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Jul 30

In The News:

Ad Men:

Omnicom and Publicis Group, the number two and three ad agencies in the world, will merge and create the world’s largest ad agency.  The deal was hatched at the World Economic Forum, without the involvement of a single large investment bank, and is reportedly valued at $35.1 billion.  Both sides are referring to the deal as “a merger of equals”, but it has many regulatory hurdles to go before being finalized.   If the merger is completed it would bring industry rivals such as Coke and Pepsi under the same roof for advertising.

Saks Appeal:

Luxury retailer Saks Fifth Ave has agreed to be sold to Hudson Bay, Canada’s largest retail chain and owner of Lord and Taylor. The deal values Saks at $2.4 billon ($16 per share) and if the deal goes through the combined companies would have 320 stores in prime locations throughout the US and Canada.  [Continue reading...]

Jul 29


In The News:

IMF hand slap:

The US received a hand-slap from the IMF (International Monetary Fund) on Friday.   In the US’s annual assessment the IMF told the Fed that it’s lack of communication regarding the exit from QE3 (Quantitative Easing) could cause damage to the US recovery as well as send destructive shockwaves across the global economy.

Inflation = Celebration?

Japan’s July CPI (Consumer Product Index) jumped to 0.4%, the largest jump since 2008.   This is a win for PM Shinzo Abe and Finance Minister Taro Aso as it shows that Abenomics is getting the desired result, higher inflation.  Normally one would not be excited about inflation but when country has struggled with deflation for 2 decades a change like this hint at economic recovery. [Continue reading...]

Jul 24

In The News:


Purchase Power:

Cisco has agreed to buy Cypersecurity Firm Source Fire for $2.7 Billion.  Why drop billions for a small company? Two major reasons, first the growing demand for cybersecurity and second, Ciscos’ desire to expand their footprint outside of its traditional hardware business.

You Got Curve:

LG and Samsung will start selling curved TV’s in the US this week. The new TV’s will have concave screens which are touted to give the viewer a more immersive viewing experience, as the image wraps around to the viewer’s periphery. Your immersive viewing experience will run you at least $15,000; products will be available at select Best Buy stores nationwide. [Continue reading...]

Jul 23

In The News:

Flat Big Mac:

On Monday, McDonald’s released their Q2 earnings.   Wall Street analysts were expecting profits of $1.38 per share, and McDonald’s reported profits of $1.35 per share.   A major factor for this loss was currency movement.  A strong dollar makes the Big Mac more expensive to produce in foreign countries where their currency value is lower than the dollar; this movement can and often does eat into McDonald’s profits.

Acquisition and Attack:

Apple was in the news for several reasons today.  First, Apple announced its purchase of the transit map app Hopstop; hopefully this acquisition will help resolve Apple’s well documented map “issues”.  Next the rumor mill was in full swing with potential hints regarding the next round of iPhones and iPads, according to a report an Asian supplier is testing larger screens for both products.  Finally, the primary developer website for Apple was taken offline as a precaution due to a system breach by hackers.  Apple expects to have the site online soon.  And you thought you had a rough day?

Lower Sales:

Existing home sales slowed in June by 1.2%.  The annual rate has improved to 5.08 million, which is the second best level since November 2009.


Yahoo repurchased 40 million shares from the hedge fund Third Point at $29.11 per share.   This move reduces Third Points’ stake in Yahoo to less than 2%; by reaching this specific percentage Third Point is required to give up 3 seats on Yahoo’s board.  This repurchase is only a small portion of Yahoo’s $1.9 billion buyback plan.

Buybacks are good news.  First it shows that the company believes in itself and is reinvesting for the future.   Second, it reduces the number of shares outstanding in the market; fewer outstanding shares = higher share price= Happy, Happy, Happy shareholders.


Over the weekend the G-20 Finance Ministers met in Moscow.   After some initial disagreements on agenda points the ministers were able to agree upon one issue, there needs to be more emphasis on growth instead of austerity.   This revelation marks a shift away from the global standard that austerity cures all.  Reading between the lines its clear the real message was we screwed Greece and that won’t be happening again to anyone.

 In The Markets:


Asian Markets closed higher Tuesday. Comments from China’s Premier Li saying the line in the    sand at 7% is the lowest tolerable rate helped settle investor’s jitters.


On Monday, investors saw that there was potential for better bank earnings, and the European markets rallied to a seven week high.


US markets closed flat as investors digested a mixed bag of earnings and the news that existing home sales dropped in June.

Dinner or Drink:

Apple Pie In A Glass

4 oz frozen apple juice concentrate
1 cup vanilla ice cream
1/4 tspground cinnamon
1 cup milk

Mix in blender pour into 2 glasses and sprinkle with cinnamon.

Want more about our drink of the day, click here.

