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No Deal In Doha, Dilma Doomed

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DOW + 106 = 18,004
SPX + 13 = 2094
NAS + 21 = 4960
10 Y + .02 = 1.77%
OIL – .42 = 39.94
GOLD – 2.00 = 1233.10

The Dow topped 18,000 for the first time since July. At the year’s low in mid-February, the Dow had fallen to nearly 15,500.

There was no oil deal at Doha.Talks concluded without a deal as Saudi Arabia demanded that Iran take part in any production freeze. Iran urged other oil producers to continue efforts to prop up prices, but insisted it was justified in not yet freezing its own output following the lifting of sanctions in January. Iran’s oil minister said over the weekend that other producers had to deal with the reality that Iran has returned to the oil market.

The reality for many oil producing nations is that low oil prices have left their national budgets on the brink of disaster. Meanwhile, oil workers in Kuwait went on strike to protest government cutbacks; the net effect of the work stoppage is like a production freeze, but it isn’t expected to last a long time.

The Nikkei stock index in Japan fell 3.4 percent after a series of earthquakes measuring up to 7.3 magnitude struck a southern manufacturing hub, killing at least 42 people and forcing major companies to close factories. About 30,000 rescue workers were scouring the rubble for survivors and handing out food to those unable to return to their homes following the quakes.Japanese exporters like Toyota and Sony suspended production in the aftermath of a major earthquake. Meanwhile, Ecuador over the weekend was hit with its biggest quake in decades,7.8 magnitude, which killed at least 350 people (at last count) and injured over 2,000.

Saudi Arabia says that it will sell up to $750 billion in treasuries and other American assets if Congress passes a bill that would allow the Kingdom to be held responsible in US courts for any role in 9/11. Families of the Sept. 11 victims have used the courts to try to hold members of the Saudi royal family, Saudi banks and charities liable because of what the plaintiffs charged was Saudi financial support for terrorism.

These efforts have largely been stymied, in part because of a 1976 law that gives foreign nations some immunity from lawsuits in American courts. The Senate bill is intended to make clear that the immunity given to foreign nations under the law should not apply in cases where nations are found culpable for terrorist attacks that kill Americans on United States soil. The argument against wiping out Saudi immunity is that Americans might be in legal jeopardy if other nations decide to retaliate and strip Americans of immunity abroad.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff lost a decisive impeachment vote in the lower house of Congress on Sunday and appeared almost certain to be forced from office in a move that would end 13 years of Workers’ Party rule. The opposition counted more than the two-thirds majority it needed to send the impeachment motion to the Senate.

If the Senate agrees to go...