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Old 11-10-2012, 02:03 AM   #1
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Default Wall Street Week Ahead: "Fiscal cliff" blues may lead to correction

NEW YORK - Wall Street's post-election sell-off may gather steam in the coming weeks as worries mount about the looming "fiscal cliff" and technical weakness suggests a possible correction ahead. The benchmark Standard & Poor's 500 closed below its 200-day moving average - a measure of the market's long-term trend - on Thursday for the first time in five months, and ended below it again on Friday. More than half of the Dow components are trading below key technical levels. ...




Wall Street Week Ahead: "Fiscal cliff" blues may lead to correction
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Old 11-10-2012, 12:04 PM   #2
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Using housing market relief to grow Main Street...

Housing Recovery Could Blunt a Fiscal Cliff Standoff
11/09/12 --- As Republicans and Democrats brace for a budget standoff based on ideological differences on tax hikes and their impact on small business, lawmakers may find common ground by including housing market relief into discussions on how to grow Main Street America.
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It's clear after Republican House majority leader John Boehner took to airwaves for a second time since President Barack Obama's re-election that a partisan budget divide may push the United States over a so-called 'fiscal cliff' of tax increases and government spending cuts scheduled for early 2013. But in scoring the points made by Boehner about resisting tax increases that could harm small businesses versus a Democratic platform to end Bush-era tax cuts on top earners - including a recovering housing market to the debate could create room for negotiation.

Notably, Boehner's refusal to restore pre-Bush tax rates on those earning $250,000 and over hinges on the negative impact the hike would have on small businesses, which often declare earnings as personal income. Small business hiring is one of the weak parts of recent monthly employment reports, notes the National Federation of Independent Business, and a bump up in high income tax rates could impact roughly one million small businesses, according to calculations from the Joint Committee on Taxation.

If small business is the focus of whether a budget deal - a so-called 'grand bargain' - can be reached, then it's time for lawmakers in both parties to widen the scope of their discussion on how to bolster that segment of the U.S. economy, which Bureau of Labor Statistics data suggests is a key missing ingredient to employment. Tax rates, whether they remain at current levels for small business or if they increase to pre-Bush levels, aren't the only factor holding back growth and hiring in the sector.

Other key issues include still shaky consumer confidence, weakness in large European and emerging market export economies - and most crucially - fragile small business access to capital by way of bank credit or home equity borrowing. The widespread consensus among economists, including Lawrence Yun of the National Association of Realtors, is that home equity - the positive difference between a home's value and an owner's mortgage liability - is a key source of capital for small businesses, in contrast to thawing equity and debt options that are available to mid-and-large-sized businesses.

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More Houses for Consumers Meant More White House for Obama
11/09/12 --- While Democrats celebrate President Obama's re-election victory and Republicans are left to pick up the pieces, pundits are busy tweeting and texting the reasons why the president won so handily.
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But few are talking about the U.S. housing market and its re-emergence as a huge factor in the U.S. economy, and, as it turns out, in the re-election of the president. Check that -- at least one outfit is crediting the recent housing boomlet as a major reason the white House remained in Democratic hands. A new report out by Clear Capital, a Truckee, Calif., real estate financial services firm says that the president was "assisted" by the housing market's "sprint" over the past few months. But the firm says that the housing market is a fickle beast, and that a full-blown housing recovery may not be in the cards over the next four years.

The firm's HDI Market Report, which tracks the housing market through the end of October, shows positive housing trends "were a tailwind" for President Obama's election. But while that tailwind was enough to help propel the president to victory on Tuesday, the longer-term view is less bullish. Clear Capital says that "phase two" of the housing market recovery largely relies on the White House and Congress working with the housing industry to "reduce regulatory uncertainty." "Now that the election is finally behind us, there should be no more political risk in addressing the housing problem head-on," offers Alex Villacorta, director of research and analytics at Clear Capital. "President Obama's housing policies must evolve to turn the recovery's sprint into a marathon."

Villacorta points to an average U.S. home price appreciation figure of 4.6% this year, which "caught the attention of voters." Now that voters are tuned into the housing market, it would be a great time for the president to develop a "bold" housing market policy that boosted lending from banks and mortgage companies. "Even with the higher-than-historical annual average returns, lenders are still understandably cautious in the current environment of regulatory uncertainty," Villacorta adds. "And that's left the middle class out in the cold, enticed by record affordability levels but unable to qualify for a loan. President Obama's opportunity is now to press policy-makers to clear up regulations. Only then will lenders have confidence to fully re-engage in the housing market."

Even if housing did enough to push the president across the finish line, the market has a long way to go before fully recovering. Clear Capital says that while home prices are up by 4.6% in 2012 overall, prices are still off an average of 37.6% from the market peak in 2006. "Whether directly or indirectly, it would be hard to find a voter who hadn't been adversely affected by the housing collapse, and many are still at risk," says the Clear Capital report. "Given these losses, a home purchased for $200,000 in 2006 would likely be worth just $124,800 today. Obviously housing is a central issue for many voters, and we still have a long road ahead of us."

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Old 11-21-2012, 12:21 AM   #3
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Granny says, "Dat's right - put `em all onna same bus an' drive it right over the cliff...

Michael Moore to Obama: ‘Drive the Rich Right Off Their Fiscal Cliff'
November 20, 2012 – In an “open letter” to the president, liberal filmmaker Michael Moore urges President Obama to "get some fight" and offers a list of items for Obama to tackle in his second term.
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At the top of Moore's list: "Drive the rich right off their fiscal cliff." Published Monday on his website, Moore's letter congratulated Obama on his reelection victory, but “respectfully” asked that his second term not resemble his first. “It's not that you didn't get anything done,” Moore said. “You got A LOT done. But there are some very huge issues that have been left unresolved and, dammit, we need you to get some fight in you. “Wall Street and the uber-rich have been conducting a bloody class war for over 30 years and it's about time they were stopped,” he said.

Moore proposes a left-wing agenda that includes letting the entire Bush-era tax cuts expire: "Drive the rich right off their fiscal cliff,” Moore says. “The ‘fiscal cliff’ is a ruse, an invention by the Right and the rich, to try and keep their huge tax breaks,” he said. “On December 31, let ALL the tax cuts expire.” “And for God's sake, man – declare Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid untouchable,” Moore adds. “They're not bankrupt or anywhere near it.” Continuing his advice for Obama to “just go for it” in his second term, Moore demands “end all the wars now,” saying the U.S. is becoming “addicted to war.”

Moore also suggests expanding Obamacare into a single-payer health care system (“Medicare for all”), declaring a moratorium on home foreclosures and evictions, reducing student debt, restoring "rigid controls" on wall Street; and getting the money out of politics. The “Fahrenheit 911” director also asks the president to free Bradley Manning, the Army Private facing charges of allegedly aiding the enemy for leaking national security documents to WikiLeaks, whom he calls an “American hero.”

Moore concludes by urging the president to “ask us to do something.” “You can't go this alone,” he said. “You need an army of everyday Americans who will fight alongside you to make this a more just and peaceful nation… Need a bill passed? Text us and we will mobilize! The Republicans are filibustering? We can stop them! They won't approve your choice for Secretary of State? We'll see about that! You say you were a community organizer. Please – start acting like one.” Moore says the nation has “rejected the crazed ideology of this Republican Party and we insist that you forcefully proceed in bringing about profound change that will improve the lives of the 99%.” “We're done hoping. We want real change,” he says.

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