Archive for the ‘Oil’ Category

Exxon posts record $11.68 billion profit

World’s largest publicly traded oil firm makes $11.68 billion in the quarter, but misses forecasts.

By Steve Hargreaves, CNNMoney.com staff writer

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — Exxon Mobil once again reported the largest quarterly profit in U.S. history Thursday, posting net income of $11.68 billion on revenue of $138 billion in the second quarter.

That profit works out to $1,485.55 a second.

That barely beat the previous corporate record of $11.66 billion, also set by Exxon in the fourth quarter of 2007.

But Exxon (XOM, Fortune 500) profit fell short of Wall Street estimates.

Analysts predicted the company, the world’s largest publicly traded oil firm, would make $12.1 billion in profit on $144.4 billion in revenue, according to Thomson Reuters.

Exxon shares fell about 2% in early trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

Excluding money set aside for a recent damage award related to the Valdez tanker spill back in 1989, Exxon made $11.97 billion in the quarter.

Read the rest of the article here – if you can stomach it!

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War is terrorism with a bigger budget.

BEN STEIN: I was just in a room with a whole bunch of speculators who are former Enron traders that are now trading natural gas and oil. And they’re laughing their heads off about how much they’re manipulating the price of oil. They couldn’t care less.

Keith Olbermann and the “Enron Loophole”

Thanks to Brent Burns

President George W. Bush is deeply saddened by the 4,000 U.S. troops who died in Iraq and assumes responsibility for the decision to begin the war, the White House reported on Monday.

The president said he mourned all the lives that were lost in the Iraq battles and sent his sympathy to all the families affected by these losses.

“It’s a sober moment, and one that all of us can focus on in terms of the number of 4,000,” White House Dana Perino said, referring to the explosion in Baghdad on Sunday, which killed four more U.S. soldiers, raising the death toll to a new tragic number.

“The president feels each and every one of the deaths very strongly and he grieves for their families,” Perino said, according to Reuters. “He obviously is grieved by the moment but he mourns the loss of every single life.”

The number of 4,000 deaths came a few days after President Bush had declared in a speech, on the fifth anniversary of the Iraq invasion, that the United States was on the way to victory and that he had no intention of withdrawing any of the troops from Iraq.

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino informed, though, that president Bush might reconsider his decision by Friday. He might continue withdrawing troops after an initial drawdown from 158,000 to 140,000 troops is completed in July.

“The president has said the hardest thing a commander in chief will do is send young men and women into combat, and he’s grieved for every lost American life, from the very first several years ago to those lost today,” Perino said, according to the Associated Press.

The U.S. death toll reached 1000 in September 2004, 18 months after the invasion started. Then it climbed to 2,000 in October 2005 and to 3,000 in December 2006. It has reached 4,000 on Sunday, after a roadside bomb killed four U.S. soldiers and wounded another in Baghdad. The bomb exploded near the soldiers’ vehicle, while they were patrolling in southern Baghdad around 10 p.m.

iraq_soldier_cries.jpg

Please take the time to watch these videos – it’s what’s necessary for all of this to change.

Spread The Word

For years Alan Greenspan, the most famous central banker in the history of the job, spoke in a careful code. His chosen means of communication was the oracular observation, hedged around by qualifying subclauses, parenthetical asides and carefully balanced counterfactuals, that could be understood only by those with a detailed knowledge of monetary policy and financial markets.

He once told an audience, in all seriousness: “I guess I should warn you. If I turn out to be particularly clear, you’ve probably misunderstood what I’ve said.”

But with the publication of his memoir, The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World, this week, it is as though the oracle has suddenly grabbed a microphone and started to gossip frantically about all the hopeless souls who had been consulting it all these years.

President Bush is portrayed as irresponsible and incurious (who knew?). The former Chairman of the US Federal Reserve says that Mr Bush presided over intolerable increases in government spending. “My biggest frustration remained the President’s unwillingness to wield his veto against out-of-control spending.”

