Weekday NEWS to Comfort the Disturbed and Disturb the Comfortable.
'Gata Gold Rally' - How High is Up? For the next few weeks or months, analysts will likely refer to the latest rise in the gold price, which started today, as the GATA RALLY. As some of you know, this Thursday, the Wall Street Journal will carry a full-page advertisement paid for by GATA. The headline of the article will read: "Anybody seen our gold?" The inference is that some of the gold that is supposed to be stored at Fort Knox may not be there, or may belong to foreign governments. The last time this gold was officially audited was 1953. GATA has maintained for years, as originally reported by Frank Veneroso, and recently documented by John Embry, that the gold price has been manipulated by Central Banks and privileged bullion banks, along with some gold miners.
South African mines look for power shortages to end South African mining companies said Monday that they hoped to resume production later this week, but there was no sign of an end to power shortages that have put jobs and economic growth at risk. The power shortage became a national emergency Friday, halting diamond, gold, platinum and other mines in the biggest African economy and helping send prices of precious metals to record highs while weakening the South African rand. "This is happening at a bad time because gold and platinum prices are at record highs," said Nick Goodwin, an analyst at a T-Sec. "Just when mining companies were beginning to smile, they get knocked down. What's the use of having such high prices if you have no product to sell?"
Prices down record 7.7% in the past year The decline in U.S. home values accelerated in November, with prices falling for the third month in a row in all 20 cities tracked by the Case-Shiller home price index released Tuesday by Standard & Poor's. Among 20 cities, prices have fallen a record 7.7% in the past year. For the original 10-city index, which has a longer history, prices are down a record 8.4% in the past year, exceeding the drop recorded in 1991. Home prices fell in all 20 cities in November, led by a 3.6% drop in Los Angeles. For the 20 cities, prices fell a record 2.1% in November. "We reached another grim milestone in the housing market in November," said Robert J. Shiller, chief economist at MacroMarkets LLC and one of the developers of the index.
Countrywide swings to $422 mln loss Countrywide Financial Corp., the troubled mortgage lender that's in a deal to be acquired by Bank of America Corp., reported Tuesday a sizable fourth-quarter loss as loan production fell sharply toward the end of 2007. In addition, the Countrywide board elected to maintain the company's 15-cent dividend paid on common shares. Quarterly results were "adversely impacted by further credit deterioration across the industry and continued illiquidity in the secondary mortgage markets," said Angelo Mozilo, chief executive, in the earnings release. Countrywide on Monday said Mozilo was giving up a severance package worth $37.5 million. Countrywide has reduced its headcount by about 11,000 since last July.
Nevada Had Top Foreclosure Rate in 2007 The number of U.S. homes that slipped into some stage of foreclosure in 2007 was 79 percent higher than in the previous year, a real estate tracking company said Tuesday. Many homeowners started to fall behind on mortgage payments in the last three months, setting the stage for more foreclosures this year. About 1.3 million homes received foreclosure-related warnings last year, up from 717,522 in 2006, Irvine-based RealtyTrac Inc. said. Foreclosure filings rose 75 percent from the previous year to 2.2 million. More than 1 percent of all U.S. households were in some phase of the foreclosure process last year, up from about half a percent in 2006, RealtyTrac said. Nevada, Florida, Michigan and California posted the highest foreclosure rates, the company said.
Fed May Cut Rate Below Inflation, Risking Bubbles The Federal Reserve may push interest rates below the pace of inflation this year to avert the first simultaneous decline in U.S. household wealth and income since 1974. The threat of cascading stock and home values and a weakening labor market will spur the Fed to cut its benchmark rate by half a percentage point tomorrow, traders and economists forecast. That would bring the rate to 3 percent, approaching one measure of price increases monitored by the Fed. ``The Fed is going to have to keep slashing rates, probably below inflation,'' said Robert Shiller, the Yale University economist who co-founded an index of house prices. ``We are starting to see a change in consumer psychology.''
Ron Paul's Competing Currencies OK, I admit it: I tend to be early. The idea of private money – often referred to as "competing currencies" – has always fascinated me. I persuaded Jim Michaels, the late, great editor of Forbes Magazine, to let me translate the little-known academic literature into journalese in this article, which he published under the title Do You Want To Be Paid In Rockefellers? In Wristons? Or How About A Hayek? almost (ahem!) exactly twenty years ago. (May 30, 1988). The Great Inflation of the 1970s was then still a live memory. For some years, my account was regularly assigned in college courses. Now, GOP Presidential candidate Ron Paul seems to have single-handedly revived the issue with his relentless criticisms of the Federal Reserve. (Click here for Google web search). I still think it’s going to happen – just as there will eventually be an immigration cut-off.
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