|May 1st, 2006|
May 2nd, 2006
May 3rd, 2006
May 4th, 2006
May 8th, 2006
May 9th, 2006
May 10th, 2006
May 11th, 2006
May 12th, 2006
- Major Band to Give Daughtry the Break of a Lifetime - As the whole world knows Chris got the boot last night on AI as Katherine was saved by her boobs. I've also heard rumors that AI had phone problems with Chris' lines and that they'll invite Chris to rejoin the show. We'll have to wait and see.
- Bush says U.S. not 'trolling through personal lives' - "This is nuts," [Sen. John] Kyl said. "We are in a war and we've go to collect intelligence on the enemy, and you can't tell the enemy in advance how you are going to do it. And discussing all of this in public leads to that." Amen brother.
- DNA Tests Confirm Bear Was a Hybrid - The bear's half grizzly and half polar. I didn't think bears were that big a threat to the environment that they had to go hybrid, but whatever...
- Police Crush Cairo Protests - For those who think the NSA is some horrible human rights violation, we could be in Egypt where peaceful demonstrators get beaten and arrested and cameramen have there cameras broken and tapes stolen by police
- Officials urge people to prepare for this year's hurricane season - Basically that means if you live in New Orleans, get the hell out of town when you see a hurricane coming.
May 15th, 2006
- Nigeria pipeline blast kills up to 200 - "The huge blast left about 100 blackened, unrecognisable corpses strewn across a beach where thieves were siphoning fuel into jerry cans for sale on the black market." Damn. It's hard out there for a thief...
- A Chaotic White House Debut for Tony Snow - I mean, c'mon... It was his first day! I just hope he's not afraid to let the press have it when they're being stupid.
- U.S. Economy: Confidence Drops as Gasoline Surges - It's amazing that people's entire perception of our economy is so intimately tied to one commodity. These people obviously have no clue. If the news said the sky was falling they'd probably hide in their basements.
May 16th, 2006
May 17th, 2006
May 18th, 2006
May 19th, 2006
- 'Our enemies are mentally ill' - Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says we're crazy because, "those who get sad at the progress and happiness of others are suffering from mental and psychological problems, so they should find a way to cure themselves." BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
- Gaza tension grows as Hamas deploys new aiding force - The article was predicting violent clashes between Hamas' new security force and forces loyal to Abbas' Fatah party. I never thought the Palestinians might kill each other, but I must admit I'm not particularly upset by it either.
- U.S. Economy: Leading Indicators Decline in April - "An index of U.S. leading economic indicators unexpectedly declined in April, pointing to a slowdown from the fastest pace of growth in more than two years." See... we're back to inflation is under control...
May 22nd, 2006
May 23rd, 2006
- Rice faces silent protest in Boston - Ooooh.... Silent protests. That's harsh... I remember UCSD doing something similar when Newt Gingrich came to give a commencement speech. Let me be the first to ask, are the BC student racist? I mean, how dare they do that to a black woman...
- Bonds Rally on Flight to Quality as Stocks, Commodities Tumble - Stocks are falling back down towards 11,000 (currently at 11,089) and oil is down to $68.50 per barrel. Gold, copper, and zinc prices are down as well.
May 24th, 2006
May 25th, 2006
- Senate Votes to Limit Debate on Immigration Legislation - They're trying to clear the way for passage on the bill hoping the House will take it as is. Teddy "Hic" Kennedy got to spout off a little hoping they wouldn't "disenfranchise a million or more poor, minority, disabled, and elderly voters — all of them American citizens." Apparently just being in the US makes you a citizen to Teddy...
- Iraq signs Australian wheat deal - IRAQ has signed a deal to buy 350,000 tonnes of wheat from Australian firms after agreeing to adjustments on the contracts to meet the demands of the companies, a senior official at the trade ministry said.
- U.S. Economy: New Home Sales Unexpectedly Increase - They were expected to drop again. "A strong job market is sustaining demand for homes in the face of rising borrowing costs, suggesting the Federal Reserve has latitude to keep raising interest rates without stalling the economic expansion. Durable goods orders fell last month after the biggest increase in almost a year, a separate report showed."
May 26th, 2006
- Everst death sparks outrage; Hillary rips climbers who left dying man - Reports say some 40 climbers continued past the dying man, David Sharp. Some say they sent radio distress calls and gave oxygen to Sharp, but felt the conditions were too extreme to offer more assistance than that. Recorded temperature at the summit that day was -100°.
- Lay, Skilling Found Guilty - "Lay and Skilling were convicted of misleading investors with false statements designed to hide Enron's tottering finances. Lay was found guilty on all counts, while jurors declined to convict Skilling on ten charges of insider trading.
- U.S. Economy: Growth May Slow From 5.3% Annual Rate - GDP is a healthy 5.3%, but the headline would make you think our economy's in the crapper. Then they hide this in the article, "stocks rose on signs the economy is expanding fast enough to boost company profits without igniting inflation. The rise in gross domestic product was the biggest since the third quarter of 2003 and compares with a 4.8 percent rate that was reported on April 28"
May 30th, 2006
- U.S. Economy: Personal Spending Increases 0.6% in April - I think people forget how much they drive this economy. Personal spending up will make economists happy any day of the week and twice on Sundays. That's driving stocks up so far, even though (for some stupid reason) consumer confidence is down.
May 31st, 2006
- Bush Picks Goldman Sach's Henry Paulson to Be Treasury Secretary - No doubt that the man certianly knows what he's doing. "He has `a lifetime of business experience' and `an intimate knowledge of securities markets,' Bush said in a statement at the White House with Paulson and Snow at his side. He praised Paulson for his `candor and integrity.'"
- Afghan army patrols Kabul amid anger with US troops - After an accident where a soldier lost control of his truck, ran into several cars, killed five civilians, and sparked a weekend of protests that quickly devolved into a weekend of rioting, a curfew has been imposed for the second day in a row.
June 1st, 2006
- 46 Cities to Share Anti-Terror Funding - And that's the nice headline. "Homeland Security officials also noted a $125 million cut in the funds available for the 2006 fiscal year from last year. In all, 46 cities will share $740 million in Homeland Security grants to prevent and respond to terror attacks and, to a lesser extent, other catastrophic disasters like hurricanes." Cutting national security funding... what a great election talking point...
- Chicago Purchasing Managers' Index Rises to 61.5 in May - Manufacturing in the Chicago area unexpectedly accelerated this month, and orders placed with factories were the highest in more than a year... More corporate investment and signs of strength in the economies of Germany, India and Japan are keeping orders flowing even as consumer spending and housing in the U.S. moderate. A measure of prices paid by manufacturers for raw materials eased, suggesting less inflationary pressure." But don't forget that the economy is in the crapper...
- Oil Falls First Time in a Week as U.S. May Join Iran Talks - Oil currently at $70.45 a barrel. "The U.S. is working to win the backing of China and Russia for a United Nations Security Council resolution compelling Iran to curtail its nuclear efforts, according to a State Department official who briefed a group of reporters." I'd have thought that the US would have gotten tired of talks Iran and not getting anything out of them, but apprently not.
June 2nd, 2006
- Retailers Post May Sales Gains Even as Gasoline Rises - Led by retailers like JCPenney, Federated Department Stores Inc., Limited Brands Inc., and AnnTaylor Stores Corp, Mother's Day and warm weather brought out the shoppers. Discount retailers like WalMart posted smaller gains, but gains nonetheless.
June 5th, 2006
- Analysis: Iraq War Ties U.S. Hands on Iran - The article discusses how the US has used up its favors around the world with the Iraq war, and no one will go to bat with us to stop Iran because they don't think we've done absolutely everything possible diplomatically speaking. Think our hands are tied now weasels? Wait until they have nukes, then we can talk about having zero leverage...
- U.S. Economy: Slower Job Growth Eases Pressure on Fed - "The 75,000 gain in payrolls followed a revised 126,000 April increase that was less than the government initially reported, Labor Department figures showed today. Economists expected a 170,000 increase for May. The unemployment rate fell to 4.6 percent last month from 4.7 percent." Good for the economy and good for interest rates... a win-win.
June 6th, 2006
- Updike makes "Terrorist" lovable in new novel - The lovable terrorist... Updike says it was more of a challenge to write from inside the head of a terrorist. Apparently that's more implrtant than actually selling books, although I'm sure it will be at the top of the NYT's Bestseller List.
- Senate takes up gay-rights ban amid criticism - Bush is trying to bring the Constitutional Ammendment back and is getting flack for political pandering thinking he's trying to bolster support from his base. I'm conflicted on the issue. I think marriage should be between a man and a woman, but I don't want to deny gays the chance at marriage.
- Kennedy Feels Confident After Rehab Stay - Well, he's a Kennedy, so this is probably only one of many future visits to rehab. Hopefully he's got Betty Ford in speed dial. Also you've got to wonder if this will shut the left up about Rush and his Rx drug addiction... Probably won't, but I still wonder...
- U.S. Stocks Drop on Oil, Services Report; Material Shares Fall - "Crude oil for July delivery rose 1.1 percent to $73.15 a barrel in New York. It had earlier reached the highest price since May 11, after Iran said any action by the U.S. against its nuclear facilities may disrupt shipments from the Persian Gulf, which supplies 20 percent of the world's oil." Damn... I should have filled up yesterday...
June 7th, 2006
- Charges Against Canadian Terror Suspects Read - In addition to blowing up Peace Tower and CN Tower, they wanted to shoot up civilians at a public place and storm the Canadian Parliament and behead the Prime Minister. Now THAT'S a ballsy plan... and I bet it scares the pants off of government security officials worldwide...
- Study says millions have 'rage' disorder - Road rage as a disorder... Doctors are calling it "intermittent explosive disorder". If they add that to the DSM-IV, I'll have lost almost all respect for the psychiatric community... And I like how they abbreviate the disorder IED. How fitting...
- U.S. Stocks Drop as Homebuilders, Raw-Materials Shares Fall - Stocks have been taking a pounding... And Bernanke needs to keep his "unwelcome inflation" and "slowing economy" comments to himself... "Comments from Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke that the economy is already slowing and increases in inflation are unwelcome weighed on the market for a second day."
June 9th, 2006
- U.S. Stocks Rise as Oil Prices Drop; Target, Retailers Advance - "U.S. stocks rebounded from two days of losses as falling commodity prices eased concern about inflation and higher interest rates. Target Corp. paced gains among retailers on the decline in oil prices and as the second-largest discount chain said earnings and margins will increase this year.
June 12th, 2006
June 13th, 2006
- Troops reducing illegal border crossings - This is the biggest no friggin shit headline and first sentence in a news story that I've seen in a while " The arrival of U.S. National Guard troops in Arizona has scared off illegal Mexican migrants along the border, significantly reducing crossings, according to U.S. and Mexican officials." Duh.
- Golf Cart Crimes Rise in Georgia Town - "Just 10 days ago, police made front-page news in Peachtree City when they arrested the city manager as he drove his golf cart with a glass of wine in his hand." Seriously? Man, they better never go to a golf course then. If they start trying to ticket golfers, they're gonna find themselves in a world of hurt...
- U.S. Stumbles in Opener - Czech Republic scores early and often in turning back sluggish Americans, 3-0. - We got our asses handed to us... but I like how 3 goals qualifies as scoring "early and ofter" in soccer. I'm not quite sure who worked that one out, but it makes no sense...
- Bush's Oil-Industry, Cuban-American Allies Split Over Anti-Castro Embargo - Bush is beholden to the oil companies, huh? "Companies including Marathon Oil Corp. are lobbying Congress to be allowed to bid for oil and natural-gas deposits in Cuban waters. They are backed by Republican lawmakers bucking Bush by supporting legislation to exempt the companies from the 1962 trade embargo and a ban on drilling within 100 miles of U.S. shores." Bush has it right here. The embargo stands; screw Cuba.
June 14th, 2006
- Activists Jeer Clinton Over Iraq Stance - This is great! "Anti-war activists in the "Take Back America" crowd booed Clinton for opposing a withdrawal date for U.S. troops, an approach pushed by Kerry and cheered by the crowd." Ha! Perhaps the lunatic left will bite the party in the ass.
- Kennedy Sentenced After Guilty Plea to DUI - We can make all the jokes we want about the younger Kennedy and his poor liver, but the weirdest part of the story is that his AA partner is Republican Congressman Jim Ramstad from Minnesota. How'd he get that job?
- U.S. May Producer Prices Excluding Food and Energy Increase 0.3 Percent - "Prices paid to U.S. producers for goods other than fuel and food rose more than forecast in May, reinforcing inflation concerns rattling stock and commodity markets that led some central banks to raise interest rates." PPI was up 0.3 and reatil sales were down 0.1.
June 16th, 2006
- Eiffel Tower terrorist plotters sentenced - "A Paris court on Wednesday handed out sentences ranging from six months to 10 years in prison to 25 people convicted of plotting terrorist attacks in France, including against the Eiffel Tower." I don't know about you, but those look like some light sentences to me...
- Bush rejects calls for pullout from Iraq - ""It's bad policy," Bush said in a Rose Garden news conference Wednesday, about six hours after he returned from Iraq. "I know it may sound good politically. It will endanger our country to pull out of Iraq before we accomplish the mission." Now it's the Democrats doing some political posturing. Hillary got herself booed yesterday for not wanting a withdrawal timetable.
- Core Consumer Prices Exceeded Forecasts Again, Making Fed Rise More Likely - "Rising gasoline costs and rents propelled U.S. consumer prices higher last month, increasing speculation that Federal Reserve policy makers will raise interest rates later this month." I'm beginning to wonder if the fed will ever see anything that will make them stop the rate hikes...
June 19th, 2006
- Spears considering next birth in Namibia - I'm sorry but I really don't care. I didn't care about Brangelina's baby being born in Namibia other than the fact that I thought it was dumb because I'm sure they could certainly get better quality health care in the US. And besides, after catching a glimpse or two of Britney's interview last night I can't help but think she's quickly devolving into poor white trash and this is an excuse to break that mold.
- Consumer Confidence in U.S. Unexpectedly Rises as Gasoline Prices Retreat - Duh people. "The rebound in confidence may help stem a slowdown in consumer spending that's forecast to pare economic growth this quarter. The survey also showed that Americans expect inflation will be less of a problem than they previously thought, which may help alleviate pressure on Federal Reserve policy makers to raise interest rates after this month's meeting."
June 20th, 2006
- Foreclosures may jump as ARMs reset - "As more hybrid adjustable rate mortgages adjust upward and housing prices dip, many Americans can't refinance out of this squeeze. They are finding themselves trapped in too-high monthly payments, and some face foreclosures." If you're looking to get into the housing market, it continues to turn into a buyers market, especially if you can get a foreclosure, then you can get that house for as little as half of what its value is.
- Roethlisberger to be cited for no helmet - Talk about adding insult to injury. Big Ben's gonna get a $388 ticket for no helmet and not having a valid motorcycle license. He's already been released from the hospital after seven hours of surgery and several days of observation and is expected to make a full recovery.
- AUSTRALIAN troops in southern Iraq could find out the new role they will take on within the next few days. - Australian and Japanese troops will begin withdrawal and transition of handing security of their area in soutern Iraq to Iraqi security forces. The Aussies won't be leaving entirely, just progressively pulling back.
June 21st, 2006
- Child killed, 10 hurt in Israeli air strike on Gaza - Israel was targeting a car carrying Palestinian militants from Abbas' Fatah party who recently fired rockets into the Jewish state. The militants managed to get clear of the car before the missile strike. Apparently 6 of the wounded were children as well. Israel is usually unbelievably precise with their air strikes; unfortunately, I think this is going to be the left's calling card when it comes to damning Israel.
- Housing Starts in U.S. Rise More Than Estimated; Building Permits Decline - "U.S. home construction rebounded in May from a 13-month low as builders worked on backlogged orders and used incentives such as free car leases to win new business."
June 22nd, 2006
- U.S. Stocks Advance After Morgan Stanley, FedEx Exceed Earnings Estimates - Huge profits from Morgan stanley, Fedex as well as Darden Restaurants (Olive Garden and Red Lobster) allowed investors to breath a sigh of relief knowing that investor profits could survive the inevitable: another rate hike from the Fed.
- Palestinian terrorist sues UK government - OK, WTF is this?! "A Palestinian terrorist leader held by Israel filed a lawsuit against the British government for pulling wardens out of a West Bank prison that was later stormed by Israeli forces, his lawyer said Wednesday." Somehow that violates his human rights? Bullshit.
- Republicans in Congress Back Measure to Limit, Not Repeal, U.S. Estate Tax - "Republicans in Congress will seek to exempt more U.S. multimillionaires from the estate tax after an attempt at outright repeal failed in the Senate." Talk about a loaded first line... Nevermind that millionaires won't be the only people to benefit from this. In fact the bill would exempt as much as $10 million from taxation (up from $4mm currently) and estates worth $25mm or more would still pay top taxation rates. I hardly see how that's such a huge benefit to the "millionaires".
June 23rd, 2006
- Katharine McPhee's Bulimia Battle - I gotta say from what I saw during American Idol, she looked absolutely stunning. I know this disorder is based on self-perception and not reality, but all you need to do is remember her in that yellow dress that nearly had a wardrobe malfunction. Kat, you're smokin' hot! Don't let anyone tell you different!
- U.S. Leading Indicators Index Falls 0.6 Percent, Suggesting Slower Growth - "An index of U.S. leading economic indicators fell in May by the most in nine months, signaling the robust pace of growth earlier this year will give way to a slower expansion." It because everyone's concerned about the same thing, rising interest rates, higher energy prices, and a weaker housing market.
June 26th, 2006
- U.S. Durables Orders Unexpectedly Fall 0.3 Percent on Lower Plane Demand - The numbers overall were good as orders increased for machinery, metals, and communications gear; it was just airliner orders that pulled the numbers down. It also points to a more level economy, not expanding too quickly (inflation) and not slowing too quickly (recession). It's just right.
June 27th, 2006
- Israel rejects demands over kidnapped soldier - Al Reuters at it's best. This was done by "Palestinians militants" or "the governing Hamas movement's armed wing." Or they could join the human race and just call them blood sucking terrorists. At least Israel's smart enough to realize it's dealing with terrorists and knows better than to negotiate with them. In fact they're threatening a "punishing offensive"... excellent. Serves the terrorists right.
- California Port Shut Down Over Possible Terrorist Threat - This is near my old neck of the woods... "Authorities closed off the Port Of Hueneme in Ventura County after a dockworker discovered the message scrawled in marker on a metal pillar in the hold of a ship carrying bananas from Guatemala, said Will Berg, the port's marketing director. Berg said message read: "This nitro is for you Mr. George W. Bush and your Jewish cronies." They take all threat seriously, but this was a ship of bananas from Guatamala...
- New Home Sales in U.S. Increase Unexpectedly to 1.234 Million Annual Pace - "Sales of new homes in the U.S. unexpectedly rose in May to the highest level this year as buyers found deals in a market glutted with unsold homes. Purchases increased 4.6 percent..." Didn't I say like a week ago that there would be some stellar deals out there for people in the market to buy a home? Am I good or what...
June 28th, 2006
- Senate rejects flag desecration amendment - What the hell?! Which is the single Senator we want to pick on. We only need one since the bill was only one vote shy of passing. Akaka (D-HI), Bennett (R-UT), Biden (D-DE), Bingaman (D-NM), Boxer (D-CA), Byrd (D-WV), Cantwell (D-WA), Carper (D-DE), Chafee (R-RI), Clinton (D-NY), Conrad (D-ND), Dodd (D-CT), Dorgan (D-ND), Durbin (D-IL), Harkin (D-IA), Inouye (D-HI), Jeffords (I-VT), Kennedy (D-MA), Kerry (D-MA), Kohl (D-WI), Lautenberg (D-NJ), Leahy (D-VT), Levin (D-MI), Lieberman (D-CT), McConnell (R-KY), Menendez (D-NJ), Mikulski (D-MD), Murray (D-WA), Obama (D-IL), Pryor (D-AR), Reed (D-RI), Reid (D-NV), Salazar (D-CO), Sarbanes (D-MD), Schumer (D-NY), & Wyden (D-OR) all voted against the amendment
- U.S. Existing-Home Sales Fall to Four-Month Low; Consumer Confidence Rises - A day after new homes sales jumped unexpectedly, existing homes sales fell less than expected and consumer confidence is up. Maybe the country is finally catching on that the doom and gloom isn't as doomy or gloomy as it seems. "Consumers were less optimistic this month about the current economic environment than they were about the future. The share of people expecting better employment opportunities in the next six months increased."
June 29th, 2006
- Tennessee executes only second person in 45 years - "This morning Sedley Alley became the second person in 45 years to be executed in Tennessee." Sedley was convicted and executed for the rape and murder of 19 year old marine Suzzane Collins in 1985, over 20 years ago. Hopefully Suzanne's friends and family were able to witness the execution and close that terrible chapter in their lives.
June 30th, 2006
- House Plans Push to End Offshore Oil Drilling Ban - You still couldn't drill within 50 mles of shore and states have the option to push that to 100 miles, an option that must be renewed every 5 years. The bill would also allow for sharing between federal and state governments of the billions of dollars in oil and gas royalties. Democrats of course threaten filibuster. Is there anything they won't threaten to filibuster?
- Women vote in Kuwait parliamentary elections for first time - Some districts are saying the turnout of elligible female voters is as high as 66% (compared to 77% of elligible men). And with the new right to vote comes the right to run for office as well. There are 27 women running for 50 seats in parliament as well.
- Fed Lifts Rate to 5.25%, Further Move Depends on Data - Bernanke raises rates another quarter. "Fed officials are also trying to avoid a hard landing for the economy where high interest rates may restrain job growth and curtail spending. The average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage jumped to 6.86 percent last week, the highest in more than four years, the Mortgage Bankers Association said yesterday."
July 3rd, 2006
July 5th, 2006
- Crack found in foam on shuttle fuel tank - A 5 inch long crack was found in the insulation on Discorvery's external fuel tank, but despite that NASA hasn't ruled out a possible launch tomorrow. The crack was caused as the fuel tank expanded and shrunk as it was filled with supercooled propellant which also caused a 3 inch chunk to fall off to the platform below. Scientists of course plan to take more time to evaluate the problem though initial statements say this wouldn't effect the launch if it had gone undetected.
- Manufacturing in U.S. Expands at Slower Pace as ISM Index Falls to 53.8 - After increasing the fed funds rate another quarter last week and hinting that the economy is moderately slowing and they're looking for any excuse to stop increasing rates, the first indicator since then doesn't help the situation much as prices paid by factories for energy and raw materials increased more than anticipated.
July 6th, 2006
July 7th, 2006
- Calderon wins disputed Mexico vote: Leftist candidate alleges fraud, vows court challenge - Well that's a relief. He's bound to be better than Fox, because only the leftist weenie Obrador could have been worse. And you'll notive that once the leftist loses, he immediately thinks there was fraud and promises lawsuits. The left can't win fair and try to force their hands by using left friendly courts. What a bunch of crap.
- U.S. Service-Industries Growth Slows More Than Estimated as Orders Decline - Service industries in the U.S. expanded less than economists expected in June, bearing out the Federal Reserve's prediction of slowing growth. The Institute for Supply Management's index of non- manufacturing businesses including banks, builders and retailers dropped to 57 from 60.1 in May. Readings above 50 indicate expansion in industries that account for most of the economy.
July 10th, 2006
- 24 Palestinians Killed by Israeli Terrorist Forces on Thursday, Invading Forces Re-Occupied the City of Beit Lahiya - If you read the linked article, I like how al Jazeera labels the Israeli forces as occupying terrorists. And Hamas/PA Interior Minister calls urges "security services" to fight the "cowardly Zionist attack." Maybe it's me but I'd call kidnapping and beheading captives cowardly as opposed to an open fight in the streets. But that's just me...
- London Bomber Outlines Motives in Video - Shehzad Tanweer, one of the four suicide bombers on the 7/7 attacks, says it's because the Brits are oppressing women and children in Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Chechnya and have committed genocide in Fallujah where they reportedly murdered 150,000 people. The city only had 350,000 to begin with. I think if we'd killed 150,000 people, someone other than this whackjob in hiding with a video camera, would have documented such atrocities.
- U.S. Payrolls Increase Less Than Estimated; Wages Gain More Than Forecast - "July 7 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. economy added fewer jobs in June than economists forecast, reducing the urgency for further Federal Reserve interest-rate increases even as wages rose the most in five years. The 121,000 gain in payrolls followed a 92,000 rise in May, the Labor Department said today in Washington. Hourly earnings rose 3.9 percent from a year ago and the unemployment rate stayed at 4.6 percent, an almost five-year low.
July 11th, 2006
- U.N. Vote on N. Korea Resolution Delayed - Go figure... Who didn't see this coming? Chinese ambassador "Wang Guangya told reporters after a meeting with envoys from Russia, the United States, Britain, France and Japan that the resolution would have to be altered for the council to approve it. 'If they wish to have a resolution, they should have a modified one, not this one,' he said."
- At least 15 hurt in building collapse - It's believed to be the result of a suicide attempt by a Dr. Nicholas Bartha who was going through a nasty divorce. Whenever I hear doctor stories like these I always remember that as a profession doctors have some of the highest rates of alcoholism, drug abuse, divorce, and suicide. Most of them are too smart for their own good...
- U.S. Stocks Gain on Second-Qtr Profit Outlook; Alcoa Advances - " U.S. stocks rose on anticipation that second-quarter earnings reports, starting with Alcoa Inc.'s results, will confirm growth exceeded 10 percent for the 12th straight period." And on top of that oil prices dropped on the belief that the record prices from last week due to North Korea's missile launch were "unjustified." Duh.
July 12th, 2006
- Chechen rebel Shamil Basayev killed - I think this is actually from yesterday and I missed it somehow. Work must be getting in the way of blogging. Anyway... another dead terrorist. Yea! This is the terrorist behind the Beslan massacre from 2 years ago, and now he's dead. Double yea!! Putin is happy he got his man. Now if we can just get him to work with us on North Korea and Iran and the rest of the GWOT, we'll be in better shape...
July 13th, 2006
- Young Lifts AL Over NL in All-Star Game - Stupid American League. Why the hell can't the National League win any of these?!? The NL is the more challenging league by far because it gives the managers a role in the game as opposed the AL an the designated hitter which pretty much lets the manager sit on his butt and twiddle his thumbs the entire game... Sheesh...
- U.S. Economy: Trade Deficit Widens Less Than Forecast - Oh, come on... can't we come up with a better headline than that? "American companies exported a record amount of goods in May, keeping the trade deficit from widening as much as forecast." Budget deficit shrinking, trade deficit shrinking... you'd think the economy was in the crapper the way people talk about it...
July 14th, 2006
- Specter: Deal reached with White House on wiretaps; Legislation would let FISA court decide legality of NSA program - The White House is bending over backwards to let the courts dictate how we defend this country instead of acting presidential and continuing to use the completely legal programs as he had the days just after 9/11. Whenever it involves something going to court, I get nervous and expect the worst. I hope I'm wrong...
- "Our aim is to win – nothing is safe," Israeli chiefs declare - It appears Israel is fully committed to just about any action necessary to bring about their victory and it's making the rest of the Middle East nervous. Hezbollah launched rockets at Haifa and other border towns without discretion. They hit farms and kibbutzes and forced the closure of hospitals and schools, sending thousands into bomb shelters. Can you say double standard?
- Plame sues Cheney, Rove, Libby - HAHAHAHAHAHA! What a bunch of crap! "The lawsuit accuses Cheney, Libby, Rove and 10 unnamed administration officials or political operatives of putting the Wilsons and their children's lives at risk by exposing Plame." Riiiight. Plame was so sooper-dooper sekret, she was the only one who knew she was undercover. See my previous posts here, here, and here.
- U.S. Jobless Claims Rise to 332,000 on Temporary Shutdowns by Automakers - Key word here is temporary; new machinery is being installed in many autoplants for the upcoming year models. So the 19,000 claims increase for the week is distorted by those temporary our of work auto workers. Overall though the record 4.6% unemployment statyed the same and much of the same is expected with a small chance at a slight increase.
