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91
OTCBB Discussion / Re: Fantastic Buy of CTXIF
« Last post by justo on March 02, 2012, 12:15:11 PM »
I’m a little late on announcing the highlights of China Linen’s past year, but here they are:

1.   Increases in revenue from $49 million to $64 million. Increase of 30%.
2.   Net Income increases from $9.5 million to $12.3 million. Increase of 29%.
3.   Basic EPS of $2.11 (which is insane, as the company’s stock is currently trading at $1.60). Diluted EPS of $1.80. This gives P/E ratios of 0.76 and 0.89, respectively.
4.   Cash position of $0.86 per share. That is over half its current share price.
5.   Net Working Capital of $5.21 per share.
6.   Net Assets of $8.03 per share.

The company continues to perform as can be shown by their financials. Management is making excellent decisions. I would watch them closely, as they will continue to expand this company by acquiring dying plants. The company is a great buy at its current price, $1.60, as there is an extremely large upside potential. With $0.86 per share in cash and the over $7 per share in assets, you get a lot for a little. Look forward to a great year in 2012.

@JustinG101
92
Stock Market College / Re: Free Stock Tips - Stock Market Advice
« Last post by RayBanz1983 on March 01, 2012, 09:27:29 PM »
It is a very good information provided related to stock college.You can learn every thing about stock market business from here.
http://RoboticTradingSystems.com
93
Trading Strategies from the Street / Federal Reserve On Alert
« Last post by MTnews on February 29, 2012, 01:57:22 PM »
Daily Market Commentary for February 29, 2012

On Wednesday, Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke said in testimony prepared for the House Financial Services Committee that recent improvement in the unemployment rate has put the Federal Reserve on alert and watching incoming data closely.
(read more at Millennium-Traders.Com)
http://www.millennium-traders.com/news/newscommentary.aspx

On Wednesday, Finland's Parliament backed the 130 billion euro ($175 billion) rescue package for Greece negotiated by euro-zone finance ministers earlier this month. Lawmakers voted 111-72 in favor of the bailout, which is the second by Greece's euro-zone partners and the International Monetary Fund in two years. The approval gives Finland's government a mandate to agree to a final deal on the rescue package at a summit meeting of European leaders this week.

Commerce Department reported Wednesday that the U.S. economy grew faster than originally reported by3% during Q4, mainly because of increased commercial construction, consumer spending and lower imports. According to revised data, it was still the fastest increase in a year and a half. Real final sales in the U.S. excluding imports and inventories, rose 1.1% instead of 0.9% as originally reported. A major source of Q4 growth was inventories - totaling $54.3 billion instead of $56 billion as initially reported. As measured by the consumer PCE index, inflation rose 1.2% in Q4 or by 1.3% on a 'core' basis if food and energy are excluded. Also during Q4, real disposable income climbed 1.4%, compared with an earlier reading of 0.8% and personal savings rate was 4.5%, up from an initial estimate of 3.7%.

ISM-Chicago PMI accelerated to a reading of 64.0% in February from 60.2% in January. The index measuring production was the highest since April with new orders hitting an 11-month high, order backlogs moved out of contraction and employment had the biggest one-month gain since March 2008.

According to a report released Wednesday by state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, the average cash bonus for New York City residents employed by the securities industry is expected to fall 14% in 2011 with the average cash bonus having declined by 13% to $121,150 during 2011. "Cash bonuses were down in 2011, reflecting a difficult year on Wall Street," DiNapoli said. "Profits were down sharply and securities firms in New York City resumed downsizing in the second half of the year." DiNapoli said the average bonus fell a bit less than the total cash bonus pool because the pool was shared among fewer workers than in 2010. State Comptroller's report suggests that profits for New York City broker/dealer operations for NYSE members was likely less than half of 2010's $27.6 billion.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Wednesday said imports to members of the Group of Seven leading developed economies and the BRICS group of large developing economies fell by 0.2% from Q3, having fallen by 0.7% in that three-month period. Trade flows involving most major economies fell during Q4, reflecting faltering growth in the global economy. Exports from those two groups fell by 1.2%, having risen by 0.9% during Q3. While imports to the U.S. rose by 1.8% and to China rose by 4.7%, there were declines in both exports and imports in Germany, France and Italy. For the first time since Q2 2009, exports from the world's first and second largest economies fell. Imports to and exports from India and South Africa fell while imports to and exports from Russia and Brazil rose. The decline in imports by the G-7 and BRICS nations during Q3 was the first since Q1 2009. The G-7 comprises of - Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the U.K. and the U.S, while the BRICS group comprises Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.


