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Bulls & Bears
This past week's Bulls & Bears: Gary B. Smith, Exemplar Capital managing partner; Pat Dorsey, Morningstar.com director of stock research; Tobin Smith, ChangeWave Research editor; Scott Bleier, HybridInvestors.com president; Danielle Hughes, Divine Capital Markets president, and Laura Schwartz, White House Strategies principal.
Trading Pit: Dems' Broken Gas Price Promise?
Democrats hit the campaign trail promising to ease the pain at the pump. But the day they took control of Congress, the national average was $2.32 a gallon. Now: a gallon of unleaded will set you back $2.70. That's a 14-percent spike in three short months.
Gary B.: Democrats would try to repeal the law of gravity! They tried to go after supply and demand with the gas prices, but that didn't work. What are they going to try next? As much as the Democrats want to control everything, they can't control basic supply and demand, and that's what's driving up gas prices.
Laura: This Congress, in their first hundred hours, passed the first real energy reform in the last six years. Hopefully the Senate will take it up this spring and send it to the President's desk. The Democrats have only been in power ninety-days and things like this take time. When was the last time a company was turned around in ninety days? The Democrats are committed and you're going to see it.
Tobin: If we had a real energy bill, it would be real simple and would focus on more drilling, more refineries, and more conservation -- unlike the Democrats complicated eight hundred plus page bill. Democrats want to raise the standard of gas mileage on cars. But they can't have it both ways. With all the environmental laws and withholdings, we're going to have twenty-two grades of gasoline.
Danielle: It's all about perceived supply and demand. This is how oil and gas prices are determined. The solution could be as simple as ending our hostilities in the Middle East, changing the way automakers build cars, and having incentives to buy hybrid cars.
Pat: What we need to do is build more refineries and consume less gas. One would be the supply side one would be demand side. That's all there is to it.
Scott: The Democrats' promise is bogus and can't be done! The Middle East is the cause of our problems. They simply talk and oil prices go up. Refineries lack of progress is what's causing gas prices to rise. And that will continue forever unless there are more refineries.
Better Investment: Stocks or a Presidential Campaign?
The leading presidential hopefuls have raised well over $100 million in the first three months of this year. But is donating to a campaign a good investment for your hard-earned money?
Tobin: If you're one of the top 100 donors, you get the Lincoln Bedroom. But if you're not a top donor, the marketing machine of either the Republican or Democrats releases its furry upon you with phone call after phone call. Save your money. I'd even rather put it in a mutual fund!
Scott: An investment in the president is a better investment than taking that money and putting it in stocks. The president can dictate policies that can create trillions dollar of wealth for the worldwide economy. But there is a flipside. Especially if someone gets elected that stymies the world economies. It's a risk just like any other investment.
Gary B.: If you're a large corporation and the president can directly influence policies, it may be a good investment. Otherwise, take your money and put it in the stock market.
Laura: Every four years we have a chance to invest in the future. It doesn't matter if you're Democrat, Republican, or indifferent. Let's say you want the candidate who is for stem-cell research because you have someone in your family with an illness that can be cured. You can donate to that candidate who could help create more science, more industry, more jobs, all of which goes back into the economy. It's a two-for-one and a great opportunity.
Danielle: The whole system is broken. The guys that give the big money are the ones that have political influence and are the ones that could whisper in the President's ear to have some kind of "help" with their business. Everyone else is going to get an annoying phone call or e-mail. It really pays to put your money in the market. Even with a market moving up and down, if you're in stocks, you'll make some money.
Pat: Stocks are better. Unless you're wealthy enough to "buy" some influence in a local politician or congressman and have some pork steered your way, a politician is not a good investment. And not many of us have the money to "buy" a congressman.
Gary B. named the four best stocks to buy right now:
Exxon Mobil (XOM)
Honda Motor (HMC)
If you want to watch what he had to say about each stock, click here.
