MarketWatch.com - Pre-Market Indications

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Fed Ponders Actions While Global Economy Reels

Stock Assault 2.0 - Artificial Intelligence Stock Market Software

The US dollar continues under acute pressure, as the world seeks an alternative reserve currency. The days and years of manipulation, fraud and criminal behavior are fast coming to an end. New alliances are evolving, as are outspoken advocates of a new world reserve currency. As a result more and more foreigners are bypassing Treasury and Agency bonds, as well as other US dollar denominated investments. We watch as other major nations accumulate gold and cannot help but think that the new world reserve currency will be gold backed.

Over the past 11 years the Fed and other central banks have increased money and credit by several devices and in the last three years more aggressively by purchasing bonds and via using swaps. QE1’s monetary creation has now begun to affect costs and the entire price structure. As wages lay stagnant the resultant inflation will eventually destroy the middle class, the structure that holds American society together. As the taxpayer saves the financial institutions the middle class is being destroyed. They are funding their own demise. We believe inflation is currently 8% and should be 14% by yearend. That is the result of QE1 and stimulus 1. Next year the US economy will be impacted by QE2 and stimulus 2. If we get QE3 and stimulus 3, 2013 will be impacted. Inflation could range from 25% to 50%, or more, dependent upon what the elitists have in store for us. While this transpires unemployment will rise and government revenues will fall increasing the already colossal debt . That means consumption will fall as a percentage of GDP from 70% to perhaps 64.5%, the long term mean, by the end of 2013 if we get QE3 and stimulus 3. People will only be able to spend on basics. That also means corporate profits will fall, as well as share prices. That, of course, will depend on whether the “Working Group on Financial Markets” is able to hold the markets up and keep them from falling. Deficits will spiral completely out of control, as will personal and corporate insolvencies. That means education will be cut to the bare bones. Instead of 18 to 21 children in a class you will see 36 to 42. Social services and welfare will be cut in half. Extended unemployment will be phased out and no new projects will be funded. It is not surprising that the Fed has to buy 80% of US debt. Few others are willing to purchase it. Most of the foreign buyers are from England and the Cayman Islands. Is this the Fed buying, which we have suspected for years, or is this rea l buying? We don’t know, but if rep. Ron Paul is successful we could find out, along with all kinds of other law breaking. Don’t forget the result of all the things the Fed has been doing translates into a tax increase on every American. This is another effort to bring the consumer to his knees, so he will be softened up to accept world government. In addition, the dollar is about to approach new depths and a chance exists that it could soon break 71.18, the old all time low and fall to 40 to 55 on the USDX. Many of the items purchased by consumers, that presently represent 70% of GDP, could rise more than 100% in costs, which will cut deeply into consumption. This at this juncture could be in the elitist plan for the destruction of America, as we have known it. Can Weimar or Zimbabwe be far away?

We have seen a rally in bonds due to a recent fall in the stock market from a high yield of 3.74% to 3.23% on the 10-year T-note. If you consider the uproar with Middle East and problems in Japan there are not going to be many foreigners in the market for Treasuries â€" in fact, they may be sellers. These events will put unbearable pressure on the Fed and force it into QE3. If QE3 does not happen real interest rates will rise, first to 4% to 4-1/2% and then to 5-1/2%. While this transpires in 2011 the municipal bond market will be under tremendous pressure. At the same time the events in Japan and in the Middle East could collapse both bond markets. Even now it is almost impossible to find a decent bid in the muni market, if any bid at all. We would call this a fine kettle of fish.

The budget deficit will run 10% of GDP or $1.6 trillion. This is the third successive year of these horrible deficits, as the President, House and Senate refuse to cut spending. Eventually the result of such profligacy will be an end to the US as world leader. China and Germany in this process are vying for that leadership yet both have serious problems. China has almost hyperinflation, massive unemployment, a weakening stock market, a real estate bubble and yes, $1.17 trillion in US dollar denominated securities. We’ll get into Germany and Europe a little later and the problems in the Eurozone. Japan is out of the running having 20 years of depression, debt to GDP that is enormous, although domestically held, like everyone else, they will have fading exports and they now have to deal with a natural disaster.