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94
Trading Strategies from the Street / Pending Home Sales Rise
« Last post by MTnews on February 27, 2012, 01:28:35 PM »
Daily Market Commentary for February 27, 2012

National Association of Realtors reported Monday that pending home sales - contracts but not closings - climbed 2% in January to the highest level since April 2010 with the pending-home-sales index rising to 97.0 from a downwardly revised 95.1 reading in December.
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http://www.millennium-traders.com/news/newscommentary.aspx

On Sunday, the Group of 20 said that the euro zone will consider increasing the size of the region's bailout fund next month, according to reports following a meeting of the group in Mexico. Members of the Group of 20 would consider increasing the resources available to the International Monetary Fund if the euro zone gives approval for the increase. Those resources could take the form of bilateral loans and note purchase deals.

Over the weekend, the G-20 said it will support adding more funds to the International Monetary Fund if the euro zone also contributes more money. “Europe must demonstrate its own efforts for the entire world to see,” said Japan’s finance minister Jun Azumi, while U.K. chancellor George Osborne stressed that “until we see the color of their money, I don’t think you are going to see any money from the rest of the world.” Late this afternoon, Germany is voting to approve a second austerity package for Greece.

National Association for Business Economics reported, according to the latest survey economists expect the U.S. recovery to pick up a little more speed during the latter half of 2012. The outlook of the NABE panel of 45 forecasters projects growth in U.S. gross domestic product at 2.4%, skewed slightly toward the second half. A summary of the February survey from NABE shows expectations for an average unemployment rate of 8.3%, as the economy adds some 170,000 jobs a month for 2012. With housing starts pegged to rise 19% from 2011 to 700,000 units and with real residential investment improving to a 6.6% increase for 2012 and to 10% growth for 2013, the group is forecasting a housing recovery. The NABE survey respondents continue to believe that spending growth by businesses will be strong but that consumer spending will remain subdued.

On Monday, TransCanada Corp. said the company will spend nearly $2.3 billion to build a portion of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline to bring oil from the storage facilities of Cushing, Oklahoma out to the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. Formerly part of the Keystone project, the new Cushing pipeline, "will be constructed as a stand-alone Gulf Coast project" with a targeted completion date in 2013. TransCanada said it's reapplying for permission to build the Keystone XL pipeline between the U.S. and Canada, as it continues to work with Nebraska officials to reroute the pipeline around an environmentally-sensitive region. President Barack Obama 'welcomes' TransCanada's decision to build a pipeline to bring crude oil from Cushing, Oklahoma, to the Gulf of Mexico. "As the President made clear in January, we support the company's interest in proceeding with this project, which will help address the bottleneck of oil in Cushing that has resulted in large part from increased domestic oil production, currently at an eight year high. Moving oil from the Midwest to the world-class, state-of-the-art refineries on the Gulf Coast will modernize our infrastructure, create jobs, and encourage American energy production," the White House said in a statement. Additionally, TransCanada intends to submit a new application for a pipeline from Nebraska to Canada once a new Nebraska route has been identified. "We will ensure any project receives the important assessment it deserves, and will base a decision to provide a permit on the completion of that review," the White House said.

