Monday, January 31, 2011

Personal Income and Outlays Dec 2010

Data, Exxon Encourage Stock Futures

Data, Exxon Encourage Stock Futures

NEW YORK—U.S. stock futures firmed despite continued concerns over unrest in Egypt, as investors were reassured to see the Suez Canal was operating as normal while data showed U.S. consumer spending rose more than expected in December.

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were up 33 points at 11808 recently, while Standard & Poor's 500 futures edged up 5 points to 1277 and Nasdaq Composite futures rose 6 points to 2274. Prior to the data, the Dow futures had been up 43 points, while S&P 500 futures were up 6 points and Nasdaq futures rose 8 points. Changes in U.S. stock futures don't always accurately predict early moves after the open.

The small gains in stock futures followed the stock market's biggest one-day slump in months on Friday thanks to worries over Egypt. Still, the Dow is on pace to close out the month with its first January gain in four years and its best January performance in 14 years.
But safety assets, which had been on strong on Friday, reversed from their strong Friday climb. The dollar fell, with the U.S. Dollar Index, tracking the U.S. currency against a basket of six others, down 0.5%. Treasurys also fell, with the declines lifting the yield on the 10-year note up to 3.36%. Gold futures shed 1%.

The activity came as investors digested the latest reports out of Egypt. A coalition of opposition groups called for a million people to take to Cairo's streets Tuesday to ratchet up pressure on President Hosni Mubarak to leave. American and other world leaders were intensifying calls for an orderly transition to a democratic system as demonstrations against Mubarak's administration continued into a seventh day.

Market watchers were relieved to hear that Suez Canal operations were normal, as fears had escalated on Friday that the canal might be closed. Shippers over the weekend and early Monday said traffic was still moving.

"There's still concern but with the Suez Canal operating as normal ... there's a little bit of relief coming to the market, said John Brady, senior vice president at MF Global.

In addition, he said, market participants are now viewing Friday's drop as "driven by a lack of liquidity and the selloff got a little bit exaggerated."

.The market was also encouraged by data showing U.S. consumers, supported by fatter paychecks and low prices, accelerated their spending at the end of 2010, giving a needed boost to the economy's weak recovery. Consumer spending grew by 0.7% in December while Americans' incomes rose by 0.4% for a second month in a row. Economists had estimated spending would rise by 0.5% and incomes by 0.4% in December.

Other data showed inflation still remains below the mark central bankers consider consistent with price stability. The December personal consumption expenditures price index was up by 0.7% from a year ago, after a 0.8% gain in November. That's below the Fed's understood target range of 1.5% to 2%. As long as the measure undershoots where policy makers want it to be, Fed officials should feel pressure to act to aid the economy.

The euro climbed to $1.3697, from $1.3609 late Friday, as a Wall Street Journal story said European leaders could announce broad outlines of a new deal to boost the euro zone's bailout funds at a summit on Friday, paving the way for a final agreement when they next meet in March.

The summit will come days after euro-zone leaders and senior politicians took the opportunity at the World Economic Forum in Davos to try to convince top business figures, bankers and government officials of their commitment to the euro.

Among stocks in focus, Exxon Mobil rose 1.3% premarket. The oil giant's fourth-quarter earnings surged 53%, beating analysts' expectations thanks to higher oil prices, improved refining margins and its unconventional gas production operations.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Transcript: President Obama’s State Of The Union

As Prepared for Delivery—

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow Americans:

Tonight I want to begin by congratulating the men and women of the 112th Congress, as well as your new Speaker, John Boehner. And as we mark this occasion, we are also mindful of the empty chair in this Chamber, and pray for the health of our colleague – and our friend – Gabby Giffords.

It’s no secret that those of us here tonight have had our differences over the last two years. The debates have been contentious; we have fought fiercely for our beliefs. And that’s a good thing. That’s what a robust democracy demands. That’s what helps set us apart as a nation.

But there’s a reason the tragedy in Tucson gave us pause. Amid all the noise and passions and rancor of our public debate, Tucson reminded us that no matter who we are or where we come from, each of us is a part of something greater – something more consequential than party or political preference.

We are part of the American family. We believe that in a country where every race and faith and point of view can be found, we are still bound together as one people; that we share common hopes and a common creed; that the dreams of a little girl in Tucson are not so different than those of our own children, and that they all deserve the chance to be fulfilled.

That, too, is what sets us apart as a nation.

Now, by itself, this simple recognition won’t usher in a new era of cooperation. What comes of this moment is up to us. What comes of this moment will be determined not by whether we can sit together tonight, but whether we can work together tomorrow.

I believe we can. I believe we must. That’s what the people who sent us here expect of us. With their votes, they’ve determined that governing will now be a shared responsibility between parties. New laws will only pass with support from Democrats and Republicans. We will move forward together, or not at all – for the challenges we face are bigger than party, and bigger than politics.

At stake right now is not who wins the next election – after all, we just had an election. At stake is whether new jobs and industries take root in this country, or somewhere else. It’s whether the hard work and industry of our people is rewarded. It’s whether we sustain the leadership that has made America not just a place on a map, but a light to the world.

We are poised for progress. Two years after the worst recession most of us have ever known, the stock market has come roaring back. Corporate profits are up. The economy is growing again.

But we have never measured progress by these yardsticks alone. We measure progress by the success of our people. By the jobs they can find and the quality of life those jobs offer. By the prospects of a small business owner who dreams of turning a good idea into a thriving enterprise. By the opportunities for a better life that we pass on to our children.

That’s the project the American people want us to work on. Together.

We did that in December. Thanks to the tax cuts we passed, Americans’ paychecks are a little bigger today. Every business can write off the full cost of the new investments they make this year. These steps, taken by Democrats and Republicans, will grow the economy and add to the more than one million private sector jobs created last year.

But we have more work to do. The steps we’ve taken over the last two years may have broken the back of this recession – but to win the future, we’ll need to take on challenges that have been decades in the making.

Many people watching tonight can probably remember a time when finding a good job meant showing up at a nearby factory or a business downtown. You didn’t always need a degree, and your competition was pretty much limited to your neighbors. If you worked hard, chances are you’d have a job for life, with a decent paycheck, good benefits, and the occasional promotion. Maybe you’d even have the pride of seeing your kids work at the same company.

That world has changed. And for many, the change has been painful. I’ve seen it in the shuttered windows of once booming factories, and the vacant storefronts of once busy Main Streets. I’ve heard it in the frustrations of Americans who’ve seen their paychecks dwindle or their jobs disappear – proud men and women who feel like the rules have been changed in the middle of the game.

They’re right. The rules have changed. In a single generation, revolutions in technology have transformed the way we live, work and do business. Steel mills that once needed 1,000 workers can now do the same work with 100. Today, just about any company can set up shop, hire workers, and sell their products wherever there’s an internet connection.

Meanwhile, nations like China and India realized that with some changes of their own, they could compete in this new world. And so they started educating their children earlier and longer, with greater emphasis on math and science. They’re investing in research and new technologies. Just recently, China became home to the world’s largest private solar research facility, and the world’s fastest computer.

So yes, the world has changed. The competition for jobs is real. But this shouldn’t discourage us. It should challenge us. Remember – for all the hits we’ve taken these last few years, for all the naysayers predicting our decline, America still has the largest, most prosperous economy in the world. No workers are more productive than ours. No country has more successful companies, or grants more patents to inventors and entrepreneurs. We are home to the world’s best colleges and universities, where more students come to study than any other place on Earth.

What’s more, we are the first nation to be founded for the sake of an idea – the idea that each of us deserves the chance to shape our own destiny. That is why centuries of pioneers and immigrants have risked everything to come here. It’s why our students don’t just memorize equations, but answer questions like “What do you think of that idea? What would you change about the world? What do you want to be when you grow up?”

The future is ours to win. But to get there, we can’t just stand still. As Robert Kennedy told us, “The future is not a gift. It is an achievement.” Sustaining the American Dream has never been about standing pat. It has required each generation to sacrifice, and struggle, and meet the demands of a new age.

Now it’s our turn. We know what it takes to compete for the jobs and industries of our time. We need to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world. We have to make America the best place on Earth to do business. We need to take responsibility for our deficit, and reform our government. That’s how our people will prosper. That’s how we’ll win the future. And tonight, I’d like to talk about how we get there.

The first step in winning the future is encouraging American innovation.

None of us can predict with certainty what the next big industry will be, or where the new jobs will come from. Thirty years ago, we couldn’t know that something called the Internet would lead to an economic revolution. What we can do – what America does better than anyone – is spark the creativity and imagination of our people. We are the nation that put cars in driveways and computers in offices; the nation of Edison and the Wright brothers; of Google and Facebook. In America, innovation doesn’t just change our lives. It’s how we make a living.

Our free enterprise system is what drives innovation. But because it’s not always profitable for companies to invest in basic research, throughout history our government has provided cutting-edge scientists and inventors with the support that they need. That’s what planted the seeds for the Internet. That’s what helped make possible things like computer chips and GPS.

Just think of all the good jobs – from manufacturing to retail – that have come from those breakthroughs.

