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Market Week Wrap-up

– Leading global equity indices continued floating upwards this week while the inflation drumbeat just kept getting louder. In the US, the January y/y CPI figure hit +1.6%, its highest level since last spring, and some analysts were alarmed by higher food prices creeping into CPI data sooner than expected. China’s January CPI report was lower than expected at +4.9% y/y, but markets panned the figures as heavily massaged by basket revisions. In the UK, the BoE said CPI would likely continue growing at a 4-5% clip over the short term. The World Bank released a report indicating that food prices were up 15% since October 2010 and are now only 3% away from record highs hit in 2008. Commodities moves complicated the story somewhat. While silver has pushed out to 30-year highs, there were signs that inflated soft commodity prices were beginning to unwind, with cotton and grain prices both below recent highs. Crude and gold prices have been impacted by reports that Iran is sending warships through the Suez Canal and bloody protests in Bahrain (next door to Saudi Arabia), although WTI futures were well below recent highs seen in early February. The Obama Administration unveiled its $3.73T budget proposal for 2012, including an all-time high deficit of $1.65T, reflecting the tax-cut agreement reached with Republicans in December. For 2012, the administration sees the imbalance declining to $1.1T, giving the country a record four straight years of one trillion-plus deficits. Bond prices held steady after the details were released, and Congress sharpened its knives for a budget fight. The Feb Empire Manufacturing survey hit its highest level since last June, indicating that the US manufacturing expansion seen over the last several months is continuing. On Friday there was plenty of commentary out of the G20 conference, where leaders tried mightily to achieve some concrete steps in reforming the global monetary system. Fed Chairman Bernanke took a swipe at the Chinese in his policy address to the G20, warning that nations which keep currency values low create imbalances, while the PBoC’s Zhou continued to push for a higher profile for the IMF’s Special Drawing Rights (SDRs). For the week, the DJIA rose 1.0%, the Nasdaq gained 0.9% and the S&P500 was up 1.0%. – John Deere crushed earnings and revenue targets in its Q1 report and nearly doubled its guidance for FY11 equipment sales. The firm hiked its sales guidance for its key agriculture and construction units as well, and said its Q2 revenue would blow out consensus estimates. Later in the week Caterpillar released very favorable dealer metrics for the month of January, with North America machinery sales up a whopping 58% y/y in the month. – Iron ore miner Cliffs Natural Resources reported very strong Q4 profits on a big y/y gain in iron ore pricing. The company expects global steel production to continue to grow in 2011, although it warned that spot iron ore prices are unsustainably high. Reliance Steel also blew out earnings estimates, and said pricing would remain strong at least through the first quarter of 2011. – In tech, Dell’s profit was way ahead of the consensus in its Q4 report, thanks to a big improvement in margins. The company said it believes the corporate IT…

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Millionaires More Likely to Strategic Default

Filed in BP, CBS, Gold, GOld juniors, Gold Market, housing-market, Lear, o by on February 8, 2011 0 Comments
Millionaires More Likely to Strategic Default

Not surprisingly, the bursting of the housing bubble has moved up to the final rung on the ladder. Far from the days of the subprime debacle, now even the “good” people are getting squeezed. The difference is the rich are smart enough to walk away from it all. In fact, homeowners with loans of more than $1 million default at a much higher rate than “the little people” do. From CBS News entitled: Even More Millionaires Defaulting on Mortgage “ For Darren Thomas that ocean view was quickly losing its value. He says, “I bought it for [$1.385 million]. It is worth less than [$800,000], maybe less.” Thomas bought his townhome in 2006 but after seeing its value drop steadily he stopped paying. “I haven’t made a payment in two years,” he says. “It was business decision. It was an easy decision. I have a property worth six or 700,000 less than when I bought it. I was making payments of 10,000 a month.” Thomas has gone into strategic default. He could make payments but is refusing to put more money into a home that is worth less than his mortgage. Among luxury homeowners he is not alone. One in seven homeowners with loans over $1 million are seriously delinquent compared to one in 12 with mortgages below $1 million. The more you owe, it seems, the better off you may be. Darren Thomas continues to live in his home because banks are often slower to foreclose on million-dollar homes. For those who have stopped paying their million-dollar mortgages it’s just an investment that didn’t work out. “As negative equity took place and drove the value down it became an investment not worth holding onto,” says Corelogic’s Mark Flemming. “Not much different than a regular stock you would sell.” “People like myself, business people, are going it is silly to throw good money after bad,” says Thomas “The loss is not mine. The loss is the banks.” When it comes to real estate, the rich are different. They can be just as ruthless as the bankers.” I guess Nick Carraway was wrong after all. In some ways the rich really are just like the rest of us….suckers for a good bubble. The difference is they understand the money/business part of the game better than most. For them its just a business decision. By the way, according to CoreLogic, home price have fallen for the fifth straight month. Overall, house prices delined 1.8% for the month of December. Related Articles: Case-Shiller Index Shows Renewed Home Price Declines 2011 Housing Market Forecast Case-Shiller Index Screams Housing Double Dip Meredith Whitney Predicts a Housing Double-Dip Zandi: Expect 8% Home Price Declines To learn more about Wealth Daily click here Millionaires More Likely to Strategic Default originally appeared in Wealth Daily . Wealth Daily is a free daily newsletter featuring contrarian investment insights and commentary.

