ECB Cuts Interest Rates Again to Fuel Growth (CNBC)
Even though NBC’s legendary comedy show “Saturday Night Live” amused Americans by featuring two Czechoslovakian “playboys,” serious business for the world’s economy is scheduled this week in Bratislava, Slovakia. That city was the venue today when the European Central Bank (ECB) announced a further 25 basis point cut to its primary interest rate, lowering it to .5 percent. Such a cut, combined with yesterday’s weaker-than-expected U.S. employment report, has snuffed out much of the optimism for a global economic recovery any time soon. In response, the ECB later today could also initiate a lending program for small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) to kick-start Europe’s economy. In the end, investors again will be left to watch for signs of a recovery, and hope the second quarter ends better than it started.
‘Thou Shalt Not Profit in 2013: Gold’s Nine-Decade Reign of Gains to End this Year (Bloomberg)
In the classic movie, “The 10 Commandments,” starring Charlton Heston, the actor played Moses, who hurled two chiseled stone tablets at followers more intent on worshipping their golden calf idol than hearing God’s word. Thus, we witnessed the first gold bear crashing the bull’s party. Well, gold now appears poised to end its longest winning streak of nine decades by year’s end. At least, that’s what Bloomberg claims, after having polled 38 analysts and compiling their estimates to find they believe the barbarous relic will end 2013 at $1,550. That would be a 7.5 percent loss for the year and the first annual decline in 90 years. The cause? “… diminishing trust in the metal’s ability to preserve value.” In other words, people losing faith. Ironic, don’t you think? As an investor, have you also lost faith in gold?
GM Earnings Beat Expectations by Nearly 25 Percent (Reuters)
Citing stronger-than-anticipated performance in North America, and a smaller-than-expected loss in Europe, General Motors crushed analysts’ expectations for the first quarter of 2013. Consensus opinion, published by Thomson Reuters, had GM earning 54 cents a share on an estimated $36.6 billion in revenue. The Detroit-based auto giant actually posted revenue of $36.9 billion, and 58 centers per share in earnings. However, excluding a one-time charge-down for devaluation in Venezuela’s currency, GM actually earned 67 cents a share, almost 25 percent higher than expected. Can the recovering car-maker expect another one-time quarter, or will it merit plaudits on its own? Stay tuned.