase in non-interest expense and higher income tax provisions. However, revenues rose on back of strong performances across all its business segments. Full Article
Dec 2, 2010 PepsiCo to acquire 66% of Wimm-Bill-Dann for $3.8 blnFood and beverage major, PepsiCo (PEP), has inked a deal to acquire a 66% stake in Russian diary products and juice maker Wimm-Bill-Dann for US$3.8 billion. The deal will give PepsiCo a larger footprint in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, while increasing its global revenues. Full Article
Dec 2, 2010 CIBC Q4 profit downThe Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM), reported Thursday a drop in fourth-quarter profit, hurt mainly by higher income tax expense. However, net interest income increased year-over-year. Full Article
Dec 2, 2010 Toll Brothers posts profit in Q4Home builder Toll Brothers Inc. (TOL) Thursday, said it swung to a profit in the fourth quarter on a tax benefit . Quarterly revenues declined, but beat estimates. Full Article
Dec 2, 2010 Del Monte Foods Q2 Profit up; backs EPS view, updates sales outlook for 2011Del Monte Foods Co. (DLM) posted higher second-quarter profit, reflecting lower costs, and reiterated its earnings guidance for fiscal 2011, while revising its net sales forecast. Full Article
Dec 2, 2010 Kroger turns a profit in Q3The Kroger Co. (KR) turned a profit in the third quarter, in the absence of a huge non-cash asset impairment charge that pushed results into the red last year. Sales, which include fuel, increased 5.9% to $18.7 billion for the quarter Full Article

Corporate News

Dec 2, 2010 Merck agrees to acquire SmartCellsMerck & Co. Inc. (MRK), a pharmaceuticals company, has agreed to buy privately-held SmartCells, a developer of diabetes drugs, through a cash payment to shareholders in addition to payments on achieving development milestones. The potential aggregate payments from this deal is expected to be more than $500 million. Full Article
Dec 2, 2010 Google partner Unisys wins 5 yr, $6.7 mln GSA cloud computing contractGoogle Inc. (GOOG), and the U.S. General Services Administration, or GSA, in separate announcements Wednesday, said that Google's partner Unisys would undertake a project to provide cloud computing-based e-mail services to nearly 17000 GSA employees. GSA said the move will lower its costs by 50% over the next five years. Full Article

Broker Ratings Changes

Dec 2, 2010 FBR Capital Markets Cuts Athenahealth, Inc. (ATHN) To Market Perform From Outperform With $44 Price Target

Todays WS Events

Dec 2, 2010 Pepsico Acquisition Conference Call At 7:30 AM ET Pepsico, Inc. (PEP) will host a conference call at 7:30 AM ET, December 2, 2010, to discuss its acquisition transaction. To access the webcast, log on to
Dec 2, 2010 Boston To Present At Goldman Sachs Symposium; Webast At 9:25 AM ET Boston Properties Inc. (BXP) will participate in the Goldman Sachs Real Estate Symposium in New York City. The event is scheduled to begin at 9:25 AM ET, December 2, 2010. To access the live webcast, log on to
Dec 2, 2010 Juniper To Present At Credit Suisse Conference; Webcast At 10:00 AM ET Juniper Networks (JNPR) will present at the Credit Suisse 2010 Annual Technology Conference. The event is scheduled to begin at 10:00 AM ET, December 2, 2010. To access the live webcast, log on to
Dec 2, 2010 Kroger Q3 10 Earnings Conference Call At 10:00 AM ET Kroger Co. (KR) will host a conference call at 10:00 AM ET, December 2, 2010, to discuss its Q3 10 earnings results. To access the live webcast, log on at
Dec 2, 2010 Allegheny To Present At The Credit Suisse Conference; Webcast At 11:00 AM ET Allegheny Technologies Inc. (ATI) will present at the Credit Suisse 2010 Aerospace & Defense Conference in New York, on December 2, 2010 The event is scheduled to begin at 11:00 AM ET. To access the live webcast, log on at
Dec 2, 2010 Limited Brands Sales Conference Call At 7:30 AM ET Limited Brands Ltd. (LTD) will hoast a sales conference call at 7:30 AM ET on December 2, 2010 to discuss its November sales results. To access the webcast, log on to To access the call, dial 1-866-NEWS-LTD (866-639-7583).

