Sunday, July 31, 2011

Asia This Day:Japan Rebounds Strongly

The earnings reports coming form Japan are very good,says Jesper Koll of JP Morgan Chase.Corporate Japan is recovering very nicely.For April-June,it is very likely there was a sharp increase in aggregate earnings,a very steep recovery in overall sales.You could see 10-15% up in aggregate terms,Mr.Koll believes.
In Thailand,we're definitely seeing a return of foreign buying after the election,Andrew Yates of Asia Plus,the RBS partner in Thailand,indicated.It seems to be business as usual.The foreign flows are very strong.
We continue to like the banks.People are also looking at property and consumer plays.The SET property index is up 12% since the election.The single biggest concern is inflation.The Bank of Thailand has been pushing up rates,but the current 4% of inflation isn't too bad,in Mr.Yates'opinion.
Golfer Yani Tseng of Taiwan won the RICOH Women's British Open in Carnustie,Scotland on Sunday.
Most Asian shares were higher Monday morning in relief at the U.S. debt ceiling agreement.In Taipei,it was 90F under scattered clouds.Winds were N at 5 mph,and the humidity was 59%.

Walmart Jobs

Walmart is hiring for its new Fairfax,Virginia supercenter.Openings are in grocery,front end,pharmacy,receiving,sales associates and overnight supervisors.Over 73% of Walmart managers began as hourly Associates.Competitive wages and possibly benefits are offered for these flexible schedule positions.
To apply to America's largest employer,visit the hiring kiosks at
Walmart Store #5880
11217 B-Lee Highway
Fairfax,VA 22030
or go to and specify Site #5880.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

After Open Heart Surgery:Searching For Right Words

It was amazing to me that,even when I was in the hospital and unable to post for a while,people were still visiting the blog.That was most appreciated.
"A form of PTSD," or post-traumatic stress disorder,is what occurs to me when I try to characterize the post-operative feelings of open heart surgery patients.Many of them sustain long term physical and psychological impacts from the drastic and complex procedure which they have undergone.To be sure,most of them are glad to be alive,given the seriousness of their health problems.They have a second chance now,imperfect as it may be for a number of them.
In my own case,the valve repair was not totally effective.With some degree of emotion,I lay there one night realizing I was not perfectly whole.The diseased valve is still mildly defective,leaking a little blood.It had been nearly destroyed by illness,so that result wasn't too surprising for me.Sometimes the lesions are so severe,it isn't possible to fully reconstitute the valve,though making it strong enough to last at least as long as an artificial replacement.
The emotional aspect of the procedure cannot be overstated.A heightened sense of fragility is a permanent reminder to the patient of everything they've gone through,and,indeed,may be encountering again in their future years.
The sheer length of recovery is in itself remarkable.The incision alone may take up to a year to fully heal.It may itch and sting a bit until that time,and bears careful attention by both the patient and medical team.
For possibly years into the future,the patient,according to the anecdotal literature,may experience ocular migraines,or visual disturbances with or without headaches.Vertigo and lightheadedness may also be felt sporadically for a long duration of time.The exact causes of this are not well-understood.Usually further testing doesn't explain such continuing discomfort.That is why "a form of PTSD" may be an apt description of the elusive phenomena.
Eventually,most patients will resume the full range of their activities,but it must be emphasized that this may take far longer than anyone had envisioned.As well,their souls may be tinged with blue from time to time as they reflect upon their most unusual pathway through the busy world.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Advantage View:Where the Opportunity Is

Earnings have been very healthy on the back of cost-cutting,according to Steve Barry,co-chief investment officer at Goldman Sachs Asset Management.We see a market with stocks reacting individually.There's only so much you can do on the cost side.You've got to get some revenue growth.
I think you have to look beyond our borders.The U.S. is maybe half to a little more of our company's global results.The middle class of the emerging markets can help drive growth globally.
We see an improvement on the credit side of financials.We're in a world where investors want confirmation,rather than what may happen.Financials look to us to be very opportunistic here.That anticipatory dynamic is core to what we do.Financials are enterprises that behave and adapt,Mr.Barry believes.
Bob Albertson,a principal and chief strategist at Sandler O'Neill Partners,L.P., also likes the financials.He would go into banking.You're seeing accelerating signs of loan growth to businesses.It's a magnetic attraction to see that.The financial sector hasn't participated in the rally.
At the end of the day,credit demand is picking up.The excess capital is overflowing,and the banks don't know what to do with it,Mr.Albertson points out.
Goldman Sachs(GS),iShares Dow Jones U.S. Financial Sector Index Fund(IYF),iShares S&P Global Financials Sector Index Fund(IXG)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Asia This Day:Vietnam Prices Soar

