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SandRidge Energy Buys Oil Developer to Reduce Its Reliance on Suffering Natural Gas

SandRidge Energy, Inc. (NYSE: SD) on Sunday announced it would pay $1.6 billion for Arena Resources, Inc. (NYSE: ARD) to develop a more oil-focused business, as natural gas prices remain low.

SandRidge will pay $2.50 in cash and 4.78 SandRidge shares for each Arena share - a 17% premium to Arena's $34.26 Thursday closing price. The combined company will be valued at around $6.2 billion.

This purchase makes SandRidge one of the largest producers of conventional oil and gas in West Texas. It's the second acquisition for the company since November, when it paid $800 million for Forest Oil Corp. (NYSE: FST) properties.

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China, Europe Lapping the United States in the Clean Energy Race

If the United States doesn't take drastic measures to engineer new clean energy policies and investment initiatives, it will continue to take a back seat to China and Europe, which are driving the clean energy market toward a profitable future.

Both clean energy companies and a skilled workforce are heading overseas, where government policies are creating a more welcoming and promising market for clean energy products.

Take Massachusetts-based Evergreen Solar, Inc (Nasdaq: ESLR). In 2008, it used $58 million in government aid to open a new Massachusetts factory to build silicon wafers and cells and assemble solar panels. But in November 2009, it announced the assembly of solar panels would be moved to Wuhan, China, where solar panel manufacturing will cost far less than in the United States.

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What's Really Driving Obama's Sudden Interest in Oil

U.S. President Barack Obama generated a lot of hubbub with his decision to open up parts of the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico to oil drilling.
We've all heard the criticisms that some of the geological surveys are as much as 30 years old, and the arguments that the ecological impact of drilling off the U.S. East Coast isn't worth the accessible oil, which some critics estimate could play out in as little as six months at current demand levels.

But even after more than a day of debate over the motivations for - and possible results from - President Obama's apparent energy policy about-face, one thing is very clear: This announcement has nothing to do with oil.

It's all about the U.S. dollar.

To find out why President Barack Obama really lifted the moratorium on oil drilling, please read on...

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United States Lifts Oil Drilling Ban to Reduce Foreign Energy Dependence

President Barack Obama announced will lift a 20-year ban on offshore oil and natural gas drilling and exploration, hoping to create jobs, generate revenue and reduce the United States' dependence on foreign oil.

Obama and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar released a detailed plan to allow drilling off the Atlantic coast, eastern Gulf of Mexico and north coast of Alaska, provided coastlines are protected. Environmental concerns about the possibility of oil spills initially caused the drilling ban. Drilling would still be prohibited from New Jersey northward, on the Pacific Coast and in Alaska's Bristol Bay.

The plan aims to bolster the United States' ability to supply its own energy, but also acknowledges the need to move toward clean energy policies and protect natural resources.

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Indonesia Catching China's Eye

It's an open secret that Indonesia's economy is on the rise. In the spirit of March Madness, it's something of a sleeper.  That's why China, which is always looking for promising new investments, is looking to make inroads there.

Indeed, China's appetite for commodities makes Indonesia - with its close proximity and abundance of natural resources - an ideal partner.

PetroChina Co. Ltd. (NYSE ADR: PTR), Sinopec, Sinosteel, Minmetals and China Investment Corp (CIC) - Beijing's $300 billion sovereign wealth fund - are all aggressively scouring South East Asia's largest economy for takeover targets and joint venture partners, the Live Trading News reported.

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How the Little Guy Will Fix Oil Futures and Get In on the Profits

Sometimes big things come from small meetings.

As an example, consider one particularly contentious 1927 session at the Royal Institute of International Affairs that took place at Chatham House in the center of London's Westminster. It originated an idea now used worldwide - the famous Chatham House Rule. Under its most recent revision (2002), the Rule allows the participants of a meeting to use the information received there, but prohibits them from revealing the identity or affiliation of anyone else present.

