"Great Rotation"- A Wall Street fairy tale?

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wall Street's current jubilant narrative is that a rush into stocks by small investors has sparked a "great rotation" out of bonds and into equities that will power the bull market to new heights.


That sounds good, but there's a snag: The evidence for this is a few weeks of bullish fund flows that are hardly unusual for January.


Late-stage bull markets are typically marked by an influx of small investors coming late to the party - such as when your waiter starts giving you stock tips. For that to happen you need a good story. The "great rotation," with its monumental tone, is the perfect narrative to make you feel like you're missing out.


Even if something approaching a "great rotation" has begun, it is not necessarily bullish for markets. Those who think they are coming early to the party may actually be arriving late.


Investors pumped $20.7 billion into stocks in the first four weeks of the year, the strongest four-week run since April 2000, according to Lipper. But that pales in comparison with the $410 billion yanked from those funds since the start of 2008.


"I'm not sure you want to take a couple of weeks and extrapolate it into whatever trend you want," said Tobias Levkovich, chief U.S. equity strategist at Citigroup. "We have had instances where equity flows have picked up in the last two, three, four years when markets have picked up. They've generally not been signals of a continuation of that trend."


The S&P 500 rose 5 percent in January, its best month since October 2011 and its best January since 1997, driving speculation that retail investors were flooding back into the stock market.


Heading into another busy week of earnings, the equity market is knocking on the door of all-time highs due to positive sentiment in stocks, and that can't be ignored entirely. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.spx> ended the week about 4 percent from an all-time high touched in October 2007.


Next week will bring results from insurers Allstate and The Hartford , as well as from Walt Disney , Coca-Cola Enterprises and Visa .


But a comparison of flows in January, a seasonal strong month for the stock market, shows that this January, while strong, is not that unusual. In January 2011 investors moved $23.9 billion into stock funds and $28.6 billion in 2006, but neither foreshadowed massive inflows the rest of that year. Furthermore, in 2006 the market gained more than 13 percent while in 2011 it was flat.


Strong inflows in January can happen for a number of reasons. There were a lot of special dividends issued in December that need reinvesting, and some of the funds raised in December tax-selling also find their way back into the market.


During the height of the tech bubble in 2000, when retail investors were really embracing stocks, a staggering $42.7 billion flowed into equities in January of that year, double the amount that flowed in this January. That didn't end well, as stocks peaked in March of that year before dropping over the next two-plus years.


MOM AND POP STILL WARY


Arguing against a 'great rotation' is not necessarily a bearish argument against stocks. The stock market has done well since the crisis. Despite the huge outflows, the S&P 500 has risen more than 120 percent since March 2009 on a slowly improving economy and corporate earnings.


This earnings season, a majority of S&P 500 companies are beating earnings forecast. That's also the case for revenue, which is a departure from the previous two reporting periods where less than 50 percent of companies beat revenue expectations, according to Thomson Reuters data.


Meanwhile, those on the front lines say mom and pop investors are still wary of equities after the financial crisis.


"A lot of people I talk to are very reluctant to make an emotional commitment to the stock market and regardless of income activity in January, I think that's still the case," said David Joy, chief market strategist at Columbia Management Advisors in Boston, where he helps oversee $571 billion.


Joy, speaking from a conference in Phoenix, says most of the people asking him about the "great rotation" are fund management industry insiders who are interested in the extra business a flood of stock investors would bring.


He also pointed out that flows into bond funds were positive in the month of January, hardly an indication of a rotation.


Citi's Levkovich also argues that bond investors are unlikely to give up a 30-year rally in bonds so quickly. He said stocks only began to see consistent outflows 26 months after the tech bubble burst in March 2000. By that reading it could be another year before a serious rotation begins.


On top of that, substantial flows continue to make their way into bonds, even if it isn't low-yielding government debt. January 2013 was the second best January on record for the issuance of U.S. high-grade debt, with $111.725 billion issued during the month, according to International Finance Review.


Bill Gross, who runs the $285 billion Pimco Total Return Fund, the world's largest bond fund, commented on Twitter on Thursday that "January flows at Pimco show few signs of bond/stock rotation," adding that cash and money markets may be the source of inflows into stocks.


Indeed, the evidence suggests some of the money that went into stock funds in January came from money markets after a period in December when investors, worried about the budget uncertainty in Washington, started parking money in late 2012.


Data from iMoneyNet shows investors placed $123 billion in money market funds in the last two months of the year. In two weeks in January investors withdrew $31.45 billion of that, the most since March 2012. But later in the month money actually started flowing back.


(Additional reporting by Caroline Valetkevitch; Editing by Kenneth Barry)



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Peterson beats Peyton Manning for MVP


NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Adrian Peterson's sensational season following major knee surgery has earned him The Associated Press 2012 NFL Most Valuable Player Award.


Earlier Saturday, Peterson won Offensive Player of the Year.


The Minnesota Vikings running back finished with 2,019 yards, a mere 9 yards short of breaking Eric Dickerson's rushing record. Peterson beat out Peyton Manning, who in his first season as Denver's quarterback contended for a fifth MVP trophy. Manning's four are a record.


Peterson received 30 1-2 votes from a nationwide panel of 50 media members who regularly cover the NFL. Manning got the other 19 1-2 votes.


Peterson led the Vikings from a 3-13 mark to 10-6 and a wild-card playoff berth. He is the first running back to win MVP since LaDainian Tomlinson in 2006.


Peterson accepted his award at the "2nd Annual NFL Honors" show on CBS saluting the NFL's best players, performances and plays from the 2012 season.


___


Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP_NFL


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NASA Honors Fallen Astronauts in Solemn Ceremony






NASA honored the memories of the seven astronauts lost 10 years ago today (Feb. 1) in the space shuttle Columbia disaster, as well as the agency’s other explorers who lost their lives in the pursuit of space exploration.


The solemn ceremony, held at the Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex in Cape Canaveral, Fla., gathered friends and family members together to remember the lives of the Columbia’s final astronaut crew as well as the seven astronauts lost in the Challenger shuttle disaster on Jan. 28, 1986 and three astronauts who perished in the Apollo 1 fire on Jan. 27, 1967.






“We got about the business of picking up the pieces, ensuring that their loss was not in vain,” said Robert Cabana, the directory of the Kennedy Space Center. “They were doing their very best to be successful, but we are human and oftentimes when lacking sufficient data we make poor decisions and that results in tragic events like Apollo, Challenger and Columbia. I believe we’ve learned from them. We’ve risen above them but we must never forget the lessons learned in the past.”


President Barack Obama, who did not attend the ceremony, also released a statement commemorating the sacrifice made by the Columbia astronauts and the crews of Challenger and Apollo 1.


“As we undertake the next generation of discovery, today we pause to remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice on the journey of exploration,” Obama said. “Right now we are working to fulfill their highest aspirations by pursuing a path in space never seen before, one that will eventually put Americans on Mars.” [NASA Honors Fallen Astronauts (Photos)]


NASA chief Charles Bolden, a former space shuttle commander, echoed Obama’s sentiments.


“In the years after we returned the shuttles to flight, we completed an engineering marvel,” Bolden said. “The International Space Station now soars above us, an unparalleled and unique orbiting laboratory that is our foothold to the rest of the solar system. We are in a new era of exploration, where the work and sacrifice of those who have gone before will help us once again launch American astronauts from American soil and send them farther into deep space than we have ever gone.”


Bolden attended the Ilan Ramon International Space Conference in Herzliyya, Israel, and was not able to attend the ceremony today.


NASA’s astronaut heroes


During the NASA ceremony, speakers remembered the astronauts for their dedication to curiosity and human exploration while standing at a podium in front of the “Space Mirror” — a memorial wall listing the names of every NASA crew member lost during an accident in the space agency’s history.


“We remember the astronauts that took the daring step of accepting the challenge of spaceflight,” said Eileen Collins, a retired NASA astronaut who commanded the first shuttle flight after the Columbia tragedy. “For the Columbia crew, it was a fulfillment of their dreams to have an adventure, to live and work in an environment you can’t simulate on Earth.”


“It’s a type of freedom to look down on the planet, to be part of a mission,” Collins added. “The Columbia crew was taking baby steps, but big steps begin with baby steps. They were passionate about this mission.”


