Monday, August 17, 2009

Quick notes for the Day - August 17

New York Factories Expanding in August - The New York Federal Reserve released a report on the Empire State index that showed that business improved for manufacturers in New York in August. The index rose to 12.1 from negative 0.6 in July. It's the first positive reading since April 2008, and the highest since November 2007. Readings over zero mean most firms said business was improving compared with the prior month. Both new orders and shipments rose to their highest levels in more than a year.

Federal Reserve Extends TALF - The Federal Reserve and the Treasury have extended one of their lending programs through June 2010. Under the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility (TALF) program, the Fed has become the buyer of last resort for securities backed by assets including commercial mortgage-backed securities. The program has helped provide more credit for auto loans, student loans and commercial real estate loans.

Solar Plants to Be Built By German Firms - German thermal solar specialist Solar Millennium AG and German construction and engineering firm MAN Ferrostaal AG on Monday said they formed a joint venture to build three utility-scale plants in the Southwestern U.S. at a cost of about $3 billion. Each plant will produce enough electricity to power about 80,000 homes. Solar Millennium AG will own 70% and MAN Ferrostaal's U.S. subsidiary, MAN Ferrostaal Inc. will own 30% of the new venture, Solar Trust of America LLC. Solar Trust of America obtained Solar Millennium's power purchase agreements with Southern California Edison to deliver up to 726 megawatts of electricity.

Dollar Strengthens, Commodities Fall - The dollar showed strengthened against its major rivals this morning leading to a broad sell off in commodities. Gold fell more than 1%. *** Note - When the dollar strengthens, dollar-denominated commodities such as gold and oil generally fall.

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