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May 29, 2011

MarketWatch | CurrenciesDollar index drops to more than two-week low

By Myra P. Saefong and Lisa Twaronite, MarketWatch 

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — The dollar fell Friday, sending the greenback’s benchmark index below 75 for the first time in more than two weeks, as disappointing economic data fed concerns that the Federal Reserve may delay an interest-rate hike.
The Swiss franc, meanwhile, touched record levels against the dollar and euro, indicating that concerns over Eurozone debts remained strong.
The dollar index DXY -0.11% , which measures the U.S. unit against a basket of six major currencies, fell to 74.911, from 75.598 late Thursday. It hasn‘t traded below 75 since May 10 and was down about 0.7% for the week.
The index dropped after the latest round of data, as “evidence of a deceleration,” or a slowdown in economic growth, became “rather conclusive,” said Richard Hastings, a macro strategist at Global Hunter Securities.
The dollar also hit an all-time low against the Swiss franc. It was last buying 85.25 centimes, down 1.5%, after a record low at 85.11 centimes, according to data from two strategists.
Most of the past week’s economic data suggested that the Fed will delay hiking the fed funds rate in November, said Hastings, adding that “the deceleration in the U.S. will hurt tax revenue growth projections and encourage the Fed to maintain the buck at below-competitive yields.” 

The currency market should expect a move on the dollar index “closer to the 74.250 level with more downside volatility towards the high 73 handle,” he said.
On Friday, the government reported that personal income and spending increased 0.4% in April. The rise in spending was the smallest in three months. Read more about consumer spending.
U.S. pending home sales also slumped 11.6% in April, but data from a Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan survey showed that a gauge of consumer sentiment rose to 74.3 in May from 69.8 in April. Read more about consumer sentiment.
“The best bet for the dollar to advance in the near future is another tumble in the S&P 500 SPX +0.41%  and broader risk appetite to leverage the currency’s safe haven appeal,” said John Kicklighter, currency strategist for in emailed comments. “To sustain its climb, the market will need to see the end of the extremely accommodative monetary policy from the Fed.”
The dollar's fall also came on the heels of declines in Treasury yields this week.
Yields on the 2-year Treasury notes UST2YR 0.00%  and 10-year Treasury notes  were lower week to date, underscoring market perceptions that the U.S. economic recovery has hit a slow patch. Read Friday’s report on bonds.
”It’s all about relative yields and which currency is the cheapest to use as a carry-trade,” said Hastings. “Right now, the USD is a powerful carry trade currency. The decline in Treasury yields is related to higher demand for short-term Treasurys because of the stock-market decline.”

 Euro action

The euro EURUSD -0.1537%  nudged up to $1.4294 from $1.4128 in late North American trading Thursday. See real-time currency quotes and tools.
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MarketWatch | News Viewer: Arab oil faces higher ‘break-even’ price

By V. Phani Kumar, MarketWatch
HONG KONG (MarketWatch) — A sharp rise in domestic government spending by Saudi Arabia and other key Arab oil exporters threatens to upset the mutually beneficial relationship they’ve kept for decades with energy consumers worldwide.
A wave of popular protests sweeping the Middle East and North Africa has toppled regimes in Tunisia and Egypt and led to civil war in Libya. It has also forced the region’s rulers to launch programs worth tens of billions of dollars in attempts to redress public grievances.
The spending spree is likely to be felt far beyond their borders. To cover the cost, energy producers have to squeeze more money from their oil fields. That means raising their “break-even” price — the amount of money they must make from each barrel of oil — to avoid fiscal deficits.
Failure to fund these new commitments could lead to domestic spending cuts, which could stoke social and political unrest, or jeopardize their fiscal soundness by requiring they take on more national debt or draw down sovereign wealth funds accumulated over the years.
Producers’ rising break-even points also have profound implications for consumers, and the interests of both groups depend on finding an oil price they can live with.
“A major implication of this higher break-even price of oil is that it is unlikely that we will see oil prices below $70 to $80 [a barrel] in coming years. The period of low oil prices that we had, particularly in the 1990s, is gone,” said Garbis Iradian, a deputy director in the Africa and Middle East Department at the Institute of International Finance, in a telephone interview from Washington.

