Wednesday, May 9, 2012

May 9th, 2012 Edition

Stock index futures signal weakness
May 9, 2012

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a lower open on Wall Street on Wednesday, with futures for the S&P 500 down 0.6 percent, Dow Jones futures 0.3 percent weaker, and Nasdaq 100 futures off 0.5 percent at 4:54 a.m. EDT.

European shares edged lower on Wednesday as a technical rebound from four-month lows was offset by falls among Spanish banks, which were dragged by fears they would be forced to raise money to cover their property assets.

Spain will demand banks set aside another 35 billion euros ($45 billion) against loans to builders, financial sources said, as it battles to rebuild confidence in a sector where huge losses have raised fears the country may need an international bailout.

Radical leftist Alexis Tsipras meets the leaders of Greece's mainstream parties on Wednesday to try to form a coalition government, an effort seen as doomed after he demanded they first agree to tear up the country's EU/IMF bailout deal.

German exports and imports both rose to record monthly levels in March, data showed, in another signal that Europe's largest economy is fending off the euro zone debt crisis far better than others and may have avoided a technical recession.

In terms of earnings, investors awaited results from a number of companies including Cisco Systems (CSCO.O) and News Corp. (NWSA.O). * JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) is seeking to move its least profitable checking customers into new prepaid debit card accounts to boost earnings in a business crimped by new regulations

Amendment One, North Carolina Gay Marriage Ban, Passes Vote
By Martha Waggoner
May 8th, 2012

RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina approved a constitutional amendment Tuesday defining marriage solely as a union between a man and a woman, becoming the latest state to effectively slam the door shut on same-sex marriages.

With most of the precincts reporting Tuesday, unofficial returns showed the amendment passing with about 61 percent of the vote to 39 percent against. North Carolina is the 30th state to adopt such a ban on gay marriage.

Tami Fitzgerald, who heads the pro-amendment group Vote FOR Marriage NC, said she believes the initiative awoke a silent majority of more active voters in the future.

"I think it sends a message to the rest of the country that marriage is between one man and one woman," Fitzgerald said at a celebration Tuesday night. "The whole point is simply that you don't rewrite the nature of God's design based on the demands of a group of adults."

Luger Fallout: GOP Senators fret bout '14
by Manu Raju
May 9, 2012

There’s a new rule in American politics: Republican senators and Senate hopefuls who are too close to Washington and show streaks of moderation are toast — or most certainly poised for a grilling of their lifetime.

Call it the Mike Castle rule. Or the Bob Bennett rule. Or, now, the Sen. Dick Lugar (R-Ind.) rule of politics.

Lugar’s Tuesday night blowout loss to Richard Mourdock is shocking to longtime fans and friends, but it’s hardly surprising to any student of Republican races in 2010 and 2012 — and to the 13 GOP senators taking stock of what all this means for them in 2014.

“It’s the environment we’re living in right now,” South Dakota Sen. John Thune, chairman of the Republican Conference, told POLITICO. “There are lots of folks who are watching every member’s voting records; you’re not only going to be attacked by your opponent on the Democrat side, but there are obviously Republicans out there who may not like when you’ve been around a few years and you got a lot of votes.”

There are some notable exceptions to the Lugar rule — like Republican Sens. Scott Brown in Massachusetts and Bob Corker in Tennessee, who are skating by their primaries despite having a reputation as deal makers. And Nebraska Treasurer Don Stenberg, a tea party favorite, may very well lose in next week’s Senate primary.

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