We would expect the next natural step would be for the US to erect trade barriers and impose tariffs on goods and services. That would be interpreted as isolationism, as America’s commitments internationally, such as wars, would no longer be affordable or acceptable due to its debt burden. When that will take place remains to be seen, but it is a major possibility. Adversaries will call it protectionism, but the US has allowed the world for years total access to its economy and deliberate currency manipulation and the employment of virtual slave labor, which has undercut the US economy. Over the last 11 years it has lost 8.7 million good paying jobs and 42,500 businesses. The longer America waits to institute tariffs the worse it will be. The same goes for budget cuts.

The answer politically has been the same thus far from both parties. You saw the $862 billion stimulus package passed in December. Another defiance of reality. We have seen two years of boondoggles and ever increasing military spending for the military industrial complex and dreadful domestic policies.

That leads us to Germany and Europe. Germany has changed over the last 50 years. One of the cities we lived in for quite some time had changed so much we actually got lost and had to ask for directions. Germany paid a terrible price to reunify and has finally overcome those difficulties, but at a great price. Again, Germany is about to reassert itself as Europe’s leader and perhaps the world’s leader. In recent years with middle of the road policies they are in part abandoning Keynesianism and probably in the nick of time.

That leads us to the problems of Southern Europe, which are nowhere near solved. They are being covered by the Middle East smokescreen, as are US financial and economic problems; the elitists received a bonus when disaster struck Japan. They all have rolling debt crises and with the exception of Greece and Ireland the rest of the nations say they have no problems, or at least none that would justify intervention. They all will have to be bailed out or they’ll all go under taking the euro with them. Economically the rest, in this order, are on the list to receive aid or fail: Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Belgium, Spain and Italy. Their problems are similar to those in the US. A preponderance of public employees, a semi-or-uncompetitive economy, outrageously low interest rates, low savings, low productivity, perpetually large budget deficits and banks that are virtually bankrupt due to poor real estate loans. In the case of banking, interest rates must eventually rise and wh en they do the cost of loan servicing become unbearable.

These conditions cut off deposits and bond issuance for banks that are then left with little capital. The temporary solution as we see today are loans by the ECB and the Fed with funds created out of thin air, in order to keep the banking Ponzi scheme in tact. The countries involved are paying bond yields of 5% to 12%. What happens when rates more 2% higher? They cannot service their debt, never mind principal. European banks have lent these six sovereign states more than $2 trillion, which, of course, was in part created out of thin air. That is how we knew log ago it would take $3 to $5 trillion to clean up the mess and that such figures were simply unobtainable without bankrupting the banks and the central banks of these countries. Underwriting part of the debt, as the solvent European countries have thus far chosen to do, just won’t work. They have bought time for a failing system. Eventually the borrowers have to collapse into insolvency, or the lenders will as well . What should have been done was that the lenders should have accepted payment, over time, of 50%, which they were offered, but refused. In the future they’ll at best get 30%, and perhaps nothing at all. The commitment by solvent states in the euro zone has been about $1 trillion, which as we have pointed out, will only impair their own credit. Germans, French, Dutch and Austrian citizens get to pay all the bills. All for the insane dream of one currency for all and eventually world government â€" it simply won’t work. Greece and Ireland are basket cases and if they survive financially, it will take at least 50 years of poverty to pay off bank debt that was created out of thin air. The bailouts of these two countries have restored little confidence. Anyone who understands what is being done knows it won’t work. Sure, these two insolvent sovereigns have sold debt, but it was sold to countries that had to buy it, or the euro would have collapsed. As an aside the euro is now trading in the above $1.41 range with these terrible problems versus the dollar. That shows you the scale of the US dollar’s problems. Remember as well, that for 11 years the US dollar has fallen close to 20% annually versus gold and for 11 years more than 24% versus silver. The euro has fallen close to 17% versus gold annually and 22% versus silver. These figures tell you gold and silver are in strong long-term bull markets versus all these fiat currencies, and you do not want to be in any currency except for operating purposes. All of your investible funds should be in gold and silver related assets. Once one of the countries goes under the game is over. That is when there will be another big meeting of nations to revalue and devalue currencies, have multilateral debt default and to set a world reserve currency based on 25% gold backing.

Europe is going in exactly the wrong direction, as is the US. In Europe they are calling for loan expansion to the crippled nations, greater integration and common fiscal policy, so they can all drown simultaneously. Sensibly Germany does not want to do that and German citizens certainly don’t want to get any closer to the losers in Southern Europe. In fact, more than 2/3rd’s of Germans want out of the euro zone, never mind getting closer. They do not want to commit to lending and guaranteeing the largest part of an additional $1 trillion or a total of $2 trillion. This is a commitment for the furtherance of one-world government not a bailout of insolvent partners. It is the funding of an insane dream of the mega-rich and the powerful to totally control the world and subject the world population to perpetual servitude. The whole exercise is perverse and deceitful.

