Monday, November 30, 2009

Tuesday Watch

Late Buy/Sell Recommendations
Citigroup:

- Reiterated Buy on (ALTR), raised estimates, target $27.


Night Trading
Asian Indices are -.25% to +.50% on average.

Asia Ex-Japan Inv Grade CDS Index 114.50 unch.
S&P 500 futures -.07%.
NASDAQ 100 futures -.03%.


Morning Preview

BNO Breaking Global News of Note

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Asian Financial News

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IBD New America
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Earnings Calendar

Conference Calendar

Who’s Speaking?
Upgrades/Downgrades

Politico Headlines
Rasmussen Reports Polling


Earnings of Note
Company/EPS Estimate
- (CPRT)/.40

- (SPLS)/.38


Economic Releases

10:00 am EST

- ISM Manufacturing for November is estimated to fall to 55.0 versus 55.7 in October.

- ISM Prices Paid for November is estimated at 65.0 versus 65.0 in October.

- Construction Spending for October is estimated to fall -.5% versus a +.8% gain in September.

- Pending Home Sales for October are estimated to fall -1.0% versus a +6.1% gain in September.


Afternoon:

- Total Vehicle Sales for November are estimated to rise to 10.5M versus 10.45M in October.


Upcoming Splits
- None of note


Other Potential Market Movers
-
The Fed’s Plosser speaking, API Energy Inventory report, CSFB Technology Conference, Citi Basic Materials Conference, Citi Chemical Conference, (AGO) analyst meeting, FBR Investor Conference, Piper Jaffray Healthcare Conference, (UNH) analyst day, ABC Consumer Confidence reading and the weekly retail sales reports could also impact trading today.


BOTTOM LINE: Asian indices are mostly higher, boosted by financial and technology shares in the region. I expect US equities to open mixed and to rally into the afternoon, finishing modestly higher. The Portfolio is 75% net long heading into the day.

Stocks Finish Higher, Boosted By Airline, Education, Internet, Utility, REIT, Bank, I-Bank, Insurance and Paper Shares

Evening Review
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Timely Economic Charts

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After-hours Stock Commentary

After-hours Movers

After-hours Stock Quote
After-hours Stock Chart

Stocks Slightly Higher into Final Hour on Less Financial Sector Pessimism, Short-Covering, Bargain-Hunting

BOTTOM LINE: The Portfolio is slightly lower into the final hour on losses in my Technology longs, Medical longs and Retail longs. I have not traded today, thus leaving the Portfolio 75% net long. The tone of the market is negative as the advance/decline line is lower, most sectors are falling and volume is light. Investor anxiety is very high. Today’s overall market action is bearish. The VIX is rising +1.82% and is very high at 25.20. The ISE Sentiment Index is below average at 109.0 and the total put/call is high at 1.06. Finally, the NYSE Arms has been running around average most of the day, hitting 1.12 at its intraday peak, and is currently 1.09. The Euro Financial Sector Credit Default Swap Index is falling -.45% to 79.31 basis points. This index is down from its record March 10th high of 208.75. The North American Investment Grade Credit Default Swap Index is rising +.96% to 106.25 basis points. This index is also well below its Dec. 5th record high of 285.99. The TED spread is falling -3 basis points to 21 basis points. The TED spread is now down 445 basis points since its all-time high of 463 basis points on October 10th. The 2-year swap spread is rising +2.07% to 33.94 basis points. The Libor-OIS spread is down -1 basis point to 11 basis points. The 10-year TIPS spread, a good gauge of inflation expectations, is unch. at 2.11%, which is down -54 basis points since July 7th. The 3-month T-Bill is yielding .04%, which is up +2 basis points today. Many market leading stocks are outperforming the broad market. As well, Airline, Education, REIT, Utility, Insurance, I-Bank, Bank, Internet and Oil Service stocks are all higher on the day. (XLF)/(IYR) have traded well throughout the day. The bears have been unable to gain meaningful downside traction after the morning reversal lower and some negative news items, which is a positive. On the negative side, breadth has been somewhat weak as small-caps come under pressure again. Given the gains in Asia overnight and financial sector strength, today’s broad market morning sell-off was disappointing. Healthcare-related, Gaming, Retail, Telecom, Defense and Semi shares are all underperforming. The UK sovereign debt cds is rising another +.7% today after an +8.7% gain over the last five days, which is another negative. Nikkei futures indicate a -90 open in Japan and DAX futures indicate an +12 open in Germany on Monday. I expect US stocks to trade mixed-to-higher into the close from current levels on short-covering, bargain hunting, stable long-term rates, less financial sector fear and seasonal strength.

Today's Headlines

Bloomberg:

- Dubai shares tumbled and Abu Dhabi’s stock index fell the most in at least eight years on the first trading day since the government announced state-run Dubai World, with $59 billion of liabilities, may delay debt payments. The Dubai Financial Market General Index dropped 7.3 percent, the biggest decline since October 2008, and Abu Dhabi’s ADX Index tumbled 8.3 percent, the most since Bloomberg began compiling the data in 2001. Dubai World’s port operator, DP World, fell by the maximum 15 percent allowed on the Nasdaq Dubai, and Emaar Properties PJSC, the biggest developer in the United Arab Emirates, dropped nearly 10 percent, the most permitted on the DFM General Index.

- Crude oil prices may slide toward $70 a barrel in New York after breaching the bottom of a monthlong price channel, according to technical analysis by Societe Generale SA. “It is possible to drop down to the $70 mark, and we’d need to break through that for confirmation that this is a really big correction.”

- The Greek-owned supertanker Maran Centaurus was seized by pirates off Somalia while heading to the U.S., as attackers venture ever farther from shore to hijack merchant ships. It’s the second time Somali pirates have seized an oil supertanker, with the last incident a year ago leading to a record ransom and an increase in Western naval patrols. Today’s hijacking is “probably” the farthest from shore by Somali pirates, said Cyrus Mody, a manager at the International Maritime Bureau in London. His organization has yet to verify details of the attack, he said. The vessel, which can carry 2 million barrels of oil, was taken by Somali pirates in the Somali Basin about 600 nautical miles northeast of the Seychelles, the European Union anti- piracy naval force in the region said on its Web site today. The 28-man crew comes from Greece, Philippines, Ukraine, and Romania. “We are surely getting closer to the day where nothing is safe anywhere between the Seychelles and Suez,” Jonathan Bruce, a partner and maritime law expert at Elborne Mitchell Solicitors in London, said in a telephone interview. “We’re seeing insurance companies extending their war risk zones.”

