Monday, February 27, 2012

AIG Substantially Profitable Under Benmosche

AIG had a great operating quarter,said Robert Benmosche(pronounced Benmoshay),CEO of the insurance titan,with a 1.56 billion dollar profit.All of the operating units have been performing well.Thailand lost 368 million-a little above what we'd like to see,but Japan was the big problem,in the wake of payouts for the countries' 2011 natural disasters.
We see the U.S. economy as being pretty strong.Jobs and housing are doing better.We're pretty optimistic about 2012.
Our job is to build a great company.We're gonna focus on the owner who wants to hold the stock for a long time.We're working hard for our shareholders,clients and employees.
The government wants to get out of AIG as prudently and as quickly as they can.They feel they should be able to sell that stock at break even or a profit for the taxpayers.
People still need to save for their retirement.The annuities are selling reasonably well in this market.We provide the public with certain guarantees.We'll take care of that volatility.
Unfortunately,I have cancer,but I'm enjoying what I'm doing.There's no guarantee,but I'm gonna keep going until I can't.I'm feeling good.The doctors are working on some stuff,the tanned and fully bearded Robert Benmosche revealed.He agreed to lead the recovering insurance company in 2009.
Mr.Benmosche,67,had been CEO of Metropolitan Life.The married father of two,a New York native,has been treated with aggressive chemotherapy for an undisclosed type of cancer.
American International Group(AIG),Metropolitan Life(MET)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Who Sings On The Liberty Mutual Commercial

It sounds like Cat Stevens on the Liberty Mutual "Doing The Right Thing" commercial.It isn't.The song is called "Amen,Omen."It is by the American singer songwriter Ben Harper.At a full length live performance,it was about seven minutes long,and close to six minutes long in the studio version.
Another hidden gem was uncovered for us by advertising.
"Responsibility:What's your policy?" is the compelling slogan for the Liberty Mutual commercials.Congratulations to the Boston ad agency Hill Holliday and the company for this effective corporate communications effort.It has generated thousands of positive emails from viewers.
The commercials are part of the company's "The Responsibility Project."It was conceived in 2005 when the firm made a push to become a top five insurer,instead of a top ten.According to insurance company rating firm A.M. Best,they have achieved that goal,being the third largest property casualty insurer in the U.S. as of 2010.
"The Responsibilty Project" also incudes a website with short films on the responsibilty theme as well as discussion videos and tips on property and casualty topics,along with the company's philanthropic efforts.NBC Universal has partnered with Liberty Mutual on the project,which Liberty Mutual says reflected the company's strong existing corporate culture.
The commercials may be viewed on YouTube.Ben Harper's music is widely available on the web.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Missing L.A. Mom:The Story and the Feeling

No one can read or cover such a story of senseless,violent crime without being affected by it.Now that a definitive i.d. of the body dumped off an L.A. on-ramp has been made-it is indeed that of Bree'Anna Guzman,22,who went missing when she walked to a Rite Aid drugstore to buy cough syrup for her children-at least her family and community know that much.
Yet this answer points to other questions.The coroner will answer some,but hard police work will have to find the others.In the mean time,the healing process will at least begin for all those who knew Ms.Guzman or followed the case as best they could from afar,feeling that it isn't O.K.,and that they're determined to give it the continuing attention it deserves-all the way to justice.
This blog,for one,feels such determination.

