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Dec 10, 2010

From The Desk Of Nick Nicolaas: Gold Stocks Still Cheap 2" by Adam Hamilton



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MarketWatch: Personal Finance Daily: Maybe rent-to-own could help solve housing mess

MarketWatch
Personal Finance Daily
DECEMBER 10, 2010

Friday's Personal Finance stories

By MarketWatch



Don't miss these top stories:
For wannabe homeowners who can't get past banks' ultra-careful underwriting departments, there is another way: forging a "rent to own" deal with a homeowner who wants to sell.

As Lew Sichelman notes in Friday's Realty Q&A, plenty of homeowners nationwide are unable to sell — and some of them may well be interested in a deal for a tenant to make regular monthly payments, a portion of which go towards a down payment.

But as Lew also notes, crafting a rent-to-own contract is no simple task. Do you agree on a sales price now, or in a few years' time, when the deal is finalized? How many years should the renter rent, before completing the transaction? Read Lew's column for more on the matter.

If more homeowners adopted this strategy, it could be a good thing for the housing market. And it might help free up homeowners to go buy elsewhere, even as it keeps rent money coming into their personal coffers.

And then renters would get to start paying for maintenance costs! Nothing more fun than that. Buy your own auger. That's all I can say.

Andrea Coombes , Personal Finance editor

REAL ESTATE

Rent-to-own agreements can be tricky

There likely are many places owned by people who want to sell but can't, for one reason or another, and that could mean a situation ripe for a rent-to-own arrangement, Lew Sichelman says. But both you and your prospective landlord should proceed cautiously.
Read more: Rent-to-own agreements can be tricky.


Hidden medical debt trips up homeowners

Two erroneous $11 doctor bills stopped Jeanne White from refinancing her home.The 49-year-old resident of Colleyville, Texas, pays 7% on the mortgage for her three-bedroom house.
Read more: Hidden medical debt trips up homeowners.


Mortgage rate rise threatens refis and Fed

Rising government borrowing costs have driven mortgage rates to their highest level in six months, challenging the still-shaky housing market and the Federal Reserve's efforts to boost the U.S. economy.
Read more: Mortgage rate rise threatens refis and Fed.


CAREERS

Seven things you should not do online at work

Ten years ago, it would have been pretty difficult for someone to steal 250,000 confidential government documents and then make them accessible to people on every corner of the globe. How things have changed.
Read more: Seven things you should not do online at work.


HOLIDAY FINANCES

Oh, Christmas tree: Not just tinsel and lights

Beneath the tinsel and the lights and all the warm, fuzzy connotations, the Christmas tree industry in the U.S. — especially the real-tree category — is grappling with some serious issues in its make-or-break season.
Read more: Oh, Christmas tree: Not just tinsel and lights.


What your home holiday lights will cost you

Think that inflatable snow globe in your neighbor's front yard is costing him a fortune to run? Think again.
Read more: What your home holiday lights will cost you.


TAXES

Should you sink your savings into a Roth 401(k)?

Taxpayers are anxiously awaiting clarity on many tax issues this year, but the fog has lifted on one: conversions from a regular 401(k) retirement plan to tax-free Roth 401(k) account.
Read more: Should you sink your savings into a Roth 401(k)?


Senate moving on $858 billion tax plan

The Senate is moving to pass a broad tax package estimated to cost $858 billion over 10 years, though a new roadblock emerged as Sen. Bernie Sanders held up the measure.
Read more: Senate moving on $858 billion tax plan.


ECONOMY & POLITICS

Obama seeks to mend relations with business

White House works to improve a damaged relationship with business in an effort to spur U.S. hiring.
Read more: Obama seeks to mend relations with business.


In charts: Mortgage rates, exports and more

A weekly graphical summary of economic data shows mortgage activity dropping while the trade picture brightens.
Read more: In charts: Mortgage rates, exports and more.


Commentary: Liberals should stop whining, start bargaining

Liberals are sad and angry. President Barack Obama went behind their backs to cut a deal with the Republicans to give rich people a big tax break that we can't afford. And then Obama made fun of the liberals for being such crybabies about it.
Read more: Liberals should stop whining, start bargaining.


