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Gazan Refugee Warns the World about Hamas

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Why Are Oil Prices Rising? [Full Thread]
Post Date: 2012-03-24 09:06:49 by lucysmom
Many are asking the question about oil prices: Is this deja vu all over again? Didn’t we just go through a several-year run-up in prices based largely not on fundamentals, but on traders bidding them up, ultimately to $147 a barrel? Only then to see them plunge to $32 a barrel? If one puts stock in the plunge, then there appears to be air in the run-up today to a six-month-high of $60 a barrel. How much is anyone’s guess. The other day, one exceedingly smart oil analyst privately put it in the range of $5 to $10 a barrel. Here is the case for a price bubble: Oil inventories are at a 19-year high; the U.S. alone has some 1 billion barrels sitting in storage tanks, according to ...

Milestones In The Price Of Gasoline
Post Date: 2012-03-23 11:26:28 by Brian S
(03-23) 07:57 PDT , (AP) -- Milestones in the price of gasoline. Price is the nationwide average for a gallon of unleaded regular. FIRSTS: September 1979: First monthly average above $1. May 19, 2004: Tops $2 for first time. Sept. 3, 2005: Tops $3 for first time. June 8 to July 25, 2008: Only period above $4. 1980: Top $1 for a full year ($1.25). 2005: Tops $2 for a full year ($2.30). 2008: Tops $3 for a full year ($3.27). LASTS: March 1999: Last month below $1. March 25, 2009: Last day below $2. Dec. 22, 2010: Last day below $3. TODAY: March 23, 2012: $3.89. 10 YEARS AGO: March 23, 2002: $1.32. Sources: Energy Information Agency, Oil Price Information Service.

Forget Keystone, The US Desperately Needs An East-West Pipeline
Post Date: 2012-03-22 15:40:19 by Hondo68
In the debate over rising gas prices, one largely overlooked issue is the lack of US oil pipeline distribution to the East Coast, where refineries that must import higher priced Brent crude are being shut down. America has more than enough cheap domestic oil, thanks to the North Dakota Bakken and the Canadian oilsands. And it doesn’t face a refinery crisis in terms of capacity - after all, even though the US hasn’t built a new refinery since 1976, oil refining has actually increased by 2 million bopd to 17.7 million bopd since 1985 (and US refinery demand has been steady at 14.8 million bopd since 2005). Instead, the real problem is that coastal refineries can't source the ...

US Leading Economic Indicators Hit 11-Month High
Post Date: 2012-03-22 15:20:12 by Brian S
Washington - A key gauge of leading economic indicators rose in February, indicating continuing strengthening in the US economy as the index hit an 11-month high, a private research group said Thursday. The New York-based Conference Board said its leading economic index rose 0.7 per cent in February to 95.5. The January figure was revised downward, to show a 0.2-per-cent rise, after the board had first reported a 0.4-per-cent increase. The index reflected 'a more positive outlook for general economic activity in the first half of 2012,' economist Ataman Ozyildirim said in a statement. The economy improved over the winter and could continue to advance into the summer and beyond, ...

U.S. Home Prices Have Smallest Decline in More Than 2 Years
Post Date: 2012-03-22 12:27:41 by Brian S
U.S. home prices fell 0.8 percent in January from a year earlier, the smallest decline in more than two years, as the U.S. property market begins to stabilize. The region that includes Massachusetts and Connecticut led the decline, falling 3.5 percent, the Federal Housing Finance Agency said today in a report from Washington. In the area that encompasses North Dakota and Minnesota, prices jumped 5.2 percent, the only region to show an increase over January 2011. While demand for homes has increased in recent months, prices have been slow to follow. Sales (ETSLTOTL) of previously owned U.S. houses held close to an almost two-year high in February, the National Association of Realtors said ...

Jobless Claims in U.S. Fall to Lowest Level in Four Years
Post Date: 2012-03-22 12:16:25 by Brian S
Applications (INJCJC) for unemployment benefits dropped last week to the lowest level in four years, reinforcing signs the U.S. labor market is picking up. Jobless claims decreased by 5,000 to 348,000 in the week ended March 17, the fewest since February 2008, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. The median forecast of 46 economists in a Bloomberg News survey projected 350,000. The number of people on unemployment benefit rolls and those getting extended payments also fell. Dismissals have been waning and reports show companies are becoming more willing to expand workforces amid evidence sales are improving. Employment growth will help spur consumer spending, which ...

