Thursday, August 22, 2013

Are We On The Brink of Another Economic Disaster?

Stocks are in a ‘dead zone’
Stocks are drifting lower with few catalysts to move the market. Chuck Carlson, CEO of Horizon Investment Services, says we’ll get a “fresher idea of where investors’ and traders’ heads are” after Labor Day.
Home-refinancing applications plunge 62% since May, mortgage bankers say
GALLUP: Unemployment Spikes to 8.9%… 18 month high
5 signs consumers are crumbling
The retail sector saw a lift in the last few days thanks to encouraging earnings from J.C. Penney and Best Buy. Both merchants put up big numbers on Tuesday, and saw shares gapped up as result.
However, those looking for signs of trouble in retail stocks also have plenty of fodder in recent earnings. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. WMT +0.89% , the world’s largest retailer, reported ugly numbers and saw same-store sales decline for the second consecutive quarter. Elsewhere, department store Macy’s M -1.02%  suffered its first earnings miss in six years and Kohl’s KSS -0.65%  also disappointed.
The last bullish argument
Many on Twitter have been saying that I have been too negative on stocks over the past several days, as our ATAC models used for managing our mutual fund and separate accounts rotated fully out of emerging markets into defense mode. Strength was undeniably there given strong alpha in the weeks we were exposed, but admittedly momentum has aggressively turned, particularly as India craters.

I have hammered the idea that spiking yields may serve as a deflationary shock to the economy, and made parallels to 1987 in terms of the speed of the bond market’s move relative to equities, which the Crash resolved in a single day.
A panic in long-duration bonds has all kinds of ripple effects, which in turn means the fat pitch is in for a rain delay as everything takes a back seat to the heart, soul, and life of the free enterprise system.
A 2008-Type Of Event Will Plunge The World Into A Panic
The system would implode again, and this time it would be much more serious than in 2008 because the sovereigns no longer have the firepower to bail everybody out. That’s what is different now.
ALERT!! WAKE UP PEOPLE!!! We Are Now On The Verge Of A Historic Meltdown & Collapse
On the heels of a tremendous rally in gold and silver, today a man who has been involved in the financial markets for 50 years shocked King World News when he said that we are on the verge of a historic and catastrophic global financial “meltdown.” He also spoke about events that are unfolding behind the scenes at the White House right now. This is without question one of John Embry’s most powerful interviews ever.
Financial Crisis-Era Derivatives Are Making A Comeback
Collateralized debt obligations, the complex financial instruments that cratered disastrously in the financial crisis, are back.

The market for the instruments, which were based on subprime mortgages, shrank from $520 billion in 2006 to just $4.3 billion in 2009 after the housing bust. Warren Buffett once called CDOs “financial weapons of mass destruction” because of their riskiness.
This time around, the investment has shifted from a mortgage-based CDO into a “collateralized loan obligation,” a cash-generating asset structured similarly to CDOs, but consisting of loans to businesses.
Read more:

SEC Whistleblower and the Fake Insider Trading Crackdown

Here’s what’s in your Prime Interest today:
Eric Holder, the US Attorney General, is cracking down on Wall Street — according to himself, anyway. He said anybody who’s inflicted damage on our financial markets should not think they’re out of the woods. Well, there is this small problem with something called statute of limitations. And it’s run out on a substantial number of criminal acts committed — both before and after the last financial crisis. Unfortunately, it seems the only people being prosecuted these days are mid-level employees and hedge funds for insider trading. While it’s certainly a crime, insider trading did not cause the last financial crisis, nor will it cause a future one.
In 2005, Gary Aguirre was senior council at the Securities Exchange Commission. He investigated a case involving insider trading at a major hedge fund, Pequot Capital Management. After a little digging, it became apparent that the soon-to-be CEO of Morgan Stanley, John Mack, was involved. Mack also happened to be a major campaign contributor to George W. Bush. Mr. Aguirre’s supervisor warned him that Mack was untouchable due to his political connections. So Pequot’s attorneys met with the SEC Director of Enforcement. The result? The case would be — first “narrowed” — then Mack’s testimony was delayed. The statute of limitations for Mack eventually ran out, and Mr. Aguirre complained about Mack’s “political clout.” Big mistake. Because he was promptly fired. Bob speaks with Gary Aguirre about his experience at the SEC.
Then Perianne digs into the fine print of whistleblowing, and just how the perception of these individuals has changed over the decades — from Ellsberg to Manning. Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison today, although he may serve as few as eight additional years, if paroled. Finally, Daily Duel-er regular, Sam Sacks, will battle the question of whether Wall Street culture is endemic, systemic, or simply — psychopathic.
Plus, hypocrisy has reached new heights in India. Just days after the prime minister of India announced there would be currency crisis — as had happened in 1991 — overnight, the Reserve Bank of India — basically India’s Fed — announced their first quantitative easing program. Welcome to the club, India.

BOOM: FLAHERTY SAYS U.S. QE POLICY MAY BE TOPIC AT NEXT G-20 MEETING!!! Canada Is Not A Friend Of QE, May Throw Bernanke Under Bus At Next G-20!

Canada Is Not A Friend Of QE, May Throw Bernanke Under Bus At Next G-20
It seems the world is growing increasingly uncomfortable (or downright angry) with the unintended (or intended) consequences of the Federal Reserve’s actions (and not just EM nations…):
It’s crazy how many Americans have no clue what rising interest rates are doing to their investments 
According to a new study by Edward Jones, one of the country’s biggest retail brokerages, 63% of Americans don’t know how rising interest rates will affect their retirement portfolios – their 401(k)s, IRAs, et al. – and 24% say they feel completely in the dark about what rising interest rates mean.
Bond yields have soared on the back of a big sell-off in the U.S. Treasury market this summer as markets price in a return to normalization following years of low rates and excess liquidity in the wake of the financial crisis.
And as Treasuries have declined in value, many bond investors have been caught off guard by something they aren’t used to seeing: negative returns in their monthly statements.
Meanwhile, Wall Street is telling clients to brace themselves for more.
“The secular 30-yr bull market in bonds likely ended 4/29/2013,” tweeted Bill Gross, who runs PIMCO, the world’s biggest bond manager. “PIMCO can help you navigate a likely lower return 2 – 3% future.”
Read more:

The Fed Is Insolvent… Do You Still Think the Crisis is Over?

by Phoenix Capital Research
The single dominant belief for investors since 2008 has been that the world’s Central banks will not permit the markets to fall to pieces.
There are primary two primary reasons for this:
1)   The Fed and other Central Banks managed to hold the system together in 2008-2009.
2)   Central Banks have stepped in time and again to prop up the markets every time they staged a significant correction since 2008.
The most obvious culprit here is the Fed, which has stepped in following every market correction in the last four year, either with the promise of a new round of QE or outright announcement of a new round of QE.