July 17th, 2006
- Oil tops $78, gold rallies as a safe haven - "Oil ended firmer in New York after surging to a record high above $78 early on Friday on escalating conflict between Israel and Lebanon and supply fears in Nigeria, while gold rose 2 percent on its appeal as a safe haven and inflation hedge."
- Retail Sales, Consumer Confidence in U.S. Fall on Higher Fuel Costs, Rates - Looks like the fed is getting the result they're looking for: controlling inflation with what seems like 50 consecutive rate hikes. "Sales at U.S. retailers unexpectedly fell [-0.1] and consumer confidence declined [84.9 fell to 83.0] as the economy struggled under the burden of near-record gasoline prices and higher interest rates."
July 18th, 2006
- Hooters chairman dies of natural causes - Founder and CEO Robert Brooks died of natural causes and was 69. And in his immortal words, "Good food, cold beer and pretty girls never go out of style." And it is with that in mind I will head to the new Hooters here in town that is coincidentally having its grand opening today and enjoy some good food, cold beer, and pretty girls...
- Death toll in Indonesia tsunami at 86 - A 7.7 undersea earthquake caused a tsunami on the main island of Java, specifically the resort town Pangandaran. No tsunami warning was issued because Java has no such system in place. The wave is said to have come 900 feet inland and affected 110 miles of beaches.
- Olmert sets conditions for end to fighting - "Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Monday the fighting in Lebanon would end when the two Israeli soldiers captured by Hezbollah guerrillas were freed, rocket attacks on Israel were stopped, and the Lebanese army was deployed along the border." Hasn't the MSM been paying attention? Those have been the conditions for a ceasefire since all this began with Cpl. Shalit. Why that's major headline news now makes zero sense. Perhaps the MSM should report that the terrorist groups insist on a prisoner; one Israel soldier for 1,000 Islamic terrorists.
- Industrial Production in U.S. Grows More Than Forecast; Plant Use Expands - "The 0.8 percent increase in output at the nation's factories, mines and utilities last month followed a 0.1 percent rise in May that was previously reported as a decline, the Federal Reserve said in Washington. The proportion of industrial capacity in use rose to 82.4 percent, the highest in six years."
July 19th, 2006
- Oil Falls on Signs Shipments Won't Be Cut by Lebanon Conflict - Well here's a little good news on the oil price front... "Crude oil for August delivery fell $1.76, or 2.3 percent, to close at $73.54 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Futures touched $78.40 on July 14, the highest since trading began in 1983. Futures have fallen 4.5 percent in the past two sessions, the biggest two-day decline since mid-May."
- Producer Prices in U.S. Rise 0.5 Percent; Core Rate Increases 0.2 Percent - "Prices paid to U.S. producers jumped in June on higher costs for food, energy and cars, giving the Federal Reserve more reason to raise interest rates next month. The 0.5 percent increase followed a 0.2 percent advance in May, the Labor Department said in Washington today. Excluding food and fuel, the monthly price gain wasn't as strong: The so- called core rate rose 0.2 percent."
July 20th, 2006
- U.S. Stocks Rally After Bernanke Comments; IBM, JPMorgan Gain - Rates improved too... "U.S. stocks had their biggest rally in three weeks after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said economic growth is moderating, suggesting the central bank may pause after two years of raising interest rates." This is the power the federal reserve chairman has; the markets hang on his every word.
- U.S. Economy: Consumer Prices Rise, Home Starts Fall - "Consumer prices rose in June and home construction slumped, evidence that while the U.S. economy is slowing, inflation isn't yet. Prices paid by Americans for goods and services excluding food and fuel increased 0.3 percent for a fourth straight month, the Labor Department said in Washington, exceeding economist forecasts. Housing starts dropped a larger-than-expected 5.3 percent, Commerce Department figures showed."
July 21st, 2006
- U.N. chief calls for immediate cease-fire - The appropriate response to that headline is laughter. No one takes that seriously because, honestly, what are they gonna do about it? Send in troops? Subject Israel to sanctions? Call Israel names and make them take a time out? That really seems to be the level that the UN is at. All bark and no bite. And the bark really isn't much more than a squeak either...
- Fed Minutes Show Rate-Decision `Uncertainty'; Members See Inflation Easing - "Federal Reserve officials were undecided in June about future interest-rate decisions and expressed concern about higher inflation while expecting it to decline... The minutes show the Fed forecasting a slowing economy to help trim inflation as members decided to raise the benchmark overnight lending rate to 5.25 percent, the 17th straight increase. Chairman Ben S. Bernanke, speaking to Congress this week, laid the groundwork for a pause in saying central bankers must be wary of lifting borrowing costs too far."
July 24th, 2006
- Virginia brings back electric chair for execution - And why you may ask? He wanted to die that way rather than by lethal injection. Far be it from me to deny the convicted murderer and rapist his preferred way to die. I of course would have preferred something a bit more gruesome and befitting his crimes, but prisoner right weasels would have probably been upset. Hell, they're saying lethal injection is cruel and unusual nowadays, so who knows....
- US dismisses Israel-Lebanon ceasefire as unrealistic - When you're looking for some common sense in the UN, the only person you can turn to in that vapid wasteland is John Bolton. "'I think it's a very fundamental question how a terrorist group agrees to a cease-fire,' said John Bolton, U.S. ambassador to the UN. 'Who makes the commitments that the terrorist group will abide by a cease-fire? What does a terrorist group think a cease-fire is?' he said."
- Bernanke's Words Deepen Divide Among Economists on Path of Interest Rates - "Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke's congressional testimony accentuated a split among economists about where interest rates are headed after next month. Bernanke forecast slower economic growth and an easing of inflation, which a government report this week showed rose for a sixth consecutive month. In his testimony, the chairman, 52, signaled he's open to suspending the Fed's two-year campaign to increase rates; minutes of the Fed's June policy meeting released yesterday showed officials unsure of their next move."
July 25th, 2006
- New Miss Universe is crowned, then faints - No, it wasn't Miss USA (who's totally hot, by the way). It was Miss Puerto Rico, Zuleyka Rivera Mendoza who is only 18 years old. And since she wants to become an actress in the future, she added a little drama to the festivities and fainted shortly after her name was announced. Fortunately someone caught her and no hotties were harmed in the making of this pageant. Congrats to Miss Universe and to Miss USA who came in 5th in the voting.
July 27th, 2006
- Consumer Confidence in U.S. Unexpectedly Rises; Existing-Home Sales Drop - "Confidence among U.S. consumers unexpectedly rose for a second month, offsetting the impact of a decline in home sales on spending... Consumer confidence is being bolstered by gains in employment and income that are helping mitigate the effects of rising gasoline prices and interest rates. Consumer spending will grow 'at a moderate pace' as the real estate market cools, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke told Congress last week."
July 31st, 2006
- Andrea Yates Verdict: She's Nuts - Well, that won't go into the official court transcripts, but it ought to. Along with "the jury's nuts too"... She's insane? Well duh, but so was Manson, and a ton of other criminals. They've all got a screw loose somewhere. Sending Yates to an asylum until she's no longer deemed a threat is nuts. Does the jury really think she's going to get better? Maybe we should let her babysit their kids when she gets out. We'll see what they say then...
- Metallica Caves, Joins iTunes - Well it's about time. I can't believe it took them this long. The entire industry is being reshaped and they were playing the ostrich sticking their heads in the sand hoping it would pass them by. They survive Napster and much of the music pirating issues that went with Napster. But iTunes is completely legit, so why not put your music out their for people to buy it? It's like reading "dead tree" news... Who still does that? I just get the paper for the Sudoku and Crosswords... really...
- Lance Bass Is Gay, The Rest Of NSync Apparently Not Gay - It seems like the overall reaction to this story from most of the people I've talked to is, "Duh." It's not like it really matters to anyone who's not female or older than 13. N'SYNC hasn't done anything in, what, 5 years? So enjoy Lance; I just can't believe that this is that big a news story...
- U.S. Economy: Orders Show Economy Retains Momentum - "Orders for U.S.-made durable goods rose more than forecast in June, pointing to momentum in manufacturing that's likely to keep the economy growing as the housing market sputters. The 3.1 percent jump in orders for goods made to last at least three months followed a revised 0.3 percent gain the month before, the Commerce Department said today in Washington."
August 10th, 2006
August 11th, 2006
- Oil, Gasoline Fall as Terrorist Plot May Reduce Demand for Fuel - Interesting... my initial reaction was it might increase prices... "Crude oil fell and gasoline plunged the most since September on speculation fuel demand will slow after U.K. authorities arrested 21 men planning to blow up airplanes heading to the U.S. from Britain. The threat of terror attacks may reduce travel and consumer spending, curbing economic growth. In the three months after the Sept. 11 assault, oil fell 35 percent. Prices also dropped today after BP Plc said it may keep operating part of the Prudhoe Bay oil field, the largest in the U.S. Prices surged on Aug. 7 when the company said it would shut all operations."
- Trade Deficit in U.S. Narrows on Record Exports; Jobless Claims Increase - "Imports exceeded exports by $64.8 billion, following a $65 billion gap in May that was larger than previously reported, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. American imports of cars and consumer goods such as televisions and clothes also increased... Initial jobless claims rose by 7,000 to 319,000 in the week that ended Aug. 5, from the prior week's 312,000. The less- volatile four-week moving average fell to 308,750 from 312,500."
August 14th, 2006
- Typhoon kills 104 in China; 190 missing - "The most powerful typhoon to hit China in a half century killed 104 people and left at least 190 missing Friday after it blacked out cities and smashed more than 50,000 houses in the southeast part of the country." Nothing against the Chinese, but I'm hoping strong typhoons in the Asian rim means weaker hurricanes for the gulf coast...
- U.S. embassy warns of terrorist attacks in India - It may not be any specific threat because Britain, Germany, and India all said they're unaware of anything specific. India's independence day is forthcoming and it could be a warning just for that. I'm sure we all recall the Mumbai train bomb from last month that killed 186 and wounded 700. We'd certainly want to avoid that sort of disaster again...
- Retail Sales in U.S. Rise in Sign Economy Not Slowing as Fast as Fed Hoped - There's a headline for you... "Damn, the economy's still working really well... I hate it when that happens." The 1.4 percent jump, which exceeded forecasts, followed a 0.4 percent drop in June, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. A separate report from the Labor Department said the price of imported goods climbed 0.9 percent last month, after no change in June.
August 15th, 2006
- Ailing Castro receives Chavez at his bedside - That's so nice of Hugo! Go visit his commie brother... take him a nice get well bouquet. What a sweetheart! It was Castro's birthday too; double trouble! "The gallery of pictures posted on Granma's Web site (http://www.granma.cubaweb.cu) show Chavez shaking Castro's hand on his 80th birthday on Sunday, handing him presents, writing notes together and drinking what appears to be milk."
- U.S. Stocks Rally on Lower Oil, Lebanon Truce; GE, UPS Advance - Still I don't think the truce is worth it... "U.S. stocks rallied to their biggest gain in two weeks after crude oil prices fell and a cease-fire began in the Middle East. The drop in energy prices eased concern that higher inflation will threaten economic growth and curtail profits."
August 16th, 2006
- Carlson, Springer to compete on 'Dancing With the Stars" - Everytime you think it can't get any worse, it does. Reality TV has hit a new all-time low. I can't believe Tucker Carlson and Jerry Springer are going to do the new Dancing with the Stars. Do Tucker Carlson and Jerry Springer really need this kind of exposure? And more importantly, will Tucker wear his bowtie when he dances?
- British detain another suspect in plot - The reports say police raided two internet cafes near the homes of several suspects arrested last week and searches of woodlands around the suspects homes yielded a rifle and a handgun. There was no information released on the latest suspect arrested and no word on whether the latest arrest was made prior to or after these raids
- U.S. Core Producer Prices Drop, Reinforcing Fed Decision to Pause on Rates - "Prices paid to U.S. producers excluding food and energy unexpectedly fell in July, the first piece of evidence backing the Federal Reserve's forecast that inflation will slow. The so-called core rate dropped 0.3 percent, the first decrease since October, the Labor Department said today in Washington. None of the 60 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News forecast a decline. Overall prices gained 0.1 percent."
August 17th, 2006
- London-Washington flight diverted after disruption - The United Airlines flight landed in Boston after a 60 year old woman on board caused a ruckus when she became extremely claustrophobic. Authorities know this was not a terrorists threat, but nevertheless, they are searching her luggage and the plane was escorted to Boston by fighter jets. This must have been some confrontation on board with a 60 year old woman to get this kind of response.
- U.S. Core Consumer Prices Rise Least in Five Months; Housing Starts Drop - Looks like the economy is coasting along rather smoothly at the moment... purring like a kitten. "Consumer prices in the U.S. rose at the slowest pace in five months while home construction fell and industrial production climbed less than expected, validating the Federal Reserve's assertion that interest rates are high enough to slow the economy and tame inflation."
August 18th, 2006
- Breast implants linked to suicide, but not cancer - Do I bring you the important headlines or what? Do ya think that perhaps it has to do with people who are unhappy with their physical appearance are unhappy with themselves on a deeper level as well? Look at the freak Michael Jackson has become after, what, 7 different plastic surgeries. If you're unhappy with yourself, you're more likely to commit suicide.
- Bottle prompts W.Va. terminal evacuation - Some lady's water bottle tested positive for explosives. Twice. The airport's been shut down, the terminal evacuated, yada yada yada... Here's a tip people. When they say no liquids on the flight, something tells me they mean it. Then again maybe she missed all the news reports from airports that had people throwing water, alchohol, makeup, lotion, etc into dumpsters...
- Bomb Squad Inspecting Container For Explosives At Seattle Port - Apparently the container aroused suspicions when its contents didn't match the manifest; it was supposed to contain "oily rags." As if oily rags isn't suspicious enough? Who ships oily rags anyway? Why not wash them first and then ship them? The port has been evacuated and a half mile perimeter is being enforced.
- N.Y. Crude Oil Falls on Weaker Gasoline Demand, Slower Economy - "Crude oil futures in New York fell to the lowest price in almost two months on decreased demand for gasoline as the summer driving season ends and signs of slowing U.S. economic growth. Demand for the motor fuel fell 1.7 percent last week, the biggest decline since April, the U.S. Energy Department said yesterday. Gasoline futures today fell to their lowest price in more than four months. The index of leading economic indicators unexpectedly dropped 0.1 percent in July, reinforcing forecasts that the U.S. economy will slow in the second half of the year."
August 21st, 2006
- Breast implants saves woman after Hezbollah attack - I felt kinda bad after my story yesterday that showed a higher incidence of suicide in women who get breast implants, so I thought I'd follow that up with something more... err... uplifting. This young Israeli woman's life was saved by her silicon implant when it prevented a piece of shrapnel from penetrating into her chest cavity. Style and functionality... what a combo!
- Bomb Scare on Passenger Jet Forces Emergency Landing - The whole thing ended up being a false alarm. A passenger found a note in a seat pocket that said "There is a bomb on this aircraft." The flight was then diverted from Egypt, escorted by F-16s to Italy, where it was searched and nothing was found. The best part is that the sicko who wrote the "joke note" wrote it on the back of a barf bag. Guess he couldn't handle the turbulence...
- U.S. Economy: Consumer Optimism Wanes on Terror Fears - "Terrorism fears and higher gasoline prices unexpectedly drove confidence among U.S. consumers this month to its lowest level since October. The University of Michigan's preliminary index of sentiment declined more than forecast, to 78.7 from 84.7 in July. Waning optimism threatens to slow consumer spending, which accounts for about three-fourths of gross domestic product." People obviously aren't paying attention, because gas prices are going down at the moment...
August 22nd, 2006
- Former President Ford receives pacemaker - Former President Ford is 93 years young and just got a pacemaker. Seems he's held up remarkably well for his age as well as the stress that the office puts on the man who occupies it. Clinton looked like he aged 20 years after his 8 in office, I'm sure Dubya's 8 will take a toll on him as well. Rest up Gerald... get well soon.
- Scores killed as trains collide in Egypt - More than 100 have been injured and possibly up to 80 have died in Egypt's worst train wreck in 4 years. But that this is only the worst in 4 years suggests their train system may need a little help. Two disasters like this in a 4 year period would be cause for some sort of Senate inquiry into the matter.
- Time only thing standing between Tiger and Jack - Tiger is now only 6 titles behind Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 and being that Tiger is only 30, it really is only a matter of time before he eclipses that record as well. Watching some of the tournament this weekend, the announcers put up another fascinating stat; Tiger has never lost a Major if he led or co-led going into the final day of play. Unreal... Man, if I only had the golf skills that he has in his little pinky...
- Crude Oil Rises as Iran Says It Will Rejects UN's Nuclear Offer- Did anyone really expect them to cave just because the UN said so? Me either... "Crude oil rose as Iran, risking economic sanctions, said it will defy a United Nations resolution and continue enriching uranium. Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has ruled out suspending the nuclear program, the state-run Iranian Students News Agency said. The UN gave Iran until the end of the month to accept an offer of incentives to halt the program or face sanctions. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad plans to respond to the offer tomorrow. Iran pumps about 4.5 percent of the world's oil."
August 23rd, 2006
- "Dark matter" is real: scientists - This was too cool to pass up, unlike the story last week about scientists adding 3 more planets to our solar system. Scientists still don't even know what dark matter really is, but theorize that it exists to account for the amount of gravity needed to hold the universe together. THAT's cool. Their proof was watching gas clouds collide over 100 hours. Somehow as they watched the paint dry, I mean, watched the gas clouds separate they were able to isolate dark matter.
- JonBenet suspect ordered sent to Colorado - That guy just looks like a child molester. And everyone's using his middle name too... John Mark Karr... like he's an assassin like Lee Harvey Oswald or John Wilkes Booth. He's got five counts against him including murder, kidnapping, and sexual assault on a child. Seems like there ought to be more charges against him than that...
- U.S. Stocks Rise as Iran Agrees to Talks; Advanced Micro Gains - Just substitute "talks" for "playing the delay game to buy time to develop a nuclear weapon" because that's what they're doing. "U.S. stocks resumed their August rally after Iran, the world's fourth-largest oil producer, agreed to begin talks about its nuclear program, easing concern crude supplies may be disrupted."
August 24th, 2006
- Cruise dumped by studio as 'erratic behaviour' dents box office appeal - They could very well have just put up a headline that said "Tome Cruise is weird" because the more the man is in front off the cameras the more I just have to think that's he's mentally unbalanced. Scientology is one thing. People believe all sorts of stupid things, hell, I bet more people actually believe Elvis is still alive. But all that running and jumping around and screaming and yelling really makes it tough to tell the difference between Tom and the average crazy homeless guy roaming Central Park...
- New 'Survivor' divides groups by race - Racists!! I can't believe that it even occurred to some producers at CBS. It's preposterous!! It's scandalous!! It's should be illegal!! Where's the ACLU when you actually need them?! It's actually making me interested in watching the show and we just can't have that! I want to sue!!
- New method makes embryo-safe stem cells - "The new method works by taking an embryo at a very early stage of development and removing a single cell, which can be coaxed into spawning an embryonic stem cell line. With only one cell removed, the rest of the embryo retains its full potential for development." Seems particularly risky if you ask me, potentially unsafe for the embryo, but as long as it's not part of an "embryo farming" situation, it is legal. Just to remind everyone, embryonic stem cell research IS LEGAL. Bush only banned government funding for embryonic stem cell research.
- U.S. Existing-Home Sales Plunge, Suggesting Fed Won't Raise Interest Rates - "Sales of previously owned U.S. homes fell in July to the lowest in more than two years, a slowdown that may lead the Federal Reserve to keep interest rates steady for a second month... The report comes a day after Chicago Fed President Michael Moskow said a sharper-than-expected decline in housing would be a risk to the economy. While Moskow also warned of the need for higher interest rates to stem inflation, some economists say slackening growth is more likely to stay the central bank's hand."
August 28th, 2006
- Russell Simmons Endorses ... GOPer Steele! - Wow... That's incredible. "Simmons is also throwing a fundraiser for Steele which will include Cathy Hughes of Radio One. He's certainly an unlikely supporter of Steele. He registered black voters en masse against President Bush in 2004 and has even contributed to the Huffington Post." That fundraiser's definitely not going to be the typical stuffy fundraiser...
- Dinky Pluto loses its status as planet - For some reason astronomers have decided to demote Pluto from planet to "dwarf planet" because it's small, distant, and it's orbit overlaps the orbit of Neptune. The planetary guidelines clearly state that a planet must have it's own orbit that does not "clear the neighborhood around its orbit." (In science-eese that means overlap) Therefore: not a plant. Pluto, from the Disney galaxy is still a dog however, but Goofy's status as a dog is still in question...
- U.S. plane's diversion not related to terrorism: Dutch minister - The suspects are still being held in custody, but Dutch police are confirming that there's no indication of any terrorism threat. Other news agencies are reporting the men were of "Indian" descent, between the ages of 25 and 35 and were all men. Their weird behavior is what led to their arrests and nothing more has been discovered at this point.
- U.S. Durables Orders Excluding Transportation Rise - "U.S. companies ordered more computers and machinery last month, suggesting corporate investment will help sustain economic growth as housing and consumer spending slow. Orders for durable goods excluding transportation equipment, which is volatile, increased a larger-than-forecast 0.5 percent in July, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. Declines in demand for commercial aircraft and motor vehicles resulted in a 2.4 percent drop in total orders after a revised 3.5 percent increase that was more than first reported."
August 25th, 2006
- John Mark Karr's DNA not a match - Well, shit. I know there'd been lots of talk that was doubting his confession... that he's was in some sick way obsessed with the case, even going so far as to hound Colorado officials and professors with intimate knowledge of the case just to glean a few facts. So as of rigght now, Boulder District Attorney Mary Lacy will not be filing charges against Karr. We'll have to see if she decides to take this case any further.
- Is Pamela Anderson Pregnant? - Dear God I hope not. Apparently she dropped some hints on Ryan Seacrest's KIIS FM morning show. Now I actually like Pam; I'm probably in the minority there, but I still think she's pretty hot. That in know way means I want her reproducing with Kid Rock. That is going to be the biggest white trash baby ever....
- Crude Oil Falls as Tropical Storm Veers Away From Gulf Output - "Crude oil fell more than $2 a barrel as Tropical Storm Ernesto veered away from oil- and gas-producing areas in the Gulf of Mexico that were damaged by Hurricane Katrina a year ago. Prices rose last week on concern that the storm would follow the path of Katrina, which shut 95 percent of offshore output in the region, pushing oil to a record. Katrina made landfall on Aug. 30, 2005. Ernesto is expected to make landfall on Florida's southern tip Aug. 30 and move along the Atlantic coast, missing fields located in the western and central Gulf."
August 29th, 2006
- Ethiopian flood toll hits 639, govt seeks aid - 639 deaths is bad enough, but when you add 118,000 homeless it's a terrible catastrophy. "With many areas still inaccessible due to raging waters, silt and marsh, there were growing concerns of a sharp rise in the death toll and fears were rising of outbreaks of deadly water-borne diseases, officials said."
- Oil Rises on Signs Storm May Intensify, Move to Gulf of Mexico - Seems investors are being a skittish lot about this. You recall all the talk about a record hurricane season this year? So far the number don't agree. "Crude oil rose on speculation that a storm heading for the Gulf of Mexico may strengthen enough to threaten oil platforms and refineries. Winds swirling over the Caribbean Sea may intensify later today into the fifth tropical storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, forecasters said. No hurricanes have formed this season. By this time a year earlier 11 named storms had formed, four of them hurricanes. Oil rose to a record after Hurricane Katrina shut platforms off the U.S. Gulf coast in August 2005." So far we've had hald as many storms and zero hurricanes compared to 4 by this time last year. Record my ass.
August 30th, 2006
- U.S. Economy: Consumer Optimism Drops to 9-Month Low - "Americans, rattled by higher gasoline prices and a softening labor market, were less confident in August than at any time in the past nine months. The Conference Board's index dropped to 99.6 from 107.0 in July, the New York-based business group said today. The decline was the biggest since last September, after Hurricane Katrina battered the Gulf Coast. Concerns about inflation and job prospects may hold down the consumer spending that accounts for 70 percent of the economy."
- Crude Oil Falls Below $70 as Ernesto May Bypass Gulf of Mexico - "Crude oil dropped below $70 a barrel and natural gas fell as oil companies prepared to send workers back into the Gulf of Mexico and Tropical Storm Ernesto moved away from the region's oil fields. Royal Dutch Shell Plc plans to return workers to rigs and platforms after Ernesto shifted to the east toward Florida. Prices rose last week on concern the storm would move into the western and central Gulf, where damage from Hurricane Katrina shut platforms and rigs a year ago. Natural gas has plunged 15 percent in two days because of the change in the storm's course."
August 31st, 2006
- U.S. Economy: Second-Quarter Growth, Income Revised - "The U.S. economy slowed less in the second quarter than the government previously estimated and incomes jumped, easing concern that the expansion might be coming to an end. Gross domestic product, the sum of all goods and services produced, rose at an annual rate of 2.9 percent, up from the 2.5 percent reported in July, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. The economy grew at a 5.6 percent pace in the first quarter."
September 1st, 2006
- Man seized after UK Embassy breach - Paleswinian splodey-dope terrorists are trying to kill citizens from the "Great Satan" west now as an armed man broke into the British and reportedly demanded asylum. Maybe it's just me, but I would think that if you really want asylum in the west, demanding it at gunpoint probably isn't the best way to get it. Just a thought...
- Drug discount bill is headed for governor - This must be local politics day for whatever reason, and Arnold's only batting .500 because all reports says he's gonna sign this one into law too. This bill forces drug companies to cut name brand drug prices by 40% and generics by 60%. California Legislature approved this straight down party lines; all Dems voted for it all Repubs voted against it. Repubs were against it because it could hurt drug companies profits which fuel new research and potentially cost pharmaceutical jobs.
- Bolton: U.N. must now focus on sanctions - Sanctions. Woo-hoo. These better be some stiff ass sanctions. Bolton says China and Russia are on board with the sanctions (finally) so we'll see how tough the UN gets on Iran. Here's a quick Bolton quote: "There's simply no explanation for the range of Iranian behavior which we've seen over the years other than that they're pursuing a weapons capability." Amen to that.
- U.S. Economy: Consumer Spending Gains, Inflation Tame - "U.S. consumer spending rose the most since January and a measure of inflation increased less than estimated, suggesting a prolonged economic expansion that will let the Federal Reserve keep interest rates steady through year- end. Personal spending climbed 0.8 percent last month, following a 0.4 percent gain in June, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. The department's price gauge tied to spending and excluding food and energy rose 0.1 percent. Two more reports signaled growth in manufacturing will continue."
September 5th, 2006
- Chavez Seeks `Indefinite' Term as Venezuelan Leader - "Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who is running for re-election in December, said he would call a referendum in 2010 to change the constitution, allowing him to hold office without any term limit." No shit. He wants to be the next Fidel Castro, supreme leader forever... He says the people will decide. What do you want to bet that 80%+ of the people will approve that? Just a hunch...
- 29 killed in Iranian plane fire - Apparently, when the plane landed it's tire blew, or came off somehow which sparked, causing the plane to catch fire. Initial reports put the death toll at 80 of the 148 passengers, but, as the link title says, the corrected count is 29 dead. Many of you may recall another Iranian plane back in December of last year that crashed, killing everyone on board. Iran blamed the US for that plane crash, so we'll have to see if the stick to that pattern. UPDATE: Wing scraping against the ground caused the spark that ignited the plane.
- Agassi lives on after thriller - Andre is still alive in the US Open after defeating Marcos Baghdatis in the second round last night. Andre's has already announced that he will retire after the US Open and that this is going to be his final tournament. Baghdatis was a finalist at the Australian Open. I like Agassi... I think he's a classy guy. Good luck Andre... I hope you win one last Grand Slam before heading off into the sunset with Stefi Graf...
- U.S. Payrolls Rise 128,000, Backing Fed View That Slowdown Will Be Gradual - Key words here? Lowest unemployment in 5 years. "Job growth in the U.S. picked up in August and the unemployment rate approached a five-year low, the latest in a string of reports validating the Federal Reserve's forecast that the economic slowdown will be gradual. Employers added 128,000 workers to their payrolls, up from a revised 121,000 in July, the Labor Department reported in Washington today. The jobless rate declined to 4.7 percent from 4.8 percent as separate reports showed manufacturing expanded and consumers grew more confident as the month wore on."
