Monthly Archives: June 2010

Hales Alehouse about to open

Look for my story Monday. Located at Kitsap Mall, the alehouse undergoes a soft opening during the days next week, and after the Fourth of July weekend will kick into regular hours, staying open during the evenings too. I got to know longtime premium-beer entrepreneur Mike Hale a bit better during an interview, and now you can too. His interest in Kitsap County could extend beyond the mall, depending.

Rachel Pritchett

Friday stocks fluctuate on bank overhaul, higher euro

Dow now at 10,177, up 25 points this morning.

NEW YORK (AP) — The stock market fluctuated Friday as investors registered their relief over a banking overhaul bill that is less strict than feared. A stronger euro also lifted stocks.
The Dow Jones industrials were down about a point while broader indexes were marginally higher.
An assortment of news competed for investors’ attention. After the early Friday morning deal on a financial regulation bill, the government reported that the gross domestic product, the broadest measure of the economy, had grown at a weaker pace than originally estimated during the first quarter. And investors were still reacting to BlackBerry maker Research in Motion Ltd.’s disappointing earnings report issued late Thursday. Investors were also waiting to see whether any substantive help for the global economy would come from this weekend meeting of leaders from the G20 countries.
The GDP and Research in Motion news initially brought stocks lower. But financial stocks rose in response to the financial regulation bill. And a recovery in the euro, the currency shared by 16 European countries, helped other stocks recoup their earlier losses.
Investors had been concerned that the financial regulation bill would sharply curtail bank profits by limiting financial companies’ ability to trade in derivatives. Derivatives are complex securities that companies and investors often use to hedge against losses. But some derivatives are purely speculative investments, and some of this type of derivatives have been blamed for contributing heavily to the collapse of the housing market and the 2008 financial crisis.
The bill provides for derivative trading to be regulated, but the harshest provisions related to the investments were not included.
Another investor concern was alleviated: A plan that would have had banks paying for the costs of unwinding mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, was not included in the bill that will now go to the House and Senate for final approval.
“The bill could have been a lot worse,” said Alan Valdes, vice president at Hilliard Lyons in New York. “It’s a bill we can live with.”
That pushed bank stocks higher: U.S. Bancorp rose 2.8 percent, while Bank of America added 2.1 percent. Some of the big Wall Street banks that will see the most changes from the bill also rose in part on relief of knowing what is in the legislation and in part because not all parts of the overhaul were as burdensome as feared. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. rose 2.6 percent, while JPMorgan Chase & Co. gained 2.4 percent.
But overall gains were limited by the GDP report. The government said the GDP, the broadest measure of the economy’s health, rose at a 2.7 percent annual pace in the first quarter, rather than the 3 percent previously estimated. The report follows a string of weaker-than-expected economic numbers in the past week and raised investors concerns about the recovery.
In early afternoon trading, the Dow Jones industrial average fell 1.58, or 0.02 percent, to 10,151.22. The broader Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 2.94, or 0.3 percent, to 1,076.63, and the Nasdaq composite index rose 8.72, or 0.4 percent, to 2,226.14.
Trading was expected to be heavy and volatile because Friday is the day that stocks within the Russell indexes are being added and deleted. That forces investors to buy and sell certain stocks if they have portfolios that follow the indexes.
The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies rose 7.32, or 1.2 percent, to 640.49.
Treasury prices rose, driving down interest rates. The 10-year Treasury note’s yield fell to 3.09 percent from 3.14 percent late Thursday.
The euro, which investors have been treating as a measure of confidence in Europe’s ability to resolve its economic problems, was up at $1.2356.
Investors are waiting to see what news comes out of the G20 meeting being held this weekend in Toronto. The world economy, including Europe’s debt problems, will dominate the talks. President Barack Obama will be among the leaders attending the meeting.
Crude oil rose $2.16 to $78.67 on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Investors are cautious after the latest economic reports have cast doubt on the strength of the recovery. On Thursday, a disappointing durable goods orders report from the government and downbeat forecasts from analysts raised questions about manufacturing and consumer spending.
U.S. Bancorp rose 64 cents, or 2.8 percent, to $23.24, while Bank of America climbed 31 cents, or 2.1 percent, to $15.33.
Goldman Sachs rose $3.46, or 2.6 percent, to $138.44 and JPMorgan advanced 90 cents, or 2.4 percent, to $38.93.
Research in Motion fell $5.38, or 9.2 percent, to $53.19. The company said late Thursday its net income for the most recent quarter rose 20 percent, but investors were displeased with company’s revenue and subscriber growth.
More than two stocks rose for every one that fell on the New York Stock Exchange, where volume came to 538 million shares.
The FTSE-100 index in London fell 0.9 percent, while Paris’ CAC-40 index fell 1 percent and Frankfurt’s DAX index lost 0.6 percent. Earlier, the Nikkei 225 index in Tokyo closed down nearly 2 percent.

One Opinion on the Port Orchard Boat Ramp

Blogger Greg House comments on the Port Orchard boat ramp, which is in disrepair. Rachel Pritchett

I am not one who chooses to write in about topics-but lately with the continuing onslought of WASTING of taxpayer dollars I guess I now feel compelled to add in my 2 cents worth. Born and raised here in Kitsap County and being a past boat owner, the boat ramp in Port Orchard was a primary place to launch our boat due to its size/length and relative depth that the launch holds even at a lower tide.The launch itself would fall in the middle to upper end as far as approach/parking,and relative time one has to show up till the tide becomes too low and it becomes unsafe to use.

