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Aug 5, 2011

MarketWatch | Weekly Roundup: Top ten stories: Aug 1 - 5

Weekly Roundup
AUGUST 05, 2011

MarketWatch's top 10 stories: Aug. 1-5

By MarketWatch

To call this the worst week for stocks since fall 2008, with its Lehman-darkened days, tells you something about the five market days we've just completed — or, more accurately, escaped. But it doesn't tell you everything.

It might also help to know that the so-called fear index , the CBOE's VIX (VIX), came precariously close to doubling from its levels of last week on its way to a 52-week high. Or that Thursday's stock wipeout actually did more damage, on a closing basis, than May 2010's "flash crash." Or that that selloff triggered no fewer than 460 short-sale curbs , according to the New York Stock Exchange. Or that Bank of New York Mellon (BK) felt compelled to tell its best customers — or at least biggest depositors — that they'd henceforth need to pay for the privilege of warehousing their bundles of greater $50 million at the bank . Or that trading volumes Thursday set a high-water mark for 2011 — only to be eclipsed a day later. Or that a topsy-turvy Friday session at one point saw the Dow industrials enjoying a near-stratospheric intraday rally while the Nasdaq Composite was mired some 1.5% in the red. Or that Friday's 400-plus-point intraday point swing on the Dow somehow no longer felt so extraordinary.

By the end of the week — the Dow industrials' worst since March 2009 and the broader S&P 500's losingest since November 2008 — the Dow (DJIA) had retreated 5.8%, the S&P (SPX) slumped nearly 7.2% and the Nasdaq Composite (COMP) was down 8.1%. See Market Snapshot for more of the week's recap .

 See video

Next week will have a hard time holding a candle to — or fanning flames like — this one, but here's a peek at what's on tap for the U.S., European and Asian markets:

 U.S. Week Ahead: Europe and Fed in focus .

 Europe Week Ahead: U.K. inflation and earnings.

 Asia Week Ahead: China inflation data and an earning flood.

Tim Rostan , managing editor

Bottom calling's not this easy

It would perhaps have been comforting to think so, but, reports Mark Hulbert, market bottoms historically have not looked like Thursday's stock rout. Mark Hulbert: Panics typically are followed by more losses.

Are we back in recession?

The flood of bad, awful, terrible and mediocre economic news has prompted many people to ask: Has the U.S. economy fallen into another recession? Until recently, that question had been restricted to the fringes of investing discussion boards, but now even sober economists are beginning to wonder. Investors, of course, have been selling first and asking questions later. Read recession commentary by Rex Nutting .

Anxiously awaiting a rating

Debt deal? Check. America's AAA debt ratings? We'll see. Even after the hard-fought battle over the lifting of the federal debt ceiling was over, and potential default averted, there remained a risk that the credit-rating agencies would strip the U.S. of its coveted top-shelf rating. By Friday the country's status with Moody's and Fitch seemed secure, but a foreboding question mark hung over the U.S.'s status with Standard & Poor's. Read William Watts's report on the wait for verdicts on the U.S.'s credit rating plus see which countries the U.S. would join as a double-A-rated country .

How not to stage an intervention

The resumption of the European Central Bank's controversial program of bond purchases risks going down as a textbook example of how not to conduct an intervention, writes Frankfurt-based William Watts. Read: ECB's bond buying: How not to intervene .

Better-than-expected-yet-not-so-hot jobs data

The U.S. economy added 117,000 jobs in July, more than 50% more than economists had forecast, and the unemployment rate tiptoed to 9.1% from 9.2%. But the data hardly painted a picture of a job market, or an economy, persuasively on the mend. Read: U.S. economy gains 117,000 jobs in July .

Uncle Sam scrutinizing GM

With its investment in jeopardy of costing taxpayers billions, the U.S. Treasury will likely comb through General Motors' (GM) quarterly results, reported Thursday, for indications of when it can extract itself from the car business. See Shawn Langlois's Ahead of the Curve column on the U.S. government's plans for its GM stake .