He had hoped that his colleague from the Ford Administration, Dick Cheney, the Vice-President, would be a force for economic prudence and fiscal discipline. Instead, “I was soon to see my old friends veer off to unexpected directions”.

Republicans who controlled Congress for most of the past ten years “lost their way” and “swapped principle for power. They ended up with neither.”

By contrast, Mr Bush’s predecessor, Bill Clinton, was a “risk-taker”, who had shown a “preference for dealing in facts”, and something of a soulmate for the data-obsessed Mr Greenspan.

“Here was a fellow information hound . . . We both read books and were curious and thoughtful about the world . . . I never ceased to be surprised by his fascination with economic detail: the effect of Canadian lumber on housing prices and inflation . . . He had an eye for the big picture, too.”

When it emerged that he also had an eye for something else – an intern by the name of Monica Lewinsky – Mr Greenspan was left feeling “disappointed and sad”.

The first President Bush gets short shrift for trying to strong-arm the central bank into an easier monetary policy so that he could get reelected in 1992. (He failed.) President Reagan’s tendency to formulate policy and ideology from anecdotes represented an “odd form of intelligence”.

The Iraq war, Mr Greenspan says, was “largely about oil”. The excitement that that seems to have caused in some sections of the media might be tempered by his somewhat testy acknowledgement earlier in the book that he was left out of the inner circle of policy advisers around President Bush.

For all the chatty observations about politicians and events he encountered in 19 years at the Fed, for today’s turbulent financial markets it is his account of monetary policy in the past few years that is of most interest. To the growing number of Greenspan critics, the former Fed Chairman, who once enjoyed godlike status on Wall Street, is largely to blame for the sub-prime mortgage crisis that is behind today’s turmoil. They say he allowed a bubble to develop in the housing market between 2001 and 2006, his last five years at the Fed, when he cut interest rates too far and kept them low for too long. Mr Greenspan acknowledges that he did not see the scale of the problems in the sub-prime housing sector. “I didn’t really get it until very late in 2005 and 2006,” he said last night in an interview on CBS News timed to coincide with the book launch.

But he insists that the Fed was right to cut interest rates – to an historic low of 1 per cent by 2003 and to keep them there for a year – because of the very real risk of deflation.

“We wanted to shut down the possibility of corrosive deflation,” he argues. “We were willing to chance that by cutting rates we thought might foster a bubble, an inflationary boom of some sort, which we would subsequently have to address . . . It was a decision done right.”

He says that the housing bubble was caused, in any case, by other factors – mainly the end of communism, which brought new countries into the global economy and pushed down wages, prices and long-term interest rates (to which most US mortgages are tied).

He also argues that it is always better and easier for a central bank to respond – aggressively, if necessary – to the damaging effects of economic or financial events by cutting interest rates. That, at least, ought to resonate with Ben Bernanke, Mr Greenspan’s successor at the Fed.

Mr Bernanke and his fellow US central bankers gather tomorrow for the most important meeting of his short tenure so far, where the debate seems to be not about whether, but by how much, to cut interest rates in response to the financial turmoil of the past two months.

From The Times UK

AMERICA’s elder statesman of finance, Alan Greenspan, has shaken the White House by declaring that the prime motive for the war in Iraq was oil.

In his long-awaited memoir, to be published tomorrow, Greenspan, a Republican whose 18-year tenure as head of the US Federal Reserve was widely admired, will also deliver a stinging critique of President George W Bush’s economic policies.

However, it is his view on the motive for the 2003 Iraq invasion that is likely to provoke the most controversy. “I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil,” he says.

Greenspan, 81, is understood to believe that Saddam Hussein posed a threat to the security of oil supplies in the Middle East.

Britain and America have always insisted the war had nothing to do with oil. Bush said the aim was to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction and end Saddam’s support for terrorism.

From The Sunday UK Times