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Aug 30

In The News:

Have it your way..

Fast food workers were on strike hoping to create a union and asking for higher wages. Get this…$15 an hour! Employees from McDonald’s. Burger King, Wendy’s and Kentucky Fried Chicken hit the streets in 60 cities across America to promote their cause.

Penalty Present..

Friday, China’s securities regulator fined Everbright Securities $100 million for a trading error that caused havoc in the market and banned the company from proprietary trading in stocks and derivatives.  [Continue reading...]

Aug 29

In The News

Alright Detroit!

Ford is adding 1400 workers and a second shift to meet the surging demands of the Fusion model. Ford posted its strongest U.S. sales since 2006. This year alone U.S. sales are up 12.9% outpacing the industry as a whole which is up 8.5%. The increase also has Ford within 2% of market share leader General Motors who has own the top spot for decades.

Can you say Vodaphone without singing “Kodachrome” by Paul Simon?

Verizon is in advanced talks to purchase Vodaphone’s 45% stake in Verizon Wireless for $130 billion. They are hoping to raise enough from several banks to finance only $60 billion. The deal should benefit both companies. Verizon wants the freedom and profits while Vodaphone needs cash. [Continue reading...]

Aug 28

In The News:

To blast or not to blast

Amid a statement issued by the U.S. government regarding imminent military action against Syria, stocks continued their sell off globally. Is this downturn all over a few cruise missiles or has the unabated rally finally found a reason to cease? Brent crude may rise “briefly” to $150 a barrel if the conflict in Syria spills over into other parts of the Middle East, causing supply cuts, Societe Generale’s Michael Wittner, head of oil market research. “The concern is that an attack on Syria will reverberate through the region, increasing the spill over into other countries and possibly resulting in a larger supply disruption elsewhere,” If oil flows aren’t disrupted, prices may still rise as high as $125 in coming days, he said.

Any armed response against Syria would be narrowly focused on the nation’s weapons capabilities and wouldn’t be aimed at deposing President Bashar al-Assad, U.S. and U.K. officials said. The Middle East accounted for 35 percent of global oil output in the first quarter of this year, according to data from the International Energy Agency. Tomahawk cruise missiles are likely to be launched at night against hundreds of Syrian targets if the U.S. and allies launch a military strike in retaliation for the use of chemical weapons, said Jeffrey White, a former Defense Intelligence Agency analyst who’s now a defense fellow with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Don’t mess with Uncle Sam

U.S. authorities are demanding JP Morgan Chase pay more than $6 billion to settle allegations it mis-sold securities to government-backed mortgage companies in the run-up to the financial crisis. The bank is resisting the payment which would be its single biggest penalty in a catalogue of expensive run-ins with U.S. authorities and one of the largest post-crisis settlements by any bank. [Continue reading...]

Aug 27

In The News:

Durable Goods

The Commerce Department released its monthly Durable Goods report on Monday and orders for durable goods plunged 7.3% in July which is the steepest drop in nearly a year.   This drop is almost twice what economists had expected and snapped the streak of three months of gains. Durable goods are goods that have a lifespan greater than 3 years, such as cars, washing machine, computers, etc.   This drop could be blamed on the increasing interest rates in advance of the Fed tapering program, but it is unlikely that this would deter the Fed from beginning the tapering program.

Trading Ban

T. Rowe Price has permanently banned 1300 American Airlines employees from trading among their funds in their 401K plans.   The move was made to prevent collective trading by subscribers of the EZTracker newsletter.  Collective trading is when a large number of investors trade mutual funds together; this type of trading can force fund managers to buy/sell at inopportune times to meet the demand.   This ban is a culmination of years of T. Rowe Price placing temporary trading restrictions on these subscribers.  An additional 800 AA employees received a letter warning letter about their trading patterns.  Back in May 2012, EZTracker filed a complaint with the SEC that the temporary restrictions were ‘discriminatory and anti-competitive’; we’ll have to wait and see what the SEC says now that we’ve moved from a temporary action to a permanent ban.  [Continue reading...]