The fallen astronauts were also remembered for their personal achievements. Evelyn Husband-Thompson, the widow of Columbia commander Rick Husband, shared her memories of each of the astronauts on board the space shuttle as it broke apart upon re-entry over East Texas.


“This isn’t just historic, but also personal,” Husband-Thompson said. “We remember the Columbia crew as friends.”


The space agency’s ceremony was hopeful at as well. Collins highlighted the successes of the space shuttle program. [Columbia Shuttle Disaster Explained (Infographic)]


“Despites its tragedies, its successes are also part of history. The shuttle was an engineering wonder. The shuttle was a test program, but it achieved its ultimate goal: the International Space Station,” Collins said. “We have inspired over 30 years of school children to study math and science.”


NASA’s space tragedies


The Columbia shuttle disaster occurred during re-entry when the spacecraft broke part due to heat shield damage caused during the orbiter’s launch 16 days earlier on Jan. 16, 2003. A piece of external tank foam struck the orbiter’s heat shield during liftoff, punching a hole through the orbiter’s left wing leading edge.


Columbia’s crew, which was returning home after a successful science mission, included commander Rick Husband, pilot Willie McCool, mission specialists Kalpana Chawla, Laurel Clark and David Brown, payload commander Michael Anderson and payload specialist Ilan Ramon, Israel’s first astronaut.


A subsequent investigation attributed the loss of Columbia and its crew as much to complacency in NASA’s internal culture as to the foam debris strike. The tragedy led to new heat shield repair tools and techniques for subsequent shuttle missions, an ultimately spurred the retirement of the space shuttle program altogether. The last shuttle mission flew in 2011 and today all three of NASA’s remaining orbiters are in museums.


NASA’s first space mission tragedy, the Apollo 1 fire, occurred on Jan. 27, 1967 when afire broke out in the crew capsule during a ground test, killing astronauts Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee.


The first space shuttle disaster would occur 19 years and one day later, on Jan. 28, 1986, when the shuttle Challenger broke apart after liftoff after an O-ring failure in one of the orbiter’s twin solid rocket boosters caused the shuttle’s external tank to explode. Killed in the explosion were astronauts Francis “Dick” Scobee, Ronald McNair, Mike Smith, Ellison Onizuka, Judy Resnik, Greg Jarvis and Connecticut teacher Christa McAuliffe. It took three years for NASA to resume shuttle missions.


Today, NASA relies on Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft to fly Americans to and from low-Earth orbit. However, space agency officials hope to rely on new privately owned spacecraft to taxi astronauts to and from the International Space Station by 2015 or later.


Follow Miriam Kramer on Twitter @mirikramer or SPACE.com @Spacedotcom. We’re also on Facebook & Google+


Copyright 2013 SPACE.com, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Space and Astronomy News Headlines – Yahoo! News





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Hillary: Secretary of empowerment




Girls hug U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during a 2010 tour of a shelter run for sex trafficking victims in Cambodia.




STORY HIGHLIGHTS


  • Donna Brazile: Clinton stepping down as Secretary of State. Maybe she'll run for president

  • She says as secretary she expanded foreign policy to include effect on regular people

  • She says she was first secretary of state to focus on empowering women and girls

  • Brazile: Clinton has fought for education and inclusion in politics for women and girls




Editor's note: Donna Brazile, a CNN contributor and a Democratic strategist, is vice chairwoman for voter registration and participation at the Democratic National Committee. She is a nationally syndicated columnist, an adjunct professor at Georgetown University and author of "Cooking with Grease." She was manager for the Gore-Lieberman presidential campaign in 2000.


(CNN) -- As Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton steps down from her job Friday, many are assuming she will run for president. And she may. In fact, five of the first eight presidents first served their predecessors as secretary of state.


It hasn't happened in more than a century, though that may change should Clinton decide to run. After all, she has been a game changer her entire life.


But before we look ahead, I think we should appreciate what she's done as secretary of state; it's a high profile, high pressure job. You have to deal with the routine as if it is critical and with crisis as if it's routine. You have to manage egos, protocols, customs and Congress. You have to be rhetorical and blunt, diplomatic and direct.



CNN Contributor Donna Brazile

CNN Contributor Donna Brazile



As secretary of state you are dealing with heads of state and with we the people. And the president of the United States has to trust you -- implicitly.


On the road with Hillary Clinton


Of all Clinton's accomplishments -- and I will mention just a few -- this may be the most underappreciated. During the election, pundits were puzzled and amazed not only at how much energy former President Bill Clinton poured into Obama's campaign, but even more at how genuine and close the friendship was.


Obama was given a lot of well-deserved credit for reaching out to the Clintons by appointing then-Sen. Hillary Clinton as his secretary of state in the first place. But trust is a two-way street and has to be earned. We should not underestimate or forget how much Clinton did and how hard she worked. She deserved that trust, as she deserved to be in the war room when Osama bin Laden was killed.


By the way, is there any other leader in the last 50 years whom we routinely refer to by a first name, and do so more out of respect than familiarity? The last person I can think of was Ike -- the elder family member who we revere with affection. Hillary is Hillary.


It's not surprising that we feel we know her. She has been part of our public life for more than 20 years. She's been a model of dignity, diplomacy, empathy and toughness. She also has done something no other secretary of state has done -- including the two women who preceded her in the Cabinet post.


Rothkopf: President Hillary Clinton? If she wants it



Hillary has transformed our understanding -- no, our definition -- of foreign affairs. Diplomacy is no longer just the skill of managing relations with other countries. The big issues -- war and peace, terror, economic stability, etc. -- remain, and she has handled them with firmness and authority, with poise and confidence, and with good will, when appropriate.


But it is not the praise of diplomats or dictators that will be her legacy. She dealt with plenipotentiaries, but her focus was on people. Foreign affairs isn't just about treaties, she taught us, it's about the suffering and aspirations of those affected by the treaties, made or unmade.








Most of all, diplomacy should refocus attention on the powerless.


Of course, Hillary wasn't the first secretary of state to advocate for human rights or use the post to raise awareness of abuses or negotiate humanitarian relief or pressure oppressors. But she was the first to focus on empowerment, particularly of women and girls.


She created the first Office of Global Women's Issues. That office fought to highlight the plight of women around the world. Rape of women has been a weapon of war for centuries. Though civilized countries condemn it, the fight against it has in a sense only really begun.


Ghitis: Hillary Clinton's global legacy on gay rights


The office has worked to hold governments accountable for the systematic oppression of girls and women and fought for their education in emerging countries. As Hillary said when the office was established: "When the Security Council passed Resolution 1325, we tried to make a very clear statement, that women are still largely shut out of the negotiations that seek to end conflicts, even though women and children are the primary victims of 21st century conflict."


Hillary also included the United States in the Trafficking in Person report. Human Trafficking, a form of modern, mainly sexual, slavery, victimizes mostly women and girls. The annual report reviews the state of global efforts to eliminate the practice. "We believe it is important to keep the spotlight on ourselves," she said. "Human trafficking is not someone else's problem. Involuntary servitude is not something we can ignore or hope doesn't exist in our own communities."


She also created the office of Global Partnerships. And there is much more.


She has held her own in palaces and held the hands of hungry children in mud-hut villages, pursuing an agenda that empowers women, children, the poor and helpless.


We shouldn't have been surprised. Her book "It Takes a Village" focused on the impact that those outside the family have, for better or worse, on a child's well-being.


As secretary of state, she did all she could to make sure our impact as a nation would be for the better.


Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion


Join us on Facebook/CNNOpinion


The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Donna Brazile.






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Mike the gas man at large after gas garb scheme









Riverside police say an arrest this week derailed a sophisticated scheme of stealing gasoline by overriding the pump counter and filling 5-gallon jugs.

The investigation began Jan. 20 when a Riverside officer pulled into a 7-Eleven at 26th Street and Harlem Avenue, then saw a man hurriedly leave the store with a gasoline nozzle still in his vehicle, tearing off the hose as he drove away.

The officer reviewed video surveillance, at first to get a license plate number but discovering what appeared to be an involved ruse to steal fuel, according to a news release from the Riverside police.

The video showed one person pulling up to a pump and removing its housing, then disabling the electronic device that measures the amount of gasoline delivered and tally of dollars owed.

