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Tax Credits and Other Benefits Extended

Written By Brian Hicks

Posted November 8, 2009

Welcome to the Wealth Daily Weekend Edition — our insights from the week in investing and links to our most-read Wealth Daily and sister publication articles.

This week had a sprinkling of positive stories before Friday: news of a powerhouse billionaire buying railroads, India buying a chunk of gold, and the Senate extending unemployment benefits. . .

Friday’s news of the U.S. unemployment rate jumping above 10% for the first time since 1983 (thanks to a worse-than-expected read), is certainly not the kind of story with which you want to head into your weekend.

It’s yet another sign of continued weakness in the labor market, despite the economy’s growth in Q3. . . and another reason why we’ll see the Fed interest rate "exceptionally low" for an "extended period."

But there are some signs of good news out there for suffering Americans. . .

The Senate wants to extend unemployment benefits by 14 weeks in all states. This should kick the can further down the road, as about a million people face expiring benefits. But this may not be the end of the extensions — not with this economy.

And the Senate also agreed to extend the home buyer tax credit. The $8,000 in free money will be extended for another seven months. And homeowners who have been living in their homes for five years will be eligible for a $6,500 credit if they buy a new home.

The cost? Whatever it takes to get our economy moving.

Also making headlines. . .

Gold rallied to record highs after India shocked the market with the biggest single buy of gold by a central bank in 30 years — a tell that governments around the globe are becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the dollar.

As a result, gold neared $1,100 after it was announced that the Reserve Bank of India bought 200 tons of gold from the International Monetary Fund. That’s about half of the 403.3 tones the IMF approved for sale back in September 2009.

India wasn’t the only one making big buys. . .

In what’s being billed as "an all-in wager on the economic future of the United States," Warren Buffett bought Burlington Northern Santa Fe for $34 billion.

But will this be the last of the mega-deals, near-term?

Probably not. . .

Companies are still sitting on record levels of cash, just waiting to spend. We’re talking $994 billion in cash hoarding. Standard & Poor’s 500 companies’ cash levels, which stood at $600 billion to $665 billion since 2004, just jumped to $994 billion. This excludes financials, utilities, and transportation companies which hold high cash reserves as a normal part of business.

As for what the bigwigs are selling, Buffett doesn’t seem too happy with Moody’s (MCO) cutting his stake in the stock for the third time in three months. He sold another 1.2 million shares of Moody’s around $24.87 following a $21.6 million sale in early September.

Credit rating agencies could be more regulated and see further exposure to lawsuits under recently-approved legislation. The bill now goes to the full House. . .

Short away.

In case you missed any of the week’s top-read articles from Wealth Daily and our sister publications, I’ve included them below.

Stay Ahead of the Curve,

Ian L. Cooper
Wealth Daily


Investing in Rare Earth Metals: The Saudi Arabia of the Arctic Holds the Key to these "Dragon Metals"
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Natural Gas Companies: One Natural Gas Buy for Winter. . . And One Investment Pitfall
Energy and Capital ‘s Keith Kohl tells his readers about one natural gas company that’s ready to take off this winter.

How To Profit from Energy, Right Now: Commodities Again Leading the  Charge
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Top Wind Energy Companies: These Are the Companies Running the Wind Energy Game
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Investing in Palladium: Big Potential In "Little Platinum"
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Top Biotech Stocks:  The Race for the Cure
Not only is this company working on the cure to one of the deadliest diseases know to man, it’s also following an enormously profitable trend in the biotech sector. . .