Sliced cheese: Kraft to put Velveeta and Oreos in separate companies

The rally proved unsustainable in the face of Thursday's ferocious marketwide selloff, but there was no denying the positive reception afforded Kraft Foods shares (KFT) when the company revealed a plan to split into two publicly traded outfits that would separate its worldwide snacks business from its North American grocery empire. Full story: Kraft moves to break into two companies .

Central banks putting gold in the vault

Central banks in emerging markets, including Mexico and South Korea, have decided that it's not too late to join gold's (GC1Z) party, according to Myra P. Saefong. Read Myra P. Saefong's Commodities Corner column on what central-bank gold buys mean for rank-and-file investors.

Medicare ails nursing stocks

Planned cuts in Medicare payments to skilled-nursing facilities hit the entire hospital sector early this week, including real-estate investment trusts, stripping away as much as half of the market cap of such companies as Sun Healthcare (SUNH), Skilled Healthcare.(SKH) and Kindred Healthcare (KND). Read Russ Britt's report on the Medicare-fueled selloff in health care .

Take a pass on unnecessary heart tests

Fear of heart problems is justified since heart disease remains America's No. 1 killer, but patients with stable or no significant symptoms too often are rushed into invasive tests and treatments unnecessarily and without having all the facts, according to an investigation by Consumer Reports. MarketWatch health columnist Kristen Gerencher advises that cardiac patients in nonemergency situations take time to weigh the options .

A few more spotlight-worthy stories:

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Online debate: This house does not believe the euro should be abolished

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Reuters - Daily Investor Update: Wall Street ends worst week in more than 2 years.


Wall Street ends worst week in more than 2 years
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stocks closed out its worst week in more than two years on Friday in a volatile session that saw major averages whip back and forth before the S&P 500 settled with a slim loss. | Full Article

July payrolls gain soothes recession fears
August 05, 2011 04:25 PM ET
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. job growth accelerated more than expected in July, tamping down fears the economy was sliding into a fresh recession and easing pressure on the Federal Reserve to provide more support for the weak economy. | Full Article
Italy pledges reform for ECB support, stems market
August 05, 2011 04:15 PM ET
ROME/FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Italy buckled to world pressure in a bid to halt a market rout endangering the global economy, pledging to speed up austerity measures and social reforms in return for European Central Bank help with funding. | Full Article
P&G results top views; quarter outlook falls short
August 05, 2011 12:22 PM ET
CHICAGO (Reuters) - Procter & Gamble Co is likely to miss Wall Street earnings estimates this quarter as it has not yet pushed through all its price increases that are meant to help deal with higher commodity costs. | Full Article
Wells Fargo mortgage buybacks could top $1.8 billion
August 05, 2011 12:36 PM ET
CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (Reuters) - Wells Fargo & Co may have to buy back an additional $1.8 billion in toxic mortgages from outside investors on top of claims it already received, the fourth-largest U.S. bank by assets said in a securities filing on Friday. | Full Article

NYT: Afternoon Business News: Volatile W.S. Ends The Day Mixed


Huckabee: Media hiding truth of 9/11 attacks

The CBS News Political Hotsheet newsletter


Former presidential candidate goes on offensive after being criticized for selling Sept. 11 educational video for kids
Read full story
Huckabee: Media hiding truth of 9/11 attacks

Kucinich woos Washington state ahead of 2012 Congressman Dennis Kucinich has made a number of trips to Washington State this year, where he may run for office if his Ohio district is drawn out of existence

DC reporters tweet their way through debt debate Washington Unplugged: CBS' Nancy Cordes chats with Sam Youngman, Dave Weigel and Olivier Knox about their tweets during the debt debate on Capitol Hill

Analysis: Wall St. & Main St. lose faith in D.C. The debt crisis has undermined people's confidence in their leaders' ability to get anything done for the economy

Obama promises job market President says job growth isn't coming fast enough for losses during recession, promises Americans "we are going to get through this"

U.S. stocks indexes finish worst week in years:

By Kate Gibson
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- U.S. stock indexes on Friday finished a frenzied ride with stiff weekly losses that came with worries about the U.S. and global economy. As Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst at Standard & Poor's, put it: markets were "all over the place." After the prior session's 513-point drop, the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA +0.54% gained 60.93 points, or 0.5%, to 11,444.61, leaving it off 5.8% for the week. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index SPX -0.06% fell less than 1 point to 1,199.38, down 7.2% from last Friday's close, its worst week since November of 2008. The Nasdaq Composite Index COMP -0.94% dropped 23.98 points, or 0.9%, to 2,532.41, off 8.1% for the week.