That person then drove off, and a second person pulled up to the overridden pump and began to fill the SUV's tank and 11 5-gallon professional grade water fountain bottles in the back, police said. The second person appeared to panic and fled when the officer drove into the lot, tearing off the pump's hose.

Suspecting a sophisticated scheme, Riverside police didn't immediately chase after the SUV but were able to track the license plate and discover that the registered owner was already due in court on a previous charge of retail theft of motor vehicle fuel.

On Friday, Riverside police attended Bridgeview Court and arrested Darius Williams, 35, of the 400 block of Irvine in Hillside, and according to officials he gave a full confession detailing the scheme.

The second suspect, a man known to Williams only as "Mike the gas man," was the brains behind disabling the pump counters, Williams said, and also took part in selling stolen gasoline from the water bottles at $10 for 5 gallons.

Police searched the SUV owned by Williams and found 10 5-gallon water bottles, a hose and pump used for siphoning gasoline, and other materials used for transporting fuel, police said.

For the Riverside incident, Williams -- who told police he also stayed on the 11700 block of South State Street in Chicago -- was charged with retail theft of motor vehicle fuel and criminal damage to property, police said, both misdemeanors because he had fled the scene after only taking about $73 worth of gas.

"The defendant in this case gave a full statement that he and another individual known as 'Mike the gas man' conceived this plan to steal gasoline and then sell it on the West Side of Chicago," Riverside Police Chief Thomas Weitzel said in the release.

"This is an example of excellent work done by the original responding officer as well as the follow-up investigation by detectives," Weitzel said. "They looked beyond the simple theft complaint and were able to build a case."

"Mike the gas man" remained at large Saturday night, police said.

chicagobreaking@tribune.com
Twitter: @ChicagoBreaking



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Turkey says tests confirm leftist bombed U.S. embassy


ISTANBUL (Reuters) - A member of a Turkish leftist group that accuses Washington of using Turkey as its "slave" carried out a suicide bomb attack on the U.S. embassy, the Ankara governor's office cited DNA tests as showing on Saturday.


Ecevit Sanli, a member of the leftist Revolutionary People's Liberation Army-Front (DHKP-C), blew himself up in a perimeter gatehouse on Friday as he tried to enter the embassy, also killing a Turkish security guard.


The DHKP-C, virulently anti-American and listed as a terrorist organization by the United States and Turkey, claimed responsibility in a statement on the internet in which it said Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan was a U.S. "puppet".


"Murderer America! You will not run away from people's rage," the statement on "The People's Cry" website said, next to a picture of Sanli wearing a black beret and military-style clothes and with an explosives belt around his waist.


It warned Erdogan that he too was a target.


Turkey is an important U.S. ally in the Middle East with common interests ranging from energy security to counter-terrorism. Leftist groups including the DHKP-C strongly oppose what they see as imperialist U.S. influence over their nation.


DNA tests confirmed that Sanli was the bomber, the Ankara governor's office said. It said he had fled Turkey a decade ago and was wanted by the authorities.


Born in 1973 in the Black Sea port city of Ordu, Sanli was jailed in 1997 for attacks on a police station and a military staff college in Istanbul, but his sentence was deferred after he fell sick during a hunger strike. He was never re-jailed.


Condemned to life in prison in 2002, he fled the country a year later, officials said. Interior Minister Muammer Guler said he had re-entered Turkey using false documents.


Erdogan, who said hours after the attack that the DHKP-C were responsible, met his interior and foreign ministers as well as the head of the army and state security service in Istanbul on Saturday to discuss the bombing.


Three people were detained in Istanbul and Ankara in connection with the attack, state broadcaster TRT said.


The White House condemned the bombing as an "act of terror", while the U.N. Security Council described it as a heinous act. U.S. officials said on Friday the DHKP-C were the main suspects but did not exclude other possibilities.


Islamist radicals, extreme left-wing groups, ultra-nationalists and Kurdish militants have all carried out attacks in Turkey in the past.


SYRIA


The DHKP-C statement called on Washington to remove Patriot missiles, due to go operational on Monday as part of a NATO defense system, from Turkish soil.


The missiles are being deployed alongside systems from Germany and the Netherlands to guard Turkey, a NATO member, against a spillover of the war in neighboring Syria.


"Our action is for the independence of our country, which has become a new slave of America," the statement said.


Turkey has been one of the leading advocates of foreign intervention to end the civil war in Syria and has become one of President Bashar al-Assad's harshest critics, a stance groups such as the DHKP-C view as submission to an imperialist agenda.


"Organizations of the sectarian sort like the DHKP-C have been gaining ground as a result of circumstances surrounding the Syrian civil war," security analyst Nihat Ali Ozcan wrote in a column in Turkey's Daily News.


The Ankara attack was the second on a U.S. mission in four months. On September 11, 2012, U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three American personnel were killed in an Islamist militant attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.


The DHKP-C was responsible for the assassination of two U.S. military contractors in the early 1990s in protest against the first Gulf War, and it fired rockets at the U.S. consulate in Istanbul in 1992, according to the U.S. State Department.


It has been blamed for previous suicide attacks, including one in 2001 that killed two police officers and a tourist in Istanbul's central Taksim Square. It has carried out a series of deadly attacks on police stations in the last six months.


Friday's attack may have come in retaliation for an operation against the DHKP-C last month in which Turkish police detained 85 people. A court subsequently remanded 38 of them in custody over links to the group.


(Writing by Nick Tattersall; Editing by Mark Heinrich)



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"Great Rotation"- A Wall Street fairy tale?

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wall Street's current jubilant narrative is that a rush into stocks by small investors has sparked a "great rotation" out of bonds and into equities that will power the bull market to new heights.


That sounds good, but there's a snag: The evidence for this is a few weeks of bullish fund flows that are hardly unusual for January.


Late-stage bull markets are typically marked by an influx of small investors coming late to the party - such as when your waiter starts giving you stock tips. For that to happen you need a good story. The "great rotation," with its monumental tone, is the perfect narrative to make you feel like you're missing out.


Even if something approaching a "great rotation" has begun, it is not necessarily bullish for markets. Those who think they are coming early to the party may actually be arriving late.


Investors pumped $20.7 billion into stocks in the first four weeks of the year, the strongest four-week run since April 2000, according to Lipper. But that pales in comparison with the $410 billion yanked from those funds since the start of 2008.


"I'm not sure you want to take a couple of weeks and extrapolate it into whatever trend you want," said Tobias Levkovich, chief U.S. equity strategist at Citigroup. "We have had instances where equity flows have picked up in the last two, three, four years when markets have picked up. They've generally not been signals of a continuation of that trend."


The S&P 500 rose 5 percent in January, its best month since October 2011 and its best January since 1997, driving speculation that retail investors were flooding back into the stock market.


Heading into another busy week of earnings, the equity market is knocking on the door of all-time highs due to positive sentiment in stocks, and that can't be ignored entirely. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.spx> ended the week about 4 percent from an all-time high touched in October 2007.


Next week will bring results from insurers Allstate and The Hartford , as well as from Walt Disney , Coca-Cola Enterprises and Visa .


But a comparison of flows in January, a seasonal strong month for the stock market, shows that this January, while strong, is not that unusual. In January 2011 investors moved $23.9 billion into stock funds and $28.6 billion in 2006, but neither foreshadowed massive inflows the rest of that year. Furthermore, in 2006 the market gained more than 13 percent while in 2011 it was flat.


Strong inflows in January can happen for a number of reasons. There were a lot of special dividends issued in December that need reinvesting, and some of the funds raised in December tax-selling also find their way back into the market.


During the height of the tech bubble in 2000, when retail investors were really embracing stocks, a staggering $42.7 billion flowed into equities in January of that year, double the amount that flowed in this January. That didn't end well, as stocks peaked in March of that year before dropping over the next two-plus years.


MOM AND POP STILL WARY


Arguing against a 'great rotation' is not necessarily a bearish argument against stocks. The stock market has done well since the crisis. Despite the huge outflows, the S&P 500 has risen more than 120 percent since March 2009 on a slowly improving economy and corporate earnings.


This earnings season, a majority of S&P 500 companies are beating earnings forecast. That's also the case for revenue, which is a departure from the previous two reporting periods where less than 50 percent of companies beat revenue expectations, according to Thomson Reuters data.