Body Found Thursday Morning Identified As Missi - Flash Player Installation

Body Found Thursday Morning Identified As Missi - Flash Player Installation

Monday, February 20, 2012

With Big Profit,GM Back On Top

General Motors came back last year to achieve the most profitable year in its history,earning a record profit of 7.6 billion dollars.This put it back in the spot of the world's largest automaker,displacing Toyota Motors.
We're growing profit,but we've got more work to do all across the company to get it to where we want it,said GM Chief Financial Officer Dan Ammann.We've been in a restructuring plan.It made over a billion dollar improvement,but clearly it's not going far enough in this environment.
We're in a discussion with our shareholders and other stakeholders.We had north of 11% return in the pension plan assets,which has helped us a lot.This is a long term game.We've got a lot of actions that won't bear fruit until two or three years out,Mr.Ammann indicated.
The record profit will be shared in the form of 7,000 dollar bonus checks for every GM autoworker.As part of its restructuring plan,GM closed 14 plants and three service parts operations.It had received 49.5 billion in government assistance.For the government to recover this,the GM share price will have to double.
As part of its 2009 bankruptcy,GM had closed more than 1,300 dealerships in the U.S. and Canada,evoking widespread bitter criticism.Thanks to Congressional action,a little more than half of the closed U.S. dealers,or 661,were eventually invited to apply for reinstatement based on their business metrics.
General Motors(GM),Toyota Motors(TM)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Asian Markets Open For Business-issue 2

Asian markets were opening higher across the board this morning,Monday.The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.92 on optimism for a Greek debt settlement in Brussels today,as well as China's relaxation of bank reserve requirements,freeing up capital for lending.
The People's Bank of China lowered the reserve ratio requirements by 50 basis points effective Friday,24 February.The cut is expected to add 64 billion dollars to the system.The reserve requirements were last eased in November 2011.
Thailand's flood-related losses were even more devastating than previously thought.Thai GDP fell 10.7% in Q4,when it had been expected to fall just 5.0%.The Thai economy grew a minuscule 0.10% in 2011 because of the deluge.
India's stock market is closed today for the Maha Shivrati holiday,while the U.S. market is shuttered for Presidents' Day.
China's Vice President Xi Jinping signed an agreement at the end of last week's visit to the U.S. permitting a substantial increase in the number of Hollywood films allowed into China from about 20 to 34 a year.As well,the revenue allowed to U.S. filmmakers from IMAX films will be raised from 13-25%.Mr.Xi's visit is being hailed as successful in both countries.He is expected to become President in 2013 and lead China for the next 10 years.
Dreamworks Animation is opening a studio in China with two Chinese partners.The 330 million dollar complex will be built in Shanghai.
Japan posted a record trade deficit.Exports were down 9.3% on the year,while imports rose 9.8%.Tokyo says the figure is a temporary decline in exports.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Focus on Pharma:Xanax Very Commonly Prescribed

Xanax was reportedly found in the newly-departed vocalist Whitney Houston's possession.Alprazolam,the generic name for Pfizer's Xanax,has become one of the top ten most-prescribed psychiatric medications.
Although the regular form of Xanax is now off-patent and inexpensive as a generic prescription,Pfizer still has a patent for Xanax XR,the extended release form,which is less addictive.Xanax XR is four to five times more expensive than the regular form.Carefully managed,treatment with Xanax is widely successful and only 1% of patients abuse the drug.
Xanax is a fast-acting pill that takes effect within an hour or two.It is indicated for Panic disorder and Generalized anxiety disorder,or GAD,as well as Social anxiety disorder,and is also prescribed to relieve nausea during chemotherapy.It is related to Valium and is an anxiolytic of the benzodiazepine class of psychotropic drugs.
As well as calming anxiety,Xanax also has sedative properties.It is the latter effect that makes it so dangerous in combination with alcohol,in itself a sedative.Together,the two substances can easily interfere with the breathing mechanism,resulting in death.
According to Pfizer,Xanax causes a central nervous system depressant activity varying from mild impairment all the way to hypnosis.Alcohol should generally not be used during treatment.
Xanax has been clinically shown to be effective for up to four weeks.After taking the drug for a few weeks,the body develops tolerance for its sedative effect.It is there that the relatively small number of patients with addictive tendencies may get into trouble with it as they need to take more and more pills to get that effect.
Withdrawal symptoms may occur if treatment with Xanax is halted abruptly.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Shop Talk

