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Jan 29, 2013

BBC NEWS | Business (30 January 2013 Last updated at 01:55 GMT).: BP record $4bn penalty approved

30 January 2013 Last updated at 01:55 GMT

BP record $4bn penalty approvedThe fire at the Deepwater Horizon oil rig

A US court approves the biggest criminal fine in US history given to British oil giant BP as part of a settlement related to the fatal 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster.

Amazon Kindle FireAmazon announces lower profits

The online retailer Amazon has announced a fall in quarterly profits, despite an increase in revenues during the period.

Artur MasCatalonia asks Spain for 9bn euros

The independence-minded region of Catalonia asks the Spanish central government for an extra 9bn euros (£7.7bn) in bailout money.

GATA | THE GATA DISPATCH (JANUARY 29, 2013). : Two major Swiss banks nudge customers into allocated gold

Two major Swiss banks nudge customers into allocated gold

Submitted by cpowell on 02:46PM ET Tuesday, January 29, 2013. Section: Daily Dispatches
Swiss Banks Lose Old Taste for Gold
By Jack Farchy
Financial Times, London
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
The wealthy have for centuries turned to Switzerland as a safe and convenient place to stash their gold. But Swiss banks are now demanding higher fees to accept the world's bullion, as they seek to reduce the size of their balance sheets.
UBS and Credit Suisse, which dominate the powerful Zurich-based physical gold market, have hiked their charges for holding the metal, according to clients and people familiar with the banks.
The move is an attempt to persuade their biggest clients -- including other banks, hedge funds, and institutional investors -- to take direct ownership of their gold in so-called "allocated" accounts, with the bank simply acting as a custodian.

Under more common "unallocated" gold accounts, depositors' gold appears on banks' balance sheets, forcing them to increase their capital reserves. Like their global peers, UBS and Credit Suisse are under regulatory pressure to reduce capital-intensive activities ahead of the introduction of Basel III global banking rules.
People familiar with the banks' thinking said that the move to raise fees was part of a broader attempt to reduce the size of balance sheets. "When it's on balance sheet it does create costs," a person with knowledge of the banks' strategy said.
Fees vary for different clients, and traders said that the increase had not been uniform but that it was generally in the order of about 20 per cent. Vault fees are typically about 0.05-0.1 per cent of the value of the gold.
Credit Suisse declined to comment on the fee rises but confirmed that it was "adjusting its charges for precious metal accounts for financial institutions."
UBS declined to comment.
Higher vault fees are the latest sign of strain in Switzerland's banking industry, as investors in search of a haven pile money into the country.
Last month UBS and Credit Suisse imposed negative interest rates on short-term cash deposits in an attempt to stem inflows from investors seeking a haven from the eurozone crisis.
Some gold investors began shifting holdings from unallocated to allocated accounts -- which are generally more expensive -- at the beginning of the financial crisis.
Unallocated holders can lose their investment if a bank fails, but holders of allocated gold are protected.

* * *
Join GATA here:
California Resource Investment Conference
Saturday-Sunday, February 23-24, 2013
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DealBook | News Alert (January 29,2013).: Chesapeake’s Chief to Retire

The New York Times | NEWS ALERT
DEALBOOK ALERT Tuesday, January 29, 2013 5:47 PM EST
Chesapeake Energy’s co-founder and chief executive, Aubrey McClendon, will retire on April 1, the producer of oil and natural gas announced on Tuesday, almost eight months after investors complained about a contentious compensation plan.
Mr. McClendon, who gave up his chairman role last May, will also leave Chesapeake’s board on that date. Until then, he will transfer daily management responsibilities to other executives. A successor wasn’t named, though the company said that it had hired an executive search firm to find his replacement.
The surprise announcement followed months of investor dissatisfaction with Chesapeake, which has struggled with prolonged low natural gas prices and efforts to move into more lucrative oil production. But shareholder ire spiked last spring, after Reuters reported on an unusual executive perquisite in which he was allowed to buy stakes in each well the company drilled.