September 6th, 2006
- Five More Money Mistakes to Avoid - With a title like that I'd have bet money that strip clubs would have been listed, maybe even marriage if the author was really cynical. But no... teh five are funding retirement on a home equity line, not paying off the mortgage early, not having a will drawn, no "long term investing", and assuming role as the family's lone money manager. What? No strippers? There's zero ROI there...
- Chevron Well Tests New Gulf of Mexico Oil Deposit - "Chevron Corp. said it completed the deepest successful test of a Gulf of Mexico well, showing it may be possible to produce billions of barrels of oil from a new undersea deposit. The well was tested at more than 20,000 feet beneath the sea floor in 7,000 feet of water, 175 miles (282 kilometers) off the Louisiana coast, according to a statement from Chevron, the field's operator and 50 percent owner. The new deposits that are being explored may hold 3 billion to 15 billion barrels of oil, Chevron spokeswoman Margaret Cooper said."
- Tiger rallies for 5th straight victory - Tiger is the man. What else is there to say? He's got more talent for golf in his pinky finger than I've got in my entire body. That's 5 tournaments entered and 5 tournaments won. And the best line in the story is, "Woods is taking next week off." Woods stil needs 6 more wins in a row to catch the record of 11 held by Byron Nelson, but if anyone can do it, Tiger can. It's just unreal...
- Sorrow and shock after stingray death - The fetching Mrs. Wookie pointed this one out to me over the weekend. The Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin was killed while filming a swim with sting rays. Apparently, the sting ray got spooked and stabbed Steve through the heart with its poisonous barb. It appears that the film crew caught Steve's death on film and his final act was pulling the cerated barb out of his chest. Goodbye Steve, and in a final salute to you: Crikee.
September 11th, 2006
- Al-Qaida in Iraq No. 2's Death Trumpeted - I can't for the life of me figure out why they put the word "death" in the article's title. He was arrested, not killed and that's pretty much all the story's about, When the story first came out it was said Hamed Jumaa Farid al-Saeedi had just abeen arrested a few days earlier, when in fact he'd been arrested back in June. He masterminded several major attacks including the mosque bombing in Samarra, and now he's in jail.
- U.S. Economy: Productivity Slows, Labor Costs Rise - "The productivity of U.S. workers slowed last quarter and labor costs jumped, challenging the Federal Reserve's forecast that inflation will cool along with the economy. Productivity, a measure of employee efficiency, increased at an annual rate of 1.6 percent after a 4.3 percent gain the prior three months, the Labor Department said today in Washington. Labor costs rose at a 4.9 percent pace after gaining 9 percent in the first quarter, the biggest back-to-back increase since 2000."
- Photographic Proof: Suri Exists - Baby Suri Cruise exists! And surprisingly, she's not green and doesn't have any antennae. For the non-believers here's the photographic proof. And they gave the exclusive to Katie Couric. Ugh...
September 12th, 2006
- Oil Trades Near Five-Month Low on Rising Stockpiles, Iran Talks - "Crude oil traded near a five-month low in New York after falling yesterday on signs U.S. fuel stockpiles are rising and Iran may suspend its uranium enrichment to help settle its dispute with the United Nations. Gasoline supplies in the U.S., the world's biggest oil user, probably rose for a fourth straight week, according to an analyst survey... The contract fell 64 cents, or 1 percent, to $65.61 yesterday, the lowest close since March 27. Prices have fallen the past six days, the longest decline since October 2003."
September 13th, 2006
- BMW to roll out hydrogen-powered 7 Series - These are about as clean as it gets; they emit only water vapr when running on hydrogen. The downside is the car is only 260 horsepower on a 12 cylinder engine and does 0 to 60 in 9.5 seconds. BMW has created a faster version, allegedly the world's fastest hydrogen car, but that is unavailable for the consumer. The cars will be available with the capacity to burn both hydrogen and gas since hydrogen availability is scarce.
September 14th, 2006
- Gunmen kill 4, injure 16 at Montreal college: reports - "Up to three gunmen dressed in black army fatigues opened fire in a downtown Montreal college, with early unconfirmed reports saying four people had been killed... The network says one gunman had turned his weapon on himself and committed suicide, while a second had been shot and killed by police." The best quote out of the article is that "'a suspect has been neutralized, which means he is not shooting anymore.'" They've got some brainiacs working on this case...
- Anna Nicole's Son's Death Is Termed 'Suspicious' - Whoa... Her son died?! Yikes... Apparently while he was visiting his mother who just gave birth to a baby girl 3 days ago, there was someone else in the hospital room with them and the autopsy and toxicology reports will be released at the inquest. I didn't even know she was pregnant...
- 65 bodies found in latest Iraq bloodshed - It appears to be the combined work of Sunni and Shiite "death squads." The bodies appeared to have been tortured and were then summarily shot and dumped in the streets. 45 victims were found in predominantly Sunni areas while another 15 were found in Shiite suburbs, and 5 others were found floating in a river.
September 15th, 2006
- Retail Sales in U.S. Unexpectedly Rise 0.2 Percent; Jobless Claims Decline - "Sales rose 0.2 percent, the Commerce Department said today in Washington, defying forecasts of a drop. Excluding automobiles, sales increased by the same margin. The number of first-time unemployment claims dropped by 5,000 to 308,000 last week, according to the Labor Department, which also said import prices climbed 0.8 percent. The economy is approaching the fourth quarter with its expansion intact as incomes rise and oil prices retreat. A slide in home sales and persistent inflation represent challenges to Federal Reserve policy makers, who are likely to keep interest rates unchanged for a second month when they meet on Sept. 20."
September 18th, 2006
- Italy's provocative journalist Fallaci dies - Rest in peace Oriana... "Oriana Fallaci, one of Italy's best-known writers and war correspondents who goaded the world's great and issued a vitriolic assault on Islam after the September 11 attacks on the United States, died on Friday aged 77... Aggressive and provocative to the end, Fallaci made her name as a tenacious interviewer of some of the most famous leaders of the 20th century. She quarreled with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, provoked U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger into likening himself to a cowboy, and tore off a chador (enveloping Islamic robe) in a meeting with Iranian revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini."
- House approves border fence -- still far apart from Senate - This is the second House vote for a fence in the span of a year and approves "A new 700 miles of double-layered fencing won approval on a 283-138 vote, a bigger margin than last December when the House passed it as part of a broader bill that also would have made being an illegal immigrant a felony. The nearly 2,000-mile border now has about 75 miles of fencing." The Senate version of the bill would begin the process of giving amnesty to millions of illegals and calls for only 370 miles of fence. 700's more than 370 but waaaay less than 2000 miles of actual border.
- Iraq to Seal Off Baghdad Next Month - They're gonna get medieval on the terrorists' asses. They're actually going to dig trenches around the city. Soon they'll fill them with water and spikes and nasty creatures; a good old fashioned moat. Next will be big stone walls to officially seal the city off. Sure they're be checkpoints, and randdom searches, yada yada yada... Trenches, moats, and big walls... that's where it's at!
- U.S. Consumer Prices Rise at Slower Pace, Validating Bernanke Rate Stance - "The consumer price index rose 0.2 percent following July's 0.4 percent increase, the Labor Department said today in Washington. Excluding food and energy costs, so-called core prices climbed 0.2 percent for a second month. A report from the University of Michigan showed Americans were more optimistic about the outlook for inflation and the economy as gasoline prices dropped. Stocks and bonds advanced as traders speculated the Fed, whose policy makers meet next week, won't resume lifting interest rates after 17 consecutive increases through June. The central bank, which has been criticized for being complacent about inflation, is forecasting price pressures will ease over the next two years."
September 19th, 2006
- Armed man rams police car, races through U.S. Capitol - This had nothing to do with any sort of terror threat, and everything to do with the fact that the guy was coked out of his mind. No one was injured in the incident, but security at the Capitol was breached if only for a minute or two. The man in custody is Carlos Greene and apparently suffered a seizure after being arrested. He was in possession of crack and a handgun. One officer was quoted as saying the suspect thought "demons were chasing him." That's either a reference to the crack or Democrats... one of the two...
- Current-Account Gap in U.S. Widens More Than Forecast to $218.4 Billion - "The U.S. current-account deficit widened more than forecast last quarter to the second-largest on record as the trade gap expanded and the Treasury paid more interest to overseas investors. The $218.4 billion shortfall in the current account, the broadest measure of trade because it includes transfer payments and investment income, followed a revised $213.2 billion first- quarter gap, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. The Treasury Department said in a separate report that purchases of U.S. securities by international investors slowed in July."
September 20th, 2006
- Kurd Shows Burns Received in Iraq Attack - And what are these burns from you ask? Chemical attacks launched in 1988 against the Kurds by the Iraqi military. I can already hear leftwing moonbats heads exploding... "But Saddam didn't havee any WMDs!!" Well you go to Iraq and tell these Kurds who are testifying that the white smoke from the bombs that caused vomiting, burning eyes, dizziness, immobility, burning, and scarring that Saddam didn't have any type of WMDs. You tell them that their wives and children who were raped and murdered in camps that Saddam is a better alternative in Iraq than what we're trying to do.
- Treasuries Gain as Inflation, Housing Data Suggest Fed Won't Raise Rates - "Treasuries rose the most in a month after government reports showed producer prices increased less than forecast in August and housing construction fell, boosting expectations the Federal Reserve is done raising interest rates. Futures traders added to bets the central bank will leave its target for overnight loans between banks unchanged for the remainder of the year. Policy makers are expected by analysts to leave rates unchanged tomorrow for a second consecutive policy meeting after 17 straight increases since 2004."
September 21st, 2006
- Fed holds interest rates steady - "The U.S. Federal Reserve on Wednesday held its benchmark interest rate steady for a second straight meeting, biding time to assess whether cooling economic growth will curb price pressures. As widely expected, the central bank's policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee voted to keep its overnight federal funds rate target at 5.25 percent, the level it reached in June after 17 straight increases stretching over more than two years."
- Crude Oil Falls, Erasing 2006 Gain, on Iran Talks, U.S. Fuel Inventories - "Crude oil fell, erasing the year's gain, after President George W. Bush backed negotiations in a dispute over Iran's nuclear program and a report today showed greater-than-expected increase in U.S. fuel inventories. Oil plunged yesterday after Bush said he will give diplomacy a chance to prevent the imposition of sanctions on Iran, the world's fourth-biggest oil producer. The fall accelerated after the Energy Department reported heating oil and gasoline supplies rose last week. Prices have declined 22 percent from a record $78.40 a barrel on July 14 as tensions in the Middle East eased."
September 22nd, 2006
- Treasuries Jump, Sending Yields on 10-Year Notes to the Lowest Since March - "U.S. Treasuries rose, sending yields on 10-year notes to six-month lows, after a report showing manufacturing growth in the Philadelphia area unexpectedly contracted added to expectations the economy is slowing. Interest-rate futures show traders are starting to price in odds that the Federal Reserve may even cut interest rates by the end of the year. Central bankers left their target rate for overnight loans between banks unchanged yesterday for a second consecutive policy meeting at 5.25 percent. "
September 26th, 2006
- Peace hopes thwarted as Hamas refuses to recognise Israel - This is exactly why you can't negotiate with terrorists, it's like that saying, if you give a mouse a cookie, he'll want a glass of milk. No matter what you give up, it's never enough for them, and you never get anything you want in return. And I'm sure the lefty moonbats will be all in a tizzy about Hamas being a democratically elected government. Well good for them. That doesn't mean we have to approve of them solely on the fact that they were elected. Don't be daft, we wouldn't approve if the Nazi's were elected into power in Germany again, or an apartheid government reelected in South Africa. Why would a terrorist government be any different?
- Tribals help Pakistan arrest 10 Taliban suspects - This is a big deal for the region... Pakistanis and Afghanis cooperating to flush out terrorists in some of the most rugged terrain in the region. Hopefully these type of agreements can continue because they would be instrumental in the future capture of Osama bin Laden who's rumored to be in the region.
September 27th, 2006
- Berlin Opera Pulled Over Muhammad Scene - Berlin's Deutsche Oper decided to call off production of Mozart's "Idomeneo" which has a scene that features the severed head of the prophet Mohammed (PBUH). And it's not like this is a new production of the opera, it premiered in Berlin in 2003! And it's not like Mozart wanted to show his hatred for Muslims by disgracing Mohammed. He was an equal oppurtunity offender. He had the heads of Jesus, and Poseidon too. Funny how of the religions "offended" by this masterpiece, Muslims would be the only ones to riot over it...
- U.S. Economy: Consumer Confidence Rises More Than Forecast - "Falling gasoline prices fueled a larger-than-forecast rebound in confidence among U.S. consumers, the Conference Board reported today. The New York-based research group's index of sentiment rose to 104.5 this month from a nine-month low of 100.2 in August. Economists estimated a reading of 103, the median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey. More consumers said that jobs were plentiful and more expected their incomes to rise."
September 28th, 2006
- Anna Nicole Smith's Lawyer Says He's Baby's Father - Undoubtedly the least important but most fascinating story of the day. My wife's first reaction was what took them so long to admit it. Having seen her reality show, the two acted like they'd been married for 20 years the way they got along together. It was really only a matter off time before they finally got together.
- GOP picks Twin Cities for its 2008 convention - It appears that the GOP picked Minneapolis/St. Paul in order to capture the media markets for Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota which many see as battleground states. Cities that lost out were Cleveland, New York, Tampa, and St. Petersburg. The one downside is the prevalance of the hippie tree hugger species in the area. I predict lots of protests...
- New-Home Sales in U.S. Rebound From Three-Year Low; Durables Orders Drop - "New-home sales in the U.S. rebounded in August from a three-year low as lenders cut mortgage rates and builders cut prices. Purchases rose 4.1 percent to an annual pace of 1.05 million as the median selling price dropped for the first time since 2003, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. The department also said July sales, at a 1.009 million rate, were worse than expected... Orders placed with factories for durable goods unexpectedly dropped in August after falling in July, the Commerce Department also reported. The 0.5 percent decrease in orders followed a 2.7 percent fall in July, making the first back-to-back decrease since April-May 2004."
October 2nd, 2006
- New York proposes trans fat ban in restaurants - This was actually a headline on Yahoo from yesterday, but I just didn't have the time to comment on it until now. It's just another case of bored politicians trying to enact stupid legislation to force healthy crap on people. (See also banning smoking.) This could make french fries, donuts, cookies, and some margarines illegal. That's just wrong! If people want to eat crap, clog their arteries, and get heart disease, let 'em! It's a free friggin' country! Besides, what will the pregnant women eat? If a wife were to get a hankering for french fries and her husband couldn't get any because they were illegal, husbands of pregnant wives homicides would skyrocket.
- Iran Negotiator Sees "Positive Conclusions" in Nuclear Talks - Yeah, no shit they see positive conclusions to the talks... because due the stall tactics (aka negotiations), they get to keep advancing their technology, so that regardless of the outcome of the talks they end up with nuclear power and the ability to build nuclear weapons. If you're Iran, that's a positive outcome. It worked for North Korea and it will work for Iran.
- U.S. Economy Expanded 2.6 Percent in Second Quarter, Weaker Than Estimated - It's not as bad as the title sounds; the economy is still growing, still adding jobs. "The U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of 2.6 percent in the second quarter, less than previously estimated, as business spending, consumer demand and homebuilding slowed. The gain in gross domestic product, the value of all goods and services produced in the country, compares with the Commerce Department's previous estimate of 2.9 percent, and 5.6 percent in the first quarter... The slowdown in economic growth hasn't resulted in more firings, a separate government report showed. Initial jobless claims declined 6,000 last week to 316,000, the Labor Department said today in Washington."
October 3rd, 2006
- At Least Six Slain At Pa. Amish School - Ok, it's bad enough that the bastard killed a bunch of kids, but why do this to a completely peaceful people like the Amish? They have no weapons, no real way to defend themselves against something like this... The guy who did this deserves whatever sort of painful death he got. And again, it was a case where the sicko wnated only the girls in with him. Sick bastard.
- U.S. Economy: Manufacturing Expanded Less Than Forecast - "The Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing index dropped to 52.9, the lowest since May 2005. A separate report from the Commerce Department showed that spending on home construction fell for a fifth straight month. Manufacturers are throttling back as housing and consumer spending slow, giving the economy little momentum heading into the fourth quarter. The report also showed price increases moderated, bearing out the Federal Reserve's forecast that slower growth will help control inflation."
October 4th, 2006
- Dow Average Sets Record as U.S. Stocks Rally on Oil's Decline - "The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose to a record, eclipsing its 2000 high, as a two-month descent in oil prices accelerated and improved the outlook for consumer spending... Stocks started rallying after crude oil fell below $59 a barrel for the first time since February. The 30-stock average surpassed its closing high for the fourth consecutive day and withstood a late retreat to set the record.
October 5th, 2006
- U.S. Service Industries Growth Slows; Price Gauge Decline Is Biggest Ever - "Service industries in the U.S. grew at the slowest pace in more than three years last month and a measure of inflation showed the biggest drop on record as the economy lost momentum heading into the fourth quarter. The Institute for Supply Management's index of non- manufacturing businesses fell to 52.9 from 57 in August. Readings above 50 indicate expansion in industries including banking, retailing and construction that account for almost 90 percent of gross domestic product. The group's measure of prices declined to 56.7 from 72.4, the biggest slide since the survey began in 1997."
October 6th, 2006
- U.S. Retailers' Sales Rise on Lower Gasoline Price - "Sales at U.S. retailers rose more in September than analysts estimated because of plunging gas prices, brightening prospects for the holiday season. Federated Department Stores Inc., the second-biggest U.S. department-store company, posted a 6.2 percent increase in sales at stores open more than a year. J.C. Penney Co. and Gap Inc. also exceeded estimates. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's biggest retailer, trailed rivals with a 1.3 percent gain, while Target Corp.'s sales jumped 6.7 percent."
October 9th, 2006
- N.C. hazardous waste fire forces thousands to evacuate - 16 - 17,000 residents of Apex, North Carolina were forced to evacuate and declare a state of emergency after a fire at a hazardous waste management site. Fire fighters were unable to put out the fire because of the toxic smoke and fumes and were forced to simply let the fire burn itself out. The fire had been burning for 12 hours, but some local rainfall is expected to help put the fire out and clean the air.
- Marijuana may stave off Alzheimer's - hat's right folks, there's new research out there that THC is more effective at preventing acetylcholine from breaking down as well as preventing certain proteins that inhibit memory from clotting. So pass that dutchie on the left hand side... if you old folks can remember which side is your left...
- Same-sex marriage ban upheld by court Ruling says change can come only from voters or Legislature - A California appeals court overturned a lower courts' ruling that reversed a voter proposition that defined marriage to be between a man and a woman. Regardless of where you stand on the issue, leave it to liberals to go about their agenda the only way they know how... through the courts. Nevermind that voters approved the proposition, defining marriage as between a man and a woman. Liberals know better and they're more than happy to legislate us to death for it...
- U.S. Economy: Jobless Rate Drops, Matching 5-Year Low - "The U.S. unemployment rate matched a five-year low in September and job growth the prior month was stronger than previously estimated, easing concern the economy is faltering. The economy created 51,000 jobs last month, the Labor department said in Washington. While that was fewer than economists predicted, it was offset by a 188,000 rise in August that was almost 50 percent bigger than the government previously reported. The jobless rate unexpectedly declined to 4.6 percent."
October 10th, 2006
- Cat lovers lining up for no-sneeze kitties - That cute title refers to a $4000 cat that's hypoallergenic. That's right, if you're allergic to cats, this one won't make you sneeze. A San Diego based biotech company has bred cats that don't produce the glandular protein Fel d 1, that causes most people's allergies. Now make sure you read that right. These cats are bred, not genetically altered. The gene that produced this protein is naturally inactive in these cats. These cats were not created in a lab, they were bred. So all you PETA freaks, don't get your panties in a wad.
- Crude Gains as OPEC Members Back Output Cuts to Bolster Prices - "Crude oil rose after OPEC said Saudi Arabia and five other members will reduce output to stem a 23 percent drop in prices from a record in July. Saudi Arabia, Libya, Algeria and Kuwait will join Venezuela and Nigeria, which previously said they would reduce output, OPEC spokesman Levi Ajuonuma said yesterday. Saudi Arabia is the biggest producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. The plan aims to cut production by 1 million barrels a day, representing a 3.4 percent reduction from last month.
October 11th, 2006
- McCain Criticizes Clinton on N. Korea - I'm shocked - SHOCKED - that it even occurred to McCain to say this. "I would remind Senator [Hillary] Clinton and other Democrats critical of the Bush administration's policies that the framework agreement her husband's administration negotiated was a failure." Wow! Hillary's response is weak: "Now is not the time to play politics of the most dangerous kind with our policy on North Korea. History is clear that nothing the Bush administration has done has stopped the North Koreans from openly testing a nuclear weapon and presenting a new danger to the region of the world." Right... Clinton gave NoKo the bomb, and it's Bush's fault they used it. Dumbass...
- China says N.Korea should be punished - North Korea's blunt actions basically dropkicked China's diplomatic efforts out the window, so now China's taking a harder stance, for now at least. "China's U.N. Ambassador, Wang Guangya, told reporters: 'I think that there has to be some punitive actions.' He added: 'We need to have a firm, constructive, appropriate but prudent response to North Korea's nuclear threat.'"
- Brown steps up battle against terrorist funders - And a main target are so-called Muslim charity organizations... "Mr Brown said that for the first time secret intelligence evidence would be used to freeze the assets of suspected terrorist financiers. He also suggested that the Government should be prepared to re-open the issue of holding terrorist suspects for more than 28 days without charge if the evidence warrants it."
- U.S. Stocks Rise on Oil, Higher Earnings; Supervalu, Homebuilders Advance - "Stocks have rallied over the past two weeks, pushing the Dow average to a record, on a decline in oil and speculation the Federal Reserve will reduce interest rates. Crude oil fell today as Saudi Arabia's state oil company told its customers in East Asia and the Mediterranean to expect the same quantity of oil in November as last month, undercutting OPEC efforts to cut output. Oil for November delivery lost 0.9 percent to $59.43 a barrel in New York."
October 12th, 2006
- Venezuela to ban beer sales on street - Well I was considering Venezuela as a possible vacation spot in the future. The hell with that. No beer?! "'It's the degeneration of society. It's one of the causes of public drunkenness in the slums,' he said as he declared he was putting a ban on the beer runs.'As of today, I want the National Guard to stop the beer trucks and take them to the nearest command post. No more trucks,' he said in a televised speech." Blasphemy!!
- President says Foley conduct disgusting - And the president is speaking for all Republicans there. Everything we've seen of Foley over the past couple weeks points to twisted sex fiend, and I'm glad he's out of office. If there's a case there, he should be prosecuted, but the Democrats plan to run on the Foley scandal. Do they really not have any ideas to put forward?
- North Korea threatens war over sanctions - DPRK is promising more nuclear tests and insists it will regard any sanctions as an act of war. Immediately, South Korea craps it pants as it prepares its troops for nuclear fallout and an invasion from the world's largest standing army, and now Japan has banned all North Korean imports. Fortunately more and more signs point out that the nuclear test was very likely a failure, so hopefully the world can take advantage of that window.
October 13th, 2006
- Iraq priest 'killed over pope speech' - Father Amer Iskender was kidnapped and beheaded and his family has said the butchers who did this to an innocent man in the name of their religion, Mohammed its prophet, and Allah, demanded $350,000 in ransom from the Catholic church. The only thing the priest was guilty of was believing in a different religion... a religion that doesn't endorse kidnapping, torturing, and murdering innocents.
- Stocks Trade Higher on McDonald's Sales News; Dow Passes 11,900 for 1st Time - Despite the trade deficit, investors are in a good mood. Record imports from China reflect a populace still ready to spend their hard earned money. Depsite a lackluster opening to earning reports yesterday, got big earnings from McDonalds, Costco, Yum (Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, KFC), and Pepsi to bolster the market's outlook, and on top of that oil's still below $58 a barrel.
- Trade Deficit in U.S. Unexpectedly Widens to Record; China Shortfall Grows - "The deficit rose 2.7 percent from a $68 billion gap in July, the Commerce Department said in Washington, and exceeded the highest estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of economists. U.S. companies imported more computers, consumer goods and oil even as they shipped a record amount abroad. The report was read as good news by economists, who said the gain in imports showed that consumer spending is holding up even as the economy slows. A weaker dollar and expansion in Europe and Asia are helping boost exports; at the same time a reduction in the deficit will be gradual because the economy is still growing faster than many of its counterparts."
October 16th, 2006
- Gasoline Price Drop Spurs U.S. Retail Sales, Jump in Consumer Confidence - "The largest decline ever in gas-station receipts pushed overall retail sales down 0.4 percent in September, the Commerce Department said in Washington. Excluding service stations, purchases climbed 0.6 percent, three times the gain in August. The University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index jumped to 92.3 in October from 85.4 the prior month. The pickup in sales supports the Federal Reserve's predictions that the expansion will survive a housing slump and pick up in coming months as gasoline prices retreat. Treasury notes weakened and the dollar rallied as traders speculated that the numbers diminish the chances the central bank will reduce interest rates early next year."
October 17th, 2006
- A's fire Macha despite run to ALCS - Whoa! Talk about what have you done for me lately... In Macha's four years as manager he's won 2 AL West titles, and won the A's first playoff series in 16 years when they swept the Twins just over a week or so ago. So they got swept by the Tigers, big deal. For most of the year the Tigers were the best team in baseball. Depsite a bad month of September, it looks like Detroit's regained it's top notch form. Oh well. Adieu Macha... you won't be unemplyed for long.
- U.S. Economy: New York Manufacturing Unexpectedly Accelerates - "The Fed Bank of New York's general economic index rose to 22.9, the highest in four months, from 13.8 in September. A number greater than zero signals most manufacturers reported business is getting better. Economists forecast a reading of 11.2, the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey. The report, the first reading of how manufacturing is faring in October, suggests the economy is withstanding the slowdown in housing. Factory employment increased to the highest level since March, and almost half of the manufacturers surveyed said they planned to boost spending in 2007."
October 18th, 2006
- Rapper Fabolous Shot, Stable in NYC - The fabulous rapper Fabolous was shot with a fabulous bullet from a fabulous gun while in a fabulous Manhattan parking. Then the fabulous emergency personnel came and took him to a fabulous hospital, but then fabulous police came and arrested him for having fabulous but unlicensesd weapons in his car. Fabulous.
- U.S. population hits 300 million mark - Yippee-skippee... US Census Bureau estimated we hit 300 million this morning at around 7:30, but some experts say we did it months ago. The Today Show this morning was showing what went in to the calculations. A birth every 7 seconds, a death every 13 seconds and a new immigrant every 31 seconds. Anyone want to bet on whether those "immigrants" are legal?
- Producer Prices in U.S. Fall More Than Forecast; Industrial Output Drops - "The producer price index decreased 1.3 percent from August, the Labor Department said in Washington, led by a record decline in gasoline. The so-called core rate, which strips out energy and food, climbed 0.6 percent; excluding cars and trucks, it rose 0.1 percent. Production slipped 0.6 percent, the Federal Reserve reported, a retreat that exceeded economists' forecasts. Treasury notes jumped as traders interpreted the figures make it less likely the Fed will consider resuming its interest- rate increases to further reduce inflation pressures. A tame reading on consumer prices tomorrow may reinforce speculation the central bank will keep borrowing costs steady through the start of next year. "
October 19th, 2006
- Dow Industrials Hover Around 12,000 - The DOW passed it three times so far during the day but is currently about 10 points shy. As with most things this is only a number but the significance of it is psychological... it's a milestone. A point once thought to be unreachable, but our economy keeps chugging along. War, terrorism, Democrats... you just can't stop a good economy. Finished at 11992... close but no cigar.
