Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Asia This Day:Australia and Japan Outlook

Any talk of a currency war is overblown,said Australian Treasurer Wayne Swan.Market-based exchange rates,fiscal and monetary policy supporting economic growth and jobs is the G-20 approach.
Everyone else has a stake in the US achieving economic growth.What we really want to hear is certainty,not policy uncertainty and regulatory uncertainty.That's the climate we need.
David MacLemore,Chairman and Interim CEO of mineral exploration firm Boart Longyear said we're seeing some pricing pressure,but overall it's starting to stabilise and we're confident in the guidance.We're a global player with 30-35% of our business in Australia.
It's a general mining industry cost reset.It doesn't feel like a cyclical downturn.
Boart Longyear is a Utah-based company that provides drilling services and products.
The basic problem in Australia is,the mining sector has driven growth,according to Shane Oliver of AMP Capital Investors.We can't rely on that anymore.At the same time,the rest of the economy is relatively soft.
The Bank of Japan said the economy is relatively weak,but Japan will return to a moderate recovery path.
The share market in Japan is maybe telling us something.I think there's a good chance it's telling us in twelve months' time the economic measures are starting to work.The Japanese government has started down the right track and the share market reflects that.So far,it's up about 10% this year.We could see it rise 30%.
In early Tuesday trading,the Nikkei index was down 2.12%,and the ASX 200 declined 0.80%,on concerns about political gridlock in Italy.
Boart Longyear(ASX:BLY),iShares Japan Index Fund(EWJ),iShares Australia Index Fund(EWA)

Monday, February 25, 2013

Sublime and Ridiculous:The 85th Annual Academy Awards

When Sally Field,wearing a red Valentino dress,arrived at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles for the 85th Annual Academy Awards,she brought her years of accumulated wisdom with her.She felt that she wouldn't care if she won or lost the best supporting actress competition for her role in "Lincoln."It wouldn't determine what she got out of the experience.
Her expressions during the ceremony seemed to back that up.There was no distress on her face when she did in fact lose to Ann Hathaway.She smiled and applauded when others received their awards.That someone would be surly about not winning an Oscar is something only in the minds of the media.It is perhaps their innermost wish,so they will have something outlandish to report about.
Anne Hathaway was attired in a white Prada dress and Tiffany jewelry.She said she looked up to Field and her other competitors.Best actress winner Jennifer Lawrence.22,wore a Dior Haute Couture strapless white gown which she tripped over as she ascended the steps to the stage to receive her Oscar for "Silver Lining Playbook."She was uninjured and gave a simple,unaffected acceptance speech.
Vocalist Shirley Bassey,76,gave a remarkably competent performance of "Goldfinger,"a James Bond theme which she first sang in the 1960s.
Once you discover him,I think Lincoln absolutely stays with you forever,said  Daniel Day-Lewis of his best actor Oscar-winning role in "Lincoln".He is the only man to win best actor three times-out of just five films,no less.His acceptance speech was basically an exercise in humility.
Other winners were:
Best supporting actor:Christopher Waltz,"Django Unchained"
Best foreign language film:"Amour,"Austria
Best original score:Mychael Danna,"Life of Pi"
Best original song:Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth,"Skyfall"
Best director:Ang Lee of Taiwan,"Life of Pi"
Best picture:"Argo"
A low point of the ceremony was host Seth MacFarlane cracking a joke about Abraham Lincoln's assassination.His other wisecracks were better received.
First Lady Michelle Obama delivered a surprise short speech via satellite feed from the White House on the best picture award,citing the importance of the arts for young people and announcing the winner,"Argo."

