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Shah Shares His Latest Views on Microsoft, Apple and Facebook

During the last nine months, retired hedge-fund manager Shah Gilani – who runs the Capital Wave Forecast and Short Side Fortunes advisory services here at Money Map Press – has gone against the Wall Street “crowd” in recommending Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) and Facebook Inc. (NYSE: FB) to Private Briefing subscribers.

As usual, it paid dividends to heed Shah’s advice…

  • U.S. Unemployment

  • Will the Fed Opt For More Stimulus as the Economic Recovery Founders? Weaker-than-expected job growth is fueling speculation that the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) will unveil new stimulus measures to prop up the economic recovery when it meets today (Tuesday) for its regular rate-setting session.

    Friday's July unemployment report was by most measures a disaster, providing the latest indication the economic recovery is running out of steam with 14.6 million Americans still searching for work.

    The economy shed 131,000 jobs, as 143,000 temporary census workers fell off federal payrolls. Private-sector employment grew by 71,000 in July after a downwardly revised June increase of 31,000 workers.

    The private sector so far this year has added 90,000 jobs a month on average, well below the 125,000 needed to keep up with population growth - let alone recover the eight million jobs lost during the recession.

    "It's a double whammy because it causes people to take a psychological step back," Tig Gilliam, chief executive of staffing firm Adecco Group North America, told The Wall Street Journal. "Now, it looks like not only has the economy slowed, but maybe it wasn't as good when it was originally reported as we thought."

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  • With Mid-Term Elections Looming, Will Democrats Fire Back with a Second Stimulus Data last week showed a job market that's careening down a steep street with no breaks. Yet investors were able to shrug off employment concerns, as the stock market actually ended the week up 1.5% due to that rockin' Monday on the first day of the month.

    That's because there is growing speculation that the Democrats are plotting a surprise stimulus in the run up to November's mid-term elections.

    Let me explain...

    Click here to read on...

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  • Slight Job Gains Won't Shrink the High Unemployment Rate Employment reports released this week show mixed results, but lead to the same conclusion: The high unemployment rate isn't improving any time soon.

    U.S. private-sector jobs last month grew by only 42,000, according to a report issued yesterday (Wednesday) by payrolls processor Automatic Data Processing, Inc. (Nasdaq: ADP). ADP revised the number of jobs added in June to 19,000 from 13,000, which fell far short of economists' predictions of 39,000.

    The ADP report "shows continued weakness in the jobs market, which is in part caused by the uncertainty in the economy and general business climate," said Gary Butler, ADP's chief executive, in a statement. "American businesses are on the cusp of recovery, but more effective incentives are needed to encourage business investment resulting in the creation of more jobs."

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  • We Want to Hear From You: Are You Preparing for a Double-Dip Recession? The "pause" button has been hit on the U.S. economic recovery, fueling worries that we're headed for a double-dip recession.

    "We're in a pause in a recovery, a modest recovery, but a pause in the modest recovery feels like a quasi-recession," Former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said in an interview on NBC's "Meet the Press" broadcast Sunday.

    Greenspan touched off speculator interest in a double-dip downturn when he announced that a further decline in home prices could push the economy toward a new recession.

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  • Taipan Daily: Zero-Interest-Rate Market Investments We all know the economy has a tough row to hoe... We're facing severe unemployment. Almost 50% of those unemployed have not been able to find a job in six months. We've also seen huge bankruptcies over the past two years, such as General Motors, CIT Group and Lehman Brothers, and more than 100 banks have either closed their doors or have been seized by the FDIC in the past year alone!

    That's why the Federal Reserve has kept rates at near zero for more than a year and a half, and supported all types of stimulus measures.

    We're nowhere near out of the woods yet, and that leaves us to contemplate a "new market."

    With all the... Read More...
  • The Housing Market Still Wobbly Despite May's Home Price Improvement The S&P/Case-Shiller index of home prices increased more than forecast in May, but the combination of a now-expired government tax credit, skyrocketing foreclosures and deteriorating consumer confidence is expected to keep a lid on the housing market in the second half of 2010.

    Home prices in 20 major U.S. cities climbed 4.6% from May 2009, the biggest year-over-year gain since August 2006. However, analysts say the increase was artificially buttressed by seasonal factors and the residual impact of the homebuyers' tax credit.

    "While May's report on its own looks somewhat positive, a broader look at home price levels over the past year" doesn't show that the housing market "is in any form of sustained recovery," David M. Blitzer, chairman of S&P's index committee told The Wall Street Journal. "Since reaching its recent trough in April 2009, the housing market has really only stabilized at this lower level."

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  • Taxpayers' $3.7 Trillion Bailout Hasn't Saved the U.S. Housing Market The amount of taxpayer dollars directed at the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) continues to grow but with little economic progress being made, particularly in the housing market.

    Total taxpayer support for the mortgage market rose by $700 billion in the past year to $3.7 trillion, Neil Barofsky, the Special Inspector General for TARP, said his quarterly report to Congress.

    "Indeed, the current outstanding balance of overall Federal support for the nation's financial system...has actually increased more than 23% over the past year...the equivalent of a fully deployed TARP program - largely without congressional action, even as the banking crisis has, by most measures, abated from its most acute phases," said Barofsky.