Commentary: Who plays Assange in WikiLeaks, the movie?

Julian Assange, the mastermind of the WikiLeaks furor, has emerged as the archetypal 21st century villain. He is sinister, mysterious, blasphemous and unrepentant.
Read more: Who plays Assange in WikiLeaks, the movie?


INVESTING

Commentary: Is the bond bubble bursting?

Has the bond market finally turned? And if so, what is this going to mean for you and your money? Here's the answer to the first question: It sure looks like it.
Read more: Is the bond bubble bursting?


Climate-change investors changing tack

The poor performance of some sectors aiming to slow climate change is pushing money managers to cast further afield for investments that both carry green credentials and are likely to post better returns.
Read more: Climate-change investors changing tack.


Hibernating commodities are primed to wake

Some commodities were a bit more unassuming than others this year, but 2011 could be the year they stand out.
Read more: Hibernating commodities are primed to wake.

Nasdaq, S&P 500 Set Fresh Highs After Steady Friday Session - U.S. Commentary: RTTNews : Evening Market Wrap

Evening Market Wrap



Commentary

Dec 10, 2010 Nasdaq, S&P 500 Set Fresh Highs After Steady Friday Session - U.S. Commentary Stocks gained momentum over the course of the trading day on Friday and were able to end with solid gains amid a week mired by a series of lackluster sessions. The day's buying interest came after the markets were presented with one of the year's best readings on consumer sentiment and a narrower trade deficit number that raised GDP expectations. Full Article

Economic News

Dec 10, 2010 U.S. Trade Deficit Narrows To Lowest Level Since January With U.S. exports showing a substantial increase in the month of October, the Commerce Department released a report on Friday showing that the U.S. trade deficit for the month unexpectedly narrowed to show the smallest deficit since January. The report showed that the trade deficit narrowed to $38.7 billion in October from a revised $44.6 billion in September. Economists had expected the deficit to widen to $44.5 billion from the $44.0 billion originally reported for the previous month. Full Article
Dec 10, 2010 U.S. Consumer Sentiment Index Jumps To Six-Month High Consumer sentiment has shown a significant improvement in the month of December, according to a report released by Reuters and the University of Michigan on Friday, with the consumer sentiment index rising by much more than economists had anticipated. With the bigger than expected increase, the consumer sentiment index rose to its highest level since coming in at 76.0 in June. Full Article

Political News

Dec 10, 2010 Slim Majority Of Americans Would Vote For DREAM ActA slim majority of Americans would vote for a law that provides a path to citizenship for certain young illegal immigrants, according to the results of a Gallup poll released on Friday. The poll revealed that 54 percent of respondents would vote for such a law, compared to 42 that would be against it. Another 4 percent had no opinion. Full Article
Dec 10, 2010 Poll Shows Little Support For Specific Proposals To Reduce The DeficitWhile most Americans agree that the federal budget deficit is a major problem that must be addressed, the results of a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press showed that Americans largely disapprove of specific proposals to reduce the deficit. Full Article

Indexes end up; S&P at best level since '08 | Financial & Forex info news | Reuters - Daily Investor Update







Indexes end up; S&P at best level since '08
China raises bank reserves 3rd time in a month
Consumer sentiment, trade signal firmer recovery
Austrian banker Kohn key to Madoff crimes -trustee
Inflows may pressure emerging markets: Stiglitz
Government posts $150 billion November budget gap
Sentiment, trade data signal firmer U.S. recovery
Apple preps new camera-toting iPads: sources
GE ups dividend again, cites stronger finance arm
Jury convicts ex-Goldman man in trade secrets case

Stocks Poised For Modest Gains After Trade Data - U.S. Commentary : RTTNews Morning Market Briefing


Morning Market Briefing Fri Dec 10  2010

Commentary

Dec 10, 2010 Stocks Poised For Modest Gains After Trade Data - U.S. Commentary Stock futures are pointing to modest gains Friday morning, as traders digest an unexpected narrowing of the trade deficit to its lowest level since January. The markets are also digesting a notable increase in import prices while awaiting consumer sentiment data due out after the opening bell. Full Article

