Facts Reviews

n, D-W.Va., said Monday that investors are growing increasingly ‘‘skittish’’ about the possibility of default. The bond markets were closed for Columbus Day, and by mid-morning the stock market was down modestly, with both the Dow Jones industrial average and Standard & Poor’s 500 index losing less than 1 percent. Trading in Asia was muted, with markets in Tokyo and Hong Kong closed for holidays.

The shutdown has furloughed 350,000 federal workers, impeded various government services, put continued operations of the federal courts in doubt and stopped the IRS from processing tax refunds. Some parks and monuments remain closed, drawing a protest at the National World War II Memorial on Sunday that included tea party-backed lawmakers who had unsuccessfully demanded defunding of Obama’s 3-year-old health care law in exchange for keeping the government open.

Economists see greater financial danger from an historical default. Christine Lagarde, the International Monetary Fund’s managing director, spoke fearfully about the disruption and uncertainty, warning on Sunday of a ‘‘risk of tipping, yet again, into recession’’ after the fitful recovery from 2008.

Reid and McConnell — five-term senators hardened by budget disputes and years of negotiations — are at an impasse over the automatic, across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration and whether to undo or change them as part of a budget deal. Republicans want to keep the spending at the deficit-cutting level of the 2011 budget law while Democrats are pressing for a higher amount.

‘‘I’m optimistic about the prospects for a positive conclusion to the issues before this country today,’’ Reid said as the Senate wrapped up a rare Sunday session.

McConnell insisted a solution was readily available as he embraced the proposal from a bipartisan group of 12 senators, led by Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Manchin, that would re-open the government and fund it at current levels for six months while raising the debt limit through Jan. 31.

It also would give agencies greater flexibility in dealing with the automatic budget cuts, delay the medical device tax for two years and establish income verification for individuals receiving subsidies to buy health insurance.

‘‘It’s time for Democrat leaders to take

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‘yes’ for an answer,’’ McConnell said in a statement.

‘‘This haven’t put us on suicide watch yet,’’ Manchin joked Monday morning, ‘‘but they’re concerned about us.’’

Sunday, October 5th, 2014 Uncategorized Comments Off

MacBook Pro with Retina Display redefines the concept of a “pro” laptop

Apple isn’t afraid to stir things up, making people to rethink how they use technology. In recent years, most of

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that kind of innovation has focused on the iPhone, iPad, and iOS. But the MacBook Pro with Retina display now directs attention back to the Mac.

Friday, June 13th, 2014 Uncategorized Comments Off

icades set up along the length of Broadway this year in an effort to curtail the illegal race, according to accounts and photos on Twitter.

The NYPD arrested or issued summonses to 38 participants, according to a spokeswoman for the department, who said “there were more summonses than arrests” but she did not have an exact number. No permits were issued for the large-scale gathering.

Nearing Columbus Circle, police halted and took several riders into custody, according to witnesses and online accounts.

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In one YouTube video, a rider with a video camera, whose handle is Thomas Pagut, asks police what is going on during a mass arrest he said was at West 60th Street and Broadway. “What’s this net for?” he says to police.

“What are these people getting arrested for? Skating? In the street?” he asks an officer, who responds, “Yes.”

Pagut later says in the video that he left his skateboard two blocks away from the police, so he could shoot footage.

An off-camera skater asks an officer, “Can I skate in the street tomorrow? Is that all right?”

 

 

Friday, June 13th, 2014 Uncategorized Comments Off

R.B.S. to Split Off $61 Billion in Loans Into Internal ‘Bad Bank’

The sale in September of an initial 6 percent stake inLloyds Banking Group, an R.B.S. rival that also had to be bailed out by the government in 2008, added pressure on R.B.S.’s new chief executive to speed up the turnaround plan.

Britain’s chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, is expected to start selling the stake in R.B.S. before the next general election scheduled for 2015 even if it would be at a loss to taxpayers.

In a statement, Mr. Osborne welcomed the move, saying it allowed R.B.S. to “deal decisively with the problems of the past by separating out the good from the bad, and putting the bad loans in a bad bank.” He also said that “the bad bank should be an internal one, funded by R.B.S., rather than an external one funded by the taxpayer.”

The “actions should create a more resilient institution that is better able to support the real economy without any expectation of further government support,” the Bank of England said in a statement.

R.B.S. also said Friday that its net loss for the three months until the end of September was £828 million, compared with a loss of £1.4 billion in the same period a year earlier. The results fell short of some analyst expectations, which predicted the bank would return to profit in the period. Impairment losses in the quarter were almost unchanged at £1.17 billion.

Mr. McEwan pledged to win back customer trust, restore pride in the organization among employees and work to repay the government for the bailout. Mr. McEwan, the former head of R.B.S.’s retail banking business in Britain, who joined R.B.S. just a little over a year ago, is expected to focus on retail and commercial banking at home, putting into question the future for the bank’s investment banking operation and units abroad.

