Monday, August 3, 2009

Quick Notes & Articles for the Day - August 3

ISM Rises - The Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing index (ISM) rose more than expected to 48.9 for July versus estimates of 46.2. The ISM in June was 44.6. The ISM is a gauge of manufacturing activity with readings below 50 meaning a contraction and readings above 50 meaning an expansion. The move back to 50 has meant the dramatic decline in manufacturing has ceased.

Oil, Natural Gas, Gold Higher on Optimism and Lower Dollar - Crude oil rose more than 3% to about $71.50 per barrel, and natural gas jumped more than 7% to almost $4 as manufacturing data in the US and around the world had better than expected numbers.

Gold rose Monday as high as $964 an ounce for the first time since early June as the dollar fell to the lowest level this year. The global optimism, falling dollar, and threat of eventual inflation sparked the metal higher.

Ford Sales Rise 2.3% - Ford Motor Co. said Monday that U.S. July sales rose 2.3% to 165,279 vehicles, reversing nearly two years of monthly year-over-year losses. The automaker said that it benefited from the federal "Cash for Clunkers" new-car incentive program. Sales of cars in July rose 8.7% to 62,176 units, and sales of sport utility vehicles fell 36.1% to 6,526 units. Total truck sales dropped 2.6% to 96,662 vehicles. Ford has not had a monthly increase in year-to-year sales since November 2007.

British & Euro-Zone Manufacturing Rises - The U.K. CIPS/Markit manufacturing purchasing manufacturing index (PMI) rose to 50.8 in July, up from a revised high reading of 47.4 in June and the first leap above the 50 unchanged mark since March 2008. The rise came as manufacturing production rose to the greatest extent since December 2007. New orders rose for the first time since March 2008.

The Markit euro-zone PMI rose to 46.3 in July, up from 42.6 in June, the second strongest rise in point terms in the history of the survey and the highest reading in 11 months.


Leave Swiss Banks Alone - By Pierre Bessard - The New York Times - "Last week, an American client of the Swiss bank UBS admitted to filing a false tax return and concealing millions in Swiss bank accounts. For some people, his plea will just confirm their impression of Switzerland as a haven for criminals or dictators who want to protect their funds from taxes or oversight."

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