Economic News

Dec 10, 2010 French Manufacturing In Surprise Fall French manufacturing unexpectedly fell for the second consecutive month and at a more drastic pace in October as some sectors were paralyzed by widespread strikes, figures released by the statistical office INSEE showed on Friday. Full Article
Dec 10, 2010 UK Nov Output Price Inflation Eases Unexpectedly British output price inflation slowed unexpectedly in November as the annual increase in petroleum prices eased. Full Article
Dec 10, 2010 China Raises Reserve Requirement Sixth Time This YearChina's central bank on Friday made a 50 basis points increase in commercial banks' reserve requirement ratio. Full Article
Dec 10, 2010 Chinese Exports Rocket Past ExpectationsChinese exports boomed past forecasts in November, raising hopes of a strong recovery in global trade. Full Article
Dec 10, 2010 U.S. Trade Deficit Unexpectedly Narrows In October With U.S. exports showing a substantial increase in the month of October, the Commerce Department released a report on Friday showing that the U.S. trade deficit for the month unexpectedly narrowed to show the smallest deficit since January. Full Article
Dec 10, 2010 Jump In Fuel Prices Leads To Notable U.S. Import Price Growth U.S. import prices showed a notable increase in the month of November, according to a report released by the Labor Department, with the increase largely due to substantial fuel import price growth. Export prices also saw a significant increase during the month. Full Article

Earnings News

Dec 10, 2010 Harsco guides 2011 EPS below consensusHarsco Corp. (HSC), an industrial services and engineered products company, Friday guided fiscal 2011 earnings expectations below Street view. Full Article
Dec 10, 2010 Pall Corp. Q1 profit up, beats consensus; lifts FY11 EPS viewPall Corporation (PLL), a provider of filtration and purification solutions, posted higher first-quarter profit which topped Street View, reflecting broad-based growth by market and geography. The company also raised its full-year earnings guidance above analysts' estimates. Full Article
Dec 10, 2010 National Semiconductor Q2 EPS beats estimateNational Semiconductor Corp. (NSM), a semiconductor company, Thursday said higher sales and improved margins lifted second-quarter earnings by 78%. However, quarterly revenues and third-quarter revenue forecast came below consensus. Full Article
Dec 10, 2010 Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Q4 Profit nearly doublesSpecialty coffee company Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. (GMCR) said Thursday its fourth-quarter profit rose 92%, thanks to increase in sales of the Keurig brewing system. The results beat estimates. The company slashed its fiscal 2011 earnings forecast, which still came above analysts' estimates. Full Article
Dec 10, 2010 BCE ups FY10 Adj. EPS guidance; hikes dividendBCE Inc. (BCE, BCE.TO), a Canadian communication services provider, Friday raised its adjusted fiscal 2010 earnings outlook on plans for a C$750 million special voluntary pension contribution. The company also boosted its annual dividend by 7.7%. Full Article

Corporate News

Dec 10, 2010 Sinopec Forays into Argentina with $2.45 bln Occidental unit AcquisitionChina Petrochemical Corp, parent of Sinopec Corp. (SNP) agreed to buy the Argentinian subsidiary of Occidental Petroleum Corp. (OXY) for $2.45 billion. Full Article
Dec 10, 2010 Community Health Publicizes $7.3 bln bid for Tenet after rejectionHospital Company Community Health Systems Inc.(CYH), Thursday made public its letter dated November 12 whereby it offered to acquire Tenet Healthcare Corp. (THC) in about $7.3 billion cash and stock deal, including debt. The bid was rejected December 6 by Tenet's Board of Directors Full Article
Dec 10, 2010 Johnson & Johnson Pulls Rolaids products off shelvesMcNeil Consumer Healthcare, a Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) subsidiary, Thursday recalled several Rolaids Extra Strength Softchews brands after consumers complained of finding foreign particles, “including metal and wood particles”, in the tablets. Production of these tablets has also been halted pending investigation. Full Article
Dec 10, 2010 Pfizer recalls Hypertension drug Thelin, halts clinical trialsPfizer Inc. (PFE) Friday said it is recalling Thelin, a drug used in treating pulmonary arterial hypertension, after complaints of liver injury. The drug is currently approved in the European Union, Canada and Australia. Clinical trials in all other regions are also being halted. Full Article