Where I have serious issue about this is – yah, you guessed it-the PRICE! The “wash-out” at the end of the concrete launch pad could very easily be handled by digging it down a few feet and dropping in the big concrete ecology blocks, tie them together with rebar, and finish it off with a 12-18 inch thick overlay of poured concrete thereby extending out the length of the launch into the water another 10-15 feet. My guess is the project could be done in less than a week and probably for about 50 grand. This is a “boat launch”, in an inland bay and layered in mud, not critical sea-life refuge or underwater habitat that is rich with abundant creatures of our Puget Sound waters. The displacement of the mud can simply just be set back into the water to the non-dock side of the ramp.

As usual, our illustrious political money mongers head for the deepest pocket they can see-i.e, Safe Boats.

Safe Boats is a “private employer” as you have stated and uses the launch to ensure the boats they build are up to the highest standard for protecting not only international waters, but right here in Kitsap County as the Sheriffs office has several. SafeBoats is not a passenger/ferry/fishing/sight-seeing tour company which is what by all practical standards (those with common sense anyway) would be recognized as “commercial.”

The Port Commissioners should be working on this and looking at any and all possibilites,including asking for help/ideas from the local boaters who use this ramp routinely, so as to come together as one common entity to solve the problem. I know factually there are contractors here in town who own boats who would help out in an effort to minimize the cost of repairs.

Quit pointing the finger at SafeBoats to foot the bill, this boat ramp has been neglected for years by the City and Port despite the money being fed by tax paying citizens for its upkeep. The politicians of our community have chosen to routinely waste taxpayer money for frivolous expenditures instead of needed ones.

The new “ART” display of the fisherman in downtown Bremerton shown in the Kitsap Sun last week-cost– 250,000 grand. What “use” does this provide the citizens of Kitsap County?

My point made- Thank You

Greg House

Wednesday Stocks Lackluster as U.S. Homes Sales Drop 33 Percent

Dow now at 10,303, up 10 points.

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks mostly fell Wednesday after new home sales dropped by a third to a record low last month following the end of homebuyer tax credits.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose about 14 points in afternoon trading while broader indexes fell. Treasury prices rose, pushing down interest rates. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell to its lowest level in more than a year.
Trading volume was light, as it has been all week. Part of the slow morning trading came as traders watched World Cup matches. Yelling erupted on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange when the U.S. beat Algeria.
The government’s report that new homes sales fell to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 300,000 was far weaker than expected. Economists polled by Thomson Reuters had forecast sales would drop nearly 19 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 410,000.
On Tuesday, an unexpected drop in sales of existing homes also hurt stocks. Existing homes are a far bigger part of the market than new homes. Traders were braced for more bad news Wednesday.
The homebuyer’s credit expired April 30, and its absence is expected to be felt beyond the May sales figures.
“I think the market is, thankfully, already getting used to the idea that housing is going to fall off a cliff between the end of the homebuyer tax credit and now,” said John Canally, economist at LPL Financial.
The housing report pushed traders into stocks of companies that sell consumer staples because they are considered safer in weak economies. Procter & Gamble Co., which makes Tide detergent and Gillette razors, edged higher. Kraft Foods Inc. also rose. Fortune Brands Inc., which makes doors, bathroom faucets and other goods used in homes, fell 2 percent. Leggett & Platt, whose products include bedding and furniture parts, fell 1.3 percent.
The quiet trading came as traders awaited the Federal Reserve’s latest assessment of the economy. Investors will be looking for clues on whether policymakers still expect a slow recovery. The central bank is widely expected to keep interest rates steady following its two-day meeting that wraps up Wednesday afternoon. The statement that accompanies the Fed’s rate decision is due at 2:15 Eastern.
The Fed has said rates will remain low for the time being to help a rebound. Any indications of growth would be a welcome sign for a market that has been choppy and volatile in recent weeks. Low rates also help the stock market because they give investors few alternatives for big profits aside from stocks. A low federal funds rate helps limit returns in the bond market.
High unemployment and weakness in housing are two of the main reasons the Fed has been able to keep rates low. Uncertainty surrounding a recovery in the jobs and housing markets have cast doubt on the pace of the economic recovery. Major stock indicators tumbled from late April to early June on worries that the recovery would stall.
Shortly before the Fed decision, the Dow rose 14.21, or 0.1 percent, to 10,307.73. The Dow fell 149 points Tuesday after the report on home sales.
The broader Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 1.51, or 0.1 percent, to 1,093.80, and the Nasdaq composite index fell 4.16, or 0.2 percent, to 2,257.64.
The dollar rose against other major currencies.
Bond prices rose after the housing report, driving down interest rates. The yield on the 10-year note fell to 3.14 percent from 3.17 percent late Tuesday. It was the lowest level since May 2009.
Crude oil fell $2.08 to $75.77 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Procter & Gamble Co. rose 23 cents to $60.95, while Kraft Foods Inc. rose 13 cents to $29.49.
Fortune Brands fell 69 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $42.89, while Leggett dropped 23 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $21.75.
Homebuilder stocks mostly rose after a recent slide. PulteGroup Inc. rose 27 cents, or 3.1 percent, to $9.13, while Toll Brothers Inc. rose 43 cents, or 2.5 percent, to $17.49.
Falling stocks narrowly outpaced those that fell on the New York Stock Exchange, where volume came to 546 million shares, compared with 536 million shares traded at the same point Tuesday.
The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies rose 1.64, or 0.3 percent, to 647.55.
Britain’s FTSE 100 fell 1.3 percent, Germany’s DAX index dropped 1 percent and France’s CAC-40 fell 1.7 percent. Japan’s Nikkei 225 stock index fell 1.9 percent.