Meanwhile, those on the front lines say mom and pop investors are still wary of equities after the financial crisis.


"A lot of people I talk to are very reluctant to make an emotional commitment to the stock market and regardless of income activity in January, I think that's still the case," said David Joy, chief market strategist at Columbia Management Advisors in Boston, where he helps oversee $571 billion.


Joy, speaking from a conference in Phoenix, says most of the people asking him about the "great rotation" are fund management industry insiders who are interested in the extra business a flood of stock investors would bring.


He also pointed out that flows into bond funds were positive in the month of January, hardly an indication of a rotation.


Citi's Levkovich also argues that bond investors are unlikely to give up a 30-year rally in bonds so quickly. He said stocks only began to see consistent outflows 26 months after the tech bubble burst in March 2000. By that reading it could be another year before a serious rotation begins.


On top of that, substantial flows continue to make their way into bonds, even if it isn't low-yielding government debt. January 2013 was the second best January on record for the issuance of U.S. high-grade debt, with $111.725 billion issued during the month, according to International Finance Review.


Bill Gross, who runs the $285 billion Pimco Total Return Fund, the world's largest bond fund, commented on Twitter on Thursday that "January flows at Pimco show few signs of bond/stock rotation," adding that cash and money markets may be the source of inflows into stocks.


Indeed, the evidence suggests some of the money that went into stock funds in January came from money markets after a period in December when investors, worried about the budget uncertainty in Washington, started parking money in late 2012.


Data from iMoneyNet shows investors placed $123 billion in money market funds in the last two months of the year. In two weeks in January investors withdrew $31.45 billion of that, the most since March 2012. But later in the month money actually started flowing back.


(Additional reporting by Caroline Valetkevitch; Editing by Kenneth Barry)



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NFL's Goodell aims to share blame on player safety


NEW ORLEANS (AP) — NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wants to share the blame.


"Safety," he said at his annual Super Bowl news conference, "is all of our responsibilities."


Not surprisingly, given that thousands of former players are suing the league about its handling of concussions, the topics of player health and improved safety dominated Goodell's 45-minute session Friday. And he often sounded like someone seeking to point out that players or others are at fault for some of the sport's problems — and need to help fix them.


"I'll stand up. I'll be accountable. It's part of my responsibility. I'll do everything," Goodell said. "But the players have to do it. The coaches have to do it. Our officials have to do it. Our medical professionals have to do it."


Injuries from hits to the head or to the knees, Goodell noted, can result from improper tackling techniques used by players and taught by coaches. The NFL Players Association needs to allow testing for human growth hormone to go forward so it can finally start next season, which Goodell hopes will happen. He said prices for Super Bowl tickets have soared in part because fans re-sell them above face value.


And asked what he most rues about the New Orleans Saints bounty investigation — a particularly sensitive issue around these parts, of course — Goodell replied: "My biggest regret is that we aren't all recognizing that this is a collective responsibility to get (bounties) out of the game, to make the game safer. Clearly the team, the NFL, the coaching staffs, executives and players, we all share that responsibility. That's what I regret, that I wasn't able to make that point clearly enough with the union."


He addressed other subjects, such as a "new generation of the Rooney Rule" after none of 15 recently open coach or general manager jobs went to a minority candidate, meaning "we didn't have the outcomes we wanted"; using next year's Super Bowl in New Jersey as a test for future cold-weather, outdoor championship games; and saying he welcomed President Barack Obama's recent comments expressing concern about football's violence because "we want to make sure that people understand what we're doing to make our game safer."


Also:


— New Orleans will not get back the second-round draft pick Goodell stripped in his bounty ruling;


— Goodell would not give a time frame for when the NFL could hold a game in Mexico;


— next season's games in London — 49ers-Jaguars and Steelers-Vikings — are sellouts.


Goodell mentioned some upcoming changes, including the plan to add independent neurologists to sidelines to help with concussion care during games — something players have asked for and the league opposed until now.


"The No. 1 issue is: Take the head out of the game," Goodell said. "I think we've seen in the last several decades that players are using their head more than they had when you go back several decades."


He said one tool the league can use to cut down on helmet-to-helmet hits is suspending players who keep doing it.


"We're going to have to continue to see discipline escalate, particularly on repeat offenders," Goodell said. "We're going to have to take them off the field. Suspension gets through to them."


The league will add "expanded physicals at the end of each season ... to review players from a physical, mental and life skills standpoint so that we can support them in a more comprehensive fashion," Goodell said.


With question after question about less-than-light matters, one reporter drew a chuckle from Goodell by asking how he's been treated this week in a city filled with supporters of the Saints who are angry about the way the club was punished for the bounty system the NFL said existed from 2009-11.


"My picture, as you point out, is in every restaurant. I had a float in the Mardi Gras parade. We got a voodoo doll," Goodell said.


But he added that he can "appreciate the passion" of the fans and, actually, "couldn't feel more welcome here."


___


Follow Howard Fendrich on Twitter at http://twitter.com/HowardFendrich


Read More..

Calorie Labels Inaccurate, Experts Say






People who meticulously check the calorie counts on nutrition labels and restaurant menus are in for some bad news: the tallies may be wrong, experts say.


Recent studies show that the amount of pounding, slicing, mashing and perhaps even chewing that goes into preparing and eating food affects the number of calories people get. For some foods, a proportion of the calories in them remains “locked up” during digestion, and isn’t used by the body. People also expend some of the energy from food just digesting it; and even the bacteria in people’s guts steal a fraction of food’s calories. None of these factors are accounted for in our current system for calculating calories, which dates back more than 100 years.






Scientists have always known that calorie counts are just estimates. And over the years, some scientists have called for changes to the system. Now, researchers are again shining a spotlight on the issue, saying an overhaul of the calorie count system is needed so consumers have a better idea of exactly how many calories they get from the food they eat.


“If we’re going to put the information out there on the food label, it would be nice that it’s accurate,” said David Baer, a research physiologist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Human Nutrition Research Center in Beltsville, Md. In a study last year, Baer and colleagues showed that almonds have 20 percent fewer calories than previously estimated.  Now, the researchers are considering retesting other foods, including some types of whole grains and legumes.


For the most part, the inaccuracies are small, but some foods may have actual caloric values that differ from the estimated values by as much as 50 percent, experts say. [See 9 Snack Foods: Healthy or Not?]


Counting calories


One way to measure a food’s energy, or caloric content, is by burning it in a device called a bomb calorimeter. However, this method doesn’t take into account the fact that humans lose some calories through urine and feces and as heat. Over the years, researchers have tried to figure out ways to account for these losses.


In the late 1800s and early 1900s, a man named Wilbur Atwater conducted experiments in which he calculated the number of calories in various diets, and collected people’s feces to determine how many calories were wasted. Based on these experiments, Atwater concluded that proteins and carbohydrates have about 4 calories per gram, fats have 9 calories per gram, and alcohol has 7 calories per gram.


These values are still used today. Their existence means food manufacturers and restaurants can use a simple formula to calculate the calories in their foods.


However, these values are rough estimates. Certain foods, such as those high in fiber, are not digested as well, meaning the calories we get from them would be lower than those calculated using the formula. In the 1970s, researchers introduced modified Atwater values that were intended for specific foods, such as fruits, vegetables and beans.


More changes needed


While these changes are a good start, some experts say we should do more.


Research by Rachel Carmody, a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University’s FAS Center for Systems Biology in Cambridge, Mass., and colleagues, shows that food processing — eating a carrot that’s pureed rather than whole, for example — changes the calories we get from it. 


Food processing takes some of the work out of digestion, Carmody said, meaning that generally, a processed food will have more calories than an unprocessed food.


Calories in processed foods are likely close to the values that the Atwater system estimates. For example, if you eat a mashed potato that’s been calculated by the Atwater system to contain 300 calories, you’re likely getting most of those calories, Carmody said. But if you eat a whole, unprocessed potato of the same size, you’ll take in around 200 calories, she said.


The difference is biggest for starchy foods, like potatoes, and is lowest for meats, Carmody said. (The calories from unprocessed versus processed meats only differ by 5 to 10 percent, she said.)


