Thursday, December 24, 2009

Two mega-growth plays: Potash and Freeport

By Money Matters Editors

Two stocks to get your new investing year – 2010 – off to a good start: Potash and Freeport McMoRan.

Potash (POT). Potash remains one of the preeminent fertilizer companies in the world, producing three critical, primary plant nutrients and phosphate animal feed ingredients for both developed and developing world markets. As emerging markets develop, they need more food on a per capita basis, and that’s good news for solidly-performing fertilizer companies, such as Potash. Sell/Stop Loss for POT: $57.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Build mega solar fields in the desert? Not so fast

By Money Matters Editors

You knew solar energy could not be the no-doubt-about-it superenergy form of the 21st century – at least not at the start.

The solar panel now has a few ‘cracks’ in it, as a result of a new environmental concern about destroyed or impacted vistas – basically sight pollution, but also pollution that physically harms the environment.

U.S Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-California) stated opposition to building in the Mojave Desert has effectively scuttled 13 big solar energy plants and wind projects there, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

OPEC is sitting pretty

By Money Matters Editors

For OPEC, it’s the best of times.

OPEC, meeting in Angola, said they don’t plan to reduce production despite bountiful supplies, Bloomberg News reported Monday.

The reason? Oil prices are so advantages – oil closed Monday at $72.47 per barrel – that the group does not have to take action even though demand is modest and supplies are at 1-year and in some cases at 3-year highs in key developed world markets.

What’s keeping oil’s price so high? Well, part of it is the expectation that global economic growth – in particular, emerging market demand – will eventually place pressure on global oil supplies in a year or so. But perhaps the biggest factor in oil’s unusually high price despite sluggish demand is the weak dollar. Depending on the model one uses, the weak dollar has added $10-25 to oil’s price.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Senate Democrats hope to retain 'Sweet 60' to pass health care reform

By Money Matters Editors

Senate Democrats late Sunday night were poised to begin a test vote for the health care reform bill, now that U.S. Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Nebraska, was granted certain concessions and agreed to support the bill on Saturday

If the health care reform bill passes, it would be the biggest social policy advance by the United States since the passage of Medicare in 1965, and it would rank third behind the latter and the establishment of Social Security of 1935 in terms of social safety net significance.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Health care reform: A good bill is better than none

By Money Matters Editors

Health care reform update: Former President Bill Clinton, D-Arkansas, hit the nail on the head  Thursday when he evaluated whether Democrats should or should not vote for a health care reform bill that does not contain a public option.

Clinton urged Democrats and others to vote for the bill: “Does this bill read exactly how I would write it? No. Does it contain everything everyone wants? Of course not," Clinton told the Agence France-Presse. “But America can't afford to let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Job growth is the honey for voters' vinegar

By Money Matters Editors

Tea Partiers. People upset at the Fed. People who want to put term limits on Congress. You name it: the United States abounds in vocal, but for the most part thinly-supported critics.

And although their complaints run the gamut of the political, social, and cultural spectrum, they all really come down to one aspect of American life: the economy. And regarding the economy, the issue of jobs is front and center.

Some critics want to replace Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, who, by the way, was just selected Time Magazine’s “Person of the Year” for 2009. Money Matters Editors wholeheartedly agrees with the selection: it is deserved.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Look for the Fed to keep rates low for a long time

By Money Matters Editors

U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is not raising short-term interest rates Wednesday, and he’s not for several quarters.

And it’s not just because the Fed needs to stimulate the U.S. economy: there’s a new fad making the rounds in Washington – it’s called ‘scapegoat the Fed.’

The fad appears every 20 years or so when lawmakers want to blame someone or something for the nation’s economic woes: why not blame the Fed.