Thursday, June 30, 2011

Who Owns is a separate company from msnbc the cable channel.It is a 50/50 partnership between Microsoft and NBC is the news website for all of the NBC News family and Microsoft's MSN.According to Nielsen Online,it is the number one online news site in the U.S. is considering a name change to safeguard its distinct identity.Its slogan is "A Fuller Spectrum of News."Comprehensive health news is one of the website's emphases.
The msnbc cable network went on the air on July 15,1996.For nine years,Microsoft and NBC Universal were equal partners in the venture.In December 2005,Microsoft sold most of its stake to NBC Universal.By 2007,Microsoft had entirely divested its holding in the channel.
In October 2010,msnbc openly acknowledged its approach as being politically progressive,although conservative views are also represented at times.
More than 78 million U.S. households have access to msnbc.It is also broadcast in various forms to Germany,South Africa,Europe,the Middle East and Canada.Its parent,NBC Universal,is now majority owned by Comcast,and General Electric owns the remainder of the company.
Comcast(CMCSA),General Electric(GE),Microsoft(MSFT)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Research in Motion Isn't Dead

With the ascent of the Apple iPad,many have abandoned Research in Motion as hopelessly behind in the telecom space.We've seen a total catharsis of the stock,says analyst Kevin Smithen of the Macquarie Group.The sentiment has never been worse.Yet its international business grew 68% year over year and has never been healthier.
The Chinese,Asian and European markets are largely prepaid.RIM is more competitive in those markets.Foreign carriers do not have the spectrum the U.S. does.
We're frankly perplexed at the valuation at a multiple typically reserved for companies that are highly leveraged and cyclical at the trough of the cycle.We rate the stock as an outperform.
We're not optimistic about their hope for the U.S. consumer business,but our 12 month price target for the stock is 40.00.They have tremendous Blackberry momentum in Indonesia and Thailand.We think it's the product of choice in those areas,Mr.Smithen noted.
Macquarie Group,Ltd. is a full service financial firm operating in 28 countries.It cites its expertise,performance and growth as strong points for its global clientele and investors.The Australia-based company has 320 billion dollars U.S. under management.
Research in Motion(RIMM),Apple(AAPL),Macquarie Group,Ltd.(MQG)

Asia This Day

Hong Kong saw partly sunny weather at noontime Monday.It was 90F,and the wind was SW at 7 mph.The humidity was 62% and thunderstorms were in the forecast.
Asian shares were down across the board on concern about European debt,except for Shanghai's,which climbed 0.4.
Chinese premier Wen Jiabao was visiting Europe.He pledged China's long term support for Europe and the Euro.China would continue to buy both Euro bonds and European sovereign debt,including Hungarian bonds.
The New Zealand dollar fell as the country's trade surplus narrowed by more than 40%.New Zealand still had exports exceeding imports by 605 million New Zealand dollars in May.
India's inflation is at 9.1%,and diesel price increases will send it even higher.Nonetheless,Nomura Securities has turned positive on Indian stocks,citing subsiding headwinds.
Shanghai ports expect sea cargo to rise 10% annually as industrial plants move inland.They will ship to the ports as their cargo volumes increase along the Yangtze River.
Japanese electeicity rates are expected to go up by 18% because of lost nuclear capacity in the wake of March's earthquake and tsunami,the Nikkei newspaper reported.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Philanthropy Today:Keck Foundation Key to USC Medicine

The vast complex of institutions comprising the USC medical enterprise is to be renamed Keck Medicine of USC in recognition of its major benefactor,the W.M. Keck Foundation.The foundation,established in 1954 by oil magnate William Myron Keck,funds science,engineering,medical research and undergraduate education,as well as community service projects and programs in Southern California.
The Keck Foundation has just made a 150 million dollar gift to the USC medical enterprise,which comprises two private hospitals,a doctor group,medical school and several research institutes,as well as community outreach programs.The USC Norris Cancer Center Hospital will retain its current name,but many of the other constituents of the medical enterprise will have the Keck name applied to them.
USC President C.L. Max Nikias described the new gift as a catalyst for dramatic discoveries and developments in medical research,teaching and patient care.It is helping USC's academic medical center take a momentous leap forward in its efforts to improve and advance the human condition.
USC's Keck School of Medicine had previously recieved a 110 million dollar gift from the Keck Foundation in 1999.Robert Day,CEO of the 1.2 billion dollar foundation,said the new gift reflects their commitment to bringing cutting edge science,medicine and engineering together to find new and better ways forward.
William Myron Keck,who created the foundation bearing his name,was founder of the leading U.S. independent oil producer,Superior Oil Company,which operated from 1921-84.It was eventually absorbed into Exxon Mobil.
Exxon Mobil(XOM)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Time Warner Bridges the Worlds