Half a century ago, when the Soviets beat us into space with the launch of a satellite called Sputnik¸ we had no idea how we’d beat them to the moon. The science wasn’t there yet. NASA didn’t even exist. But after investing in better research and education, we didn’t just surpass the Soviets; we unleashed a wave of innovation that created new industries and millions of new jobs.

This is our generation’s Sputnik moment. Two years ago, I said that we needed to reach a level of research and development we haven’t seen since the height of the Space Race. In a few weeks, I will be sending a budget to Congress that helps us meet that goal. We’ll invest in biomedical research, information technology, and especially clean energy technology – an investment that will strengthen our security, protect our planet, and create countless new jobs for our people.

Already, we are seeing the promise of renewable energy. Robert and Gary Allen are brothers who run a small Michigan roofing company. After September 11th, they volunteered their best roofers to help repair the Pentagon. But half of their factory went unused, and the recession hit them hard.

Today, with the help of a government loan, that empty space is being used to manufacture solar shingles that are being sold all across the country. In Robert’s words, “We reinvented ourselves.”

That’s what Americans have done for over two hundred years: reinvented ourselves. And to spur on more success stories like the Allen Brothers, we’ve begun to reinvent our energy policy. We’re not just handing out money. We’re issuing a challenge. We’re telling America’s scientists and engineers that if they assemble teams of the best minds in their fields, and focus on the hardest problems in clean energy, we’ll fund the Apollo Projects of our time.

At the California Institute of Technology, they’re developing a way to turn sunlight and water into fuel for our cars. At Oak Ridge National Laboratory, they’re using supercomputers to get a lot more power out of our nuclear facilities. With more research and incentives, we can break our dependence on oil with biofuels, and become the first country to have 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2015.

We need to get behind this innovation. And to help pay for it, I’m asking Congress to eliminate the billions in taxpayer dollars we currently give to oil companies. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but they’re doing just fine on their own. So instead of subsidizing yesterday’s energy, let’s invest in tomorrow’s.

Now, clean energy breakthroughs will only translate into clean energy jobs if businesses know there will be a market for what they’re selling. So tonight, I challenge you to join me in setting a new goal: by 2035, 80% of America’s electricity will come from clean energy sources. Some folks want wind and solar. Others want nuclear, clean coal, and natural gas. To meet this goal, we will need them all – and I urge Democrats and Republicans to work together to make it happen.

Maintaining our leadership in research and technology is crucial to America’s success. But if we want to win the future – if we want innovation to produce jobs in America and not overseas – then we also have to win the race to educate our kids.

Think about it. Over the next ten years, nearly half of all new jobs will require education that goes beyond a high school degree. And yet, as many as a quarter of our students aren’t even finishing high school. The quality of our math and science education lags behind many other nations. America has fallen to 9th in the proportion of young people with a college degree. And so the question is whether all of us – as citizens, and as parents – are willing to do what’s necessary to give every child a chance to succeed.

That responsibility begins not in our classrooms, but in our homes and communities. It’s family that first instills the love of learning in a child. Only parents can make sure the TV is turned off and homework gets done. We need to teach our kids that it’s not just the winner of the Super Bowl who deserves to be celebrated, but the winner of the science fair; that success is not a function of fame or PR, but of hard work and discipline.

Our schools share this responsibility. When a child walks into a classroom, it should be a place of high expectations and high performance. But too many schools don’t meet this test. That’s why instead of just pouring money into a system that’s not working, we launched a competition called Race to the Top. To all fifty states, we said, “If you show us the most innovative plans to improve teacher quality and student achievement, we’ll show you the money.”

Race to the Top is the most meaningful reform of our public schools in a generation. For less than one percent of what we spend on education each year, it has led over 40 states to raise their standards for teaching and learning. These standards were developed, not by Washington, but by Republican and Democratic governors throughout the country. And Race to the Top should be the approach we follow this year as we replace No Child Left Behind with a law that is more flexible and focused on what’s best for our kids.

You see, we know what’s possible for our children when reform isn’t just a top-down mandate, but the work of local teachers and principals; school boards and communities.

Take a school like Bruce Randolph in Denver. Three years ago, it was rated one of the worst schools in Colorado; located on turf between two rival gangs. But last May, 97% of the seniors received their diploma. Most will be the first in their family to go to college. And after the first year of the school’s transformation, the principal who made it possible wiped away tears when a student said “Thank you, Mrs. Waters, for showing… that we are smart and we can make it.”

Let’s also remember that after parents, the biggest impact on a child’s success comes from the man or woman at the front of the classroom. In South Korea, teachers are known as “nation builders.” Here in America, it’s time we treated the people who educate our children with the same level of respect. We want to reward good teachers and stop making excuses for bad ones. And over the next ten years, with so many Baby Boomers retiring from our classrooms, we want to prepare 100,000 new teachers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math.

In fact, to every young person listening tonight who’s contemplating their career choice: If you want to make a difference in the life of our nation; if you want to make a difference in the life of a child – become a teacher. Your country needs you.

Of course, the education race doesn’t end with a high school diploma. To compete, higher education must be within reach of every American. That’s why we’ve ended the unwarranted taxpayer subsidies that went to banks, and used the savings to make college affordable for millions of students. And this year, I ask Congress to go further, and make permanent our tuition tax credit – worth $10,000 for four years of college.

Because people need to be able to train for new jobs and careers in today’s fast-changing economy, we are also revitalizing America’s community colleges. Last month, I saw the promise of these schools at Forsyth Tech in North Carolina. Many of the students there used to work in the surrounding factories that have since left town. One mother of two, a woman named Kathy Proctor, had worked in the furniture industry since she was 18 years old. And she told me she’s earning her degree in biotechnology now, at 55 years old, not just because the furniture jobs are gone, but because she wants to inspire her children to pursue their dreams too. As Kathy said, “I hope it tells them to never give up.”

If we take these steps – if we raise expectations for every child, and give them the best possible chance at an education, from the day they’re born until the last job they take – we will reach the goal I set two years ago: by the end of the decade, America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world.

One last point about education. Today, there are hundreds of thousands of students excelling in our schools who are not American citizens. Some are the children of undocumented workers, who had nothing to do with the actions of their parents. They grew up as Americans and pledge allegiance to our flag, and yet live every day with the threat of deportation. Others come here from abroad to study in our colleges and universities. But as soon as they obtain advanced degrees, we send them back home to compete against us. It makes no sense.

Now, I strongly believe that we should take on, once and for all, the issue of illegal immigration. I am prepared to work with Republicans and Democrats to protect our borders, enforce our laws and address the millions of undocumented workers who are now living in the shadows. I know that debate will be difficult and take time. But tonight, let’s agree to make that effort. And let’s stop expelling talented, responsible young people who can staff our research labs, start new businesses, and further enrich this nation.

The third step in winning the future is rebuilding America. To attract new businesses to our shores, we need the fastest, most reliable ways to move people, goods, and information – from high-speed rail to high-speed internet.

Our infrastructure used to be the best – but our lead has slipped. South Korean homes now have greater internet access than we do. Countries in Europe and Russia invest more in their roads and railways than we do. China is building faster trains and newer airports. Meanwhile, when our own engineers graded our nation’s infrastructure, they gave us a “D.”

We have to do better. America is the nation that built the transcontinental railroad, brought electricity to rural communities, and constructed the interstate highway system. The jobs created by these projects didn’t just come from laying down tracks or pavement. They came from businesses that opened near a town’s new train station or the new off-ramp.

Over the last two years, we have begun rebuilding for the 21st century, a project that has meant thousands of good jobs for the hard-hit construction industry. Tonight, I’m proposing that we redouble these efforts.

We will put more Americans to work repairing crumbling roads and bridges. We will make sure this is fully paid for, attract private investment, and pick projects based on what’s best for the economy, not politicians.

Within 25 years, our goal is to give 80% of Americans access to high-speed rail, which could allow you go places in half the time it takes to travel by car. For some trips, it will be faster than flying – without the pat-down. As we speak, routes in California and the Midwest are already underway.

Within the next five years, we will make it possible for business to deploy the next generation of high-speed wireless coverage to 98% of all Americans. This isn’t just about a faster internet and fewer dropped calls. It’s about connecting every part of America to the digital age. It’s about a rural community in Iowa or Alabama where farmers and small business owners will be able to sell their products all over the world. It’s about a firefighter who can download the design of a burning building onto a handheld device; a student who can take classes with a digital textbook; or a patient who can have face-to-face video chats with her doctor.

All these investments – in innovation, education, and infrastructure – will make America a better place to do business and create jobs. But to help our companies compete, we also have to knock down barriers that stand in the way of their success.

Over the years, a parade of lobbyists has rigged the tax code to benefit particular companies and industries. Those with accountants or lawyers to work the system can end up paying no taxes at all. But all the rest are hit with one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world. It makes no sense, and it has to change.

So tonight, I’m asking Democrats and Republicans to simplify the system. Get rid of the loopholes. Level the playing field. And use the savings to lower the corporate tax rate for the first time in 25 years – without adding to our deficit.

To help businesses sell more products abroad, we set a goal of doubling our exports by 2014 – because the more we export, the more jobs we create at home. Already, our exports are up. Recently, we signed agreements with India and China that will support more than 250,000 jobs in the United States. And last month, we finalized a trade agreement with South Korea that will support at least 70,000 American jobs. This agreement has unprecedented support from business and labor; Democrats and Republicans, and I ask this Congress to pass it as soon as possible.

