Tuesday, February 28, 2012


  • Case-Shiller breakdown: Las Vegas, 65% off housing-market peak; Miami, 51%; U.S. home prices fell 4% in Q4 of 2011, putting them back at levels last seen in mid-2002.

  • The Conference Board said its index of consumer attitudes increased to 70.8 this month - the highest reading since February last year - from an upwardly revised 61.5 in January.

  • Ireland will vote on whether to accept the European Union's new fiscal treaty.

  • (Spiegel)Former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl stepped into the German debate about aid for Greece on Tuesday, warning that the goal of a united Europe mustn't be questioned.

  • (Spiegel) If the Socialist Party's candidate wins the current presidential election in France, the country's highest earners may be faced with massive new taxes. Francois Hollande says he wants to introduce a wealth tax of 75 percent on income of over 1 million Euros per year.

  • Oil World calls for largest on record YoY drop in global oilseed production due to South American drought.

  • German court says parliament fast-track euro crisis panel unconstitutional.

Saturday, February 25, 2012


  • Telefonica (TEF) reported an increase in revenues of 3.5% YoY Mobile net additions rose 45% in the quarter, and 7.8 million new accesses added. In 2011 as a whole, total customers grew 7%YoY, to 306.6 million accesses. Net profit doubled to 2.67 billion Euros ($3.57 billion) compared to a profit of 1.3 billion in the year-ago period.

  • U.S. New home sales are at an annual rate of 321,000 units in January, down from 324,000 in December. The median sales price rose by $600 to $217,100.

  • The University of Michigan consumer sentiment index rose to 75.3, up from 75 the previous month.

  • Santorum said, “I understand why Barack Obama wants to send every kid to college, because of their indoctrination mills, absolutely ... The indoctrination that is going on at the university level is a harm to our country.”

  • (FT) Stockton, a city in northern California, next week may decide to suspend payments to some of its creditors and take steps toward a bankruptcy filing after years of fiscal strife.

  • "Though housing-related businesses remain in the emergency room, most other businesses have left the hospital with their health fully restored," Buffett said on Saturday in his closely watched annual letter to shareholders.
  •  Berkshire Hathaway’s net income fell 30% as the paper value of its derivative contracts fell.
  • Berkshire said it earned $3.05 billion, or $1,846 per Class A share, compared with earnings of $4.38 billion, or $2,656 per share a year earlier.

  • A 17-tonne haul of silver coins, lost for two centuries in the wreck of a sunken galleon, began its journey back to Spain yesterday after deep-sea explorers lost their claim to ownership.

  • VIVUS (VVUS:) said that an Advisory Committee of the FDA recommended that Qnexa be granted FDA marketing approval for the treatment of obesity in adults. It purportedly helped trial patients lose 10% of their weight in a year.

  • Chinese banks have been urged to use green credits as a tool to support the nation to cut carbon emissions while achieving a sustainable growth, according to China Banking Regulatory Commission.

Thursday, February 23, 2012


  • (AAGIY) AIA Group Ltd, Asia's No.3 insurer, reported a 40 % rise in value of new business in the year ended Nov. 30, 2011, helped by strong performance in China and Singapore.

  • AIG said Q4 operating profit was 82 cents a share, above Wall Street’s consensus estimate of 63 cents a share.

  • A drought threat posed across southern and western Minnesota is the most serious in over a decade, according to University of Minnesota Extension Climatologist Mark Seeley. Climate outlooks currently favor more rain than normal this spring across much of the state, but it might not be enough, Seeley says: “Many areas are so deficient in stored soil moisture they will need 150-200% of normal rainfall during March and April to make up the difference.”

  • (NYT) President Obama asked Congress on Wednesday to scrub the corporate tax code of dozens of loopholes and subsidies to reduce the top rate to 28 percent, from 35 percent, while giving preferences to manufacturers that would set their maximum effective rate at 25 percent.

  • The National Association of Realtors said existing home sales rose 4.3% in January.

  • Singapore's CPI eased to 4.8% in January, down from 5.5% the previous month. French CPI fell by 0.4% in January thanks to a drop of manufacturing costs, following a rise of 0.4% in December.

  • YoY, French inflation rose by 2.3%.

  • China discovered 1.37 billion tonnes of oil reserves last year, up 20.6% YoY.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


  • In the early hours of this morning the Eurozone finally agreed a €130bn bailout for Greece. 

  • Wal-Mart Stores' fiscal 4Q earnings fell 15% to $5.16 billion, or $1.50 a Share. Revenue rose 6% to $123.17 billion. 

