Monday, August 29, 2011

Hewlett-Packard and The Rise of Big Data

Untold amounts of information,or big data,is cascading into corporate storage every day.Big data is a pretty dramatic change for the software industry,according to Ann Winblad of the venture capital firm Hummer Winblad Venture Partners.Ninety percent of the world's data has been produced in the last two years.All of the companies have to find ways to process and organize big data.
Hewlett-Packard is getting into the business by paying 10.3 billion dollars for big data specialist Autonomy Corp,PLC.These big data experts are high gross margin businesses.Facebook is big data.These are big stakes,to own this software stack.
The most robust area for venture capital was software.Where there are changes,innovators come to the rescue of the incumbents.Without new tools,you cannot use big data.We're funding a number of start-ups that are developing tools to use this data,and there is a strong market for them,Ms.Winblad ascertained.
Autonomy,the HP acquisition target,is a British-listed firm that was founded in 1996.It offers an infrastructure platform for understanding human-friendly data.Its meaning-based computing recognizes patterns and concepts in email,documents,videos,phone calls,and so on,with applications in such fields as governance and marketing.Eighty percent of such data went unused in the past.
In the U.S.,Autonomy Corp,PLC trades on the over the counter pink sheets under the ticker symbol AUTNF.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sinopec Excels in First Half

Asian shares opened mostly higher on Monday,as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's recent remarks on the U.S. economy and the Fed's capacity for aiding it were viewed favorably.China's Sinopec,Asia's biggest oil refiner,posted record profits for the first half of 2011.This was even though they aren't allowed by the government to pass rising costs on to consumers,showing the company's great skill in managing expenses.
China has raised reserve requirements on banks again.The expansion of controls may drain a further 140 billion dollars from the banking system over the next six months.This is on top of previous measures that lifted reserve requirements to a record 21.5% as China attempts to rein in inflation and its trade surplus.
Cathay Pacific has accepted a new 777 airliner from Boeing and has 35 more of them on order.The Hong Kong airline is upgrading its business class with private alcoves that offer more table space and a flat bed for side-sleepers.Cathay says it has gotten fantastic feedback on the new accommodations.
South Korean golfers Hee-Won Han,Na Yeon Choi and Jiyai Shin shared sixth place with Korean American Jenny Shin at the CN Canadian Women's Open in Mirabel,Quebec.American Brittany Lincicome won the event.Jessica Shepley was recognised for lowest score by a Canadian,finishing at one under par.
In Shanghai Monday morning,it was 86F under mostly cloudy skies.Winds were E at 9 mph,and the humidity was 66%.


ALDI,one of the largest food retailers in the world,is holding a hiring event for cashiers,shift managers and manager trainees on September 6 from 6-9am and 4-7pm at
UMUC at Marriott Conference Center
3501 University Drive
Hyattsville,MD 20783
Capital Marriott
1325 2nd Street,NE
Washington,DC 20002
visit for more information
ALDI:Are you made for ALDI?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Costly and Profitable Weekend Ahead

Insurance companies active in the eastern states are bracing for a round of natural fury from Hurricane Irene.As well,parts of the retail sector in the region could suffer from a relatively rare direct hit from this type of storm on the big cities of the northeast,as people shelter in place instead of shopping at malls and department stores or are even evacuated.Ocean City,Maryland and other eastern beach resorts are already evacuating guests and closing to new visitors.It's the first time since Hurricane Gloria in the 1980s that Ocean City was evacuated.
Some stores,however,such as hardware and food retailers,will benefit as citizens augment emergency supplies.One New York City woman bought 100 dollars worth of batteries.Bottled water and milk were other top sellers there.Home Depot ran out of flashlights.Mayor Michael Bloomberg recommended preparing go bags,which contain your medications,important documents and so on,should you face evacuation.
Hospitals are topping off generators with fuel,and citizens are also filling up their tanks,even as refineries may have to close.A spike in gas prices could result.
Home Depot prepositions containers full of disaster-related products at its distribution centers.When needed,they are simply rolled into semis for transport to the affected areas.Disaster operations are directed in consultation with district managers from a war room of sorts,complete with big screen newscast monitors.There are Home Depot staff members who are dedicated to disaster retailing.
Some 200 miles west of Ocean City,along the Blue Ridge Mountains,there was a good deal of rain Saturday evening,but little wind.Power went down several times for an instant,requiring the annoying resetting of digital clocks-except for one with a battery backup.The most striking visual of the day had been the rapidly moving low, dark clouds,showing that there was considerable energy aloft.There weren't any sirens going off,but there was just enough of a touch of weather history to make it an unusual-feeling day.
Home Depot(HD),Lowe's(LOW)

