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  1. Wall Street Pounded as Central Bank Hopes Fade By Adam Samson Published August 02, 2012 | FOXBusiness advertisement FOX Business: The Power to Prosper Wall Street followed European markets sharply lower on Thursday as news that central banks on both sides of the Atlantic won't be taking immediate action to prop up struggling global economies shook traders' confidence. Today's Markets As of 2:20 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average futures dropped 152 points, or 1.2%, to 12819, the S&P 500 sunk 16.9 points, or 1.2%, to 1358 and the Nasdaq Composite fell 21.2 points, or 0.73%, to 2899. The Federal Reserve on Wednesday held U.S. monetary policy steady, hinting more strongly than before that more action may come down the line if the economy deteriorates further. The Bank of England and European Central Bank followed suit on Thursday, keeping their interest rates and quantitative easing program on hold. ECB President Mario Draghi last week hinted that the central bank is willing to do what it takes to stem the debt crisis that has gripped eurozone economies for more than two years. However, at a press conference Thursday he made more allusions to action, without actually announcing any specific measures. Draghi said the ECB may begin outright open market operations, which could mean the central bank will step into beleaguered bond sovereign debt markets. He also suggested eurozone countries activate the bloc's rescue funds for potential bond buying. Still, the commentary fell short among world trading desks. "While we were initially encouraged by these comments our encouragement quickly gave way to reservations," Dan Greenhaus, chief global strategist at BTIG wrote in an email. "After all, these remain promises. Investors are tired of promises." Indeed, bourses in Spain and Italy ended the ay close to 5% to the downside. Elsewhere in Europe, Spain sold roughly $3.8 billion in 10-year debt at interest rates that were nearly 1 percentage point below where it sold the same bonds at the last auction. Yields were still the second-highest ever paid by the country, according to a report by Reuters. That good news faded quickly as well after the commentary from the ECB. The yield on Spain's 10-year bonds on the secondary market jumped 0.23-percentage point to 6.97%, a painfully high level. On the U.S. front, planned layoffs by U.S. firms fell 1.9% in July from the month before to 36,855, according to a report by outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. Later in the morning, traders will get fresh data on weekly jobless claims. Economists expect 370,000 individuals to have applied for first-time jobless benefits last week, up from 353,000 the week before. An unusual trend in U.S. auto plant retooling has caused volatility in the weekly reports recently. The big monthly jobs report is on tap for Friday. Economists forecast the U.S. economy to have tacked on 100,000 jobs in July from June, with the unemployment rate holding steady at 8.2%. In commodities, oil sold off. The benchmark contract traded in New York dropped $1.67, or 1.9%, to $87.24 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline jumped 1.5% to $2.876 a gallon. In metals, gold fell $18.20, or 1.1%, to $1,589 a troy ounce. Foreign Markets The Euro Stoxx 50 dropped 3% to 2363, the English FTSE 100 slid 0.88% to 5662 and the German DAX sold off by 2.2% to 6606. In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 edged up by 0.13% to 8653 and the Chinese Hang Seng fell 0.66% to 19690. Read more:
  2. Forget Iran, Iraq is threatening oil prices By Steve Hargreaves@CNNMoneyJanuary 31, 2012: 5:28 AM ET NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The deteriorating situation in Iraq is leading some analysts to worry that the country may not be able to meet its lofty goals for rapidly ramping up oil production. Violence in Iraq is a big problem, especially for the people who live there. But it's an issue for oil markets because increased oil output from Iraq is supposed to offset rising demand from places like India and China. Iraq's ability to deliver on that oil is one reason oil prices haven't jumped even higher than they are now. But after U.S. troops left the country in December the number of attacks has increased. At least 63 civilians were killed in attacks in December, the highest amount in three months. While attacks are still far below levels seen in the years after the U.S. invasion, there are also signs of rising instability within the central government. Iraq oil starting to come on strong There's a "potential for the insurgency to re ignite and even become a civil war...and oil infrastructure could be the target," Deutsche Bank analysts wrote in a recent research note. "To us, the rapidly rising tension in Iraq is more potentially damaging for world oil markets than the headline-grabbing situation in Iran." Oil production in Iraq is expected to rise by nearly 2 million barrels a day over the next five years, according to Deutsche Bank. That, the bank