Monday, April 11, 2011

Monday Watch

Weekend Headlines

  • Dozens Dead in Yemen, Egypt, Syria as Protests Shake Middle East Countries. Scores of people were killed or wounded in Yemen, Egypt and Syria, and Libyan rebels battled loyalists in three cities, as protests against entrenched regimes shook the Middle East. Yemeni security forces fired on demonstrators in three cities yesterday, leaving many wounded, and Syrian contingents shot at a funeral for protesters killed in an earlier demonstration. Egyptian military leaders blamed “outlaws” trying to “thwart the revolution” for killing at least one person when soldiers broke up a protest in central Cairo, which also left 71 injured. Almost four months after a 26-year-old vegetable seller set himself alight in despair over Tunisia’s social, political and economic conditions, protestors in a half-dozen countries are trying to sweep away regimes that have ruled for decades. Countries from North America, Europe and the Middle East itself are also struggling to contain Libya’s dictator, Muammar Qaddafi, and ease the transition to democracy from Egypt to Yemen. “We’re obviously in a period of unraveling of the old, and violence is a part of that,” said Robert Danin, a senior fellow for Middle East and Africa studies at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington.
  • Qaddafi Accepts Mediators' 'Road Map' to Cease-Fire, Reports Say. agreed to accept an Libyan leader Muammar QaddafiAfrican Union peace plan that could lead to a cease-fire with rebels, South African President Jacob Zuma said in Tripoli yesterday, the Associated Press and Reuters reported. Zuma presented Qaddafi with a four-point program including a cease-fire, humanitarian aid, protection for foreign nationals and political reforms, a spokesman for the African Union, Noureddine Mezni, said in an interview late yesterday with the BBC. Zuma said he will meet today with rebel leaders in Benghazi.
  • Syrian Officer Killed, Soldiers Injured as Tanks Enter Oil Hub. A Syrian army officer was killed and several soldiers were injured when gunmen ambushed their vehicle in the coastal oil hub of Banias, where tanks were deployed to contain protests spreading across the country, state television reported, citing unidentified people. Tanks had moved into the city, whose oil terminal is the nation’s main export point, according to Al Arabiya and Associated Press reports. Three people were killed and dozens were injured in Banias today, Syrian state television reported, citing a nurse in a hospital in the city.
  • Corporate Profits Rise to Record Before Quake Curbs Supplies. Corporate profits probably rose to a record last quarter, with demand for items from Caterpillar Inc. (CAT) equipment to Daimler AG (DAI) cars holding up so far in the face of supply disruptions from the earthquake in Japan. The estimates six months out may prove too rosy, investors said. Earnings for Standard & Poor’s 500 Index companies probably gained 12 percent in the three months ended March 31, from a year earlier, according to analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. For the second quarter, most analysts have left unchanged their earnings estimates, calling for another 12 percent increase at S&P companies, the data show. For the year, they predict a gain of 17 percent.
  • Wen Urges Regions to Curb Real Estate in Drive to Restrain Inflation Rate. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao asked local governments to take responsibility to keep housing affordable and said stabilizing consumer prices in the country is the top priority. The central government’s aim to control the property market is “clear” and the determination is “firm,” Wen said during a visit to eastern China’s Zhejiang province, according to a statement on the government’s web site today. The Chinese government is intensifying efforts to curb speculation in the real-estate market after housing prices gained for 19 consecutive months through December. Consumer prices in February climbed 4.9 percent from a year earlier, exceeding the government’s annual inflation target of 4 percent. The country will adopt measures including on the reserve ratio, interest rates and the exchange rate to support the real economy, he said.
  • Copper Imports by China Drop 33% on Year on Demand Risk. Copper imports by China, the largest consumer, climbed 29 percent in March from a two-year low as fabricators stepped up production. Shipments fell 33 percent from the same month last year. While the increase from the previous month reflected a recovery in manufacturing which grew for the first time in March in four months and the Chinese New Year holiday in February, the decline from last year may boost concern over whether the level of demand in the country is being sustained. Domestic prices have traded at a discount to London since July on ample supplies. “March imports fell from last year,” Yan Lei, an analyst at Guoyuan Securities Co., said from Shanghai today. “We understand consumption in March was similar to last year’s levels, which could only mean that smelters really ramped up domestic production. If the output numbers don’t show that, it may be time to start worrying about China’s copper demand.” “There is a risk that a slowdown in the economy because of the tightening measures will damp metals demand,” said Ren Gang, head of research at Maike Futures Co. “We still need to keep a close eye on macro-economic developments.”
