Friday, May 31, 2013

AstraZeneca Shops for Blockbuster Drug Replacements

British pharma titan AstraZeneca is attempting to solve its patent dilemma with cash.In late April,the company shelled out 1.26 billion dollars for San Diego biotech firm Ardea Biosciences.Ardea's main prospect is gout treatment Lesinurad.
According to AstraZeneca CEO David Brennan,this attractive Phase 3 program is an excellent opportunity to leverage Astra's global specialty and primary care sales and marketing capabilities.
Ardea is also developing combination treatments for pancreatic and liver cancer with Germany's Bayer AG,plus another gout drug in Phase 1 trials.
Astra is losing patent protection on many of its blockbuster products over the next few years.Billions in revenue will be lost as patents expire and generic competition cuts into sales of hypertension drug Atacand(2013);antipsychotic drug Seroquel and anti-cholesterol pill Crestor(2014);and gastroesophageal reflex disease pill Nexium in 2016.
This strategy was in place several years ago when Astra also acquired Gaithersburg,Maryland biotech firm MedImmune in 2007.
AstraZeneca(AZN),Ardea Biosciences(RDEA),Bayer AG(BAYRY)

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Inside the Deal:Should Yahoo Buy Tumblr

Yahoo is purchasing blog site Tumblr for 1.1 billion dollars.Should it be spending so much on a site that has made so little money?Tumblr is a platform that has revenue of only 13 million dollars.Is Yahoo crazy or something?
CNBC's Jim Cramer says Yahoo is buying relevance.Tumblr has the demographic 18-34,which Yahoo lacks now.Yahoo could use anything that shows it has a pulse.It's TV of the future.Budweiser,McDonalds and Procter and Gamble will advertise on Tumblr.
This is about mobile.They're getting an immediate plug-in into mobile,as 50% of Tumblr connections are on mobile.It gives Yahoo a massive footprint.It's a very smart move.
This is a new generation of leaders at Yahoo.You can't look at the past;this makes a lot of sense,according to Chris Cunningham,CEO of Appsavvy.We're talking about Yahoo.I predict a richer,more appropriate,user-centric vision.
Tumblr is not a tradtitional tech company,but a user compant that has a huge adult audience.Tumblr is cool,it's edgy.It makes sense.They're gonna work on the inappropriate content.Tumblr is a phenomenal company.Their road map,their vision stays on tap.
Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer said we have a global audience of more than a billion people with the addition of Tumblr.They get 24 billion user minutes a month.As we promised,we are not gonna screw this up.
Yahoo is increasing its New York presence,leasing four floors of the former New York Times headquarters building.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Shop Talk:Support Your News Outlets

Online journalism and the business model that supports it are still in their infancy.If you can possibly spare a moment to click an ad,it will help to ensure that more of these publications remain open access.
Thank you for reading this blog.
Andrew Taylor

ANA Resumes Dreamliner Service;Ford Australia Closes Plants

Boeing's major customer for the new 787 Dreamliner has resumed flights of the aircraft after a four month suspension for safety reasons.All Nippon Airways completed the first of five May flights with the 787 Sunday after extensive battery modifications and testing.Full service will resume on June 1.
United and Ethiopian Airlines had already restarted Dreamliner service.
The ultra-modern aircraft was grounded in January after both ANA and Japan Airlines 787s experienced battery fires.ANA owns the most 787s of any airline:16,with 36 more on order.
All Nippon CEO Osamu Shinobe said the airline did its own testing in addition to the FAA's evaluation of the modifications.It is a game-changing aircraft in terms of the environment,efficiency and passenger comfort,Mr Shinobe pointed out.
Ford Australia is closing its two manufacturing plants in Victoria state,citing high costs,declining sales and a strong Australian dollar.The plants will be shuttered in October 2016,resulting in the loss of 1200 jobs.Ford has been in Australia since 1925.
Ford Australia CEO Bob Graziano said manufacturing is not viable for Ford in Australia,where its costs are double those in Europe,and nearly four times costs in Asia.Ford Australia has lost 581 million dollars/A 600 million in the last five years.
Australians have been turning to compact cars by overseas carmakers such as Mazda and Hyundai recently.
As well,the strong Australian dollar makes it hard for manufacturers in the country to compete globally,at a time when the Labour government is looking to manufacturing to take up some of the slack from falling mining revenue.
All Nippon Airways(Tokyo:9202),Ford Motor Company(F),Boeing(BA)