The Chatham Rule also governed the meetings I attended at Windsor Castle outside London from a recent Friday through to the early-morning hours of the following Monday. These meetings were the annual consultations of the Queen's Windsor Energy Group, which were meant to be private, high-level, discretionary advisories. This is one of the few "old boys" clubs left in the world where talk can translate directly into action.

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Despite the Near-Record Run in U.S. Stocks, Oil, Commodities and China Will be the Long-Term Winners

Although U.S. stocks have made a fairly smooth transition into Year Two of what's so far been a near-record bull market, there are still many traps that can quickly ensnare a less-than-cautious investor.

Moving forward, investors need to focus on quality, take the time to understand what's really happening in Washington, and turn to such once-unconventional investments as oil, commodities and China stocks, says Money Morning Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald.

"I expect the markets to remain very fragmented. Volatility will almost certainly increase, leaving investors both psychologically scarred and totally confused," Fitz-Gerald said, underscoring the need for investors to embrace a truly global view. "Fully 75% of the economic activity on the planet now takes place outside U.S. borders. So it only makes sense that investors embrace new ways of thinking in order to avoid getting left behind. At the same time, energy and commodities still have a long way to run - meaning there's substantial profit potential available."

In a wide-ranging interview, the former professional trade advisor, best-selling author and noted Asia-investing expert:

  • Predicted that oil and commodity prices are headed higher, making them "must-invest" asset classes for investors who don't want to be left behind.
  • Stated that ongoing miscues in Washington coupled with higher growth abroad make it imperative that U.S. investors embrace a truly global view when planning their investing strategies.
  • And predicted that many blue-chip U.S. companies will go for dual-listings, listing their shares on China's Shanghai Stock Exchange (SSE), providing those U.S.-based firms with access to the plentiful capital and robust growth available in that Asian giant's marketplace.

For a full transcript of this interview, read on...

Money Morning Mailbag: The Capital Wave That Could Blunt the U.S. Recovery

Question: How can banks justify not giving out mortgage money in light of the fact that they can now qualify their applicants to a level not previously seen? I am talking about literally millions of people applying for loans with 800-plus FICO scores and Loan-to-Value (LTV) Ratios that are better than ever before.

How can banks and lending institutions take our money and then turn around and shut nearly everyone out - which simply prolongs this recession? Can anyone explain why the present administration and regulatory bodies are not forcing the banks to loan monies to qualified applicants?

At this rate, we will be dead soon.   Without borrowing, we will die.  

•  (Signed) Living in Costa Rica

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Money Morning Mailbag: Capital Wave Investing Strategies Spotlight the World's Top Profit Plays

Question: Shah, your article on capital-wave investing was outstanding. In fact, I would love to see a follow-up piece for those of us who are not traders and who are not out and about following the current short-term market trends.

For example, when you talk about the Obama administration's determination to keep interest rates low - this has consequences. What will those rates be in, say, a three-year to five-year time frame? What if the European countries keep having implosions like Greece - meaning that countries like Portugal, Spain and Italy follow suit?

In your opinion, will that eventually sink the euro, or does the Eurozone have to bail out those countries with a plan that's similar to the one that it is developing for Greece? What happens to other currencies in either of these scenarios?

Finally, is it your opinion that China is trying to curtail its growth to keep itself from overheating? Can Beijing successfully continue to do this - or will this blow up in China's face? If you look down the road, say, three to five years, what do you believe the consequences, if any, will be?

Again, Shah, this was a really informative article. I would love to hear your views on what you actually see playing out in each of these areas during the next few years.

Answer: Thank you for your kind words about the article and for taking the time to pose your questions - which are excellent ones, by the way. Let's take a look at them, one at a time...

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High Gas Prices Got You Down? Beat the Oil Industry at its Own Game…

As the price of crude oil moves above $80 a barrel, consumers are wondering just how high gas prices can go.

Now is the time for such questions.

It's during the month of March that the market begins to readjust inventory and production in advance of the summer driving season. This usually means that production shifts from heating oil to gasoline.