TV is going on the Internet on demand,says Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes(pronounced Byu-kiss).There's still some mid-hanging fruit for industry growth.If you think about all the people with mobile devices,the TV industry is turning to it.There's a tremendous amount of economic activity when TV goes mobile.
Basically every device is becoming a TV.It is also going on overseas.Time Warner network CNN goes all over the planet.TV profits,viewers and ratings are all growing and healthy.
All these new devices have helped the TV industry figure out how to be easier to find and easier to use.We've got now 150 channels buying shows off of network TV.We license more shows to network and cable channels than anyone else.We haven't licensed to competing subscription services.You pay a subscription,you can have it on any device that you own.
We had pricing growth in the mid-teens.The revenue growth in Time Warner's HBO,CNN,TNT is very strong.The TV business,the film business is really quite strong.The Internet is a great development,but let's not forget the strength and vitality of the TV business,Mr.Bewkes reminded.
Time Warner is a media conglomerate that owns several major brands in journalism and entertainment.From Time,Life,Fortune and People magazines to CNN,HBO and Warner Brothers Pictures Group,as well as allied online properties,it is a global leader in the publishing,film and television industries.
Time Warner Cable and Warner Music Group are now independent entities.They were spun off from their parent,Time Warner,Inc.
Time Warner,Inc.(TWX)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Asia This Day

Asian markets were largely gainers this morning,Monday,on hopes that the European debt crisis is easing and some positive U.S. retail sales data.The Australian ASX 200 was up 20.00,while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 151.64 and Japan's Nikkei 225 gained 55.44.Singapore's Straits Times Index was up 23.12.
The Chinese economy faces a sluggish landing,according to Credit Suisse.The existing homes market cooled off in May on government measures to rein it in.Chinese stocks have fallen to 9-month lows on the economic uncertainty.
In Japan,the trade deficit rose more than expected to 853.7 billion yen.Imports were up 12.3,and exports fell 10.3.This is because of continued supply chain disruption from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
New Zealand,however,greeted positive economic news this morning.Manufacturing volumes were up 1.9.As well,the services industry expanded at a faster pace in May.
Hong Kong was a toasty 90F on Monday under scattered clouds.The winds were NE at 8 mph,and the humidity was 62%.

Target Needs Department Managers

Target is hiring team leaders for its Falls Church and Alexandria stores in Northern Virginia.They want cheerful and helpful individuals with a friendly and upbeat attitude,as well as retail or leadership experience,to help keep the Target brand experience consistent,which is positive and welcoming for guests.They will hire,supervise and train team members to achieve sales,service and presentation goals.
To apply,visit,select Hourly Stores Positions and search for Alexandria or Falls Church.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

After Open Heart Surgery,Part 2:Problems and Progress

Six weeks out from conventional open heart surgery,the 7-inch incision is still prominent.It continues to sting a little.I still stop to think before I do anything strenuous.
The visual disturbances have receded quite a bit.Only the meteoric illusion remains,which looks like meteorites streaking across your field of view.The double vision and blind spots,or eclipse effect,have been absent for some time.
As well,my taste buds have recovered significantly-at least to 90% of their former aptitude.True,most of the post-op medication has run out or been canceled because of sinus bradycardia.That is,my heart was beating way too slowly.Its rate was down into the 40s.Now it is up to the 50s.
I am able to drive short distances.I can also do grocery shopping,although this resulted in near-exhaustion.There is clearly a way to go on this involved journey.
The cardiologist on my surgical team informed me that,although my heart is working much better than before the operation,there was some residual leakage shown on the transesophageal echocardiogram,a scan in which an ultrasound probe is sent down the anesthetized patient's throat for a close examination of the heart in the operating room,both before and after surgery.
In short,it appears to me,at this point,that the mitral valve repair was not 100% successful.This is a relatively rare occurrence,affecting only a fraction of the repair patients.A transthoracic echocardiogram,which is externally administered,has been scheduled for a further assessment.
Another chapter in the medical annals unfolds.I had some time ago realized you are a heart patient for life-to a greater or lesser extent,depending upon the individual circumstances.It need not be depressing;it's just the challenge you've been
given.It's a part of your new job description while you are on this earth.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Groupon Called Into Question

