April 22, 2008, 3:37 pm
Utility chief: we want to fuel the auto industry
PASADENA, Calif. — If you wanted a snapshot of the emerging alliance between utilities and automakers, the car park of the Langham hotel here was the place to be Tuesday morning. There was the CEO of one of the largest utilities in the United States putting the pedal to the metal of the battery-powered Think City with Think Global CEO Jan-Olaf Willums riding shotgun.
“I liked it a lot,” PG&E (PCG) Chairman and CEO Peter Darbee told Green Wombat after a few spins around the hotel in the electric coupe. “The acceleration was fast, it handled well and it has a European feel.”
We had just finished a Fortune Brainstorm Green session on electric cars (along General Motors’ (GM) executive Beth Lowery), where Darbee declared, “We want to replace the oil industry” as the fuel supplier to the automakers.
Crude Oil Rises to $90 After U.S. Economic Stimulus Plan
By Christian Schmollinger
Jan. 25 (Bloomberg) -- Crude oil rose for a second day, trading near $90 a barrel in New York, after U.S. lawmakers announced an economic stimulus package to avoid recession in the world's biggest energy-consuming country.
Mortgage rates decline steadily
By Martin Crutsinger
The Associated Press
May 27, 2005
WASHINGTON -- Rates on 30-year mortgages declined for the seventh time in the past eight weeks -- a downward trend that has helped push sales of both new and existing homes to record levels.
Mortgage giant Freddie Mac said Thursday in its weekly survey that rates on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages averaged 5.65 percent, down from 5.71 percent last week.
The decline pushed the 30-year mortgage down to its lowest level since mid-February.
The steady decline in mortgage rates during the past two months has helped spur housing sales to record levels and prompted some economists to revise their forecasts for the year.
Many now think that, if mortgage rates rise only gradually for the rest of the year, sales of both new and existing homes could surpass last year's levels and set records for a fifth straight year.
Yes, your point about the relative risks of limited partnerships is well taken. And this is why I'm considering some munis now. But with rates at or near historic lows, does it make sense to lock into shorter term munis?
Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM - news) for $1.6 billion, its second major acquisition in the rapidly consolidating discount brokerage business since August.
Are there any BrownCo customers out there who can share some thoughts about their plans to either stay the course or move to another brokerage?
Crude Oil Rises From Three-Month Low as Global Equities Gain
By Christian Schmollinger and Gavin Evans
Jan. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Crude oil rose from a three-month low in New York on speculation U.S. regulators' efforts to support financial companies will limit the impact of the nation's slowing economic growth on global energy demand.
January 7, 2009, 10:36 am
Oil Slick: Will OPEC Production Cuts Go Too Far?
Posted by Keith Johnson
OPEC seems serious about cutting oil production to shore up prices. The risk is that, for once, the oil cartel will be too successful.
Despite plenty of skepticism that OPEC would be able to meet its new, sharply-reduced output quotas, all signs so far point to a surprising degree of discipline. Analysts say OPEC’s belt-tightening, more than any geopolitical strife, explains the 26% rise this year in benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures.
In recent days, a spate of OPEC members have publicized their lower production. Kuwait told U.S. and European customers it would reduce shipments by 10% starting this month, and told Asian customers it would trim shipments 5%. Iran is sharply cutting supplies to some Asian refiners. Even Angola is speeding up its production cuts this month to try to stick to its quotas.
The impact of that lower production can be already seen in financial markets, the Financial Times says, noting that for the first time ever, lower-quality OPEC oil is trading at parity with higher-quality Brent crude in futures markets. That is a sign of “physical tightness” in OPEC markets, the paper says. A cruder measure of OPEC’s success so far: The price of OPEC’s crude basket has risen 13% since announcing a new round of production cuts Dec. 17; benchmark WTI futures have risen just 7.8% in that time. So far this year, OPEC crude is up 30%, versus 26% for WTI.
For oil analysts at Societe Generale, OPEC output will weigh more than geopolitical tensions like Gaza or the Russian natural-gas fight in the near term: “More significant for fundamentals and prices this year are continuing reports of aggressive OPEC production cuts.”
But at the same time, demand for oil in the world’s biggest oil consumer isn’t quite as weak as initially suspected, SocGen notes, after the first upward revision in U.S. monthly oil consumption for October in 20 months. “Most of the U.S. demand destruction has already taken place,” SocGen says.
