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Europe Closes

FTSE 100-+0.8 pc at 5,902 points- CAC  + 0.7 pc in Paris,  DAX ad +1.2 pc

Obama Relies on Debt Collectors Profiting From Student Loan Woe

Obama’s Shylock Moma’s Bloodline Comes out. After all the English Royal family are direc progeny of Count Dracula.

..Campos agreed to have the money deducted each month from his bank account, even though federal student-loan rules would let him pay less and become eligible for a plan — approved by Congress and touted by President Barack Obama — requiring him to lay out about $50 a month. To satisfy Pioneer, Campos borrowed from friends, cut meat from his diet and stopped buying gas to drive his 82-year-old mother to doctor’s visits for her Parkinson’s Disease….

In failing health, after contracting hepatitis from a blood transfusion, Campos pleaded with Pioneer, owned by SLM Corp. (SLM), the nation’s largest student-loan company better known as Sallie Mae. He left a $40,000-a-year job at the Massachusetts health department when he got too sick to work and waited for a liver transplant. The 52-year-old former busboy, a naturalized U.S. citizen from El Salvador, earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in the 1990s from Cambridge College in Massachusetts.

“I know I owe this money and I want to pay it back — I just can’t,” Campos said, his eyes filled with tears, during an interview at the Boston social-services agency where he works six hours a week leading court-ordered classes for drunk drivers….

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-03-26/obama-relies-on-debt-collectors-profiting-from-student-loan-woe.html

USA Is King As Polands Shales Refuse to Flow

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-03-26/shale-boom-in-europe-fades-as-polish-wells-come-up-empty-energy.html

Commodity Markets-Banksters Short Hedge Fund Bulls

Hedge funds wagered the wrong way on commodity prices for a fourth consecutive week, boosting bullish holdings just before reports showing a contraction in manufacturing from China to Europe drove prices lower.

Money managers lifted net-long positions in 18 U.S. futures and options by 2.9 percent to 1.17 million contracts in the week ended March 20, Commodity Futures Trading Commission data show. The Standard & Poor’s GSCI Spot Index of 24 raw materials dropped 1 percent last week, led by declines in lead and corn. Orange juice tumbled 11 percent, the most since August.

Corn tumbled 3.9 percent, the most since mid-January, as improving U.S. weather boosted the outlook for crops. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

The People’s Bank of China lowered the requirement for reserves at large banks in February for the second time since November to spur lending. Photographer: Nelson Ching/Bloomberg

The S&P GSCI fell to a three-week low on March 22 after reports showed factory output in Germany and France shrank in March and a measure of China’s manufacturing was the weakest since November. U.S. government data the next day showed new home purchases unexpectedly fell last month, increasing investor concerns about the durability of the world’s largest economy.

“There are headwinds to growth right now, and therefore there are headwinds to commodities,” said Walter ‘Bucky’ Hellwig, who helps manage $17 billion of assets at BB&T Wealth Management in Birmingham, Alabama.

The MSCI All-Country World Index of shares fell 1.1 percent last week, with about $607 million erased from the value of global equities, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The dollar retreated 0.6 percent against a basket of six major trading partners, and Treasuries returned 0.4 percent, a Bank of America Corp. index shows.

Corn, Coffee

Eighteen of the 24 raw materials tracked by S&P fell last week. Corn tumbled 3.9 percent, the most since mid-January, as improving U.S. weather boosted the outlook for crops. Arabica coffee declined to the lowest since October 2010 on March 22 on signs of expanding output from Brazil, the world’s top grower. The GSCI rose as much as 0.6 percent today.

A preliminary reading in a Chinese purchasing managers’ index from HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics dropped to 48.1 this month. Readings below 50 signal contraction. A gauge of euro-region manufacturing fell to 47.7 in March from 49 in February, Markit said March 22.

China’s steel output is slowing as the economy focuses more on consumers than large infrastructure projects, Ian Ashby, president of iron ore at BHP Billiton Ltd., the biggest mining company, said March 20. Rio Tinto Group, the second-biggest iron-ore exporter, also sees a slowdown in China, David Joyce, the London-based company’s managing director of expansion projects, told a conference in Perth, Australia the same day.

