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May 23, 2011

Financial & Forex Info | The Australian Capital Circle: Death In Afghanistan Overshadows Parliament.

Capital Circle Newsletter
Death in Afghanistan overshadows parliament
Politics will be overshadowed by the death of a Digger in Afghanistan.

An Australian soldier is believed to have been killed by a bomb in southern Afghanistan. Defence chief Angus Houston and Defence Minister Stephen Smith will hold a joint press conference at 8.45am to release details. The Digger would be the 24th soldier killed in action in Afghanistan since 2001. (Brendan Nicholson reports)
The PM's Diary: Julia Gillard cancelled her visit to Commonwealth Motors in Canberra early this morning to receive a briefing about the incident in Afghanistan.  She is due to attend caucus this morning, appear at a public forum with the climate commission's Will Steffen and Tim Flannery and then go to Question Time. Tonight she is hosting a reception with Attorney-General Robert McClelland for urban search and rescue (USAR) teams who contributed to recovery efforts in New Zealand and Japan.
Tony Abbott is in Canberra and will attend party room briefings and then parliament.
Mental Health Minister Mark Butler will address the National Press Club in Canberra today about the government's $2.2 billion mental health package.
Estimates: Senators have long days and late nights ahead over the next fortnight as estimates continue. Up today are the Departments of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, Arts and Sport , Immigration and Citizenship and Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. The full program summary.
Capital Circle hears Julia Gillard tipped (correctly) against her beloved Bulldogs over the weekend - much to the chagrin of club president David Smorgon, who was reportedly left not amused at a pre-game lunch.
Video: The budget, seen through the eyes of Treasurer Wayn

Financial & Forex Info | The Australian Business Briefing: Wall Street Tumbles as Investors Dump Risk

Wall St tumbles as investors dump risk
Aus Bus Pix Wall St 110524 UPDATED Brendan Conway US stocks suffered steep losses as investors' concerns over the financial health of European governments triggered a flight to safer assets.
Call to focus climate debate on jobs
carbon tax Annabel Hepworth, Damon Kitney BUSINESS leaders have urged the Gillard government to focus on designing its carbon pricing scheme to protect jobs and the economy.
Tax law doubts deter US funds
dollar Susannah Moran US funds remain wary of investing in Australia amid the uncertainty of local tax laws, according to industry experts.
Greece speeds up $67bn privatisation
GREECE-FINANCE-ECONOMY Alkman Granitsas GREECE says it will step up its ambitious but long-delayed $67 billion privatisation program, in attempt to address its giant debt burden.
Strong dollar hits Elders results
strong dollar Blair Speedy SHARES in Elders fell 9 per cent yesterday after it reported a first-half loss of $14.6 million and downgraded guidance for the fiscal year.
China figures point to slowing
China consumer inflation Michael Sainsbury: China correspondent CHINESE manufacturing data indicates that the booming economy of Australia's biggest trade partner is slowing.
Santos plans Cooper gas export
Santos Matt Chambers SANTOS is close to signing a deal to buy Cooper Basin gas and liquids from Beach Energy and Drillsearch Energy.
Woodside find firms up Pluto expansion
Woodside Matt Chambers WOODSIDE Petroleum could be close to going ahead with an $8 billion expansion of its Pluto liquefied natural gas plant.
Financial Markets
Wall St tumbles as investors dump risk
Aus Bus Pix Wall St 110524 UPDATED Brendan Conway US stocks suffered steep losses as investors' concerns over the financial health of European governments triggered a flight to safer assets.
Gold haven gains capped by buoyant $US
Copper slides 3pc on China, strong $US
Financial Markets Coverage
Mining & Energy
Gold haven gains capped by buoyant $US
GOLD-METAL-PRICE-FILES Matt Day GOLD rose today on concerns about global economic growth, but buying was limited by strength in the US dollar.
Copper slides 3pc on China, strong $US
Oil falls 2.4pc on global growth risks
More Mining & Energy Coverage