Other Central Banks have mirrored these moves. Indeed, since 2007, Central Banks have cut interest rates over 512 times. They’ve also expanded their collective balance sheets by over $10 trillion.
The problem with this is that all of these strategies were not fully thought through.
Consider the following. The Fed has only $50 billion or so in capital. With the Fed now owning over 30% of the ten-year market, every time bonds drop and yields rise, the Fed will eraseALL of this capital. Indeed, Mark Hussman of Hussman Funds notes that even a 100 basis point increase in yields will wipe out the Fed’s capital six times over.
And therein lies the core problem: by expanding its balance sheet so dramatically, the Fed has in effect spread the financial crisis from a private banking level to a public/ sovereign level. Put another way, when the next Crisis hits, it will not be Wall Street banks that go bust but the Fed itself.

Anyone who believes the Fed can “exit” this position is delusional. The single biggest trade for the last four years has been frontrunning the Fed’s asset purchases. When the Fed reverses course and begins selling assets, everyone will dump Treasuries in anticipation.
Indeed, we are already witnessing this with foreign nations selling Treasuries in record amounts in June when the Fed first hinted at tapering its QE programs. Japan and China alone dumped $40 billion that month (of a total $66 billion sold by foreigners that month).
By the way, this was the single largest Treasury dump by foreigners since August 2007. We all remember what followed that (the first round of this Crisis).
Sure, the Fed could print money to deal with this. But if Treasuries begin to collapse while the Fed is already buyingthem… and it can only buy more by money printing, then it’s GAME SET MATCH for Bernanke’s QE, the Fed, and the US economy.
On that note, I’ve already prepared readers of my Private Wealth Advisory newsletter with a number of targeted investment strategies designed to help them not only manage risk, but produce outsized profits during the coming Crash.
My clients saw a 7% portfolio return in 2008, at a time when the market fell 35%.
We also locked in 73 straight winning trades during the Euro Crisis, producing a total portfolio return of 34% at a time when the market was falling rapidly.
And today, we’re taking action to prepare for another round of intense volatility. In fact, we’ve already started another winning streak, having locked in 13 straight winners since May. And by the look of things, we’re about to close our 14th and 15th shortly (one is already up 12% in just two weeks already. 
For more market insights and commentary, visit us at:
Best Regards
Graham Summers

Banksters Blowing ‘Secure’ Bubbles

Watch the full Keiser Report E487 on Thursday!
In this episode of the Keiser Report, Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert discuss the fact that banks are lobbying to force credit unions to become banks in order to destroy the Move Your Money competitive threat. They also discuss frontrunning the NSA and the digital AIDS they’ve spread. In the second half, Max talks to former government official, Catherine Austin Fitts of about extricating yourself from the tapeworm economy.

The Fed’s Game Plan is to Stagflate and Lie! – WallStForMainSt

In this podcast, Wall St for Main St team gave their thoughts on what is going in the economy, stock market and the commodities sector. We talked about why we think the Federal Reserve will not pull back their QE program, why investors and Main Street should expect more stagflation in the economy due to high taxes, over regulation, bad fiscal and monetary policies. Also, we gave an update on the gold and silver market. Plus much more!

FBI Partners with Banks and Blames Mortgage Fraud on Poor Borrowers

Jim Rickards – Triple Whammy Threat To Emerging Markets

Jim Rickards, Senior Managing Director at Tangent Capital, says weakening demand for exports, a stronger U.S. dollar and the prospect of Fed tapering spell difficulties for emerging markets going forward.

When “QE Infinity” Turns Into A Pipedream: Hot Money Evaporates, Rout Follows – See Emerging Markets

