Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Today's Headlines

  • European Stocks Fall From 2008 High as Carnival Slides. European stocks retreated from the highest level in almost five years as Carnival Corp. led travel companies lower after cutting its forecasts. Carnival, the world’s largest cruise operator, slid 5.9 percent. Daimler AG declined 2.1 percent as a gauge of automakers fell from the highest close since 2007. Marks & Spencer Group Plc rallied 4.8 percent after saying it will reduce capital spending in an effort to boost profit margins. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index slipped 0.3 percent to 308.75 at 3:31 p.m. in London, as remarks by a Federal Reserve official fueled concern the central bank may reduce stimulus measures.
  • China Copper Imports Drop to 22-Month Low as Export Slump. Imports of refined copper by China, the biggest user, declined in April to the lowest level since June 2011, while exports fell for the first time in eight months. Inbound shipments were 183,023 metric tons last month, data from the General Administration of Customs showed today. That compared with 218,823 tons in March and 272,903 tons a year ago, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Exports tumbled 52 percent to 29,072 tons from 60,642 tons a month earlier, the data showed.
  • Gold, Silver Fall on Bets Fed May Cut U.S. Bond Purchases. Gold and silver futures resumed slumps on speculation that the Federal Reserve may scale back U.S. debt purchases, curbing demand for the precious metals as a store of value. Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke will discuss the economic outlook in congressional testimony and the central bank will publish minutes of its latest meeting tomorrow. The bank buys $85 billion of Treasury and mortgage debt a month. The dollar advanced as much as 0.5 percent against a basket of currencies. Yesterday, gold gained 1.4 percent, snapping the longest skid in four years.
  • Oil-Fixing Probe Accelerates as EU Asks Traders for Help. The investigation into possible oil-price fixing gathered pace as trading houses from Glencore Xstrata Plc, the $70 billion mining firm, to Gunvor Group Ltd. were asked to provide information to European regulators. Glencore Xstrata, Gunvor and Vitol Group, which aren’t under investigation, along with other firms with offices in Switzerland, are assisting the European Commission with the inquiry, said three people familiar with the situation, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private. The commission announced last week that it’s probing whether oil companies colluded to distort prices.
  • S&P 500 May Reach 2,100, Goldman Sachs Says. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said the U.S. stock-market rally may last at least another 2 1/2 years, sending the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (SPX) up 26 percent to 2,100.
Wall Street Journal:
  • After Oklahoma Tornadoes, Rescue Efforts Focus on Survivors. At Least 24 Dead After Twisters Leave Trail of Chaos Across Oklahoma City Region. Search and rescue efforts continued Tuesday, after deadly tornadoes tore through towns just south of Oklahoma City on Monday, killing and injuring dozens and destroying numerous buildings, including more than one elementary school. Earlier reports on the death toll varied amid a chaotic scene, with the overnight estimate running as high as 51. But Amy Elliott, a spokeswoman for Oklahoma's Chief Medical Examiner, on Tuesday morning told the Associated Press: "We have got good news. The number right now is 24." Most of the 24 victims had been identified and were being returned to loved ones, she said. Authorities said the death toll was expected to rise.
Fox News:
  • Tim Cook: We Pay 'Every Single Dollar' in Taxes Owed. Apple's CEO is disputing assertions by a Senate panel that the company avoids billions of dollars in U.S. taxes by shifting profits to foreign affiliates.
  • Federal Execs to Get Millions Despite Cuts. Despite the sequester—huge cutbacks in federal spending that were mandated by law in March—some high-level Federal executives are scheduled to get millions of dollars in bonuses, unless there's a law to stop them. According to a report released Friday by the Senate Subcommittee on Financial and Contracting Oversight, the bonuses must be paid under current Congressional regulations, even with some $85 billion in government funding cuts in effect.
  • It's Back: Shadow Banking Hits Post-Crisis Highs. What Warren Buffett once called "financial weapons of mass destruction" are firing again, with securitization and shadow banking at post-financial crisis highs. The twin powers of bank funding that helped propel the nation into turmoil have regained ground swiftly, and analysts say it's both a challenge for regulators and a sign that the economy is recovering. Securitization, or the channels through which banks repackage loans and farm them off to investors, has hit volume of $225.6 billion by way of 365 deals this year, according to Dealogic.
Zero Hedge:
Business Insider:
  • Home Depot(HD) Reaps Housing Recovery's EffectsHome Depot reported higher-than-expected quarterly results and raised its sales and profit outlook for the year as the world's largest home improvement chain benefited from a nascent recovery in the U.S. housing market
  • Fed's Bullard: bond buying best policy when rates near zero. Massive asset purchases are the closest thing to normal monetary policy once interest rates get near zero, a senior U.S. Federal Reserve official said on Tuesday, recommending that the European Central Bank weigh such action if inflation falls further. St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank President James Bullard, a voting member of the Fed's policy-setting committee this year, also said the U.S. central bank should keep buying bonds, while adjusting the pace of purchases up or down, according to incoming economic data.
  • Euro rallies to session high against the dollar. The euro rose to a session high against the dollar on Tuesday as investors positioned ahead of testimony from U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Wednesday.
Financial Times:
  • Kyle Bass bets on full-blown Japan crisis. Kyle Bass hopes he is wrong, and so may everyone else, as the danger predicted by the founder of Dallas-based Hayman Capital is nothing less than a full blown financial crisis in the world’s third-largest economy, Japan.

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