Danielle's prediction: Subprime mess gets much worse; housing in big trouble
Gary B's prediction: Spider-Man 3 makes Sony (SNE) a stock hero; gains 40 percent
Tobin's prediction: Paulie Walnuts & Daimler (DCX) get whacked! Down 20 percent
Pat's prediction: Amgen (AMGN) not as sick as it looks; up 30 percent in 1 year
Scott's prediction: Autoliv (ALV) revs up 30 percent by end of this year
Bulls & Bears | Cavuto on Business | Forbes on FOX | Cashin' In
Cavuto on Business
On Saturday, April 7, Neil Cavuto was joined by Charles Payne, WStreet.com; Tracy Byrnes, New York Post business writer; Ben Ferguson, "The Ben Ferguson Show;" Pat Powell, powellfinancialgroup.com; John "Bradshaw" Layfield, Northeast Securities; Cheryl Casone, FOX Business correspondent; and Courtney Martin, "Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters" writer.
Bottom Line: Global Warming Tax?
Neil Cavuto: Picture this: A global warming tax. Al Gore wants it. The Supreme Court just opened the door for it. But can America really afford it? Let's get the bottom line from Charles Payne, Cheryl Casone, John Layfield, Pat Powell, Ben Ferguson, and Tracy Byrnes. Gregg Hymowitz and Ben Stein will be back next week.
The high court has ruled it's up to the government to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. How would that impact the economy, Charles?
Charles Payne: Any new tax would harm the economy. It's nuts! A global warming tax would be the heist of the century! I'm not saying global warming is hokey and hyped-up, but it is hyped-up to a certain degree. And to suggest that it's our fault so we should have to pay an extra tax… not only would it harm the economy, it'd harm the poorest people out there! I can't believe the liberals who always say they're for the poor always make these initiatives that would kill the poor!
Neil Cavuto: Well, Cheryl, isn't the argument that it wouldn't be the poor paying for it?
Cheryl Casone: Well, the argument is that the people who are putting gas-guzzling cars on the highways are the ones who would have to pay. I'm not a fan of regulation, but I think the government needs to step in on this one to come up with some type of national plan to deal with the emissions problem. Look, global warming is a train that is going down the tracks. We're going to have to deal with it. The automakers, the energy companies… they're going to have to finally come up with something that will appease both sides.
Neil Cavuto: You can debate that it's a reality we have to pay for. What do you think, Tracy?
Tracy Byrnes: But why should I pay a tax on something that's coming out of a corporation? If you don't want corporations to use these things, how ‘bout they get taxed? How ‘bout we start looking into products that are made from non-fossil fuels?
Neil Cavuto: Well, that's essentially what Al Gore wants.
Tracy Byrnes: But to tax me?
Neil Cavuto: You and Al Gore are on the same page.
Tracy Byrnes: No. I don't want the tax!
Neil Cavuto: Al Gore and you!
Tracy Byrnes: I'm in Gregg Hymowitz's chair. Maybe that's it.
Pat Powell: You know, I'm usually on the same side as Charles, but I gotta tell you… the free markets can't address global warming. The free markets can't address emissions. I think it's a logical thing to look at how government can best do it. I think of all the options out there, the most benign is a tax. Heaven forbid that the government starts dictating what the technologies are or what the standards needs to be.
Charles Payne: We should derail the economy for global warming because it's 1 degree warmer now than it was a hundred years ago?!?!
Pat Powell: I don't necessarily agree that we're totally derailing the economy. I think you can bring on a tax very carefully and in small stages.
Neil Cavuto: But you're saying to disincentive-ize the type of behavior that is causing pollution?
Pat Powell: Absolutely.
Ben Ferguson: There's an interesting study that just came out. It says more Americans than ever are partially filling up their gas tanks because they can't afford a full tank. If you tax a company, they're going to pass that tax onto the consumer. It's going to hurt young people. It's going to hurt small businesses. You have to remember Richard Gephardt back in 1996. He said we need to put a dollar tax on gas and it will make people stop using as much gas. We've seen gas go up a ton and people still have to buy it. You put a tax on people, it's going to kill the economy, it's going to kill the average worker, and it's going to really, really hurt the young guy.
Neil Cavuto: John, what do you think about that?
John Layfield: I think Ben and Charles are right. This is not benign. Adding a tax is just going to allow Al Gore and people like him to pollute as much as they want and feel carbon-neutral. I just got back from Antarctica to study global warming; it is amazing how far the United States is behind on this. This is a total Band-Aid. The government is being reactive instead of proactive. The government needs to relax the nuclear regulations. The world is going nuclear. We are the only ones who are not. The government has to renew the production tax credit, which is the backbone of the renewable energy industry.
