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January 22, 2010     Post-Gazette
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Page 4 POST-GAZETTE, JANUARY 22, 2010 ! U.S. stocks had their worst decline of the year as the first week of earnings sea- son failed to live up to its investors lofty expectations• JP Morgan Chase showed the company is still strug- gling adding to evidence that the U.S. consumer is too far from a recovery. The Dow Jones fell dropping 100.90 points or .9%, its biggest decline of the New Year. After a 62% stock market rally since March, investors came into the 4 th quarter earnings season with high expectations. Revenue fore- cast had been rising since the summer and analysts were forecasting the first gain in earnings for compa- nies in the S&P500 stock index since the 2 "d quarter of 2007. To have two mar- quee names like JP Morgan and Intel release their losses as did Bank of America is a very bad sign suggesting that a broader correction may be in store. The S&P500 fell I. 1% with all of its sec- tion falling, led by a 2% pull back in financials. The U.S. dollar gained against the euro and U.S. Treasury debt edged higher. The 10 year note rose 16/32 to yield 3.682% and crude oil prices dropped for five straight days amidst worries that the weak U.S. economy may keep a lid on demand. Oil prices dropped below $78/bii. This week brings a wave of reports, IBM, Citigroup, CSX and Starbucks follow on Wednesday. EARNINGS SEASON Hershey plans to bid 8179 billion next week for Cadbury after concluding that it has the financial clout to top Kraft Foods 8172 billion offer said people familiar with the matter. Last week Hershey was putting a bid together that could kick off a bidding war not seen since 2008. It now has a loan of $I0 billion from banks and $5 billion in new Hershey shares and $3 billion from private inves- tors and the Hershey Trust, to equal 800 pence compared to 700 pence by Kraft. Cad- bury shares currently trade @ 794 pence. The offering is now 75-80% likely, said a person familiar with the matter. The company and the trust declined to com- ment. A spokesman for Kraft said, "We continue to believe that our offer presents the best value and upside poten- tial for Cadbury sharehold- ers. Hershey's bid has gained momentum in recent days, but would not bid if Kraft raised their price to 800 pence or more. Kraft has until the end of January to make its final offer. Hershey would then have a deadline to make its approach to be set by the takeover panel. GM appointed a new team to lead Opel, a stakeout aimed at turning around the European car maker and it lent the unit $1 billion. GM is aimed to present a plan taken this month. GM lent Opel $900 million in Novem- ber. Angela Merkel's govern- ment won't commit state aid to Opel's restructuring un- less they are convinced GM has a sound plan. Mr. Reilly will step down from Opel's advisory board and is re- placed by Mr. Girsky, who will continue to get $200,000 yearly as a GM director be- sides getting reimbursed for living expenses and travel- ing costs. He will also get $75,000 per month in stock for his additional role as ad- visor to the GM's CEO. Most economists expected Q4 growth of 85,000 jobs and job growth to resume in Q I, the optimism index shot up 5.1%, the first upbeat read- ing since September. Still the sub 50 reading indicates pessimism, and unemploy- ment should stay subnor- mally high. Most economists expect jobs to come in mid 2010. Confidence is weakest in the midwest, hard hit by the auto industry and manu- facturing overall. An index of small business job growth, usually the main driver of job growth continues to shed jobs, but at a slower pace a recent survey showed. The job growth will not be fast enough to dramatically re- duce the unemployment rate, and credit remains tight. In an IBD/TIPP tele- phone poll of 923 adults from January 4-9% the index was more upbeat to 41.3%. Presi- dent Obama's rating was 50.8% down from 71% when he took office in February. It's time to call your financial advisor or call me 617-261-7777. THE GOP NEEDS MORE SEAN DUFFYS Republican Sean Duffy is a young 38-year-old district attorney from northern Wisconsin. He's talking fiscal responsibility, creat- ing jobs and dealing with growing entitlements. He attacks the idea of higher taxes and opposes Obama- Care. Says the Wall Street Journal, "He's Facebooking and Twittering. He comes across as a serious yet positive reformer, a combo that has caught the public's eye." He's taking on a liberal Democratic icon in David Obey who chairs the House by Sal Giarratani Appropriations Committee. Obey has also been the con- gressman for Wisconsin's 7 th district since before Duffy was born. Duffy is getting campaign traction as many voters are getting angry with the Democratic spending agenda. He says, "I'm run- ning because this is the fight of my generation ... our fight is becoming one for the principles of free mar- kets and against creeping socialism." Duffy wants to rebrand the Republican ef- fort by warning against continued spending, im- FOR ALL YOUR INSURANCE NEEDS Richard AUTO * HOMEOWNERS * TENANTS LIFE * HEALTH * BUSINESS GROUP Experience makes the difference WE PROMISE TO MEET OR IMPROVE YOUR PRESENT POLICY COVERAGE AT AFFORDABLE RATES CALL TODAY FOR YOUR QUOTE 617-523-3456 1 Longfellow - Place Suite 2322 - Boston, MA 02114 pending Medicare