Before I took office, I made it clear that we would enforce our trade agreements, and that I would only sign deals that keep faith with American workers, and promote American jobs. That’s what we did with Korea, and that’s what I intend to do as we pursue agreements with Panama and Colombia, and continue our Asia Pacific and global trade talks.

To reduce barriers to growth and investment, I’ve ordered a review of government regulations. When we find rules that put an unnecessary burden on businesses, we will fix them. But I will not hesitate to create or enforce commonsense safeguards to protect the American people. That’s what we’ve done in this country for more than a century. It’s why our food is safe to eat, our water is safe to drink, and our air is safe to breathe. It’s why we have speed limits and child labor laws. It’s why last year, we put in place consumer protections against hidden fees and penalties by credit card companies, and new rules to prevent another financial crisis. And it’s why we passed reform that finally prevents the health insurance industry from exploiting patients.

Now, I’ve heard rumors that a few of you have some concerns about the new health care law. So let me be the first to say that anything can be improved. If you have ideas about how to improve this law by making care better or more affordable, I am eager to work with you. We can start right now by correcting a flaw in the legislation that has placed an unnecessary bookkeeping burden on small businesses.

What I’m not willing to do is go back to the days when insurance companies could deny someone coverage because of a pre-existing condition. I’m not willing to tell James Howard, a brain cancer patient from Texas, that his treatment might not be covered. I’m not willing to tell Jim Houser, a small business owner from Oregon, that he has to go back to paying $5,000 more to cover his employees. As we speak, this law is making prescription drugs cheaper for seniors and giving uninsured students a chance to stay on their parents’ coverage. So instead of re-fighting the battles of the last two years, let’s fix what needs fixing and move forward.

Now, the final step – a critical step – in winning the future is to make sure we aren’t buried under a mountain of debt.

We are living with a legacy of deficit-spending that began almost a decade ago. And in the wake of the financial crisis, some of that was necessary to keep credit flowing, save jobs, and put money in people’s pockets.

But now that the worst of the recession is over, we have to confront the fact that our government spends more than it takes in. That is not sustainable. Every day, families sacrifice to live within their means. They deserve a government that does the same.

So tonight, I am proposing that starting this year, we freeze annual domestic spending for the next five years. This would reduce the deficit by more than $400 billion over the next decade, and will bring discretionary spending to the lowest share of our economy since Dwight Eisenhower was president.

This freeze will require painful cuts. Already, we have frozen the salaries of hardworking federal employees for the next two years. I’ve proposed cuts to things I care deeply about, like community action programs. The Secretary of Defense has also agreed to cut tens of billions of dollars in spending that he and his generals believe our military can do without.

I recognize that some in this Chamber have already proposed deeper cuts, and I’m willing to eliminate whatever we can honestly afford to do without. But let’s make sure that we’re not doing it on the backs of our most vulnerable citizens. And let’s make sure what we’re cutting is really excess weight. Cutting the deficit by gutting our investments in innovation and education is like lightening an overloaded airplane by removing its engine. It may feel like you’re flying high at first, but it won’t take long before you’ll feel the impact.

Now, most of the cuts and savings I’ve proposed only address annual domestic spending, which represents a little more than 12% of our budget. To make further progress, we have to stop pretending that cutting this kind of spending alone will be enough. It won’t.

The bipartisan Fiscal Commission I created last year made this crystal clear. I don’t agree with all their proposals, but they made important progress. And their conclusion is that the only way to tackle our deficit is to cut excessive spending wherever we find it – in domestic spending, defense spending, health care spending, and spending through tax breaks and loopholes.

This means further reducing health care costs, including programs like Medicare and Medicaid, which are the single biggest contributor to our long-term deficit. Health insurance reform will slow these rising costs, which is part of why nonpartisan economists have said that repealing the health care law would add a quarter of a trillion dollars to our deficit. Still, I’m willing to look at other ideas to bring down costs, including one that Republicans suggested last year: medical malpractice reform to rein in frivolous lawsuits.

To put us on solid ground, we should also find a bipartisan solution to strengthen Social Security for future generations. And we must do it without putting at risk current retirees, the most vulnerable, or people with disabilities; without slashing benefits for future generations; and without subjecting Americans’ guaranteed retirement income to the whims of the stock market.

And if we truly care about our deficit, we simply cannot afford a permanent extension of the tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% of Americans. Before we take money away from our schools, or scholarships away from our students, we should ask millionaires to give up their tax break.

It’s not a matter of punishing their success. It’s about promoting America’s success.

In fact, the best thing we could do on taxes for all Americans is to simplify the individual tax code. This will be a tough job, but members of both parties have expressed interest in doing this, and I am prepared to join them.

So now is the time to act. Now is the time for both sides and both houses of Congress – Democrats and Republicans – to forge a principled compromise that gets the job done. If we make the hard choices now to rein in our deficits, we can make the investments we need to win the future.

Let me take this one step further. We shouldn’t just give our people a government that’s more affordable. We should give them a government that’s more competent and efficient. We cannot win the future with a government of the past.

We live and do business in the information age, but the last major reorganization of the government happened in the age of black and white TV. There are twelve different agencies that deal with exports. There are at least five different entities that deal with housing policy. Then there’s my favorite example: the Interior Department is in charge of salmon while they’re in fresh water, but the Commerce Department handles them in when they’re in saltwater. And I hear it gets even more complicated once they’re smoked.

Now, we have made great strides over the last two years in using technology and getting rid of waste. Veterans can now download their electronic medical records with a click of the mouse. We’re selling acres of federal office space that hasn’t been used in years, and we will cut through red tape to get rid of more. But we need to think bigger. In the coming months, my administration will develop a proposal to merge, consolidate, and reorganize the federal government in a way that best serves the goal of a more competitive America. I will submit that proposal to Congress for a vote – and we will push to get it passed.

In the coming year, we will also work to rebuild people’s faith in the institution of government. Because you deserve to know exactly how and where your tax dollars are being spent, you will be able to go to a website and get that information for the very first time in history. Because you deserve to know when your elected officials are meeting with lobbyists, I ask Congress to do what the White House has already done: put that information online. And because the American people deserve to know that special interests aren’t larding up legislation with pet projects, both parties in Congress should know this: if a bill comes to my desk with earmarks inside, I will veto it.

A 21st century government that’s open and competent. A government that lives within its means. An economy that’s driven by new skills and ideas. Our success in this new and changing world will require reform, responsibility, and innovation. It will also require us to approach that world with a new level of engagement in our foreign affairs.

Just as jobs and businesses can now race across borders, so can new threats and new challenges. No single wall separates East and West; no one rival superpower is aligned against us.

And so we must defeat determined enemies wherever they are, and build coalitions that cut across lines of region and race and religion. America’s moral example must always shine for all who yearn for freedom, justice, and dignity. And because we have begun this work, tonight we can say that American leadership has been renewed and America’s standing has been restored.

Look to Iraq, where nearly 100,000 of our brave men and women have left with their heads held high; where American combat patrols have ended; violence has come down; and a new government has been formed. This year, our civilians will forge a lasting partnership with the Iraqi people, while we finish the job of bringing our troops out of Iraq. America’s commitment has been kept; the Iraq War is coming to an end.

Of course, as we speak, al Qaeda and their affiliates continue to plan attacks against us. Thanks to our intelligence and law enforcement professionals, we are disrupting plots and securing our cities and skies. And as extremists try to inspire acts of violence within our borders, we are responding with the strength of our communities, with respect for the rule of law, and with the conviction that American Muslims are a part of our American family.

We have also taken the fight to al Qaeda and their allies abroad. In Afghanistan, our troops have taken Taliban strongholds and trained Afghan Security Forces. Our purpose is clear – by preventing the Taliban from reestablishing a stranglehold over the Afghan people, we will deny al Qaeda the safe-haven that served as a launching pad for 9/11.

Thanks to our heroic troops and civilians, fewer Afghans are under the control of the insurgency. There will be tough fighting ahead, and the Afghan government will need to deliver better governance. But we are strengthening the capacity of the Afghan people and building an enduring partnership with them. This year, we will work with nearly 50 countries to begin a transition to an Afghan lead. And this July, we will begin to bring our troops home.

In Pakistan, al Qaeda’s leadership is under more pressure than at any point since 2001. Their leaders and operatives are being removed from the battlefield. Their safe-havens are shrinking. And we have sent a message from the Afghan border to the Arabian Peninsula to all parts of the globe: we will not relent, we will not waver, and we will defeat you.

American leadership can also be seen in the effort to secure the worst weapons of war. Because Republicans and Democrats approved the New START Treaty, far fewer nuclear weapons and launchers will be deployed. Because we rallied the world, nuclear materials are being locked down on every continent so they never fall into the hands of terrorists.

Because of a diplomatic effort to insist that Iran meet its obligations, the Iranian government now faces tougher and tighter sanctions than ever before. And on the Korean peninsula, we stand with our ally South Korea, and insist that North Korea keeps its commitment to abandon nuclear weapons.