said, would represent 70% of OPEC's production growth. But in order for that to happen, Iraq's fields need extensive repairs following decades of war and under investment. A host of international oil companies have been contracted for the job, including Exxon Mobil (XOM, Fortune 500), Royal Dutch Shell (RDSA) and BP (BP). But how effectively they can operate depends on conditions on the ground. "People are worried about a spillover in violence," said Tim Daniel, an executive at International SOS, a company that provides medical services to international firms in unstable regions. "It could make it hard to move people in and out." One immediate change for the international oil firms operating in Iraq is they no longer have the U.S. military to rely on in times of trouble. "There's no medevac helicopters, no compatible hospitals, no rapid reaction force," he said. 'You're on your own now." So the oil firms and others in Iraq now contract with company's like Daniel's, which stations a paramedic with groups of oil company employees and then has an airplane waiting to fly wounded workers to neighboring Dubai or Abu Dhabi for treatment in the event of a serious injury. This situation is not an impossible one for oil companies to operate in -- they have been doing business in hostile environments for decades. But the loss of the U.S. military combined with an increasingly unstable situation in Iraq is making people nervous. "We haven't heard of people pulling out," said Daniel. "But they are making contingency plans." For some, it's the increasingly dire political situation that's more problematic than the violence. "The government is slowly fracturing," said Andreas Carleton-Smith, managing director of Middle East operations for Control Risks, a consultancy. "The political risks are far more serious than the security risks." Of course, political risk could lead to serious security risks, especially in a worst-case civil war-type scenario. But political risk can also manifest itself in a crushing bureaucracy, or simply the inability to get something done because the government office that's supposed to approve something no longer exists. This type of situation has also become more common in Iraq. "It's becoming more difficult to work here," said Carleton-Smith. Ultimately though, he's an optimist, preferring to believe the Iraqi's who are tired of years of war, will eventually get things together and develop their vast oil reserves. That sentiment is shared by others in the country. "The oil sector's infrastructure is in some of the best protected parts of the country," said Ben Lando, Baghdad-based bureau chief of the industry newsletter the Iraq Oil Report. The recent violence is "not going to impact it."
  3. Key Iraqi bloc ends boycott of parliament By the CNN Wire Staff updated 6:00 PM EST, Sun January 29, 2012 (CNN) -- A powerful political bloc in Iraq ended its boycott of the country's parliament on Sunday, describing the move as a "gesture of goodwill." The Sunni-backed Iraqiya bloc is one of the largest political groups in Iraq. It pulled out of parliament in December and returns as recent bloodshed raises fears of renewed sectarian violence. "The Iraqiya bloc announces, as gesture of goodwill, that it will return to participate the parliament sessions," the group said in a statement. For now, a separate boycott of the cabinet remains in place, it added. Before the boycott, Iraqiya had been in a power-sharing deal with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's State of Law Alliance, backed mostly by Shiites. The political bloc accused the prime minister of cutting it out of the decision-making process. On Saturday, the White House said that Vice President Joe Biden has been calling Iraqi leaders in an apparent attempt to soothe political tensions. He spoke with Dr. Ayad Allawi, an Iraqiya leader, and Iraqi Council of Representatives Speaker Osama Nujaifi. "The two Iraqi leaders described deliberations under way among all Iraqi political factions and parties in the run-up to a proposed national conference led by President Jalal Talabani," the White House statement said. "The vice president discussed with both leaders the importance of resolving outstanding issues through the political process. The vice president and Iraqi leaders agreed to stay in close touch as events unfold." In the latest in a series of attacks, a suicide car bomber killed at least 31 people and injured 60 others in a Shiite funeral procession in Baghdad on Friday, two police officials said. The bombing occurred as mourners were heading toward a hospital in Baghdad's Zafarniya district to recover the bodies of relatives shot the night before, officials said. The bombing has raised fears of a return to the sectarian violence of the previous decade when the Sunni-Shiite hostilities engulfed Iraq at the height of the war. The bloodshed has generated uncertainty about the ability of Iraqi security forces to ensure order, particularly after the United States withdrew troops at the end of 2011. CNN's Yousif Basil contributed to this report.