Friday, February 22, 2013

Kerry Gathers His Thoughts Before First Overseas Trip

Our lives as Americans are more entwined than ever before with the lives of those in other countries we may never have visited.My friends,no politicians can put this genie back in the bottle,said new Secretary of State John Kerry at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville on the eve of his first overseas trip,to Europe and the Middle East.Our citizens deserve a strong foreign policy to protect our place in the world.
This is a time to continue to engage for the sake of our safety and economy-95% of the world's customers live outside our own country.These investments in foreign engagement are paying for themselves.Indonesia is placing the largest order for aircraft that Boeing has ever filled.China is out second largest trading partner.Eleven of our fifteen largest trading partners used to be beneficiaries of US foreign assistance.
We are a country without any permanent enemies.Senator John McCain and I worked for 10 years to bring about relations with Vietnam.Our trade with Vietnam has increased more than 700% since then.
Our foreign service personnel screen for potential security threats on far shores before they can reach the homeland.A transatlantic partnership will match the scope and ambition of our transpacific partnership talks.
Jobs and trade are not the whole story;nor should they be.Failed states are among our greatest security threats.Deploying diplomats today is much cheaper than deploying troops tomorrow.It's national security insurance that we're buying,as Senator Lindsey Graham said.Diplomats fight corruption overseas and support the rule of law.All of that danger and risk that they take makes us more secure.
Countries are more secure and prosperous when women and girls are afforded more opportunities.Today more than a quarter of the Afghan parliament is women.
Foreign assistance is an investment in a stronger America.For the first time in history,young people around the world act as a global cohort.We need to help them and us use this remarkable network in a positive way.There is no pause button on the future.Responding is the American thing to do.
The greatest challenge is not in the hands of diplomats,but of Congress.We can't be strong in the world if we are not strong at home.My credibility as a diplomat is strongest when America puts its own fiscal house in order-and that has to be now.Let's not lose this opportunity because of politics.
After World War II,we didn't spike the football;we created a more level playing field,and we are stronger for it today.Now we face a similar crossroads as new markets bloom in every part of the world.Our sense of responsibility has to be exercised.What happens over there matters right here,and it matters that we get this right,Secretary of State John Kerry concluded before departing for the UK,Germany,France,Italy,Turkey,Egypt,the UAE,Saudi Arabia and Qatar this weekend.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Where The Money Is,Mr.Executive

A frustrated Walmart executive reportedly asked where the money is,noting that February sales figures are a total disaster.One place the money is,is in people's gas tanks.Nationwide,gasoline prices are edging up to 4.00 a gallon-if they are not already there and beyond.It is the earliest in the year gas prices have been this high.Food prices are also running quite high.
Another important fact is,the payroll tax has been reinstated by Congress,and most people are making significantly less now-at least four figures less per year.Mr.Executive,that's where the money is.People are counting their pennies,and it's hurting Walmart sales.
It isn't just Walmart that's feeling the closed wallets,either.It's casual dining establishments;it's also the higher end Macy's department store,as well as Nordstrom and Kohl's.More and more retail stocks are deteriorating,according to Carter Worth,Chief Market Technician at Oppenheimer Asset Management.Americans are gonna start feeling this wherever they are on the income spectrum.
Gold prices have also been declining lately.This looks to be just beginning.This is a mess.I think we're going down to 1500.00 an ounce.Dan Nathan,co-founder of RiskReversal.com and a CNBC Options Action contributor,adds that the technicals make you want to stay away from gold right now.
Oppenheimer Holdings,Inc.(OPY)

Monday, February 18, 2013

Pictures: Meteorite Hits Russia

Pictures: Meteorite Hits Russia

NOVA Hiring Full Time Faculty For 2013-14

Northern Virginia Community College,Virginia's largest institution of  higher education and one of America's largest community colleges,is actively seeking full time faculty for 9-month,entry level appointments.Positions are available on the Alexandria,Annandale,Loudoun,Manassas and Woodbridge Campuses.
Disciplines include:
Masters degree required;teaching experience preferred.
For more information and to apply,visit www.nwcc.edu and click on "Jobs at NOVA."