Aug 26

In The News:

 

Lost Decade Over…

After 33 years with the company, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer (employee #30) announced that he will retire within the next 12 months.   Mr. Ballmer has been CEO since Bill Gates retired in 2000 and during his tenure (nicknamed the lost decade) Microsoft shares have been relatively flat while other tech firms, like Apple, have soared.  Changes have been in the works for most of the summer, in July Microsoft announce a major reorganization to focus more on hardware as well as shift the company’s organizational structure from multiple divisions (ex. Windows,  Office, Online, etc.) to single purpose functions  (ex. Operating Systems, Devices,  Apps, etc.) which is similar to the way Apple operates.

Many Wall Street analysts were surprised how quickly Mr. Ballmer’s announcements occurred. Microsoft is in process of assembling a special committee, which will include founder Bill Gates, to begin the search for a new CEO.  Investors were just happy to see the lost decade end; when the announcement was made Microsoft shares soared up 6.7% to $37.57 – clearly investors were also ready for a change of course.

Freeze Update..

There has been little word from officials after Thursday’s ‘connectivity issue’ but sources with knowledge have leaked some details:

  • There doesn’t appear to be any evidence of hacking.
  • They have not found any unusual levels of quotations or trading messages.
  • It appears that the trigger point was the NYSE electronic trading platform, Arca.
  • They believe the software glitch caused the NASDAQ quote disruption.

As always, source information is always considered rumors until confirmed by an official statement.    Mary Jo White, the SEC Chairwoman, stated on Thursday that she wants to continue with new market structure regulations that NASDAQ and other exchanges have resisted.   [Continue reading...]

Aug 23

In The News:

Grinding Halt:

The NASDAQ exchange halted trading for over two hours Thursday. Around 12:15 pm EST officials halted all trading after a glitch was discovered in the data feed that provides quotes and prices for NASDAQ-listed securities. The outage froze the prices on thousands of stocks such as Facebook and Apple, as well as on ETFs and options listed on the NASDAQ. Stocks can be listed and traded on multiple exchanges, so the effects of the NASDAQ halt rippled across numerous exchanges, dark pools and Wall Street trading platforms.  Trading resumed at 3:25 pm EST after both officials at the NASDAQ and SEC gave their blessings.

No Coverage:

UPS announced Thursday to its employees it would no longer provide healthcare benefits to 15,000 spouses. In a memo to employees the fourth largest employer announced, “Since the Affordable Care Act requires employers to provide affordable coverage, we believe your spouse should be covered by their employers.”  Coverage for spouses who do not work or lack employer-covered health plans will continue to be a part of employee benefits. This could be the first of many such announcements, as employers start to grapple with the rising cost of health care and the additional burdens of Obamacare.   [Continue reading...]

Aug 22

In The News:

Trumpets, Please

After weeks of speculation and market swings the Fed minutes were released.   The magic 8-ball refused to provide an answer and gave a question mark symbol – we’re not sure how to interpret that just yet but the Fed did tell us the following:

  • The FOMC is split over the timing of the taper.
  • Some members thought that the Fed should be more patient before beginning a taper.
  • Some member’s thought that a taper should begin sooner.
  • In June, the Fed provided guidance saying tapering should happen only if the economy improves as expected. Almost all members agreed with this sentiment.

Our conclusion is that we didn’t really learn anything new, and that we’ve got time to play a second round of guess when the taper happens!

Waiting

On Wednesday Meg Whitman, the CEO of HP, admitted that the company has a lot of work ahead of them to successfully turn the company around.  Whitman famously said that her 5-year plan would help the company return to its former glory, and this week she stressed that they are still on track but won’t see the fruits of their labor until sometime next year.  Investors were not impressed with HP’s financial reports, which were released today, as shares dropped 8% during afterhours trading to $23.45 per share.  Whitman is 2 years into her tenure and HP is in its 5th consecutive quarter of profits and sales declining; one has to wonder how much patience do investors have? [Continue reading...]

Aug 21

 

In The News:

Closer…

A tech source let it slip that Apple has requested Hon Hai Precisions Industry, one of the iPhone assembly companies,   to ship both a new high-end and low-end iPhone in early September.   If the source’s information is true then one of the longest standing iPhone rumors of this season has been confirmed.  This would be a shift in Apple’s traditional smart-phone strategy, as they typically only introduce a new high-end iPhone in September, but it may be a necessary change.  Apple has been losing ground on the smart-phone market as both Samsung and Google are both releasing more advanced smart-phones on a more frequent basis.

