Friday, October 4, 2013

Cautious markets rise on hopes about ending government shutdown

Dow rose 76, advancers over decliners 2-1 & NAZ climbed 33.  The MLP index slid 1 to 446 & the REIT index was down fractionally to 267.  Junk bond funds were mixed & Treasuries sold off.  Oil was up & gold fell for the 4th time this week on speculation that that the effect of the partial US gov shutdown will be short-lived, crimping demand for the metal as a store of value.

AMJ (Alerian MLP Index tracking fund)

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CLX13.NYM...Crude Oil Nov 13...103.71 Up ...0.40 (0.4%)

Live 24 hours gold chart [Kitco Inc.]

Lockheed Martin, the top US gov contractor, said it was furloughing about 3000 employees on Mon because of the gov shutdown.  “I’m disappointed that we must take these actions and we continue to encourage our lawmakers to come together to pass a funding bill that will end this shutdown,”  CEO Marillyn A. Hewson said.  The number of employees affected is expected to increase weekly if the shutdown continues, Hewson said.  Some employees aren’t able to work because their jobs are in closed gov facilities, their tasks require gov inspections or the company has received an order to stop work.  The employees were notified today.  “If you want to make your voice heard on this issue, I urge you to contact your members of Congress on your personal time,” she told them.  The shutdown is affecting all aspects of military contracting.  The stock fell 39¢.

Lockheed to Furlough 3,000 Employees Due to Government Shutdown

Lockheed Martin (LMT)

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John Boehner

Photo:  Bloomberg

John Boehner said the way to end the gov shutdown would be for Dems to negotiate with him & accept changes that would produce “fairness” under Obamacare.  Boehner, speaking to reporters, criticized an unidentified White House as saying it doesn’t matter to the administration how long the shutdown lasts because Dems are winning.  “This isn’t some damn game,” Boehner said in remarks that continued the partisan standoff.  “The American people don’t want their government shut down and neither do I.”  The speaker, is trying to unite Reps around a plan to end the budget impasse, raise the nation’s borrowing limit, & achieve as many of the party’s priorities as they can.  The shutdown has furloughed 800K federal employees & is becoming a prolonged deadlock that is merging with the debt-ceiling debate.  There are 2 major problems for Boehner in linking the spending & debt-ceiling debates: the pres says he won’t negotiate & the Reps can’t agree on what they want.  Reps’ most recent proposal for opening the gov would postpone for one year the mandate for individuals to purchase health insurance, mirroring the delay the administration granted to employers.  This is called "dead in the water."

Boehner Insists on Health Law Changes to End Shutdown

U.S. President Barack Obama

Photo:   Bloomberg

The pres canceled plans to attend 2 economic summits in Asia next week, a setback for his top foreign policy goal, as he remains in DC to seek an end to the partial gov shutdown.  He informed leaders of the host countries, Indonesia & Brunei, in telephone calls yesterday.  Earlier this week, he called off planned stops in Malaysia & the Philippines scheduled for the end of what would have been a week-long visit to a region where the US is seeking to expand trade & defense cooperation.  The decision may add to growing anxiety in Asia that the US is too preoccupied with internal political challenges to pursue its so-called “Asia pivot,” Obama’s 2nd-term foreign-policy priority to enhance US standing in a region adjusting to China’s economic & military emergence.  US exports to the Pacific Rim rose to $326B in 2010, from $254B in 2009, according to Census Bureau data.  Instead John Kerry will lead the US delegations.  Among the administration’s main goals for the trip was making progress on the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership, a 12-nation free-trade zone linking an area with about $26T in annual economic output.  The US has played a crucial role in past APEC & Asean meetings.  But sending Kerry in Obama’s place is seen as a negative by Asian countries.

Obama Cancels Asia Summit Trip Amid Government Shutdown

There is nothing special going on, but the reality of the shutdown is hurting more (a setback for the economic recovery).  More announcements are coming from corps who have to layoff employees.  I keep saying it's difficult to see how this fiscal mess will end.  Reaching the debt limit in less than 2 weeks is adding the confusion & hard feelings by about everybody in DC.  Considering all the pressure, the Dow behaved well this week.  It fell about 70, but there should be more sellers next week if the shutdown drags on. 

Dow Jones Industrials

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