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November U.S. Jobs Report: What to Expect
When the Department of Labor releases the November U.S. jobs report tomorrow (Friday), brace yourself for dismal news.
U.S. jobs growth most likely experienced a sharp slowdown last month as the late-October Superstorm Sandy interrupted economic activity.
According to a Reuters survey of economists, nonfarm payrolls are forecast to show a gain of just 93,000 in November, down considerably from 171,000 in October.
Economists surveyed by CNNMoney are more pessimistic, calling for nonfarm payroll gains of 77,000 in November.
Barclays' outlook is even bleaker. The bank sees a gain of 50,000, which would push the jobless rate to 8.0% from 7.9%.
It's Not Just Investor Demand Pushing Silver Prices Higher
You've heard that silver prices are expected to increase amid growing demand for the precious metal, as investors worried about central bank and government spending policies seek alternatives to stocks.
Money Morning Global Resources Specialist Peter Krauth said in his 2013 silver price forecast that the white metal, which closed at nearly $33 an ounce Wednesday, could hit $54 an ounce next year.
In fact, Krauth said he likes to think of silver as "gold on steroids."
But investors have largely overlooked another key factor that will contribute to higher silver prices over the next couple of years.
That's global industrial demand for silver, which will start to take off in 2013.
How the Fiscal Cliff Deal Threatens Grover Norquist's Tax Pledge
Washington doesn't need any more hurdles than it already has in reaching a fiscal cliff deal.
But one man, and the power he holds over our elected officials, is trying to prevent a deal.
I'm talking about Grover Norquist, the founder of Americans for Tax Reform, and his tax pledge.
Norquist is both hailed and loathed for his "no new taxes pledge." It commits to never raising marginal income tax rates on businesses or individuals, and opposing any net reduction or elimination of deductions andcredits, unless matched dollar-for-dollar by further reducing tax rates.
Norquist's tax pledge has been signed by almost every Republican in office. Only four current House representatives and six senators have not signed it.
But lately, those who signed on have started to change their minds concerning the 20-year-old pledge.
You see, U.S. President Barack Obama has made clear that higher tax rates for the wealthy must be part of a fiscal cliff deal – something 95% of Republicans have pledged to oppose.
And now the need for a fiscal cliff deal has caused some high-ranking Republicans to reject the pledge, threatening to loosen Norquist's ironclad grip on the party's stance toward taxes.
South China Sea Dispute Could Fuel Global Energy War
The South China Sea dispute, a fight over the 1.4 million-square-mile area crossed by one-third of world shipping routes, played out at the recently concluded Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Cambodia among China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and the Philippines.
What's behind the fight is a vast quantity of oil and gas believed to lie beneath the South China Sea.
China and the other nations desperately want the energy resources beneath the South China Sea, and the dispute has caught the attention of global financial markets.
China's biggest offshore oil company, CNOOC Limited (NYSE ADR: CEO), recently updated its projection of energy assets in the South China Sea. It said the area could hold 17 billion tons of oil and 498 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
All those resources could not be extracted, but enough could be taken out to double China's current reserves of oil and natural gas.
For its part, China's Ministry of Land and Resources says the area contains more than 40 billion tons of oil equivalent. Most of that is believed to be in the form of natural gas.
Another Chinese estimate says 2,000 trillion cubic feet of natural gas lie under the South China Sea. That would be enough gas to meet the country's needs for the next 400 years, based on 2011 consumption levels! No wonder energy-hungry China is so interested in pushing its claims in the region.
Exploration in the South China Sea has been very limited so far because few major international oil companies want to get involved in the territorial dispute. China has already successfully pressured companies like BP plc (NYSE: BP) and Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) to abandon its deals with neighboring Vietnam.
CNOOC itself caused a diplomatic row with Vietnam in June when it put up for auction nine oil and gas blocks that Vietnam says are in its territory. The blocks had already been auctioned by Vietnam to companies including ExxonMobil and Russia's Gazprom.
CNOOC Taking the Lead in South China Sea
CNOOC plans to push ahead in the South China Sea.
Get Ready to Play Higher Natural Gas Prices with These Picks
After natural gas prices hit a decade low in 2012 of below $2 per million BTU, they're up about 80% from a year ago, trading around $3.60 this week.
Looks like the six-and-a-half year bear market in natural gas maybe be coming to an end.
Falling with natural gas prices has been related investments. That means investors can go shopping now for low-priced natural gas plays before prices climb.
As Money Morning Global Energy Strategist Dr. Kent Moors said, the road to profits will not be straight up. Volatility will cut in both directions.
But the natural gas market is getting stronger.To continue reading, please click here...
Put These Shale Oil Fields on Your Radar for Energy Profits
Energy companies in search of the next big shale play are scouring shale oil and natural gas fields in Oklahoma and South Dakota.