Money supply data for January show that the European Central Bank's generous liquidity policy is working, at least in the short term which means it is even less likely that the ECB will lower borrowing costs further when it meets March 8. The annual growth in M3 accelerated to 2.5% in January following a 0.1 percentage point downwardly revised 1.5% increase in December. The three-month moving average for November-January grew 2.0% on the year, matching the previous period, which had been first estimated at +2.1%. ECB data showed M3 grew 0.7% in January, or EUR68.4 billion, making a U-turn after three straight months of decline, in monthly terms. Consistent with price-stability mandate of an inflation rate of just below 2% over the medium term, the three-month moving average remains well below the ECB's 'reference value' of 4.5%. Data from the European Central Bank showed Monday that Euro-zone bank lending to the private sector in January rose at a slightly faster pace in annual terms than the previous month. Per ECB data, private sector lending increased 1.1% in January, compared with the year-earlier period, after rising 1.0% in December. In January, loans to households grew EUR8 billion after falling EUR7 billion in December. While credit for consumption grew EUR2 billion according to seasonally-adjusted data from the ECB, lending for house purchases grew slightly by EUR4 billion in January. The main refinancing rate of the ECB currently stands at 1%, following 0.25 percentage point cuts in November and December. In Mexico City over the weekend, ECB President Mario Draghi acknowledged that boosting lending to the economy remains a challenge in the euro zone. Draghi said that credit conditions are still tightening despite the central bank's first three-year loan. "We see for the time being" the broad money category of M3 "still declining," he said. "We see credit tightening, we don't see credit booming, and this is true for all of the euro area." The ECB is hoping to give the economy a further shot in the arm Wednesday when it allocates its second, and likely final, three-year loan.


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95
Trading Strategies from the Street / Do-Not-Track Button
« Last post by MTnews on February 23, 2012, 12:20:39 PM »
Daily Market Commentary for February 23, 2012

As the White House is due to hold an event on online privacy, Google, Microsoft and others have agreed to support a do-not-track button in most Web browsers. The do-not-track button will not stop Facebook from tracking members' use of the Like button.
(read more at Millennium-Traders.Com)
http://www.millennium-traders.com/news/newscommentary.aspx

Labor Department reported Thursday that new applications for unemployment benefits were unchanged last week however, they remain at a level consistent with an improved U.S. jobs market. President Barack Obama signed a bill on that continues extended benefits until the end of the year. The Labor Department said initial claims were flat at a seasonally adjusted 351,000 with the level of claims used as a gauge of whether layoffs are rising or falling. Four-week average of claims fell by 7,000 to 359,000, striking the lowest level seen since March 2008. Monthly average provides a more accurate view of labor-market trends by reducing week-to-week gyrations caused by seasonal quirks. When applications for jobless benefits drop below 400,000, this indicates a general sign that hiring is generally as on the rise. New applications for jobless benefits have fallen under that mark in all but two weeks over the last four months. Monthly employment reports provide a clearer picture of who is hiring and who is not. The U.S. economy still is not adding jobs at a pace fast enough to repair most of the damage caused by the 2007-2009 recession. While unemployment rate has declined from a 2011 peak of 9.1%, it remains high at 8.3%. When including part-time employees who cannot find a full-time job as well as those who recently stopped looking for work, unemployment rate is even higher at a rate of 15%. The U.S. jobless rate would not return to pre-recession levels for at least several years, at the current rate of hiring. From 2001 to 2007, unemployment rate averaged 3.8% to 6.2%. Continuing claims decreased by 52,000 to a seasonally adjusted 3.39 million in the week ended February 11, per the Labor Department. Continuing claims, which are handled by states, typically last 26 weeks and are reported with a one-week lag. The number of people who received extended federal benefits fell by 68,966 to 3.41 million. The new extension reduces the maximum amount of time people can receive extra federal benefits to no more than 73 weeks, down from 99 under previous law. Nearly 7.50 million people received some type of state or federal benefit in week ended February 4, down 178,619 from previous week. Total claims are reported with a two-week lag and are not seasonally adjusted.

