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May 15, 2013

MarketWatch Latest Asian Markets News May 15, 2013.


A refusal to enact measures to build a fully competitive market will lead to stagnation and lack of regulation, Caixin Online writes in an editorial.  
 The time for China interest rate reform is now

HONG KONG (MarketWatch) -- Hong Kong stocks fell early Thursday as concerns about Chinese economic growth weighed on oil producers and mainland banks, although gains for heavyweight HSBC Holdings PLC and internet major Tencent Holdings Ltd. provided some support. The Hang Seng Index dropped 0.3% to 22,975.71 after opening higher, while the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index lost 1.1% to 10,958.31. China Construction Bank Corp. dropped 1.1% among financials, while shares of Cnooc Ltd. lost 2.4% and PetroChina Co. gave up 1.8%, also weighed by recent declines in oil prices. On the upside, HSBC rose 0.7% a day after it unveiled a cost-savings program. Tencent jumped 4.1% after posting strong quarterly results. China's Shanghai Composite shrank 0.5% to 2,213.81. 9:51 p.m. Today
 Hong Kong stocks fall on bank, oil shares; HSBC up
  LOS ANGELES (MarketWatch) -- Australian stocks were higher in early action Thursday, led by financial, energy and retail sector gains, but further weakness in mining shares limited the benchmark's advance. The S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.1% to 5,196, as Commonwealth Bank of Australia picked up 1%, looking for a fourth session of gains. Woodside Petroleum Ltd. rose 0.8% and shares of retailer Wesfarmers Ltd. bulked up 2.2%. Miners fell as metal prices dropped, with Newcrest Mining Ltd. off 5%, Rio Tinto Ltd. down 1.3% and BHP Billiton Ltd. lower by 0.4%. Also struggling were shares of Virgin Australia Holdings Ltd. , down 7.6% after the air carrier issued a full-year profit warning. 8:36 p.m. Today
Australia stocks edge up, but miners extend losses

Gene Arensberg: So much for position limits on Comex gold: GATA I THE GATA DISPATCH May 15, 2013.

Gene Arensberg: So much for position limits on Comex gold

6:16p ET Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Gene Arensberg of the Got Gold Report today wonders aloud how April's gold smash, apparently involving more gold than has ever been dumped on the Comex futures market at once, about 40,000 contracts, did not violate the position limits of the exchange and the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

Arensberg asks:
"Who was the large trader who decided to hammer the gold market with 40,000 contracts all at once?
"How did that trader manage to do so without running afoul of the CME Group position limits or the CFTC regulators? 

"Was the initial trade by one, two, or many traders? If by one or two, then there is no way in hell the trade was 'legal' under the position limits.
"If by many traders all acting at once, then how is that possible without their conspiring to do so? (We are talking about the initial smash trade here, not the ensuing stops triggered.)"
Arensberg's commentary is headlined "So Much for Position Limits on Comex Gold" and it's posted at the Got Gold Report here:

Monetary metals investors might do well to send Arensberg's commentary to the members of the CFTC with a request for an explanation. The commissioners' e-mail addresses are included at the bottom of silver market analyst Ted Butler's latest commentary, denouncing the commission's negligence, at GoldSeek here:

Inquiries to members of Congress would be helpful too.
Please alert your secretary/treasurer about any responses:

CHRIS POWELL, Secretary/Treasurer
Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee Inc.

Acting Chief of I.R.S. Forced Out Over Tea Party Targeting: The New York Times Breaking News May 15, 2013

BREAKING NEWS Wednesday, May 15, 2013 6:46 PM EDT
Acting Chief of I.R.S. Forced Out Over Tea Party Targeting
President Obama announced Wednesday night that the acting commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service had been fired, and he pledged that his administration would cooperate with Congressional investigations into the targeting of conservative groups that are building momentum.
Speaking in the White House’s formal East Room, the president said Treasury Secretary Jack Lew had asked for and accepted the resignation of Steven Miller, who was aware of the agency’s efforts to single out conservative groups for special scrutiny in early 2012 as a deputy I.R.S. commissioner.
Mr. Miller is scheduled to testify on Friday before the House Ways and Means Committee in the first of a series of hearings on the I.R.S. targeting scandal.


White House E-Mails Show Tension on Benghazi Talking Points: The New York Times Breaking News May 15, 2013.

