Translate

Search This Blog

Search Tool




May 20, 2011

Own Government Bonds? Here's Why You Should Be Worried : WSJ | Intelligent Investor

Saturday, May 21, 2011 As of 12:00 AM


Has the endgame for bond investors begun?
Since at least 2009, pundits and professional investors have been predicting that the three-decade-long bull market in bonds was about to end. So far they have consistently been proven wrong.
Earlier this week, however, the U.S. hit its debt limit—the total amount that Congress has authorized the Treasury Department to borrow (around $14.3 trillion). Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner warned that the U.S. would default on its debt in early August if Congress doesn't pass legislation permitting the government to borrow more money to meet its existing obligations. Since 1978, Congress has raised the debt limit 51 times, often after wrangling with the White House over spending cuts.
On the surface, the market for Treasury securities seems to be shrugging off any fears, focusing instead on the Federal Reserve's policy of keeping interest rates low and on the sluggish pace of economic recovery, which tends to be good for bonds. The Fed's massive purchases of Treasury securities and other government and mortgage debt have flooded banks and brokerage firms with cash.

 For full Article:CLick::
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704083904576335420994526968.html?mod=djintinvestor_t

MarketWatch | Weekly Roundup: Top Ten Stories May 16 - 20.

MarketWatch
Weekly Roundup
MAY 20, 2011

MarketWatch top 10 stories May 16 - 20




NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 Index both fell for the third straight week by the close of regular trading Friday.

U.S. stocks closed near their session lows Friday, cementing the third straight week of losses for the two indexes, as worries about European government debt added to concerns about a U.S. economic slowdown.

For the week, the week, the Dow (DJIA) dropped 0.7%, the S&P 500 (SPX) slipped 0.3%, and the Nasdaq Composite (COMP) lost 0.9%.

Also, please remember to watch our Week Ahead videos on Asia and Europe.

 Asia Week Ahead:Japan to Reveal Trade Balance

 Europe Week Ahead:Obama U.K. Visit, G8 Summit

Greg Morcroft, assistant managing editor

Former IMF head Strauss-Kahn indicted in New York

Shortly after being indicted for alleged sexual assault, Dominique Strauss-Kahn reportedly posted $1 million bail Thursday and was to be confined to a New York City apartment. Earlier, Strauss-Kahn stepped down as managing director of the International Monetary Fund; he will remain at Rikers Island jail until Friday. His resignation — which comes less than a week after he was charged for attempted rape of a 32-year old worker at a Midtown Manhattan hotel — set off the official process to select his successor. "I deny with the greatest possible firmness all of the allegations that have been made against me," Strauss-Kahn said in a statement. Read MarketWatch coverage of former IMF head Strauss-Kahn indicted in New York.

LinkedIn parties like it's 1999 with IPO doubling on first day

Shares of LinkedIn Corp. (LNKD) more than doubled Thursday in a strong public-trading debut, highlighting investors' pent-up demand for ownership in a new class of social-networking companies. LinkedIn's stock soared at one point more than 140% before receding to $94.25 by the close of its debut day on the New York Stock Exchange. Propelled by vigorous demand leading up to its initial public offering, LinkedIn's IPO priced at $45 a share, at the top end of a recently raised range of $42 to $45 a share. Previously, the IPO pricing range had been $32 to $35 for shares in the professional-networking service. Read MarketWatch coverage of LinkedIn's IPO.

Gap shortfall rattles retailers

Retail stocks fell Friday after clothing chain Gap Inc. (GPS) slashed its outlook for the year, citing stronger-than-expected cost pressures. Shares of Gap tumbled more than 15%. The company said it couldn't fully pass on to shoppers the rising costs for cotton and other items, which are pressing its margins. Read about rout of Gap shares on MarketWatch.

