Monday, March 29, 2010

Commodities lift Wall St; Verizon, Apple up late

Defense News: NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stocks rose on Monday as miners and energy companies advanced on dollar weakness and investors bought recent high fliers as the quarter's end approached.

The dollar's decline boosted commodities prices, including crude oil. Exxon Mobil Corp (NYSE:XOM - News) was up 1.1 percent to $67.30 and the S&P energy index (SNP:^GSPE - News) rose 1.8 percent.

Major manufacturers and industrials, the quarter's top-performing sector, also fared well, with Boeing Co (NYSE:BA - News), up 2.1 percent and Caterpillar Inc (NYSE:CAT - News) up 1.7 percent. They were both the Dow's top boosts. The S&P industrials index (^GSPI - News) has risen 13 percent so far in the first quarter.

But overall volume was light at the start of a holiday-shortened week that will cap the S&P 500's (^SPX -News) fourth straight positive quarter. Although the underlying tone was positive, slippage in financial shares, including a 3.3 percent drop by Citigroup (NYSE:C - News), curbed a broader market advance.

"It's kind of a slow day. The move today is being led by energy and materials, and we're seeing commodities markets bounce. That is helping to push things higher," said Mike O'Rourke, chief market strategist at brokerage BTIG LLC in New York.

Slippage in the dollar underpinned the advance in commodities as the dollar index (^DXY - News) slipped 0.5 percent as the euro strengthened on news of another successful bond sale by debt-laden Greece.

The Dow Jones industrial average (DJI:^DJI - News) rose 45.50 points, or 0.42 percent, to 10,895.86 -- it's highest close since September 2008. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index (^SPX - News) climbed 6.63 points, or 0.57 percent, to 1,173.22. The Nasdaq Composite Index (Nasdaq:^IXIC - News) jumped 9.23 points, or 0.39 percent, to 2,404.36.

U.S. equity markets will be closed on Friday in observance of the Good Friday holiday.

The benchmark S&P 500 as a whole is up 5.2 percent for the quarter thus far, compared with the fourth quarter's gain of 5.5 percent. The S&P 500 is up 73.4 percent since bottoming in March 2009.

On Nasdaq, Apple Inc (NasdaqGS:AAPL - News) shares were a top boost, ending at a record $232.39 after the iPhone maker said shoppers can buy its newest portable iPad computer this weekend at Apple and Best Buy (NYSE:BBY - News) stores. Best Buy is the largest U.S. electronics retailer.

After the bell there was more news on Apple as the Wall Street Journal reported that the company was developing a new iPhone for Verizon Wireless, sparking an after-hours run-up in the shares of Apple and Verizon Communications Inc (NYSE:VZ - News).

Apple shares rose more than 1 percent to $235.44 after the closing bell, while Verizon, a Dow component, jumped almost 4 percent to $31.62. Both could be active in Tuesday's session.

The Dow is up 4.5 percent for the quarter so far, down from gains of 7.4 percent in previous quarter, while theNasdaq is on track for a 6 percent gain this quarter versus an increase of 6.9 percent in the fourth quarter.

Money managers typically scour the market for high fliers close to quarter-end to spruce up portfolios by selling laggards in a practice known as "window dressing."

"It's not a bad way to start a holiday-shortened week," said Fred Dickson, chief market strategist at D.A. Davidson & Co in Lake Oswego, Oregon. "What we're seeing is some quarter-end rebalancing by institutional portfolio managers."

Among decliners, Citigroup Inc (NYSE:C - News) fell 3.02 percent to $4.18 after the U.S. Treasury announced a plan to sell the 7.7 billion shares of the bank it owns over the course of this year. That sparked some profit-taking after the stock's recent run-up.

The KBW bank index (Philadelphia:^BKX - News) slipped 0.3 percent.

In economic news, U.S. consumer spending rose as expected in February for a fifth straight month, while stagnant incomes pushed savings to their lowest level since October 2008, the government said.

On Friday, the government will release its monthly non-farm payrolls report, which analysts expect will show a turnaround in new jobs added by the U.S. labor market in March.