  4. Published January 01, 2012 Associated Press BAGHDAD – Iraq's prime minister is calling for greater political stability to ensure the country's security after the end of the American military presence. Nouri al-Maliki warned Iraqis against "excessive joy" over the departure of American troops, saying the country's security situation remains perilous. He spoke at a televised celebration in Baghdad on Sunday. He called on all Iraqis to unite in the interest of the nation and stressed that Iraq needs political stability if it hopes to remain secure and rebuild. Al-Maliki's comments come amid a political crisis that started after his government issued an arrest warrant for Iraq's top Sunni politician, re-igniting fears that sectarian tensions could divide the country. Read more:
  5. I have you and your family covered in prayer and blessings of extraordinary joy this Christmas! God Bless You BIG!!! ;n)
  6. Aiming to Prevent Complete Credit Freeze, ECB Unveils Liquidity Moves Taking a page out of Ben Bernanke’s 2008 playbook, the European Central Bank unveiled a slew of obscure moves on Thursday aimed at preventing the credit markets from completely freezing up during the current sovereign debt crisis. The actions were made in addition to using the central bank’s traditional policy tool: lowering interest rates, marking the second-straight month. While the moves were initially cheered, ECB President Mario Draghi’s subsequent comments to reporters put pressure on global stocks. Citing the current difficult conditions, the ECB announced four “non-standard” moves on Thursday: a new, supplemental three-year loan facility; lowering the quality of collateral it and other eurozone central banks will deem acceptable; slashing its reserve ratio in half; and temporarily discontinuing certain fine-tuning operations. “These measures should ensure enhanced access of the banking sector to liquidity and facilitate the functioning of the euro area money market,” Draghi said in a statement. “They are expected to support the provision of credit to households and non-financial corporations.” The emergency actions briefly boosted global stocks, but those gains were limited as Draghi continued to resist calls for increased bond buying by the ECB -- something many economists see as necessary to end the crisis. Draghi also cast doubt about the legality of lending money to the International Monetary Fund, which could then theoretically use the cash to bail out troubled eurozone nations. Still, current tensions in the interbank markets may be eased by the measures unveiled by the ECB. “The liquidity provisions were good. They were on the aggressive side,” said Marc Chandler, global head of currency strategy at Brown Brothers Harriman. “He’s addressing the credit crunch and the shortage of collateral.” The ECB said it is adding a three-year loan facility to complement an existing facility that lasts 13 months. This program is expected to begin on December 21. Secondly, the central bank said it will increase the amount of collateral banks can post by cutting the rating threshold for certain asset-backed securities to a second-best rating of at least “single A.” Further, national central banks will be permitted temporarily to accept as collateral bank loans that satisfy “specific eligibility criteria.” Thirdly, the ECB is cutting its reserve ratio to 1% from 2% in an effort to “free up collateral and support money market activity.” This move will take effect as of the maintenance period starting on January 18. Lastly, Draghi said the ECB will discontinue the fine-tuning operations that are typically carried out on the last day of each maintenance period “to support money market activity.” The moves mirror similar emergency actions Bernanke’s Federal Reserve took during the darkest days of the 2008 crisis as banks refused to lend to each other after the collapse of Lehman Brothers. Read more: Copyright 2011 FOX News Network, LLC 1211 Avenue of the Americas New York, NY All Rights Reserved
  7. The New York Police Department warned local banks to bolster mailroom security Wednesday after a package bomb was intercepted in Frankfurt, Germany, sent to the CEO of Deutsche Bank with the return address of the European Central Bank's headquarters located blocks away. Paul J. Browne, the NYPD's deputy commissioner of public information, told that additional police officers were deployed to Deutsche Bank locations throughout the city to exercise "an abundance of caution," after the device, which was made of explosives and shrapnel, was found in the mailroom of Deutsche Bank's headquarters in Germany. It was unclear where the package originated, but the construction of the device is evidence that it was not sophisticated, sources say. The bank would only confirm that a suspicious envelope was sent to the company and “the relevant unit of the bank informed