Broker Ratings Changes

Dec 10, 2010 FBR Capital Markets Ups Capital One Financial Corp. (COF) To Outperform From Market Perform With $53 Up From $45 Price Target
Dec 10, 2010 KeyBanc Capital Markets Initiates Sara Lee Corp. (SLE) At Hold
Dec 10, 2010 KeyBanc Capital Markets Initiates Sealed Air Corp. (SEE) At Hold

Todays WS Events

Dec 10, 2010 Ford Motor To Present At Goldman Sachs Conference; Webcast At 8:30 AM ET Ford Motor Co. (F) will present at the Goldman Sachs 2010 Global Automotive Conference in London. The event is scheduled to begin at 8:30 AM ET, December 10, 2010. To listen to the audio webcast, log on to www.shareholder.ford.com
Dec 10, 2010 Pall Q1 11 Earnings Conference Call At 8:30 AM ET Pall Corp. (PLL) CEO, Eric Krasnoff will host a conference call at 8:30 AM ET, December 10, 2010, to discuss its Q1 11 earnings results. To access the live webcast, log on at www.pall.com/irevents

Futures rise after Chinese data, Netflix up early | Financial & Forex Info News | Reuters - Before the Bell




LATEST NEWS
Futures rise after Chinese data, Netflix up early
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stock index futures rose on Friday following encouraging data out of China and as a two-year high in the S&P 500 had investors betting on a year-end rally. | Full Article

China raises bank reserves again, more seen
December 10, 2010 07:34 AM ET
BEIJING (Reuters) - China's central bank on Friday raised the amount of money that lenders must keep on reserve for the third time in one month, following a spate of robust data that raised the case for policy tightening. | Full Article
Apple suppliers point to new camera-toting iPad in 2011
December 10, 2010 03:11 AM ET
HONG KONG/TAIPEI (Reuters) - Component suppliers for Apple Inc's iPad are gearing up for a new round of production in the first quarter, sources said on Friday, with one saying the product will be a revamp of the popular tablet computer including front- and back-mounted cameras. | Full Article
Citi names Orszag global banking vice chairman
December 09, 2010 03:55 PM ET
CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (Reuters) - Citigroup Inc appointed on Thursday president Barack Obama's former budget director as a global banking vice chairman. | Full Article
ECB tells leaders they must solve euro crisis
December 10, 2010 07:32 AM ET
BERLIN (Reuters) - European central bankers told euro zone governments on Friday not to count on the ECB to solve the single currency bloc's debt crisis alone as the leaders of Germany and France met to plot strategy before a key EU summit. | Full Article
US TOP NEWS
Obama weighs effort to o

The Washington Post : Ezra Klein's Wonkbook .- $858 billion price tag on tax deal; Obama weighs tax reform; AFL-CIO opposes South Korea trade deal


Washington, we've got a price tag: $858 billion. About $450 billion of it is the tax cuts for income under $250,000. The tax cuts for for income over $250,000 and the estate tax cut add in another $125 billion or so. Then there's another few hundred billion in stimulus -- stimulus that could, like the Bush tax cuts before it, get extended (notably the payroll tax). As Charles Krauthammer argues in his column today, the price tag here is larger than the original stimulus.
But though Krauthammer believes Democrats should be happy, they're don't agree. Sen. Chuck Schumer -- who was previously pushing a tax deal that would've extended the cuts for all income beneath a million dollars -- is leading opposition in the Senate. House Democrats broke into a chant of "just say no" during their caucus meeting yesterday. And the Republicans' successful effort to filibuster repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell is not going to convince the liberal base of the value of compromise.
A month ago, few liberals would've believed they'd have the opportunity to spend $850 billion -- and possibly more -- on a weak economy, and even fewer would believe they'd let $850 billion not be spent if there was anything they could do to help it. Republicans, meanwhile, were running on reducing the debt, and claiming that success would come when Washington ceased being so fiscally irresponsible. Now it's Democrats who're skeptical of a stimulus bill -- in part because of its expansion of the deficit -- and Republicans who've stopped using the word "deficit" and are celebrating, in these temporary tax cuts, a typically Keynesian stimulus package.
Top Stories