About 7.49 billion shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange, the American Stock Exchange andNasdaq, below last year's estimated daily average of 9.65 billion.

Advancing stocks on the New York Stock Exchange beat decliners by a ratio of about 9 to 4, while on Nasdaqabout seven stocks rose for every five that fell.

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

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GenCorp Announces Credit Ratings Upgrades

Defense News: SACRAMENTO, Calif., March 29 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- GenCorp Inc. (NYSE:GY - News) announced today that on March 26, 2010 Moody's Investors Service upgraded both its Corporate Family Rating (CFR) to B2 from B3 and Probability of Default ratings to B2 from Caa1. In addition, the senior secured credit facilities were upgraded to Ba2 from Ba3, as well as the convertible subordinated notes to Caa1 from Caa2. The 9 1/2% senior subordinated notes were confirmed at B1. Also, Moody's attached an outlook of "stable" to its credit rating of the Company.

Moody's noted in its research update announcing the upgrade, "The B2 CFR and stable rating outlook reflect GenCorp's improved financial position and greater flexibility and the Company's recent track record of stronger cash flow generation."

Moody's announcement follows a similar action taken by Standard & Poor's Ratings Services (S&P). On January, 22, 2010, S&P raised its ratings of GenCorp Inc. to B- from CCC+ and removed all ratings from CreditWatch. S&P attached an outlook of "stable" to its credit rating of the Company.

S&P noted in its research update announcing the upgrade, "The rating actions follow the Company's repayment of $125 million of debt that was tendered to it, with proceeds from the $200 million in convertible subordinated debentures it issued in late December 2009."

"These upgrades validate continued progress in our longer-term strategy to address our capital structure and focus on cash flow," said Kathy Redd, chief financial officer, GenCorp Inc.

About GenCorp

GenCorp is a leading technology-based manufacturer of aerospace and defense products and systems with a real estate segment that includes activities related to the entitlement, sale and leasing of the Company's excess real estate assets. Additional information about the Company can be obtained by visiting the Company's web site at

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Boeing Completes Ultimate-Load Wing Test on 787

Defense News: EVERETT, Wash., March 28 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Boeing(NYSE:BA - News) today completed the ultimate-load wing up-bending test on the 787 Dreamliner static test unit. During the testing, loads were applied to the airframe to replicate 150 percent of the most extreme forces the airplane is ever expected to experience while in service. The wings were flexed upward by approximately 25 feet (7.6 meters) during the test.

The initial results of the ultimate-load test are positive. More extensive analysis and review are required before the test can be deemed a success.

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"The test program has been more robust than any conducted on a Boeing commercial jetliner," said Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager of the 787 program, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "It has taken countless hours of hard work by the Boeing team and our partners to work through the static test program. Everyone who has been involved in this effort over the past several years should be very proud of their contributions to ensuring the safety of the 787 Dreamliner.

"We are looking forward to the technical team's report on the details of the test results," said Fancher. It will take them several weeks to work through all of the data.

During each second of the more than two-hour test, thousands of data points were collected to monitor the performance of the wing. Key data points are monitored real-time during the test, but all of the data will be evaluated in the weeks ahead.

787 Dreamliner Background

The 787 Dreamliner is an all-new twinjet designed to meet the needs of airlines around the world in providing nonstop service between mid-size cities with new levels of efficiency. The airplane will bring improved levels of comfort to passengers with larger windows, bigger baggage bins and advances in the cabin environment, including lower cabin altitude, higher humidity and cleaner air. Delivery of the first 787 is planned for the fourth quarter of 2010.


Lori Gunter

787 Communications

+1 206-931-5919

Photo and caption are available here:

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EADS to decide on U.S. tanker bid in 2-3 weeks: report

Defense News: FRANKFURT (Reuters) - EADS (Paris:EAD.PA - News) could decide within the next two to three weeks whether it will bid for a contract to build aerial tankers for the U.S. Air Force, the head of the company's Airbus unit told a German newspaper.

