Monday, March 31, 2014

Asian Shares Higher;Tony Abbott;Malaysian Grand Prix

Asian markets ended the first quarter confidently Monday,with the MSCI Asia-Pacific index up 0.50%.Markets were encouraged by China Construction Bank's better than expected performance on wider lending margins,and consumer shares were strongest.The Nikkei average was up even though Japan's sales tax goes up for the first time in 17 years to 8.0% on Tuesday,and US stock futures followed the positive trend.*
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott visited RAAF Pearce in Perth Monday morning to thank the multinational troops searching for the lost flight MH-370 and address the media.It's been tremendous to see all of the cooperation here,Mr.Abbott said.It's really heartening,and it demostrates the nations of this area can come together for the betterment of humanity.
This is an extraordinarily difficult exercise and we are working on extremely limited information.The best minds and all of the technological mastery that we have is being brought to bear here.If this mystery is solvable,we will solve it.I'm certainly not putting a time limit on it.We owe it to everyone to do whatever we reasonably can.The intensity of our search and the magnitude of our operations in increasing,not decreasing.
We're working on the best available intelligence and the best available leads.We're as good as anyone in the world at it.I think morale is high.They're tired,sure;but this is what they're trained for;this is what they live for.I am getting several updates a day on this.My office is at least in hourly contact with those who are responsible for the search.
This is a major international incident and Australia has the lead responsibility for what happens in our search zone.We here will bear the cost of the coordination center under Air Chief Marshall Angus Houston.It's an act of international citizenship on Australia's part.We are happy to be as helpful as we can,Prime Minister Tony Abbott assured the media and military personnel at RAAF Pearce Base.
The search will be coordinated from the Western Australia Crisis Centre in Perth by retired Air Chief Marshall Allan Grant "Angus" Houston,former Chief of Defence.*
In motor sport,Petronas AMG Mercedes took the top two places at the Formula One Malaysian Grand Prix near Kuala Lumpur on Sunday as drivers Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and German Nico Rosberg finished ahead of Infiniti Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel,the defending World Champion.This follows Rosberg's win at the season opener in Melbourne two weeks ago.Meanwhile,Australian Will Power won the first race of the season in the Indycar Series,the St.Petersburg Grand Prix in Florida,while American Ryan Hunter-Reay took second and Power's teammate Helio Castroneves of Brazil came in third.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Selena Gomez - Come & Get It (Official Video)

Demi Lovato - Let It Go [Frozen Soundtrack] (Official Video)

Demi Lovato - Give Your Heart A Break (Live on American Idol)

MH-370:Big Shift in Search Area;Obama to Saudi Arabia

Of a sudden,the Australian Maritime Safety Authority shifted the search area for the MH-370 airliner.John Young,Managing Director of the agency,said the international investigating committee in Malaysia,folowing a re-analysis of radar data from when the plane was still in contact,had provided new information to the effect that the aircraft was traveling faster than had been thought,meaning it ran out of fuel before it could have reached the old search area.The new area is 1100 kilometers?700 miles northeast of the old area,bringing it out of the Roaring Forties,the area of the worst weather and sea states in the Indian Ocean.
The hundreds of pieces of debris previously spotted by satellites in the old search area may still be parts of the downed plane.They may have drifted from the new search area.
This shift is typical of such investigations,which are constantly reevaluating the situation.
The new area is 1044 miles due west of Perth,and cuts the air transit time from four hours to three.In consequence,search aircraft will use less fuel in transit,and so will have an extra hour to search.Couple that with better visbility and the new area is much more advantageous to searchers.
Satellites have been retasked to focus on the new area.Four of the ten aircraft scheduled for the day were already surveying the new site.It's not at all frustrating,because we train for this every day,said Commander William Marks,US Navy,spokesman for the Seventh Fleet,which is providing the advanced P-8 Poseidon reconnaissance aircraft to the effort.To the pilots and air crew,this is just what they train for.We have a continuous 24-hour presence over the region.This is one of our missions,and we're very proud to be a part of it.*
For the Americans,the visit of President Barack Obama to Saudi King Abdullah in Riyadh today is to reassure Saudi Arabia that the US remains a loyal strategic partner.Saudi Arabia is concerned that the White House is getting too close to distrusted Iran,and that the President was weak when he cancelled plans to attack the Assad forces in Syria because of Congressional opposition.Despite growing US energy independence,the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia remains one of the United States' oldest and most important allies in the Middle East.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Malaysian Airliner Search;New Sunday Morning Business Show

