In The News Today

Posted at 1:01 AM (CST) by & filed under General Editorial.

Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

Read this as OTC derivatives kill more and more.

Another Fund Heavily Used by Schools Is Frozen
By JOHN HECHINGER in Boston and CRAIG KARMIN in New York

A second investment fund offered by investment adviser Commonfund froze most withdrawals this week, posing possible financial strains for the 200 colleges and schools invested in the fund.

The Commonfund Intermediate Term Fund held $1 billion in assets for the schools. Commonfund, a Wilton, Conn., investment adviser for colleges and schools, told clients they could withdraw only 30% of their money now, and said it will make the rest available “as quickly as possible,” depending on market conditions. The fund would normally give investors any part of their money the day after a withdrawal request.

Keith Luke, managing director of Commonfund, says about half of the fund was invested in mortgage- and other asset-backed securities from which investors have been fleeing. The rest was in government-agency and corporate debt that has held up better in the financial crisis. Mr. Luke said Commonfund instituted the freeze because redemption requests would have forced the fund to sell securities at “distressed prices.” He said the portfolio’s securities haven’t had defaults.

The fund returned less than 1% in the year ended June 30 and 2.7% annualized over the past five years, underperforming its benchmark Merrill Lynch 1-3 Year Treasury Index, according to Commonfund. Mr. Luke says the fund has had outflows but they “haven’t been huge.” He said he didn’t know when restrictions would be lifted but it would depend on improvements in the credit markets.

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Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

Gold is the final form of money. It will be chosen by all those seeking safety from paper instruments & currency over treasury instruments of bankrupt countries.

Financial Crisis: Rush for gold as savers queue for bullion
Savers have been queuing in the street to buy gold bars and coins, as they search for a safe place to invest their money.
By Harry Wallop, Consumer Affairs Editor
Last Updated: 6:26PM BST 02 Oct 2008

Traditionally, gold has been one of the safest investments during times of financial turmoil Photo: AP

London’s two leading bullion dealers, ATS Bullion and Baird & Co, have reported a rush of interest from savers, many of whom have hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of savings they want to convert into the precious metal.

At least two customers have invested the entire proceeds from selling their houses into gold, each buying up more than £500,000-worth of gold bars, according to one dealer.

Savers have been queuing in the street at ATS Bullion, whose offices are just off the Strand in London’s west end.

Sandra Conway, the company’s managing director, said: “We’ve had to turn people away. The queues have been right out of the door and it’s been really hectic at times.

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Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

Quietly and continually Pakistan is going pear-shaped.

US Strikes in Pakistan Tribal Areas Fuelling “Backlash” – Paper
Posted on: Saturday, 4 October 2008, 03:00 CDT

Text of editorial headlined “Fighting the militants” published by Pakistani newspaper Dawn website on 4 October

Shah Mahmood Qureshi, the foreign minister of Pakistan, has been a largely anonymous figure in the weeks since the US stepped up attacks inside FATA [Federally Administered Tribal Areas] in September. However, Mr Qureshi hit all the right notes in a speech at Princeton University this week. “I’m afraid that a relatively recent element in this already difficult war threatens to undo what we have already achieved,” the foreign minister said in a reference to US strikes inside Pakistan. When American Special Operation forces landed in a village near Angoor Adda in South Waziristan in early September, observers pointed out the disastrous potential such attacks had to alienate Pakistani public opinion — and especially the tribes whose support Pakistan requires to defeat the militants in Fata and northern Pakistan. Since that attack, the Americans have stated their respect for Pakistan’s territorial sovereignty, and launched numerous missile strikes inside Fata. US Secretary of Defence Robert Gates has even claimed that the UN charter permits America to act in “self-defence” against militants operating from Pakistani soil, if the Pakistani government is unable or unwilling to do anything about those militants.

The problem is that the Bush administration is desperate for a quick success along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, whereas an effective anti-militancy strategy must necessarily be long-term. And an effective strategy can only be led by Pakistan itself, with some combination of tribal and state action. What Mr Qureshi was highlighting is that at present Pakistan is advancing against the militants, with clear help from local tribes. Lashkars [forces] have been organised by tribes in Bajaur, Peshawar, Khyber, Swat, Dir, Buner and Lakki Marwat, and they have had some success against the militants. Engaging the tribes in such a positive manner is a delicate affair for each tribe has its own dynamics and strategic position. Earlier this week Gen Kayani visited Bajaur Agency and met with tribal leaders; later, Salarzai tribesmen announced a full- fledged operation to clear their tehsil and neighbouring areas in Bajaur of militants.

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