DealBook P.M. Edition (January 29, 2013).: 2 Private Equity Firms Picked as Lead Bidder for Twinkies

Tuesday, January 29, 2013
2 Private Equity Firms Picked as Lead Bidder for Twinkies Twinkies have a reputation for being able to survive an apocalypse. At the very least, it appears that the cream-filled confections will survive bankruptcy. Their maker, Hostess Brands, has named a pair of private equity firms, Apollo Global Management and C. Dean Metropoulos & Company, as the collective lead bidder for Twinkies and several other snack brands, two people briefed on the matter said on Tuesday. Apollo and Metropoulos appear to have beaten out a sizable number of competitors for the iconic snack brand, including Grupo Bimbo of Mexico, the maker of Arnolds bread. But as the "stalking horse" bidder, with an expected offer of some $400 million, the pair will have largely set a floor for a court-supervised auction that is expected to take place within weeks.
    Jefferies C.E.O. Earned $19 Million in 2012 Richard B. Handler, the chief executive of Jefferies, made more in 2012 than Jamie Dimon, head of JPMorgan Chase.
    R.B.S. Stock Drops Amid Concerns of Potential Guilty Plea in Libor Case Shares of the Royal Bank of Scotland stumbled on Tuesday after it emerged that federal authorities are pursuing a guilty plea against an Asian subsidiary at the center of an interest rate manipulation scandal.
    Elliott Management Calls for Board Shake-Up at Hess The hedge fund, run by Paul E. Singer, pushed Hess investors on Tuesday to vote for a slate of five independent directors, as part of broader effort to bolster the oil company's share price.
    The Case for Shaking Up the Hess Board With a too cozy board, It's no coincidence that the oil company has had a record of inefficient operations, argues Christopher Swann, a columnist with Reuters Breakingviews.
    Gleacher to Leave His Investment Bank Eric J. Gleacher, a veteran deal maker who participated in the fight over RJR Nabisco, said on Tuesday that he would leave the investment bank he founded about 23 years ago.
    Smog, Fraud and Diplomacy Some believe that China's environmental crisis, if left unchecked, may ultimately threaten the Communist Party's rule, Bill Bishop writes in the China Insider column.
    Anglo American Takes $4 Billion Charge on Mining Deal The company said it would take a post-tax charge on its Minas-Rio iron ore project in Brazil, because costs to start production at the site had skyrocketed.
    Buzz Tracker
    Philips to Sell Home Audio and Video Unit for $201 Million The consumer electronics pioneer Royal Philips Electronics agreed on Tuesday to sell its home audio and video business to Funai Electric of Japan for 150 million euros ($201.5 million) and a brand licensing fee as it continued a shift into more profitable industrial products. The move sheds a big part of the company's history, which includes helping invent the compact disc and the DVD.
    Fischer to Leave Bank of Israel tanley Fischer, a former vice chairman of Citigroup, announced on Tuesday that he would step down on June 30 as governor of Israel's central bank. Mr. Fischer, who was also a former deputy managing director of the International Monetary Fund, was head of the Bank of Israel for eight years.
    OpenTable to Acquire Foodspotting for $10 Million | OpenTable, the online reservation business, said on Tuesday that it had agreed to buy Foodspotting, a San Francisco social media start-up, for $10 million, Brian X. Chen reports on the Bits blog. On Foodspotting, a user can search for a restaurant or a type of dish, and the search results will display user-uploaded pictures of food at certain restaurants.
    Research in Motion introduces the BlackBerry 10. Evercore Partners reports its fourth-quarter results. And fourth-quarter gross domestic product tops the economic agenda. 

MarketWatch | Wall Street at Close Report (January 29, 2013).: U.S. stocks mostly advanced Tuesday as oil prices rose to four-month highs

By Kate Gibson, MarketWatch 

NEW YORK (MarketWatch)U.S. stocks mostly advanced Tuesday as oil prices rose to four-month highs, lifting the energy sector and offsetting disappointing forecasts from technology and other companies. 

“It’s kind of a mixed bag, from a narrow perspective, you have the Dow up — it touched a five-year high — and a couple of stocks in our portfolio are doing well,” said Matthew Kaufler, portfolio manager at Federated Investors, citing Pfizer Inc. PFE -0.04%  and Valero Energy Corp. VLO +12.78%

“Everything is reverting back to 2007; the last time we were in the 1,500 range was 2007, and before that was 2000,” Art Hogan, market strategist at Lazard Capital Markets, said of the S&P 500 index SPX +0.51%  . 

Of the 174 S&P 500 component companies that have reported fourth-quarter earnings to date, 68.4% have topped estimates, according to Greg Harrison, corporate earnings research analyst at Thompson Reuters. 

“Home builders are continuing to do pretty well in this environment, and led the charge, but on the flip side you have Ford [Motor Co. F -4.64% ], with the U.S. being pretty strong and Europe being weaker than anticipated,” Kaufler added. Read: Ford shares slump as car maker sees European loss in 2013. 
The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA +0.52%  finished at 13,954.42, up 72.49 points, or 0.5%.

Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer led blue-chip gains after reporting fourth-quarter earnings that beat estimates. Read more in Big Earnings on Tuesday. 

Home prices fall in November U.S. home prices edged lower in November from a month earlier, though the decline was attributed to the seasonally weak time of year rather than a reversal of the housing-market recovery, according to Standard & Poor's Case-Shiller home-price indexes. 

The S&P 500 index SPX +0.51%  rose 7.66 points, or 0.5%, to 1,507.84, a day after snapping an eight-session winning run that had pushed the index to close above 1,500 for the first time in several years. 

Energy shares rose after refiner Valero reported an increase in profit and Elliott Management Corp. called on energy company Hess Corp. HES +9.01%  to consider selling its U.S. shale assets. 

Shares of Ford shed 4.6% after the car maker forecast a loss of $2 billion in Europe in 2013, more than its prior estimate. Read a commentary piece: Can Ford win in Europe? Inc.’s AMZN +7.96% shares fell 5.7% ahead of the online retailer’s quarterly results, which were released after Tuesday’s close. Read: Amazon may regain profitability as sales jump.
The Nasdaq Composite COMP -0.02%  fell less than 1 point to 3,153.66, with the index hit by downbeat forecasts from Seagate Technology PLC STX -9.36%  and BMC Software Inc. BMC -6.23%

VMware Inc. VMW -21.54%  dived nearly 22% after forecasting first-quarter revenue beneath expectations as business customers reduced spending. 

Erasing gains, Yahoo Inc. YHOO +0.66%  fell 3% a day after the Internet-search engine reported fourth-quarter earnings on an adjusted basis that topped expectations and projected yearly revenue would rise. But outlooks for the current quarter and 2013 fell below expectations.

The Federal Reserve on Tuesday afternoon started a two-day meeting reviewing the U.S. economy and monetary policy, with the Federal Open Market Committee expected to keep policy on hold. Investors will look for signals in the FOMC’s statement, expected Wednesday afternoon, as to when the central bank will curb its easing moves. Read: Fed to press ahead with bond buying. 
Ahead of Tuesday’s session, stock-index futures offered limited reaction to the latest indication that the U.S. housing market is gaining traction. The S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values climbed 5.5% in November from the year-earlier period, the largest year-over-year rise since 2006. Read more. 
“There has been a heightened level of uncertainty that has plagued the country, both businesses and consumers, since the financial crisis. One reason businesses are generating so much cash is they don’t have the confidence to make investments. And in the case of housing, we’re coming off of historic lows, so it’s an improved environment, but far from what I would consider normal,” said Kaufler at Federated Investors. 

For every two shares declining roughly three rose on the New York Stock Exchange where 721 million shares traded. Composite volume surpassed 3.9 billion. 

The U.S. dollar DXY -0.28%  weakened against other currencies, while 10-year Treasury yields 10_YEAR +2.19%  rose to 2% after climbing Monday above that level for the first time since April.
“We’re still in a honeymoon period in January where more money is being allocated to stocks than to bonds for the first time since 2007. It’s too early to tell if this is a sustained allocation switch,” said Lazard’s Hogan. 

Crude oil for March delivery CLH3 +0.93%  rose 1.2% to close at a four-month high of $97.57 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. 

Gold futures GCG3 +0.59%  rose 0.5% to end at $1,662.80 an ounce. Read: Gold scores first gain in five sessions. 
Kate Gibson is a reporter for MarketWatch, based in New York.

GATA | THE GATA DISPATCH (January 29, 2013).: Astonished gold market analysts note FT's praise for GATAAstonished gold market analysts note FT's praise for GATA

Astonished gold market analysts note FT's praise for GATA

Submitted by cpowell on 01:22PM ET Tuesday, January 29, 2013. Section: Daily Dispatches
4:04p ET Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Dear Friend of GATA and Gold:
Astonished notice of today's praise of GATA by the Financial Times has begun to come in from those gold market analysts who have managed to pick themselves up off the floor.
The daily note from John Brimelow's Gold Jottings says: "In a development which will be astonishing to veterans of the Gold Wars, the Financial Times today, in a discussion emphasizing how drastic the Bundesbank's shift to transparency about its gold activities has been, salutes the Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee. ... GATA has been completely justified in its complaints that its views have been excluded from the mainstream media for years. This is a remarkable development."
And Mark O'Byrne's daily note at GoldCore says: "Those who have dismissed the Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee or GATA as 'conspiracy theorists' may now wish to apologise and acknowledge the documentation and evidence that GATA have amassed over the years.
"GATA have long made a strong case that certain banks may have been manipulating gold and silver prices lower, in the same way that banks conspired to rig LIBOR and interest rates. ... The FT article is an important development and may help bring about a free market in gold and silver. This should lead to a revaluation of precious metal prices to the higher levels that have been expected by more astute analysts for some time and which are merited due to the very strong fundamentals."
The GoldCore commentary is posted at GoldSeek here:
CHRIS POWELL, Secretary/Treasurer
Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee Inc.

NYT | Politics (January 29, 2013).: Obama Issues Call for Immigration Overhaul

The New York Times

January 29, 2013


President Obama delivered remarks on immigration reform on Tuesday in Las Vegas.

Obama Issues Call for Immigration Overhaul

President Obama also welcomed bipartisan movement in Congress on the politically charged issue, which has defied solution in recent years.

Senate Panel Approves Kerry for Secretary of State

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the panel that John Kerry has led for the past four years, unanimously approved his nomination, and the full Senate was set to vote.

More Politics

The Caucus

LaHood to Leave Transportation Department

Ray LaHood, the former Republican congressman who has run the nation's Transportation Department under President Obama, will not serve a second term, he told department employees in a letter on Tuesday.

Give Up Pay? Many Lawmakers Would Feel Little Pain

A "no budget, no pay" proposal in the debt ceiling extension is supported by many members of Congress who are millionaires.
Orrin G. Hatch led a group of four senators who developed the bill. Bill Gates, above in 2008, has pushed for more working visas.

Skilled Science Workers at Focus of Second Senate Proposal on Immigration

Four senators will introduce a bill Tuesday that would increase the number of temporary visas available for immigrants in science and technology fields, and free up permanent resident visas.

Office Working to Close Guantánamo Is Shuttered

The announcement appeared to signal that the administration does not currently see the closing of the Guantánamo Bay prison as a realistic priority.

Congress Approves $51 Billion in Aid for Hurricane Victims

The $51 billion aid package comes on top of nearly $10 billion that Congress approved this month to support the recovery efforts in states that were battered by Hurricane Sandy.


Video: Obama Remarks on Immigration Reform
President Obama delivers remarks on immigration reform at Del Sol High School in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Interactive Feature: President Obama's Inaugural Address
Reporters and editors from The New York Times offered context and analysis on President Obama's inaugural address.
Slide Show: President Obama's Second Inauguration
The second inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th president of the United States and Joseph R. Biden Jr. as vice president.

GATA | THE GATA DISPATCH (January 29, 2013).: Burn the paper gold shorts, Pacific Group's Kaye tells King World News

Burn the paper gold shorts, Pacific Group's Kaye tells King World News

Submitted by cpowell on 12:20PM ET Tuesday, January 29, 2013. Section: Daily Dispatches
3:17p ET Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Dear Friend of GATA and Gold:
Hong Kong-based fund manager William Kaye of Pacific Group today gives King World News an incendiary interview about liberating the gold market from the stranglehold of imaginary paper gold.
Kaye, who told Bloomberg News a week ago that Pacific Group is taking delivery of $35 million worth of gold bars to be stored in a vault in Hong Kong (, says today that "if even a small fraction" of gold investors "start doing what we are doing and what others are doing, it will create the biggest short squeeze in any financial instrument in the history of the world."
"It's already happening," Kaye adds. "It's happening quietly for the most part at the moment. I think the potential here is that what is starting as a trickle could become a flood."
An excerpt from the interview, the first of what are to be three parts, is posted at the King World News blog here:
CHRIS POWELL, Secretary/Treasurer
Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee Inc.

BIV | Today's Business News (January 29, 2013).: BC Hydro pushes ahead controversial $7.9b Site C dam


Mining and Energy

BC Hydro pushes ahead controversial $7.9b Site C dam

BC Hydro is pushing forward with its controversial $7.9 billion Site C hydroelectric dam project ... READ MORE


HD Mining sends 16 Chinese coal miners home

HD Mining has announced that it is sending 16 temporary foreign workers at its Murray River coal project back to ... READ MORE

B.C. mining investment surged in 2012: Clark

The province's mining sector invested an estimated $680 million in exploration last year, a 47% ... READ MORE



Sierra Wireless sells mobile broadband AirCard business

Roughly 160 Sierra Wireless Inc. (TSX:SW) employees in Richmond and Carlsbad, California, will be offered relocation to San Jose, California, to follow the company’s AirCard business, which is being sold to ... READ MORE

More News...


BIV unveils 2013 Influential Women in Business honourees

Sauder MBA jumps 25 places in Financial Times ranking

Vancouver startups clean up at awards



Anne McMullin: Positive developments

Former journalist and chamber of commerce boss Anne McMullin is now at the helm of the Urban Development Institute, aiming to ... READ MORE

Editor's Opinion


U.S. Titanic hits debt iceberg, and the band plays on

According to U.S. economy expert Peter Schiff: “Either we default on our debts and bondholders get shafted or we destroy the dollar and pay everybody off with a debased currency" ... READ MORE