Consumer Optimism for U.S. Outlook Hits Eight-Year High
Post Date: 2012-03-22 12:14:52 by Brian S
The number of Americans saying the U.S. economy is getting better rose in March to the highest level since 2004 as a decline in claims for unemployment benefits offered more evidence of a labor-market recovery. Thirty-four percent of respondents to Bloomberg’s monthly consumer expectations survey said the economy was improving, the largest share since January 2004. The pickup boosted the monthly expectations the highest in a year. Figures from the Labor Department today showed jobless claims decreased by 5,000 to 348,000 in the week ended March 17, the fewest since February 2008. The best six months of job growth since 2006 are boosting the optimism of consumers whose spending ...

Study finds no link between oil drilling, gas prices
Post Date: 2012-03-22 11:13:16 by lucysmom
WASHINGTON -- It's the political cure-all for high gas prices: Drill here, drill now. But more U.S. drilling has not changed how deeply the gas pump drills into your wallet, math and history show. A statistical analysis of 36 years of monthly inflation-adjusted gasoline prices and U.S. domestic oil production by The Associated Press shows no statistical correlation between how much oil comes out of U.S. wells and the price at the pump. If more domestic oil drilling worked as politicians say, you'd now be paying about $2 a gallon for gasoline. Instead, you're paying the highest prices ever for March. Political rhetoric about the blame over gas prices and the power to change ...

Antal Fekete Responds To Ben Bernanke On The Gold Standard [Devastating Critique of Keynesian Stupidity]
Post Date: 2012-03-21 16:41:56 by Capitalist Eric
Yesterday, Ben Bernanke dedicated his entire first propaganda lecture to college student to the bashing of the gold standard. Of course, he has his prerogatives: he has to validate a crumbling monetary system and the legitimacy of the Fed, first to schoolchildrden and then to soon to be college grads encumbered in massive amounts of non-dischargeable student loans. While it is decidedly arguable that the gold standard may or may not have led to the first Great Depression, there is no debate at all that it was sheer modern monetary insanity and bubble blowing (by the very same professor!) that brought us to the verge of collapse in the Second Great Depression in 2008, which had nothing to do ...

New Wall Street Hearings Redux: Now It's JP Morgan's Turn?
Post Date: 2012-03-19 13:46:57 by Capitalist Eric
Is JPM Metals "Whistleblower" Letter A Complete Fraud Or Just A Total Mockery? ... Today, the metals space is abuzz with a CFTC "comment letter" posted on its website by an alleged "current JPM employee." There is only one problem - this letter is either a complete fraud or simply a total mockery, as it provides absolutely nothing new, and merely regurgitates existing manipulation claims already out in the public domain, and backed by precisely zero evidence. How about attaching a signed trade confirm, or a daily internal P&L report, or even a blotter entry? No? Because they don't exist? Needless to say, anyone can submit such an alleged insider letter, ...

Treasury Sells Last Mortgage Bonds; Program Made $25 Billion Profit for taxpayers
Post Date: 2012-03-19 13:21:55 by Brian S
March 19, 2012, 9:03 a.m. The Treasury Department has sold the last of $225 billion in mortgage-backed securities it began buying during the financial crisis and announced the program designed to keep the housing finance market afloat made a $25 billion profit. The purchases of bonds from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac started in October 2008 and continued through December 2009 as part of a series of unprecedented government interventions into the financial system. “The successful sale of these securities marks another important milestone in the wind down of the government’s emergency financial crisis response efforts,” said Mary Miller, the Treasury's assistant ...

S&P 500 Rises to Highest Since May 2008
Post Date: 2012-03-19 13:13:31 by Brian S
The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (SPX) advanced to the highest level in almost four years as Apple Inc. plans to pay a dividend and buy back $10 billion of its stock. Financial, commodity and technology shares had the biggest gains in the S&P 500 among 10 groups. Apple rose 2.1 percent to a record. Bank of America Corp. (BAC) and U.S. Steel Corp. climbed at least 1.8 percent. Citigroup Inc. (C) jumped 4.4 percent after selling its 2.71 percent stake in Shanghai Pudong Development Bank to institutional investors. United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS) increased 3.4 percent after agreeing to buy TNT Express NV The S&P 500 rose 0.5 percent to 1,410.42 at 12:23 p.m. New York time. ...