This is just a part of how we are shaping a world that favors peace and prosperity. With our European allies, we revitalized NATO, and increased our cooperation on everything from counter-terrorism to missile defense. We have reset our relationship with Russia, strengthened Asian alliances, and built new partnerships with nations like India. This March, I will travel to Brazil, Chile, and El Salvador to forge new alliances for progress in the Americas. Around the globe, we are standing with those who take responsibility – helping farmers grow more food; supporting doctors who care for the sick; and combating the corruption that can rot a society and rob people of opportunity.

Recent events have shown us that what sets us apart must not just be our power – it must be the purpose behind it. In South Sudan – with our assistance – the people were finally able to vote for independence after years of war. Thousands lined up before dawn. People danced in the streets. One man who lost four of his brothers at war summed up the scene around him: “This was a battlefield for most of my life. Now we want to be free.”

We saw that same desire to be free in Tunisia, where the will of the people proved more powerful than the writ of a dictator. And tonight, let us be clear: the United States of America stands with the people of Tunisia, and supports the democratic aspirations of all people.

We must never forget that the things we’ve struggled for, and fought for, live in the hearts of people everywhere. And we must always remember that the Americans who have borne the greatest burden in this struggle are the men and women who serve our country.

Tonight, let us speak with one voice in reaffirming that our nation is united in support of our troops and their families. Let us serve them as well as they have served us – by giving them the equipment they need; by providing them with the care and benefits they have earned; and by enlisting our veterans in the great task of building our own nation.

Our troops come from every corner of this country – they are black, white, Latino, Asian and Native American. They are Christian and Hindu, Jewish and Muslim. And, yes, we know that some of them are gay. Starting this year, no American will be forbidden from serving the country they love because of who they love. And with that change, I call on all of our college campuses to open their doors to our military recruiters and the ROTC. It is time to leave behind the divisive battles of the past. It is time to move forward as one nation.

We should have no illusions about the work ahead of us. Reforming our schools; changing the way we use energy; reducing our deficit – none of this is easy. All of it will take time. And it will be harder because we will argue about everything. The cost. The details. The letter of every law.

Of course, some countries don’t have this problem. If the central government wants a railroad, they get a railroad – no matter how many homes are bulldozed. If they don’t want a bad story in the newspaper, it doesn’t get written.

And yet, as contentious and frustrating and messy as our democracy can sometimes be, I know there isn’t a person here who would trade places with any other nation on Earth.

We may have differences in policy, but we all believe in the rights enshrined in our Constitution. We may have different opinions, but we believe in the same promise that says this is a place where you can make it if you try. We may have different backgrounds, but we believe in the same dream that says this is a country where anything’s possible. No matter who you are. No matter where you come from.

That dream is why I can stand here before you tonight. That dream is why a working class kid from Scranton can stand behind me. That dream is why someone who began by sweeping the floors of his father’s Cincinnati bar can preside as Speaker of the House in the greatest nation on Earth.

That dream – that American Dream – is what drove the Allen Brothers to reinvent their roofing company for a new era. It’s what drove those students at Forsyth Tech to learn a new skill and work towards the future. And that dream is the story of a small business owner named Brandon Fisher.

Brandon started a company in Berlin, Pennsylvania that specializes in a new kind of drilling technology. One day last summer, he saw the news that halfway across the world, 33 men were trapped in a Chilean mine, and no one knew how to save them.

But Brandon thought his company could help. And so he designed a rescue that would come to be known as Plan B. His employees worked around the clock to manufacture the necessary drilling equipment. And Brandon left for Chile.

Along with others, he began drilling a 2,000 foot hole into the ground, working three or four days at a time with no sleep. Thirty-seven days later, Plan B succeeded, and the miners were rescued. But because he didn’t want all of the attention, Brandon wasn’t there when the miners emerged. He had already gone home, back to work on his next project.

Later, one of his employees said of the rescue, “We proved that Center Rock is a little company, but we do big things.”

We do big things.

From the earliest days of our founding, America has been the story of ordinary people who dare to dream. That’s how we win the future.

We are a nation that says, “I might not have a lot of money, but I have this great idea for a new company. I might not come from a family of college graduates, but I will be the first to get my degree. I might not know those people in trouble, but I think I can help them, and I need to try. I’m not sure how we’ll reach that better place beyond the horizon, but I know we’ll get there. I know we will.”

We do big things.

The idea of America endures. Our destiny remains our choice. And tonight, more than two centuries later, it is because of our people that our future is hopeful, our journey goes forward, and the state of our union is strong.

Thank you, God Bless You, and may God Bless the United States of America.

Monday, January 24, 2011

银行齐呼缺钱 央行再停央票

  银行齐呼缺钱 央行再停央票



























  东方早报 记者 张飒











Saturday, January 22, 2011

S&P 500’s Magic Run Ends

S&P 500’s Magic Run Ends

By Jonathan Cheng

The Streak is over.

It wasn’t exactly Joe DiMaggio, but the S&P 500’s seven-week winning had captured many an imagination on Wall Street. After all, according to Instinet, streaks this long have occurred only 32 other times going back to 1929 — seven years before Joltin’ Joe joined the Yankees.

The winning streak also attracted a lot of doubters, who warned that the gravity-defying uptick could only end in tears.

Well, not yet. The SPX finished the week down a relatively modest 0.77%, weighed down by some of last year’s highest-flying stocks, including a 9.7% drop at and a 6.7% decline at engine-maker Cummins.

Among the bigger headline-grabbers, Bank of America lost 6.6%, Advanced Micro Devices shed 8.0% and even everyone’s favorite iMaker Apple slid 6.2%.

The good news: the Dow Jones Industrial Average is there to carry the torch forward, adding 0.72%. The diverging fortunes of the Dow and the SPX can be attributed to two Dow components that turned in stellar earnings-driven performances. General Electric’s 7.1% pop today helped Jeffrey Immelt’s conglomerate finish the week 4.9% higher, while IBM’s strong earnings gave it a 3.7% boost this week.

With the Dow at eight straight weeks in positive territory — and closing at yet another 30-month high — will it be the next to go? Tune in next week for more adventures on the stock markets!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

2010年全年GDP增幅10.3% CPI为3.3%

2010年全年GDP增幅10.3% CPI为3.3% 手机免费访问







  4. 消费平稳较快增长,热点商品销售旺盛。全年社会消费品零售总额154554亿元,比上年增长18.4%;扣除价格因素,实际增长14.8%。按经营单位所在地分,城镇消费品零售额133689亿元,增长18.8%;乡村消费品零售额20865亿元,增长16.1%。按消费形态分,餐饮收入17636亿元,增长18.0%;商品零售136918亿元,增长18.5%。其中,限额以上企业(单位)商品零售额58056亿元,增长29.9%。热点消费快速增长。其中,金银珠宝类增长46.0%,家具类增长37.2%,汽车类增长34.8%,家用电器和音像器材类增长27.7%。



  7. 城乡居民收入稳定增长,农村居民收入增速快于城镇。全年城镇居民家庭人均总收入21033元,比上年增长11.5%。其中,城镇居民人均可支配收入19109元,增长11.3%,扣除价格因素,实际增长7.8%。在城镇居民家庭人均总收入中,工资性收入增长10.7%,转移性收入增长12.8%,经营净收入增长12.1%,财产性收入增长20.5%。农村居民人均纯收入5919元,增长14.9%,扣除价格因素,实际增长10.9%。其中,工资性收入增长17.9%,家庭经营纯收入增长12.1%,财产性收入增长21.0%,转移性收入增长13.8%。



Morgan Stanley Misses Estimates as Trading Declines (Update1)

Morgan Stanley Misses Estimates as Trading Declines (Update1)
Share Business ExchangeTwitterFacebook| Email | Print | A A A By Michael J. Moore

Jan. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Morgan Stanley, owner of the world’s largest brokerage, reported a 35 percent increase in fourth- quarter earnings, falling short of analysts’ estimates as trading revenue declined.

Net income rose to $836 million, or 41 cents a share, from $617 million, or 29 cents, a year earlier, the New York-based company said today in a statement. Earnings from continuing operations, excluding a 17-cent gain on the sale of a stake in China International Capital Corp. and a tax gain of about 6 cents, were 20 cents a share. That compared with the 28-cent average estimate of 13 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

Chief Executive Officer James Gorman, 52, is seeking to boost trading results and increase the brokerage’s profitability after the stock underperformed Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and most of its bigger rivals last year. Morgan Stanley’s post-crisis strategy of relying more on its 18,000 brokers and less on risk- taking has yet to lure investors to the stock, which slid 8.1 percent in 2010.

“They need to be given some time to work out some of the issues, particularly in a model that’s 180 degrees from what was being encouraged and emphasized a couple years ago,” said Douglas Ciocca, managing director at Renaissance Financial Corp. in Leawood, Kansas, which manages $2 billion in assets including Morgan Stanley shares. Ciocca spoke before earnings were released.

Tax Gain

The company said it had a $95 million tax gain in the fourth quarter. Based on the average number of diluted shares outstanding, that equates to about 6 cents a share.

Morgan Stanley rose to $28.15 in New York trading at 8:01 a.m. from $27.75 at the close on the New York Stock Exchange yesterday. The stock was up 2 percent this year through yesterday.