Jul 22


In The News:

Letting Go:

China’s central bank will scrap its controls on leading interest rates instead letting bank set their own rates.

You can run but you can’t hide:

Steve Cohen, founder of the hedge fund SAC Capital, was charged on Friday with failure to stop insider trading by two employees he supervised. Over the last year the SEC has charged two of SAC employees with insider trader but failed to get the top dog or so we thought. The charges brought are civil in nature and the SEC will seek to bar Cohen from overseeing investor funds. [Continue reading...]

Jul 19


In the News:

Philly Fed:

Philadelphia area manufacturing reported a stronger than expected up tick. The expansion in US Firms helped propel the index to 19.8 in July compared to 12.5 in June; which provided the largest jump since March 2011.

Dell Drama:

The drama surrounding the potential buy out of Dell continues for at least another week.    The vote for the proposed buyout by founder Michael Dell and Silver Lake was started on Thursday at Dell’s annual shareholder meeting but has been delayed until next week.  Based on the results of the initial tally process on Thursday the outcome does not look good.  [Continue reading...]

Jul 18


In The News:

Bernanke speaks…. FED Chairman Fuzzy Face (aka Ben Bernanke) testified on the hill yesterday. After consulting with our decoder ring below are some of the speech highlights:

  • Asset purchases are not on preset course, and can be reduced/expanded.
  • Specific unemployment and inflation numbers are thresholds, not triggers.
  • The intent is to continue QE until substantive labor market improvement.
  • Economy risks have dwindled since the fall.
  • The risk remains of tighting  fiscal policy could restrain economic growth.

Talk to me, book….Wednesday the FED’s research paper called the Beige Book was released. The book provided us the below revelations about the US economy:

  • Growth is at modest pace and manufacturing is expanding.
  • Housing and construction are up at moderate to strong pace.
  • Hiring is steady and wage pressures are contained. [Continue reading...]
Jul 17

In The News:

Fallin Sales… European Auto Sales continue decline hitting a two decade low. Why is this important..? People who feel confident in their own economic situation buy cars, when they don’t they fix up their cars and keep them a while. Looks like the road to recovery may be a long haul for the Euro zone.

Yahhhooo.. Yahoo reported better earnings Q2 however, ad revenue dropped 7%.  Lots of eyes were watching Yahoo earnings as Marisa Myers, Yahoo’s CEO, just completed her first year at the helm.

Buy,Buy,Buy.. China’s top search engine, Baidu, has agreed to buy 91 Wireless, the #3 app store, for $1.9 Billion. [Continue reading...]

Jul 16


In The Markets:

China’s Big News:  Global investors held their collective breath over the weekend hoping the country’s economic data released on Sunday would show the economy merely slowing down not grinding to a halt. Well Christmas came in July. China’s GDP for Q2 was the lowest since 1991 due to weak trade; however it came in at 7.5% still within the government expectation and guideline.

Conflicting… That is the word we would use for two pieces of US economic Data which were released Monday.  First up, Retail sales up 0.4% in June however, the numbers were weaker than expected. Next comes the NY FED Empire State Index. The index, which gauges the conditions for New York manufactures, rose in July to a better than expected 9.5 from 7.8 in June. [Continue reading...]

Jul 15


In The News:

Change in Price: The Producers Price Index (aka PPI) rose 0.8% in June vs. 0.5% in May. It was the biggest rise since September 2012. A rise in PPI, a family of indexes that measures change in selling prices by domestic producers of good and services, can signal a stronger economy.

Feeling a little less confident. That’s what consumers were saying about the overall health of the economy as July’s Consumer Sentiment reading edged lower in July to 83.9 vs. 84.1 in MidJune.

Dimon Speaks, the world listens: In an interview with CNBC Friday Jaime Dimon, CEO and Chairman of JPMorganChase, shared his opinion on several topics:

  • On the Economy Dimon, said the US was getting stronger and the broad based recovery was improving.
  • On the Fed raising rates, it would affect the banks bottom line however; it could be good if rising rates means a stronger economy.
  • On the topic of his threat or rumored threat of packing his toys and leaving if his joint role of CEO and Chairmen were split. Nope, he won’t.

On a side note JPM (JPMorgan Chase) reported earnings Friday. The Bank, which is coming back from the big whale loss, earned $1.60 per share for Q2, beating estimates by 16 cents. [Continue reading...]

Jul 10


Expansion: June’s ISM (Institute of Supply and Demand) manufacturing report showed sector growth was ever so slight. The report showed the index moved from 49.0 in May to 50.9 in June. A jump in new orders attributed to the slight increase in growth. Also good news out of the report, construction spending rose from 0.1% in April to 0.5% in May, the highest level since September of ’09. The rise in spending reflects a recent pick up in home building.