Oops…

Tell me if you’ve heard this one before – a financial firm had a ‘tech glitch’, submitted notification to the market bosses, and is looking to potentially cancel the trades.   No, we’re not talking about the wild ride in China on Friday; we’re talking about the tumble that happened in the US markets Tuesday morning.  Goldman Sachs trading system sent a wave of erroneous option trades on stocks and ETF’s that began with the letters I-K.  Once the error was noticed, Goldman Sachs reported the issues to US exchanges and officials began the review process.  This system glitch could cost Goldman Sachs hundreds of thousands to unwind and is a short term ding on their reputation. [Continue reading...]

Aug 20

Note to self.. drink more coffee in the morning and send the edited version of  the daily digest the first time.

Happy Tuesday, Ya’ll!

In The News:

Who’s your Daddy?

The SEC is looking into allegations that JP Morgan Chase hired children of high ranking officials in China in return for preferential treatment.  Just to be clear, the SEC is not saying JPMorgan did anything wrong they are just taking an extra hard-extra long look at the company.  This is has been a tough couple of weeks for the bank; in addition to this ‘inquiry’, two former employees were charged with several felonies for their part in the London Whale debacle.

Wall Street star says he was wrong?

On Monday, the SEC announced a settlement with billionaire hedge-fund manager Philip Falcone that requires him to admit wrongdoing, be barred from the securities industry for at least 5 years, and pay an $18 million dollar penalty to settle charges the SEC brought against him in 2012.    Mr. Falcone allegedly used investors’ funds to pay his own taxes, played favorites when handling client requests, and improperly traded in a Canadian company’s bonds.  This is an important ruling as it is the first time someone was forced to admit their guilt it in a plea deal under the new rule set forth by SEC Chair, Mary Jo White.

New Toy

Samsung announced its new addition to its Galaxy line, the Galaxy Mega smart-phone. The phone measures 6.3 inches diagonally and is almost as big as a tablet.   It’s equipped with the Android 4.2. Jelly Bean operating software, has 1.5 GB of RAM, and 16 GB of internal storage. On Friday, the phone will debut on the AT&T network, and will cost $150 dollars plus a two year contract. The Mega will roll out to Sprint customers by the end of the year.  This is one of the few times that US customers will play catch-up in the smart-phone market as this phone has been offered in Europe and Korea for a while.

If you don’t listen bad things will happen

A Palestinian researcher, Khalil Shreatech, hacked Facebook founder Mark Zuckerburg’s              page last week after the site’s security team ignored his warnings of a serious security flaw.    Mr. Shreatech found a hole in Facebook’s system that allowed him to post to any user’s page, including users not on his friend’s list.   A gap like this would be a gold mine to spammers or scam artists if discovered.  While Mr. Shreatech did get his news public, he missed out on receiving a reward from the companies White Hat program, which gives security researchers a monetary reward for qualifying security bug, since he violated the Facebook terms of service.

In The Markets:

Asia:

Asian markets tumbled on Tuesday as investors start to batten down the hatches in preparations for the potential Fed tapering.

Europe:

European markets tumbled when investors began to worry about Rome’s coalition government and their own economic issues.

US:

Investors choose to play another round of when will the Fed taper begin and US markets closed lower on Monday.

Aug 19

In The News:

Lower Sentiment

The Thompson-Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary index of consumer sentiment fell to 80.6 from 85.1 in July, which was the highest level since 2007.   Economists were stunned as they had predicted a small increase to 85.2; this decline was the largest since December.  One major reason for the drop in confidence is the ever present discussion of Fed Tapering.  It’s currently scheduled for discussion in September, and the jump in interest rates (done in anticipation) has started to weigh on households.

Blame It On The Computer

On Friday, the Shanghai Composite Index took a trip on Mr. Toad’s wild ride and surged as much as 5.6% before ending down .6%.  The stocks that initially triggered the trip were the China Merchants Bank and Sinopec but trading activity quickly spread across the board.  After market close one firm, Everbright Securities, reported that their trading system had issues Friday and were applying to cancel all of their morning trades.   When companies have trading gaffs like this their first statement typically is they had a trading system issue and are looking into the matter;  stay turned sometime next week we’ll know if it really was a machine or if someone has a very uncomfortable trade-error meeting in their future. [Continue reading...]