$100 a barrel

Iradian said the global economy could cope with oil prices in the $80 to $100-a-barrel range, but would be hurt if prices held at $130 to $140 “for a long period of time.”
He’s not the only person with the view that $100 a barrel is something consumers can handle.
Charles Seville, a director in the sovereign debt team of Fitch Ratings, wrote in emailed comments that the world economy is adjusting to higher oil prices, and that $100 oil is “less of a shock second time around than it was in 2008,” when Nymex crude-oil prices peaked at $146 a barrel.
Seville said, however, that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, a 12-member cartel of oil exporters that claims to own nearly 80% of the world’s proven oil reserves, will not “seek oil prices so high that they tip the global economy into recession.”.
But there are divergent views on the economic impact of higher oil prices.
Andrew Kenningham, senior international economist at Capital Economics, said higher prices is already causing a widespread economic slowdown, as is evident in weakening global purchasing managers’ indexes data for March and April.
“We estimate that a $30 rise in the oil price knocks around 1% off U.S. household consumption. There will be similar effects elsewhere in the West,” he said.
Last week, the International Energy Agency’s Governing Board expressed “serious concern” that the rise in oil prices since September threatens economic recovery by “widening global imbalances, reducing household and business income and placing upward pressure on inflation and interest rates.”
The IEA is an independent organization of 28 industrialized nations founded in response fuel shortages created by the 1973 Arab oil embargo. None of its members is part of OPEC.
The IEA said oil importing developing countries were “most likely to be seriously affected by high oil prices, undermining their economic and social well-being,” and called on producers to “help avoid the negative global economic consequences.”
The price of oil carries enormous weight in the global economy. Oil supplies a third of the world’s total energy needs, versus 28% for coal and 23% for natural gas, according to the International Monetary Fund.
To avoid jeopardizing market share, analysts point out that producers share consumers’ fear of prohibitively high prices.

IEA says more oil urgently needed

The world oil market urgently needs extra supplies to prevent economic damage to importing countries that could derail the global recovery, the governing board of the International Energy Agency said. James Herron has details from London
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Financial & Forex Info | The Australian Business Briefing: Miners under cyber attack

08:24:33 EST 2011

Miners under cyber attack
Don Voelte Andrew Burrell MAJOR resources companies are coming under increasing threat of cyber hacking emanating from China and other countries.
Greece okay if sticks to plan: OECD
Greece Gilles Castonguay GREECE doesn't have to restructure its debt if it pushes ahead with its plans for the economy, says the OECD's chief economist.
Ratings agencies in firing line
John Baily Richard Gluyas AMONG the nation's senior bankers, the question is asked rhetorically but with mounting frustration: "Who are these people accountable to?"
Tabcorp's Echo vows to boost revenue
Tabcorp Richard Gluyas PROPOSED Tabcorp spin-off Echo Entertainment will seek to grow revenue throughout refurbishment of its three Queensland casino properties.
Market to hitch a ride on US lift
sharemarket Teresa Ooi THE Australian sharemarket is expected to open marginally higher today following a lift in US markets.
Palmer float to foil 'racist FIRB'
Clive Palmer Paul Garvey MINING entrepreneur Clive Palmer will use his soon to be listed Resourcehouse mining venture on behalf of the Chinese government.
Offshore lure for stem cell firm
Silviu Itescu Damon Kitney CHIEF executive of one of the best-performing companies on the ASX  says it is considering basing its manufacturing facilities in Asia.
Myer tries its luck with social media
Megan Foster Blair Speedy IN retail, an industry often described as more of an art than a science, marketing via social media could be considered avant-garde.
Financial Markets
Greece okay if sticks to plan: OECD
Greece Gilles Castonguay GREECE doesn't have to restructure its debt if it pushes ahead with its plans for the economy, says the OECD's chief economist.
Offshore lure for stem cell firm
Market to hitch a ride on US lift
Financial Markets Coverage

Financial and Forex Info | The Australian Capital Circle: Cate cops elitist tag on climate ads

Capital Circle Newsletter

Cate cops elitist tag on climate ads
After a weekend of meetings, the government is no closer to revealing the carbon tax starting price.