BREAKING NEWS Wednesday, May 15, 2013 5:07 PM EDT
White House E-Mails Show Tension on Benghazi Talking Points
More than 100 pages of e-mails released Wednesday reveal intensive jostling between the C.I.A. and the State Department about the government’s official “talking points” in the aftermath of last September’s attacks in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans.
The White House released the e-mails to reporters after Republicans seized on snippets of the correspondence last Friday to suggest that President Obama’s staff had been complicit in trying to alter the talking points used by Susan Rice, the ambassador to the United Nations, in the days after the attack.
White House aides have said the excerpts used by Republicans — and heavily reported by the press — were an inaccurate representation of their involvement. On Tuesday, CNN obtained one of the emails in question that appeared to minimize the White House involvement.


DealBook P.M. Edition May 15, 2013: The Trade: Why Hedge Funds' Criticism of the Fed May Be Right Home |Business Day| Video The New York Times

Wednesday, May 15, 2013
The financier Stanley Druckenmiller, left, said that Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, is
The Trade: Why Hedge Funds' Criticism of the Fed May Be Right Jesse Eisinger of ProPublica says that what hedge fund investors are expressing should trouble all of us: they have almost no confidence in the Federal Reserve or the economics profession.
For the latest updates, go to »
Jana Reveals Big Stakes in Groupon and Zynga The activist hedge fund Jana Partners has disclosed somewhat surprising big new stakes in the online commerce company Groupon and the game maker Zynga.
As Larger British Rivals Perk Up, a Heralded Small Bank Stumbles Just as larger banks in Britain are recovering from the financial crisis, the Co-operative Bank, a smaller lender championed by lawmakers as an alternative model, is floundering.
Krawcheck Agrees to Buy the Women's Network 85 Broads Sallie L. Krawcheck, a former executive of Bank of America and Citigroup, has agreed to buy 85 Broads, a global organization that supports women.
British Water Utility Rejects Takeover Offer The British water utility Severn Trent has rejected a takeover approach from a consortium of investment firms that could have valued the company at more than $8 billion.
HSBC Plans More Job Cuts in Effort to Save Up to $3 Billion HSBC said on Wednesday that it planned to find an additional $2 billion to $3 billion in cost cuts by 2016 that would include the elimination of as many as 14,000 jobs.
Breakingviews: A Tech M.&A. Machine Hits the Brakes Robert Cyran says that Nuance Communications, which has attracted Carl Icahn's interest, has no shortage of well-defined operations such as medical, enterprise, and consumer that could be sold or spun off.
Economic Reports Information to be released on Thursday includes the Consumer Price Index for April, initial jobless claims, and housing starts for April.
Corporate Earnings Companies scheduled to release quarterly reports on Thursday include Kohl's, Wal-Mart Stores, J. C. Penney and Nordstrom.
In the United States On Thursday, Richard Fisher, president of the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank, will speak on the economic outlook and monetary policy; the House Financial Services Committee will hold a hearing on the Securities and Exchange Commission's budget request, and another on sustainable housing finance.
Overseas On Thursday, the British House of Commons questions executives at Google and Ernst & Young about tax avoidance.

Quotation of the Day
"There's an irony: the government is insisting on higher capital, then having to go and help the banks as they're trying to achieve that."
Simon Maughan, an analyst at Olivetree Securities, on the British government's plan to shake up the financial industry.

MarketWatch I Wall Street at Close Report May 15, 2013: U.S. stocks rise for another record close

By Kate Gibson, MarketWatch 
NEW YORK (MarketWatch)U.S. stocks rose Wednesday, with hopes for ongoing central-bank stimulus bolstering sentiment amid economic reports illustrating a contraction in manufacturing. 
“It seems like it’s becoming a broken record,” said Andrew Fitzpatrick, director of investments at Hinsdale Associates Inc., of the string of all-time highs, which again came into play on Wednesday. 

After starting the session in the red, the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA +0.40% rose 60.44 points to 15,275.69, the index’s 20th record finish this year. 

The market’s current bull run, now in its fifth year, comes amid continuing stimulus from the U.S. Federal Reserve as well as monetary easing by central banks around the globe, along with better-than-expected corporate earnings. 

“Wall Street is getting more comfortable they won’t just pull the plug; they’ll do it at a more measured pace,” said Fitzpatrick, referring to the Federal Reserve. 

“We’ve seen little reaction to the rumors that the Fed is behind closed doors trying to craft some kind of exit strategy,” he added of a Wall Street Journal report last week. 

Ben Pimentel Enlarge Image
Google shares top $900 for first time as Internet giant kicks off developer conference.
That said, Fitzpatrick is among the consensus calls for a market pause or correction. 

“I do think a pullback here is warranted, and the sooner we get it, the better.” Read blog about rally’s potential

Dow component Cisco Systems Inc. shares CSCO +6.13% leapt higher after Wednesday’s closing bell as the networking giant reported quarterly results that beat Wall Street’s projections.
“The Cisco report tends to carry weight, especially in light of its outlook; it’s a good gauge in terms of the business climate and the economy,” said Fitzpatrick.

