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  Tuesday, 15 Mar 2011 | 10:59 AM ET

I Have Given Up on Predicting Oil Prices: Shell CEO

Posted By: Nicole Lapin
Shell gas station sign
Getty Images
Shell gas station sign

During my interview with Peter Voser, the CEO of Shell , this morning. I asked him for his oil and gas price targets.

He didn't want to answer the question. "I have given up on predicting oil prices."

But, he finally gave me a little insight. "I think it's about volatility, which has increased quite clearly," Voser said. "For our long-term projects we take a range of $50 to $90. We have seen this in the past it can go to 147 and then down to 37. We are looking at 20, 30-year time horizon and we are using 50 to 90 and on the gas side, for exampling with in the U.S. $4.28."

I guess the CEO of Shell is betting the Middle East won't blow up.

»Read more
  Tuesday, 15 Mar 2011 | 10:12 AM ET

Markets: Not As Bad As Lehman, Far Better Than 1987

Posted By: John Carney
finance_broker_desk2_200.jpg
Bryce Duffy | Stone | Getty Images

Despite serious worries stemming from the deteriorating situation in Japan , the futures aren't predicting U.S. equities to react as violently as they did to the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers .

S&P Futures are currently down 2.42 percent. But that number is still less severe than the plunge seen before The Lehman Brothers collapse, when S&P futures declined 3.7%.

The catastrophic declines in equities now seem limited to Japan – where the Nikkei plunged 10.55 percent.

To add perspective to that figure, the Black Monday 1987 selloff saw the Dow Industrials drop 22.61 percent.

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  Tuesday, 15 Mar 2011 | 9:40 AM ET

Is a Japanese Banking Crisis Next?

Posted By: Ash Bennington
Bank of Japan governor Masaaki Shirakawa
JIJI PRESS/AFP/Getty Images
Bank of Japan governor Masaaki Shirakawa

The exposures of various insurance companies to the economic devastation of the Tsunami may be dominating the financial discussions in the tragedy's wake – but Japanese banks may be at the most risk.

And that risk may become a tragic test case for an economic conundrum described by Warren Buffett .

Here's the background.

An Australian hedge fund manager named John Hempton has done analysis on a Japanese financial institution called 77 Bank.

The bank is located in Sendai, which is the Japanese city most affected by the tsunami.

Not only is the bank located in the city that sustained the most damage, it also has a near 50 percent market share in that metropolitan area.

Here's the rub. Hempton writes:

"Warren Buffett once said that Fannie Mae had more supercatastrophe risk in it than Berkshire Hathaway. He figured the really really big hurricane or earthquake could do more damage to Fannie than Berkshire even though Berkshire is the largest supercat insurer in the world.

Buffett was – I suspect – right.

We now unfortunately have a gruesome test of Buffett statement on finance and supercatastrophe. There is probably more uninsured damage in the destruction of North East Japan than in any other event in history – and uninsured damage falls sharply on banks.

77 Bank – deeply concentrated in the disaster zone – is the test. It is not a test I would want to repeat. But I think we will – at the end of this – be able to confirm Buffett’s observation that banks don’t like supercats."

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  Tuesday, 15 Mar 2011 | 8:38 AM ET

Japan on the Brink of Nuclear Catastrophe

Posted By: Ash Bennington
  Tuesday, 15 Mar 2011 | 7:54 AM ET

Kan Flack Scared Me

Posted By: Nicole Lapin
Japan prime minister Naoto Kan
Getty Images
Japan prime minister Naoto Kan

On the show this morning, we got a spokesperson from Prime Minister Kan's office on the phone.

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  Tuesday, 15 Mar 2011 | 7:43 AM ET

Waking up With Nicole Lapin

Posted By: Nicole Lapin
lapin_waking_up_200.jpg

Beware the ides of March. In between my re-reading of Julius Caesar, here's what I was looking into:

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  Monday, 14 Mar 2011 | 4:40 PM ET

Nasdaq Prepares to Launch Hostile Bid for NYSE!

Posted By: Ash Bennington
  Monday, 14 Mar 2011 | 4:29 PM ET

Charity To Japan: A Better Way?

Posted By: John Carney
Damaged houses, cars and debris after the earthquake
Sankei | Getty Images
Damaged houses, cars and debris after the earthquake

Earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, tsunamis, volcanoes and even chemical or nuclear disasters can provoke a strong urge on the part of people to want to provide disaster relief in the form of charitable donations directed at those afflicted by the most recent disaster.

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  Monday, 14 Mar 2011 | 3:14 PM ET

Fed President Impersonates Marie Antoinette

Posted By: Ash Bennington
William C. Dudley, President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York
Stan Honda | AFP | Getty Images
William C. Dudley, President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York

It's like Marie Antoinette talking about the falling price of cake: That's the kind of reaction you get when you go to Queens and tell a room full of ordinary folks that the price of iPads is falling. Especially when you're a central banker.

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  Monday, 14 Mar 2011 | 2:29 PM ET

Raj Rajaratnam Did Not Appreciate Rajat Gupta’s Attempt to Leave The Goldman Board, Join ‘The Billionaire Circle’

Posted By: Bess Levin, DealBreaker
Raj Rajaratnam co-founder of the Galleon Group hedge fund.
Getty Images
Raj Rajaratnam co-founder of the Galleon Group hedge fund.

As previously discussed, one of the bigger revelations that could cause issues for Raj Rajaratnam is that his “business associate and friend,” Rajat Gupta, passed him inside information obtained from Gupta’s post as a board member of Goldman Sachs, which the Galleon founder proceeded to \(allegedly!\) trade on. In one particular instance, on October 23, 2008, Gupta rang up Rajaratnam twenty three seconds after an informative call with Lloyd Blankfein about the company’s financial situation. The swiftness with which Gupta funneled information to his pal presumably pleased Raj greatly, as it was a characteristic he looked for in all of his tipsters, going so far as to put it at the top of the ‘must haves’ in the listing for the gig. So you can imagine that the hedge fund manager was not at all pleased when Rajat tried to resign from the Goldman board and dry up his well.

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