Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Today's Headlines

  • Republican DeMint Criticizes Boehner’s Deficit Plan. House Speaker John Boehner’s proposal to generate $800 billion in new revenue “will destroy American jobs” and Republicans should oppose it, Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina said today.
  • Elizabeth Warren to Receive Senate Banking Committee Seat. U.S. Senator-elect Elizabeth Warren, the Harvard University law professor and critic of Wall Street, is expected to join the Senate Banking Committee after she’s sworn into office in January. Two Democratic aides briefed on the matter said Senate leaders intend to assign Warren to the Banking Committee, although a final decision on committee assignments will not be made until the new session of Congress convenes. 
  • EU Nations Eye New ECB Bank Supervisor Amid German Doubts. European Union finance ministers tried to bridge bank oversight disagreements, a step that would help sever links between banking woes and sovereign debt plaguing the crisis-stricken euro zone. Germany sought to shield its small banks, France pressed for common standards and Spain wanted influence that reflects the size of its banking market at a meeting of finance ministers in Brussels today. No nation offered die-hard opposition to the new supervisor, which EU leaders seek to establish at the European Central Bank by the end of this year. Further gatherings are possible before Dec. 31.
  • Gold Drops to Four-Week Low as Commodities Fall on Fiscal Cliff. Gold futures slumped to a four-week low as a stalemate in U.S. budget talks drove commodities lower. Silver, platinum and palladium also dropped. “Gold is being sold along with just about everything else in commodities with the worries on the fiscal cliff,” Bart Melek, the Toronto-based head of commodity strategy at TD Securities, said in a telephone interview. “Gold is usually said to be a safe haven, but the threat to economies globally from the fiscal cliff is having knock-on effects.”
  • Toll Brothers(TOL) Profit Rises, Orders Jump
  • The Most Dangerous Idea in Washington: Economist. Ethan Harris, a well-respected economist for Bank of America Merrill Lynch, sounds very afraid when he talks about the "increasingly popular view" that going over the "Fiscal Cliff" this year will do minimal damage to the economy and make possible a better deal next year."One of the most dangerous ideas circulating in Washington is that it is okay to go over the cliff temporarily," Harris said in his latest note to clients.
  • Small Manufacturers Pulled Back 50% in Q2. (videoSmall manufacturers pulled back 50% in Q2, and according to Paynet, manufacturers are pulling back due to uncertainty about the economy, reports CNBC's Phil LeBeau.
Business Insider:
  • Egyptian protesters storm barricade at presidential palace. A protest by tens of thousands of Egyptians outside the presidential palace in Cairo turned violent on Tuesday as tensions grew over Islamist President Mohammed Morsi's seizure of nearly unrestricted powers and a draft constitution hurriedly adopted by his allies. In a brief outburst, police fired tear gas to stop protesters approaching the palace in the capital's Heliopolis district. Morsi was in the palace conducting business as usual while the protesters gathered outside. But he left for home through a back door when the crowds "grew bigger," according to a presidential official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
  •  Tesla (TSLA) Said to Be Under Federal Investigation for Buying Foreign Parts. According to the Washington Times (WT), the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is cracking down on Tesla for using foreign parts in the construction of its vehicles. Specifically, ICE wants to know whether or not Tesla was using its foreign trade zone status in an effort to bypass federal loan requirements that companies accepting the funding must use domestically produced parts.
  • Obama Should Return To Clinton-Era Spending Levels. Talk of Clinton-era tax rates ignores the fact that the former president, working with a GOP Congress, cut spending as a share of GDP and produced four balanced budgets by focusing on growth, not spending.
Financial Times: 
  • EU finance chiefs clash over bank reform. Germany’s powerful finance minister dug in his heels on Tuesday against a quick move towards a eurozone banking union, raising fundamental concerns that cast doubts on the EU meeting a self-imposed year-end deadline for agreement.
  • Weak UK construction deals blow to George Osborne. The Chancellor has been dealt a blow on the eve of his Autumn Statement by the weakest outlook among building firms since the depths of the recession. Activity in the construction industry shrank in November – the third decline in four months, jobs were cut at the fastest pace in two years, new orders collapsed at their sharpest rate in three-and-a-half years, and sentiment in the industry hit its lowest point since December 2008, according to the CIPS/Markit Purchasing Managers Index (PMI).
Financial Times Deutschland:
  • European Crisis States' Structural Unemployment Rises. Unemployment in European crisis states won't return to pre-crisis levels for years even if the economy improves, citing calculations by the Intl. Labor Organization. Structural unemployment in crisis states will continue to rise. Young people are most heavily affected, the report said.
  • Nissan China New Car Sales Fall 30% in November. Sales in China fall y/y to 79,500 units, citing the company.
Business Recorder: 
  • Iron ore at six-week low on slower China demand. SINGAPORE: Iron ore fell to its lowest since October and is pressured to drop further for the rest of the year, as Chinese mills limit purchases of spot cargoes at a time when colder weather curbs demand for steel. Construction activity slows during winter in China, cutting demand for steel products, whose prices have fallen recently to levels last seen in September. Appetite for spot iron ore cargoes has been thin since last week, dragging down the price of the benchmark 62-percent grade to $115.30 a tonne on Monday, its lowest since Oct. 19, based on data from Steel Index. "Physical steel prices are weakening and this is having a spillover effect on iron ore. Fundamentals are very weak, construction has come to a complete stop in northern China," said a physical iron ore trader in Singapore. "I remain bearish on iron ore, but I think spot prices would decline very slowly day by day. We will not see a sharp correction because iron ore is still in demand as steel mills are still producing." China's steel mills have kept production close to 2 million tonnes a day for the most part of this year as producers responded to even modest rises in steel prices and counted on a pickup in consumption.

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