The U.S. Economy: Soul Crushing Total System Failure [Reality Instead of Baghdad Bri-Bri's Propaganda]
Post Date: 2012-03-19 00:54:27 by Capitalist Eric
No matter how often the pretty people on television tell us that the U.S. economy is getting better, it isn't going to change the soul crushing agony that millions of American families are going through right now. The stock market may have gotten back to where it was in 2008, but the job market sure hasn't. As I wrote about a few days ago, the percentage of working age Americans that are actually employed has stayed very flat since late 2009, and the average duration of unemployment is hovering near an all-time high. Sadly, this is not just a temporary downturn. The U.S. economy has been slowly declining for several decades and is nearing total system failure. Right now, many ...

IMF Chief Cautiously Upbeat On Global Economy
Post Date: 2012-03-18 13:16:21 by Brian S
IMF chief Christine Lagarde said measures taken to fight financial woes in Europe and the United States were starting to pay off, in a cautiously upbeat assessment of the global economy. Lagarde was in Beijing for a two-day trip to attend a forum on China’s development and hold meetings with her economic counterparts, such as Vice Premier Wang Qishan, before she travels to India. “Even just a few months ago, the situation was decidedly gloomy. Indicators for the last quarter of 2011 — namely for Europe and the United States — did not provide much reassurance,” Lagarde said in a speech at the forum on Sunday. “Yet, today, we are seeing signs of stabilisation; ...

Spikes and Speculation in the Oil Market – Flash Crash Part Deux?
Post Date: 2012-03-16 11:01:52 by lucysmom
If there is one thing that the history of commodity markets tells us it is that if producers can support and manipulate prices in their favour, then they will. As those who have read my previous two Naked Capitalism posts (here and here) will know, my analysis of the oil market in recent years is that investment banks have enabled oil producers to create not just one but two bubbles in the oil price. The first – a private sector bubble – was from 2005 to July 2008, and then – after a collapse in price from $147/barrel to $35.00/barrel in November 2008 – a public sector bubble was inflated in the first half of 2009 which remains to this day. I firstly outlined how ...

When Wall Street Makes Crap Loans, It's a Crisis; When DOE's Steven Chu Does It, It's Green Energy.
Post Date: 2012-03-15 21:01:27 by jwpegler
Earlier this month, Energy Secretary Steven Chu testified before Congress after a series of bankruptcies from companies floated by green-tech stimulus loans. Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) asked Chu what kind of grade he would give himself as a steward of public funds. Chu replied, “There’s always room for improvement, maybe an A-.” A new report from the Government Accountability Office shows that massive grade inflation has struck the Obama administration. The GAO looked at the handling of $30 billion outstanding in loan guarantees and future commitments and discovered that the DOE rarely follows its own written procedures for vetting and auditing applications. In fact, in many ...

New York Area Manufacturing Expanded in March by the Most Since June 2010
Post Date: 2012-03-15 10:52:00 by Brian S
Manufacturing in the New York region expanded in March at the fastest pace since June 2010, indicating factories are still driving the expansion. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s general economic index unexpectedly increased to 20.2 this month from 19.5 in February. The median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey of economists was 17.5. Readings greater than zero signal expansion in the so-called Empire State Index, which covers New York, northern New Jersey and southern Connecticut. Investment in new equipment and inventory restocking this quarter will help keep American factories expanding even as slower global growth limits exports. A pickup in job creation that helps drive ...

Philadelphia-Area Factory Index Increases to an 11-Month High
Post Date: 2012-03-15 10:49:40 by Brian S
Manufacturing in the Philadelphia region expanded in March at the fastest pace in almost a year as factory employment picked up. The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s general economic index increased to 12.5 this month, in line with projections, from 10.2 in February. Economists forecast the gauge would rise to 12, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey. Readings greater than zero signal expansion in the area covering eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware. Manufacturers are positioned to keep expanding as companies rebuild stockpiles and invest in new equipment. What’s more, labor market gains may help bolster consumer spending, the ...

Jobless Claims in U.S. Decrease, Matching Four-Year Low
Post Date: 2012-03-15 10:48:10 by Brian S
Claims for jobless benefits dropped last week in the U.S., matching the lowest level in four years, more evidence the labor market is improving. Applications for unemployment insurance payments fell by 14,000 to 351,000 in the week ended March 10, Labor Department figures showed today. Economists forecast 357,000, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey. Claims reached the same level a month ago, the lowest since March 2008. Companies have slowed the pace of firings and are expanding their workforces as sales and confidence improve and the threat of financial contagion from a European default diminishes. A Labor Department report last week showed job growth in ...

