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May 17, 2011

Financial & Forex Info | The Australian Capital Circle: Labor Greens Lockk Horns Over Carbon Price

Capital Circle Newsletter
Labor, Greens lock horns over carbon price
Labor and the Greens are at loggerheads over the details of the carbon tax starting price.

The PM's diary: Julia Gillard will spend the day in independent MP Tony Windsor's seat of New England. She'll flick the NBN switch in Armidale, the first mainland site to receive the super-fast network (report). She also spent yesterday in the electorate (report). Her local blitz includes talking to local radio stations ABC North-west and 2TM and an event after 9am in Tamworth. The PM will finish her day in Adelaide and wake up in her parent's home town on Thursday, ready for community cabinet.
Tony Abbott is flying to Perth this morning and will deliver a post-budget speech to a business lunch.
Treasurer Wayne Swan continues his budget road show. He is in Adelaide today and then Perth tonight to address the Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Liberal Treasury spokesman Joe Hockey will deliver his budget reply speech at the National Press Club today.
Strike: The public sector union is warning pay negotiations with the government are heading for an impasse. To head off strike action - a move open to workers after contracts expire on June 30 - the CPSU will meet with the Public Service Commission tomorrow. And while the union says its crunch time for Customs, Immigration, Defence, Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and the Quarantine and Inspection Service, 74 government agencies are negotiating.
On the road: Energy Minister Martin Ferguson is in Sydney to address the Energy Networks Association smart networks seminar. Tony Burke is in SA make an announcement about the recovery of the Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth. Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese is in Townsville to inspect the redevelopment of Flinders St with local mayor Les Tyrell. Schools Minister Peter Garrett is visiting Tyndale Christian School in SA with local MP Tony Zappia.

Read more... 
Peter Brent
Peter Brent
Unpopular government, unpopular budget
Yesterday's opinion polls, three of them, had the government way behind again in voting intentions. Prime Minister Julia Gillard's standing continues to fall...
More Peter Brent

Financial & Forex Info News | The Australian Business Briefing: $A vulnerable to vicious decline: HSBC

Australian Business update for Wednesday, 18 May 2011
$A vulnerable to vicious decline: HSBC
Australian dollar Eva Szalay THE Australian dollar is the major currency most closely linked to buoyant sentiment, leaving it susceptible to a "vicious" decline.
Wall St weak on slowdown concerns
Wall St Jonathan Cheng US stocks stumbled for a third straight day as weak economic data and a negative Hewlett-Packard heightened fears about a slowdown.
Thorney to spend big in US push
Alex Waislitz EXCLUSIVE Damon Kitney THE investment company owned and run by two heirs to the late Richard Pratt's multi-billion-dollar fortune is planning to make a move into the US .
Dying man 'ruined Amcor plot'
Jim Hodgson Blair Speedy A SECRET arrangement by Amcor executives to buy out part of the company at a fire-sale price fell apart after a deathbed confession.
US approves BHP's deep-water Gulf plan
oil Ryan Dezember US regulators approved today a deep-water Gulf of Mexico exploration plan by BHP Billiton, allowing the company to now seek drilling permits.
Foxtel eyeing Austar to clear path
Austar James Chessell, Damon Kitney and Nabila Ahmed FOXTEL'S shareholders have put aside their differences over a $2 billion takeover bid for regional pay-television group Austar.
A matter of trust: the right advice
cross fingers Gillian Bullock WHAT hope is there of getting unconflicted advice when there are apparently only seven truly independent financial planners in Australia?
Rates to rise despite RBA board concern
Roger Corbett Scott Murdoch THE Reserve Bank will push ahead with an interest rate rise in the next few months, despite growing concerns.
Financial Markets
Wall St weak on slowdown concerns
Wall St Jonathan Cheng US stocks stumbled for a third straight day as weak economic data and a negative Hewlett-Packard heightened fears about a slowdown.
$A vulnerable to vicious decline: HSBC
Gold price pressured by Soros selling
Financial Markets Coverage
Mining & Energy
US approves BHP's deep-water Gulf plan
oil Ryan Dezember US regulators approved today a deep-water Gulf of Mexico exploration plan by BHP Billiton, allowing the company to now seek drilling permits.
Gold price pressured by Soros selling
Copper pares gains on weak US housing
More Mining & Energy Coverage