Friday, May 24, 2013

Body of Missing Iraq Vet Found;Man Charged

The body of a missing Iraq War veteran,Mirabel Manriquez Ramos,36,has been found in a remote area of Orange County,California.Police found the body on May 16 in the bushes of Modjeska Canyon,near Santiago Canyon Ranch and Jackson Ranch Road when local residents noted a strong odor there.
Charged  May 21 with first-degree murder in the case was Ramos' roomate of two years,Kwang Chol Joy,54.She had told him to get out because he wasn't paying his share of the rent.He may also have been infatuated with her,a prosecutor said.
Joy had described Ramos as his best friend and said he gave police a DNA sample shortly after her disappearance.He is being held in lieu of a million dollars bail and will be arraigned June 7.
Ramos was a prominent US Army veteran of Iraq and Korea.The former sergeant and paratrooper spoke publicly about her experiences readjusting to civilian life.Last seen May 2,she was to have spoken at a Cal State Fullerton veteran's appreciation dinner.
Ramos,described as a top student,was also to have received a criminal justice degree May 26 from the University.Her niece will accept the degree for her.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Private Equity and Traditional Media

Jeff Marcus,partner and co-founder of Crestview Partners,a private equity firm with expertise in media,said that 92% of Americans still listen to traditional radio,and 100 million homes subscribe to cable or satellite.That's where the channels that people want to watch are.Cable has the bandwidth.
There isn't a la carte cable because programmers insist on bundling.It's a contractual matter for the cable companies.
We specialise in difficult situations;contrarian situations;complexity.Hopefully we'll always be there to take advantage of that.We like a good business model,but with too much debt.
There are dislocations caused by new media that cause value to go down,but radio's a local business.People listen to radio in the car more than to any of the others;and most people do traffic and weather,which are not on new media.We believe in traditional media,Mr.Marcus emphasised.
Crestview Partners says it is a value-added private equity firm with about four billion dollars under management.It targets investments in financial services;media;health care;and energy.Among Crestview's holdings are Charter Communications;FBR Financial Corporation;Cumulus Communications;Silver Creek Resources;and Symbion Helathcare.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Should You Invest in the Wintergreen Fund

The direction in the West is improving.People are beginning to buy,said David J.Winters of Wintergreen Advisers LLC in Mountain Lakes,New Jersey.We still believe the future of the world is in the Asia Pacific.
We own a lot of Berkshire Hathaway BRK b shares.
The public are still hiding under their desks.They haven't gone back to the equity market.At some point,the bond markets are gonna go up and people will get crushed.People are still scared,both companies and individuals.
The US is a mature economy with lots of debt,unlike Asia.The EU in general is in deep,deep trouble and we just don't want to play because it's too hard.We love companies with no debt-you don't have a lot of risk.
Hong Kong is one of the great,great places.
David J.Winters manages the Wintergreen Fund,a global value mutual fund with much of the flexibility of a low risk hedge fund.It is #23 out of 287 World Stock funds as rated by US News.Morningstar Associates gives it four out of five stars.
The Wintergreen Fund has returned 13.26% over one year;and 4.85% over five years.Its expense ratio is 1.89%,which is considered Above Average in its category.In Mornngstar's opinion,however,the fund is Below Average in risk.
Wintergreen Fund(WGRNX)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Investing Today:The Promise of the Mega Caps