Aug 16

In The News:

Economic snapshot:

On Thursday, the Fed released two of its monthly reports and the world got a glimpse at how the US economy is performing.  The first report released was the Philly Fed Index; it showed a drop in the manufacturing sector from 19.8% in July to 9.3% in August. The second report released was the NY Empire State Index; this report shows the health of the economy in the New York district, like the Philly report NY reported a drop in the manufacturing sector from 9.46% in July to 8.24 in August.  Both drops were tied to a decrease in new orders and hiring of new employees.

Wal-Mart Earnings:

Wal-Mart reported disappointing 2nd quarter (Q2) earnings on Thursday.  The retailer’s Q2 profits rose 1.3% to $407 Billion ($1.24 per share), but analyst were expecting per share earnings of $1.25.   On top of the disappointing earnings report, Wal-Mart cut its estimate for full year earnings per share citing a challenging retail environment in both the US and International markets.   After these Q2 disappointments, Wal-Mart will be paying even more attention to their sales numbers.  [Continue reading...]

Aug 15

In The News:

Whale Charges:

Late Friday evening it was reported that there were pending charges for two former JPMorgan employees involved in the London Whale debacle, and on Wednesday charges were officially filed.  Here are the highlights from what’s been reported so far:

  • The two individuals charged are named Avier Martin-Artajo and Julien Grout.
  • The charges are conspiracy to falsify books and records, wire fraud, and falsifying SEC filings.
  • Bruno Iksil, the trader behind debacle, has been granted immunity in return for his assistance in helping build the case against Mr.  Grout and Mr. Martin-Artajo.

The charges against Mr.  Grout and Mr. Martin-Artajo show that the government has received enough credible information from Mr. Iksil to pinpoint blame on these individuals.   The combination of charges show that Mr.  Grout and Mr. Martin-Artajo were creatively cooking the JPMorgan books and hiding the activity from internal and external checks and balances.  The pair kept a separate book to track the real value of the portfolio that led to the huge loss to JPM, hoping someday it would rebound in value.

Music to the Ears

Steinway Pianos, the pianos used by Rachmaninoff, have negotiated a deal with private equity guru John Paulson of Paulson & Co. to purchase the company for $512 million ($40 per share).  Last month the company appeared to have a deal in place with the private equity firm Kohlberg & Co for $35 per share,   but decided to terminate the purchase agreement and pay the $6.7 million penalty in hopes that they would receive a better offer. [Continue reading...]

Aug 14

In The News:

 

Apple of My Eye:

Does Silicon Valley have a new hedge fund friend?  Based on the tweets of hedge fund owner Carl Icahn, yes they do.  He tweeted today that he has purchased a ‘large’ stake in Apple and that he had a great talk with Apple’s CEO Tim Cook about increasing the buyback program.   Once the tweet went viral in the finance community Apple’s stock rose almost 5%.   Icahn has been on a tech buying spree in recent months buying shares of Apple, Yahoo, and Motorola.

Grounded:

The merger between AMR, the parent company of American Airlines, and US Air has been grounded for the foreseeable future. On Tuesday, the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed antitrust lawsuits to prevent the merger from continuing.  The DOJ claims that the merger will result in consumers paying higher airfares and fees as well as providing fewer choices.  AMR-US Air claim that the merger will have the opposite effect and help consumer by offering passengers better routes, more flight options, and better connections for overseas destinations.   It will be interesting to see how the DOJ spins this since they allowed the United-Continental and Delta-Northwest mergers to occur with no issues. [Continue reading...]

Aug 13

In The News:

Deficit:

The Treasury Department released its revenue report on Monday; despite the tax hikes and strengthening economy the US reported a deficit in July.  Economists were expecting the monthly deficit to be $96 billion, and the actual deficit was $97.6 billion.  Despite the higher than expected numbers, the current budget deficit is well below 2012 levels.   The ‘improving’ budget has eased some of the pressure on Congress & the White House to resolve the US’s long term financial problems.

