Thursday, October 23, 2014

Friday October 24 Housing and Economic stories

Agile Tumbles in Hong Kong as Chairman Placed Under Custody - ( Agile Property Holdings Ltd. (3383) tumbled to the lowest in more than five years after its billionaire founder and chairman Chen Zhuolin was placed under the control of Chinese prosecutors amid a money laundering allegation which it denied. Shares plunged as much as 31 percent, the most on record, to HK$3.30 in Hong Kong after they resumed trading following a suspension since Oct. 3. They closed 17 percent lower at HK$3.95, the lowest since March 2009. The stock was downgraded by at least six brokerages, including JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Macquarie Group Ltd., according to Bloomberg data.

Oil price drop puts fracking to the test - ( A further slump in oil prices may dampen shale drilling's profitable run, according to a report from Goldman Sachs. In the past four weeks, global oil prices plunged eight percent. And a barrel in the U.S. is below $90, the first time in two years. On Thursday, shares of companies centered in North Dakota's Bakken Shale dropped more than 5 percent. If prices drop any further, the Wall Street Journal reports, drilling activity would slow down drastically. The key issue lies in the overabundance of oil, with sluggish global demand to match it. Texas, Colorado and North Dakota shale-drilling has increased U.S. production by nearly three million barrels a day since 2011.

Here's why shale oil stocks are tanking - ( Now, let's look at what happens when oil starts to drop fast, which is exactly our scenario. That secured creditor with the line of credit? He's getting nervous, because now instead of reserves worth $20 million for your project, those reserves are now worth only, say, $16 million. That's a problem. The line of credit you will be able to get will drop because as the price of oil drops banks don't want to lend as much. So, instead of $5 million, your secured creditor will only lend $4 million, and at a higher rate. Now you need $6 million more. Another problem: because the price of oil is down, you can't contribute as much from your cash flow, so instead of $2 million that you contribute, you can only contribute $1 million.

The new unemployed: Older, educated and broke - ( In the upside-down, topsy-turvy world of jobs these days, even an advanced degree can't protect some Americans from tumbling down the economic ladder. The conventional wisdom that more education bears fruit in the labor market gets turned on its head when it comes to unemployment. For people with masters and even doctoral degrees, long-term unemployment is especially insidious. At best, these formerly high-earning professionals face the prospect of a years-long climb back to their former level of income and stature, while they delay retirement to rebuild their decimated nest eggs. Others won't be that lucky. Debt, foreclosure and evaporated savings push them out of the middle class, and some just keep falling.

Oil Bear Market Strains OPEC as Venezuela Seeks Meeting - ( OPEC is boosting production as its members fight for market share and seek to meet rising domestic demand. The group pumped 30.47 million barrels a day in September, the most since August 2013, it said Oct. 10 in its latest monthly Oil Market Report. Saudi Arabia, Iran and most recently Iraq all widened the discounts they’ll offer on their main grades sold to Asia next month to the most since at least 2009. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro gave instructions to ask for an extraordinary OPEC meeting, the country’s foreign ministry said in a post on its Twitter account on Oct. 10. “The price of oil is important for our country, and we’ll start actions to stop its fall,” the ministry cited former oil minister Rafael Ramirez as saying.

Exclusive: U.S. regulators press banks for more on auto loan exposure to assess risks - ( U.S. regulators are asking banks for more detail on their autos financing exposure, as rapid growth in the lending has prompted officials to seek to better assess the risks, according to a person familiar with the matter. Balances remaining on auto loans have risen by about a third since April 2011, reaching an all-time high of $924.2 billion in August, according to credit reporting bureau Equifax. About a fifth of the loans are subprime. Banking regulators fear that reckless lending may be at least helping to fuel that growth, and there are early signs that delinquencies are increasing in the sector.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Thursday October 23 Housing and Economic stories