‘Petrified’ Speculators

“The general concern of a slowdown in China has petrified market speculators,” said Chad Morganlander, a Florham Park, New Jersey-based money manager at Stifel Nicolaus & Co., which oversees more than $115 billion in assets. “A deceleration in demand from major economies like China will continue to be a thematic concern for investors.”

Forecasting moves in commodity markets has become more difficult as price swings have increased, said Peter Sorrentino, a fund manager who helps oversee $14.5 billion at Huntington Asset Advisors in Cincinnati. The 15-day historical volatility on the S&P GSCI was near the highest in two months last week, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Demand for some raw materials may rebound as China’s government adds to stimulus measures to shore up growth, Morgan Stanley analysts led by New York-based Hussein Allidina said in a March 18 report.

China Lending

The People’s Bank of China lowered the requirement for reserves at large banks in February for the second time since November to spur lending. The nation decided last week to boost rural credit by cutting reserve ratios for more branches of Agricultural Bank of China Ltd., the nation’s third-biggest lender by market value.

While China’s growth will slow to 8.3 percent in 2012 from 9.2 percent last year, the expansion will rebound to 8.6 percent in 2013, according to the median of 19 economist estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Premier Wen Jiabao cut the country’s annual growth target to 7.5 percent earlier this month, the lowest since 2004. China is the world’s biggest energy user and consumes about 40 percent of its copper.

Sales of previously owned U.S. houses held in February near an almost two-year high, a report from the National Association of Realtors showed March 21. Two days later, the government reported that new home sales dropped in February for a second straight month, a sign that the housing recovery may be uneven.

Investment Flows

Investors pulled $127 million out of commodity funds in the week ended March 21, according to Cambridge, Massachusetts-based EPFR Global, which tracks investment flows.

Money managers boosted bets on a copper rally by 20 percent to the highest since August even as prices last week fell by the most in five weeks, the CFTC data show. Inventories monitored by the Shanghai Futures Exchange have more than doubled this year, signaling slowing Chinese demand. Lead dropped 5.4 percent to $1,995 a metric ton in London last week, the biggest decline since December. Corn tumbled 3.9 percent to $6.465 a bushel in Chicago, the most since mid-January.

TD Securities Inc. cut its 2012 price forecasts for most precious and industrial metals last week, citing “diminishing China growth expectations,” Bart Melek, the Toronto-based head of commodity strategy, said in a report March 23.

“With China deteriorating, Europe in recession and the U.S. recovery looking uncertain, the picture for commodities is bearish,” said Steve Mathews, the chief investment officer of Flintlock Capital Asset Management LLC in New York, which has $116 million in assets under management. “I don’t see a lot of impetus right now for commodities to go higher.”

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-03-25/hedge-funds-make-wrong-way-bets-for-a-fourth-week-commodities.html

Shell Struggles To Pay Iran on SWIFT Clampdown

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/03/25/us-shell-iran-idUSBRE82O07420120325

U.S. regulator feels pressure over Freddie, Fannie: report

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/03/25/us-usa-housing-regulator-idUSBRE82O0HX20120325

BRICs Move to Unseat Dollar as Trade Currency

No wonder Obama wants to invade Africa.

http://www.citypress.co.za/Business/News/Brics-move-to-unseat-US-dollar-as-trade-currency-20120324

Email To Corzine Said Transfer to JPM London was not Company Money

..Shortly after the transfer was made, JPMorgan officials again called Mr. Corzine — this time for assurances that the money did not belong to customers.

Mr. Corzine called Ms. O’Brien, who confirmed that the transfer was proper, according to his Congressional testimony last year.

“I had explicit statements that we were using proper funds, both orally and in writing, to the best of my knowledge,” he told a subcommittee. “The woman that I spoke to was a Ms. Edith O’Brien.”

Mr. Corzine knew Ms. O’Brien, but was used to working with Christine Serwinski, the firm’s North American chief financial officer. Ms. Serwinski, however, was on vacation most of the company’s final week.

At 2:20 p.m. on Oct. 28, Ms. O’Brien sent the e-mail to Mr. Corzine confirming that the money was transferred from a house account. Attached to the e-mail was a record of the transfer, a document titled “transaction detail report.”

“Let me know if I need to call donna delloso @jpmchase on this,” Ms. O’Brien wrote, referring to a managing director at JPMorgan.

