Links – 30/03/07

Defend Your Identity(yourcreditadvisor)

As soon as you discover that your wallet has been stolen, or if a collection agency calls about a debt that you don’t owe, or you’re contacted to verify a loan that you didn’t authorize, take a deep breath, grab a piece of paper and a pencil, and begin to document all communication and actions.

Banking Glitch(FT)

Up to 400,000 people will fail to receive their salary payments as usual today owing to a glitch with the UK’s key banking processing system.On Thursday night it emerged that a large number of UK salary payments have not cleared through the BACS system – the central clearing house for automated payments – in time to land in customers accounts before the weekend. The problem has affected both customers who are paid monthly and those who are paid weekly.

Oil surges on Iran tensions(reuters)

Oil prices surged 3 percent as a standoff over British sailors in Iranian custody escalates supply concerns. Iran is the world’s 4th largest oil exporter. Concerns over the possible loss of around 2.2 million barrels per day are keeping the markets on edge.

US economy on track despite housing(reuters)

Problems in the U.S. subprime mortgage market should not spread and the main risk remains inflation, top Federal Reserve policy-makers said on Thursday in remarks signaling no interest rate cut soon.

Top 10 positions for which employers seek workers(marketwtch)

Overall, 41% of firms surveyed said they’re struggling to find qualified workers for at least one position, according to the survey of 2,400 U.S. firms.The survey asked each company, “Are you having difficulty filling jobs due to lack of available talent?”If they said yes, the survey asked, “What is the one job you are having the most difficulty filling?”

(Not?)Profiting on Foreclosures(yahoo)

As interest rates rise, more homeowners are falling into foreclosure. That is what is prompting the wave of bargain-hunting investors now descending on courthouse auctions across the country. “It’s just crazy. We have 100 houses [at auction] each week, when we used to have 10 or so,”

Gas price storm(Marketwatch)

Dark clouds may be on the horizon soon however as another hurricane season approaching fast. By most estimates this year may not be as tame as 2006 was for the Gulf Coast and the energy markets. The hurricanes of 2004 and 2005 destroyed much of the gulf coast and created havoc in big energy states like Louisiana and Texas. If the forecasts are to be believed, 2007 could be even worse.

Brummie Bourse(FT)

The long-defunct Birmingham Stock Exchange is set to be reborn this summer as an online trading facility in the shares of West Midlands companies that are too small to list in London, reports the FT. The new exchange, Investbx, “will be more like Ebay than the London Stock Exchange”, according to its sponsor Advantage West Midlands, a regional development agency. If Investbx turns out to be a success it is likely to be copied by other UK regions.

Gold short term trend lower(goldprice.org)

GOLD PRICE made a low today at 655. It is in a correction now, having apparently topped yesterday (that leaves 667 as the upside point to pass). Next few days gold should trend lower.

Hedge fund insurance(FT)

Banks are lining up to offer punters the chance to predict the next hedge fund disaster, the FT reports. A small but growing number of structured products allow sophisticated investors to bet against a hedge fund implosion as part of efforts by investment banks to reduce their exposure to extreme events in the sector, the report says.

Start of US Bear(bloomberg)

“We’re right where the market would usually be at the start of a bear market,” Faber said in an interview from Copenhagen. “Financial stocks are not performing well and this is usually a bad indicator for the market.”

Urging Lending Restraint(reuters)

Recent market turmoil serves as a warning that a significant market correction is likely within the next 12 months, Citibank chairman William Rhodes said, urging restraint in lending and investing.

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