Friday, November 30, 2012

MasterCard Conducts Holiday Campaign For SU2C

MasterCard(R) is conducting its Click And Be Generous(TM) campaign to aid Stand Up To Cancer(TM).Between now and December 31,for any online purchase made with a debit or credit MasterCard,MC will donate 1 cent to SU2C up to 2,000,000 dollars.This includes bill payments.So far,MC has donated about 600,000 dollars to the charity through this campaign.
In a TV promo,actor and SU2C ambassador Ty Burrell surprised a woman who had unknowingly contributed to the fundraiser by using her MasterCard.Burrell is best known for his role as Phil Dunphy in the ABC sitcom "Modern Family,"winning an Emmy Award for it in 2011.
SU2C is a program of the Entertainment Industry Foundation.Funds raised are dedicated to accelerating groundbreaking research that will get new therapies to patients quickly and save lives now.By rallying the entertainment industry,the program raises awareness and builds broad public support for the effort.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Big Oil and Gas Deal:CNOOC Accedes To Government Requests

It looks as though a major Canadian natural resources firm will soon be in Chinese hands.State-controlled CNOOC,China's largest offshore oil and gas company,has agreed to key conditions for government approval of its planned 15.1 billion dollar takeover of Canadian energy firm Nexen.The requests were submitted by Alberta Premier Alison Redford in October,according to sources familiar with the matter.Positive sentiment about the deal has also been coming out of the Canadian capital,Ottawa.
CNOOC will reportedly tow the line and accept  management and employment conditions.At least 50% of Nexen's board and management slots must be filled by Canadians once the acquisition is completed.Matters related to capital spending requirements and CNOOC's state enterprise status remain under negotiation.
Nexen is an upstream energy company that explores and develops major oil and gas basins globally.It has projects in the UK North Sea;offshore West Africa;the Gulf of Mexico;and Western Canada.The company is active in both conventional and unconventional resources,including shale and oil sands.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Asia This Day:The Bangladesh Factory Fire;China's Big Auto Show

A garment factory belonging to the subsidiary of  the Tuba Group,a company that does business with Walmart,Carrefour and IKEA,burned to the ground near Dhaka,the capital of Bangladesh,killing at least 124 overtime workers.The eight storey building had no emergency exits or firescapes.
Thousands of onlookers,including family members,were restrained by police and soldiers.
The fire started in the first floor warehouse,a fire service official said.It then raced up the walls,trapping the workers,many of whom were burned beyond recognition.They had been making garments such as t-shirts,polo shirts and fleece jackets.
Several workers who escaped to the roof were rescued.Twelve who jumped out of windows died in hospital.
A Walmart spokesman said it was unclear whether the factory,which had been cited for safety violations,was still doing work for the world's largest retailer.In 2011,Walmart ceased doing business with 49 of Bangladesh's estimated 4500 garment factories because of fire safety violations.It was working with its suppliers to phase out production from such high risk buildings.
Bangladesh is located on the Bay of Bengal,between India and Myanmar.It is the world's largest clothing exporter.
The Guangzhou Auto Show is being held in China this week.China is the world's largest car market.Some 18.5 million cars were sold in China in 2011.Sales are expected to grow about 7% this year.
Volkswagen expects to become the world's largest automaker through its Chinese business,much of which is conducted with Chinese partners.While it will produce 1 million cars in Germany this year,VW will roll 2.7 million vehicles off its Chinese assembly lines.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Business in Brief:Tim Geithner;Best Business Schools

The majority of businessmen have learned to give and take,according to Morgan Stanley CEO John Mack.Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner had the world on his shoulders.He'll be respected.
He did an outstanding job with the Chinese executives that visited him.I thought he was superb in the way he handled that.He didn't preach.
I think there would be a position for him on Wall Street.
AT and T will invest 14 billion dollars in broadband networks.It is also raising its dividend.Tech is the best-positioned sector under President Barack Obama,BMO Capital Markets believes.
With regard to the fiscal cliff negotiations,Professor John Cochrane of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business said the chance of another one year extension seems high to me,given how far apart we are in the basics.It needs real political leadership.That's roughly what happened in the 1980s.
Let's hope they can do it,lowering tax rates while eliminating deductions.That is tremendously pro-growth.The whole trick is to get this chaos out of our tax code.To focus on starting a business rather than consulting a tax lawyer-that would be pro-growth.
The Booth School of Business is rated the best this year by Businessweek magazine.Harvard Business School came in second,while the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business got third.
Morgan Stanley(MS),AT and T(T)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Asia This Day:Obama in Southeast Asia;Woodside Petroleum