The biggest bargains right now are the mega caps,said thought leader Joel Greenblatt of Gotham Asset Management.Google has huge cash flow and growing.Over time,it's gonna pay out a lot of money.So is Apple.
We put together portfolios of hundreds of stocks on the short and long side.If you own a bucket of Apples,you're gonna make a lot of money.The company is incredibly cheap right now,trading at only seven times free cash flow.It hides in the market in plain sight.
I can't really tell you if Apple itself is gonna work out,but if you own a bucket of Apple-type bets,you're gonna do very well.
We short about 300 stocks.At the top is JC Penney.It's eating through lots of cash,and it's doing it quickly.History would say this is gonna be a tough one to turn around.If you're gonna short a bucket of JC Penneys,you're gonna make a lot of money.I wish JC Penney well,but the odds are against them.It's possible to turn it around,but it's a tough road.
We're basically underwriting good bets and bad bets.On the straight numbers,Herbal Life is cheap,but we can't trust the numbers,so we don't play.We have no opinion on it.
We're in about the 68th percentile toward cheap.The expected return for large caps is 13-15%.You have to invest someplace.
I'd like to hide in a business that spins out a certain amount of cash every year and can adjust to what's happening in the economy.On average,companies don't spend their cash very well.If they either buy back stock below fair value or increase dividends,it might be better than going out and spending it,Mr.Greenblatt suggested.
Founder of hedge fund company Gotham Capital Management,Joel Greenblatt is the former chairman of Alliant Techsystems and is currently an adjunct professor at Columbia University Graduate School of Business.He holds an MBA from The Wharton School,and is the author of "The Little Book That Beats the Market" and "The Big Secret for the Small Investor:A New Route to Long Term Investment Success."
Google,Inc(GOOG),Apple Computer(AAPL),JC Penney(JCP),Herbal Life(HLF)

Monday, May 13, 2013

Turkey Investigates Plot To Kill Patriarch Bartholomew

Turkish authorities are investigating an alleged plot to assassinate Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople,spiritual leader of the world's 300 million Orthodox Christians.An anonymous letter sent to the state prosecutor's office in Kayseri reportedly tipped authorities off about the scheme.
Turkish media said one arrest was made and two other people were being sought in connection with the plot.Once the media broke the story,Turkish police contacted the Patriarch about it and dispatched more officers to the Phanar,the patriarchal compound in Istanbul that has been the target of extremist protestors in the past.
New US Secretary of State John Kerry met the Patriarch in late April during a swing through the region.He conferred with the patriarch,who then gave Kerry a tour of the premises,including an historic cathedral.
The Patriarch's life has been threatened in Turkey at least once before.As well,in 2006 a Catholic bishop was stabbed to death in Southern Turkey by his driver,and in 2006 a Catholic priest was killed by a teenager with suspected extremist ties in Trabzon,Turkey.There are about 100,000 Christians in the Muslim nation of 76,000,000 people.
The Patriarch's representative in America,Archbishop Demetrios,wrote a letter to President Barack Obama about the situation,pleading with the President to use his good offices to ensure the Patriarch's security.Turkey is a close military ally of the United States,which operates Incerlik Air Base there.

Friday, May 10, 2013

SoCal Iraq Vet Missing-was to graduate soon

Maribel Manriquez Ramos,36,a  prominent US Army veteran of Korea and Iraq,went missing last Thursday,May 2  in Orange County,California.The former sergeant was to graduate from Cal State Fullerton with a criminal justice degree in a few weeks' time.
Ms.Ramirez,five feet two inches tall and 130 pounds,was last seen on a surveillance video paying her apartment rent.She shared the apartment with a male who described her as his best friend and submitted his DNA sample to police.
She had served in the Army for eight years,including two tours in the Iraq War,and was to be honoured and speak at a Cal State Fullerton veterans appreciation dinner on Saturday.Regarded as an excellent student,her family is extremely concerned as the disappearance is so out of character for her.
Diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder following her discharge,she had just returned from a speaking engagement in Chicago the day before her disappearance and was also to participate in a radio chat show.
Ramirez has two tattoos:a star on her left shoulder and an Aztec or tribal symbol on her lower back.She has shoulder length brown hair and brown eyes.
Anyone with information about Ramirez is asked to call Detective Ramirez at 714-744-7313 or Orange Police Watch Commander at 714-744-7313.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Should You Invest in CME Group