Actually, the real issue is what refined products will be emphasized in the production process. To put it bluntly, U.S. refineries have insufficient capacity to handle all needs.

And that could make you some serious money.

To find out how you can profit from the oil market, read on...

To find out how you can profit from the oil market, read on...

How Capital Waves Are Creating the Biggest Profit Opportunities in Today's Markets

Back when oil was trading at a record high of $145 a barrel - and was generally expected to go higher - I concluded that the forces at play were speculative, not fundamental - driven by new institutional money looking to diversify away from too many concentrated equity bets. I argued these forces were temporary, and not entrenched, meaning that oil prices were actually headed for a fall.

The "forces" I was referring to are called "capital waves." Capital waves create some of the biggest trading opportunities in the markets today. Investors who are able to spot capital waves and identify their likely impact have a huge advantage over those who don't.

With oil, for instance, pundits were calling for new highs of $200, $250, $300 and even $500 a barrel. But behind the curtain, there was a major capital wave at play: I knew that oil was being pumped out of the ground like mad, and that shipping rates were exploding because oil was being stored in offshore, idled tankers. I knew that as little as $20 billion had been "re-allocated" out of the equity markets and into this new-asset-class investment for pension fund accounts.

As a speculative frenzy seemed to be enveloping the oil market, I called for oil prices to plummet - to more than a few looks of incredulity or outright guffaws.

When the secondary capital waves took hold, the speculative advance in oil prices first stalled - and then oil prices plunged as capital exited in another wave.

Don't feel bad if you missed this opportunity. That's the important thing to remember about capital waves - they're out there if you know where to look and how to interpret them. In fact, as good as this oil play was, I see even better opportunities ahead.

To learn about the Top Five "capital waves," read on...

Oil Prices on the Rise as OPEC Holds Production Steady

Oil prices yesterday (Wednesday) rose $1.23, or 1.5%, to close at a two-month high of $82.93 on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) a fter the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries opted to keep its production quotas in place.

However, it may not be much longer before prices take off again, possibly hitting $100 a barrel by the end of the year.

Current prices are "beautiful," Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi told reporters before OPEC's meeting.

"The producer is looking at this price, the consumer is looking at the price, the investor is looking at the price, and everybody is saying this is great," he said.

OPEC, which supplies about 40% of the world's oil, set its official cap at 24.845 million barrels per day (bpd) in December 2008 and has kept it there for five straight meetings. In that time oil prices have more than doubled.

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It's Time to Invest in Canada

This isn't the first time that I've written about Canada, a well-run country that has avoided many of the mistakes made by the United States. Its budget deficit is moderate, its balance-of-payments deficit is also small, its banking system is in pretty good shape and it faces very little inflation risk, since the country has maintained a reasonable monetary policy.

At this point, you might well be asking: Well, if you've said this all before, why does it bear repeating now?

The answer is simple: As I've hunted for attractive investments recently, I have noticed that a very high percentage of those companies are domiciled north of the border.

In short, it's time to invest in Canada.



To discover the profit opportunities available just north of the border, please read on...

BP Dives Into Brazil's Offshore Oil Industry With $7 Billion Deal

British oil giant BP PLC (NYSE: BP) has finally entered Brazil's vaunted deepwater oil market with a $7 billion purchase of Devon Energy Corporation (NYSE: DVN) assets. BP yesterday (Thursday) announced it would acquire some of Devon's interests in Brazil, Azerbaijan and the Gulf of Mexico. BP also agreed to sell Devon a 50% stake […]

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The Scramble for Africa: Profiting From World's Largest Cache of Commodities

In the quarter century stretching from the late-1880s to the First World War, there was a mad rush by the world's leading powers to occupy and annex African territory. Now, 100 years later, the world's elite again are scrambling to make their respective marks on the continent.

The methods of extraction have changed, but the end goal remains the same - to gain access to Africa's coveted bounty of commodities.

Most notably, Chinese interests have swarmed Africa, constructing roads, rail lines, municipal buildings, schools, ports, and pipelines in exchange for access to natural resources.

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