President Barack Obama has arrived in Southeast Asia.He visited Myanmar today,Monday,the first sitting US president to do so.Later,he will attend the ASEAN summit in Phnom Penh,Cambodia.The President is expected to seek trade opportunities in the region;the ASEAN leaders will be discussing territorial disputes with China in the South China Sea,as well as human rights,at the summit.
The President went to Myanmar,formerly known as Burma,to encourage the country's transition to democracy from military dictatorship.He will also be the first sitting US president to visit Cambodia.
Australia's Woodside Petroleum is also working in Myanmar.CEO Peter J. Coleman said we see Mynamar as holding a lot of promise for the future.We expect to be drilling maybe sometime around 2014.
Woodside Petroleum is Australia's largest dedicated oil and gas firm.It is a world leader in liquified natural gas production.Mr.Coleman,who has a BEng and an MBA,had served 27 years with Exxon Mobil before assuming his current leadership role.
The IEA says world energy demand will increase by one third by 2035.
The MSCI Asia Pacific index rose 1.15% in early Monday trading,and Asian currencies were up on optimism the US will avoid going over the fiscal cliff.
Woodside Petroleum Ltd(ASX:WPL)

Friday, November 16, 2012

After Open Heart Surgery:The Road Widens Out

Eighteen months after a signature event of my life,the surgical stopping of my heart so a valve repair could be made,the road is widening out.Although the facts of what occurred are permanently emblazoned on my soul,we have reached a medical plateau.There is no longer any need to intensively monitor my progress.I have joined the ranks of the majority of valve repair patients.Now only a yearly assessment of my heart's inner workings is required.
Things have gotten so quiet in there,there are quite frankly better things for my medical team to do with their time,patients who are much sicker than I for them to attend to.That being said,there are still a few reminders of what happened to me.Of course my daily medication regimen is one of them.I am permanently attached to the pharmacy now.A lot of the success may be attributed to the stress that has been relieved by these cardiovascular drugs.My blood vessels are widened to the point where my heart doesn't have to work very hard to pump blood.This helps facilitate the longevity of the valve repair.
Externally,the extensive chest scars are all but invisible now.I can still feel a stinging sensation every day,though,from the wire permanently embedded in my chest.This wire held my sternum together while it healed from being split during surgery.
There are also occasional optical migraines in the form of mild visual disturbances.These have the appearance of meteorites.How appropriate,since the entire experience of major surgery made me feel like an astronaut.It was truly a strange new frontier for me.
Emotionally,there is a freaking out process when the evaluation approaches.You may have to stay in hospital if they find something weird going on in there.Take your scripture with you just in case.
My heart had started to enlarge.I was on the narrow road to heart failure.Now I am on a wide path-for how long I cannot say,but it certainly is more refreshing.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Outlook For Gold

Central banks turned net purchasers of gold in 2010,and that trend has continued,said Natalie Dempster of the World Gold Council.Stimulative policies are pushing investors into gold,along with the fiscal cliff.Concerns over credit have stopped the trend of investing in eurobonds.
Strong economic growth has been underpinning jewelry and central bank gold reserves demand from countries such asThailand and Russia.It's really been very broad-based.
At the moment,gold is a very good inflation hedge.It's a much better diversifier than other commodities because they are linked to industrial applications.
Monday New York gold closed at 1728.80 an ounce.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Asia This Day:Fiscal Cliff Troubles Australia;Tokyo Nuclear Protest

