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Dec 31

Here’s What Is Happening In The World Of Business and Finance…

Cash Infused…

Crocs (CROX), the shoe company, is getting a $200 million bailout from private equity fund Blackstone. The deal gives Crocks a cash infusion for its $350 million buyback, while Blackstone gets two seats on the board. Shares of the company known for making clogs that are comfortable but ugly peaked above $75 in 2007. But the company hasn’t been able to add new products with the same popularity, causing shares to fall to around $1 in late 2008 before beginning a recovery. Crocs also announced its CEO, John McCarvel, is retiring and will be giving up his board seat at the end of April. McCarvel has been with
the company since 2005 and president and CEO since 2010. Investors cheered the news, sending the stock 21.08% higher, closing the day at $16.14.

Lemons Into Lemonade….
On Monday, Berkshire (BRKA) announced it will acquire a specialty chemical division of oil refiner Phillips 66 (PSX) that makes chemicals to improve the potential flow of pipelines. To pay for the deal, Berkshire will return about 19 million shares it owns in Phillips 66 . The exact number of shares it will take to accomplish the approximately $1.4 Billion deal will be determined by their price on the closing date.

Berkshire acquired its Philips 66 shares in a 2008 investment in ConocoPhillips (COP). Bought when oil prices were near their peak Buffet quickly realized it was a bad call. In the company’s annual report, Buffett called the investment a “major mistake,” taking full blame. Now Buffet is taking his lemons and purchasing a company which should blend well with Bershisre’s portfolio of companies.

In The Markets:

Asian markets closed positive on Tuesday as investors got better than expected news out of the US. Japan Markets were closed for public holiday.

European shares closed down on Monday as markets and investors took profits after closing at five-year high on Friday.

US Markets closed mixed on Monday with the Dow Jones eking out one more record high. Light holiday volume and next to nothing in the way of economic data kept investors in vacation mode. DJIA:+25.88 16504.29 NASDAQ: -2.40 4154.20 S&P 500: -0.33 1841.07

In Dinner or Drink:

California Lemonade

12 oz 7-Up® soda
2 oz Absolut® vodka
1 1/2 oz Goldschlager® cinnamon schnapps
2 oz blended whiskey
juice of 1 lemons
juice of 1 limes
1 tbsp powdered sugar
1/4 tsp grenadine syrup
carbonated water

Shake all ingredients (except carbonated water) with ice and strain into a collins glass over shaved ice. Fill with carbonated water and stir. Decorate with slices of orange and lemon. Add the cherry and serve with a straw.

As we close 2013 we want to Thank You for your support of Before 24 in it’s first 6 months. We look forward to launching new products, many more daily digest, and helping our readers discover more about the world of business and finance in 2014. We wish you peace, health, and prosperity in the New Year!

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language And next year’s words await another voice.”
― T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets

Dec 30

Here’s What’s Going On In The World Of Business and Finance…

Hold On To Your Pin Numbers…
Target (TGT) confirmed Friday that debit card PIN data was part of its recent massive security breach, revising its earlier statement that the codes were not part of the hacking. In a statement released on Friday, the company said, “We remain confident that PIN numbers are safe and secure. The PIN information was fully encrypted, remained encrypted within our system, and remained encrypted when it was removed from our systems.” Target also said that the PIN encryption can only be decrypted by the independent payment processor which holds the decryptions key. Target said that the decryption key was not part of the security breach. As a precaution, any Target customers who shopped during the security breach should contact their banks to request a replacement card and to change their PIN.