- Hedge funds are shoveling money into stocks as individuals exit at the fastest rate in a year, a sign to professional investors that the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index is poised to extend its gains.

- Pakistan rejected U.K. demands that it must do more to “break” the al-Qaeda terrorist network and said Britain should share intelligence if it knows the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden.

- Natural Gas Glut Overwhelms Speculators, Defies Rally. When Qatar’s biggest natural gas shipment to the U.S. arrived this month, it signaled to Barclays Capital Inc. and PFC Energy that this year’s worst performing commodity investment won’t recover in 2010. Murwab, a Qatari liquefied natural gas tanker, carried the first shipment to the U.S. from the Persian Gulf nation since June 2008. Its cargo, enough to heat about 9 million homes for a day, added to the largest gas inventories for this time of year since at least 1994, Energy Department data show. Rising supplies threaten to hurt the record-large $4.2 billion bet in the U.S. Natural Gas Fund LP, while traders hold 51 percent more options contracts to buy gas than they do to sell. The International Energy Agency warned of a glut that Qatar’s energy minister said may last until 2012.

- American International Group Inc.(AIG), the insurer rescued by the U.S., has an $11 billion shortfall in reserves to pay property-casualty claims that may hinder efforts to repay the government, Sanford C. Bernstein said. The company slipped 11 percent in New York trading. AIG may have been “aggressive” in pricing its workers’ compensation and professional liability policies and cut back on its use of reinsurance, analyst Todd Bault said today in a research note. He slashed his price target on New York-based AIG’s shares by 40 percent to $12. Chief Executive Officer Robert Benmosche is seeking to bolster profitable underwriting units to help repay loans within the $182.3 billion bailout that was required after investment losses tied to subprime mortgages. Insurance operations, already facing customer and employee defections, may need additional funds to pay claims, Bault said. “AIG shareholders and the federal government face considerably more uncertainty than they may have anticipated,” Bault said.

- Celgene Corp.(CELG) can more than triple sales for its best-selling cancer pill Revlimid on new data that may convince doctors to choose the drug as a first option over Johnson & Johnson’s(JNJ) intravenous medicine, Velcade.

- The Federal Reserve Bank of New York said it will conduct “small scale, real value” three-way reverse repurchase transactions as the central bank prepares for an eventual withdrawal of its unprecedented monetary stimulus. The tests will be conducted in coming weeks “as a matter of prudent advance planning by the Federal Reserve,” the New York Fed said in a statement today.

- The Atlantic hurricane season ended today after producing the fewest named storms in 12 years. It was the first time in three years that no hurricane struck the U.S. mainland. Nine named storms formed during the season, which started June 1, according to a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration statement. Three of the storms reached hurricane strength, with maximum sustained winds of at least 74 miles per hour, and two of those became major ones with winds of 111 miles (179 kilometers) per hour or more.

- Business activity in the U.S. unexpectedly accelerated in November as orders climbed, signaling the economic recovery will carry through into 2010. The Institute for Supply Management-Chicago Inc. said today its barometer rose to 56.1, the highest level since August 2008, from 54.2 the prior month. Readings above 50 signal expansion. Milwaukee and Texas also showed gains in manufacturing, other reports showed.


Wall Street Journal:

- Global semiconductor sales rose 5.1% in October from the previous month -- the eighth-straight month of gains -- as companies continue to build up inventories to prepare for the holidays, according to the Semiconductor Industry Association. The $21.7 billion total was down 3.5% from last year, by far the smallest decline of 2009. "As semiconductor sales are increasingly driven by the performance of the overall global economy, our sales are reflecting the improved economic conditions in our world markets," said SIA President George Scalise. "Sales increased sequentially in all geographic regions." Chip companies in recent months have been increasingly optimistic about their prospects and those of the broader technology industry amid better-than-expected personal computer and cellphone sales and as demand for industrial applications also shows initial signs of recovery.

- Larry Ellison is known for forward thinking. With his new business model, though, the billionaire chief executive of software maker Oracle Corp. is taking a page from the past. Mr. Ellison plans to buy Sun Microsystems Inc. and transform Oracle into a maker of software, computers, and computer components -- a company more like the U.S. conglomerates of the 1960s than the fragmented technology industry of recent years. "It is back to the future," he told financial analysts in October. Mr. Ellison is among the executives reviving "vertical integration," a 100-year-old strategy in which a company controls materials, manufacturing and distribution. Others moving recently in this direction include ArcelorMittal, PepsiCo Inc., General Motors Co. and Boeing Co.

- Venezuela's economy is tumbling just as the rest of the world begins to recover, which may create the perfect combination needed for the country's long-delayed oil drilling auction to finally get under way. Industry sources say a contracting local economy alongside stronger global growth, which has pushed up worldwide oil prices, is providing incentive for both sides--the Hugo Chavez-led government and foreign oil firms--to make concessions and find common ground on the terms of the so-called Carabobo oil tender.

- Write-offs and other revaluations of sterling and foreign-currency loans by U.K. banks and building societies both marked record highs in the third quarter, underscoring the continuing challenges faced by financial institutions and the disincentives to extend more credit. Write-downs of sterling loans jumped to £4.32 billion ($7.12 billion) between July and September from £3.61 billion between April and June, while write-offs of foreign-currency loans soared to £1.01 billion in the third quarter from £249 million in the second, data from the Bank of England Monday showed. Both figures were the largest since the central bank began publishing the data series in March 1993.

- President Barack Obama issued orders Sunday night for a revamped war strategy in Afghanistan that includes tens of thousands of additional U.S. forces and benchmarks for the eventual transfer of Afghanistan's defense to the Afghan government. Mr. Obama met in the Oval Office Sunday at 5 p.m. with Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff, Gen. David Petraeus, head of Central Command, National Security Adviser James Jones, and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said. He then communicated his decision to Gen. Stanley McChrystal, head of the multinational force in Afghanistan, and U.S. Ambassador to Karl Eikenberry over a secure video link from the White House situation room.

- 500,000 Iranian Centrifuges. Tehran ups the ante again as diplomacy goes nowhere.

- This year may go down as the period that shopping by mobile phone during the holidays came into its own.