Goldman Sachs fell 4.7 percent yesterday after posting fixed-income trading revenue that dropped 48 percent from a year earlier. Citigroup Inc., which reported earnings on Jan. 18, missed analysts’ estimates as revenue from trading stocks and bonds each fell more than 40 percent from the third quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. beat estimates last week as investment- banking revenue jumped 22 percent from the third quarter. All three companies are based in New York.

Book Value

Revenue at Morgan Stanley rose to $7.81 billion from $6.84 billion a year earlier. Book value per share climbed to $31.49 from $31.25 at the end of September. The firm’s return on equity from continuing operations, a measure of how well it reinvests earnings, was 5.4 percent.

In the fourth quarter, Morgan Stanley’s revenue from fixed- income sales and trading was negative $29 million. Excluding gains or losses from its own credit spreads, fixed-income revenue was $813 million, compared with $1.64 billion at Goldman Sachs and $2.88 billion at JPMorgan.

“While we made progress in building out our fixed-income business through investments in both people and technology, there is more to be done to drive revenue and market share growth,” Gorman said in the statement.

In equities trading, Morgan Stanley posted fourth-quarter revenue of $1.08 billion, up 17 percent from the third quarter and 40 percent from a year earlier. The unit’s revenue, which was $1.18 billion excluding debt-valuation adjustments, compares with $1.13 billion at JPMorgan.

Morgan Stanley generated $1.52 billion in revenue from investment banking in the fourth quarter.

Wealth Management

Global wealth management posted pretax income of $390 million, up from $231 million in the fourth quarter of 2009. Asset management reported a pretax gain of $356 million, compared with a $37 million pretax loss in the previous year’s period.

Compensation and benefits increased 10 percent to $4.06 billion in the quarter from the previous quarter, or 52 percent of the firm’s overall revenue. The ratio was higher than in the first three quarters, when the bank set aside 50 percent of revenue.

Gorman shook up his top management ranks as he entered his second year as CEO. Last week, he named Greg Fleming to replace Charles Johnston as president of the retail brokerage in addition to Fleming’s role in leading the asset-management business. Johnston will be vice chairman of Morgan Stanley Smith Barney until he retires at the end of 2011.

Jack DiMaio

Gorman also picked Ken deRegt, the firm’s chief risk officer, to take over for Jack DiMaio in attempting to turn around the fixed-income trading unit. DiMaio is leaving the firm. Morgan Stanley earlier this month named Jim Rosenthal as its chief operating officer to succeed Thomas Nides, who left to take a position in the U.S. State Department.

The bank said previously it recorded a gain from the sale of its 34.3 percent holding in CICC to four investors. Morgan Stanley, which invested $35 million in CICC when it was established in 1995, is forming a joint venture with China Fortune Securities Co.

The firm also booked a pretax gain of $96 million on the sale of its stake in Invesco Ltd., which it acquired through the divestiture of its retail asset-management business last year. The bank sold the stake for $664 million in November, and it carried the equity stake at a value of $568 million as of Sept. 30, according to a regulatory filing.

The firm took a $126 million charge from the sale of its controlling interest in FrontPoint Partners LLC, a hedge fund it bought in 2006. Morgan Stanley said in November it expected a pretax loss of $70 million on the sale, which leaves it with a minority stake.

Bond Spreads

Revenue was lowered by charges related to the narrowing of the firm’s own credit spreads. The company booked $5.1 billion of gains in fiscal 2008 as its bond spreads widened, then reversed them in 2009 as markets improved and spreads tightened. Overall debt-valuation costs for 2010 were $873 million.

Seven analysts cut their per-share earnings estimates in the past four weeks, with some citing weak trading markets. The average earnings estimate fell 11 cents in the past four weeks.

Morgan Stanley was among banks that submitted a capital plan to the Federal Reserve earlier this month as lenders seek permission to raise dividends and buy back shares. In April 2009, the firm cut its dividend to 5 cents from 27 cents.

The bank is also making changes to comply with the new Dodd-Frank financial-regulation law passed last year. It plans to break off its largest proprietary-trading group, Process Driven Trading, to create an independent advisory firm by the end of 2012, and will have to trim the $4.5 billion of capital it has in private-equity, real-estate and hedge funds.

Cost Controls

Gorman is trying to control expenses after the firm posted its first per-share loss as a public company in 2009 and paid out 62 percent of revenue in compensation. Morgan Stanley has told some employees to expect investment banking and trading bonuses to decline 10 percent to 30 percent from 2009, two people briefed on the matter said last month.

The firm finished the year as both the top underwriter of equity offerings and the top adviser on announced mergers and acquisitions globally for the first time since Bloomberg began compiling data in 1999.

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael J. Moore in New York at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David Scheer at

Spain to Ramp Up Bailout of Banks

Spain to Ramp Up Bailout of Banks

Spain plans to pour billions more euros into its troubled savings banks and force them to be more open about their lending practices, people familiar with the matter said, an acknowledgment that previous efforts to fix the banks have fallen flat as the country seeks to ward off an international bailout.

In a first step, Spain is preparing to issue €3 billion ($4 billion) in debt in coming days, the people familiar with the matter said. Government officials are putting plans in place to eventually raise as much as €30 billion, according to these people, though some say the final tally will be less.

The hope is that a series of capital injections will quell investor jitters about the savings banks, known as cajas (literally, "boxes"), which have been a thorn in Spain's side as it seeks to convince investors that the country's finances are stable.

The fate of the cajas is inextricably tied to the fate of Spain and potentially to the euro itself. Fear that the savings banks can't raise funds on their own and will need a government bailout was one reason ratings agency Moody's put Spain's rating on review for a downgrade last month.

Another step the government is taking to boost investor confidence in the cajas is simplifying their complex structures, making them more like traditional banks. The cajas have long had confusing ownership and governance structures and disclosed far less financial information than other banks. Their boards consisted of local politicians, union members, clients and, in some cases, Catholic priests, many of whom were reluctant to relinquish their influence over lending decisions.

The Spanish government last year forced a wave of mergers among the cajas—reducing their number from 45 to 17—but confusing, unwieldy structures persisted, scaring off investors. Another part of last year's rescue attempt was an injection of €11 billion via the newly formed Fund for Orderly Bank Restructuring. At the time, Spain said it could put up to €99 billion into the fund, but until recently had said further injections wouldn't be necessary. Now, it's reversing course.

Going forward, people close to the matter say, the idea is to force the cajas to transform themselves into centralized, transparent entities that more closely resemble traditional banks by placing all of their assets into a central holding company and streamlining management. The changes would be made either through legislation or by making it a condition of accessing government funds.

"We think that the restructuring and recapitalization of the savings bank sector is probably the most important issue for the government at this juncture," said Antonio Garcia Pascual, an economist at Barclays Capital.

Raising any new capital for the cajas carries risks, as it comes on top of Spain's existing financing needs. Economists estimate that the country needs to borrow €125 billion this year just to finance its deficit and roll over maturing debt.

Many of the cajas, which account for €1.3 trillion in assets—or 42% of total bank assets in Spain—used liberal lending practices to fuel a decade-long housing boom that went bust and left many of the institutions holding billions in bad loans and facing heavy losses.

The new moves reflect the fact that last year's fixes didn't stick. The shotgun weddings forced by the government proved difficult to execute in practice, with the governing boards of merged cajas bickering over issues like labor, salaries and operating hours. In most cases, the new banks only partially merged their assets.

Some investors were skeptical. Private equity firm J.C. Flowers, which in July committed to buying €450 million in debt from the newly formed Banca Civica, put its investment on hold until it sees what the bank's final merger looks like, said a person close to the fund. Banca Civica couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

By the end of November, with Spain's borrowing costs soaring, the Bank of Spain publicly urged the cajas to move faster in combining businesses and cutting costs. In recent days, the government has been more aggressive. Last week, Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said recapitalization of the banks was an "urgent objective."

"In Spain, the government has a clear interest in sending a message to the markets and investors that they are taking this very seriously," said David Franco, a corporate partner at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP in Madrid.

Already, some of the savings banks, urged on by government officials, have decided to abandon the decentralized model, and transform themselves into entities resembling regular banks. Cajastur, for example, in its merger with three other lenders, announced at the end of last month it would be pooling 100% of its assets.

The government will wait to give any ultimatum to the cajas until it sees the results of detailed disclosures about the type and quality of loans that savings banks have made to the real-estate sector, said people close to the matter. Those will be made public for the first time later this month and in February.

The Spanish government is also studying changes to allow the Fund for Orderly Bank Restructuring to inject capital in the banks through direct stake purchases, considered the safest kind of investment and one that would give the government more control over the entities, in contrast to the nonvoting preferred shares it bought in the past.

Government officials are also weighing the possibility of setting up a government-administered "bad bank" for the toxic assets of some of the cajas, according to one of the people familiar with the matter, although it is unclear how that would be funded and structured.

Spain's government debt isn't that high compared to other troubled countries in the euro zone, such as Greece and Ireland. But borrowing costs for Spain soared at the end of last year after Ireland received a €67.5 billion bailout from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund. After a successful bond issuance by Spain earlier this week costs have ebbed some. Nonetheless, investors worry that the authorities haven't come clean on the problems of the savings banks, which will leave the government with a big bill down the road. Analyst estimates of the amount of capital needed are less conservative then that of the government's. UBS AG estimates banks could need anywhere from €20 billion to €120 billion.