John Malone's Liberty surprises with $1 billion Barnes & Noble bid

No. 1 U.S. bookstore operator Barnes & Noble Inc., having fielded a $17-a-share bid from Liberty Media Corp. (LINTA), may be a stronger rival to digital booksellers Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) and Apple Inc. (AAPL) absent the stock-market glare and the investor scrutiny that comes with it, according to analysts. Still, analysts said Barnes & Noble, which has made a nice foray into the digital-book market through its Nook platform, is worth more than what Liberty Media offered. Liberty Media owns interests in a broad range of electronic retailing, media and entertainment businesses, including the home-shopping channel QVC and Sirius XM Radio. Barnes & Noble shares surged 30% to $18.37, reflecting investor expectations of a higher offer, analysts said. Read MarketWatch coverage of what Wall Street thinks about Liberty's B&N bid.

Debt talks stall, Coburn leaves ‘Gang of Six"

Talks among a key group of senators aimed at coming up with a plan to tackle long-term deficits stalled Tuesday, as Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner issued a fresh warning about raising the U.S. debt limit. Oklahoma Republican Tom Coburn dropped out of the "Gang of Six" group of senators, reports said. The group is one of two trying to agree on a plan to rein in deficits. "We can't bridge the gap between what actually needs to happen and what people will allow to happen," Coburn said, according to The Wall Street Journal. "I'm not sure we're going to continue to talk." See MarketWatch coverage of ongoing debt-ceiling debate.

Three simple ways to protect your profits

If you have some profits, there's only one way to keep them: sell. I don't mean sell everything; just take some money off the table. That could take the sting out of future losses and give you the psychological wherewithal to ride out the rest of whatever correction we see. How? Figure out your cost basis (major fund companies and brokerage firms provide this) and then sell the amount that represents your profits on the stock or fund you own. Or, sell the amount of the original investment and let your profits run. Either way, you'll have some real money in your pocket instead of paper gains. Read Howard Gold commentary on MarketWatch.

The high cost of walking away from your mortgage

Homeowners considering strategic default need to know this before taking the leap: The fact that you could have continued paying your mortgage, but chose not to, could mean you'll face harsher consequences than those who defaulted out of hardship. Defaulting on a mortgage generally means a severe hit to your credit score, said Joanne Gaskin, FICO's director of mortgage markets. That's the same whether you lost your job and couldn't afford the payments or if you decided your mortgage was so far underwater that you stopped paying and eventually ended up in foreclosure. Read Amy Hoak's Home Economics column on MarketWatch.

Get ready for Social Security, Medicare meltdowns

Forget for the moment whether there's the political will to tackle the financial problems affecting Social Security and Medicare as outlined in the respective trustees' reports. There's a more practical issue at hand, especially for those for whom Social Security and Medicare represent a part, big or small, of their retirement plan.Given that Medicare is expected to be exhausted in 2024 and Social Security's reserves will be exhausted in 2036, what should current and future Social Security beneficiaries do to maximize or protect their benefits? Read commentary by Robert Powell, on MarketWatch.

Protests against Spanish austerity plan pick up ahead of elections

In the shadow of a landmark building in Madrid's center, a village of unhappy Spaniards on Friday kicked off their sixth day of protesting against capitalism and a system they say is not representing them. The building, which dates back to the 19th century and is a landmark for the famed Puerta del Sol, looks directly down on the mass of protesters that has swelled since Sunday's first demonstration against what they see as a corrupt fusion of banks, businesses and politicians that isn't helping the unemployed. Protesters have draped a huge banner over the building that reads "There is no solution without revolution." Read about growing protests in Spain, on MarketWatch.

Commodities go cold, but hat's no reason to sell

Mutual-fund investors that decided a year or more ago to take a chance on commodities funds have now found out what all the warnings and danger signs were about. The question is how they intend to deal with it. Over the last several weeks, commodities have shown that their volatility is not just to the upside. Silver, among the biggest gainers in the commodity uprising, fell 27% in the first week of May alone, after hitting a 31-year high. Oil prices dropped 15% in the same week. Read Chuck Jaffe's commodities column on MarketWatch.

The Washington Post | Post Politics Afternoon Edition: The Fix: Pawlenty to enter 2012 race Monday.