the police.” The letter was addressed to CEO Josef Ackermann, Fox News reported. Ackermann has played a key role in resolving Europe’s financial crisis and has been an advisor to German Chancellor Angela Merkel. U.S. officials said there are no strong leads, but named three possible scenarios, including Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the group behind last year’s cargo printer bombs. Authorities are also looking into Iran’s recent threat to U.S. troops stationed in Germany. There is also a chance the package was sent by a lone wolf group. Ackermann, along with other Deutsche Bank executives, are being investigated over alleged false testimony they gave during a major civil lawsuit in Germany, which raises additional questions about the origins of the package. Reuters reported that Ackermann is one of the few executives in Germany always surrounded by bodyguards. Browne told the Associated Press that the European Central Bank -- the governing body for the 17-nation common European currency -- was listed as the return address. The ECB's headquarters are located two blocks away, across a park where the Occupy Frankfurt movement has pitched its tents. Ackermann, 63, was awarded a negative prize on Wednesday by anti-lobby group Lobby Control -- based in the western city of Cologne. The bank chief was not present to accept the award that singled him out for allegedly cutting deals with German Chancellor Angela Merkel regarding efforts earlier this year to save Greece. Deutsche Bank rejected the charges. The Associated Press contributed to this report. Read more:
  8. By Nouri al-Maliki, Published: December 4 Baghdad We stand at the threshold of a monumental juncture in the Iraqi-American relationship. A great many sacrifices by the Iraqi and the American people have enabled Iraq to discard the squalid regime of Saddam Hussein and establish a free and democratic society. As American troops depart in accordance with the Troops Withdrawal Agreement of 2008, we begin a new chapter based, as President Obama noted, on “mutual interests and mutual respect.” The decision to implement the agreement came after negotiations held with respect for each side’s sovereign and political decisions. Solidifying a durable relationship between our two countries is vital. In the coming months, we must mutually focus on economic growth as well as culture, education and the sciences. Iraq has progressed to the stage of state building. We are building more than a million homes for low-income families, and I look forward to seeing construction cranes and high-rises dotting the Baghdad skyline. The struggle for reconstruction is no less daunting than the struggle for security. We are working to breach barriers that impede investment so this vision can become a reality. I am working diligently with our Investment Commission to ensure the rights of foreign investors and to create an environment conducive to investment. While we have strived to put Iraq’s new democracy on the right path, challenges remain. The political process and relationships between the various political parties continue to develop. Fundamental disputes still surround the political composition of the Iraqi state. I believe these can be solved by combining and expanding the powers of the provinces while adhering to the unity of the state. Disputes concerning our constitution need to be solved through political means. A solution to the debates surrounding hydrocarbon is paramount to Iraq’s economic growth. I have supported legislation, which has been sent to the Council of Representatives, that would regulate this vital industry and resources commensurate with national partnership and the equitable distribution of wealth. We held three rounds of bidding last year and are preparing for a fourth. The stability of Iraq after the withdrawal of American forces has been a major concern of both our nations. I believe in the capabilities of our security forces and in the necessity of U.S. assistance. There are still some who seek the destruction of our country. The Baath Party, which is prohibited by the constitution, believes in coups and conspiracies; indeed, these have been its modus operandi since the party’s inception. The Baathists seek to destroy Iraq’s democratic process. Hundreds of suspected Baathists recently were arrested; some of those detained have been released while others are awaiting trial. Those still in custody will receive due process and equitable treatment under Iraqi law. These detainees come from all over Iraq, and I refute characterizations that the detentions were a sectarian action based on political motives. These steps were taken to protect Iraq’s democracy. Full article available at Washington Post -
