Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Investing Insights:Twitter,Google and Sony

Twitter as a business is absolutely sensational,said Larry Haverty,portfolio manager at GAMCO Investors.The growth of the global ad revenues are divided by the big three:Facebook,Twitter and LinkedIn.At close to a 40 billion valuation,I can't make Twitter grow fast enough to justify the price.You've created an artificial shortage.This is a hoarding apple,not an investing apple.
There's speculation going on.People are just buying it.It's going to make a lot of money,but with a 40 multiple on it,five years from now I get a stock valuation where it is right now.God forbid something happens to the business like to an AOL and previous speculative companies.Once I see how the numbers look,seeing how the people behave at the conference call,I'll be able to judge it better.I just can't do that right now.*
I would still be a buyer of Google.Right now it's a technological conglomerate.Basically it eats on ad dollars.It's returning 5%.I think Google glass will be a phenomenal success.*
Macau in the next five years is gonna double.*
With Sony,one thing I like is,they're finally figuring out how to make money in the music business.Profits are gonna start going up as these services allow them to start monetising.
The real call option on Sony is the electronics business.Ultra HD TV is gonna be all over the Consumer Electronics Show.Sony is gonna have a seat at the table.Three to five,you have the entertainment business and a turn in the electronics business with PlayStation 4,somebody's gonna make a fair amount of money with Sony.*
In the next few weeks,Liberty Media will buy Time Warner Cable.*
Sony Group(SNY),Twitter(TWTR),Google(GOOG),Time Warner Cable(TWC),Liberty Media Corporation(LMCA)

Monday, December 30, 2013

Antarctic Rescue On Hold;Light Bulb Ban;Prince Harry Returns

So far,all attempts to rescue the 57 people aboard the Russian research vessel Akademik Shokalskiy stranded in Commonwealth Bay,Antarctica have failed.Two ice hardened ships from China and Australia have had to turn back to open water,unable to penetrate the very thick ice;nor can aircraft reach them in the blizzard conditions.*
Many of the passengers are citizens who paid to participate in the research on climate and marine life.They were warned of the unpredicitibility of Antarctica when they signed on.The ship has two weeks of fresh food,then several more weeks of dehydrated food.There are 50 days of fuel left.
A lot of the passengers are Australian.*
Morale on the ship is said to be pretty high.It's hard to imagine that people are not having at least private anxiety about their plight,however.If nothing else,obligations back home must be weighing on them at some level.This blog would certainly be concerned.*
On January 1,Americans must switch from their popular and cheap 40 and 60 watt incandescent light bulbs as production and importation of these old style bulbs become prohibited by law.The 100 and 75 watt bulbs were already phased out.Stores will still be able to sell remaining stocks of the old bulbs.A survey by light bulb maker Osram Sylvania shows that 60% of Americans are unaware the ban takes effect in 2014.
Many Americans do not like the substitute compact fluorescent,or CFL bulbs,saying they give off harsh light.Other substitutes are costly light emitting diodes,or LEDs,and halogen incandescents.Americans will have no choice now but to pay a lot more up front for light bulbs.The new bulbs last much longer and are a lot more efficient,however,and long term will save up to 13 billion a year in electricity costs.
The restrictions were signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2008 as part of the Energy Independence and Security Act,or EISA.*
A bearded Prince Harry of Great Britain and his team of 12 wounded war veterans achieved the goal of their expedition and reached the South Pole on 13 December.They spent a few days there before flying out of Novo Air Base,Antarctica in order to recover in Capetown,South Africa before returning to Britain by Christmas.The team of warriors,including Prince Harry himself who pulled several tours in the Afghan War,raised 160,000 dollars for the charity Walking With The Wounded,which aids wounded veterans and their families.
Prince Harry and his team encountered blizzard conditions in Antarctica and did not stay at the South Pole as long as originally planned in order to avoid even more harsh weather that would have stranded them.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Diddy - Dirty Money - Coming Home ft. Skylar Grey

The Rolling Stones - Under My Thumb (1966)

Antarctic Expeditions Face Perils;Prince Harry Nears Goal

Two prominent Antarctic expeditions have had to face unexpectedly harsh conditions in the southernmost continent lately.A Russian research vessel carrying 22 crew and 35 passengers has been stuck in sea ice of Antarctica's Commonwealth Bay since Christmas Eve.Strong winds packed ice around the ship,preventing it from making away,said co-leader Professor Chris Turney of the expedition Spirit of Mawson.Some of the passengers are citizens who paid to take part of the expedition,which is marking the centenary of Australian explorer Douglas Mawson's famous expedition in 1913.All aboard are said to be in good condition.They had earlier viewed Mawson's well-preserved hut and artifacts on the land.
The centenary expedition has been studying climate,birds,oceans,geology and marine life.For most of December,good conditions facilitated quality research on Commonwealth Bay and its islands.The research ship,the Akademik Shokalskiy of Vladivostok,Russia,is in regular contact with some ice-hardened vessels coming to the rescue.At least one or two of them should reach the stranded explorers today,Friday.
Meanwhile,Prince Harry of Great Britain is nearing the end of his own 200 mile trek across the frigid continent Antarctica.The expedition,now 37 miles from its goal,is sponsored by veterans charity Walking With The Wounded and Virgin Money.It is intended to raise money for wounded war veterans and their families.Prince Harry is himself a combat veteran of the Afghan War.
Prince Harry,accompanied by actors Alexander Skarsgard and Dominic West,had trained in an ice chamber for the expedition,learning how to prevent frostbite and other medical problems.They have encountered unprecedented terrain on the plateau and temperatures of 31 below zero Fahrenheit.The hazardous conditions forced them to abandon the three team race format and form a joint expedition instead.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

American Companies To Watch

For Boeing,it's been straight line ever since the Ethiopian Airlines fire,when it went from 105 to 101.That had nothing to do with the Dreamliner-a remarkable performer,said CNBC analyst Jim Cramer.*
The Greek car sales and registration came out the other night.They were very strong.Keep track of the Mexican market.That's where all the autos will go.Keep an eye on Mexico.*
I'm all in Exxon.I just like that they're bullish about themselves.They're bullish about themselves-that's all I'm saying.*
I would still buy American Airlines agressively here.I just think this group has more legs,and I think American Airlines is terrific.*
Look at these American companies.Look at Boeing.People have to recognise,when Home Depot CEO Frank Blake comes on and says that business is good,you should buy the stock.Look at Carnival Cruise.That stock's taking on the world.People love Twitter.We can denigrate that,we can say people are foolish,but people are making money.How foolish can those people be?asked the popular CNBC host Jim Cramer,who was so poor at one time that he slept in his car.*
American Airlines(AAL),Boeing(BA),Exxon Mobil(XOM),Home Depot(HD),Twitter(TWTR),Carnival Cruise Lines(CCL)

Monday, December 23, 2013

Australian Bank Shares Strong,Hyundai Slims Down

The major Australian banks Commonwealth Bank of Australia,National Australia Bank and Westpac rose 0.8% in Monday trading,shrugging off news that the four biggest banks will be required to set aside a further 1% of equity capital.The ASX 200 index climbed 0.51%.*
Other Asian markets also rose Monday,cheered by the US beating its GDP forecast last week,and the IMF announcing Sunday it would be raising its outlook for US growth on these strong results and the budget deal recently signed in Washington.The Shanghai Composite was up 0.24%,while the Hang Seng climbed 0.44%.Japanese markets were closed for the Emperor's Birthday holiday.*
South Korea's Hyundai Group is selling its three financial units to raise cash to reduce debt,as well as concentrate on its shipping,logistics and elevator machinery businesses.The sale is expected to bring in 3.1 billion dollars.*
Apple Computer has reached a deal with China Mobile allowing it to sell the iPhone in China as of next month.The move is expected to present Samsung with major competition in the vast Chinese market.*
In golf,Europe came swiftly from behind to win The Royal Trophy match play tournament at the Dragon Lake Golf Club in Guangzhou,China by one point.It was Europe's fifth win out of seven.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Flu Season 2013-14 Update

During week 49,December 1-7,2013,influenza activity continued to increase in the United States,the CDC reported.Of 6219 specimens tested,13.3% were influenza positive.The proportion of deaths attributed to pneumonia and influenza was below the epidemic threshold.*
A cumulative rate of 2.0 lab-confirmed influenza-associated hospitalisations per 100,000 people was reported.The proportion of outpatient visits was 2.1%,above the national baseline of 2.0.Influenza A accounted for 94.0% of cases;Influenza B for 6.0%.*
The gulf states of Alabama,Mississippi and Texas had a high level of influenza activity;Lousiana was moderate.The rest of the country had minimal to low activity.*
As flu season peaks in the winter months,it is still advisable to be vaccinated.It takes two weeks for the vaccine to take effect.It is on average 56% effective at totally preventing flu,but is also believed to lessen the severity of cases that are contracted.
Last year,164 children died of influenza in the US.About 24,000 adults are estimated to die of the disease each year,90% of them age 65 or older.
The vaccine is available everywhere from pharmacies to walk-in clinics and doctor's offices.The young,the old,and those with chronic health conditions are especially vulnerable to influenza.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

MasterCard's Move;Cisco's Issue;Home Depot

MasterCard has announced a ten for one stock split;an 83% dividend increase;and a 3.5 billion dollar stock buyback.Retail investors don't want to buy just one share of MasterCard for 200.00,CNBC analyst Jim Cramer pointed out.It's well-run.These guys are not lightweights.*
Citigroup has issued a buy recommendation on Alcatel-Lucent,and a sell on Cisco Systems.I think people are starting to recognise there is a management problem at Cisco.The analysts are giving up.It was the biggest darling;now it's a hated stock.CEO John Chambers isn't going anywhere,however.He and Cisco are revered in the Silicon Valley.*
Home Depot is a great company and CEO Frank Blake is a fabulous operator.I love the stores.Frank Blake is the great hard goods merchant of our day.You bet against Home Depot,I think you're making a big mistake.That stock should not be down,said CNBC's popular author and host Jim Cramer,who has a law degree and roots for the Philadelphia Eagles.*
Alcatel-Lucent(ALU),Cisco Systems(CSCO),MasterCard(MC),Home Depot(HD)