cuts, higher taxes and increased government regulation. Duffy could very well be the prototype for a new Republi- can which is FOR something rather than just opposed to something else. It is about what you are for rather than what you're against that should really matter. Am I right or what? PRAYER TO ST. JUDE May the Sacred Heart of Jesus be adored, glorified, loved and pre- served throughout the world now and forever. Sacred Heart of Jesus pray for us. St. Jude, worker of miracles, pray for us. St. Jude, help of the hopeless, pray for us. Say this prayer 9 times a day and by the 8th day your prayers will be answered. It has never been known to fail. Publication must be promised. My prayers have been answered. V.F. ST. JUDE AND ST. ANTHONY NOVENA May the Sacred Heart of Jesus be adored, glorified, loved and preserved throughout the world now and for- ever. Sacred Heart of Jesus pray for us. St. Jude, worker of miracles, pray for us. St. Jude, help of the hopeless, pray for us. St. Anthony, most loving protector and wonder worker, pray for us. Say this prayer 9 times a day and by the 8th day your prayer will be answered. It has never been known to fail. Publication must be promised. My prayers have been answered. Favor received. ATP Everyone Deserves a Lifetime I've been hearing a new radio commercial about breast cancer awareness. The ad's got a slogan that goes, "Everyone deserves a lifetime." What's a lifetime? Living to reaching 90 years old? Living to being the old- est person in your family's generation? All we have is time. Our time can be long or short. My father retired and had only five healthy retirement years. My cousin died at age 14 years old from cancer. An uncle died from the same disease at 38 years old. Deserving a lifetime? Of what? We all think about our mortality every New Year's Eve. At least I do, as I think of birth every Christmas. However, the real unknown is what happens between Christmas and New Year's Eve and I'm not talking about one week's time but the life- time itself. A friend of mine and co- worker is about 13 months older than me. Several years ago, he wrote a commentary for the Patriot Ledger down in Quincy entitled, "Soldier re- calls Christmas spent under fire in Vietnam." As my friend Bob Brack wrote in that newspaper piece, "Twas the night before Christmas 1967, no chance of snow, the temperature was a balmy 86 degrees, with occasional warmer breezes. We were under a "blackout" proce- dure, which mean no open lights. We really didn't need any, since the night horizon was often ablaze with para- chute flares, illuminating the "no-mans land" between our peremeter and the tree- line." That's how a young Bob Brack remembered that long ago Christmas fighting to stay alive in the jungles of Nam. He remembered lis- tening to Christmas music and sweating in I00 degrees in the shade. He thought about home and his family and the life he took so often for granted. Then, Vietnam happened again. Someone yelled "incoming" and every- one went down in their bun- kers. A mortar landed near- by. Before he could move, he heard a terrible boom and a blast of gasoline. Dirt and shrapnel snuck through the 6-inch gunport openings. He was drenched in gasoline but never caught fire. This time there were no deaths only bleeding to stop. To Brack, it seemed all like a John Wayne movie, only it wasn't a movie. It was part of his lifetime. Life in Vietnam wasn't exactly a silent night. When he prayed, all he asked was, "I'm 19 years old, help me get to 20." He did and much more. Bob Brack's lifetime sur- vived that jungle war and carried a better understand- ing of what his life really was. For me, it was Christmas 1966. I was in the US Air Force and 18 years old. I saw Vietnam in my future too. Then, I became sick after Thanksgiving that year. Af- ter several trips to the base hospital, I was told I had a serious medical issue and that I would be discharged. As I flew out of Lackland AFB in San Antonio, Texas, I wondered if I would see my 19 th birthday. I arrived home three days before Christmas thinking I had a serious liver or kidney disease. It turned out eventually that I had neither, but on that Christmas Day it seemed like my lifetime was shut- ting down on me. It didn't. My medical issue was quite treatable and with time I moved on with my life know- ing it wasn't my time yet. Today, in 2010, I am 61 years old and healthy in body and mind. Bob Brack is 62 years old and equally healthy like me. We both learned a valuable lesson many Christmases ago about what a lifetime meant to each of us. This year, I appreciated New Year's Eve and the beginning of the next year of my lifetime as I am sure Brack .did likewise. He dodged a visible enemy in front of him. I dodged an in- visible enemy within me. Everyone deserves a life- time but a lifetime is often what we make of it and what we do with it. I learned to appreciate it and use it well. Bob Brack did too. It is only right that the two of us would end up working together in this part of our lifetime. In- vest in your lifetime. You only get one. f Boston Harborside Home Joseph A. Langone k. 580 Commercial St. - Boston, MA 02109 617-536-4110 www.bostonharborsidehome.com Joseph F. Allen Trevor Slauenwhite Frederick J. Wobrock Dino C. Manca 1 A Service Family Afiliate of AFFS/Service Corporation International 206 Winter St., Fall River, MA 02720 Telephone 508-676-2454