Neil Cavuto: Ok, that's a good idea. What do you think of that, Cheryl?
Cheryl Casone: I think it's a great idea! We can make money as investors from new alternative energies. We're already seeing the boom in ethanol and other bio-diesel fuels. So why not? Why not find other ways to push our cars down the road?
Pat Powell: Because they don't work. We have been on notice since 1973, during the first oil embargo, and we have done nothing. It's nice to have that conversation, and it sounds like it's going to work, but it hasn't worked since 1973.
Neil Cavuto: Ironically, this is the one thing the French have done right. In 1973, they realized they had a problem and decided to go more nuclear. So now, they get virtually all of their energy from nuclear sources.
Ben Ferguson: Neil, no one in this country wants a nuclear reactor in his or her backyard. And I say to all the Democrats out there: If you think global warming is the biggest threat to the world we've ever seen, then why don't you propose places close to your home to put a nuclear reactor? If it's that big of a deal, wouldn't you rather have a nuclear reactor in your backyard than let us all die because of global warming?
Neil Cavuto: But, do I take from what you're all saying, that a tax is not the answer? Pat does raise something very interesting here…if it can make companies that throw out a lot of this bad stuff less inclined to do it, isn't that a good thing?
Charles Payne: I don't think you can legislate or tax behavior, particularly when it comes to corporations. I think Ben brought up the point that eventually we, the people, are going to end up picking up the costs. And we have to consider that. Yes, everyone wants to save the planet, but I believe in free markets. I believe if someone comes out with the right fuel cell vehicle, we'll all go out and buy it.
Pat Powell: But, the government could help you a little bit, and move you along a little bit. You take a tax. It's an incentive for a company to say, "I have capital expenditures. I can spend money and I know this is my cost for polluting."
Tracy Byrnes: You know? That tax puts me in a position where I am actually against global warming. Look at what global warming did to me. It's taking more money out of my pocket. If you want to incentive-ize me to go buy that hybrid or to go buy that better car, taking money out of my pocket is not going to make me go do it.
John Layfield: Tracy is 100 percent right.
Cheryl Casone: Look at the auto industry. Toyota had these great sales numbers because more hybrid cars were being bought. The public wants this. Nobody wants to hurt the environment.
Neil Cavuto: Ben Ferguson, I'm curious about one thing. Implicit in this argument is that companies are to blame for the Earth getting warmer. Some might buy that American is the culprit.
Cheryl Casone: And China.
Neil Cavuto: Absolutely. But what about shared responsibility?
Ben Ferguson: People aren't buying hybrids because they want to save the Earth. The majority of people are buying hybrids because it's cheaper to drive them! Whatever is the cheapest way to get from point A to point B is what people are going to do. That's it! That's all there is to it.
Head to Head: "The $ecret"
Neil Cavuto: It claims to be "the secret" to unlimited joy, health, love, money... practically everything you ever wanted. And millions of people are buying it. But, will "The Secret" send you straight to the poorhouse?
Joining us now is Courtney Martin. She wrote an article that says essentially just that. Courtney is also the author of a new book, "Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters."
Courtney Martin: Basically, "The Secret" is a pop-psychology phenomenon claiming the stronger you think about money, the more you spend time obsessing about things you wish you could afford, the more likely money is going to fall into your lap. It just seems like a message that this country, as debt-ridden as it is, doesn't need.
Charles Payne: I believe in positive thinking. I tried to listen to "The Secret." I went to the website. How ‘bout belief in God, working hard, and having a great family? Those are the three secrets in my opinion. Nothing beats working hard. If you work hard, you can beat 95 percent of your competitors in anything in this world. It's good to have a positive attitude, but if you don't put elbow grease behind it and have some belief system, you're not going to make it.
Tracy Brynes: "The Secret" isn't saying sit at home and thinking positively so money can fall in your lap. If that were the case, I'd be home thinking about Antonio Banderas right now.
Neil Cavuto: I can't believe you just said that.
Tracy Byrnes: I'm in the liberal chair! "The Secret" is saying if you envision your dreams, you can achieve them. I don't think there's anything wrong with that. Maybe sometimes it takes hardship to appreciate the fact that positive thinking can get you through things.