The Washington Post
Politics Afternoon Edition

HEADLINES

  1. The Fix: Pawlenty to enter 2012 race Monday

    The former Minnesota governor will formally enter the 2012 race in Iowa.
    » Read full article
  2. Tester becomes the tested

    Sen. Jon Tester's tough reelection race is among those that will test the staying power of rural western Democrats.
    » Read full article
  3. The GOP's seekers of the House

    While House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) wages battle against President Obama and congressional Democrats, his biggest threat may be from within his own party.
    » Read full article
  4. Democratic SuperPAC launches 2012 ad war

    In what appears to be the first major media buy of the 2012 presidential campaign, an independent group supporting President Obama launched television ads in South Carolina on Friday attacking potential GOP candidate Mitt Romney over health care.
    » Read full article
  5. 2chambers: Biden to resume debt limit talks with congressional leaders Tuesday

    The huddle will be Biden's third meeting this month with congressional leaders from both chambers.
    » Read full article

NYT: Afternoon Business News: Europe Frets Over Trde Deficits With China



BUSINESS
DealBook

Why Liberty Media Might Want Barnes & Noble

By EVELYN RUSLI and BEN PROTESS
Look to Liberty Media's 2009 investment in Sirius XM Radio for clues to a possible strategic play.

BP Partner Agrees to $1.1 Billion Settlement Related to Gulf Spill

By JULIA WERDIGIER
Moex Offshore is the first company aside from BP to make a payment towards covering the costs of the disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Off the Charts

Europe Frets Over Trade Deficits With China

By FLOYD NORRIS
The European Commission is troubled by trade deficits between countries in the European Union and China and has imposed duties on imports of high-quality paper used from China.

Chaos of Internet Will Meet French Sense of Order at Digital Summit

By ERIC PFANNER
President Nicolas Sarkozy is expected to use the gathering of 800 technology luminaries to push the French view of a 'civilized' Internet.
Shortcuts

Adapting to the Reality of Everyday Video Chatting

By ALINA TUGEND
What once seem futuristic is becoming common, but video calling may also create the need for some new communication etiquette.

Financial and Forex Info Reuters Daily Investor Update: Wall Street Slip on Euro Zone, Spillover Effect Feared










News
LATEST NEWS
Wall Street slips on euro zone, spillover effect feared
NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stocks fell on Friday on euro-zone debt worries that could spill over into next week's trading with a bearish note, while retailers lost ground after a weak profit outlook from Gap. | Full Article

Tepco chief quits after $15 billion loss on nuclear crisis
May 20, 2011 07:24 AM ET
TOKYO (Reuters) - Tokyo Electric Power Co reported a $15 billion net loss on Friday to account for the disaster at its Fukushima nuclear plant, marking the biggest loss in Japan by a non-financial company and prompting the firm to warn its future was uncertain. | Full Article
Fitch cuts Greek rating, warns over restructuring
May 20, 2011 03:17 PM ET
ATHENS (Reuters) - Fitch cut Greece's credit rating by three notches on Friday, pushing the country deeper into junk territory, and warned that any kind of debt restructuring would amount to default. | Full Article
States cut money sent to cities, counties
May 20, 2011 01:50 PM ET
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - To balance their budgets, states are cutting funds they send to local governments, worrying many in the $2.9 trillion municipal bond market, from cities to rating agencies. | Full Article
Valuation worries drive Glencore below issue price
May 20, 2011 12:04 PM ET
LONDON (Reuters) - Shares in commodities trading group Glencore fell below their issue price of 530 pence on Friday, the second day of conditional trading, as investors fretted over its valuation. | Full Article