Hurricane Irene Forecast For Tristate Area

Hurricane Irene Forecast For Tristate Area

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Big Shift:Hewlett-Packard's Bet

CEO Leo Apotheker(pronounced "Ahpotayker")is moving Hewlett-Packard to an IBM model of software and services,says Scott Kessler,head of tech research at Standard&Poor's.It's gonna be uphill.It's gonna be very difficult to sell the pc business.Can they really be competitive in software?
HP is saying they don't want to be in pcs,tablets or smartphones.They are selling the Web OS operating system.HP is known at its core for its printer business.It's really gonna be a challenge to unload that.
This really is a sea change in tech.Google is getting into hardware,while HP is leaving it.These moves will have impacts for years to come,although attention has been focused on the financial markets recently,Mr.Kessler observed.
Carly Fiorina,who led HP from 1999-2005,thinks the current board has a lot of diverse experience and luminaries from the Silicon Valley.The board made a serious and substantial decision about the future.HP is a company with a very deep core competency in managing complexity.
HP is the largest tech company in the world,with more than 100,000 employees.The CEO is never the company;he is the leader of the company.It's all about the people and the systems and the culture of the company.Preparing a company for the future sometimes requires making a big bet.HP has been buying software companies.This isn't a totally new development,but they're making a big bet on unstructured data.
It's up to the people at HP to explain this and make it work.Anytime the stock drops like that,it places pressure on people-there's no question.They are doubling down in the enterprise space,former CEO Carly Fiorina pointed out.
UBS has cut its rating on HP from buy to neutral,lowering its price target to 26.00.
Hewlett-Packard(HPQ),International Business Machines(IBM)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Safeway Jobs

Safeway is hiring for its new stores in Olney and Bethesda,Maryland.All positions are open.Apply online at
Please reference Store 2848 for Bethesda and 2797 for Olney.
Safeway:Your Future Starts Now.Link your future to the Safeway Team.

China Construction Bank Reports

Asia's stock markets were modestly up Monday morning,perhaps feeling that last week's selling was overdone.Donald Williams of Platypus Asset Management in Sydney said he thinks this will be a consolidation week.Traders will be watching the Federal Reserve's annual conference in Jackson Hole,Wyoming for signs the Fed will implement a third round of quantitative easing,supporting the markets by purchasing more bonds.
We're not looking for a major rally;it's more likely that we trade sideways.The outlook for most companies is the murkiest since 2008.It'll take another 2-3 months to figure out what's ahead.
We're just adding to existing positions.We haven't changed to being more defensive,Mr.Williams noted.
China Construction Bank reported record earnings for the first half of the year.Credit demand was strong and there was a 14.5 billion dollar increase in net income,up 31%.
South Korean golfer Na Yeon Choi lost to Sweden's Suzann Pettersen in a playoff at the Safeway Classic in Oregon.They had both finished in regulation at six under par.
In Sydney,it was 61F on Monday under partly cloudy skies.Winds were SE at 14mph,and the humidity was 59%.
iShares Trust FTSE/Xinhua China 25 index(FXI)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Pfizer Cancer Therapies Move Forward in Europe

The European Medicines Agency has accepted Pfizer's regulatory submissions for review of two investigational compounds.One of them,crizotinib,targets a form of advanced non-small cell lung cancer(NSCLC);the other,bosutinib,is aimed at newly diagnosed chronic myeloid leukemia.Both compounds are believed to inhibit signaling in cancer cells that allows them to grow,survive and reproduce.
Pfizer Oncology says its pipeline is focused on identifying and translating the best scientific breakthroughs into clinical applications across a wide range of cancers.It has biologics and small molecules in clinical development and more than 100 clinical trials underway.
With its wide array of research partners,ranging from individual researchers to academic institutions,Pfizer Oncology strives to deliver the right drug for each patient at the right time to cure or control cancer.
Pfizer is listed on the London and New York stock exchanges under the ticker symbols PFZ and PFE,respectively.CEO Ian Read heads the New York-based company.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Baltimore Financial Firm Stays True

This is an exceptional opportunity for equity investing,so long as you have a long term horizon,according to Legg Mason CEO Mark Fetting.Is this the time to sell your house-in the midst of the storm?Stay true to a strategy over the long haul.
The downgrade was really a catalyst,a rollback of expectations.That's what corrections are about.We're moving into a show-me period.There are still fundamentals that tell me we're not in a recession.
Gold is more of a factor now as an alternate currency.This sends a signal of lower for longer without needed changes.Let's show that we can lead constructively.That's what the markets want,Mr.Fetting observed.
His colleague Wayne Lin said they're waiting for a little more rationality in the market.You typically see a large spike in volatility,followed by a slow comeback.It's an issue of having a discipline and a very good sense of what your investment time frame is.Building a position over time makes sense at this point.
Treasuries do not adjust with inflation,except for TIPS,or Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities.Equities adjust upwards with their returns and dividends,the portfolio manager Wayne Lin pointed out.
Legg Mason,Inc. is a conglomerate of branded asset manager affiliates,each with a specialized expertise.They are supervised and supported by the Baltimore,Maryland world headquarters.
Legg Mason(LM)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Japan's Recovery Powers Markets

Japan's GDP was stronger than expected,sending markets up across the APAC region on Monday,with the MSCI Asia Pacific Index rising 1.03.The GDP figure was -1.3,showing a faster recovery from the March earthquake and tsunami than had been imagined.Societe Generale described it as a V-shaped recovery from the disaster.By September,industrial production will have fully recovered.Supply chain disruptions are easing as parts manufacturers pick up the pace.
Things are not quite as rosy in China.Daiwa Capital has cut its growth target for China and raised the inflation outlook.In Hong Kong,apartment sellers have cut their asking price as the 70% surge comes to an end.Daiwa Capital also says the Hong Kong economy is halfway into a recession.Chinese equity mutual funds are reducing their stock allocations.
New U.S. ambassador to Beijing Gary Locke,who is of Chinese descent,said his priority was to increase understanding and cooperation between the two countries.If U.S. and Chinese businesses and scientists work together,they can solve not only U.S. and Chinese problems,but those of the whole world,Ambassador Locke said upon his arrival with his family in the Chinese capital.
In Hong Kong,it was 90F under scattered clouds Monday morning.The wind was W at 10 mph,and the humidity was 66%.

SAIC Hiring Blitz

Science Applications International Corporation is holding a hiring blitz on Wednesday,August 24.The event will be held at
Washington Plaza Hotel
10 Thomas Circle,N.W.
Washington,D.C. 20005
from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
They are looking for IT professionals,including
ADEX System Engineer
Data Center Migration Manager
IT Security Analysts,Leads,Metrics Engineers and Specialists
Oracle 11g DBA and SQL Systems Developer
Senior Applications Engineer
Senior .net Developer
and many others.
For more information and to apply,visit and search Req. ID 205662
SAIC:Smart people solving hard problems.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Light Exercise Can Protect Ageing Brains

Seniors don't have to be a vigorous athlete in order to reap significant cognitive benefits,a new University of Colorado Boulder study suggests.The study,lead by Research Associate Ruth Barrientos,shows that rats in late middle age which ran just over a half kilometer a week-just over a third of a mile-were profoundly less susceptible to memory loss associated with immunological challenges such as bacterial infection.The rats had been infected with E.coli bacteria.
Previous research with humans has shown the protective power of exercise against cognitive decline such as dementia.It has also uncovered a correlation between immune system challenges and dementia.
Microglia,the brain's immune cells,tend to overreact with age,releasing too many inflammatory molecules called cytokines,which may result in cognitive impairment when the body faces infection or even surgery.
Cytokines are small protein molecules that transmit messages between cells.In the process,they can regulate inflammatory responses.
A little exercise,however,may be effective therapy for an ageing brain with unruly cytokines,according to the CU Boulder study.The study has been published in the current issue of The Journal of Neuroscience.

Monday, August 8, 2011

AIG Conveys Its Renewal

The current market madness may be obscuring our vision.Investors need to remember that most large companies are doing very well.They have tons of cash on their balance sheets.There has been a remarkable resurgence in the corporate sector.AIG is a case in point.
AIG has actually turned the corner and our crisis is over,says CEO Robert Benmosche (pronounced Benmoshay).It is actually a strong,independent company.I'm looking at what is good and right in this country.
We provide guarantees for our customers,and that is going very well.Our fixed annuity sales have gone up dramatically.People are looking for more guarantees around their future.
I believe it's a very different world than 2008.People are trying to figure out what's gonna happen tomorrow.We've got to talk about what's positive.What's jeopardized is people being afraid to invest in their businesses.
You've got to add to the retirement age.These entitlement programs are for later in life;not for 20 years of life.
I think this is a great quarter for us.I don't think this is a long sort of trough.France has changed its retirement age.If that happens,the debt won't be as bad,Mr.Benmosche believes.
AIG is a multinational insurance and investment firm.Active in more than 130 countries and jurisdictions,it has 96,000 employees.The New York-based company was badly damaged by the financial crisis,and received much federal aid.
American International Group(AIG)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Asia This Day:Firm Support for U.S. Treasuries