Cheryl Casone: But, the problem with the type of message in the book and in the DVD can be summed up with the image of a woman staring at a big, gold necklace in a window. After staring at it, all of a sudden she's getting it around her neck. Well guess what? She probably used her credit card to get it! We have trillions in consumer debt. "The Secret" kinda says if you can think it, you can have it. Unfortunately, Americans already have a habit of wanting something and buying it!
Tracy Byrnes: Do you think Americans are that gullible?
Cheryl Casone: They're already doing it.
Tracy Byrnes: C'mon…
Neil Cavuto: Ben Ferguson, what do you make of the notion that if you focus on the prize, if you work for the prize, you're going to get the prize!
Ben Ferguson: Believe me. If this were true, I would have married Katie Holmes long before Tom Cruise because I thought about it and I thought about it.
Neil Cavuto: There are a lot of very sick issues going on here…
Ben Ferguson: I think the problem is this is another example of the "if it feels good, do it" mentality. As soon as you get a job, you go get the car you always wanted. You get the no-interest loan on the big house you can't afford. You spend to the max.
Neil Cavuto: Courtney, he's dismissing it all. Do you buy it?
Courtney Martin: Yeah! I think he's got a good point there. I think "The Secret" totally destroys the power of networks, the power of a broken public education system to disadvantage certain people to do well. The systemic analysis is totally missing.
Neil Cavuto: So the upshot that you can sort of will your way to better times…
Courtney Martin: It's a great message that people are grasping on to because people feel so powerless right now. I think that's why "The Secret" been so successful. You asked if people are this gullible? No, they're just that hopeless.
More for Your Money: $anjaya $tocks
Neil Cavuto: Stocks everyone seems to hate, but somehow they'll do well and make you money. We call them: Sanjaya Stocks! It's time to get more for your money.
If you want to watch what each had to say about their stock, click here.
Charles Payne: General Motors (GM)
John Layfield: Peru Copper (CUP)
Pat Powell: Iron Mountain (IRM)
Tracy Byrnes: Host Hotels and Resorts (HST)
FOX on the Spot
Charles Payne: Follow the money! It's Obama v$ Romney in '08
Tracy Byrnes: Rosie's trying to get fired; she'll be gone soon
Pat Powell: Dow up 1,000 points by the end of the year
John Layfield: Buy all things energy; oil hits $80 this summer!
Ben Ferguson: Al Qaeda lays low in hopes of Dem president
Neil Cavuto: Iran emboldened by U.K. hostage outcome
Bulls & Bears | Cavuto on Business | Forbes on FOX | Cashin' In
Forbes on FOX
Flipside: Hillary's Big Money Lead Is Why She'll Lose!
Jim Michaels, editorial vice president: Money talks, but people vote. All this proves is that candidates are increasingly becoming beholden to big interests because you can't raise big money from individual contributors. John McCain, who is lagging, has gotten as many individual contributors as Hillary Clinton. I think she's increasingly showing that she's in bed with the Hollywood crowd.
Steve Forbes, editor-in-chief: People right now don't care where the money comes from. They want to know if you have a large enough war chest to wage an effective campaign. What is surprising is that she didn't raise even more money, given the great Clinton machine. Obama almost matched her. She didn't raise enough!
Bill Baldwin, editor: I think all these mega bucks are going to backfire on Hillary. Democrats are supposed to be the party for the little guys against the fat cats. And it turns out that certain kinds of fat cats love the Democrats. People looking for ethanol subsidies and those who want to make billions off "low-income" housing credits love Hillary.
Dennis Kneale, managing editor: Money talks in politics and that's why money is a good thing for Hillary. It's not going to hurt her at all.
Victoria Barret, associate editor: I think it could be a liability for Hillary. But I think that because she is a female candidate, there is a higher bar set for her. Voters don't want their candidate or their President beholden to donors. They want someone who will follow their beliefs.
Mike Ozanian, senior editor: Hillary's premise for a campaign is that if you repeat a lie often enough it becomes the truth. The more money she has, the more it will allow her to get out and repeat her lies. And this will people start to think that Hillary can run the drug industry and the energy industry and that she can run the military. Money will only help her obtain office.
In Focus: Rosie's Anti-USA Rants: Good or Bad for Biz?
Michele Steele, Forbes.com reporter: For Disney shareholders this is an unequivocal positive for them. I'll go even further to say that Rosie O'Donnell should say even more outrageous things. The ratings for The View have never been higher!