I’m Feeling Disconnected…
Several years ago, there used to be something called the “Wealth Effect.” Basically, when the stock market is higher, people’s 401Ks are better, then they feel like the economy is better and that they have more money. A new poll released on Friday may suggest that times they are changing. A new CNN/ORC poll showed that people feel pessimistic when it comes to the economy improving. Nearly 70% of those surveyed said the economy was generally in poor shape, and only 32% rated it as good. Two-thirds of the respondents also said that most of the economic news they have heard recently was predominantly bad news. Just half of the responders expect the economy to remain poor a year from now. So here we know:
• The stock market is surging with the Dow Jones hitting its 50th record high for the year on Thursday, and the NASDAQ is up nearly 40% since January 2013;
• Unemployment is at a five year low;
• Gas prices have dropped;
• GDP (Gross Domestic Product- a gauge of a country’s economic health) for Q3 was over 4% growth;
• The housing sector, which helped drag the economy into recession, is rebounding;
• The Fed thought the economy was doing well enough to start pulling back on its economic stimulus starting in January.
In full disclosure, the facts above are impressive and cheery; however, behind these figures are countless long-term unemployed and under employed. Many people couldn’t find work and have decided to completely drop out of the workforce all together. The survey shocked the people who still thought the wealth effect was still in existence while others didn’t find it too surprising as the stock market has been Fed-drunk for most of the year.
KJ’s Take: There is not a right or a wrong answer, or even opinion in this case. I see the survey as one more reason why the rally has been primarily fueled by institutional money instead of retail (a.k.a. average Joe’s) money. People across all walks of life were burned badly by the recession and a lot are still hurting. I personally think that the economy is getting stronger, but I am not foolish enough to think that there are still not hundreds of thousands of Americans out there who still struggle with their own economies. We, as a country, will get there, but it’s going to take time, patience and us helping each other however we can.

In The Markets:

Asian markets closed higher on Monday. A quiet trading day had investors and markets looking ahead to a slew of economic data from the region starting mid-week.
European share closed out the week positive. With no real economic news to sway investors’ minds the giddiness of another record high for the Dow Jones keep them buying.
US markets closed mostly flat on Friday as investors took a breather after another week of weekly gains. DJIA: -1.22 16478.66 NASDAQ: -10.59 4156.59 S&P 500: -0.60 1841.42

In Dinner or Drink:

Baked Pasta Primavera
• 2 Tbs. olive oil, plus more for greasing
• 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
• 3 garlic cloves, minced
• 2 small yellow summer squash, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
• 2 small zucchini, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
• 1 large carrot, cut into 3/4-inch matchsticks
• Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
• 1 cup small cherry tomatoes
• 3/4 lb. gemelli pasta, cooked according to the package instructions
• 1 Tbs. unsalted butter
• 1 tsp. grated lemon zest
• 1 Tbs. all-purpose flour
• 1 cup milk
• 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

• 2 Tbs. cream cheese

• 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

• 1 cup fresh bread crumbs

Preheat an oven to 400°F. Oil a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.

In a large fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the 2 Tbs. olive oil. Add the onion and two-thirds of the garlic and sauté until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the yellow squash, zucchini and carrot, and season with salt and pepper. Sauté until the vegetables are very soft and just beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the cherry tomatoes and cook just until they start to soften but still hold their shape, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and add the cooked pasta.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the remaining garlic and the lemon zest and sauté just until the garlic softens, about 2 minutes, being careful not to burn the garlic. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Slowly add the milk and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring frequently, until thickened, 4 to 5 minutes. Add 3/4 cup of the Parmigiano-Reggiano and the cream cheese and whisk until the cheeses melt. Season with salt and pepper.

Pour the cream sauce into the bowl with the pasta and the vegetables and toss to combine. Transfer to the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with the mozzarella, the remaining 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano and the bread crumbs.

Bake until the pasta is warmed through and the bread crumbs are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Spoon onto plates and serve immediately. Serves 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma One Pot of the Day, by Kate McMillan (Weldon Owen, 2012).

Need a new word to impress your friends with on NYE… check out our glossary.

“A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins With a Single Step.” ~Lao Tzu

Dec 27

Here’s What’s Going On In The World Of Business and Finance:

Standup Airline…
On Thursday, some lucky fliers scored some really cheap flights on Delta Air Lines (DAL) due to a computer glitch. From approximately 10:00 am to noon EST, certain flights and their prices on the company’s website and other air booking sites were showing up incorrectly. Customers were able to pick up deals like a roundtrip ticket from Cincinnati to Minneapolis for February, for $25.05 or a roundtrip between Cincinnati and Salt Lake City for $48.41. Both of the tickets normally cost over $400.00. A spokesman for the airline said that the glitch has been fixed and that Delta will honor any fees purchased at the incorrect price.

Cut Off….
1.3 million Americans are set to lose their unemployment benefits Saturday as federal emergency benefits will end when funds run out for a program created during the recession to supplement the benefits that states provide. Initially the cutoff will affect 1.3 million people, but 1.9 million more will lose benefits by mid-2014 when their 26 weeks of state paychecks run out, according to the National Employment Law Project. The benefits average about $300 a week.