Both analysts and small businesses are calling coupon website Groupon's business model into question.It has even been accused of loan-sharking.One of the questioning analysts is Sucharita Mulpru of Forrester Research.
Ms.Mulpru notes that Groupon has lost more than 400 million dollars,and continues to lose.Their organic growth is significantly smaller than other numbers.They spent hundreds of millions to get to this level of growth,which will require billions of dollars more to sustain.
At some point,Groupon has to show someone the money and the valuation.There's some question that Groupon is actually driving good customers to businesses.Merchants haven't been convinced,and unless they are,Groupon won't get great deals to offer.
These customers are all people who have purchased at 50% off.If Groupon can segment the top 10% who will return to the business,that would be valuable.
Groupon's challenge is,they have not set themselves up for such an enormous growth trajectory.They can't afford to do that,and are getting themselves into trouble with dissatisfied merchants who feel they are losing money by participating.
Groupon is akin to Priceline,Ms.Mulpru points out.It was exciting at first,but their second billion dollars of growth took many,many years.
Such words and similar ones may well give pause to the many prospective investors in Groupon.
Forrester Research is an independent company that provides pragmatic and forward-thinking advice to global business and technology leaders.Its research,customer insight,consulting,events and peer-to-peer executive programs are keyed to leaders in specific professional roles.Based in Cambridge,Massachussets,it has more than 2600 client companies.
Forrester Research(FORR)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Asia This Day

Asian markets were mostly lower this morning,Monday,on continuing global economic concerns.Japan's Nikkei 225 was down 54.87,while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index dropped 222.31 and Singapore's Straits Times Index fell 16.42.Australian markets were closed for the Queen's Birthday holiday.
There were anti-nuclear demonstrations in Tokyo at government buildings and the offices of Tepco,owner of the disabled reactors.The protesters were marking the 3-month anniversary of Japan's earthquake and tsunami disaster.
Japan's April machinery orders were down 3.3,which was worse than expected.The decline is attributable to parts and electricity shortages down to the earthquake and tsunami.
The World Economic Forum is meeting in Jakarta,Indonesia.Some 600 attendees will assess Asian prospects at the conference.Indonesia is being regarded as the next Brazil,the fifth BRIC country.
Hong Kong woke to partly cloudy skies today with thunderstorms in the forecast.It was 86F,and winds were out of the southeast at 7 mph.The humidity was 74%.

Furniture Store Job Fair

Marlo Furniture,a family business with four showrooms in the D.C. Metro area,is holding a job fair for experienced and new sales professionals at their corporate offices on Tuesday,June 14 from 11am to 6pm at
725 Rockville Pike
Rockville,Maryland 20852
Paid training is offered.
If unable to attend,email resumes to

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Investing Today:Strategies For a Choppy Period

According to Stephen Wood,PhD,chief market strategist at Russell Investments,what we're looking at is a square root sign,a market plateauing at a lower rate of growth.It's probably a significant slow patch in the overall recovery.This is not terribly surprising.
There are gonna be choppy markets.Consider Japan,the Middle East,the Greek debt issue-a lot of headlines could cause volatility.
You're probably in a lower return environment.A portfolio should be globally diversified and have more equities,commodities and infrastructure.
Dr.Wood likes JP Morgan Chase.It has a 2.40 yield and is an industry leader,coming through the financial crisis extremely well.It has a strong balance sheet and is a good,old-fashioned consumer bank.
He also favors Pfizer.The economy's gonna do O.K.,but not spectacularly.Pfizer levels the volatility.People stay in it longer.People are gonna have to ride out the volatility with a more disciplined long term time horizon.
As for Google,longer term,it's probably gonna be a name that's the 500-pound gorilla in its space,Stephen Wood believes.
Stephen Wood has been with Russell Investments since 2005.He has conducted research on the economy,capital markets,portfolio strategies and investor behavior,also serving as a commentator on those topics.In addition,Dr.Wood has worked with institutional clients and retail partners to explain Russell's investment process and portfolio management.
JP Morgan Chase(JPM),Pfizer(PFE),Google(GOOG)