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  • Is the U.S. Economy Destined for Deflation? With inflation low and the recovery waning, a growing chorus of analysts is beginning to suspect that U.S. policymakers aren't doing enough to head off deflation.

    U.S. producer prices fell for a third straight month in June, sliding 0.5%. That follows declines of 0.1% in May and 0.3% in April. Core inflation, which excludes food and energy costs, managed only a 0.1% increase for the month, and is up just 1.1% in the past 12 months. The U.S. Federal Reserve's preferred target for inflation is 2%.

    Meanwhile a high rate of unemployment continues to jeopardize the U.S. recovery, and economists fear that a significant drop in economic growth could tip the scales toward a deflationary spiral.

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  • British Companies Becoming Takeover Targets for Cash-Rich U.S. Companies Some of the largest and most well known British companies could soon find themselves under new, American management.

    While the U.S. recovery is losing momentum, the U.K. recovery is nonexistent. Companies across the pond are struggling to stay afloat and the British pound has fallen by about 25% against the dollar in the past two and a half years, leaving British firms vulnerable to American intrusion as takeover targets.

    That fact was highlighted earlier this year by Kraft Foods Inc.'s (NYSE: KFT) controversial takeover of British confectioner Cadbury PLC (PINK: CDSCY).

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  • Consumers Buck Economic Trends to Help Retail Sales Post Fastest Growth in Four Years The American consumer bucked strong economic headwinds to help retail sales post the fastest growth in four years, a report is expected to show today (Thursday), boosting optimism that shoppers are overcoming concerns about unemployment and a slumping housing market.

    Sales are expected to come in at the upper end of a range between 3-4% for the first five months of the retail fiscal year that began Jan. 31, the biggest gain since 2006, the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) said in advance of its June report.

    The biggest gain in retail sales since 2006 could be a signal that consumers are weathering last month's drop in consumer confidence and are not as concerned as analysts feared about the economic rebound.

    Read More...
  • Unemployment Report Shows Sluggish Recovery Will Take Years to Replace Jobs Lost in Great Recession Unemployment figures released Friday confirmed that the U.S. economy is still recovering, but they also showed it will take years to replace the 8 million jobs lost during the Great Recession.

    And until meaningful hiring takes place, consumers are unlikely to loosen their purse strings, the key to putting the economy back on track to full recovery.

    Employment fell in June for the first time this year, reflecting a drop in federal census workers and a smaller-than-forecast gain in private hiring.

    Payrolls declined by 125,000 as the government cut 225,000 temporary workers conducting the 2010 census, Labor Department figures in Washington showed. Economists projected a decline of 130,000, according to the median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey. Private employers added 83,000 to their payrolls.

    Read More...
  • Unemployment Report Shows Sluggish Recovery Will Take Years to Replace Jobs Lost in Great Recession Unemployment figures released Friday confirmed that the U.S. economy is still recovering, but they also showed it will take years to replace the 8 million jobs lost during the Great Recession.

    And until meaningful hiring takes place, consumers are unlikely to loosen their purse strings, the key to putting the economy back on track to full recovery.
    Employment fell in June for the first time this year, reflecting a drop in federal census workers and a smaller-than-forecast gain in private hiring.

    Payrolls declined by 125,000 as the government cut 225,000 temporary workers conducting the 2010 census, Labor Department figures in Washington showed. Economists projected a decline of 130,000, according to the median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey. Private employers added 83,000 to their payrolls.

    Read More...
  • U.S. Economy: Headed For a Second-Half Slowdown Constant stock market volatility, a crippled job market and the troubles plaguing the European markets are starting to take their toll on the U.S. economy. After the major market rally of 2009, is the U.S. economy headed for a second-half slowdown... or, worse, the dreaded double-dip recession? Read this report to find out exactly what’s in store for the U.S. economy... Read More...
  • Misguided Policy Paving the Way for a Double-Dip Recession With unemployment still hovering near 10%, policymakers should be doing all they can to combat joblessness and reinvigorate a recovery that is showing signs of weakness.

    But they're not.

    Instead, they're reeling in stimulus measures and enabling a double-dip recession, simply for the sake of fiscal austerity.

    The Labor Department is expected to report today (Friday) that the unemployment rate held steady at 9.7% in June, or worse, edged up to 9.8%. That would follow yesterday's (Thursday's) disappointing report that showed new claims for jobless benefits jumped by 13,000 to a seasonally adjusted 472,000. The four-week moving average, which smoothes out volatility, rose by 3,250 to 466,500 - its highest level since March.

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  • Housing Market Wobbling without Tax Credit Crutch The housing market has struggled to rebuild since its 2007 collapse, and its recovery is on even shakier ground now that a tax credit for first-time homebuyers has expired.

    Nearly one-third of all U.S. home sales in the first quarter involved properties that were in some stage of mortgage distress, according to RealtyTrac Inc.. And homes on the market that were in the process of foreclosure sold at an average discount of 27% in the first quarter, which does not bode well for new inventory coming onto the market.

    "We're clearly creating more properties that will be sold at distressed prices than the market is absorbing," Rick Sharga, RealtyTrac's senior vice president for marketing, told Bloomberg News in an interview. "The discount will probably stay between 25% and 30% as lenders carefully manage the number of new foreclosure actions in order to avoid flooding the market."
    Read More...