R.B.S. said it planned to sell an initial stake in Citizens, the American lender it bought in 1988, in an initial public offering in the second half of next year. That is almost a year earlier than originally planned. R.B.S. said it would sell the rest of Citizens by the end of 2016.

Since the financial crisis began, the Royal Bank of Scotland has jettisoned around £900 billion, or $1.4 trillion, worth of assets from its balance sheet, and eliminated about 40,000 jobs in a bid to bolster profitability. The bank, based in Edinburgh, improved its capital cushion and scaled back its investment banking operation.

But bad loans from its banking unit in Ireland continue to weigh on performance, and a slow economic recovery made any sale of distressed real estate assets difficult. R.B.S. also had to set aside more than £2 billion to compensate clients who purchased insurance that they could not use or did not need.

Full article

 

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Friday, November 1st, 2013 Uncategorized Comments Off

Consumer Sentiment in U.S. Fell to 10-Month Low in October

The government’s partial closing prompted Americans to turn more pessimistic about the economy, whose recovery continues to be uneven. Disappointing gains in employment and the prospect of a protracted budget battle into 2014 raises the risk that consumer spending will cool as the holiday-shopping season approaches.

“This political uncertainty is going to slow any momentum we’ve had in the past few months,” said Millan Mulraine, director of U.S. rates research at TD Securities USA LLC in New York, who projected the sentiment index would drop to 73. “If we come into December without any progress on a funding bill, consumers will start sitting on their hands and that will mean a slower rebound in spending.”

Estimates of the 52 economists surveyed ranged from 71 to 78. The index averaged 89 in the five years prior to the recession that began in December 2007, and 64.2 during the 18-month slump that ended in June 2009.

Shares Rise

Stocks were little changed as better-than-projected revenue from Amazon.com Inc. and Microsoft Corp. offset the drop in sentiment. The S&P 500 rose less than 0.1 percent to 1,753.47 at 10:35 a.m. in New York.

Full article

 

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Friday, October 25th, 2013 Uncategorized Comments Off

Morgan Stanley Is The New Winner On Wall Street With A 50% Rise In Revenue

“Our results point to the increased consistency, strength and balance we are deriving from our business model,” Gorman said in a statement. “Our strategy to combine a world class investment bank with the stability of the largest U.S. wealth management franchise and strong investment management is enabling us to deliver exceptional advice and execution for our clients as well as stronger returns for our shareholders.”

Total TOT +0.83% net revenue at Morgan Stanley increased by 50% to $7.9 billion in the third quarter. That is a sharp contrast compared to Goldman Sachs, which posted $6.72 billion of net revenue in the third quarter, down 20% from the third quarter of 2012. Goldman makes its living trading fixed income, currency and commodities, and revenues generated by those trading activities were hammered in the third quarter, down 44% compared to the third quarter of 2012.

So while Goldman proves that it’s vulnerable and Jamie Dimon is under siege at JPMorgan Chase, which is negotiating monster settlements with the Department of Justice and setting aside $28 billion in litigation reserves, things are pretty good at Morgan Stanley. Morgan Stanley also had problems in its fixed income trading business, which was down 43% with revenue of $835 million, but the weakness was offset by strong performance in other areas like equity, sales and trading.

Shares of Morgan Stanley were poised to open nearly 3% higher in Friday morning trading. The stock is already up some 50% in 2013, compared to a 20% rise in shares of Goldman Sachs.

Full article.

 

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Friday, October 18th, 2013 Uncategorized Comments Off

Stocks leap on budget thaw; Dow up 275

President Obama will meet with top House

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Republicans at the White House Thursday afternoon to seek a path beyond a confrontation that has left the government shuttered for close to two weeks.

House Republican leaders appear to be ready toadvance a short-term debt limit increase that would prevent the first default on U.S. debt next week.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up about 275 points, or 1.9%, in afternoon trading. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained 2% and the Nasdaq composite index skyrocketed 2.2%.

All major U.S. averages have taken a beating this month as a partial shutdown of the U.S. government dragged on and the risk of a possible default on its debt increased.

“I think investors are facing what has become an all too familiar but nevertheless difficult task of correctly pricing in the risk of the U.S. reaching its debt ceiling,” said Ric Spooner, chief of CMC Markets in Sydney.

On Thursday, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew urged Congress to raise the government’s borrowing limit before the current cap is reached on Oct. 17, warning that a Republican idea to prioritize payments with cash on hand could cause “irrevocable damage” to the U.S. economy.

On Wednesday, Fidelity Investments, the nation’s largest money market fund manager, said it had sold all of its short-term U.S. government debt in an effort to limit money market investors’ exposure to a potential default.

FIDELITY: Sheds government bonds

There were hopeful signs in the market for short-term U.S. government debt. The yield on the one-month Treasury bill dropped to 0.23% from 0.27% late Wednesday.

The yield had spiked from near zero at the beginning of the month to as high as 0.35% Tuesday as investors dumped the bills out of concern that the government might not be able to pay them back when they’re due. Investors demand higher yields when they perceive debt as being risky.