Wolf Richter
Printing money and forcing interest rates to near zero, that’s how the Fed and other central banks papered over the Financial Crisis, duct-taped the bursting credit bubble back together, inflated new asset bubbles, and propped up TBTF banks. And in so doing, they accomplished a feat: a worldwide tsunami of hot money.
QE drove yield-seeking investors, whose livelihood was evaporating before their very eyes, to chase down yield wherever they could find it, no matter what the risks, and they found it in emerging markets and in junk, where they joined forces with the hot money. India, Indonesia, Thailand, and of course the BRICS, and other developing countries could suddenly borrow at record low rates from the future – much like developed countries – to goose growth. Companies and consumers ran up debts. Imports ballooned.
It had nefarious consequences. As the Fed was trying to devalue the dollar, other currencies rose. In September 2010, Brazilian Finance Minister Guido Mantega denounced the “international currency war” that the money-printers in Washington and elsewhere were waging against his and other emerging countries where the hot money had washed ashore. “This threatens us because it takes away our competitiveness,” he warned.
But in early May, when the Fed penciled “taper” on the calendar as something to consider, the hot money got antsy, and markets were reacting. That month, interest rates started to soar globally. Junk bonds got slammed, as did the debt of emerging markets, particularly of countries that had splurged on imports and had to fund large current-account deficits.
The selloff doused all sorts of hopes in India and has since contaminated Indonesia, Thailand, and other countries. As Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher explained so eloquently last Friday on Fox: “I think the market has come to realize there is no QE infinity.”
Since QE infinity turned into a pipedream in early May, the Indian rupee lost 20% of its value and hit a historic low of 64.13 to the greenback early Tuesday, after a 2.3% swoon on Monday. The Indian stock market index Sensex has fallen 10.4% since mid-July. Government debt, a hair above junk, got hammered, with the 10-year yield jumping 20 basis points to 9.43%, a Lehman-moment high. The stench of crisis was in the air, and investors who’d been holding their noses for years, finally smelled it and tried to yank their money out.
India, which is in dire need of foreign capital, is a sitting duck. It has to fund a large current-account deficit. It’s importing much of its energy, but the crashing rupee is turning that into a burden for the economy. Badly needed reforms haven’t happened, or only minimally so. A slew of issues, such as inadequate infrastructure and electricity supply, bedevil the country, but they’re not being dealt with. Instead, the government is ingeniously trying to tamp down on gold imports. And it limited the amount of money people and companies can send overseas. Outright capital controls would be next.
So on Tuesday, to assuage his nervous countrymen, Economic Affairs Secretary Arvind Mayaram, a senior official at the Finance Ministry, announced ineffectually, “There is no intention of government of India to put any capital controls as such.”
To prop up the rupee, the Reserve Bank of India had been raising interest rates, but the higher borrowing costs hit the corporate sector, and investors lost their appetite for bonds. It tightened liquidity to make it harder to short the rupee. Nothing worked. So on Tuesday, to save the day, it dumped dollars hand over fist. And to prop up the collapsing bond market, itannounced that it would buy 80 billion rupees ($1.3 billion) worth of government bonds with long maturities on August 23. It would decide later how much more it would have to buy.
Alas, buying bonds to prop up the bond market and force down long-term interest rates contradicted its efforts to prop up the rupee by raising interest rates. QE with all its messes has arrived in India to stave off the crisis caused by the consequences of QE, or rather the end of QE, in the US. But it did stop the rupee’s slide on Tuesday, at least temporarily.
Similar selloffs are circulating around the developing world as the hot money is pulling out. In Indonesia, the rupiah dropped to a four-year low. The Jakarta Stock Exchange Composite index is down 20.5% since May 20. The government is in full prop-up mode. Its state-owned pension fund PT Jamsostek announced that it would buy equities to halt the four-day 11% slide. That deus ex machina caused the stock market to recover a little after having been down 5.8% intraday, to close down only 3.2%.
What QE giveth, the end of QE taketh away. And this is just the beginning. The Fed hasn’t even announced the end of QE; it is merely palavering about it. And it has affirmed that its zero-interest-rate policy would remain in place, possibly for years to come. The Bank of Japan is in all-out QE mode. Other central banks haven’t given up on it either – because just idle banter of ending QE has these kinds of consequences around the world.
The emerging markets were among the first destinations of the hot money. It’s logical that they would be among the first places the hot money is trying to get out of while it still can. As the end of “QE infinity” approaches, and if the Fed actually stops printing money for the first time in five years of drunken partying, the movie now playing in the emerging markets will likely start playing at theaters closer to home.
The new salvation religion being preached in Japan to a hardened and cynical bunch who’ve lived through one of the worst bubbles and busts in recent history is this: prodigious money-printing will devalue the yen, causing exports to skyrocket and imports to shrink. The resulting trade surplus will save Japan. But the opposite is happening. And fast! Read….Abenomics Utter Fail: Japan’s Crazy Exploding Trade Deficit.

Don't Trust Schools to Teach Your Children About Money

MUST WATCH: Federal Judge Rules Bernanke MUST Testify: The Federal Reserve on Trial

33 Shocking Facts Which Show How Badly The Economy Has Tanked Since Obama Became President

Obama Follow MeBarack Obama has been running around the country taking credit for an "economic recovery", but the truth is that things have not gotten better under Obama.  Compared to when he first took office, a smaller percentage of the working age population is employed, the quality of our jobs has declined substantially and the middle class has been absolutely shredded.  If we are really in the middle of an "economic recovery", why is the homeownership rate the lowest that it has been in 18 years?  Why has the number of Americans on food stamps increased by nearly 50 percent while Obama has been in the White House?  Why has the national debt gotten more than 6 trillion dollars larger during the Obama era?  Obama should not be "taking credit" for anything when it comes to the economy.  In fact, he should be deeply apologizing to the American people.
And of course Obama is being delusional if he thinks that he is actually "running the economy".  The Federal Reserve has far more power over the U.S. economy and the U.S. financial system than he does.  But the mainstream media loves to fixate on the presidency, so presidents always get far too much credit or far too much blame for economic conditions.
But if you do want to focus on "the change" that has taken place since Barack Obama entered the White House, there is no way in the world that you can claim that things have actually gotten better during that time frame.  The cold, hard reality of the matter is that the U.S. economy has been steadily declining for over a decade, and this decline has continued while Obama has been living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
It is getting very tiring listening to Obama supporters try to claim that Obama has improved the economy.  That is a false claim that is not even remotely close to reality.  The following are 33 shocking facts which show how badly the U.S. economy has tanked since Obama became president...
#1 When Barack Obama entered the White House, 60.6 percent of working age Americans had a job.  Today, only 58.7 percent of working age Americans have a job.
#2 Since Obama has been president, seven out of every eight jobs that have been "created" in the U.S. economy have been part-time jobs.
#3 The number of full-time workers in the United States is still nearly 6 million below the old record that was set back in 2007.
#4 It is hard to believe, but an astounding 53 percent of all American workers now make less than $30,000 a year.
#5 40 percent of all workers in the United States actually make less than what a full-time minimum wage worker made back in 1968.
#6 When the Obama era began, the average duration of unemployment in this country was 19.8 weeks.  Today, it is 36.6 weeks.
#7 During the first four years of Obama, the number of Americans "not in the labor force" soared by an astounding 8,332,000.  That far exceeds any previous four year total.
#8 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the middle class is taking home a smaller share of the overall income pie than has ever been recorded before.
#9 When Obama was elected, the homeownership rate in the United States was 67.5 percent.  Today, it is 65.0 percent.  That is the lowest that it has been in 18 years.
#10 When Obama entered the White House, the mortgage delinquency rate was 7.85 percent.  Today, it is 9.72 percent.
#11 In 2008, the U.S. trade deficit with China was 268 billion dollars.  Last year, it was 315 billion dollars.
#12 When Obama first became president, 12.5 million Americans had manufacturing jobs.  Today, only 11.9 million Americans have manufacturing jobs.
#13 Median household income in America has fallen for four consecutive years.  Overall, it has declined by over $4000 during that time span.
#14 The poverty rate has shot up to 16.1 percent.  That is actually higher than when the War on Poverty began in 1965.
#15 During Obama's first term, the number of Americans on food stamps increased by an average of about 11,000 per day.
#16 When Barack Obama entered the White House, there were about 32 million Americans on food stamps.  Today, there are more than 47 million Americans on food stamps.
#17 At this point, more than a million public school students in the United States are homeless.  This is the first time that has ever happened in our history.  That number has risen by 57 percent since the 2006-2007 school year.
#18 When Barack Obama took office, the average price of a gallon of regular gasoline was $1.85.  Today, it is $3.53.
#19 Electricity bills in the United States have risen faster than the overall rate of inflation for five years in a row.
#20 Health insurance costs have risen by 29 percent since Barack Obama became president, and Obamacare is going to make things far worse.
#21 The United States has fallen in the global economic competitiveness rankings compiled by the World Economic Forum for four years in a row.
#22 According to economist Tim Kane, the following is how the number of startup jobs per 1000 Americans breaks down by presidential administration...
Bush Sr.: 11.3
Clinton: 11.2
Bush Jr.: 10.8
Obama: 7.8
#23 In 2008, that total amount of student loan debt in this country was 440 billion dollars.  At this point, it has shot up to about a trillion dollars.
#24 According to one recent survey, 76 percent of all Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.
#25 During Obama's first term, the number of Americans collecting federal disability insurance rose by more than 18 percent.
#26 The total amount of money that the federal government gives directly to the American people has grown by 32 percent since Barack Obama became president.
#27 According to the Survey of Income and Program Participation conducted by the U.S. Census, well over 100 million Americans are enrolled in at least one welfare program run by the federal government.
#28 As I wrote about the other day, American households are now receiving more money directly from the federal government than they are paying to the government in taxes.
#29 Under Barack Obama, the velocity of money (a very important indicator of economic health) has plunged to a post-World War II low.
#30 At the end of 2008, the Federal Reserve held $475.9 billion worth of U.S. Treasury bonds.  Today, Fed holdings of U.S. Treasury bonds have skyrocketed past the 2 trillion dollar mark.
#31 When Barack Obama was first elected, the U.S. debt to GDP ratio was under 70 percent.  Today, it is up to 101 percent.
#32 During Obama's first term, the federal government accumulated more new debt than it did under the first 42 U.S presidents combined.
#33 When you break it down, the amount of new debt accumulated by the U.S. government during Obama's first term comes to approximately $50,521 for every single household in the United States.  Are you able to pay your share?