Monday, December 16, 2013

China Manufacturing Slows;Fatal Clash in Xinjiang Province

Preliminary results of a new survey of Chinese factories show a slowdown is occurring.The HSBC/Markit Economics China Flash PMI for November came in at 50.5,a three month low,missing the Bloomberg estimate of 50.9 and declining from November's final number of 50.8.Over 50.0 signifies growth in the manufacturing sector.The report revealed weakness in output gains and employment,although new orders were up.
Asian shares were down almost across the board on the news,along with fears of a Federal Reserve cutback in asset purchases,with the Nikkei dropping 1.62% in Monday trading and the Shanghai Composite off 1.60%.*
A late Sunday clash in a village near Kashgar in Northwest China's Xinjiang Province left 16 dead,according to official news agency Tianshan. Muslim Uighur militants reportedly attacked police with explosive devices and knives,killing 14 officers.Two police also died.The area has a history of unrest aimed at Han Chinese immigration into the ethnic Turkic region.*
Sergio Garcia took his fourth Asian Tour career victory Sunday at the Thailand Golf Championship at Amata Spring Country Club in Bangkok.It was the Spaniard's first and only win of the now-concluded 2013 season.He hadn't won since last December at the Johor Open in Malaysia.
Henrik Stenson of Sweden was second on the leader board,and Frenchman Alexander Levy finished third.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Hedge Fund Takes GM Stake

Hegde fund Hayman Capital Management has taken a stake in General Motors.You're starting to see them take market share back,said Hayman founder and managing partner Kyle Bass.With their new 2014-15 product line,they're gonna increase dividends and buy back stock.Given how cheap the stock is,we think it should be trading in line with Ford.When you look at the enterprise value,it's about 47 billion dolars.
A 100 basis point move takes eight points away from their pension liability.We think that could actually go down to 17 billion dollars.We just think from a catalyst-driven timing perspective,now is the time to invest in GM.
The new GM products will take North American sales back.You have them really working on all cylinders.Motor Trend gives it the New Product of the Year last year.We think it's incredibly cheap and it's gonna move much higher next year,Mr.Bass noted.*
The federal government has announced it has exited its stake in GM,as Mr.Bass predicted it would by the end of the year.The taxpayer lost 10 billion dollars on the bailout of the automaker.*
GM shares closed at 40.90 in Monday trading,up 1.82%.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Japan's Recovery Slows;Congress Party Setback

We have enacted industrial competitiveness,said Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.We have decided to reduce the corporate tax by 2.4%.There is no end to Abenomics.*
At the same time,in April 2014 Japan's consumer tax will rise from 5% to 8%.*
Japan's GDP growth was just 1.1% annualised in Q3,revised down from 1.9%.The two main factors were flat business spending and a smaller contribution from inventories,according to the Cabinet Office.*
The wealth effect that Japan expected is not coming through in either Main Street or real property prices,said Andrew Economos,strategist at JP Morgan Asset Management.You need productivity gains and sales.The sales tax basically squelches consumption.They are basically on the right track,but they need to stop making wrong decisions,Mr.Economos observed.*
India's Nifty Fifty index was up in early Monday trading on the opposition BJP's winning elections in four states,as well as becoming the single largest party in Delhi and humiliating the ruling Congress Party.Congress' Vice President Rahul Gandhi,heir of the Gandhi political dynasty,is seen by some as an example of failed leadership and low confidence even as the BJP's leader,Chief Minister of Gujarat state Narendra Modi scored a big win in the elections.National elections will occur within five months.
We will introspect seriously and take all necessary actions to rectify our mistakes and the way we function,said Congress' President Sonia Gandhi,who is Rahul's mother.*
Through these elections,the people have delivered a message,Rahul Gandhi said.That message has been taken by me and our party,not just with our minds,but in our hearts.The Congress party has the ability to transform itself,to stand up to the expectations of this country,and the Congress Party is going to do that,the presumptive prime ministerial candidate promised.*
The MSCI Asia Pacific index rose 0.71% Monday morning on a strong US jobs report and Chinese data.*
In golf,Thailand's Pornanung Phatlum won the Ladies European Tour's Omega Dubai Ladies Masters on Sunday in the UAE.It was her second career victory on the LET.American Stacy Lewis was second,and Spain's Carlota Ciganda third.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Paul Simon: Call me Al, concert zimbabwe / South Africa

Ke$ha - Your Love Is My Drug

Commentary:Amazon Drones No Time Soon

Those who think they will see urban delivery drones within a few years will have to think again.The drones are being tested,said Craig Berman,Vice President of Global Communications at Amazon.They're still years away.They can carry objects up to five pounds and deliver them in thirty minutes,but there's a lot of work that needs to be done.
It's not science fiction.We see it as something that's viable,but years down the road.With a ten mile radius,they can travel from a fulfillment center to a customer and back.They are robotic aircraft.We would just input GPS coordinates into autonomous vehicles.
We're excited about it.Over 80% of our items weigh less than five pounds.There's gonna be a lot of experimentation.I don't want to get too far ahead.It's really early in the process.*
For instance,they don't have a see and avoidance system yet.It's not possible in five years.We're interested in this from a known location to a known location,delivering vaccines on a lifesaving basis,said Johnathan Downey,CEO of Airware.We're focused on commercial applications such as agriculture and land management.
They are better suited to remote parts of Africa than dense,built-up environments such as US cities.Whether it's books and whether it's Amazon I'm sceptical-certainly about its being in the next three or four years,the Airware chief confided.
There's no platform to build on top of.Sensors and low level electronics are being invented for a common platform for the various applications.There are no regulations yet,either.*
Commercial drones are currently illegal.The FAA says it will carefully develop regulations for remotely piloted drones within several years,not even mentioning autonomous ones.*
It's a powerful concept,but is at the intersection of the two hardest challenges in the drone world today:reliable sense and avoid technology and regulatory approval for autnomous flights over built-up areas,observed Chris Anderson,3D Robotics CEO.*
In sum,Amazon's announcement was a bit premature from both a legal and technical point of view.A ten year time frame for an urban drone seems more reasonable than five years,given that the concept is still in its infancy and the government isn't in a hurry.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Wal-Mart Stores:Focus and Future

Wal-Mart Stores has named Doug McMillon the next CEO of the world's largest retailer,replacing the retiring Mike Duke in January.Arkansas native McMillon,47,had worked his way up from unloading trucks at a warehouse to being head of Wal-Mart's international division as President and CEO of Wal-Mart International.
Mr.McMillon's position is a CEO training program,said analyst David Schisk of Stifel Nicolaus.He's had a taste of different opportunities and challenges.This appointment is very much expected.The CEO of Wal-Mart is essentially a major political job,on top of everything else.*
Wal-Mart needs to have a focus on being the best to their core customer.They don't have to take over the planet for growth's sake.It's a massive company.What we're seeing Wal-Mart and the entire industry focusing on is omnichannel,which is using your mobile phone to help you shop more efficiently.*
I think Wal-Mart is doing a better job of cooperating internationally,rather than competing,adds David Kelly of JP Morgan Asset Management.The working age population is declining in most of the developed world.You've got to be in the emerging markets,and in emerging markets beyond China-in Vietnam and Indonesia.*
Wal-Mart has done just that by acquiring a controlling stake in South African retailer Massmart.Massmart is listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.It has about 290 stores in 14 countries,most of them in South Africa.It also manages 8 wholesale and retail chains,including Game;Dion;Makro;Shield;and CCW.
Founded in 1990,Massmart is Africa's third-largest distributor of consumer goods;the leading retailer of general merchandise,liquor and home improvement equipment and supplies;and the leading wholesaler of basic foods.
South Africa is a fast-growing market,but troubled by a high crime rate and unemployment.*
Wal-Mart Stores Inc(WMT),Massmart Holdings Ltd(MSM:SJ)

Monday, December 2, 2013

China Manufacturing Grows;McIlroy Thwarts Scott

Both government and private purchasing manager surveys show Chinese manufacturers did somewhat better than expected in November.The official PMI reached 51.4,versus a median estimate of 51.1.A number above 50 signifies growth in the sector.
The private HSBC/Markit Economics PMI came in at 50.8,which is more than all thirteen analysts surveyed predicted.
This positive result was tempered by the fact that large companies drove the uptick;small ones didn't do so well.The HSBC survey also revealed a contraction in employment and slower restocking.A Bloomberg News survey of economists in November showed that most of them felt China's growth would slow to 7.5% in 2014,which meets the governments's goal,but would be down from 7.6% this year.*
China announced that it would allow the restart of initial public offerings.This drove the Shanghai Composite Index down,for fear the that the IPOs would siphon funds from the rest of the market.Asian stocks were mixed overall in early Monday trading,with the Nikkei down 0.4%,while the Hang Seng rose 0.44%.*
Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy prevented Australian Adam Scott from sweeping all three Australian majors on Sunday as he took the Emirates Australian Open with his eighteen under par 66.It was the former World Number One's only win of the 2013 season;he was ranked sixth this year behind leader Tiger Woods.Scott had won the Australian PGA Championship and the Australian Masters the past few weeks;but a lackluster fourth round opened the door to McIlroy,whose game has been sharpening recently,after a mediocre season in which he had scored six top ten finishes,but no victories.*
I wanted to get a win by the end of the season,McIlroy said,but more satisfying was to take one the best golfers in the world down the stretch and come out on top.I've been building confidence for a few weeks now.I worked hard.I put the hours of practice in,and I feel that I've really found something.*
Scott had become the first Australian to ever win the victor's green jacket at the US Masters in April,making him a national hero.*

Friday, November 29, 2013

Holly Throsby on RocKwiz Sydney,Australia

Holly Throsby - A Heart Divided Sydney,Australia

Growth Trajectory:NFL Sets London Schedule

In a possible buildup to London securing its own National Football League franchise,the NFL has announced there will be three regular season games there next year.In Week 4,the Oakland Raiders will play the Miami Dolphins.In Week 8,the Atlanta Falcons will face the Detroit Lions.Finally,on Week 10 the Dallas Cowboys will take on the Jacksonville Jaguars.All games will be at Wembley Stadium.*
The London fans have been most supportive of all the NFL games there to this point.The city and stadium want more games there as well.And a weak franchise such as the Jacksonville Jaguars,who have played several London games,would be a logical candidate to move there.*
As a business,the NFL has largely reached saturation point in the United States.The growth trajectory is pretty much to London and Canada. This Sunday,the Atlanta Falcons will play the Buffalo Bills at Rogers Centre in Toronto.Since 2008,the Bills have played an annual regular season game in Toronto,becoming in effect a regional franchise.Hundreds of thousands of Canadian fans venture south regularly to attend games in border cities such as Buffalo and Seattle,or watch the teams on television.NFL Canada handles the league's business north of the border,and works closely with the Canadian Football League to promote the sport in Canada.*
In Thanksgiving holiday action,the Baltimore Ravens snuck past the Pittsburgh Steelers 22-20;the Dallas Cowboys edged the Oakland Raiders 31-24;and the Detroit Lions smashed the Green Bay Packers 40-10.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Tupperware Brands;Cramer Comments