U.S. Auto Dealers Who Survived Debacle See Record Sales
Post Date: 2012-03-15 10:46:06 by Brian S
Spring Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-Ram in Houston was one of the fortunate U.S. auto dealers to have survived the industry meltdown of 2008 and 2009. “It was tough times,” Al Heggs, the dealership’s general manager, said of the period when sales plunged to less than 135 new cars and trucks a month from 300. “You don’t take any solace in the fact that everybody else is suffering. You just got to figure out how to keep yourself above water.” Beleaguered Spring Chrysler wound up doing that -- and much more. Today, the dealer is raking in the cash and, as it turns out, so are plenty of other survivors. Industrywide per-store dealership profit has almost tripled from 200 ...

Growth in U.S. Will Strengthen as Jobs Boost Consumer Sentiment
Post Date: 2012-03-14 11:48:45 by Brian S
The world’s largest economy will strengthen through 2012 as employment gains give Americans the means to withstand rising fuel costs, according to economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. Gross domestic product will climb at a 2.5 percent annual rate in the final three months of the year, up from 2 percent this quarter, according to the median forecast of 71 economists surveyed from March 9 to March 13. For all of 2012, the U.S. may expand 2.2 percent, accelerating from 1.7 percent last year. More jobs, increasing share prices, improving confidence and stability in housing will bolster the expansion. At the same time, unemployment will be slow to retreat, averaging 7.3 percent in 20 ...

The Debt Deleveraging Big Lie
Post Date: 2012-03-13 14:45:22 by Capitalist Eric
Loving Our Servitude ‘There will be, in the next generation or so, a pharmacological method of making people love their servitude, and producing dictatorship without tears, so to speak, producing a kind of painless concentration camp for entire societies, so that people will in fact have their liberties taken away from them, but will rather enjoy it, because they will be distracted from any desire to rebel by propaganda or brainwashing, or brainwashing enhanced by pharmacological methods. And this seems to be the final revolution.’ Aldous Huxley The American people have come to love their servitude through a combination of self- delusion, corporate mass media propaganda, and an ...

Unemployment Rates Fell In 45 States In January As Improving Economy Benefits Most Regions
Post Date: 2012-03-13 13:40:47 by Brian S
WASHINGTON — The unemployment rate fell in 45 U.S. states in January, a sign that nearly all of the country is benefiting from an improving economy and job market. The Labor Department said that only New York state reported a higher unemployment rate in January than the previous month. Unemployment rates were unchanged in four states. That’s better than December, when rates fell in 37 states, were unchanged in 10 and rose in three. Nationwide, the unemployment rate fell to 8.3 percent in January from 8.5 percent. Employers added 284,000 jobs in January, the second-highest total in six years. Nevada had the nation’s highest unemployment rate in January, at 12.7 percent, ...

Americans More Confident in Housing Recovery
Post Date: 2012-03-13 13:35:13 by Brian S
Potential homebuyers and sellers are growing more confident that the U.S. real estate market will begin to recover as soon as next year, according to a Prudential Real Estate survey. Sixty percent of people surveyed last month had positive views about the housing market and 70 percent expected property values to improve over the next two years, according to the survey released today. About 63 percent of respondents said they considered real estate a good investment, up from 52 percent last year, the Irvine, California-based broker reported. This is the second consecutive year consumer confidence in housing has improved, signaling the property market may “finally be climbing out of ...

Retail Sales in U.S. Climb the Most in Five Months as Recovery Takes Hold
Post Date: 2012-03-13 10:53:25 by Brian S
Retail sales in the U.S. rose in February by the most in five months, reflecting broad-based gains that indicate the world’s largest economy is picking up even as gasoline costs climb. The 1.1 percent advance matched the median forecast of 81 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News and followed a 0.6 percent increase in January that was larger than previously estimated, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington. Demand improved in 11 of 13 categories, including auto dealers and clothing stores. Sales at chains like Gap Inc. (GPS) and Target Corp. (TGT) last month beat analysts’ estimates, a sign an improving job market is bolstering consumer spending, the biggest ...

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