—Stephen Fidler, David Enrich and Dana Cimilluca contributed to this article.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

New Firm, Post-Fairholme

New Firm, Post-Fairholme

Two mutual-fund managers who helped steer the Fairholme Fund to market-beating returns for a decade are setting up a new money-management firm.

The managers, Larry Pitkowsky and Keith Trauner, plan in the coming days to make a regulatory filing for their first mutual fund. They say they aim to use the same value-oriented approach at GoodHaven Capital Management LLC that helped Fairholme become the large-cap-value category's third-best performer for the decade ending in December, delivering 11.5% annualized returns.

The question is whether they can replicate Fairholme's success on their own. The two worked for years beside Fairholme Capital Management LLC founder Bruce Berkowitz, who remains manager of the Fairholme fund and last year was named U.S. stock-fund manager of the decade by investment-research firm Morningstar Inc.

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Fairholme/Bloomberg News

Keith Trauner, left, and Larry Pitkowsky are launching GoodHaven
.Mr. Pitkowsky and Mr. Trauner joined Fairholme in 1999, the year the mutual fund was launched, and served as co-managers of the fund from 2002-07 and 2005-08, respectively. But Fairholme, which often concentrates its holdings in just a few sectors, has moved toward using more outside research in recent years, says Michael Breen, a fund analyst at Morningstar. Messrs. Pitkowsky and Trauner provided research-consulting services until last year, when "it just seemed like it was time to get less involved," Mr. Pitkowsky said.

Mr. Berkowitz will have no involvement in the new firm. "We wish them well in their new endeavor," Mr. Berkowitz said in a statement.

Messrs. Pitkowsky and Trauner are following a path well established by other managers who have used lessons learned alongside a star stock-picker to strike out on their own. These include managers like Charles de Vaulx and Charles de Lardemelle, who worked with well-known value investor Jean-Marie Eveillard at First Eagle funds before teaming up at International Value Advisers LLC, launched in 2007. And managers who worked with value-investing guru Michael Price at the Mutual Series funds have gone on to launch a number of successful ventures, including the Wintergreen fund managed by David Winters.

GoodHaven expects to start offering separately managed accounts, with a minimum investment of $1 million, in the coming weeks. The mutual fund is expected to launch around the start of the second quarter.

It already has lined up one outside investor: Markel Corp., a property-and-casualty insurance company that has made a "significant" minority investment in the new firm. Markel, which was a Fairholme portfolio holding in the early days of the fund, will also become GoodHaven's first client, investing through a separate account.

The GoodHaven fund will be highly concentrated, like Fairholme, with roughly 15 or 20 holdings, the managers say. And it will follow Fairholme's example of looking for bargains among companies that are under stress. "We're the kind of people who want to run toward a fire, instead of away from it," Mr. Trauner says. At Fairholme, Mr. Berkowitz has lately loaded up on financial-services firms such as American International Group Inc. and Citigroup Inc. that were beaten down during the financial crisis.

But Messrs. Pitkowsky and Trauner won't stick strictly to the Fairholme playbook. One difference: They are eager to look at smaller companies, whereas Fairholme has generally gravitated toward larger-cap holdings.

Despite the personnel changes, Fairholme doesn't show signs of faltering, delivering a return of 25.5% in 2010. And though investors have generally yanked money out of U.S. stock funds in recent years, Fairholme took in $1.1 billion of new money in 2009 and an additional $4.3 billion in 2010, ending the year with nearly $19 billion in assets, according to Morningstar.

Write to Eleanor Laise at

U.S. Housing Starts Fell in December to One-Year Low (Update1)

U.S. Housing Starts Fell in December to One-Year Low (Update1)
Share Business ExchangeTwitterFacebook| Email | Print | A A A By Shobhana Chandra


Jan. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Builders began work on fewer homes than projected in December, a sign the industry that triggered the recession continued to struggle more than a year into the U.S. economic recovery.

Housing starts fell 4.3 percent to a 529,000 annual rate, the lowest level since October 2009, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington. The median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey called for a 550,000 rate. A jump in building permits, a proxy for future construction, may reflect attempts to get approval before changes in building codes took effect at the beginning of this year.

Companies like KB Homes and Lennar Corp. project demand will be slow to rebound as elevated unemployment and mounting foreclosures discourage buyers. While low borrowing costs and falling prices are helping revive sales from last year’s post tax-credit slump, Federal Reserve policy makers are concerned housing may undermine the economic expansion.

“With sales still near record lows and a lot of unsold properties in the market, there’s very little reason for builders to add more homes to the supply,” said Sal Guatieri, a senior economist at BMO Capital Markets in Toronto, who had forecast starts would drop to a 527,000 rate. “Housing remains a key downside risk to the economy.”

Bank Earnings

Stock-index futures held earlier losses after the report as Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Wells Fargo & Co. reported earnings that failed to beat analysts’ estimates. The contract on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index maturing in March fell 0.2 percent to 1,291.8 at 8:44 a.m. in New York. Treasury securities were little changed.

For all of last year, starts rose 6.1 percent from 2009 to 587,600, the second-fewest in records dating back to 1959.

The Bloomberg survey forecast was based on a poll of 72 economists. Estimates ranged from 510,000 to 588,000. November’s pace was revised to 553,000 from a previous estimate of 555,000.

Permits jumped 17 percent to a 681,000 annual rate in December, the report showed.

Building code changes took effect on Jan. 1 in California, Pennsylvania and New York, the Commerce Department said. Permits surged by 81 percent in the Northeast and by 44 percent in the West. They rose 3.3 percent in the Midwest and dropped 7.6 percent in the South.

Single-Family Houses

Construction of single-family houses decreased 9 percent to a 417,000 rate in December from the prior month, the fewest since May 2009. Work on multi-family homes, such as townhouses and apartment builders, rose 18 percent to an annual rate of 112,000. It marked the first increase in four months.

Three of four regions dropped last month, led by a 38 percent decline in the Midwest.

Weather also played a role. Last month was the seventh snowiest December in a century’s worth of records for the contiguous U.S., based on satellite observations, according to the National Climatic Data Center. About 55 percent of the country had snow by Dec. 27th. It was the third wettest December on record in the West.

Builders had little incentive to take on work when house purchases slumped in mid-2010 following the expiration of a tax incentive of as much as $8,000, which required contracts to be signed by April 30 of 2010 and closed by the end of September.

Fed Policy

Fed policy makers plan to go ahead with a second round of quantitative easing that will pump another $600 billion into financial markets by June in a bid to keep borrowing costs low and spur growth.

Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren is among central bankers concerned growth won’t exceed 4 percent this year because the housing recovery is likely to be weaker than usual, given the tightening of lending standards and high vacancy rates.

“If housing-related growth is not going to boost the recovery this time around, we may need policy -- particularly monetary policy -- to continue playing a stimulative role,” Rosengren said in a Jan. 14 speech.

Foreclosures may further discourage construction and hurt prices. The number of homes receiving a foreclosure filing will climb about 20 percent in 2011, reaching a peak for the housing crisis, as unemployment remains high and banks resume seizures, RealtyTrac Inc. said this month.

Builder Concern

KB Home, a Los Angeles-based builder that targets first-time homebuyers, on Jan. 7 said cost cuts helped it achieve a fourth- quarter profit, and it is “cautious” about this year.

“Entering 2011, housing market conditions remain difficult,” Jeffrey Mezger, chief executive officer, said in a statement. While “the overall economy has started to recover, the lack of improvement in employment and consumer confidence is likely to continue to hinder a sustained housing recovery.”

Developers’ confidence stagnated in January, reflecting a lack of credit that threatens to hold back construction. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo sentiment index held at 16, the same as the past two months, figures showed yesterday. Readings less than 50 mean more respondents said conditions were poor.

Home prices have declined each month from August to October, the last month reported, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values, which tracks 20 U.S. cities.

To contact the reporter on this story: Shobhana Chandra in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Wellisz at

Goldman Sachs Profit Drops 52% on Trading Decline

Goldman Sachs Profit Drops 52% on Trading Decline (Update1)

Share Business ExchangeTwitterFacebook| Email | Print | A A A By Christine Harper

Jan. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s earnings dropped 52 percent as revenue from trading and investment banking declined, concluding the fourth-best year for profits in the firm’s history.

Fourth-quarter net income fell to $2.39 billion, or $3.79 a share, in the three months ended Dec. 31, from $4.95 billion, or $8.20, a year earlier, the New York-based company said today in a statement. Estimates of 22 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg averaged $3.79 per share, and ranged from $3 to $4.31.

Chief Executive Officer Lloyd C. Blankfein, 56, worked to maintain Goldman Sachs’s profitability and reputation last year as client-trading revenue dropped 33 percent from a record in 2009 and the bank settled a civil fraud lawsuit filed by a U.S. regulator. Last week Goldman Sachs released a set of new business practices and changed its financial reports to separate client-trading revenue from gains and losses generated by bets with its own money.

“I’m hugely confident of their ability to make money one way or another,” Benjamin Wallace, an analyst at Grimes & Co. in Westborough, Massachusetts, which manages about $1 billion, said before the results were released. Still, “the big trends which were a help in ‘09 certainly softened a lot in 2010” in trading, Wallace said.