Tens of thousands clogged Tokyo Monday as they protested Japan's restarting of reactors in the wake of 2011's tsunami and nuclear disaster.Two of the country's fifty reactors are back on line at the Ohi plant.
Japan's GDP came in lower than expected at -3.5 versus the -3.4 estimate,on falling exports to a slowing China and Chinese protests against Japan's territorial claims.Consumer spending has also dropped,further shrinking the Japanese economy.The Nikkei was down 61.04 after the lunch break Monday.
The MSCI Asia Pacific index fell 0.30% in early Monday trading,while India's Nifty Fifty and Sensex indexes rose about 0.20%.A big wireless spectrum auction is being conducted by the Indian government.
Toyota  Motors will be doubling its capacity in Indonesia,building a new engine plant there.
Australian treasurer Wayne Swan has been warning about the results of the fiscal cliff,a combination of  US tax increases and spending cuts of some 800 billion dollars that will apply on January 1.Without action by Congress,there would be a severe blow to the fragile global economy.The world can't afford the continuation of this gridlock in Washington.Mr.Swan has met with US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke to express his concern.
Gold is at a near three-week high on the fiscal cliff worry.
China's trade surplus came in at 32 billion dollars in October,a rise of 11.6%.Copper imports were down to their lowest level in 15 months,dropping 18%.Australian mining shares have declined because of the Chinese slowdown.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Weather Channel:Winter Storm Brutus-Really?

Is The Weather Channel embarked on a serious effort or a publicity stunt by naming winter storms this season?So far,no one else is acknowledging the practice or the names.
The National Weather Service has forbidden its employees from using TWC names for winter weather systems.In a statement,the NWS said it has no opinion about private weather enterprise products and services.A winter storm's impact can vary from one location to another,and storms can weaken and redevelop,making it difficult to define where one ends and another begins.While the NWS does not name winter storms,we do rate major winter storms after the fact.
TWC competitor AccuWeather complained that we are concerned about the lack of strict criteria with naming winter storms.TWC lists its criteria as being event that involves snow and ice and/or extreme temperatures or wind;2.that significantly affects travel;3.and that the network thinks people need to know about.
TWC winter weather expert Tom Niziol said that an organized system of naming winter storms will raise public awareness of the weather system and make it easier to track its progress and plan ahead.If we can hashtag a storm with a name,that leads to a one-stop shop to exchange information about a storm.
He predicts 6-8 named winter weather events for the season.They have already named two storms,however,and it's only November-not even winter yet.
In Germany,naming storms has gone even further.There,people and companies pay for naming rights to weather systems.The Weather Channel's naming venture may seem more fiasco than forecasting to many observers.It will be interesting to see if the iconoclastic project makes them more the subject of ridicule than enhances their credibility as a leader in the field of meteorology.
The Weather Channel is co-owned by NBC Universal;Bain Capital;and The Blackstone Group,L.P.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Pfizer's New Rheumatoid Arthritis Pill Approved

Pfizer's new rheumatoid arthritis(RA) drug XELJANZ(R) has gotten FDA approval for adults with moderate to severe RA who had a poor response to methotrexate.It is the first RA treatment approved in a new class of medicines called JAK inhibitors,and the first new oral disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug(DMARD) approved in more than 10 years.
The new pill was approved for a 5mg twice daily dosage.It may be used alone or in combination with methotrexate or other non-biologic DMARDs.
Xeljanz is a second-line medication,meaning that pre-treatment with a biologic is not required.It is an important new option that could potentially change the way rheumatologists treat this serious autoimmune disease,according to Pfizer CEO Ian Read.The discovery and development of Xeljanz by Pfizer scientists reflects our commitment to R and D innovation and our dedication to bringing important and meaningful medications to patients.
Xeljanz is specifically designed to inhibit JAK pathways,which are signaling pathways within the cell that play an important role in RA inflammation.Many patients do not adequately respond to,or are intolerant of,currently available RA treatments,said Stanley Cohen,MD,study investigator.Xeljanz significantly reduced the signs and symptoms of RA and improved physical function.
Possible side affects include increased risk of certain infections and cancers,as the drug changes the way the immune system works.