US TOP NEWS
Israel's Netanyahu rejects Obama proposal on borders
May 20, 2011 04:29 PM ET
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday bluntly rejected President Barack Obama's vision for the borders of a future Palestinian state, opening up one of the deepest divides in years between Washington and the Jewish state. | Full Article
Ex-IMF chief Strauss-Kahn released from New York jail
May 20, 2011 04:37 PM ET
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn was released from New York's Rikers Island jail shortly before 4 p.m. (2000 GMT) on Friday, a law enforcement official said. | Full Article
Europe races to claim top job at IMF
May 20, 2011 04:19 PM ET
BRUSSELS/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - European leaders raced on Friday to nominate a successor for fallen IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn before a G8 summit next week, with French Economy Minister Christine Lagarde in pole position. | Full Article
Signs of division between IMF and Europe over bailouts
May 20, 2011 02:02 PM ET
DUBLIN/HAMBURG (Reuters) - The International Monetary Fund pressed Europe on Friday for stronger steps to tackle the region's debt crisis, saying countries needed access to more funding to stay afloat. | Full Article
Saleh calls for early election as Yemenis protest
May 20, 2011 03:29 PM ET
SANAA (Reuters) - Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has agreed to sign a Gulf-brokered power transition, called on Friday for early elections to prevent bloodshed as three months of protests raged on in the fractious country. | Full Article

HEALTH NEWS
GSK and HGS lupus drug wins green light in Europe
Fate of last smallpox virus stocks divides WHO
Paralyzed man stands, steps after spine treatment
McDonald's stockholders reject obesity proposal
New Texas law mandates sonograms before abortion

The Economist | Selected New Articles: Obama's Speech on The Middle East | IMF After Strauss Kahn | LinkedIn and The End Of The World. | The British Process and Privacy...



CBS NEWS Coverage of Breaking Space News: NASA, Russians agree on out-of-this-world photo op

CBS NEWS Coverage of Breaking Space News

03:10 PM EDT, 05/20/11: NASA, Russians agree on out-of-this-world photo op

By WILLIAM HARWOOD
CBS News

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL--An Italian astronaut aboard a departing Russian Soyuz ferry craft Monday will snap out-of-this-world pictures and video showing the International Space Station with the shuttle Endeavour attached before heading for a landing in Kazakhstan, NASA officials said Friday.

With the shuttle program slated for retirement after one more flight in July, the one-of-a-kind photo opportunity comes at almost the last possible minute. The pictures snapped Monday will capture the first and only time a shuttle and the station have appeared in the same field of view from a remote vantage point, a family portrait expected to grace history books for years to come.

"This is going to be a great opportunity for the spaceflight community," said Kenneth Todd, space station integration manager at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.

The opportunity to take the pictures arose when an electrical glitch forced NASA to delay Endeavour's launching fro April 29 to May 16, ensuring the shuttle would still be docked when the Soyuz TMA-20 spacecraft departed. Expedition 27 commander Dimitry Kondratyev, Italian astronaut and flight engineer Paolo Nespoli and NASA astronaut Catherine "Cady" Coleman are scheduled to land in Kazakhstan Monday evening U.S. time to close out a 159-day stay in space.

NASA first suggested a Soyuz fly-around earlier this year, but it would have required a Soyuz undocking and re-docking and the Russians, citing technical considerations, did not go along. NASA managers were hoping for an opportunity during the final shuttle flight in July when the Endeavour launch delay presented a less complicated scenario.

To accommodate the photo survey, Kondratyev will undock at 5:35 p.m. EDT (GMT-4) Monday, about an hour and a half earlier than originally planned. Flying manually, Kondratyev will back the Soyuz straight away from the lab complex and begin station keeping at a distance of about 600 feet. Nespoli, seated to the commander's left in the spacecraft's central descent module, will move into the forward, normally closed habitation module to photograph the shuttle-station "stack" through a window with a direct line of sight.

While Nespoli is preparing his cameras and a laser range finder for use, the space station will carry out a 130-degree rotation to provide an unobstructed side view of the shuttle-station complex, with Endeavour on the left end of the stack just above the limb of the Earth. The station's orientation at undocking and its subsequent 2-degree-per-second maneuver were carefully planned to keep the sun out of Kondratyev's eyes while ensuring good lighting for the imagery.