The shale oil fields in the two states remain largely unknown to energy investors.
As Money Morning reported Nov. 27, fracking technology has opened vast shale oil and gas fields that previously had been uneconomical to exploit.
With rapid growth in recent years, so-called unconventional oil has accounted for about 2 million barrels per day of production in 2012.
In Oklahoma, where oil was discovered in 1897, conventional oil production peaked in 1927, and the state's fields were thought to be exhausted.
Oklahoma's main field, the Anadarko Basin in the western half of the state, has yielded most of Oklahoma's oil and natural gas in recent years.
Now drillers are targeting the basin's Woodford shale layer.
One of the Most Unknown -and Promising – Shale Oil Fields
One of the companies drilling in the Woodford shale layer is Continental Resources (NYSE: CLR), who told Reuters the site is "one of the thickest, best-quality resource shale reservoirs in the country."
Continental is known for its success drilling in North Dakota's Bakken, one of the best-known shale oil fields.
At 3,300 square miles in area, the Woodford shale layer is smaller than the 13,000-square-mile Bakken shale oil field or the 5,000-square-mile Eagle Ford field in Texas. But the Woodford shale reservoir is thicker, at 150 to 400 feet thick, compared with Eagle Ford at 100 to 250 feet and Bakken at 10 to 250 feet.
The U.S. Geological Survey estimates Woodford contains 400 million barrels of recoverable oil. The site is also believed to contain 250 million barrels of condensates and lots of natural gas.
Continental Resources is one of the bigger players in the Woodford reservoir. The company has increased its acreage holdings in Woodford at an even faster rate than it has in the Bakken. From 2009 to October 2012, Continental's net acreage in Woodford rose 1135 to 316,000 acres while its net acreage in the Bakken increased by 51% to 915,000 acres.
Shale Oil: Moving South from the Bakken
Another developing shale oil play that is relatively unknown – the Tyler formation – is in the Dakotas.
Everyone's Getting Antsy with No Fiscal Cliff Deal in Sight
After another day and still no progress on fiscal cliff discussions, many are beginning to think we might not see a deal before the end of the year, or even at all.
Republicans on Monday proposed their counter-offer to U.S. President Barack Obama's initial deal and, like his, it was basically the same plan previously offered.
This has led many, including Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC) CEO Brian Moynihan, to wonder how far apart the two sides really are, and how long the effects of delaying a deal will be felt.
"I'm more concerned about business behavior slowing down than I am about consumer behavior," Moynihan told CNBC this morning. "I think we're in danger if this thing strings out into 2013 that you could start to have problems of what 2014 would look like."
The Republican-proposed deficit reduction deal, which was quickly rejected by the White House, would save $2.2 trillion over the next decade by generating an additional $800 billion in tax reform, but not by raising rates, and saving $300 billion by cutting discretionary spending, $600 billion in "health savings," $200 billion in changes to the consumer price index and another $300 billion in mandatory spending.
This is in stark contrast to the president's offer, and so far it seems neither side will budge from their original positions and even begin to compromise.
Stock Market Today Stalled on Fiscal Cliffhanger
The stock market today was down slightly as concerns over the fiscal cliff continued to weigh on markets.
Shortly after 1 p.m. on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 10 points, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down about 3 points and the Nasdaq slipped nearly 14.
Of note in the ongoing fiscal cliff saga was U.S. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden's 10 a.m. meeting with six state governors on how to avoid the looming double whammy of higher taxes and government spending cuts.
The White House guests included three Republican governors: Gov. Gary Herbert, R-UT; National Governors Association (NGA) Vice Chair Gov. Mary Fallin, R-OH; and Wisconsin's Republican Gov. Scott Brown, who is best known for his battles with public employee unions during the election season.
Representing Democrats were Gov. Jack Markell of Delaware, chairman of the NGA; Arkansas's Gov. Mike Beebe and Gov. Mark Dayton of Minnesota.
Following the meeting, President Obama will engage in his first television interview since the election at 12:30 p.m. with Bloomberg News.
Market participants continue to sit on the sidelines as the GOP and Obama administration butt heads over how to avert falling off the cliff.
These Signs Point to Higher Oil Prices in 2013
On Monday, oil prices climbed above $90 for the first time in over a month, as encouraging data from China subdued concerns about going off the fiscal cliff.
Those worries have helped keep oil prices mired in the $85-$90 range after flirting with $100 in mid-September.
But positive manufacturing data from China, the hopes for a fiscal cliff resolution and a subsequent market rally, along with the ever-present risk of violence and chaos in the Middle East, are all sending oil prices higher today.
Those factors, as well as several others, should keep the pressure on for higher oil prices.