Mish Video: Troubled Currencies (And There are Lots of Them), Gold, Bernanke, Carry Trades, Bubbles

The Fed money is pouring — right back into the US. Over the last few years, Bernanke’s cheap quantitative easing money flowed outward into developing countries. But countries such as India, Indonesia and Thailand have seen currency devaluation of up to 40%. Hedge funds are losing massive amounts of money on QE bets. Just last week India’s currency, the rupee, sank to a record level, prompting the Indian Prime Minister’s attempt to reassure markets, stating “There is ‘no question’ of India going back to an economic crisis experienced in 1991, as its rupee currency is now linked to the market and foreign exchange reserves are adequate.” Nothing is confirmed until officially denied. Bob speaks with Mike Shedlock, author of Mish’s Global Economic Trend Analysis, about the decline in India’s rupee and emerging markets.

Presidential Meeting Signals Catastrophic Event: “There Is a Crisis Unfolding Somewhere in the Background”

If there’s one thing we know about how the US government operates, it’s that the American people are often the last to know about serious problems that may be taking place behind the scenes.
This week, in a move that has spooked a lot of economic and financial analysts, President Barack Obama held a special, closed door meeting with the heads of the U.S. government’s financial, monetary and oversight agencies. It included members of the Federal Reserve, the FDIC, the CFTC, the SEC, and the Federal Housing Finance Agency.
This has left many wondering what is really going on – and if a serious event is about to take place yet again.
I guess I’m always unnerved as a result of what happened in April, the last time the President of the United States had a meeting with all of the bank heads, and two days later the price of gold was smashed for over $200.
Now, the President is meeting with all of the heads of the various agencies, institutions, the Fed, and all of the other key money entities in the United States today.  What’s that all about?
But clearly if the President is having this meeting, there is a crisis unfolding somewhere in the background, and it could very well relate to the dollar, interest rates, and the massive derivatives market associated with interest rates…

This surge in interest rates may have already seriously destabilized the entire financial system, and that’s why there is this meeting taking place in the White House today.  The fact is that the vast majority of derivatives in the global financial system are related to interest rates.
Now, the entire financial system may be on the precipice of some sort of catastrophic event unfolding because of what we have already seen in the bond market, and how the derivatives are so heavily intertwined.  Meaning, we may be on the verge of another disastrous derivatives meltdown.
John Embry – King World News via Steve Quayle
Ahead of the 2008 collapse, as the pillars of our financial system were undergoing a controlled detonation, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve assured us the crisis had been contained. Experts and pundits on television were screaming to investors that everything was fine and to keep buying the dips.
Behind the scenes, however, President Bush, the Federal Reserve, and the world’s leading financial institutions were scrambling to figure out how to keep the whole thing from falling apart. As former US Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson noted, we were on the brink of a historic collapse, and they knew it well ahead of time.
The American people were not as fortunate. Most of us came to the realization things had taken a turn for the worse only after 50% of our wealth had been wiped out in a stock market and housing crash.
Today, like before, all of the experts in Washington and the mainstream media are making a point to reassure us that we are in the midst of an economic recovery. However, key economic indicators suggest otherwise. We are seeing a plunge in global shipping, a halt in consumer spending, and perhaps most importantly, a significant rise in interest rates and the US government’s borrowing costs.
Now, as the President meets with a veritable who’s who of government finance, lending and monetary policy one can’t help but think something is amiss.
Are we on the brink of another global disaster?

Petrol prices set to rise 5p a litre, retailers warn, as cost of crude oil is pushed up by civil unrest in Syria and Egypt and rise in demand in Asia

  • Fall in Libya's oil exports also forced the price of crude oil up, retailers say
  • Petrol Retailers' Association predict increase of 5p per litre before October
    The Petrol Retailers' Association has warned fuel prices could increase by 5p per litre before the end of September
    The Petrol Retailers' Association has warned fuel prices could increase by 5p per litre before the end of September

