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Mar 3, 2011

Financial And Forex Info | Kitco New York Market Close Report

New York Market Close Mar 03/11 05:20 PM EST

NYT: Afternoon Business News: In Price of Farmland, an Echo of Last Boom


Wall Street Focuses on Upbeat Jobs Data

A day ahead of the government's report on the February jobs market, the Labor Department said that first-time claims for unemployment benefits dropped to 368,000.

In Price of Farmland, an Echo of Last Boom

Regulators are warning that a new real estate bubble may be forming as farmland prices surge across the Midwest.

Second Front: Battle on for Libya's Hidden Wealth

Libya's sovereign wealth fund, founded by a son of the country's ruler, provided access to the elite of both Europe and the United States.

European Central Bank Says Rate May Rise Soon

The bank left its benchmark interest rate unchanged, but said a future increase was "possible."

Retail Sales Rose in February, but Gas Prices Are a Worry

Sales were 4.2 percent higher last month, but one analyst said consumers were starting to notice the sharply higher gasoline prices.

Financial And Forex Info: Reuters - Daily Investor Update. Jobs data optimism fuels Wall St rally



Jobs data optimism fuels Wall St rally
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Investors betting on a big gain in U.S. payrolls pushed Wall Street to its best one-day rally in three months on Thursday, but weak volume lingers as a concern for those hoping for another leg higher. | Full Article

PIMCO's Gross urges slow pace of deficit cuts
March 03, 2011 03:23 PM ET
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Bill Gross, co-chief investment officer of PIMCO, the world's biggest bond fund manager, on Thursday urged lawmakers to cut the massive federal deficit but not so swiftly as to choke off the nascent economic recovery. | Full Article
Fed's balance sheet hits record in latest week
March 03, 2011 04:32 PM ET
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. Federal Reserve's balance sheet expanded to a record size in the latest week, as the central bank continued to purchase bonds, Fed data released on Thursday showed. | Full Article
Data points to strengthening growth, jobs
March 03, 2011 03:53 PM ET
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The number of Americans filing new claims for jobless aid hit the lowest level in more than 2-1/2 years last week and service sector hiring picked up in February, signs the labor market recovery was quickening. | Full Article
Oil falls on profit taking, Libya plan eyed
March 03, 2011 04:06 PM ET
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil prices fell from near 2-1/2-year highs on Thursday as traders took profits after Venezuela pitched a plan to resolve the Libyan crisis, even though the market was deeply skeptical about whether it would work. | Full Article

Libya government accepts Chavez mediation plan: Venezuela
March 03, 2011 02:37 PM ET
CARACAS (Reuters) - The Libyan government has accepted a plan by its ally, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who is seeking talks to end the uprising in the North African country, a Chavez spokesman said on Thursday. | Full Article
Gaddafi bombs oil areas, faces crimes probe
March 03, 2011 02:57 PM ET
AL-UQAYLA, Libya (Reuters) - Muammar Gaddafi struck at rebel control of a key Libyan coastal road for a second day Thursday but received a warning he would be held to account at The Hague for suspected crimes by his security forces. | Full Article
Wisconsin lawmakers talk but no deal on unions
March 03, 2011 02:40 PM ET
MADISON, Wisconsin (Reuters) - Absent Senate Democrats in Wisconsin are in talks with the majority Republicans about possible compromises to end a stalemate over a bill to strip public sector unions of most bargaining rights. | Full Article
Judge refuses to halt new healthcare law
March 03, 2011 01:45 PM ET
MIAMI (Reuters) - A judge put on hold his ruling that President Barack Obama's sweeping healthcare law was unconstitutional pending appeal, allowing the White House to continue implementing the reforms aimed at lowering soaring healthcare costs. | Full Article
Obama and Calderon seek to ease tensions
March 03, 2011 03:45 PM ET
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama and Mexican President Felipe Calderon vowed greater cooperation to combat drugs and arms smuggling and ease trade tensions as they sought to smooth over cross-border differences. | Full Article

