Thursday, March 29, 2007

Today's Headlines

- China, the world’s biggest nickel user, produced 15.1% more of the industrial metal, used in stainless steel, in February compared with the year ago month. Output in the first two months rose 16.8% to 20,400 tons.
- Crude oil is rising above $66/bbl. in NY, approaching a six-month high, as investment fund speculation is increasing on Iran concerns.
- The Senate approved a spending measure with a deadline for withdrawing US troops from Iraq, setting up a showdown with President Bush.
- Hedge funds opened last year at the slowest pace since 2000 as returns trailed those of the S&P 500, according to Hedge Fund Research.
- AT&T(T), Verizon Communications(VZ) and Qwest Communications(Q) won the right to bid on orders under a government telecom contract worth at least $20 billion, the biggest-ever federal award.
- Apple Inc.(AAPL) started a service that lets customers buy full albums from its iTunes music store at a discount when they’ve already bought a single from the same album.
- US Steel(X) agreed to buy Lone Star Technologies(LSS) for $2.1 billion in cash to become North America’s largest supplier of pipes to crude-oil and natural gas producers.
- Gold is falling $5/oz., diverging from oil, after a government report signaled growth in the US economy, which eroded demand for the metal as an alternative asset.
- Petroleo Brasileiro SA(PBR), Brazil’s state-controlled oil company, may have found 10 billion barrels of crude oil reserves in a new field off the coast of Rio de Janeiro.

NY Times:
- More than half of the legal immigrants living in the US are naturalized, the highest in two decades. The last time more than half of legal immigrants were naturalized was in 1980.
- NYC is averaging one homicide a day so far this year, which is the lowest point since at least 1962, when the Police Dept. started tracking crime using current record-keeping techniques.

Market News International:
- Outgoing European Central Bank council member Mitja Gaspari said he would be surprised if the benchmark interest rate climbed to 4.25% this year. The current rate of 3.75% “is okay for now,” he said.

Washington Post:
- The Shiite militia of Moqtada al-Sadr is fragmenting. At the same time, the anti-US cleric, who may now be in Iran, is facing new challenges to his leadership in Iraq.

Het Financieele Dagblad:
- Fortis is looking to make more acquisitions in the US, citing the company’s head in the region.

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