Obama is considering pressing for tax reform next year, reports Jackie Calmes: "While administration officials cautioned on Thursday that no decisions have been made and that any debate in Congress could take years, Mr. Obama has directed his economic team and Treasury Department analysts to review options for closing loopholes and simplifying income taxes for corporations and individuals, though the study of the corporate tax system is farther along, officials said. The objective is to rid the code of its complex buildup of deductions, credits and exemptions, thereby broadening the base of taxes collected and allowing for lower rates -- much like a bipartisan majority on Mr. Obama’s fiscal commission recommended last week in its final blueprint for reducing the debt through 2020."
The tax deal will cost $858 billion over ten years, report Janet Hook and John McKinnon: "The Senate unveiled final details of a broad tax bill--and its 10-year price tag of $858 billion--and began debate Thursday night on the package, a significant step after two years of gridlock over how to treat expiring tax cuts enacted under former President George W. Bush. Without action, income taxes on nearly every American are due to rise on Jan. 1...But in the House, Democrats were in open revolt. In a closed-door gripe session, they chanted 'Just Say No,' capping a remarkable day of political theater before passing a nonbinding resolution that said the tax agreement shouldn't be considered in the House unless changes were made."
Obama won the tax standoff and humiliated the Republicans, writes Charles Krauthammer: "Barack Obama won the great tax-cut showdown of 2010 - and House Democrats don't have a clue that he did. In the deal struck this week, the president negotiated the biggest stimulus in American history, larger than his $814 billion 2009 stimulus package...Some Republicans are crowing that Stimulus II is the Republican way - mostly tax cuts - rather than the Democrats' spending orgy of Stimulus I. That's consolation? This just means that Republicans are two years too late. Stimulus II will still blow another near-$1 trillion hole in the budget."
"At great cost that will have to be paid after this newest free lunch, the package will add as much as 1 percent to GDP and lower the unemployment rate by about 1.5 percentage points. That could easily be the difference between victory and defeat in 2012. Obama is no fool. While getting Republicans to boost his own reelection chances, he gets them to make a mockery of their newfound, second-chance, post-Bush, Tea-Party, this-time-we're-serious persona of debt-averse fiscal responsibility."
Peter Orszag is headed to Citigroup: http://nyti.ms/hjJ9VQ
Organized labor plans to fight the South Korea trade pact, reports Howard Schneider: "The AFL-CIO, the United Steelworkers, the International Association of Machinists and the Communications Workers of America all said they would oppose the deal when it comes before Congress next year, arguing that it will drain U.S. manufacturing jobs and does not include worker and other protections unions had hoped President Obama would demand. Labor opposition is not uniform: the United Auto Workers, which along with automakers such as Ford Motor Co. was closely involved in the final negotiations over the agreement, has endorsed it. And officials with the United Food and Commercial Workers union have supported it for lowering agricultural tariffs and probably boosting sales of U.S. meat and other foods."
Got tips, additions, or comments? E-mail me.
Swedish pop interlude: Robyn's "Call Your Girlfriend".
Still to come: Chuck Schumer is leading Senate opposition to the tax cuts; Ron Paul will chair the Fed Subcommittee in the House; the House has passed the doc fix; Wisconsin and Ohio are losing high speed rail funding; businesses are negotiating ad hoc deals in Cancun; and baby parrots in bowls.
Economy