CMI | NY Trading - Spot Prices at Close

CMI - Gold & Silver
Spot Prices as of the close of trading in New York
As of: Friday August 05, 2011

  Today Change Week Ago Month Ago Year Ago
Gold $1,647.40 -$7.50 $1,626.70 $1,513.05 $1,197.70
Silver $38.22 -$1.19 $40.18 $35.45 $18.36
Platinum $1,722.40 -$3.70 $1,787.80 $1,744.90 $1,573.10
Palladium $745.40 -$5.95 $829.80 $777.15 $495.85

MarketWatch | Personal Finance Daily: 5 money moves one recession believer is making

Personal Finance Daily
AUGUST 05, 2011

5 money moves one recession believer is making

By MarketWatch

Don't miss these top stories:

Economist and author A. Gary Shilling has long predicted that the Federal Reserve's efforts to stimulate the U.S. economy would fall short, and that a global stock market fueled by cheap money and government-engineered bailouts would come to no good end. In fact, he says, the economy could be in recession now. Jonathan Burton interviewed Shilling for his Money Talks column to find out what moves Shilling is advising investors to consider now.

As the weekend looms, many retail investors will be shaking their heads at the market's wild ride this past week — if they can stop their hands from shaking, that is. On Friday alone, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) traded in a more than 400-point range that had the blue chips up 171 points at the start and then more than 200 lower.

So if you want off this roller coaster for a few days, take a look at our slide show of the five cheapest U.S. cities for a summer vacation, based on TripAdvisor's inaugural TripIndex, a cost comparison of key tourist cities around the world. It must be purely coincidental that gambling Mecca Las Vegas tops the list, right?

Anne Stanley , managing editor, Personal Finance

5 money moves one recession believer is making now

Stock investors are suffering as shocked markets grapple with the grim prospect of another U.S. economic recession, but anyone paying attention to economist A. Gary Shilling can say he saw this coming.
Read more: 5 money moves one recession believer is making now.

Real Estate Weekly: Foreclosure starts rise 10% in June

As if there weren't enough bad economic news this week, Lender Processing Services Inc. (LPS) reported that foreclosure starts were up by more than 10% in June.
Read more in Real Estate Weekly: Foreclosure starts rise 10% in June.

Google+: New hammer in the job-seeker's toolbox

An old adage in the job-search world has it that it depends on who you know You may know a lot more people than you think, particularly if you network on LinkedIn Corp. (LNKD), connect with friends on Facebook or microblog on Twitter. And now there's a new social-media network for the career-minded to consider: Google+.
Read more: Google+: new hammer in the job seeker's toolbox.

Jobless aid cut as high unemployment reigns

Despite the weak employment environment, six states so far this year have approved cutting jobless benefits to less than the 26-week duration that had prevailed for decades across the nation.
Read more: Jobless aid cut as high unemployment reigns.

The case for hiring a buyer broker

It takes a different mind-set and a different set of abilities to represent the buyer's side of the transaction, and they are not easily transferable without special training and experience, Lew Sichelman writes.
Read more: The case for hiring a buyer broker.

The 5 cheapest U.S. cities for a summer vacation

TripAdvisor list ranks U.S. vacation spots from cheapest to priciest
Read more: The 5 cheapest U.S. cities for a summer vacation.

Buying local doesn't always mean buying greener

One of the most frequently voiced mantras by environmentalists is "buy local." But it may be bad advice.
Read more: Buying local doesn't always mean buying greener.


U.S. economy gains 117,000 jobs in July

The unemployment rate fell slightly to 9.1%, the government says, in a better-than-expected report that provided temporary calm to jittery financial markets.
Read more: U.S. economy gains 117,000 jobs in July.