The Washington Post | Post Politics Afternoon Edition: New Gingric: A Man Out Of Time

The Washington Post
Politics Afternoon Edition


  1. Newt Gingrich: A man out of time?

    By almost any account, former House speaker Newt Gingrich has had a bad week — and it's only Tuesday.
    » Read full article
  2. Lawmakers call for HUD probe

    A bipartisan group of federal lawmakers is calling on Congress to probe the nation's housing-construction program for the poor.
    » Read full article
  3. The Fix: Paul Ryan not running for Senate

    Despite Rep. Paul Ryan's name immediately coming up in discussions about the seat being vacated by Sen. Herb Kohl (D), the Wisconsin representative said he will not run for U.S. Senate.
    » Read full article
  4. 44: Obama tosses wrench in Republican campaign plans

    Obama has complicated the race for several potential Republican candidates in several ways, such as by releasing his long-form birth certificate and attacking Rep. Paul Ryan's Medicare plan.
    » Read full article
  5. Federal Eye: Postal Service again threatens to not pay retiree benefits

    The U.S. Postal Service is once again threatening to not pay roughly $5.4 billion in retiree health benefits this fall because it cannot afford to do so.
    » Read full article

Financial & Forex Info | Kitco Market Close Report

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New York Market Close May 17/11 05:21 PM EDT

Financial & Forex Info | Reuters - Daily Investor Update: Wall Street hit by economic blues; traders eyes bounce.

Wall Street hit by economic blues; traders eye bounce
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Dow and the S&P 500 fell for a third day on Tuesday after disappointing figures from Wal-Mart and Hewlett-Packard, although a late rebound suggested investors may be looking for a short-term bounce. | Full Article

Dell raises fiscal year operating income outlook
May 17, 2011 04:23 PM ET
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Dell Inc reported revenue that was slightly lower than Wall Street expectations but the No. 2 PC maker raised its outlook for operating income for fiscal 2012. | Full Article
Economic data suggests soft patch continues
May 17, 2011 03:17 PM ET
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. factory output slipped for the first time in 10 months in April as a shortage of parts from Japan crimped activity and home building slumped, showing the economy got off to a weak start in the second quarter. | Full Article
Wal-Mart tops view; key sales down 1.1 percent
May 17, 2011 11:44 AM ET
CHICAGO (Reuters) - Wal-Mart Stores Inc's U.S. same-store sales have fallen for two straight years, as customers struggle with high unemployment and wages that are not keeping up with rising prices for food and other basics. | Full Article
Probes into banks' mortgage lending grow
May 17, 2011 01:56 PM ET
NEW YORK/CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (Reuters) - The New York attorney general's office has requested information from three major banks about their mortgage operations, according to a source familiar with the matter. | Full Article

Jailed Strauss-Kahn faces pressure to quit IMF
May 17, 2011 02:43 PM ET
NEW YORK/BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Dominique Strauss-Kahn faced pressure from European officials to quit as head of the International Monetary Fund on Tuesday after he spent his first night in a notorious New York jail. | Full Article
Pakistan military protests after NATO incursion wounds soldiers
May 17, 2011 08:58 AM ET
MIRANSHAH, Pakistan/KABUL (Reuters) - NATO helicopters from Afghanistan intruded into northwest Pakistan Tuesday, wounding two soldiers, officials said, prompting a protest from the military already seething over the secret U.S. operation to kill Osama bin Laden. | Full Article
Libya's top oil official defects: Tunisian source
May 17, 2011 02:51 PM ET
TRIPOLI/TUNIS (Reuters) - The chairman of Libya's National Oil Corporation has defected from Muammar Gaddafi's administration and fled to neighboring Tunisia, a Tunisian security source said on Tuesday. | Full Article
HP slashes outlook, spends on services overhaul
May 17, 2011 02:10 PM ET
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Hewlett-Packard Co slashed its 2011 profit forecast as it prepares to spend heavily to revamp a troubled division that provides everything from computer maintenance to high-level tech consulting, sending its shares tumbling over 7 percent. | Full Article
Britain's Queen honors Irish nationalists
May 17, 2011 03:26 PM ET
DUBLIN (Reuters) - Queen Elizabeth honored Irish people killed fighting for independence from Britain on Tuesday in a powerful gesture of reconciliation few people would have believed possible even in recent times. | Full Article

