Obama Now Must Rally Democrats to Seal Tax Deal With GOP
President Barack Obama on Monday struck a deal with Republicans to extend the Bush-era tax cuts and federal unemployment insurance as well as a host of other tax breaks, but now he faces an uphill battle to convince reluctant members of his own party to go along.
Ignoring Democratic opposition, President Obama agreed to the compromise package, which cuts taxes on businesses in an effort to help the economy recover.
The deal capped weeks of negotiations between leaders in Congress and an administration team led by U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. Ultimately, Obama accepted a deal that contradicts his long-held position that tax cuts should only be extended for lower and middle-class earners in exchange for a 13-month extension of jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed.
Pfizer Hopes New CEO Ian Read Can Help Drugmaker Overcome Lipitor Revenue Loss
Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) surprised analysts and investors Sunday by announcing the replacement of Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey B. Kindler with Ian C. Read, the company's head of global biopharmaceutical operations. The move was made as the world's largest drugmaker prepares for generic competition for its top-selling cholesterol drug Lipitor.
After four and a half years in the top spot, Kindler suddenly announced his retirement, saying in a statement that the job had been "extremely demanding on me personally" and he needed to "recharge my batteries."
Pfizer needs sharp, powerful management to ready the pharmaceutical giant for the November 2011 patent expiration of cholesterol pill Lipitor, the world's top-selling drug. Lipitor accounted for $11.5 billion in sales last year – 23% of Pfizer's $50 billion total annual sales.
Money Morning Mailbag: Soaring Gold and Silver Prices Point to Profits in Equipment & Drilling Industries
Gold yesterday (Thursday) continued a four-day rise soaring as high as $1,399.70 an ounce as the dollar fell for a second consecutive day.
"Gold is up primarily on dollar weakness and economic optimism," Adam Klopfenstein, a senior market strategist for Lind-Waldock, told Bloomberg. "This is very positive for gold on the future inflation front."
This week Money Morning Contributing Editor Peter Krauth showed why gold and silver are still headed for gains in the New Year, following a 2010 surge.
By Yanking the Teeth Out of Dodd-Frank Act Ratings Rules, SEC Blunts Hope for Real Financial Reforms
Make no mistake: The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act is a slippery political football.
But this early attempt at reform is actually just the kickoff for a political skirmish that will pit legislators, lobbyists and other hired guns against one another on the post-financial-crisis gridiron.
These ongoing reform efforts will turn into a long affair whose outcome is far from certain.
But investors can bet on this: The millions of dollars in lobbying money that's thrown at legislators every year in an attempt to influence the regulatory rulebook will certainly influence that outcome.
Question of the Week: Black Friday Shoppers Go Online For More Deals, Fewer Crowds
"Black Friday" was once known as the day that determined holiday shoppers awoke before dawn to get in line at their favorite retailer for once-a-year discounts.
In recent years, however, Black Friday has morphed into a month-long retailing bacchanalia that's defined by extended in-store hours, Internet-only deals and smartphone-user specials.
The National Retail Federation estimated that 138 million shoppers would hit stores this weekend, and merchants hoped this shopping weekend would mark the full-fledged return of the formerly reticent U.S. consumer.
Cyber Monday: The "Online Black Friday" Signals Shift in U.S. Holiday Shopping Trends
U.S. retailers are hoping consumers' growing shift to online shopping will carry Black Friday's spending momentum through this week, which kicked off with Internet-only deals and discounts on yesterday's "Cyber Monday."
The Monday after Thanksgiving in the past few years has evolved into one of the biggest online shopping days of the year. The number of Cyber Monday shoppers has almost doubled in the past five years, from 59 million in 2005 to an estimated 106.9 million in 2010, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF).
Last year, shoppers spent $887 million on Cyber Monday, according to research firm comScore Inc. (Nasdaq: SCOR), and analysts expect a higher turnout this year.
What to Expect from the Federal Reserve's Next Round of Quantitative Easing
The U.S. Federal Reserve today (Wednesday) is all but certain to announce a second round of quantitative easing – "QE2."
Most analysts believe the Fed will pledge to buy another $500 billion in U.S. Treasuries, but I think it will go even further. My expectation is that $500 billion in Treasury purchases over six months will be just a first step, and that the full amount contemplated – as much as $2 trillion – is much larger than consensus.
This view is based on an analysis by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) chief domestic economist Jan Hatzius that suggests current interest rates, at 0% to 0.25%, are 700 basis points too high. In plain English, the Goldman analysis suggests that interest rates would have to be -7% to achieve the Fed's goals.
Investing in Cotton: Profit From the New "King" of the Commodities Sector
Cotton could soon become one of the world’s hottest commodity plays. That’s because soaring demand, coupled with damaged crops throughout Asia, is pushing cotton prices through the roof. Read this free report now to find out exactly how to profit from cotton.
An Open Letter to Washington: How to Fix the Deficit and End the Bush-Tax-Cuts Debate
Dear Mr. President and members of Congress:
In the months that follow Tuesday's midterm elections, and into the New Year, you all face three very significant challenges. You must:
- Find a solution to the Bush-tax-cuts controversy.
- Rein in the huge-and-growing U.S. budget deficit.
- And better police Wall Street, which got us into this mess in the first place.
You can solve all three of these problems with a single, simple proposition. And you can do so without having to ask U.S. taxpayers to dig into their wallets or savings.
Let me explain.
Warren Buffett Emphasizes Investment Risk Management With Successor Pick Todd Combs
Warren Buffett's announcement Monday that a little-known hedge fund manager, Todd Combs, will help oversee his $100 billion investment portfolio at Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: BRK.A, BRK.B) surprised investors and highlighted Buffett's emphasis on risk management for investment success.
Adding 39-year-old Combs to the Berkshire team makes him a top contender to take over Buffett's investment management duties whenever the Oracle of Omaha leaves his company.
"He is a 100% fit for our culture," said Buffett. "I can define the culture while I am here, but we want a culture that is so embedded that it doesn't get tested when the founder of it isn't around. Todd is perfect in that respect."