Ms. Delloso, however, still wanted assurances in writing that the transfer was legitimate. “Send me the letter and we’ll have our people look at it,” Mr. Corzine told her, according to a person briefed on the conversation…

http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2012/03/25/e-mail-to-corzine-said-transfer-was-not-customer-money/?ref=business

Stocks Advance on Bernanke

U.S. stocks advanced, sending the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index to the highest level since May 2008, after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said accommodative monetary policy is still needed to spur jobs.

All 10 groups in the S&P 500 rose. Pfizer Inc., Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) and JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) added at least 1.7 percent to pace gains among the largest companies. Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. (LGF) rallied 3 percent as “The Hunger Games” collected $155 million in weekend sales in the U.S. and Canada, a record for March. A gauge of homebuilders in S&P indexes fell 1.4 percent.

The S&P 500 added 1 percent to 1,410.65 at 11:30 a.m. New York time as the index rebounded from the biggest weekly slump since December. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 126.62 points, or 1 percent, to 13,207.35. The Russell 2000 Index (RTY) of small companies rallied 1.8 percent to 844.82, the highest level since July. Trading volume for S&P 500 companies was 11 percent less than the 30-day average.

“Bernanke is in a difficult situation because the Federal Reserve is mostly relying on the Fed’s speech as opposed to money to move markets,” said David Kelly, who helps oversee about $394 billion as chief market strategist at JPMorgan Funds in New York. “What he’s trying to say is that, regardless of the state of the economy, they’re going to be pretty slow to remove stimulus. As long as the economy continues to improve, that will encourage money to move into equity markets.”

Equities rose as Bernanke said in a speech in Arlington, Virginia, that while he’s encouraged by the unemployment rate’s decline, the economy still needs help. Chancellor Angela Merkel said Germany may back plans for the temporary and permanent euro-area rescue funds to run in parallel. European finance ministers meet March (SPX) 30 to discuss raising a 500 billion-euro ($664 billion) ceiling on the region’s financial firewall.

‘More Serious’

“Bernanke made it clear that while the Fed is not going to be revving the engine anytime soon, they are going to keep their foot on the gas,” said Stephen Wood, the New York-based chief market strategist for Russell Investments. His firm oversees $140.8 billion. “At the same time, the Europeans appear to be more serious about addressing risks. They’ve addressed shorter- term liquidity, but solvency remains an issue.”

Measures of health-care, financial and industrial shares in the S&P 500 added at least 1.1 percent today. The Morgan Stanley Cyclical Index of companies most-tied to the economy added 0.7 percent. Pfizer (PFE) increased 1.9 percent to $22.23. Exxon rallied 1.7 percent to $87.04. JPMorgan advanced 1.7 percent to $45.94.

Lions Gate surged 3 percent to $14.97. The movie generated the third-biggest opening weekend ever, researcher Box Office Mojo said. That puts it ahead of films including “Spider-Man 3,” which went on to gross $336.5 million in the U.S. and Canada, both “Iron Man” pictures and every other film but “The Dark Knight” and the last “Harry Potter.”

Weight Loss

Arena Pharmaceuticals Inc. (ARNA) soared 22 percent, the most in the Russell 2000 Index, to $2.95. The weight-loss pill maker faces an advisory panel on May 10 as Food and Drug Administration staff said in a report today that obesity treatment manufacturers may need to study the heart risks of their medicines before U.S. regulators weigh approval.

A gauge of homebuilders in S&P indexes slumped 1.4 percent as 10 of its 11 stocks declined. KB Home (KBH) decreased 4.9 percent to $9.79. PulteGroup Inc. retreated 2.4 percent to $8.67.

Safeway Inc. (SWY) declined 3.8 percent, the most in the S&P 500, to $20.33. The grocer was cut to neutral from outperform at Credit Suisse Group AG, meaning the firm expects the stock to perform in line with the market over the next 12 months.

A123 Systems Inc. (AONE) tumbled 11 percent to $1.51. The maker of batteries for electric cars and trucks said it has started to replace “potentially defective” battery packs and modules produced at a Michigan plant.

Weaker Data

Stocks fell last week, driving the S&P 500 down 0.5 percent, amid weaker-than-estimated housing data and reports showing manufacturing contracted in Europe and China. The S&P 500 was still up 2.3 percent in March and was poised for a fourth straight monthly advance.