Endeavour Files Bankruptcy, Creditor Agreement in Hand - ( Endeavour International Corp. (END), a U.S.-based oil and gas exploration firm with operations in the North Sea, sought bankruptcy protection yesterday, saying it has a restructuring agreement with some creditors. The company’s debt totals about $1.2 billion, according to Chapter 11 papers filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Delaware. More than $500 million of that resulted from “unexpected events” in the past three years, according to the filing. More than two-thirds of holders of some notes have approved a restructuring support agreement that would reduce debt by $568 million, Houston-based Endeavour said in a statement. The common stock will be canceled, while new debt and shares will be issued to the note-holders. The company blamed “natural disasters, adverse and unforeseen operating issues, delays in new production coming online and operating difficulties particular to the North Sea” for a sudden rise in costs.

GT to cut jobs, wind down sapphire plant; takes aim at Apple - ( GT Advanced Technologies Inc said it will cut 890 jobs, close an Arizona plant expected to make scratch-resistant screens for Apple Inc, and suggested it could pursue legal claims against the iPhone maker while revamping under bankruptcy. "Only if GT winds down these operations will it be able to stop its mounting losses and re-focus its resources on the operation of its core business of selling sapphire furnaces and other products," the company said in a court filing on Friday. GT Advanced said it was burning through $1 million a day at the operations it intended to close. "GT believes that it has many claims against Apple arising out of its business relationship with Apple," the company said in a filing with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Dubai Stock Plunge Leads Middle East Rout After Global Selloff - ( Dubai shares dropped the most in almost four months, leading Middle East equity declines, after investor concern global growth will slow sparked a selloff worldwide. Saudi Arabia’s stocks fell the most since March 2011. The Dubai Financial Market General Index (DFMGI) slid 6.5 percent to 4,619.60 at the close, the lowest level since July 20. Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index (SASEIDX) retreated 6.5 percent to the lowest since July 22. Abu Dhabi’s ADX General Index slipped 3.5 percent, the most in almost four years, and Qatar’s QE Index closed 3 percent down. “Global markets are all selling off and it’s that weakness we’re tracking,” Hisham Khairy, the Dubai-based head of institutional trade at Mena Corp. Financial Services LLC, said by phone. “There’s still more blood to come.” Equities worldwide have lost about $4.4 trillion in value since reaching a record last month. Minutes of the Federal Reserve’s September policy meeting last week showed officials are concerned the U.S. economy may be at risk in a global slowdown. The International Monetary Fund last week reduced its forecast for global growth next year to 3.8 percent, from a July prediction of 4 percent.

McCain calls for Ebola 'czar' | TheHill - ( What is with our government and all our Russian czar titles?? ;-)  Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on Sunday called for President Obama to nominate an Ebola "czar" to coordinate the administration’s response to the deadly virus. “I’d like to know who’s in charge,” McCain said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” The senator’s appearance followed news from Dallas early Sunday that a second Ebola patient had been identified – a healthcare worker who treated Thomas Eric Duncan, the first U.S. Ebola patient who died last week. McCain said his constituents in Arizona are “not comforted” and “need more reassurance.” The senator said the administration should also “look at” airports in West Africa as well as those in the United States. “Americans have to be assured here,” McCain added. In the past, McCain had been critical of Obama's use of so-called "czars" to name lead officials on particular matters. In 2009, McCain tweeted that Obama had "more czars than the Romanovs — who ruled Russia for 3 centuries." Enhanced screening at five major U.S. airports began on Saturday as part of the administration’s effort to prevent the virus from again entering the country undetected. Duncan contracted the disease in Liberia.

