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Troubled Homeowners Aware Of Alternatives
« on: October 13, 2011, 03:28:38 PM »
Daily Market Commentary for October 13, 2011

According to the executive chairman of futures exchange operator CME Group (NasdaqGS: CME), levying a tax on derivatives trades would translate to higher food prices around the world. (read more at Millennium-Traders.Com)

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau reportedly was aware of Bank of America Corp.'s plan to charge customers a $5 monthly debit-card-usage fee beginning January 2012 for at least two-weeks before the fee was announced to the public and did not oppose the fee.

As reported by the Labor Department, the number of Americans who filed applications for unemployment benefits fell slightly by 1,000 last week to 404,000. Initial claims reported from two weeks ago were revised up to 405,000 from an original reading of 401,000. The average number of new claims over the past four weeks fell by 7,000 to 408,000 striking lowest level seen since mid-August. In the week ended October 1, the number of Americans who continue to receive regular state unemployment checks declined by 55,000 to 3.67 million. In the week of September 24, nearly 6.82 million people received some form of state or federal benefit, down 39,203 from previous week.

Per the Commerce Department, the U.S. trade deficit remained virtually unchanged during the month of August however; the U.S. managed to post a record monthly trade gap with China. During the month of August, the nation’s trade deficit held steady at $45.6 billion from prior month. For the month of July, the trade gap was revised up from the initial estimate of $44.8 billion and after two months of deficits above $50 billion, the trade gap narrowed by 11.4% which is the largest percentage decline since May 2009. The government removes inflation to render the figures used in calculating gross domestic product and by using this method, the trade deficit widened 2.1% to $47.0 billion. The U.S. trade deficit with China widened to a record $29.0 billion during the month of August from $28.2 billion in the same month last year and $27.0 billion in July, despite no change in the overall trade gap. The U.S. has ran up a trade deficit of $189.3 billion with China, year to date 2011. On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate approved a bill which allows new duties on goods from China as well as other countries, that lawmakers say manipulate their currencies. China keeps its currency artificially low to boosts that country’s exports according to lawmakers and some business executives. President Barack Obama and House Republican leaders have been cool to the bill in which a bipartisan measure that its sponsors say would help bring down the 9.1% U.S. unemployment rate. Trade is still expected to provide a small boost to real GDP growth in Q3 because the average deficit in July and August is still smaller than the average in Q2. The House and Senate approved free-trade deals on Wednesday between the U.S. and Colombia, Panama and South Korea after nearly five years of negotiations. According to the U.S. International Trade Commission, the deals which are strongly backed by the White House, could boost U.S. exports by $13 billion a year. The trade pacts were originally negotiated during the George W. Bush administration and further revised by the Obama administration. For the first eight months of 2011, the U.S. is running an $8.5 billion trade deficit with South Korea; a $5.1 billion trade deficit with Columbia and has a $4.9 billion trade surplus with Panama.

French prosecutors reportedly dropped their investigation of Tristane Banon's claim that Dominique Strauss-Kahn, former head of the International Monetary Fund, tried to rape her since the Paris prosecutor's office said there was a lack of sufficient proof. Strauss-Kahn did however confess to sexual assaulting her however; the statute of limitations has run out on that charge since the incident occurred in 2003. Early 2011 Strauss-Kahn stepped down as head IMF after being accused of raping a hotel maid in New York in which that case, was later dropped.

Raj Rajaratnam, the founder of the Galleon Group family of hedge funds, was sentenced to 11 years in prison for his role in a huge insider trading case. Rajaratnam was convicted in May 2011 on several charges of insider trading and conspiracy.

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