Chuck Schumer is leading the Senate fight against the tax deal, reports Shailagh Murray: "To Schumer (N.Y.), Obama's decision to accept a two-year extension of all the tax cuts enacted by President George W. Bush - even at the highest income levels - is a needless capitulation to resurgent Republicans. Schumer wanted the president to push harder to extend the tax cuts, set to expire at year's end, only for middle-class families. But to the White House, it is Schumer who is acting recklessly by seeking to wage class warfare with just days left on the legislative calendar, risking the health of the economy and the pocketbook of every middle-class household with his threat to carry the fight into next year."
At least 54 House Democrats will oppose the deal: http://politi.co/gTjdCk
Ron Paul will chair the Fed subcommittee in the House, reports Felicia Sonmez: "Texas Republican Rep. Ron Paul is poised to chair the House Domestic Monetary Policy Subcommittee, putting the gavel of the panel overseeing the Federal Reserve into the hands of one of the central bank's most outspoken critics. Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), the incoming chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, announced Thursday that Paul will head the subcommittee when Republicans assume the majority in the 112th Congress. 'This is the leadership team that crafted the first comprehensive financial reform bill to put an end to the bailouts, wind down the taxpayer funding of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and enforce a strong audit of the Federal Reserve,' Bachus said in a statement."
The IRS is considering amnesty for offshore tax evasion: http://on.wsj.com/gZkFmx
Max Baucus is an impediment to progress on the deficit, writes Steven Pearlstein: "While Max's vote against the [Bowles-Simpson] plan surprised nobody, even commission members were surprised by his ludicrous explanation that it was bad for rural America...While voters and politicians from rural states talk a good game about cutting the government down to size, it turns out they are the biggest beneficiaries of the federal tax-and-spend machine. The conservative Tax Foundation calculates that the most rural states receive somewhere between $1.50 and $2 in federal spending for every dollar of federal taxes they pay; urban states receive 60 cents to 90 cents."
Obama had "a very good week," writes David Brooks: "The big story of the week is that Obama is returning to first principles, re-establishing himself as a network liberal. This isn’t a move to the center or triangulation. It’s not the Clinton model or the Truman model or any of the other stale categories people are trying to impose on him. It’s standing at one spot in the political universe and trying to build temporarily alliances with people at other spots in the political universe. You don’t have to abandon your principles to cut a deal. You just have to acknowledge that there are other people in the world and even a president doesn’t get to stamp his foot and have his way."
Adorable animals in ceramics interlude: Baby parrots in bowls.
Health Care

The doc fix has passed the House, reports Robert Pear: "The House gave final approval on Thursday to a bill that would avert a 25 percent cut in Medicare payments to doctors by freezing reimbursement rates at current levels until the end of next year. The bill goes now to President Obama, who hailed the action by Congress and promised to sign the legislation...The cost will be offset by changing a provision of the new health care law that offers subsidies to lower-income people to help them buy health insurance, starting in 2014. The bill allows the government to recoup more of any overpayments that people might receive if they misstate their income or earn more than they expect in a given year."
The Senate GOP blocked health care for 9/11 first responders: http://on.wsj.com/hNspuP
Domestic Policy

Ohio and Wisconsin are losing high speed rail funds, reports Amy Merrick: "Gov.-elect Scott Walker in Wisconsin and Gov.-elect John Kasich in Ohio campaigned on pledges to stop passenger-rail projects in their states. On Thursday, they got their wish. U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood rescinded nearly $1.2 billion that had been allocated to Wisconsin and Ohio for new train lines. Wisconsin, which received $810 million for a passenger train between Madison and Milwaukee, will have to forfeit the entire amount. Ohio must give up $385 million of the $400 million allocated for a train connecting Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland. The funds will be redirected to train projects in 14 states. California and Florida will receive the largest portions, up to $624 million and $342.3 million, respectively."
Senate Democrats are delaying a vote on the DREAM Act, report Shankar Vendantam and David Fahrenthold: "Senate Democrats shifted strategy Thursday on legislation that would provide a path to citizenship for some people who were brought to the country illegally as children, calling off a vote that was nearly certain to fail and announcing that they are determined to pass a different version later this month. The House passed its version of the DREAM Act on Wednesday...Senate Democrats voted to pull their bill, allowing them to take up a version identical to the House bill. If the Senate were to pass that version, the legislation would go directly to President Obama for his signature, skipping the process of reconciling the two chambers' measures."
Newt Gingrich is the most pro-immigrant 2012 contender, writes Eduardo Schumacher-Matos: http://wapo.st/ifdYCZ
Energy