Failure of a second $1 trillion tranche of funds for the insolvent would lead to the breakup of the euro as these six nations collapsed into default. You should be mindful as well that $2 trillion won’t solve the problem and will eventually destroy the lenders, mainly Germany. Germans do not want world government, so why should they subject themselves to such commitments. In fact, more than 2/3rd’s of German do not want the euro. They just want to be left alone. The European Stability Mechanism, ESM, is an effort by European bureaucrats to override Germany’s rejection of endless support of insolvent sovereigns. The bureaucrats even have made the ESM an amendment to the Lisbon Treaty, or at least it is in the formative process. This is defying Germany, which is being told you will do what we want you to do. That is being accompanied by collective action causes, which forces lenders to out of hand accept losses no matter how steep on bond issues. This is the most insan e financial procedure ever. Lenders are totally at the mercy of debtors and if the debtors do not or cannot repay the debt they just walk away. Policies like this show you how out of their minds the new world order crowd really is.

It is recognition that the debt will never be paid and the lending nations will continue to fool buyers. It buys a couple of years, but lays the plans for future default. There is no way Greece and Ireland will financially survive and they will leave the euro. Portugal and Belgium will probably follow and there won’t be enough funds to bailout Spain and Italy. This could happen by the end of the year. The timing is anyone’s guess. Five of the six of these nations have $500 plus billion debts coming due this year that has to be rolled over plus new debt. Private and corporate debt that has to be replaced is $1.2 trillion. Now we ask you does it look like they’ll all get refunded? We do not believe so, and that means more trouble before the year is over. That also means low to no growth, higher unemployment and perhaps default. Couple these problems with those in the UK and US and you can see why the events in the Middle East had to happen in part as a diversion. We sa id this from the very beginning and we still believe that was the main reason the region is undergoing major changes. Yes, the powers behind government obviously wanted changes in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya and other countries, plus turmoil in the region, as in all probability, as they set up to invade Iran with Israel’s help.

Debt service will deeply affect Europe’s economic performance and that means exports into Europe will be affected, particularly on reference to China and the US. China’s currency is undervalued by 35% and if Europe has problems China will not revalue its currency, as it should. At the same time US dollar denominated exports will be more competitive with a far cheaper dollar. Both are not good for Europe in European markets, as well as foreign markets. China aggressively has bought some bonds from European nations in trouble by selling US Treasuries to do so. These developments, along with new Japanese problems, will severely disrupt economies and financial markets. That will in turn affect debt rollover and service. That means economies will not perform well. It means more quantitative easing in Europe, the UK and US, which are trapped in a plan of their own making. Such situations will renew pressure on all three economies, as they are bombarded by higher inflation or an aside, to show you what trouble the US dollar is in, the euro has traded up to $1.42 and the dollar has fallen to 75.45, while the euro zone pumps out all this bad news.

Problems in the US, UK and particularly Europe, have been deliberately covered up by planned events in the Middle East and thus far by unplanned events in Japan. The present proposals to increase bailout funds haven’t been accepted particularly by Germany. What isn’t talked about by lenders and the media is that the lenders have their own debt problems. Debt ratios are: France 92%; Germany 80%; Spain 72% and Italy 131%. Their balance sheets are not healthy at all. If markets lose faith in the bailout operations even an enlarged $2 trillion bailout wouldn’t work. It is in our viewpoint inevitable that the six nations will default and the euro will become history. That would precipitate a world-banking crisis. All this is the result of the fractional banking system and the unbridled greed of bankers and their lust to control everyone and everything. A massive welfare system financed by debt didn’t help and the euro and the bankers are to blame. One interest rate cann ot fit all. The euro has not promoted prosperity and political unity. Europe is very tribal and can never be amalgamated. Low interest rates for undeserving countries encouraged unsustainable booms and housing bubbles in Greece, Ireland and Spain. There you have it. A road ahead loaded with insolvable problems. That is why you should be out of currencies and in gold and silver related assets.

 

New single-family home sales unexpectedly fell in February to hit a record low and prices were the lowest since December 2003, showing the housing market slide was deepening. The Commerce Department said on Wednesday sales dropped 16.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted 250,000 unit annual rate, the lowest since records began in 1963, after an upwardly revised 301,000-unit pace in January.