Monday, June 6, 2011

What Scares Alan Greenspan

Alan Greenspan,former longtime chairman of the Federal Reserve,is very concerned about the fate of the U.S. economy.We are running out of time,he says.We've never had anything like this deficit issue.These are the most fundamental questions that a democratic society must choose.
We no longer have what we had in the Kennedy space program days:a real buffer of national resources.Because we have fallen behind in education,the U.S. economy will not be growing at the rate seen in the past to support social programs such as Medicare.The last three years,the proportion of GDP whose lifespan is 20 years or less has increased.
In every cycle we have come out of,construction has always been a major factor in the recovery.This is the first time that construction has not come out of this.Commercial construction of structures is very deeply discounted now as business cannot see what is gonna happen 20 years or more from now.
The more things that you introduce into the economy,a whole structure of activism that occurred in the aftermath of the financial crisis,the more uncertainty is created.I don't think the whole conception system of how capitalism works is contained in the reform.s are gonna happen in ways that are gonna be very surprising.
The rulings that are gonna solve the consumer market problems are gonna eliminate the market,shutting down consumer finance.You could have prevented the crisis if you'd had adequate capital.Your senior debt never fails if you do.The ideal regulation is capital adequacy,Mr.Greenspan believes.
Alan Greenspan,85,was chairman of the Federal reserve from 1987-2006.He has continued to play an active role in public life as an economic elder statesman.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Asia This Day

The Chinese markets are closed today,Monday,for the Dragon Boat Festival.New Zealand is closed for the Queen's Birthday.Japan's Nikkei average and the Australian ASX 200 were down this morning,as was Singapore's Straits Times Index,on concerns about the U.S. economy.
The Australian dollar was up 0.22 this morning on the belief that a U.S. slowdown will support the yield advantage.The Royal Bank of Australia will meet tomorrow for its interest rate decision.Ausralian retail sales rose the most in 17 months in April,and Australian pension funds have retrieved their financial crisis losses,a review report says.
Elsewhere in Asia,shoemaker Prada sets its initial public offering price range today.Prada may raise as much as 2 billion dollars with the offering and is the first Italian firm to list in Hong Kong.India is planning its biggest highway expansion with 12 billion dollars in projects to satisfy its burgeoning transport needs.The country's expansive middle class demands more roads for its new cars and commerce continues to broaden.
In Sydney,it is pleasant today under partly cloudy skies with a temperature of 61F.The winds are west at 17 mph and the humidity is 45%.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Novo Nordisk Takes the Lead

Denmark's Novo Nordisk has a 51% share of the insulin market.It is their core business.In diabetes,the patient lacks enough insulin,or insulin of sufficient quality,to ensure that sugar reaches the cells rather than destructively remaining in the bloodstream.Diabetes is growing at an alarming rate,observed Lars Soerenson,Novo's CEO,which sets Novo apart from the rest of the pharmaceutical industry.
Novo's Victoza,which is delivered by a pen-like device,has insulin market leadership.It has been rolled out globally.The main treatment is a hormone.It's a balance between very powerful drugs and too low of an insulin level.Designer insulins reduce this problem.And the side effect profile is much better with designer insulins.
With poor treatment,Mr.Soerenson indicates,diabetes causes amputations,blindness and kidney disease,among other complications.Not treating it is very costly to society.Victoza costs 5-10 dollars per treatment.
The market is on the third generation of insulins.Novo Nordisk is in the lead now with the first new generation of designer insulins,Mr.Soerenson feels.
Novo Nordisk(NVO)