According to weekly survey from Freddie Mac conforming mortgage rates released Thursday, interest rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages climbed to an average 3.95% this week, up from 3.87% last week. A year ago in 2011, the average mortgage rate was 4.95%. For the week ending February 23, 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.19% , up from 3.16% last week with the average mortgage rate a year ago at 4.22%. Adjustable-rate mortgages fell this week, with the 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage averaging 2.8%, down from 2.82% last week and 3.8% a year ago in 2011. The 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.73%; down from 2.84% last week and 3.4% a year ago in 2011.

During Q4, auto lending continued to expand, as more loans were made to borrowers with shaky credit and payment rates improved. From year earlier levels of $658 billion, amount of outstanding auto loans rose 3.8%, or $23.9 billion. A portion of the expansion was driven by a deeper move into subprime loans, with new-vehicle loans to consumers with less-than-stellar credit increasing by 13.8% in the quarter. Auto lending continued to expand during Q4 as more loans were made to borrowers with shaky credit and payment rates improved. While the average credit score for borrowers receiving new and used loans fell six points and nine points respectively, payment performance improved during Q4. The rate of loans 30 days or more past due fell to 2.79% from 2.98% a year ago. Delinquencies on other types of loans, including credit cards and personal loans also improved since the start of the recession as borrowers have buckled down to pay off debt and cautiously taken on new debt.


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96
Trading Strategies from the Street / FOMC Minutes
« Last post by MTnews on February 15, 2012, 03:28:21 PM »
Daily Market Commentary for February 15, 2012

Excerpts from the January 24-25 meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC Minutes)
(read more at Millennium-Traders.Com)
http://www.millennium-traders.com/news/newscommentary.aspx

Capacity utilization measures how much a factory is being put to use to produce goods with, higher rates of utilization signalizing a rising demand and stronger economy. In January, U.S. industrial production was flat as a 0.7% increase among manufacturers was offset by sharp declines in mining and utilities but, according to the Federal Reserve, the increase in December was much larger than first reported. During December, industrial production was revised higher by 1.0% expansion from an original reading of 0.4%. The latest figures put production 3.4% above year-ago levels, reflecting a steady improvement among the nation’s goods-producing companies. Capacity utilization fell to 78.5% during January, but only because of a sharp upward revision in December. Capacity utilization rate in December was revised up to 78.6% from an initial reading of 78.1%. Over the past 12 months, utilization has risen 1.6 percentage points. During January, manufacturers boosted production, led by automotive output increase by 6.8%. Output at utilities fell 2.5% and production dropped 1.8% in the mining industry. During January, makers of business equipment boosted production by 1.8%; suppliers of non-industrial goods raised production by 0.2%; consumer goods trimmed output by 0.1%; construction companies and producers of materials both reduced their production by 0.4%.

Treasury Department reported for December that foreign investors sold a net $21 billion of long-term U.S. securities strongly much weaker than the $58 billion of net purchases in November. Overseas investors were net sellers of $16.6 billion of Treasurys in December down from net purchasers of $54.0 billion in November. Overseas investors bought a net $27.2 billion of government agency bonds during December compared with $6.2 billion in November. Foreigners were net sellers of $20.7 billion of U.S. corporate bonds in December after net purchasers of $4.8 billion in November. During December, as international demand for corporate bonds remained weak, foreign-based investors sold a net $11.0 billion of U.S. equities. Net foreign purchases of long-term securities was $17.9 billion in December, down from $61.3 billion during November, taking into account purchases by U.S. residents and overseas investors. Sales of Treasury bills, bonds and notes directly attributed to Mainland China were $31.9 billion however, China often trades Treasurys through firms in other countries. During December, Japan was a buyer of $3.5 billion of short and longer-term Treasurys. United Kingdom was a seller of $11.1 billion of Treasurys.