Dear Readers,
From time to time,political ads are shown on this site.In no way does their appearance here imply this blog's endorsement of the views expressed by them.
The untimely passing of the brilliant American vocalist Whitney Houston is lamented here.Our prayers are offered for her and her family.
Happy Valentine's Day-if such a thing be possible at this sorrowful time for the many who are Whitney's fans.Looking ahead a little:to Christian readers who observe the Lenten season,have a good Lent.Ash Wednesday is on February 22 and the Greek Orthodox Clean Monday is on the 27th.
Andrew Taylor

Monday, February 13, 2012

Disney Grows Across the Board,But Sales Light

The widely held Walt Disney Company reported mixed earnings for Q4.Profits were 0.80 a share versus an estimate of 0.72,while sales were 10.8 billion dollars versus an estimate of 11.2 billion.Parks and resorts showed a 10% increase in revenue,and media and entertainment revenue increased 30%.
We had real strength in our cable networks,led by Disney Channel and ESPN,which brings in 40% of Disney's revenue.We're growing all of our businesses,as by the Marvel acquisition with the movie "The Avengers,"said CEO Bob Iger.The numbers at our parks are very encouraging.I think it says a lot about the American consumer.
We had an NBA strike,but ESPN's advertising was actually up for the quarter.The cruise ships are about 75% booked for the year on 40% more rooms.
The entire cruise ship business was hurt short term by the Costa Concordia sinking in January,but generally speaking,we're seeing a good year ahead for that business.
Foreign sites are stealing and reselling our property,hurting our economy.This company has looked at tech as a new means of opportunity for us;we believe we can monetize it,Mr.Iger stated.
CNBC's Karen Finerman said she owns Disney shares.It's a premier company that doesn't get a premier valuation,and it should,in her opinion.
Disney and Univision are launching a 24 hour English language ABC News channel targeted at Hispanics.Ninety percent of U.S. Latinos under 30 are consuming in English,so the project makes economic sense.
Walt Disney(DIS)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

IBM Jobs and Culture

IBM has some questions for you:
Can you identify trends?
Can you think strategically?
Are you an innovator?
Are you ready to make the world work smarter?
IBM Global Business Services is holding a Recruitment Open House on Thursday,February 16 from 10am-3pm at
The Westin BWI
1743 West Nursery Rd.
Linthicum,MD 21090
For a list of openings and to pre-register,visit
Culture:Hard work.Over the past decade,IBM employees have made some interesting observations about their corporate lives that give one impressions of the ambience there.For example,the company doesn't seem to care what hours you work,as long as you meet deadlines and are on budget.Indeed,working at home is often permitted.
You get 2-3 weeks vacation a year.Whether you take it or not is up to you.
Salaries are at a standard level.
You are rated on your commitment to the business on a numerical scale,with 1 being the best grade,and 4 being grounds for dismissal.It is common for people to put in 70 hours a week-including Saturdays-and there is no overtime pay.There's no time for clock-watching there.
Employees over and over again note the high quality of their co-workers.They are considered to be top notch tech pros,the best in class.
0n a scale of 1-5,with 5 being the best grade,many employees rated their jobs as between a 3 and a 5.These generally feel the experience is mostly positive and are glad to work for IBM,looking at the big picture.Workers in India repeatedly praised the understanding management and work/life balance.
As of 2011,about 368,000 people worked at IBM worldwide.Five of them have received Nobel Prizes for their achievements.The company is a virtual patent mill.IBM's products and services are highly regarded by their customers.
The overall impression is,it's a high-powered environment,similar to that found in other large and successful companies.After all,you don't get to where IBM is by goofing around.They're prestigious for a reason.
International Business Machines(IBM)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Leading NASA Astronaut Janice Voss

Most of us hadn't heard of the American astronaut Janice Voss,even though she was one of the leading space explorers of all time.Dr.Voss just died of breast cancer at the age of 55.Fortunately,her work will be continued by those she influenced at the Johnson Space Center,on the International Space Station and elsewhere.She was instrumental in the digital mapping of the earth's surface,as well as the successful search for many distant planets.Her career,then,ranged from near earth studies to the reaches of deep space.
With her five space shuttle missions-she was one of six female astronauts to fly that much-Janice was one of the most experienced space travelers in the world.May her nation remember her,or at least get acquainted with her,with pride and gratitude for the not inconsiderable risks she took for NASA and us all.

