Thursday, April 25, 2013

Today's Headlines

  • Spain Jobless Rate Breaches 27% to Highest in 37 Years on Recession WoesSpanish unemployment rose more than economists forecast in the first quarter to the highest in at least 37 years as efforts to tackle the European Union’s biggest budget deficit crimped economic growth. The number of jobless increased to more than 6 million for the first time, climbing to 27.2 percent of the workforce, compared with 26.02 percent in the previous three months, the National Statistics Institute in Madrid said today. That was more than the 26.5 percent median forecast of eight economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy will tomorrow unveil measures aimed at halting a six-year economic slump. Spain’s recession dragged into a seventh quarter in the first three months of 2013, leaving the country with more than a fifth of all jobless people in the EU. “The pace of the increase is surprising given we were supposed to be in a softer phase of the recession,” Ricardo Santos, a euro region economist at BNP Paribas SA in London, said in a telephone interview. “We could now end the year at 28 percent unemployment and we may see a downward revision of first-quarter growth.” 
  • French Joblessness Climbs to Record, Adding Pressure on Hollande. French jobless claims rose to the highest ever, increasing pressure on President Francois Hollande to revive an economy that has been stalled for two years. The number of people actively looking for work increased by 36,900, or 1.2 percent, to 3.225 million, the labor ministry said today in an e-mailed statement. Economists expected an increase of 25,000, according to the median of three forecasts gathered by Bloomberg News. The 23rd monthly increase takes the total number of jobseekers past the previous record of 3.195 million, which was set in January 1997 when Jacques Chirac had been president for less than two years.
  • Gold Rises Most Since September as Central Banks Join Buyers. Gold climbed the most since September on central-bank buying and signs of more investor demand following last week’s biggest drop in three decades. Gold futures for June delivery jumped 2.2 percent to $1,454.50 an ounce at 10:38 a.m. on the Comex in New York, heading for the biggest gain since Sept. 13. On April 15, the metal slumped 9.3 percent, the most since March 1980. 
  • Grain Ships Have Biggest Fall This Year as Cargo Demand Slows. Rates for dry bulk carriers hauling grains and minerals fell the most in a single session this year as demand for cargoes slowed. Day rates for Panamaxes, 750-foot-long ships capable of hauling about 75,000 metric tons of cargo, slid 3.8 percent to $8,955, the most since Dec. 20, according to the Baltic Exchange in London, which publishes shipping prices on more than 50 maritime routes. Today’s decrease, the third in a row, means costs plunged to the lowest since April 12, exchange data show. Rates for grain-carrying Panamaxes declined 6.7 percent over the last three sessions.
  • Iran Told Hezbollah to Join Syria War, Says Group Ex-Leader. Iran pressed Hezbollah fighters to join the civil war in Syria to bolster President Bashar al- Assad’s armed struggle, according to Sobhi al-Tofaili, a disaffected former leader of the militant group. The allegation, made on Lebanon’s Future Television, echoes similar comments by George Sabra, interim leader of the Syrian National Coalition, at a press conference in Turkey on April 22. The former Hezbollah secretary said that at least 138 militiamen had died in Syria and scores had been wounded.
Wall Street Journal:
Fox News:
  • Lawmakers demand 'action' in Syria after intel confirms chemical weapons use. Top-ranking lawmakers on both sides of the aisle declared Thursday that the "red line" in Syria has been crossed, calling for "strong" U.S. and international intervention after administration officials revealed the intelligence community believes chemical weapons were used. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., chairwoman of the Senate intelligence committee, were among those urging swift action. 
  • Boston Marathon bombers' next target was Times Square, says Bloomberg. DEVELOPING: The Boston Marathon bombing suspects had Times Square in their sights before law enforcement authorities put an end to their bloody terror spree, according New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. "New York was next on their list of targets," Bloomberg said of brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Bloomberg said he received confirmation of the chilling second phaseof their plot from the FBI. “The fact is, New York City remains a prime target for those who hate America and want to kill Americans.”
Zero Hedge:
Business Insider:
  • 3M(MMM) cuts 2013 outlook on falling electronics demand. Diversified U.S. manufacturer 3M Co cut its 2013 profit forecast on Thursday, citing weakening demand for flat-panel televisions as well as the stronger U.S. dollar. The lowered outlook came after first-quarter profit and revenue both missed Wall Street expectations.
  • Brazil's central bank signals interest rate hikes ahead. All the members of the Brazilian central bank's board agree on the need to raise interest rates to fight naggingly high inflation, but lingering worries about the global economy could limit the scope of the tightening cycle. In the minutes from its most recent rate-setting meeting released on Thursday, the central bank warned that monetary policy must remain "especially vigilant" and signaled that it will look to administer rate hikes cautiously to avoid tripping up the tepid economic recovery under way in Brazil.
  • COLUMN-Market euphoria misreads the signals from Brussels and Rome: Kaletsky.
  • Watchmakers fret over China sales slump. Luxury watchmakers expect sales growth to slow this year as a recovery in the United States and buoyant Middle East demand fail to offset a China slump more deep-rooted than a temporary blip caused by anti-corruption moves. The heads of Swatch Group's biggest brand Omega and LVMH flagship brand TAG Heuer as well as high-end independents Patek Philippe and Ulysse Nardin all said demand in Greater China had tumbled, particularly for high-end models.
USA Today:
The Guardian:
  • Crisis for Europe as trust hits record low. Poll in European Union's six biggest countries finds Euroscepticism is soaring amid bailouts and spending cuts. "The damage is so deep that it does not matter whether you come from a creditor, debtor country, euro would-be member or the UK: everybody is worse off," said José Ignacio Torreblanca, head of the ECFR's Madrid office. "Citizens now think that their national democracy is being subverted by the way the euro crisis is conducted." The most dramatic fall in faith in the EU has occurred in Spain, where the banking and housing market collapse, eurozone bailout and runaway unemployment have combined to produce 72% "tending not to trust" the EU, with only 20% "tending to trust".

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