- Housing Starts in U.S. Unexpectedly Rise; Consumer Prices Drop 0.5 Percent - "Housing starts increased 5.9 percent to an annual rate of 1.772 million from a 1.674 million pace in August, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. In a separate report, the Labor Department said the consumer price index dropped 0.5 percent from August, the biggest decline since November. The figures, along with the most recent reports on retail sales and the labor market, diminish concerns that falling house prices will cause the economy to stagnate. At the same time, the slide in gasoline prices may also signal the worst of the inflation threat is behind Fed policy makers after 17 consecutive rate increases."
October 20th, 2006
- U.S. Leading Indicators Rise Less Than Forecast; Manufacturing Gauge Falls - "The Conference Board's index rose 0.1 percent after decreasing 0.2 percent in August, the New York-based group said today. The index points to the direction of the economy over the next three to six months. A separate report showed manufacturing in the Philadelphia region contracted this month. The figures raise questions about the forecasts of some economists that the economy will pick up as lower gasoline prices give Americans more money to spend. At the same time, a government report today showed the labor market remains buoyant, with claims for jobless benefits last week falling to the lowest in almost three months. "
October 23rd, 2006
- General concedes failure in Baghdad, Bush acknowledges comparison to '68 Tet offensive in Vietnam - So if we really want to follow this Vietnam analogy to its logical conclusion, where do we go from here? Do we choose to keep fighting? Do we choose victory? We could have won in Vietnam, but we gave up. We better not give up in Iraq.
- Man in critical condition after stingray attack in boat - First the Crocodile Hunter now this 81 year old guy in Florida. I thought these attacks were rare? The Crocodile Hunter you can maybe understand... he was swimming with the ray, startled it somehow and it's natural reaction was to protect itself and sting the Hunter. But this ray went psycho, jumped into the boat, and stung the guy. If it was a human we'd charge it with assault! At least it looks like the 81 year old man will pull through, most likely because he didn't pull the barb out of his chest.
- Oil Falls on Skepticism All OPEC Members Will Abide by Pact to Cut Output - "The 4.4 percent reduction starting Nov. 1 will be based on how much members were pumping last month, rather than quotas, United Arab Emirates Oil Minister Mohamed al-Hamli, who will become president of the group in 2007, said after members met in Doha, Qatar. Prices have plunged 26 percent from the record of $78.40 a barrel reached July 14. `I'll be surprised if we see them cut even half the volumes promised,' said Michael Lynch, president of Strategic Energy & Economic Research in Winchester, Massachusetts. `If prices stay at this level for a few weeks we'll probably see some of the weaker members such as Venezuela and Algeria forget about their pledges.'"
October 24th, 2006
- iPod Turns Five... So What's Next? - Hard to believe that iPods have been around for five years now. Even harder to believe that the 1st edition that came out actually had buttons, was probably twice as thick as my 20GB video iPod, and held only 1,000 songs. I've only had mine for about a year now, but I can hardly imagine being without it. You've come along way and made Apple a TON of money, baby.
- Base jumping pioneer falls to his death - Well I'm absolutely SHOCKED at that headline. I won't speak ill of the dead, and my sympathies to his friends and family (he was jumping with his daughter), but dude, the base jumping pioneer dies when his parachute doesn't fully open on a jump. It's not like you couldn't have seen that one coming.
- Opponent denies calling Hillary Clinton ugly - The quote attributed to John Spencer by the Daily News was "You ever see a picture of her back then? Whew. I don't know why Bill married her." Spencer is of course vociferously denying that he made the comment, though I don't know why... I thought we wanted polticians to be more honest?
- Dunkin' Donuts Raids Krispy Kreme's Turf - Dunkin' Donuts is expanding South and West with company executives hoping to triple the 4,400 US stores by the year 2020. And God bless them for trying. On my summer trips to Rhode Island and Massachusetts as well as a layover in DC, the morning highlights were Dunkin' Donuts breakfast sandwiches and coffee. In fact the fetching Mrs. Wookie and I brought back 4 pounds of Dunkin' coffee. Yummm... Hurry up and build one in SoCal!!
- Fed's New Growth Estimates Might Lead It to a Resumption of Rate Increase - "The Fed's number-crunchers, rushing an analysis based on data that arrived about a week before, threw out previous conclusions about how fast the economy can grow without fueling inflation. They concluded that the speed limit is lower than previously thought -- and they lowered it still further in the ``Greenbook'' for the September policy meeting. The staff's revisions, reflected in minutes of the last two meetings, shake the foundations of the fast-growth, low- inflation economy Americans enjoyed from 1995 to 2005. The implication: Unless the economy slows more than the Fed now expects, the central bank may have to resume raising interest rates sooner rather than later to control inflation. "
October 25th, 2006
- More 9/11 remains found at ground zero - Mayor Bloomberg acknowledged that they hurried through the recovery of remains in an effort to get answers to the families as quickly as possible. This is the second set of remains discovered in the past week, and I'm sure people will be all pissed about this too. Why? Did you people forget the level of destruciton at ground zero? I'm amazed anthing was found at all in the first place...
- Heavy use of mobile phones can lead to fertility problems in men - It's called population control thanks to the big, evil kkk-orporations. Although no problems in the Wookie household. None whatsoever.
- Stocks Mixed As Investors Await Fed Move - "Stocks seesawed in a narrow range Tuesday as investors awaited the results of this week's Federal Reserve meeting and regrouped after Monday's record-setting session. The Fed's Open Market Committee was holding a two-day meeting, and while many investors expected the central bank's policymakers to leave interest rates unchanged for the third straight meeting, there was still concern on the Street about the assessment of the economy to be issued Wednesday afternoon."
October 26th, 2006
- Federal Reserve Keeps Benchmark Rate at 5.25% for Third Month - "`Inflation pressures seem likely to moderate over time, reflecting reduced impetus from energy prices, contained inflation expectations, and the cumulative effects of monetary policy actions,' the Federal Open Market Committee said in a statement today after meeting in Washington. Policy makers are waiting for evidence inflation will ease amid mixed reports showing resilient consumers, low unemployment and a sluggish property market. The Fed `growth has slowed over the course of the year, partly reflecting a cooling of the housing market. Going forward, the economy seems likely to expand at a moderate pace.'"
- Oil Rises Above $61 a Barrel After Unexpected Decline in U.S. Stockpiles - "U.S. crude inventories dropped 3.21 million barrels last week to 332.3 million after imports tumbled 6.9 percent from the average of the past four weeks, the Energy Department reported. Stockpiles had been forecast to rise 3 million barrels, the median estimate of 15 responses in a Bloomberg survey. Supplies of gasoline and distillate fuel also fell last week. `It's clearly very bullish,' said Peter Linder, an energy analyst and senior adviser with DeltaOne Capital Partners in Calgary. `We've already seen the beginning of winter and we'll start to see OPEC cuts next week. I'm convinced we've seen the low prices for the year.'"
October 27th, 2006
- Bush OKs 700-mile border fence - That will cover 1/3 of the 2,100 mile Mexican border, yet critics are calling it the new Berlin Wall, Checkpoint Charlie, and Great Wall of China. What a load of crap. The Berlin wall was built to keep people in, we're trying to keep ourselves secure and keep dangerous elements as well as illegal immigrants out. Get it straight people...
- New Jersey court says gay couples have rights - In this case at least, the court didn't legislate from the bench; they left it up to the lawmakers to rewrite the marriage statute or creat some form of civil unions. And they somehow put a 6 month schedule for the legislature. Not sure what that's about or how they've created that, but I suppose it means that if the legislature doesn't do anything the courts will.
- New-Home Sales in U.S. Unexpectedly Rise as Builders Offer Cheaper Housing - "Purchases increased 5.3 percent to an annual pace of 1.075 million, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. A surge in demand for dwellings in the $150,000-to-$200,000 range drove the median price of a new home down 9.7 percent from a year ago, the most since 1970... In another indication that the housing downturn won't cause the economy to stagnate, the Commerce Department reported that corporate investment is being sustained. Orders for capital equipment increased 1.1 percent last month, the most since May."
October 30th, 2006
- 2 Public Buses Torched in Paris Suburb - Islamic militia took innocent civilians as human shields in an attempt to prevent attacks by NATO troops. The religion of peace?! Surely not! Putting innocents in harm's way... Never! That's what the evil zionists do!
- 2 Public Buses Torched in Paris Suburb - "Two public buses were torched in a Paris suburb on Friday, the anniversary of the two deaths that ignited weeks of riots in largely immigrant housing projects across France a year ago. Both buses were burned Friday evening in Blanc Mesnil, a northern Paris suburb not far from Clichy-sous-Bois where last year's violence began, police said."
- U.S. Economy Expands at 1.6 Percent Rate in Quarter, Less Than Estimated - "The first estimate of the quarter's gross domestic product, the value of all goods and services produced in the U.S., compares with a 2.6 percent gain from April through June, the Commerce Department reported today in Washington. A gauge of inflation watched by the Federal Reserve eased. Stocks declined and bonds advanced after the report, which showed homebuilding fell by the most in 15 years and the trade gap worsened as consumers bought more foreign-made goods. A drop in energy prices that gathered momentum late in the quarter is sustaining spending and restraining inflation, helping persuade Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke to leave interest rates alone."
October 31st, 2006
- Terrorist scampers naked to elude capture - The terrorist was showering at his parents' house when Israeli soldiers raided the house. He jumped out the window to escape. The funnier thing here I think is that the terrorist is on Israel's 10 most wanted list, is married, yet still lives at home with his parents. What a loser.
- Oil Slips Below $59 on Signs U.S. Supplies Rose, Warmer Weather - "Crude oil for December delivery fell $2.05, or 3.4 percent, to $58.70 barrel at 12:48 p.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Oil is heading for the biggest one-day decline since Oct. 3. Futures are down 4.2 percent from a year ago. Prices have plunged 25 percent from the record of $78.40 a barrel reached July 14 amid concern that fighting in Lebanon would spread through the Middle East, source of a third of world's oil. "
- Income Growth in U.S. Outpaces Spending Increase; Inflation Measure Slows - "The 0.5 percent gain in incomes was the biggest in three months and followed an August rise of 0.4 percent, the Commerce Department said in Washington. Purchases rose 0.1 percent after a 0.2 percent increase that was bigger than previously estimated, while the Federal Reserve's preferred measure of inflation decelerated. Spending gains along with slowing inflation suggest Fed officials will keep interest rates steady as their prediction of a 'moderate' expansion unfolds, economists said. The figures suggest a jobless rate that's holding at a five-year low and falling fuel prices will allow for a gradual strengthening in the economy after housing lopped a percentage point from growth last quarter."
November 1st, 2006
- GOP's Hunter will run for presidency in 2008 - He's a long shot, but could be a good choice. Hunter's the current chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, but the article notes that the last time a sitting member of the House of Representatives was elected president was Garfield in 1880. Still he's a San Diego conservative, which hasn't put Hunter in the national spotlight as much as say Seantor John McCain, Mitt Romney, or Rudy Guiliani.
- U.S. Consumers, Businesses Are Less Optimistic, Signaling Growth May Slow - "The Conference Board's index of consumer sentiment unexpectedly fell to 105.4 from a revised September reading that was higher than originally reported. The National Association of Purchasing Management-Chicago said its business barometer fell to 53.5, the lowest since August 2005 and less than economists forecast. A reading above 50 signals expansion. Bonds jumped and the dollar weakened as traders speculated that consumer spending may slacken, removing one of the sources of economic growth last quarter. The figures, released three days before the Labor Department's monthly jobs report, showed more people anticipate hiring will ease in coming months."
November 2nd, 2006
- Manufacturing in the U.S. Expands at Slowest Pace in More Than Three Years - "The Institute for Supply Management's factory index fell to 51.2, lower than forecast, from September's 52.9. A reading higher than 50 signals expansion. A measure of prices paid for raw materials dropped to the lowest in more than four years. Outlays for construction fell 0.3 percent in September following no change, the Commerce Department said in Washington. Manufacturers are providing little spark for the economy, which grew the least since 2003 last quarter. Together with weaker consumer confidence reported yesterday, the figures spurred traders to begin wagering the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates by the end of March."
November 3rd, 2006
- Marshals Net More Than 10,700 Fugitives - Final numbers include 1,659 sex offenders (971 of which never registered with authorities as sex offenders as mandated by law) and 364 gang members as well as wanted suspects in kidnappings, robbery, carjackings, and weapons charges. Authorities denied the timing of Operation Falcon III had anything to do with upcoming elections. There was also no mention of the number of illegal immigrants captured.
- N. Korean tactics are familiar - "North Korea is used to getting its way, and the current game is one it knows how to win: increasing tension to gain concessions from its foes." DUH!! I've been saying this all along! And their retarded step-child Iran is learning how to do the same thing to get what they want. You think launching a dozen or so missiles today was just for practive?
- Kerry assumes old role: Political punching bag - Sure he offered his pseudo-apology (I'm sorry you misunderstood me...), but he let 48+ hours pass before trying to rectify the issue. And the Republicans are goingg to take full advantage. It's like Howard Dean's "yeaaaaargh" only better since he actually said something you can pin him for...
- Worker Productivity Growth in U.S. Unexpectedly Stalls; Labor Costs Jump - "Productivity, a measure of how much an employee produces per hour, was unchanged after a 1.2 percent gain in the second quarter that was weaker than previously estimated, the Labor Department said today in Washington. The price of labor rose at a 3.8 percent pace and was up 5.3 percent in the 12 months through September, an increase last exceeded in 1982. The figures suggest that Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and policy makers, who predicted last week that inflation is likely to moderate over time, may not get the rise in productivity that allowed former Chairman Alan Greenspan to deliver strong growth and low inflation. Labor costs, which typically account for two- thirds of a company's expenses, reduce the benefit from falling raw-materials prices."
November 6th, 2006
- Payrolls in U.S. Rise, Jobless Rate Drops to Five-Year Low of 4.4 Percent - "Employers added 92,000 workers last month, the Labor Department said today in Washington. That followed gains of 148,000 in September and 230,000 in August that were higher than initially estimated. The Institute for Supply Management's index of non-manufacturing businesses, which account for 90 percent of the economy, rose more than economists forecast to 57.1 in October... 'Today's report sounds the death-knell for those forecasting recession next year,' said Chris Rupkey, senior financial economist at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd. in New York. 'The employment report is always the biggest of the month and it can change views overnight 180 degrees.'"
- Treasuries Slump Most in 16 Months as U.S. Jobless Rate Drops - "Traders erased bets the Federal Reserve will cut borrowing costs by February as the statistics also showed companies added more jobs in prior months than the government previously estimated, and hourly earnings increased. Notes extended losses on statistics showing service industries accelerating. 'The bond market, which had tried to price in a Fed cut, is backtracking,' said Michael Cheah, who manages $2 billion in bonds at AIG SunAmerica Asset Management in Jersey City, New Jersey. The labor report 'suggests the economy is still strong and there's the possibility of wage pressure.'"
November 7th, 2006
- Stocks in U.S. Advance as Acquisitions Pick Up Pace; Hotel Shares Climb - "U.S. stocks rose, pushing the Standard & Poor's 500 Index toward its biggest gain in three weeks, after a $3.7 billion bid for Four Seasons Hotels Inc. boosted speculation that the pace of corporate acquisitions will pick up. Hotel stocks such as Orient Express Hotels Ltd. led the advance after Four Seasons received an offer from Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates and other investors."
November 8th, 2006
- Spears said to seek divorce from husband - This is according to a court spokeswoman who said the couple cited irreconcilable differences. Duh... What took so long for her to figure out KFed only wanted his shot at his own fame and fortune? Now his rap is a joke and she's got two kids. This was obvious to everyone except her apparently.
- Qaeda Operative Sentenced to Prison - "A British convert to Islam was sentenced to 40 years to life in prison today for planning terror attacks in the United States and Britain that were meant to cause what a judge called carnage 'on a colossal and unprecedented scale.'" Good work Brits! Lock him up and throw away the key (death penalty is a nice option though...)
- Israeli Shelling, Air Strike Kill 9 Gaza Palestinians - This IDF operation began on November 1st in an effort to stop Hamas from firing rockets into Israel. 60 Palestinians (including one splodey-dope) have died and 1 Israeli soldier. Surely some of the Palestinians who died are innocent civilians, but that's what happens when you use women and children as human shields. Cowards.
- Fed's Pianalto Says Economy to Withstand Housing Slump; Inflation to Slow - "'I expect the economy to weather the recent challenges in the housing market,' Pianalto said yesterday evening at an event sponsored by the Pittsburgh Business Times. 'I fully expect the economy to grow at a moderate, but sustainable pace...' Prices rose 2.4 percent for the 12-month period ending in September, according to the Fed's preferred gauge, which is tied to household expenditures minus food and energy. That exceeds the 1 percent to 2 percent 'comfort zone' of Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and some other policy makers."
November 9th, 2006
- Top Hamas rocket-maker killed in air strike - The only good terrorist is a dead terrorist. The master bomb maker was Ahmed Awad, who also was the son-in-law of Foreign Minister Mahmoud Zahar of Hamas. IDF rockets targeted Awad's car killing him and another terrorist, while wounding a third.
- Va. Senate Race Too Close to Call - Control of the Senate hinges on Virginia and Montana where incumbent Republicans are hanging on for dear life. Both appear to be headed for recounts; I just hope that we can avoid the courts so we don't end up like Florida in 2000...
- Malvo gets life in 6 Maryland sniper killings - Too bad they don't have an death penalty. Malvo won't actually serve any time in Maryland however since he'd already been sentenced to life in prison in Virginia. That's good... a backup life sentence just in case some loony lawyer gets him off in Virginia, we can stick him in prison in Maryland...
November 10th, 2006
- Ed Bradley of '60 Minutes' dead at 65 - Bradley succcombed to leukemia earlier today at Mount Sinai Hospital. He'd been with 60 Minutes for 26 years, winning 19 Emmys. He was CBS' first black White House correspondent in 1976. Rest in peace Ed.
- Russia Bans Borat - How does a horse urine drinking, incestual, womanizing Kazakh on a cutlural field trip disparrage the image or Russia or Kazakhstan? Do they think, perhaps, that it hits too close to home? This is the first non-pornographic movie banned in Russia since the fall of communism. Memo to Russian Federal Agency for Culture and Cinematography who's responsible for banning the movie: it's a satirical comedy, not truth. Just so you know...
- Trade Deficit in U.S. Narrows Most in Almost Two Years Amid Record Exports - "The shortfall, which was smaller than forecast, narrowed to $64.3 billion from an all-time high in August of $69 billion, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. While the gap diminished, the U.S. rang up a record trade bill with China that may rekindle debate on sanctions as Democrats assume leadership in Congress. Retreating energy prices and a weaker dollar that makes American products more competitive may help stabilize the deficit in coming months, economists said. The increase in exports to a record was led by sales of industrial engines, telecommunications gear and Boeing Co. planes."
November 14th, 2006
- Oil Drops After International Energy Agency Cuts Forecast for Crude Demand - World oil demand this year will average 84.49 million barrels a day, 80,000 barrels a day less than estimated last month, the Paris-based agency said today. Slower growth in Chinese use of transport fuels, especially gasoline, was behind the revision, the IEA said. China, the world's second-biggest oil consumer, is still expected to drive growth this year and next... Crude oil for December delivery fell 79 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $60.37 a barrel at 12:43 p.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices are up 2.1 percent this week and are 4.5 percent higher than a year ago. Futures have traded in a range of $56.55 to $61.79 for the past month."
November 15th, 2006
- Producer Prices in U.S. Match Biggest Drop on Record; Retail Sales Decline - "The 1.6 percent decrease in prices paid to factories, farmers and other producers last month followed a 1.3 percent decline in September, the Labor Department reported today. Sales dropped 0.2 percent and were revised lower for the prior month, the Commerce Department reported. Bonds jumped as traders speculated the sales report may signal weakening consumer spending, which has kept the economy growing in the face of the housing slump. They will be scouring minutes of the Fed's last meeting, which will be released tomorrow, and consumer price figures due the next day for confirmation that inflation is subsiding."
November 16th, 2006
- Fed Remained Concerned About Containing Inflation, October Minutes Show - "'Most members judged that the downside risks to economic activity had diminished a little,' the Fed said in minutes of its gathering on Oct. 24-25 released in Washington today. 'All members agreed that the risks to achieving the anticipated reduction in inflation remained the greatest concern.' Policy makers are counting on slower growth to ease inflation. So far, there's little sign of that, as price gains remain almost half a percentage point above Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke's preferred zone. Officials are also concerned by a year-long housing slump, which reduced the economic expansion to the slowest pace since 2003 last quarter."
- Manufacturing Growth in New York Area Unexpectedly Accelerates, Fed Says - "The Federal Reserve Bank of New York's general economic index rose to 26.7, from 22.9 in October, the bank said today in New York. A number greater than zero means that most factories reported business is getting better. Investment in new equipment is keeping factories busy, helping limit the drag on the economy from declining auto production and a slowdown in housing. The report backs Fed expectations that the economic expansion will settle into a 'moderate pace' of growth in coming months."
November 17th, 2006
- Idaho town asks residents to own guns - First off, 80% of the town already owns firearms, so it's not like this was a huge shock to the townspeople, just a shock to the gunhating, PC crowd. The mayor was looking to protect the town from Katrina type problems, as they're expecting so big time expansion in the area. You know how crime follows WalMart wherever those get built...
- More PlayStation 3 And Wii Madness - The Queues And The Consoles - As I drove past the Target on my lunch that's just around the corner from my builing there were already people lined up for the big release of Wii and PS3. Since the only game system I have is the original Nintendo (and that's collecting dust in the garage) I really don't have any opinion on either system other than that the PS3 is almost $500! Dude... that's waaaaaay too much money for a frickin' video game console...
- Oil Falls Below $58 After U.S. Says Inventories of Natural Gas Increase - "Natural gas supplies rose 5 billion cubic feet to 3.45 trillion cubic feet last week, the report showed. A gain of 6 billion cubic feet was expected, according to the median of responses in a Bloomberg News survey of 23 analysts. Some users can switch between oil-based fuels and natural gas depending on cost. Prices were up in early trading on falling fuel supplies... Crude oil for December delivery fell $1.04, or 1.8 percent, to $57.72 a barrel at 11:50 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Oil touched $57.58, the lowest since Oct. 31. The contract was up as much as 56 cents before the report's release. Prices are little changed from a year ago. Futures have traded in a range of $56.55 to $61.79 since Oct. 3."
- Consumer Prices in U.S. Fall; Industrial Output Rises Less Than Estimated - "The consumer price index dropped 0.5 percent, matching September's retreat, the Labor Department said today in Washington. Excluding food and energy, prices rose 0.1 percent, the smallest increase in eight months. In a separate report, the Fed said industrial production rose 0.2 percent in October. Traders and economists seized on today's figures as evidence the Fed won't need to raise interest rates and may even cut them. Less inflation gives Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and his team more room to stimulate the economy should the housing downturn threaten to end the five-year expansion.
November 20th, 2006
- UCLA student stunned by Taser plans suit - Of course he does. Ace and Hot Air have some great post up on this as well as the now infamous video. Several students who were supposedly there that night say if anyone was asking to be tazed it was this loon, so most people with a modicum of common sense are saying that this reeks of a set up. People with slightly less common sense say it's brutality; I say if a cop asks you to move you move. If you resist, being tazed is your own damn fault.
- India welcomes U.S. Senate's approval of nuclear pact - While we've not seen eye to eye with India historically, Bush has managed to get India and Pakistan to support the GWOT as much as either nation can. The effort here is not only to have India inscrease it's energy production to relieve world oil supply strain, but to also act as a balance of power against growing China and Russia. Let's see if it works.
- Treasuries Rise Most in Two Months as Housing Data Point to Slower Growth - "The decline suggests home construction will slow economic growth in the fourth quarter. The Federal Reserve has kept interest rates steady at its last three policy meetings, citing a weaker housing market. 'It supports the Fed's view that housing is closer to the trough than the top,' said T.J. Marta, a fixed-income strategist at RBC Capital Markets in New York. 'It's moderately bullish.'"
November 21st, 2006
- O.J. Simpson book, TV special canceled - After a dozen or so affiliates had already refused to air the special, I suppose it was only a matter of time before the entire special was cancelled. And it's definitely for the best. I can't believe he had the balls to write a book about how he'd have killed Ron and Nicole if he'd been behind the murders to begin with... Disgusting... For once television did the right thing. Amazing.
- U.S. Leading Indicators Index Rises 0.2 Percent on Stock Gains, Confidence - "The Conference Board's measure increased 0.2 percent after a revised 0.4 percent September gain that was bigger than initially reported, the New York-based group said today. The index points to the direction of the economy over the next three to six months. he rise last month reflected higher stock prices and a more confident consumer, giving a boost to an economy hamstrung by the slumping housing market. The report reinforces Federal Reserve forecasts for 'moderate' growth as cheaper fuel spurs spending and reduces company costs."
November 22nd, 2006
- Annan says U.S. 'trapped in Iraq' - Kofi "the Anus" Annan was quoted as saying the the US "is in a way is trapped in Iraq. It cannot stay and it cannot leave. There are those who maintain that its presence is a problem and there are those who say that if it leaves precipitously, the situation will get worse." A third option might be for the UN to sack up and help out instead of commiserating with the terrorists or illegally trading oil for food with tyranical dictators. How about that Kofi?
- Crude Oil Advances to $60 a Barrel on Alaska, North Sea Supply Disruption - "The Alaska restrictions were imposed after high winds disrupted loadings at the port of Valdez several times in the past week, according to Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. U.S. supplies of distillate fuel, a category that includes heating oil and diesel, and gasoline fell last week, according to a Bloomberg News survey before an Energy Department report tomorrow. "The combination of the Alyeska and North Sea news coming before tomorrow's inventory reports and a long weekend has us moving higher," said Michael Fitzpatrick, vice president for energy risk management at Fimat USA in New York."
November 24th, 2006
- Consumer Confidence in U.S. Remains Near 15-Month High on Lower Fuel Costs - "The University of Michigan's final index of consumer sentiment registered 92.1 in November. The measure, while slightly below expectations and a decline from 93.6 the prior month, still exceeded the 88.1 average since monthly data were first compiled in 1978. Consumers, whose spending accounts for more than two-thirds of gross domestic product, may help the economy strengthen after it grew last quarter at the weakest pace since 2003."
- Dollar Drops as Increase in U.S. Jobless Claims Suggests Economy Cooling - "U.S. economic growth will slow in 2007 because of a weaker housing market, Bush's economic advisers said in their semi- annual forecast. Gross domestic product will increase 2.9 percent next year, slower than the 3.6 percent forecast in June, the Council of Economic Advisers said. Initial jobless claims increased by 12,000 to 321,000 in the week that ended Nov. 18 from the prior week's revised 309,000, the Labor Department said today in Washington. The four-week moving average rose to 317,000 from 314,000."
- Oil Declines After Report Shows Gain in U.S. Crude, Gasoline Inventories - "Crude-oil stockpiles rose 5.16 million barrels to 341.1 million in the week ended Nov. 17, the report showed. The gain left supplies the highest since the week ended June 30. Gasoline inventories climbed 1.41 million barrels to 201.7 million, the first increase in six weeks. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News expected a 700,000 barrel oil-supply gain and a gasoline drop. 'No matter how you look at it this was a bearish report,' said Jason Schenker, an economist with Wachovia Corp. in Charlotte, North Carolina. 'The surprisingly large gain in crude oil stockpiles was coupled with an unexpected gain in gasoline.'"
November 27th, 2006
- U.S. Retailers Open Early to `Huge' Holiday Traffic - "Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's largest retailer, opened at 5 a.m. with 42-inch plasma TVs for under $1,000 and cashmere sweaters for $29 for the first six hours. Target Corp. hired magician David Blaine to escape from shackles while dangling five stories over New York's Times Square to draw attention to a two-day sale starting today. The longer hours and price cuts may help retailers raise holiday sales 5 percent this year to $457 billion, according to the National Retail Federation. The season starts the day after Thanksgiving, called Black Friday because at one time it was considered the day retailers turned profitable for the year. It will probably be the second-biggest shopping day this year."