  • China's March Car Sales 'Below' Expectations as Incentives End. China’s passenger-car sales grew in March at a pace that was below forecasts after incentives ended and fuel prices rose, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said. Dispatches of cars including multipurpose vehicles and sport-utility vehicles to dealerships rose 6.52 percent from a year earlier to 1.3 million units, the association said in a statement today. That pace was about one-tenth of the 63 percent sales increase reported in March of last year. “The overall vehicle sales growth in March was below our expectations,” Zhu Yiping, the association’s statistics head, said at a briefing in Beijing today. March has historically been a peak period for car sales in China following the week-long Chinese New Year holiday that was celebrated this year from Feb. 2 through Feb. 8, according to the association. General Motors Co. (GM), China’s biggest overseas automaker, posted slower sales growth in the nation for the second month in March as the government reinstated a 10 percent sales tax and phased out subsidies for vehicle trade-ins in rural areas.
  • Germany Says Greek Loan Relief May Not Work as EU Rules Out Restructuring. Loan relief granted to Greece last month may be inadequate to restore the country’s financial health, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said after European officials again ruled out debt restructuring. Euro-area leaders decided on March 11 to reduce interest rates on loans for Greece under its 110 billion-euro ($159 billion) rescue package and to extend their maturities. Greece also gained the right to sell bonds directly to the region’s rescue fund. “Whether that is enough and how this continues will have to be monitored closely,” Schaeuble told reporters today after a meeting of European Union finance ministers and central bank chiefs in Godollo, Hungary. The doubts about Greece’s finances emerged as EU officials said a planned aid package for Portugal would draw a line under the region’s debt crisis, which was triggered by Greece and engulfed Ireland four months ago, when that nation received an 85 billion-euro rescue. The funds for Portugal are projected by the EU to total around 80 billion euros. Greece’s economic contraction is projected at 3 percent in 2011 as austerity measures bite. The economy shrank 4.5 percent last year, more than forecast. The nation’s overall debt will peak at 159.4 percent of GDP in 2012, according to EU projections made Feb. 24. “We do exclude restructuring,” EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn told reporters in Hungary today.
  • Too Much Money Too Fast Threatens Emerging Market Stability, Haldane Says. Bank of England official Andrew Haldane said financial stability may be threatened by capital flows from developed countries that are too quick and substantial for emerging nations to absorb. “The global flow of funds could become an increasingly powerful generator of global financial instabilities,” Haldane, the bank’s executive director for financial stability, said in a speech delivered today in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire. “Pressures could mount on policy makers to protect against the rising tide of capital flow-induced instability, including through capital restrictions and macro-prudential measures.” Haldane said a “big fish small pond” problem arises when investors in developed countries shift funds to smaller economies and less-developed markets. To illustrate the scale, he said a drop of 0.1 in an index of investment “home bias” for advanced countries in 2007 would have reallocated about $4.5 trillion to foreign markets. That compares with a market capitalization of $6.8 trillion of emerging economies among the Group of 20 nations.
  • Senate Panel Critical of Goldman(GS) to Release Crisis Findings. The U.S. Senate panel that spent a full day last year questioning Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) executives including Chief Executive Officer Lloyd C. Blankfein about the company’s business practices before the 2008 credit crisis will release its findings next week. The Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations report, “Wall Street and the Financial Crisis: Anatomy of a Financial Collapse,” is likely to focus, at least in part, on role of Goldman Sachs, which paid $550 million last year to resolve regulatory claims that it misled investors in sales of collateralized debt obligations linked to subprime mortgages. “Significant new information” will be included in the April 13 report, the panel said in a statement yesterday. Senators Carl Levin of Michigan, the Democrat who leads the subcommittee, and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, its top Republican, will issue findings drawn from a two-year probe by lawmakers and staff members.