Vietnam's inflation is up 22.16%,the highest in the region.Vietnam says it is unlikely it will meet its 17% inflation target.Food and transport costs are up,and raising interest rates didn't help restrain inflation.In Asia generally,higher oil and food expenses,coupled with a tight labor market,are driving inflation higher.
Korean electronics titan Samsung is the global smart phone leader,according to the latest research.The company has sold up to 21 million smart phones,with Apple coming in second and Nokia third.Samsung's Android-based phones are extremely popular.
Australia's Cadel Evans has won the Tour de France cycling event.At 34,he is the oldest winner of the race since 1923.
The New Zealand dollar,the kiwi,is near a record high on concern over the U.S. debt problem.Asian shares were modestly lower this morning,Monday,for the same reason.
In Ho Chi Minh City Saigon,it was 84F under partly cloudy skies.The humidity was 74%,with winds SW at 9 mph.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Jake Gittlen Memorial Tournament Underway Soon

The 42nd annual Jake Gittlen Memorial Golf Tournament will soon be underway at the Hershey Country Club in Pennsylvania.The tournament tees off on Saturday,August 13 and features the top amateur golfers in central Pennsylvania as they compete for local golf's biggest title.It will be played on the East Course this year,which was formerly the site of the Nationwide Tour's Hershey Open.
The tournament was first held in 1970 as a memorial to cancer victim Jake Gittlen by his son Warren,former captain of the Penn State golf team.It has raised over 14 million dollars to date and is the signature fundraiser for the Jake Gittlen Cancer Research Foundation.Northwestern Mutual is this year's tournament sponsor.
The research foundation raises more than 830,000 dollars a year in support of oncology studies at the Penn State Hershey College of Medicine.The scientists there are working on diverse topics,including carcinogenesis;immunotherapy;metastasis;genetic instability;and gene regulation.
Once again,Giant Food Stores is a major patron of the foundation.The company has raised more than 5.8 million dollars for the foundation since 1982.It is a division of Dutch food retailer Ahold.
Attractive,hand-made bracelets in support of the foundation may be purchased for 10.00 each by emailing
Koninklijke Ahold NV ADR(AHONY)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Goldman Misses,Yet Improves

The profit miss recently reported by Goldman Sachs is quite instructive.It shows how conservative Goldman has become in the wake of the financial crisis.Not only is Goldman averse to monetary losses;it also doesn't want any more egg on its face.The company took quite a drubbing in Congress and in the media for its business practices leading up to the crisis.
As well,the decrease in compensation for its employees reflects this new conservatism on the part of the iconic Wall Street firm.The luster may be off this storied company to a certain extent,but it can only gain in the long run with these new practices leading to a more secure and stable future.
Goldman Sachs(GS)

Goldman profit misses estimates; 1,000 jobs to be cut

Goldman profit misses estimates; 1,000 jobs to be cut

Monday, July 18, 2011

Backstopping With Gold and Cash

The European debt discussion has been going on since the beginning of last year,says Abhay Deshpande,a portfolio manager at First Eagle Investment Management.European authorities keep finding ways to prevent its stopping.In the end,practical people will come to the conclusion-probably after the summer-that the European Central Bank needs to get directly involved.
We have 20% cash in case there's another Lehman-type meltdown.That means 17% commercial paper;some Treasury bills;and the bonds of well-financed governments.It's unpleasant,but if we can't find anything,we tend to default to cash.
Gold bullion is our number one holding.It acts somewhat as a hedge against the declining purchasing power around the world.One of the lessons we learned from the financial crisis is that sometimes we get it wrong,Mr.Deshpande admitted.
First Eagle Investment Management,LLC serves corporations,foundations,endowments,major retirement funds and individuals.Its staff of 156 has 60 billion dollars under management worldwide.With a lineage dating back to nineteenth century Germany,it emphasizes risk management and long term,value-oriented investing.
Commercial paper is an unsecured money market instrument sold by large banks and other firms.It is often contained in bond and money market funds.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Asia This Day:Gold's Second Half Outlook