Financial & Forex Info | Kitco New York Market Close Report

New York Market Close May 23/11 05:21 PM EDT

The Washington Post | Post Politics Afternoon Edition: Tim Pawlenty bets on boldness

The Washington PostPolitics Afternoon Edition


  1. Tim Pawlenty bets on boldness

    The former Minnesota governor is campaigning against ethanol subsidies in Iowa and for Medicare and Social Security reform in Florida. But it’s far from clear that Pawlenty’s strategy is destined for success.
    » Read full article

  2. Supreme Court upholds order to reduce California prison population

    The Supreme Court on Monday endorsed a court order requiring California to cut its prison population by tens of thousands of inmates to improve health care for those who remain behind bars.
    » Read full article

  3. Gingrich: I’m not a ‘Washington figure’

    Republican presidential contender Newt Gingrich said Monday that he is not a "Washington figure" despite his years as House speaker, describing himself as a change agent with more ideas on how to fix Washington than any other candidate in the field.
    » Read full article

  4. Fact Checker: Ryan speaks truth on taxes

    Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) spoke to the Economic Club of Chicago on Monday and accurately portrayed President Obama’s tax plan.
    » Read full article

  5. Obama visits Ireland during European tour

    President Obama arrived in this blustery Irish capital Monday to begin a six-day trip through Europe, where national security matters have overtaken the global economy as the most pressing issue in the transatlantic relationship.
    » Read full article



"I am not a Washington figure despite the years I’ve been here."


chrisbrown12, on Associated Press's "AP Exclusive: Former Palin aide pens scathing tell-all" story:
I doubt if there's anything new in this book, just more detailed views of the gruesome story of her rise and fall. What would really be interesting is an account of who made the decisions in the GOP to pull her out of the hat. It certainly wasn't McCain.


Q: Who is more likely to make a late entrance into the Republican Presidential race: Jeb Bush or Chris Christie?
Chris Cillizza:
I tend to think neither, but I think if one of them did ... I'll say Chris Christie.


Screen grab of Frank Bailey, a former aide to Sarah Palin, playing piano
Frank Bailey used to be part of Sarah Palin's inner circle, but after a falling out, Bailey has now written a tell-all book called "Blind Allegiance."

MarketWarch | Personal Finance Daily: Don't let fear ruin your retirement plans

Personal Finance Daily
MAY 23, 2011

Fight your fears about retirement future

By MarketWatch

Don't miss these top stories:

Fear, unfortunately, colors much of our thinking about retirement, as Andrea Coombes reports today in her Ways and Means column. Fear of not having enough money, fear of making decisions on complex benefit and health matters, distrust of the financial-services industry — some people are so frozen by fear they do nothing except resort to wishful thinking that their retirement resources will just all magically sort themselves out.

What to do? Fight fear with information, Coombes writes. Get help from your employer, from trustworthy online resources and fee-based financial planners. Start now. It's not too late.

In the same vein, see our story today on getting a midretirement checkup to see if your financial plan for the first 15 years of retirement is still the right plan for the next 15 years.

Anne Stanley , Managing Editor, Personal Finance


Don't let fear ruin your retirement

Most recent retirees are either nervous or downright frightened about financing their golden years, and their fear may be hindering their ability to make sound financial decisions, according to a new study.
Read more: Don't let fear ruin your retirement.

Get a mid-retirement checkup

Will the financial plan for the first 15 years of retirement be the right one for the next 15 years?
Read more: Get a mid-retirement checkup.


Joplin, Mo., tornado in pictures

Dozens dead as disastrous storm rips through southwestern Missouri, leveling numerous residential and commercial properties while killing dozens.
See photos: Joplin, Mo., tornado.


Be a nosy neighbor at nearby open houses

Going to the open house of a home for sale down the block may make you feel like a nosy neighbor. But there are good reasons, beyond sheer curiosity, to take a peek inside.
Read more: Be a nosy neighbor at nearby open houses.

Homeowner's insurance premiums are rising

Already plagued by stubbornly low home prices, homeowners soon may be facing another blow: rising insurance premiums.
Read more: Homeowner's insurance premiums are rising.

