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US stock market daily report (October 12, 2012, Friday)

October 15, 2012, Monday, 04:30 GMT | 23:30 EST | 08:00 IST | 10:30 SGT
Contributed by Millennium Traders


Under fire from the federal government for obvious reasons, defunct solar company Solyndra LLC will seek bankruptcy-court approval on Wednesday of its plan to pay creditors. If approved by the Wilmington, Delaware bankruptcy court, Solyndra's Chapter 11 plan would divvy up the cash raised by the sale of Solyndra's assets among the company's creditors however; there is not enough to pay everyone, including the U.S. Department of Energy, aka the American taxpayers. The U.S. Department of Energy is objecting to the plan on the grounds that it allows its claim to go unprotected since most of Solyndra's $528 million in federally backed loan debt would remain unpaid - something that infuriates the American taxpayer. The Internal Revenue Service is objecting to the move as well since the plan's main purpose is "tax avoidance." Solyndra may be able to obtain nearly $1 billion in tax benefits after it exits bankruptcy as a shell company, which the IRS said 'dwarfs' nearly $8 million that general unsecured creditors can expect to be paid under the plan. Argonaut Ventures I LLC and Madrone Partners LP, the owners of the shell company, would have to find some way to operate in order to get the tax benefits. The private equity funds have backed the company while it was a 'shining star' of the solar industry and since have financed Solyndra's stay in Chapter 11.

The U.S. Labor Department reported Friday, wholesale prices rose 1.1% in September after seasonable adjustments, led by a strong gain in energy prices. The producer price index (PPI) has risen 2.1% in the past year and energy prices advanced 4.7% during September after rising 6.4% in August. For a fourth consecutive increase, food prices rose 0.2%. The core PPI - which excludes food and energy prices - was flat in September, less than expected. In the past year, core prices are up 2.3% and PPI had risen 1.7% in August, while the core rate was up 0.2%.

University of Michigan-Thomson Reuters consumer-sentiment gauge released Friday showed that consumer sentiment rose to 83.1 in early October striking the highest level since September 2007 and past expectations of Wall Street. The sentiment gauge covers how consumers view their personal finances as well as business and buying conditions, averaged about 87 in the year before the most recent recession. Consumer sentiment has risen for a second month to stand at the highest level seen in more than five years.

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta branded China, Russia and Iran, along with extremist military groups, the greatest cyber-threats to the US. "The U.S. faces widespread hacking attacks that could result in a “Cyber-Pearl Harbor," Panetta said. He invoked the greatest military disaster in US history to make the case for the CISPA bill, roundly criticized for violating privacy laws. In light of this “pre-9/11 moment,” the US should act preemptively to protect “national interests in cyberspace,” Panetta said. "[A] Cyber-Pearl Harbor that would cause physical destruction and the loss of life, an attack that would paralyze and shock the nation and create a profound new sense of vulnerability,” Panetta said during a speech at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York. He claimed that cyber-attackers had developed new technologies that could knock out entire city power grids, derail trains and contaminate water supplies. "An aggressor nation or extremist group could use these kinds of cyber tools to gain control of critical switches,” Panetta said. “They could derail passenger trains, or even more dangerous, derail passenger trains loaded with lethal chemicals.” Despite the widespread opposition, the Obama administration said it would sign an executive order effectively forcing companies to instate new cyber security standards. The White House also confirmed that hackers linked to the Chinese government mounted a cyber-attack in October. Officials said the ‘spear-phishing’ attempt struck an unclassified network that failed to extract valuable data. Such attacks are not infrequent, per officials.

Under fire from the federal government for obvious reasons, defunct solar company Solyndra LLC will seek bankruptcy-court approval on Wednesday of its plan to pay creditors. If approved by the Wilmington, Delaware bankruptcy court, Solyndra's Chapter 11 plan would divvy up the cash raised by the sale of Solyndra's assets among the company's creditors however; there is not enough to pay everyone, including the U.S. Department of Energy, aka the American taxpayers. The U.S. Department of Energy is objecting to the plan on the grounds that it allows its claim to go unprotected since most of Solyndra's $528 million in federally backed loan debt would remain unpaid - something that infuriates the American taxpayer. The Internal Revenue Service is objecting to the move as well since the plan's main purpose is "tax avoidance." Solyndra may be able to obtain nearly $1 billion in tax benefits after it exits bankruptcy as a shell company, which the IRS said 'dwarfs' nearly $8 million that general unsecured creditors can expect to be paid under the plan. Argonaut Ventures I LLC and Madrone Partners LP, the owners of the shell company, would have to find some way to operate in order to get the tax benefits. The private equity funds have backed the company while it was a 'shining star' of the solar industry and since have financed Solyndra's stay in Chapter 11.

The nation's fourth-largest bank, Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC), reported an increase of 22% for their Q3 profits as revenue and mortgage income rose, while credit strengthened. "Underlying credit quality continued to show improvement in the third quarter, as the overall financial condition of businesses and consumers strengthened, the housing market in many areas of the nation improved, and we continued to work to reduce problem assets and make new, high quality loans," Chief Risk Officer Mike Loughlin said. Wells Fargo reported they originated $139 billion of mortgages in Q3, versus $131 billion during Q2. Mortgage banking non-interest income totaled $2.81 billion, up 53% from 2011. The bank reported a profit of $4.94 billion, compared with a year-earlier profit of $4.06 billion. Per-share earnings which reflect the payment of preferred dividends, were 88 cents versus 72 cents in 2011. Revenue increased 8.1% to $21.21 billion with net interest margin of 3.66% versus 3.84% in 2011. Credit-loss provisions totaled $1.59 billion compared with $1.81 billion in 2011 and $1.8 billion in Q2. Net charge-offs or loans lenders do not believe are collectable, were 1.21% of average loans, compared with 1.37% in 2011 and 1.15% in Q2. Wells Fargo noted that the net charge-off of $2.4 billion included $567 million from the implementation of newly issued regulatory guidance.