Private Pineapple:

If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.   In the case of David Murdock, the CEO and Chairman of Dole Foods, it only took two tries for his offer to take the fruit and vegetable giant private to be accepted.  It’s a sweet deal for shareholders who will receive $13.50 per share; an increase from his original offer in June of $12 per share.  Dole’s board has unanimously approved his offer and the company now is in the 30-day go shop period. [Continue reading...]

Aug 12

In The News:

Disappointment:

The wholesale inventories report was released on Friday and showed that inventories fell 0.2% in June vs. +0.5 est., a 3rd monthly decline. Why are two month old numbers important; a fall in inventories isn’t necessary caused by a long line of people buying the product faster than it can be produced. Instead it can also stem from manufactures making less of the products in efforts to keep expensive down. The second option is what causes investors’ concern.

Under Scrutiny:

JPMorgan is working to settle the ‘London Whale’ losses with the SEC.  Reuters reported on Friday that a possible settlement would include JPMorgan paying a penalty as well as admitting some fault in $6.2 billion derivatives.   It looked like this yearlong investigation was wrapping up until late Friday night when sources reported that in the upcoming days 2 individuals will be arrested in London and extradited to the US. Stay tuned to this trans-Atlantic adventure.

Round 2:

Bill Ackman doesn’t have enough going on in his life.  The hedge fund owner-activist sent a follow up letter to the JC Penny board demanding that they oust the of Chairman of Board, Thomas Engibous.   The second letter was sent after Mr. Ackman learned Debra Berman was hired as Senior VP of Marketing from a press release; in the letter he accuses management of hiring and firing without the whole boards consent.   Mr. Ackman says “I have lost confidence in our chairman’s ability to oversee this board,” the Board response was that he has his facts incorrect. Something tells me Mr. Ackman’s letter writing days are far from done.

China economic snapshot:

On Friday, China released several economic reports which paint a mixed picture for the rebounding Chinese economy.

  • Industrial production grew 9.7% in July. Not only did it beat estimate it was the best reading since February.
  • July retail sales slowed to 13.2%
  • Consumer prices rose 2.7% from the same period in 2012.

September numbers will give the world a better picture of the #2 economy and give move insight to the next step of Abe-onomcs.

Apple vs. Samsung:

The US ITC (International Trade Commission) ruled against Samsung and agreed with Apple that Samsung did infringe on two of Apple’s patents.   The specific patents were the ‘949 patent, touch commands on the on touch screen, and ‘501, input/output detection for the microphone & headphone jacks.  This investigation has been ongoing since August 2011, and the ITC declared that the decision is final and the case is over.  This ruling means that Samsung mobile devices could be banned from being sold in the US soon.   The only way that this ban could be prevented would be for the President to veto the decision which is highly unlikely given the fact that he vetoed another ITC ruling last week that went again Apple.

In The Markets:

Asia:

Asian stocks closed mixed on Monday. Slower GDP numbers from Japan put a damper on the Nikkei while the expectation of better growth from China lifted the other Asian markets into the green.

Europe:

European markets rallied on Friday as investors took the positives from China’s economic reports instead of the negative.

US:

US investors did not drink the same kool-aid as their European counterparts regarding the economic news from China and US markets closed lower on Friday.

In Dinner or Drink:

Bitter Hitter

3 oz Blue Curacao liqueur

2 oz Cointreau® orange liqueur

4 oz. coldwater

1 large orange

1 large grapefruit

1tamarillo

 

Place all the fruits in a blender and puree, add blue curacao and Cointreau then pulse until combined. Add water and ice and pulse until combined. Serve in tall glass with rim dipped in sugar and lemon juice and a slice of orange on side.

 
Want more great drink receipe, click here.

Aug 9

In The Markets:

China Rebounds:

In China, July was a great month to be in the export or import business.  Exports were up 5.1% and imports were up 10.9%.   These increases are a possible sign that the world’s #2 economy is stabilizing following last year’s slowdown.

Go, Fannie, Go:

Fannie Mae, the mortgage behemoth, reported a $10.1 billion dollar profit during the second quarter, nearly double what it earned a year ago.   This is their sixth straight quarter reporting profits. Rising home prices have helped the company create a rainy day fund and will allow it to make a $10.2 billion dollar payment to the Treasury Department in September.   To date Fannie Mae has paid back $41.1 billion dollars of the $71.3 billion it borrowed from tax payers in 2008. [Continue reading...]