Illinois plan to cut mortgage debt is making waves

A pilot program in Illinois seeks taxpayer dollars to be used help thousands of troubled borrowers under water on their mortgages, and do so without leaving taxpayers holding the bag.
Read more: Illinois plan to cut mortgage debt is making waves.


2011 Hyundai Sonata Turbo

Hyundai pops a turbocharger in Ron Amadon's 2010 Car Of The Year, making it and its cousin — the Kia Optima — even more fun to drive.
Read more: 2011 Hyundai Sonata Turbo.

Money lessons for every high-school graduate

There are tons of guides for what you should do with your money, but few draw the deeply rooted connection between how you manage money and how you manage your dreams.
Read more: Money lessons for every high-school graduate.

OK, you're rich. Now what?

Silicon Valley has a new case of "sudden wealth syndrome." With more IPOs in the offing, from Zynga Inc. to Groupon Inc. to Facebook, the social-media craze has become America's latest supernova of wealth creation, launching a new generation of millionaires and recalling the instant riches of the 1990s dot-com explosion.
Read more: OK, you're rich. Now what?


Obama visits Ireland on first stop of Europe trip

U.S. President Barack Obama is visiting Ireland on Monday, the first stop of his week-long trip to Europe aimed at reaffirming the importance of the transatlantic alliance.
Read more: Obama visits Ireland on first stop of Europe trip.

End bailouts, change entitlements: Pawlenty

Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty hits the campaign trail this week with tough talk for both Wall Street and seniors, pledging an end to bailouts for big banks and changes for what he calls unsustainable entitlement programs.
Read more: End bailouts, change entitlements: Pawlenty.


Disconnect from the LinkedIn IPO hype

Shares of LinkedIn soared on their first trading day. That's precisely the kind of performance that attracts people to IPOs. But it's not the result that most investors get from these stocks.
Read more: Disconnect from the LinkedIn IPO hype.

Gold bulls watching gold elephants

Gold's gyrations last week were dramatic, probably exhausting to both sides — and possibly important, writes Peter Brimelow. Some gold bugs think a new attempt on the highs of last month may have started.
Read more: Gold bulls watching gold elephants.

Financial & Forex Info | Reuters - Daily Investor Update: Wall Street ends at one-month low on euro-debt worries.

Wall Street ends at one-month low on euro-debt worries
NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stocks closed at their lowest levels in a month on Monday in a sign of increasing doubt that equity markets can weather recent weakness in global manufacturing and demand. | Full Article

Sony to post $3.2 billion annual loss on tax write-offs
May 23, 2011 08:00 AM ET
TOKYO (Reuters) - Sony Corp will post its third straight annual net loss for the year that ended in March after writing off tax credits in the wake of Japan's earthquake and tsunami, the latest in a string of grim headlines on the consumer electronics giant. | Full Article
Euro zone debtors under pressure over new risks
May 23, 2011 03:20 PM ET
LONDON/ATHENS (Reuters) - Financial markets piled pressure on heavily indebted euro zone countries on Monday as investors worried about heightened risks in Spain and Greece and ratings agencies stoked new concerns over Italy and Belgium. | Full Article
BofA $410 million overdraft settlement wins court OK
May 23, 2011 04:30 PM ET
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Bank of America Corp has won tentative approval of a $410 million settlement of lawsuits accusing it of charging excessive overdraft fees to roughly 1 million customers. | Full Article
States, banks to meet on foreclosures Tuesday
May 23, 2011 04:35 PM ET
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. banks are due to meet with state attorneys general and federal agencies on Tuesday as they seek to reach a settlement over problems in the mortgage servicing industry. | Full Article