NY Times:

- The Federal Reserve, under attack in Congress for being too entwined with big banks, closed a loophole on Wednesday that allowed a director at Goldman Sachs(GS) to be a director of the New York Fed as the agency was bailing out Wall Street during the financial crisis. The Fed tightened its restrictions on so-called public directors of Fed’s 12 regional banks, who are not supposed to hold posts or own stock in banks or bank holding companies, The New York Times Edmund L. Andrews reported. The rule itself is narrow, a response to an embarrassment earlier this year involving Stephen Friedman, a director and former top executive at Goldman Sachs who was also serving as a public board member of the New York Fed.


The Business Insider:

- Goldman’s(GS) Christmas celebration rules have a funny condition: they can't hang out in groups of twelve or more. The Business Insider wrote about the voicemail all Goldman Sachs employees received earlier this month. They were told not to organize small parties even if no firm money goes to pay for them. By "small," Goldman means exactly twelve. Starting tomorrow, they can hang out outside of Goldman in groups of eleven, but not twelve. The rule is set to stay in place for the month of December. Why? The firm believes that it would be inappropriate for its employees to be seen partying while the economy is still shaky and unemployment is high.

- Chelsea Clinton Engaged To Goldman Sachs’s(GS) Marc Mezvinsky.

- The Top 8 Winners Of Obamanomics.

- Temasek Hedge highlights how these days Singapore's port has become too quiet. The Financial Times agrees. Temasek Hedge: These days, though, the view is obscured by hundreds of ships lying at anchor, some of them part of the estimated 10 per cent of the world container fleet idled due to lack of business. At the ultra-modern Pasir Panjang container terminal, stacks of empty containers piled up behind protective fencing tell a similar story.

- Goldman Sachs (GS) is in trouble, and it's not just because of questionable remarks by its executives. CNBC reporter Charlie Gasparino notes that despite big gains from its trading business, the venerable financial titan is getting beat in a critical Wall Street growth area: stock underwriting.


Lloyd’s List:

- CONCERNS about overcapacity, the sustainability of economic recovery and the threat posed to the global economy by Dubai’s financial problems have led Hong Kong bulker operator Jinhui Shipping & Transportation to remain cautious for next year.


EconompicData:

- The Scale of Hedge Fund Gold Purchases. In case you missed it... early last week The Reformed Broker detailed the incredible amount of gold that hedge funds (in this case Paulson & Co.) have accumulated in a very short period of time: John Paulson of Paulson & Co, the legendary hedge fund manager who made tens of billions betting on the mortgage crisis between 2007 to 2009, likes gold. He really likes it. He likes gold more than a friend. To most market participants, this is not news, but here’s something you probably didn’t know: Paulson owns more gold than several major countries! Combined! Regardless of what is or is not a justified price for gold, the only thing that matters is the next price that a buyer or seller is willing to transact. And while I continue to expect to see a one-sided trade, when that one sided trade ends, it has the potential to get real ugly, real fast (though I think we are still a long ways away) as this "tonnage" hits the market.

Rassmussen:

- The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Monday shows that 26% of the nation's voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. Forty percent (40%) Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -14 (see trends). Seventy-two percent (72%) believe the President is politically liberal, including 49% who say he is Very Liberal.

- The U.S. Senate is now formally beginning debate on a plan to reform health care in America, but most voters remain opposed to the plan working its way through Congress. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 41% of voters nationwide favor the health care reform plan proposed by President Obama and congressional Democrats. Fifty-three percent (53%) are opposed to it. Those figures include 22% who Strongly Favor the plan and 40% who are Strongly Opposed.


Politico:

- 7 stories Barack Obama doesn’t want told.

- As Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid struggles to pass a health care bill in Washington and his polling numbers in Nevada continue to tank, there’s another aggravation he can’t seem to escape — the Las Vegas Review-Journal and its publisher, Sherman Frederick. Frederick has called Reid a “political corpse,” said a visit by President Barack Obama to Nevada earlier this year “was only to try to stop Nevadans from bouncing their unpopular senior Sen. Harry Reid in 2010” and suggested that “Reid’s power so far has done more for Reid personally than it has for Nevadans as a whole.” A recent Frederick blog post openly mocked Reid’s reelection theme: “Isn’t the slogan ‘Harry Reid — independent like Nevada’ libelous as hell?”


The Detroit News:

- Cyber shopping for holidays expected to be up 8%.


USAToday:

- The prospect of bullet trains whisking travelers from city to city at more than 200 miles an hour, stalled for years in America's car-loving culture, should finally get a boost this winter. That's when the Federal Railroad Administration will start handing out $8 billion in economic stimulus money, according to spokesman Rob Kulat. All indications point to late January or February for the first round of grants, says Yoav Hagler, an associate planner for America 2050, an organization focused on infrastructure, economic development and the environment. Proposals in Congress offer the prospects of billions more.


Reuters:

- Russia plans to start up the nuclear reactor at Iran's Bushehr power plant in March 2010 to coincide with the Iranian New Year, two sources closely involved with the project told Reuters. The sources, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the situation, both said that Russia had ordered the plant be ready for operation by Iranian New Year, known as Nowruz, in the second half of March.

- U.S. banks continue to face significant challenges, particularly from rising delinquencies in commercial real estate and commercial loans, a Federal Reserve official said on Monday. "Credit losses at banking organizations continue to rise, and banks face risks of sizable additional credit losses given the outlook for production and employment," said Jon Greenlee, associate director of the division of bank supervision and regulation.

Financial Times:

- The panic provoked by last week’s debt standstill request from Dubai World and property arm Nakheel has come full circle. On Monday, when the main Gulf stock markets reopened after a four-day religious holiday, Nasdaq Dubai fell more than 7 per cent and the Abu Dhabi stock exchange over 8 per cent. Investors, already shocked by Dubai’s confirmation it would not guarantee the state-owned conglomerate’s debt, were told trading had been halted on $5.25bn of Nakheel’s sharia-compliant bonds. The problem is that global investors see the borrowers’ woes as a microcosm of the oil-less emirate’s. Its failure to communicate decisively and promptly with the capital markets on which it relies, has left its ambition of becoming a credible financial services hub in tatters. Still, Monday’s UAE central bank liquidity support for local and foreign lenders should keep open a regional banking lifeline for now. Although British banks, the most heavily exposed to the UAE, will not be derailed by Dubai World or Nakheel, the same may not be true of regional lenders, which have disproportionately large exposure – in the case of Abu Dhabi’s banks, about a third of their assets, Morgan Stanley estimates. Local banks are already paying the price in more costly funding and, absent sovereign support, will do their best to wriggle out of making big impairments on their property lending.