During a bad weather-induced lull in the search for the wreckage of the Malaysian airliner in the Indian Ocean,Australian officials briefed journalists.We will be very pleased to waive visa fees for the families of passengers of MH-370,Australian Defence Minister David Johnston told reporters at RAAF Pearce in Perth Tuesday afternoon.We will be very pleased to welcome them,to give them some closure.This is probably one of the most remote parts of the planet.
Let's be clear.To this point in the search,we have not successfully recovered any debris from the airplane in question.The telemetry from the satellite and the performance of the aircraft is all we've got to go on.I am confident in that because that is the best we've got.At this point in the recovery,virtually everything is speculation.
This southern ocean has shipwrecked many sailors in our history.It is very,very dangerous-even for big Panamex class ships.We are doing everything we can.We are looking for an aircraft in Victoria from Western Australia.Everything is fairly urgent,but we cannot put pilots and ships at risk.The Prime Minister is very,very fixed on dealing with Malaysia,our close friend,and the families.*
We're not searching for the needle in the haystack,added Mark Binskin,Vice Chief of Defence;we're trying to find what haystack the needle is in.We're hoping for good weather in the coming days.We're waiting for the two Chinese ships and the Korean P-3 aircraft.As we get more and more data,we continue to refine the search area.The buoys will keep very good track of where the current debris field should be.
The collaboration has been very,very good.There's been a lot of collaboration among the US,UK and Australia in refining that satellite imagery.All the information is being passed quite well to all the nations,the Vice Chief of Defence stated.*
On Sunday March 30,a new business show will debut on News Corp's Fox News channel.It is "Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo" from 10-11 am Eastern.The show is slotted between "Fox&Friends Weekend" and "Media Buzz."It will focus on the intersection of commerce and news events.Bartiromo will interview business leaders and newsmakers on job creation,investment opportunities and so on.
Bartiromo arrived at Fox News in February after 20 years at CNBC.She is also Fox Business Network's global markets editor and anchors the weekday morning show "Opening Bell with Maria Bartiromo" from 9-11 am Eastern.*
News Corporation Class B Common Stock(NWS)

Monday, March 24, 2014

Monday Newsline:China Manufacturing;Sinopec

The HSBC China PMI Index came in even lower in March than it did in February,falling to 48.1 from 48.5.Below 50 means the manufacturing sector is contracting.Still,this poor number raised expectations that China would enact stimulus measures,sending the MSCI Asia Pacific index up 0.85% in Monday trading.*
Sinopec's Q4 net profit fell 35% year on year as improved refining profits lost out to lower upstream earnings.The 13.8 billion yuan profit was way lower than the 20.5 billion consensus forecast.
Profits were squeezed by a drop in oil exploration and production profit partly caused by lower world oil prices.Lower prices also hurt its chemical division,as did an increase in domestic production capacity.
To improve its performance,the oil and gas major will sell up to 30% of its marketing and distribution division,which is a vast network of some 3,000 petrol stations,plus convenience stores,pipelines and storage facilities.The sale could raise up to 20 billion.It will also cut capex by 4.2%.*
South Korea's KOSPI index surged 10.61%,bolstered by shipbuilding stocks rising on the day.Daewoo Shipbuilding soared 4.61%,while Hyundai Heavy Industries added 1.98%.*
Sinopec Shanghai Petrochemical Co Ltd(SHI),Daewoo Shipbuilding&Marine(DWOTF:OTC US),Hyundai Heavy Industries Co Ltd(HYHZF:OTC US)

Friday, March 21, 2014

Paramore: That's What You Get [OFFICIAL VIDEO]

Avril Lavigne - Hush Hush (Official Video)

