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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Get Money from your Structured Settlement Today - Transworld News

Get Money from your Structured Settlement Today - Transworld News

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Atlanta 5/20/2012 03:05 AM GMT (TransWorldNews)

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Stocks higher on better manufacturing report - Yahoo Finance

NEW YORK (AP) -- The fastest growth in U.S. manufacturing in 10 months gave stocks a lift in early trading Tuesday and put the Dow Jones industrial average on track for its highest close in more than four years.

U.S. manufacturing expanded last month at the strongest pace since June, according to the Institute for Supply Management. Orders, hiring and production all rose. A measure of manufacturing employment also reached a nine-month high, a hopeful sign ahead of Friday's monthly jobs report.

The manufacturing news jolted stock indexes out of a morning stupor. The Dow was up 112 points to 13,325 as of noon EDT. That put the average on course for its highest close since Dec. 28, 2007.

In a separate report, the Commerce Department said construction spending ticked up in March, following two months of declines.

Sam Stovall, chief equity strategist at S&P Capital IQ, said the two reports looked like evidence that the U.S. economic recovery is on solid footing despite turmoil in Europe and a weak jobs report last month.

"I think investors are encouraged there's at least one place in the world where it's still worth investing," Stovall said. "They're not ready to give up on this bull market yet."

Other indexes pushed higher. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 15 points to 1,414, five points shy of its closing high for the year, set on April 2. The Nasdaq composite climbed 35 points to 3,080.

Major car companies are reporting monthly auto sales on Tuesday. Industry watchers expect overall sales to rise 2 percent for April compared with a year earlier.

The S&P finished April in the red, its first losing month since November. The Dow managed a tiny gain.

Judging by its track record, May isn't a promising month for stocks. Since World War II, the S&P 500 index has gained an average of 0.31 percent in May. For all months, the average gain is 0.67 percent.

"It's a very undistinguished month," Stovall said.

Among stocks making big moves:

Chesapeake Energy Corp. jumped 7 percent on reports that the company will replace its chairman, Aubrey McClendon. McClendon, the company's founder, was under fire for taking out more than $1 billion in loans using the company's wells as collateral. Chesapeake recently agreed to end the program that allowed McClendon to take personal stakes in the wells. McClendon will stay on as CEO.

Archer Daniels Midland Co. gained 7 percent after the food conglomerate reported profits that beat analysts' expectations. Profits dropped by nearly a third over the past year, pulled down by one-time charges and lower weaker results from its ethanol and oilseeds businesses.

— Avon Products Inc. fell 8 percent, the biggest drop in the S&P 500. The company said earnings plunged 82 percent, hurt by a bigger restructuring charge, commodity costs and rising labor costs. The results were worse than analysts had expected.

Iowa View: Ethanol eases financial pains of Iowa families - Des Moines Register

Iowans are under financial pressure these days. Mortgage payments, saving for college and retirement, and feeding their families all weigh heavily on them. One thing relieving the stress of managing the family budget is ethanol.

Among car pooling, kids sporting events and getting to work on time, choosing the right fuel may not be uppermost on peoples minds. By choosing the right fuel, you can save a tremendous amount of hard-earned cash. That fuel is ethanol.

A recent fuel price analysis, conducted by Iowa State Universitys Center for Agriculture and Rural Development, found that pump prices would actually be $1.69 more per gallon across the Midwest if ethanol wasnt available. This $1.69 per gallon reduction adds up to a whopping $2,363 in annual savings for a typical Iowa family. That is a tremendous return on investment for 30 years of ethanol blending and local investment in ethanol production.

Fuel for our cars is a necessity, not a luxury. We cannot quickly (or cheaply) change where we live, where we work or what car we drive. When fuel costs go up, we are forced to cut back in other areas.

Ethanol prevents high gasoline prices from further eroding the Iowa family budget. One could argue that ethanol has saved the summer vacation because the $2,363 annual savings could buy fuel, lodging and fun for an Orlando trip. Closer to home, the ethanol savings could buy 15,753 diapers or 262 movie tickets or 39 pairs of athletic shoes. This adds to our economy, boosts tax revenue and provides more enjoyment.

As a domestically produced, renewable fuel, ethanol blends are providing consumers with a cost-effective fuel alternative that saves money. Ethanol also reduces the demand for high-cost, foreign oil by replacing 10 percent of our foreign fuel supplies.