November 28th, 2006
- Pam and Kid Rock Already Getting Divorced - Who'd have thunk it? I was sure this was a match made in heaven... I mean really... Kid rock only wears wifebeaters, Pam looks good wearing only a wifebeater... What more is there?
- Thanksgiving Weekend Spending Rises 19 Percent as Discounts Tempt Shoppers - Black Friday retailers make more money, but get fewer shoppers... "Consumers spent an average $360.15 from Nov. 23 through yesterday, up from $302.81 a year earlier, the National Retail Federation said yesterday in a statement. Fewer people shopped, with about 140 million making purchases during the four days including Thanksgiving, down from 145 million last year."
- U.S. Stocks Fall Most in Four Months on Dollar Decline, Gain in Crude Oil - "U.S. stocks fell, sending the Standard & Poor's 500 Index toward its biggest retreat in more than four months, after a decline in the dollar for a fifth day underscored concern that economic growth is faltering... An advance in oil prices also deepened concern that higher energy costs will leave consumers with less to spend as the holiday shopping season gets under way."
November 29th, 2006
- U.S. Stocks Rise Led by Exxon Mobil, Energy Producers, as Crude Oil Gains - "After today's durable goods data, 'the market is seeing that the Fed may be a little behind the curve and that the economy is not as strong as they believe,' said Milton Ezrati, senior strategist at Lord Abbett & Co., which manages $110 billion in Jersey City, New Jersey. Energy stocks climbed 1.9 percent, the steepest gain among 10 industry groups in the S&P 500. Crude futures rose 1.1 percent to $60.99 a barrel in New York, the highest since Nov. 9, on forecasts that most of the U.S. will be colder than normal next week, signaling increased demand for heating fuels.
- Bernanke Sees Faster U.S. Growth, Signals Inflation May Be 'Troublesome' - "'Economic growth will be modestly below trend in the near term,' and over the coming year will 'return to a rate that is roughly in line with the growth rate of the economy's underlying productive capacity,' he told the National Italian American Foundation in New York, his first speech on the economy in four months. 'A failure of inflation to moderate as expected would be especially troublesome.' Bernanke's comments indicate he's looking beyond figures released earlier today that point to slackening growth in the final months of 2006. Orders for U.S. durable goods declined by the most in more than six years during October, suggesting companies are paring investment, and consumer confidence unexpectedly fell in November. On a more positive note, sales of previously owned homes defied forecasts of a decline last month.
November 30th, 2006
- Castro misses birthday party amid rumours of failing health - Speculation is he's got terminal cancer. If only we were that lucky. Hell, if we were lucky his cancer would be contagious and he'd have passed it on to Hugo Chavez... That'd certainly make life easier...
- Supreme Court gingerly enters global-warming debate - The Supreme Court is hearing arguements that are trying to force the EPA to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from new cars. The environmental lawyer said it's like lighting the fuse to a bomb and the government's lawyer cited actual law saying that the EPA doesn't have the authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gases from vehicles and that even if it did, due to "substantial scientific uncertainty" it would be reluctant to act. So basically its facts vs. hysteria...
- U.S. Economy Grows at Faster-Than-Forecast 2.2 Percent Pace on Inventories - "The updated figure for gross domestic product, the value of all goods and services produced, compares with a 1.6 percent estimate issued last month, the Commerce Department said today. Incomes and a measure of inflation watched by Federal Reserve policy makers were both revised lower. A narrower trade deficit and bigger stockpiles helped make up for the biggest drop in home construction in 15 years. The economy may not gain much momentum heading into 2007 as housing remains in a slump and manufacturers trim production to pare stockpiles, economists said."
December 1st, 2006
- Iowa Gov. Vilsack Runs for President - Apprently he's going to run on the famous Democratic platform of courage. He only said it about a dozen times in his announcement. Other than that, he's John Kerry all over again, but with less personality. Only other thing is that he's from Iowa instead of Massachusetts.
- U.S. Incomes, Spending Rise, Suggesting Consumers to Keep Economy Growing - "Americans earned 0.4 percent more than in September, the Commerce Department said today in Washington, and purchases climbed 0.2 percent after declining the prior month. Meanwhile, a business barometer from a Chicago-based group contracted for the first time in more than three years, a sign of weakening demand at factories. Another report from the government showed home prices grew the least in eight years last quarter. The figures reinforce the message from the Federal Reserve that policy makers are unlikely to change interest rates until well into 2007. Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., which had predicted an increase early next year, today cut its growth forecast and now expects steady borrowing costs next year."
December 1st, 2006
- U.S. warns of possible al-Qaida financial cyberattack - Homeland Security got wind of the rumors about the cyberattack yesterday. Stock trading and banking Web sites were the targets for the cyberjihadis. I'm just wondering, if a cyberjihadi dies in the course of his cyberattack does he only get 72 cyber-virgins when he reaches paradise. How can we experiment to see if that's true...
- Iraq takes over army division from US - Nouri al-Maliki has reportedly said he will have his troops ready to take over all military duties in Iraq by June. Bush met with Maliki who expressed frustration at the current situaiton and not having the tools to do the job. To me that sounds like he needs, even wants, our troops there. Heaven forbid the MSM actually say something like Iraqis want/need US troops... It's so much easier to leak classified information that makes the relationship between our countries more diffficult and makes Bush look bad.
- Manufacturing in U.S. Unexpectedly Contracts for First Time in Three Years - "The Institute for Supply Management's factory index fell to 49.5, from 51.2 in the prior month. A reading below 50 signals contraction in an industry that accounts for 12 percent of gross domestic product. Construction spending dropped by the most in five years in October, sliding 1 percent, the Commerce Department said in Washington today. Bonds rallied while stocks and the dollar dropped as traders speculated Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke will be forced to reduce his focus on inflation and cut interest rates in response to slackening growth."
December 4th, 2006
- U.S. warns of possible al-Qaida financial cyberattack - Homeland Security got wind of the rumors about the cyberattack yesterday. Stock trading and banking Web sites were the targets for the cyberjihadis. I'm just wondering, if a cyberjihadi dies in the course of his cyberattack does he only get 72 cyber-virgins when he reaches paradise. How can we experiment to see if that's true...
- Iraq takes over army division from US - Nouri al-Maliki has reportedly said he will have his troops ready to take over all military duties in Iraq by June. Bush met with Maliki who expressed frustration at the current situaiton and not having the tools to do the job. To me that sounds like he needs, even wants, our troops there. Heaven forbid the MSM actually say something like Iraqis want/need US troops... It's so much easier to leak classified information that makes the relationship between our countries more diffficult and makes Bush look bad.
- Manufacturing in U.S. Unexpectedly Contracts for First Time in Three Years - "The Institute for Supply Management's factory index fell to 49.5, from 51.2 in the prior month. A reading below 50 signals contraction in an industry that accounts for 12 percent of gross domestic product. Construction spending dropped by the most in five years in October, sliding 1 percent, the Commerce Department said in Washington today. Bonds rallied while stocks and the dollar dropped as traders speculated Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke will be forced to reduce his focus on inflation and cut interest rates in response to slackening growth."
December 5th, 2006
- Arrested American, Europeans in 'terrorist' cell, Egypt says - Egyptian police areested the American, 11 Europeans, and several Arabs for planning terrorist attacks in the Middle East. Among the Europeans were 2 Belgians and 9 French and most were there under the guise of Arabic and Islamic studies programs through Al-Azhar University. CAIR would be so proud...
- Chavez claims landslide victory - Looks like the pinhead did actually win with about 61% of the vote. After the results were announced, Chavez appeared and said "Long live the socialist revolution...! No one should fear socialism. Socialism is human. Socialism is love." I think I threw up a little in my mouth. Socialism isn't love; it's stealing my hard earned money and giving it to some moron who doesn't want to work. It's paying doctors, lawyers, and engineers the same as you'd pay a janitor. Socialism's not love, it's stupid.
- Stocks in U.S. Rise on Financial, Technology Takeovers; Agere Shares Climb - "Bank of New York Co. jumped after it agreed to buy Mellon Financial Corp. to create the world's largest custodian of investment assets. Agere Systems Inc., whose microchips are used in wireless devices, surged after LSI Logic Corp. said it will acquire the company for about $4 billion... Stocks extended their gains after a bigger-than-expected decline in pending home sales fueled speculation the Federal Reserve may lower interest rates next year to spur the economy. Oil's biggest drop in more than two weeks aided the rally."
December 11th, 2006
- Senator's Wife Faces Order to Leave U.S. - Sascha Herrera, wife of Democrat, Georgia State Senator Curt Thompson has been in hiding since November 28th when INS went to her house to remove her from the country and found she wasn't there. The issue appears to stem from improper paperwork filed by an shady "notario" who originally filed her extension visa, then allegedly filed asylum paperwork without her knowledge. The case hinges on whether she received notices to appear in court (she of course says she never received them) and whether or not she had knowledge of the asylum application filed for her.
- Service-Industry Growth in U.S. Unexpectedly Accelerates on Spending Gains - "The Institute for Supply Management's index of non- manufacturing businesses, which account for almost 90 percent of the economy, rose to 58.9 last month, from 57.1 in October. A separate report from the Labor Department today showed wage growth in the third quarter was less than forecast, alleviating a potential source of inflation. The dollar and stocks rallied and bonds weakened. Warnings of a slowdown had multiplied last week after figures showed a surprise contraction in manufacturing, an accumulation of stockpiles at companies and an extended decline in home sales."
December 12th, 2006
- Iran students disrupt president's speech - While giving a speech at Amir Kabir Technical University protesting students shouted "Death to the dictator", burned his picture, and lit firecrackers. They were out chanted by his followers, and there's no word on whether or note they were arrested (read as killed).
- Wholesale Inventories in U.S. Rose 0.8 Percent as Sales Fell 0.5 Percent - "Stockpiles rose 0.8 percent after a 0.7 percent increase in September, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. Sales at wholesalers fell 0.5 percent after a 1.5 percent drop, the first consecutive decreases since April and May of 2003. The ratio of inventories to sales was the highest since June 2005, suggesting wholesalers will pare orders to avoid having more unsold goods accumulate in warehouses. A slower pace of inventory building will probably weigh on an economy already struggling with a housing slump, economists said."
December 13th, 2006
- Fed Holds Rate, Keeps Inflation Focus; Housing Slump Called 'Substantial' - "The Federal Open Market Committee called the cooling of the housing industry "substantial," one of the few changes in language from its previous statement in October. Policy makers, who met in Washington today, predicted a moderate expansion "on balance over coming quarters," rather than simply "moderate," and called recent economic indicators "mixed." Chairman Ben S. Bernanke still anticipates the economy will withstand the downturn in housing and manufacturing, leaving inflation as his main concern. Traders focused instead on the new language, interpreting it as a step toward interest-rate cuts next year. Bonds yields and the dollar fell."
December 14th, 2006
- 'Raymond' Dad, Peter Boyle, Dead at 71 - Peter had not been looking well over the past few years, basically the years since Everybody Loves Raymond went off the air. Peter was great on that show; I think he had the funniest lines on that show with Brad Garrett a close second. Anytime his wife said anything I'd always start to smile knowing there was a smart ass response brewing. Sure that was all the writers, but he delivered them so perfectly. Adieu Peter. Rest in peace.
- Retail Sales in U.S. Rise for First Time Since July on Holiday Discounting - "Sales jumped 1.0 percent last month, more than forecast, after a revised 0.1 percent drop in October that was less than previously estimated, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. Purchases excluding motor vehicles rose 1.1 percent, the most since January. Consumers, buoyed by an expanding labor market and rising wages, are keeping the economy growing at the moderate pace predicted by the Federal Reserve. Consumption accounts for about 70 percent of gross domestic product, dwarfing real estate and manufacturing. The dollar rallied and bond yields climbed."
Decemebr 15th, 2006
- Manufacturing Growth in New York Slows Less Than Estimated, Fed Index Says - "The New York Fed's Empire State index dropped to 23.1 from 26.7 in November. The report was mistakenly placed on the bank's Web site today before being pulled and then later released formally, said Jason Bram, an economist at the New York Fed... In other reports today, the Labor Department said initial U.S. jobless claims fell last week and the price of imported goods rose in November for the first time in three months."
Decemebr 18th, 2006
- U.S. Consumer Prices Unchanged as Slowing Economy Curbs Inflation Pressure - "The Labor Department said today in Washington that its consumer price index held steady after a 0.5 percent decrease in October. Core prices that exclude food and energy also didn't budge, the first month without an increase since June 2005. From a year ago, core prices climbed 2.6 percent, down from 2.7 percent. Treasury notes and stocks rallied as traders speculated the figures will encourage Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke to keep interest rates steady or cut them in the first half of next year. Cheaper clothing, cars and airfares helped keep prices from rising as a slowing economy limits pricing power."
December 19th, 2006
- 2 Mount Hood climbers may have fallen - 2 climbers are still missing and one, Kelly James was found dead in an ice cave on Mt. Hood. The two climbers still missing are Brian Hall and Jerry Cooke, and they're expected to have buried themselves in a similar ice cave as avalanche conditions are treacherous at the moment. That also makes rescue efforts difficult as no searchers are allowed on foot; it's a strictly are search and rescue effort.
- Some U.S. Internet Shoppers Are Skipping the Shipping This Year - "Many U.S. Internet shoppers are picking up their purchases at retailers including Best Buy Co. instead of having them shipped, helping consumers save time and money during the holiday season, according to a new survey. About 13.6 million shoppers, or more than one in eight Internet shoppers, will go to stores to retrieve their products, Washington-based National Retail Federation said in a statement today."
December 20th, 2006
- 'Miss USA' keeps her tiara - Well that's a relief... I can't tell you how worrried I was about that. Apparently Miss USA, Tara Connor, is a bit of a party girl, and it was rumored that she'd been frequenting the bars and getting a little tipsy. The problem with that was mainly that she's under the legal drinking age. Whoopee. So she's not been dethroned, de-tiara-ed, or whatever, thanks to Donald Trump who gave her "a second chance" since it was obvious she got all caught up in the bright lights of the Big Apple.
- U.S. Producer Prices Jump Most Since 1974; Housing Starts Exceed Forecasts - "The producer price index climbed 2 percent in November from a month earlier, led by higher costs of energy and light trucks, the Labor Department said today in Washington. Housing starts rose at an annual rate of 1.588 million last month, more than forecast and 6.7 percent higher than in October, the Commerce Department said. Building permits declined. The reports signal that two quarters of slowing growth haven't been enough to defeat inflation and that the housing slump may be less of a drag on growth in coming months. That may make Fed policy makers, who have already been emphasizing the risks of inflation, even more reluctant to reduce rates."
December 28th, 2006
- Jennings finalizes election contest for House filing - Just another example of the basic truth that being a liberal means never having to say you're sorry... Republicans lost the overall election fair and square, and even in races that were extremely tight where Republicans lost and could have fought in the courts for a few more votes, they didn't. But Democrat Christine Jennings is filing her paperwork to dispute the results that have her losing by 400 votes. Voters in her district were, of course, disenfranchised by the voting machines. Memo to Ms. Jennings: the Dems won the election. Save the taxpayers a few bucks and learn to lose gracefully.
- US First Lady Laura Bush Treated for Squamous Cell Carcinoma - It's a fairly benign cancer (as far as cancers go) because it's usually extremely easily to detect and treat early. Apparently the big hubbub is that the White House never disclosed the First Lady's surgery, as it was only discovered when questions were raised about a bandage seen on her shin this past Monday. The bandage was first spotted in October and the surgery was in easrly November. So if they'd disclosed that she had cancer it would have been right around the election and I'm sure the Democrats would have cried foul as that might influence the sympathy vote. Another Rovian plot foiled!
- Sheriff calls off Mt. Hood search - After 9 days of saerching for Brian Hall and Jerry "Nikko" Cooke on Mt Hood, rescuers are giving up on finding the climbers alive as another storm looks to hit the briefly tonight and then a stronger storm this weekend. From this point on they'll scale the search back, searching for the bodies of the two climbers only as weather permits.
January 3rd, 2007
- U.S. Economy: Home Sales Increase, Confidence Jumps - "The Conference Board's index of consumer confidence rose to 109 this month, defying forecasts for a drop, while the National Association of Realtors said sales of previously owned homes unexpectedly increased 0.6 percent in November. The National Association of Purchasing Management-Chicago reported that its gauge of business activity rebounded from the first contraction in more than three years. Bonds weakened as traders speculated that the Federal Reserve is less likely to lower interest rates early next year. Expectations for rate cuts multiplied after downturns in housing and manufacturing resulted last quarter in the slowest growth this year."
January 4th, 2007
- Manufacturing in U.S. Unexpectedly Expands; Spending on Construction Falls - "The Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing index rose to 51.4 in December from 49.5 in November, when activity contracted for the first time in more than three years. Spending on construction dropped 0.2 percent in November after a 0.3 percent drop in October that was smaller than originally reported, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. The figures suggest the economy will extend the five-year economic expansion into 2007, weathering a slump in housing and a factory decline that weakened growth in the past three quarters. The dollar rallied, stocks extended their advance and bonds pared gains."
- Oil Drops Most Since April 2005 as Mild U.S. Weather Curbs Heating Demand - "Home-heating demand in the Northeast, the region responsible for 80 percent of U.S. heating-oil use, will be 43 percent below normal through Jan. 10, said forecaster Weather Derivatives. U.S. fuel stockpiles probably rose last week, according to the median of responses in a Bloomberg News survey. Prices are heading for the biggest one-day decline since April 27, 2005... Crude oil for February delivery fell $2.70, or 4.4 percent, to $58.35 a barrel at 1:09 p.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Futures touched $58.32, the lowest since Nov. 20. Oil is down 7.5 percent from a year ago."
January 8th, 2007
- Oil Has Biggest Two-Day Drop Since December 2004 as Mild Weather Curbs Use - "Home-heating demand in the Northeast U.S. will be 40 percent below normal through Jan. 11, forecaster Weather Derivatives said. Thermometers in New York will rise to 64 degrees Fahrenheit (18 Celsius) tomorrow, 25 degrees above the normal high, the National Weather Service said. The fall in prices accelerated after a government report showed that U.S. fuel supplies surged... Crude-oil futures for February delivery fell $2.73, or 4.7 percent, to $55.59 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the lowest close since June 15, 2005. Prices are down 12 percent from a year ago."
- Treasuries Climb Most in Five Weeks as Growth in Service Industries Slows - "Yields on benchmark 10-year notes declined as separate reports showing a smaller-than-forecast gain in factory orders and an unexpected decline in contracts to buy previously owned homes. The softer growth has economists paring estimates for tomorrow's monthly government payrolls report. 'The data is leaning a little towards the softer side and the market is managing to improve,' said David Ader, a bond strategist at RBS Greenwich Capital in Greenwich, Connecticut, one of the 22 primary government security dealers, which trade with the Fed. 'The Fed has been on hold but we think that's going to change.'"
- Crude Oil Falls on Skepticism OPEC Will Follow Through on Cuts - "Last month, OPEC agreed to lower output by 500,000 barrels a day starting Feb. 1, to stabilize prices. The reduction will come on top of a 1.2 million-barrel-a-day cut that started Nov. 1. Production fell by 245,000 barrels a day last month and 550,000 barrels a day in November, according to a Bloomberg survey. Oil prices dropped almost 8 percent last week... Crude oil for February delivery closed down 22 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $56.09 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices have dropped 13 percent in the past year. Futures touched $54.90 a barrel on Jan. 5, the lowest since Nov. 17."
January 22nd, 2007
January 24th, 2007
- Libby Trial Jury Selection Nears End - They haven't even picked the jury yet?! Damn... this is going to take forever! No one even cares about the sooper-dooper-sekret-agent Valerie "I told everybody and their brother I worker for the CIA" Plame and her lame brain hubby Joe "Yellowcake" Wilson anymore...
- Pfizer to Cut Up to $1 Billion in Costs, Fire 10,000 - This is basically the cost of generic drugs. Pfizer's #3 drug Zoloft has gone generic, so those sales have plummetted and Wall Street is skeptical of Pfizer's future because when their #1 drug, Lipitor, has its patent expire in 2011, Pfizer doesn't currently have the pipeline of drugs being researched that can replace the profit they'd lose when Lipitor goes generic.
- Oil Trades Little Changed After Rising on Increased U.S. Demand - "Crude oil was little changed in New York after rising yesterday on a report showing U.S. fuel demand rose for a second week as cold weather increased heating use. Deliveries from refineries and terminals averaged 20.4 million barrels a day last week, a one-month high, led by increased distillate shipments, the Energy Department said yesterday. Heating demand in the U.S. Northeast, the nation's biggest heating oil consuming region, will be 17 percent above average through Jan. 31, Weather Derivatives said yesterday."
- U.S. Stocks Rise on Earnings, Pushing S&P 500 to a 6-Year High - "U.S. stocks rose, driving the Standard & Poor's 500 Index to its highest in more than six years, after better-than-estimated earnings at Yahoo! Inc. and Sun Microsystems Inc. revived confidence in technology companies... Technology companies' profits may jump 22 percent this year, the most among 10 industry groups, according to analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Investors are counting on the group, the market's biggest laggard this decade, to extend the four-year rally in stocks."
January 25th, 2007
- Crude Oil, Natural Gas Fall on Signs U.S. Supplies Are Adequate - "Natural gas prices plunged today after a government report showed that U.S. supplies last week were 21 percent higher than the five-year average for the period. Some users switch between natural gas and fuels refined from oil based on cost. Below- normal temperatures will cover the eastern half of the U.S. from Jan. 31 to Feb. 8, the National Weather Service said today... Crude oil for March delivery fell $1.14, or 2.1 percent, to close at $54.23 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Futures touched $55.90, the highest intraday price since Jan. 9. Prices are 18 percent lower than a year ago. Oil touched $49.90 a barrel on Jan. 18, the lowest since May 25, 2005."
- U.S. Stocks Tumble Most in Two Months on Earnings Reports, Home Sales Data - "U.S. stocks tumbled the most in two months after energy and pharmaceutical companies reported quarterly results that disappointed investors and existing home sales dropped more than economists forecast. Occidental Petroleum Corp., the fourth-largest U.S. oil company, led a decline in fuel producers after fourth-quarter profit dropped 19 percent, while a loss at Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. sent shares of drugmakers to their biggest decline this year."
January 29th, 2007
January 30th, 2007
- Derby winner Barbaro loses long battle with foot disease - It had been 8 months since Barbaro broke his leg at the Preakness, and at every turn when a new obstacle arose, Barbaro seemed to overcome it. But the leg infection laminitis had killed greats like Sectretariat, and it proved too much for Barbaro as well. They are saying Barbaro's treatments will be breakthroughs for other horses in the future... Hopefully that keeps the PETA freaks happy...
- Oil Falls More Than $1 on Signs U.S. Fuel Supplies Are Ample - "Crude oil and fuel stockpiles in the week ended Jan. 19 were higher than average, the Energy Department said. The eastern two- thirds of the U.S. will experience below-normal temperatures from Feb. 3 to Feb. 11, the National Weather Service reported. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries pledged to cut daily oil output by 500,000 barrels starting Feb. 1. 'Given ample stockpiles, the cold weather isn't enough to give us a sustained rally in prices,' said Michael Lynch, president of Strategic Energy & Economic Research in Winchester, Massachusetts. 'We're now looking to OPEC for direction. We want to get a sign of how good adherence to the Feb. 1 cuts is before there's another big move in prices.'"
January 31st, 2007
- Consumer Confidence in U.S. Rises as Expanding Job Market Spurs Spending - "The Conference Board's index rose to 110.3, the highest since May 2002, from a revised 110 the prior month, the New York-based group said today. The proportion of Americans who said jobs are plentiful was the biggest since August 2001. Increasing optimism is reflected in stronger consumer spending, just as lower fuel costs ease inflationary pressures. The combination helps explain why Federal Reserve policy makers, meeting today and tomorrow, have little reason to raise or lower interest rates in coming months."
February 1st, 2007
- Fed Keeps Benchmark Interest Rate at 5.25 Percent, Sees Improved Economy - "The Fed's statement, which dropped language that described inflation as elevated, triggered a rally in stocks and bonds as investors concluded the central bank will keep rates unchanged for at least six months. The new wording overshadowed the Fed's retention of its bias toward tightening credit. 'Recent indicators have suggested somewhat firmer economic growth, and some tentative signs of stabilization have appeared in the housing market,' the Federal Open Market Committee said today in a statement in Washington. 'Overall, the economy seems likely to expand at a moderate pace over coming quarters.'"
- U.S. Economy Expands at 3.5 Percent Rate, Propelled by Consumer Spending - "The U.S. economy grew at the fastest pace in a year last quarter as declining energy costs helped power consumer spending and contain inflation, enhancing Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke's stature at the start of his second year. Gross domestic product increased at an annual pace of 3.5 percent, the Commerce Department said in Washington today. That was more than forecast and up from a 2 percent pace in the prior three months. Other figures today showed manufacturing and construction still struggling to shake off a slowdown."
February 2nd, 2007
- U.S. Personal Spending Rises Most in Five Months; Manufacturing Contracts - "Purchases rose 0.7 percent after a 0.5 percent increase in November, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. Separately, the Institute for Supply Management said its factory index unexpectedly fell last month to the lowest level since April 2003. A measure of housing demand rose by the most in almost three years. The figures are consistent with the Federal Reserve's forecast of 'moderate' economic growth. The spending report also showed that inflation stabilized, which may allow policy makers to keep interest rates unchanged through the first half of the year."
February 5th, 2007
- Economy in U.S. Adds Fewer Jobs Than Forecast, Signaling Moderate Growth - "The 111,000 increase followed a 206,000 rise in December that was larger than previously estimated, the Labor Department reported today in Washington. The unemployment rate climbed to 4.6 percent, the first increase in three months, while gains in pay slowed. Separate reports showed factory orders and consumer confidence rose. The numbers may relieve some policy makers, including San Francisco Fed President Janet Yellen, who have warned that a tight labor market could boost wages and spur inflation. The figures cap a week of reports showing the economy bouncing back from last year's slowdown without an accompanying surge in prices."
February 6th, 2007
- U.S. Service Industries Grow Faster Than Estimated in ISM's January Index - "The Institute for Supply Management's non-manufacturing index, which includes construction companies, financial services firms and retailers, rose to 59.0, the highest since May, from 56.7 in December. Service industries make up almost 90 percent of gross domestic product. The figures suggest that consumer spending, which helped the economy shake off a slump in manufacturing and housing at the end of 2006, will keep contributing to growth this year. Inventories dwindled along with costs such as energy and transportation, the ISM survey showed.
February 7th, 2007
- Giuliani steps closer to a White House bid - Ruuuuudeeeeey! Ruuuuudeeeeey! I think he's an extremely appealing candidate to the independents and ccould actually beat Hillary should it come to that because he's not a social conservative. That's going to infuriate some conserrvatives looking for that staunch anti-abortion, anti-gay marriage candidate. So we'll have to see how he does against the other conservative Republicans who decide to run.
- Astronaut charged with attempted murder - It's a very strange story. US Navy Captain Lisa Nowak drove nearly 1000 miles in a diaper so she could drive straight through without stopping, to confront Colleen Shipman whom she felt she was in competition with for another astronaut's affections. She was originally charged with kidnapped and nearly released on bail until the charges were ammended to attempted murder. Crazy...
February 8th, 2007
- Productivity in U.S. Rises More Than Forecast; Growth in Labor Costs Slows - "U.S. worker productivity grew at the fastest rate in almost a year last quarter and labor costs rose at a slower pace, suggesting wages may pose less of an inflation threat. The 3 percent gain in productivity, a measure of how much an employee produces for each hour of work, followed a revised 0.1 percent decline in the third quarter, the Labor Department said today in Washington. A measure of labor costs increased 1.7 percent after rising 3.2 percent."
February 9th, 2007
- Anna Nicole Smith is dead; cause unknown - She collapsed at a hotel/casino in Florida and has emergency workers giving her chest complressions as they rushed her into the ambulance. An autopsy will be performed, and there's no indication of any foul play. Suspicious though... what could do this to a healthy, 39 year old woman? The real tragedy hear is her newborn daughter... What happens to her now? I assume the paternity suit continues, but now between Howard Stern and her ex-boyfriend.
