Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Today's Headlines

  • Iceland Freezes EU Plans as Government Shuns Euro Crisis. Iceland’s new government is turning its back on the European Union and will shelve accession talks that started in 2010 as the nation seeks to protect its economic recovery from the debt crisis. Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson, who will take over as prime minister this week, has decided that a January decision to freeze EU membership talks will be extended indefinitely, his political adviser Johannes Thor Skulason said in a phone interview today. 
  • Oil-Tanker Crews Seen Quitting on 40-Year High in Losses. Oil-tanker owners will struggle to retain crews and maintain ships after losing the most money in four decades, according to the industry’s biggest trade group. The problems won’t ease any time soon because some vessel rates may take as long as four years to rebound, said Katharina Stanzel, the managing director of the International Association of Independent Tanker Owners, or Intertanko. Its members operate more than half of the world’s tankers by capacity.
  • Iron Ore Seen Extending Decline as China Steel Mills Shut Down. Iron ore will fall another 8 percent in the next several months as steel mills in China, the biggest importer, shut down because of maintenance, power rationing and squeezed profits, according to Deutsche Bank AG. Prices may fall about $10 a dry metric ton in the next couple of months, analysts led by Xiao Fu and Daniel Brebner said in an e-mailed report today. Ore with 62 percent iron content at the port of Tianjin, a global benchmark, tumbled 22 percent to $123.60 a ton from a 16-month high on Feb. 20, according to The Steel Index Ltd. 
  • WTI Crude Falls on Smaller-Than-Expected Inventory Drop. West Texas Intermediate oil fell as a government report showed U.S. gasoline supplies unexpectedly gained and crude stockpiles at Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point for the contract, increased for a second week. Futures dropped as much as 1.9 percent after the Energy Information Administration said gasoline inventories advanced 3.02 million barrels to 220.7 million.
  • Iran Raises Uranium Output and Installs More Advanced Machines. Iran lifted its output of uranium, the heavy metal at the center of the Islamic Republic’s clash with the United Nations, according to inspectors, who also reported that the Persian Gulf country continued upgrading the machines it’s using to purify the material.
  • IRS Official Lerner Refuses to Testify at Issa Hearing. Lois Lerner, the mid-level Internal Revenue Service official at the center of a controversy over treatment of small-government groups, invoked her right not to testify after reading a statement denying that she had committed any crimes. “I am very proud of the work that I have done in government,” she said today, reading a statement at the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing. “I have not done anything wrong. I have not broken any laws.”
Fox News: 
  • Fed Minutes: Members Mull Tapering as Soon as June. "A number of participants" on the U.S. Federal Reserve's Federal Open Markets Committee this month favored slowing the Fed's efforts to maintain record-low long-term interest rates as early as summer — if the economy showed strong and sustained growth.
Zero Hedge: 
Business Insider: 
Bespoke Investment Group:
  • Energy Inventories Higher Than Expected. (graph) At current levels, there have only been three weeks since 1983 that crude oil inventories were higher, and they all came in the last three weeks!
Pragmatic Capitalism:
  • Target(TGT) cuts full-year forecast after weak first quarter. Target Corp (TGT.N) cut its full-year profit forecast on Wednesday while turning in a weak first quarter with disappointing sales, as a chilly start to spring kept shoppers from buying seasonal items like clothing. Target warned in April its first-quarter results would be weaker than anticipated, and its performance was even worse than revised Wall Street expectations due to the cool weather and the impact of higher payroll taxes on spending. Shares of Target fell 3.6 percent to $68.70.
Irish Times: 
  • Assad Is Stronger Than Before, Germany Spy Chief Says. Army of Syria's Assad is currently stronger than for long time, BND intelligence chief Gerhard Schindler told lawmakers. Expects army to regain control of Syria's south by yr end. Says rebels are in precarious situation.

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