Tallying its 20th record close for 2013, the S&P 500 index SPX +0.51%   gained 8.44 points to 1,658.78, with consumer staples faring best and energy the poorest performing of its 10 industry groups. 

Deere & Co. DE -4.40% fell 4.4% after the maker of agricultural equipment reduced its sales forecast. 

Macy’s Inc. M +2.49% shares rose 2.5% after the department-store operator reported profit that exceeded expectations and raised its quarterly dividend. 

Shares of Google Inc. GOOG +3.25% rose above $900 for the first time as the technology company kicked off a developer conference in San Francisco. 

The Nasdaq Composite Index COMP +0.26% climbed 9.01 points to 3,471.61. 

For every seven shares falling, eight gained on the New York Stock Exchange, where 742 million shares traded.Composite volume surpassed 3.6 billion. 

The price of oil turned, with crude for June delivery CLM3 +0.20% gaining 9 cents to $94.30 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. 

Industrial production in April fell by the most in eight months, and a separate report showed manufacturing unexpectedly contracted in May in the New York region. 

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo housing-market index released Wednesday had overall confidence rising to 44 in May from 41 in April. 

Separately, the Labor Department said that U.S. wholesale prices fell a seasonally adjusted 0.7% in April. The largest monthly drop in three years illustrated a decline in energy prices that has helped corporate bottom lines. 

“The current stock-market rally, primarily fueled by central-bank funds, continues to amaze, given the fundamental economic climate,” Fred Dickson, chief investment strategist at Davidson Cos., wrote in a note. 

Yet, investors can find some comfort in the Congressional Budget Office’s downward revision of the federal deficit to $642 billion, “a cut of nearly 50% from the deficit seen just two years ago,” Dickson added. 

LittleNY/ Enlarge Image
Macy's rises on first-quarter profit.
In Europe, weaker-than-expected euro-zone GDP data raised hopes the European Central Bank will ease policy further

France slipped into a recession, while Germany narrowly avoided a contraction by expanding 0.1% in the first quarter, missing expectations of a 0.3% improvement. 


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

The New York Times Afternoon Update May 15, 2013.: Israel Hints at New Strikes, Warning Syria Not to Retaliate

The New York Times
May 15, 2013

Afternoon Update


Israel Hints at New Strikes, Warning Syria Not to Retaliate

A senior official suggested on Wednesday that Israel could carry out further attacks to stop the transfer of weapons to Islamic militants, and he warned of dire consequences if Syria's government struck back.

Euro Zone Politics Hinder Response as Slump Persists

Data released Wednesday showed France slipping into recession and Germany eking out weak growth, but analysts said any new plans to stimulate growth remained unlikely.

I.R.S. Says Counsel Didn't Tell Treasury of Tea Party Reviews

The question of what William J. Wilkins, the agency's chief counsel, told Treasury superiors holds political weight as officials try to learn who knew about the scandal.

Equipment Failure May Cut Kepler Mission Short

NASA's planet-hunting Kepler spacecraft has been crippled by the failure of one of the reaction wheels that keep it pointed, according to astronomers close to the situation.

White House Pushes for Media Shield Law

The administration is pushing for greater protections for reporters who refuse to identify sources, even as officials face anger over the seizure of Associated Press records.

Video: Revisiting a 'Previvor'

In 2007, Deborah Lindner, then 33, underwent an elective double mastectomy after finding out she had a gene carrying a high risk of breast cancer. Six years later, Dr. Lindner offers an update.

The Conversation

The Taxman Cometh

Brooks and Collins on the I.R.S.'s attack on the Tea Party and the Justice Department's disdain for the First Amendment.
The Trade

Why Hedge Funds' Criticism of the Fed May Be Right

What hedge fund investors are expressing should trouble all of us: they have almost no confidence in the Federal Reserve or the economics profession.
Bits Blog

Major Redesign of Google Maps Is Unveiled

The new Google Maps shows personalized maps for every user that change in real-time and incorporate some 3D satellite imagery.
Bits Blog

Google Introduces New Search Tools to Try to Read Our Minds

New Google search tools let users talk to the search engine, send unprompted alerts based on user interests and try to predict what it will be asked next.

Bank of England Raises Outlook for British Economy

After years of warnings, the central bank governor, Mervyn A. King, said a recovery was "in sight." Unemployment, however, rose in the first quarter.

As Larger British Rivals Perk Up, a Heralded Small Bank Stumbles

Just as larger banks in Britain are recovering from the financial crisis, the Co-operative Bank, a smaller lender championed by lawmakers as an alternative model, is floundering.