The PM's Day: Julia Gillard starts her day in Sydney to launch the 1millionwomen campaign at the Ravenswood School. The campaign's aim is to inspire one million women to cut a tonne of pollution from their daily lives. Ms Gillard will then hop on to the VIP and fly back to Canberra for a parliamentary sitting day.
Ms Gillard writes in the Daily Telegraph and Herald Sun today: With the science so clear we shouldn't waste time on shock jocks or politicians who rely on false claims to run their scare campaigns. They quote one crank or another in the same way people have argued the world is flat.
The narrative: Julia Gillard has ordered senior ministers to launch a national blitz to sell the carbon tax ... pro-carbon tax activists yesterday launched a national advertising campaign headed by Cate Blanchett to promote action ...15 top energy companies have called for the urgent introduction of a carbon price and the AiGroup joined the Business Council of Australia in calling for a $10-a-tonne price on carbon but the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry has expressed outright opposition to the tax. (Sid Maher reports)
Tony Abbott is in Canberra for parliament and will continue his campaign against the carbon tax by visiting a business worried about the impact of the carbon tax. The line: If Julia Gillard really wants a carbon tax blitz, why didn't she do it before the election?
***Sign up to Capital Circle. Tip off Capital Circle:***
The multi-party climate change committee met over the weekend to continu

CBS NEWS Coverage of Breaking Space News | 8a 5/29 Update: Shuttle crew returns to Endeavour, preps for undocking Sunday night.

CBS News

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL--The Endeavour astronauts wrapped up last-minute experiment transfers early Sunday, bid farewell to the crew of the International Space Station and moved back aboard the shuttle to prepare the ship for undocking Sunday night.

Commander Mark Kelly thanked the three-man station crew for its hospitality, saying "we had a very successful mission."

"We got the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer installed, which is really a remarkable thing for physics and for science," he said. "That sensor's already collecting massive amounts of data and we're looking forward to hearing what those discoveries are."

Kelly, pilot Gregory H. Johnson, Michael Fincke, Gregory Chamitoff, Andrew Feustel and European Space Agency astronaut Roberto Vittori also delivered a pallet of spare parts, staged four spacewalks and helped service one of the station's oxygen generators and a carbon dioxide removal assembly.

"It was a really good 10 days or so that we were docked here," Kelly said. "We're looking forward to getting home, we're going to leave these guys to some peace and quiet and not disturb their space station anymore."

Thanks to a two-week launch delay, Endeavour arrived May 18 as three members of the station's 27th crew were winding up their mission. Outgoing commander Dimitry Kondratyev, Paolo Nespoli and Catherine Coleman departed and returned to Earth aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft on May 23, leaving Andrey Borisenko, Alexander Samokutyaev and Ronald Garan behind as the core members of the Expedition 28 crew. Three additional crew members -- Sergei Volkov, Michael Fossum and Satoshi Furukawa -- are expected to arrive June 9.

"It was really great seeing you guys," Garan told Kelly and his shuttle crewmates. "We were just in awe of the finely oiled machine that was STS-134. Great EVAs, great robotics, great transfer, AMS getting installed. Special thanks to Taz (Chamitoff) and Spanky (Fincke) for all your work on the oxygen generation system, on the carbon dioxide removal assembly. We're all looking forward to seeing the mysteries solved from the AMS.

"So on behalf of Expedition 27, Expedition 28, the entire ISS team, we want to thank you and the entire STS-134 mission team for leaving the space station ready for its continued utilization for at least the next decade. You've really left us in good shape and it was really a big success."

Added Borisenko, the Expedition 28 commander: "Thank you very much and soft landing."

After a final round of hugs and handshakes, the shuttle crew floated back aboard Endeavour. Chamitoff and Fincke, both veterans of long-duration stays aboard the station, pretended to stay behind and Feustel playfully pulled them back. The main hatch between the two spacecraft was closed at 7:23 a.m. EDT (GMT-4).