    Petrol prices are set to rise 5p per litre as global factors including the civil unrest in Syria and Egypt push up crude oil prices, retailers have warned.
    The fall in Libya's oil exports and the rise in demand from Asia have also forced the price of crude oil up, the Petrol Retailers' Association has said.
    The association made the prediction as the Goldman Sachs Group suggested Brent crude prices could rise to $115 a barrel in the 'very near term'.
    The association's chairman Brian Madderson said: 'UK petrol prices have not yet seen the full impact of this crude oil increase due to the rapid and slightly unexpected revaluation of pound sterling from $1.48 to $1.56.
    'Therefore it was concerning to read recent comments from the City that the "pound is overblown" and will soon come hurtling down towards the $1.45 level.
    'We calculate at current wholesale prices that this will add a further 5p per litre at the pump before the end of September and hit businesses and households in the pocket at a time when pundits are forecasting a continued increase in retail sales to drive growth in the economy. 
    'Should the Middle East tensions escalate further and crude oil prices react accordingly, the Bank of England’s new inflation targets could be significantly challenged.'
    Last week it was revealed motorists are having to deal with a ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ attitude to petrol pricing as some towns charge far more for unleaded and diesel than others, according to the AA.
    The motoring organisation said that in some areas there are 'pump price dogfights', as supermarkets and other forecourts battle to be the cheapest. But in areas that lack this competition, prices remain higher.
    Unrest in Egypt and Syria are among the factors for the rise in crude oil prices, according to the PRA. Much of Cairo has been flooded with armoured vehicles and soldiers in a crackdown on protests
    Unrest in Egypt and Syria are among the factors for the rise in crude oil prices, according to the PRA. Much of Cairo has been flooded with armoured vehicles and soldiers in a crackdown on protests

    It came as the AA's monthly fuel price report revealed petrol pump prices had gone up by an average of 3p a litre since June and were showing no signs of falling away.
    At 137.52p a litre, petrol last week averaged 1.74p a litre more than a month earlier, at 135.78p, and was almost 3p dearer than June’s 134.6p price plateau – although prices dropped slightly last weekend.
    According to The Times, Wall Street brokers have said global oil demand has gone up by 1.1million barrels a day this year compared to the beginning of last year.
    The PRA made the prediction as the Goldman Sachs Group suggested Brent crude prices could rise to $115 a barrel in the 'very near term'
    The PRA made the prediction as the Goldman Sachs Group suggested Brent crude prices could rise to $115 a barrel in the 'very near term'

Almost two thirds of Greek youth are unemployed

Athens - Unemployment in general in Greece rose to a new high in May with a rate of 27.6 percent, up slightly from 27 percent in April and considerably higher than the 23.8 percent a year ago in May.
The most frightening figure from the Hellenic Statistics Authority was the rate among young people aged 15 to 24, at an astonishing 64.9 percent. There are now almost 1.4 million out of work in Greece but there are also 3.3 million more who are considered economically inactive. Unemployment in Greece in June was more than twice the average 12.1 percent recorded in June in the Eurozone. Greece has been depending upon loans from the Troika (European Commission, International Monetary Fund, and European Central Bank) for some time as its debt has reached crisis proportions. To obtain loans and avoid bankruptcy, Greece has been forced to accept severe austerity measures dictated by the Troika. The situation has caused considerable political turmoil as well as protests and strikes against the austerity measures. Spain's unemployment is not much better than that of Greece, peaking at 27.2 percent in the first three months of 2013. While the austerity measures in Greece may please investors, the tax hikes, pension cuts, downsizing of the public service and selling off of assets, has resulted in economic contraction for the sixth year now. The loans are delivered in installments and before each installment is delivered inspectors investigate to see if the terms of the loan are being met. The latest requirement, just as unemployment reaches a record high, is the firing of thousands of civil servants. The situation is a nightmare for the governing coalition government as it tries to convince a skeptical population that there is light at the end of the tunnel. So far there has been nothing but more cuts to pensions and wages combined with layoffs and tax hikes. While authorities predict that there will be a turnaround next year, the central bank nevertheless predicts that unemployment will peak at 28 percent and will not start to decline until 2015. The Greek government wants to tap European Union regional development funds to help promote job programs that will help boost employment. One bright spot is tourism, which accounts for almost 17 per cent of the Greek economy. A record 17 million visitors are expected to visit this year and revenues to rise 10 per cent. However, this will not be enough to offset the negative effects of the austerity measures according to Nikos Magginas at the National Bank.

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Is India preparing to ‘Confiscate’ its Citizens’ Gold?

In 1991, the Indian government pledged the nation’s gold reserves against foreign loans that were provided to the nation from international sources. So they have already trodden the path of using gold to support their international presence and in international dealings.

The Indian Rupee exchange rate continues to decline, and far faster than other currencies. Over the last couple of years the Indian Rupee has fallen from Rs.42 to the dollar to the current rate of over Rs.63 to the dollar. While this reflects, in part, the withdrawal of ‘hot money’ (carry trade investments taking advantage of interest rate differentials between the dollar and the rupee) from the country, it also reflects the waning confidence in the Indian economy –although it continues to grow at over 5%—and its currency. The Balance of Payments continues to worsen.
This has precipitated the imposition of Capital Controls on just Indians, for the moment, but if the situation continues to decay, then we expect these to widen to capture foreign investments within the country and to prevent their exit. India is in crisis!

The Indian gov’t is fully aware that their options are limited, but they have to do something and soon. The use of privately held gold is an option and one, we believe, for which they are preparing.

Please note that there are around 20,000 tonnes of gold in private hands in India, worth currently, US$ 900,200,000,000 at $1,400.  Some believe the tonnage to be closer to 25,000 tonnes. If so, this is worth $1,125,250,000,000 at $1,400.

If the Indian government took this gold out of Indian hands into government coffers, confidence may well return to the Rupee, provided the gold were used to support the Rupee, as collateral. Is this likely? It depends on just how bad the crisis becomes. But those who believe talk of confiscation is scaremongering, would do well to look at what’s happening there right now.

The “Save Gold Campaign”
There is a campaign in India, cynically called, “The Save Gold Campaign”, or “Swarna Bachao Abhiyan,” which targets the enormous amount of gold there. This gold is held by ordinary individuals, high net worth individuals, charitable trusts and even temple trusts and banks.

An announcement in this regard was made at the India International Gold Convention currently on in Jaipur in India. An important gold organization called ‘The All India Gems and Jewelry Trade Federation” –which is behind the call to stop selling gold through their branches in response to government requests—held a meeting recently on the subject, in the light of the widening current account deficit. 

Vinod Hayagriv, the ex-chairman of the All India Gems and Jewelry Trade Federation said India's Reserve Bank of India, is to frame and regulate the national gold deposit scheme, where eligible jewelers can mobilize gold through eligible banks. The stated objective is to bring this huge amount of gold to the ‘market’. In a joint industry/government move the Federation intends to interact with the finance ministry to discuss new guidelines.