The Rolling Stones - It's Only Rock 'n' Roll (Live) - OFFICIAL

Voices and Visions:Ukraine Crisis Update

Both the Standard&Poor's and Fitch credit rating agencies have put Russia on credit watch negative,while keeping the credit rating itself at the second lowest level of BBB.Russia's annexation of Crimea and the resultant threat of Western sanctions may cause companies to avoid investing in Russia,and those already invested there may withdraw,S&P said.Banks may also be reluctant to lend to Russian companies,causing the economy to slow further,Fitch pointed out.Russia's growth slowed to 1.3% in 2013 and investment is contracting.*
The EU has imposed asset freezes and visa bans on 33 prominent Russians in response to Russia's move in Crimea,while the US has done the same to 31 leading Russians.Russia's stock market has fallen more on the news of the imposition of sanctions,and the ruble has declined in value as well.*
Although some impact of Western disapproval of Russia's actions is being felt,the next phase,economic sanctions,will be more difficult to impose.Slovakia's Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister,Miroslav Lajcak,said he is wondering whether the EU and US are willing to share the pain of more sanctions.Sanctions are painful;but they cannot be painful for Russia only.Are we willing to bear the burden?Mr.Lajcak asked.
Russia is not the enemy,in Slovakia's view,but it has violated the rules,Slovak Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcak explained.Slovakia borders Ukraine,but Slovaks watch Russian TV,and so hear Russia's point of view,he pointed out.*
I expressed my very strong,grave concerns about what is going on,said UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon of his visit to Moscow, where he met with Russian leaders.The political emotions have hardened,he observed.
Meanwhile,President Barack Obama added that Russia has positioned its forces in such a way that it can move into Eastern and Southern Ukraine as well.In consequence,he has signed an executive order enabling him to impose sanctions on key economic sectors,should Russia invade those regions as well.*
Russian troops continued their takeover of Ukrainian military bases in Crimea,seizing Ukraine's Black Sea warships.Shots were fired,but no one was injured.The Ukrainian naval commander had been detained earlier when naval headquarters was seized,but was released unharmed.About 25,000 Ukrainian troops and their families must be evacuated from Crimea and reassigned.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

From Buybacks To Growth;JC Penney Improves

We're forecasting about a 10% upside for the year-closer to an average return than the past few years,said Savita Subramanian,head of US equity and quantitative strategy at Bank of America/Merrill Lynch.Once we get a better sense of the economy as improving,there's no better place to be than the stock market.The market is actually rewarding the companies that spend on growth,whether through acquisition or capex.Investors want growth,not necessarily buybacks to return cash.
We really want to look at company spoecifics.It's less about picking the right asset class,and more about picking the right stocks.
It just doesn't make sense anymore to buy back stock,when prices have returned to more normal levels.Companies have not been spending on economic growth,but I think that's what we're gonna see this year,Ms.Subramanian projected.
She likes the technology,industrial and energy sectors.*
In the retail sector,it's been a big improvement for JC Penney,according to Chad Green of Sterne Agee.It looks a lot better for them than it did 12 months ago.Their store looks a lot better.It looks like the old JC Penney.
The big question for them is getting their traffic back,clearing through former CEO Don Johnson's mistakes,Mr.Green noted.*
JC Penney(JCP)

Monday, March 17, 2014

Monday Newsline:Ukraine and Market Risk

Overnight,the Asian markets reflected anxiety over the Ukraine crisis as shares dropped in Japan and Hong Kong,along with US stock futures,and gold crested to a six month high.Oil rose as well.Now the vote for Crimea's annexation by Russia-totally dismissed by the West as a charade-has gone Moscow's way,unresolved issues both within Crimea itself and in Eastern Ukraine could rivet the attention of global markets in the days ahead.
The Crimean vote went 95% for seceding from Ukraine and joining Russia in an atmosphere of haste and armed intimidation by Russian troops,who were posted in armoured personnel carriers outside polling places.Anti-Putin activists and even some journalists were harassed,beaten and branded as traitors in the days leading up to the election.It was only safe for peaceful protestors on the outskirts of town,fearful of club-wielding toughs inspired by the Kremlin.
Largely unreported on TV news,the tension between Ukraine and Russia over Eastern and Southern Ukraine could make Crimea look like a picnic,with concentrations of troops on both sides mobilising in recent days.In Southern Ukraine,80 Russian troops occupied a village with a natural gas station over the weekend.The Eastern cities of Donetsk,Kharkiv and Lugansk are also potential flashpoints,threatening to become the biggest challenge to market sentiment since the dark days of the Eurozone crisis,as Nicholas Spiro of Spiro Sovereign Strategists put it.
A Russian invasion of Eastern Ukraine could raise geopolitical strife to a new high and ripple strongly through the global markets.
With worries around certain emerging markets,notably China and Ukraine at present-2014 is already shaping up as a more volatile year for shares,said Shane Oliver,head of investment strategy and chief economist at AMP Capital.
Investors may be looking over their shoulders at these exogenous events for the foreseeable future.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Ke$ha - TiK ToK

Avril Lavigne - Let Me Go ft. Chad Kroeger

Coldplay - New Single Magic / LiVE

Study Discovers Alzheimer's Biomarkers

Someday in the not too distant future,a highly accurate blood test that predicts Alzheimer's disease or mild cognitive impairment may be widely available.A major advance toward such a test was recently made with a biomarker study led by Howard J Federoff,MD,PhD,Executive Vice President for Health Sciences and Executive Dean for the School of Medicine at Georgetown University in Washington,DC.Dr.Federoff is also a leading researcher in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.
The study,published in the March 9 issue of Nature Medicine,found that 10 phospholipids,or fats that make up cell membranes,were at consistently lower levels in the blood samples of those subjects who were 70+ years of age and went on to develop Alzheimer's or mild cognitive impairment within 2-3 years.This lipid panel distinguished with 90% accuracy between those who would progress to AD or MCI in two or three years,and those who remained normal in the near future.
The test offers the potential to identify people at risk for progressive cognitive decline and can change how patients,their families and treating physicians plan for and manage the disorder,according to Dr.Federoff.A much larger and more diverse study needs to be done to confirm the findings of the paper,which Dr.Federoff hopes to use for a clinical trial of a new drug to delay or prevent emergence of the disease.No such drugs are available today,perhaps because,until now,they have been tested at too late a stage of the disease,when it has become irreversible.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Facebook and Titan Aerospace:Shepherding the Drones

Facebook is reportedly in discussions to purchase the startup firm Titan Aerospace,pioneer of the atmosat(TM)drone concept,for 60 million dollars-possibly for the sole purpose of furthering Facebook's project.Both companies declined to comment on the talks.*
The Titan drones have potential for multiple other highly beneficial applications,such as asset tracking;maritime traffic monitoring;cosmic radiation and magnetosphere studies;meteorology;oilspill mapping;power line monitoring;crop monitoring;global positioning;search and rescue;fire and floodplain monitoring.Under the reported scenario,Titan's production line would be totally consumed by Facebook's Internet access project,which aims to provide affordable Internet access to five billion people in developing countries.*
Two of the Titan Aerospace models,the Solara 50 and 60,can ascend to a height of over 65,000 feet and stay continuously aloft for five years on solar power,which is provided by panels on their wings and tails.This is zero emission,near-orbital flight at a fraction of the cost of a rocket-launched satellite,and is above the 60,000 foot height of FAA-regulated commercial airspace.
In sum,instead of diversifying its business with the range of drone applications Titan is capable of,Facebook may be focusing the entire acquisition on one communications application.True,it's only 60 million dollars,but the potential return on the atmosat technology would be whittled down for the forseeable future.Perhaps other firms will be making higher bids for the versatile atmosat.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Monday Newsline:China,Japan,Syria

China's exports dropped 18.5% in February-the most since 2009.A 7.5% increase had been anticipated.The Asian New Year may have been partly to blame.Still,the MSCI Asia Pacific index fell 0.96% on that news,plus the fact that Japanese growth was only up 0.7%,which was less than expected.Japan will raise the sales tax next month as well.*
New York copper prices dropped for the second day on concern that China demand will fall with the decline in exports.Goldman Sachs nonetheless sees Chinese stocks as desirable,since they could rise 24% from their decades low valuation.*
In the next six months,most emerging markets will be involved in political or economic problems,said Victor Shvets,a managing director at Macquarie Securities.You never have revolutions when people are happy.You start with marginal areas like Ukraine or Argentina.There is a lack of reformm and liquidity.The only way out is to enact reform.
Below a certain level of GDP growth,social problems emerge.Reform can keep the wolves at bay,Mr.Shvets told Bloomberg TV.*
Thirteen Greek Orthodox nuns from Ma'aloula,Syria have been released by the Syrian government in a deal arranged by a Lebanese general,in which about 150 women and children prisoners were freed by the Syrian authorities.The nuns had spent more than two months in captivity after being abducted from their convent.