Tornado devastates Joplin, Missouri, 116 dead
May 23, 2011 04:38 PM ET
JOPLIN, Missouri (Reuters) - A monster tornado nearly a mile wide killed at least 116 people in Joplin, Missouri when it tore through the heart of the small Midwestern city, ripping the roof off a hospital and destroying thousands of homes and businesses. | Full Article
Emerging countries push back on picking IMF chief
May 23, 2011 04:20 PM ET
BRASILIA/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Emerging market countries lined up on Monday in strong opposition to the possibility a European could automatically succeed Dominique Strauss-Kahn as head of the International Monetary Fund. | Full Article
IBM passes Microsoft's market cap after 15 years
May 23, 2011 02:41 PM ET
NEW YORK (Reuters) - International Business Machines surged past old rival Microsoft Corp in market value for the first time since April 1996, marking the latest twist in the fluctuating fortunes of two of the world's most storied technology companies. | Full Article
Pakistan retakes naval base after attack
May 23, 2011 12:09 PM ET
KARACHI (Reuters) - Troops recaptured a Pakistani naval air force base on Monday after a 16-hour battle with as few as six Taliban gunmen who had launched their attack to avenge the killing of Osama bin Laden. | Full Article
State and local governments may cut 450,000 jobs in FY2012
May 23, 2011 04:23 PM ET
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Around 450,000 people who work for U.S. states, counties, cities, towns and villages could get pink slips in fiscal 2012, sharply up from the 300,000 positions shed this year, a report said on Monday. | Full Article

Vertex hepatitis C drug wins approval
U.N. body to probe Fukushima radiation impact
Ampio premature ejaculation drug shows promise
Bayer starts selling quick-release aspirin
Iran at odds with U.S., Russia on smallpox stocks

NYT: Afternoon Business News: Spain and Italy Turn Against Greece Over Reform Efforts


Spain and Italy Turn Against Greece Over Reform Efforts

Greece was upbraided at a recent meeting for not pushing faster on privatization and tax overhauls amid fears of market contagion for other euro zone members.

Sony Swings to Big Loss After Natural Disasters

The loss, to be announced in a year-end earnings report on Thursday, would be Sony's largest in 16 years.

Toyota Recall Report Finds Internal Flaws

A panel cites a tendency to dismiss customer complaints and a lack of a clear procedure for handling safety problems.

Organic Farming Holds Its Own Despite Economic Strains

Sales of organic foods appear robust across Europe and the United States, and that is attracting more interest and activity from investors.

Second Entry Wins Approval as Hepatitis C Drug

Vertex Pharmaceuticals will enter a marketing battle with Merck over new drugs that are expected to improve the cure rate of the viral disease and shorten the treatment duration.

CFTC | Speeches & testimony: Statement Before the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, House Committee on Financial Services