Plenty of analysts have worried that OPEC would have to overdo production cuts in order to de-claw oil-market bears and send oil prices north again. The idea is that demand-side worries were overblown, while supply-side threats were being ignored. Is that scenario now on the table?
OPEC Members Will Cut to Get Oil Prices Near $75, Angola Says
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By Candido Mendes
Dec. 16 (Bloomberg) -- OPEC members will cut oil production as much as 2 million barrels a day at this week’s meeting to get prices near $75 a barrel, Angola’s oil minister said.
“We don’t know how much will be cut yet, but some OPEC members are suggesting cuts of 1.5 to 2 million barrels,” Jose Maria Botelho de Vasconselos told reporters in Luanda today before tomorrow’s meeting in Oran, Algeria. “It is consensual amongst member countries that $70-75 a barrel is satisfactory.”
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, supplier of more than 40 percent of the world’s oil, is gathering for the fourth time in as many months to discuss further production cuts after crude prices plunged 70 percent from July’s all-time high of $147.27 a barrel.
OPEC is ready to make a “big” cut in supplies when it meets tomorrow, Venezuelan Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez said. Crude has tumbled 70 percent from a record $147.27 a barrel on July 11 as the deepening global recession cuts demand for fuel.
Angola vies with Nigeria to be Africa’s largest oil producer.
For the record, I am a FRO investor, and ourkidz papa was kind enough to respond to some thoughts/questions that I (and other FRO investors) have about munis.
I appreciate your additional input, boonedoggle73. I'm about fifteen years from retirement, but my portfolio doesn't include any bonds. I have some cash in I Bonds (treasury), and some investments in limited partnerships that are doing well. But it sounds as though a small investment in a muni wouldn't be very beneficial at this point.
Think to Bring Electric Car to U.S.--Next Year
By Marty Jerome April 22, 2008 | 1:46:53 PM
The battery-powered Think City has a range of up to 110 miles on a single charge, with a top speed of about 65 mph, company officials say. It will be priced under $25,000....
This would be groundbreaking. Tesla's sports car may have pioneered the resurgent electric car in the U.S. But that vehicle costs $100,000 and only about 300 will be built per year.
How is Think different? Read after the jump.
Spokespeople for Think plan to produce 30,000 to 50,000 within two years. Currently the company produces 10,000 vehicles per year in Europe.
Think North America, as its U.S. arm is called, will build cars in Southern California. The vehicle was originally developed by Ford, though it sold it to Norwegian investors in 2003. And while there are a half-dozen U.S. startups working on electric cars, Think has received backing most recently from General Electric. It also has backing from venture capital firms that include RockPort Capital Partners and Silicon Valley heavyweight, Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers.
With all respect to investors who bought FNF at prices much lower than the current PPS, and with vigilance to downward trends in the real estate industry, does bullish sentiment really apply to investors who have a high cost basis for FNF?
"Stock is pretty much already punished by the share price now. So if it went from 96 to 26 where else can it go?? Thats something people fail to see. The stock price is already reflecting a guilty outcome. Only place for it to go is up. Shorts in at the $40 and lower are not going to make much."
This may be one of the few sensible posts on the current DMND board.
Thank you, verioinc.
Mortgage Applications Increased Last Week
Mar. 30, 2005 - Applications for U.S. home mortgages increased last week as higher home purchasing activity offset a decrease in refinancing at a time when mortgage rates are rising, an industry group said on Wednesday.
The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted index of mortgage application activity increased 2.4 percent to 674.3 in the week ended March 25, partly offsetting the 9.5 percent decline the week before.
Thank you for your generous response. Much of what you offer is in keeping with information I've considered. Given your cautionary note about sizeable denominations, it sounds as though I should hold off for another ten years, and then adjust my portfolio. Again, I appreciate your thoughtful message.
"As I have stated, I am 87% in muni bonds, and I have only one stock which makes up the other 13% of my portfolio. That stock is FRO....(given my objectives, financial situation, time horizon, risk tolerance, etc)."
My particulars (e.g., objectives, financial situation, etc.) are probably different than yours, but I've been thinking about investing in some munis. Have you found them to be relatively safe investments? Is there a downside to starting with small sums (e.g., $10K)? Thanks.
U.S. Existing Home Sales Rise in March
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Sales of existing U.S. homes rose 1.0 percent in March to the third-highest level on record as an increase in single-family sales offset a dip in sales of condominiums, a trade group said on Monday.