New York Federal Reserve Bank reported Wednesday that the Empire State manufacturing index rose to 19.5 during February, striking its highest level since June 2010 and its fourth straight increase after the index sunk below zero from June through October. New orders index fell to 9.7 in February from 13.7 in January, with mixed underlying conditions. Index for number of employees moved lower to 11.8 during February from 12.1 in January while the average workweek rose to 7.1 from 6.6 in prior month. After hitting its highest level in a year during January, a reading of expected conditions in six-months retreated slightly.

National Association of Home Builders reported Wednesday that home builder confidence in the market for new single-family homes climbed during February to 29 from 25 in January - for the fifth consecutive month to reach the highest level in more than four years. Recent gains have been attributed to record-low mortgage rates, cheaper homes and a slowly improving economy. “This is the longest period of sustained improvement we have seen in the HMI since 2007, which is encouraging,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe in a statement. “However, it is important to remember that the HMI is still very low, and several factors continue to constrain the market. Foreclosures are still competing with new home sales, and many builders are seeing appraisals come in at less than the cost of construction.” “Additionally, prospective home buyers are finding it difficult to qualify for a mortgage.” All three of the index’s components, consisting of traffic of prospective buyers, sales expectations for the next six months, and current sales rose in February. The highest reading came from sales expectations, which rose from 29 to 34.

According to releases by the Federal Reserve and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency Wednesday, borrowers seeking a review of their mortgage foreclosures to see if they are eligible to receive compensation or other remedies because of errors in foreclosure actions on their homes have until July 31 to submit their requests to bank regulators. Foreclosure reviews are required by major banks that were sanctioned by the OCC and other regulators in April due to 'negligence' in residential mortgage loan servicing and foreclosure processes. Borrowers are eligible for a review if their mortgage was active in the foreclosure process between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2010. Borrowers who believe they were wrongfully foreclosed upon may soon be eligible to apply and receive compensation from a $1.5 billion fund being established as part of a broad $26 billion bank settlement with states and the federal government reached last week.

Euro-zone finance officials are considering ways of delaying parts or even all of the second bailout program for Greece while still avoiding a disorderly default, according to Reuters. The delay could be until after Greece holds elections, expected in April, which is beyond a large bond repayment Greece has coming due. Euro-zone finance ministers expressed confidence that Greece will have all the pieces necessary to receive its next bailout payment by a meeting in Brussels on Monday, according to a statement from the Euro group. The officials had a conference call Wednesday, which downgraded from a face-to-face meeting due to worries about Greek leaders’ commitment to the latest package of austerity measures.


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97
Pinksheet Discussion / Re: OPHI - Organic Plant Health, Inc.
« Last post by ancientacid on February 15, 2012, 12:55:38 PM »
News out this morning:

Quote
Organic Plant Health Makes Good on Commitment to Become a Reporting Company

OPHI Stock Upgraded to the OTCQB Tier of the OTC Markets

CHARLOTTE, N.C., Feb. 15, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Organic Plant Health, LLC (OTCQB: OPHI), an exclusive manufacturer and distributor of organic-based fertilizers and soil conditioners, is pleased to announce that as the result of filings submitted to the SEC, Organic Plant Health has made good on its commitment to shareholders and is now a reporting company. As a reporting entity, the company will begin filing 10Q, 10K and 8K filings, as required by the SEC. Organic Plant Health received notification of their new status by the SEC on Friday, February 10, 2012.

In only 13 months since becoming a publicly traded company Organic Plant Health has completed an extensive audit of its financials, achieved total transparency by becoming a reporting company, and has now upgraded its listing on the OTC Markets. The "Yield" sign has been completely removed from OTCmarkets.com and OPHI stock has begun trading on the higher OTCQB tier of the OTC Markets.

"We are extremely pleased to have achieved this milestone so soon after entering the public markets," stated Billy Styles, President and CEO of Organic Plant Health. "Our new status as a reporting company lays the foundation for us to acquire the necessary funding to move our company forward in the most cost-effective and responsible manner possible. As I have previously stated, we plan to utilize funds raised to continue to add strategic retail partners, significantly increase revenues and commence geographic expansion in our pursuit of developing a nationally recognized brand."

Mr. Styles went on to say, "From day one of becoming a publicly traded company we made a commitment to our shareholders that we would distinguish ourselves from other pink sheet companies. We have worked diligently to hold ourselves to a higher standard than was required and will continue to do so as we systematically grow the company and increase value for our shareholders." Styles continues, "As we begin the process of expanding our distribution model, we also want to continue educating the public about the true nature of plant care. 'Changing the Way America Grows,' is a cornerstone of our mission, and it will continue to be as we move the discussion forward regarding Healthy Soil, Healthy Plants and a Healthy Planet."

About Organic Plant Health

Based in Charlotte, NC, Organic Plant Health (OPH), provides organic-based, natural and environmentally responsible fertilizers, soil conditioners, herbicides, insecticides and fungicides for the continual care of residential and commercial landscapes.

Organic Plant Health brand products are currently sold in more than 25 Independent Retailers across the Carolinas from Raleigh, NC to Greenville, SC. Key customers using Organic Plant Health products are environmentally conscious Do-It-Yourself homeowners and commercial landscape companies, secondary markets served include real estate development companies, vineyards and agriculture.

This press release contains "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended and such forward-looking statements are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. You are cautioned that such statements are subject to a multitude of risks and uncertainties that could cause future circumstances, events, or results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements as a result of various factors, and other risks. You should consider these factors in evaluating the forward-looking statements included herein, and not place undue reliance on such statements. The forward-looking statements in this release are made as of the date hereof and Organic Plant Health takes no obligation to update such statements.

CONTACT:
Investor Relations:
Ph. (704) 745-OPHI (6744)
E-mail: investorrelations@organicplanthealth.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/organicplanthealth
YouTube: www.youtube.com/organicplanthealth




SOURCE Organic Plant Health, Inc.
(source: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/organic-plant-health-makes-good-on-commitment-to-become-a-reporting-company-139348673.html )
98
Pinksheet Discussion / Re: OPHI - Organic Plant Health, Inc.
« Last post by ancientacid on February 13, 2012, 01:22:04 PM »
OPHI SEC registration effective, now listed on OTCQB.

http://www.otcmarkets.com/edgar/GetFilingHtml?FilingID=8396978

99
Trading Strategies from the Street / Job Openings Rose
« Last post by MTnews on February 07, 2012, 01:06:29 PM »
Daily Market Commentary for February 7, 2012

The Labor Department reported Tuesday that the number of job openings rose to 3.38 million in December from 3.12 million in November.
(read more at Millennium-Traders.Com)
http://www.millennium-traders.com/news/newscommentary.aspx

Spain’s three largest banks said Tuesday that they would set aside EUR7.5 billion in additional provisions for property risk this year and another EUR3.9 billion in an extra buffer to comply with a new government plan to clean up the country’s financial sector. The government last week approved regulations that force banks to increase the coverage of losses on their real estate holdings by a total of EUR50 billion over the course of this year. Spain’s largest bank by market value, said it will increase its provisions by EUR2.3 billion this year to meet the requirements. The lender was found to need EUR6.1 billion in additional provisions, but already front-loaded a EUR1.8 billion property-related charge on its 2011 results. Lender additionally said it will use EUR2 billion in existing excess capital to fill a so-called capital 'add-on buffer' against potential future losses on property assets. Santander is earmarking EUR900 million in capital gains from the sale of Banco Santander Colombia, to secure the EUR2.3 billion. The rest it would obtain from capital gains from other possible deals and operating profit this year. The country’s second-largest bank Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA said it would set aside a total of EUR2.8 billion in additional provisions in 2012. The company’s executives said they would try to set aside the provisions in 'one shot' in the first half of this year, and would not need to raise new capital in 2012 to meet European Banking Authority requirements. BBVA additionally said it will put EUR1.2 billion into the capital add-on buffer, likely in Q4 of this year. “We consider that these haircuts on the portfolio are extremely tough as you have seen, and extremely painful,” Chief Financial Officer Manuel Gonzalez Cid said. Now “everybody will have recognized this problem on their balance sheet,” he added. BBVA said the added provisions would result in a EUR1.36 billion hit to 2012 earnings. CaixaBank SA, the No. 3 lender by market value, said it would set aside EUR2.44 billion for provisions and EUR745 million as a capital add-on buffer. Profit and buffers will suffice to cover the new provisions, the Barcelona bank said in a regulatory filing. CaixaBank’s parent company, La Caixa, said that it would set aside an additional EUR730 million to raise the provisioning levels on properties held by its holding company ServiHabitat.

The Reserve Bank of Australia surprised traders by leaving its key policy rate unchanged at 4.25%, defying forecasts for another cut.

Exposing deep divisions between Democrats and Republicans about how to fund the soon-to-expire break stirred opposition to a pay freeze for federal workers tripped up talks about extending a payroll-tax cut Tuesday. Democrats - including Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland and Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, whose state is home to large numbers of federal workers, objected to freezing U.S. government employees’ wages in order to pay for a 10-month extension of the two-percentage-point cut. Federal workers should not be “singled out as a piggy bank,” Van Hollen told members of a 20-person conference committee charged with finding a way to extend the tax cut past its scheduled February 29 expiration date. If Congress does not act by February 29, the payroll tax will revert to 6.2% from 4.2%. Additionally, jobless benefits for workers would also be scaled back to 26 weeks from 99 weeks. Doctors reimbursed by Medicare will receive lower payments. Republicans on the committee pointed to a recent Congressional Budget Office study showing that federal workers earn about 16% more than their private-sector counterparts, saying that government employees had to pitch in to pay for the tax-cut extension and other programs. “Federal employees on average make a whole lot more than people in the private sector,” said Sen. Jon Kyl, an Arizona Republican. “I think it’s fair to ask federal employees to make a sacrifice as well.” Van Hollen said federal employees recognize they have to be 'part of the solution' but there are discrepancies in studies about compensation. Senator Bob Casey (D., Pa.) floated the idea of a 1% surcharge on incomes of $1 million or above to pay for the tax cut however, Republicans quickly shot down that proposal. Rep. Dave Camp, a Michigan Republican on the panel who also chairs the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee said the legislation would cost between $150 billion to $160 billion. Both sides are eager to avoid adding to the U.S. deficit, projected to top $1 trillion for the fourth consecutive year in 2012 however; demand for U.S. government debt is quickly rising.

If you’ve been holding out with an underwater mortgage, banks are offering an incentive: a cash bonus of up to $35,000 to do a deal. The bonuses are being given out to borrowers who agree to a 'short sale' - selling the house for less than is owed on the existing mortgage. Banks have been unwilling to agree to short sales, because the losses they take on the mortgages can't be recovered. Changing economics of the mortgage market has made many banks, impatient. One out of every three homes facing foreclosure is a short sale, up from one in four a year ago. Though no one wants to lose their home or the money they’ve pumped into it, short sales offer a new lease on a borrower’s financial life.


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100
Trading Strategies from the Street / Insider Trading Bill
« Last post by MTnews on February 02, 2012, 12:32:26 PM »
Daily Market Commentary for February 2, 2012

The insider trading bill for lawmakers is something everyone should be calling your state representatives about - its common sense that insider trading should be banned for everyone, regardless of your job, title or government position. (read more at Millennium-Traders.Com)
http://www.millennium-traders.com/news/newscommentary.aspx

The Labor Department reported that productivity of U.S. businesses rose at a slower rate in Q4, as labor costs rose. According to a preliminary reading by the Labor Department, productivity in the final three months of 2011 increased 0.7%, compared with a 1.9% gain in the prior quarter, with Q3 productivity revised down from a previously reported 2.3% growth rate. U.S. productivity rose at a 0.7% annual rate for all of 2011 which was much smaller than the 4.1% increase in 2010 and a 2.3% gain in 2009. Higher U.S. productivity is regarded as the key to a rising standard of living over time because it tends to lead to higher pay for workers and larger profits for companies. For example, companies might reduce staff but keep production at the same level or install more labor-saving devices to avoid the need to hire - which explains why hiring in the U.S. has been mediocre since the last recession ended. A drop in productivity stemming from higher output and more hours worked, such that occurred in Q4, is often a signal that companies need to add more to their staff. Real output, the amount of goods and services produced, grew at an annual rate of 3.6% in the Q4. Hours worked rose 2.9% and hourly wages climbed 1.9% after a small decrease in the prior quarter resulting in increase in unit-labor costs by 1.2%. Unit-labor costs reflect how much it costs a business to produce one unit of output, such as a ton of steel or a crate of toys. During 2011, unit-labor costs rose a minute 1.3% overall. Despite the increase in hourly wages and hours worked, employees didn’t benefit as much as expected. Hourly wages in Q4 rose just 1.0%, adjusted for inflation, and actually declined for the full year. The standard of living was reduced for millions of Americans in 2011 due to higher cost of basic necessities, mainly food and fuel. Inflation has seen to be leveling off in recent months.

The Labor Department reported fewer Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, indicating the U.S. labor market continues to gradually improve. For week ended January 28, U.S. jobless claims dropped by 12,000 to a seasonally adjusted 367,000 - near a four-year low with the four-week average of claims fell by a smaller 2,000, to 375,750. Although the monthly average has shown little change over the past six weeks, it remains near a four-year low and stands at level that usually suggests a healing labor market. The recent decline likely indicates a slowdown in layoffs since claims reflect how many people lose their jobs. Even if companies are laying off fewer workers, it still does not they are eager to hire. The current pace of job creation of nearly 150,000 jobs a month remains too slow to put millions of unemployed Americans back to work. On the eve of U.S. data on nonfarm payrolls and joblessness for January, the past week’s jobless claims data are likely to draw more than the usual scrutiny. The Labor Department also reported continuing jobless claims - with a one-week lag - decreased by 130,000 to a seasonally adjusted 3.44 million in the week ended January 21. In the seven years prior to the 2007-2009 recession, U.S. jobless rate ranged between 3.8% and 6.2%. For week ended January 14, nearly 7.67 million people received some kind of state or federal benefit, virtually unchanged from the prior week.

Democratic leadership are hoping for votes on amendments Thursday to legislation seeking to curtail insider trading of securities by lawmakers, though many of the measures under consideration are controversial and could bog down final passage of the bill. The new legislation would prohibit lawmakers, their families and staff from buying and selling securities based on their knowledge of non-public information. Additionally, the bill will require lawmakers and their staff to report stocks and commodities transactions within 30 days of buying and selling the securities and, will require information about their trading to be published in a searchable, online database. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Thursday morning that he and others were busy working on the insider trading legislation until late Wednesday and he has hopes to have votes on amendments to the bill Thursday. “We’ve worked very hard until late in the evening last night to try to come up with an agreement to complete action on this bill,” Reid said. “I will notify senators when those votes are scheduled. We hope that can be done.” The bill appeared to be on the fast-track after passing a key procedural hurdle late Monday with a vote of 93 to 2, easily surpassing the 60 votes it needed to move forward. A number of controversial amendments were introduced over the past few days, many of which could complicate final passage of the bill - nothing that surprises Main Street America. Lawmakers were negotiating in private over which amendments will be permitted to come up for a vote.


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