Sales plunged to all-time lows in three of the four regions last month. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast new home sales edging up to a 290,000-unit pace last month from a previously reported 284,000 unit rate.

U.S. stock indexes fell on the data, while government debt prices rose marginally. The dollar was little changed. Compared to February last year sales were down 28 percent. An oversupply of homes exacerbated by an increasing flood of properties falling into foreclosure is frustrating recovery in the housing market. Data on Monday showed a steep drop in sales of previously owned homes in February, with prices tumbling to a near nine-year low.

The median sales price for a new home plunged 13.9 percent last month to $202,100, the lowest since December 2003. Compared with February last year, the median price fell 8.9 percent. Persistent price declines could dampen hopes of a pick-up in sales during spring.

In the face of stiff competition from foreclosed properties, which typically sell well below market value, builders are holding back on new construction.

At February's sales pace, the supply of new homes on the market rose to 8.9 months' worth, the highest since August, from 7.4 months' worth in January.

There were 186,000 new homes available for sale last month, matching the prior month's inventory. That was still the smallest supply of home since 1967.

Despite lean inventories, new home sales will likely continue to bounce along the bottom for a while until the glut of previously owned homes is whittled down. New home sales account for less than 10 percent of overall sales.

According to the National Association of Realtors, new home prices have been running 45 percent higher than existing home prices, a premium that is historically about 15 percent, indicating previously owned homes are selling well below the cost of construction.

Separately, the Mortgage Bankers Association said applications for home loans rebounded 2.7 percent last week.

 

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told a group of executives from smaller banks Wednesday that the financial overhaul will level the playing field for them with the industry's giants.

Bernanke said it would be important for the banks to adapt to the changing regulatory environment, in remarks to the annual convention in San Diego of small- and medium-sized banks. Bernanke acknowledged their concerns about the new law. But he said most of the requirements are aimed the country's biggest banks and not them. [After reading this I hope you have a barf bag.]

 

Only 5 nations are without a Rothschilds Central Bank: Iran; N. Korea; Sudan; Cuba; and Libya.

Since November 2010, the unemployment rate has tumbled from 9.8% to 8.9% in February. That seems to signal a return to healthy job growth. But is it real?

While unemployment has fallen nearly a full percentage point, just 407,000 payroll jobs have been created a mere 0.3% rise.

How can that be? Maybe it's because the real jobless rate which includes those unemployed Americans so discouraged they've stopped looking is higher than 8.9%. Much higher.

"Though the official unemployment rate is improving, according to our poll, we still have at least 20% of able Americans looking for full-time employment," said Raghavan Mayur, president of TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence, IBD's polling partner. "Jobs will be the No. 1 issue in the next presidential election."

Americans assume the Bureau of Labor Statistics' unemployment rate is an indicator of the job market's health. But as with other government data, it's notable as much for what it doesn't reveal as for what it does.

At one time, the jobless rate included all people without jobs.

But during the first Clinton administration, the BLS changed its definition to exclude long-term discouraged workers. As a result, the unemployment rate has looked far lower than it really is.

The labor-force participation rate, now 62.2%, is at a 27-year low. If you're not in the work force, you can't be "unemployed."

Several private-sector measures also paint a bleak picture of what the Washington Post recently referred to as America's "hidden work force."

• Gallup's "broader unemployment" measure combines the unemployed with part-time workers seeking full-time work. It rose to an alarming 19.9% in March, from 17.2% in December.

• The IBD/TIPP poll also suggests far-higher joblessness. Since May 2010, it's asked people about their own situation, but also "how many members of your household are currently unemployed or looking for employment?"

In March, 19.4% were looking for a job equal to 30 million Americans. That's actually an improvement from November, when 35.2 million sought work.

• Economist John Williams at his Shadow Government Statistics website says that using old U.S. government data definitions including both long- and short-term discouraged workers, plus the regular unemployed 22% of Americans don't have meaningful work.

A big reason may be the dearth of startups. New firms account for just 3% of employment but make up 20% of new jobs, according to a new study by John Haltiwanger, Ron Jarmin and Javier Miranda for the National Bureau of Economics Research.

"The fastest-growing continuing firms are young firms under the age of five," they wrote.