  • Rockets Fired at Gbagbo's Ivory Coast Residence by Forces from UN, France. United Nations and French helicopters opened fire on the residence of Ivory Coast’s former leader, Laurent Gbagbo, and the offices of state television in the city of Abidjan, according to eyewitnesses. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said that he requested French assistance to mount the military operation “to prevent the use of heavy weapons which threaten the civilian population of Abidjan and our peacekeepers.”
  • BHP(BHP) Says Not Aware of Basis for Market Speculation on Woodside. BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP) said the market is currently fully informed of all material information and the company “is not aware of any basis for the market speculation” in relation to Woodside Petroleum Ltd. (WPL). The Sunday Times reported in London yesterday that BHP is in talks to buy Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA)’s 24 percent stake in Woodside and make a A$46 billion ($48.6 billion) takeover offer, saying that UBS AG is advising Shell on its options. Woodside shares pared gains after the announcement, trading at A$47.49 at 12:22 p.m. in Sydney. The Perth-based company had climbed as much as 7.6 percent before BHP made the statement.
  • Stiglitz Urges New Global Reserve Currency to Stem Imbalances. The world economy needs a new global reserve currency to help prevent trade imbalances that are reflected in the national debt of the U.S., said Nobel-prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz. A “global system” is needed to replace the dollar as a reserve currency and help avoid a weakening of U.S. credit quality, said Stiglitz, a professor at Columbia University in New York. The dollar fell to an almost 15-month low against the euro last week, and the U.S. trade deficit widened more than forecast in January to the highest level in seven months. President Barack Obama and congressional leaders negotiated a last-minute deal two nights ago to avert a government shutdown. Within weeks, the government may be forced to increase the $14.3 trillion federal debt ceiling to ensure the U.S. will meet its financial obligations. The ratio of general government debt, including state and local governments, to gross domestic product is projected to climb to 100 percent in 2012, the most of any country with an AAA ranking, Fitch Ratings said last week. To finance its budget deficits, the U.S. sells bonds to overseas investors and governments, boosting the dollar reserves of those nations. Overseas holdings of dollar reserves rose to $3.14 trillion in the fourth quarter of last year, according to International Monetary Fund figures. “Reserves are IOU’s,” Stiglitz said. “When IOU’s get big enough, people start saying maybe you’re not a good credit risk. Or at least, they would change in their sentiment about credit risk.” Stiglitz, who won the 2001 Nobel Prize for economics, was attending the Institute for New Economic Thinking’s conference in Bretton Woods at the hotel where U.S. and European officials met in 1944 to remake the global monetary system. The existing monetary system means “there’s a very good risk of an extended period of low growth, inflationary bias, instability,” Stiglitz said. It’s “a system that’s fundamentally unfair because it means that poor countries are lending to the U.S. at close to zero interest rates.”
  • George Soros Says China's Inflation Is 'Serious Concern'. (video) "It would be very advantageous to allow the currency to appreciate as a way of controlling inflation," Soros said. "The authorities missed that opportunity. You now have inflation somewhat out of control, and causing some serious danger of wage-price inflation."
Wall Street Journal:
  • Obama Puts Taxes on Table. President Barack Obama will lay out his plan for reducing the nation's deficit Wednesday, belatedly entering a fight over the nation's long-term financial future. But in addition to suggesting cuts—the current focus of debate—the White House looks set to aim its firepower on a more divisive topic: taxes. In a speech Wednesday, Mr. Obama will propose cuts to entitlement programs, including Medicare and Medicaid, and changes to Social Security, a discussion he has largely left to Democrats and Republicans in Congress. He also will call for tax increases for people making over $250,000 a year, a proposal contained in his 2012 budget, and changing parts of the tax code he thinks benefit the wealthy.
  • Treasury's Massad is Likely to Be Next TARP Overseer. The White House is expected to nominate Timothy Massad as Treasury Department assistant secretary for financial stability, placing him in charge of managing the government's Troubled Asset Relief Program investments, people familiar with the matter said.
  • SEC Boots Up for Internet Age. Federal securities regulators are weighing demands to make it easier for fast-growing companies to use social networks such as Facebook and Twitter to raise money by tapping thousands of investors for very small amounts of shares. The Securities and Exchange Commission is looking at adapting its rules to encourage Internet-age techniques for small companies raising capital. The issue is part of a wider review by the agency into whether to ease decades-old constraints on share issues by closely held companies.