- U.S. December Wholesale Inventories Decrease 0.5% - "The 0.5 percent decrease in inventories followed a revised 1.1 percent gain a month earlier that was less than previously estimated, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. Sales at wholesalers rose 1.8 percent in December, the most in seven months and twice the increase a month earlier. The amount of goods on hand at the current sales pace fell to the lowest level since August, suggesting companies are making progress in paring inventories. The figures follow a report last week that showed December factory orders rose by the most in nine months, pointing to production gains."
- Home Lender Shares in U.S. Slip on Concern Mortgage Defaults to Accelerate - "The stock of Irvine, California-based New Century fell $8.63, or 28 percent, to $21.53 at 12:45 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading, the biggest decline since October 1998. Accredited Home Lenders Holding Co. lost as much as 11 percent, Novastar Financial Inc. tumbled as much as 14 percent and American Home Mortgage Investment Corp. slid 6.75 percent. Both New Century and HSBC blamed rising defaults on so- called subprime loans they made to borrowers who had little credit history or heavy debt loads. Defaults on subprime loans increased nationwide last year as competition and a slower housing market prompted lenders to lower their standards and give mortgages to borrowers who couldn't make their monthly payments."
February 12th, 2007
- House GOP blasts Pelosi for plane request - Amid the numerous discussions on global warming at the Capitol, Republicans learned of Pelosi's request for a bigger plane than her predecessor had. Sure it's a rather silly issue, but so is gloabl warming. Still you'd think the Dems would put their money where there mouth is, but this just proves they're all talk and no real action. Just look at that anti-war resolution they wanted to pass. It didn't actually do anything, they just wanted to whine about the President's policy in Iraq. Grow some balls Dems and bring a resolution to defund the war. Even if it's stupid and wouldn't pass, at least you'd be doing something instead of adding more CO2 to the atmosphere with your blustering.
- Economists Are More Optimistic About U.S. Growth - "The combination will allow the Federal Reserve to hold the line on interest rates through much of 2007, economists predict. The economy will expand at a 2.5 percent annual pace this quarter, up from last month's forecast of 2.3 percent, according to the median estimate of 71 economists surveyed from Feb. 1 to Feb. 8. Unemployment close to a five-year low is powering wage growth and helping consumers, whose spending accounts for two- thirds of the economy, ride out the slowdown in housing. Economists estimate that the fourth quarter is the earliest Fed policy makers will reduce interest rates."
February 13th, 2007
- Restaurant offers skinny models free meals - Bumpkin, a trendy restaurant in Notting Hill, known for being a hotspot for celebrity clients, has begun offering free meals to anyone with a BMI below 18. And since its London Fashion Week, I'm sure there'll be quite a few freaky, bony looking not too pretty looking women. I love that the owner recommended the charter pie containing leeks, chicken and bacon. Maybe they'd eat half a leek, at most...
- Iranian leader dismisses U.S. charge - Nevermind the actual evidence like serial numbers off used munitions and captured envoys trying to smuggle weapons across the border. Why let pesky little things like facts get in the way. At least Wackypants cares about the people dying in Iraq: "We are asking for peace, we are asking for security, and we will be sad to see people get killed, no matter who they are." Unless they're Jews... if they're Jews he's fine with them dying. All people other than Jews is really what he meant.
- Oil Falls After Saudis Say They Will Increase Shipments to Asian Refiners - "Saudi Arabia will ship 7 percent less-than-contracted volumes to the refiners in March compared with a cut of as much as 14 percent this month, said officials who received notices and asked not to be identified because of confidentiality agreements. Saudi Arabia's oil minister, Ali al-Naimi, said OPEC may not have to make additional output cuts, the Wall Street Journal reported... Crude oil for March delivery fell $1.77, or 3 percent, to $58.12 a barrel at 12:21 p.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Natural gas for March delivery tumbled 48.6 cents, or 6.2 percent, to $7.341 per million British thermal units, the biggest decline since Jan. 25, on forecasts for milder weather in the eastern U.S. next week after snowstorms in the next few days."
February 14th, 2007
- Early Iraq withdrawal would 'benefit terrorists' - General Peter Pace knows his shit. "Anytime that we would step back from the obligation to help others be free works to the betterment or to the benefit of terrorists," He also said that we have to make sure the Iraqi government has solidified more before we start to pull out. Amen, General. Amen.
- Mitt Romney declares presidential bid - We'd all pretty much figured he was going to run, but I guess this makes it official. So now running are the potential first woman president, first black president, and the first Mormon president. I like Romney. I'm not sure where my vote will go in the primaries, but Romney is a strong possibility.
- U.S. Trade Deficit Widens to Record for Fifth Year on Oil, Chinese Imports - "The gap between imports and exports expanded 6.5 percent to $763.6 billion last year, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. The shortfall increased to $61.2 billion in December from a month earlier, more than economists forecast. China replaced Mexico as America's second-largest trading partner behind Canada during the year, intensifying complaints from lawmakers that the nation is keeping its currency weak to spur exports. The deficit was also swollen by rising crude oil prices, masking record U.S. shipments abroad."
February 15th, 2007
- Chargers give Schottenheimer the ax - What the hell are the Chargers thinking? If they were that pissed about Marty throwing away the playoff game to New England they should have fired him right there. By waiting until now all the top shelf candidates for head coach are gone. They could have held on to either Wade Phillips or Cam Cameron, instead of keeping one as head coach, we've lost them both and now need a new head coach too. So a 14-2 team is replacing its entire coaching staff? How does this even make sense?
- Bernanke Says Inflation Slowing; Not Ready to Relax - "Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said declining energy and commodity prices are likely to reduce inflation, though it will be a while before the Fed relaxes its guard. 'There are some indications that inflation pressures are beginning to diminish,' he told the Senate Banking Committee in Washington. 'The monthly data are noisy, however, and it will consequently be some time before we can be confident that underlying inflation is moderating as anticipated.'"
- U.S. January Retail Sales Unchanged, Increase 0.3 Percent Excluding Autos - "January sales were unchanged after a 1.2 percent gain in December that was more than previously estimated, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. Sales excluding autos and gasoline rose 0.5 percent after rising 1 percent in December. The figures bear out congressional testimony today by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke that the economy will probably grow 'at a moderate pace.' Shoppers redeemed gift cards and used the savings from lower gasoline prices to buy winter clothing and home furnishings last month."
February 16th, 2007
- Highjacker arrested, several wounded by gunfireSpanish officials arrested a lone hijacker of an Air Mauritania flight that departed Nouadhibou for the Spanish Canary Islands, and the reports of people wounded by gunfire are unconfirmed reports from Spanish emergency services on the Canary Islands. Nothing has been released yet on the hijacker or his motives.
- U.S. January Industrial Output Falls 0.5 Percent, Most in More Than a Year - "Production at factories, mines and utilities dropped 0.5 percent after a 0.5 percent December increase, the Federal Reserve said today. The report also showed a decline in the plant-use rate to the lowest in almost a year, which may help contain inflation. The figures are consistent with Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke's prediction yesterday that excess inventories, especially at auto dealers, may limit production early this year. A separate report from the Philadelphia Fed showed manufacturing in the area stalled this month, and orders fell."
February 19th, 2007
- U.S. Housing Starts Drop to Lowest Level Since 1997; Producer Prices Fall - "Housing starts slumped 14.3 percent to an annual pace of 1.408 million, less than forecast and down from December's 1.643 million rate, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. A separate report from the Labor Department showed producer prices fell by the most in three months on lower energy costs. The figures show that even as sales have stabilized, residential construction will remain a drag on the economy after builder inventories reached a record last year. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke told lawmakers this week that the weakness in homebuilding may extend through much of the year at the same time inflationary pressures begin 'to diminish.'"
February 22nd, 2007
- Chargers hire Norv Turner as head coach - Norv Turner? Not exactly a stellar record as a head coach. And he was with the hated Oakland Raiders! Do we really want a Raider reject leading our team? This doesn't look good so far... Can we get Marty back?
- TV Remote co-inventor dies aged 93 - Robert Adler died of heart failure in his nursing home in Boise, Idaho. He and his partner Eugene Polley invented the remote in 1956 when he was working for Zenith. He was an astounding inventor and had 180 patents in his name. So thank you Mr. Adler. You have made it so much harder to get off the couch.
- Crude Oil Declines on Speculation U.S. Heating-Fuel Supplies Are Adequate - "Temperatures in much of the U.S. Northeast, the nation's largest heating oil consuming region, may be above average in the week ending March 4, according to the National Weather Service. Crude oil may fall this week as warmer weather moves into the eastern half of the U.S., curbing demand for heating oil and natural gas, according to a Bloomberg News survey. U.S. fuel stockpiles 'are still going to fall, and we expect they may fall down to the five-year average,' Paul Horsnell, Barclays Capital's head of commodities research, said in an interview in London. 'But they are never going to run out.'"
February 23rd, 2007
- U.S. Initial Jobless Claims Fell By 27,000 to 332,000 - "Initial jobless claims declined by 27,000 to 332,000, the Labor Department said today in Washington. The decline wiped out a little more than half the 46,000 surge in the prior week that the government attributed to winter storms. Companies trying to keep a lid on costs may start to trim payrolls as slowdowns in housing and manufacturing hinder economic growth further, economists said. An average of 313,000 workers a week filed claims in 2006."
February 27th, 2007
- Britney Spears' Dad: She's a Sick Little Girl - I can't help but agree. Mother of two, divorced, partying, drinking and drugs, shaves her head, gets tattoos, tries 3 separate times in one week to check into rehab... Her image has been destroyed, and I don't know if you can't label the media as an accomplice in all this. The fame and pressure were perhaps just too much...
- Iranian President Vows to Push Ahead With Nuclear Program - Of course Wackypants is going to push ahead with his nuclear program, and what's scary is that no one really knows how close he is to building a real nuke. Some say years, other months, others even say they may already have them. America has been so diplomatic, so flexible in its approach to Iran, that we've become spineless. Even if we're were to suddenly enact serious sanctions and embargos, would it change Iran's course of action? I don't think it would...
- Treasuries Rise as Investors Seek Haven From Subprime Mortgages - "Government debt also gained as traders expected purchases related to month-end index rebalancing and new commercial mortgage-backed securities to lift prices. The advance put the 10-year note on track for its fourth straight weekly gain. 'There has been some very significant buying of the market going on,' said Dominic Konstam, head of interest-rate strategy in New York at Credit Suisse. 'People are worried about contagion effects of credit products in general.'"
February 28th, 2007
- U.S. Factory Downturn Restrains Growth Even as Consumer Confidence Gains - "Durable-goods orders fell 7.8 percent in January, reflecting the biggest slide in business equipment demand in three years, the Commerce Department said in Washington. At the same time, the Conference Board's consumer-optimism index unexpectedly increased to the highest level in more than five years, and the National Association of Realtors said existing- home sales rose more than forecast. 'Growth will probably continue to be sluggish, but the stage seems set for a gradual acceleration toward the end of the year,' said Nariman Behravesh, chief economist at Global Insight Inc. in Lexington, Massachusetts. 'Consumers are still fairly upbeat, housing has probably bottomed out, and all we need is for corporate America to stop being so risk-averse.'
March 1st, 2007
- U.S. Economy Grew at a 2.2% Annual Rate Last Quarter - "The increase in gross domestic product, the sum of all goods and services produced in the U.S., compares with a 3.5 percent rate reported on Jan. 31 and a 2 percent pace in the third quarter, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. The Federal Reserve's preferred measure of inflation rose less than previously estimated. The figures now show a more consistent pattern of slower growth over the last nine months of 2006 as housing, then manufacturing, slumped. Cuts in production and fewer orders last month suggest companies are still grappling with excess inventory, confirming the Fed's forecast that the expansion will proceed at a moderate pace."
March 2nd, 2007
- U.S. Manufacturing Unexpectedly Grows; Incomes, Spending, Prices Increase - "The Institute for Supply Management's factory index jumped to 52.3 in February from 49.3 in the prior month. Government figures showed spending rose 0.5 percent in January, incomes climbed 1 percent and the Fed's preferred measure of inflation rose 0.3 percent from December. The factory report lifted stocks from near their lowest level of the day and signaled that manufacturing, which restrained growth last year, may be stabilizing. Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke yesterday said policy makers expect a pickup in growth later this year."
March 3rd, 2007
- Consumer Confidence in U.S. Falls From Two-Year High on Rising Fuel Prices - "The Reuters/University of Michigan's final index of sentiment declined to 91.3 in February, a five-month low, from 96.9 in January. The figure compares with a preliminary reading of 93.3 released on Feb. 16. Lower-income Americans accounted for 'nearly the entire' drop in confidence, the report said. Such consumers are the ones most likely to feel the pinch of the highest gasoline prices since September. Sentiment among people with higher incomes wasn't as weak, indicating a divergence in attitudes that suggests spending gains may be uneven going forward."
March 5th, 2007
- U.S. Reports Airstrikes on Qaeda Insurgents in Iraq - The airstrikes took out at least two pickups with mounted machine guns as well as several suspected al Qaeda terrorist scum. These types of trucks with mounted weapons were responsible for shooting down a couple of the eight helicopter wrecks that have occurred since January. The terrorists killed are believed to be key al Qaeda operatives in Iraq. Good work guys!
- U.S. Stocks Have Worst Weekly Drop in 4 Years Amid Global Rout - "Citigroup Inc. and Bank of America Corp., the biggest U.S. financial-services companies, led the retreat after a drop in consumer confidence and rising mortgage defaults spurred concern that profit growth will be wiped out by a recession. This week's decline ended a streak of eight monthly gains in U.S. stocks that had pushed the Standard & Poor's 500 Index to a six-year high and the Dow Jones Industrial Average to a record. The rout erased about $837 billion in market value."
- Libby jury breaks with no verdict on perjury case - Still do decision on whether Libby outed the Sooper-Sekret agent Valerie Plame. For a little history on the case you can search my blog, but Blackfive had a great post recently about how, if Plame was a covert agent, she was the worst covert agent in history and probably should have been fired. Not much you can argue with there, so go check it out...
March 12th, 2007
- Service Industries in U.S. Expand at Slower Pace Than Economists Forecast - "The Institute for Supply Management's index of non- manufacturing businesses, which make up 90 percent of the economy, fell to a lower-than-forecast 54.3 after a January level of 59, the Tempe, Arizona-based group said. Readings above 50 mean that services are continuing to expand. The report shows few signs of the pickup in economic growth forecast by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke, making it likely policy makers will keep interest rates unchanged in coming months. Half of the 18 industries surveyed, including construction, finance and retailing, reported slower business."
March 13th, 2007
- Crude Oil Falls Below $59 on Speculation OPEC Is Unlikely to Reduce Output - "OPEC's compliance with oil-output cuts is ``very good,'' making a further quota reduction unlikely when officials gather on March 15, the oil ministers of Qatar and United Arab Emirates said. The 10 members with output targets pledged to trim a total of 1.7 million barrels a day from production in two rounds of cuts, one that started Nov. 1 and another that began Feb. 1... Crude oil for April delivery fell $1.14, or 1.9 percent, to settle at $58.91 a barrel at 2:52 p.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It was the lowest settlement price since Feb. 20. Futures touched $58.60, the lowest intraday price since Feb. 21. Prices are down 1.8 percent from a year ago."
March 14th, 2007
- Elder Bush better after collapse on golf course - I mean, we all know that golf is the physically demanding acitivity a human being can engage in, next to soccer. Either that or the former President should focus a little more on his swing and a little less on pounding shots trying to impress the beer cart girl. All joking aside, we here at Cake or Death are glad to hear former President Bush is getting better.
- Retail Sales in U.S. Rise Less Than Forecast as Cold Keeps Shoppers Home - "The 0.1 percent gain, largely because of gasoline and car purchases, followed no change in the prior month, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. Sales excluding automobiles unexpectedly dropped 0.1 percent after a revised 0.2 percent gain that was smaller than previously reported. The figures point to a gradual slowdown in consumer spending, which Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke has called a ``mainstay'' of the expansion. Economists at Credit Suisse and Macroeconomic Advisers were among those who lowered their forecasts for first-quarter economic growth."
March 15th, 2007
- U.S. Import Prices Climb Less Than Forecast; Current-Account Gap Narrows - "The 0.2 percent increase followed a 0.9 percent drop in January, the Labor Department said today in Washington. Prices excluding petroleum fell 0.1 percent. Separate figures from the Commerce Department showed the current-account deficit shrank last quarter to $195.8 billion. The cheapest imported business equipment in almost a year is among factors that may make it easier for the Federal Reserve to keep interest rates unchanged. Policy makers will see reports on wholesale and consumer prices in coming days as they prepare for next week's interest-rate meeting."
March 16th, 2007
- U.S. Producer Price Jump Gives Fed Less Room to Respond to Slowing Economy - "Energy, food and tobacco drove the index to a 1.3 percent gain, the Labor Department said today in Washington. Core prices, which exclude food and fuel, also increased more than anticipated. Separate reports showed a decline in jobless claims and persistent weakness in factories. Fed policy makers, who meet next week, are likely to view the producer price numbers as evidence of stubborn inflation that they say poses the biggest risk to economic growth. The numbers reduce Chairman Ben S. Bernanke's flexibility to respond to a crisis in subprime mortgages, where delinquencies have climbed to a four-year high."
March 19th, 2007
- CIA spy at heart of leak scandal breaks silence - Sooper-dooper sekret agent Valerie Plame just refuses to accept that her 15 minutes are over. Now we get to listen to her whine on Capitol Hill for a week or so. Great. Wasn't there a federal investigation into this? Wasn't the biggest charge that resulted from that investigation an indictment of Libby for perjury and obstruction? Now why is this still an important story?
- U.S. Consumer Prices Rise More Than Forecast, Reducing Prospect of Fed Cut - "The 0.4 percent increase in the consumer price index followed a 0.2 percent January gain, the Labor Department said today in Washington. Core prices, which exclude food and energy, rose 0.2 percent and were up 2.7 percent from a year earlier. Separate reports showed industrial production jumped the most since November 2005, while consumer confidence declined. Persistent inflation means Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke will find it hard to signal an interest-rate cut when policy makers gather next week, economists said. The rebound in manufacturing, which along with housing has been a source of weakness in the economy, suggests factories are making some headway in reducing inventories."
March 20th, 2007
- Court to Hear 'Bong Hits 4 Jesus' Case - Joseph Frederick posted the banner at a high school event and admits it was done to provoke school officials. The sign was removed on the grounds it promoted drug use, and he was suspended for 10 days. Now of course, his free speech has been violated. I personally have no problem with stoners taking bong hits in the name of Jesus. God bless 'em, but the school has every right to suspend the kid. Free speech isn't about being able to say whatever you want whenever without responsiblilty.
March 21st, 2007
- Housing Starts in U.S. Rise More Than Estimated, Easing Slowdown Concern - "Builders broke ground on new homes at an annual rate of 1.525 million last month, up 9 percent from the prior month and more than economists forecast, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. Building permits fell 2.5 percent. The numbers eased speculation that climbing defaults on subprime mortgages would put additional homes on the market, leading builders to halt more projects and fire workers. At the same time, swings in the monthly figures don't convey the stability desired by Federal Reserve policy makers, who meet today and tomorrow to set interest rates."
March 22nd, 2007
- Fed Maintains Rate at 5.25 Percent, Abandons Bias Toward Tightening Policy - "'Future policy adjustments will depend on the evolution of the outlook for both inflation and economic growth,' the Federal Open Market Committee said today in Washington. While inflation is the 'predominant' concern, the statement dropped a reference to 'additional firming,' language used since June. Policy makers said recent economic indicators have been 'mixed' and the 'adjustment' in the housing industry is continuing. Nevertheless, 'the economy seems likely to continue to expand at a moderate pace over coming quarters.'"
March 23rd, 2007
- Oil Rises as U.S. Refineries Increase Purchases to Meet Gasoline Demand - "U.S. refineries operated at 86.3 percent of capacity last week, the highest since the week ended Feb. 9, according to an Energy Department report yesterday. Gasoline supplies fell for a sixth straight week, the report showed. The profit margin, or 'crack' spread, for turning crude oil into gasoline and heating oil on March 19 surged to the highest since September 2005. 'We're anticipating that refineries will soon ramp up production, which will lead to increased consumption of crude oil,' said Aaron Kildow, a broker at Prudential Financial Derivatives LLC in New York. 'The crack is pulling crude oil higher. There is every incentive for refiners to increase their run levels.'"
March 26th, 2007
- Existing U.S. Home Sales Unexpectedly Increase in Sign Housing Recovering - "Purchases increased 3.9 percent in February to an annual rate of 6.69 million, the National Association of Realtors said today in Washington. Sales have risen in each of the past three months, a streak not matched since April 2004 in the midst of the five-year housing boom. Gains in home construction, mortgage rates near a 14-month low and an increase in loan applications from a year ago are helping lay the groundwork for an industry rebound. Stocks advanced as traders took the figures as an endorsement of the Federal Reserve's forecast that the economy will grow at a moderate pace."
March 27th, 2007
- Anna Nicole Smith's Death Ruled Accidental Overdose - Anna had at least nine different drugs in her system when she died including methadone, valium, chloral hydrate, growth hormone, flu medication, and injectable vitamins, and that injection led to a butt infection. Please insert Anna Nicole butt joke here...
- Webb Aide Arrested For Taking Gun Into Senate Building - Phillip Thompson, a top aide to Democratic Senator Jim Webb, was arrested when he tried to bring a gun into a Senate office building and it was discovered that Mr. Thompson didn't have a permit. That he was arrested bringing the Senator's gun in isn't the notable part of the story. That the Democrat owns a gun at all just about made me fall off my chair.
- New-Home Sales in U.S. Unexpectedly Slide, Prompting Doubts About Recovery - "The supply of unsold homes climbed to the highest in 16 years, the Commerce Department said in Washington today. Purchases dropped 3.9 percent to an annual pace of 848,000 last month. Economists had forecast they would rise to a 985,000 rate, based on the median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey. The figures, made worse by the coldest February in more than a decade, doused optimism from reports last week on sales of previously-owned dwellings and housing starts. Some analysts read those numbers as evidence that the industry may be stabilizing, as the Federal Reserve has anticipated. Shares of homebuilders tumbled and bonds gained as traders speculated that the economy will slow further."
March 28th, 2007
- Tony Snow's Cancer returns - Tony played down the surgery he had scheduled to remove what was thought to be a benign growth. Turns out his cancer has returned and spread to his liver. Cancer sucks so I'll keep Tony (and Elizabeth Edwards for that matter) in my prayers. Hopefully both can bounce back from their recent diagnoses.
- U.S. Consumer Confidence Drops on Fuel Prices, Stock Declines, Mortgages - "The New York-based Conference Board's index of consumer confidence retreated more than forecast to 107.2, from 111.2 in February. The survey also said fewer Americans planned to buy a house, while the S&P/Case-Shiller index showed home prices dropped in January for the first time in at least six years. The reports pushed stocks lower as investors fretted that consumer spending, which is carrying the five-year economic expansion, will weaken. The Conference Board also observed that jobs are plentiful, suggesting rising wages may yet shield most consumers from the worst of the housing downturn."
- Home Prices in U.S. Post First January Decline in Six Years, Index Shows - "A measure of home values in 20 metropolitan areas dropped 0.2 percent from the same month last year, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller home-price index. The decrease was the first since the group started keeping year-over-year records in January 2001. The numbers follow a report yesterday that showed new-home sales at the lowest level in almost seven years as builders struggled with a glut of unsold dwellings. Falling prices make it harder for owners to borrow against home equity and may make lenders even more wary as delinquencies climb."
March 29th, 2007
- U.S. Durable-Goods Orders Excluding Transport Equipment Unexpectedly Fall - "The 0.1 percent drop followed a 4.0 percent slide a month earlier, the Commerce Department said in Washington today. None of the 35 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News predicted the decline. Orders for all durable goods -- those made to last several years -- rose 2.5 percent, less than analysts anticipated. Companies are reluctant to buy new machinery and equipment until inventories are reduced, suggesting the economy may slow further, economists said. Economists at HSBC Securities USA Inc. and Morgan Stanley were among those to cut forecasts for first- quarter economic growth after today's report."
March 30th, 2007
- U.S. Economy Expands at 2.5 Percent Annual Rate, Hobbled by Housing Slump - "The third and final estimate of gross domestic product for the period from October to December compares with the 2.2 percent reported last month and an initial calculation of 3.5 percent, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. Increases in mortgage defaults and foreclosures threaten to delay housing's recovery from its worst recession in 15 years, raising the prospect of a prolonged economic slowdown. The Federal Reserve's prediction that the economy will continue to expand at a moderate pace hinges largely on the job market and rising wages. The Labor Department said today that jobless claims unexpectedly fell to the lowest since January."
April 2nd, 2007
- Governor Schwarzenegger Helps Fainting Student - This poor girl fainted about halfway through the governor's speech. The students had been on stage behind the podium for about an hour for some stupid crap about Cesar Chavez day. It's a pretty sad state of things when a teenage girl can't even stand for an hour. What would Cesar say about that? He'd be pretty damn disappointed, that's what. He'd say we're going soft giving out holidays for all these retarded reasons. And after that fainting spell, another girl started getting light-headed. I didn't think Arnold was that big a chick magnet anymore...
- David Hicks gagged before vote, sentenced - It's an interesting plea agreement. He gets 7 years in jail to be served in Australia (and it seems that does not include time already served), he has a gag order in place so he can't talk to the media for one year, he can never profit by selling his story, after hi release, he can never leave Australia, and signed documents saying he was never ill treated during his time at Gitmo. Any breach of this agreement will either extend his jail time or land him back in the slammer. He confessed to 35 separate terror offenses.
- Consumer Spending, Incomes in U.S. Rise, Reducing Chance of Fed Rate Cut - "Both incomes and spending last month gained 0.6 percent, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. That was twice the increase anticipated by economists. Prices rose 0.3 percent, while the National Association of Purchasing Management- Chicago's business barometer jumped to the highest in almost two years. Growth in wages and employment means consumers have money to help offset rising gasoline prices and weakening home values. At the same time, the higher-than-expected price report gives Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke, who this week described inflation as his chief concern, less room to reduce rates should the economy falter."
April 3rd, 2007
- U.S. Manufacturing Growth Slows More Than Forecast as Materials Costs Rise - "The Institute for Supply Management said today its factory index fell to 50.9, from 52.3 in February. A sub-index of prices rose the most in seven months, while measures of employment and new orders declined. Manufacturing, which accounts for about 12 percent of the economy, won't contribute to the pickup in growth predicted by the Federal Reserve, the report suggests. Soaring costs for fuel and metals might make some firms reluctant to invest and force them to pass on higher costs. Persistent inflation pressures also mean the Fed is unlikely to cut interest rates in coming months, economists said."
April 4th, 2007
- Corn in Bear Market as Farmers Plan Biggest Crop Since WWII, Barclays Says - Damn that global warming! "Corn had soared 81 percent in 2006 as global demand for ethanol, animal feed and sweeteners exceeded production for the sixth time in seven years, eroding inventories. The jump in prices prompted U.S. farmers, the world's biggest producers and exporters of corn, to prepare a 15 percent increase in planting this year. In a survey released March 30, farmers told the U.S. Department of Agriculture that they plan to plant 90.5 million acres with corn, up from 78.327 million in 2006 and topping the 12 percent jump estimated by analysts. If planted as planned in the next two months, the acreage would be the most since 1944."
- Home Sales in U.S. Unexpectedly Rise; Retail Sales Gain Most in Two Months - "The National Association of Realtors' index of signed purchase agreements rose 0.7 percent after dropping 4.2 percent in January. Economists had forecast a decline. The index was down 8.5 percent from a year earlier. Lower borrowing costs and falling house prices are tempting some buyers back into the market, which is suffering its worst recession since 1991, economists said. Stocks extended gains after the report, which is consistent with predictions by the Federal Reserve that the slump in residential real estate will be contained."