Thr US middle class is challenged,not dead,according to Rick Goings,CEO of Tupperware Brands.We're seeing individuals more interested in entrepreneurial activity.Our recruiting for sales force is up.There is hope for the future in the US and Europe,which are about 5% each of our business.
The emerging middle class is gonna grow by a billion people in the next 5-6 years,and women are looking for an opportunity.There are limited earning opportunities for women in retail.
We send a managing director from that country in.She plugs our model in.It works.The sales consultant moved from lower to middle class.She had better relations with her family.
India has been growing double digit.We've been growing 30% in Brazil the last five years.It's the power of women.Men generally can't multitask;women can,said Tupperware CEO Rick Goings.
Tupperware stock closed at 91.73 in Monday trading,up 0.31%.*
I heard a lot of buzz in San Francisco about Meg Whitman and Hewlett-Packard,said CNBC author and analyst Jim Cramer.Meg Whitman is trying very hard to reinvent that company,and I have to say,I think she's succeeding.
Amazon is revered out there.They are fabulous.*
The Emirates is spending 300 million for GE engines.GE's becoming a manufacturer again with a tail of finance,rather than having a dog of finance.*
Elon Musk does seem very confident about Tesla Motors.Hey look,I want one.I wouldn't be dissuaded by the fire risk.*
Whirlpool basically did nothing for a decade.I like Whirlpool now.I don't want to sell Whirlpool.*
No one's talking about giving Twitter money yet.Just in terms of getting in touch with your customers,people seem to favour Facebook.They like to monitor what people are saying about their company on Twitter,Jim Cramer pointed out on CNBC's Squawk On The Street program.*
Hewlett-Packard(HPQ),Whirlpool(WHR),Tupperware Brands(TUP),Facebook(FB),Tesla Motors(TSLA),Twitter(TWTR)

Monday, November 25, 2013

Singapore Group Buys Rio Airport;Webber Closes Out F1 Career

Changi Airport Group Singapore Pte Ltd and Odebrecht SA have bid 8.3 billion reals for Rio's Galeao Airport.The airport will host the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics.About 600,000 visitors are expected for the World Cup alone,and auctioning the airport was a part of President Dilma Rouseff's plan for infrastructure improvement for Rio de Janeiro prior to the huge upcoming events.
If they can follow this up with three successful highway auctions,it could be really helpful in turning the boat of sentiment away from negative to more positive,said analyst Jefferson Finch of the Eurasia Group.
The Brazilian state management company Infraero will retain a 49% satke in the airport.The Latin American aviation market presents many growth opportunities,said the Singaporean acquirer Changi.We must focus immediatley on the expansion of the Galeao Airport.*
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott's Liberal/National Party coalition has fallen out of favour already,a new poll suggests.Only 11 weeks old,the coalition trails the Labour opposition 48%-52%.People are critical of the government's immigration and environmental policies,as well as Australian intelligence's alleged phone tapping of Indonesian leaders.*
In motor sport,Germany's Sebastian Vettel won the Brazilian Grand Prix at Sao Paolo Sunday,with his Red Bull Racing teammate Australian Mark Webber finishing his career with a second place showing,and Spaniard Fernando Alonso taking third for Ferrari.Webber,37,has retired from Formula One after compiling a record of 9 wins out of 215 races.Vettel,26,won his fourth straight World Driving Championship,while Alonso was second,and Webber third in the overall standings.
It was a very good finish,Webber said,a good fight with those I've fought with the last few years.It's been a great journey,one that I'm proud of.On to Porsche-I'm looking forward to it.*
Webber will race Le Mans sports cars for Porsche next season.He has already been fitted for his new seat and been released from his contract with Red Bull Racing.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Paramore: Daydreaming [OFFICIAL VIDEO]

After Open Heart Surgery:Lingering Questions

To recap and update previous posts in this series,I am a patient with heart valve disease.Having had my mitral valve surgically repaired during open heart surgery in May,2011,perhaps that would be it,I thought.They did a good sewing job.I might be cured.Now,two and a half years later,that is clearly not the case.The disease process is still at work.There is residual mild to moderate blood leakage backward across the valve,a condition called mitral valve regurgitation.What is more,something new has gone wrong.The valve leaflets have stiffened,narrowing the valve opening and impeding blood flow.This is called mitral valve stenosis,and went from being mild to moderate over the course of a year.My upper left heart chamber,the left atrium,is moderately dilated,or enlarged,from the resulting pressure build-up.So I present with moderately abnormal heart function.
Complications of severe stenosis can be life threatening,including blood clots;atrial fibrillation;congestive heart failure;pulmonary edema;and pulmonary hypertension.That's the scary part.
So far,the situation is manageable with my current medication of an ACE inhibitor;a beta blocker;and an anticoagulant-baby aspirin.We are following a course of medication and monitoring.Should things worsen further from moderate to severe,other options are available.Sometimes a balloon valvuloplasty is performed,in which a balloon is attached to a catheter and threaded up to the valve through a blood vessel in an arm or leg.There,it is inflated to widen the valve.This may not be appropriate in my case,however,since I have regurgitation as well as stenosis.
A second option for relieving stenosis is a surgical repair such as scraping any calcification from the valve leaflets,thus restoring flexibility.In the end,most stenosis patients requiring surgery undergo a valve replacement,either with a natural or mechanical valve.
Even as I'm writing this,I'm having an optical migraine-a slight visual disturbance I have experienced since my surgery.It's like a shooting star across the visual field,but it doesn't hurt,thank God.My chest scar is barely visible any more-just a little red streak at the base.There is also a strand of wire embedded in my chest,and I swear it stings a bit to this day.
When I first read about the stenosis progression in my test reports,I got depressed for about an hour.Then my resilience kicked in and I am accepting things as they are.At least there are concrete steps we can take if things get really bad.It's not getting off scot-free,but it's better than having no options.
What causes heart valve disease?It's not caused by lifestyle,but rheumatic fever,a complication of strep throat,is a major cause of heart valve damage that may take years to manifest.Another possible cause is a congenital defect that,again,could take years to become apparent.Calcium deposits accumulating on the valve with age may also be at work.There are other rare causes such as side effects of radiation therapy or certain medications.
Your basline health does have a great impact on how you weather any treatment required,so clean living is highly recommended for these patients.


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Dubai Air Show:Gulf States Flash the Cash

More than aircraft was on display at the Dubai Air Show,which ended on Sunday.The show took place at the new Al Maktoum International Airport,midway between Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.It was evident that the airlines of the Gulf States have become the dominant force in the commercial aviation sector as they made their sweeping purchases at the DAS.
The Persian Gulf airlines have limited local business.They largely cater to international travelers,who use their desert hubs for single stop globetrotting.Boeing got 86% of its backlog for the new 777X wide-body jet from Gulf States carriers;while Airbus gets more than half its orders from Emirates Air,the world's biggest international airline.Emirates made 75.6 billion dollars of purchases at the airshow;even the cut rate carrier FlyDubai bought 111 Boeing 737s for 8.77 billion.Etihad Airways bought 25 777Xs and 30 787-10 Dreamliners from Boeing,plus 50 Airbus A350s and 36 A320neos for 45 billion,and Qatar Air plunked down 21.7 billion for 50 777X and 13 Airbus A330-200 cargo planes.
And there is no end in sight for this insatiable buying.Air transport has become a big part of the Gulf States' plan to diversify thier economies away from oil and gas.
Overall,Boeing sold 101.5 billion of aircraft at the airshow,edging EADS subsidiary Airbus for the most business acquired.What's incredible here is,the fulcrum used to be the Paris Air Show,said CNBC analyst Jim Cramer.Boeing's been the best-performing stock in the Dow.It went up 86.7% this year.The 777 is a money plane.They're gonna make a fortune on each plane.We're in year 2 of a 7-year aircraft cycle.
Boeing is America's greatest manufacturer.CEO Jim McNerney has got a fantastic team.All we could think about for a period of months was,the Dreamliner ain't working.You can't get a Dreamliner until 2020.I'll bet they come back from Dubai with a 10-year wait for a Dreamliner,the voluble Jim Cramer speculated.
Boeing(BA),European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company(Euronext:EAD)

Monday, November 18, 2013

Asia This Day:Chinese Reforms Spur Stocks;Indian Gold Sales Strong;Inbee Park

The Beijing leaders are promising sweeping reforms in China in the wake of the Communist Party plenum.They will allow more private investment in state-owned enterprises;relax the one-chuild policy;expand the land rights of farmers;allow local governments to issue debt;rate officials on borrowing levels and other metrics.In response,most Asian markets rose in early Monday trading.The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 0.9% by early afternoon,with all 10 industry groups up.*
Indian families continue to bedeck their daughters with gold jewelry for their weddings,in spite of government efforts to reduce the purchase of imported gold.Gold bangles,necklaces,rings,tiaras and earrings are all in great demand this year.
Gold represents the status of the Indian family,the pride they take in themselves.Indian brides wear as much gold as their families can afford.A few hundred grams of gold would be a moderate purchase in one father's opinion.That's about thirty-two ounces.
The government raised import taxes three times this year in an attempt to reduce the current accounts deficit.According to the World Gold Council,however,Indian families continue to buy gold at a brisk pace.Demand will be up from 864.2 tonnes last year to 900-1,000 tonnes in 2013.*
South Korean Inbee Park won the LPGA Tour Rolex Player of the Year award Sunday-the overall season championship-after placing fourth at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational Presented by Banamex in Guadalajara,Mexico.Park is the first Korean ever to win the award.She's scored 6 victories this season-including 3 majors,giving her the most overall points.
American teenager Lexi Thompson won the tournament.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Cisco Craters on Poor Revenue,Guidance