Once the brief photo window closes, Nespoli will float back into the cramped descent module and seal the hatchway to the habitation section. That hatch is normally closed and locked before undocking and the Soyuz crew will have to carry out leak checks, along with suit checks, to ensure a safe descent after the photo opportunity ends. Landing is targeted for 10:26 p.m. Monday.

Unlike the space shuttle, which is equipped with a KU-band antenna for near-continuous communications through a NASA satellite network, the Soyuz crew will have no way to transmit the images from space. NASA managers will be standing by in Kazakhstan to copy the digital photos and video so the long-sought imagery can make its way to both Moscow and Houston.

Details remain to be worked out, however, and it's not yet clear when the imagery will be released to the media.

In the meantime, here is a timeline of major re-entry events (in EDT and mission elapsed time; best viewed with fixed-width font):

EDT/EST.......DDD...HH...MM...SS...EVENT

12/15/10 (EST)
02:09:25 PM...000...00...00...00...Soyuz TMA-20 Launch

5/23/11 (EDT)
04:40:00 PM...159...01...30...35...US to Russian attitue control system handover
04:52:00 PM...159...01...42...35...ISS maneuver to undocking attitude
05:24:36 PM...159...02...15...11...Sunrise
05:29:32 PM...159...02...20...07...Daily orbit 13 Russian ground station AOS
05:31:00 PM...159...02...21...35...ISS to free drift
05:32:00 PM...159...02...22...35...Nominal separation command
05:35:00 PM...159...02...25...35...Physical separation/hooks open
05:36:40 PM...159...02...27...15...ISS to LVLH snap-and-hold
05:38:00 PM...159...02...28...35...Soyuz manual separation burn #1
05:41:00 PM...159...02...31...35...Arrival at stationkeeping (590-650 feet)
05:41:00 PM...159...02...31...35...Habitation module ingress
05:43:20 PM...159...02...33...55...ISS return to undocking attitude
05:44:33 PM...159...02...35...08...Daily orbit 13 Russian ground station LOS
05:50:00 PM...159...02...40...35...Begin ISS photography
05:52:28 PM...159...02...43...03...Noon
05:55:00 PM...159...02...45...35...ISS maneuver to photography attitude
06:06:00 PM...159...02...56...35...ISS in photo attitude
06:15:00 PM...159...03...05...35...Soyuz manual separation burn #2
06:20:00 PM...159...03...10...35...Habitation module egress; start leak checks
06:20:20 PM...159...03...10...55...Sunset -- photography complete
06:21:00 PM...159...03...11...35...ISS maneuver to duty attitude
06:56:01 PM...159...03...46...36...Sunrise
07:00:00 PM...159...03...50...35...Russian to US attitude control handover
07:00:00 PM...159...03...50...35...Hatch and suit leak checks complete
07:02:08 PM...159...03...52...43...Daily orbit 14 RGS AOS
07:19:33 PM...159...04...10...08...Daily orbit 14 RGS LOS
07:36:00 PM...159...04...26...35...Sunrise at landing Site
08:30:13 PM...159...05...20...48...Daily orbit 15 RGS AOS
08:53:58 PM...159...05...44...33...Daily orbit 15 RGS LOS
09:36:14 PM...159...06...26...49...Soyuz deorbit burn start (257.7 mph)
09:40:39 PM...159...06...31...14...Deorbit burn complete
10:03:36 PM...159...06...54...11...Atmospheric entry (62 miles altitude)
10:11:49 PM...159...07...02...24...Command to open parachute (6.6 miles altitude)
10:26:49 PM...159...07...17...24...Landing

CBS NEWS | Coverage of Breaking Space News: Shuttle Atlants re-Targeted For July 8 Launch

11:45 AM EDT, 05/20/11: Shuttle Atlantis re-targeted for July 8 launch

By WILLIAM HARWOOD
CBS News

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL--NASA managers Friday re-targeted the shuttle Atlantis' launch on the 135th and final shuttle mission for July 8. The date will be re-assessed at an executive-level flight readiness review June 28.

