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Mar 6, 2013

NYT | Global Update 6, 2013.: Syrian Rebels Seize 20 U.N. Soldiers in the Golan Heights

The New York Times International Herald Tribune
March 6, 2013
Compiled 21:45 GMT

Global Update


Syrian Rebels Seize 20 U.N. Soldiers in the Golan Heights

Syria's civil war entangled the peacekeeping operation in the disputed Golan Heights area Wednesday, when 30 armed fighters for the insurgency detained a group of peacekeepers.

Russian Police Say Dancer and Two Others Confess to Bolshoi Attack

Pavel Dmitrichenko and two other men said they had carried out the January acid attack on the ballet company's artistic director, Sergei Filin, according to the police.

Arkansas Adopts Strictest Abortion Law in the U.S.

Legal experts said a ban on abortion after 12 weeks of pregnancy, adopted on Wednesday, so sharply contradicted existing constitutional doctrine that it should quickly be voided.


Video: Report From Venezuela

After President Hugo Chávez's death, The Times's William Neuman surveys the scene in Caracas and the president of the Inter-American Dialogue examines American relations going forward.


Another Round of Sanctions on North Korea

Creative thinking is needed to break the endless cycle of punishments and threats in order to disrupt the North's nuclear program.


Chávez Altered How Venezuela Views Itself, for Good or Ill

The legacy of Hugo Chávez, who died Tuesday, is not made of concrete and steel, highways and houses, but something less tangible: he has changed the way Venezuelans think.

Crowds Throng Caracas Streets to Salute Chávez

Mourners filled the streets to say goodbye to President Hugo Chávez. But there was uncertainty in Venezuela about how the nation would be run and when an election would be scheduled.

Cuba Says Goodbye to a Strong and Generous Ally

The death of Hugo Chávez, the Venezuelan leader, of sent a ripple of sadness and uncertainty across Cuba, which has long relied on Venezuela's hefty oil subsidies.

Jobs to Fill, Employers Wait for Perfection

Job openings are staying unfilled much longer than they used to, despite well-qualified candidates, in part because companies are reluctant to commit to new hires.

Europe Fines Microsoft $732 Million Over Antitrust Law

Europe's competition commissioner said regulators had been "naïve" to let the company monitor its own adherence to an Internet browser accord in 2009.

Europe's Carmakers Look Forward to U.S. Trade Pact

Prospects for a trade pact have brightened the spirits of automakers who want to not only sell in the American market, but also to export their U.S.-made cars back to Europe.

Sheryl Sandberg Takes Her Message to Wall Street

Kicking off her east coast book tour, Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer of Facebook, will hold events this week at Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chase.

Yahoo Says New Policy Is Meant to Raise Morale

The abolishment of Yahoo's work-from-home policy created a stir among workers, but some employees say a new office culture is needed.

Dell Board Committee Insists Sale Was Best Outcome

The special committee of Dell's board that supervised the company's $24.4 billion sale to its founder reiterated on Wednesday that the deal was the best option for shareholders.

Manchester United Shouldn't Play the Blame Game

When Nani was shown the red card during United's loss to Real Madrid in the Champions League, the referee did what he was supposed to do: judge action, not intention.

Angelo Mathews to Captain Sri Lanka Cricket Team

Mathews and Sri Lanka's 23 leading players were feuding with the Sri Lanka Cricket Board over pay, but they reached a settlement Monday.
Real Madrid 2, United 1

Flash of Red Leaves United Speechless

Cristiano Ronaldo's goal with about 20 minutes left gave Real Madrid a 3-2 aggregate lead over Manchester United, securing Real's passage to the Champions League quarterfinals.

Anger and Kudos as Florida Governor Tacks Left

Gov. Rick Scott, who recently endorsed a Medicaid expansion, said he had not changed so much as Florida's economy and deficit changed, freeing him to spend money.

Coming Soon: Long-Delayed Decisions on Endangered Species

Under the terms of a 2011 settlement, the Interior Department has promised to rule on the endangered status of dozens of species by 2018.

California, on Brink of Recovery, Braces for Setback on Federal Aid

State officials estimate they will lose $9 billion in federal aid and are trying to anticipate where those cuts will hit hardest as they wait for details from Washington.
Op-Ed Contributor

End the Arab Boycott of Israel

The Arab boycott of Israeli goods is out of date, self-defeating, and hurts only Palestinians.
Op-Ed Columnist

The Professors' Big Stage

The MOOCs revolution will go through many growing pains, but it is here and it is real.