U.S. job market's weakness subsiding: analysts

Analysts, lawmakers and trade groups react to news that the U.S. economy added a better-than-expected 117,000 jobs in July as the unemployment rate ticked down to 9.1%.
Read more: U.S. job market's weakness subsiding.

Jobs report knocks the wind out of the bears

Global markets were relieved by the stronger-than-expected growth in U.S. jobs in July, but the figures are still dismal, writes Rex Nutting.
Read more: Jobs report knocks the wind out of the bears.


Time to panic? Just the opposite

It is only natural to be a bit scared by Thursday's market rout. But investors shouldn't let fear guide their decisions.
Read more: Time to panic? Just the opposite.

Buy U.S. growth funds

In spite of slowing economic growth, corporate earnings continue to exceed both expectations and the growth of the stock market.
Read more: Buy U.S. growth funds.

10 most popular new ETFs signal dollar doubts

With more than 300 exchange-traded funds started in the past 12 months, the new investment offerings are growing at a rapid pace. Looking at which ones are becoming the most popular shows a thing or two about where investors are looking to turn a profit.
Read more: 10 most popular new ETFs signal dollar doubts.

Dividends offer safety in recession storm

The wall of worry that the market seemed determined to climb for much of this year has crumbled into an avalanche of anxiety. What should an indexed investor do?
Read more: Dividends offer safety in recession storm.

Recession fears inflate investors' anxiety

Recession fears have inflated investors' anxiety and have sent stocks, but are we near a capitulation? Read about this and more in this week's Mutual Funds and ETF stories.
Read more: Recession fears inflate investors' anxiety.

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A big red flag on emerging markets by Howard Gold From MatketWatch

By Howard Gold

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) A critical indicator is flashing red in a couple of key emerging markets, and that could be bad news for the global economy and U.S. investors who have retained a touching but puzzling faith in these recent overachievers. 

The yield curve — the spread between short- and long-term interest rates — has turned upside down, or inverted, in both India and Brazil at various times of late. In the past, that has been a harbinger of recessions or bear markets. 

How to survive the market Jack Hough, Tomi Kilgore, and James Altucher join for a special roundtable on how to survive the market slide and where to find opportunities. 
It’s far from a perfect indicator — which one is? — but when it happens, attention must be paid. If an inverted yield curve takes hold in both those countries and spreads to others, that would signify trouble.
Emerging markets would certainly be hit and we wouldn’t be immune either as some of the world’s largest multinationals do more and more business in those fast-growing countries.
The yield curve tracks the spread between two- or three-year Treasury notes on the short end and the 10-year note on the long side and their equivalents in other countries.
Most of the time, long rates are much higher than short rates, because bond investors demand higher rates to compensate for the long-run risk of inflation. The U.S. Treasury yield curve is comfortably steep now.
But occasionally short-term rates top long-term rates because either bond investors think the economy is so weak that they don’t see much inflation ahead or the threat of inflation pushes the central bank to raise short-term rates above long-term rates.
In any event, the inverted yield curve usually means a weak economy. When short-term rates rise, borrowing money becomes much more expensive and businesses don’t expand, or they might even cut back. That’s how tight monetary policies lead to recessions and bear markets.
Since the early 1950s, a yield-curve inversion has preceded all but one official recession, according to academic research cited by Vanguard. And since 1960, the Treasury yield curve has inverted 13 times, anticipating 10 bear markets.
“Practitioners take this seriously. Traders use it, too. That’s why the stock market tends to reset so quickly to changes in the yield curve,” said Deborah Weir, a Wall Street veteran and instructor at the New York Institute of Finance who wrote extensively about the yield curve in her 2005 book “Timing the Market.”
“It’s very rare that you get a period of equity return [outperformance] following an inverted yield curve,” says Richard Bernstein, chief executive officer of New York-based Richard Bernstein Advisors LLC.