April 5th, 2007
- U.S. Service-Industry Expansion Unexpectedly Slows, Raising Growth Concern - "The Institute for Supply Management's index of non- manufacturing businesses including banks, builders and retailers slid to 52.4, lower than economists anticipated. Orders placed with American factories rose 1 percent in February, the Commerce Department said in Washington, also less than analysts predicted. Services, which account for 90 percent of the economy and have propped up growth for the past year, are now being hurt by rising fuel costs and a tapering off in sales. Bonds rallied and the dollar retreated after the numbers."
April 6th, 2007
- Tearful homecoming for Britons freed by Iran - Well, Wackypants AquaVelva-jad kept his word and sent the British soldiers home, thank God. And man did he ham it up... little jabs at the west in his press conferences, actually showing up at the send off for the British captives, and just generally trying to look like a nice guy... all smiles and laughter. Nevermind the oppressive nature of the regime, lack of rights for women, regular murder of gays and general suppression of freedoms. Other than all that Wackypants is a nice guy...
- U.S. Stocks Head for Weekly Gain as Technology Shares Rise, Oil Declines - "Yahoo! Inc. rose to the highest since Feb. 26 after Goldman, Sachs & Co. boosted its revenue projection because of growth in Internet searches. Semiconductor shares in the U.S. gained after Merrill Lynch & Co. predicted a pickup in demand at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., the world's largest maker of custom-made chips. Crude oil has dropped 2.9 percent this week as Iran released 15 British hostages, ending a standoff that pushed oil to a six- month high. Lower fuel costs may brighten the outlook for corporate earnings. Analysts expect technology companies to post the biggest profit gains among Standard & Poor's 500 Index members this year."
April 9th, 2007
- U.S. Payrolls Rise More Than Forecast; Jobless Rate Matches Five-Year Low - "The 180,000 increase in employment, the most in three months, followed a 113,000 gain in February that was larger than previously estimated, the Labor Department reported today in Washington. The jobless rate fell to 4.4 percent, a level last seen in October, defying predictions it would climb. Plentiful jobs and bigger paychecks are giving more people the means to spend, preventing the housing recession from spreading to the rest of the economy. The report takes some of the pressure off Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke to cut interest rates. Bonds tumbled and the dollar jumped."
April 10th, 2007
- Oil Falls as Supply Worry Eases After Iran Releases U.K. Marines, Sailors - "'We are seeing a sell-off after the excessive highs reached during the last two weeks because of the Iran situation,' said Michael Lynch, president of Strategic Energy & Economic Research in Winchester, Massachusetts. 'Prices here are depressed because the tanks in Cushing are full as a result of refinery problems. There's nowhere to put the oil.' Crude oil for May delivery fell 53 cents, or 0.8 percent, to $63.75 a barrel at 11:14 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Futures touched $63.35 a barrel, the lowest since March 27. The contract reached $68.09 a barrel on March 27, the highest since Sept. 6. Prices are down 5.4 percent from a year ago."
April 11th, 2007
- Recession in U.S. Is Expected by Most Americans Within a Year, Poll Shows - "Six in 10 who were surveyed predicted a recession, similar to the 64 percent who anticipated the economy would contract in a December 2000 poll by the Los Angeles Times three months before the last decline. In the current survey, 71 percent of those earning less than $40,000 said they expect a recession compared with about half for those making more than $100,000.[...] The Department of Labor reported on April 6 that the economy added 180,000 new jobs in March and the unemployment rate fell to 4.4 percent, matching October's five-year low. On the minus side, gasoline prices have risen 29 percent since January and the housing market has cooled."
- DNA shows Birkhead father of Anna Nicole Smith's baby - I'd have bet money Howard Stern was the father... Who knew Anna was sleeping around on her lawyer-fiancee-live in boyfriend. So now the circus is over, and hopefully we never, never, ever have to hear a thing about Anna Nicole, Howard Stern, Larry Birkhead, or any part of this entire fiasco ever again. Please.
April 12th, 2007
- U.S. Growth Forecast for 2007 Cut to 2.2 Percent by IMF Amid Housing Slump - "The forecast for the world's largest economy compares with a September estimate of 2.9 percent, the IMF said in its twice- annual World Economic Outlook released today in Washington. The U.S. economy grew 3.3 percent in 2006. Home construction has slumped as builders try to trim a glut of unsold properties that's reached a 15-year high, the IMF said. Still, homebuilding will be more a drag than an anchor as a "robust'' labor market and high corporate profits spark a rebound in growth next year to 2.8 percent, the fund also said."
April 13th, 2007
- U.S. Import Prices Jump More Than Forecast, Spurred by Costs for Oil, Gas - "The 1.7 percent increase was more than twice economists' forecasts and followed a 0.1 percent gain in February, the Labor Department said in Washington today. Prices excluding petroleum rose 0.3 percent. Separate numbers from the department showed jobless claims climbed last week. The import figures come a day after Fed policy makers released minutes of their March meeting in which they said higher fuel prices may cause some firms to pass costs on to their customers. The Fed added that higher interest rates might even 'prove necessary.'"
April 16th, 2007
- CBS Says Couric Unaware of Plagiarized Essay - It was a video fluff piece on libraries that was posted directly to the CBS website, so it never aired on the Evening News. Everyone's favorite little cherub, Katie, didn't create the piece, which is good for her since it pretty much taken straight out the Wall Street Journal, an article by Jeffrey Zaslow published back in March. Katie gets to keep her job of course, but the producer responsible has been sacked.
- Producer Prices in U.S. Rise More Than Forecast; Consumer Confidence Falls - "Prices paid to producers rose 1 percent after a 1.3 percent increase in February, the Labor Department said today in Washington. The Reuters/University of Michigan's preliminary consumer sentiment index declined to an eight-month low of 85.3 in April as Americans predicted inflation would accelerate. Mounting fuel costs are causing the Federal Reserve to question its forecast that inflation will gradually recede and are also taking a bite out of consumers' paychecks. Bonds fell on speculation that persistent inflation will discourage the Fed from reducing interest rates even as the economy slackens."
April 17th, 2007
- Retail Sales in U.S. Rise Most in Three Months on Higher Incomes, Weather - "The 0.7 percent increase followed a revised 0.5 percent gain the prior month that was larger than previously estimated, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. Manufacturing growth in New York state stayed near a two-year low, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York said today. Fed officials are counting on consumer spending, which makes up more than two-thirds of gross domestic product, to give the economy a lift. A jobless rate that's close to a six-year low and higher wages are keeping Americans at the store, reducing the need for policy makers to cut interest rates."
April 18th, 2007
- Pentagon: Zubaydah denies al-Qaida link - Not only does Abu Zubaydah deny any involvement with al Qaeda, he's also claiming that he's been tortured. Tortured so severely in fact that he's suffered brain damage and now has trouble writing and speaking. It was because of the torture that he admitted to things he did not do. He did admit that he's been an enemy of America since birth though, so I'm sure we can take his word on all the other stuff...
- U.S. Consumer Prices Ease, Housing Starts Gain in Sign of Moderate Growth - "The 0.1 percent increase in core consumer prices, which exclude food and energy costs, was the smallest in three months and follows a 0.2 percent February gain, the Labor Department said today in Washington. Builders broke ground on new homes at an annual rate of 1.518 million, up 0.8 percent from the prior month, the Commerce Department reported. The inflation figures mean Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke may keep interest rates unchanged even as he predicts the economic expansion, currently in its sixth year, will pick up. Treasury notes rallied after the price report and held their gains after the Fed said industrial production fell."
April 19th, 2007
- Abortion ruling marks a 1st for high court - The Court ruled in a 5-5 decision that the Partial Birth Abortion Ban is in fact legal. What I found surprising is that this is the first time the Supreme Court had ever upheld any sort of abortion ban as legal. Bush was happy of course talking about the sanctity of life, and Feinstein was (get this) "truly shocked" and blabbering about setbacks to women's rights and endangering women's lives. Nevermind that up to 90% of abortions are performed in the 1st trimester, when this is not an issue, and that if a woman can prove medical reasons for it, they can still get that late term abortion. So don't freak out Feinstein.
- Greenspan Says Global Growth to Cushion U.S., Downplays Risk of Recession - "Former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan played down his earlier concern about a possible U.S. recession, saying the world economy would provide a cushion, according to people attending a forum in Tokyo today. Greenspan said growth in the rest of the world is creating demand for services from companies such as Microsoft Corp., according to Vaseehar Hassan Abdul Razack, chairman of Kuala Lumpur-based RHB Islamic Bank Bhd, who attended the meeting, hosted by Nomura Research Institute Ltd. Greenspan was speaking via satellite from Washington."
April 20th, 2007
- U.S. Leading Indicators Gain 0.1 Percent; Philadelphia Index Stays at 0.2 - "The Conference Board's index of leading economic indicators increased 0.1 percent in March, the New York-based group said today. The gauge points to the direction of the economy over the next three to six months. The Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank's factory index was unchanged at 0.2 in April, just above the dividing line between expansion and contraction. Economic growth has been shored up by a resilient labor market, which is offsetting a housing recession and factory decline. Another report today showed claims for jobless benefits fell less than forecast, suggesting even the labor market may be beginning to soften."
April 24th, 2007
- Stocks in U.S. Rally, Pushing Dow Average to Record, on Earnings Reports - "Honeywell International Inc. and American Express Co. also helped extend the best April advance in four years after profits signaled that global economic growth remains strong. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index and the Nasdaq Composite Index rose to six- year highs. Better-than-expected results spurred analysts to boost estimates for first-quarter earnings growth at S&P 500 companies to 6.2 percent from last week's 3.1 percent, Bloomberg data show. The Dow and S&P 500 completed their third straight weekly gain, the longest stretch since October."
April 25th, 2007
- U.S. Home Sales, Confidence Drop, Suggesting Economy Struggling to Pick Up - "Existing home sales slid 8.4 percent in March after rising 3.7 percent the previous month, the National Association of Realtors said today in Washington. A separate private report showed home-price declines in 20 major cities accelerated in February. The Conference Board's consumer confidence index fell to 104, from 108.2. Slowing housing and deteriorating confidence pose a risk that the economy, which is projected to have grown last quarter at the weakest pace in more than a year, won't accelerate in coming months. The dollar dropped and benchmark Treasury yields reached their lowest level this month."
April 26th, 2007
- New-Home Sales in U.S. Increase 2.6% to 858,000 Pace - "The gain may be more a reflection of higher-than-normal temperatures in March than a sign of a recovery in demand, economists said. The National Association of Realtors reported yesterday that existing homes sales dropped by the most since 1989 last month. Those purchases are largely based on contracts signed in February, when winter storms dissuaded buyers... A separate government report today showed orders for durable goods rose more than forecast in March, signaling a revival in business spending. Orders for goods made to last several years increased 3.4 percent after a 2.4 percent gain in February that was larger than previously estimated. Orders excluding transportation equipment rose 1.5 percent after a 0.4 percent drop."
April 27th, 2007
- Initial Unemployment Claims in U.S. Declined 20,000 Last Week to 321,000 - "Initial jobless claims fell by 20,000 to 321,000 in the week ended April 21, the Labor Department said today in Washington. The four-week moving average, a less volatile measure, increased, and the number of people continuing to collect benefits rose to a two-month high. A slowdown in business spending and weakness in the housing market are leading some employers to reduce staff, which may be reflected in next week's report on April payroll growth. That, along with higher gasoline prices, could weigh on consumer spending, which has so far been a bright spot in the economy."
May 1st, 2007
- U.S. Economy Grows at Slowest Pace Since 2003 on Housing Slump, Trade Gap - "The 1.3 percent annual growth rate was less than forecast and followed a 2.5 percent fourth-quarter pace, the Commerce Department reported today in Washington. A measure of inflation watched by the Federal Reserve rose at a faster pace. Accelerating inflation will probably prevent the Fed from cutting interest rates to spur growth, economists said. This keeps the expansion in the hands of consumers whose confidence has been buffeted by higher fuel prices and the decline in housing. The University of Michigan said today its index of optimism fell this month."
May 2nd, 2007
- U.S. Manufacturing Picks Up, Housing Market Slump Persists, Reports Show - "The Institute for Supply Management's factory index rose to 54.7 in April, the highest in almost a year and more than economists predicted. An index of pending sales of existing homes unexpectedly fell 4.9 percent, the National Association of Realtors said in Washington. The manufacturing report showed a jump in orders and employment, signaling that the slowdown won't get much worse. At the same time, any rebound is likely to be muted as long as housing remains in recession, economists said."
May 8th, 2007
- U.S. Factory Orders Rise More Than Forecast as Businesses Boost Investment - "Bookings increased 3.1 percent, exceeding economists' predictions, after gaining 1.4 percent in the prior month, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. Excluding transportation equipment, demand rose 1.9 percent after no change in February. The Federal Reserve, forecasting improved second-half growth, is counting on a bigger contribution from business spending while housing remains in recession. Today's numbers come a day after the Institute for Supply Management said manufacturing expanded more than forecast last month."
May 16th, 2007
- U.S. March Wholesale Sales Jump 1.8 Percent; Inventories Rise 0.3 Percent - "The 1.8 percent increase in sales followed a 1.0 percent gain the previous month, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. Inventories rose 0.3 percent after a 0.4 percent gain a month earlier. The report reflects rising demand for computer equipment and durable goods and suggests companies are making progress in limiting stockpiles built up last year. With inventories leaner, companies may now start to ease up on those efforts, reducing the drag on economic growth."
May 21st, 2007
- Industrial Output in U.S. Grows 0.7 Percent, More Than Economists Forecast - The 0.7 percent increase in production at factories, mines and utilities followed a revised 0.3 percent decrease in March that was bigger than originally reported, Federal Reserve figures showed today. Capacity utilization, which measures the proportion of plants in use, rose to 81.6 percent from 81.2 percent in March. Motor vehicles and high-technology goods led the advance in factory output, while the coldest April in a decade increased home-heating demand. A pickup in manufacturing would set the stage for stronger growth later in the year, in line with the Fed's forecast."
May 23rd, 2007
- Markets Continue Mixed On Gasoline Prices, Merger News - "The push-pull effect of rising gasoline prices and heavy merger activity weighed differently on Nasdaq and NYSE stocks. At 12:57 p.m. ET the Nasdaq composite was up 1% and the small-cap S&P 600 had notched a 1.2% gain. The NYSE was up 0.3%. The S&P 500 sat 0.4% above Friday's close while the Dow eked out a 0.1% gain."
May 24th, 2007
- Treasury 10-Year Yield Touches Highest Level Since January on Fed Outlook - "The 10-year note's yield was higher than that of the two- year security for the first time in three weeks on signs of resilience in the U.S. economy. Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker said yesterday it's the central bank's responsibility to curb inflation and it would be a mistake to rely on slower growth to stem price increases. 'Quite a few players threw in the towel that the Fed will reduce rates,' said Richard Gilhooly, interest-rate strategist in New York at BNP Paribas, one of the 21 primary dealers of U.S. government securities. 'There has been too much focus on the housing market as an asset class that needs to be bailed out by the Fed.'"
May 25th, 2007
- Crude Slides in New York; Discount to London Price, $6.40, Is Largest Ever - "Crude oil plunged in New York because of refinery shutdowns that may increase the glut of oil at Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point used for benchmark futures. Prices rose in London. [...] Crude for July delivery fell $1.59, or 2.4 percent, to settle at $64.18 a barrel at 2:43 p.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It was the biggest one-day decline since April 9. Brent for July rose 12 cents to $70.72 on the London-based ICE Futures exchange, its highest close since Aug. 28."
- Sales of New Homes in U.S. Unexpectedly Jump; Durable Goods Orders Climb - "New-home sales rose 16 percent to an annual rate of 981,000, the highest this year, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. In a separate report, the department said that April orders for goods meant to last several years rose 0.6 percent, the third straight monthly increase. The two reports mean economic growth at the start of the second quarter probably picked up from the first quarter's 1.3 percent rate. That's consistent with the Federal Reserve's forecast for a 'moderate' expansion in coming quarters. Treasury notes slid after the releases as investors reduced bets the Fed will need to cut interest rates this year."
May 30th, 2007
- Existing-Home Sales in U.S. Unexpectedly Drop to Lowest Level in 4 Years - "Purchases fell 2.6 percent to an annual rate of 5.99 million last month from 6.15 million in March, the National Association of Realtors said today in Washington. A measure of the supply of homes for sale rose to the highest since August 1992. The decline comes a day after a government report showed sales of new homes surged as buyers took advantage of a slide in prices. Today's figures suggest that owners of existing homes may have to cut prices further during the prime spring selling season. The drop also reflects the impact of banks making it tougher to get subprime loans, a response to rising defaults."
May 31st, 2007
- Boos for Miss USA Aimed at U.S. Lawmakers - Well, duh... It's not like they were pissed at her because she slipped and fell on stage, so you knew it was due to US policy. I thought it was the Iraq war (we do get booed quite a bit around the world for that) but I suppose it could be our immigration policy. Heaven forbid we try to prevent foreigners from swarming into our nation whenever they feel like it...
- U.S. Retailers' Sales Rose Most in Almost Two Months Last Week, ICSC Says - "Sales at U.S. retailers increased 2.9 percent last week, the most in almost two months, as consumers bought lightweight clothing ahead of the Memorial Day holiday, the International Council of Shopping Centers said. The year-over-year gain was the biggest since the week ended April 7. Sales at stores open at least a year were unchanged from the previous week. Sales for all of May likely will increase 2 percent to 2.5 percent, the ICSC and UBS Securities LLC said today in a statement."
June 1st, 2007
- U.S. Economy Grows at 0.6 Percent Annual Rate, Weakest Pace in Four Years - "The gain in gross domestic product, announced by the Commerce Department today in Washington, was lower than the 0.8 percent rate economists had forecast, and less than the government's previous 1.3 percent estimate. A private report from Chicago today showed a jump in business activity, while figures since the March 30 end of the quarter show a rebound in corporate spending and consumer confidence. Traders further reduced bets that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke will need to cut interest rates this year. The prospect of a recession, given a one-in-three chance by former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan, looks less likely as business investment and manufacturing strengthen."
- Treasuries Decline, Pushing Yields to the Highest Since August in the U.S. - "Expectations the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates this year fell to the lowest since last July as the National Association for Purchasing Management-Chicago report indicated the economy is rebounding from a first-quarter slowdown. U.S. equities extended an advance that yesterday pushed the Standard & Poor's 500 Index to a record. 'I wouldn't be surprised to see people change their minds and raise the probability of the Fed hiking,' said Ajay Rajadhyaksha, co-head of U.S. fixed-income strategy in New York at Barclays Capital, one of the 21 primary dealers that underwrite the U.S. government's debt. 'Yields will continue to move higher.'"
- Home Prices in U.S. Climbed at Slowest Pace in Decade During First Quarter - "Prices for single-family homes rose an average of 4.3 percent from a year earlier, the smallest gain since the 4.1 percent increase in the third quarter of 1997, the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise, known as Ofheo, said today in Washington. The report doesn't give an average price, only the percentage change. The decline in home sales that began in 2006 is lasting longer than central bank officials had expected, according to the minutes of the May 9 Federal Open Market Committee meeting released yesterday in Washington. Some economists, such as Richard Yamarone of Argus Research, say the next Ofheo price report could show a decline, which would be the first in more than 16 years."
June 4th, 2007
- Payrolls Increase in U.S. Signals Economy Is Rebounding Without Inflation - "Payrolls increased last month by 157,000, more than economists predicted, after a gain of 80,000 in April, the Labor Department said today in Washington. The jobless rate stayed at 4.5 percent. The Commerce Department reported that personal spending rose 0.5 percent in April and the gauge of inflation most closely watched by the Federal Reserve rose 0.1 percent. Subsequent figures showed manufacturing grew at a faster pace and consumer confidence strengthened. The numbers bolster the chances that interest rates will be left unchanged by the Fed, which is forecasting a rebound after the slowest expansion in more than four years. Treasury notes declined, the dollar rallied to a four-month high against the yen and stocks advanced."
June 5th, 2007
- Oil Rises Above $66 on Increased Fuel Demand, Nigeria Threats - "Total implied fuel demand in the U.S. averaged 20.9 million barrels in the four weeks ended May 25, up 2.4 percent from the same period a year earlier, according to the Energy Department. The department measures shipments from refineries, pipelines and terminals to calculate demand. Union officials in Nigeria's oil and gas industry said they plan to support a general strike. 'Economic data, evidence of expanding demand and the closure of units at the Whiting refinery are all pushing us higher,' said Phil Flynn, vice president of risk management at Alaron Trading Corp. in Chicago. 'There are storms, both geopolitical and weather related, that will keep prices rising.'"
June 6th, 2007
- U.S. Service Industry Growth Unexpectedly Accelerates to Highest in Year - "The Institute for Supply Management's index of non- manufacturing businesses increased to 59.7 from 56 in April, the Tempe, Arizona-based group said today. Readings greater than 50 point to growth in services such as banking, retailing and construction that make up almost 90 percent of the economy. Bonds fell after the report, which also showed a measure of prices climbed to the highest since August and orders jumped. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said in a speech today that the real-estate decline will be prolonged, even as he projected the economy will weather the slump."
- Treasuries Drop as Note Yield Hits 5 Percent for First Time Since August - "Traders who a month ago were convinced the Fed would lower its target for the overnight lending rate between banks at least once by year-end now see almost no chance of that happening, interest-rate futures yields show. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. economists said today that they no longer expect the central bank to lower borrowing costs this year. The market is 'still in the throes of taking out the Fed -- what remains of ease hopes -- and starting to replace it with talk of tightening,' said Richard Gilhooly, an interest-rate strategist at BNP Paribas Securities Corp. in New York. The Institute for Supply Management's report 'suggests we're going to have an accelerating economy into the middle of the year.'"
June 7th, 2007
- U.S. Stocks Retreat on Inflation Concern; Exxon, IBM Shares Lead Decline - "Labor costs rose more than expected and productivity growth slowed, the Labor Department said, extending stocks' fall from records. Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland President Sandra Pianalto joined Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke in warning that prices are rising too quickly. 'Inflation causes reduced consumer spending, it squeezes profit margins,' said John Kornitzer, who manages $6 billion at Kornitzer Capital Management in Shawnee Mission, Kansas. 'The market has been making new highs. It can't go up forever.'"
- Worker Productivity in U.S. Slows; Labor Costs Climb More Than Estimated - "Productivity, a gauge of employee efficiency, rose at an annual rate of 1 percent, down from the 1.7 percent pace reported last month, the Labor Department said in Washington today. Labor costs increased 1.8 percent, three times the prior estimate. The rise in labor expenses, which account for about two- thirds of the cost of producing a good or service, heighten the odds that companies will push up prices, economists said. The figures, along with signs that growth is recovering, make it even less likely that policy makers will lower interest rates."
June 25th, 2007
- U.S. Retailers' Sales Declined in May; Macy's, J.C. Penney Trail Estimates - "Sales at stores open at least a year at Macy's, the second- largest U.S. department-store chain, dropped 3.3 percent, trailing analysts' estimates. Same-store sales fell 2 percent at J.C. Penney, the third-biggest. U.S. retail sales from February through May rose at about half the pace from a year earlier as consumers reined in purchases of non-essential items such as clothing and home furnishings. The slowdown may continue into June, according to Michael Niemira, chief economist at the International Council of Shopping Centers."
- Ten-Year Treasury Yield Rises Above 5 Percent for First Time Since August - "Interest-rate futures and options showed traders who as recently as December were betting on three quarter-percentage point rate cuts by the Federal Reserve this year boosted bets on an increase in borrowing costs. Ten-year yields rose the most in seven months and exceeded two-year notes by the most in a year. 'We've had a global interest-rate structure that's been trading extremely rich to historical norms for years and years,' said Tom McGlade, who trades 30-year Treasuries at RBS Greenwich Capital in Greenwich, Connecticut. Signs of faster global growth 'are driving a repricing of the global interest-rate complex back to areas that are still rich but somewhat more reasonable.'"
June 11th, 2007
- Sales of Existing Homes in U.S. Drop 0.3 Percent to Lowest in Four Years - "Purchases declined 0.3 percent to an annual rate of 5.99 million, from a revised 6.01 million the prior month, the National Association of Realtors said today in Washington. The supply of unsold homes jumped to a record. The housing recession, the worst since 1991, is the biggest threat to an economy that's otherwise showing signs of recovering from a yearlong slowdown. The growing number of homes on the market and higher interest rates may further discourage buyers, economists say."
- Treasuries Advance on Speculation Losses at Hedge Funds Will Spur Demand - "The rally pushed the yield of two-year notes to the lowest this month as hedge fund losses at Bear Stearns Cos. and the U.K.'s Queen's Walk Investment Ltd. sent investors to the safety of government notes. Benchmark 10-year yields reached five-year highs earlier this month on speculation central banks would increase borrowing costs worldwide. 'People are looking for safety here,' said Charles Comiskey, head of U.S. government bond trading in New York at HSBC Securities USA Inc. There is 'a lot of concern out there.'" Benchmark 10-year note yields fell 3 basis points, or 0.03 percentage point, to 5.11 percent at 1:10 p.m. in New York, according to bond broker Cantor Fitzgerald LP. The price of the 4 1/2 percent security due in May 2017 rose 7/32, or $2.19 per $1,000 face amount, to 95 11/32."
June 8th, 2007
- Treasuries Decline as Pianalto Calls U.S. Inflation 'Uncomfortably High' - "Fourteen of the 21 primary dealers that underwrite the government's debt boosted their year-end estimate for the central bank's target rate or the 10-year note's yield. This week the government will release reports on consumer and wholesale prices. Yields on 10-year notes exceed two-year securities by 14 basis points, the most since May 2006... The yield on the benchmark 10-year note rose 3 basis points, or 0.03 percentage point, to 5.14 percent at 11:34 a.m. in New York, according to bond broker Cantor Fitzgerald LP. The price of the 4 1/2 percent note due May 2017 fell 1/4, or $2.50 per $1,000 face amount, to 95 3/32. Yields move inversely to prices."
July 24th, 2007
- Ten-Year Treasuries Are Poised to Have Biggest Weekly Decline Since 2005 - "Ten-year notes, whose yields determine interest rates on mortgages and corporate bonds, had their biggest slump in more than three years yesterday. The yield touched 5.25 percent earlier today, the highest since May 2002. 'We are clearly getting more attractive interest rates,' said Andrew Harding, who manages $16 billion in fixed income as chief investment officer at Allegiant Asset Management in Cleveland. 'We're getting to a point that's closer to an acceptable real rate of return.'"
- Trade Deficit in U.S. Narrows More Than Estimated on Expansion in Exports - "The deficit fell 6.2 percent, the most in six months, to $58.5 billion, from a revised $62.4 billion in March, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. The gap declined even as the shortfall with China widened. The dollar's drop and expanding economies in Europe and Asia are fueling demand for American-made goods and the deficit is retreating from a record $67.6 billion in August. The gain in exports may also help economic growth accelerate after the slowest quarter in more than four years."
- Crude Oil Declines From a Nine-Month High as Cyclone Gonu Misses Platforms - "U.S. gasoline inventories rose 4.4 percent in the past five weeks, the Energy Department said. U.S. refiners maximize output of the fuel at this time of year to meet peak demand. Gonu is dissipating after sweeping across coastal Oman and Iran. Oman's ports, including its oil-export terminal at Mina al-Fahal, opened today for partial operations, Gulf Agency Co. reported. 'There was some concern early in the week that Gonu would hurt Oman's oil industry and move toward Saudi fields,' said Rick Mueller, an analyst with Energy Security Analysis Inc. in Wakefield, Massachusetts. 'Gonu has dissipated without causing any damage to the energy infrastructure.'"
July 25th, 2007
- U.S. Stocks Fall on Earnings; Countrywide, Apple Shares Drop - "Countrywide, the largest U.S. mortgage lender, plunged the most in almost a year on earnings that missed analysts' estimates. DuPont Co., the third-biggest U.S. chemical maker, posted its steepest drop since 2005 after it said demand weakened for paint and countertops. Concern that the iPhone, which Apple expects to be its third-largest business, won't meet forecasts sent the shares to the biggest slide in six weeks."