Wheels Up…
Textron Inc. (TXT), the manufacturer of Cessna aircraft, will expand its lineup of propeller-driven aircraft after reaching a deal to purchase Beechcraft Corp. for $1.4 billion, as the company seeks to counter a slump in business-jet sales.The Providence, Rhode Island-based company will purchase all outstanding equity interests in Beech Holdings LLC, the parent of Beechcraft. The deal, which includes the repayment of Beechcraft’s working capital debt, will be financed by a combo of available cash and around $1.1 billion in new debt.
Adding Beechcraft models, such as the twin-engine King Air, will complement Cessna lineup which ranges from two-seaters to the Caravan turboprop used to fly people and cargo to small airports. The market segment is less competitive than private jets, where Cessna has struggled since they don’t build large, long-range planes now favored by corporate buyers.

In The Markets:

Asia markets finished out the last trading week of 2013 on a positive note. A lowering of the rate Chinese banks charge each other provided relief for investors looking for liquidity (cash) in the market as companies and banks look to shore up their balance sheet before year-end.

Europe continued its five session winning streak. A decrease in US jobless claims by 42K sent another sign to the world the US economy is moving in the right direction.

US markets rallied on Thursday extending the Dow Jones record run to 50 record highs and continued its 6 session winning streak. A larger than expected decline in weekly jobless claims kept investors in the buying spirit. DJIA: +122.33 16479.88 NASDAQ: +11.76 4167.18 S&P 500: +8.70 1842.02

In Dinner or Drink:


Beach Party
1.5 oz. Malibu® coconut rum
1/2 oz. Midori® melon liqueur
1/2 oz. triple sec
pineapple juice
grenadine syrup

Pour rum, melon and triple sec and pineapple. Can be Blended or shaken and served over ice. Add just a small trickle of the grenadine over the top.

Like our drink today, click here for more .

We hope you have a wonderful last weekend of 2013.

“All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.” Walt Disney

Dec 26

Here’s What’s Happening In The World Of Business and Finance:


Santa’s Delayed…
Some of Santa’s Christmas gifts didn’t make it in time this year due to shipping problems at the two biggest shipping companies, UPS (UPS) and FedEx (FDX). Bad weather in the past week on parts of the US and overloaded systems were blamed for the delays. Not helping the situation the holiday shopping period this year was shorter than usual, and Americans’ have a tendency to wait until the last second to shop. Neither company said how many packages were delayed but noted it was a small share of overall holiday shipments.

It’ll Cost You More…
On Tuesday, regulators approved a temporary price hike of 3 cents for a first-class stamp, bringing the charge to mail a first class letter to 49 cents. The hike will go into effect January 26. The higher rate, for the next couple years, will allow the Postal Service to recoup $2.8 billion in losses it suffered during the financial downturn. Bulk mail, periodicals and package service rates will also rise 6 percent.

You Led Me On…
American Express (AXP) has been ordered by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to refund $60 million to its customers for using illegal credit card practices. The CFBP, who monitors how financial products and services work for consumers, alleges that the company engaged in unfair billing tactics and deceptive marketing practices when it illegally marketed identity protection products and charged customers without telling them that the services would only be provided after the client provided written consent. Customers also paid interest charges on these services, essentially paying the full fee without receiving all the advertised benefits and then charged unfair monthly fees, which resulted in exceeding their credit card limit, thus leading to additional fees.
As part of the settlement, American Express did not have to acknowledge wrongdoing. More than 335,000 consumers were affected, and the company already started refunding customers earlier this year.

In The Markets:

Asian markets were mixed on Thursday. The Nikkei (Japan) continued its winning streak, closing above the psychological level of 16,000, on a weaker yen helping export stocks and PM Abe tackled some of the remaining doubt over his stimulus measures. The China’s markets, the Hang Seng and Shanghai Composite, tumbled after investors became disappointed the PBOC (Public Bank Of China) didn’t continue to injected money into its markets.

European shares kept the streak of gains going on Tuesday closing up. Investors received another Christmas present with better-than-expected data on durable-goods from the US.

US markets closed higher in it’s shorten trading session on Tuesday. The Santa Clause Rally continued as investors received another economic present better-than-expected durable-goods. DJIA: +63.26 16357.87 NASDAQ: +6.61 4155.42 S&P 500 +5.25

In Dinner or Drink:

Angels Delight Christmas Drink
1/4 cup whipping cream
7 scoops ice cream
1/2 cup chopped pecan nuts
1/4 cup chocolate syrup
1 banana

Put all of these in a blender. Put whipped cream and nuts on top of glasses.

