Sunday, May 30, 2010

CME Does It Best

Mark Fisher of MBF Asset Management has been analyzing the recent flash crash in U.S. markets.He says computers took his job away on the trading floor.They process 20,000 orders in a millisecond.If the flash crash had happened at 10:30 in the morning instead of in the afternoon,it would have been a complete disaster,with the European markets being still open.
The computer types are making a lot of money.It's games,arbitraging back and forth.In times of stress,people cut back their trading,thinning volume dangerously.At that point,anything can and will happen.The Chicago Mercantile Exchange puts the market in suspension for a few seconds;it works.It's like at the Indy 500 putting out a yellow caution flag.Indeed,the Securities and Exchange Commission is planning to institute such brakes on erratic trading.
With regard to the Euro Zone debt problem,in Mr.Fisher's view,it will never work out with the Euro.You've got the Germans,working a 40-hour week,bailing out a different culture.Wait till you see the German elections.

Early Edition:Libor's Rise In Perspective

Libor,the London Interbank Offered Rate,the interest rate banks charge each other for loans,has been creeping up.This signifies a tightening of credit.On the other hand,it's nowhere near where it was at the height of the financial crisis.It was as high as 4.0 then;by last Friday,it was only at 0.54.Still,a decline in the rate would be more reassuring than an increase.Libor was at 0.25 three months ago.Now it is at its highest since July of 2009.
What's behind the rise in Libor is the European banks depositing in the European Central Bank rather than in one another-for safety.Money markets have been avoiding European banks as well.This decline of confidence in light of the Euro Zone debt problem is pushing Libor back up.The cost of money is going up as investors lessen risk.An unchecked rise could eventually result in corporate cutbacks again,bringing on another recession.

Queen Opens Parliament

Queen Elizabeth II opened the British Parliament in an ornate ceremony last week,but most Americans only got to see it tonight,when C-Span broadcast the old ritual.It's a moment for the bickering to stop,for Members of Parliament to pause and reflect-indeed,for the whole nation to do so.That is much of the meaning of the monarchy today.As the pageantry plays out,memories are made and recalled,and the pace of modern life is radically slowed by tradition for a brief few hours.The Lord High Chancellor and the Duke of Norfolk,the Earl Marshal of England,are among the participants in the stylized tribute to constitutional government.
One of the MPs made a wisecrack when an official summoned them to the House of Lords to hear the Queen's speech,but no one took great offence.It was perhaps a way to assert the supremacy of the House of Commons in reality.The ceremony went on despite a bit of laughter.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Exercise Counters Cell Damage

Researchers at the University of California San Francisco have confirmed that stress can cause physical damage to cell nuclei.In a stressed person,protective strips of DNA called telomeres are shortened,exposing the chromosomes they cap to unraveling.Chromosomes are rod-shaped bodies within the cell nucleus.Short telomeres are believed to be linked to diseases such as type 2 diabetes and coronary artery disease,as well as premature death.
The UCSF study of post-menopausal female caregivers also found that those who engaged in vigorous exercise for as little as 42 minutes over three days did not suffer from shortened telomeres.Their physical activity seemed to protect their immune cells from the corrosive effect of stress.
The Centers For Disease Control recommend that adults get 75 minutes of vigorous exercise a week,or 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Waves of Financial Crisis

Jessica Haverson of MF Global sees the financial crisis as ongoing.The analyst says she believes we can always go lower.It is a crisis that comes in waves.The first wave was the financial freezing of credit;the second wave was the economic expression of the credit freeze;the third and current wave is a sovereign debt problem.
The sovereign debt issue is a rolling crisis.It has rolled from Southern Europe to the U.K.Eventually,it will roll to the U.S. as America faces a day of reckoning with its own debt.
MF Global is now headed by former New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine.Mr.Corzine was also CEO at Goldman Sachs before he served in the U.S. Senate and as Governor.

Polaroid's Retro Product

Polaroid Corporation is reviving its hallmark product,the instant camera,which was withdrawn in 2007 to the disappointment of many.The troubled company had gone into bankruptcy in 2001 and was eventually acquired by private equity firms in Toronto and Boston.The Polaroid 300 Instant Camera will have a strong appeal to Baby Boomers,who grew up with a similar device.It comes in several colors and is a large yet lightweight camera.The camera features an integrated auto flash and four light settings.
The instant camera produces business card-sized prints which pop up from the top of the camera.You then set them on a table for a minute while they self-develop.The image quality is good,but not perfect-just as Boomers remember the instant prints from their childhoods.Polaroid also makes digital cameras.
The Polaroid 300 Instant Camera sells for under 100 dollars U.S.It was featured on the HSN cable channel recently.