"We can say that the decision on whether we will bid will likely be made within the next two to three weeks," Thomas Enders, chief executive of EADS's Airbus aircraft division, was quoted as saying by Financial Times Deutschland on Monday.

"The Pentagon has asked us to examine whether we want to make a bid, this time in a prime contractor role," Enders added.

The Pentagon said on Tuesday it remains in active talks with EADS on extending the May 10 deadline for aerial tanker bids, while Boeing Co (NYSE:BA - News) supporters in Congress seized on a WTO ruling to reject any deal with the parent of Airbus as reckless.

Northrop Grumman Corp (NYSE:NOC - News) and EADS beat out Boeing (NYSE:BA - News) to win the last competition just over two years ago, but Defense Secretary Robert Gates canceled the projected $35 billion deal after government auditors upheld a Boeing protest.

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Department of Defense Enhances Global Reach with SES WORLD SKIES


SES WORLD SKIES and DRS Technical Services team-up to support U.S. government connectivity demands worldwide from new state-of-the-art communications crossroads

Defense News: WASHINGTON D.C.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Leveraging its advanced teleport and a long-term alliance with DRS Technical Services, SES WORLD SKIES, a division of SES S.A. (Paris:SESG - News)(LuxX:SESG), today announced it is hosting a new, mission-critical Department of Defense communications node near the nation’s capital.

By installing a Defense Information Systems Network (DISN) connection point at SES WORLD SKIES’ media port in Manassas, Virginia, the U.S. government has greatly enhanced its access to World Skies bandwidth and global connectivity. The advanced uplinking facility is a strategic communications crossroads with access to some of the most robust fiber and satellite networks, including the worldwide SES fleet and DRS Technical Services’ Global Communications Network (GCN).

DRS Technical Services, through its Global Enterprise Solutions business unit, is a primary communications services provider to the U.S. government, under the Defense Satellite Transmission Services – Global Procurement Program managed by the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA). Together with SES WORLD SKIES, DRS enables a broad range of mission-critical applications that enable real-time collaboration between headquarters and field operations around the world.

“The installation of a communications node within our Virginia teleport gives the U.S. government easy access to powerful global connectivity options,” explained Robert Bednarek, President and CEO of SES WORLD SKIES. “While the Defense Information Systems Network carries the majority of U.S. government voice, video and data traffic, government agencies increasingly depend on SES WORLD SKIES and DRS Technical Services for anywhere to anywhere communications.”

“For nearly a decade, SES WORLD SKIES and DRS Technical Services have joined forces to meet the growing global demand for government and enterprise communications services,” said Jim Scott, Vice President and General Manager of Global Enterprise Solutions for DRS Technical Services. “The DISN installation at the SES WORLD SKIES facility, just minutes from DISA, The Pentagon, and other strategic Capitol-area locations, opens the door to a new level of network expandability in virtually every corner of the world.”

About DRS Technical Services
DRS Technical Services Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of DRS Defense Solutions Inc., is headquartered in Herndon, VA and provides turnkey, full lifecycle communications and security systems to defense organizations as well as other federal and state government organizations. DRS Defense Solutions LLC is headquartered in Bethesda, MD and is composed of seven lines of business with more than 3000 employees around the globe. DRS Defense Solutions provides advanced products, services and systems integration in the areas of intelligence and sensor technologies, security, cyber warfare, sonar, communications, electronic warfare, training systems, satellite communications, control systems and unmanned technologies.

SES WORLD SKIES is the new global division of SES, created through the combination of the former SES NEW SKIES and SES AMERICOM. The company operates a fleet of 25 satellites - part of the 41 spacecraft of the SES group - delivering services as diverse as television distribution and broadcast, internet access, data transmission and business and government communications to customers worldwide. SES WORLD SKIES currently has five additional satellites under construction. The company’s unique customer-focused approach allows it to offer the best satellite solutions for a host of business and government requirements, with a view toward helping customers meet their short-term challenges and realize their longer-term goals. SES WORLD SKIES comprises a world-class team of customer care and technical professionals located in Princeton (NJ), The Hague, Washington D.C., Singapore, Beijing, London, Sao Paulo, Mexico City, Sydney, Accra and Johannesburg. Visit for more information.