Shares of tech titan Cisco Systems lost more than a tenth of their value in Thursday trading after an appalling earnings report and conference call.Revenue missed expectations and the guidance for the new quarter was devastating.
Cisco delivered earnings per share of 0.53 per share and revenue growth of 2% year over year,CEO John Chambers said on the company's conference call.While not inconsistent with some of our large peers,this was below our expectations for the quarter.The last month of our quarter was during the U.S.Government shutdown.The impact on our federal business was approximately 50 million.Our team there did an exceptionally good job managing through this challenging period.However,the shutdown,debt ceiling negotiations and delayed key decisions exasperated the lack of confidence among business leaders we had highlighted over the past few quarters.
From a macroeconomic perspective,in the last two quarters our order growth rate in emerging countries,which is 20% of our product business,has gone from a positive 13% in total in Q3 to a negative 12% in Q1 of this year.You can do the math,but that's a drag of between 4 to 5 percentage points on our growth for this quarter.
The set-top box orders which are approximately 20% of our total service provider business was also down 20%,Mr.Chambers noted.
CFO Frank Calderoni added that,as a point of reference,approximately 70% of our product revenue is dependent on new orders each quarter.With that in mind,we expect total revenue to decline in the range of 8-10% on a year over year basis.
CNBC analyst Jim Cramer was not amused.Open rebellion has begun,Cramer said.My charitable trust owned this,blew it out,made a huge mistake believing.They should have pre-announced the guidance.This was not the ride othe Valkyries call.This was Tristan and Isolde,which ends badly.
There's a kind of a moment here where I think social media has overrun all bounds.You need seventeen year olds in the board rooms.I'm not being facetious.If you don't know what these people are doing-they understand that social media rules,taht the cell phone rules.The older people don't get it.You get a seventeen year old in PR.You've got to do something.It's a gold rush.You never have to show strong earnings,and you're dominant.They all want to be Amazon;they don't want to be Cisco.
Look,Mr.Chambers has been around a long time.They've got a lot of good employees.I know some of them.But the orders was just staggering.It was staggering.My charitable trust was just slack-jawed,CNBC's popular Jim Cramer complained.
Cisco Systems,Inc.(CSCO)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Is Twitter a Ripoff-and what could be a better deal

Twitter closed at 42.90 on Monday,down from its opening price of 45.10 when it debuted on November 7.If you bought it then,you're decidedly in the red.
A leading analyst has slammed the stock.At a certain point,to have that conversation completely devoid of rational business metrics,there's really nothing left to the imagination,said Daniel Ernst,principal at Hudson Square Research.It's so out of the loop.I certainly understand the market:they don't get Twitter.It is so overvalued,it's beyond imagination.
I don't possibly imagine a scenario where growth is gonna accelerate more than it is today.Mobile is already 65-70% of their revenue.When Facebook was at this size,they had a 35% positive operating margin;Twitter is at 11%,Mr.Ernst pointed out.He has a 20.00 price target on the stock.If that pans out,those first day investors will be seeing red,as well as being in red ink.*
People who invest in Twitter have to realise it's a cult,warned CNBC analyst Jim Cramer.
On the other hand,Cramer is confident in health care titan Johnson and Johnson.I think JNJ is worth 120.00,Cramer said.I think CEO Alex Gorsky will add 30.00 of value,so to sell JNJ now means nothing to me.
JNJ closed at 94.29 on Monday,up 0.26%.
Twitter(TWTR),Johnson and Johnson(JNJ)

Monday, November 11, 2013

Asia This Day:Typhoon Haiyan;Hong Kong Home Prices;Portuguese Visa Program

The Philippines Red Cross has 30 workers out with chain saws to clear debris from Typhoon Haiyan,said Chairman and CEO Richard Gordon,who is also a Filipino senator.Still,there is a feeling of desperation.They've lost family members.They're hungry.Their children are hungry.
The worst typhoon in history,Haiyan devastated homes,schools and entire communities.Meteorologists are discussing extending the current five level scale of tropical storms to six categories,on account of the oceans heating up and producing such record storms.*
The Chinese government has increased minimum down payments for high end Hong Kong property to 50%.This has had their intended effect of slowing price appreciation,while hindering even buyers with excellent credit from purchasing dream homes in the territory.
Prices of homes worth more than 10 million dollars Hong Kong are expected to drop 3% in Q4,said broker Cushman&Wakefield.Speculators have been driven off by the decline,but lower end buyers have been aided by steadying prices in their range.From 2003-12,Honk Kong luxury property went up 250%,the highest prices in the world.While the upper end growth will by around 5% in the second half of 2013,the mass market will hold steady.
The Hang Seng Property Index of Hong Kong's biggest developers has dropped 6.4% so far this year.Developers will probably respond by recalibrating their strategies by looking more to lower end projects.*
Chinese nationals are at the top of a Portuguese program to grant residency visas to foreign buyers of property worth a minimum of 500,000 euros,or around 670,000 dollars.Of the 318 of the visas granted in the past year,248 went to Chinese citizens,while Russians got 15,and Angolans and Brazilians 9 each.This has meant a decisive stimulus to the real estate market's recovery,said Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Francisca Seabra.*
In golf,Taiwan's Teresa Lu,25,won the Mizuno Classic at the Kintetsu Kashikojima Country Club in Shima,Japan on Sunday.It was her first career victory,after having been in two playoffs earlier in the year.She said she will probably return to the LPGA Tour next season now,after having left it in 2010 and concentrated on the Japan LPGA Tour.*
Adam Scott won the Australian PGA Championship with a 14 under par 67 at Royal Pines in Gold Coast,Australia.He joins five others as the only Australians to have won all three Australian majors.American Ricky Fowler was second.*
Update:This catastrophe humbles us-all of us,said Father Butch Rivera,a Philippines priest in whose home typhoon victims took refuge.I'm thinking what I can do for these people,what I can give them,the man of faith wondered.He's been consoling them.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Paramore Singer Hayley Williams

Paramore singer-songwriter Hayley Williams is featured in a track I tweeted Friday,"I could really us a wish right now." To hear this promising artist and experience other tweets,please visit me on Twitter @Businessblogger.Have a great weekend.

Friday, November 8, 2013

What Twitter's All About

We're all very proud of the company,said Twitter CEO Dick Costolo following the firm's public listing on the New York Stock Exchange Thursday morning.It's been our users who have gotten us to where we are today.We have a lot of work to do,and I'm anxious to get back to the office tonight and get started on that.All the capital raised today is going into the company.
It's all about making it very simple for new users to come to the platform.It's all about the very,very long-term business we're trying to build,growing the business for all the 2.4 billion connected people to all become users of the platform.
We made it clear that we had every intention to remain an independent company.We'll be making sure that we have people on the ground around the world driving unique regional content onto the platform.We have 94 of the Ad Age Top 100 already working with us this year.We are public;real time;coversational;and distributed.It's all about amplifying the characteristics that we already have,being the indispensible companion to the live experience.
These startups always evolve from those who were originally there.I don't have any time to think about what happened three years ago,Mr.Costolo declared.*
Twitter is very agressively priced at 40 times earnings;there will be better entry points later on,said Mark Mahaney,managing director at RBC Capital Markets.Amazon,Priceline,Netflix and Facebook are better buys right now.The Internet ecosystem generates a lot of wealth.If you pick the right 5-6 companies,that's how the individual trader can make money.
The stock closed at 44.90,down slightly from the 45.10 opening price.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Good Vibrations:Exxon Mobil and Tesla Motors

Even though Exxon Mobil's Q3 earnings were down 18% on the year,hurt by refining margins,the latest report was still greeted positively by Wall Street.Earnings of 7.87 billion dollars,or 1.79 a share,did beat the consensus estimate of 1.77 a share.As well,oil production rose 1.5% on the year,with liquids volumes up 5.3%.
It's better than I thought,said CNBC analyst Jim Cramer.Exxon looks good,with the production growth.It's nice to see a big dog get a good run here.*
In Monday trading,Exxon Mobil shares closed at 92.10,up 2.28,or 2.54%.The stock pays about a 2.9% dividend,and a 3 billion dollar buyback to support the share price is expected.*
Tesla Motors stock popped 8.03% in Monday trading,closing at 175.20,ahead of Tuesday's earnings report at the close of trading.Bloomberg described the stock's October results as having hit a pothole,however.It experienced a loss of 4.7 billion dollars-it's worst monthly performance since October 2010.R.W. Baird&Co. cut the stock from outperform to neutral,saying it was priced to perfection.Investors are wagering on the carmaker having tremendous future success,driving it to heights seldom seen,with the stock trading at 13.9 times sales,versus GM's 0.4 times sales.
This speculation causes the stock to be highly volatile,moving sharply at the slightest news.For example,fires that resluted from Tesla crashes on October 1 in Washington state,and in Mexico on October 18,caused the stock to crater.Tesla CEO Elon Musk himself said in an October 25 interview that the stock price we have is more than we have any right to deserve.*
Exxon Mobil(XOM),Tesla Motors(TSLA)

Monday, November 4, 2013

Asia This Day:Fed's Fisher in Sydney;China Services;Shanghai Golf

A top central banker,Richard W. Fisher,who is President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas,has bitterly criticised the U.S. Government for the inept handling of the federal budget,thus hindering the Federal Reserve's efforts to help the economy recover.Mr.Fisher thus echoed the frustration of the American people with the recent government shutdown and sequestration.
I am not a proponent of increasing government spending without restraint,Fisher,whose father was born in the Australian state of Queensland,said in a Sydney speech to business economists.The excessively over-indebted US Government has been hog-tied,prevented from providing stimulus.It has thus provided a counter-cyclical,suppressive role.The inablity of our government to get its act together has countered the pro-cyclical role of the Federal Reserve.We have a government that hasn't been able to agree on a budget in 5 years;that has historically,under both Republican and Democrat presidents and Congresses,spent money and committed itself to fund long-term programs without devising revenue streams to cover current costs or fund future liabilities.
One could say that GDP would have risen at 3.2 percent had government expediture increased at the same rate as private expenditure.Or,more modestly,if government had just been held constant,instead of contracting,GDP would have grown at an annual rate of 2.6 percent.
Under these circumstances,it is no small wonder American businesses are not expanding and growing jobs at the pace we at the Fed would like to see.It is no small wonder that our economy is growing at a substandard pace compared to previous recoveries.It is no small wonder that the most expansive monetary policy the Fed Open Market Committee has ever engineered has been hampered from accomplishing what it set out to do,Mr Fisher complained.*
China's services sector grew the most in thirteen months in October,a report from the National Bureau of Statistics shows.The services PMI rose to 56.3 in October from 55.4 in September.*
Most Asian markets fell in early Monday trading,with Japan's Nikkei index down 0.88%,perhaps disconcerted by Mr.Fisher's remarks.*
In golf,American Dustin Johnson won the PGA Tour's World Golf Chmapionships-HSBC Champions in Shanghai in a memorable tussle with England's Ian Poulter and Graeme McDowell of Scotland.Johnson said it was the most important win of his career,given the field and the tournament.It was his eigth PGA Tour victory.He praised HSBC for their excellent work on the tournament.
Johnson,Poulter and McDowell spurred each other on with an exhibition of accurate ball-striking.China's WC Liang also played well,tying for fifteenth with his eleven under par 66.Poulter and McDowell will go on to the Turkish Open this week in the European Tour's Race to Dubai.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Where You Can Find the Music

This week's music is available on my Twitter page @Businessblogger.It was not technically possible to post it directly to Blogger,so that's a good alternative.This week there are two selections:
How To Save A Life-The Fray
Heart Full Of Soul-The Yardbirds.
I apologise for the inconvenience,but you can find many other items of interest on my Twitter page anyway,so I hope to see you there as well.

Friday, November 1, 2013

YouTube Problems

YouTube said they were having technical difficulties.I am unable to post the music I had selected.

In Depth:US-Pakistan Relations,part 2

On Wednesday,October 23,President Barack Obama and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif held detailed discussions on the situation in Pakistan and where the two sides will go from here.President Obama commended the resolve of the government and people of Pakistan,armed forces and law enforcement agencies to defeat terrorists and praised Pakistan for its military campaign,the White House said.The two Leaders emphasized that no country's territory should be used to destabilize its neighbors.President Obama reiterated his confidence in Pakistan's commitment and dedication to nuclear security and recognized that Pakistan is fully engaged with the international community on nuclear safety and security issues.
Prime Minister Sharif expressed appreciation for the development and rehabilitation by the U.S. government of roads in Pakistan's border areas.Both sides emphasized the need to maintain and enhance the GLOC's infrastructure.
They welcomed the ongoing security transition in Afghanistan and Afghan-led preparations for next April's presidential elections.Prime Minister Sharif also underlined that the support of the international community in the repatriation of Afghan refugees and their reintegration in Afghanistan was of critical importance to Pakistan.Both Leaders called on the Taliban to join in the political process and enter into dialogue with the Afghan government.
The two Leaders stressed that the improvement in Pakistan-India bilateral relations would greatly enhance prospects for regional peace,stability and prosperity,as it would significantly benefit the lives of citizens on both sides of the border,the White House added.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

In Depth:US-Pakistan Relations,part 1

Last Wednesday,President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan had a wide-ranging discussion on matters of mutual interest to the two countries.They acknowledged the substantial progress in the bilateral relationship over the past year and noted its resiliency,the White House said.President Obama conveyed appreciation for Pakistan's internal and regional security challenges and affirmed that a peaceful,prosperous and democratic Pakistan was an essential partner for the United States in the advancement of shared goals of peace,security and socioeconomic development in South Asia.
Both Leaders welcomed the resumption of the US-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue and reaffirmed its importance as the suitable framework for guiding the bilateral relationship.Secretary Kerry will host the forthcoming Ministerial-level Strategic Dialogue by March 2014.They also decided the strategic priorities for the working groups,including:1.Law Enforcement and Counterterrorism 2.Economics and Finance 3.Energy 4.Security,Strategic Stability,and Non-Proliferation;and 5.the Defense Consultation Group.
Taking note of the robust bilateral defense cooperation between the two countries-including recent miltary engagements,exercises and consultations on regional security-President Obama and Prime Minister Sharif expressed satisfaction with the positive momentum achieved in defense realtions and reaffirmed that this partnership should continue to grow and endure.
The two Leaders noted with satisfaction that the Ground Lines of Communication(GLOCs) are facilitating the movement of US and ISAF cargo through Pakistan.The US plans to continue providing assistance and support,including training and equipment to Pakistan's military and security services.The two Leaders decided to strengthen their cooperation,including in regional maritime security.President Obama noted Pakistan's positive efforts to counter IED's and both leaders resolved to continue working together to disrupt the threat posed by these devices.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Asia This Day:Pakistan-US Relations;Indian Grand Prix

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif concluded several days of dialogue in Washington when he met with President Barack Obama on Wednesday.Mr.Sharif,63,had begun his unprecedented third term as Prime Minister on June 5,2013 following a smooth democratic process.A noted businessman,he owns the industrial conglomerate Ittefaq Group.
Speaking at the White House,the two Leaders assessed their talks for the news media in a serious yet relaxed atmosphere.To see a peaceful transition was an enormous milestone for Pakistan and a testament to the Pakistani people's desire for democracy,the President said.The United States considers Pakistan to be an important strategic partner.
We discussed how the United States could potentially be helpful on energy projects and infrastructure projects.The Prime Minister emphasized how trade can be a powerful engine for growth as well.
We talked about security.We agreed we need to find constructive ways to partner together,in ways that respect both countries.Both the Pakistani people and the American people have suffered from terrorism in the past.It can be a source of strength for our two countries to work together in this way.I pledged to fully brief the Prime Minister and his government as we make progress not only for the Afghan elections,but to long term progress in the region.
The resources India and Pakistan are spending on arms would be better spent on social programs,for the good of the world.We want want to be fully supportive of continued progress in Pakistan.As a young man,I had the opportunity to visit Pakistan,the President recalled warmly.
Despite occasional misunderstanding and tensions,the fundamental good will between the American and Pakistani people will be reflected in our governmental relations,President Obama said.*
I have just had a most cordial exchange of views with the President,Prime Minister Sharif said.Over the past 65 years,our two nations have traveled together.I advised him of our domestic and foreign policy priorities:the economy;education;and combating extremism.We both agreed focusing on these areas is indispensable.
Pakistan and the United States have a strong ongoing counterterrorism cooperation.I raised the issue of drones and the need to end these strikes.Let there be no doubt about our commitment for a peaceful and stable Afghanistan.I told President Obama about my sincere commitment to build a peaceful relationship with India.I also assured the President as a responsible nuclear state,Pakistan would continue to act with restraint.
I look forward to welcoming you and Mrs.Obama to Pakistan,Mr.Sharif concluded.*
In sport,Red Bull Racing scored their fourth straight double victory at the Formula One Indian Grand Prix in New Delhi Sunday,taking both the constructor's title and the world driving championship with Sebastian Vettel,who seemed to be quite the fan favourite in India.It was Vettel's tenth win of the season,and his sixth straight,as he enters the upper echelon of drivers in the history of the sport.
Vettel,26,was beside himself with joy,ignoring his instructions to follow the staid post-race protocol of F1.Instead,he made several donuts with his car to the delight of the fans,then got out of the car and made prostrations to the crowd.Their were no boos such as he faced in Europe as he mounted the podium;only chants of approval from his legion of Indian followers.
For me to join people like Prost,Fangio and Michael(Shumacher) is unbelievable,Vettel said.So many people I have to thank that have been teaching me a lot.I don't feel old.Maybe in 10 years' time I'm a little bit better at understanding what we have done this far,the German driver reflected.At his age,the great Alain Prost had yet to achieve his first Grand Prix win.*
In golf,the CIMB Classic at Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club,Malaysia,the historic first ever PGA Tour event in Asia,was won by American Ryan Moore,30,in a playoff with his compatriot Gary Woodland.It was Moore's third career victory and his second in twelve months.He has played on the PGA Tour for nine years.
Next weekend,the PGA Tour moves on to Shanghai for its second and final Asian stop of the 2013-14 season.It is generally recognised as being the pre-eminent tour in professional golf.*

Friday, October 25, 2013

Distraction: Laughing kookaburra-Australian bird

Live and Let Die - PAUL McCARTNEY & WINGS

China Gets It,Indian Prime Minister Says

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressed satisfaction with his four day visit to China Thursday as he spoke aboard Air India One on his flight back home.There is a commitment on the part of both China and India that peace and tranquility on the border is a pre-requisite for progress in our relationship,Dr.Singh remarked.So I am reasonably satisfied that the Chinese leadership is as serious as we are in ensuring peace and tranquility on the India-China border.*
The Border Defence Cooperation Agreement was signed during the visit.It stipulates that both sides will notify the other of border patrols,and that military leaders will establish better communication with their counterparts on the other side.They will also avoid the practice of having patrols tail one another,in order to prevent antagonism.The two countries have never formally defined their border.*
A pact on the two nations' trans-border river system was also signed.I raised the issue again and there is incremental progress,the prime minister reported.They have agreed to provide data for more number of days.Also they have recognised that the behaviour of the trans-border river system is of interest to all riparian states.So our concerns have been put on the table.I hope there will be more progress in the years to come,Prime Minister Monmohan Singh said.*
In sum,it seems that India's interests were vigorously represented to China,and some significant agreements protecting them signed,over the course of the extensive dialogue between the two nuclear powers.*

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Singh,Putin Focus On Terrorism;Pakistani PM in Washington

The focus of Monday's meeting between Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Russian President Vladimir Putin was on terrorism and those who are not vigilant enough about it on their territory,i.e.,Pakistan,even as Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is on a four day visit to Washington.Following their talks,the two leaders strongly condemned countries that tolerate terrorists within their borders.States that provide aid,abetment and shelter for such terrorist activities are themselves as guilty as the actual perpetrators of terrorism.They need to irreversibly shut down terrorist networks,organisations and infrastructure,and show tangible movement in investigating and bringing quickly to justice those responsible for acts of terrorism.*
Singh and Putin expressed opposition to Pakistan's attempts to rehabilitate Taliban militants,and concern about Afghanistan's future post-2014,when NATO and coalition forces will have largely departed the war-torn country.Anti-Taliban sanctions should be maintained,the Indian and Russian leaders agreed.The sides considered it necessary to extend the sanctions regime introduced by the UN Security Council against the Taliban as one of the most important tools of fighting terrorism.They also said the Mumbai attacks were acts of terror whose perpetrators must be brought to book-referring to Lashkar-e-Tayibba in Pakistan,whose efforts to arrest and try the militants are seen to be anemic by Russia and India.*
Agreement on the building of units 3 and 4 at the Kudankula nuclear power plant on India's southern coast was not ready for signing at the meeting between Singh and Putin.India has enacted tough new safety requirements in light of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan in 2011.
Even as Putin and Singh were meeting,Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was in Washington for four days of high level talks with US officials,including President Barack Obama on Wednesday,as well as Secretary of State John Kerry and Members of Congress.It is the third meeting between Sharif and Kerry in the last three months;it continued the robust dialogue on our shared goal of a stable,secure and prosperous Pakistan,the State Department said.*
Mr.Sharif tried to draw the US into the Kashmir territorial dispute between Pakistan and India while he was in London,describing it as a nuclear flashpoint.The US rebuffed him,however,saying Kashmir was strictly a matter for the two South Asian nations to resolve among themselves.*
The US has quietly resumed military and economic aid to Pakistan in recent days,following a period of tension after the unauthorised US raid and killing of Osama bin Laden on Pakistani territory in May 2011,as well as a US drone strike that mistakenly killed two dozen Pakistani troops in November 2011.*