Commissioner Jill E. Sommers

March 30, 2011
Good afternoon Chairman Neugebauer, Ranking Member Capuano and members of the Subcommittee. Thank you for inviting me to today’s hearing on “The Costs of Implementing the Dodd-Frank Act: Budgetary and Economic.” I am Jill Sommers. I have worked in the derivatives industry for over fifteen years and have been a Commissioner at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission since August of 2007. The views I present today are my own and not those of the Commission.
The Dodd-Frank Act is the most far reaching financial reform effort we have seen since the 1930s. Its scope and complexity are unparalleled. Similarly, Title VII of the Dodd-Frank Act, which ushers in a new era of regulation for derivatives transactions and market participants, is sweeping in its breadth. Notwithstanding its breadth and complexity, it requires the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to promulgate final rules within one year, and in some cases earlier than one year.
Since August, we have held eight public roundtables, twelve Commission meetings and have issued more than 50 proposed rules, notices, or other requests seeking public comment on Dodd-Frank related issues. While this pace has been a challenge for the Commission, I constantly hear from market participants and the public that they do not have a meaningful opportunity to comment on the proposals. Their view is that, with so many comment periods open at the same time for proposals from multiple regulatory agencies, they do not have the opportunity to provide meaningful comment on how the various rules, taken together, will impact the markets and market participants. I am sympathetic to that view for three reasons. First, this is a tremendous amount of complex material to digest in a very short period of time; second, I take all comments very seriously and want commenters to provide me and the Commission with the highest quality analysis for us to consider before we vote on final rules; and third, the Commission has not released proposed rules in a logical order. For instance, as we sit here today, we have proposed nearly 50 rules, but have yet to propose a rule that defines what a swap is.
Never before has the CFTC issued so many technical and complex proposed rules in such a compressed timeframe. While each proposed rule involves consideration of varying substantive issues, regardless of the issues involved, the Commodity Exchange Act requires the Commission to consider the costs and benefits associated with each of its regulations and orders.
Section 15(a) of the Commodity Exchange Act requires that, “Before promulgating a regulation . . . or issuing an order . . . the Commission shall consider the costs and benefits of the action of the Commission.” Section 15(a) goes on to require that, “The costs and benefits of the proposed Commission action shall be evaluated in light of – (A) considerations of protection of market participants and the public; (B) considerations of the efficiency, competitiveness, and financial integrity of futures markets; (C) considerations of price discovery; (D) considerations of sound risk management practices; and (E) other public interest considerations.”
When promulgating regulations, the Commission typically does not perform a robust cost-benefit analysis at either the proposed rule stage or the final rule stage. We do not quantify in detail what the costs of complying with a rule may be. Instead, proposals usually contain a statement that the Commission is only required to “consider” the costs, and is not required to “quantify” them, or to determine whether the benefits outweigh the costs. While we do ask for comment from the public on the costs and benefits at the proposal stage, we rarely, if ever, attempt to quantify the costs before finalizing a rule.
As we add layer upon layer of rules, regulations, restrictions and new duties, my preference is that the Commission include in each proposed rule a thorough cost-benefit analysis that attempts to quantify the cost associated with compliance. This would give the public the opportunity to comment on our analysis. To me, that is good government. If we wait until we issue a final rule to conduct a thorough cost-benefit analysis, the public is deprived of the opportunity to comment on our analysis because there is no comment period associated with a final rule.
I would like to point out that in proposed rules the Commission does attempt to quantify costs under the Paperwork Reduction Act, but this analysis is limited to the costs of any new recordkeeping or reporting requirements mandated by a rule. Quantifying costs for Paperwork Reduction Act purposes is not designed to quantify the overall cost of compliance. While the Commission has attempted to quantify this limited subset of costs in its Dodd-Frank proposals, many commenters have criticized the Commission’s Paperwork Reduction Act analysis and have indicated that our analysis grossly underestimates the actual costs involved.
Before I finish I would like to say that I agree wholeheartedly with the President’s recent Executive Order on “Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review.” In that Executive Order, the President called upon agencies to, among other things: use the best, most innovative, and least burdensome tools for achieving regulatory ends; propose or adopt a regulation only upon a reasoned determination that its benefits justify its costs; take into account benefits and costs, both quantitative and qualitative; specify performance objectives, rather than the particular manner of compliance, where feasible; identify and asses available alternatives to direct regulation; and identify and consider regulatory approaches that reduce burdens and maintain flexibility. Although as an independent agency, the CFTC is not bound by the President’s Executive Order, I am hopeful that we will undertake this type of analysis before we get to the stage of finalizing rules in order to provide stakeholders with a meaningful opportunity to review and comment on the requirements.
Thank you. I am grateful for the opportunity to speak about these important issues and am happy to answer any questions.
Last Updated: May 23, 2011

MarketWatch | Market Pulse: Stocks crater on euro fears; Dow at one-month low

By Laura Mandaro
SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- U.S. stocks closed with broad losses Monday, sending the Dow Jones Industrial Average /quotes/comstock/10w!i:dji/delayed DJIA -1.05% to its lowest close in more than a month, as investors focused on a mounting fiscal crisis in Italy, Greece and Spain. The Dow Jones Industrial Average /quotes/comstock/10w!i:dji/delayed DJIA -1.05% lost 130.78 points, or 1.1%, to 12,381.26, with a 2.3% drop in Caterpillar Inc. /quotes/comstock/13*!cat/quotes/nls/cat CAT +0.03% shares leading declines in all but one of its components. The S&P 500 /quotes/comstock/21z!i1:in\x SPX -1.19% fell 15.9 points, or 1.2%, to 1,317.37. A 1.5% drop in the tech sub-sector led declines in all 10 industry groups. The Nasdaq Composite /quotes/comstock/10y!i:comp COMP -1.59% fell 44.42 points, or 1.6%, to 2,758.90.