Samsung is going shopping.The Korean electronics titan is looking to acquire medical device makers.It wants to challenge the likes of GE and Siemens in the industry.
Asians are shopping for gold.India and China are bidding up the price of the precious metal.
Both gold jewelry and bullion are in demand,the latter as security in uncertain economic times.The Indian middle class will continue lifting sales in the second half at the Mumbai bazaar.The wedding season in August will contribute to the increase.
China's property controls have slowed growth in the big cities.Now Beijing is imposing such measures in the smaller ones.According to the Xinhua news agency,Q2 residential land price appreciation slowed.Credit Suisse believes that home inventories are so high,owners will have to cut prices.
Asian shares were mixed Monday morning.Hong Kong,Tokyo and Singapore stocks rose,while Shanghai,Seoul and Sydney issues retreated.
Hong Kong saw scattered clouds Monday.It was 82F,with the humidity at 84%.Winds were W at 8 mph,and thunderstorms were in the forecast.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Prevalence of E.coli in Ground Beef

The safety of ground beef is a major concern for anyone involved in food preparation.A U.S. Department of Agriculture study in 2000 raised the alarm level considerably.Mark Powell,an epidemiologist with the USDA,said an estimated 89% of U.S. beef ground into patties contains some E.coli 0157:H7 bacteria.The amount of bacteria may be minute,but eating less than 10 of the germs can cause severe illness.
The Centers for Disease Control estimate that the E.coli strain kills 52 Americans a year and sickens 62,000 others.Mr.Powell described the bacteria as being pretty ubiquitous in ground beef,though at very,very low levels.Each large batch of ground beef-3,000 pounds or more-may contain less than 100 of the bacteria.
The American Meat Institute,a processor trade group,pointed out that beef grinders typically employ rigorous testing and treatment procedures.These decrease the bacteria's incidence to less than 1% of carcasses.The procedures include water,steam or organic acid rinses.
The bacteria are carried in livestock intestines.When the beef is ground up,they are mixed throughout the batch.Thorough cooking will kill the deadly germs.
E.coli infections are highly contagious.Children,the elderly and others with weakened immune systems are most susceptible to such foodborne illnesses.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Oppenheimer's Market Outlook

We weren't surprised by the poor jobs number,says Brian Belski,chief investment strategist at Oppenheimer&Co.At Oppenheimer,we have the advantage of investing in actual companies and access to their CEOs.We believe that too many investors are hanging on to the belief that Q2 earnings are gonna save the market.
I don't think the problem is priced in.Given the budget and election concerns,we believe the highs of the year may have already been reached.We still like industrials and tech.We think dividend growth is very important,the U.S.-based large cap names as investors move out of bonds.
We believe tech will provide leadership for the next bull market.We don't think financials will lead,with the strong structural reforms coming to them.The soft patch thinking was reflected in the payroll numbers.Company guidance is likely to be squishy because of that,Mr.Belski projected.
Oppenheimer is a full service investment firm with a history of more than 125 years,providing expertise and insight to affluent individuals,businesses and institutions.From wealth management to capital markets,it has a proud tradition of delivering effective and innovative solutions to its clientele,the company feels.
Brian Belski assumed his current position in March of 2009.A frequent guest on business television,he was previously employed by Merrill Lynch.
Oppenheimer Holdings(OPY)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Asia This Day:Carbon Tax Dust-Up in Sydney

Sydney is in an uproar over the Labour government's carbon tax proposal.Prime Minister Julia Gillard said we will require about 500 big polluters to pay a price per ton of pollution emitted into our atmosphere.Opposition leader Tony Abbott dismisses the idea,saying it will drive up prices,threaten jobs and do nothing at all for the environment.Millions will be worse off.
Industry is likewise up in arms.The mining and coal sectors call the proposal a job-killer.Companies feel that it puts them at a disadvantage.On the other hand,the green energy industry hails it as a wonderful opportunity.
The ASX 200 index was down substantially Monday as stocks reacted to the carbon tax,as well as Chinese inflation and Wall Street's Friday decline.
Sydney saw partly cloudy conditions Monday afternoon.It was 61F,with winds W at
14 mph and humidity of 27%.

