Monday, July 13, 2009

Quick Notes for the Day - July 13

Decline in Gasoline Prices at the Pump - With the drop of oil comes one very nice benefit (eventually), a drop of prices at the pump. Average retail regular gasoline prices fell to $2.53 a gallon on Monday, down a penny from the previous day, according to the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report. A quick look at past prices - 1 week ago - $2.61; 1 month ago - $2.65; and 1 year ago - $4.10.

As Oil Falls, So Does Gold - Inflation has always been one of the main drivers fueling moves in gold, and the current market is no different. With inflation worries dwindling, especially as oil falls again today below $59 a barrel, gold fell another $4 this morning.

Goldman Sachs Gets an Upgrade - Financial stocks were fueled this morning in part by an upgrade of Goldman Sachs to a price target of $186 by Meredith Whitney Advisory Group. The target price represents a 31% premium on Friday's closing price.

BofA - Looks to Not Pay Fees and Analyst Says They Will Post a Profit - For the second time, another analyst said Bank of America will report better than expected earnings Q2. Barclays Capital came out on Monday and said they expect BofA to report a second-quarter profit as a result of better-than-expected results in capital markets and continued strength in mortgage banking. Analyst Jason Goldberg lifted his estimate to a profit of 10 cents a share versus the previously forecasted flat quarter.

Also, BofA is reportedly seeking to avoid paying potentially billions of dollars in fees to the U.S. government. The government claims are tied to an unsigned agreement to provide backstop guarantees of Merrill Lynch assets, according to a Bloomberg report citing people familiar with the negotiations.

BofA says no agreement was ever signed with the federal government in the matter and the backstop funding wasn't used. But U.S. authorities believe it should pay at least part of the $4 billion fee agreed in January, the report said. Regulators contend that even without completed legal documentation Bank of America benefited from the implied U.S. backing on about $118 billion of Merrill Lynch assets.

Sen. Alexander - 100 New Nuclear Plants - Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) said Monday he supports construction of 100 new nuclear power plants in 20 years. Alexander said the 100 nuclear plants would double U.S. electricity production from nuclear power in 20 years, making it about 40% of all electricity production. "Add 10% for sun and wind and other renewables, another 10% for hydroelectric, maybe 5% more for natural gas and we begin to have a cheap as well as clean energy policy," he said. Alexander said his measure would create more jobs than the Democratic Waxman-Markey bill.

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