Sunday, June 27, 2010

Canadian Firm's Green Approach

Cenovus,a Canadian integrated oil company,believes it is a green firm.They produce 60,000 barrels a day of oil from the oil sands of Alberta and Saskatchewan-but with a difference.Cenovus uses steam from brackish water for separating the oil from the sand.What is more,they recycle almost 100% of the water they use.It is a low impact oil sands operation,in their estimation.
The company says it has tremendous assets for boosting oil sands production.Given the problems with deep water drilling,they may well need to do so.It is listed on NYSE/Euronext,and was spun off from Encana,an unconventional natural gas company.

Wealthy Are Cautiously Optimistic

High net worth individuals are cautiously optimistic about their portfolios,says Lyle Lamothe of Bank of America/Merrill Lynch Wealth Management US.Their net worth has come back to 2007 levels.Dealing with them is less about the products;more about the process of communication first-they want to know how much risk they need to take to reach their goals;what is it that they're actually investing in.He's actually engaging in more hand-holding.
The clients are showing more interest in Asian real estate,Mr.Lamothe revealed.It's part of an allocation strategy.Merrill Lynch is seeing broader diversification in their portfolios.
There are 2.7 million millionaires in the United States.
Bank of America(BAC)

Early Edition:Merkel Pleased With Summit

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the weekend's G20 summit in Toronto,Canada was ahead of her expectations because of the detail involved.The world leaders agreed to cut their deficits in half by 2013.By 2016,the debt,or accumulated deficits,will start to come down.Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said that,as our stimulus programs expire,we will focus on getting our fiscal houses in order.
The G20 leaders of leading economic nations also agreed to raise capital requirements for banks.The specificity of the goals was indeed unusual for such a gathering,which typically would have a statement of general principles released as a communique.This highlights the fragility of the global economy,which cannot accept anything less than exactitude at this point.
Ms.Merkel was in a jovial mood,given this adoption of German policy by the G20,not to mention Germany's decisive victory over England in the World Cup.The leaders followed the World Cup on their Blackberries and even watched some of it together on a big screen TV.Chancellor Merkel spoke animatedly with President Barack Obama.Clearly they have become friends during this difficult period of history.It is perhaps somewhat reminiscent of the late President Ronald Reagan and former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher of Great Britain.

Jobs Alert:Furniture Retailer Hiring Now

Value City Furniture has multiple openings for their new Sterling,Virginia store.They need home furnishing sales consultants,managers and customer service associates.Value City says they are driven and ambitious,with a tradition of high standards and a future of real growth.Excellent pay,a competitive benefits package,flexible scheduling and a generous associate discount are on offer.Interviews will be held on Tuesday,June 29 from 11 am to 8 pm and Wednesday,June 30 from 9 am to 6 pm at
The Hampton Inn Dulles/Cascades
46331 McClellan Way
Sterling,VA 20165

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Getting Organized:Frontiers In Critical Care

Since October of 2009,critically ill patients in the Los Angeles area have had access to a new rapid transport service.A specially outfitted ambulance rushes them to USC University Hospital for the special care they need that isn't available at their hospitals of origin.The effort was spearheaded by Dr.Ray Matthews,Professor of Clinical Medicine at USC's Keck School of Medicine,who had encountered similar programs at other hospitals.Noting the increasing usage of the service,Dr.Matthews expressed satisfaction and confidence in its continued growth.The service is presently used by USC's cardiovascular medicine,vascular surgery,cardiothoracic surgery and neurology programs.
USC University Hospital contracted with a local ambulance company to transport the patients,had its logo painted on the ambulance,and implemented rapid admission procedures for these critically ill souls.A large organizational effort was required to provide the extra care,involving systems integration and learning to work together for the greater good of the patients,Dr.Matthews explained.
It has gone so well,there are plans to expand the service to urgent,non-emergency patients across the USC Health Sciences Campus.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The New Economic World

We're living through change,says PIMCO's co-CEO and co-Chief Investment Officer Mohamed El-Erian.There is lots of transition friction and tension.A lot of improbable things have happened.What the markets are doing is pricing that in.It's more of a square root symbol,leveling off at about 2% growth.There is something fundamental going on,an ongoing structural change.It's all about balance sheets.
The emerging markets had a small heart attack.When the big one came,they had better conditions.It's a good thing we have them there.It's gonna take 2-4 years for the new normal to play out.Only the corporate sector has a healthy balance sheet in the U.S.The market is telling us that balance sheets matter.
The U.S. economy is on a bumpy journey to an uncertain destination-without many spare tires.All indicators are flashing yellow:employment,retail sales and the flow of funds.If you do the bottoms-up analysis,there isn't a sector that's big enough to do the serious heavy lifting.Private sector de-levering and government re-levering are not the formula for growth,but for a multiyear adjustment.We as a financial system are de-levering.Until that is over and we recapitalize,that cycle hasn't been completed.It's definitely a new world,in Mohammed El-Erian's opinion.
Mr.El-Erian is a fan of the New York Mets and Jets,he professes with a smile.

Dreamliner Survives Weather Scare

A Boeing 787 Dreamliner was struck by lightning over Puget Sound,Washington last month,according to program manager Scott Fancher.The aircraft was on a test flight at the time of the strike.The plane's systems,fuselage and wings checked out O.K. following the strike.A fifth test 787 recently made its maiden flight from Paine Field in Everett,Washington.The test pilot described its performance as "smooth and excellent."
The Dreamliner is now two and a half years behind schedule.The first airliner built from composite materials,the fuel-efficient jet will soon be in production,however, at plants worldwide.Extensive testing is required for the 787 to obtain FAA certification,and so far there have been no issues with the test flights.
The Dreamliner is also seen as an engine for job-creation and sustenance.

Jobs Alert:Vocational College Needs Administrators

Stratford University,a proprietary institution located in the D.C. suburbs,has multiple openings for administrative personnel.They are holding a job fair June 21-23 from 9am to 3pm at
7777 Leesburg Pike
Falls Church,VA 22043
A bachelors degree is required.Positions include Dean of the School of Business,Student Accounts Specialist,Document Control Manager,Administrative Assistant,Admissions Officer,Loan Processor and Technical Writer.Those interested should email their resumes to

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Kellogg Attacks Pillsbury Nutrition

Kellogg has criticized the nutritional value of Pillsbury's Toaster Strudel breakfast pastry,contrasting it with that of its own Pop-Tarts.The old baker urges the public to make the right choice between baked Pop-Tarts and fried Toaster Strudel.In an ad published in a Sunday newspaper insert,Kellogg cites a number of figures illustrative of its claim that Pillsbury's product is decidedly less healthy than its own.For example,while Pop-Tarts have 5g of total fat,Toaster Strudels have 8g;Pop-Tarts have 1.5g of saturated fat,but Toaster Strudels have 3.5g.Indeed,Pop-Tarts have 0g of trans fat;Toaster Strudels have 1g.
In addition,Kellogg points out,Pop-Tarts contain 0mg cholesterol,while Toaster Strudels have 5mg.And,the Battle Creek,Michigan company adds,Pop-Tarts are a good source of 7 vitamins and minerals,but Toaster Strudels deliver nothing at all.They remind consumers that Pop-Tarts are always baked,never fried.
Pillsbury is a brand of General Mills.Such direct criticism as Kellogg's for Pillsbury is relatively rare in modern advertising.Perhaps the ad is indicative of an especially competitive marketplace,with many consumers turning to cheaper private label brands during the financial crisis.
Kellogg(K),General Mills(GIS)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Peterson Foundation's Deficit Alarm

David Walker,President and CEO of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation,feels we have to learn from history and not repeat the mistakes others have made.In the short term,the U.S. is a flight to safety.In terms of public debt,however,we're 10 years away from being Greece.The oil spill shows us corporations do not have duties of loyalty to countries;they are loyal to shareholders.Washington is not the real world and,frankly,New York isn't,either.
The four factors that caused the subprime crisis exist for the government's own finances,Mr.Walker thinks.We're on the path to moving to where the Southern European countries are.The clock is ticking and time is not ticking in our favor.We cannot allow the extremes to polarize our political system.The American people are in the sensible center,and that's where you get things done.Eighty percent of the American people see the budget deficit as a priority,David Walker observed.
On June 26,the Peterson Foundation and others are holding a national town meeting on this subject.It's never been done before,Mr.Walker pointed out.
David M. Walker was Comptroller General of the United States from 1998 to 2008.As the nation's chief auditor,he was head of the Government Accountability Office,where he highlighted wasteful government spending.

Richard LeFrak:Man of Many Insights

Prominent investor Richard LeFrak,head of The LeFrak Organization,who is ranked number 212 on the Forbes list of billionaires,is a man of many business insights.For instance,he notes that the Chinese are going from a rural to an urban setting,and that's a tremendous change in the population.We wish the people well.The Chinese government has its own agenda,in Mr.Lefrak's view:to stay in power.
Mr.LeFrak says it's a good time to own a bank with a clean balance sheet.They've been investing money in certain banks,such as Bank United in Florida and Metro Bank in London.The London bank is friendly,open seven days a week.They will open 12 branches in the next two years.It's meant to be a nice place to hang out.
The Lefrak Organization has a property in Panama City,Florida.They're struggling because,what with the oil spill,no one wants to commit to travel.It's having a serious effect on the market now.They went from 80% pre-book to 30% pre-book for Memorial Day.This is the high season for that part of the world.
Mr.Lefrak has an easy,unaffected manner on his business television appearances.His family business,The Lefrak Organization,founded in 1901,builds and owns a vast amount of real estate in the New York,Los Angeles and London metro areas.It focuses on residential and office property,but its affiliates also own substantial hotel and retail assets.LFO has an investment management division as well,combining traditional merchant banking with value-based equity and fixed income investing strategies.Since 1971,LFO has been a major investor in oil and gas holdings.