“I trust that everything happens for a reason, even when we’re not wise enough to see it.” -Oprah

Dec 24

Here’s What’s Going On In The World Of Business and Finance:

Scaled Down Bailout…
On Monday, the U.S. Federal Reserve Board of Governors unveiled a proposal that would limit its authority to bail out a large financial company on the brink of collapse through its emergency lending programs. Currently, the Fed has the power to extend emergency loans to “any individual, partnership or corporation” which meets certain conditions. The new proposal would limit the Fed to only providing funds from its emergency lending programs to help bolster liquidity to the financial system. What the new proposal will not allow is to provide aid to a failing financial company, helping it avert bankruptcy like they did during the height of the financial crisis. Monday’s proposal also includes the requirement of the U.S. Treasury secretary to sign off before the committee could extend any emergency loans. As it stands right now, an institution only needed five Federal Reserve Board members to say yes to tap into the emergency lending program.
The new proposal would implement a key provision of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform, which sought to prevent future big bailouts, like the over $1 trillion extended in emergency credit during the financial crisis. If you would like to comment on the new proposal, the fed is listening until March 7.

Not So Fast…
Lawyers at Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann spearheaded a lawsuit against Citigroup (C) claiming investors like the Louisiana Sheriffs’ Pension and Relief Fund and the City of Tallahassee Retirement System had been misled about the quality of mortgage-related bonds that the bank sold them from 2006 to 2008. Citigroup agreed this year to settle the lawsuit for $730 million. Some of the attorneys involved in the suit wanted to pay themselves $146 million. Judge Sidney Stein of New York judge told the attorneys not so fast and trimmed off $29 million off their proposal saying the attorneys had requested too much money.

New Mouseketter…
Disney announced on Monday, it will be welcoming a new tech savvy Mouseketter to its board. Jack Dorsey, founder of Twitter and CEO payment processing company Square, will join other tech guru’s like Facebook’s Sheryl Sanderg and Blackberry’s interim CEO John Chen. Dorsey, if elected by the Board on March 18 at the annual meeting, will replace Judith Estrin. Estrin, a former chief technology officer at Cisco, cannot stand for re-elections as she reached Disney’s 15 year limit on board service.

In The Markets:

Asian markets closed higher on Tuesday with the Nikkei hitting a six month high. A solid hand off from Wall Street along with the PBOC (People’s Bank of China) infusing money into the Chinese markets had investors feeling Christmas cheer.

European stock markets closed higher for the fourth straight days on Monday. Investors were giddy after receiving upbeat US consumer-sentiment data and the IMF raising their growth target for the US.

US shares closed at all-time highs on Monday extending their record run in 2013. An increase in consumer-spending data reinforced the idea the economic recovery is set to accelerate in 2014. DJIA:+73.47 16294.61 NASDAQ: +44.16 4148.90 S&P: +9.67 1827.99

In Dinner or Drink:

Candy Cane Martini
3/4 oz. vanilla vodka
3/4 oz. Godiva® white chocolate liqueur
1/2 oz. peppermint schnapps
3/4 oz. half-and-half
grenadine syrup

Combine all ingredients in a shaker filled with ice. Drizzle some grenadine along the inside of a frosted martini glass. Shake and decant ingredients into the glass. The grenadine should swirl with the rest of the drink. Garnish with a candy cane.

Like our drink today, click here for more.
We wish all of you and your families a safe and wonderful Christmas!
“You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us. And the world will live as one.”
― John Lennon

Dec 23

Here’s What’s Going On In The World Of Business and Finance:

Open Sundays… Kinda
On Sunday, JP Morgan Chase (JPM) opened select branches around the country after the bank capped spending limits on debit-card customers whose data was possibly compromised during the 20-day security breach at Target (TGT) stores. The bank, on Saturday, announced that it had temporarily limited total daily spending to $300 and$100 cash daily withdrawal from ATMs. The restrictions did not apply to the banks credit card customers. Additionally, customers could cancel their debit cards on Sunday and have them reissued if they were concerned about a possible compromise.
Citibank (C) also began last week to lower some cardholders’ limits, block transactions and reissue cards if the bank sees any suspicious activity. Moves by both banks were the first signs of damage control by major credit card issues after 40 million credit card and debit cards were affected by the security breach at Target.