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The WSJ’s Most Controversial Article… Ever

Filed in BP, CBS, democrats, economy, euro, Gold, GOld juniors, Gold Market, o, Warren Buffett, yuan by on February 2, 2011 0 Comments
The WSJ’s Most Controversial Article… Ever

On January 9th, The Wall Street Journal ran an article that would become the most viewed, commented-on editorial in the publication’s history. The article was so controversial that the author — a Yale Law School professor — received several death threats. Thousands of enraged American readers went so far as to accuse her of advocating physical and emotional violence against children… Meet Amy Chua: a petite, 48-year-old Chinese American and the author of the WSJ firestorm piece, “Why Chinese Mothers are Superior”. Obviously, the headline caught my attention. My wife is Chinese and we have three children. But what really surprised me was the viciousness of the comments from readers. But as I perused through the comments of anger, hate, and even threats to Chua, I realized I as was actually reading comments of insecurity, fear, and envy. Think about it… Had this article been written by anybody other than a Chinese professor, it would’ve gone largely unnoticed. Bottom line: Americans fear the Chinese juggernaut. Here are just a few headlines from the past year that have caused panic among Americans and the West: Pentagon Surprised, Concerned as China Debuts High-Tech Weapons — Politics Daily Chinese ‘Carrier-Killer’ Missile Could Reshape Sea Combat — Fox News Chinese ‘carrier-killer’ missile raises concerns of Pacific power shift — Associated Press China Stealth Fighter? Photos Released Online Raise Speculations — Huffington Post China’s First Stealth Fighter Test Successful — CBS News China backs Spain to emerge from crisis: Beijing — Sydney Morning Herald Move Over Europe, China Is Pushing to Bailout the Greek Economy — Washington Post Wow: China to Bail Out Europe? — Daily Mail UK China’s Pres. Hu calls dollar’s preeminence ‘thing of the past’ — Wall Street Journal President Hu provoking the US by suggesting yuan replace dollar as reserve currency — AsiaNews.it And now Americans are fearful of the Chinese mother, as reported by Time Magazine: “Tiger Mom: Amy Chua Parenting Memoir Raises American Fears.” I hear it every day… “China is going to overtake the U.S. economy… We need to catch up before they flood our markets with electric cars, wind turbines, and …

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CBS Upgraded to “Buy” at Deutsche Bank (CBS)

Filed in CBS, dividend, earnings, EPS, G 20, Gold, Gold Bullion prices, o, shares, target, upgrade by on January 31, 2011 0 Comments