  • Home Depot's 4Q earnings rose to $774 million, or 50c a share. Sales rose 6% to $16 billion. 

  • Kraft Foods' 4Q earnings up 54% to $830 million, or 47c a share. 

  • James Monroe (Chairman of the Board) of Globalstar (GSAT) bought 50,000 shares. 

  • Marine biologists and philosophers have joined forces to support a controversial declaration of rights for whales and dolphins on the grounds that their astonishing intelligence and emotional empathy puts them on a par with humans.
Plutocracy, Pure and Simple
Shocking, fascinating, entirely unsurprising: the leaked documents, if authentic, confirm what we suspected but could not prove. The Heartland Institute, which has helped lead the war against climate science in the United States, is funded among others by tobacco firms, fossil fuel companies and one of the billionaire Koch brothers..

Monday, February 20, 2012

Daily charts are up-to-date  No weekly update this week -- back up next weekend.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Quick Overview

  • Prichard: Europe's key powers are on the brink of a €130bn (£108bn) debt deal to rescue Greece and avert the first sovereign default in Western Europe in over half a century.

  • Abbott (ABT) increased the quarterly common dividend from 48 cents per share to 51 cents per share. This marks the 40th consecutive year that Abbott has increased its dividend payout and the 353rd consecutive quarterly dividend to be paid by Abbott since 1924.

  • Retail sales in Britain increased 1.9 % YoY

  • China loosened monetary policy in a surprise move over the weekend, taking precautionary action to shore up the economy after a slew of weak data. The cut, the second of its kind in three months, will drop the RRR by 50 basis points to 20.5% for large commercial banks and 17% for mid- and small-sized banks.
  • China: In January, 48 cities out of the statistical pool of 70 major cities saw drops in new home prices MoM, while new home prices in 22 cities remained unchanged. On a YoY basis, property prices are still higher in most cities.
  • Foreign trade in south China's Guangdong Province, the nation's key production and export base, fell 16.7% YoY in January.

  • Iran has halted oil shipments to Britain and France, the Oil Ministry said, in an apparent pre-emptive move against the European Union.

  • Tranquilo Favero, the head of Paraguay's largest soy producer, took out ads in national news media on Sunday to ask forgiveness for telling a Brazilian newspaper that Paraguayan farm workers are lazy and that "you have to treat them like a bad woman, with a stick."

  • (Bloomberg) The U.S. cattle herd as of Jan. 1 was the smallest for that date since 1952, and beef exports surged 21 percent in 2011, government data show. The U.S. Department of Agriculture forecast a 4.1 percent drop in beef output in 2012, boosting the cost of the meat for consumers by as much as 5 percent this year, more than any other food group except seafood.

  • Billionaire hedge-fund manager John Paulson told investors it’s time to buy gold.

  • Lack of rain in Texas may lead to the smallest planted rice acreage since the 1920s.

  • Implats forecasts the platinum market will reflect a 335000oz deficit in the coming financial year compared with a surplus of 120000oz this year, marketing director Derek Engelbrecht said at the group’s interim results presentation yesterday.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Quick Overview

  • Leak exposes how Heartland Institute (Koch) works to undermine climate science.

  • Equinix (EQIX) fourth-quarter profit rose 29%

  • Moody's warned that it may downgrade the credit ratings of 114 banks, including 17 global banks.

  • Nestle (NSRGF) posted a full-year sales growth of 7.5% - but it predicted a tough year ahead.

  • U.S Initial claims for unemployment benefits dropped 13,000 to 348,000, the lowest level since March 2008, the Labor Department said.

  • 7.58% of U.S. mortgage borrowers were late on their loan payments during the last three months of 2011, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. That was down 0.67 % YoY and 2.5% from the peak set in the first quarter of 2010.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Quick Overview

  • @TheDailyShow @RickSantorum "Government cannot force you to pay for something that violates faith or beliefs." // Great advice for tax season!

  • QoQ Japan's economy shrank by 0.6%. Japan is taking further monetary easing steps by setting its price stability goal at one percent to fight deflation, while expanding its asset purchase program by 10 trillion yen to 65 trillion yen. BOJ also decided to hold its interest rate steady at zero to 0.1%.

  • Moody’s lowered the outlook on France, Britain and Austria to negative, but kept their ratings at triple-A for now.

  • Obama has charged more whistleblowers under the 1917 Espionage Act than all previous Presidents combined.