Today, startups are struggling with the uncertainty caused by the $862 billion stimulus, TARP, the Federal Reserve's quantitative easing policy and ObamaCare's looming costly regulations.

 

 

FThe Creature from Jekyll Islandrom G. Edward Griffin

GLENN BECK WILL PLUG

The Creature from Jekyll Island

On Friday 2011 March 25, the entire Glenn Beck show will be devoted to an exposé of the Federal Reserve. I was invited to be a guest on the program and, when it was taped last Tuesday, I was amazed to find that Beck, not only has read the book but praised it highly. In fact, almost his entire opening monologue was based on the information and, in some cases, the very same phrases used in the book and in my lectures. I was delighted to know that someone, either Beck or his researchers, had spent a great deal of time studying The Creature from Jekyll Island. But what is even more encouraging is that several million viewers will be exposed to an hour of economic and monetary truth. This will bring us a giant step closer to actually slaying the Creature.

  The Creature from Jekyll Island: A Second Look at the Federal Reserve

 

 

 

 

 

Mortgage rates marked a slight increase, with the benchmark conforming 30-year fixed mortgage rate rising to 4.96 percent, according to Bankrate.com's weekly national survey. The average 30-year fixed mortgage has an average of 0.41 discount and origination points.

To see mortgage rates in your area, go to

http://www.bankrate.com/funnel/mortgages/.

The average 15-year fixed mortgage inched to 4.16 percent, and the larger jumbo 30-year fixed rate retreated to 5.45 percent. Adjustable rate mortgages were mostly higher, with the average 5-year ARM moving up to 3.78 percent and the 7-year ARM moving to 4.11 percent.

Mortgage rates increased, but only slightly, as investors digest world events and assess the potential impact on global economic recovery. The outlook for economic growth, inflation, and a desire to avoid market volatility are the key drivers of bond yields and mortgage rates on a day-to-day basis. Mortgage rates are closely related to yields on long-term government bonds.

The last time mortgage rates were above 6 percent was Nov. 2008. At the time, the average 30-year fixed rate was 6.33 percent, meaning a $200,000 loan would have carried a monthly payment of $1,241.86. With the average rate now 4.96 percent, the monthly payment for the same size loan would be $1,068.76, a difference of $173 per month for anyone refinancing now.

SURVEY RESULTS

30-year fixed: 4.96% -- up from 4.91% last week (avg. points: 0.41)

15-year fixed: 4.16% -- up from 4.12% last week (avg. points: 0.38)

5/1 ARM: 3.78% -- up from 3.74% last week (avg. points: 0.37)

Bankrate's national weekly mortgage survey is conducted each Wednesday from data provided by the top 10 banks and thrifts in the top 10 markets.

Consumer confidence in the U.S. fell last week to the lowest level since August as more Americans became despondent over the economy.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index dropped to minus 48.9 in the period to March 20 from minus 48.5 the prior week. The measure of the current state of the economy slumped to a 15- month low.

The highest gasoline prices in more than two years weighed on families already dealing with rising grocery bills. The report showed confidence among households with annual incomes exceeding $50,000 fell to the lowest level since March 2010, representing a risk to consumer spending, the biggest part of the U.S. economy.

 

Fewer Americans filed applications for unemployment benefits last week, signaling the labor market is mending.

Jobless claims declined by 5,000 to 382,000 in the week ended March 19, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington, in line with the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. The total number of people receiving benefits dropped to the lowest level in almost three years.

Orders for long-lasting goods unexpectedly fell in February, raising concern over the sustainability of the rebound in U.S. business investment.

Bookings for goods meant to last at least three years dropped 0.9 percent after a 3.6 percent gain the prior month that was larger than initially reported, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. Other reports showed fewer Americans filed claims for jobless benefits last week, and consumer comfort dropped to the lowest level in seven months.

The data on orders stands in contrast to other reports this month that showed production picked up in February and factory purchasing managers were more optimistic. While rising exports to China and other emerging economies will benefit manufacturers like Texas Instruments Inc., the need for U.S. companies to replace outdated equipment may not be as pressing as earlier in the recovery.

“There is a risk that capital spending will be flat in the first half of the year,” said Harm Bandholz, chief U.S. economist at UniCredit Global Research in New York. At the same time, he said, “the consumer will pick up the slack, driven by the labor market and also by the tax deal” President Barack Obama reached with Republicans in December.