‘Fish flopping on the deck’

You might remember Bernstein from the days when he cut a distinctly independent profile amid the thundering herd at Merrill Lynch, where he served as chief investment strategist.
He’s still contrarian in spirit, this time about emerging markets, on which he has been bearish for some time. In April he wrote a commentary in the Financial Times warning that they were where the real inflationary pressures lay.
He says the money supply in some of these countries is growing at a 15% to 25% annual clip, versus a below-average 6% growth in M2 here. He’s definitely not in the U.S. hyperinflation fantasyland inhabited by Marc Faber and Peter Schiff.
Page 1 Page 2

Kitco London Fix Market Report

London Fix Fri Aug 05 00:00:00 EDT 2011
Metals Gold Silver Platinum Palladium
USD 1665.00 1658.75 39.24 1700.00
739.00 742.00
UK 1022.92 1014.34 24.08 1044.55
454.05 455.50
EURO 1176.67 1167.47 27.69 1201.00
522.10 524.00

MarketWatch | U,S. Stock Market Analysis on Snapshot at Aug. 5, 2011, 11:38 a.m. EDT

By Kate Gibson, MarketWatch 

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) U.S. stocks fell Friday, with better-than-anticipated news on the beleaguered labor front offering only brief relief after one of the Wall Street’s ugliest routs in years.

What's the Fed's next move? Jon Hilsenrath discusses how Ben Bernanke might respond to the U.S. stock-market selloff. 

The Labor Department said U.S. nonfarm payrolls climbed by 117,000 in July after an upwardly revised 46,000 addition in June.
But opening cheer from the better-than-expected report proved short-lived.
“Investors were relieved that the employment report wasn’t worst than expected, but today’s numbers aren’t a reason to celebrate either,” said Kevin Giddis, a fixed-income analyst at Morgan Keegan. 
Erasing a 171-point gain, the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA -0.87%  was lately off 116.82 points at 11,266.86. On Thursday, the blue-chip index fell 513 points, its biggest daily point decline since December 2008. 

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index SPX -1.58%  had shed 15.82 points to trade at 1,184.25 by late morning Friday.
The Nasdaq Composite Index COMP -2.38%  declined 45.46 points to 2,510.93.
For every stock gaining, six fell on the New York Stock Exchange, where almost 632 million shares were exchanged by 11:15 a.m.
Europe was back on Wall Street’s mind after the European Central Bank on Thursday resumed its bond-buying program after a four-month interval. But the ECB declined to extend the purchases to Spain and Italy, two nations currently the focus of concern. ECB’s bond buying: How not to intervene — MarketWatch news analysis.
“The ECB needs to continue to be aggressive in its efforts to solve the euro-zone debt crisis, but this will not happen overnight and as a result, will affect the U.S. economy in a negative way,” said Giddis of Morgan Keegan. 

Kate Gibson is a reporter for MarketWatch, based in New York.