Atlantis had been scheduled for launch June 28, but the flight slipped in the wake of a two-week launch delay for the shuttle Endeavour because of an electrical glitch. NASA managers held off setting a new target date for Atlantis pending an inspection to determine the condition of pad 39A after Endeavour's takeoff Monday and work to refine a complex processing schedule that includes a fueling test to verify the integrity of the shuttle's external tank.

But the pad is in relatively good shape and NASA managers Friday decided to press ahead for a launch attempt July 8 at around 11:40 a.m. EDT.

Engineers currently are in the process of attaching Atlantis to its external tank and boosters before rollout to the pad the night of May 31. The trip should still be underway when Endeavour lands at the nearby shuttle runway to close out its 25th and final mission.

Assuming an on-time liftoff, Atlantis commander Christopher Ferguson, pilot Douglas Hurley, Rex Walheim and Sandra Magnus will dock with the International Space Station around 11:24 a.m. on Sunday, July 10, to kick off NASA's final shuttle resupply flight.

One spacewalk by two station crew members is planned for July 12 and if all goes well, Atlantis will undock around 2:23 a.m. on July 18 and land back at the Kennedy Space Center around 6:15 a.m. July 20 -- the 42nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing -- to close out its 33rd and final mission.

=================================

CBS News Space Updates:
http://ct.cbsnews.com/clicks?t=829238138-b1f5763a1bcc876b4d45ba4c9a0973ce-bf&brand=CBSNEWS&s=5

NASA Shuttle Web:
http://ct.cbsnews.com/clicks?t=829238139-b1f5763a1bcc876b4d45ba4c9a0973ce-bf&brand=CBSNEWS&s=5

NASA Station Web:
http://ct.cbsnews.com/clicks?t=829238140-b1f5763a1bcc876b4d45ba4c9a0973ce-bf&brand=CBSNEWS&s=5

Spaceflight Now:
http://ct.cbsnews.com/clicks?t=829238141-b1f5763a1bcc876b4d45ba4c9a0973ce-bf&brand=CBSNEWS&s=5

GoogleSatTrack:
http://ct.cbsnews.com/clicks?t=829238142-b1f5763a1bcc876b4d45ba4c9a0973ce-bf&brand=CBSNEWS&s=5

MarketWatch Prtsonal Finance Daily: Three Simple ways to protect youe profits

MarketWatch
Personal Finance Daily
MAY 20, 2011

Stick with stocks but protect your profits

By MarketWatch



Don't miss these top stories:

Commentator Howard Gold writes today in his No-Nonsense Investing column that he's worried about the markets — at least for now. He cautions investors to not let a correction wipe out gains and suggests three simple ways to protect profits. First, he says, follow the seasonality rule by selling in May and going away. Second, use stop-loss orders wisely and finally, buy put protection. "Who knows which way the market will go in the coming weeks and months?," he writes. "But taking profits from time to time may help you stick with stocks and benefit from the rallies too. Buying flood insurance during a heat wave can be a very good move."

Also in today's Personal Finance lineup, Jennifer Waters writes in her Consumer Confidential column that if you're thinking about buying a car — new or used — don't. At least, hold off until the end of the year. Why? Because a high inventory of used cars and an expected shortage of Japanese cars has pushed prices higher and they'll likely stay high in the coming months.

Anne Stanley , Managing Editor, Personal Finance

Three simple ways to protect your profits

Stocks may rally again — and although Howard Gold doesn't think the current bull market is over, he is concerned that a big correction could wipe out some hard-earned gains. Another flare-up in the European debt crisis or the political games being played over extending the U.S. debt ceiling could rattle markets in the months ahead. He writes, "If you're like me and you're nicely ahead after having hung in through the worst of the bear market and financial crisis, you, too, may want to lock in some profits."
Read more: Three simple ways to protect your profits.


A reverse mortgage isn't your only option

There are a slew of programs that aim to help older homeowners who don't want or aren't eligible for a reverse mortgage, writes Lew Sichelman in this week's Realty Q&A.
Read more: A reverse mortgage isn't your only option.