The tax deal will include extensions of renewable energy incentives, report Patrick Reis and Darren Goode: "Senators and the White House have apparently agreed on a one-year extension of a key renewable energy grant program, according to key Democratic senators. Sens. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) said the program that gives cash grants to renewable developers will make it. The actual draft language should be made available Thursday evening. The lack of paper has caused some nervousness on the Hill among renewable energy backers. Wednesday, 81 House Democrats sent a letter asked their leaders to include a two-year extension of the grant program, which was originally part of the 2009 stimulus bill and is set to expire at year’s end."
The Obama tax deal could hurt the green economy, writes Brad Plumer: "The renewable industry will have a tough time gaining a firm footing in the market if, every year or two, there's glaring uncertainty about whether Congress will continue to offer support. Wind and solar companies are having a difficult time making investment decisions, which may help explain why wind generation dropped this year, after a boom in 2009. (Oddly enough, this is one "economic uncertainty" argument you rarely hear Republicans make.) An alternative approach would be to extend the tax program for a longer period of time--or go further and pass a bill that requires utilities to get a certain percentage of their power from sources like wind, solar, or biomass. But the latter idea died in the Senate this year, so clean-energy producers are back to fighting for scraps."
Businesses are using the Cancun conference to make ad hoc agreements, report Juliet Eilperin and William Booth: "In response to growing frustration that the U.N. climate negotiations are not producing real-world results, individual nations, states and business are cobbling together patchwork solutions to preserve forests, produce clean energy and scrub pollution from the air. Under this new approach, businesses in California will offset their greenhouse gas emissions by funding tropical forest preservation in Mexico and Brazil; Japan will help pay for nuclear power plants in developing nations; and South Korea will invest in promoting renewable energy at home. But the central question remains: Will a bottom-up network of ad hoc arrangements and bilateral deals be enough to avert dangerous climate change?"
CHART - Countries by total and per capita emissions: http://wapo.st/hCsYFG
Closing credits: Wonkbook is compiled and produced with help from Dylan Matthews, Mike Shepard, and Michelle Williams.

KITCO: Market Hourly Report: Market snapshot as of Fri Dec 10 07:00:46 EST 2010 New York time (GMT - 5)

Market snapshot as of Fri Dec 10 07:00:46 EST 2010 New York time (GMT - 5)
Gold
 Bid 1390.5
 Ask 1391.5
 Change
3.5
0.25%
 High 1393.3
 Low 1385.5
Silver
 Bid 28.8
 Ask 28.84
 Change
0.04
0.14%
 High 29.03
 Low 28.6
Platinum
 Bid 1679.0
 Ask 1687.0
 Change
4.0
0.24%
 High 1692.0
 Low 1673.0
Palladium
 Bid 741.0
 Ask 747.0
 Change
3.0
0.41%
 High 751.0
 Low 738.0

London Fix
  Gold Silver Platinum Palladium
  AM PM - AM PM AM PM
 $USD   1390.0  0.0  0.0  1681.0  0.0  742.0  0.0

NYT : Morning Business News: Tata's Nano, the Car That Few Want to Buy


Business:

On Christmas Shopping Lists, No Credit Slips

By STEPHANIE CLIFFORD
More consumers are shunning credit cards for holiday shopping and using cash to keep themselves on budget.

Tata's Nano, the Car That Few Want to Buy

By VIKAS BAJAJ
The car intended for millions in India has been hurt by delays and safety concerns, and questions about how to cater to people of modest means.
DealBook

Community Health Unveils $3.3 Billion Bid for Tenet

By MICHAEL J. DE LA MERCED
Community Health's offer for Tenet Healthcare is an effort to become a leader in the for-profit hospital sector.