Growing By Leaps and Bounds…
The final reading of Q3 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) came in higher than expected on Friday. The U.S. economy grew at a 4.1% annual pace, up from the first reading of 3.6%, according to the Commerce Department. The 4.1% pace was the fastest in almost three years. Last quarter’s reading (Q2) came in at 2.6%. Below is how the individual segments came out:

  • Business spending on equipment was revised up to 0.2%. It had previously been reported as being flat.
  • Domestic demand rose at a 2.3% rate, instead of the 1.8% pace that the government reported earlier this month.
  • Export growth was raised up by 0.02 percentage points to a 3.9% pace.
  • Residential construction spending was lowered by 2.7 percentage points to 10.3 % rate in Q3.

KJ’s Take: As I always say, growth of any kind is always a good thing, but growth up over 4% is an amazing thing! Most experts agree that the number should be sustainable through Q4. I, personally, am a teeny tiny bit skeptical. Remember, consumer spending is 2/3 of the GDP number, and we already know holiday shopping numbers have already been hit by the winter weather that has hit the country.

Headed For The Clouds…
On Friday, Oracle Corp (ORCL), the world’s no. 2 business software maker announced that it is buying Responsys Inc. (MKTG), the web-based marketing software maker for $1.39 billion. Responsys makes cloud-based software that businesses use to manage their marketing campaigns across all mediums, like email, mobile and internet. Some of their customers include LinkedIn (LNKD) and Southwest Airlines (LUV).
The acquisition will help bolster the company’s cloud computing offering, which has been a major initiative. The four decade old Oracle was late to the cloud party and has been trying to catch up ever since. The company recently has been trying to fend off rivals, such as (CRM) and Workday Inc. (WDAY), which are more nimble and offer web-based products at prices which often undercut Oracle pricing.

In The Markets:

Asian markets started their week out higher on news the PBOC (People’s Bank of China) injected money into the markets to help sooth jittery investors. The Nikkei was closed today for a national holiday.

European stock markets posted gains on Friday after an amazing GDP report provided further evidence the US economy is making a comeback and German confidence figures point to a better 2014 for the country.

US stocks ended the week positive after Q3 GDP report showed the economy is on the road to solid and stabile recovery. DJIA: +42.06 16221.14 NASDAQ: +46.61 4104.74 S&P: +8.72 1818.13

In Dinner or Drink:

Blue Cloud Cocktail

1 oz. amaretto almond liqueur
1/2 oz. Blue Curacao liqueur
2 oz. vanilla ice cream
1 oz. whipped cream

Pour the amaretto and blue curacao into a blender. Add vanilla ice cream. Blend until smooth. Pour into a brandy snifter, and top with whipped cream. Garnish with a maraschino cherry, and serve.

Like our drink, click here for more.

Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.

Dec 20

Here’s What’s Going On In The World Of Business and Finance:

World Domination…
Hershey (HSY) announced on Thursday that it has agreed to buy Chinese candy maker Shanghai Golden Monkey Food Joint Stock Company for $498 million in cash and will assume $86 million in debt. Hershey’s new edition to the family will help the company gain stronger footing in one of the world’s fastest-growing markets for sweets. The deal will unify Hershey’s signature Kisses, Reese’s pieces and candy bars with Shanghai Golden Monkey products, which includes honey-peach hard candies, strawberry-flavored cheese chews, and seaweed-flavored wafer sticks. Shanghai Golden Monkey, founded nearly 20 years ago, is expected to have sales of $225 million this year, according to Hershey. Last year, it had 1.4% of the market for confectionery products in China, making it the ninth-largest confectionery and six largest chocolate maker in China.
Hershey also announced that it has plans to acquire all of the privately held Chinese companies in two phases. So, look out China; Hershey’s Chocolate World Domination is on the move…
We’re Moving….
Whirlpool (WHR) is moving some of its washing-machine production from Monterrey, Mexico to a plant in Clyde, Ohio. Another sign the trend of US manufacturer bringing back production to the US is alive and well. The move will create 80 to 100 jobs at the Clyde plant, which currently employs 3,300 people, and is the company’s biggest washing-machine factory. The products involved are front-loading washers used by laundromats and certain residential washers sold in Canada. The Monterrey plant, which employs about 500, will increase production of washing machines for the Mexican market and will not need to reduce its workforce. Whirlpool like many other companies, is trying to make products closer to where it sells them reducing the time needed to respond to changes in demand.

