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Purveyor's Journal
Purveyor's Journal
May 31, 2012

Dow Jones Economic Sentiment Indicator For May Posts Biggest Fall Since Oct '08

By Gren Manuel


LONDON -(Dow Jones)- The U.S. economy is fast running into ever-stronger headwinds according to the Dow Jones Economic Sentiment Indicator, which showed a sharp fall in May.

The ESI for May slipped to 43.9 from the April reading of 47.8, its biggest percentage fall since October 2008 and a decline that means it has now given up almost all of the gains made in early 2012.

The economic sentiment indicator is designed to predict the health of the U.S. economy by analyzing coverage of 15 major American newspapers, using a proprietary algorithm to look for positive and negative sentiment about the economy in every article.

Dow Jones' "Money Talks" columnist Alen Mattich warned of reading too much into a single month's fall but added that "a combination of the size of this monthly drop and its already low level is a clear warning the U.S. economy is at risk of contracting over the near term."



May 31, 2012

House Rejects Sex-Selection Abortion Ban

Source: Associated Press

(05-31) 11:33 PDT WASHINGTON, (AP) --

House Republicans lost an attempt to pass legislation making it a federal crime to carry out gender-based abortions.

In a campaign year when Democrats are accusing Republicans of waging a war against women, Republicans sought to portray the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act as a women's rights issue.

But the legislation required a two-thirds majority for passage, because of procedural rules, and had no future in the Democratic Senate.

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2012/05/30/national/w223051D82.DTL

May 31, 2012

Climate Change: Carbon Dioxide Levels In World's Air Reach 'Troubling Milestone'

Source: HuffingtonPost

WASHINGTON -- The world's air has reached what scientists call a troubling new milestone for carbon dioxide, the main global warming pollutant.

Monitoring stations across the Arctic this spring are measuring more than 400 parts per million of the heat-trapping gas in the atmosphere. The number isn't quite a surprise, because it's been rising at an accelerating pace. Years ago, it passed the 350 ppm mark that many scientists say is the highest safe level for carbon dioxide. It now stands globally at 395.

So far, only the Arctic has reached that 400 level, but the rest of the world will follow soon.

"The fact that it's 400 is significant," said Jim Butler, global monitoring director at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Earth System Research Lab in Boulder, Colo. "It's just a reminder to everybody that we haven't fixed this and we're still in trouble."

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/31/climate-change-carbon-dioxide-troubling-milestone_n_1558561.html

May 31, 2012

Iraq Fails to Entice Bidders for Most of 12 Oil and Gas Blocks at Auction

By Kadhim Ajrash and Khalid Al-Ansary - May 31, 2012 10:59 AM ET

Iraq failed to attract partners for most of the 12 oil and natural-gas exploration licenses offered in a two-day auction at which Asian and Russian bidders were more prominent than Western companies.

The Oil Ministry awarded three blocks, two for oil and one for gas, at the auction ceremony in Baghdad. Russia’s OAO Lukoil and Inpex Corp. of Japan won a joint bid to explore for crude in southern Iraq, and Pakistan Petroleum Ltd. won rights to an eastern gas block, Abdul Mahdy Al-Ameedi, the head of the ministry’s licensing department, said today. Kuwait Energy Co. led a group awarded rights to an oil area yesterday.

The licensing comes amid an energy-industry revival that has boosted Iraq into third place among the 12 members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, nine years after the U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein. In its three previous bid rounds since 2003, Iraq auctioned rights to produce at oil fields already discovered or in operation, whereas this week’s was for new exploration.

“Bids were won by companies that are already in Iraq,” Stuart Walley, regional manager for consultant Senergy Oil and Gas, said by telephone from Dubai today. “In some cases their existing knowledge could have helped in assessing the potential, prospectively, of oil and gas in the auctioned blocks.”



May 31, 2012

SpaceX Vehicle Returns to Earth After Leaving Space Station

Source: Bloomberg

By Brendan McGarry - 2012-05-31T15:48:48Z

Space Exploration Technologies Corp.’s supply ship returned to Earth hours after leaving the International Space Station.

Closely held SpaceX, controlled by billionaire Elon Musk, on May 25 became the first company to dock a craft at the station. The feat was previously accomplished only by the U.S., European, Japanese and Russian governments.

The ship parachuted down and splashed into the Pacific Ocean at 11:42 a.m. New York time, about 500 miles off the coast of southern California. It returned with about 1,400 pounds of cargo.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration retired its shuttle fleet last year and wants the private sector to take over ferrying supplies and eventually astronauts to the station. SpaceX, based in Hawthorne, California, may begin regular resupply missions to the lab in September.

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-05-31/spacex-vehicle-returns-to-earth-after-leaving-space-station.html

May 31, 2012

Oil Set for Biggest Monthly Drop in Three Years

By Mark Shenk - 2012-05-31T15:58:46Z

Oil headed for the biggest monthly drop in more than three years in New York on speculation that slowing U.S. economic growth and Europe’s debt crisis will reduce fuel demand.

Futures fell as much as much as 2.2 percent after more Americans applied for jobless benefits and the nation’s gross domestic product grew more slowly than estimated. Fitch Ratings downgraded eight Spanish regions’ credit, stoking concern the crisis will force lenders to bail out of Spain. A government report showed U.S. crude supplies rose to a 22-year high.

“The markets are clearly being driven by economic fear,” said Chip Hodge, who oversees a $9 billion natural-resource bond portfolio as senior managing director at Manulife Asset Management in Boston. “The data here show that economic growth is slowing and the situation in Europe continues to worsen. The economic headwinds are very strong.”

Crude oil for July delivery declined $1.70, or 1.9 percent, to $86.12 a barrel at 11:56 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices touched $85.86, the lowest intraday price since Oct. 20. Oil traded at $86.63 a barrel before release of the inventory report at 11 a.m.



May 31, 2012

U.S. Business Activity Expands at Slower Pace as Orders, Production Cool

By Lorraine Woellert - 2012-05-31T14:11:24Z

Business activity in the U.S. expanded in May at the slowest pace in more than two years as orders and production cooled.

The Institute for Supply Management-Chicago Inc. said today its barometer decreased to 52.7, the lowest since September 2009, from 56.2 in April. Readings greater than 50 signal growth. Economists projected the purchasing managers’ gauge would rise to 56.8, according to the median of 55 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey.

While demand for automobiles continues to fuel factory output, the debt crisis in Europe and a slowdown in China may cause some businesses to cut back on spending and hiring. Stocks fell, sending the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index toward its biggest monthly decline since September.

“When you’re in a fragile economy and the world around you is showing severe stress fractures, it’s going to impact us,” said Tom Porcelli, chief U.S. economist for RBC Capital Markets in New York, the top-ranked forecaster for the Chicago index. “You’re seeing those headwinds flow fully through the U.S. economy.”



May 30, 2012

Groups To Hold Pre-Democratic Convention Protest

(05-30) 08:21 PDT Charlotte, N.C. (AP) --

Charlotte has given permission to a coalition to hold a major protest the weekend before the Democratic National Convention.

The long-awaited permits are being issued after the Coalition to March on Wall Street South collected petitions with more than 1,000 names demanding that the North Carolina city approve the Sept. 2 protest. The petitions were handed to city leaders this week.

Coalition spokesman Ben Carroll said Wednesday that organizers have been pressuring the city since filing the permit paperwork eight months ago. The coalition plans to protest economic policies that hurt working families.



May 30, 2012

Oil Tumbles to Seven-Month Low on U.S. Supply Glut

Source: Bloomberg

By Mark Shenk - 2012-05-30T15:19:01Z

Oil tumbled to a seven-month low on speculation that U.S. crude stockpiles climbed to the highest level since 1990 and as the euro weakened on concern that the debt crisis will overwhelm Spain.

New York futures fell as much as 3.6 percent and Brent oil traded in London dropped below $104 a barrel for the first time this year. An Energy Department report tomorrow is projected to show that U.S. supplies rose 1 million barrels to 383.5 million last week, according to analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. The euro fell versus the dollar as Spain’s default risk increased.

“We’re looking at a build of another million barrels to a 22-year high,” said Addison Armstrong, director of market research at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut. “Given how high inventories are and how weak the economy looks, no wonder we’re trading lower. We’re going to probably continue seeing dollar strength, which will keep the pressure on oil.”

Oil for July delivery fell $2.82, or 3.1 percent, to $87.94 a barrel at 11:17 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Futures reached $87.49, the lowest intraday level since Oct. 24. Prices are down 16 percent this month, the biggest drop since December 2008.



Read more: Link to source

May 30, 2012

Pending Sales of U.S. Existing Homes Decline by Most in a Year

The number of Americans signing contracts to buy previously owned homes fell in April by the most in a year, indicating the U.S. housing recovery remains uneven.

The index of pending home resales dropped 5.5 percent following a revised 3.8 percent gain the prior month, figures from the National Association of Realtors showed today in Washington. The median forecast of 42 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News called for no change in the measure.

Mortgage rates at record lows failed to sustain the pace of demand as some buyers may have waited for home prices to decline further. Limited access to credit and persistent foreclosures still weigh on housing, adding to concern it will remain a source of weakness for the world’s largest economy.

“The pattern of demand is sluggish and volatile,” said Yelena Shulyatyeva, a U.S. economist at BNP Paribas in New York, who projected a decline. “Until the supply issue is resolved, we could see further declines in prices and the housing market will continue to hover around the bottom. It’ll be a gradual improvement, we don’t expect anything stronger than that.”



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