The S&P 500 rallied 11 percent this year through last week, on track for the best first-quarter gain since 1998, amid better-than-estimated economic and corporate data. The index trades for 14.5 times reported earnings, below the average since 1954 of 16.4.

Hedge funds trailing the S&P 500 for the last five months are giving up on bearish bets and buying stocks at the fastest rate in two years. A gauge of hedge-fund bullishness measuring the proportion of bets that shares will rise climbed to 48.6 last week from 42 at the end of November 2011, the biggest increase since April 2010, according to data compiled by the International Strategy & Investment Group.

Hedge Fund Index

The Bloomberg aggregate hedge fund index gained 1.4 percent last month, lagging behind the S&P 500 by 2.65 percentage points.

Money managers struggling to catch up with the gains have contributed to the rally that pushed the S&P 500 up 27 percent since October. Market bulls say they are a continuing source of cash that can move stocks higher. Bears say capitulating hedge funds are further evidence that equities have risen too far, too fast as economic growth remains sluggish, warning that the pool of potential buyers is being depleted.

“It’s encouraged me to gradually increase my exposure to stocks,” Barton Biggs, founder of hedge fund Traxis Partners LP in New York, said in a March 23 phone interview, referring to an improving economic outlook. “The shift has occurred gradually in the six or so months since the beginning of October. I’d be inclined to raise my net long further because the potential to the upside would be greater” should the S&P 500 fall 5 percent to 7 percent, he said.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-03-26/u-s-stock-futures-are-little-changed-lions-gate-surges.html

Goldman Sachs Crimewatch-Goldman Denies Bankrupting Copper River

The naked shorting machine rolls on for now, but the noose is tightening!

“I think Goldman Sachs is a racketeering entity that does whatever they can to make a dime without conscience, thought, foresight or care about ramifications,” Mr. Cohodes concluded in his testimony. “I think they are cold-blooded and could care less about the law. That’s my opinion. I think I can back it up.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/26/business/goldman-sachs-denies-claims-it-led-to-copper-rivers-demise.html?_r=2&ref=business

Hedge Funds Capitulate Buy Most Stocks since 2010

……..

“These people have missed it again,” Philip Orlando, chief equity strategist at Federated Investors Inc., which oversees about $370 billion, said in an interview at Bloomberg headquarters in New York on March 20. “They’ve been unduly bearish in their outlook. That’s certainly come back to hurt them.”

While equities gained as the world’s largest economy began expanding in the second half of 2009, helped by President Barack Obama’s stimulus measures and the Federal Reserve’s easy money policies, it’s been the smallest post-recession recovery rate since at least the 1940s, according to Bloomberg data.

Bruce McCain, at KeyCorp in Cleveland, says that even though a slower-growing economy is better than a recession, the 27 percent gain in the S&P 500 since October isn’t justified and stocks will probably drop before they climb….

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-03-25/hedge-funds-capitulating-buy-most-stocks-since-2010.html

Bernanke Says Accommodative Policy Needed to Cut Joblessness

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said while he’s encouraged by the unemployment rate’s decline to 8.3 percent, continued accommodative monetary policy will be needed to make further progress.

The drop in unemployment may reflect “a reversal of the unusually large layoffs that occurred” in 2008 and 2009, and this process may now be over, Bernanke said in a speech today in Arlington, Virginia. Reducing the jobless rate further will probably require a quicker expansion of business production and consumer demand, which “can be supported by continued accommodative policies,” he said.

Bernanke’s comments elaborated on the Federal Open Market Committee’s March 13 statement, which said the jobless rate remains “elevated” and interest rates are likely to remain low at least through late 2014. At the same time, some policy makers, including St. Louis Fed President James Bullard and the Atlanta Fed’s Dennis Lockhart, have said further stimulus probably isn’t needed as the economy strengthens.

“A wide range of indicators suggests that the job market has been improving, which is a welcome development indeed,” Bernanke said to the National Association for Business Economics. “Still, conditions remain far from normal, as shown, for example, by the high level of long-term unemployment and the fact that jobs and hours worked remain well below pre-crisis peaks, even without adjusting for growth in the labor force.”

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index increased 0.8 percent to 1,407.79 at 9:32 a.m. in New York. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose 0.01 percentage point to 2.24 percent…

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-03-26/bernanke-says-accommodative-policy-needed-to-lower-unemployment.html

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