Sunday, August 29, 2010

Luxury Homebuilding:The Toll Brothers View

Toll Brothers' buyers are skittish;they're scared.It's been a choppy summer.The psyche of this country is fragile.We need good news,to get the bad news out of the headlines.There is tremendous pent-up demand.Right now,they're just skittish.The tax credit didn't help Toll Brothers.It's the highest time ever for affordability,with the 4% rate.Toll Brothers doesn't think it's about a price reduction.Their backlog is down.They have about nine months' visibility.They're not a spec builder.In the short term,they think it's slowing,but in the long term,they think it looks pretty good.They feel pretty good about 2011.The housing market problems started with Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
It really begins with the quality of a Toll Brothers visitor.The quality today is up significantly.They seem to be real qualified visitors who are interested in buying.
Douglas Yearley is now CEO of Toll Brothers,having succeeded Bob Toll.They describe themselves as "America's Luxury Home Builders."They sponsor Metropolitan Opera broadcasts on public radio.
Toll Brothers(TOL)

Barclays Capital Market Insights

The outlook from Barclays Capital is that,in reality,the macro environment's been deteriorating for the past few months.It's the end of the inventory replenishment cycle.There is no evidence of increased consumption.The Cisco news was a shocker on business consumption.Clearly it's not sustainable.Given the shape of the labor market,there will be no improvement over the next 4-6 weeks.
Barclays thinks 2011 earnings will be up 5%,not 15%.Current stock valuations are relatively attractive,but clearly there's a risk of tipping back over.The potential of a tax hike could tip us over the edge.
Barclays has increased its allocation of staples and utilities.If we can get through to the other side,the two cyclical sectors with the best chance to be secular leaders would be industrials and tech.Barclays has taken tech down for the next several months,however,as the chip replenishment cycle is over.
Barry Knapp is Chief U.S. Portfolio Strategist at Barclays Capital.

Bank of America Needs Sales Staff

Bank of America has 312 openings for sales staff nationwide,especially in the mortgage loan area.To apply,visit Type "sales-all states-all positions-all travel-all shifts" into the appropriate boxes.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

British Study:Middle Age Exercise Crucial

Whether you get enough exercise in middle age is determinative of your physical ability in old age,a new British study confirms.The research by Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry,an affiliate of the Universities of Exeter and Plymouth,reviewed two long term studies of ageing in the U.S. and U.K. respectively,considering the experiences of more than 9200 individuals.It shows that the rate of physical impairment is twice as high in old age among those who were less active in middle age.Dr.Iain Lang,who led the research,said it wasn't just a matter of losing weight.The results applied across weight classes.Exercise in middle age helped people remain physically healthy and active later in life.
According to the research,exercise of 30 minutes at least three times a weak reduced disability occurrence by 11%.Walking distances,climbing stairs,balance and grip tend to be preserved by a history of exercise in middle age.Intensive gardening,housework,sport and job physical activity were all helpful.
Much of PCMD's research is focused on the theme of Diabetes,Cardiovascular Risk and Ageing.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Commercial Real Estate Today

Commercial real estate magnate Sam Zell observes that there's a lot of activity going on.Eventually all that space will get filled.In apartments,they're getting very successful numbers,very rapidly getting back to the figures of 2007.There's a lot of demand for office space,but at 20-30% less than peak rates.It has to fill first.A lot of tenants want to lower square footage per employee.There's opportunity there to get much more efficient.Each segment of the commercial real estate market has to be viewed separately.
Equity International,part of Equity Group Investments,Mr.Zell's holding company,is investing in Brazil.Brazil is self-sufficient,growing,and has solved inflation.It's likely to be one of the fastest growing countries in the world over the next 5-10 years.The country as a whole has about 8% debt compared to 70% in the U.S.EGI's investment philosophy in the emerging markets is about that whole aspirational population and how they're gonna get serviced.
China's a more difficult environment to work in than Brazil.There can be very strict government control there,conforming to a goal they're trying to achieve.
In the U.S.,we're still soft on the demand side.There's a lot of obsolescent real estate,such as anchorless centers-most of them are dying-or office centers in ex-urbia.The issue in the U.S. today continues to be confidence and the unpredictability of the administration.The health care bill is a huge economic time bomb for this country,and it's gonna have to be modified,in Sam Zell's opinion.
Mr.Zell is Chairman of Equity Group Investments,the multi-billion dollar,diversified holding company which he co-founded in 1968.It is based in Chicago.

Accepting The Economic Conditions

Bob Doll,a Vice President at BlackRock,the world's largest money manager,notes that we had +10% growth from early 2007-early 2008,but we have to recognize we are now in a deleveraging world.We're gonna be in for a number of years of below trend growth of 2%,rather than 3.5% as it had been.
You can't target where this money is gonna go.If consumers are deleveraging,you really have to hit them over the head to change that,and Mr.Doll doesn't think that will be any time soon.People are being cautious,paying down the debt,and there's no confidence.The Federal Reserve has to buy time here,be steady as she goes,accept slow growth.
The Fed has announced it is maintaining its balance sheet,buying Treasuries to keep borrowing costs low in support of growth,or at least make a gesture to inspire confidence.

Anglo-American Contractor Hiring

BAE Systems,a major defense and intelligence contractor in both the U.K. and U.S.,is looking for candidates with technology or intelligence backgrounds for mainly cleared positions.They will continually advance the mission-to predict,prevent,and protect.Current career opportunities exist for Senior Systems Engineers/Analysts,Software Developers,Cyber Investigators,Systems Administrators,SQL Database Administrators,Service Delivery Managers,Image Scientists,Deployable Analysts(Counter IED,HUMINT,SIGINT,Collections,All Source,Counterterrorism,Human Terrain),Political Military Analysts,Imagery Analysts,Photogrammetrists,Geospatial Analysts,Contracts/Subcontracts Administrators.
For detailed information,please visit their website at and search for requisition number:351409.
BAE Systems.Real Commitment.Real Advantage.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Lupus Drug Made Priority

The FDA has granted a priority review designation to the lupus drug Benlysta,a joint project of Human Genome Sciences and its partner GlaxoSmithKline.Benlysta is the first medicine for systemic lupus erythematosus,the most common form of the disease,to complete Phase 3 trials with positive results,said Dr.Carlo Russo,Senior Vice President,Biopharm Development with GSK.The priority review designation is given to therapies that offer major advances in treatment or provide a treatment where no adequate therapy exists.European marketing authorization is also being sought for Benlysta.
Lupus is an autoimmune disease that is most common among women of Asian,African or Hispanic heritage.It is a chronic inflammatory disorder caused by the body's immune system attacking its own organs and tissues.Like multiple sclerosis,lupus has a wide variety of symptoms and is difficult to diagnose.Most cases are mild with episodic flare-ups.Symptoms range from fatigue and fever to joint pain and skin lesions.Lupus can be fatal,damaging the kidneys,causing atherosclerosis,or hardening of the arteries,and possibly even the cancer non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.The American College of Rheumatology has compiled a checklist of 11 clinical and laboratory criteria to assist with diagnosis.
HGSI and GSK entered into a co-development and commercialization agreement for Benlysta in 2006.They will share equally in development costs,sales,marketing expenses and profits,pending approval.
Human Genome Sciences is based in Rockville,Maryland and GlaxoSmithKline is a British firm.
Human Genome Sciences(HGSI),GlaxoSmithKline(GSK)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Business Climate:Confidence An Absolute Factor

Lakshman Achuthan,Research Director of the Economic Cycle Research Institute,thinks the global industrial growth rate is slowing.The question is,does the slowdown turn into an outright recession?Every time you have a slowdown,the risk of recession does go up.
Confidence absolutely factors into Mr.Achuthan's work.It is a large driver of the business cycle,both from the consumer and the corporate side.You have a giant era of pessimism following a crisis.That's exactly what you're seeing now,Mr.Achuthan believes.
Byron Wien,a Vice-President at The Blackstone Group,L.P.,notes that people aren't buying stocks because they're worried there's a structural impairment.We're deleveraging,and on that basis growth is gonna be slow.This is a fear trade.
Since 2000,there's been zero return on equities.One percent return on Treasuries is better than zero.Eighty percent of the time,the market does go up over the course of a decade,but the days of a 15% return over a 20 year period are not coming back,Mr.Wien cautioned.
Treasury yields have been pushed to record lows as investors distrustful of the recovery seek the traditional safe havens.
The Blackstone Group,L.P.(BX)

Siemens USA Is Expanding

Erich Spiegal,CEO of Siemens USA,a division of the German multinational conglomerate,reports they are nimbly expanding their wind turbine business.Siemens is adding close to 1,000 jobs in Charlotte,North Carolina.Orders are up and business is getting better.
Business at large is waiting to see where the economy goes and legislation goes.The impact of the reform is relatively minor.Siemens sees relatively positive signs.Some of their big hospital customers are starting to spend.Gas turbines has become a very profitable business for them.
Mr.Spiegal thinks tax incentives are needed to spur growth.One third of Siemens' business today is renewable energy.It's a field President Barack Obama has highlighted as a promising source of new jobs.

Manassas City Seeks Teachers

Manassas City Public Schools in Northern Virginia needs a number of teachers.They have openings for the following:Elementary,Elementary Math Title I,English 9-12,ESOL(all grade levels),Math 7-12,Reading Specialist K-4,SpEd/LD(all grade levels),Speech Therapist,Substitute Teachers,plus Director of Transportation.Teacher candidates must be highly qualified and eligible for a VA teaching license with appropriate endorsement.A competitive salary and benefits package are offered.For more information and to apply,visit their website at

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Pandemic Over,Superbug Arrives

The World Health Organization,a UN agency headed by Hong Kong native Dr.Margaret Chen,has declared the H1N1 flu pandemic to be officially over.In total,about 18,500 people worldwide have died from the disease.Although safe vaccines were developed,they arrived in adequate quantities rather late on the scene in the U.S.,when it had become apparent that the pandemic was not going as badly as had initially been feared.In consequence,many decided not to bother with the inoculation.Others abstained because they were suspicious of its safety.Nonetheless,the pandemic served as a wake-up call and training exercise for public health workers and the pharmaceutical industry alike.The next time there is a flu pandemic,things should go much more smoothly based on the lessons learned.
The H1N1 virus will most likely continue to circulate for many years along the lines of the more familiar seasonal influenza.
A new infectious disease concern that has arisen in recent months is a so-called superbug that apparently originated in South Asia and has now been discovered in several other regions,including North America.This drug-resistant germ is mainly seen as a urinary tract infection.While in the lower urinary tract,it isn't lethal.If it isn't treated correctly there,however,the infection can spread to the upper urinary tract,where it can reach the kidneys and cause death.
Some 37 British patients contracted the superbug,called NDM-1,while having discount surgery in India.NDM-1 galvanizes some bacteria against antibiotics,especially E.coli,which causes the urinary tract infections.There are no antibiotics specifically for NDM-1,but few people have died from it to this point.NDM-I has been detected in Canada,the U.S.,Australia,the Netherlands and Sweden.The fear is that,as medical tourism grows,so will the prevalence of this drug-resistant organism.
The medical authorities are calling for more surveillance of this emerging danger.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Procter&Gamble Explains Misses

Procter and Gamble's earnings report missed estimates on both the top and bottom lines.Earnings per share were 0.71 cents,versus an estimate of 0.73,while revenue was at 18.93 billion dollars,versus an estimate 0f 19.102 billion.Chief Financial Officer Joe Moeller said this was because the company chooses to invest more behind significant innovation and strategic initiatives.Procter&Gamble is building market share in every one of its regions.In the developed world,things are relatively slow.There is good growth in the developing world,but it is 25% below standard.
Procter&Gamble is seeing the re-acceleration of branded sales.The Pro-Glide razor is doing well.Pampers Dry-Max is doing extremely well.There's a very exciting year ahead of Procter&Gamble.There will be a Crest 3D White,a new laundry brand in India and a reformulation of Tide for the first time in 10 years.The company has a very sufficient pipeline for innovation,Mr.Moeller believes.
Procter&Gamble is headquartered in Cincinatti,Ohio.

Geithner At NYU:Comeback Confidence

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner expressed confidence in the nation's future at NYU's Stern School of Business recently.Mr.Geithner feels that America is coming back;the economy is healing.Typically,recoveries following a crisis are more moderate.You always face more headwinds.Businesses are starting to hire,but the U.S. needs to bring the fiscal deficit down.Economic growth needs confidence that the U.S. will cut debt.This debt reduction will be a difficult process.
We're seeing more stability in house prices,but we still have a lot to work through.The system we have today is not tenable for the future.Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac built up huge portfolios of mortgage-backed securities without the capital to back up the risk.
The government still has substantial capacity to respond to a future crisis,Mr.Geithner said,wearing a black suit,blue shirt and blue tie.He did not believe the U.S. is headed for Japanese-style deflation.Most countries wait too long to respond to crises.The President made it clear we were not gonna do that.We decided to act with force.The major firms are in a much stronger position because we forced them to disclose and raise more capital.Because of that,the world turned and the basic beginnings of recovery began.Mr.Geithner is very confident we're gonna avoid the Japanese fate.

NIH Needs Health Scientists

The National Institutes of Health are hiring several health scientist administrators and scientists.They want exceptionally talented,knowledgeable and motivated individuals for their dynamic organization.
Health Scientist Administrators(Program Officer and Scientific Review Officer)are needed for specialties ranging from Alcoholism to Economics,Genetics,Gerontology,Psychology,Sociology and more.Positions will be advertised until August 20.For information,visit
Scientists(Biologist and Chemist) are needed for specialties ranging from Bioinformatics,Histology and Immunology to Microscopy.Positions will be advertised until August 13.For information,visit and
An excellent Federal Government Benefits Package and opportunities for professional development are offered.Discover a career at NIH:It's about life.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

WellPoint Anxious For Clarity

As the nation's largest health insurer,WellPoint is anxious to get certainty about health care reform and economic recovery.It does appear that we've hit the floor at this point,according to Chief Financial Officer Wayne S. DeVeydt,and we might see improvement in the next quarter.The 14% increase in WellPoint's premiums in California is not sustainable,however.They've got to get the care costs down.The key is avoiding duplicate procedures.
The health care reform law is weighing on WellPoint's stock.They have to get better clarity about it soon.Nonetheless,the firm's net headcount isn't dropping.It employs about 42,000 Associates.
Based in Indianapolis,WellPoint operates as a licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association in 14 states,with 33.5 million members.It has been honored by Fortune magazine as a Most Admired Company in its field for 2007,and has also received a workplace diversity award.Its earnings per share were up for Q2,and it raised its full year guidance as well.WellPoint buys back billions of dollars worth of shares to support its stock.Angela F. Braly is President,Chair and CEO of the insurer.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

What Inventory Can't Provide

To bring unemployment down,we need growth closer to 3%,in the view of economist Mark Zandi,co-founder of Moody's Analytics.U.S. growth was only 2.4% in Q2.A lot of the growth we had was due to inventory rebuilding.It's not engaging in a self-sustaining economic expansion.With many headwinds to hinder growth,there's reason to be nervous.
The rate of manufacturing growth is starting to slow.They can't continue to count on inventory-related gain.
The Institute for Supply Management's Manufacturing Survey released this morning was at 55.5 for July,a decline from June's reading of 56.2.A reading over 50 indicates growth.
Mr.Zandi said he was surprised by Europe's performance and how well the governments have executed austerity plans.Euro-zone inflation is at 1.7%,a 20-month high.Inflation is considered to be one of the markers of economic growth.
Moody's Corporation(MOC)

Echoing Sentiments:This Recovery

Gross Domestic Product for Q2 came in at an anemic 2.4%,which was weaker than expected.Tom Porcelli of RBC Capital Markets says that,normally,recovery means 4-5% GDP growth.It seems like a pretty good environment for investors to continue their Treasury purchases.If you look at revenue increases,they are only at 9% year over year.The economy still remains very,very moribund.
This sentiment is echoed by Bill Dunkelberg,Chief Economist of the National Federation of Independent Business.The recovery this time has been led by rebuilding inventory,Mr.Dunkelberg observed.For the last two years,we got rid of everything we could trying to stay in business,and now that is being replaced.
Consumer sales aren't there,and profits are down.The consumer doesn't feel comfortable doing anything more than what is absolutely necessary,Bill Dunkelberg noted.
Reports released this morning showed a drop in both factory orders and pending home sales.Under such conditions,triple digit market gains may be unsustainable.
Royal Bank of Canada(RBC)

Lockheed Martin Is Hiring

Lockheed Martin,a global security company that enables smart power,is holding an open house event on Thursday,August 5 from 10am to 7pm at
Sheraton Reston Hotel
11810 Sunrise Valley Drive
Reston,VA 20191
There will be on-the-spot interviews.Please bring multiple copies of your resume.
Lockheed needs experienced professionals such as Database Administrators,Senior Analysts,Network Engineers,Software Engineers and Systems and Database Engineers.Desktop Technician and Help Desk Support are also sought.Those selected will be subject to a government security investigation.
To learn more or to apply online if you cannot attend,visit
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