Gates says vaccine investment offers best returns
Putting a price on blood tests can save money
Generics deal cuts cost of AIDS drugs for poor
China AIDS sufferers being denied medical care
Hospice care doesn't hasten death: study

CBS Political Hotsheet Top Stories: Health waivers in Pelosi's district upset right

The CBS News Political Hotsheet newsletter


Critics say the large number of health reform waivers granted in Democratic House leader's district is example of corruption; officials say they simply applied
Read full story
Health waivers in Pelosi's district upset right

Santorum: McCain GOP presidential hopeful says former prisoner of war John McCain "doesn't understand how enhanced interrogation works"

Report: Gingrich owed up to $500,000 to Tiffany Financial disclosure forms show Republican presidential candidate had six-figure credit card debt to jewelry company

Clinton: Obama says he'll win re-election At global development event, Secretary of State remarks on president's optimism for re-election

Angry voter confronts Newt Gingrich Republican presidential candidate takes heat for calling Paul Ryan Medicare plan "social engineering," suggesting support for health care mandate

U.S. Department Of The Treasury | Press Center: Treasury Designates Iranian State-Owned Bank for Facilitating Iran's Proliferation Activities.

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of the Treasury today announced the designation of Bank of Industry and Mine (BIM), an Iranian state-owned bank used by the Government of Iran to evade U.S. and international sanctions against Iranian financial institutions involved in facilitating transactions in support of Iran’s proliferation activities.
Owned entirely by the Government of Iran, BIM was designated today pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13382 for providing financial services to Bank Mellat and Europaisch Iranische Handelsbank (EIH), two Iranian banks previously designated by Treasury in connection with Iran’s proliferation activities.
E.O. 13382 is aimed at freezing the assets of proliferators of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their supporters, thereby isolating them from the U.S. financial and commercial systems.
“Iran has a well-established practice of migrating illicit financial activities from one bank to another to facilitate transactions for sanctioned banks,” said Acting Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen. “The sophisticated nature of this scheme illustrates the disruptive impact of sanctions on Iran’s efforts to sustain its proliferation activities.”
Following the adoption of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1929, the European Union implemented sanctions targeting Iran’s nuclear and missile proliferation activities, including prohibiting 18 Iranian banks from conducting transactions in Europe. In the weeks following the EU’s action, BIM allowed EIH to transfer deposits it held for many of those designated banks to an account at BIM in Iran.  BIM then used this account as a conduit for payments and transactions into Europe by some of these EU-sanctioned banks, including Bank Mellat and Bank Saderat.  
Since July 2010, BIM has participated in this scheme devised by EIH to circumvent international banking sanctions by transferring funds from Bank Mellat’s account at BIM to EIH’s account at BIM. EIH then disbursed euro-denominated payments to Bank Mellat’s customers in Europe.
In August 2010, Treasury issued the Iranian Financial Sanctions Regulations to implement the financial provisions of the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010. Under these regulations, Treasury may prohibit, or impose strict conditions on, foreign financial institutions’ access to the U.S. financial system for facilitating significant transactions or providing significant financial services for a financial institution designated by the U.S. – such as BIM – in connection with Iran’s WMD proliferation or support for international terrorism.  BIM is the twenty-first Iranian state-owned bank designated by Treasury. 
“Treasury will remain relentless in our efforts to counter Iran’s abuse of the international financial system,” Cohen continued.
Background on EIH and Bank Mellat:
BIM is the majority owner of EIH, headquartered in Hamburg, Germany and designated by Treasury in September 2010 pursuant to E.O. 13382 for providing financial services to Bank Mellat, Persia International Bank, the Export Development Bank of Iran and Post Bank of Iran – all designated by Treasury pursuant to E.O. 13382. EIH is one of the few remaining banks in Europe actively facilitating business with Iranian banks, handling billions of dollars worth of transactions on their behalf.  When facilitating financial services for Iranian WMD proliferators, EIH actively obscured the Iranian involvement in the process. In addition to owning a majority interest of EIH, BIM takes credit for the 2008 opening of EIH’s branch in Tehran.
Treasury designated Bank Mellat in October 2007 as a supporter of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) and Novin Energy Company, both designated pursuant to E.O. 13382 and by the United Nations and European Union. The AEOI, which reports directly to the Iranian president, is Iran’s main organization for research and development of nuclear technology, and manages fissile material production programs. Novin Energy has transferred millions of dollars on behalf of AEOI to entities associated with Iran's nuclear program.
Treasury Designates Iranian State-Owned Bank for Facilitating Iran's Proliferation Activities