 

For three years, Jayesh Patel, an attorney, and his wife, Neethi, a pediatrician, were what he called “reverse commuters.” They worked in the suburbs and lived in the city of Detroit. Last July, the Patels moved out.

They joined 237,493 who left Detroit over the last decade, a 25 percent decline that left the city with 713,777, down from a peak of 1.85 million in 1950. The Patels abandoned their neighborhood of Victorian homes in the Corktown district, founded by Irish immigrants at the turn of the 20th Century, and moved to the affluent suburb of Birmingham in search of better schools for their two children.

“I was just shocked,” Kurt Metzger, director of Data Driven Detroit, which collects demographic information, said about the 2010 Census figures for the city. “Even in my wildest dreams, my most depressed nightmares, I wasn’t expecting this big of a decline.”

Detroit’s population fell from 951,270 in the previous decennial tally a loss of 65 residents per day since 2000 making it the lowest official count since 465,766 in 1910, according to U.S. Census data released yesterday. It joins St. Louis, Cleveland, Cincinnati and other Midwestern cities unable to reverse a six-decade population loss.

Detroit’s decline also likely further eroded the broader metro area. The Detroit-Warren-Livonia area was the 11th-largest metropolitan region in the nation, with a population of 4,403,437, according to 2009 census estimates. That was already a drop from ninth in 2000, when it had 4,452,557 people.

 

Elizabeth Warren, the Obama administration adviser assigned to set up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, said lawmakers looking to limit the agency’s authority should focus instead on the Wall Street “behemoths” aiming to undermine its mission.

“If we’re going to go out there and spill ink on accountability, we should also ask about how to hold powerful financial institutions accountable,” Warren said yesterday in an interview with Bloomberg News. “The idea that we should be worried that some agency that will speak up for consumers might get a little too loud is looking in the wrong direction.”

Warren was responding to complaints by Republican lawmakers that the agency, created by the Dodd-Frank Act in a Democrat-run Congress, lacks accountability. Republicans, who took control of the House in November elections, have proposed subjecting the bureau’s budget to congressional approval and replacing its yet- to-be-filled director’s post with a five-member commission.

Dodd-Frank, the rules overhaul enacted in response to the 2008 financial crisis, gave the bureau power to regulate consumer financial products sold by companies ranging from JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Citigroup Inc. to payday lenders and mortgage brokers. It is scheduled to begin work on July 21, a year after President Barack Obama signed the legislation.

Obama’s appointment of Warren, 61, to help shape the bureau has been faulted by Republicans, including Representative Patrick McHenry of North Carolina, who say her role as adviser to the Treasury secretary and assistant to the president injects politics into what is supposed to be an impartial regulator.

 

The average American family's household net worth declined 23% between 2007 and 2009, the Federal Reserve said Thursday.

A rare survey of U.S. households, first performed in 2007 but repeated in 2009 in order to gauge the effects of the recession, reveals the median net worth of households fell from $125,000 in 2007 to $96,000 in 2009.

Titled "Surveying the Aftermath of the Storm," the report offers a broad look at how the financial crisis impacted individual households.

It is widely known that the 2008 financial crisis resulted in the vaporization of trillions of dollars in household wealth. But Federal Reserve officials said Thursday the new report offers a look at exactly how hard the recession hit families, and how they reacted.

Families that owned stock saw their portfolios drop by more than a third to $12,000 from $18,500, on average. The value of primary real estate holdings decreased by an average of $18,700.

And families took on more debt, pushing median total debt levels to $75,600 from $70,300. They also made less money. Media household income dropped from to $49,800 from $50,100.Interestingly, families below the median national income in 2007 actually saw their earnings increase by 2009. Meanwhile, families that started above the national average in 2007 saw their incomes decline.

Families in the top 10% of net worth in 2007 saw their incomes decline by 13% on average, a phenomenon the Fed attributed to large declines in capital gains and in business, farm or self-employment income.

The report also reveals that some families are doing quite well.

"Although over 60% of families saw their wealth decline over the two-year period, a sizable fraction of households experienced gains in wealth," the report says.

But it's hard to pin down what made those families successful. "Shifts in wealth do not appear to be correlated in a simple way with families' characteristics," the authors write.

The report's authors also make the point that Americans appear to be reacting to the recession in a counterproductive way.

"[F]amilies' behavior may act in some ways as a brake on reviving the economy in the short run," the report says.

The data shows that Americans have increased their savings rate across the board, regardless of how they are weathering the storm. That means less money is being pumped into the economy.