- The government of Dubai on Monday said it would not guarantee the debt of Dubai World as it sought to clarify comments made last week by the state-owned entity that sent shockwaves through global markets. In its first public comments since the crisis erupted over the liabilities of its public companies, Dubai’s department of finance on Monday outlined its policy towards the outstanding loans, which total $59bn.


TimesOnline:

- A battle between Exxon Mobil, the American oil giant, and BP over one of the largest oilfields in the world is set to intensify this month ahead of a key January deadline. Ghana has no oil industry. The field, estimated to hold 1.8 billion barrels, has the potential to vastly alter the fortunes of a nation with a per capita GDP of $1,500. BP, which is being advised by Goldman Sachs, offered to buy the stake with Sinopec, the Chinese state oil group, and Ghana National Petroleum as partners. Ghana’s Jubilee field was discovered in 2007 by a group of oil companies led by Tullow Oil, the FTSE 100 explorer. It was hailed as the largest discovery in West Africa in more than a decade. Tullow is the controlling shareholder with a 49% stake. US partners Sabre Oil and Anadarko Petroleum own the rest. They expect to start producing oil next summer.


Telegraph:

- Britain risks becoming the first country in the G10 bloc of major economies to risk capital flight and a full-blown debt crisis over coming months, according to a client note by Morgan Stanley. The US investment bank said there is a danger Britain’s toxic mix of problems will come to a head as soon as next year, triggered by fears that Westminster may prove unable to restore fiscal credibility. “Growing fears over a hung parliament would likely weigh on both the currency and gilt yields as it would represent something of a leap into the unknown, and would increase the probability that some of the rating agencies remove the UK’s AAA status,” said the report, written by the bank’s European investment team of Ronan Carr, Teun Draaisma, and Graham Secker.


Guardian:

- The carbon market could become double the size of the vast oil market, according to the new breed of City players who trade greenhouse gas emissions through the EU's emissions trading scheme. The ETS market may see $3tn (£1.8tn) worth of transactions a year in the next decade or two, according to Andrew Ager, head of emissions trading at Bache Commodities in London, with it even being used as a hedge against falling equities or rising inflation. "It is still a relatively new industry with annual trades of around €300bn every year. But this could grow to around $3tn compared to the $1.5tn market there is for oil," says Ager, who used to be a foreign currencies trader. The speed of that growth will depend on whether the Copenhagen summit gives a go-ahead for a low-carbon economy. Many political leaders, especially in industrialized countries, are enthusiastic: carbon markets hold the promise of cost-efficient emission cuts without the need for taxpayer funding. But their enthusiasm to place carbon markets at the heart of the Copenhagen treaty is matched by growing criticism of the concept, and not just from environmentalists opposed to free market solutions. Vincent de Rivaz, chief executive of EDF Energy, warned of the dangers of a "sub-prime" crisis inside the ETS if complex financial instruments were created by market participants. The key problem seems to be that ETS carbon prices have remained resolutely low, thwarting low-carbon, high-cost investment. Carbon is currently trading at around $13 a tonne but many believe it needs to be $30, if not $50, to deliver a decisive boost for clean technologies such as wind, solar, CCS and nuclear power. The criticisms of environmentalists such as James Lovelock and Friends of the Earth (FoE) are far more fundamental. The basic charge is that the market has put millions of pounds into the pockets of some without making any real impact on carbon emissions.


Radio 1:

- Success of the vote banning the construction of minarets in Switzerland means more initiatives critical of Islam may come, former Justice Minister and Swiss People’s Party member Christoph Blocher said. Initiatives like yesterday’s could be on a ban on veils covering the whole body, forced marriage, circumcision and the disregard of women’s rights, Blocher said. Blocher also said some consideration should be given to demands that Muslims seeking Swiss citizenship should distance themselves in writing from passages in the Koran that contradict human rights.

Bear Radar

Style Underperformer:
Small-Cap Growth (-1.0%)

Sector Underperformers:
Gaming (-2.27%), Hospitals (-1.92%) and HMOs (-1.81%)

Stocks Falling on Unusual Volume:
AIG, CTCM, LBTYA, KBW, KONG, CHKP, NUVA, CTV, ROS and SRX


Stocks With Unusual Put Option Activity:
1) GCI 2) RCL 3) CBS 4) STI 5) CMCSK

Bull Radar

Style Outperformer:
Large-Cap Value (+.24%)

Sector Outperformers:
Banks (+1.74%), Airlines (+1.19%) and I-Banks (+.95%)

Stocks Rising on Unusual Volume:
TTM, TM, VRUS, SEED, CAAS, RINO, CSIQ, CYT and GLT


Stocks With Unusual Call Option Activity:
1) UAUA 2) ILMN 3) RCL 4) COCO 5) CAL

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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Monday Watch

Weekend Headlines
Bloomberg:

- Black Friday sales advanced 0.5 percent from a year earlier as discounts on televisions, toys and computers drew budget-conscious crowds across the U.S., according to ShopperTrak RCT Corp. Sales for the day after the Thanksgiving holiday rose to $10.7 billion, the Chicago-based research firm said yesterday in a statement. That compared with a 3 percent gain to $10.6 billion on Black Friday last year, a “surprisingly strong” result before economic turmoil dragged down sales for the rest of the holiday season, ShopperTrak said.

- Iran announced expansion of its nuclear program in defiance of United Nations demands, a move the Obama administration said will further isolate the Islamic Republic from the international community. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s Cabinet ordered the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran to begin building 10 uranium enrichment sites within two months, the Islamic Republic News Agency reported. All would be at the same scale as Iran’s Natanz site, producing fuel for power plants to generate 20,000 megawatts of electricity, the state news agency said. “It’s a defiant, blustery response” to a Nov. 27 censure of Iran by the UN International Atomic Energy Agency, Cliff Kupchan, a senior analyst at Eurasia Group, a New York political-risk consulting firm, said in a telephone interview. Such an expansion is “well beyond Iran’s technological capability,” he said.

- The estimated box office gross for the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday weekend was $278 million for the five days beginning Nov. 25 through today, which was a record, Hollywood.com Box-Office said. The previous record was set during the Thanksgiving holiday in 2000 with sales of $244.4 million, the box-office tracker said in an e-mailed statement.