Dennis Kneale, managing editor: Rosie is past the point of critical mass and ABC needs to silence her with extreme prejudice. They should fire her. She is doing things that are bad for the country and bad for our people. The fact that she brought in more viewers is no reason to keep her on.
Neil Weinberg, senior editor: People are calling Rosie all these crazy things, but that's great for ratings, which is great for ABC. All these talking heads, talking about her 24 hours a day is good for business.
Jim Michaels: If I were advertising a quality product I would not want it associated with this loudmouth ignoramus. And if I were ABC, I would think about a better way to get ratings.
Steve Forbes: Short-term it's good, but it's like a dead cat bounce. After a while the ranting and raving wears thin and ABC is going to look for another carnival act.
Are America's Best Days Ahead or Behind It?
Bill Baldwin: Get ready for the China century. I think China is going to run circles around us economically and scientifically for the next 93 years. I say bring it on. If they dominate the Nobel Prizes for the next 93 years it's going to be because they've cured cancer, protected us from asteroids, or maybe even solved global warming.
Steve Forbes: The U.S. has a great ability to adjust to mistakes. When other nations go bust, we adjust. We have that flexibility.
Jim Michaels: I sense a little bit of complacency. We'll be number one for many years in per capita income, but there are other things. And what Steve is taking about can be blocked by too much regulation. The trial lawyers are putting a big tax on things. Our education system is decaying. We've got to try harder.
Victoria Barret: I think Jim has a point but the American system is still far and away the best. When you think about past leading nations, two things mattered": trade and technology. We are still the most open to trade and we still have the best technology. But we have to fight to maintain that dominance.
Mike Ozanian: The average American today produces $44,000 of GDP. That's 7 times China, that's 20 percent more than Germany and the U.K. And that's because we have the most individual economic freedom.
Informer: Best Stocks in the World!
If you want to hear what each panelist had to say about his or her stock pick, click here.
Mike Ozanian: Headwaters (HW)
Victoria Barret: Polycom (PLCM)
Bill Baldwin: Illinois Tool Works (ITW)
Neil Weinberg: POSCO (PKX)
Michele Steele: Starbuck (SBUX)
Bulls & Bears | Cavuto on Business | Forbes on FOX | Cashin' In
Our Cashin' In crew this week: Wayne Rogers, Wayne Rogers & Co; Jonathan Hoenig, CapitalistPig Asset Management; Jonas Max Ferris, MaxFunds.com; Dagen McDowell, FOX Business News; Leigh Gallagher, Fortune Magazine; and Meredith Whitney, CIBC World Markets.
Rudy v$ Hillary: Who's Better For Your Bottom Line?
Rudy Giuliani and Hillary Clinton lead the pack in the race for the White House. Which one would be better for your bottom line?
Wayne: Rudy. People traditionally think Republicans will be better for your bottom line, but that's not necessarily true. When Bill Clinton was in office, the stock market achieved huge highs and a lot of people made a lot of money. Rudy will be the best bet in the long run. He's a fiscal conservative and that's what we need right now.
Leigh: The answer for who will put the most money in your pocket is clear: if you are in the top 1 percent of this country, it would be Rudy. If you are an oil company, it would be Rudy. However, if you are one of the 100 million members of the working middle class, there's no question it will be Hillary Clinton. The biggest thing the Democrats have to do is lessen the vast income gap between the rich and poor. Hillary will roll back all the damage that's been done.
Jonathan: Hillary is distrustful of free markets. She is distrustful of capitalism. I don't come to this with preconceived notions and I listen to what the candidates have to say. Hillary is for socialized medicine, social security, and higher minimum wage. There's not a lot for me to get behind. With Rudy, until he puts out a more concrete platform, it's hard to get a sense of where he'd take the country economically.
Meredith: Rudy Giuliani will definitely be best for your bottom line. We already have an indication of what Hillary will be like because we already saw her policy under Bill Clinton. She's a socialist in terms of her economic policies, which is bad for most Americans. She may not even be good for the middle class because her policies could cripple businesses and stymie job growth.