Double Interest Rates…Today is the day student loan interest rates double on Federal subsides loans. The current interest rate 3.4% is doubling to 6.8% because Congress couldn’t get their act together before their July 4th recess and pass a new bill. Why is this important? Amount of Student Loan debt is now higher than the amount of Credit Card debt in the US. [Continue reading...]

Jul 8

In The News:
Jobs Friday! Job’s Friday didn’t disappoint . According to the NFP ( Non Farm Payroll) report released on Friday, the US adding 195K in June vs.the 165K jobs added that were estimated. The Unemployment rate stayed unchanged at 7.6 while, hourly wage went up 0.4% in June vs. 0.1% in May. [Continue reading...]

Jul 3


In The News:

Factory Orders increased:

Factory Orders rose from 1.3% in April to 2.1% in May.

Soaring Sales:

June was the month to buy an automobile. GM’s sales were up 6.5% to the highest monthly totals since September 2008. Ford’s sales were up 13%, their best since June 2006.  Chrysler reported sales up 8.2% and Toyota sales increased by 9.8. Based on these numbers June must be Ford Truck month.


The worlds’ largest bond fund, PIMCO Total Return Fund, reported outflows (money that was taken out of the fund) totaling $9.6 billion in June. The fund is managed by PIMCO leader Bill Gross. Why the mass exodus?? Bond yields

New Rules and Regulations:

The Federal Reserve approved new banking rules, called Basel III, on Tuesday. The new regulations will raise the amount of capital “Big Banks” will have to maintain on their books from 4% to 6%. The goal of the new regulations is to reduce excessive risk banks have taken in the recent past.

Losing Steam:

China’s Service Sector continued to lose steam in June. China’s official PMI (Producers Manufacturing Index) came in at 53.9 versus 54.3 in June. The unofficial HSBC PMI provided a little sunshine in their report; they showed smaller companies ticked up to 51.3 in June from 51.2 in May.


On Tuesday the Treasury Department announced that they are postponing enforcing a significant piece of Obamacare by a year.   The specific provision being delayed affects larger employers who must decide whether they will continue their company’s health care coverage or pay a penalty of $2,000 per employee.  The new enforcement date will being on January 1, 2015 instead of 2014.

In The Markets:


Investors were spooked by negative news from China and Greece; the market closed in the red Wednesday.


The latest Euro-zone unemployment numbers spooked investors and triggered a slip in European Markets on Tuesday.


The spooked investor trend carried over to US markets as investors watched the mounting tension in Egypt.  The markets opened down triple digits, moved into positive territory, and lost steam in the final hour of trading.  The US markets ended slightly in the red Tuesday.


In Dinner and Drink:

After a rough trading day for investors we all need a little comfort food.

Twice Baked Potatoes


  • 3 large baking potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 ½  tablespoons milk
  • 1 ½ tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 5 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, grated (about 1 ¼ cups)
  • ½ tablespoon garlic salt
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • ¼ cup finely chopped green onion


  • Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Wash the potatoes and pierce them with a fork.
  • Rub the potatoes with olive oil and place them on a jellyroll pan or a large cookie sheet with a rim.
  • Bake the potatoes for 45 minutes to an hour, or until done.
  • Remove the potatoes from the oven and cut them in half lengthwise. Set aside to cool.
  • Reduce the temperature of the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, scoop out the potato flesh into a large electric mixing bowl.
  • Add the milk, butter, sour cream, cheese, garlic salt, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix until creamy.
  • Divide the mixture evenly and spoon it back into the potato shells.
  • Return the potatoes to the oven for 15 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and garnish with the bacon and green onion.

I learned the hard way not to wrap the potatoes in foil before baking; it softens the shells and they will fall apart.  Baking them unwrapped makes the shells stronger for scooping out the potato flesh later.

Want more great recipes, click here.



Jul 2


In The News:

New At The Helm Zynga hired Don Mattrick, Microsoft’s Xbox Chief, to replace founder Mark Pincus. Zynga has been struggling amid lowering stock prices, layoffs, and a steady stream of senior executive exits. Pincus, will stay on with the company as its Chairman, Chief Product Officer, and holder of 61% of voting rights. That should make for some interesting Board meetings…

You’re a keeper… That’s what Disney told its CEO, Bob Iger when they offered him a new contract through June 30, 2016. Iger’s tenure hasn’t been a smooth one.  He has made it through the fight to split the roles of CEO and Chairman, compensation criticism and was previously going to vacate his position as CEO on April 1, 2015. Guess it true… Disneyland where your dreams can come true.

You’re in T-R-O-U-B-L-E… The Troika (aka the bailout police) has told Greece it has three days to show it can meet all bailout conditions or it doesn’t get its next batch of rescue loans. The Troika has the power to refuse to transfer the full amount or break the 8.1 billion euro amount into three monthly payments. Seem the Troika is a little pooped at Greece over its reform efforts.