It just makes sense to use more of what we produce here at home, instead of relying so heavily on foreign oil production to meet our transportation needs. And ethanol is making this happen.

The U.S. has now switched from being a major importer of gasoline to a major exporter of both gasoline and ethanol. As a result of this change, gas prices in the U.S. are measurably lower than would otherwise have been the case.

As crude oil costs increased last year, ethanol use rose, providing an increased savings of 32 cents per gallon. This price reduction effect has increased as ethanol production has grown in states with the greatest ethanol market penetration, like Iowa.

Bolstering ethanol use is keeping more money in the U.S. by cutting foreign oil demand. Our dependence on foreign oil has dropped from a high of 60 percent in 2005 to 45 percent in 2011. Roughly half of that drop is attributable to ethanol. Using more ethanol would boost household budgets, reduce demand for much of the foreign crude oil and be an investment in Iowa.

Lets keep more of the money we work so hard to get. Lets take advantage of the choices available when its time to fill our gas tanks. Lets keep money in the U.S. instead of supporting oil cartels. Remember, using ethanol slashes gas prices by $1.69 per gallon, saving the family budget over $2,300 a year.

Stifel Financial Earnings Hindsight: Down 13.0% in Last 10 Days (SF) - Financial News Network Online

When Stifel Financial (NYSE:SF) reported earnings a week ago on May 9th, 2012, analysts, on average, expected the company to report earnings of $0.54 on sales of $382.2 million. Stifel Financial actually reported earnings of $0.55 per share on sales of $409.3 million, beating EPS estimates by $0.02 and beating revenue estimates by $27.2 million. Since the company's report, shares of Stifel Financial have fallen from $35.89 to $31.21, representing a loss of 13.0% in the past 10 days.

There is potential upside of 28.7% for shares of Stifel Financial based on a current price of $31.21 and an average consensus analyst price target of $40.17. Stifel Financial shares should first meet resistance at the 200-day moving average (MA) of $32.84 and find additional resistance at the 50-day MA of $36.34.

Stifel Financial share prices have moved between a 52-week high of $40.57 and a 52-week low of $23.09 and closed Thursday at 35% above that low price at $31.21 per share. In the last five trading sessions, the 50-day moving average (MA) has fallen 0.8% while the 200-day MA has slid 0.4%.

Stifel Financial Corp. is a financial services holding company whose subsidiaries provide general securities brokerage, investment banking, and money management. The Company operates locations primarily in the Midwest United States.

Whacking stocks: Investing like a mobster - St. Louis Post-Dispatch

The stock market has taken an 8 percent hit since early April as the European debt mess boils up again. Sunset Hills money-manager Joe Terril says investor behavior reminds him of a scene in the movie Casino.

It's a mob movie, and a bunch of Mafia chieftains are discussing who might rat them out to the FBI. One guy in question is Andy Stone.

NICKY: It's always better with no witnesses. So, what about Andy?

FORLANO: (Putting down his oxygen mask.) He won't talk. Stone is a good kid. Stand-up guy, just like his old man. That's the way I see it.

BORELLI: I agree. He's solid. A (expletive) Marine.

CAPELLI:He's okay. He always was. Remo, what do you think?

GAGGI: (Pause) Look . . . why take a chance?

In the next scene, Andy Stone gets whacked.

American investors today are thinking like Gaggi, according to Terril.

Europe is a stand-up continent – our NATO ally. It's wealthy by world standards. It's democratic. It's people have universal health care!

Sure, some spendthrifts on the southern end ran up too much debt. But their Germanic and French brothers can afford to bail the continent out. The European Central Bank can print its own money and lend it out for nearly nothing – which is how it staved off the previous crisis last fall.

Surely they won't let Europe's financial system blow up because a passel of deadbeat Greeks? Will they?

The betting is that Europe will muddle through. But the mere possibility of a Lehman-style financial meltdown in Euro-land, no matter how unlikely, sends shivers up investor spines here in America.

“Look . . . why take a chance?” And so the American stock market gets whacked.

Other markets are down even more. The MSCI Emerging Markets index is off nearly 15 percent from its early March high. Besides Europe, emerging markets investors have slowing growth in China to worry about.

One could argue that the whacking of Andy Stone was overkill. Up on Jefferson Avenue, the gurus at Wells Fargo Advisors think the stock market has been over-whacked as well.

This pullback is a buying opportunity in U.S. stocks, says senior equity strategist Scott Wren.