  • Crude-oil supplies in the U.S. rose 2.9 million barrels in the week ended Feb. 10.
  • Gasoline supplies rose 1.8 million barrels
  • Distillates declined 2.2 million barrels.

  • (Prichard) A Greek default and traumatic ejection from the euro moved a step closer last night after Eurozone finance ministers cancelled a crucial meeting, accusing Athens of failing to flesh out austerity cuts

  • Austria and Switzerland are aiming to join hands in their effort to fight tax evasion with an agreement being negotiated by the two governments.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Germany's Carthaginian terms for Greece Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
The last time Germany needed a bail-out from world creditors, it secured better terms than shattered Greece last week...Greece has less strategic relevance, and must comply with tougher terms...Would Konrad Adenauer ever have made such a blunder?

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Quick Overview

  • In the US, since 1900, the longest anyone has had to wait for a positive return from a position in stocks (Index) is 17 years. In Italy its 74 years --so says the FT

  • (Barrons) Baltic Dry: Not Washed Up -- News that the Baltic Dry Index is sunk as an economic indicator is much exaggerated.
    The index—which measures the cost to haul dry freight over the world's oceans—has merely run aground after getting hit with a shipping-market tsunami. Don't worry. It will right itself soon enough–and should once again become a useful forecasting tool, as early as the end of the year.
    The cost of shipping dry commodities, such as coal, iron ore and grains, forms the basis for the BDI. When more raw materials are shipped, it is because they are needed to be made into ...
  • (Bloomberg) -- The trustee liquidating MF Global Inc. brokerage said the firm has a shortfall of at least $1.6 billion to pay commodity customers’ claims.

  • The Hellenic Statistical Authority said YoY Greece’s manufacturing output contracted by 15.5% in December and industrial output fell 11.3%, having fallen 7.8% in November. Unemployment jumped to 20.9% in November, up from 18.2% in October - a rise of 14% in a month.

  • The U.S. federal government reported a budget deficit of 27.4 billion U.S. dollars in January, the figure is sharply lower than the reading of 50 billion a year earlier.

  • Industry output in France lost ground in December as the electrical and textile industry dragged down the country's overall production by 1.4%.

  • Britain's producer prices rose 0.5 % MoM.

  • G4S, the world’s largest security company, has won the first contract in Britain to staff and build a police station.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Quick Overview

  • Inflation in China is higher than expected in January at 4.5%

  • Greek jobless rate hits new record high at 20.9%

  • Dr Pepper Snapple (DPS) raised the dividend 6.3%

  • Akamai (AKAM) Q4 revenue rose 14%. Profit was 45 cents a share, exceeding the 40-cent average projection.

  • Melco Crown Ent. (MPEL) Reports Q4 earnings of $0.20 per share, $0.03 better than the Consensus Estimate of $0.17; revenues rose 30.2% YoY to $1.01 bln vs the $0.98 bln consensus.

  • Japan's key machinery orders fall 7.1 %

  • A $25 billion settlement with the U.S. mortgage lenders was hailed by government officials as long-overdue relief for victims of foreclosure abuses. Of the five major lenders, Bank of America will pay the most to borrowers: nearly $8.6 billion. Wells Fargo will pay about $4.3 billion, JPMorgan Chase roughly $4.2 billion, Citigroup about $1.8 billion and Ally Financial $200 million. The banks will also pay state and federal governments about $5.5 billion.
    -- About 11 million households are underwater

Warren Buffett: Why stocks beat gold and bonds
The second major category of investments involves assets that will never produce anything, but that are purchased in the buyer's hope that someone else -- who also knows that the assets will be forever unproductive -- will pay more for them in the future. Tulips, of all things, briefly became a favorite of such buyers in the 17th century.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Quick Overview

  • KO profit was 79 cents a share, exceeding the 77-cent average estimate.

  • MoM Japan's coincident index posted an increase of 2.9 points in December, the first expansion in two months.

  • The Reserve Bank of Australia  left rates unchanged at 4.25%.

  • Disney’s net income in the October through December period rose to $1.46 billion, or 80 cents per share, from $1.30 billion, or 68 cents per share, a year earlier. Q1 Profit rose 12%.

  • Americans accelerated their borrowing in December for the second straight month, running up more credit card debt and taking out loans to buy cars and attend school. Consumer borrowing rose by $19.3 billion.