  • Pimco's Total Return Fund's US Govt-Related Holdings Is Negative -3% in March. Bond king Bill Gross, founder and co-chief investment officer of Pacific Investment Management Co., has turned more bearish on the U.S. government-related bonds including Treasurys, reflecting his worries over the country's swelling fiscal deficit and mounting debt burden.
  • Kremlin Connection Fails to Save BP(BP) From Oligarchs. As BP PLC struggles this week to save its historic Arctic drilling deal with Russia's state oil company, OAO Rosneft, one thing is apparent: BP should have heeded a gentle warning from Vladimir Putin. In January when Mr. Putin, Russia's prime minister, congratulated BP and endorsed the Rosneft partnership in a Moscow meeting, he also offered words of caution, according to people familiar with that meeting. Mr. Putin warned it is simplistic to believe that the Kremlin controls everything in Russia.
  • Hot Prospects: 12 Coveted Executives.
  • Warning Signs for Copper Market. As analysts and investors seek clues to the strength of the recent rally in commodity prices, some are taking a closer look at the copper market, where warning signs are emerging. Copper prices have almost quadrupled after a two-year rally, largely driven by the belief that China, the world's largest copper user, has an insatiable appetite for the metal. But Chinese buyers are now facing the double whammy of higher copper prices and the government's aggressive moves to tighten credit. Moreover, evidence has recently surfaced of previously unreported copper stockpiles, a sign that much of the purchased copper hasn't been put to use. The stash is estimated by people in China and several Western banks to be around one million tons, or about 15% of the country's annual consumption.
  • Steel Price Softens as Supply Solidifies. The world's steelmakers are increasing output despite softer demand, pushing down prices. In a few countries, notably Brazil and the U.S., steel prices remain high, thanks to steady demand in the former and limited output in the latter.
  • Ad Spending to Rise. U.S. advertising spending is expected to increase 2.5% to $155.2 billion in 2011 as marketers in the financial, retail and automotive sectors open up their wallets following the recession. But it will take several years before spending reaches pre-recession levels, according to new forecasts from Publicis Groupe SA's ZenithOptimedia. Global ad spending, meanwhile, is now forecast to increase 4.2% to $470.8 billion. That's a pullback from the previous forecast.
  • Cap and Evade. Why do Americans hate politics? Consider last week's Senate spectacle on whether to rein in the Environmental Protection Agency's plans to regulate carbon dioxide. Democrats deliberately turned the votes into a hall of mirrors, with multiple amendments to dodge accountability.
  • Obama opposes spending cuts right up to the time he calls them historic. This is getting to be a habit. President Obama ferociously resists tax cuts, trade agreements and spending cuts—right up to the moment he strikes a deal with Republicans and hails the tax cuts, trade agreements and spending cuts as his idea. What a difference an election makes.
  • In Fast-Growing China, Dangers Threaten to Hamper Its Success. Here are three problems that could turn China into an also-ran over the next few years.
Bloomberg Businessweek:
  • Europe Tightens Nuclear Checks as Japan Ships Approach Port. European ports including Rotterdam and Antwerp are tightening safety checks as they prepare to unload the first ships from Japan since last month’s earthquake led to radioactive discharges from a damaged nuclear plant. Rotterdam, Europe’s biggest container port, will screen for radiation while ships are still at sea. Antwerp, the No. 2, will make similar checks aboard vessels for which Japan was one of the last 10 ports of call, with any abnormal readings triggering an inspection by Belgium’s Federal Agency for Nuclear Control. Ships that left Japan soon after March 11’s magnitude-9 earthquake and tsunami led to leaks at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi atomic plant will reach Europe mid-month after a 30-day journey.
  • The Downside of Brazil's Boom: Rising Inflation and a Surging Real. This past week, the Brazilian Finance Ministry took another shot at cooling capital flows and restricting credit, a campaign economists expect will have little impact in curbing inflation or reigning in the rising Real. “This liquidity is going to continue from one to two years, so we have to be inventive and control external flows of capital and inflation. Exchange rates cripple the country, but inflation kills,” said one government official in an interview this past week.