Monday, November 5, 2012

General Electric:Viewpoint Today

It just is today the most resilient economic system on earth,GE CEO Jeff Immelt said of the United States.The stakes are so darn high for the country and for all of us.Nervous laughter is a bad strategy.
We're asking for the same territorial system that our global competitors have.We're kind of like the last American company that competes in the fields that we're in.
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke has been consistent to his word.It's not bad to have one person in power who's been more or less consistent since 2007.
If the fiscal cliff happens,that's a failure of governance-and it shouldn't happen,Mr.Immelt added.
Jeff Immelt,56,has been leading GE,the world's third largest company,since September 7,2001.He has been named to Barron's "World's Best CEOs" list three times.Mr.Immelt is also head of the President's Jobs Council.
General Electric(GE)

Asia This Day:FoxConn Upgraded;India Has A Plan

FoxConn International has been upgraded to a buy from neutral at Ciitigroup on its iPhone work for Apple.The price target was raised to 5.80 a share.FoxConn International has reportedly begun making the iPhone's metal casing and is expected to gain new business from companies launching their own cell phone models in 2013.
FCI is a subsidiary of Taiwan's FoxConn Technology Group.Another subsidiary,Hon Hai Precision Industry,has been making iPhone casings for some time.
The Australian service sector index shrank for the ninth straight month in October.
Meanwhile,an Australian court has ruled that Standard and Poor's and ABN AMRO Group misled investors with deceptive debt ratings,and were negligent toward the investors.ABN had shoved the ratings through S and P.As a result of the ruling,local councils now have legal recourse to recover some of their lost funds.
India understands that 5.5% GDP growth is not enough,says Ajay Kapur,Head of Equity Strategy,Asia at Deutsche Bank.We like India.It's an economy that grows at night while the government is asleep,some wag said.All you need is a little bit of that policy shift,and I think we're beginning to see that.
India's Nifty Fifty and Sensex indexes were up about 0.10% in early Monday trading.Good earnings reports were expected from Tech Mahindra and Cipla,while Crompton Greaves reported profits that were below estimates.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Congress Party have reached agreement on an overhaul plan for the economy.
FoxConn International Holdings Ltd(FXCNF)

Friday, November 2, 2012

Children's Bodies Recovered;Hurricane Sandy Telethon Tomorrow

The bodies of two New York brothers who went missing during Hurricane Sandy's onslaught were recovered Friday in a Staten Island marsh.The boys,ages two and four,were swept away from their mother's arms by the storm surge.The bodies of two elderly people were found nearby.
Many people were still missing three days after the storm slammed into the East Coast.The US death toll was at 88 as of sunset Friday.
This is why the evacuation orders were issued,said FEMA director Craig Fugate.The storm surge can literally destroy homes;it's not just a matter of water flowing through the streets.
The first search was for the injured and the trapped;the next will be to go back and look for those still missing,Mr.Fugate explained.
Five million people were still off the electric grid as of sunset.Temperatures will be below normal for several days,dipping to freezing or below at night.It could be weeks before all of the power is back on.FEMA is marshaling utility equipment and crews in the West and flying them to the East using military assets,Mr.Fugate added.
Relief efforts have been bitterly criticised by frustrated victims of the disaster.They felt a sense of abandonment.Search and rescue was the first priority,Mr.Fugate stated;getting assistance in was next.Nine million dollars have already been approved for those who lack flood insurance and the resources to rebuild.
Friday at 8pm Eastern,a relief telethon will be broadcast live on the networks of NBC Universal and on"Hurricane Sandy:Coming Together" will be carried by NBC;Bravo;CNBC;E!;G4;MSNBC;Style;Syfy;The Weather Channel;and USA.The Weather Channel will also rebroadcast the event at 11pm Eastern.
The one hour broadcast will be hosted by Matt Lauer and feature appearances by Sting;Christina Aguilera;Bruce Springsteen;Jon Bon Jovi;Billy Joel and others.It will benefit the American Red Cross efforts to provide food,water,shelter and counseling to Sandy victims.