'Nobody cares, nobody stopped me': Miami doctor hits out at TSA efforts to contain Ebola after returning from Nigeria with ease despite highlighting her work with sufferers - (  A World Health Organization doctor who spent 31 days in Nigeria says it's no surprise that someone has finally been diagnosed with Ebola on U.S. soil, and that more cases will follow if drastic changes aren't made. Dr. Aileen Marty was worried specifically about the lax standards for checking people on entry to the U.S., illustrating the point with a story about her return to the country through Miami International Airport. 'I get to the kiosk...mark the fact that I've been to Nigeria and nobody cares, nobody stopped me,' she said. Marty recounted her experiences in an interview with Fusion's Jorge Ramos. 'Not a single test?' Ramos asked. 'Nothing,' she said. Ramos could get her wish soon. The White House has announced additional screening measures would be put in place to check passengers entering the U.S. from countries hit by Ebola.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Wednesday October 22 Housing and Economic stories

As Fracking Enters A Bear Market, A Question Emerges: Is The Shale Boom Built On A Sea Of Lies? - ( "The audience in the ballroom of the Hotel Derek included engineers for shale drillers such as Marathon, Continental and Rice. Pamela Allen, a senior reserves coordinator for Marathon, raised her hand and told Lee that she was worried that using outsized forecasts in public presentations would run afoul of the SEC and “come back to haunt us.” Singhania, the Marathon spokeswoman, said she was unable to comment on Allen’s remarks without seeing a transcript. “If a lot of people get burned -- and I think a lot of people can and will be burned -- by these numbers in the investor presentations, there may be a push by investors to get the SEC to do something about it,” Lee said during the workshop."

Oil price drop may hurt shale drilling profits - ( A further slump in oil prices may dampen shale drilling's profitable run, according to a report from Goldman Sachs. In the past four weeks, global oil prices plunged eight percent. And a barrel in the U.S. is below $90, the first time in two years. On Thursday, shares of companies centered in North Dakota's Bakken Shale dropped more than 5 percent. If prices drop any further, the Wall Street Journal reports, drilling activity would slow down drastically. The key issue lies in the overabundance of oil, with sluggish global demand to match it. Texas, Colorado and North Dakota shale-drilling has increased U.S. production by nearly three million barrels a day since 2011.

Draghi Policies Blunted in Berlin as German Protests Grow - ( Mario Draghi’s policy tools are being blunted in Berlin. The European Central Bank president has stopped short of large-scale sovereign-bond purchases as efforts to mollify Germany’s political elite do little to silence criticism of his ever-more expansionary measures. Support for anti-euro groups such as Alternative for Germany has risen and the ECB’s latest plan to buy assets sparked an outcry within all major parties. “German public opinion matters an awful lot,” said Anatoli Annenkov, senior economist at Societe Generale SA in London. “Draghi wants the ECB to be a central bank like any other, one that can go and buy government debt. But he’s perfectly aware of Germany’s opposition, and the storm now is a clear signal that it’ll be much more difficult.”

Portugal’s ESFG Files for Bankruptcy on Failed Protection - ( Espirito Santo Financial Group SA, part of a Portuguese family empire that unraveled in the wake of soured loans, was forced to file for bankruptcy after a court rejected a request for creditor protection. The board’s decision follows a ruling by a Luxembourg court on Oct. 3, rejecting the July request, ESFG said in a regulatory filing today. While Banco Espirito Santo SA, formerly partly owned by ESFG, received a 4.9 billion-euro ($6.3 billion) rescue by the Bank of Portugal in August, the court ruled a restructuring of ESFG was “impossible.” ESFG was forced to seek creditor protection, joining parent companies Espirito Santo International SA and Rioforte Investments SA, after failing to meet debt obligations following the disclosure of losses on loans across the holding company. Banco Espirito Santo, once Portugal’s biggest bank by market value, was bailed out on Aug. 3, with the central bank moving deposit-taking operations and most assets to a new company called Novo Banco SA.