Identifying Information:

Entity:                        Bank of Industry and Mine (Of Iran) AKA:                          Bank Sanad Va Madan AKA:                          BIM Address:                     PO Box 15875-4456, Firouzeh Tower, No 1655 Vali-Asr Ave after Chamran Crossroads, Tehran 1965643511, Iran Alt. Address:               No 1655, Firouzeh Building, Mahmoudiye Street, Valiasr Ave, Tehran, Iran

CFTC | Enforcement Action: The CFTC charged precious metals firm American Precious Metals, LLC of Deerfield Beach, Fla., and its founders and principals...

The Following Enforcement Action Have Been Released

The CFTC charged precious metals firm American Precious Metals, LLC of Deerfield Beach, Fla., and its founders and principals, Sammy J. Goldman of Delray Beach, Fla., and Harry Robert Tanner, Jr. of Lake Worth, Fla., with fraud in connection with offering, purchasing, selling or delivering gold, silver, platinum and palladium to U.S. retail customers on a leveraged basis.

CFTC Charges Florida Firm, American Precious Metals, LLC, and Principals, Sammy J. Goldman and Harry Robert Tanner, Jr., with Fraud
Tue, 17 May 2011 11:27:00 -0500

NYT: Afternoon Business News: Battered Dollar's Decline May Be Starting to Reverse


Battered Dollar's Decline May Be Starting to Reverse

For the better part of the past decade, and particularly in the past few months, the dollar has been the weakling of the foreign exchange world. That may be starting to change.

At I.M.F., Maneuvering to Replace Jailed Chief

Dominique Strauss-Kahn has not left the International Monetary Fund, but jockeying has begun to replace him.

H.P. Profit Up 5%, but PC Sales Are Declining

The company revised its forecast for the current quarter, indicating worries about the impact of the Japan earthquake, softness in sales of PCs and lower operating profits in its services unit.

LinkedIn Rockets to $4 Billion Valuation

LinkedIn is poised to make its closely watched stock market debut on Thursday. Who's next among the social media darlings?

Profit Rises at Wal-Mart, but U.S. Sales Languish

An increase in grocery sales failed to revive merchandise sales, and same-store sales in the United States fell for an eighth straight quarter.

MarketWatch | Market Snapshot May 17, 2011, 3:54 p.m. EDT: U.S. stocks fall on economic ‘soft patch’ worries


Shares of tech bellwether Hewlett-Packard sink more than 8%

By Laura Mandaro, MarketWatch 

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) U.S. stocks trimmed losses in the final hour of Tuesday’s trading, but were still headed for their third straight loss, after lackluster housing and industrial data as well as a lowered forecast from Hewlett-Packard Co. pointed to a possible soft patch in the economic recovery. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average /quotes/comstock/10w!i:dji/delayed DJIA -0.55% was down 70 points, or 0.6%, at 12,479.35.3, after losing almost 170 points. Shares of Hewlett-Packard /quotes/comstock/13*!hpq/quotes/nls/hpq HPQ -0.08%  led decliners, dropping 8.6% after the computer maker cut its forecast for the current quarter and full year. Read more on Hewlett-Packard’s results. 

Housing, markets, earnings, oil Weak housing data sends stocks tumbling. Plus, earnings from Wal-Mart, Hewlett-Packard and Home Depot and why oil prices are sliding and will it result in a big slide in prices at the pump.