July 27th, 2007
- Fed Regional Survey Says Economic Expansion Hampered by Increasing Costs - "The report also said that high food and energy prices are restraining consumer spending, which accounts for about two- thirds of gross domestic product. Sales of housing-related items such as furniture are 'weak or declining.' 'Economic activity continued to expand in June and early July,' the central bank said in its survey, known as the Beige Book for the color of the cover. 'Contacts generally reported ongoing input cost pressures, particularly for petroleum-related inputs, while prices at the retail level continued to increase at a modest pace.'"
- Oil Rises Most in Nine Weeks After Data Show Decline in U.S. Inventories - "A gain in oil processing by refineries helped reduce U.S. supplies by 1.1 million barrels to 351 million barrels last week, the Energy Department report showed. Inventories in Cushing, Oklahoma, the main supply hub in the U.S., fell 1.38 million barrels to 212.4 million barrels, the lowest since February 2006. 'We got a draw on Cushing stocks, which, in percentage terms, is fairly large,' said James Ritterbusch, president of Ritterbusch & Associates in Galena, Illinois. 'That seems to be helping push crude higher.'"
- U.S. Economy: Home Sales Decline More Than Forecast - "Purchases declined 3.8 percent to an annual rate of 5.75 million, the slowest pace since November 2002, from a revised 5.98 million in May, the National Association of Realtors said today in Washington. At the same time, the supply of homes for sale dropped for the first time this year and the median price rose for the first time in 11 months. The housing slump, which slowed economic growth in the first quarter to the lowest level since 2002, is the biggest risk to the six-year economic expansion, according to Federal Reserve policy makers."
July 31st, 2007
- U.S. Economic Growth Beats Forecasts; Price Gauge Shows Slower Inflation - "The 3.4 percent annual pace of expansion, the most in more than a year, followed a revised gain of 0.6 percent in the prior quarter, the Commerce Department reported today in Washington. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg News had forecast a 3.2 percent increase. The Federal Reserve's preferred inflation gauge rose at the slowest pace in four years... 'The economy is OK, it's not great,' said Ethan Harris, chief economist at Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. in New York. 'The housing market looks horrible, but the rest of the economy looks reasonably good.'"
- Stocks in U.S. Extend Steepest Decline in Five Months on Takeover Concerns - "Marsh & McLennan Cos., Wyndham Worldwide Corp. and Dillard's Inc. led the Standard & Poor's 500 lower as investors abandoned shares that rose on buyout speculation. Fannie Mae fell the most since 2005 and led financial shares lower. Baker Hughes Inc., the world's third-biggest oilfield contractor, slid after reporting a decrease in earnings. Stocks declined and U.S. Treasuries gained after Cadbury Schweppes Plc became the first company to delay an acquisition because of 'extreme volatility' in debt markets. Banks have failed to sell at least $32 billion of takeover-related debt to investors, reducing their ability to finance new deals."
August 1st, 2007
- Consumer Confidence in U.S. Increases More Than Forecast on Growth in Jobs - "The New York-based Conference Board's index of confidence soared to 112.6, from a revised 105.3 the prior month. Earlier today, the Commerce Department reported that consumer spending rose 0.1 percent in June, slowing from a 0.5 percent gain in May. A measure of inflation closely watched by the Federal Reserve eased. Confidence among Americans, whose spending accounts for more than two-thirds of the economy, is being shored up by a jobless rate that's near the lowest in six years and income gains that have outpaced inflation. Stocks extended their rally after the report, before surrendering their gains."
- U.S. Personal Spending Rises at Slowest Pace in 9 Months on Fuel Expenses - "Personal spending in the U.S. increased in June at the slowest pace in nine months, while a gauge of inflation rose less than forecast, suggesting slower growth is easing price pressures. The 0.1 percent rise in spending reported by the Commerce Department today, which matched economists' estimates, followed a 0.6 percent gain in May. The personal consumption expenditures index -- a price measure closely watched by the Federal Reserve -- also rose 0.1 percent, excluding food and energy."
August 6th, 2007
- Manufacturing in U.S. Expands on Overseas Orders; Pending Home Sales Climb - "The Institute for Supply Management's factory index dropped to 53.8 from 56 in June, the Tempe, Arizona, group said today. While less than forecast, the index matched 2006's average and any figure higher than 50 signals expansion. In one sign of life in the housing industry, the National Association of Realtors unexpectedly said pending home sales rose 5 percent in June. The figures back Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's assertion that the 'underlying economy is very healthy' and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke's prediction that growth will pick up 'a bit.' A rebound in manufacturing and exports helped America's economic expansion quicken to a 3.4 percent annual pace last quarter."
August 7th, 2007
- Oil Falls Most in Seven Months on Concern Subprime Woes Will Slow Economy - "Oil prices have dropped 8.5 percent from the record $78.77 reached on Aug. 1 amid declines in U.S. stocks and signs losses in the mortgage market may reduce economic growth. In July, the nation's employment grew at the slowest pace since February. OPEC production, source of about 40 percent of world supplies, rose last month to its highest since September 2004. 'The equity markets around the world are not that robust right now,' said Dominick Chirichella, an analyst at Energy Management Inc. in New York. 'That is getting people concerned about demand growth tailing off' for oil."
August 14th, 2007
- U.S. Productivity Rises Less Than Forecast; Labor Costs Exceed Estimates - "Productivity, a gauge of employee efficiency, advanced at an annual rate of 1.8 percent after a revised 0.7 percent gain in the previous three months, the Labor Department said today in Washington. A measure of wages and benefits increased at a 2.1 percent pace, more than anticipated, and climbed 4.5 percent in the 12 months ended in June. The report may reinforce concern that the decade-long productivity surge that helped curb inflation and allowed former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan to hold down rates is fading. Figures for the past three years were also revised to show productivity increases weren't as great as previously estimated."
August 15th, 2007
- Subprime-Infected Funds Drive U.S. Dollar Demand as Credit Crunch Tightens - "After a five-year tumble that took the U.S. currency to its lowest level in a decade, it has rallied 1.4 percent against the euro and 1.2 percent against the pound in the last three trading days. And it's 'likely to keep benefiting,' said Mansoor Mohi- Uddin, head of currency strategy in London at UBS AG, the world's second-largest foreign exchange dealer. The dollar's advance shows that, for all the talk of challenges to its primacy, it remains the world's go-to reserve currency in times of market turmoil. 'This is where people take refuge,' said Komal Sri-Kumar, who oversees $145 billion as chief global strategist at TCW Asset Management Co. in Los Angeles. 'The dollar is still a safe-haven currency.'"
- Inflation Pressures in U.S. Ease; Surge in Exports Reduces Trade Deficit - "The 0.1 percent increase in so-called core prices paid by producers was the smallest in three months, the Labor Department said today in Washington. The Commerce Department said separately that overseas sales climbed 1.5 percent to a record $134.5 billion, reducing the trade shortfall to $58.1 billion. 'Today's report reinforces the sense that inflation has been coming down lately,' said Robert Mellman, an economist at JPMorgan Chase & Co. in New York. 'The Fed is watching this carefully, but our expectation is that the economy will be OK and that the Fed will stay on hold,' with its benchmark interest rate at 5.25 percent, he added."
August 16th, 2007
- Consumer Prices in U.S. Post Smallest Gain in Eight Months on Energy, Food - "The figures, which matched economists' forecasts, give the Federal Reserve scope to reduce interest rates if the economy weakens. At the same time, there's little sign that the 9.4 percent drop in the Standard & Poor's 500 Index from July's record and more credit restrictions are causing growth to falter: Industrial production gained 0.3 percent in July, the Fed said today, and factory use rose. 'The economy is still performing well,' said Michael Moran, chief economist at Daiwa Securities America Inc. in New York. 'Manufacturing is brisk and there is not much upward pressure on inflation. If the financial markets weren't in turmoil, the Fed would be solidly on hold.'"
August 17th, 2007
- Jenna Bush engaged - She's got engaged yesterday to Henry Hager, son of a prominent Republican family, Hon. and Mrs. John H. Hager. John Hager is the Assistant Secretary of the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services. Congrats Jenna! I look forward to the wedding, and I'll be eagerly awaiting my invite. But let's try to set a date that's after the '08 elections, alrgith?
- Fed Has Already Introduced `Temporary' Easing of Rates - "'It is clear that a "temporary" easing has been put in place by the Fed,' Diebel wrote in a research note today. 'This is what has really spooked markets overnight.' The chart of the day shows the four-week bill rate has declined to 4 percent, below the Fed target of 5.25 percent and the actual rate, which dropped to as low as 1 percent last week and rebounded to 5.25 percent yesterday from 5 percent the day before. 'If this artificial suppression of short-term rates has to be maintained, which we suspect it will, then the Fed will eventually formalize the de facto ease with a move lower in the official target,' Diebel wrote. 'It is likely to be at least a 50 basis-point move if and when it comes.'"
- Oil, Industrial Metals Pace Commodity Declines on Credit Woes, Stock Slump - "Crude oil in New York dropped as much as 2.9 percent as a Tropical Storm Erin moved away from rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. Nickel tumbled 5.5 percent to its lowest in a year and copper dropped 4.8 percent, the most since May 17, leading a third day of declines among metals in London. Gold fell for a fourth day. Investors are selling all but the safest assets to cover losses as banks put a squeeze on credit amid rising U.S. subprime loan defaults. The Morgan Stanley Capital International World Index, a global stock market benchmark, dropped 1.4 percent today and is down 11 percent since peaking on July 16. The UBS Bloomberg CMCI Index of 28 commodities has lost 4.3 percent in the past month."
August 20th, 2007
- Search for Utah miners is suspended - After yesterday's disaster on top of the original tragedy, all rescue attempts have been suspended. 3 miners were killed yesterday in a cave in as they were making further rescue attempts. This quote from Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman pretty much sums it up: "Yesterday we went from a tragedy to a catastrophe." Our prayers to the familty and freinds of those who've died in this catastrophe.
- U.S. Consumer Confidence Falls to Lowest Level in a Year on Stocks, Credit - "The Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary index of consumer sentiment fell to 83.3, a bigger drop than forecast and the lowest reading since August 2006, from 90.4 a month earlier. A measure of expectations also declined. Americans turned their attention to the plunge in U.S. stock markets even as a decline in gasoline prices eased a primary worry from recent months. The outlook for household spending may worsen as tighter credit conditions force businesses to curtail hiring, economists said."
- Fed Cuts Discount Rate in Extraordinary Attempt to Contain Subprime Crisis - "The Fed, in a surprise announcement in Washington, cut the so-called discount rate by 0.5 percentage point, to 5.75 percent. Policy makers dropped language indicating their bias toward fighting inflation, and instead highlighted a rising threat to economic growth. That suggests officials will reduce their benchmark rate when they meet Sept. 18, economists said... This is the first reduction in borrowing costs between scheduled meetings since 2001, and Ben S. Bernanke's first as Fed chairman. Officials kept the benchmark federal funds rate target for overnight loans between banks at 5.25 percent. Policy makers next meet to set the rate on Sept. 18. Futures indicate traders anticipate at least a quarter-point cut."
August 21st, 2007
- Treasury-Bill Yields Plunge Most Since 1987 on View Fed Will Reduce Rates - "Bill yields have fallen five straight days as money market funds dumped asset-backed commercial paper in favor of the safest government securities. Three-month yields dropped the most since the day of the stock market crash of 1987 and more than in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks in the U.S. 'We had clients asking to be pulled out of money market funds and wanting to get into Treasuries,' said Henley Smith, fixed-income manager in New York at Castleton Partners, which oversees about $150 million in bonds. 'People are buying T-bills because you know exactly what's in it.'"
- Bernanke's `Rookie Mistake' Forces Fed to Shift Focus to Market Stability - "By lowering the discount rate and issuing a statement conceding threats to the economy, Federal Open Market Committee members effectively ripped up the economic-outlook statement from their Aug. 7 meeting. Some economists describe the about- face, coming after months of assurances that the subprime- mortgage rout was contained, as Chairman Ben S. Bernanke's first serious error since taking office last year. 'It was a rookie mistake,' said Kenneth Thomas, a lecturer in finance at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School in Philadelphia. The Fed 'underestimated liquidity needs' of investors and the fallout from the housing recession, he said, adding, 'This demonstrates the difference between book-smart and street-smart.'"
August 22nd, 2007
- Bernanke Will Use `All Tools' in Bid to Calm Financial Markets, Dodd Says - "Dodd, a Connecticut Democrat who's seeking his party's presidential nomination, said banks should take advantage of lower borrowing costs after the Fed's surprise decision last week to cut the interest rate it charges them. The senator addressed reporters after meeting with Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson in Washington today... Dodd said he didn't specifically ask Bernanke to cut the benchmark federal-funds rate, and Bernanke didn't pledge to do so. Interest-rate futures show that traders are betting the credit crunch will force Bernanke to ease monetary policy for the first time since 2003."
- Crude Oil Falls Below $70 for First Time Since July 2 as Hurricane Weakens - "'Prices plunged once we got the latest update that showed the storm may be breaking up as it moves across the Yucatan,' said Kyle Cooper, director of research at IAF Advisors in Houston. 'The storm is moving in a more southerly direction so any damage to fields will be limited. We are now looking for the disruption of as little as 7 to 10 million barrels.' Crude oil for September delivery fell $1.72, or 2.4 percent, to $69.40 a barrel at 12:02 p.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Futures touched $68.93, the lowest since June 28. Prices are down 4.3 percent from a year ago. The September contract expires today. The more-active October contract fell $1.56, or 2.2 percent, to $69.40 a barrel."
August 23rd, 2007
- Bernanke Aims to Avoid Emergency Rate Cut, Differing From Greenspan's Way - "Yields on Treasury bills rose yesterday after the New York Fed lowered the cost of borrowing securities from its own portfolio to ease a shortage in the market. The action followed a reduction in the Fed's rate on direct loans to banks on Aug. 17, the impact of which officials said they need time to assess. Chairman Ben S. Bernanke wants to avoid an emergency easing of monetary policy, contrasting with predecessor Alan Greenspan, who cut the federal funds rate target three times in 1998 after the collapse of Long Term Capital Management LP. Richmond Fed Bank President Jeffrey Lacker said yesterday that policy must be guided by the outlook for economic growth and prices, not entirely by markets."
- Citigroup, JPMorgan, Bank of America, Wachovia Tap Funds From Fed Window - "The four largest U.S. banks each borrowed $500 million from the Federal Reserve's discount window on behalf of clients after the central bank cut the interest rate it charges and encouraged lenders to use the facility. The transactions were 'intended to display the effectiveness' of the discount window, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp. and Wachovia Corp. said in a joint statement. Citigroup Inc. said in a separate statement that it 'stands ready to continue to access the discount window as client needs and market conditions warrant.'"
August 24th, 2007
- Fed's Discount Lending Averages $1.2 Billion, Signaling Ample Bank Funds - "The number, while the largest since 2001, showed banks are turning to the discount window to supplement the ample funding available to them from their own creditors. Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc., Wachovia Corp. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. said yesterday they tapped $500 million each. Other, unidentified firms accounted for the remainder. The numbers, the first since the central bank lowered the discount rate on Aug. 17, suggest the banking system has ample liquidity to deal with clients that may be at risk. The data don't shed much light on non-bank institutions that may have difficulty because of a credit crunch in global markets. One category of credit extended to firms with funding difficulties rose to an average of $85 million."
- Corporate Bond Risk Declines to Lowest in Month as Credit Market Woes Ease - "The risk of owning corporate bonds fell to the lowest in a month after Bank of America Corp. invested $2 billion in Countrywide Financial Corp., credit- default swaps show... Bank of America's support to Countrywide eased concerns that the global credit rout would engulf the mortgage lender. More than 90 U.S. lenders have been forced to close, seek buyers or file for bankruptcy since the start of 2006. The investment also fueled optimism a slump across debt markets may be subsiding."
August 27th, 2007
- Vick pleads to dogfighting charge, denies gambling - I have to admit that when this story first broke I simply didn't think Michael Vick had anything to do with what had been going on in one of the houses that he owns. I figured maybe he associated himself with a few unsavory characters who were the real ringleaders, but Vick wasn't involved. I had that high of an opinion of him; I didn't associate him with the thug subculture in professional sports. That of sourse changed when he was indicted and especially now that's he's plead guilty to conspiracy in a dogfighting ring and agreed that the enterprise included killing pit bulls and gambling. Hope all that was worth your football career...
- Stocks in U.S. Gain as New-Home Sales, Durable-Goods Orders Top Forecasts - "The gains in new home sales and demand for products meant to last several years came before credit costs rose in August. Still, the data eased concern that the worst housing slump in 16 years could send the nation into a recession. 'We don't see a recession in the cards,' said Hayes Miller, who helps manage $38 billion as portfolio manager of global equities at Baring Asset Management Inc. in Boston. 'There's still going to be enough corporate spending, there's still going to be enough investment, there's still going to be enough government spending.'"
August 28th, 2007
- Existing Home Sales in U.S. Drop; Unsold Properties Swell to 16-Year High - "With no recovery in sight for housing, lower property values and higher mortgage costs threaten to weaken consumer spending, economists said. The Federal Reserve this month acknowledged a growing risk to economic growth because of the rout in credit markets. Stocks weakened. Purchases declined 0.2 percent to an annual rate of 5.75 million, the National Association of Realtors said today in Washington. While the retreat was less than forecast, inventories of single-family homes rose to the equivalent of a 9.2 months' supply and sales dropped 9 percent."
August 29th, 2007
- Consumer Confidence in U.S. Falls the Most in Two Years; Home Prices Drop - "The New York-based Conference Board's index retreated to 105, from 111.9 in July, the biggest slide since Hurricane Katrina destroyed parts of the Gulf of Mexico coast. Economists had forecast a reading of 104, according to a Bloomberg survey. Property values decreased 3.2 percent in the second quarter from a year earlier, according to a report today by S&P/Case-Shiller. 'Consumers are obviously paying attention to what's going on and are a little worried by it,' said Adam York, an economist at Wachovia Corp. in Charlotte, North Carolina. 'We are not expecting them to spend the way we thought they would a few months ago.'"
August 30th, 2007
- Three-Month Bill Yields Decline; Note Sale Attracts Most Demand Since 1992 - "U.S. two-year notes pared losses after the Treasury's $18 billion auction of the securities drew the most demand from investors since at least 1992. Three-month bill yields last week reached a two-year low as money market funds dumped asset-backed commercial paper in favor of the shortest-term government debt. 'It's more of the flight-to-quality trade,' said T.J. Marta, a bond strategist in New York at RBC Capital Markets. 'People are trying to get in the shortest debt they possibly can.'"
- U.S. Mortgage Applications Drop; One-Year-Loan Rates Rise Most in 11 Years - "Banks may be jacking up short-term rates to dissuade buyers from choosing riskier mortgages as defaults on subprime loans climb. The housing slump will worsen as banks restrict the availability of credit and falling real-estate prices prevent owners from tapping home equity for extra spending money, economists said. 'If rates go up and credit gets tighter, that is going to lead to a drop in demand on top of what we have already seen,' said Abiel Reinhart, an economist at JPMorgan Chase & Co. in New York. 'That is going to have an adverse impact' on the economy through the first half of 2008, he said."
August 31st, 2007
- U.S. Economy Expands at 4 Percent Rate, Fastest Pace in More Than a Year - "The figures may be the peak of the expansion for this year as the cost of borrowing increased in August and the Fed said that risks to growth ``increased appreciably.'' In a sign that the job market is weakening, the Labor Department said today showed claims for unemployment benefits climbed to the highest level since April. A further report showed house prices in the second quarter rose at the slowest pace in a decade. 'The underlying economy was growing in the first half,' said Peter Kretzmer, a senior economist at Banc of America Securities LLC in New York. 'We expect it to slow modestly, but not in such a pronounced way. It will slow enough, though, that the Fed will find an excuse' to reduce interest rates, he said."
September 4th, 2007
- Stocks in U.S. Rise on Bush Mortgage-Aid Plan; Fannie Mae Shares Advance - "Fannie Mae, the largest source of money for U.S. home loans, and Goldman Sachs Group Inc., the biggest securities firm, climbed after Bush said the government will help people with delinquent mortgages keep their homes. Bernanke's promise to ``act as needed'' to limit the impact of loan defaults helped send consumer-related shares to the highest level in three weeks... 'Lightning struck twice in the same place, with Bush supporting housing and Bernanke suggesting the Fed is ready to accommodate if it's required,' said Hank Herrmann, who oversees $55 billion as chief investment officer at Waddell & Reed Asset Management Co. in Overland Park, Kansas. 'Those were both soothing to a market that's really been on edge.'"
- Bernanke `Will Act as Needed' to Limit Impact of U.S. Credit-Market Rout - "The Fed 'continues to monitor the situation and will act as needed to limit the adverse effects on the broader economy that may arise from the disruptions in financial markets,' he said at the Kansas City Fed's annual symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. 'Further tightening of credit conditions, if sustained, would increase the risk that the current weakness in housing could be deeper or more prolonged than previously expected.' Bernanke's comments are his first since losses in the subprime mortgage market that pushed up the cost of credit for consumers and companies. The Fed was forced two weeks ago to cut the interest rate on direct loans to banks and shift its policy focus to growth, rather than inflation. The Fed chief suggested the Fed is prepared to cut the discount rate further or use additional tools to ease market strains."
September 5th, 2007
- Stocks in U.S. Advance, Led by Technology, Energy Companies; Apple Climbs - "The Standard & Poor's 500 Index added 15.43, or 1.1 percent, to 1,489.42. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 33.88, or 1.3 percent, to 2,630.24 for its steepest four-day rally in four years. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 91.12, or 0.7 percent, to 13,448.86, held back by a 5.1 percent decline in shares of Home Depot Inc. Based on profits in the last year, stocks are trading at the lowest price-to-earnings multiple since 1995. Software makers are valued at an average 20.8 times estimated profit, the lowest in at least 12 years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Computer company profits are forecast to grow 23 percent next year, the most of any industry, according to an average of analyst estimates."
- U.S. Manufacturing Cools Amid Credit Turmoil; Construction Spending Drops - "The Institute for Supply Management's factory survey, one of the first to show how the mortgage crisis is affecting the economy, points to slower growth while not signaling a decline. The ISM said today its index fell to 52.9 from 53.8 in July. Economists forecast the measure would decline to 53. Separately, the Commerce Department in Washington said construction spending unexpectedly dropped 0.4 percent in July."
September 6th, 2007
- Fed Says Credit Turmoil's Economic Effect Is `Limited' in Regional Report - "'Outside of real estate, reports that the turmoil in financial markets had affected economic activity during the survey period were limited,' the Fed said in the survey, which concluded before Aug. 27 and was released today in Washington. 'Economic activity has continued to expand' nationwide, the Fed said in the Beige Book, named for the color of its cover. The assessment carries more weight than usual ahead of the Fed's Sept. 18 meeting to set interest rates, because regular monthly economic reports fail to capture the impact of the credit-market sell-off. Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said last week that 'we will pay particularly close attention' to information from regional business contacts."
- U.S. Stocks Tumble After Home Sales Drop, Global Credit Concerns Resurface - "Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and Morgan Stanley pushed financial shares to their biggest drop in six days on concern their profits will decline because of losses tied to subprime mortgages. Every homebuilder in Standard & Poor's indexes retreated. Apple Inc. slipped the most in a month after the iPod maker cut prices on mobile phones... 'There's a whole litany of negative news today,' said Robert Morgan, who helps oversee $10.5 billion as senior vice president at Janney Montgomery Scott LLC in Philadelphia. 'Bodies keep washing ashore that are related to subprime. I think that really helps facilitate dragging the market down.'"
- Pending Sales of Existing U.S. Homes Drop 12 Percent, the Most Since 2001 - "The National Association of Realtors' index of signed purchase agreements dropped 12.2 percent after gaining 5 percent in June, the group said today in Washington. The decline was more than five times the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News... 'The housing market is bad and is going to stay bad for some time,' said Zach Pandl, an economist at Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. in New York, who predicted a 3 percent drop. 'This number does not look good for existing home sales for August.'"
September 8th, 2007
- Stocks in U.S. Climb on Retail Sales, Higher Oil Price; Saks, Target Rise - "Exxon Mobil Corp. and ConocoPhillips led a rally in energy producers after crude oil hit a five-week high. Saks Inc. rose the most in a month, while Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Target Corp. and Macy's Inc. also climbed... Retail sales increased 2.9 percent in August based on results from 47 companies, the International Council of Shopping Centers said. Results exceeded the New York-based trade group's forecast for a gain of as much as 2.5 percent."
- U.S. Service Industries Expanded at a Faster Pace Than Forecast in August - "The Institute for Supply Management's index of non- manufacturing businesses, including banks, builders and retailers held at 55.8, the Tempe, Arizona-based group said today. The Labor Department said separately that productivity rose more than previously estimated in the second quarter, while claims for jobless benefits declined last week. The ISM's report of strength among retailers, restaurants and healthcare companies contrasts with figures suggesting a prolonged recession in residential real estate. An industry report today showed a record share of mortgages entered foreclosure last quarter. Evidence of a sustained expansion in services would lessen the need for a series of Fed interest-rate cuts, economists said."
September 11th, 2007
- Treasuries Climb After U.S. Jobless Report Boosts Fed Rate-Cut Speculation - "Yields on two-year notes ended this week near the lowest since September 2005, after the Labor Department unexpectedly said the number of people on U.S. payrolls shrank in August. With no major economic reports until retail sales Sept. 14, the central bank will probably wait until their meeting to act, according to Thomas Girard, head of fixed-income portfolio management in New York at New York Life Investment Management. 'This report has given people a higher degree of confidence the Fed will deliver what's expected at the next meeting,' Girard said. An earlier move is unlikely without 'a calamity in the equity market' or 'problems at a bank.' His firm oversees about $110 billion of bonds."
September 13th, 2007
- U.S. Trade Gap Narrows as Exports Jump the Most in Three Years to Record - "Surging exports may help cushion the U.S. economy from the impact of higher borrowing costs, weakening employment and waning consumer confidence. Exports reached records in each of the past five months, buoyed by the strongest global expansion since the 1970s and a weaker dollar... Sales overseas climbed 2.7 percent, the most in three years, while imports rose 1.8 percent to $196.9 billion, also a record. The increase in imports reflected greater purchases of crude oil, drilling equipment and appliances. Overall demand for foreign-made capital goods slackened, led by a drop in computers."
- OPEC Lifts Output by 500,000 Barrels a Day as High Prices Threaten Economy - "Prodded by the U.S., Saudi Arabia overcame opposition by fellow OPEC members Venezuela, Algeria and Iran who said the world is adequately supplied with oil. Near-record oil prices are another drag on a world economy already buffeted by a credit-market shock in the U.S., the world's largest oil consumer. 'They recognize that there is an impact on world economic growth if the price is allowed to stay at these very high levels,' John Hall, the managing director of the oil consultants John Hall Associates, said earlier today in Vienna. 'They have to make a gesture.'"
- Greenspan Says He Didn't Foresee Credit Rout, Endorses Bernanke, CBS Says - "Current Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke 'is doing an excellent job,' Greenspan said in an interview on the 60 Minutes program, according to excerpts e-mailed by CBS today. The show is scheduled to air on Sept. 16, a day before the publication of Greenspan's book, 'The Age of Turbulence.' The remarks come amid criticism among some investors that Bernanke has failed to be as forceful as his predecessor in responding to financial turmoil. Greenspan in 1998 cut interest rates three times after a Russian debt default rippled through global markets. Bernanke's Fed has refrained from lowering its benchmark so far, relying on other tools to provide liquidity."
- Commercial-Paper Market Decline in U.S. Slows as Concerns Over Credit Ease - "U.S. stocks rose and Treasuries fell after the Federal Reserve reported short-term debt dropped by $8.2 billion, compared with a decline of $31.3 billion a week earlier. That coincided with Countrywide Financial Corp. obtaining new financing and banks finding buyers for loans to fund Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.'s buyout of Alliance Boots. Issuers with the biggest chance of default had stopped trying to sell commercial paper, rekindling appetite for short- term debt, said Tony Crescenzi, chief bond market strategist at Miller Tabak & Co. in New York. 'Investors have already pushed out the weakest issuers,' Crescenzi said in an e-mail. 'The commercial paper that remains is a relatively more respected crop.'"