DealBook P.M. Edition March 6, 2013.: The Trade: With Legal Reserves Low, Bank of America Faces a Big Lawsuit Home |Business Day| Video The New York Times

Wednesday, March 6, 2013
The Bank of America Tower in Midtown Manhattan. The bank contends that its reserves are reasonable.
The Trade: With Legal Reserves Low, Bank of America Faces a Big Lawsuit Jesse Eisinger of ProPublica says that a lawsuit over the bank's mortgage portfolio could cost tens of billions more than planned, prompting critics to say it has not set aside enough for a settlement.

Standard Deduction: The Benefits of Working in the Office Victor Fleischer says that in some industries, casual interaction among employees enhances creativity and innovation. Plus, some benefits, like free meals, might actually give workers a tax break.
Elliott Criticizes Hess Chief as Unaccountable Elliott Management criticized a letter sent by Hess's chief executive, John B. Hess, to another dissident investor, arguing the letter showed the company and its management lacked accountability.
Paul Capital Takes Stake in Brazilian Venture Fund Paul Capital, a private equity firm focused on secondary market transactions, has acquired 18.2 percent of a fund managed by the Brazilian technology venture capital firm Ideiasnet for 79 million reais ($40 million).
A Dell display station at a technology fair in Germany.
Dell Board Committee Insists Sale Was Best Outcome The special committee of Dell's board that supervised the company's $24.4 billion sale to its founder reiterated on Wednesday that the deal was the best option for shareholders.
Breakingviews: Why Vodafone Should Head for a Verizon Exit Quentin Webb says that Vodafone's stake in Verizon Wireless may be worth $120 billion. If a deal can be reached with Verizon, the big question is what strategic options the British telecommunications would pursue with such a windfall.
Breakingviews: Honey, We Barely Shrunk the Financial System Peter Thal Larsen says that after an unsustainable boom, some shrinkage in the global financial sector was inevitable, and desirable, the author writes. Besides, excluding the euro zone, cross-border capital flows are still reasonably healthy.
Buzz Tracker
Holder Says Big Banks Are Too-Big-to-Charge Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. told the Senate Judiciary Committee today that some financial institutions have become too large to bring criminal charges, The Hill reported today. "If you do bring a criminal charge, it will have a negative impact on the national economy, perhaps even the world economy," he said.
Economic Reports Information to be released on Thursday includes weekly jobless claims, the trade deficit for January, fourth-quarter productivity (revised) and consumer credit for January.
Corporate Earnings Companies scheduled to report their quarterly results on Thursday include H&R Block, Kroger, Navistar, Smithfield Foods and Pandora Media.
In the United States On Thursday, United States retailers will report same-store sales; a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee will conduct a hearing on the effect of the Obama health care law on insurance premiums; the Senate Commerce Committee and the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will conduct a joint hearing on cybersecurity; and the Federal Reserve will announce the results of stress tests of the nation's biggest banks.
Overseas On Thursday, the European Central Bank, the Bank of England and the Bank of Japan will announce decisions on interest rates.

Quotation of the Day
"This is an accounting arbitrage."
Manal Mehta, a hedge fund manager, on Bank of America's decision to keep its legal reserves low while facing a big lawsuit.

Stocks gain as Dow extends record rise: Wall Street At Close Report March 5, 2013 by Gibson, MarketWatch.

By Kate Gibson, MarketWatch 
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — U.S. stocks on Wednesday finished mostly higher, with the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average extending its record rise after an encouraging report on private-payrolls growth. 

The S&P 500 index — a broader gauge of the stock market — posted slight gains, ending the session 24 points from its all-time closing high recorded in October of 2007. 

The market’s bull run has come amid central-bank monetary easing both in the United States and overseas, with the European Central Bank and Japan’s central bank among those participating. 

“I wonder is it counter-intuitive optimism growing from Japan to the U.S. that they are going to keep the punch bowl out there. Central bankers are all in; how can you collectively fight all of them, if you’re betting against them, that’s a big bet to make,” said Nick Raich, CEO of the Earnings Scout, an independent microeconomic research firm specializing in corporate earnings trends in Cleveland, Ohio. 