Mass media giant CBS Corporation ( CBS ) on Monday saw its rating, price target, and earnings estimates all boosted by analysts at Deutsche Bank. The firm said it upgraded CBS from “Hold” to “Buy” while lifting its price target from $18 to $23. That new target implies a 19% upside to the stock’s Friday closing price of $19.28. A Deutsche analyst commented, “CBS’s shares have had a terrific two years given the company’s high exposure to advertising and high financial leverage at the trough (3.5x). Nevertheless, from here we see 19% upside to $23, worthy of a Buy rating. We believe the street is too low relative to strong 1H11 ad pacings, the CBS Network should see 10% upfront CPM gains, margin efforts are kicking in, int’l syndication is growing > 10%, and M&A risk is reduced given the large buyback plan. Stock at 8.6x ’11E FCF and 7.0E ’12E, too low, in our view.” Continuing, “After reviewing 2011 by qtr, we are raising our EBITDA estimate by $91m to $2.791b (+17% yoy), EPS by $0.07 to $1.51 (+37% yoy, and vs. street’s $1.38) and FCF by $219m to $1.504b (-17% yoy). Our FCF/share estimate is now $2.24 for ’11E, growing to $2.74 in ’12E, $2.92 in 13E, and $3.42 in ’14E.” CBS shares were mostly flat in premarket trading Monday. The Bottom Line Shares of CBS Corporation ( CBS ) have a 1.04% dividend yield, based on Friday’s closing stock price of $19.28. The stock has technical support in the $16-$17 price area. If the shares can continue to firm up, we see overhead resistance around the $22-$23 price levels. CBS Corporation ( CBS ) is not recommended at this time, holding a Dividend.com DARS™ Rating of 3.4 out of 5 stars. Be sure to visit our complete recommended list of the Best Dividend Stocks , as well as a detailed explanation of our ratings system here .

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Ventura Strikes Back with Lawsuit Against TSA

Filed in CBS, EPS, gld, Gold, lead, Lear, o, obama, Travelers, ubs, wal-mart by on January 25, 2011 0 Comments
Ventura Strikes Back with Lawsuit Against TSA

The Inside Story from Alex Jones About the Former Governor’s Humiliating Pat-Down Experiences that Included ‘Touching, Gripping & Rubbing of the Genitals’ at the Hands of TSA Alex Jones & Aaron Dykes Infowars.com January 25, 2011 Former Governor Jesse Ventura has taken steps to sue the TSA and the Department of Homeland Security in a lawsuit that will take on invasive airport pat-downs. Former Governor Jesse Ventura has taken steps to sue the TSA and the Department of Homeland Security , naming their chiefs John Pistole and ‘Big Sis’ Janet Napolitano in a lawsuit that will take on invasive airport pat-downs . Ventura first told Alex Jones of his intent to sue the TSA privately back in September while traveling for the making of TruTV’s “Conspiracy Theory,” expressing grave concern about what he viewed as his country’s transformation into East Germany. Jones recalls Ventura’s outrage at the TSA’s harassing old people in wheelchairs with the invasive new pat-down procedures. The former governor himself is routinely sent to secondary screening due to a hip replacement in 2008, and Jones witnessed him undergo repeated humiliating searches during pat-downs at the hands of TSA. Worse, at airports across the country, even those presenting medical cards describing special needs or equipment from a doctor are routinely ignored as TSA agents demand that medical patients remove urostomy bags , prosthetic breasts or that TSA be allowed to grope a pacemaker patients’ breasts . “That’s why I want to leave the United States,” Ventura then told Jones. “This is why I go down to Mexico– this is wrong.” Ventura indicated that he was most concerned about the destruction of the 4th Amendment and passing of the America he once knew. Ventura filed his lawsuit Monday, January 24, 2011 in Minnesota and news reports have named David Olsen as his lawyer. The former governor has indicated that his suit will include violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the 4th Amendment , arguing that he and others with disabilities have been discriminated against and …

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Picture du Jour: U.S. at risk of losing its AAA status?

While the debate about the U.S. debt ceiling is taking place, Société Générale is of the opinion that a downgrading of the country’s sovereign debt is just a matter of when and how fast interest rates on its borrowings rise.

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Viacom (NYSE:VIA-B) Disney (NYSE:DIS) Scripps Networks (NYSE:SNI): News Corp (Nasdaq:NWSA), CBS (NYSE:CBS) Most Potential in Entertainment Says Barcla

Barclays gave a review of entertainment stocks in the U.S., and those considered to have the best potential in 2011 are Viacom (NYSE:VIA-B) Disney (NYSE:DIS) Scripps Networks (NYSE:SNI): News Corp (Nasdaq:NWSA) and CBS (NYSE:CBS).They said “We remain constructive on the Entertainment group, as (1) we believe in the strength of the U.S. advertising recovery; (2) we believe 2011E Street estimates

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