Shares of companies whose products have been feeding a global manufacturing rebound also were hit hard. Alcoa Inc.’s /quotes/comstock/13*!aa/quotes/nls/aa AA -0.27%  shares fell 2.6%, while Caterpillar Inc. /quotes/comstock/13*!cat/quotes/nls/cat CAT -0.27%  lost 3.8%.
The S&P 500 Index /quotes/comstock/21z!i1:in\x SPX -0.04%   lost 2.64 points, or 0.2%, at 1,326.82. Industrial stocks led decliners, while consumer staples and utilities — two sectors often favored as defensive plays — rose.
Investors are concerned that the U.S. economy is in for another period of sluggish growth, much like it suffered early last summer, when the post-recession rebound should have been in full swing. That year-ago cooling contributed to the Federal Reserve’s decision to unveil a second round of extraordinary monetary stimulus, or quantitative easing.
“It’s a carryover of the sense that some of the recent economic data points, on a month-to-month basis, have softened,” said Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott, of the day’s stock decline.
Plus, there’s concern about what will happen when the Fed wraps up its $600 billion in bond purchases, at the heart of QE2. At the same time, China’s efforts to slow down its economy could cool demand for commodities.
“The combination of those factors is unsettling or worrisome for investors who are long that risk exposure,” Luschini added. “You’re seeing some continuing unwinding of the risk-on trade in the materials and consumer-sensitive sectors.”
The Nasdaq Composite Index /quotes/comstock/10y!i:comp COMP +0.03%  fell 1.7 points, or 0.1%, at 2,781.37.
Results from major retailers met a varying reception.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. /quotes/comstock/13*!wmt/quotes/nls/wmt WMT +0.03% , a Dow component, fell 0.8%. The world’s largest retailer said first-quarter profit rose 3%, with demand from China and Mexico offsetting a drop in same-store sales at its U.S. unit. The drop in Walmart U.S. sales signaled other retailers are luring more of the value chain’s domestic customers, though. Read more on Wal-Mart’s results.
Home Depot Inc. /quotes/comstock/13*!hd/quotes/nls/hd HD -0.12%  shares gained 1.2% after the home-improvement retailer said its fiscal first-quarter profit rose 12% as expense control helped make up for a slip in sales. Read more on Home Depot.
Also mitigating losses on the Dow, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. /quotes/comstock/13*!jpm/quotes/nls/jpm JPM +0.12%  rose 2.1% after Chief Executive James Dimon detailed ways the banking company could bring in $4 billion in earnings.
“Companies continue to deliver strong earnings performance, with dramatic upside surprises,” wrote David Goerz, chief investment officer at HighMark Capital Management, in an email.
While “weak headlines” on housing starts and permits were probably behind the day’s stock retreat, Goerz said other data on business investment, exports and consumption suggested underlying strength. “The expansion is more robust than it is given credit,” he added.

Housing, industrial output

Before the opening bell, the Commerce Department said housing starts dropped 10.6% to an annual rate of 523,000 in April. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had expected a rise to 575,000. Read more on housing starts.
Also, the Fed said industrial production was flat in April versus the 0.3% rise anticipated by economists. Read more on industrial production.
“The macro data has been surprising on the negative side to consensus for a little while,” said Binky Chadha, chief U.S. equity strategist at Deutsche Bank. “The key issue for investors is whether this is something they don’t know, or just a soft patch in the data.”
The lackluster data pushed Treasury yields lower on concerns that the economy may be in worse shape than expected.
Yields on 10-year notes /quotes/comstock/31*!ust10y UST10Y -1.18% , which move inversely to prices, fell 3 basis points to 3.11%. Intraday, yields touched 3.09%, the lowest level since early December. Read MarketWatch’s bond report.
The U.S. dollar reversed to losses against major counterparts. The dollar index /quotes/comstock/11j!i:dxy0 DXY -0.16% , which measures the greenback against a basket of six currencies, slipped to 75.441 versus 75.484 in late North American trading Monday. Read MarketWatch’s currency report.
Gold for June delivery /quotes/comstock/21e!f:gc\m11 GCM11 -0.46% closed down $10.60, or 0.7%, at $1,480 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Silver for July delivery /quotes/comstock/21e!f1:si\n11 SIN11 -0.81%  slipped 64 cents, or 1.9%, to $33.49 an ounce. Read MarketWatch’s metals report.
-0.49 -0.04%
Volume: 0.00
May 17, 2011 4:30p
$ 37.35
-0.05 -0.12%
Volume: 17.33m
May 17, 2011 4:42p
$ 43.86
+0.05 +0.12%
Volume: 35.90m
May 17, 2011 4:42p
-0.04 -1.18%
Volume: 0.00
May 17, 2011 4:16p
-0.12 -0.16%
Volume: 0.00
May 17, 2011 4:31p
$ 1,483.70
-6.90 -0.46%
Volume: 176,834
May 17, 2011 4:21p
3,385.50 ¢
-27.70 -0.81%
Volume: 79,683
May 17, 2011 4:21p
Laura Mandaro is a MarketWatch editor, based in San Francisco.