A day after closing at an all-time high, the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA +0.30%  furthered its gains, rising as much as 66 points and ending up 42.47 points, or 0.3%, at 14,296.24. Read a commentary piece by the Charles Schwab CEO on whether it’s time to get into the market or get out.
Materials and financial companies fared best among the 10 major industry groups on the S&P 500 index, which added 1.67 point, or 0.1%, to 1,541.46, leaving it 24 points shy of its record-high finish hit in October 2007. Read a story on the VIX’s track record as a contrarian indicator.
“We’re approaching all-time highs because we’re at all-time levels of profit,” said Raich. “Earnings growth for the S&P 500 SPX +0.11%  reaccelerated form the third to fourth quarter, but there is going to be a temporary slowdown in first quarter,” he added. 

The Nasdaq Composite COMP -0.05%  lost 1.77 point, or 0.1%, to 3,222.37, hit in part by a 1.3% decline in shares of Apple Inc. AAPL -1.27% . Read: Apple price targets cut. 
For every two stocks falling nearly three gained on the New York Stock Exchange, where almost 684 million shares traded. Composite volume approached 3.7 billion. 

Data showed a welcome rise in private-sector payrolls in February, a less-than-expected drop in U.S. factory orders the month before and evidence of slowing retail sales from the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book. 

“I am getting worried about a temporary growth scare coming up,” Raich said.

Putting Dow record high in historical context
Richard E. Sylla, financial historian and professor of economics at NYU's Stern School of Business, discusses the likelihood of a series of markets highs, the impact of the Fed's ability to keep interest rates down, and the tendency for investors to buy high and sell low. 

Ahead of the open, stock-index futures extended gains after Automatic Data Processing Inc. reported private-sector jobs rose by 198,000 last month, exceeding expectations. The January jobs data were revised higher. See: Private-sector jobs growth beats expectations.
“It all looks good; the numbers are showing roughly 200,000 now for the last two months,” said Raich.
Other Wednesday data had the government reporting orders for U.S. factory goods in January declined by the most in five months, hit by weak appetite for military hardware and commercial aircraft. 

Among individual stock movers, Staples Inc. SPLS -7.15%  slid 7.2% after the office-supplies retailer projected profit beneath estimates. 

VeriFone Systems Inc. PAY +8.57%  added 8.6% after the manufacturer of credit-card terminals reported earnings that topped expectations. 

Shares of Best Buy Co. BBY +1.90%  rose 1.9% after Jefferies Group Inc. hiked its view on the retailer to buy from hold. 

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

The Secret Debt Bomb by Harry Dent: Money Show Investors Daily Alert March 6, 2013.


Jim Jubak on
A Smart Way to Diversify Globally, Staff of Canadian Mutual Fund Advisor
CHARTS IN PLAY Exclusive Interviews
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Gerald Celente - Adam Vs. The Man - March 4, 2013

Europe stocks pull back from 4½ year high: European Markets at Close Report March 6, 2013.

By Sara Sjolin, MarketWatch 
LONDON (MarketWatch) — A late-session selloff pulled European stock markets back from a 4½ year high on Wednesday, after data showed U.S. factory orders declined in January as investors awaited central bank meetings and jobs data due later in the week. 

The Stoxx Europe 600 index XX:SXXP -0.25% lost 0.3% to settle at 293.38, after closing at its highest level since June 2008 on Tuesday
In the U.S., stocks mostly built on recent gains, a day after the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA +0.32% jumped 125.95 points, or 0.9% to 14,253.77, marking the highest closing level on record. See: U.S. stocks open higher, extending record rise

“The market levels right now are [quantitative easing] related. It has helped push them higher, but how can you justify this? Normally you hit all-time highs with booming economies and everything looking rosy. But you don’t have that right now and it makes me a little nervous,” said Richard Perry, chief market strategist at Central Markets in London.

“QE money continues to push everything up and unless you get an indication from the [U.S. Federal Reserve] that injections will be withdrawn you got to stay with it,” he added. “I’d like to think that markets go up because of strong fundamentals and companies performing well and I think the market needs a healthy correction.” 

As a way of mitigating lackluster economies, central banks around the world have implemented ultra-loose monetary policies, including low interest rates and aggressive bond-buying programs by the Fed, the Bank of England and the Bank of Japan. 