Gold owners will be ‘encouraged to bring their gold to authorized jewelers. The jeweler would then check the authenticity of bullion or coins and issue a certificate and seal the gold, handing it back to the consumer. In the case of jewelry, it would be melted down in the presence of the consumer before the certificate is issued. The consumer would then have to take the sealed gold and authenticity certificate to the bank, which would issue a deposit certificate for a valid period, ranging from one and a half to three years. Thereafter, the depositor would get the gold back with interest, as promised by the bank.

There is also talk of lending the gold to a non-banking financial company (NBFC) set up for the purpose. The NBFC would allow investors to withdraw the gold before the maturity period, and would lend the gold to jewelers. What is not made clear is why the jewelers would want to borrow gold, if there business is selling gold. How would they access the gold with which to repay such depositors?

Already Tried without Success
A similar scheme was tried in 1999 with the same objective of bringing privately held stock of gold into circulation and reducing the country’s reliance on gold imports.

Then, the Indian gov’t instituted a Gold Deposit Scheme through the State Bank of India but this met with a weak response, so the scheme was withdrawn and re-launched with modifications in 2009. Again, it failed to meet the objectives, with the reason given that the leading public sector banks in India, which launched the scheme, did not promote it aggressively, as it was done as a government-induced exercise. It excluded the jewelry fraternity. This led to the lack of facilities to melt jewelry, test its purity and convert it into bars which proved a major hurdle. Banks incurred heavy expenditure to melt and convert the jewelry into pure gold bars.

The concept also failed in rural areas, the ‘unbanked’ part of the population, who were reluctant to part with their gold jewelry. They were distrustful of the institutional measurement of their gold and the cost of re-making jewelry once it was to be returned. The religious and emotional attachment to gold and the distrust of government, its bureaucracy and its supportive institutions was completely underestimated. So twice already the scheme has failed.

The government then made certain amendments to the scheme. Mutual Funds and Gold Exchange Traded Funds registered with the Securities Exchange Board of India were asked to deposit part of their gold and make the scheme more attractive for individuals. Then, although the interest income from gold deposit scheme would be taxable like any other income, the gold deposited under the scheme would be exempt from Wealth tax. But again, it excluded the jewelry fraternity.

So Why is it being Tried Again?
Now with the support of the [jewelry] Federation and its extensive reach all over India and understanding of the gold market, retailers and jewelers will be asked to be a major contributor to the success of the scheme.

The Federation has suggested that there should be no questions asked on the source of gold and that wealth tax should be applicable on the realization of gold. The Federation has also asked that the quantum of gold mobilized under the scheme should be reported on a monthly or a quarterly basis. This, the Federation feels, would work.
·         The government would have to overcome such distrust, a near impossible task given their poor record to date. The response of the gold owners in India whether they be institutions or not, should be assessed on their past responses. The previous two efforts failed. Like those before this current attempt, the scheme would require a public disclosure of gold ownership by current owners.
·         The second is that government and its bureaucracies would have access to such knowledge.
·         But will the gold-owning public trust the Jewelry Federation, knowing the government and banks are behind them?

So we ask again, “Why is it being tried again?” It becomes apparent that the Federation is working with government on this, and the government is becoming desperate to overcome what could be an intractable problem of international credibility. They have to do something.

Jewelers Cooperating to Stay in Business
Likewise, the Federation has to do something so they can stay in business. If the government blatantly confiscates privately-owned gold, these jewelers would lose all, or the bulk, of their business. By cooperating and working with government they stay in business.

But we expect that they will, once again, meet with a poor response. If so, government may well act unilaterally and force the acquisition of gold through confiscation.

Thereafter, it would be a very small step for government to step in and use the gold, so taken, for national purposes and to harness it, to bolster the international credibility of the Rupee.

But the success of such an effective confiscation would need the support of the jewelers and government by providing reasonable payment to gold owners.

The concept that they would receive the market-related Rupee gold price should they wish to withdraw from the scheme is a probability, despite a promise that the gold would be returned at the end of the agreed period. But owners have to ask, will they get their gold price back or will the government or jewelers pay back a market-related Rupee price?

The possibility/probability that this repayment would be in (failing) Rupees would be a necessary evil, simply because the gold would have either been sold or in use by the government. Alternatively would gold owners be forced to accept an “extension” of the period of their gold loan?

As to giving a firm date when the gold would be returned to its rightful owner, owners would have to realize that in the nation’s interests, government most likely would require access to the gold for much longer than agreed. After all, in the U.S. the return of confiscated gold took 41 years.

It may be that the Indian government does manage to handle the crisis without resorting to gold confiscation, but they would be wise to be in a position to do so if they can’t overcome the foreign exchange hurdles. Hence plans “to Save Gold”!
What alternative does government have? It has already begun to impose Capital Controls and gold import controls, so as the situation worsens these controls and the likelihood of gold confiscation increases.

Foretaste of the Future?
We are watching a classic case of the breakdown of a currency and the steps needed to hold onto international credibility of a currency.

Will it happen to other currencies? We have written extensively on the coming arrival of the Chinese Yuan on the international scene. Expect a large widening of the convertibility of the Yuan towards the end of this year.

The Chinese are fully aware of the impact on the global monetary system of this change. They are fully aware that this will break up USD hegemony and bring on a multi-currency system for all. That’s why they are buying gold and encouraging their citizens to do so too. We believe that they too see the necessity for a pivotal role for gold in the new regime  and have planned for it.

The fact that there will not be a cohesive system thereafter, calls for gold to have such a role.

We are also sure that the world will not be able to ignore such a role for gold thereafter. Most nations including in the developed world will move to accommodate gold in the future global monetary system for the sake of the international credibility of their own currencies. This will include the present reserve currencies of the world. Central banks across the world will be making contingency plans for such an eventuality for sure.

The Desperation Driven (501c3) Church (Corporation)

The Desperation Driven (501c3) Church (Corporation)
Kim M., California Correspondent
Planet Infowars
August 21, 2013

And you can quote me:
“A 501c3 corporation is not a Church.
A CEO of a corporation is not a Shepherd.
A self-help program is not the Gospel.
Selling out to the federal government is not the same as being sold out for Jesus.
A new program will not save the corporation.
People are hip to the Clergy Response Teams.
People are hip to the pagan influences and the compromise.
The institutionalized church as we know it is dead.”
This is the gist of what I recently hand-wrote across a large, glossy (slick!) postcard sent to me by the CEO of our local Vineyard Church (501c3) Corporation.
I knew this so-called “church”/this corporation was in trouble when I saw the sandwich board they’ve started setting out on the sidewalk of the main drag – practically begging people to please-please-pretty-please come to church.
A few weeks later…
Large, white, professionally-printed (expensive!) banners started appearing around town proclaiming: “WHAT ON EARTH AM I HERE FOR?”
I contend that people could easily diagnose their own personality problems…
If only they could hear themselves talking.
If only they could read between their own lines.
For instance, the judgmental person is always complaining about how judgmental everyone is. The hypocrite constantly points out everyone else’s hypocrisy. The bitter/angry person will blather on about the need for forgiveness. The coward will regale you with epic tales of their own bravery and courage. And on and on it goes.
I mean, how ironic is it for a 501c3 corporation – masquerading as The Bride of Christ – to loudly proclaim: WHAT ON EARTH AM I HERE FOR?!
Exactamundo. I couldn’t have said it better myself.
What on earth ARE they here for? What good are they – to anyone/to the community/to Christ? Why in the world would any community want yet another soul-sucking/energy-draining/time-wasting/disposable-income gobbling entity in their midst during the worst economic downturn in American history? I ask you.
Because it’s not like a bunch of slick advertising is fooling anyone into believing that there’s some kind of glorious revival going on.
Revival needs no harbinger. No trumpets. No alarm bells. No Hollywood-style searchlights sweeping the sky. During true revival, people from all over the world will beat a path to the door even before it hits the news (if ever). Guaranteed. Even hardcore atheists will pop in for a look-see on the off-chance that God might actually show up.
Because when God shows up… Whoa.
The blind see, the deaf hear, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the dead are raised and the good news is preached to the poor. (cf. Luke 7:22) And that’s just God getting warmed up.
In the meantime – back to 501c3 reality – the other side of the postcard says:
“If You Want: … to develop your friendship with God, … to understand what matters most, … to restore broken relationship, … to be transformed by the power of truth, … to learn to utilize God’s power in your weakness, … to fulfill your mission in life, then please join us for a 7 week Series based on Rick Warren’s ‘The Purpose Driven Life.’” [ellipses in original]
Oh God. Tell me it’s not… the Purpose Driven Life (PDL).
The kiss of death for a “church.”
Because PDL promises the world and delivers exactly… Nothing.
Just like every other self-help program in the world. Oh, you’ll probably pick up a few nifty people and/or coping skills here and there along the way… But that’s not the Gospel (gack).
And you’ve just got to love it: It’s not about you…
As they spend seven wondrous weeks with the spotlight shining firmly on… You.
(Oh and don’t tell me I can’t touch “America’s Pastor”: Rick Warren. I was actually going to Saddleback Church when that globe-trotting/glad-handing Council on Foreign Relations [CFR] member unveiled his “Peace Plan” and I found out that my highest purpose and mission in life is to help Rick Warren fulfill all of his highest purposes/missions in life as [allegedly] laid out by God. And you know there’s no debate/no voting/no dissension allowed in America’s MegaChurch. You either go along with the program, or get out. This is the “gospel” according to Rick as publicly-documented in his book, “The Purpose Driven Church” – copies of which were being handed out during the time that I became a member – and that “gospel” is firmly reiterated in the several-hours-long mandatory membership classes.)
Because if you’ve got to roll out the most pretentious self-help program ever designed to tickle the itching ears of man…
In a desperate bid to attract yet a few more members to your so-called “church?”
Then face it.
The beginning of the end has already begun.

Fed Minutes Split Metals Traders, India’s Festival Gold “Already Stockpiled”

Fed Minutes Split Metals Traders, India’s Festival Gold “Already Stockpiled”

BULLION prices recovered most of an earlier dip lunchtime Wednesday in London, with gold trading 1.2% lower for the week so far ahead of policy-meeting minutes from the US Federal Reserve.

Asian and European stock markets fell once again, as did commodities and major government bond prices.

Analysts and wholesale gold dealers said they would look for discussion of reducing quantitative easing – held at $80 billion per month – in the US central bank’s notes.

“Wednesday could turn out to be a rather strong day in most markets,” reckons Edward Meir writing for brokers INTL FCStone.

“Should central bank deliberations reveal that officials remain uncertain as to whether or not to remove stimulus, we could see a rather sharp move higher…including [in] gold and silver.”

But “market participants will be looking for some clarity,” says a note from French bank BNP Paribas, “[plus] a possible timeline on the QE tapering plans.”

Silver prices rallied alongside gold ahead of today’s US Fed minutes, recovering 20 cents to rise back above $23 per ounce but holding 1.2% down for the week.

“Any hawkish comments could see small-scale profit taking in gold,” says VTB Capital strategist Andrey Kryuchenkov, speaking to Bloomberg.

What’s more, he adds, “It will be harder to sustain physical demand at higher prices with bargain hunting clearly running out of steam.”

World #1 gold consumer India “remains largely absent [from the market] amid tighter regulations and a weak currency,” says Swiss investment bank and major world bullion dealer UBS in a note.

“Conversations with local participants suggest that there is good interest to re-start import activities soon, especially with authorities currently working to clarify the new rules.”

Looking ahead to Diwali however, “The retail trade has built sufficient stock to cover much of the wedding and holiday season,” says the latest Precious Metals Weeklyfrom Metals Focus.

Reporting from this week’s India International Gold Convention in Jaipur, as well as other major gold centers, “Unofficial flows [ie, smuggling] appear to have increased too,” says the new London-based consultancy.

“We are keeping an eye out for any increase in shipments of 100g bars (at times prefered for this activity) at the expense of kilobars.”

Indian interest rates meantime edged back today from Tuesday’s 12-year highs, with the 10-year bond yield slipping from 9.48% after the Reserve Bank vowed to buy eight thousand crore Rupees ($1.3bn) worth of government debt this coming Friday, injecting cash into the banking system.

Gold futures in Mumbai rose to 8-month highs however as the Rupee fell further, hitting fresh record lows against the US Dollar.

Mumbai shares dropped the same amount, down 1.8% for the day and extending their fall since a month ago to more than 11%.

Ahead of today’s US Federal Reserve minutes, “I think it is the lack of Dollar supply than anything else to blame,” reckons fixed-income analyst Suyash Choudhary at IDFC, quoted by the Economic Times of India.

“Unless QE is to be wound up completely,” says a trading note from Marex Financial’s London-based head of precious metals David Govett – and “it won’t be – I would look to buy dips in the case of a reaction sell off” in gold.

Adrian Ash

Welfare Pays More Than A Minimum-Wage Job in 35 states… Why Work for $7.25 When Welfare Pays $15.00 in 12 States and $8.00 in 33 States?

Welfare pays more than a minimum-wage job in 35 states
Looking for a good paying job? Well, look no further.
No, really, stop looking. In 35 states, welfare benefits pay more than a minimum wage job, according to a new study by the libertarian Cato Institute, and in 13 states welfare pays more than $15 per hour.
“One of the single best ways to climb out of poverty is taking a job, but as long as welfare provides a better standard of living than an entry-level job, recipients will continue to choose it over work,” said Michael Tanner, senior policy analyst and co-author of the study.
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Why Work for $7.25 When Welfare Pays $15.00 in 12 States and $8.00 in 33 States? Is a Low Minimum Wage the Problem?
Michael Tanner at the Cato Institute notes Welfare Pays Better than Work in 33 states.
 The federal government funds 126 separate programs targeted towards low-income people, 72 of which provide either cash or in-kind benefits to individuals. (The rest fund community-wide programs for low-income neighborhoods, with no direct benefits to individuals.) State and local governments operate more welfare programs.Of course, no individual or family gets benefits from all 72 programs, but many do get aid from a number of them at any point in time.
In the Empire State, a family receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Medicaid, food stamps, WIC, public housing, utility assistance and free commodities (like milk and cheese) would have a package of benefits worth $38,004, the seventh-highest in the nation.

Welfare is slightly more generous in Connecticut, where benefits are worth $38,761; a person leaving welfare for work would have to earn $21.33 per hour to be better off. And in New Jersey, a worker would have to make $20.89 to beat welfare.
Nationwide, our study found that the wage-equivalent value of benefits for a mother and two children ranged from a high of $60,590 in Hawaii to a low of $11,150 in Idaho. In 33 states and the District of Columbia, welfare pays more than an $8-an-hour job. In 12 states and DC, the welfare package is more generous than a $15-an-hour job.
People Aren’t That Stupid
While it’s beneficial to have a job, assuming there is hope of advancement, for those with no special skills there is little to no hope of advancement.
Moreover, wages are taxed, welfare benefits are not. And what about day-care costs for single mothers? What about transportation costs? What about the value of extra leisure time?
Add it all up and it makes perfect sense for many to remain on welfare for as long as they can.
Minimum Wage Fallacy
Given welfare benefits exceed minimum wage, it should not be surprising to find socialists arguing for higher minimum wages. And they are.
In Seattle, a Campaign Seeks to Push Minimum Wage to $15.
How successful would that be?

U.S. stock futures off as Fed wait begins

By Kate Gibson and Barbara Kollmeyer, MarketWatch
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — U.S. stock futures fell on Wednesday as investors waited for U.S. Federal Reserve minutes, which could shed light on when the central bank might begin slowing its bond purchases.
Lowe’s Cos shares rose in premarket after upbeat results, while Staples Inc. shares sank after the group missed its forecasts and cut its outlook. Still to come is a reading on existing-home sales. 
Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJU3 -0.09%  fell 28 points to 14,957, while those for the S&P 500 index SPU3 -0.03%  lost 3.1 points to 1,647.50. Futures for the Nasdaq 100 index NDU3 -0.07%  lost 5.25 points to 3,075.75.
On the economic front, July existing-home sales data are due for release at 10 a.m. Eastern. Economists polled by MarketWatch expect sales of existing homes rose to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 5.21 million, from a rate of 5.08 million in June. See preview.
The minutes of July’s Federal Reserve Open Market Committee meeting will be released at 2 p.m. Eastern. Investors will look for any clues as to when the Fed is thinking of cutting the pace of its $85 billion-a-month bond-buying program. Many expect that tapering could being in September. Read: What to expect from the July Fed minutes
“I think the best we can hope for is to get an indication about what the numbers were like in terms of the voting in July and whether any of the more dovish members were coming around to the idea of tapering in September,” said Craig Erlam, market analyst at Alpari (UK) Ltd., in emailed comments.

Bloomberg Enlarge Image
But that does not look set to happen, he added. “We’ve heard from a number of Fed members since the meeting and the camp seems split pretty evenly on the matter, which again, to me, suggests tapering in September is unlikely,” Erlam said.
U.S. stocks mostly rose on Tuesday, helped by upbeat retailer results. The S&P 500 index SPX -0.58%  climbed 6.29 points, or 0.4%, to close at 1,652.35, halting its longest losing streak this year. The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA -0.70%  ended at 15,002.99, down 7.75 points, or 0.1%, extending its losing streak to five sessions.
Retailers are making up a chunk of the corporate focus for Wednesday. Lowe’s LOW +3.92% posted a 26% rise in profit, beating Wall Street forecasts, and lifted its full-year view. Shares rose 4.6% in premarket trading.
Staples SPLS -15.29% said its second-quarter earnings fell 15% and reported lower sales due to weak sales overseas, and it cut its annual view. Shares dropped 11% in premarket trading.
Toll Brothers Inc. TOL +0.03%  said fiscal third-quarter profit fell 24% as it posted a tax expense, but said sales rose. Shares inched down 1.1% in premarket.
“We believe the recovery is real, and we are in the early stages of the rebound,” said Toll Chief Executive Douglas C. Yearley Jr. in a statement.
Target Corp. TGT -3.61%  reported second-quarter earnings of 95 cents a share, just missing a forecast of 96 cents. Stripping out dilution from its Canada segment, profit was $1.19 a share. Shares eased 1.8% in premarket.
In overseas markets, European stocks were largely under pressure as investors looked ahead to the Fed minutes. In Asia it was a mix, with Hong Kong shares among those that fell, while Japan shares rose after a choppy trading session, and Indonesian shares rebounded from a string of recent falls.
Gold prices extended losses, while oil also pushed lower as the dollar moved higher.
Kate Gibson is a reporter for MarketWatch, based in New York. Follow her on Twitter @MWKateGibson. Barbara Kollmeyer is an editor for MarketWatch in Madrid. Follow her on Twitter @MWBarbaraKollmeyer.