Futures tick higher ahead of ECB, jobless data | Financial & Forex Info News | Reuters - Before The Bell

Futures tick higher ahead of ECB, jobless data
Pepsi says to buy Russia's WBD for $5.4 billion
Holiday kickoff helped retailers' November sales
ECB keeps rates at record low 1 percent as expected
WikiLeaks says will also expose corporate world
Toll Brothers posts profit
SEC and several banks discuss ending mortgage probe: report
Third-quarter demand for foreclosed homes plummets: survey
JPMorgan countersues collapsed Lehman Brothers
Qantas makes first move to take Rolls-Royce to court

For Bush tax cuts, three more years? And FCC releases network neutrality proposal : The Washington Post Ezra Klein's Wonkbook

We're fast approaching the midnight hour for the Bush tax cuts, and Congress still hasn't reached a deal. In fact, it increasingly looks like they won't really reach a deal. Instead, they'll punt: We'll see a short extension of the tax cuts, coupled with the hope that some future Congress will do a better job. If that's what we end up getting, however, it'll be an open question why we had to wait till the last moment, and go through so much drama and acrimony, to get to it. The Bush tax cuts have been set to expire this month for the last 10 years. A long legislative process over what to do next makes sense if you're making the tough choices and building the unlikely coalitions necessary to, well, do something next. But not if you aren't.
There's something slightly perfect, however, about watching the tax cuts barrel towards extension at the same moment that the fiscal commission releases its final report and takes its final vote. Some of the commission's legislative members have begun making positive noises about the body's proposal, and the final vote may not be as disastrous for Simpson and Bowles as many expected. At the same time, whatever the Simpson-Bowles Commission ends up doing, part of Congress's role is to be the country's fiscal commission. And watching their ability to plan for the expiration of the Bush tax cuts and chart a thoughtful path forward, it's difficult to say that they seem up to the task.
Top Stories

Democrats will likely accede to a temporary extension of all Bush tax cuts, report John McKinnon and Janet Hook: "Separate from the formal negotiations, congressional aides from both parties have begun discussing a temporary extension of the expiring tax cuts...They have considered short-term extensions of a number of business and individual tax provisions that are expired or expiring, such as a popular research credit and middle-class protection from the alternative minimum tax. A likely outcome includes a one- to three-year extension of the Bush-era income tax rates and a two-year extension of the business provisions, according to aides. The package could include Democratic priorities such as extension of tax breaks that benefit the working poor, as well as further extension of unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless."
Republicans are blocking all action in the Senate until a deal is reached on the Bush tax cuts, reports David Herszenhorn: "Not even 24 hours after President Obama met with senior Republican Congressional leaders and expressed hopes for a “new dialogue,” renewed partisan fury engulfed the Senate on Wednesday, as Republicans threatened to block any legislation until a deal is reached to extend the expiring Bush-era tax cuts, potentially derailing the Democrats’ busy end-of-year agenda. The blunt threat was made in a letter to the majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, and signed by all 42 Senate Republicans."
Real talk: This is less about the Bush tax cuts -- which are currently being negotiated, and will not move faster if people get angrier -- than about stopping Democrats from passing other priorities, like the DREAM Act.
It's also strengthening filibuster-reform advocates like Sen. Jeff Merkley: And you know what? His new reform proposal makes a lot of sense.
The debt commission's members expressed cautious support for its chairmen's final proposal, report Lori Montgomery and Brady Dennis: "While only seven of the 18 members endorsed the package outright, others staked out positions that could change the terms of the well-worn Washington debate over taxes and spending. Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), one of the panel's most influential liberals, embraced a proposal to raise the retirement age to 69 in 2075, calling it 'not radical' and 'acceptable to me'...Rep. Jeb Hensarling (Tex.), a leader of the GOP's conservative wing, said he could live with a proposal to cut military spending and increase overall federal tax collections as long as income tax rates were lowered, spending cuts were enforced and Democrats agreed to reexamine the growth of spending envisioned under the recent health-care law."
FCC chairman Julius Genachowski has gave a speech laying out his network neutrality proposal: "Consumers and innovators have a right to a level playing field. No central authority, public or private, should have the power to pick which ideas or companies win or lose on the Internet; that’s the role of the market and the marketplace of ideas. And so the proposed framework includes a bar on unreasonable discrimination in transmitting lawful network traffic."
Early reaction: Telecom companies like it, network neutrality advocates and content providers like Google and Facebook do not.
Got tips, additions, or comments? E-mail me.
Supergroup interlude: Gayngs play "The Last Prom on Earth".
Still to come: The Fed's aid programs went to businesses like Caterpillar and GE; a Senate hearing assails "mini-med" health plans; the food safety bill may not pass after all; the GOP majority is disbanding the House climate change committee; and a salsa-dancing dog.