The Atwater system also fails to account for structural differences in food that make some calories inaccessible to our bodies. For example, the almond study, which also accounted for calories lost in feces, suggested that some of the fat in whole almonds is locked away in a structure our bodies can’t digest. While the Atwater system says a serving of whole almonds has about 170 calories, the almond study found it actually has about 130.


“Given that the Atwater system is treating essentially all foods the same, we aren’t getting a good perspective when it come times to make dietary choices,” Carmody said.


When we digest food, we also give off energy as heat. The amount of heat we radiate depends upon the exact components of the food. For proteins, it’s about 20 to 30 percent of the food’s calories — so if we eat 100 calories worth of protein, we get about 80 calories from it, Carmody said. For fats, it’s much less, about 0 to 3 percent, she said. (So if we eat 100 calories worth of fat, we’d get 97 of those calories.)


This month, Carmody and colleagues will give a presentation at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Boston that will discuss ways in which to improve the system for calculating calories.


Does it really matter for waistlines?


Some researchers say that, on the whole, the inaccuracies in calorie estimates don’t make a big difference. “For most uses, I think they’re good enough,” said Malden Nesheim, professor of nutrition emeritus at Cornell University, in Ithaca, N.Y., and co-author of the book “Why Calories Count” (University of California Press, 2012).


People tend to eat a variety of foods, not just almonds or starches. So overestimating or underestimating the calories in one particular food will likely not have a huge impact on a person’s daily calorie intake, Nesheim said.


And generally, the omissions in the Atwater system tend to result in overestimates, meaning they likely wouldn’t interfere with weight loss.


“It would only be a problem for people who want to gain weight,” said Mary Ellen Camire, a professor at the University of Maine’s Department of Food Science & Human Nutrition in Orono.


But other researchers say the goal of a revision would be to give people as much accurate information as possible to help them make informed choices about food, Carmody said. Such a process could result in broad changes, such as new numbers for the total calories people need in a day.


“By getting a better understating of the effective calories in food, we’ll get a better sense of human energy requirement,” Carmody said.


A change to the calorie system would not be easy, Carmody said. And because of differences between individuals, it would be impossible to create a system that would work for everyone.


But researchers may be able to fill in some of the system’s biggest gaps, such as the effects of food processing and heat loss, Carmody said.


“We can start to think of simple ways to improve [the system] that will be better for the average consumer,” Carmody said.


Pass it on: An overhaul of the system we use to calculate calories is needed so people can better gauge how many calories they get from food.


Follow Rachael Rettner on Twitter @RachaelRettner, or MyHealthNewsDaily @MyHealth_MHND. We’re also on Facebook & Google+.


Copyright 2013 MyHealthNewsDaily, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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Hillary: Secretary of empowerment




Girls hug U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during a 2010 tour of a shelter run for sex trafficking victims in Cambodia.




STORY HIGHLIGHTS


  • Donna Brazile: Clinton stepping down as Secretary of State. Maybe she'll run for president

  • She says as secretary she expanded foreign policy to include effect on regular people

  • She says she was first secretary of state to focus on empowering women and girls

  • Brazile: Clinton has fought for education and inclusion in politics for women and girls




Editor's note: Donna Brazile, a CNN contributor and a Democratic strategist, is vice chairwoman for voter registration and participation at the Democratic National Committee. She is a nationally syndicated columnist, an adjunct professor at Georgetown University and author of "Cooking with Grease." She was manager for the Gore-Lieberman presidential campaign in 2000.


(CNN) -- As Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton steps down from her job Friday, many are assuming she will run for president. And she may. In fact, five of the first eight presidents first served their predecessors as secretary of state.


It hasn't happened in more than a century, though that may change should Clinton decide to run. After all, she has been a game changer her entire life.


But before we look ahead, I think we should appreciate what she's done as secretary of state; it's a high profile, high pressure job. You have to deal with the routine as if it is critical and with crisis as if it's routine. You have to manage egos, protocols, customs and Congress. You have to be rhetorical and blunt, diplomatic and direct.



CNN Contributor Donna Brazile

CNN Contributor Donna Brazile



As secretary of state you are dealing with heads of state and with we the people. And the president of the United States has to trust you -- implicitly.


On the road with Hillary Clinton


Of all Clinton's accomplishments -- and I will mention just a few -- this may be the most underappreciated. During the election, pundits were puzzled and amazed not only at how much energy former President Bill Clinton poured into Obama's campaign, but even more at how genuine and close the friendship was.


Obama was given a lot of well-deserved credit for reaching out to the Clintons by appointing then-Sen. Hillary Clinton as his secretary of state in the first place. But trust is a two-way street and has to be earned. We should not underestimate or forget how much Clinton did and how hard she worked. She deserved that trust, as she deserved to be in the war room when Osama bin Laden was killed.


By the way, is there any other leader in the last 50 years whom we routinely refer to by a first name, and do so more out of respect than familiarity? The last person I can think of was Ike -- the elder family member who we revere with affection. Hillary is Hillary.


It's not surprising that we feel we know her. She has been part of our public life for more than 20 years. She's been a model of dignity, diplomacy, empathy and toughness. She also has done something no other secretary of state has done -- including the two women who preceded her in the Cabinet post.


Rothkopf: President Hillary Clinton? If she wants it



Hillary has transformed our understanding -- no, our definition -- of foreign affairs. Diplomacy is no longer just the skill of managing relations with other countries. The big issues -- war and peace, terror, economic stability, etc. -- remain, and she has handled them with firmness and authority, with poise and confidence, and with good will, when appropriate.


But it is not the praise of diplomats or dictators that will be her legacy. She dealt with plenipotentiaries, but her focus was on people. Foreign affairs isn't just about treaties, she taught us, it's about the suffering and aspirations of those affected by the treaties, made or unmade.








Most of all, diplomacy should refocus attention on the powerless.


Of course, Hillary wasn't the first secretary of state to advocate for human rights or use the post to raise awareness of abuses or negotiate humanitarian relief or pressure oppressors. But she was the first to focus on empowerment, particularly of women and girls.


She created the first Office of Global Women's Issues. That office fought to highlight the plight of women around the world. Rape of women has been a weapon of war for centuries. Though civilized countries condemn it, the fight against it has in a sense only really begun.


Ghitis: Hillary Clinton's global legacy on gay rights


The office has worked to hold governments accountable for the systematic oppression of girls and women and fought for their education in emerging countries. As Hillary said when the office was established: "When the Security Council passed Resolution 1325, we tried to make a very clear statement, that women are still largely shut out of the negotiations that seek to end conflicts, even though women and children are the primary victims of 21st century conflict."


Hillary also included the United States in the Trafficking in Person report. Human Trafficking, a form of modern, mainly sexual, slavery, victimizes mostly women and girls. The annual report reviews the state of global efforts to eliminate the practice. "We believe it is important to keep the spotlight on ourselves," she said. "Human trafficking is not someone else's problem. Involuntary servitude is not something we can ignore or hope doesn't exist in our own communities."


She also created the office of Global Partnerships. And there is much more.


She has held her own in palaces and held the hands of hungry children in mud-hut villages, pursuing an agenda that empowers women, children, the poor and helpless.


We shouldn't have been surprised. Her book "It Takes a Village" focused on the impact that those outside the family have, for better or worse, on a child's well-being.


As secretary of state, she did all she could to make sure our impact as a nation would be for the better.


Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion


Join us on Facebook/CNNOpinion


The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Donna Brazile.






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Killer fired at least 10 times at woman on Lake Shore Drive




















A 32-year-old woman was shot and killed inside a Dodge mini-van on Lake Shore Drive overnight. (WGN - Chicago)






















































A woman was shot to death while driving a van when someone pulled alongside her on the ramp from Lake Shore Drive to the Stevenson Expressway and fired 10 to 14 times Friday morning, police said.

The Chicago woman, 32, was hit at least once and died at the scene. She later was identified as Michelle Smith, of the 5000 block of South Paulina Avenue, according to the Cook County medical examiner's office. A 37-year-old woman in the van escaped unharmed and was being questioned by police, officials said.

“A brown full-sized van approached in the left lane,” Illinois State Police Capt. Luis Gutierrez said at a press conference on the scene. “That vehicle shot at our victim approximately 10 to 14 rounds."