Financial And Forex Info | The australian Business Briefing

Australian Business update for Fri Mar 04 08:45:57 EST 2011
Wall St soars on upbeat jobs data
Wall St UPDATED Brendan Conway US stocks closed sharply higher, with the Dow up by the most in three months, on a strong reading on employment and a dip in the oil price.
Gillard backs US position on the yuan
Chinese Yuan Enda Curran JULIA Gillard says imbalances in the world economy must be tackled by governments embracing floating exchange rates.
Rift ends media moguls' truce
James Packer Damon Kitney THE truce between the nation's most powerful media moguls is over following a rift between James Packer, Kerry Stokes and Lachlan Murdoch.
Telstra's Plan B if NBN collapses
Telstras plan Mitchell Bingemann TELSTRA has been working on a contingency plan should the Gillard government's mammoth national broadband project fail.
Aussie miners rate high in global boom
mining Sarah-Jane Tasker THE global mining boom is back in full swing after a record number of transactions last year, and Australia is the second most active nation.
Banks rake in third-best returns
Citibank Scott Murdoch THE Australian banking sector is the third most profitable in the world, with the local big four among the largest and most stable.
Trichet warns ECB may lift rates
Trichet Geoffrey Smith EUROPEAN Central Bank president Jean-Claude Trichet has warned that an increase in official interest rates "is possible" next month.
News gets nod for BSkyB buyout
BSkyB Jonathan Browning RUPERT Murdoch  has won British government approval for his $12.5 billion bid to take full control of British Sky Broadcasting Group.
Financial Markets
Wall St soars on upbeat jobs data
Wall St UPDATED Brendan Conway US stocks closed sharply higher, with the Dow up by the most in three months, on a strong reading on employment and a dip in the oil price.
Oil price falls but holds above $US100
Gillard backs US position on the yuan
Financial Markets Coverage
Mining & Energy
Oil price falls but holds above $US100
oil Dan Strumpf OIL dipped today, but still held above $US100 a barrel, following reports that a solution to the conflict in Libya could be on the horizon.
Gold retreats on oil dip, hawkish ECB
Chevron's $10bn local content claim under fire
More Mining & Energy Coverage

Financial And Forex Info: WSJ - Most E-mailed Articles

from The Wall Street Journal Online

March 3, 2011


How can fringe benefits cost nearly as much as a worker's salary? Answer: collective bargaining.

Financial And Forex Info News: Carey Watermark Investors Incorporated Breaks Escrow

Carey Watermark Investors Incorporated Breaks Escrow 
New York, March 3, 2011 – Carey Watermark Investors Incorporated (CWI) announced today that it has raised proceeds sufficient to break escrow in connection with its initial public offering.  CWI has now admitted initial investors as shareholders.  New shareholders will continue to be admitted on a daily closing basis.

CWI intends to use the proceeds from its offering primarily to act as a capital provider to the lodging industry by acquiring a diversified portfolio of lodging and lodging related properties. Lodging properties to be acquired may include: full-service hotels, resort properties, high-end independent urban and boutique hotels, select-service hotels and mixed use projects with non-lodging components.

CWI is being advised by Carey Lodging Advisors, LLC, a subsidiary of W. P. Carey & Co. LLC (NYSE: WPC). CWA, LLC, a subsidiary of Watermark Capital Partners, serves as subadvisor. The advisor and subadvisor will manage CWI’s overall portfolio, including providing oversight and strategic guidance to the independent property operators that manage our properties.

CWI is offering up to 100,000,000 shares of its common stock for sale at $10.00 per share for aggregate gross proceeds of up to $1 billion, and up to an additional 25,000,000 shares of its common stock for issuance under its distribution reinvestment plan at $9.50 per share. The Board of Directors of CWI has declared a daily distribution of $0.00111111 per share, which is payable to shareholders of record as of the close of business on each day during the first quarter of 2011 and will be paid in aggregate on or about April 15, 2011.  Initial shareholders are eligible to start accruing distributions on Thursday, March 3, 2011.

CWI is a publicly registered, non-traded corporation that intends to qualify as real estate investment trust (REIT). Carey Financial, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of W. P. Carey & Co. LLC, is managing the best efforts offering through select broker/dealer firms and registered investment advisors.

