Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Today's Headlines

  • Spain Retail Slump Keeps Exports as Guindos Growth Hope: Economy. Spanish officials predicting an end in the next quarter to the worst recession in the country’s democratic history are pinning that hope on its export recovery as a consumer slump shows little sign of abating. With record unemployment weighing on domestic demand, supermarket chain Eroski sought to kickstart sales last week by cutting prices of 2,000 branded products from olive oil to diapers in more than a third of its 1,500 stores. Such tactics show the pain retailers are willing to endure to revive spending in an economic downturn that started in 2008. 
  • European Stocks Rebound as China Allays Crunch Concern. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index increased 1.5 percent to 279.69 at the close of trading, its biggest gain in two months. The benchmark gauge entered a correction yesterday, having slumped more than 10 percent since May 22.
  • Obama Seeks Emissions Limits to Revive Climate Proposal. President Barack Obama will attempt a revival of U.S. efforts to tackle climate change today by announcing a sweeping plan that would impose limits on greenhouse gas emissions from all U.S. power plants. The mandatory reductions by operators of power plants, the biggest single source of carbon-dioxide emissions in the U.S., are the centerpiece of Obama’s initiative, which also includes increasing energy efficiency and promoting renewable fuels, according to senior administration officials who briefed reporters on the proposal and asked not to be identified before it was formally released. The officials wouldn’t put a price on the package, which they said can be accomplished without congressional approval.
  • Export Bank’s Financing Curbed Under Obama Overseas Coal Pledge. President Barack Obama pledged to end U.S. government financing of overseas coal projects, a promise that could end millions of dollars in support for power plants in nations such as Vietnam and India. As part of a “Climate Action Plan” released today, Obama called for ending U.S. support of foreign coal-fired power plants, unless they are in the poorest nations or have expensive carbon-capture technology. “This is an important move to stand up and say, ‘Coal is not an acceptable fuel source for the 21st century,’” Justin Guay, a Washington representative for the Sierra Club, said in an interview. “It’s a really strong political signal.” 
  • Keystone Gains as Study Shows Oil Sands Pose No Added Spill Risk. Heavy crude oil to be carried by the proposed Keystone XL pipeline poses no greater risk of a spill than other types of oil, the National Research Council said in a report. The report disputes arguments made by Keystone opponents that diluted bitumen, a tar-like substance mined in Alberta’s oil sands, is more corrosive than conventional crude oil and is more likely to create ruptures and oil spills in pipelines. The review of spills “did not find any causes of pipeline failure unique to the transport of diluted bitumen,” according to a statement from the council, part of the National Academy of Sciences that advises the U.S. government on science policy. 
  • Senators to Offer Bill to End Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac. A bipartisan group of senators is planning to introduce a proposal today for replacing U.S.-owned mortgage financiers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (FMCC) with a newly created government reinsurer. The bill to be offered by Senators Bob Corker and Mark Warner reflects a prevailing view among lawmakers that the two government-sponsored enterprises should cease to exist while a federal role in backing mortgage lending should remain. Corker, a Tennessee Republican, and Warner, a Virginia Democrat, have set a news conference for 2:15 p.m. to introduce the measure.
  • Kirk’s Cantab Hedge Fund Said to Drop 14% in June Selloff. Cantab Capital Partners LLP, a hedge-fund firm partly owned by Goldman Sachs Group Inc., has lost 14 percent in its main fund this month as bonds and currencies fell, two people familiar with the performance said. The $4.5 billion fund, based in Cambridge, England, dropped 19 percent for the year through June 21, said the people, who asked not to be named because the firm is private. “It’s unusual for one to see a selloff in risk assets and a selloff in bonds at the same time,” Kirk said in an interview. “Being a systematic fund, we had quite a significant exposure to bonds and currencies.” He declined to comment on June’s performance. 
  • Consumer Confidence in U.S. Increases More Than Forecast. The Conference Board’s index rose to 81.4, exceeding all forecasts in a Bloomberg survey and the highest since January 2008, from a revised 74.3 in May, data from the New York-based private research group showed today. The median forecast of 77 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a reading of 75.1.
  • Gold Futures Fall for Second Straight Day on U.S. Economic Data. Gold futures for August delivery slipped 0.2 percent to settle at $1,275.10 an ounce at 1:43 p.m. on the Comex in New York. The metal reached $1,268.70 on June 21, the lowest since September 2010.
Fox News:
  • TransUnion: Auto-loan delinquency rate rose in Q1. The first-quarter national auto-loan delinquency rate rose slightly from a year earlier, due primarily to an increase in delinquencies for subprime borrowers, according to TransUnion Corp. The credit-information company said the percentage of auto-loan accounts at least 60 days past due edged up to 0.88% in the first quarter from 0.82% a year ago, but was down from 1% in the fourth quarter. Delinquencies for subprime borrowers climbed to 5.5% from 5.09% last year.
  • New Homes Sales Hit Third Straight Month of Gains. Sales of new U.S. single-family homes rose to their highest level in nearly five years in May, confirming the housing market's strengthening tone
  • Luxury Real Estate Braces for Troubles From China, Brazil. Troubles in emerging markets could stretch to the luxury apartment towers of New York and Miami. Wealthy investors from Brazil and China have been big drivers of the high-end real-estate recovery—especially in New York, Miami and Los Angeles. But now, as emerging markets face slowing economies, sliding currencies and plunging stocks, the high-end real-estate market could feel the chill.
Zero Hedge: 
Business Insider: 
New York Times:
  • U.S. Poised to Sue Corzine Over MF Global. Federal regulators are preparing to sue Jon S. Corzine over the collapse of MF Global and the brokerage firm’s misuse of customer money, DealBook’s Ben Protess reports. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the agency that regulated MF Global, plans to approve the lawsuit as soon as this week against Mr. Corzine, the former New Jersey governor who ran the firm until its bankruptcy in 2011, according to law enforcement officials with knowledge of the case.

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