Monday, October 21, 2013

Asia This Day:Indian Prime Minister Departs for Russia,China

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has embarked on a five day journey to Russia and China.While in China,he will be discussing the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement the two countries have been negotiating to avoid clashes over extensive sections of their 4,000 kilometer border.Mr.Singh will also attempt to improve trade with both Russia and China,including energy and defence projects.*
The scope of our relationship with Russia is unique,the Prime Minister said,encompassing strong and growing cooperation in areas such as defence,nuclear energy,science and technology,hydrocarbons,trade and investment.*
India and China have historical issues and there are areas of concern,Mr.Singh continued.The two governments are addressing them with sincerity and maturity,without letting them affect the overall atmosphere of friendship and cooperation.I will be discussing some of these issues as part of strategic communication between leaders with a forward-looking and problem-solving approach.*
Besides arms purchases from Russia,while in Moscow he will also discuss completion of a nuclear reactor Russia has been building on India's southern coast that has caused safety concerns.*
In April,Indian and Chinese troops faced off for three weeks in a remote Himalayan desert region,when India accused Chinese soldiers of intruding 20 kilometers/12 miles into Indian territory.Another standoff occurred in August.*
China's Fosun International is buying 1 Chase Manhattan Plaza in New York City for 725 million dollars.It is the largest ever NYC purchase by a Chinese buyer.JP Morgan Chase will relocate most of its employees from the iconic 60 storey tower,which has 2.2 million square feet of office space,to other sites in the city.The US is China's number one choice for real estate investing;Canada is second.*
In golf,South Korean Jin Jeong won the European Tour's ISPS Handa Perth International in Australia Sunday,defeating England's Ross Fisher in a playoff.Australians Brody Ninyette and Dimitrios Papadatos,along with Englishman Danny Willett,tied for fifth place.*
JP Morgan Chase(JPM)

Friday, October 18, 2013

Howard Jones - No One Is To Blame

Autistic New York Boy Still Missing

The disappearance of Avonte Oquendo,14,from his Queens high school on the afternoon of October 4 has become a major incident as police and rescue personnel in New York and other states comb the region for the missing autistic teen.Metropolitan Transit Authority police are thoroughly searching subway stations at the beginning of each shift,and many volunteers have joined in the effort.Avonte is reportedly fond of trains,and police suggest he may have boarded one.
There is a $77,500 reward for information on where Avonte is.Police and rescue vehicles are playing a recording of his mother's voice asking him to approach the flashing lights on the vehicles.A school safety officer told Avonte to go back upstairs when he approached the front door of Center Boulevard School in Long Island City.Avonte,who does not speak,turned and went down another hallway,exiting the school by a side door,surveillance video shows.
It is common for autistic children to wander,throwing their families into an uproar.The Oquendo family has filed a Notice of Claim-the first step in a lawsuit against the City of New York.
Avonte is described as being black,five-foot-three inches tall and weighing about 120 pounds,and was last seen wearing a grey striped shirt,black jeans and black sneakers.If you know anything about him,please call the NYPD Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Yellen's Qualities;Default's Consequences

Janet Yellen will likely be confirmed as chairman of the Federal Reserve,said Senator Bob Corker,R-Tennessee.*
Experience,independence,collegial leadership:Janet Yellen embodies these things,according to Professor Glenn Hubbard of Columbia University.She is the right choice.I don't expect material differences from the Bernanke Fed.*
Yellen would be the first female chairman in the Fed's 100 year history.Indeed,she would be the first woman to head a central bank in the world.*
One of the challenges for her is how to clearly communicate the Fed's policy to the market and the public.When you look at her voting record,she was three times to vote for a rate hike;then a rate cut,said David Rosenburg,chief economist and strategist at Gluskin Sheff&Associates.She was consistently one of the most thoughtful people around that table.She absolutely nailed the 2007 recession.
She's a very distinguished scholar and has practical experience applying her work.She's a very collegial leader and brings groups together,Mr.Rosenberg pointed out.*
I think default's got long term as well as short term consequences,said David Kovacevich,chairman emeritus of Wells Fargo.America is where people went for safety.We're losing that image and confidence.We just cannot let that happen.We just can't have a default.We have the resources to pay our bills;we just don't have the will.
It's much more serious than the fiscal cliffs.People are fed up with both sides of the aisle.They want to see a solution for the American people,not politicising every issue that comes up.
People cannot invest in defaulted currencies.It's more serious than people think.If you really get into the details of this,you get very scared of what could happen,Mr.Kovacevich warned.*
Wells Fargo Corporation(WFC)

Monday, October 14, 2013

Asia This Day:India Craves Growth;US Default Impacts

Tapering will have an impact globally,and India cannot escape,said Chandra Kochhar,CEO of ICICI Bank.India's growth rate has come down 4.5%.We have to take India's growth rate back.If we don't,investors will stand there waiting for growth to come back.*
There's a virtuous cycle that can start if you bring the growth rate back.The investment story has fallen off currently.We need to make sure projects are approved and the approval is constant,and not withdrawn,Ms.Kochhar advised.*
India's trade with the US was 92.5 billion dollars last year.*
Japan,Indonesia and Hong Kong markets are closed today for holidays.The MSCI Asia-Pacific index fell 0.14% in early Monday trading on more than estimated Chinese consumer price inflation,and less than estimated Chinese exports,as well as the US debt impasse.In Australia,stocks were also hurt by Oz Minerals cutting its full year output forecast and the recent decline in gold prices.*
India's Nifty Fifty futures index was down 0.13%.*
Japan holds 1.14 trillion of US Government debt.Finance Minister Tara Aso said Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and the US Government has an understanding of what default would mean;but we must question whether Congress does.Nonetheless,we expect an agreement to be reached.*
The consequences of the US defaulting on its debt are just unthinkable,said Sacha Tihanyi of Scotiabank.What would happen?A massive risk-off event across the world.A massive outflow of funds from the equity and bonds space.Asian currencies would fare the worst.
It's a good idea to diversify away from the US dollar as the world's reserve currency the way China has called for,but they can't just wholesale run away from US Treasuries.Diversifying has to be a gradual process.
China's looking OK.I'm still constructive on the currency.The CPI inflation was food-driven.I'm not worried about that.Imports remain fairly robust-a testament to the health of the Chinese economy,Mr.Tihanyi observed.*
In sport,Sebastian Vettel of Germany won the Formula One Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka City on Sunday,with Australia's Mark Webber second,and Romain Grosjean of France third on the podium.
The Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur was won by American teenager Lexi Thompson,18,while China's Shanshan Feng was second,and Suzanne Petterson of Norway finished third.*
Bank of Nova Scotia(BNS)

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Should You Invest in the PIMCO Total Return Fund

The policy rate is the key going forward,said PIMCO founder and co-CIO Bill Gross,the "Bond King."We at PIMCO think it's gonna stay low for a long,long time.We think that unemployment of 6.5% is their target.We think the policy rate is the key, and has to stay down there to anchor and keep other rates low.*
Every week that we keep the government shut down subtracts 0.10% from GDP.Ultimately,the possibility of default is a million to one.The uncertainty going forward is not good for the Treasury rate.Every month,the Treasury brings in 300 billion dollars,and pays out 45 billion.It wouldn't even think about defaulting.*
The Total Return Fund suffered rather significant outflows,but September was a magical month,and investors are coming back.*
As for overseas investing,Brazil has particular problems in terms of its infrastructure and pension payments.It's not the paradise many investors had thought,Bill Gross observed.*
Despite outflows for five consecutive months,PIMCO's Total Return Fund is regarded as a core bond holding by many.It is the world's largest mutual fund.It saw 5.4 billion dollars of outflows in September,and 28.7 billion of outflows year to date.That's -10.1% of assets under management.This decline in popularity is pegged to a Wall Street notion that the Federal Reserve will soon begin hiking rates-a belief that hasn't been supported by the continuing slow pace of the recovery from the financial crisis and the drag of fiscal uncertainty.
The fund closed at 10.82 a share on Monday,down 0.09%.Nonetheless,Morningstar Associates gives it an outstanding five star rating.The fund has very low expenses of 0.46%,and bonds are still considered an essential element of a balanced portfolio.Over the long term,you are better off having significant exposure to the bond market.Among bond mutual funds,Total Return remains the clear favourite.*
PIMCO Total Return Fund(PTTRX),PIMCO Total Return ETF(BOND)

Monday, October 7, 2013

Asia This Day:APEC Summit;Petronas Plans for British Columbia

US Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker are in Bali,Indonesia for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit of Pacific Rim nations.President Barack Obama was supposed to be a participant there as well,but political conflict in Washington is preventing him from attending.It is the third time since 2010 the president has had to cancel a trip to the region because of domestic concerns.
This is damaging America's reputation.The Jakarta Globe's Saturday edition depicts the president on its cover with the headline "Diminishing Superpower."There is a train of thought that says that China and Russia will fill the gap of the president's absence,reveling in the attention.If the US cannot manage its domestic affairs,how can it be a credible influence in the Asia Pacific?
John Rice,Vice Chairman of General Electric,said the general theme is,the US shutdown is disappointing,with a lot of unproductive rhetoric in Washington.American companies at the summit are disappointed the president is not here,but they also understand there are political issues at home.There are great leaders here:John Kerry and Penny Pritzker.
I think the US is showing commitment to Asia.We have to see what happens in the next couple of weeks and months,not just focus on one meeting the president missed.I'm optimistic about a resolution of the debt ceiling.Everyone knows how serious that would be.
The impacy of tapering is on exchange rates,but we can't make decisions based on currency moves that take place over six months.Companies like ours have to put capital and expertise on these infrastructure projects.We expect infrastrucutre requirements to go up an average of 15% over the next 5-10 years.Hundreds of millions of people need it.They want the same things you and I want.
We see health care deals and energy deals.If you don't have electricity,you can't provide for your people,Mr.Rice pointed out.*
Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker said it's about a diversifying relationship with the Asia-Pacific:an economic;national security;commercial relationship.American companies are eager to come to Asia,and there is tremendous receptivity by Asian economies to receive American business.*
Malaysia's state energy firm Petronas plans to build a 35 billion dollar liquid natural gas plant and pipeline in British Columbia to export shale gas.The terminal would be completed by 2018.*
The MSCI Asia Pacific index fell 0.84% in early Monday trading,on fears around the US budget impasse.*
Petronas Gas BHD(PTG:Bursa Malaysia)