NY Times:
  • JPMorgan(JPM) Accused of Breaking Its Duty to Clients. In the summer of 2007, as the first tremors of the coming financial crisis were being felt on Wall Street, top executives of JPMorgan Chase were raising red flags about a troubled investment vehicle called Sigma, which was based in London. But the bank chose not to move out $500 million in client assets that it had put into Sigma two months earlier. Sigma collapsed a year later. Now, new documents unsealed late last month as part of a lawsuit by bank clients against JPMorgan show for the first time just how high the warnings about Sigma went — all the way to the office of the bank’s chief executive, Jamie Dimon.
NY Post:
  • Medicare CPR. Government health care is already on life support — here’s how to save it.
  • Gas Prices in 'Firing Range' of All-Time High. Gas prices have jumped nearly 20 cents over the past two weeks, approaching the all-time high, according to a survey published Sunday. The average price of a gallon of self-serve regular is $3.76, the Lundberg Survey found. The previous survey three weeks ago found an average of $3.57. That means prices are now just 35 cents -- "within firing range" -- of the all-time high of $4.11 set in July 2008, said publisher Trilby Lundberg. "Unless crude oil relents and slips, we can expect a further rise at the pump because pump prices do not reflect all of the crude oil price hikes that have occurred," Lundberg said. Here are the average prices in some other cities:
  • EPA: New Radiation Highs in Little Rock Milk, Philadelphia Drinking Water. Milk from Little Rock and drinking water from Philadelphia contained the highest levels of Iodine-131 from Japan yet detected by the Environmental Protection Agency, according to data released by EPA Saturday. The Philadelphia sample is below the EPA’s maximum contaminant level (MCL) for iodine-131, but the Little Rock sample is almost three times higher.Nonetheless, the EPA does not consider the milk dangerous because the MCL is set for long-term exposure, and the iodine-131 from Japan’s Fukushima-Daichi nuclear accident is expected to be temporary and deteriorate rapidly.
  • The Fed's "Loose" Money Stance Is Making Credit Tight.
Zero Hedge:
  • Video of Tsunami Smashing into Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant; Reactor 1 Radiation Counter "Breaks" After Reporting 100 Sieverts/Hour. This, of course, is in the past. What is far more disturbing is that the official Fukushima data from the Ministry of Economics, Trade and Industry, which has so far provided the most comprehensive daily data dump on Fukushima, has stopped reporting the dry well radiation reading in Reactor 1. This is the same reactor where following Thursday's Earthquake, METI represented a mindblowing reading of 100 Sieverts/hour in the dry wall: a number on par with the worst data out of Chernobyl.
  • Egypt Revolution: Take 2. (video) Remember how happy the Egyptain population was to depose one dictator only to have him replaced with a ruling military junta, and how prosaic, not to mention cynical, our assumption was that the newly "democratic" country has three months before the country experiences another post-Thermiodrian revolution? Well, our estimate was three weeks off.
Rasmussen Reports:
  • Daily Presidential Tracking Poll. The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Sunday shows that 21% of the nation's voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as president. Thirty-nine percent (39%) Strongly Disapprove, giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -18 (see trends).
USA Today:
  • New Product-Safety Complaint Database Under Attack. The database survived recent congressional attempts to take away its funding, but was again targeted on Capitol Hill last week at a hearing on a broad overhaul of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. The law gave CPSC new authority to regulate unsafe products but businesses say it is overly burdensome.
  • Iran's Ahmadinejad Fires Controversial Chief of Staff. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad dismissed his chief of staff on Saturday, the official IRNA news agency reported, sidelining a controversial figure who is seen as a possible future presidential contender. Esfandiar Rahim-Mashaie, a target for Ahmadinejad's detractors within the conservative ruling elite, has survived many calls to be sacked and had enjoyed the confidence of the president, to whom he is related by the marriage of their children. While Mashaie retains several other governmental posts, his position as chief of staff has been taken by another close Ahmadinejad aide, Hamid Baqaie, IRNA reported. Mashaie angered many hardliners by suggesting Iran was a friend to all nations, including the people of Israel, and by promoting an "Iranian" school of Islamic thought, seen by many in the Islamic Republic as unacceptable.
