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Feb 20, 2013

NYT | Global Update February 20, 2013.: On Trial, Man Says Hezbollah Scouted Israeli Targets in E.U.

The New York Times International Herald Tribune
February 20, 2013
Compiled 21:45 GMT

Global Update


On Trial, Man Says Hezbollah Scouted Israeli Targets in E.U.

Hossam Taleb Yaacoub was arrested in Cyprus in July, less than two weeks before a busload of Israelis was blown up in an attack in Bulgaria that has been linked to Hezbollah.

Chinese Plan to Kill Drug Dealer With Drone Highlights Military Advances

China considered using a drone strike to kill a Myanmar drug lord wanted in the murders of 13 Chinese sailors, but decided instead to capture him alive, according to reports.

Arizona Senators, After Detour, Renew Immigration Push

Senators Jeff Flake and John McCain, two Arizona Republicans who once led broad efforts on an immigration overhaul and then retreated, are back.

MarketWatch | Wall Street at Close Report February20, 2013.:U.S. stocks fell sharply on Wednesday, retreating from multiyear highs.

By Kate Gibson, MarketWatch 
NEW YORK (MarketWatch)U.S. stocks fell sharply on Wednesday, retreating from multiyear highs, after minutes from the Federal Reserve’s last meeting illustrated differing views over continued stimulus.

“If the Fed is talking about ending its asset-purchase program, it’s because they view the economic landscape as better,” said Dan Greenhaus, chief global strategist at BTIG LLC. 

But some correction from an extended rally that has the S&P 500 index SPX -1.24%  up 6% so far this year “is hardly the worst idea, especially in front of the coming sequester and budget debate,” he added. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA -0.77%  shed 108.13 points, or 0.8%, to 13,927.54, with Caterpillar Inc. CAT -2.49%  shares among those hit as the manufacturer of construction and mining equipment reported global sales fell in the first quarter.

Three stocks to watch
MarketWatch's Polya Lesova reports Dell, Herbalife and Boeing are likely to drive market activity on Wednesday.

Retreating from highs last reached in October 2007, the S&P 500 index SPX -1.24%  shed 18.99 points, or 1.2%, to 1,511.95, with materials the heaviest weight among its 10 sectors. 

The market’s rise has come along with the Fed’s easing policy, better-than-anticipated earnings and a short-term U.S. fiscal deal reached in early January. 

Minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee’s January meeting released Wednesday had some Fed members expressing concern about the $85 billion a month in asset purchases. Read: Uneasy about QE, Fed plans debate on program.
“As we found out last month, we don’t have a uniform voice coming from the Fed,” said Art Hogan, market strategist at Lazard Capital Markets.

Interest rates could remain exceptionally low “well into 2014, but how much we spend on purchases could be scaled back at any time,” said Hogan of the Fed’s monthly spending on assets. 

However, potential changes to the Fed’s monetary policy are “less bothersome than some things on the horizon,” said Hogan, listing the March 1 deadline for massive cuts in government spending, known as sequestration, and the outcome of upcoming Italian elections. 

Deal confirmed: Office Depot to buy OfficeMax for $1.2 billion.
After closing at a 12-year high Tuesday, the Nasdaq Composite COMP -1.53%  on Wednesday slipped 49.19 points, or 1.5%, to 3,164.41. 

Gold prices fell 1.6% to end below $1,600 an ounce, pressured by the FOMC minutes and strength in the dollar. Read: Gold sinks below $1,600 amid death-cross talk.
Among individual stock moves, Boeing Co. BA +0.17%  rose 0.2% a day after engineers approved the plane maker’s contract offer, deflating a labor dispute. 

Apple Inc. AAPL -0.08% fell 2.4% after supplier Foxconn Technology Group froze hiring at its biggest factory in Shenzhen. 

Toll Brothers Inc. TOL -9.05%  shed 9.1% after the luxury-home builder reported earnings beneath expectations. 

“Weakness in gold and Apple has been the norm of late, but when you throw in the home builders and a couple of suppliers into the mix, you get a broad decline,” said Elliot Spar, market strategist at Stifel Nicolaus & Company Inc. 


Why is gold slumping again?
The price of gold, which touched $1,750 an ounce in December, is now around $1,600 - and falling. Polya Lesova joins Markets Hub. 

For every stock on the rise more than three fell on the New York Stock Exchange, where 816 million shares traded. 

Composite volume topped 4.2 billion. 

Figures from the Commerce Department had builders breaking ground in January on the most homes in more than four years and permits for construction ahead climbing. Housing starts fell to a 890,000 rate, below expectations. See: Housing starts slump as apartment building slows.
The rise in permits suggests “the January decline in starts will be temporary, and as the year progresses, housing starts will continue to push higher,” said Dan Greenhaus, chief global strategist at BTIG LLC.
A separate report from the Labor Department had the producer-price index rising 0.2% in January after a 0.3% decline the month before. See: More expensive vegetables push up producer prices.
Office Depot Inc. ODP -16.73%  and OfficeMax Inc. OMX -7.00% OMX -7.00%  will join in a $1.2 billion all-stock deal, the companies said Wednesday, confirming an accord mistakenly announced ahead of its completion. See: Office Depot, OfficeMax staple fortunes together.
Kate Gibson is a reporter for MarketWatch, based in New York. Follow her on Twitter @MWKateGibson.

DealBook P.M. Edition February 20, 2013.: Deal Professor: Deal Between Office Depot and OfficeMax Not Quite Ready for Release Home |Business Day| Video The New York Times

Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Deal Professor: Deal Between Office Depot and OfficeMax Not Quite Ready for Release Steven M. Davidoff says that the botched announcement is only one reason why the deal looks half-baked. The companies also didn't clearly address the issues of governance and antitrust.
Apologies All Around for Office Depot Announcement Mishap "When two big Fortune 500 companies merge, occasionally mishaps happen," says OfficeMax's chief executive, Ravi Saligram.
Office Depot and OfficeMax Announce Plans to Merge, After Erroneous Release The deal would value OfficeMax at $13.50, or roughly $1.19 billion, a premium of more than 25 percent to the company's closing price last week.
The Trade: A Revolving Door in Washington That Gets Less Notice Jesse Eisinger of ProPublica says that the important fights in Washington are happening away from the media gaze. For lobbyists, the real targets are regulators and staff members for lawmakers.
Credit Agricole Posts Record Loss on Write-Downs The French bank said a series of write-downs and other charges had contributed to its largest-ever annual loss, as the bank looked to move beyond the problems in Greece and Italy that have hobbled its recent earnings.
Economic Reports Economic data to be released on Thursday includes weekly jobless claims, the Consumer Price Index for January, used home sales for January, the Philadelphia Fed index for February and leading economic indicators for January.
Corporate Earnings Companies scheduled to report results on Thursday include Safeway, Wal-Mart, American International Group, Hewlett-Packard and Nordstrom.

Quotation of the Day
"We are confident that there will be exciting new opportunities for employees as part of a truly global business."
Ravi K. Saligram, chief of OfficeMax, on a merger with Office Depot.

Money Investors Daily Alert February 20, 2013.: 2 Reasons to Expect More Oil Volatility, Kent Moors


Jim Jubak on
No Bargains in Food, Tom Aspray Exclusive Interviews
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BIV Today's Business News | Ports and Shipping February 20, 2013.: Kitsilano Coast Guard station closed unexpectedly yesterday to shocked reactions

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Kitsilano Coast Guard station closed unexpectedly yesterday to shocked reactions

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NYT Opinion Today February 20, 2013.: The Conscience of a Liberal: Fine Austrian Whines by Paul Krugman Something Wiki this way comes

The New York Times

February 20, 2013

Opinion Today

Op-Ed Contributor

Lone Star Blues

Turning Texas blue - or even purple - will require hard work, political infrastructure and a vision of Hispanic voters that goes beyond immigration reform.
The Benefits of Positive Parenting
Opinionator | Fixes

The Benefits of Positive Parenting

A program developed in Australia is proving how intensive parenting and family interventions can reduce violence against children, and its aftermath.
Op-Ed Contributor

Old and Rich? Less Help for You

A possible compromise: allocate Medicare and Social Security benefits according to need.
How to Prevent More Bond Rating Fiascoes
Room for Debate

How to Prevent More Bond Rating Fiascoes

What should be done to reform the credit ratings industry?
Op-Ed Contributor

Losing My Leg to a Medical Error

I lost my leg because of a preventable mistake.
A Great Debate
Opinionator | The Stone

A Great Debate

Is there a way to make genuine debates, in which politicians must do more than just repeat talking points, part of our political culture?
Harriet Jacobs's War
Opinionator | Fixes

Harriet Jacobs's War

What a slave-turned-activist aid worker found in Northern Virginia.
Bobos in Berlin

Bobos in Berlin

The German capital's most pressing problem is the lack of affordable housing amid creeping gentrification.

China's Cybergames

Though President Obama is taking steps to deter hacking into computer networks by the Chinese, negotiations with Beijing are also needed.

Campaign Donations and Political Corruption

The Supreme Court has decided to review a campaign finance ruling that it should have left alone.

Reproductive Rights in New York

Gov. Andrew Cuomo aims to re-establish the state's pre-eminence on equal rights with an omnibus agenda on women's equality, starting with a bill to ease limits on abortion.

The Opinion Pages

Read the full opinion report, including editorials, columns, op-eds and Opinionator. Go to the Section »
Taking Note

The Rove Machine

Newt Gingrich attacks Karl Rove in yet another example of the fracturing of the right wing.
Nicholas D. Kristof Blog

A Personal Nightmare of Assault in India

Guest blogger Shalini Kantayya writes about her own experience of sexual assault in India, and the unacceptable response she received from American and Indian institutions.
The Miami Mess, Unraveled
Joe Nocera's Blog

The Miami Mess, Unraveled

University of Miami president Donna Shalala has pushed back against the N.C.A.A.
Fine Austrian Whines
The Conscience of a Liberal

Fine Austrian Whines

Something Wiki this way comes.
Can Humans Do Better Than Dinosaurs When it Comes to Incoming Space Objects?
Dot Earth Blog

Can Humans Do Better Than Dinosaurs When it Comes to Incoming Space Objects?

A veteran of the space program hopes that a double-barreled close encounter with space objects can get humanity to take such threats seriously.

ADVFN III Evening Euro Markets Bulletin February 20, 2013.

ADVFN III Evening Euro Markets Bulletin
Daily world financial news Wednesday, 20 February 2013

London Market Report
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Stocks gain as BoE divided on QE

    Market Movers
    techMARK 2,330.18 +0.70%
    FTSE 100 6,395.37 +0.26%
    FTSE 250 13,739.94 +0.62%
Gains were trimmed by the close of trade on Wednesday as heavy falls in the insurance and mining sectors partially offset earlier optimism about further stimulus from the Bank of England (BoE).

RSA Insurance was leading the fallers on the FTSE 100 after a surprise cut to its dividend, while precious metals miners were sold off as gold prices slumped.
QE speculation gives Footsie a boost
London's benchmark index hit an intraday high of 6,412 this morning after the minutes of the BoE’s latest Monetary Policy Committee's (MPC) meeting. The Footsie had not been at this level since January 2008.

The MPC's decision to hold the size of its quantitative easing (QE) programme unchanged at £375bn on February 6-7th was decided upon by a margin of six votes in favour to three against, surprising analysts who had expected to MPC to vote eight-to-one. Even BoE Governor Sir Mervyn King added his name to the list of those calling for more stimulus.

In other economic news, UK jobless claims dropped by 12,500 in January, more than the 7,000 decline expected by the market.
Gold takes a hit
Gold for April delivery was down 1.30% on the day at $1,584.10 by the close in London, having hit a low of $1,578 earlier on, the lowest price for a most-active contract since mid-July 2012.
FTSE 100: RSA plummets after surprise divi cut
Full-year results from insurance giant RSA came in broadly in line with analysts’ estimates, but a 33% reduction in the dividend surprised the market, leading to a 15% drop in the share price by the end of the day.

MarketWatch | Europe Markets at Close Report February 20, 2013.;European stock markets were mostly lower Wednesday, investors also stayed cautious ahead of minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve

By Sara Sjolin, MarketWatch 
LONDON (MarketWatch)European stock markets were mostly lower Wednesday, with weaker-than-expected euro-zone consumer-confidence data beating the air out of a risk-on sentiment, while investors also stayed cautious ahead of minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve. 

The Stoxx Europe 600 index XX:SXXP -0.32% fell 0.3% to close at 289.07, retreating after a 1.1% rally on Tuesday. 

Can China create its own Silicon Valley?
Duncan Clark of BDA China talks about the changing business environment for Chinese technology companies.

“This week we have the Italian election over the weekend, and I think there’s 30%-40% chance of a market-unfriendly outcome. That would be bad for the euro and bad for Italian bonds. I think it would be very wise to keep risk low over the weekend,” said Nick Beecroft, senior market analyst at Saxo Capital Markets in London. See: Will Berlusconi win over Italians with Champions League glory?

ADVFN III World Daily Markets Bulletin February 20, 2013.:

ADVFN III World Daily Markets Bulletin
Daily world financial news Wednesday, 20 February 2013

US Market
Stocks Giving Back Ground In Early Trading

Stocks have moved modestly lower in early trading on Wednesday after moving notably higher over the course of the previous session. The major averages have dipped into negative territory, although selling pressure remains subdued.

The major averages are currently posting modest losses, near their lows for the young session. The Dow is down 13.75 points or 0.1 percent at 14,021.92, the Nasdaq is down 6.99 points or 0.2 percent at 3,206.60, and the S&P 500 is down 3.71 points or 0.2 percent at 1,527.23.

The modest weakness on Wall Street comes as traders cash in on some of the recent strength in the markets, which lifted the major averages to new multi-year closing highs on Tuesday.

Nonetheless, the major averages are holding on to the bulk of their recent gains, as traders remain reluctant to sell stocks and miss out on any further upside.

Worries about the outlook for the housing market may also be weighing on stocks after a report from the Commerce Department showed a bigger than expected drop in housing starts.

Bureau of Labor Statistics | Latest Poducer Price Index News Release February 20, 2013.: The PPI for finished goods rises 0.2% in January; finished core also advances 0.2% .:

Bureau of Labor Statistics
The latest Producer Price Index news release has been posted on the BLS website at and also archived at Highlights are below.

The PPI for finished goods rises 0.2% in January; finished core also advances 0.2%

The Producer Price Index for finished goods advanced 0.2 percent in January. Prices for finished goods declined 0.3 percent in December and 0.4 percent in November. The index for finished goods less foods and energy rose 0.2 percent in January.