Fed aid in 2008 helped non-bank businesses, report Jia Lynn Yang, Neil Irwin, and David Hilzenrath: "The Fed's efforts to prop up the financial sector reached across a broad spectrum of the economy, benefiting stalwarts of American industry including General Electric and Caterpillar and household-name companies such as Verizon, Harley-Davidson and Toyota. The central bank's aid programs also supported U.S. subsidiaries of banks based in East Asia, Europe and Canada while rescuing money-market mutual funds held by millions of Americans. The biggest users of the Fed lending programs were some of the world's largest banks, including Citigroup, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Swiss-based UBS and Britain's Barclays, according to more than 21,000 loan records released Wednesday under new financial regulatory legislation."
Fed chair Ben Bernanke and Vice Chair Janet Yellen are campaign for more fiscal stimulus:
Meanwhile, Senate Republicans killed a Democratic job creation proposal:
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac insist that mortgage servicers spurred the foreclosure crisis, reports Zachary Goldfarb: "Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac defended their role in the foreclosure crisis in prepared testimony to Congress on Wednesday, while at least one federal regulator said the mortgage giants had contributed to the problem. Speaking to the Senate Banking Committee at a hearing on the national foreclosure debacle, Fannie and Freddie executives emphasized that they are not responsible for managing payments by borrowers on home loans or foreclosing on homeowners when they default. These tasks, executives say, are the responsibility of mortgage servicers and law firms with which the companies contract."
Default may be European countries' best option, writes John Cochrane:
Obama's federal pay freeze is dangerous, writes E.J. Dionne: "The idea of freezing the pay of federal workers could be a sensible part of a larger, long-term deal that would combine spending reductions with tax increases. It's an obvious element in any negotiation. But Obama simply threw in the federal workers in exchange for - well, as best I can tell, nothing. And in the short term, shouldn't jobs and rising incomes be a higher priority than austerity? Worse, every signal out of the White House is that it is prepared to cave to Republican demands for a temporary extension of all the Bush tax cuts, including those for millionaires who are in rather less need of additional income than security workers at Logan or nurses at government hospitals."
Adorable animals set to music interlude: A salsa-dancing dog.
Health Care

Sen. Jay Rockefeller held a hearing attacking "mini-med" health plans, reports Reed Abelson: "More than a million Americans enrolled in these plans think they have health insurance to protect them from financial catastrophe if they become seriously ill or hurt, Mr. Rockefeller said. 'In fact, they don’t,' he said. 'It’s worse than nothing because of the false expectations and the false hope,' Mr. Rockefeller said. He and other proponents of the new health care law are voicing concerns about the Obama administration’s recent decision to allow these plans, known as limited benefit or mini-med policies, to escape some of the legislation’s early requirements."
GOP governors are lobbying Congress to ease health care reform's requirements for states:
Minimed plans should be banned, not shamed, writes Timothy Noah: "The hearing's unanswered question was whether HHS got snookered by granting mini-meds three more years of existence. If, as Rockefeller argued (and I'm inclined to agree) mini-med health insurance is not 'better than nothing,' then HHS had no reason to exempt it even temporarily from new requirements under health reform. It would have been useful to have the agency explain its actions at the hearing. But alas, no one from HHS was invited. When, after the hearing, I asked Rockefeller why, he said, 'It would have turned it into a hearing on waivers'...I asked Rockefeller: Was the mini-med waiver justified? 'I think it's just a fact of life,' he sighed. Then why hold a hearing at all? To embarrass McDonald's into giving its hourly workers a better deal on health care? Maybe. Me, I prefer regulation."
Avik Roy runs through the health-care proposals in the fiscal commission's final report:
Domestic Policy