Kelly and his crewmates were scheduled to go to bed at 11:26 a.m. and to get back up at 7:26 p.m. to prepare for undocking four-and-a-half hours later, 11:55 p.m. Johnson plans to guide Endeavour through a 360-degree loop around the station before turning over control to Kelly, who will oversee a partial re-rendezvous, approaching to within about 1,000 feet of the lab complex to test new docking sensor technology being developed for NASA's deep space exploration capsule, the Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle.

The astronauts plan to test Endeavour's re-entry systems overnight Monday and to pack up early Tuesday for landing back at the Kennedy Space Center around 2:35 a.m. Wednesday.

Here is an updated timeline of the crew's planned activities for flight days 14 and 15 (in EDT and mission elapsed time; includes revision K of the NASA television schedule; best viewed with fixed-width font):


08:46 AM...12...23...50...00...ISS daily planning conference
10:56 AM...13...02...00...00...ISS crew sleep begins
11:26 AM...13...02...30...00...STS crew sleep begins
01:00 PM...13...04...04...00...Daily video highlights reel on NASA TV
07:26 PM...13...10...30...00...STS/ISS crew wakeup
08:56 PM...13...12...00...00...ISS daily planning conference
10:11 PM...13...13...15...00...Group B computer powerup
10:46 PM...13...13...50...00...ISS maneuver to undocking attitude
11:11 PM...13...14...15...00...Undocking timeline begins
11:37 PM...13...14...41...02...Sunset

11:55 PM...13...14...59...00...UNDOCKING

11:56 PM...13...15...00...00...Initial separation
11:56 PM...13...15...00...40...ISS holds attitude

12:00 AM...13...15...04...00...50 ft: reselect -X jets
12:02 AM...13...15...06...00...75 ft: low-z jets
12:13 AM...13...15...17...09...Sunrise
12:22 AM...13...15...26...00...Start flyaround at 400 ft
12:31 AM...13...15...35...30...Range = 600 feet
12:33 AM...13...15...37...00...ISS maneuvers to TEA attitude
12:33 AM...13...15...37...30...Shuttle directly above ISS
12:40 AM...13...15...44...48...Noon
12:45 AM...13...15...49...00...Shuttle directly behind ISS
12:56 AM...13...16...00...30...Shuttle directly below ISS
01:08 AM...13...16...12...00...Shuttle directly in front of ISS
01:08 AM...13...16...12...00...Separation burn No. 1
01:08 AM...13...16...12...26...Sunset
01:16 AM...13...16...20...00...STORRM* timeline begins
01:36 AM...13...16...40...00...Separation burn No. 2
01:44 AM...13...16...48...43...Sunrise
02:12 AM...13...17...16...17...Noon
02:24 AM...13...17...28...30...Range greater than 19,000 feet
02:36 AM...13...17...40...39...NH2 STORRM rocket firing
02:39 AM...13...17...43...51...Sunset
02:50 AM...13...17...54...40...Iss maneuvers to DTO attitude
02:58 AM...13...18...02...40...MC5 STORRM rocket firing
03:15 AM...13...18...19...58...Sunrise
03:23 AM...13...18...27...40...NSR STORRM rocket firing
03:28 AM...13...18...32...40...Range less than 20,000 feet (closest approach)
03:37 AM...13...18...41...40...MC6 STORRM rocket firing
03:57 AM...13...19...01...40...TPI STORRM rocket firing
04:11 AM...13...19...15...14...Sunset
04:38 AM...13...19...42...40...Separation burn No. 3
04:47 AM...13...19...51...20...Sunrise
04:56 AM...13...20...00...00...Crew meals begin
05:05 AM...13...20...09...40...Range greater than 20,000 feet
05:56 AM...13...21...00...00...EVA unpack and stow
06:30 AM...13...21...34...00...Mission status briefing on NASA TV
07:16 AM...13...22...20...00...Maui DTO
07:26 AM...13...22...30...00...Post EVA entry preps
07:56 AM...13...23...00...00...Undocking video playback
08:01 AM...13...23...05...00...Group B computer powerdown
08:11 AM...13...23...15...00...ISS daily planning conference
10:56 AM...14...02...00...00...STS crew sleep begins
01:00 PM...14...04...04...00...Mission Management Team briefing on NASA TV
06:56 PM...14...10...00...00...STS crew wakeup
09:06 PM...14...12...10...00...CBS News/network crew interviews
10:01 PM...14...13...05...00...Flight control system checkout
11:11 PM...14...14...15...00...Reaction control system hotfire