Profit for the year fell 38 percent to $8.35 billion, or $13.18 per share.

Shares Decline

Shares of Goldman Sachs declined to $170.15 at 8:13 a.m. in New York from $174.68 at the close on the New York Stock Exchange yesterday. They gained 3.9 percent this year through yesterday.

Goldman Sachs’s full-year revenue fell 13 percent to $39.2 billion in 2010 from $45.2 billion in 2009, the firm said. Compensation and benefits, the bank’s biggest expense, decreased 5 percent to $15.4 billion from $16.2 billion as the number of employees rose 10 percent from a year earlier to 35,700.

Fixed-income traders had a tougher time making money in 2010 as volume fell and prices improved at a slower pace from the previous year. The extra yield investors demanded to own investment-grade debt instead of Treasuries tumbled 414 basis points in 2009 to end the year at 190 basis points, the biggest annual drop in Bank of America Merrill Lynch index data beginning in 1996. In 2010 spreads narrowed 24 basis points, the data show. A basis point is 0.01 percentage point.

JPMorgan, Citigroup

Fourth-quarter earnings reports from JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Citigroup Inc., the second- and third-biggest U.S. banks by assets, showed that fixed-income trading revenue fell compared with the prior quarter and for 2010 as a whole. Average weekly trading volume in corporate debt dropped 11 percent in 2010 from 2009, according to Federal Reserve data.

Fixed-income, currencies and commodity trading revenue, known as FICC, accounted for more than half of Goldman Sachs’s overall revenue in 2009 under the firm’s old financial reporting system. That fell to 48 percent in the new disclosure, which moves revenue from some businesses to other divisions, according to a company filing last week.

Under the new reporting structure, fourth-quarter FICC revenue fell 48 percent from a year earlier to $1.64 billion, bringing the revenue total to $13.7 billion for the year. Equities-trading revenue decreased 5 percent to $2 billion in the quarter and totaled $8.09 billion in the year.

Investing and Lending

Gains from what the company now calls investing and lending, which includes stakes in companies such as Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. as well as real estate and proprietary trading, rose 45 percent to $1.99 billion in the fourth quarter from a year earlier and totaled $7.54 billion in 2010 compared with $2.86 billion in 2009.

Revenue from asset management climbed 14 percent to $1.51 billion in the fourth quarter from a year earlier and totaled $5.01 billion for the year, up from $4.61 billion in 2009. Investment-banking revenue decreased in the fourth quarter to $1.51 billion and was $4.81 billion in the year, down from $4.98 billion in 2009.

Goldman Sachs’s investment bank and money-management divisions have been in the spotlight this month after the firm and some of its funds invested $450 million in closely held Internet social networking site Facebook Inc. and tried to sell $1.5 billion of the company in a private placement to wealthy clients. On Jan. 17, the firm said it would restrict the sale to clients outside the U.S. on concern media coverage of the deal would run afoul of rules governing private offerings.

“You’re going to have a bunch of questions about Facebook,” said Anton Schutz, president of Mendon Capital Advisors Corp. in Rochester, New York, which has more than $200 million under management. “The pipeline for deals should matter a lot.”

Goldman Sachs said today that its investment-banking transaction backlog decreased compared with the end of the third quarter.

To contact the reporter on this story: Christine Harper in New York at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David Scheer at

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Apple Q1 2011 Earning Release

             Q1 2011 Q4 2010 Q1 2010
Macs:   4.13, 3.9, 3.4
IPhone: 16.24, 14.2, 8.7
IPod:    19.45, 9, 20.97
IPad:    7.33, 4.2, 0

Apple sold 4.13 million Macs during the quarter, a 23 percent unit increase over the year-ago quarter. The Company sold 16.24 million iPhones in the quarter, representing 86 percent unit growth over the year-ago quarter. Apple sold 19.45 million iPods during the quarter, representing a seven percent unit decline from the year-ago quarter. The Company also sold 7.33 million iPads during the quarter.

Europe Is Running Fast to Stand Still

Europe Is Running Fast to Stand Still

•Enlarging the lending resources of Europe’s rescue fund would do nothing fundamentally to address the unsustainable stock of debt and its adverse impact on growth, investment and employment.
•More people are recognizing that the time has come for another approach, one that involves the orderly restructuring of some European sovereign debt on terms that allow a meaningful chance of re-accessing markets in the future at sustainable rates.

The sequencing of Europe’s debt crisis is depressingly similar – the plot stays the same, with a slightly different cast depending on the country in the spotlight. Yet, judging by the run-up to the meeting of European Union finance ministers in Brussels on Monday, European officials seem intent on repeating it over and over again.

Last week, higher borrowing costs raised concerns as to whether Portugal could successfully tap the market in a regularly scheduled government bond auction. Fearing that the country would join Greece and Ireland in both losing access to new market funding and facing alarmingly high risk spreads on existing debt, the official cavalry jumped into action.

Portuguese officials sought to reassure the markets of their fiscal credentials. The EU talked of enhancing the flexibility of its rescue funds. The European Central Bank stepped up its market intervention, buying millions more Portuguese bonds. To make absolutely sure that the auction would succeed – and it did – China and Japan signalled their willingness to buy European debt instruments.

This is the same game plan that was used for Greece and Ireland. The probability of success is the same – very low.

You do not solve a debt problem by adding new debt on top of old debt. Yet it seems that European officials are fixated on this approach. How else would you explain the two main proposals discussed ahead of today’s meeting – namely, to enlarge the lending resources of the rescue fund and enable it to buy existing debt?

If implemented, this would do nothing fundamentally to address the unsustainable stock of debt and its adverse impact on growth, investment and employment. Instead, it would facilitate an even larger and quicker transfer of debt from the private sector to the public sector.

Rather than fantasise that a liquidity approach can overcome a solvency problem – and it will not – European officials should spend time discussing the cost of their “active inertia”. In doing so, they would quickly identify four issues that are further complicating the region’s debt crisis.

Continuing with an ineffective approach turns regularly scheduled bond auctions into dramas. It accelerates the private sector’s exit from peripheral debt markets, meaningfully limiting future demand. It pushes creditors to ask who is next, fuelling the migration of disruptive contagion up the European credit quality curve. It gradually weakens the integrity of the ECB and is likely to intensify the recent under-performance of German bonds.

More people are recognising that the time has come for another approach – what this week’s Economist magazine calls “Plan B”. This involves the orderly restructuring of some European sovereign debt on terms that allow a meaningful chance of re-accessing markets in future at sustainable rates. This would be accompanied by measures to enhance growth prospects in highly indebted European countries; ring fence the other, fundamentally sound economies; and push banks and other institutional holders of restructurable debt to raise prudential capital.

It is not easy to design such a plan. Nor is implementation success guaranteed. But this should not be used as an excuse to fixate on an approach that has repeatedly failed, and that will end up making Europe’s debt crisis even worse.

股市不和谐 "圈钱"是主因

  股市不和谐 "圈钱"是主因




  其次是2010年A股造就亿万富翁824位,股市投资者70%亏损。据W IN D资讯不完全统计,2010年上市的349只新股中,持股市值上亿元的个人股东高达824位,相当于平均每只新股上市就有2.4位亿万富翁产生。而与此形成鲜明对比的是,有调查显示在2010年中近70%的股民亏钱。

  其三是一级市场发行市盈率远超二级市场市盈率,一、二级市场倒挂。截至2010年12月31日,沪市主板市盈率为21.61倍,深市主板市盈率为35.43倍,中小板市盈率为56.93倍,创业板市盈率为78.53倍。但2010年349只新股的平均发行市盈率达到了59.22倍,明显高于沪深主板、甚至高于中小板。沪市新股发行市盈率最高达到87.73倍,为海南橡胶[9.82 -6.12%]所创造。而创业板公司新研股份[91.75 -0.27%]的发行市盈率达到150.82倍,再次刷新A股发行市盈率最高纪录。至2010年底,创业板新股发行市盈率超过百倍者频频出现。





缓解“提准”资金压力 央行暂停本周央票发行

 缓解“提准”资金压力 央行暂停本周央票发行






  “在这关键时候暂停央票发行,央行可能也是为了避免引发市场更强的加息预期。”国金证券 (600109 股吧,行情,资讯,主力买卖)宏观分析师李治平表示,这体现了央行稳定市场的意图。






Monday, January 17, 2011

J.P. Morgan Rides Consumer Revival

J.P. Morgan Rides Consumer Revival


J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. posted a 47% jump in fourth-quarter profit, providing a boost to bank stocks Friday as investors cheered new signs of strength among U.S. consumers and businesses.
J.P. Morgan's James Dimon says, 'I think the future is extremely bright, despite all the headwinds.' Above, leaving a meeting about AIG's planned stock sale on Thursday.

.Chief Executive James Dimon predicted demand for new credit would increase in 2011. The U.S. consumer, he said, "is getting stronger," and certain firms are showing new appetite for loans.

"I think the future is extremely bright, despite all the headwinds," he said.