Janice Voss, veteran of 5 space shuttle flights, dies at 55

Janice Voss, veteran of 5 space shuttle flights, dies at 55

Monday, February 6, 2012

A Changing Economy:Manufacturing,B2B on the Rise

To Steven Blitz,Chief Economist at ITG Investment Research,it seems like you're getting two separate sets of numbers in the recent economic data.The U.S. economy is really shifting to its traditional production from consumption.This is a long,slow process.Production doesn't grow as fast as finance and real estate.It's building the U.S. economy toward something more sustainable,a better manufacturing sector.
Manufacturing has been growing since the end of the recession in June 2009.Consumers are still in the process of deleveraging.It's going to be a long slog.
The U.S. economy will be 65% consumer spending-down from 70%.We have never had coming out of a recession with the stranglehold on the yield curve that we have today,with the Federal Reserve's low interest rates.
Nonetheless,business spending is headed up.That favors high tech,low tech,energy.I would think B2B spending is a boom area,Mr.Blitz observed.
Based in New York,ITG Investment Research relies on a vast amount of data mining to provide material for its analyses.It produces industry investment,economic and risk research for global portfolio managers and traders.ITG has 17 offices in 10 countries.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Home Improvement Sales Jobs-as seen on TV

Sell name brand Carpet,Flooring and Window Treatments for Empire Today,LLC,a leading shop at home/next day installation company.No cold calling is required.Appointments are preset for you from call-ins to TV ads.
Realistically earn 70K+,plus bonus and incentives.Commissions are paid weekly to those with reliable transportation who want to join their Sales Team today.Contact Jennifer at 562-235-6408 or

Friday, February 3, 2012

Focus on Pharma:Drugmaker Looks To Pipeline,Divestitures

In its recent earnings report,Pfizer,the world's largest pharmaceutical company,posted 6% profit growth on cost-cutting and share buybacks.Sales declined 5% on patent expirations of cholesterol drug Lipitor and others taking effect.
Despite the loss of patent protection,Pfizer isn't giving up promoting its cardiovascular blockbuster.Lipitor is still being marketed with a 4 dollar copay card and television advertising.Sales of the drug dropped 40% in Q4 when its patent expired.The company says it hasn't yet decided whether the ad campaign will continue long term.Liptior was advertised on television more than any other prescription drug last year.
Pfizer has promising new drugs in its pipeline,such as lung cancer treatment Xalkori,rheumatoid arthritis drug tofacitinib,and atrial fibrillation medicine Eliquis.
Eliquis was granted priority review by the Food and Drug Administration.Morninstar Associates projects an 80% chance of approval for the medicine,with a potential for 3 billion dollars in sales.Profits from it would be shared with Bristol-Myers Squibb.
Pfizer continues its aggressive cost-cutting,and is well on the way to its goal of 4 billion dollars annually.The company is expected to finalize the divestiture of its animal health and nutritional segments later in 2012.Morningstar values these businesses at 11 and 7 billion dollars,respectively,says Damien Conover,CFA,Associate Director at Morningstar.
Pfizer(PFE),Bristol-Myers Squibb(BMY)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

L.A . Mom's Awful Fate

An L.A. mom,Bree'Anna Guzman,22,came to a terrible end when she walked to her local Rite Aid to buy cough medicine for her children.She had been missing since December 29 of last year.
That is just sick.She was only trying to help her children.Let's hope they find the one who did this very fast.God bless her soul.Our prayers and condolences go out to her friends and family.