Full article

 

Thursday, October 10th, 2013 Uncategorized Comments Off

The Twitter IPO Frenzy #WorthIt?

We buy and patiently harvest a broadly diversified portfolio of undervalued stocks to be held for their long-term appreciation potential. Twenty words encompassing 137 characters.

If we had a Twitter account, we could actually fit our entire investment strategy into just one Tweet! Of course, these days, many investors might lose interest by word 10, as attention spans have shortened dramatically given the exponential growth of financial information available via mouse-click. Alas, the byproduct of so much readily available content is that stories must often make outlandish claims to rise above the din. Few seem interested in learning about disciplined investment approaches that have served their long-term followers well, but should a piece offer a Dow 36,000 or Dow 3,600 headline, or perhaps mention a well-known celebrity, folks may take notice.

For example, it was probably not a surprise that the largest initial

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audience for one of these blog posts was when I discussed the apparent discovery of the equity market by actress Mila Kunis back on March 21, 2013. So when my editors at Forbes understandably decided to insert “Bullish on Stocks” into my original title,

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“Kudos To Kunis: Mila Knows Of What She Speaks,” shortly after the post went live, it became obvious that the fast and furious clicks had come from the masses who had not realized the missive pertained to investing.

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Friday, October 4th, 2013 Uncategorized Comments Off

U.S. Federal Housing Administration to tap $1.7 bln in taxpayer funds

WASHINGTON, Sept 27 (Reuters) – The U.S. Federal Housing Administration said on Friday it will draw $1.7 billion in cash from the U.S. Treasury to help cover losses from troubled loans, marking the first time in its 79-year history that it has needed aid.

The agency, which offers mortgage lenders guarantees against homeowner defaults, does not have enough cash to cover projected losses on the loans it backs, senior Obama administration officials said. They said the FHA needs the subsidy to shore up its insurance fund by the end of its budget year on Monday in order to maintain a required capital cushion.

While the FHA had been expected to draw from the Treasury, the cash infusion, which Republicans have dubbed a bailout, will heighten the political tension over the government’s pervasive role in the mortgage market.

Taxpayers have already propped up mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to the tune of $187.5 billion, although those government-controlled companies are now profitable and will have returned $146 billion in dividends to the Treasury by the end of the month for the taxpayer stake.

Including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, federal housing agencies support about nine in 10 new U.S. mortgages.

“As expected, we will be required to take a transfer

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in order for us to close our financial statement,” a senior administration official told reporters. “It isn’t a reflection of the current performance of our portfolio. There’s been a significant improvement.”

The cash infusion marks what could be considered a book end to the 2007-2009 financial crisis, which was sparked by a burst U.S. housing bubble that sent home prices tumbling.

White House officials projected in April that the FHA would face a shortfall of $943 million in the fiscal year that is drawing to a close, and some analysts predicted an improving housing market might allow it to avoid tapping what is essentially a credit line it has with Treasury.

The FHA said it has more than $30 billion in cash and investments on hand to pay potential claims, but that it does not have enough to meet a legally required 2 percent capital ratio, which is a measure of its ability to withstand losses.

Full article.

 

Friday, September 27th, 2013 Uncategorized Comments Off

U.S. Stocks Decline With Commodities Amid Fed Comments

ed Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard, a voter on policy this year who has backed the bond buying, said a small tapering of bond buying is possible next month after the Fed made a close call this week in deciding not to slow purchases. The Federal Open Market Committee said it wants more evidence of an economic recovery before paring its $85 billion-a-month bond-buying program.

“It’s probably a little confusing

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to the market what’s coming out of the Fed,” John Kvantas, a San Antonio, Texas-basedexecutive director who helps manage more than $16 billion at USAA Investments, said in a phone interview. “Maybe the Fed is trying to send a message that ‘yeah we didn’t taper, but it doesn’t mean we will never taper and maybe actually will taper still quite soon.’”

The S&P 500 (SPX) has rallied 1.9 percent this week, rebounding from its worst month since May 2012, after the central bank unexpectedly refrained from reducing monetary stimulus. The stimulus helped boost the equity index as much as 155 percent higher since March 2009. The S&P 500 and theDow Jones Industrial Average (INDU) reached record highs on Sept. 18 after the Fed’s announcement.

Fed Speeches

Bullard will speak on the economy and monetary policy at a New York Association for Business Economic lunch today. Kansas City Fed President Esther George and Minneapolis Fed President Narayana Kocherlakota will separately give speeches. George dissented for the sixth FOMC meeting in a row this week, repeating that the bank risks creating financial imbalances. Policy makers meet Oct. 29-30.

“Weaker data came in,” Bullard said on Bloomberg Television’s “Bloomberg Surveillance” withTom Keene and Michael McKee. “That was a borderline decision,” and “the committee came down on the side of, ‘Let’s wait.’” With inflation low, Bullard said, “we can afford to be patient.”

Full article

 

Friday, September 20th, 2013 Uncategorized Comments Off