  • U.S.-Pakistan Intelligence Operations Frozen Since January. Joint U.S.-Pakistan intelligence operations have been halted since late January, a senior Pakistani intelligence officer said, reflecting strain in a relationship seen as crucial to combating militants and the war in Afghanistan. Uneasy U.S.-Pakistani ties have become even more tense after a string of diplomatic disputes so far this year.
  • Interview - Ivory Coast's Abidjan Risks Health Disaster - MSF. The battle for Ivory Coast's main city Abidjan is pushing its four million residents ever closer to a health disaster, relief agency Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) said on Sunday. Widespread cuts in water supply come as medicines are running out, while violent militias are dissuading many from venturing out into the streets to seek food already retailing at multiples of its peace-time price. "It is a city of four million, most of whom don't have access to health facilities," MSF Abidjan Field Coordinator Henry Gray told Reuters in a telephone interview from his downtown office, as fire from automatic weapons rang out in the background.
  • Nasdaq(NDAQ) Says Its Offer is Superior After NYSE(NYX) Snubs Bid. Nasdaq OMX Group and IntercontinentalExchange responded late Sunday to NYSE Euronext's rejection of their joint proposed bid, reaffirming that their cash and stock offer is superior to the offer submitted by rival Deutsche Boerse AG. "The feedback we have received from NYSE Euronext stockholders is very positive, and we would expect NYSE Euronext would, at the very least, meet with us and our advisors to discuss the merits of the proposed combination," Robert Greifeld, Chief Executive Officer of Nasdaq, said in the statement. NYSE on Sunday said it was sticking with its deal with Deutsche Boerse, calling the rival offer from Nasdaq OMX Group too risky and counter to the Big Board's vision.
  • Japan Fails to Stop Radioactive Discharge into Ocean. Japan is struggling to regain control of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant that was damaged by the magnitude 9 quake and 15 metre tsunami. The nuclear plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) , has been pumping sea water into the reactors to cool the nuclear core, and then discharging the water, after it has become contaminated, back into the Pacific Ocean.
Financial Times:
  • US Watchdogs to Sue Executives of Failed Banks. US regulators are expected to file up to 100 lawsuits against executives and directors of failed banks in the next two years, as they seek to hold people accountable for management failings and recover billions of dollars, industry experts said. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation is only now beginning to step up its efforts to make an example of overly aggressive executives or inattentive directors of the 348 banks that have failed since 2008. The FDIC says the failures have cost its insurance fund $59bn. However, analysis by Nera Economic Consulting of material on the FDIC’s website suggests it has lost $80bn.
The Guardian:
  • Chinese Christians Arrested for Trying to Hold Open-Air Service. Members of Shouwang church bundled into vans in Beijing in latest Communist party suppression of protest and dissent. Dozens of Christians who planned to hold an outdoor service in Beijing in protest at being made "homeless" from their place of worship have been arrested, in the latest Communist party crackdown on dissent and demonstrations. Police cordoned off the walkway where a mobile phone text message had said the service would happen. Officers and plainclothes guards took away dozens of people; it was unclear how many were church members, supporters or bystanders. The Shouwang church, a Protestant group with about 1,000 members, claims official pressure forced it out of a place of worship it had been renting. Bob Fu, of the China Aid Association, a US-based group critical of China's controls on religion, said police had told one church elder the planned service would be an "illegal gathering". Police kept church elders and pastors in their homes to stop them trying to attend the service, and some were held in police stations, Fu said. "Many members of the church are professionals and students, and some are human rights lawyers, which also makes the church a target," he added. Reuters reporters were kept away from the site of the planned service, followed by police officers and shoved away by plainclothes guards who would not say whom they worked for. Fu said: "I think this reflects the overall panic mood of the government leadership over what's happening in the Middle East and north Africa. I don't see any possibility that the government will yield to [the church's] demands, given the climate there. It's reasonable to expect more clashes." Chinese authorities have detained many dozens, if not hundreds, of dissidents, human rights activists and persistent protesters. Many remain in custody.
Financial Times Deutschland:
  • IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn said there are "still unsolved problems" in Germany's banking industry, citing Strauss-Kahn. There is a need in some cases for recapitalization and stabilization, both in Germany and in other EU states.