- Australian opposition head Malcolm Turnbull faces the second challenge to his Liberal Party leadership in seven days in a stand-off that threatens to derail the nation’s plan to control emissions blamed for global warming. Party lawmakers will consider the leadership on Dec. 1, one day after the Senate reconvenes in a bid to pass climate-change legislation that missed a deadline yesterday. Liberal rebels opposing Turnbull’s support for the bill risk triggering an early election that they would lose badly if they block the law, the Australian reported today. “This is as much about the policy of supporting action on climate change as it is on Malcolm Turnbull,” Liberal Senator Gary Humphries said on Sky News. “Let’s be clear. If we knock off emission trading next week, we’ll be in an election by March at the latest.”

- The US economy has reached a “plateau” where it is not longer faltering and has limited signs of growth, said Bill Gates, the co-founder and chairman of Microsoft Corp.(MSFT).

- The euro region doesn’t face a default problem connected with the situation in Dubai, said Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, who heads a group of euro-area finance ministers.

- Commodities slumped the most this month after Dubai sought to defer some debt payments, rattling investors and spurring a dollar rally. Investors are “chasing commodities,” risking the emergence of bubbles, Nouriel Roubini, the New York University economist who predicted the global financial crisis, said last week. Holdings in the SPDR Gold Trust, the biggest exchange- traded fund backed by bullion, reached 1,134 metric tons in June, the highest level ever. At the time, the ETF’s gold cache exceeded Switzerland’s reserves as the world’s sixth-largest.

- Terrorism probably caused the deadly derailment of the Moscow to St. Petersburg express train late yesterday, killing at least 25 people and injuring dozens, Russian officials said. “Our main lead is an explosion of an unknown device, in other words terrorism,” Vladimir Yakunin, the head of OAO Russian Railways, the country’s railroad monopoly, told the government’s Vesti television station.


Wall Street Journal:

- There's plenty of coal for stockings this year. Despite deep cuts to production, U.S. stockpiles are climbing as supplies outpace demand from utilities and factories. The glut means miners will have to slash output, compounding the industry downdraft and pointing toward depressed prices and possibly layoffs as miners continue to grapple with uncertainty over climate legislation.

- The Obama administration and U.S. business leaders will meet at the White House this week to ponder ways to boost employment. Their ideas, though, don't overlap much. Businesses of all sizes are brimming with proposals they say would spur economic growth. The most commonly voiced are tax cuts and boosting access to credit. The White House, for its part, wants to discuss job growth in the clean-tech sector and shifting some stimulus spending to infrastructure projects. Obama aides are also eyeing a limited range of incentives for small businesses to create jobs. A 10.2% jobless rate, the worst since 1982, is emerging as the administration's biggest domestic challenge, a threat to the weak economic recovery and Democrats' hold on Congress.

- State insurance regulators are moving closer to adopting a proposal that would add at least $11 billion in capital for insurers. Passage would mark another win for insurers in what is shaping up to be a string of regulatory successes for the year. The proposal, tied to income-tax accounting, was blessed Tuesday by a key committee of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and comes up for a final vote next month.

- The Abu Dhabi-based Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates is expected to announce before U.A.E. stock markets open Monday that it will guarantee Dubai World debt to help protect local lenders from potential losses amid rising anxiety among investors, people briefed on the matter said.

- The Sunday London Times newspaper was removed by authorities from shelves in the United Arab Emirates on Sunday amid intensive reporting of Dubai's debt problems, an executive at the paper said. The National Media Council ordered the paper blocked by distributors without providing a reason, an executive at the paper in Dubai told Zawya Dow Jones. The Sunday Times edition available in the U.A.E. on Nov. 29 featured a double-page spread graphic illustrating Dubai's ruler Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum sinking in a sea of debt. The Times wasn't given a reason for the block, or a timeframe when it will be lifted, the executive said.

- Redbox Automated Retail, the company behind the $1-a-night video-rental kiosks springing up in groceries and convenience stores around the country, is on a tear. Last quarter, it took in $198.1 million, almost double its year-earlier revenue. Its rental kiosks have mushroomed to almost 21,000, up from about 12,000 a year ago.

- Conspicuous consumption is making a comeback on Wall Street. But no one wants to admit they're doing it. As traders and investment bankers near the finish line of what looks like a boom year for pay, some are spending money like the financial crisis never happened. From $15,000-a-week Caribbean getaways to art auctions to $200,000 platinum wristwatches that automatically adjust for leap years, signs of the good life are returning. "What we're seeing in the last four to eight weeks is a fairly substantial uptick" in demand for extravagant purchases as Wall Street employees grow more confident.

- 'He talks too much," a Saudi academic in Jeddah, who had once been smitten with Barack Obama, recently observed to me of America's 44th president. He has wearied of Mr. Obama and now does not bother with the Obama oratory. He is hardly alone, this academic. In the endless chatter of this region, and in the commentaries offered by the press, the theme is one of disappointment. In the Arab-Islamic world, Barack Obama has come down to earth. He has not made the world anew, history did not bend to his will, the Indians and Pakistanis have been told that the matter of Kashmir is theirs to resolve, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the same intractable clash of two irreconcilable nationalisms, and the theocrats in Iran have not "unclenched their fist," nor have they abandoned their nuclear quest.


MarketWatch.com:

- Analysts on Friday warned of the potential wider impact of Dubai's financial woes on emerging markets as investors look again at the level of risk they're willing to take.

CNBC.com:
- Banks With The Biggest Exposure to The UAE.

IBD:
- Copper wires aren't going away anytime soon. But fiber-optic lines are increasingly the plumbing that connects consumers with information. Fremont, Calif.-based Oplink Communications (OPLK) helps make sure those phone calls don't get dropped, or that movie-on-demand plays without glitches. The company has more than 350 products that convert, magnify, direct or protect fiber-optic signals. Its customers, cable television and telecommunications companies around the globe, incorporate Oplink's components into systems that reduce network congestion and transmission costs.

NY Times:

- The Obama administration on Monday plans to announce a campaign to pressure mortgage companies to reduce payments for many more troubled homeowners, as evidence mounts that a $75 billion taxpayer-financed effort aimed at stemming foreclosures is foundering. “The banks are not doing a good enough job,” Michael S. Barr, Treasury’s assistant secretary for financial institutions, said in an interview Friday. “Some of the firms ought to be embarrassed, and they will be.” Even as lenders have in recent months accelerated the pace at which they are reducing mortgage payments for borrowers, a vast majority of loans modified through the program remain in a trial stage lasting up to five months, and only a tiny fraction have been made permanent. Mr. Barr said the government would try to use shame as a corrective, publicly naming those institutions that move too slowly to permanently lower mortgage payments. The Treasury Department also will wait until reductions are permanent before paying cash incentives that it promised to mortgage companies that lower loan payments.

- Diplomacy 101. We were thrilled when President Obama decided to plunge fully into the Middle East peace effort. He appointed a skilled special envoy, George Mitchell, and demanded that Israel freeze settlements, Palestinians crack down on anti-Israel violence and Arab leaders demonstrate their readiness to reach out to Israel. Nine months later, the president’s promising peace initiative has unraveled. The Israelis have refused to stop all building. The Palestinians say that they won’t talk to the Israelis until they do, and President Mahmoud Abbas is so despondent he has threatened to quit. Arab states are refusing to do anything. Mr. Obama’s own credibility is so diminished (his approval rating in Israel is 4 percent) that serious negotiations may be farther off than ever.

- Dangers of an Overheated China. PRESIDENT OBAMA’S recent trip to China reflects a symbiotic relationship at the heart of the global economy: China uses American spending power to enlarge its private sector, while America uses Chinese lending power to expand its public sector. Yet this arrangement may unravel in a dangerous way, and if it does, the most likely culprit will be Chinese economic overcapacity. The Chinese government has subsidized its exporters by pegging the renminbi at an unnaturally low rate to the dollar. This has supported relatively high-paying export jobs; additional subsidies have included direct credit allocation and preferential treatment for coastal enterprises. These aren’t the recommended policies you would find in a basic economics text, but it’s hard to argue with success. Most important, it has given many more Chinese a stake in the future of their society. Those same subsidies, however, have spurred excess capacity and created a dangerous political dynamic in which these investments have to be propped up at all cost.China has been building factories and production capacity in virtually every sector of its economy, but it’s not clear that the latest round of investments will be profitable anytime soon. Automobiles, steel, semiconductors, cement, aluminum and real estate all show signs of too much capacity. In Shanghai, the central business district appears to have high vacancy rates, yet building continues.


The Business Insider:
- The role of Iran may be the most overlooked in the Dubai debt crisis. Of all the states of the United Arab Emirates federation, Dubai has maintained the closest ties to Iran. Indeed, as international pressure has built on Iran over the past decade, Dubai has prospered from those ties. It provides critical banking and trade links for Iran, often serving as the go-between for European or Asian companies and financial firms that want to do business with Iran without violating international sanctions.

- Why I Am An Optimist by John Mauldin.

- Traders anxiously await an indication of whether Japan will intervene to halt the surging Yen, and the decline of the greenback.

CNNMoney.com:

- Fed rage boils over on Capitol Hill. Fed chief Ben Bernanke is expected to win confirmation to a second term. But it won’t be pretty. The push in Congress to rein in the central bank is gaining steam.

Business Week:
- President Hugo Chavez threatened on Sunday to nationalize banks that violate regulations, saying he'll do whatever is necessary to prevent irregularities amid a scandal that already has prompted his government to take over management of four banks. "I warn the country's private bankers: I'll take away any bank from anyone who slips up," Chavez said during his weekly television and radio program. "Do you want me to nationalize the banks?" Chavez asked, then said he'd have "no problem" ordering state takeovers.

Detroit Free Press:

- Ford Motor Co.(F) earned high praise from San Diego-based consumer research firm Strategic Vision for its improved performance on a survey that measures the perceived total value of new cars and trucks. Ford showed the most improvement, Strategic Vision said, and had five segment leaders -- the most of any automaker. Also, for the first time since the survey's inception in 1995, Toyota did not have a top-rated vehicle in any segment.


Politico:

- ACORN, the troubled community service organization, recently considered changing its name in a bid to rehabilitate its image, according to an internal memo obtained by POLITICO.

- After months of buildup, the historic debate on health care reform opens on the Senate floor Monday — but the C-SPAN cameras won’t see the real action. The next phase in the Democrats’ health care push will be waged in the privacy of the Senate leadership office, where Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will attempt to do something that has eluded him all year: negotiate a compromise on the public insurance option that can garner 60 votes and win over a public still leery of reform. “There is the inside fight and the outside fight,” said Jim Kessler, a former top aide to Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and vice president for policy at Third Way. “The inside fight is getting to 60, and the outside fight is winning the battle of public opinion.” The debate starts at 3 p.m. Monday with each side offering one amendment — a sign of how difficult the debate will be, since the two sides couldn’t agree to terms of the debate beyond the first two amendments. Republicans want six weeks of debate — which would be enough to push the final vote past Christmas — and have an arsenal of stalling tactics. But Democrats can short-circuit the debate all at once, simply by reaching a deal on the public option and filing cloture on the bill, which would set up the final crucial test vote before final passage.


Rasmussen Reports:

- Amidst all the holiday shopping craziness, most Americans at this time of year want to see holiday signs that wish them a "Merry Christmas." A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 72% of adults prefer "Merry Christmas," while 22% like "Happy Holidays" instead.


Reuters:

- The United Arab Emirates offered banks emergency support on Sunday, the first steps to ease fears that a looming debt default by two of Dubai's flagship firms could derail the global economic recovery. But the move to inject liquidity into Dubai's banks by the central bank of the Gulf Arab state, together with promises by neighboring city-state Abu Dhabi to provide selective support to Dubai companies was seen as by analysts as the bare minimum. Dubai markets, which are set to open on Monday morning after a four-day holiday, are expected to fall by the maximum daily limit of 10 percent as banks, property and construction firms face investor ire over moves to restructure the Dubai economy. The action of the UAE central bank to allay concerns by setting up an emergency liquidity facility was viewed as a necessary, but minimal policy response. "This is the absolute minimum they could have done and suggests they won't be making another announcement before tomorrow morning, which is a little disappointing," said Raj Madha, banking analyst at EFG-Hermes.

- Regulators list systemic risk institutions. Thirty global financial institutions have been selected for cross-border supervision exercises by regulators, the Financial Times reported on Monday. Compiled under the guidance of the Financial Stability Board (FSB), an international body of regulators and central bankers, the list is part of an effort to pre-empt the spread of systemic risks in the event of a future financial crisis. Those featuring in the list will also be asked to write so-called "living wills" that outline plans to wind up banks in the aftermath of a crisis. The FSB was established in the summer of 2009 to address the dangers posed by systemically-important, cross-border financial institutions through better supervision and co-ordination. The list in full, as cited by the FT:

- Holiday shopping online hit a record for Black Friday, several days before the retail industry-coined Cyber Monday gets underway, as more consumers said they used the web to seek deals. The strong start for web retailers should continue into what is otherwise expected to be a lackluster holiday season, benefiting Amazon.com(AMZN), Wal-Mart Stores Inc's(WMT) online unit and Google Inc(GOOG), analysts said.

- Samsung Electronics (005930.KS), the world's second-biggest mobile phone maker, said on Monday the company was on track to exceed its 2009 mobile phone sales target, with touchscreen models enjoying sharp growth.

- Sands China's (1928.HK) weak stock market debut in Hong Kong on Monday signals a lack of investor appetite for a casino gaming company with a high valuation and an uncertain outlook, with mixed interest in the sector's long-term prospects.


Financial Times:

- Hinde Gold, a gold-focused hedge fund, reduced its gold positions on Thursday night in anticipation of a sell-off in the price of bullion, the fund’s director Ben Davies told FT Alphaville. Gold had at one stage dropped as much as 5 per cent as it responded to safe haven flows into the dollar. The precious metal has since recovered to trade about 3 per cent lower at $1,155.80. Commenting on the sell-off, Davies — who had moved his fund to its maximum 50 per cent under weight gold position — said: “It happened so quickly, I’ve never seen a quicker paper liquidation in gold ever.” According to Davies, it was clear gold had become massively overbought by Thursday afternoon. However, he noted the fund – which also invests in gold-related equity stocks — was still bullish on the yellow metal further down the line. As he told FT Alphaville: In the short-term this is potentially a significant top. Our whole game plan for the season was that we were going to see a liquidity surge that would take us to new highs come mid January. But we needed an end of November correction to get us there. That sentiment, meanwhile, was echoed by Danske Bank analysts on Friday, who wrote: Gold has retreated following the rebound of the dollar, thus leaving USD1,200 untouched this time around. Momentum in bullion remains strong however with increasing speculation that central banks could get into a ‘bidding war’. The gold risk reversal, i.e. the market view of the most likely direction of the spot movement over the next maturity data, has increased a little during the autumn but not massively so, suggesting that market pricing has not quite anticipated the surge witnessed of late.

- Carmakers are warning that the ending of government scrappage incentives in 2010, which helped keep European manufacturers afloat this year, will depress demand and slow the recovery of one of the world’s largest industries. Car companies and their shareholders are braced for falling revenues in Europe next year, even as US car sales recover from their lowest levels in decades. “The overhang is quite frightening,” says John Lawson, European autos analyst with Citibank. “It probably ensures that Europe will be the most obvious region where you will see a decline in sales in what will be an otherwise robust world car market.” Volkswagen and PSA Peugeot Citro├źn, the continent’s two largest carmakers, have warned of the impact of the end of scrappage schemes on their businesses. So too have General Motors and Toyota, and supplier groups including Johnson Matthey. “In European history, it’s the biggest market distortion we’ve ever seen,” says Arndt Ellinghorst, head of European automotive research with Credit Suisse. Consultants JD Power forecast a 10.4 per cent drop in west European car sales next year to 12m, compared to a 2 per cent rise in global car sales and a 11.7 per cent jump in the US. The withdrawal of government-subsidised demand for small cars will hit hardest in Germany, Europe’s largest car market, whose trade-in scheme was the most generous.


Telegraph:

- Climate change: this is the worst scientific scandal of our generation. Our hopelessly compromised scientific establishment cannot be allowed to get away with the Climategate whitewash, says Christopher Booker. The reason why even the Guardian's George Monbiot has expressed total shock and dismay at the picture revealed by the documents is that their authors are not just any old bunch of academics. Their importance cannot be overestimated, What we are looking at here is the small group of scientists who have for years been more influential in driving the worldwide alarm over global warming than any others, not least through the role they play at the heart of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Professor Philip Jones, the CRU's director, is in charge of the two key sets of data used by the IPCC to draw up its reports. Through its link to the Hadley Centre, part of the UK Met Office, which selects most of the IPCC's key scientific contributors, his global temperature record is the most important of the four sets of temperature data on which the IPCC and governments rely – not least for their predictions that the world will warm to catastrophic levels unless trillions of dollars are spent to avert it. Dr Jones is also a key part of the closely knit group of American and British scientists responsible for promoting that picture of world temperatures conveyed by Michael Mann's "hockey stick" graph which 10 years ago turned climate history on its head by showing that, after 1,000 years of decline, global temperatures have recently shot up to their highest level in recorded history. Given star billing by the IPCC, not least for the way it appeared to eliminate the long-accepted Mediaeval Warm Period when temperatures were higher they are today, the graph became the central icon of the entire man-made global warming movement. Since 2003, however, when the statistical methods used to create the "hockey stick" were first exposed as fundamentally flawed by an expert Canadian statistician Steve McIntyre, an increasingly heated battle has been raging between Mann's supporters, calling themselves "the Hockey Team", and McIntyre and his own allies, as they have ever more devastatingly called into question the entire statistical basis on which the IPCC and CRU construct their case. The senders and recipients of the leaked CRU emails constitute a cast list of the IPCC's scientific elite, including not just the "Hockey Team", such as Dr Mann himself, Dr Jones and his CRU colleague Keith Briffa, but Ben Santer, responsible for a highly controversial rewriting of key passages in the IPCC's 1995 report; Kevin Trenberth, who similarly controversially pushed the IPCC into scaremongering over hurricane activity; and Gavin Schmidt, right-hand man to Al Gore's ally Dr James Hansen, whose own GISS record of surface temperature data is second in importance only to that of the CRU itself. There are three threads in particular in the leaked documents which have sent a shock wave through informed observers across the world. Perhaps the most obvious, as lucidly put together by Willis Eschenbach (see McIntyre's blog Climate Audit and Anthony Watt's blog Watts Up With That), is the highly disturbing series of emails which show how Dr Jones and his colleagues have for years been discussing the devious tactics whereby they could avoid releasing their data to outsiders under freedom of information laws. They have come up with every possible excuse for concealing the background data on which their findings and temperature records were based. This in itself has become a major scandal, not least Dr Jones's refusal to release the basic data from which the CRU derives its hugely influential temperature record, which culminated last summer in his startling claim that much of the data from all over the world had simply got "lost". Most incriminating of all are the emails in which scientists are advised to delete large chunks of data, which, when this is done after receipt of a freedom of information request, is a criminal offence. But the question which inevitably arises from this systematic refusal to release their data is – what is it that these scientists seem so anxious to hide? The second and most shocking revelation of the leaked documents is how they show the scientists trying to manipulate data through their tortuous computer programmes, always to point in only the one desired direction – to lower past temperatures and to "adjust" recent temperatures upwards, in order to convey the impression of an accelerated warming. This comes up so often (not least in the documents relating to computer data in the Harry Read Me file) that it becomes the most disturbing single element of the entire story. This is what Mr McIntyre caught Dr Hansen doing with his GISS temperature record last year (after which Hansen was forced to revise his record), and two further shocking examples have now come to light from Australia and New Zealand. In each of these countries it has been possible for local scientists to compare the official temperature record with the original data on which it was supposedly based. In each case it is clear that the same trick has been played – to turn an essentially flat temperature chart into a graph which shows temperatures steadily rising. And in each case this manipulation was carried out under the influence of the CRU. What is tragically evident from the Harry Read Me file is the picture it gives of the CRU scientists hopelessly at sea with the complex computer programs they had devised to contort their data in the approved direction, more than once expressing their own desperation at how difficult it was to get the desired results. The third shocking revelation of these documents is the ruthless way in which these academics have been determined to silence any expert questioning of the findings they have arrived at by such dubious methods – not just by refusing to disclose their basic data but by discrediting and freezing out any scientific journal which dares to publish their critics' work. It seems they are prepared to stop at nothing to stifle scientific debate in this way, not least by ensuring that no dissenting research should find its way into the pages of IPCC reports. Back in 2006, when the eminent US statistician Professor Edward Wegman produced an expert report for the US Congress vindicating Steve McIntyre's demolition of the "hockey stick", he excoriated the way in which this same "tightly knit group" of academics seemed only too keen to collaborate with each other and to "peer review" each other's papers in order to dominate the findings of those IPCC reports on which much of the future of the US and world economy may hang. In light of the latest revelations, it now seems even more evident that these men have been failing to uphold those principles which lie at the heart of genuine scientific enquiry and debate. Already one respected US climate scientist, Dr Eduardo Zorita, has called for Dr Mann and Dr Jones to be barred from any further participation in the IPCC. Even our own George Monbiot, horrified at finding how he has been betrayed by the supposed experts he has been revering and citing for so long, has called for Dr Jones to step down as head of the CRU. The former Chancellor Lord (Nigel) Lawson, last week launching his new think tank, the Global Warming Policy Foundation, rightly called for a proper independent inquiry into the maze of skulduggery revealed by the CRU leaks. But the inquiry mooted on Friday, possibly to be chaired by Lord Rees, President of the Royal Society – itself long a shameless propagandist for the warmist cause – is far from being what Lord Lawson had in mind. Our hopelessly compromised scientific establishment cannot be allowed to get away with a whitewash of what has become the greatest scientific scandal of our age.


Globe and Mail:

- A world awash in debt. The financial crisis provoked a global front to stimulate economies through massive spending. But this was fuelled by a staggering amount of borrowing. Now governments are realizing that a new calamity looms - higher taxes and slashed social programs. For 220 years, through civil upheaval, global conflict and a depression, the United States largely kept its public debt under control. But the world's largest economy may finally have met its match. In its bid to prevent the Great Recession from spiraling into a global depression, the U.S. government spent tens of billions rescuing financial institutions and automotive companies. In the process, the federal budget deficit swelled 220 per cent from 2008 to a record $1.6-trillion (U.S.). The world's biggest economy has plenty of company: Seven of the members of the Group of 20 nations are on a trajectory that will leave them with debts bigger than 75 per cent of their economies by 2014, according to the International Monetary Fund.


Daily Telegraph:

- MALCOLM Turnbull's hopes of fighting off a Liberal rebellion over climate change to hold on to the Opposition leadership have been shattered by a poll showing a whopping 60 per cent of Australians are against Kevin Rudd rushing the Emissions Trading Scheme through parliament. Despite Mr Turnbull insisting the ETS must be passed now - ahead of the UN's Copenhagen summit - the poll overwhelmingly backs his opponents - with 81 per cent of Coalition supporters wanting the vote delayed. Incredibly, nine out of 10 Coalition supporters - and three out of four Labor voters - say they don't understand the ETS and want the Government to explain it better. The Galaxy poll, conducted exclusively for The Sunday Telegraph on Friday night, shows a huge 80 per cent of voters do not believe the Government has provided sufficient details about an ETS with only 26 per cent now supporting the Turnbull-Rudd push for the Senate to pass it into law immediately. Fewer than one in five Australians believe the Government has provided sufficient information about the ETS.


Nikkei:
- Nissan Motor Co. is developing a lithium ion battery for electric vehicles that can store electricity at double the current capacity.
Nissan aims to equip electric cars with the battery by 2015. The new battery will be able to power an electric vehicle for 186 miles on a single charge, about twice the distance currently possible.


Shanghai Securities News:

- China’s banks should primarily use dividend cuts and private placement as methods for boosting capital, citing China Banking Regulatory Commission Vice Chairman Jiang Dingzhi.


Weekend Recommendations
Barron's:
- Made positive comments on (MON), (SYY) and (PEP).


Citigroup:

- Upgraded (WPI) to Buy, target raised to $48.


Night Trading
Asian indices are +.50% to +2.50% on avg.

Asia Ex-Japan Inv Grade CDS Index 114.5 -11.5 basis points.
S&P 500 futures +.63%.
NASDAQ 100 futures +.77%.


Morning Preview
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Earnings of Note
Company/Estimate
- (GES)/.51

- (OVTI)/.16


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- None of note


Economic Releases

9:45 am EST

- The Chicago Purchasing Manager for November is estimated to fall to 53.3. versus 54.2 in October.

- The Dallas Fed Manufacturing Activity for November is estimated unch. versus a -3.3% decline in October.


Other Potential Market Movers
- The Citi Global Chemicals Conference, (LSTR) mid-quarter update, NAPM Milwaukee, Bloomberg FCI Monthly and the TAF auction
could also impact trading today.


BOTTOM LINE: Asian indices are higher, boosted by financial and automaker stocks in the region. I expect US stocks to open higher and to maintain gains into the afternoon. The Portfolio is 75% net long heading into the week.