Applied Physics Lab Hiring

The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory has 149 openings in the DC Metro area.The Lab,based in Laurel,Maryland,has a need for an HR Generalist;User Registration Agent/System;Sr Professional Staff;Enterprise Search/SharePoint D;Naval Leadership Project Manager and many others.
The Lab supports the DOD,NASA and other Government agencies through innovative applied research.To apply online,visit
APL:Enhancing National Security through science and technology

Thursday, July 7, 2011

New Jerseyans Like Nuke Plant Next Door

For many residents of the Barnegat Bay area,fear of nuclear energy doesn't enter the equation.They like to fish and swim in the warm waters the local Exelon reactor discharges.They feel it improves their quality of life in general,supporting the economy with jobs as well as providing recreation.In short,the oldest nuclear power plant in America improves the health of the community.
To be sure,there are drawbacks to the warm water.Environmentalists point out its interference with the health of Barnegat Bay,killing sea turtles and countless fish.To those who live in its shadow,however,the Exelon plant has been a good neighbor-one that they think more than makes up for any drawbacks.
Barnegat Bay is a 30-mile long arm of the Atlantic Ocean.Its brackish waters are off the coast of Ocean County,New Jersey.

Local Residents Want New Jersey Nuclear Power Plant To Stay Open

Local Residents Want New Jersey Nuclear Power Plant To Stay Open

Monday, July 4, 2011

Hasbro Gets Consumer Wants

At toymaker Hasbro,immersion is the central feature of today's marketplace.Immersive motion pictures and television immerse people in brands,says CEO Brian Goldner.Hasbro employs enhanced licensing for its toys and video games.It can go all around the world.
The world is rectangulars;it's all about screens.People want to experience a brand immersively,and the consumer is willing to pay for that experience.
We develop scripts,but don't invest in our films.A film based on the Battleship game is upcoming.
Our business internationally is accelerating,especially in the emerging markets.We're moving toward being a 50-50 developed/emerging markets business from a 60-40 business.We're in China and Brazil,but Russia is our fastest growing market year over year,Mr.Goldner indicated.
Founded as a school supply manufacturer in 1923,Hasbro today is a branded play company providing children and families worldwide with a broad range of immersive entertainment.Its brands include Transformers,Playskool,Monopoly,Nerf,Littlest Pet Shop and G.I. Joe.
Hasbro has also entered into a multi-platform joint venture with Discovery Communications,The Hub.It is basically a cable channel featuring Hasbro brands and old TV series,along with an interactive website from which you may purchase and gift Hasbro products.
Hasbro(HAS),Discovery Communications(DISCA)

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Asia This Day

Thailand's opposition Peau Thai party has scored a decisive victory in Sunday's election,bringing the country's first female prime minister,Yingluck Shinawatra,to power.There's still a lot of work to do for the well-being of the people and unity and reconciliation,the 44-year old politician said.She is the sister of deposed prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra,who is in exile in Dubai.The victory is being seen as an expression of voter dissatisfaction with the ruling elite.
The Thai army has accepted the result.She is to hold discussions with them.Ms.Shinawatra made the namaste gesture,her hands pressed together,as she acknowledged her victory.
China's purchasing managers indexes have come in less than expected,showing that the government's efforts to prevent bubbles from forming are having an effect.The manufacturing PMI was at 50.9,and the service sector PMI registered a 57.0 for June,indicating growth was still occurring,but at a slower pace than had been supposed.
The Asian markets all opened higher on Monday morning in reaction to Wall Street's strong performance on Friday.
Hong Kong went to work in hot and humid conditions,with the temperature at 88F and the humidity at 70%.Winds were southwest at 15mph under partly cloudy skies.