Powered By iWebRSS.com

Indications: Oracle, tech stocks in focus as futures rise

Stock Assault 2.0 - Artificial Intelligence Stock Market Software

By Kate Gibson and Simon Kennedy, MarketWatch

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) â€" U.S. stock futures rose on Friday, with technology stocks in particular lifted by results and outlooks from business software maker Oracle Corp. and consultant Accenture PLC.

“Solid earnings from Oracle and Accenture are the main drivers of the morning’s market strength,” said Peter Boockvar, equity strategist at Miller Tabak & Co.

Futures held modest gains after the government said the U.S. economy grew 3.1% in the fourth quarter, up from its 2.8% estimate made last month.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average /quotes/comstock/21b!f:dj\m11 (DJM11 12,165, +54.00, +0.45%)  rose 22 points to 12,138 and Standard & Poor’s 500 index futures /quotes/comstock/21m!f:sp\m11 (SPM11 1,311, +4.80, +0.37%)  added 2.6 points to 1,307.8.

Nasdaq 100 futures /quotes/comstock/21m!f:nd\m11 (NDM11 2,318, +8.50, +0.37%)  were up 6.5 points at 2,315.

Nintendo's 3D game vs. the iPhone

Nintendo has long ruled the handheld video-game market, but the iPhone's power to let consumers play games for little or no money poses a major threat. Now Nintendo is firing back.

The move for futures came after strong gains for Wall Street on Thursday as U.S. markets posted their fifth gain in six sessions. The Dow Jones Industrial Average /quotes/comstock/10w!i:dji/delayed (DJIA 12,221, +50.03, +0.41%)  closed up nearly 85 points.

Oracle /quotes/comstock/15*!orcl/quotes/nls/orcl (ORCL 32.64, +0.50, +1.56%)  was one of the early gainers Friday, climbing 4.2% in premarket trading after rising software sales to new corporate customers helped it beat earnings expectations. Read more on Oracle's results.

Among other stocks in focus, Accenture PLC /quotes/comstock/13*!acn/quotes/nls/acn (ACN 54.29, +2.33, +4.48%)  late Thursday reported fiscal second-quarter earnings of 75 cents a share, beating the consensus forecast of 71 cents, while offering guidance that also exceeded expectations.

Mobile-device maker Research In Motion Ltd. /quotes/comstock/15*!rimm/quotes/nls/rimm (RIMM 56.89, -7.20, -11.23%) , on the other hand, slumped 12% in premarket action after its guidance for the current quarter fell short of expectations.

The group said its guidance reflects a greater proportion of lower-end devices in its sales mix as well as additional spending related to its BlackBerry PlayBook, a tablet computer intended to compete with Apple Inc.’s /quotes/comstock/15*!aapl/quotes/nls/aapl (AAPL 351.54, +6.57, +1.90%)  iPad. Read about Research In Motion's disappointing outlook.

Nymex oil prices held above $105 a barrel as Libya and the Mideast remained in focus, with NATO agreeing to take over responsibility for enforcing the no-fly zone over Libya.

Crude for May delivery /quotes/comstock/21n!f:cl\k11 (CLK11 105.52, -0.20, -0.19%)  fell 13 cents to $105.47 a barrel in electronic trading on Globex.

“Rising oil prices are a tax on developed world economies and an inflationary threat in developing markets, but they do not necessitate recession,” said Philip Isherwood, an equity strategist at Evolution Securities.

Isherwood said in an email that the “ultimate fear” is a return to the situation in the 1970s, where oil prices tripled between 1973 and 1974.

While few commentators currently expect such a sharp rise in oil, if the upward trend in year-on-year prices continues commodity stocks should outperform, while technology stocks should be around the middle of the pack, while health-care stocks, utilities and banks would all likely be among the weaker performers, Isherwood said.

Later in the session, the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment survey for March is slated for release.

The dollar edged up against the yen to ¥81.16, while the euro slipped to $1.4129.

In Japan, the Nikkei Stock Average closed up 1.1%. European stocks swung between gains and losses in afternoon trading.

Kate Gibson is a reporter for MarketWatch, based in New York. Simon Kennedy is the City correspondent for MarketWatch in London.

Powered By iWebRSS.com

Pre Market Movers - Futures Trading - Nasdaq - NYSE

Subscribe to "The $t0ckman" via email

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner