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

Joy Covey,a high school dropout who rose to become a formative leader of,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 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.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Shop Talk:Syria

Dear Readers,
I am trying to keep you informed about the Syria crisis across my family of blogs,providing facts perhaps the mainstream media have missed.Tonight I have published a story in my "Extra Content" blog that may interest you,"Russians Shadow US Navy Ships Near Syria."It details which US Navy ships are near Syria now and what the Russians are doing in the area.You may access the story by clicking on the "Extra Content" link in the link list right.
I have also revised my story "French President Stands By Obama" in this blog.Thank you for your interest.
Andrew Taylor

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Senators Give Obama Cautious Support;Critical Hearing Next

Two prominent Republican senators feel the president is moving in the right direction on Syria.We still have significant concerns,but we believe there is in formulation a strategy to upgrade the opposition,said Senator John McCain,R-Arizona,after he and Senator Lindsey Graham,R-South Carolina,met with President Obama on the Syria crisis in the White House Monday.Senator Graham described it as "a solid plan."If the president loses the vote in Congress,it would be catastrophic,McCain said,damaging the credibility of the United States of America and the President of the United States.The two national security experts agreed to help push the president's military action plan on Capitol Hill.*General Salim Idris,commander of the Free Syrian Army,the leading rebel group,said they supported President Obama's plan to get congressional approval for a limited military strike against the Assad regime.We understand it and are sure it will make the decision stronger and encourage other countries to participate.The regime in Damascus can use chemical weapons again.They have committed countless crimes against humanity.They will use them again if there are no strikes,General Idris warned.*The fighters in the FSA are civilians who left their jobs and took up arms.Other fighters left the Syrian army.Many of the Islamic groups are moderate.A few are al-Qaida,General Idris admitted,but promised to ensure that any military aid would go to the right hands.For more than two and a half years,our people are suffering from the crimes of the regime,the rebel commander said.*I would be more concerned about the clarity of the mission and what it is we're trying to achieve,said General George Joulwan,former Supreme Allied Commander Europe.The challenge is not just military,but political and economic.We need a comprehensive strategy.*The US is the leader of NATO.We have to make it united.That would be a very clear signal to Syria.Leadership is what is required here,the retired NATO commander observed.*A public hearing on the president's plan will be held Tuesday afternoon.Appearing before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations will be Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel,as well as General Martin Dempsey,Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.*Classified briefings on Syria for Members of Congress will continue throughout the week.Congress will go back into session next Monday,at which time the debate and vote on the president's plan will occur.*On the previous occasions in history,Congress has never refused to give a president their support for military action.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Asia This Day-plus Syria

Australian elections have been called for Saturday 7 September.This sent the ASX 200 index up 1.04%.*India's GDP for Q2 was up 4.4 year over year,down from 4.8 in Q1.The country's inflation and fiscal deficits are very high,noted Rajiv Biswas,Chief Asia Economist at IHS.*China's official August PMI was 51.0,indicating that a manufacturing recovery is underway.*You have to approach it from a corporate governance point of view,said Sam Le Cornu,Portfolio Manager at Macquarie Asia.You need to do a lot of work,meeting with management personally.We particularly like consumer discretionary.We really like Chinese equities.We're buying the Hang Seng.*We have a very strong ASEAN watch list.We're waiting for prices to come down.*EM is cheap.We're staying long China.We like North Asia.We're adding to Korea and like Taiwan.*We're looking for high quality management and strong balance sheets.We still say today Asia is full of risk.Our job as analysts is to quantify risk,Mr.Le Cornu told Bloomberg TV.*The MSCI Asia Pacific index was up 0.39% in early Monday trading.Gold and oil prices fell on the delay of US military action against Syria,which is widely seen as weakness.This goes to the core of American credibility in foreign policy and I believe Congress will do the right thing,Secretary of State John Kerry said.The President of the United States has the right to do this.He doesn't have to get approval.*Members of Congresss got lengthy classified breifings on Syria Sunday by administration officials,but some expressed a high degree of scepticism.*Syrian opposition leaders are bitterly critical of the delay,while Syrian officials reportedly believe Congress will not approve a military strike against them.