* Sensor Test for Orion Relative Navigation Risk Mitigation


CBS News Space Updates:

NASA Shuttle Web:

NASA Station Web:

Spaceflight Now:


NYT: Today's Headlines: Top News | Quotation of The Day | World | Opinion - | World | U. S. | Politics| Business | Technology | Sports | Arts | New York / Region / Magazine /Editorial / OP -ED / On This Day /

Today's Headlines

A Year at War

After Combat, the Unexpected Perils of Coming Home

One would think that going home would be the easiest thing troops could do. But it is not so simple.

Republican Legislators Push to Tighten Voting Rules

Republicans say the new rules, which have recently advanced in 13 states, weed out fraudulent votes. Democrats say they impede the young and minorities.

For Anarchist, Details of Life as F.B.I. Target

Scott Crow, an organizer of anticorporate demonstrations, is among dozens of political activists to have come under scrutiny by the F.B.I.'s counterterrorism operations since Sept. 11, 2001.

"A lot of people were excited about coming home. Me, I just sat there and I wondered: What am I coming back to?"
SGT. BRIAN KEITH, part of the First Battalion, 87th Infantry in Fort Drum, N.Y., which recently finished a yearlong tour in Afghanistan.


Video: Coming Home

The men and women of First Battalion, 87th Infantry, return home from Afghanistan to joy, loneliness and new risks.

Op-Classic, 1992

Letting Ratko Mladic Run Wild

The columnist Anthony Lewis on Washington's failure to intervene in Bosnia.

Egypt Lifts Blockade, Along With the Gazans' Hopes

Hundreds of Gaza Strip residents arrived to make the crossing, taking the first tangible steps out of Israeli occupation after years of deadlocked peace talks.

Obama Cites Poland as Model for Arab Shift

Visiting Warsaw, the president said Poland's peaceful overthrow of Communism provided lessons for countries struggling with the chaotic aftermath of popular revolts.

In Libyan Rebel Capital, Shouts of Thanks to America and the West

In Benghazi, Libya's rebel capital, Westerners are treated with a warmth and gratitude rarely seen in any Muslim country.

When Everything Is Gone, Including a Sense of Direction

The tornado that carved through southwestern Missouri last Sunday leveled parts of Joplin so completely that the community's inner GPS remains out of whack.

Obama Expected to Name Army's Leader to Head Joint Chiefs

Gen. Martin E. Dempsey is thought to be up for an unexpectedly rapid promotion after President Obama passed over the current vice chairman.

In Florida, Criminals Pose as Police More Frequently and for More Violent Ends

In South Florida police impersonators have become better organized and, most troubling to law enforcement officials, more violent.

An Unlikely Power Duo Emerges in the Global Fight Against Climate Change

Bill Clinton and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg have merged their climate-change initiatives into a global effort and will appear together at a climate conference in Brazil.

Administration Opposes Challenges to Medicaid Cuts

Medicaid recipients and health care providers cannot sue state officials to challenge cuts in Medicaid payments, the Obama administration has told the Supreme Court.

In Texas, Budget Held Sway for 20 Weeks

The Legislature's regular session is ending as it started, with lawmakers arguing on the budget and redistricting.

Retro Russian Import Lures Older, Easier Riders

By the 1990s Irbit Motor Works seemed to be sputtering into the sunset, but then it discovered a niche market in the United States for its sidecar motorcycles.

Funny or Die: Groupon's Fate Hinges on Words

The e-mail marketer hopes that its staff of 400 writers and editors will keep it one step ahead of its discounting competitors on the Web.

The Fitness Revolution Will Be Televised (After Leno)

Tony Horton and his business partners have built a $400-million-a-year empire on what might seem like a foundation of schlock: TV infomercials.