  9. Fed, ECB offer aid to global financial system (See story & video at: ) NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The Federal Reserve, acting with five other central banks, took further steps Wednesday to make it cheaper for banks around the world to borrow U.S. dollars. The Fed -- along with central banks of the eurozone, England, Japan, Switzerland and Canada -- announced a coordinated plan to lower prices on dollar liquidity swaps beginning on December 5, and extending these swap arrangements to February 1, 2013. A swap takes place when the Fed provides U.S. dollars to a foreign central bank, in exchange for the equivalent amount of foreign currency from that central bank. Overall, these efforts are meant to "ease strains in financial markets and thereby mitigate the effects of such strains on the supply of credit to households and businesses and so help foster economic activity," the Federal Reserve said in a press release. Together, the six central banks also created a temporary mechanism, making it easier for them to exchange their foreign currencies -- not just U.S. dollars. That tool gives any of these central banks easier access to euros, Japanese yen, British pounds, Swiss francs and Canadian dollars, should they need those currencies to assist their region's banks in the event of a crisis. Velshi: Banks help Europe buy time These liquidity facilities could come in handy if Europe's debt crisis, for example, escalates to the point where foreign banks need the funds to continue normal business transactions. "These swap lines are being implemented as a contingency measure, so that central banks can offer liquidity in foreign currencies if market conditions warrant such actions," the Federal Reserve said in a Q&A about the plan. Since May, the cost for European banks to borrow dollars from other European banks has skyrocketed. Through central bank auctions announced in September, these banks can borrow dollars at reduced interest rates, for periods of three months. This is meant to lower the cost of short-term borrowing for troubled European banks, as well as give them immediate access to dollars. Today's actions continue that plan and further reduce borrowing costs. The European Central Bank is the one actually making the loans, so the Fed is not on the hook if a European bank fails, points out Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist with Capital Economics. China starts easing In its statement Wednesday, the Fed stressed that the move is designed to offer help to foreign banks, and that U.S banks are not in need of liquidity, at least for now. "U.S. financial institutions currently do not face difficulty obtaining liquidity in short-term funding markets," the central bank said. "However, were conditions to deteriorate, the Federal Reserve has a range of tools available to provide an effective liquidity backstop for such institutions." Meanwhile, the People's Bank of China also announced a plan to increase liquidity Wednesday by lowering its reserve requirement ratio for financial institutions by half a percentage point. First Published: November 30, 2011: 8:15 AM ET
  10. Here's an article on Fox News including the statement... "The White House says the visit will establish elements of cooperation on non-military matters, including diplomacy; trade, finance, energy, technology, transportation as well as defense and security for Iraq through its own mechanisms." Read more: Redhorse - Is this the video you saw? (past commercial)
  11. Beautiful Easy! Beautiful! Think about these things when redeeming your harvest. May God Bless You BIG!!!
  12. NPR - August 25, 2011 Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway announced it is investing $5 billion in Bank of America, sending the banking giant's shares soaring. Bank of America has struggled under the weight of toxic mortgages from its 2008 purchase of Countrywide Financial Corp. Buffett said Thursday he had called CEO Brian Moynihan to ask about investing because he considered Bank of America to be a strong company with good leadership. The bank has struggled under the weight of toxic mortgages from its 2008 purchase of Countrywide Financial Corp. In recent weeks, Moynihan has insisted the bank doesn't need to raise capital. Moynihan says the company still has the capital and liquidity it needs. But he also said he realizes that an investment from Buffett represents a strong endorsement. Bank of America Corp. was trading at $8.29, up $1.30, or 18 percent, shortly after the market opened. Link: Note: I wonder if Buffet is getting ready to cash-in? ;n)
  13. What on earth are they thinking? ..."Some Constitutional experts call the trend “disturbing” and “blatantly illegal.” Link:
  14. You are in my prayers! All is well and you will heal. God Bless You BIG!!!!
  15. Well, Trump did say that "if" America kept control of the oil the people of Iraq would do "nicely...very nicely" - as would American interests.
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