Gutierrez said police were able to talk to the passenger, who was not harmed, and police believe that "this incident stems from drug and gang activity." Police are reviewing video footage from near the scene.


The victim's criminal history includes several drug-related arrests and a four-year sentence given in 2007 for a felony narcotics conviction, records show.


Illinois State Police learned of the shooting about 4:20 a.m. from Chicago police, who got to the scene after the van crashed.

Police closed access to interstates 94 and 55 from southbound Lake Shore Drive. Flares were laid out to keep vehicles off the ramp but they were quickly extinguished by wind. The ramp was reopened about 11:30 a.m., according to the city's Office of Emergency Management and Communications.

pnickeas@tribune.com
Twitter: @peternickeas







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Suicide bomber kills guard at U.S. embassy in Turkey


ANKARA (Reuters) - A far-leftist suicide bomber killed a Turkish security guard at the U.S. embassy in Ankara on Friday, officials said, blowing open an entrance and sending debris flying through the air.


The attacker detonated explosives strapped to his body after entering an embassy gatehouse. The blast could be heard a mile away. A lower leg and other human remains lay on the street.


Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said the bomber was a member of the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C), a far-left group which is virulently anti-U.S. and anti-NATO and is listed as a terrorist organisation by Washington.


The White House said the suicide attack was an "act of terror" but that the motivation was unclear. U.S. officials said the DHKP-C were the main suspects but did not exclude other possibilities.


Islamist radicals, extreme left-wing groups, ultra-nationalists and Kurdish militants have all carried out attacks in Turkey in the past. There was no claim of responsibility.


"The suicide bomber was ripped apart and one or two citizens from the special security team passed away," said Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan.


"This event shows that we need to fight together everywhere in the world against these terrorist elements," he said.


In New York, the U.N. Security Council strongly condemned the attack as a heinous act.


Turkish media reports identified the bomber as DHKP-C member Ecevit Sanli, who was involved in attacks on a police station and a military staff college in Istanbul in 1997.


KEY ALLY


Turkey is a key U.S. ally in the Middle East with common interests ranging from energy security to counter-terrorism and has been one of the leading advocates of foreign intervention to end the conflict in neighboring Syria.


Around 400 U.S. soldiers have arrived in Turkey over the past few weeks to operate Patriot anti-missile batteries meant to defend against any spillover of Syria's civil war, part of a NATO deployment due to be fully operational in the coming days.


The DHKP-C was responsible for the assassination of two U.S. military contractors in the early 1990s in protest against the first Gulf War and launched rockets at the U.S. consulate in Istanbul in 1992, according to the U.S. State Department.


Deemed a terrorist organisation by both the United States and Turkey, the DHKP-C has been blamed for suicide attacks in the past, including one in 2001 that killed two police officers and a tourist in Istanbul's central Taksim Square.


The group, formed in 1978, has carried out a series of deadly attacks on police stations in the last six months.


The attack may have come in retaliation for an operation against the DHKP-C last month in which Turkish police detained 85 people. A court subsequently remanded 38 of them in custody over links to the group.


"HUGE EXPLOSION"


U.S. Ambassador Francis Ricciardone emerged through the main gate of the embassy shortly after the explosion to address reporters, flanked by a security detail as a Turkish police helicopter hovered overhead.


"We're very sad of course that we lost one of our Turkish guards at the gate," Ricciardone said, describing the victim as a "hero" and thanking Turkish authorities for a prompt response.


U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland condemned the attack on the checkpoint on the perimeter of the embassy and said several U.S. and Turkish staff were injured by debris.


"The level of security protection at our facility in Ankara ensured that there were not significantly more deaths and injuries than there could have been," she told reporters.


It was the second attack on a U.S. mission in four months. On September 11, 2012, U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three American personnel were killed in an attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.


The attack in Benghazi, blamed on al Qaeda-affiliated militants, sparked a political furore in Washington over accusations that U.S. missions were not adequately safeguarded.


A well-known Turkish journalist, Didem Tuncay, who was on her way in to the embassy to meet Ricciardone when the attack took place, was in a critical condition in hospital.


"It was a huge explosion. I was sitting in my shop when it happened. I saw what looked like a body part on the ground," said travel agent Kamiyar Barnos, whose shop window was shattered around 100 meters away from the blast.


CALL FOR VIGILANCE


The U.S. consulate in Istanbul warned its citizens to be vigilant and to avoid large gatherings, while the British mission in Istanbul called on British businesses to tighten security after what it called a "suspected terrorist attack".


In 2008, Turkish gunmen with suspected links to al Qaeda, opened fire on the U.S. consulate in Istanbul, killing three Turkish policemen. The gunmen died in the subsequent firefight.


The most serious bombings in Turkey occurred in November 2003, when car bombs shattered two synagogues, killing 30 people and wounding 146. Part of the HSBC Bank headquarters was destroyed and the British consulate was damaged in two more explosions that killed 32 people less than a week later. Authorities said those attacks bore the hallmarks of al Qaeda.


(Additional reporting by Daren Butler and Ayla Jean Yackley in Istanbul, Mohammed Arshad and Mark Hosenball in Washington; Writing by Nick Tattersall; Editing by Stephen Powell and Sandra Maler)



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S&P 500 posts biggest monthly gain since October 2011

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stocks edged lower on Thursday on caution ahead of Friday's all-important jobs report, but the S&P 500 still posted its best monthly gain since October 2011.


The benchmark S&P 500 advanced 5.1 percent in January as investors cheered a compromise that temporarily postponed the impact of the "fiscal cliff" and fourth-quarter earnings were better than expected.


The S&P 500 registered its largest monthly advance since a rise of more than 6 percent in October 2011 and the best January showing since a 6.1 percent jump in 1997. For the month, the Dow gained 5.8 percent and the Nasdaq rose 4.1 percent.


Investors expect a pullback in equities after the recent gains, though they have bought on dips over the past four weeks. The largest daily decline on the S&P 500 so far in 2013 was Wednesday's 0.39 percent drop after data showed the economy contracted in the fourth quarter of 2012.


On Friday, the government is due to release January's employment figures at 8:30 a.m. (1330 GMT). Economists polled by Reuters expect non-farm payrolls to show employers added 160,000 jobs compared with a rise of 155,000 in December. The unemployment rate is likely to hold steady at 7.8 percent.


A survey by payroll processing company ADP on Wednesday showed private sector employment rose higher than expected last month, but the government's measure of jobless benefits claims increased last week.


"It's the calm before the potential storm. The uncertainty about tomorrow's numbers comes from that fact that we had a decent ADP report but the weekly claims were not so great," said Randy Frederick, managing director of active trading and derivatives for Charles Schwab in Austin, Texas.


In a separate report, the Commerce Department said American incomes rose 2.6 percent last month, the biggest increase since December 2004.


"We could see an overly sensitive market to a bad number tomorrow, given that we've been up without a major correction, and that makes the market sensitive to the downside."


Friday will also bring reports on consumer confidence, U.S. manufacturing, construction spending and car sales.


Limiting losses on the Nasdaq composite index, Qualcomm gained 3.9 percent to $66.02 after the world's leading supplier of chips for cellphones beat analysts' expectations for quarterly profit and revenue and raised its targets for the year.


Facebook shares fell 0.8 percent to $30.98 after falling as low as $28.74 a day after the social network company said it doubled its mobile advertising revenue in the fourth quarter. However, growth trailed some of Wall Street's most aggressive estimates.


The Dow Jones industrial average <.dji> was down 49.84 points, or 0.36 percent, at 13,860.58. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.spx> was down 3.85 points, or 0.26 percent, at 1,498.11. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.ixic> was down 0.18 points, or 0.01 percent, at 3,142.13.


UPS shares lost 2.4 percent to $79.29 after reporting fourth-quarter earnings that were below analysts' estimates on Thursday and forecasting weaker-than-expected profit for 2013.


Constellation Brands shares tumbled 17.4 percent to $32.36 after the U.S. Justice Department moved to stop Anheuser-Busch InBev from buying the half of Mexican brewer Grupo Modelo that it does not already own. Constellation would have distributed Corona beer in the United States if the transaction had been approved.


Thomson Reuters data through Thursday morning shows that of the 231 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported earnings this season, 69.3 percent have exceeded expectations, a higher proportion than over the past four quarters and above the average since 1994.