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MarketWatch | Commodities: Oil slides as Europe debt worries resurface


Oil slides as Europe debt worries resurface Oil futures drop as fresh worries about Europe’s sovereign debt send the U.S. dollar higher. 9 min ago

Quick Look at Insurance on Uncle Sam's I.O.U.'s Here's a quick snapshot on Treasurys from the market for credit default swaps. Of course, MarketBeat sophisticates know those derivatives essentially amount to bets on a borrower's ability to pay up. 10 min ago

Reuters UK | Evening News: UK flights could be hit by ash cloud


UK flights could be hit by ash cloud
LONDON (Reuters) - Flights from parts of the UK will probably be disrupted on Tuesday by an ash cloud billowing from a volcano in Iceland, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said. | Full Article

Tornado kills at least 89 in U.S. town
23 MAY 2011 15:20 BST
JOPLIN, Missouri (Reuters) - At least 89 people have died in a monster tornado that left a path of destruction nearly a mile (1 km) wide through the heart of Joplin, Missouri, and directly hit the small Midwestern city's main hospital, local officials said on Monday. | Full Article
Obama in Ireland, holds talks on economy and trade
23 MAY 2011 15:33 BST
DUBLIN (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama, starting a four-nation tour of Europe in Ireland on Monday, said he wanted to encourage bilateral trade and would do all he could to help the country's economic recovery. | Full Article
Lagarde leads IMF race, competition from Mexico
23 MAY 2011 13:14 BST
PARIS/MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde's candidacy for IMF chief gained momentum in Europe on Sunday while Mexico put forward its own candidate, ensuring competition for the top job. | Full Article
Euro zone periphery under pressure over new risks
23 MAY 2011 13:40 BST
LONDON/ROME (Reuters) - Financial markets piled pressure on peripheral euro zone countries Monday as investors worried about heightened risks in Spain and Greece and fresh concerns over Italy. | Full Article

FTSE dragged down by euro zone debt concerns
23 MAY 2011 12:20 BST
LONDON (Reuters) - Euro zone peripheral debt concerns pulled the top share index to a two-month low on Monday, with travel and oil stocks hit by an Icelandic volcano eruption and technical charts pointing to a negative picture. | Full Article
Ryanair warns on fuel costs, dismisses ash worries
23 MAY 2011 15:11 BST
DUBLIN (Reuters) - Europe's largest low-cost airline Ryanair said on Monday high fuel costs and a lack of growth in capacity would mean flat earnings this year after a 26 percent surge in 2010, sending its shares south. | Full Article
Banks fall short of lending goal to small firms
23 MAY 2011 13:25 BST
LONDON (Reuters) - Banks fell short of targets agreed with the government for lending to small firms in the first three months of this year, although they remained on track to hit their overall goals. | Full Article
Green bank to start lending from April 2012
23 MAY 2011 14:40 BST
LONDON (Reuters) - Green Investment Bank (GIB) will start lending money to fund low-carbon energy projects from April 2012, a year earlier than initially planned, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said. | Full Article
UK says still concerns on Kraft's Cadbury takeover
23 MAY 2011 14:32 BST
LONDON (Reuters) - A parliamentary committee said it still had concerns about management and work conditions after Kraft Foods' hostile takeover of Cadbury last year, but welcomed extra spending on its biggest UK plant. | Full Article

Special Report: Sony stumbles: Did Stringer's makeover fail?
Sony to post $3.2 billion annual loss on tax write-offs
Foxconn confirms 3rd death at plant linked to iPad
Battle over privacy law descends to farce
Sony to post $3.2 billion annual loss on tax write-offs