Jobs Alert:Health Plan Support Positions

An affiliate of CareFirst,Inc.,the parent of CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield,Service Plan Administration Services Corporation,has multiple openings in Information Technology,Accounting and Compliance.SBPASC provides business processing and technology infrastrucure for a leading Federal employee health plan,the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Service Benefit Plan.SBPASC is a financially strong organization,fully invested in maintaining its leadership position.The opportunities are in software engineering,architecture,requirements analysis,configuration management,automated testing,technical management,accounting and compliance management.
See where they can take your career.An open house will be held on Wednesday,June 23 from 4-8 p.m. at
1280 Maryland Ave.,SW
To learn more,visit

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Warfarin Substitute Shows Promise

Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer have agreed to stop a Phase 3 trial of investigation agent apixaban in patients with atrial fibrillation,or irregular heartbeat,who are at risk of blood clots and stroke.An interim analysis showed clear evidence of a clinically significant reduction in stroke and blood clots in AF patients.These patients were considered intolerant of,or unsuitable for,vitamin K antagonist therapy,such as Warfarin,and received apixaban rather than aspirin.The analysis also showed apixaban is as safe as aspirin.
The study was conducted in 36 countries by the Population Health Research Institute,which is affiliated with McMaster University in Hamilton,Ontario and Hamilton Health Sciences.Further analysis of the study and an effort to publish and present the results are ongoing.
Pfizer and Bristol-Myers Squibb have been collaborating on the development and commercialization of apixaban since 2007.Apixaban is an oral anticoagulant discovered by Bristol-Myers Squibb.
Pfizer(PFE),Bristol-Myers Squibb(BMY)

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Japan's New Leader Matters

Who leads Japan matters to Ed Rogers of Rogers Investment Management,and it matters to the rest of the world.Naoto Kan,the new Prime Minister,is a decisive leader,and we need decisive leadership in Japan,Mr.Rogers feels.A finance minister background such as Mr.Kan's is very good,not just for understanding Japan,but also the rest of the world.
Change is always scary,Ed Rogers observed.The reality is,Japan is a very,very cheap market.Everyone is excited at the opportunity for positive change that we have in Japan right now,Mr.Rogers thinks.
Japan is the world's second-largest economy behind the United States.It has had trouble in recent years finding stable leadership at the top.The new Japanese Prime Minister,Naoto Kan,who leads the Democratic Party of Japan,supports the controversial maintenance of a U.S. military presence on the island of Okinawa,where the U.S. Marines have had a base since World War II.While many Japanese oppose the big base,others think it provides needed jobs to the area.
Naoto Kan was sworn in at the Imperial Palace today,and his cabinet was sworn in at a separate ceremony.He wants to visit Washington next month to emphasize the importance of the Japan-U.S. relationship.

Early Edition:Geithner Sees Better Times

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner took a message of optimism to the weekend's G-20 meeting of finance ministers and central bankers in Busan,South Korea.Mr.Geithner says the Europeans have the ability and the political will to solve the debt problem.We're in a much stronger position today to get through this.He thinks we have in place a moderate but pretty strong recovery to deal with this.
These new rules on capital and liquidity are gonna be the most important elements of reform around the world,Mr.Geithner believes.We want these financial firms to run much more conservatively,yet support businesses.We want to bring the world to higher standards and a level playing field.U.S. firms have much stronger capital positions today.The economy has been growing now for four quarters.All the indicators suggest improving job growth.The broad numbers show steady strong improvement and confidence that will translate to better times for the average American,in Timothy Geithner's opinion.
Mr.Geithner called for other countries to re-balance growth in order to create sustainable growth.The U.S. is moving aggressively to fix things we got wrong and to strengthen our economic fundamentals.Americans are strengthening their savings,so other countries must generate more internal consumption to take up the slack.
Mr.Geithner was warmly greeted by Jean-Claude Trichet,President of the European Central Bank,at the international conclave in Busan,South Korea.

Jobs Alert:Grant Thornton Positions

Grant Thornton is holding a Financial Management Career Invitational in Alexandria,Virginia on Thursday,June 24.The climate is ripe for people passionate about working to improve government today.They have successfully won new contracts and extended existing ones-all to realize their ambitious growth plans in the world of management consulting for the public sector.A bachelor's degree is required,as well as 3 years of experience,including experience in at least one of the following areas:
Activity Based Costing
Budget Formulation
Cost Modeling
Cost Accounting
Federal Financial Management
Send your resume now to be scheduled for a private interview with program managers on June 24.Submit resume and salary requirements to

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Not Your Grandfather's Dentistry

Dentistry today has gone far beyond pulling teeth and filling cavities,as important as these basic procedures are.One example of this is the amount of research being done at USC's Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry.The school recently advanced its ranking on the funding list of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research,one of the National Institutes of Health.The dental school's research funding rose from 3.2 million in 2008 to nearly 5 million in 2009,moving its rank up to third among private dental schools.
The USC dental research faculty is working on such areas as dental disease diagnosis from saliva,stem cell utilization in wound healing,and creating a comprehensive craniofacial genetics database,among other projects.Dr.Yang Chai is Associate Dean of Research at the school and Director of the Center for Craniofacial Molecular Biology.Dr.Chai attributed the ranking advance to a team effort by the creative and ingenious research faculty.This increase in federal funding in a difficult and highly competitive economic environment tells you about the quality of research the USC dental school is conducting,Dr.Chai observed.