Overall, S&P 500 fourth-quarter earnings rose 3.7 percent, according to Thomson Reuters data. That's above a 1.9 percent forecast at the start of the earnings season but well below a 9.9 percent profit growth forecast on October 1.


(Reporting By Angela Moon; Editing by Nick Zieminski and Kenneth Barry)



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SUPER BOWL WATCH: Beyonce, avocados, practice


NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Around Super Bowl XLVII and its host city with journalists from The Associated Press bringing the flavor and details of everything surrounding the game:


___


GRIDIRON TO LEMONADE STAND


Donald Driver didn't waste much time finding a new job.


The Green Bay Packers all-time leading receiver announced his retirement Thursday morning, then helped kids from Junior Achievement sell lemonade at a pop-up stand in the Super Bowl media center.


Not only did Driver help behind the counter, he loaded up four carrying cases and he and his three new friends set out to find customers. Their cases were empty when they returned.


"All the money they've raised will stay here in New Orleans," Driver said. "What they're starting to do is learn how to run their own business, become entrepreneurs by themselves.


"I'm just here to raise as much money so maybe they can open up their own lemonade stand the next couple of years.


— Nancy Armour — http://twitter.com/nrarmour


___


JUDGE FOR YOURSELF: BEYONCE


Wondering about Beyonce and her response inauguration lip syncing flap?


Judge for yourself — here's her full rendition of the national anthem during a press conference Thursday: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8p2MTKCLNsY


___


QUICKQUOTE: JERSEYS AND DRUGS


Authorities say buying a cheap imitation NFL jersey may be more harmful than you think.


Kevin Abar, assistant special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations in New Mexico, said there's evidence that Mexican drug cartels are getting involved in the counterfeit NFL black market trade because they can make quick money.


"A lot of folks may think that there's nothing wrong with buying a knockoff Denver Broncos jersey, but in reality, the money is being used to fund the drug war in Mexico," Abar said.


— Michael Kunzelman — http://twitter.com/Kunzelman75


___


STAT OF THE DAY: 158M AVOCADOS


AP Food Editor J.M. Hirsch has the stat of the day today: Americans are expected to consume 158 million avocados around the Super Bowl.


That's 79 million pounds of green goodness — up from 8 million pounds at the turn of the century.


So has the guacamole improved that much? Not really, it's just outstanding marketing and other factors.


— J.M. Hirsch — http://twitter.com/JM_Hirsch


___


YUP, WE HEARD YOU, BEYONCE


Beyonce belted out the national anthem — for real — and America clearly heard.


Shortly after the singer's press conference on Thursday where she admitted singing to a backup track during President Barack Obama's inauguration, "National Anthem" became a trending topic in the United States on Twitter.


Millions of fans clearly approved of her impromptu performance, now reassured that her pipes are still fine.


— Oskar Garcia — http://twitter.com/oskargarcia .


___


NO TAPE NEEDED


Beyonce's version of the national anthem was worth the wait.


The superstar singer, roundly criticized for lip syncing "The Star-Spangled Banner" at the inauguration 10 days ago, walked into Thursday's news conference for the Super Bowl halftime show and asked the ballroom filled with several hundred people to stand. She then belted out a spine-tingling version of the anthem, leaving no doubts about the power of her voice. Many in the room applauded when she finished.


"Thank you guys so much. Any questions?" Beyonce said, drawing laughs.


Beyonce admitted she sang along with a pre-recorded track at the inauguration, saying she hadn't had time to rehearse with the orchestra. This was too big of an occasion to have it be anything less than perfect, she said.


"I did not feel comfortable taking a risk," she said. "This was about the president and the inauguration and I wanted to make my country proud."


She did promise to sing live Sunday, however.


"I am well-rehearsed," she said. "This was what I was born to do."


That was about all Beyonce was willing to spill, though. She wouldn't say what she'll be singing, though she did say it was "not easy" to choose a few songs from her many hits.


"All of my songs are like my children," she said.


As for that rumored Destiny's Child reunion, Beyonce wouldn't confirm it.


She didn't deny it, though, either.


"I can't really give you any details," she said. "I'm sorry."


— Nancy Armour — http://twitter.com/nrarmour


___


TURF WARS


The Baltimore Ravens don't like the artificial turf at Tulane's baseball field.


So they've moved to the Saints' facility instead.


The San Francisco 49ers were already training at the Saints' complex in nearby Metairie.


The AFC champions were forced to practice in the outfield of the baseball facility Wednesday because Tulane has broken ground on a new football stadium. Coach John Harbaugh, star linebacker Ray Lewis and several other players said it was "hard on the legs."


After the Ravens approached the league about practicing on grass, the NFL arranged for them to follow the 49ers at the Saints training fields.


— Barry Wilner


___


10 ADS TO WATCH


If you're a fan of Super Bowl ads, here are 10 to look out for during Sunday's game. With more than 111 million people expected to tune in, it's advertising's biggest showcase.


1. Samsung Mobile's 2-minute ad with "Knocked Up" actors Paul Rudd and Seth Rogen, directed by Jon Favreau ("Iron Man"). The company has not released details about the ad's plot other than to say that it shows Rogen and Rudd on a "quest to become the next big thing." Teaser here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzfAdmAtYIY


2. Best Buy's 30-second ad in the first quarter stars Amy Poehler, star of NBC's "Parks and Recreation," asking a Best Buy employee "lots of questions." Teaser: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PcmW8HCuLo8


3. Kraft enlists Tracy Morgan from NBC's "30 Rock" to introduce its new Mio Fit water enhancing drops in a 30-second ad during the third quarter. Teaser: http://www.youtube.com/user/makeitmio?feature=watch


4. Hyundai Motor Group's Kia invents a fanciful way that babies are made, blasting in from a baby planet in its "Space babies" ad for the 2014 Sorento crossover. Link: http://www.youtube.com/user/KiaMotorsAmerica?feature=watch


5. First-time advertiser Paramount Farms is touting its Wonderful Pistachios brand of nuts in a 30-second ad with Korean pop sensation Psy. The campaign: http://getcrackin.com/


6. First-time advertiser Axe shows a woman in the ocean getting rescued by a sexy lifeguard, but going for an astronaut instead. It promotes Axe's new cologne "Apollo" and its contest to send someone on the first suborbital space tour in 2014. Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QGoU3VH7He4


7. Audi's 60-second ad in the first quarter, with an ending voted on by viewers, shows a boy gaining confidence from driving his father's Audi to the prom, kissing the prom queen and getting decked by the prom king. Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ANhmS6QLd5Q


8. PepsiCo's Frito-Lay's Doritos "Crash the Super Bowl" ads are back for the seventh straight year. Two 30-second commercials made by consumers will make it on the air. Fans voted for one winner and Doritos chose the other.


9. Ford Motor Co. enlisted late-night talk show host Jimmy Fallon to choose road trip stories submitted by Twitter with the hashtag (hash)steerthescript to base its Super Bowl commercial for Lincoln. The ad features rapper Joseph "Rev Run" Simmons, Wil Wheaton, who acted in the iconic science-fiction series "Star Trek: The Next Generation."


10. The Milk Processor Education Program, known as MilkPep and popular for its "Got Milk?" print ads, is featuring actor and professional wrestler Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson in a 30-second ad in the second quarter that is directed by Peter Berg ("Friday Night Lights.")


— Mae Anderson


___


BEYONCE, BUT WHO ELSE?


There's lots of hype for Beyonce's halftime performance at the Super Bowl, but she's far from the only A-list act in New Orleans this week.


The NFL has announced Jennifer Hudson is planning to sing "America the Beautiful" before the game with the chorus from Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.


Just add her to the already packed list. It also includes:


— Justin Timberlake, in his first major musical performance in four years (hosting Saturday Night Live doesn't count — he hasn't been an official musical guest on the show since 2006).


— Stevie Wonder


— CeeLo Green with his old hip-hop clique, Goodie Mob.


—Rascal Flatts with Journey.


And then there's the parties. Lil Wayne is throwing a bash. Jay-Z will host another event the night before his wife, Beyonce, takes stage. Jamie Foxx and Santigold are also performing, while DJs including Diplo and Questlove from The Roots are spinning.