Results for the New York bank, an industry bellwether, helped lift the share prices of the nation's largest banks on Friday. Led by a 1.03% jump at J.P. Morgan, shares of Bank of America rose more than 3%. Wells Fargo & Co. rose nearly 3% while Citigroup Inc. was up nearly 2%.

J.P. Morgan's results of $1.12 a share, which handily exceeded Wall Street's expectations of 99 cents, help illustrate how the nation's largest banks are taking advantage of their size and diversity as they work through many problems.

Rarely has the difference between big and small banks been so stark. Three institutions, including J.P. Morgan Chase, now hold more than 33% of all U.S. deposits and are responsible for more than half of all home mortgage originations.

One sign of J.P. Morgan's sweeping market share during the quarter was that it issued $50.8 billion in new mortgage loans, up 24% compared with the year-ago quarter. Total loans were up 9% as compared with a year ago.

It also recorded revenue gains in five of its six business lines, while its number of nonperforming loans declined 16% to $16.6 billion. Fewer bad loans allowed it to release about $2 billion in reserves, a big contributor to profits. Overall net income for the quarter was $4.83 billion, up from $3.28 billion.

While big banks are putting the U.S. downturn behind them, regional banks are still dealing with their overreliance on real estate even as their earnings improve from year-ago levels.

M&T Bank Corp., a Buffalo, N.Y., bank with $68 billion in assets, compared with J.P. Morgan's $2.1 trillion, said Friday that fourth-quarter net income rose 49% to $204 million from year-earlier levels. Still, nonperforming loans rose 13% from third quarter levels due to two problem borrowers and an increase in foreclosed properties. The troubled loans came from a residential builder and a developer of retirement and assisted-living properties.

The rising number of nonperforming assets remains "a lingering concern" for M&T, said Ken Zerbe, banking analyst with Morgan Stanley, in a note.

While J.P. Morgan shares jumped Friday, M&T stock was down for much of the day before ending up 0.14%.

Many regionals don't have investment banks—big revenue generators for J.P. Morgan and other national banks. The unit was the company's most profitable, with $1.5 billion in net income buoyed by a 26% increase in revenue. Debt underwriting fees were up 26% as businesses turned to credit markets for funding. Fixed-income trading revenue was up 5%.

Heard: Making Banks Feel More Normal
Deal Journal: Dimon Balks at Dividend
Early Banking Reports Give Cause for Lending Optimism
J.P. Morgan Bankers Earn Less
Earnings Scorecard: Banks
Factiva Search: New Bank Fees
.Compensation in J.P. Morgan's investment bank increased 4% but that is largely because the number of employees dropped. The average pay per employee in the investment bank dipped 2.4% to $369,651.

J.P. Morgan showed strength in its Main Street business, as well. Both credit cards and its retail unit were profitable, compared with losses in the year-ago period. In cards, the number of loans written off as uncollectible dropped to 7.08%, from 8.64% in the year-ago period. That allowed the bank to release $2 billion in card reserves.

Investors still aren't pleased that big banks continue to rely so heavily on improving credit conditions, and their attendant release of reserves, to pump profits. In a Friday call with reporters, Mr. Dimon conceded in regard to the bank's big reserve release: "I don't look at it as earnings."

Plenty of challenges remain for J.P. Morgan and other big banks. The U.S. housing market, Mr. Dimon said, is still "terrible" and J.P. Morgan needs to decide how it will replace revenues it expects to lose to new regulations. Mr. Dimon said Friday the bank is considering new checking and debit-card fees to compensate for clamp-downs on its consumer business.

Another headache for J.P. Morgan revolves around its exposure to mortgage documentation problems and mounting demands that it repurchase bad mortgages issued before the housing bust. J.P. Morgan set aside $1.5 billion of additional reserves largely to deal with any litigation resulting from buyback demands.

"It is going to be a long, ugly mess," Mr. Dimon said, but "it will not be life-threatening to J.P. Morgan." The bank has $3 billion in reserves for this issue, and it expects 2011 repurchase losses to be about $1.2 billion.

It "will be years before we know the ultimate outcome" he added. "We will be talking about his every quarter for the next three years."

—Robin Sidel contributed to this article.
Write to Dan Fitzpatrick at

Dow's Doubters Say Market Is on Borrowed Time

Dow's Doubters Say Market Is on Borrowed Time

As U.S. stocks notched their seventh winning week in a row on Friday, unease was growing among some investors and analysts who study the market's patterns to predict where it is going next.

.The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index hasn't seen such a long stretch of weekly gains in nearly four years. For the Dow Jones Industrial Average, it has been nine months. The latest leg of the rally has vaulted the S&P 500 8.7% higher, while the Dow is just 213 points below 12000—and up 78% from its financial-crisis low in March 2009.

The seven-week surge is a sign that many investors are betting that the crisis is basically over. Fears of a double-dip recession have faded, the Federal Reserve is gorging on Treasury securities, and paychecks were helped by the tax-cut extension passed by Congress in December. Companies on the whole have turned in strong earnings; Friday's gains were fueled by an unexpectedly big profit jump at J.P. Morgan Chase.

Yet some technical analysts who've crunched the same numbers and eyeballed their charts conclude that the overall market has gone too far. Despite all the good news, they worry too many investors are shrugging off the latest debt scare in Europe, rising global interest rates and worries about a potential meltdown in the municipal-bond market.

Another trigger could come from the latest earnings season, now in full swing. Some are concerned that heightened expectations could leave investors open to disappointment about companies' views about their future business prospects, triggering a broader decline.

The market is rallying "as if propelled by some mysterious force," says Mark Arbeter, the lead technical analyst for Standard & Poor's, who reckons the market is showing signs of fatigue for the first time in nine months. A stumble could claw back about half of the S&P 500's four-month, 23% rally, he says.

Mr. Arbeter and other analysts point to several technical indicators that portend the return of gravity to the market. In many respects, they say, the recent run-up bears many of the same hallmarks as the market did last March and April. That was the last time the Dow had a seven-week rally. But the jaunt came to a screeching halt because of the onset of renewed worries about Greece's debt woes and the May 6 "flash crash."

One widely circulated observation last week noted that the S&P 500 hasn't closed below its 10-day moving average in more than 30 trading sessions. The moving average softens out volatile daily market movements and is used by analysts and strategists to judge momentum and emerging trends.

Chris Verrone, head of technical analysis at Strategas Research Partners, counts only about a dozen similar instances in the past six decades. The most recent until now: a 42-session streak that ended with the Greek debt crisis last April. The S&P 500 then slid 8.8% in just two weeks.

Mr. Verrone fears a repeat this time around, pointing to a host of other "leading indicators" that have reversed course recently, including the Australian dollar and Indian stocks. Their record-setting gains have leveled off.

"When all these start to align, it's a sign that the rally is getting long in the tooth," Mr. Verrone says, predicting a short-term correction of 5% or 6% before the market resumes its bull run. "We're on borrowed time."

Skeptics also complain that the stock market's roll has been generally unremarkable on a daily basis. Since Nov. 30, the daily trading range of the S&P 500 has been just 0.76%, the narrowest since May 2007. No single day has seen a decline of more than 0.6%. The lack of big, triple-digit-gain days for the Dow could mean that many investors aren't overly confident.

Meanwhile, trading volumes on the New York Stock Exchange remain relatively low. Since late November, volumes have reached last year's daily average just 10 times in 34 sessions.

Even the optimism of investors—and their complacency about the market's current run—are sell signals, according to some technical analysts. The Chicago Board Options Exchange's Volatility Index, the "fear gauge" known as the VIX, closed on Friday at 15.46, lower than in April and near its lowest level in three years. The VIX has fallen 34.3% since the beginning of the rally in late November.

The American Association of Individual Investors' weekly survey has registered above-average bullishness for 19 straight weeks, the longest such stretch since 2004. For years, some investors have looked to the AAII survey as a compelling contrarian signal. An ebullient reading often is a clue that the market is due for a fall.

The VIX can be a contrary indicator, too, reflecting the prices investors are willing to pay for portfolio insurance on the S&P 500. The VIX tends to drop when stocks rise and investors grow less anxious. The last two times the VIX was trading around these levels, the market headed for a tumble—once in April during the Greek debt crisis, and before that in the fall of 2007, just ahead of the subprime crisis woes.

"The ultimate high tick [on the stock market] usually comes when hardly anyone cares, and our client base is the least engaged in the market as I've ever seen," says Christopher W. Dieterich, technical trading strategist at FBN Securities. "They're monitoring it, but they don't seem to be terribly involved. That's usually how a top feels."

But even if the market is stretched based on some historically compelling measurements, it could keep barreling higher. Many analysts still consider stock valuations to be trading at relatively low levels. And with fourth-quarter earnings off to a positive start, market strategists are confident that American corporations will continue to surprise investors with their resilience.

Jeffrey Rubin, head of research at Birinyi Associates, isn't concerned about overexuberance in the market yet, citing the S&P 500's 50-day moving average. For 94 consecutive trading sessions, the S&P 500 has exceeded its 50-day moving average, the first time such a string has happened in five years.

That would typically be a negative signal, as Mr. Rubin acknowledges. However, according to his calculations, the S&P 500 has managed to tack on an average of 3.5% in the three months that follow such long runs. "We are not at extreme levels," he says. "The market has the ability to go higher."

Write to Jonathan Cheng at