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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Marshall Plan for the US ... From Japan?

The following poem was cut from the top of my column ("3 Stock-ing Stuffers,") today ...

Twas the eve before Christmas,
and all through the night
Sean’s mind was whirring,
With stocks that could ignite

Poetry is subjective, and everyone's a critic.

Before we get to the serious stuff, here's some Christmas cheer (and humor) from the Wall Street Journal. Click through for a laugh.

Now then ...

Will the Japanese Launch a 'Marshall Plan' to Save the US?
The dollar may lose as much as 40 percent of its value to 50 yen or 60 yen from the current spot rate of 90.40 today in Tokyo unless Japan takes “drastic measures” to help bail out the U.S. economy.
The Japanese government could use a new Marshall Plan as a chance to shrink its $976.9 billion in foreign-exchange reserves, the world’s second-largest after China’s, and help reduce global economic imbalances.

Crude Oil Trades Below $37 on Forecasts U.S. Supply Increased a Third Week Crude oil fell, dropping briefly below $37 a barrel in New York, before a report forecast to show that U.S. inventories rose for a third week on ebbing demand.

U.S. East Coast Refinery Maintenance May Cut Fuel Supply More Than Usual East Coast refineries are planning maintenance on fluid catalytic cracker units in February that might cut regional production by more than five times the historical average.

Pemex Oil Output Falls 6.5% to 2.711 Million Barrels a Day
Production dropped to 2.711 million barrels a day, from 2.901 million barrels a day a year earlier, the company known as Pemex said today on its Web site. In an e-mail, Pemex cited Cantarell, its largest field, as the reason for the drop.

The Coming Oil Train Wreck - First stop: Mexico?
According to Matt Simmons, by the end of 2009, Mexico will no longer be an oil exporter ... Unfortunately, it may be too little too late to replace the rapidly disappearing Cantarell production. In as little as 12-24 months, the effects may be felt both in Mexico and the US. Replacing the 1.3 million barrels per day the US now imports from Mexico won’t be easy (the US imports 1.4 million barrels per day from Saudi Arabia by means of comparison).

Mortgage applications hit almost 5-year high: MBA
Mortgage applications surged to the highest level in over five years in the latest week, as potential borrowers came out in droves to refinance as government interventions helped push interest rates down to record lows, data from an industry group showed on Wednesday.

Manufacturer Confidence Slumps the Most on Record as Recession Intensifies Confidence among Japanese manufacturers fell the most on record as exports collapsed, signaling the recession will extend into 2009.

China Stocks Lure BlackRock With `Mother' of Stimulus Plans as Mobius Buys The biggest investors in emerging markets say China is the best choice for 2009, betting plans to stimulate growth will lead a stock market recovery in the fastest growing major economy.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night. I'll post again on Friday (probably, barring an eggnog overdose).
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