A registration statement relating to the offering of these securities has been filed with and declared effective by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).CWI accepts shareholders residing in 47 of the 50 states. Approval is pending in Maryland and Alabama.  Investors residing in Pennsylvania will be admitted after aggregate subscriptions exceed $33.3 million.   

A copy of the final prospectus for the offering is available upon written request addressed to Carey Watermark Investors Incorporated, 50 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, New York 10020.  This prospectus may also be obtained at the SEC’s website at:, or at the CWI website at:

Forward-Looking Statements
Certain statements contained herein may be deemed to be forward-looking statements under federal securities laws and the company intends that such forward-looking statements be subject to the safe-harbor provisions created thereby. All forward-looking statements are qualified in their entirety by this cautionary statement and Carey Watermark Investors Incorporated and its related and affiliated companies assume no, and hereby disclaim any, obligation to update the forward-looking statements contained herein. This caution is made under the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.

Financial And Forex Info: The Australian Capital Circle:MySchool 2.0 delivers information reboot

Capital Circle Newsletter

MySchool 2.0 delivers information reboot
The new MySchool website promises a wealth of information, but glitches have already emerged.

The PM's day, per the press office: Prime Minister Julia Gillard is flying to South Australia's Kangaroo Island for the funeral of Sapper Jamie Larcombe. She will return to Canberra later today before flying to the United States on the weekend to a meeting with President Barack Obama.
Tony Abbott made a brief appearance on the Today show this morning. He is now on his way to the funeral of Sapper Larcombe.
The cost of doing business: Special Minister of State Gary Gray has revealed that 94 personal ministerial staff were paid out $5.4 million following the last election. He also revealed in an answer to Liberal Jamie Briggs, another 18 ministerial staff were paid out after Julia Gillard ousted Kevin Rudd as PM, including 16 staff from Mr Rudd's office. (information here)
The business of the house: After two sittings weeks, parliament has risen for a fortnight. What did it actually achieve? There were 18 bills passed by the House of Representatives, 5 bills passed through the Senate and 6 bills were passed by both houses of parliament.
***Sign up to Capital Circle -- news from the beltway to your inbox***
MySchool 2.0: The Australian Online is waiting for the site to go live at 10am to begin analysing the data.
What we know so far: The Australian leads with a report that private schools spend about the same amount of money teaching their students as government schools, with the first national figures on school finances revealing the extra money raised in private fees is spent on buildings, sporting grounds and other facilities. (more from Justine Ferrari)
The Daily Telegraph reports there are already problems with the new website, with school finances incorrectly presented. (more from < p>

MarketWatch - Bulletin: Dow Fiinishes Best Day Since Dec 1.

By Laura Mandaro

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- A retreat in jobless claims and oil prices sent U.S. stocks sharply higher Thursday, resulting in the Dow Jones Industrial Average's /quotes/comstock/10w!i:dji/delayed (DJIA 12,258, +191.40, +1.59%) best performance in more than three months. The Dow gained 191.40 points, or 1.6%, to 12,258.20, with all but two of 30 components ending higher. It was the biggest point gain since Dec. 1. The S&P 500 /quotes/comstock/21z!i1:in\x (SPX 1,331, +22.53, +1.72%) gained 22.53 points, or 1.7%, to 1,330.97, with industrials and financials leading an advance in all 10 industry sectors. The Nasdaq Composite /quotes/comstock/10y!i:comp (COMP 2,799, +50.67, +1.84%) rallied 50.67 points, or 1.8%, to 2,798.74. Oil futures ended slightly lower, with the April contract closing just below $102 a barrel.

Financial And Forex Info: Gasoline Prices Jump 4 cents - Oil Price Falls


(USA TODAY) Pump prices jumped another 4 cents Thursday to a new national average of $3.43 per gallon, according to AAA, Wright Express and Oil Price Information Service. Gasoline has climbed more than 29 cents a gallon since the uprising in Libya began in mid-February, costing Americans an extra $108 million a day to buy the same amount of fuel.
Meanwhile, forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi continued to battle for control of Libya with opposition army units and other opposition volunteers. Libya, which sits on the most oil reserves in Africa and is a major exporter to Europe, continues to produce oil, though experts say it's unclear how much will eventually make it to international ports.
The fighting, combined with international sanctions, could keep companies from doing business with Libya. Refineries in Europe are finding other sources of crude.
The fighting, combined with international sanctions, could keep companies from doing business with Libya. Refineries in Europe are finding other sources of crude.
Oil traders say they've mostly priced in the loss of Libyan production. The so-called "fear premium" could rise further if reform movements escalate in neighboring countries such as Algeria, Iran and Saudi Arabia. But on Thursday crude oil prices dropped from two-year highs set earlier in the week.

Benchmark West Texas Intermediate for April delivery gave up $1.46 to $100.77 a barrel a little after noon ET on the Nymex futures exchange.
In other Nymex trading for April contracts, heating oil fell 2 cents to $3.035 per gallon and gasoline futures lost 3 cents at $2.9981 per gallon. Natural gas gave up almost 4 cents to $3.781 per 1,000 cubic feet.
In London, Brent crude fell almost 2% to $114.66 per barrel.

NFA Enforcement Actions: CD Capital Management Inc. Permanently Barred From NFA Membership.

Testimony Of Chairman Gary Gesler / Sanctions Against Robert D. Barne Of Moreno Vallery

The following enforcement action has been released:
Robert D. Bame, d/b/a/ Forward Investment Group, LLC
  • Order: CFTC v. Robert D. Bame, et al.
  • Order: CFTC v. Robert D. Bame, et al. 
  • CFTC Press Release 5994-11 provides further details on this action.

Thu, 03 Mar 2011 12:00:00 -0600
Testimony of Chairman Gary Gensler Before the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry, Washington, DC:
Testimony Before the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry, Washington, DC
Thu, 03 Mar 2011 11:08:00 -0600
 Restitution and Civil Monetary Penalties:

California Federal Court Imposes More than $46.9 Million in Monetary Sanctions on Robert D. Bame and his Firm, Forward Investment Group, LLC, for Commodity Pool Fraud 

The Washigton Post Afternoon Edition;: Most Read Opinion Columns: (1) Obama's 'Where's Waldo?' presidency

Washington Post

1) Obama's 'Where's Waldo?' presidency

Barack Obama is often strangely absent from the most important debates.

2) Troops need equipment? Let 'em drink beer.

The real reason U.S. troops in Afghanistan lack the protection they need.

3) No glory for governors trying to do the right fiscal thing

Want to be a media star among governors? Don't think -- just cut.

4) Lamar Smith: Immigration's taskmaster

The new House Judiciary Committee chairman targets illegal immigration.

5) The right to even ugly free speech

The Supreme Court decides correctly in allowing an anti-gay protest outside a military funeral.

6) Behind Iraq's protests, a call for better democracy

How the Arab uprisings have shifted the political mood in Baghdad.

7) Mexico beyond the drug violence

How Merida, Mexico, doesn't fit the mold of negative news.

8) The public-sector workers on which our future depends

Whatever happens in Wisconsin, let's make teaching an attractive career.

9) A no-fly zone over Libya deserves more consideration

A no-fly zone over Libya deserves more consideration

10) Is preparing for the climate's worst really the best strategy?

I found Mike Tidwell's Feb. 27 Outlook essay, " Weather beaten ," morally disturbing and politically disappointing. It also missed the point.

The Economist. Business This Week

Business this week
Mar 3rd 2011
From The Economist print edition

The continuing instability in the Middle East caused stockmarkets in the Gulf region to tumble. Saudi Arabia’s main share-price index fell to a 23-month low amid worries about the potential for unrest among the Shia population in the oil-producing east of the country, while the benchmark indices in Dubai and Kuwait hit six-year lows. Meanwhile, the chief economist at the International Energy Agency predicted that “the age of cheap oil is over”. Brent crude traded at around $115 a barrel. See article
The Obama administration issued the first permit to restart deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico since the lifting in October of a moratorium that was imposed after the BP oil-spill disaster. With the oil price so high, the government has come under pressure to allow more offshore drilling.
In his twice-yearly report to Congress Ben Bernanke, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, gave warning that surging prices in oil and other commodities could hamper America’s economic recovery, but said he did not anticipate a big rise in inflation.
Revised data showed that China held $1.16 trillion in American Treasuries at the end of 2010, around 30% more than had been thought. Japan was the second-largest foreign holder of American government debt, with $882 billion in Treasuries.
The Securities and Exchange Commission laid a civil charge of insider trading against Rajat Gupta, one of America’s best-known management consultants. Among other things the SEC alleges that Mr Gupta tipped off Galleon, a hedge-fund management firm, about a $5 billion investment that Warren Buffett made in Goldman Sachs in 2008. Galleon is alleged to have reaped $18m as a result of various information it received from Mr Gupta. A former head of McKinsey, Mr Gupta advises the UN on management reform. See article

America’s Supreme Court ruled that companies do not have a right to personal privacy. AT&T had argued that releasing documents from an investigation into the fees it charges schools contravened its personal privacy, but the court found that “personal” means “precisely the opposite of business-related…personal expenses and business expenses, personal life and work life, personal opinion and a company’s view”.
A ruling by the European Court of Justice that insurance companies could no longer use sex as a factor in setting insurance rates was widely criticised. Female drivers may now have to pay more for their car insurance, despite being a lower risk behind the wheel. In Britain, men, who have a shorter life expectancy, will no longer be entitled to higher annuities than women. See article
Blackstone agreed to buy the 588 strip malls in America that are owned by Australia’s Centro Properties. Centro bought the malls before the financial crisis. The acquisition, valued at $9.4 billion, is Blackstone’s largest since 2007.
PPL, an energy company based in Pennsylvania, won a bid for the electricity networks in Britain that are owned by Germany’s E.ON. Last year PPL bought two power companies in Kentucky from E.ON, which is selling assets to help pay off debt and expand in emerging markets. PPL’s $6.4 billion offer for E.ON’s British business beat a rival bid from Li Ka-shing, Hong Kong’s richest man.
Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation announced that it would spin off the news operations of British Sky Broadcasting, paving the way for its full acquisition of the satellite broadcaster (it already owns 39%). The takeover is controversial; News Corp is Britain’s biggest newspaper publisher. Under its proposal News Corp will take a 39% stake in a publicly listed Sky News, finance it for ten years and guarantee its editorial independence. See article

It emerged that a fund run by JPMorgan Chase is seeking a minority stake in privately held Twitter, valuing the microblogging website at around $4.5 billion.
There was a political row in Bangladesh when the central bank moved to have Muhammad Yunus dismissed as managing director of Grameen, a pioneering bank in microfinance lending to the poor, ostensibly because at 70 he is above the mandatory retirement age. Mr Yunus, a Nobel prize-winner, has strained relations with the Bangladeshi prime minister. See article

John Galliano was sacked as Christian Dior’s lead designer for professional misconduct. This came after a video surfaced of Mr Galliano apparently making anti-Semitic remarks to customers in a Paris restaurant and declaring “I love Hitler”. Mr Galliano was admitted to the French Legion of Honour in 2009.

The Economist Politics This Week

Politics this week
Mar 3rd 2011
From The Economist print edition

Fighting between forces loyal to Libya’s leader, Muammar Qaddafi, and his opponents in the east grew fiercer. He remains in control of Tripoli, the capital, and is battling to seize back towns under rebel control. Western and Arab leaders discussed whether a no-fly zone should be imposed. See article
The UN said that the humanitarian situation caused by the fighting was dire, with more than 100,000 refugees from Libya in makeshift camps across the borders with Egypt and Tunisia. The UN suspended Libya from the Human Rights Council; the International Criminal Court opened an investigation into possible crimes against humanity committed by Libya’s leaders. See article
The Egyptian prime minister, Ahmed Shafiq, stepped down, as did the Tunisian prime minister, Mohamed Ghannouchi. Protests continued in both countries, with pro-democracy campaigners complaining about the slow pace of reform and the continuing presence of allies of the former regimes. See article
Demonstrations got angrier in Yemen’s capital, Sana’a, and in other towns across the country. At least 27 people are reported to have been killed since the protests began a few weeks ago. President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s offer to form a unity government failed to quell the unrest. See article
At least one person was killed in protests by jobless and ill-paid youths in Sohar, a port city in hitherto peaceful Oman. Days later, however, thousands of Omanis took to the streets in support of Sultan Qaboos, who has promised reform. See article
Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, leaders of the Iranian opposition Green Movement, have been thrown in jail, according to their families. Thousands of protesters took to the streets in response, leading, said the opposition, to 200 arrests.
Six men were killed in an apparent assassination or coup attempt in Congo. Shooting broke out in Kinshasa, the capital, after unidentified men armed with guns, rocket-propelled grenades and machetes attacked the home of Joseph Kabila, the president.

Shahbaz Bhatti, Pakistan’s minister for minorities, was gunned down outside his home in Islamabad. Mr Bhatti, a Christian, was a critic of Pakistan’s harsh blasphemy laws, as was Salman Taseer, the governor of Punjab, who was assassinated two months ago. A message left at the scene of Mr Bhatti’s murder promised death to those who offer support to blasphemers. See article
A court in the Indian state of Gujarat found 31 Muslim men guilty for the deaths of 59 Hindu activists who died in a fire at a railway station in 2002. The killings at Godhra ignited rioting in which at least 2,000 people, mostly Muslims, were massacred. Eleven of the defendants were sentenced to death.
India’s Supreme Court ordered the head of the country’s anti-corruption commission to resign, because he faces corruption charges.

The recently retired head of Bolivia’s drug police was arrested in Panama and sent to the United States to face charges of trafficking cocaine. Three other senior police officers were arrested in Bolivia. In its annual report this week the International Narcotics Control Board, a UN body, complained about the failure of the government of Evo Morales, Bolivia’s president, to curb cocaine production. See article
Brazil’s government said it would scale back planned spending on housing for the poor, postpone the purchase of 36 fighter jets for the air force and freeze the federal government payroll as part of its effort to cool an overheating economy.

Voters in Ireland threw out their Fianna Fail-led government at an election. The new government will be led by Fine Gael’s Enda Kenny, whose party scored its best result ever. Mr Kenny has promised to secure a better deal from the European Union on Ireland’s bail-out. See article
The Dutch government looked set to lose its majority in the upper-house Senate after its coalition partners did badly in regional elections.
France’s president, Nicolas Sarkozy, sacked his controversial foreign minister, Michèle Alliot-Marie, over her apparently close links with the ousted Tunisian regime. Her job went to a former Gaullist prime minister, Alain Juppé. See article
The German defence minister, Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, was forced to quit after a long row over plagiarism in his doctoral thesis. Chancellor Angela Merkel, who was reluctant to lose the popular Mr zu Guttenberg, replaced him with a Christian Democrat stalwart, Thomas de Maizière. See article
Two American air force servicemen were shot dead and two were wounded when a gunman opened fire on a military bus at Frankfurt Airport. A suspect, apparently from Kosovo, was arrested.
A Bangladeshi man was found guilty by a court in London of involvement in a plot to blow up airliners. Rajib Karim worked as a software engineer for British Airways, where he contacted Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born radical cleric based in Yemen.

Democrats and Republicans in Congress passed another interim measure that avoids a shutdown of the federal government and cuts $4 billion in spending. But the bill provided only a two-week extension to funding, and the whole issue will have to be resolved again by March 18th. See article
Barack Obama suggested that he would give states the opportunity to seek waivers from mandates in the new health-insurance law as soon as the legislation comes into effect in 2014. The act that was passed by Congress requires states to wait until 2017 before they can apply for opt-outs.

The Supreme Court ruled that the constitution protected the right of a fundamentalist church from Kansas to picket the funerals of troops killed in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, overturning the decision of a lower court that had sided with the family of a marine who had served in Iraq. The Westboro church believes the wars are God’s punishment for America’s tolerance of homosexuality. It airs its views near memorial services for the troops, usually under police protection.

MarketWatch | Personal Finance Daily: Small-business hiring to offset government layoffs


Personal Finance Daily
MARCH 03, 2011

Thursday's Personal Finance Stories

By MarketWatch

Don't miss these top stories:
If Friday's February jobs report shows a solid increase in new jobs, as economists expect, the credit should go to small-business owners that are hiring new workers even as government agencies are cutting jobs and big corporations are holding their staffing levels flat, writes Kathleen Madigan. She says in her column today that U.S. firms with fewer than 50 employees have created an average of 100,000 new jobs in each of the past three months, accounting for 45% of all new jobs.

This past year may have been a quiet one for tax legislation, but there are a few health-related tax rule changes you won't want to miss. Anya Martin details the changes as they affect new moms and the self-employed, and points out that different states have different rules that sometimes allow greater leeway in medical deductions than the IRS does.

Anne Stanley , Managing Editor, Personal Finance


Small-business hiring to offset government layoffs

Small-business owners are hiring even as governments are cutting workers and big corporations are holding staffing levels nearly flat.
Read more: Small business hiring to offset government layoffs.

Initial jobless claims at lowest since May 2008

New applications for U.S. jobless benefits fall to their lowest level in nearly three years — 368,000, down 20,000 from the prior week — as readings for both four-week and continuing claims also show improvement.
Read more: Initial jobless claims at lowest since May 2008


Rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fall

Rates on the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage dropped for the third week in a row, averaging 4.87% this week, according to Freddie Mac's weekly survey of conforming mortgage rates, released Thursday. The mortgage averaged 4.95% last week and 4.97% a year ago.
Read more: Rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fall.


Tax breaks for health-care costs

New mothers, the self-employed and some state residents may enjoy tax breaks for medical costs on their 2010 tax return.
Read more: Tax breaks for health-care costs

Seven tax tips for your 2010 return

From the Making Work Pay credit to deducting job-search expenses, don't miss these essential tax advantages for 2010.
Read more: Seven tax tips for your 2010 return.


ECB rate hike possible, Trichet says; euro rallies

The head of the European Central Bank calls an interest-rate hike in April "possible" as alarm rises over inflation and upside risks to "price developments," sending the euro jumping.
Read more: ECB rate hike possible.

U.S. productivity up 2.6% in fourth quarter

The productivity of American businesses shows 2.6% growth for the fourth quarter, unchanged from the government's original estimate. Output and hours worked are both revised slightly lower, however.
Read more: U.S. productivity up 2.6% in fourth quarter.


Oil prices threaten Japan stock-market rally

If oil prices rise and Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan falls, he will have something to blame besides himself for any ensuing flight of overseas funds out of Japanese stocks.
Read more: Oil prices threaten Japan stock rally.

What is gold's climb really telling us?

As gold reaches a record high, Peter Brimelow asks: Is it telling us something?
Read more: What is gold's climb really telling us?

Cash, credit, or mobile phone?

The U.S. has lagged behind in mobile payments, but recent moves by large companies hint that this will change soon, writes Bob Lento.
Read more: Credit, cash or mobile phone?

Seven spring cleaning tips for your portfolio

Spring has sprung, and with the warmer weather — and looming income-tax deadline — it is as a good a time as any to roll up your sleeves and put your finances in order, writes Jeff Reeves.
Read more: Spring cleaning tips for your portfolio.

Oil price surge not a recovery killer

Despite the sudden climb in oil above $102 a barrel, the U.S. recovery remains on track. A much bigger economic shock would be needed to threaten the return of recession.
Read more: Oil price surge is not a recovery killer.

Financial And Forex Info: Kitco London Fix Market Report

London Fix Thu Mar 03 00:00:00 EST 2011
USD 1430.50 1421.50   34.53 1846.00
823.00 817.00
UK 879.23 874.45   21.22 1134.25
505.70 500.90
EURO 1031.51 1020.39   24.90 1332.35
594.00 585.45