Asian markets fell Monday morning from 1-3% in reaction to the downgrade of U.S. credit.Singapore dropped 3.36%,and Hong Kong lost 2.95%.Nonetheless,Asian investors stood by U.S. bonds.Following an emergency meeting,South Korean officials reaffirmed their support for U.S. Treasury bonds.
Taiwan said the downgrade would have no direct or immediate impact.Hong Kong was sticking to its previous policies.Japan said it had not lost trust in Treasuries.Russia said U.S. Treasuries were reliable and it would not be reviewing its investment policy.
UBS said 70% of its clients indicated they would hold onto their U.S. bonds;30% would even increase their holdings.
Australian Treasurer Wayne Swan said Australia faces the challenges from a position of strength.Prime Minister Julia Gillard reassured the nation that Australia could handle the current instability.After all,Australia was the only developed country that did not go into recession during the 2008 financial crisis.
France questioned Standard&Poor's judgement in imposing the downgrade.All the same,U.S. stock futures were down precipitously Sunday evening,warning of a volatile Monday session ahead.
Singapore saw mostly cloudy conditions Monday morning.It was 86F,with winds S at 5 mph.The humidity was 70%.
Australian Adam Scott won the World Golf Championships Bridgestone Invitational in Ohio on Sunday.It was the 31-year old's eighth career victory on the PGA Tour.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Who Owns St.Joseph Aspirin

St.Joseph Aspirin is a brand owned by Ilex Consumer Products Group,a subsidiary of private equity firm Ilex Capital Group.The longtime children's aspirin product received a new lease on life when research showed that a low dose aspirin regimen has numerous benefits for cardiovascular health,reducing stroke and heart attack risk,and even lessening the damage from a heart attack in progress.
More recently,it has been ascertained that an 81 mg aspirin regimen may help prevent colon cancer as well.Some people are allergic to aspirin.Others with sensitive stomachs may develop bleeding ulcers from taking aspirin.These are rare complications,however.The low dose aspirin regimen,with its minimal cost and multiple benefits,has become one of the most widely recommended in family medicine.
Ilex Consumer Products also owns the Calgon and Gourmet Dining brands.
Based in Annapolis,Maryland,Ilex Capital Group has client service offices in Baltimore and London.Private equity firms such as Ilex normally seek to optimize a brand until it is ready to sell or list for a substantial profit.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Portfolio Management:Leaning To Learning

Though we don't know what will happen tomorrow,we do know what happened today.We are not in a bear market,which is defined as a 20% drop or more;we are in a market correction.We are not in another recession,either;the economy is still growing,although slowly.Corporate earnings have been very good for Q2,with most firms exceeding estimates.These are the fundamental facts.Forget the knee-jerk hysteria of the sell programs that went off today.A good employment report or a supportive gesture from a central bank could set us back on the right track to a healthy market as soon as tomorrow morning.
Until that happens,we need not be sick ourselves because panic was in the financial streets on a given day.We are still the thoughtful people we were when we woke up on the morning of a sell-off.We know that,historically,those who run with the herd at such a time have always lost out in the end.
That doesn't mean it's time to buy.We could be headed for another bear market and recession.In that case,some buying on the way back up would be in order.It just isn't at that point yet.There's a lot to be said for just parking new money in cash for now until the situation is clarified over the next few days and weeks.It may not be exciting,but it is a durable plan.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Symantec's Promising Outlook

Software titan Symantec is forecasting higher profits and sales in its future.It has a steady chart and steadily improving revenues,points out Joel Fishbein,a senior analyst and managing director at Lazard Capital Markets.
The growth of Symantec's deferred revenues has been impressive.Quarter after quarter,more are signing up for its services.That suggests more success in coming quarters.
Mr.Fishbein has a buy rating on Symantec.The company has done a phenomenal job of focusing on the right areas.It has the most comprehensive portfolio of security technologies.
As a big enterprise services firm,one weakness it has is in the consumer market.Symantec will be focusing on the mobile market to address that.It's really hard to develop security on all of the platforms,so the company buys acquisitions that are growing faster than Symantec itself,Mr.Fishbein observed.
Symantec was founded by Gary Hendrix in 1982.A multinational corporation based in Mountain View,California,the company's Norton antivirus and data management products generate much of its revenue.
FBR Capital Markets,a prominent investment bank and asset manager,has upgraded Symantec's rating to outperform from market perform.