Not that it's ever difficult, but it's extra easy to find a party in New Orleans the next few days.


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— Stacey Plaisance


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PUTTING POLITICS ASIDE FOR NEW ORLEANS


Long working on opposite sides of the American political spectrum, James Carville and Mary Matalin are pulling in the same direction when it comes to promoting their adopted home of New Orleans as a Super Bowl host.


Carville, a longtime Democratic strategist, and Matalin, a Republican pundit, are the co-chairs of the Super Bowl host committee. They're also married.


They've been making the rounds together from one event to the next in the convention center, which houses both the NFL Experience theme park and work stations for several thousand international media.


Carville is from Louisiana and the couple married in New Orleans. Then in 2008, they decided to move here from Washington, D.C. Now living in a stately home just two blocks off of historic St. Charles Avenue, they've been among the biggest boosters of the Big Easy's recovery from Hurricane Katrina, lending their support to a variety of community projects with goals ranging from restoration of fragile coastal wetlands to education and economic development.


The pair agree that while organizing a Super Bowl doesn't cost as much as a presidential campaign, it's just as hard because it's a multiyear project with a lot of moving parts.


Carville says he's always been a sports fan so the transition was natural for him. Matalin says one obvious goal is to get New Orleans back in the regular rotation as a Super Bowl host, but the larger goal is to help the city's future by demonstrating how successfully it can host one of the biggest single events in the sports world. While New Orleans is hosting its 10th Super Bowl, the NFL championship has not been played there since 2002.


Says Carville: "If it goes the way we hope it does, it'll go beyond economic impact. It'll go beyond who won the game. It think there's something significant that's coming to a point here in the city."


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— Brett Martel — http://twitter.com/brettmartel


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ZOO VS ZOO


File this in the quirky Super Bowl wager department: Zoos in Baltimore and San Francisco are gambling with the homes of two ravens and a rhino.


Leaders of The Maryland Zoo and The San Francisco Zoological Gardens have wagered naming rights to their respective exhibits with ties to their hometown football teams.


The zoo in Baltimore is home to official Ravens mascots, Rise and Conquer. If 49ers win, it will rename the ravens' enclosure the "San Francisco 49ers exhibit."


If the Ravens win, the San Francisco zoo has agreed to re-name the enclosure of its black rhino "Boone," who is named after the 49ers offensive tackle Alex Boone, in honor of the Ravens.


The new name would last one month, starting Feb. 11.


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CATCHING THE COUNTERFEITERS


Shop wisely when looking for those Super Bowl souvenirs.


Federal officials have seized more than 163,000 counterfeit items worth more than $13.6 million over the last five months as part of Operation Red Zone, John Morton, director of U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, said. That's a "significant" increase from last year, when about $5 million worth of merchandise was seized.


"Everything from hats to jerseys to Nike shoes. My personal favorite is this counterfeit Super Bowl ring from Super Bowl XLIV," Morton said, holding up a massive gold ring. "It's actually quite heavy and a better counterfeit than most. Just goes to show you the lengths people will go in this business."


Equally troubling are websites selling counterfeit merchandise, some so sophisticated they include anti-virus logos and the seal of the Better Business Bureau — making them almost impossible to tell them apart from legitimate vendors.


Morton said federal officials have already seized domain names of 313 web sites, almost all of which originated overseas.


"Imagine what's going on when you're putting your credit card through this site. Really think about that," Morton said. "The site is being run by overseas criminals in Asia.... You can imagine what the result is, and sadly many, many of these sites come with malware and other unfortunate ornaments on the Christmas tree."


The easiest way to make sure fans are buying legitimate merchandise is to buy from an official vendor, Morton said. Each team has one, as does the NFL.


But the best way fans can prevent being scammed is to use common sense, Morton said. Look closely at items, and there will be signs they're fakes. If there are extra words in a website address — com.us — or misspellings, that's almost always a dead giveaway.


"We're not letting up," Morton said. "We'll have teams out the next couple of days looking for counterfeit and scam artists."


— Nancy Armour — http://twitter.com/nrarmour


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RENO: THE KAEPERNICK EFFECT


Casinos in the Biggest Little City in the World are expecting a bump in Super Bowl betting this year thanks to 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, maybe enough to help Nevada set a record in wagering on the game.


Kaepernick played college football at Nevada, just down the street from casinos in Reno.


Now, most of those casinos are offering an especially large number of proposition bets on the quarterback.


Kaep-mania has run so rampant in Reno that sporting goods stores can't keep stocked in jerseys. More than 7,000 fans set what Nevada officials said was a world record when they all simultaneously kissed their arms "Kaepernicking style" during a break in last week's basketball game against San Diego State.


A Kaepernick viewing party is planned during Sunday's game at the student union.


— Scott Sonner


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NO MORE TALKING


The players can focus on football now — they're officially done talking to the media.


Ravens safety Ed Reed was the last guy at the podium on Thursday. After he finished talking with reporters, he scooped up a blue placard with his name on it.


"I'm going to give it to my mother," he said.


He said he's very glad that his interviews are done for the week.


Players had three hourlong sessions during the week, and Reed had another press availability on Monday.


The coaches for the 49ers and Ravens will speak with reporters again on Friday morning.


— Paul Newberry — http://twitter.com/pnewberry1963


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BROTHERLY ADVICE: BROOK LOPEZ


Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh and San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh are hardly the only high-profile siblings who've squared off in their arena of expertise. The AP is asking some others who can relate how they'd handle going against a family member in the Super Bowl.


Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez said after scoring 21 points in a loss to the Miami Heat on Wednesday night that it's a combination of joy and competitiveness.


"I know they're just going to treat it as a game. That's how I treat it whenever I play Robin," Brook Lopez said. "I know they will enjoy it as well. But if I have any experience playing against Robin growing up, I know it's going to be competitive. I know they're going to want to beat each other."


Brook's brother, Robin, plays for the New Orleans Hornets.


— Brian Mahoney — http://twitter.com/briancmahoney


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SORRY, MOM


The way Jack Harbaugh tells the story, Jackie Harbaugh was so shocked by her eldest son's decision to choose coaching over a career in law or politics, she fell face-first into a dish of mashed potatoes.


See, Jackie Harbaugh loves political science and politics. And as a political science major at Bowling Green with a high grade-point, John Harbaugh seemed headed for law school.


"Jackie was so excited about it," Jack Harbaugh said.


But both of the Harbaugh boys had been bitten by the coaching bug early. The practice fields at Iowa and Michigan were their playground, and they knew more about coaching before they got out of grade school than some veteran assistants.


"He came home one day and we're sitting around the table and we're having dinner. Jackie says, 'John, what law school will it be?' John said, 'Mom, I think I want to try coaching,' Jack Harbaugh said. "To which Jackie went facedown into the mashed potatoes. She said, 'What? Coaching? You've got to reconsider!'"


That's not exactly what happened, Jackie Harbaugh said.


"May I tell the truth? There were no mashed potatoes," she said. "When he came home and talked about (coaching) and I saw that look in his eyes, my feeling was, you have to do what you want to do. If you want to try this and see where it takes you, that would be great."


Seems like he made the right choice. After making the playoffs in each of his first four seasons, John Harbaugh has the Baltimore Ravens in the Super Bowl on Sunday, where they'll face his brother Jim's San Francisco 49ers.


— Nancy Armour — http://twitter.com/nrarmour


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EATING RIGHT


How about some home cookin' in the Big Easy — as in 150 plates of it to feed a football team? That's what Ravens wide receiver Jacoby Jones' mother, Emily, presented the Baltimore players for dinner this week at the team hotel to kick off Super Bowl prep New Orleans-style.


"Gumbo, jambalaya, potato salad, bread pudding, macaroni, the whole nine yards. She made 150 plates," Jones said. "All they kept saying is she put her foot in it. I love it."


That's a real compliment around here.


Now, Jones might give his mother a break.


"I'm going to let her be. I might buy me some crawfish or something."


And he knows all the best spots in New Orleans to get it.


— Janie McCauley — http://twitter.com/janieMcCAP


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EDITOR'S NOTE — "Super Bowl Watch" shows you the Super Bowl and the events surrounding the game through the eyes of Associated Press journalists across New Orleans and around the world. Follow them on Twitter where available with the handles listed after each item.


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