Aug 8

In The News:

Smart-watch:

Samsung is close to launching their latest gadget; several reports suggest that it could be a wristwatch, wrist band, or wrist bangle.  This week the company submitted applications for both US and South Korean trademarks.  In the US filing, Samsung described the new gadget as a wearable digital electronic device with the following features:

  • It will have internet access.
  • It can send and receive phone calls, emails, and messages.
  • It will store and manage personal information.

Don’t panic!

If you were unable to make purchases from Apple’s istores between 9AM and 11AM PST on Wednesday you are not alone.  Apple reported that they had a disruption of service that affected the iPhone App store, iTunes, Mac App Stores, and iBookstore; the issue has since been resolved but if you saw individuals breathing from paper bags during this time they might have been going through Apple product withdrawal.

Giving Up:

After a two year legal battle Chesapeake Energy called it quits in their fight with New   YorkState.   The origins of the battle stem from Chesapeake wanting to retain and extend their natural gas drilling leases under the original terms which were signed before the fracking boom.  Since the leases were originally signed numerous states, including New York, have enacted laws to be advocates for the land owners when being contacted by fracking firms.   Chesapeake was hoping that by extending the current leases they could get around the new rules in place to help the common man and increase their bottom line.  Kudos to New YorkState for digging in and fighting for the underdog.

Yahoo!

Yahoo’s logo is getting a makeover!   To commemorate the occasion Yahoo will display a variations of the new logo, one per day, as a lead up event to the unveiling ceremony on September 4th 9PM PST.

Carded….

Wells Fargo and American Express announced Wednesday that they are teaming up to create a new credit card loyalty program for Wells Fargo customers.   Beta testers will start using the cards and loyalty program in the third quarter;  if all goes well the program and cards will officially launch sometime during the first half of 2014 and will be accepted in the American Express global merchant network.

Debt Rising:

In June, consumer borrowing levels rose $13.8 billion dollars; setting a new record at $2.85 trillion.  The largest increases were for automobile purchases and student loans.  .

In The Markets:

Asia:

Asian markets were mixed on Wednesday as investors juggled better export/import numbers out of China and jitters over inflation number released tomorrow.

Europe:

Europe continued its losing streak on Wednesday after the BOE (Bank of England) pledged to keep its benchmark interest rates and bond purchase program unchanged until the countries jobless rate falls to 7%. Investors were disappointed in the stance because the target date for 7% unemployment is 2016.

US:

Another day of the same chatter from the Fed spooked investors causing the string of down days for the US markets to hit three. DJIA: -48.07 15470.67 S&P: -6.46  1690.91 NASDAQ: -11.76 3654.01

In Dinner or Drink:

007

3 oz Stoli® Ohranj vodka
1 1/2 ozfreshly squeezed orange juice
1 1/2 oz soda water

Serve on ice in a highball glass.

Like our drink of the day, click here for more.

Aug 7

 

In The News:

You get an ETF and you get an ETF and …:

In July a record $40.3 billion dollars flowed into US Equity funds and ETF’s (Exchange Traded Funds); at the same time $21.1 billion dollars flowed out of the bond market. This purchasing shift shows that investors are feeling more confident about the economic picture and are moving money from ‘safe’ investments (bonds) to more risky investments (equities).

Just say No…

That’s what Sony said to activist-investor Dan Loeb, founder of the hedge fund Third Point, and his proposed suggestion of spinning off the entertainment business from the music giant. Third Point owns a 7% stake in Sony and is one of the company’s biggest investors.   Sony’s board unanimously rejected the idea saying a spinoff plan would hinder the synergy between content and hardware. [Continue reading...]

Aug 6

In The News:

Vroom Vroom:

On Monday, USA Today reported that Ford will hire 900 additional hourly workers for their Kansas City Plant.   Ford is shifting to around the clock production of the F-150 pickup trucks,  and need additional employees for their third shift.

Sold..

Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, purchased the Washington Post and most of its media assets for $250 million dollars.   The online magazine Slat and the Foreign Policy journal are excluded from the media assets.  According to reports the paper will not have an official connection to Amazon and the company will be run soley by Bezos.

New Class

Low cost carrier Jet Blue announced new classes for their long haul flights.   Starting in 2014, Jet Blue will offer premium seats that convert to lie-flat beds and private suites with closable doors.  The company believes that the new services should generate $1.43 billon dollars in revenue.

Crying Foul:

Bill Ackman, owner of the hedge fund Pershing Square, is crying foul over George Soros and his stake in Herbalife.   Ackman supposedly filed a complaint with regulators claiming Soros committed insider trading when he discussed his company’s future actions at a think tank conference.  This type of knowledge sharing (non-public sharing) can be seen as a way to help fellow hedge funds profit.

Apple vs. Samsung (part TBD)

In the never-ending saga between Apple and Samsung, and interesting figure entered into the conflict.  The White House used its power and vetoed the ITC’s ban on the import and sale of older iPhones & iPads.  The cost to Samsung is potentially $1 billion dollars; while Apple welcomed the veto and is standing by its innovation.  Not surprising to see the White House step in as Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, is a frequent guest at White House events.

In The Markets:

Asia:

Asian markets closed mixed on Tuesday.

Europe:

European stocks extended their gains when investors received upbeat global business reports from the Eurozone.

US:

US markets were mixed as investors received good news in the AM and less than stellar news in the afternoon.   Reason #123,545,654 that the Fed should speak in the AM versus the PM.

In Dinner or Drink:

Apple Citrus Refresher

2 cups apple juice
2 cups orange juice
2 cups grapefruit juice
1/2 cup lime juice freshly squeezed
24 oz ginger ale
ice cubes

In large pitcher or punch bowl combine apple, orange, grapefruit and lime juices. Just before serving, pour in ginger ale. Serve over ice cubes in tall glasses. MAKES: 8-10 SERVINGS.

Want more great drink recipes, click here.

 

Aug 5

In The News:

Long Road

The never-ending story of the US‘s road to recovery hit a bump Friday when the Non-Farm Payroll (NFP) report was released.   Highlights from the report were:

  • Employment numbers were up to 162,000; unfortunately they were well below the estimates of 184,000.
  • Many of the jobs created were in low-wage industries such as retail and restaurants.
  • The jobless rate fell to 7.4%, a four and half year low.   Don’t let the decrease fool you; most likely this was a result of workers giving up finding a job and dropping out of the labor force.
  • May and June’s job numbers were lowered for a combined total of 27,000 lower than originally stated.

Dropped:

The gloves are officially off!  Time Warner Cable dropped CBS and its affiliates Friday at 5:00PM EST after the latest round of talks failed.   The root of the issue stems from the fee amount Time Warner pays for the ‘privilege’ of carrying CBS programming.    Time Warner has already reached out to the roughly three million subscribers affected by the blackout, and has filled the channels vacated by CBS.   [Continue reading...]

Aug 1

Do you get lost trying to remember all the players on the Global Financial Stage? So do we. Below is a list of some of the major characters…

The Federal Reserve System (also known as the Federal Reserve or the Fed)

The Federal Reserve is the US’s Central Bank.   It was created on December 23, 1913, as a response to a series of financial panics.   The System consists of a seven member Board of Governors based in Washington, D.C., and twelve Reserve Banks located in major cities throughout the US.  The members of the board and the twelve Reserve Banks meet monthly to determine the country’s monetary policy at the FOMC meetings.

[Continue reading...]

1

In The News:

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs…

On Wednesday the monthly ADP employment report was released. The report showed that the private sector added 200,000 jobs in July; beating the analysts’ estimates of 180,000 jobs.  The next employment report, Non-Farm Payroll (NFP), is scheduled to be released Friday.

Gross

The first GDP (Gross Domestic Product) reading of the quarter was announced Wednesday.  The GDP, a gauge of how the countries overall economy is chugging along showed US production increasing by 1.7%.   This was the first month that the US Commerce Department used a new formula to calculate GDP;   the formula now includes:  R&D spending, art, film royalties, books, theater, and music. Some critics are not in favor of the new calculations as they feel it paints a rosier picture of the economy. [Continue reading...]

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