Bild am Sonntag:
  • About 90% of Germans expect that the European Union will have to rescue more member states after giving aid to Portugal, citing a poll by researcher Emnid on April 7.
Diario de Noticias:
  • A team of officials from the IMF, European Commission and European Central Bank will arrive in Lisbon on April 12 to start negotiating the aid plan for Portugal.
Commercial Times:
  • Apple Inc.(AAPL) may introduce its iPad 3 tablet computers in the third quarter, citing officials at its component suppliers.
Press Trust of India:
  • India's Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said the country won't bow to international pressure on legally binding commitments to reduce carbon emissions.
  • Japan will order an evacuation of some people living within 30 kilometers of the crippled Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant, expanding the evacuation zone from the current 20-kilometer radius may also be subject to the evacuation order, the report said.
  • China Merchants Bank Co. will face a "relatively big capital shortfall" over the next five years because of stricter regulatory requirements, citing comments from the bank's President Ma Weihua.
  • Brazil will seek "reciprocity" in the relationship between Latin America's largest economy and China, citing an interview with President Dilma Rousseff. Brazil and China are "equals" and should work together to benefit their economies, including joint investment in oil, as Brazil develops its offshore reserves, Rousseff said.
China Business News:
  • China should continue its property control measures, citing central bank adviser Xia Bin. China should also impose high progress income taxes on real estate transactions, Xia said.
China's Securities Journal:
  • China will soon order a halt of all planned electrolytic aluminum projects because of overcapacity in the industry, citing Su Bo, Vice Minister of Industry and Information Technology. The utilization rate for production capacity in the electrolytic aluminum industry is at about 60%.
  • China may continue to raise interest rates this year as the country still faces pressure of rising prices and its deposit rate remains in the negative territory, citing Xia Bin, an adviser to the People's Bank of China.
  • Airlines' Credit Risk Up on Oil Spike. The cost to protect airline debt climbed as crude oil rose above $113 (Dh414) for the first time in 30 months. Credit-default swaps on AMR(AMR)and Continental Airlines(CAL) surged as oil climbed 2.5 per cent after Barclays Capital said strikes on Libyan fields by forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi ended hopes for a prompt export resumption and may send prices toward $130 a barrel. "The whole margin story's going to be a big issue this quarter to see how much rising commodity prices have affected the bottom line," said Adam Richmond, a strategist at Morgan Stanley in New York. "Sectors that are very sensitive to commodity prices from consumer discretionary, retail, travel, sectors like that, this is a big focus." Airlines are "all very worried" about crude oil prices, AMR Chief Executive Officer Gerard Arpey said at a conference in Dallas. Credit-default swaps on AMR soared to 21 per cent upfront, according to broker Phoenix Partners Group. That's in addition to 5 per cent a year, meaning it would cost $2.1 million initially and $500,000 annually to protect $10 million of AMR's debt. Swaps on United Continental Holdings, Delta Air Lines and JetBlue Airways. jumped to a mid-price of 8.5 per cent upfront, the data show. Swaps on Continental Airlines increased to 7.5 per cent upfront.
Weekend Recommendations
  • Made positive comments on (MSG).
  • Made negative comments on (GCAP).
Night Trading
  • Asian indices are -.50% to +.25% on average.
  • Asia Ex-Japan Investment Grade CDS Index 104.0 -.5 basis point.
  • Asia Pacific Sovereign CDS Index 109.50 unch.
  • S&P 500 futures +.28%.
  • NASDAQ 100 futures +.43%.
Morning Preview Links

Earnings of Note
  • (SHAW)/.48
  • (AA)/.27
Economic Releases
  • None of note
Upcoming Splits
  • (NDSN) 2-for-1
Other Potential Market Movers
  • The Fed's Yellen speaking, $32 Billion 3-Month/$30 Billion 6-Month Treasury Bills Auctions, CIBC Energy/Infrastructure Conference and the ISI Retail Summit could also impact trading today.
BOTTOM LINE: Asian indices are mostly lower, weighed down by technology and automaker shares in the region. I expect US stocks to open modestly higher and to weaken into the afternoon, finishing mixed. The Portfolio is 75% net long heading into the week.

No comments: