Thursday, June 12, 2014

Today's Headlines

  • Iraq Battles Islamists in Saddam’s Hometown, 80 Miles From Baghdad. Iraqi forces sought to check the rapid advance of Islamist militants who had seized major cities, as Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki responded to the greatest threat to his government since taking power. The military attacked fighters of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant in Saddam Hussein’s former hometown of Tikrit, about 80 miles (130 kilometers) north of Baghdad, state-sponsored Iraqiya television reported. In Mosul, the air force struck ISIL positions after they seized the largest city in Iraq’s north earlier this week, Iraqiya said. Al-Sumaria television reported heavy clashes as the army fought for Tikrit backed by air support.
  • China’s No-Money-Down Housing Echoes U.S. Subprime Lending Risks. China’s home buyers are being offered no-money-down purchases in an echo of the subprime lending that triggered a U.S. economic meltdown and the global financial crisis. Deals skirting government requirements for minimum 30 percent down payments have emerged this year from Guangzhou and Shenzhen in the south to Beijing in the north as real-estate sales slump, according to state media and statements by government agencies and developers. 
  • European Stocks Little Changed as Bouygues, Iliad Gain. European stocks were little changed as the benchmark index pared gains after data showed U.S. retail sales grew slower than estimated and more Americans than forecast made jobless claims. Bouygues SA rose 5.2 percent after a report that Orange SA is studying a cash offer for its telecommunications unit and Iliad (ILD) SA advanced 6.3 percent after France said it’ll push for a merger among phone companies. Anglo American Plc dropped 3.2 percent, leading a gauge of commodity producers lower, after Morgan Stanley recommended selling the stock. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index added less than 0.1 percent to 347.83 at the close in London.
  • Delta Tumbles Most in S&P 500 as Oil Rises on Iraq Strife. Delta Air Lines Inc. (DAL) fell the most on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, extending a decline among U.S. carriers, as violence in Iraq pushed oil prices to an eight-month high. “It’s primarily crude, given the jump up and the uncertainty and tension,” Savanthi Syth, a Raymond James Financial Inc. analyst, said in an interview. “Crude jumping up has an impact on earnings in the shorter term. Longer term, hopefully they can push through fare increases to cover that.” Jet fuel, refined from crude, and labor are airlines’ largest expenses. Delta fell 5.5 percent to $38.48 at 11:18 a.m. in New York, while Southwest Airlines Co. (LUV)’s 4.5 percent tumble was the second-biggest on the S&P 500.
Wall Street Journal: 
  • Kurdish Forces Take Control in Northern Iraqi City of Kirkuk. Move Comes as Forces of the Shiite-Dominated Government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki Abandon Posts and Flee, Provincial Official Says. Iraq edged closer to all-out sectarian conflict on Thursday as Kurdish forces took control of a provincial capital in the oil-rich north and Sunni militants threatened to march on the capital Baghdad and two cities revered by Shiite Muslims.
Business Insider:
  • Hedge Fund Inflows Jump. Investors added more money to hedge funds this month than in any of the last four, according to SS&C Technologies. The SS&C GlobeOp Capital Movement Index rose 1.01% in June to hit “their highest levels in four months,” SS&C CEO Bill Stone said. The metric measures net subscriptions and redemptions received by hedge funds administered on SS&C’s GlobeOp platform.
Washington Post:
  • ISIS just stole $425 million and became the ‘world’s richest terrorist group’. Of the many stunning revelations to emerge out of the wreckage of Mosul on Wednesday — 500,000 fleeing residents, thousands of freed prisoners, unconfirmed reports of “mass beheadings” — the one that may have the most lasting impact as Iraq descends into a possible civil war is that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria just got extremely rich. As insurgents rolled past Iraq’s second largest city, an oil hub at the vital intersection of Syria, Iraq and Turkey, and into Tikrit, several gunmen stopped at Mosul’s central bank. An incredible amount of cash was reportedly on hand, and the group made off with 500 billion Iraqi dinars — $425 million. The provincial governor of Nineveh, Atheel al-Nujaifi, confirmed that the ISIS Islamists had lifted additional millions from numerous banks across Mosul, as well as a “large quantity of gold bullion,” according to the International Business Times, which called it the “World’s Richest Terror Force.”
  • Brazil's retail sales drop 0.4 pct in April from March. Retail sales in Brazil dropped for a second straight month in April, highlighting the weak state of Latin America's largest economy as one of its main growth engines rapidly loses steam. Retail sales volumes in Brazil fell 0.4 percent in April from March, twice as much as the 0.2 percent expected in a Reuters polls, the statistics agency IBGE said on Thursday. Higher interest rates, stubborn inflation and dwindling confidence have weighed on consumers, depriving the Brazilian economy of one of its few reliable sources of growth.

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