Dagen: Rudy and Hillary will be about the same for your wallet. They will be hamstrung by the tsunami of retiring baby boomers and the jump in entitlement spending. Whoever wins the White House, the candidate will have no choice but to raise taxes. Now, Steve Forbes is on board with Rudy Giuliani and if he can convince Rudy to reform the tax code, maybe with a flat tax. That'll alleviate a huge headache for Americans.
Jonas: Hillary will be Wall Street friendly, but growing up in New York City Rudy was the best mayor we've had in my whole lifetime until Mike Bloomberg took office. Rudy is more sheriff than fiscal discipline. In fixing the budget deficit, Hillary will raise taxes and cut spending. That may be good for the economy, but she will take it out of your pocketbook.
Stock Rally: Sign That Housing Is Hot Again?
A big rally for the Dow last Tuesday (4-3-7) on news that existing home sales were better than expected.
Is this a sign that things are looking up for the housing market?
Leigh: This better than expected news did have a positive impact on stocks. It mostly told us that the recent trouble in the subprime area isn't really going to affect the market. We also have to look at bigger indicators and bigger movers - like falling oil prices. These are easing concerns that the Federal Reserve will raise rates. Consumer spending is strong.
Meredith: If Wall Street and the market is the leading indicator for the rest of the economy, we can say that there is a bottom in the housing market. At the time that subprime insurers imploded there was a market for them. Finally, there were distressed investors that came in and set a bottom. This means that liquidity is restored and people can start to borrow again.
Dagen: You are very brave to call a bottom in the housing market. We have not felt the full fallout of the subprime lending mess. Lenders are tightening their standards now and some people with mortgages are adjusting higher in the coming year or even longer. We don't know how that shakeout is going to weigh on prices and sales.
Meredith: For the businesses that have gone bust, they've already seen delinquencies and losses in that category.
Wayne: We have not seen a bottom by a long shot. The housing market is in terrible shape and it's going to get a lot worse. There have been inventories that are up over 30 percent from last year. Foreclosures are up at the highest rate they've been in the last 5 years. Insurance costs are up. Taxes are up. People will not be able to make the monthly payments. Subprime lenders are the first to be affected. We will still see real lenders affected. The bottom is yet to come. Right now, we're in the price adjustment phase.
Jonathan: The dominoes are still falling and we always talk about not wanting to catch a falling knife. New Century just declared bankruptcy and we are starting to see some elements of contagion. M&T bank just got hit hard this past week on the subprime mess. Fulton Financial and homebuilders like Hovnanian still look terrible. If you look own a home that you can afford, you will be fine. I don't see a reason to hold a lot of real estate right now.
Jonas: This is just the tip of the iceberg. The economy is strong, the job market is really strong, interest rates are really low, and it's already crumbling. What if one of those three goes next? This has only just begun.
Global Warming & Corporate America: The Heat Is On!
The Supreme Court backing Al Gore this week saying the government needs to be in the business of regulating pollution from cars.
Jonathan: This is not the Supreme Court's business. The EPA's role is to keep the air free of pollutants, not to worry about global warming. The fact is that global warming is just a theory and it's way too early to show any type of direct cause and effect relationship that would involve the EPA or Supreme Court
Leigh: Jonathan, global warming is not just a theory, it is happening. It's up for debate on if it is manmade or not. We have the FDA to make sure that drugs don't poison people and the USDA to make sure spinach doesn't poison people. The difference here is that we're not talking about being poisoned overnight, we're talking about a problem that is 50-100 years away but that we're causing right now. We do need the EPA to step in because business isn't going to. It will get in the way of profits and that's a quarter-by-quarter thing. It's not long term.
Wayne: The problem is not about global warming. The Supreme Court has substituted itself for the legislature, which is the biggest thing we should learn from this particular decision. This issue is legislative and the Supreme Court has inserted themselves in that process and unbalanced the balance of power between the three branches of government.
Dagen: You are right that the Supreme Court in this opinion seemed to overstep its boundaries. If Congress does step in, the thing that industries, businesses, and car companies could hope for is to create nationwide laws about curbing emissions, rather than having to deal on a state-by-state basis. This was going to happen sooner or later.
Best Bets: Birthday Buy$ for Wayne
Click here to watch this segment in its entirety.
Jonas: Amedisys (AMED). Thursday's close: $33.28
Leigh: Carnival (CCL). Thursday's close: $46.75
Jonathan: PowerShares DB Base Metals (DBB). Thursday's close: $26.03