The Trouble With the Echo Chamber Online

Google, Facebook and Netflix track users' habits and tailor future results to show people what they want to see. Affirmation feels good, but it may not be constructive.
Digital Domain

Consumer Complaints Made Easy. Maybe Too Easy.

Will Gripe, an app that lets consumers post complaints about a business, tend to amplify minor grievances and drown out serious ones?

Data Breach at Security Firm Linked to Attack on Lockheed

Lockheed Martin experienced computer network disruptions that could be tied to a hacking attack earlier this year on a supplier of security tokens.
Barcelona 3, Manchester United 1

Prized Possession for Barcelona: Champions League Title

By defeating Manchester United, Barcelona staked its claim to the most prestigious club title in the world and fueled a historical debate about whether it is one of the best teams in soccer history.

Bin Hammam Withdraws From FIFA Presidential Race

Mohamed Bin Hammam of Qatar withdrew his candidacy for the post of FIFA president on Saturday, one day before he is due to face an ethics committee hearing into bribery allegations.
Sports of The Times

Success and Scandal Can Leave Everyone Weary

Saturday's Champions League final drew the interest of millions of people around the world, and took the spotlight off FIFA's latest scandal.

The Pietà Behind the Couch

How a Michelangelo, across centuries and continents, may have ended up outside Buffalo.

Old-Time Stuff Is Not Forgotten

"Gettysburg," "History Detectives" and "American Picker" scrutinize the Civil War through varying perspectives, often focusing on the history of an artifact.

On Top, Unafraid to Step Back

My Morning Jacket went back to Louisville, and its roots, to record its new album, "Circuital."

Beer Gardens Everywhere

In a revival of an attraction said to date to 1824 in New York City, there are now more than 50 beer gardens scattered in its neighborhoods.

In Williamsburg, Rocked Hard

The effects of a summer concert series have added to a conflict that has escalated since the city rezoned the waterfront in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, in 2005.

High Line: the Sequel

Coming soon: the grand opening of Section 2 of the High Line, the elevated park along the Hudson River that drew two million people last year.

Could Conjoined Twins Share a Mind?

The miraculous life of Tatiana and Krista Hogan and what it could reveal about the human brain.

Filmmaker J. J. Abrams Is a Crowd Teaser

He constructs his movies like magical boxes, full of intriguing mysteries. Of course, eventually he has to let everyone see what's in there.

Egypt's Next Crisis

The country's exhilarating, terrifying brush with freedom.

Passive in the Senate

Democrats are too afraid of political risk to put forward bold thinking of their own.

A Further Overreach on Political Money

The Supreme Court's ruling on Citizens United was bad enough.

Spammers and Their Bankers

If banks or credit card companies refused to settle payments with spammers' banks, they could disrupt spam.

Final Goodbye to a Mars Explorer

In a mission that lasted six years, the rover Spirit helped change the way we look at the red planet.
Op-Ed Columnist

For Office Civility, Cherchez La Femme

Can a woman who made it in a man's world go to a man's world and make it safe for women?
Op-Ed Columnist

Pay Attention

The Egyptian revolution is not over. It is now in the utterly vital phase of deciding who gets to write the rules for the new government.
Op-Ed Columnist

Slums Into Malls

Watch out, China: With its liberated news media and booming economy, India could nibble your lunch.

Liking Is for Cowards. Go for What Hurts.

Our infatuation with technology encourages shallow self-reflection, and liking, rather than the harder work of loving.
Op-Ed Contributor

The Weak Foundations of Arab Democracy

The chronic weakness of civil society suggests that viable Arab democracies will not emerge anytime soon.
Op-Ed Contributors

Why Medical School Should Be Free

To address the looming shortage of primary care doctors, make medical school free but charge specialists for their training.
Op-Ed Contributor

A Verb for Our Frantic Times

Why "run" has surpassed "set" as the word with the most meanings.
The Public Editor

Loitering on the Fringes

The Times is following society to places that it need not go.
On May 29, 1953, Mount Everest was conquered as Edmund Hillary of New Zealand and sherpa Tenzing Norgay of Nepal became the first climbers to reach the summit.