About SES
SES (Paris:SESG - News)(LuxX:SESG) wholly owns the market-leading satellite operators SES ASTRA and SES WORLD SKIES as well as participations in Ciel in Canada, QuetzSat in Mexico and satellite infrastructure start-up O3b Networks. SES provides outstanding satellite communications solutions via a global fleet of 41 satellites in 26 orbital locations. For further information:

Russia raises airport security after blasts-RIA

Defense News: MOSCOW, March 29 (Reuters) - Russia's civil aviation regulator on Monday told all local airports to increase security after two bombs killed 37 people and injured 38 on the Moscow metro, a spokesman for the regulator said by telephone. (Reporting by Gleb Stolyarov, writing by Guy Faulconbridge, editing by Dmitry Solovyov)

TaxMasters, Inc. Recipient of 2010 Pro Patria Award From Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR)

TaxMasters:  we solve your tax problems

TaxMasters founder Patrick Cox receives 2010 Pro Patria Award from ESGR for support of the National Guard and Reserve

Defense News: HOUSTON, March 29 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) awarded TaxMasters, Inc. (OTC Bulletin Board:TAXS.ob - News), the IRS tax relief company, with a Pro Patria Award on Thursday, March 25, 2010. Mr. Cox and Vice President of Sales Alex Clamonattended the ESGR Awards Banquet in Austin, Texas, as part of the National Guard Association of Texas Annual Conference.

Already recognized as a Patriotic Employer by ESGR, TaxMasters was one of six public and private companies in Texaschosen for a Pro Patria Award in 2010. Each ESGR Committee presents this award annually to employers in their state or territory who have exercised leadership and implemented exceptional personnel policies that accommodate employees who serve in the National Guardand Reserve.

"This award is special to us at TaxMasters," said Mr. Cox. "Thousands of volunteer citizen soldiers from all over the United States are being called on to serve their country overseas and at home during natural disasters. I see it is our obligation to make short- and long-term deployment as easy as possible on the Reservists, the Guardsmen, and their families back home. Though it's a small sacrifice compared to that of our service members and their families, it is essential in helping them serve their country."

Mr. Cox continued, "In particular, I want to recognize and thank Major Fred Hackett, TaxMasters' General Counsel for 3 years, who is currently deployed in Iraq with the 36th Infantry Division Sustainment Brigade. He's a close friend and we look forward to seeing him back home sometime this summer."

TaxMasters was also recently nominated for the Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award. This award is the highest recognition given by the U.S. Government to employers for their support of employees who serve in the National Guard and Reserve. Semi-finalists and finalists will be announced over the summer at and recipients will be recognized in September 2010.

About TaxMasters, Inc.

TaxMasters, Inc. (OTCBB:TAXS.ob - News), the IRS tax relief company, is the first publicly traded tax resolution firm in the United States. Started by Patrick R. Cox in 2001, TaxMasters offers services and counsel to taxpayers across the country facing seemingly insurmountable tax problems, and relief from substantial federal tax debt.

Employing over 300 people, TaxMasters leverages the expertise of ex-IRS agents, enrolled agents, attorneys, CPAs, and seasoned tax consultants ready to counsel and assist every day people with their specific tax problems today.

For more information about TaxMasters, Inc. and its commitment to help taxpayers in the United States solvetax problems, please visit

Follow TaxMasters on Twitter at

Forward-Looking Statements

Any forward-looking statements, as defined in the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, in this release (often identified by such words as "believes," "expects," "beginning," "intended," "planned") regarding future expectations, objectives, and plans for TaxMasters, Inc. are based on opinions and estimates of management at the time the statement was made. Various known and unknown factors may cause actual results to be materially different from the expected outcomes. TaxMasters, Inc. does not, as a matter of policy, update or revise forward-looking statements. Actual results may vary materially.