Additionally, the European Central Bank last year pledged to do whatever it takes to save the euro, which has helped send the Stoxx 600 up by around 25% from its 2012 low. On Thursday, both the ECB and BOE meet for their monthly policy meetings. 

Among individual stocks standing out in Wednesday’s trade, shares of Vodafone Group PLC UK:VOD +6.76% VOD +0.96% rallied 6.8% after Bloomberg News late Tuesday reported that Verizon Communications Inc. VZ -0.65% is considering several options involving its relationship with the U.K. telecom giant this year. The options range from ending the wireless venture to a full merger. 

Vodafone owns a 45% stake in the Verizon Wireless subsidiary, while Verizon holds the rest. A representative from Vodafone declined to comment. See: Vodafone up 5% on report Verizon mulling options

On a more downbeat note, Edenred FR:EDEN -4.50% dropped 4.5% as Nomura cut the prepaid-services firm to reduce from neutral.

Mercedes woos younger buyers
Mercedes is seeking to lure the coming wave of Generation Y consumers with a new compact sports sedan making its premiere at the Geneva motor show. Called the CLA, the model aims to woo them with a sleeker look. Photo: Bloomberg 

U.S. and euro-zone data in focus

For the broader European stock market, investors digested data releases from both the euro zone and the U.S. 

Orders for goods produced in U.S. factories fell 2.0% in January, largely because of fewer orders for aircraft. See: U.S. factory orders drop 2.0% in January

Meanwhile, Automatic Data Processing Inc. said private-sector employment growth in the U.S. slowed down in February, but still beat expectations. See: ADP: U.S. adds 198,000 private-sector jobs in Feb

“The ADP number today was better than expected and can work as a loose indicator for the nonfarm-payrolls data on Friday. But from what I gather you have to be above 200,000 jobs to be positive on the economy, so it’s still not a major positive,” said Perry from Central Markets.

Analysts polled by MarketWatch forecast that Friday’s data will show 160,000 jobs were added to the economy in February, with an unemployment rate of 7.9%. See the economic calendar.
In Europe, the second estimate for gross domestic product for the euro zone confirmed a 0.6% contraction for the final three months of 2012, with Spain, Italy and France contributing to the decline. Additionally, trade data for the currency bloc showed both imports and exports dropped 0.9% in the fourth quarter.


Germany’s DAX 30 index DX:DAX +0.62% posted one of the few gains among country-specific indexes, up 0.6% to 7,919.33, as some of the benchmark’s heavier components moved higher.

Shares of Henkel AG & Co. KgaA DE:HEN3 +2.68% climbed 2.4%, as the home-chemicals maker said its 2012 targets were fully achieved. Sales rose 5.8% and adjusted operating profit improved 15.1%. 

Shares of major chemicals firm BASF SE DE:BAS +0.75% gained 0.6%. The company said is has agreed with Royal Dutch Shell PLC UK:RDSB -0.07% RDS.B -0.24% to supply fluid catalytic cracking catalysts to Shell’s global refining network.

Oil firms also nudged higher, shrugging off softer oil prices. Late on Tuesday, April oil futures CLJ3 -1.12% drifted lower on news Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez had died after fighting cancer. See: Why oil prices dipped on Chavez’s death

Shares of Total SA FR:FP +0.19% TOT +0.28% gained 0.2% in Paris, BP PLC UK:BP +0.56%   BP +0.47% added 0.6% in London and ENI SpA IT:ENI +0.39% advanced 0.4% in Milan. 

The CAC 40 index FR:PX1 -0.35% , however, closed 0.4% lower at 3,773.76, with banking shares on the decline. BNP Paribas SA FR:BNP -1.63% fell 1.6%. 

The U.K.’s FTSE 100 index UK:UKX -0.07% dropped 0.1% to 6,427.64. See: Global stock markets far from Dow euphoria

Shares of Imperial Tobacco Group PLC UK:IMT -2.37% ITYBY -2.75% lost 2.4%, on the back of an article in the Guardian saying the U.K. government will introduce plain-packaging laws for cigarette packets later this year. See: U.K. plain-packaging support bruises tobacco firms

Sara Sjolin is a MarketWatch reporter based in London. Follow her on Twitter @sarasjolin.