Friday, October 4, 2013

Violent America:Second Washington Incident Reinforces Image

The second high profile violent incident in less than a month in Washington,DC reinforces America's image of being a deeply troubled and violent country divided against itself,rocked by both external and internal forces.The rough seas continued in the DC Metropolitan area on Thursday afternoon as Miriam Carey,34,of Stamford,Connecticut went on a high speed,crazy ride with her baby daughter down Pennsylvania Avenue,careening into other vehicles,running red lights and injuring a Secret Service and US Capitol Police officer in the process,and ultimately resulting in her own death when she was fired on by police.Both injured officers are recovering well,and her year-old daughter,Erica,is in good condition in protective custody.*
The suspect's mother said she had been hospitalised with post partum depression,an affliction that bedevils some women after childbirth,a few months after Erica's birth in August 2012.Miriam Carey was a dental hygenist who was described by her employer,Dr.Steven Oken,as being a non-political type who was always happy.I am floored it would be her,Dr.Oken said.A neighbour at her condo complex affirmed that Carey was mentally ill,however,and said that Carey's tyres had recently been slashed in Connecticut.Police obtained a search warrant and combed Carey's condo for evidence Thursday,where she reportedly lived with the child's father.*
The incident began at the outer security perimeter of the White House at 2:12 pm,where Carey struck a temporary black security fence at a checkpoint and refused to obey uniformed Secret Service officers,later striking a Secret Service vehicle and injuring an officer as she fled down Pennsylvania Avenue.No shots were fired at the White House itself,said DC Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier.There were several crime scenes and shots fired along the route,Lanier added,although Carey was not herself armed.A lot of things happened that were not on videos the media were showing,Lanier said.The incident showed that the security perimeters worked and did exactly what they were supposed to do.*
At one point during the high speed chase,police had managed to stop Carey's car,but she backed up and sped off again,oblivious to a hail of gunfire.
The incident came to its fatal conclusion as Carey crashed into a second checkpoint in the 100 block of Maryland Avenue near the Capitol,where she was shot dead by police,who discovered the child then and removed her from the car for medical evaluation.
Soon after the crime,correspondent Chuck Todd of NBC News remarked that he began getting the same old highly partisan emails from politicians again,although they were more politely worded this time.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Shutdown Begins:What It Means To You

There have been 17 US Government shutdowns since 1970,and the last one was 17 years ago,in 1996 under President Bill Clinton.At that time,18.6% of government workers were furloughed,and it lasted for 21 days-the longest shutdown to date.
Before that one,there were two shutdowns in 1995.The first of those shutdowns resulted in a market rally.The second 1995 shutdown caused a market plunge,then a flattening out.
According to Tom Switzer of the US Studies Centre in Sydney,the last shutdown,in 1996,cost the Republican party dearly at the polls.In the end,it also led to significant compromise that resulted in economic prosperity.
This time around,the debt ceiling issue in about two weeks' time is even more important than the shutdown.If that goes unresolved,it'll probably spike an economic downturn.Now it's a very polarised environment.A dysfunctional hegemon will be bad for the US and for world markets.*
On a practical level,essential services such as national security and law enforcement,as well as air traffic control and pension payments,will continue to be provided.National parks will close,however,and 800,000 government workers will be laid off,crimping retail sales and tax revenue.The shutdown will untimately cost the government 300 million dollars a day,IHS calculated,and Bank of America said a two week shutdown would shave a half percent off GDP growth.*
US stock futures rose slightly,along with Asian stocks,immediately the shutdown began at the stroke of midnight Tuesday.Apparently everyone who wanted to sell the news had already done so by the time it actually happened.In the commodities markets,gold was flat and oil declined about a half percent.*
If the US Government is dysfunctional,the Japanese government is anything but.The Japanese Tankan survey showed soaring business confidence;and the Abe government announced it will raise the sales tax from 5% to 8% in April 2014,then to 10% in 2015.There will also be a 50 billion dollar stimulus package to cushion the effect of the sales tax increase.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Asia This Day:Markets Fall on US Shutdown Worry

The MSCI Asia Pacific index fell 1.1% in early Monday trading on fears of a US Government shutdown at midnight because of the budget impasse in Washington.All 10 industry groups in the index retreated.*
Also looming in Washington is the conflict in Congress over raising the debt ceiling,which is necessary for the US Government to continue borrowing the money it needs to sustain itself.The decline in Asian stocks is really a matter of selling into the strength of the Asia Pacific index's 7% gain in September,in light of the impending double fiscal crisis in US Government finances.*
Both Hong Kong and mainland China markets will be closed Tuesday for a holiday,and mainland markets won't reopen till October 8.*
The HSBC-Markit Economics Performance Manufacturing Index for China came in at 50.2 in September versus 50.1 in August,missing the estimate.*
A comment by Gurbat on Bloomberg's website said the BSE Sensex is poised to increase its downward momentum.The only bright hope is the holiday season for the next six weeks.But given current dynamics the best you can hope for is a retest of highs this year.Added faintandfuzzy:Nice to see US politicians acting like children again...taking the rest of the world economy with them.*
About 19.6% of Hong Kong's citizens are now poor,a new report for the territory's Chief Executive said.Home prices there have doubled since 2009.A family of three has a median income of 23,100 Hong Kong/2979 US dollars per month,according to government figures.
Poverty affects Hong Kong's harmony and stability,thus affecting its long term competitiveness,Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said Saturday.In 2012,the number of millionaires in Hong Kong rose 35.7%,to 114,000,a Cap Gemini-RBC report indicated.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Friday, September 27, 2013

Flu Vaccines Available Now-what you should know

According to the CDC,164 children died of seasonal influenza in the US last flu season.The adult mortality rate in 2010 was 0.2%,or 500 deaths per 100,000 people.On average,about 24,000 adults will die in a typical flu season.
Flu season varies.It can begin as early as October and run through Spring.Last season,hospitalisation for those 65 and older spiked in mid-December and peaked in mid-March.
The flu vaccine is available right now for those 6 months of age and up,and
everyone age 6 months and up is urged to get vaccinated.Last season,56.6% of children ages 6 months to 17 got vaccinated,and 41.5% of adults 18 and up.
This year,a new quadrivalent form of the vaccine is being rolled out.It protects against four strains of flu,rather than the traditional three.All FluMist vaccines will be quadrivalent this season.FluMist is only for people up to age 49.The quadrivalent injection will not be available everywhere,but by three years from now will become the standard vaccine.You may request the quadrivalent form from your provider,but you should still get vaccinated even if it isn't available in your area.The traditional trivalent shot is much better than nothing at all.There is also a concentrated,more effective form of the vaccine for those 65 and older.
It takes around two weeks for the flu vaccine to become effective in your body.The vaccine is on average 56% effective at preventing the flu;but is believed to lessen the flu's severity,even when it doesn't prevent it.
Complications of influenza include bacterial pneumonia;ear and sinus infections;dehydration;worsening of chronic conditions such as congestive heart failure,asthma and diabetes;and even heart attacks.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

What Investors Should Look For

It's getting very confusing,said Mohamed El-Erian,CEO and co-CIO of PIMCO.What you're having at the Fed fundamentally is,difficult decision-making in uncertainty and changing leadership.1.Not a really good feel for the economy 2.Trying to get the market focused on the journey,but the market is focused on the destination.Put on top of that the change in leadership.*
It's really important to act on what you know for sure.1.You know they can't hike rates;the economy just isn't strong enough.2.You don't know about tapering,and we're stuck in a low level growth equilibrium of 2%,and high unemployment with low inflation.We don't see the demand for the high liqiudity.The transmission mechanism is blocked.*
Look for the safest fixed income,the front end of the curve,up to five years.On the equity side,companies that will continue to take cash out and distribute through dividends and buybacks.*
Our assumption is,Congress will not create yet another self-manufactured crisis,Mr.El-Erian added.He is a long time associate of PIMCO founder Bill Gross,"the Bond King,"and formerly managed the Harvard endowment.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Asia This Day:China Manufacturing;Singapore Grand Prix

Japanese markets are closed Monday for the autumnal equinox holiday.Hong Kong's market was closed until after lunch because of Typhoon Usagi,which crossed the territory without causing serious injury or damage.*
Steve Brice,chief international strategist at Standard Charterd,said the tapering will happen at some point,and that will drain liquidity from the market.Expect continuing volatility for the Indian market.We're not convinced that the Chinese authorities want a significant rebound in Chinese growth.There's been good data,but we're not convinced and haven't bought into a major bull market in China just yet.*
We like the European stock market for a 6-12 month time horizon.We're still relatively constructive on the US.We're waiting for the earnings.We want to see what happens on the cost side.*
The HSBC flash PMI showed that China manufacturing data beat its estimate,causing stocks to rise in early Monday trading.The unofficial index rose to 51.2 in September from 50.1 in August,reaching its highest level since March.The official data comes out in October.*
Sebastian Vettel of Germany won the Formula One Singapore Grand Prix,which was held at night on a challenging street course,solidifying his overall lead for Red Bull Racing in the championship race.Spain's Fernando Alonso was second for Ferrari,and Kimi Raikkonen of Finland finished third for Lotus.A big fireworks display was held immediately the race ended.*
The MSCI Asia Pacific index was up 0.32% in early Monday trading.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Joy Covey,Helped Grow Amazon.com

Joy Covey,a high school dropout who rose to become a formative leader of Amazon.com,was killed Wednesday,September 18 in San Mateo County,California.She was struck by a minivan while cycling downhill on Skyline Boulevard near Portola Valley and was pronounced dead at the scene,a California Highway Patrol spokesman said.She was fifty years old.
The brilliant and beautiful blonde had been named to Fortune magazine's Most Powerful Women in Business 1999.The daughter of a doctor and a nurse,she dropped out of San Mateo High School in her freshman year,but passed the high school equivalency exam and graduated from Cal State Fresno in 1982 at age 19,when she passed the CPA exam,scoring second best in the nation.She worked for accounting firm Arthur Young LLP before attending Harvard,from which she earned her MBA and JD degrees in 1989.
Ms.Covey worked in Silicon Valley as chief financial officer for audio software firm Digidesign,Inc.,shepherding it through its IPO and eventual sale to Avid Technology,Inc. before accepting the CFO position at the fledgling Amazon.com in Seattle in 1996.At the time,it had only 150 employees.Her special role at Amazon was to help founder Jeff Bezos recruit senior management and be the firm's Wall Street liaison,sharing the money-losing company's vision with nervous investors.This freed Bezos to focus on the retailer's all-important customer experience.
A multimillionaire from her Amazon stock options compensation,Covey resigned from the rat race in 2000 to pursue her interests in extreme sports and the environment,earning her pilot's license and becoming a trustee and Treasurer at the Natural Resources Defense Council.She was appointed to the board of JetBlue Airways in 2003.
Ms.Covey is survived by her son Tyler,eight.Our sincere condolences to her friends and family.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Navy Yard Massacre:D.C. Doctor Pleads For Change