  • BP hiked its quarterly dividend by 14 %

  • China’s gold imports from Hong Kong more than trebled in 2011 from the year before, hitting a record 428 tonnes.
An orderly EMU break-up, à la Française
"Even though our American and Chinese competitors have an interest in the survival of the single currency, the euro is condemned to an uncontrollable explosion sooner or late".

Monday, February 06, 2012

Quick Overview

  • As cold temperatures in Eastern Europe stretching all the way into France feed wheat concern about supplies there. "It's just too cold, for too long, with too little snow for nothing to have happened," ABN Amro says.

  • (MarketWatch) -- A trustee seeking to distribute customer securities overseen by bankrupt MF Global Inc. said Monday that they have traced a majority of the cash that disappeared from the commodities broker. "The trustee's investigators have now traced a majority of the cash transactions, totaling more than $105 billion, made in and out of MF Global Inc. in the last week before bankruptcy and are completing the process of tracing the remaining transactions," the trustee said.

  • The GDP per capita of Indonesia has grown 17.7% throughout last year to 3,542 U.S. dollars from 3,010 U.S. dollars in the previous year.

  • In the 12 months to January, Australia’s inflation gauge rose by 2.2%.

  • The value of trade cargo handled by the Shanghai customs for the first time surpassed the US$800 billion mark last year, hitting $812.3 billion, 18.6 per cent more than in 2010, Xinhua reports.

  • Customs of south eastern Xiamen opposite Taiwan recorded a 21.3 per cent increase in 2011 trade value year on year to US$103.3 billion last year, which for the first time surpassed US$100 billion, Xinhua reports.

  • Yum's net income in Q4 ended December 31 grew 30% to $356 million, or 75 cents per share -- topping analysts' average view. Chinese sales rose 21%. China is Yum's biggest earnings driver, accounting for just over 40 % of overall profits.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Quick Overview

  • (FT) The Costa Concordia and the less-known Ponta de Madeira incident have prompted disquiet over maritime industry’s pursuit of scale efficiencies.

  • Seventy one per cent of all the new power generating capacity in the EU last year came from solar panels, wind turbines or other renewable energy sources.

  • The U.S. Labor Department said the advance figure of seasonally adjusted initial claims for jobless benefits was 367,000 in the week ending Jan. 28, a decrease of 12,000 from the previous week. That helped to push the unemployment rate down to 8.3 percent and the number of unemployed down to 12.8 million.

  • The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization has said global food output must rise 70 percent by 2050 to feed a world population expected to grow to 9 billion from 7 billion now and as increasingly wealthy consumers in developing economies eat more meat. Cargill agrees.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Quick Overview

  • The CME said it would create a $100 million fund to protect farmers and ranchers from losing their funds in the event of another collapse like that of MF Global. This fund, which will not be active until March, does not protect those customers affected by MF Global’s demise. It also will not cover hedge funds or other individual traders, who make up a large percentage of futures business. Some $1.2 billion in MF Global customer money are “very mysteriously” still missing. Someone with oversight has suggested “evaporation” as cause.

  • China's PMI, a preliminary readout of the country's manufacturing activity, rose to 50.5% in January of 2012, the highest level since October.

  • Oil giant Royal Dutch Shell reported profits of 28.6 billion US dollars for 2011, a jump of 54 % YoY.

  • Republicans Have More Orgasms, According to Match.com Sex Survey.

  • The industrial producer prices index fell by 0.2% in Eurozone nations in December as compared with November.

  • How to destroy your brand in 24 hours -- Susan G. Komen

  • The German unemployment rate fell to 6.7% from 6.8% in December, a record low since its unification 20 years ago.

  • India's economic growth has been revised down to 8.4 %t for 2010-11 fiscal year from the earlier estimate of 8.5%.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Quick Overview

  • (EIU) wages are growing at 12% per year in China.

  • Globalstar, (GSAT), announced its commercial and recreational customers are experiencing significant improvements in Globalstar's satellite telephone service. The improvements to Globalstar’s service are the result of the company's recently deployed second-generation satellites.

  • Qualcomm’s revenues rose 40% YoY and 14% sequentially. Net income rose 20% YoY and 33% sequentially.

  • JDSU, excluding onetime items, earned 15 cents a share in Q2. Analysts had forecast JDS Uniphase to earn 10 cents a share.

  • Volkswagen said Wednesday that its U.S. sales soared 47.9% last month.

  • Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: Germany's Bundesbank has entirely exhausted its stock of private assets and run up a quarter of a trillion Euros in liabilities propping up the Eurozone system, testing the political limits of EMU solidarity in Germany.