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TWM Today: Wall Street

|Includes: ADC Telecommunications Inc. (ADCT), ANTM, BDX, BG, C, CIE, COP, COST, CVI, GCI, IRM, JNJ, JPM, KMX, MCO, MDLZ, NG, PBR, PFE, PG, PNC, RSG, STI, SU, SUNS, UNH
Producer Costs in U.S. Unexpectedly Dropped in April ~ Wholesale prices in the U.S. unexpectedly dropped in April, the second decrease in three months, signaling the global recovery from the worst recession in the post-World War II era has yet to stoke inflation. The .1% decline in prices paid to factories, farmers and other producers followed a .7% increase in March, the Labor Department said today in Washington.  Excluding food and fuel, core prices climbed .2%, compared with .1%  gains in the previous two months. Cost pressures are diminishing as goods make their way up production lines to consumers, showing companies have enough idle capacity to prevent bottlenecks even as sales rebound. The European debt crisis will probably also help restrain prices, one reason why economists are pushing back forecasts for when Federal Reserve policy makers will raise interest rates.  (Bloomberg)

Housing Starts Move Higher Even as Permits Shrink ~ U.S. housing starts touched a 1-1/2 year high in April, but a drop in permits to a six-month low suggested housing market recovery will remain slow. Housing starts rose 5.8% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 672,000 units, the Commerce Department said on Tuesday, likely supported by the looming expiry of a home buyer tax credit. March's housing starts were revised to show a 5 percent increase, instead of a 1.6% gain. Markets had expected housing starts to rise to 650,000 units. Compared to April last year, starts were up 40.9%, the largest increase since March 1994. (NASDAQ:CNBC)

California Pension Woes Leading The Nation To Fiscal Purgatory ~ California may not be Greece, but it's starting to look a lot like Sisyphus, the mythical king condemned to an eternity of pushing a boulder up a hill, only to have it roll back down. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger set off a firestorm Friday with his plan to close a $19.1B budget gap in the fiscal year starting July 1. But even if Democratic lawmakers were to go along with his prescriptions, the state would have a big budget hole to fill again next year. While California, with the lowest credit rating of any state, is in tougher straits than many, states and localities across the country are bracing for a long uphill trudge. Even as tax revenue gradually recovers from recessionary levels, officials face the end of federal stimulus along with rapidly escalating retiree pension and health obligations. The public pensions bill is coming due as policymakers try to rightsize an overstretched federal budget. Solving both problems at once will make each more difficult. (NYSEARCA:IBD)

Pfizer to cut 6,000 jobs ~ Drugmaker Pfizer Inc (PFE.N) will cut 6,000 jobs, or 18% of the workforce, at its 78 manufacturing plants over the next five years as it pares back operations following last year's purchase of rival Wyeth.The world's biggest drugmaker plans to cease operations at eight plants in Ireland, Puerto Rico and the United States by late 2015 and reduce activities at six factories in those countries, plus Germany and Britain.Pfizer had 40 manufacturing sites before acquiring more than three dozen Wyeth facilities in the October merger.The affected plants make conventional pills, injectable medicines, biotech drugs and consumer healthcare products. Pfizer will wind down their operations over the next 18 months to five years, depending on business considerations such as the time required to transfer product manufacturing.The company said in November it would close 6 research sites and trim jobs in the United States and Britain as part of its absorption of Wyeth. It then began a 6-month study of how to reconfigure its manufacturing sites. (Reuters)

Notable quarterly changes in Soro's portfolio ~ In SEC filings out last night after the close, George Soros disclosed notable changes, from 12/31/09 to 3/31/10, in the following positions:

  • ADCT (new 19.5 mln share position)
  • BG (liquidated 1.0 mln shares)
  • C (to 10K shares from 94.7 mln)
  • CIE (new 6.0 mln)
  • CVI (liquidated 1.5 mln)
  • JPM (to 2.6 mln from 116K)
  • NG (to 18.7 mln from 3.5 mln)
  • PBR (to 15.0 mln from 13.6 mln) 
  • PFE (to 5.3 mln from 11.6 mln)
  • PNC (new 908K)
  • SLRC (new 1.3 mln)
  • SU (to 8.7 mln from 7.2 mln) 
Notable quarterly changes in Berkshire Hathaway portfolio ~ In an SEC filing out last night after the close, Berkshire Hathaway disclosed notable changes, from 12/31/09 to 3/31/10, in the following positions:
  • BDX (increased to 7.1 mln shares from 1.5 mln)
  • KMX (to 7.7 mln from 8.0 mln)
  • COP (to 26.1 mln from 29.7 mln)
  • COST (to 4.3 mln from 5.2 mln)
  • GCI (to 1.7 mln from 2.2 mln)
  • IRM (7.8 mln from 7.0 mln)
  • JNJ (to 23.9 mln from 27.1 mln)
  • KFT (to 106.7 mln from 138.2 mln)
  • MCO (to 15.0 mln from 16.0 mln)
  • PG (to 79.0 mln from 87.5 mln)
  • RSG (to 10.8 mln from 8.3 mln)
  • STI (2.4 mln liquidated)
  • UNH (1.1 mln liquidated)
  • WLP (1.3 mln liquidated)

Disclosure: Long PBR, JNJ