Russia Spends $1.5 Billion in One Day as Ruble Defense Quickens - ( Russia’s central bank stepped up the pace of currency interventions as sanctions and an oil-price slump spur bets policy makers will raise interest rates. The central bank sold $1.5 billion on Oct. 8, according to data on its website today. That’s almost as much as the previous three days combined and the most for a single day since the $4.41 billion intervention that preceded the Crimea referendum to join Russia in March. Wagers for interest-rate increases soared to a six-year high as Brent oil’s slide to four-year lows sends the ruble falling further past 40 per dollar.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Tuesday October 21 Housing and Economic stories

Sears plunges on report suppliers backing away - (  Sears Holdings stock is tanking after reports that three insurance firms for its suppliers are shying away from the company. Shares in Sears fell over 12 percent Wednesday morning, after briefly being halted, following a Bloomberg report that Euler Hermes Group,Coface, and Atradius Credit Insurance are scaling back coverage or cancelling policies related to the embattled retailer. Bloomberg also reported that at least one vendor, which asked not to be named, decided to withhold its products from Sears.

Dick Morris Tells Hannity: Obama Pushing for One-Party Rule - ( Dick Morris, the Democratic strategist credited with reigniting former President Bill Clinton's political hopes in the mid-1990s, is warning that President Barack Obama is implementing an agenda to destroy two-party rule in America. Morris' new book "Power Grab — Obama's Dangerous Plan for a One-Party Nation" … outlines what Morris sees as the president's attempt to turn the United States into a "Banana republic ruled by one party by putting the Republican Party out of business." "What he really wants to do is stack the deck to assure permanent Democratic control over the country – a one-party democracy, like Mexico had and Japan has had," Morris said Thursday on Fox News Channel's "Hannity."  Everything Obama does must be seen through that lens, Morris said, including why Obama wants open borders and stronger labor unions and opposes photo IDs for voting. It also explains why he wants judicial confirmations without a filibuster, he said. "I believe that the entire country, me included, made a mistake in 2008 in not listening to you when you kept pushing the connection between Bill Ayers and Barack Obama," Morris told Hannity. "We all dismissed it as guilt by association. Now it's time to listen."

Five more civilians killed in worst India-Pakistan fighting for years - ( Five civilians were killed and thousands took refuge in camps in the disputed region of Kashmir on Wednesday after some of the most intense fighting between nuclear-armed neighbours Pakistan and India in a decade. A total of nine Pakistani and eight Indian civilians have been killed since fighting erupted more than week ago in the mostly Muslim Himalayan region. Kashmir is claimed by both countries and has been a major focus of tension in South Asia.

Marriott fined for blocking wi-fi at Nashville hotel - ( Marriott International will pay a $600,000 fine for jamming conference attendees' own Wi-Fi networks at its Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center, forcing them to pay hefty prices to use the hotel's own connection. Frequent travelers often carry personal Wi-Fi hotspots — tiny devices that can connect to the Internet via cell phone towers. For $50 a month, they can connect to the Internet on the move, often avoiding hefty fees charged by hotels, airports and conference facilities. Some people upgrade their wireless data plans to make their smartphones into hotspots. Last year, a conference attendee at the Opryland hotel in Nashville, Tennessee — which is managed by Marriott — found that the hotel was jamming devices in its ballrooms and complained to the Federal Communications Commission. In the complaint, the guest noted that the same thing happened previously at another Gaylord property. The block didn't affect Wi-Fi access in guest rooms.

[Bloomberg] China’s First Bond Defaulter Gets Guarantee From Bad Bank - ( Shanghai Chaori Solar Energy Science & Technology Co. (002506), the first company to default in China’s onshore bond market, got a guarantee to help make repayments from a state-backed fund that buys bad debt. China Great Wall Asset Management Corp., one of the four so-called bad banks that the government set up in 1999, will guarantee as much as 788 million yuan ($128.4 million) on the solar-panel maker’s 1 billion yuan of defaulted notes, it said in a statement posted to the Shenzhen Stock Exchange website yesterday. Shanghai Jiu Yang Investment Management Center, one of the nine investors to restructure Chaori, will provide 92 million yuan, it said in a separate filing.