Europe won't poop America's party, he says. “Our outlook on the American economy and earnings continues to be positive over the next 12 to 15 months,” he said. “Stocks have often done well in a modest growth, modest inflation environment.”

Stocks are selling at 13 times trailing earnings, which puts them on the cheap side, and earnings are still growing.

Wells Fargo thinks the S&P 500 should finish the year at 1,400 to 1,450. It closed Friday at 1,295.

Once the fear settles down, the euro mess could even be a boon for American stocks, and it's already helped the bond market. Global money worried about Asia and Europe will flow to the more certain bet in the U.S.

Of course, the rising value of the dollar could also sap profits from American companies with big foreign earnings. And Europe's recession could trim exports.

“They're going to feel a little pain, but it's not the end of the world,” says Wren.

Wren likes the materials sector, which he thinks is oversold. Consumer discretionary, technology and diversified chemical firms are also good bets, he says.

Across town in Webster Groves, Bill O'Grady is down on both Europe and American stocks. It's not only Europe, but the looming “fiscal cliff” in America that worries him.

O'Grady, chief investment strategist at Confluence Investment Management, thinks the crisis is coming to a catharsis in Greece.

Without bailout money from the rest of Europe, the Greek government would quickly run out of euros. But the man most likely to become prime minister is threatening to back out of an austerity agreement and dare the rest of Europe to cut off his funds.

What would happen then? “We honestly don't know,” says O'Grady.

A fund cut-off would force the Greek to drop the euro and start printing drachmas again. That possibility has already set off a slow run on Greek banks, as depositors move their euros to other countries where they won't be converted to drachmas.

If Greece falls off the euro, would that prompt bank runs in other weak countries, starting with Portugal? Would that get the dominoes falling toward panic?

“That's the great unknown,” says O'Grady.

By this time, most Greek government debt is held by speculators and central banks – not the private banking system. That lessens the chance of a banking meltdown.

The general consensus is that meltdown is quite unlikely – but it's still possible.

If Europe settles down, Americans will start worrying about their own looming crisis. Bush tax cuts expire in January and deep automatic spending cuts will kick in if Congress and the President can't reach agreement. That could torpedo the economic recovery.

“It's going to give people the willies,” says O'Grady.

With uncertainty on both sides of the Atlantic, and slowing growth in China, this isn't the moment to jump feet first into stocks, says O'Grady.

Police discloses money laundering scheme (ROUNDUP) - Focus Infomation

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Police discloses money laundering scheme (ROUNDUP)
Sofia. Bulgarias General Directorate for Fight against Organised Crime and DEA realised a special operation dubbed The Launderers, the press office of the Interior Ministry announced.
Authorities neutralised an organised crime group that used to operate on the territory of Bulgaria, which was part of an international organisation, which secured part of the process of the laundering of money passing through the country and which is acquired through drugs trafficking from Latin America to Europe.
The investigation revealed that the money used to come from destinations such as the Antilles, Venezuela, Panama and other countries. After the money was transferred to controlled bank accounts in Bulgaria, the sums were immediately redirected to China, Hong Kong, Spain and the USA.
It was also ascertained that the money flow was passing through the bank accounts of the members of the group and controlled juridical persons.
According to initial data, the laundered sum since the turn of the year is estimated at more than BGN 5 million.
Authorities raided three addresses in Sofia, where they found bank, company and tax documents, personal computers, cell phones.
Three people were arrested, aged 25 and 37.
I thank the colleagues with the General Directorate for Fight against Organised Crime (GDBOP) for the well-done work in the exchange of information with DEA, Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov told FOCUS News Agency, in commentary for the money laundering scheme disclosed in the special police operation dubbed The Launderers.
The scheme involved money transfers from different countries in the world, while the receivers are Bulgarian citizens. This way they re-launder the money, transferring it through several bank accounts. The money flow is controlled by the organisers, who are responsible for the money laundering. I thank the colleagues from the GDBOP for the well-done work in the exchange of information with the colleagues from DEA. This proves the importance and usefulness of the Bulgarian law-enforcement system and that the joint work after the opening of a DEA office gives serious results, Tsvetanov remarked.
The Specialised Prosecutors Office pressed charges on five of the detainees in the special police operation codenamed The Launderers, its press office announced.
Charges were brought on two of the participants in the organised crime group and on three of their accomplices. Two more people will be pressed charges, including groups organiser. At the moment they are outside the country and a procedure for their extradition was opened.

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