A procedural problem could keep the food safety bill from passing, reports Lyndsey Layton: "After the Senate approved the measure, 73 to 25, staffers learned one section could violate a constitutional provision that calls for any new taxes to originate in the House rather than the Senate. The section in question would impose fees on importers, and on farmers and food processors whose food is recalled because of contamination. If it is determined that those fees amount to taxes, it would essentially nullify the vote by the Senate. The House Ways and Means Committee decides whether the fees are equivalent to taxes. House leaders met behind closed doors Wednesday seeking a way to save the bill."
The DREAM Act has been adjusted to be deficit-neutral:
Republicans have blocked Michelle Obama's child nutrition bill, reports Mary Clare Jalonick: "House Republicans have temporarily blocked legislation to feed school meals to thousands more hungry children. Republicans used a procedural maneuver Wednesday to try to amend the $4.5 billion bill, which would give more needy children the opportunity to eat free lunches at school and make those lunches healthier. First lady Michelle Obama has lobbied for the bill as part of her 'Let's Move' campaign to combat childhood obesity. House Democrats said the GOP amendment, which would have required background checks for child care workers, was an effort to kill the bill and delayed a final vote on the legislation rather than vote on the amendment."
The FCC's net neutrality proposal is running into GOP resistance:
House Republicans will consider spending bills for each department separately, report Jake Sherman and Jonathan Allen: "House Republicans are devising a plan to simplify spending decisions by considering government funding bills on a department-by-department basis in the new Congress, according to Republican insiders. The move would facilitate cutbacks in government programs and, GOP aides say, enhance oversight and accountability for individual agencies, fulfilling promises made by Republicans on the campaign trail and in their Pledge to America. But it would also threaten to complicate an already tattered appropriations process on the House floor and in negotiations with the Senate, which is why the mechanics of the transition are still under discussion."
The future is now interlude: A street-legal TRON light-cycle.

The GOP is abolishing the House climate change panel, reports Robin Bravender: "House Republicans will scrap the committee set up by Speaker Nancy Pelosi to investigate global warming, the panel’s top Republican announced Wednesday. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) made official what many had already expected -- the GOP majority will axe the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, which Pelosi created in 2007. 'This hearing will be the last of the select committee,' Sensenbrenner announced. Committee Chairman Ed Markey (D-Mass.) called Wednesday’s hearing to give witnesses a chance to warn of the perils of climate change before the GOP launches efforts next year to roll back the Obama administration’s climate policies."
The Post maps the current state of offshore drilling:
EPA administrator Lisa Jackson is gearing up for a fight with the GOP House, reports Juliet Eilperin: "Jackson's ability to focus on her intellectual priorities have earned plaudits from environmentalists, who see her as one of their most effective champions of public health measures. But it could also put her very mission at risk. As the EPA celebrates its 40th anniversary Thursday, her pursuit of sweeping rules to curb the nation's output of carbon dioxide and other pollutants could trigger a backlash from the newly empowered Republicans in Congress...The White House is being lobbied hard to rein in the EPA when it comes to several proposals, including those on boilers and smog-forming pollutants."
The GOP wants to use the Congressional Review Act to nullify EPA regulations:
Joe Barton could keep fighting for the House Energy and Commerce Committee chairmanship, report Darren Samuelsohn and Jake Sherman: "Joe Barton's quest to lead the House Energy and Commerce Committee might not be over quite yet. While the Texas Republican is expected to lose his chairman’s bid before the influential Steering Committee, he could still appeal to the entire House GOP Conference, seeking the support of rank-and-file Republicans while testing Speaker-in-waiting John Boehner's leadership. Barton on Wednesday told POLITICO that he's not ready to discuss his next steps if the Steering Committee doesn't pick him. Instead, he insisted he will prevail early next week when the secretive Republican steering panel packed with Boehner loyalists makes its decision."
Midterm voters didn't vote for dirty air and water, writes Lisa Jackson:
A climate agreement at Cancun should focus on low-hanging fruit, write Timothy Wirth and John Podesta: "A particularly attractive near-term focus would be on emissions of black carbon -- soot from forest burning, household cooking with wood or coal, and diesel engines. These emissions are the second largest contributor to global warming after carbon dioxide and have a much shorter lifetime in the atmosphere -- weeks, not years. Immediate action with known technologies -- preventing deforestation, using more efficient stoves and cleaner engines -- could slow the effects of climate change for a decade or more."
The White House is banning new offshore drilling on the Atlantic coast or parts of the Gulf of Mexico, report Juliet Eilperin and Steven Mufson: "The Obama administration announced Wednesday that it will not allow offshore oil drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico or off the Atlantic coast through 2017, reversing two key policy changes the president embraced in late March. The revised Interior Department drilling plan, which took industry officials and many environmentalists by surprise, will also delay the next two lease sales in the central and western Gulf of Mexico. It marks a sharp political shift by the White House - yanking concessions to conservatives and oil companies - in the wake of the massive BP oil spill and the collapse of comprehensive climate legislation."
Closing credits: Wonkbook is compiled and produced with help from Dylan Matthews, Mike Shepard, and Michelle Williams