Don't buy that car yet, whether it's new or used

Used-car prices are soaring and Japanese car-parts shortages are pumping up new-car prices, so you're best off waiting to buy an auto.
Read more: Don't buy that car yet, whether it's new or used.


ECONOMY & POLITICS

Debt fight endangers U.S. creditworthiness

Cantor Fitzgerald's Brian Edmonds says Washington rivals risk danger by politicizing the nation's creditworthiness.
Read more: Debt fight endangers U.S. creditworthiness.


INVESTING

Stock sectors set to dominate the market

The much-ballyhooed "risk-on" trade has catapulted the materials, energy and industrials sectors for most of the past two years. But this ride looks like it's come to an end — and that could be bad news for stock bulls.
Read more: 3 stock sectors set to dominate the market.


How optimistic is the stock market really?

LinkedIn's hugely successful IPO has rekindled fond memories of the go-go years of the late 1990s.
Read more: How optimistic is the stock market really?


INTERNATIONAL

In Spain, protesters rally a battered nation

In the shadow of a landmark building in Madrid's city center, a village of unhappy Spaniards kick off their sixth day of protests against capitalism and a system they say isn't serving them.
Read more: In Spain, protesters rally a battered nation.


Bank of Japan holds pat, sticks to recovery view

The Bank of Japan keeps its policy interest-rate target at its meeting Friday, holds off on announcing any new easing steps and sticks to its view that the economy will pick up speed later this year as the nation recovers from the March disaster.
Read more: Bank of Japan holds pat, sticks to recovery view.


Water shortages lead to land grab in Africa

Water-poor countries are buying up land where water is plentiful, potentially leading to more conflicts between the haves and have-nots.
Read more: Water shortages lead to land grab in Africa.

SEC | Fraud Alert: Investor Alert: Investor Warning Regarding Web-Based Scheme Defrauding Deaf Investors (Imperia Invest IBC)



American Sign Language Videocast of Investor Alert   Play American Sign Language Videocase of Investor Alert
The Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) has charged an Internet-based investment company, Imperia Invest IBC (“Imperia”), with securities fraud for soliciting several million dollars from U.S. investors and promising guaranteed annual returns in excess of 1.2% per day while in reality siphoning the funds into foreign bank accounts and not paying any money back to investors. The SEC has obtained an emergency court order freezing the assets of Imperia which allegedly raised more than $7 million from approximately 14,000 investors worldwide. More than half of the funds were collected from U.S. investors who are Deaf. Imperia purported to invest in Traded Endowment Policies, the British term for viatical settlements, and claimed to pay returns of 1.2% per day. Imperia’s website stated that investors could only access their profits by purchasing a Visa debit card from Imperia for a few hundred dollars. However, Imperia has no relationship with Visa and was using the Visa name without authorization. Imperia allegedly required investors to provide funds to Imperia through three PayPal-type entities located in Costa Rica, Panama, and the British Virgin Islands. Once the funds were received from investors, Imperia apparently funneled these amounts and additional investor funds to bank accounts located in Cyprus and New Zealand. Meanwhile, investors never received any returns.
Imperia is not registered with the SEC.  Imperia is not registered as an investment advisor or broker-dealer in any state.  The staff of the SEC has also received credible information suggesting that Imperia, which has made claims to be licensed and located in both the Bahamas and Vanuatu, is not licensed to do business or located at either of those locations.  On April 20, 2009 the Securities Commission of the Bahamas issued a Public Notice indicating that Imperia was holding itself out as being located at a certain address in the Bahamas, while there was no company named Imperia operating from that address, and that Imperia is not registered with the Securities Commission of the Bahamas.  The Public Notice stated that any registrable activity conducted by Imperia would be a violation of the Bahamian Securities Industry Act.  Please see the Public Notice for more detail at http://www.scb.gov.bs/notices.htm.
The SEC wishes to remind investors that investment pitches offering spectacular rates of return are an indicator of possible investment fraud.  The SEC encourages investors to take steps to determine whether the investment is legitimate and complies with the law.
Investors are encouraged to refer to the SEC’s link regarding signs of prime bank and banking-related investment frauds for more information on how to identify such fraud.  Below are some warning signs of fraudulent bank-related investment schemes:
Excessive Guaranteed Returns
These fraudulent investment pitches typically offer or guarantee spectacular returns of 20 to 200 percent monthly, absolutely risk free.  Promises of unrealistic returns at no risk are hallmarks of banking-related investment fraud.
Claims of Inordinate Complexity
Investment pitches frequently are vague about who is involved in the transaction or where the money is going.  Promoters may try to explain away this lack of specificity by stating that the financial instruments are too technical or complex for non-experts to understand.
Investors are encouraged to review the SEC publication “Ask Questions” and other SEC publications located at http://www.sec.gov/investor.shtml before making any investment.  Some questions investors may consider asking include:
  • Does it sound too good to be true?  If it sounds too good to be true, it (probably) is.
  • Is this investment product registered with the SEC and my state securities agency? Where can I get more information about this investment?  Can I get the latest reports filed by the company with the SEC: a prospectus or offering circular, or the latest annual report and financial statements?
  • Are you registered with our state securities regulator?  Have you ever been disciplined by the SEC, a state regulator, or other organization (such as the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) or one of the stock exchanges)?