Early Edition:Bangkok Back To Business

Bangkok,Thailand is getting back to business.The center of the city had been virtually shut down for weeks by redshirt protesters.Finally,the army forcefully drove them out.Sixty-eight deaths resulted from the political confrontation.
The dawn of a steamy Monday saw volunteers with big brooms continuing the clean-up,while heavily-armed troops were on patrol.Schools reopened and the stock exchange prepared to trade again,having been damaged by violent renegades.The exchange says they have revamped their back-up plans,and can open elsewhere if something happens in Bangkok.
The sounds of traffic once again rushed beneath the skyscrapers of the Southeast Asian metropolis.

IBM Has Openings

IBM is looking for workers.They are asking a number of questions.Can you identify trends and think strategically?Are you an innovator,and are you ready to make the world work smarter?Are you an IBMer?The IBM Global Business Services open house will be held at two locations this week:
Wednesday,May 26 from 10am-4pm
Ritz-Carlton Pentagon City
1250 S.Hayes Street
Arlington,VA 22202
Thursday,May 27 from 10am-4pm
BWI Marriott
1743 West Nursery Rd.
Linthicum,MD 21090
For a list of openings and to pre-register,visit

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Early Edition :Portfolios Affecting Health

That haggard look is returning to faces as citizens and their leaders once again try to deal with their eroding wealth.You could definitely see it on German Chancellor Angela Merkel's face as she emerged from a meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy a few weeks ago.Investors whose portfolios had more than recovered from their lows of March 2009 are finding themselves in the red again.It is an ordeal that can be described as Dantesque,a scene from a personal financial Inferno.The effects on the general health cannot be good.
To counteract the stress,music is very significant;so is exercise.And they cost little if anything.That in itself is a relaxing thought.Even little bits of recreation improve our health prospects.The longer we feel self-pity,the worse it will be for us.Remembering that we've been through all this before-we recovered then,and we can do it again-will help to lift us out of this red danger as well.
Many of our ancestors had to deal with financial issues such as the Great Depression.Survival is in our heritage.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Prominent Investor Likes Gold

Jim Rogers,the Chairman of Rogers Holdings and author of several books,says the fundamentals are terrible for all the paper money except Canada's and Singapore's.This money has to come from somewhere.He's concerned about all countries.Nothing about the new rescue package is gonna get countries to cut their deficits enough to solve the problem.The European Union is ignoring their own rules.Even the present generation is gonna pay for this.
Mr.Rogers doubts if the Euro will be around in 10-15 years.It's continuing to weaken;be careful.The politicians all over Europe are using it as a scapegoat whenever there's a problem.It's a political currency,Jim Rogers believes.
The way things are going,people are gonna grab for something.The only thing they can grab for now is gold.It will certainly go up to 2,000 dollars an ounce by 2020.His children will own his gold,Mr.Rogers suspects.
Jim Rogers,a resident of Singapore,is a frequent guest on business television.Another Jim Rogers is the CEO of Duke Energy.
Duke Energy(DUK)

Old Firm,New Executive

Hartford Financial Services Group is 200 years old.Its new CEO is Liam McGee,who thinks that what the European Union and European Central Bank did to help Greece was thoroughly appropriate.Hartford's balance sheet has enough capital to withstand any reasonable stress scenario.They are seeing good top line momentum in both their consumer and commercial businesses.
It is fairly clear we are beginning to see growth,but it will be at a slow pace.Hartford has largely moved on from lower tranche investments.They're selling that lower tranche commercial real estate.Hartford's portfolio is now oriented to high grade commercial debt,Mr.McGee indicated.
As of the close of trading last Friday,Hartford was paying a dividend of 0.20 a share,for a yield of about 0.80%.The stock was up 0.91 last week and had a price to earnings ratio of 9,with a closing price of 26.21.
Hartford Financial Services Group(HIG)

Citigroup Has Many Openings

Citigroup has a number of openings for Investment Consultant.They assess,assist,and advise clients as they choose the services best suited for their needs,serving as an advocate,developing relationships with existing clients and building them with new clients.Openings are concentrated in California,with others being in Hong Kong and Singapore,as well as Florida,Connecticut and New York.See for more information on jobs at this leading institution.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Pfizer Acquires Cardio Prospect

Pfizer,the world's largest pharmaceutical company,has acquired the developmental drug terguride from Ergonex Pharma GmbH.Terguride is in a Phase 2 Trial.It is an oral medication for the rare cardiovascular condition pulmonary arterial hypertension,which afflicts 100-200,000 people in Europe and the U.S.
In PAH,the arteries that carry blood from the heart to the lungs become thickened and constricted,forcing the heart to work harder to pump blood through the lungs.Eventually,the heart can no longer provide an adequate blood supply to the lungs,resulting in shortness of breath,fatigue,dizziness,fainting,chest pain,edema and even heart failure.
Terguride treats PAH by targeting the release of serotonin,an organic compound found in human and animal tissue.Although serotonin is beneficial in many ways,such as regulating cyclic body processes,it can also stimulate the proliferation of pulmonary artery smooth cells and cause fiber formation in the artery walls.Terguride offers the hope of reversing this arterial remodeling and slowing disease progression,Pfizer believes.
The agreement gives Pfizer exclusive worldwide rights-excluding Japan-to commercialize terguride for the treatment of PAH.Ergonex will receive milestone payments and royalties on sales of the drug.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Science City Update

On May 4 in Montgomery County,Maryland,the County Council voted 9-0 to approve a master plan that supports the Johns Hopkins University science city project.Centered around farmland that Hopkins acquired below cost,the site is located off Shady Grove Road,west of I-270 in Gaithersburg,Maryland.It is hoped that about 52,000 jobs will be created by the development.
The university said the master plan demonstrates the best in smart-growth planning and provides the potential for high-paying bioscience and health care jobs,new mass transit,high-quality affordable housing,parks and other important amenities that will benefit the entire county.
Some residents and environmental groups continue to oppose the project even though it was scaled back in size and narrowed in scope.A nephew of the former landowner is also dissatisfied,saying the plan violates Hopkins' agreement with his aunt,who envisioned a smaller,"Jeffersonian" campus on the site.Tim Newell says he is moving toward filing a lawsuit against the university.Facing such opposition is a common ritual for developers of tracts of any size in the Mid-Atlantic region.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Education Quality Affects Economy

According to noted businessman and philanthropist Eli Broad(rhymes with "road"),too many parents are satisfied with the status quo in education.We've got to get a greater awareness in the public.The business community gets it.We're number 19 in education.We used to be number 1.It's gonna affect their standard of living.
We need our great foundations to get more engaged in funding things our government is not willing to fund-or can't fund right now,in Mr.Broad's opinion.Mr.Broad and his wife Edythe have been major benefactors to UCLA,among other recipients.He is founder of SunAmerica and co-founder of KB Home.

A Hedge Fund Perspective

Jim Chanos,Founder and President of Kynikos Associates,describes the situation in Greece as being a mess.Almost no matter what Greece does,there's gonna be a lot of pain.Greece is between a rock and a hard place.The major holders of this sovereign debt are the European banks-and even the U.S. through the International Monetary Fund.It's the same bailout problem.No one in elected politics seems to live within their means.We can't bail ourselves out.
A property bubble is proportionally a bigger problem for the Chinese economy than it was for ours.Something is changing in China,but will the authorities have the fortitude to stay with it?This is a centrally planned economy.The history of such economies is not a good one.There are bad investments written off and outside speculators getting burned.
In capitalism,you generally have a market and prices to ensure efficiency;but there are agency risks in a market economy:managers and bureaucrats.The reality is,the markets are gonna end up wherever they're gonna go.We've been embarked on "extend and pretend" with regard to bad debts.We have an unwillingness to recognize losses.This is not really capitalism,but a market economy where losses get socialized,the American intellectual and hedge fund magnate Jim Chanos observed.

Jobs Alert:Financial Analysts Needed

FBR Capital Markets is seeking financial analysts.They will provide feasibility and strategic analyses for the international energy and natural resources industry relating to exploration and production.Must be available to work at various unanticipated sites throughout the U.S.Those interested should mail a resume to
Attn:Ken Lattimore
FBR Capital Markets
1001 19th St. North
Arlington,VA 22209
re:Job Code 1474.18

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Beyond The ER Hassle

Teams of USC nurses are now evaluating and treating after-hours patients,or those who otherwise need prompt and sophisticated outpatient services,at the Evaluation and Treatment Center in USC University Hospital.The teams consist of an RN and a Licensed Vocational Nurse-formerly called LPNs.The patients are referred by USC physicians,typically Keck School of Medicine professors,who may meet their patients at the facility.The ETC will soon be a year old.
The 20 full-time nurses who staff the ETC are from critical or urgent care backgrounds.Skilled in disciplines from cardiovascular to oncology,they are treating 100-120 patients a month,broadening and deepening their expertise as they encounter a wide range of cases.The ETC is especially helpful to post-operative patients.
No walk-ins are accepted,and only private patients are seen at the ETC.Expansion plans are already being drawn up for the facility,which averts the stress of emergency room visits and insures continuity of care.