CME Group is a global futures exchange.It trades futures and options on currencies,commodities,interest rates,stock indexes and agricultural commodities.
We saw a real downturn in 2012.Our volumes are OK.There's been a lot of activity in energy and foreign exchange,said Terry Duffy,CME Group CEO.Gold coins didn't trade down.They're of more value than anything else.
Operational risk is what we all have.We're deploying so much technology on a daily basis.It allows us to be in 150 countries.The single largest investment CME has made in 150 years is technology.It's very expensive.
We pay one of the biggest dividends in the S and P 500.We feel very confident we've put the pieces together,that we can compete with anybody.
It's getting a little crowded,but that's alright.We have innovated for over a hundred years because of competition,and we think it's good,Mr.Duffy explained.
CME had a rough Q1.Profit was down 12.0%;revenue dropped 7.0% and trading fees declined.The stock was up 0.53% in Monday trading.CME has a market cap of 20.35 billion dollars.
CME Group,Inc(CME)

Monday, May 6, 2013

Malaysian Election,US Jobs Lift Asian Markets

Asian markets were up in early Monday trading on optimism over Malaysian election results and the apparent US recovery,with the MSCI Asia Pacific index rising 0.24%.The encouraging employment report on Friday reinforces the idea that the US economy is going along at a decent clip,said Binay Chandgothia, a portfolio manager at Principal Global Investors.
By and large,we expect the US economy will grow in the second half.Natural gas is cheaper and corporates are spending on buybacks and dividend increases.The US energy markets long term do look to be positive.
People have been taking money out of emerging Asia and putting into the US and Japan.Over the next three months,China could provide growth as they are letting their economy take its own course.
The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index soared 3.0% along with the ringgit,the Malaysian currency,as the government of Prime Minister Najib Razak was re-elected,albeit by a smaller majority this time.Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim bitterly criticised the ruling party for rigging the election by busing foreign voters in to slant the results,as well as playing the racist card against the country's Chinese minority.
India's Nifty Fifty futures index rose,indicating that a three week rally would be extended.
The Reserve Bank of India is restricting the purchase of gold on consignment by banks.It is to be allowed only for jewelry exporters with a genuine need,in order to bring down the current accounts deficit.The RBI had previously halted banks from lending for the purchase of gold in any form.
India is the world's largest gold consumer.Gold has been scarce there recently on strong demand.The Akshaya Tritiya festival on May 13 is the traditional day for buying precious metals in India.
Japanese stock markets are closed Monday for Children's Day.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Mental Health:US Middle-Aged Suicide Climbs

In the most recent data available,suicide now takes more American lives annually than auto accidents.The 2010 figures reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the May 3 issue of its journal "Morbidity and MortalityWeekly Report" show more than 38,000 suicides occurred,versus less than 34,000 car crash fatalities.
A CDC analysis of the data indicated middle-aged adults suffered a spike in suicides,while the rate for other age groups was little changed.In 1999,there were 13.7 suicides per 100,000 adults age 35-64;in 2010,the rate rose to 17.6 per 100,000.That's a 28.4% increase.
According to the CDC,suicide prevention has traditionally been aimed at older and younger people.Now that will have to change,with more attention given to middle-aged adults.Prevention strategies include enhanced social support;community connectedness;and access to mental health and prevention services.
It was speculated that the spike among middle-aged people could be attributed to the Great Recession of 2007-2009 and the economic downturn that followed.
Besides the economy,other factors driving the middle-aged to take their own lives may be stress related to the health problems that increase with age; heavy caregiving responsibilities that are now more common at this stage of life,with elderly parents needing care along with children;substance abuse;and relationship issues.
The most common suicide methods for middle-aged men were firearm and hanging/suffocation,and poisoning and firearm for middle-aged women.