Friday, February 15, 2013

GlaxoSmithKline Submits New Melanoma Therapies

GlaxoSmithKline has submitted a Marketing Authorisation Application to the European Medicines Agency for trametininb as a monotherapy,and in combination with dabrafenib,for adult metastatic melanoma with a BRAF V600 mutation.The EMA granted GSK's request for accelerated assessment of the application.
The application contains data from two clinical trials of the therapies.
GSK initiated a randomised study early in the development programme to ascertain whether the combination therapy could circumvent resistance to single agent anti-BRAF melanoma therapy and were encouraged by trial results,said Dr.Rafa el Amado,Head of Oncology R and D.We are planning further submissions based on these data in the US and other countries in the coming months.
GSK had submitted applications for dabrafenib monotherapy to the EMA,and for trametinib monotherapy  to the US FDA,for BRAF V600 metastatic melanoma in August 2012.
Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer and even kills numerous young people annually.
GlaxoSmithKline is one of the world's leading pharmaceutical and healthcare companies.London-based,it employs over 97,000 in more than 100 countries.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Commercial Real Estate Trends

We're seeing technology change how we do business and real estate is used,said Richard LeFrak of The LeFrak Organization.We're seeing clicks taking the place of bricks.It turns the shopping center more into entertainment and less retail activity.You have to be a little cautious about it-whether,in the long term,they're still gonna be in business.
Tech isn't a bad thing;it's just intruded in the business.It has disrupted the real estate business a little bit.The placement of columns and the power grid have to be rethought now.The traditional model may not apply.
In the Northeast,multifamily residential has very strong demand.Occupancy rates and rentals are going up.
If the Empire State Building goes public,its shares will have an emotional premium.It's an iconic building that symbolises New York.The ESB has been in the families of some of the current owners for a long time.They have an emotional attachment to it.
Miami has had a tremendous resurgence in a very short period of time,confounding the pundits.It's Latin American money and conversions to rentals.The inventory in general is pretty low.They are all-cash buyers now.There is very little new product.Miami is a young place,an exotic city in a first world country,international in character.
The LeFrak Organization owns an extensive portfolio of real property in New York,Los Angeles and London,concentrated in residential and office,but with significant hotel and retail assets as well.It develops and builds the majority of its own portfolio.Founded in 1901,the company also owns oil and gas properties.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Asia This Day:China's Rising Trade Stature;Goodman Group's Plan

Goodman Group,Australia's biggest industrial property trust,will begin warehouse and office building developments worth A451 million dollars across the country.The TD Securities-Melbourne Institute Inflation Gauge rose by 0.3% in January to an annual rate of 2.5%,in the middle of the government's 2-3% target range,on costlier fruits,vegetables and utilities.
The China Services PMI rose for the fifth straight month.Services make up about 45% of China's GDP;the government target is 47%.China topped the US as the world's largest trading nation in 2012.China's total imports and exports were 3.87 trillion dollars;US total trade was 3.82 trillion.Chinese export growth alone was double digit,up 25%.
China is investing in the US on a vast scale,spending more than 10 billion dollars last year on the AMC movie chain;the A123 Battery Company;and AIG's aviation business.
Many Asian markets are closed for the Lunar New Year holiday.Australia,the Philippines and Indonesia are open for business.Indonesia is seeing 4.57% inflation on a 44% rise in minimum wages and a 15% increase in electricity prices.
Reliance Industries Ltd's Chairman Mukesh Ambani said the US will be energy independent by 2020 on shale oil and gas,which will drive economic growth.India's new MCX Stock Exchange is to start trading today.
The MSCI Asia-Pacific index was up 0.07% in early Monday trading.
Goodman Group Ltd(ASX:GMG)

Friday, February 8, 2013

Sarai Sierra:American Mother's Body Flies Home From Istanbul

Turkish Airlines provided a free flight home for the body of slain New York mother Sarai Sierra Thursday.The murder victim was found dead along ancient city walls of Istanbul,Turkey on February 2.She had gone missing on January 21 when she reportedly went to bridge she wanted to photograph and failed to fly home as scheduled the next day.
A Turkish citizen's group had helped in the search for Ms.Sierra,33.A man who had printed fliers for the effort accompanied four men carrying her canvas-draped coffin through the Galata Saray neighbourhood of Istanbul,holding her photo up as the small procession made its way to a waiting hearse.She had lain in repose in an Armenian Catholic church.
An autopsy showed signs of struggle and that she was killed by a blow to the head,suffering many bruises and scratches as well.DNA evidence was collected from her and 21 other people,but so far no one has been charged with the horrific crime.Most of those detained in the investigation have been released.
Ms.Sierra had been on a photography junket in the storied Turkish city once known as Constantinople,the capital of the Byzantine Empire,making side trips to Amsterdam and Munich as well.The aspiring photographer was a resident of Staten Island,New York,which was recently devastated by Hurricane Sandy.She was the mother of two young boys and had planned to travel with a friend,but went alone when the woman bowed out.
The autopsy showed no signs of sexual assault and she was still in her jewelry,underwear and shirt.The mystery and the tragedy go on.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Should You Invest in Yahoo