This is not America,said an emotional Dr.Janis Orlowski,Chief Medical Officer at Medstar Washington Hospital Center,which was treating victims of the Navy Yard Massacre Monday in the nation's capital.This is not Washington,D.C.We've got to work to get rid of this.This is not good.
The visibly shaken trauma expert has clearly had it with American gun violence.
Dr.Orlowski noted that military physicians train at the urban hospital to sharpen thier gunshot wound skills before heading for war zones.There's something evil about this violence,she lamented.We've got to help each other to overcome it.I wish our doctors weren't so good at this.I'd rather they spent their time treating something else.*
An African American ex-Navy Sailor with a history of anger management issues and firearms violations,Aaron Alexis,34,was solely responsible for the rampage,police now believe.He had been treated by Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals for psychiatric problems,which,according to a 2004 police report,his father believed originated from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder acquired when he helped rescue victims of the 9-11 attack on the World Trade Center in Manhattan.In 2004,Alexis shot out the tires of construction workers he had a dispute with.In 2010,he fired a gun through the floor of a neighbour he was quarreling with.*
This violent,quarrelsome side was in stark contrast with the helpful,quiet and studious New York native with a fascination with Asain culture that friends say they knew.He served in the Navy Reserves from 2007-11 as an Aviation Electrician's Mate,but was discharged for a pattern of misconduct.Recently he worked as a computer refresher for a Hewlett-Packard subcontractor that did work at the Washington Navy Yard,which he was authorised to enter.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Asia This Day:Bernanke Succession;Syrian Framework

Asian markets were cheered by developments in the US and Geneva Monday morning,sending the MSCI Asia Pacific index up 0.55%.The withdrawal of former US Treasury Secretary Larry Summers from consideration to head the Federal Reserve is being seen as a definite plus by Asia,as it will supposedly make the tapering of supportive Fed policies a little less severe.
We're seeing the rally as being based on Summers being a litle more agressive on tapering,said Philip McNicholas,ASEAN economist at BNP Paribas.Broadly speaking,we do see down side risks to the region with this tapering.We actually think Malaysia is more sensitive.Malaysian markets are closed for a national holiday today.
In the Philippines,the government is being more effective in its spending.That process is still ongoing and showing improvement.Overall,the fundamental story is still there.In Indonesia,the government was able to implement fuel price reform in June.We do think that Thailand can ride this out.
Markets are expecting the Federal Reserve to make an announcement on tapering this week.Mr.Summers' prospective nomination to be Fed Chairman had become highly politicised,and even Democrats opposed him in an open letter supporting the nomination of Janet Yellen,who has become the consensus candidate.
Bill Gross of PIMCO tweeted that Summers' exit makes Monday a huge day for the risk-on trade,i.e.,the buying of equities.
Another positive influence on world markets is the agreement in Geneva on Saturday of a framework for Syrian chemical weapons disarmament by the US and Russia.This will now go to the UN for the final formulation of a Security Council resolution spelling out the details.The framework gives Syria one week to provide a complete inventory of its stockpile;stipulates the first inspection of the weapon sites in November;and the destruction of all the weapons by mid-2014.
US forces will remain on standby in the region to back the agreement up with military action.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Birthday People:September 13-14,2013

September 13-Actress Jacqueline Bisset is 69.
September 14-Actor Andrew Lincoln,39.He is best known for his role as Rick in "The Walking Dead."
Happy Weekend,dear readers.

UN Special Envoy to Join US-Russia Talks

Lakhdar Brahimi,the former Algerian foreign minister who is now UN and Arab League Special Envoy to Syria,will join the second day of talks between Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Geneva,Switzerland.Mr.Brahimi is an expert in mediation and peacekeeping operations and serves as a Special Adviser to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.
Kerry and Lavrov had a dinner meeting Thursday evening to discuss technical details of the Russian proposal to turn over Syrian chemical weapons to international supervision.Syria itself submitted a letter that begins the process of its membership in the chemical weapons convention,which actually entails a series of legal obligations over a period of years,including the destruction of all of their chemical weapons within ten years.There are 189 other member countries of the treaty which has the force of international law.
Kerry told Lavrov we are serious,as you are,about engaging in substantive,meaningful negotiations even as our military maintains its current posture to keep up the pressure on the Assad regime.Expectations are high.They are high for the United States-perhaps even more so for Russia to deliver on the promise of this moment,Mr.Kerry continued.The talks could reportedly extend into Saturday.The two top diplomats had a cordial demeanor in public as the US insists on a definitive,verifiable plan that catalogs,collects and destroys Syrian chemical weapons based on a full accounting with exact locations.
Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said that the threat of military action must be maintained.Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel spoke to some of the US Navy ships in the Eastern Mediterranean,who assured him they remain ready to execute the president's orders.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Russian Proposal:Real or Smokescreen

Even as the entire US Senate was in a classified briefing by the president's national security team,the talk in Washington and the news media swirled around a Russian proposal,welcomed by Syria,that the Assad regime's chemical weapons be placed under international control.It is being taken so seriously that a procedural vote in the Senate on military action against Syria slated for Thursday was postponed while the proposal is checked out.
Experts pointed out that reliably emptying Syria of its vast stockpile of chemical weapons would require a ceasefire in the civil war,and a long period for inspectors to go in and document the weapons and remove them.
Deputy National Security Adviser Tony Blinken said we'll talk to the Russians about it and see where it goes.Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich said this is a shaky moment,and a fascinating moment about how this turns out.The challenge for the president is,the American people aren't there.
President Barack Obama himself said we're gonna run this to ground to see if we can arrive at something that is enforceable and serious.We don't want just a stalling and delaying tactic.It may be Assad is under pressure from his allies.If we don't maintain a credible threat,I don't think we will get the type of agreement we want to see,Mr.Obama warned.
Senator Bob Corker,R-Tennessee,said if it's real,and if Syria is willing to make immediate concrete steps,that's certainly worth looking at.But it's very difficult to tell if it's that,or just a way of creating a fog around the whole issue.
That view was echoed by Senator Lindsey Graham,R-South Carolina.
The Russians know that their proposal will at least slow down the decision-making process in Washington,giving Syria extra time to prepare for an attack;they also know that,at the most,it could sap the will of Congress to endorse the president's mililtary action plan;and if the Russian proposal were accepted,the Syrians could drag their feet the whole way,while squirreling away a significant part of their stockpile.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Asia This Day:the New Australian Government-plus Syria

The first new government in six years is taking power in Australia as long time opposition leader Tony Abbott takes the reins of the prime ministership from Kevin Rudd.Mr.Abbott said the strong US relationship has been key in Australia's foreign policy,and would remain that way.Domestically,he wants to be an infrastructure prime minister,with a bulldozer on every street and cranes in the sky.*
Alex Malley,CEO of CPA Australia,said we're reasonably comfortable with the incoming government.We lost an opportunity to balance our economy more and restructuring when mining was at its peak.We've been in Asia for 60 years,but Australia is only in its infancy in understanding the Asian Century.We need government to work with small and medium business.We need to stay relevant at a cost,efficiency and cultural level.*
The awarding of the 2020 Summer Olympics to Tokyo is expected to add a trillion dollars to the Japanese economy over seven years.*
China's August exports were up 7.2%,beating the 5.5% estimate.*
Following Sebastian Vettel's victory at the Italian Grand Prix Sunday,Formula One racing moves back to Asia for the Singapore Grand Prix,a nighttime race,in two weeks' time.*
President Barack Obama faces a hectic week of lobbying for military action against Syria as Congress returns today from its August recess.Military action is not immanent,since France now says it will not participate until the UN weapons inspectors present their report,and Congress is still largely undecided about the president's plan.*
Both the full House and Senate will receive classified briefings from the president's national security team early this week,and the president will address the nation Tuesday at 9pm Eastern.After that,complex legislative maneuvering will determine just when the votes on the president's plan will take place.In sum,it is uncertain at this point when,or even if,there will be military action,or who,apart from France,will participate in it,and in what way,although the White House remains fully committed to this course.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Birthday People September 6-7,2013

September 6-Comedian Jeff Foxworthy is 55.
September 7-Actress Evan Wood,25.The North Carolinian appeared in "Thirteen,""The Wrestler" and "American Gothic."
Have a great weekend.

The Syria Crisis:Insights and Policy

Senator John McCain,R-Arizona,said on Thursday that the President of the United States shared with him and Senator Lindsey Graham,R-South Carolina,his goals for military action against Syria:
1.To degrade Assad's chemical weapons capabilities.
2.To lend greater support to the Free Syria Army and those who seek to prevail.
3.To achieve a change in the battlefield to switch the momentum,which is thanks to Russian and Iranian equipment being flown in and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.
Unless Bashar al-Assad believes he is going to lose,it will be impossible to get him to negotiate.*
The classified briefing we got on Wednesday was excellent and answered many questions.*
The reason the American people are so opposed to miltary action against Syria is:
1.Americans are very sceptical because of Iraq.
2.The President mishandled it.
Americans don't understand this is a regional war.It's not confined to Syria.*
It's understandable there is oppositon to military action in Congress.There's no more important vote a Member of Congress will cast,Senator McCain pointed out.*
The Pentagon is developing a more intense option for an attack on Syria.This would involve strategic bombers such as the B-52 and B-2 stealth bomber,as well as cruise missiles launched from warships.Strategic bombers can fly from bases in the US and fire missiles at a distance from the target,so they would not have to fly over Syria itself.No final decision has been made.*
According to the BBC,the G20 summit in St.Petersburg,Russia has revealed a split among the nations attending over military action against Syria,which Russia itself strongly opposes.Taking Obama's side,British Prime Minister David Cameron said it would send an appalling message to Assad and others if the US failed to act.German Chancellor Angela Merkel wants to wait until the UN weapons inspectors deliver their report,which could take weeks.