Special Coverage:Correction Grips World Markets

Investors worldwide are dusting off their worry beads as markets tumble into correction mode.Asian markets are down from 2-4% following sharp drops on Wall Street.Indeed,the Dow Jones Industrial Average experienced a plunge of more than 900 points-it's worst one-day plummet ever-before rallying back to a more manageable level.Much of the record fall is being attributed to technically faulty trades that have subsequently been canceled by the exchange authorities.
Lights are burning at the Securities and Exchange Commission and Commodity Futures Trading Commission as they work with stock exchanges to protect investors from further chaos.Although much of the correction is a legitimate reaction to the Greek debt crisis and fear of contagion,as well as a European Central Bank that is biding its time on further measures to deal with the matter,it appears to have been exacerbated by electronic or human error or both.A congressional subcommittee will examine the event on Tuesday.
The correction comes at a time when small investors were beginning to feel encouraged about their prospects again.It may be a setback with an indefinite horizon.Many analysts believe we could see a further loss of 5-15% in the short term.On the other hand,bonds and gold surged in response to the free fall.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

University Plans Science City

Johns Hopkins University has been spearheading the drive to build a new research and development complex just north of Washington,D.C. in Montgomery County,Maryland.The Baltimore-based university says it wants to create an exciting,livable,research-oriented Montgomery County of the future.It hopes the 10 billion dollar project will rival Palo Alto,California or the Research Triangle in North Carolina.The mixed use development would include housing and retail as well as R&D.Local residents fear the project would result in more suburban sprawl,spawning heavy traffic.Supporters point to the residential and retail aspects of the plan,which they say will keep workers on site.
The Montgomery County Council has been narrowing the project's scope somewhat,raising the life sciences quotient from 30 to 40% of the site,which lies west of I-270,and diminishing the maximum square footage from 20 million square feet to 17.5 million.This has lessened the concerns of residents,but they still intend to keep a close eye on the matter.A final vote by the Council will probably be taken in June.
R&D projects are highly sought-after by numerous jurisdictions nationwide.Today more than ever,they need the good tax revenue such activity is believed to generate.The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory is an economically successful example of such development in nearby Howard County,Maryland,although it does draw its share of commuters.

What Goldman Sachs Does

Goldman Sachs has been dominating the business news,but many may not understand what the company actually does.Professor Samuel Hayes of the Harvard Business School says Goldman Sachs affects all of our lives.It serves as brokerage and researcher for pension funds;raises money for cities and towns;facilitates new issues of stock for companies we work for or invest in;and engages in trading for its own profit.
Goldman Sachs has a lot of influence through its alumni in government.Two of them went on to become U.S Treasury Secretary,but the alumni are active all over the world.Professor Hayes is sure there are elements of both resentment and actual misconduct fueling the current furor over the company.Goldman Sachs should know that the perception of this behavior is damaging.They will have to live with it for a long time,in the professor's opinion.
Goldman Sachs is 140 years old.It employs 35,000 people worldwide.In recent years,its proprietary trading has grown in importance,which has been criticized by some as being less than socially useful.

Jobs Alert:Three-Day Career Fair

The Washington Post is holding its Colossal Career Fair from 11AM-5PM on May 17-19.On May 17,the Professional Pavilion and Government Agency Pavilion will be open.The Professional Pavilion is for all experience levels.Candidates for the Government Agency Pavilion must be U.S. citizens.May 18 the Healthcare Pavilion will be held.Candidates must have previous healthcare experience and/or degree.On May 19,the Engineering,Technology and Security Cleared Pavilion takes place.Without exception,candidates must have U.S. citizenship and at least two years of engineering,technology or defense industry experience on top of relevant degree or military experience.Some employers may require an active security clearance.
Candidates for all positions must bring a hard copy of their resume for pre-admittance screening to ensure that pavilion-specific qualifications are met.Questions should be directed to 1-877-842-3976x17 or See also The fair will be held at
The Washington Post
1150 15th St NW
Washington,DC 20071