Yahoo beat Wall Street expectations for both profit and overall sales in Q4,with a roughly 4% gain in sales.Display ads alone brought in 520 million dollars in revenue,which was down 10% on the year;but search revenue was 427 million,up from 376 million a year ago.
Eric Jackson of Ironfire Capital said Yahoo is gonna be the AOL of 2013.I think Yahoo has really been trucking along nicely.This year,there is a possible sale of Yahoo's stake in China's Alibaba.com,plus the monetisation of Yahoo Japan.
Marissa Mayer,Yahoo's fifth CEO in four years,is clearly focused on mobile,but it will take years.They're gonna focus on small acquisitions-companies with 50 employees or less whom they can partner with.Yahoo can actually partner with anyone-even Apple or Google.
Ms.Mayer,37,who had been one of Google's founding employees, is a genuine star of the business world.She's injected some dynamism into a company Wall Street had all but given up on.
Yahoo shares are at a three year high.Stifel Nicolaus raised the stock from a hold to a buy Monday.Yahoo closed flat at 19.34 in Monday after hours trading.
Yahoo Inc(YHOO)

Monday, February 4, 2013

Australian Regulator Sues Visa For Noncompetitive Practices

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is suing Visa in the Federal Court of New South Wales.Chairman Rod Sims says it is concerned that Visa sought to stop the growth of competing dynamic currency conversion services and,as a result,limit the choices available to consumers.
Action is being taken against VISA AP(Australia),VISA Inc,VISA USA Inc,and VISA Worldwide Pty Ltd.The ACCC is seeking penalties against Visa and declarations that all the companies took advantage of its substantial degrees of market power in the international payment card network.
Travelers to Australia using a Visa payment card did not get to choose who does their currency conversion when withdrawing cash from an ATM.They were denied the ability to know the cost of the transaction in their own currency at the time the transaction was made.As well,Australian retailers were denied the opportunity to share in the revenue from the process of currency conversion at new merchant outlets.
Visa is alleged to have banned alternative currency conversion services at Australian ATMs since late 2007;and since April 2010,Australian retailers could use Visa's payment system or accept Visa credit cards only if they agreed to use Visa's currency conversion service.
Visa Inc(V)

Friday, February 1, 2013

Alone in Istanbul:American Mother Still Missing

An American mother of two,Sarai Sierra,33,has been missing in Istanbul,Turkey for more than 10 days now.The Staten Island,New York aspiring photographer was to fly home on January 21,but never made it.
Ms.Sierra had originally planned to make the expedition with a friend.When the friend bowed out,she resolved to go on alone.She meticulously researched how to safely visit Istanbul by herself:where to go and at what time of day.Photos and video show that she dressed in a nondescript way,wearing drab clothing and a hat.
Ms.Sierra also visited Amsterdam,Netherlands and Munich,Germany,then returned to Istanbul,where she stayed in a hostel.She had reportedly planned to meet a man named Taylan,an Internet friend,on a bridge she wanted to photograph.Police are looking for this individual as well.
The Turkish police have formed  a special task force to work the case.They are reviewing thousands of hours of surveillance video from downtown Istanbul for clues as to Ms.Sierra's whereabouts.They also seek her cell phone records.
A group of Turkish citizens have joined the search.The Association For Families With Lost Relatives is distributing fliers with Ms.Sierra's photos along with fliers for their own relatives.Ms.Sierra's husband and brother have flown to Istanbul to help police.Her children are ages 9 and 11.
Turkey is a NATO ally of the US and aspires to join the European Union.