Friday, March 7, 2014

The Rolling Stones - Gimme Shelter (Live) - OFFICIAL PROMO featuring Lisa Fischer

The Rolling Stones - Stupid Girl Mono recording,slide show

ATM Technology Being Upgraded

To better serve their customers and drum up business,banks are adding new technology to their ATMs.If not presently,you may soon be able to use an ATM touch screen to:
1.Apply for a loan.
2.Video conference with a banker even outside of business hours.
3.Pre-stage ATM transactions with a mobile phone at your location,so that it is almost complete when you get to the ATM.
4.Pay bills.
5.Send money to friends.
6.Increase your ATM withdrawal limit.
7.Withdraw one,five and 10 dollar bills,not just 20s and 50s.
8.Do retirement planning.
One possible drawback of the more sophisticated machines is longer wait times at ATMs if someone is video conferencing or doing multiple transactions.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Digital branch in Hong Kong Standard Chartered

Resilient Markets Recover From Ukraine Drop

World markets turned positive in Asia and Europe Tuesday,convinced there won't be military clashes anytime soon over the Ukraine crisis.The Nikkei went up 0.47 and the Hong Seng rose 0.70,optimistic that a standoff in Crimea will not escalate today as Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered Russian troops to halt their exercises in Western Russia and return to base,although there is no sign of an end to the crisis,either.
US Secretary of State John Kerry departed for Kiev talks with Ukraine's interim government Monday night,raising hopes of diplomatic progress.
US stock futures followed suit,recovering most of Monday's losses,as did European indexes.The FTSE was up 1.05 as of time of publication,and the CAC rose 1.15,while the DAX climbed 0.75.The underlying sentiment in markets is bullish,and they are not going to let Ukraine end the trend unless there are further developments.
At the same time,gold and oil prices declined as traders' fears of a shooting war eased-at least momentarily.Gold was near a four month high at close of trading Monday.

Monday, March 3, 2014

The 86th Annual Academy Awards

The 86th Annual Academy Awards went off smoothly Sunday night at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles.Host Ellen DeGeneres kept the mood light with her monologue and antics such as passing a hat for pizza money.Surprise of the night was retired actress Kim Novak,81,presenting the award for Best Animated Short Feature with new star Matthew McConaughey.She starred in a string of 1950s classics including "Picnic"(1955),"Vertigo"(1958),"Bell,Book and Candle"(1958)and "Middle of the Night"(1959).
Jennifer Lawrence was again head-turner of the night in an orange Christian Dior gown with a Neil Lane diamond necklace draped down her back.She said her character Rosalind in "American Hustle" was her favorite,as there was nothing she wouldn't do.Sandra Bullock of "Gravity" came in an Alexander McQueen black dress with Lorraine Schwartz jewelry,while Cate Blanchett of "Blue Jasmine" wore a beige Armani gown.(Sorry about my colours,fashionistas).Leonardo DiCaprio of "The Wolf of Wall Street,"was in a navy tux.He praised his director,Martin Scorsese,saying only he could bring humanity to the film.
The main winners were as follows:
Best Actor:Matthew McConaughey,"Dallas Buyers Club"
Best Actress:Cate Blachett,Australia,"Blue Jasmine"
Best Supporting Actor:Jared Leto,"Dallas Buyers Club"
Best Supporting Actress:Lupita Nyongo,Kenya,"12 Years a Slave"
Best Foreign Feature:"The Great Beauty,"Italy
Best Motion Picture:"12 Years a Slave"
Best Music,Score:"Gravity"
Best Music,Song:"Let It Go,""Frozen"
Best Long Animated Feature:"Frozen"
Best Director:Alfonso Cuaron,"Gravity"