Strike.. The San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit System came to halt Monday as workers went on strike after contract negotiations over the weekend stalled. Bay area commuters were stuck like Chuck some waiting hours for transportation to carry them through their daily lives.

TV in the clouds… Southwest will begin offering free live television on its flights. The carrier struck a deal with Dish to provide the TV’s in exchange for Dish advertising through passenger’s entire experience.

Private Piano… Kohlberg & Co, the private equity firm, has agreed to buy Steinway Musical Instruments for $438 million or $35 a share.  The deal will help the piano maker gain recognition in places like Brazil, China, and Russia.

In The Markets:

Asia: Asian markets closed higher in their trading session. A weaker Yen helped boost exports stocks.

Europe: Europe closed higher Monday. Up beat Eurozone employment numbers helped investors digest record high unemployment in the region.

US: US Markets gained positive grounds Monday on better economic data.  DJIA: +65.36 14974.96, Nasdaq: +31.24 3434.49  S&P 500: +8.68 1614.96.

 In Dinner or Drink:

We choose a drink to help Disney CEO, Bob Iger, celebrate his new contract.

Mickey Mouse

1/2 pint bitter
1/2 pint lager

First pour in the lager then the bitter.

If the bitter is a smooth flow type, the drink is more easily poured if the nozzle of the bitter tap is removed first, and then poured.

Want to know more about the drink of the day, click here.












In The Markets:






DJIA: +65.36 14974.96                          Nasdaq: 3434.49 +31.24   S&P 500: +8.68 1614.96

Jul 1


In The News:

Better than Nothing:

The Chicago PMI (Purchasing Manufacturing Index) fell in June to 51.6 from 58.7 May. Why is that important – the index is a gauge of manufacturing sector growth, and it showed slowing growth.   Slowing manufacturing growth is not great for the overall big picture of economic health, also known as GDP (Gross Domestic Product).

How ya’ feeling:

The University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment report was release on Friday.  This report gauges how consumers are feeling overall, and the report showed a small drop in sentiment to 84.1 in June from 84.5 in May.

Fed Head:

Bernanke’s (aka Fuzzy Face) days as the head of the Federal Reserve are drawing near. Never fear progress has stated.  President Obama has started to compile a short list of candidates to replace him. The search for the new Federal Reserve  head will be conducted by the Treasury Secretary. As of now the search  has not produced a front-runner. We will have to stay tuned as the drama unfolds.

Google’s Pipeline:

According to The Wall Street Journal Google is developing a video game console and wristwatch. Both products are based around Google’s Android operation system. The new devices will help Google compete against Apple, which is rumored, to be developing a wrist watch as well.

SEC Probing..

CNBC has reported that the SEC has started a probe into the relationship between Thomson Reuters and the ISM (Institute of Supply Manufacturing).  Last month it was reported that Thomas had been sending the ISM’s report to his top clients just before it was being released to the general public.

Venti Soda?:

Is Starbuck’s expanding to the soda market? The Seattle-based firm is currently testing their newest carbonated creations in Austin and Atlanta.  Their sample set currently includes lemon-ale, spiced root beer, and ginger ale made from a carbonation machine and they are priced from $2.45 to $3.45 depending on size.


On Friday the mammoth news organization formerly know as Fox will split into 2 companies. The newly formed News Corp will house all the “News” holdings like the WSJ, Dow Jones, New York Post etc. The newly formed 21st Century Fox will house all the “Entertainment” holdings like FX, 20th Century Fox, etc.


Onyx Pharmaceuticals rebuffed an offer from Amgen.   Onyx through the $8.7 billion offer undervalued the company, and they have start soliciting other potential bids.


In The Markets:


Despite the mixed signals that investors received from the regions economic data, Asian markets closed in the green on Monday.


Investors reacted negatively to the weak US economic data, and the European markets closed down on Friday.


We are officially half-way through 2013.   Investors were left to digest lackluster economic data as well as more Fed speak; this in turn has caused a choppy session at the quarter –end.


In Dinner or Drinks:

Today we have selected a classic drink, the Whiskey Sour, to celebrate the birth of two newly independent companies – Fox News and 21st Century Fox

Whiskey Sour


  • 2 ounces whiskey (Scotch, Bourbon, Canadian Whiskey or Irish Whiskey)
  • Juice from ½ of a lemon
  • ½ teaspoon of sugar
  • 1Maraschino Cherry
  • Ice


  • Put ice, whiskey, lemon juice, and sugar in a low-ball glass and stir.
  • Add a half slice of lemon, a cherry as garnish, and serve.

For more classic drink recipes click here.




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