RTTNews Morning Market Briefing

Morning Market Briefing

Commentary July 5th, 2011
After seeing substantial weakness in the previous session, stock may regain some ground in early trading on Friday in reaction to better than expected employment data. The major index futures are currently pointing to a higher open, with the Dow futures rising by 66 points. (Aug 5, 2011) Full Article
Economic News
The Reserve Bank of Australia lowered its growth forecast for 2011, amid weak consumption and slower-than-expected recovery of the Queensland coal industry. (Aug 5, 2011) Full Article
Indonesia's economy expanded at a steady pace in the second quarter, supported by strong consumer spending and exports, data from Statistics Indonesia showed Friday. (Aug 5, 2011) Full Article
Economic growth in Italy improved only modestly in the second quarter, while Spain saw weaker economic activity compared to the previous three months, amid heightened concerns over a spillover of sovereign troubles from debt-stricken euro members. (Aug 5, 2011) Full Article
U.K. output prices increased at the fastest pace since October 2008 in July. Higher costs of food and clothing pushed up output prices by more than what economists had expected. (Aug 5, 2011) Full Article
The U.S. Economy added 117,000 jobs in July, a more robust figure than most economists had predicted, according to figures released Friday by the Labor Department. The job growth was entirely in the private sector, with new 154,000 private sector jobs offsetting a decline of 37,000 government positions lost. (Aug 5, 2011) Full Article
Earnings News
Fluor Corp. (FLR) said Thursday second-quarter profit increased from the prior year as a result of substantial growth in the Industrial and Infrastructure segment. The results topped the market view. (Aug 5, 2011) Full Article
First Solar Inc. (FSLR) Thursday posted a sharp decline in second-quarter profit on the back of lower average selling prices and a higher investment and research and development costs. The results fell short of Street expectations. The company also lowered its 2011 financial outlook. (Aug 5, 2011) Full Article Inc. (PCLN) Thursday reported a surge in second-quarter profit as strong performances in the rental car and hotel segments saw revenues jump 44 percent. Both adjusted earnings and revenues beat analysts’ estimates. The company also issued its third-quarter financial guidance, with an earnings estimate above analysts’ consensus. (Aug 5, 2011) Full Article
American International Group Inc. (AIG) announced Thursday a second-quarter profit, turning around from the prior year loss on a hefty gain from the AIA stake sale. (Aug 5, 2011) Full Article
Viacom Inc. (VIA) Friday announced a jump in third-quarter profit thanks to double-digit revenue growth driven by affiliate, advertising and television license revenue hikes. (Aug 5, 2011) Full Article
The Procter & Gamble Co. (PG) reported Friday a rise in fourth-quarter profit due to higher organic sales and unit volumes. The results beat analysts’ estimates. The company also issued its first-quarter fiscal 2012 earnings guidance, with an estimate below analysts’ consensus. (Aug 5, 2011) Full Article
Broker Ratings Changes
FBR Capital Markets Downgrades Blue Coat Systems Inc (BCSI) To Market Perform From Outperform With $19 down from $26 Price Target
(Aug 5, 2011) 
FBR Capital Markets Lowers Orion Marine Group Inc (ORN) To Market Perform From Outperform With $8 down from $11 Price Target
(Aug 5, 2011)
FBR Capital Markets Ups Symantec Corporation (SYMC) To Outperform From Market Perform With $21 Price Target
(Aug 5, 2011)
Todays WS Events
EOG Resources Q2 11 Earnings Conference Call At 9:00 AM ET
EOG Resources, Inc. (EOG) will host a conference call at 9:00 AM ET, August 5, 2011, to discuss its Q2 11 earnings results. To access the live webcast, log on at (Aug 5, 2011)
P&G Q4 11 Earnings Conference Call At 8:30 AM ET
The Procter & Gamble Company (PG) will host a conference call at 8:30 AM ET, August 5, 2011, to discuss its Q4 11 earnings results. To access the live audio webcast, log on at (Aug 5, 2011)
Pepco Holdings Q2 11 Earnings Conference Call At 11:00 AM ET
Pepco Holdings Inc. (POM) will host a conference call at 11:00 AM ET on August 5, 2011, to discuss Q2 11 earnings results. To access the webcast log on to To listen to the call, dial 1-866-543-6403 (US) or 1-617-213-8896 (International) with passcode 50463816. For a replay call, dial 1-888-286-8010 (US) or 1-617-801-6888 (International) with pass code 34112348. (Aug 5, 2011)
Public Storage Q2 11 Earnings Conference Call At 1:00 PM ET
Public Storage (PSA) will host a conference call at 1:00 PM ET, August 5, 2011, to discuss its Q2 11 earnings results. To access the live webcast, log on at To hear the live call, dial (866) 406-5408 (US) or (973) 582-2770 (International) with ID 82231381. A replay of the call can be heard by dialing (855) 859-2056 (US) or (404) 537-3406 (International) with passcode 82231381. (Aug 5, 2011) 
Windstream Q2 11 Earnings Conference Call At 8:30 AM ET
Windstream Corp. (WIN) will host a conference call at 8:30 AM ET, August 5, 2011, to discuss its Q2 11 earnings results. To access the live webcast, log on at To hear the live call, dial 1-877-374-3977, conference ID 83896506. A replay of the call can be heard by dialing 1-855-859-2056, conference ID 83896506. (Aug 5, 2011) 
The price of gold was steady near $1,670 Friday morning as investors shun riskier assets amid global growth worries. (Aug 5, 2011) Full Article