http://www.sec.gov/investor/alerts/imperia.htm
The Office of Investor Education and Advocacy has provided this information as a service to investors.  It is neither a legal interpretation nor a statement of SEC policy.  If you have questions concerning the meaning or application of a particular law or rule, please consult with an attorney who specializes in securities law.

The Washington Post | Post Politics News & Analysis: Obama Prods Mideast Allies To Embrace Reform, Make Peace

The Washington Post
newsletter header

Behind the showdown

Behind the showdown
Newsletter | Click here to sign up for the Behind the government showdown newsletter.
WhoRunsGov
Former U.S. Ambassador to China and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman adresses the audience at the commencement ceremony for the University of South Carolina on Saturday, May 7 2011 in Columbia, S.C. Huntsman, weighing a Republican White House bid, used his first formal event after stepping down as President Barack Obama's ambassador to China to confront the line on his resume that conservatives were mostly likely to declare a deal-breaker. In the high-profile speech to the University of South Carolina, Huntsman said patriotism should trump partisanship and defended his two years in Beijing as the Democratic administration's top diplomat. (AP Photo/Mary Ann Chastain)

Speaking power to youth

Presidents, cabinet members and other politicians are in high demand around college commencement time. See which public officials are speaking where and read some of their best words of advice to grads on BeltWiki Blog .
Congressional votes database
Browse every vote in the U.S. Congress since 1991.

The Washington Post Today's Opinions

The Washington Post
newsletter header

Charles Krauthammer

 Charles Krauthammer

Obama adopts the Bush Doctrine

The May 19 Middle East speech, annotated.

David Ignatius

 David Ignatius

Head-cracking diplomacy

Putting Obama’s Mideast speech into action.

Ruth Marcus

 Ruth Marcus

Entitlement behavior

Power and celebrity don’t excuse unacceptable conduct.

Michael Gerson

 Michael Gerson

Democratic parties

Blame them for Congress’s seriousness deficit.

Eugene Robinson

 Eugene Robinson

Launch-pad meltdown

Gingrich’s week couldn’t get any worse. Then it did.

Susan M. Collins

Keep politics out of contracting

Political contributions shouldn’t be a factor.

Michael O. Leavitt

Fixing what ails Medicare

Use the prescription drug model to cut costs.
Tom Toles
Post Partisan

Obama’s Mideast peace gaffe

The result is yet another pointless quarrel with Bibi Netanyahu.

What about Saudi Arabia?

What Obama’s speech missed.

The Rivlin-Ryan divorce

Their hyphenated partnership on Medicare is definitively over.

Obama talked, now he should walk

The president admirably outlined the tasks for America in this Arab Spring. Now, just do it.

The steel in Obama’s Mideast speech

The steel in Obama’s Mideast speech
His singling out of specific countries will leave their leaders smarting.