In The Markets:

Asian markets closed out the week mixed. China markets, the Hang Seng and Shanghai Composite, continued their nine day losing streak as investors fear another liquidity crisis like the one earlier this year is not too far down the road. The Nikkei (Japan) closed positive as investors reacted to the Bank of Japan (BOJ) holding its rates steady.
European stocks moved higher on Thursday as investors took the news of the Fed’s taper decision as a sign of confidence in the strength of the US economy.

US markets closed flat on Thursday after a choppy ride. The Dow Jones did manage to eke out another record high. A rise in unemployment weekly claims, declining existing home sales, and less than expected uptick in the Philly Fed Business Index has investors taking gains after the biggest rally in months the day before.

In Dinner or Drink:

Chocolate Almond Kiss
1/2 oz. vodka
1/2 oz. dark crème de cacao
1/2 oz. Frangelico® hazelnut liqueur
2 pinches chocolate shavings
1/2 cup ice
2 scoops vanilla ice cream

Blend ingredients in a bar blender with ice. Serve in a coupette glass and garnish with chocolate shavings.

Have a safe and wonderful weekend, ya’ll!
“Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Dec 19

Here’s What’s Going On In The World Of Business and Finance:

Taper Time…

After months and months and months of wondering when the Federal Reserve would stop or scale down its asset-buying program (a.k.a. taper), we finally got the answer on Wednesday. The Federal Reserve announced yesterday that beginning in January 2014 they will lower the amount of bonds it is buying by $10 billion and will cut purchase of treasuries by $5 billion.

Here’s what else Bernanke had to say during his press conference:

  • The decision to continue to taper/scale back the Fed’s buying spree will be month to month. If the economic data shows the economy is sliding back into recession the Fed could reverse its stance and go back to buying more assets.
  • The Federal Reserve is confident gains in the labor market will continue.
  • Inflation is still a concern for the committee and they will act if it doesn’t return to the target that the committee set.
  • Bernanke has closely consulted new Fed head Janet Yellen in the past, and she fully supports today’s actions.
  • The Fed will keep rates unchanged well past the time the unemployment rate drops to 6.5% or below. They also predicted unemployment will dip as low as 6.3% next year.
  • The Fed estimates economic growth next year to range from 2.8% to 3.2%

The markets for at least Wednesday loved the Fed’s decision to begin tapering. The Dow Jones closed up nearly 3oo points.

Look Mom What I Bought…

Facebook (FB) announced Wednesday that they have acquired SportStream. The company, a San Francisco startup, analyzes the mentions of sports on social media like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. The company then sells the data to sports teams to use on their websites. Terms of the deal were not disclosed however, SportsStream raised at least $3.5 million when it was founded in 2012 and was backed by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s venture capital fund. In their official announcements, neither Facebook nor SportStream gave any hints of what Facebook plans to do with the new technology. Keep checking your news feed; maybe we will all have a sports surprise soon.

Hit Me With Your Best Shot…

Target (TGT) was hit with an extensive and brazen theft of customer’s credit-card and debit- card data over the Black Friday weekend. The theft was national in scope and happened in stores only. Target speculates 40,000 card devices at store register could have been breached meaning millions of cardholders could have been compromised. The Secret Service, who often investigates significant hacks to credit card data, has been called in to help investigate the breach.

In The Markets:


Asian markets closed mixed on Thursday. The Nikkei (Japan) climbed triple digits on news of the Fed taper. Both the Hang Seng (Hong Kong) and Shanghai Composite (China) were down as continued liquidity concerns weighed on investors’ minds.


European markets closed higher on Wednesday as investors waited to see what the Federal Reserve had up its sleeve.


US markets soared Wednesday on news the Federal Reserve would begin to taper its bond buying. DJIA: +292.71 16167.97  NASDAQ:+ 46.38 4070.06 S&P 500: +29.65 1810.65

In Dinner or Drink:

Christmas In A Cup

1 oz. spiced rum
1 oz. Aftershock® Hot & Cool cinnamon schnapps
2 oz. Dr. Pepper® soda


Add Dr. Pepper and spiced rum, stir, then put Aftershock in and let it mix by itself.

Read more: Christmas in a Cup recipe

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” - Thomas A. Edison

Dec 18

Here’s What Going On In The World Of Finance and Business:

Perks, What Perks…

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) announced two major industry firsts this week. First, the company announced that it will stop paying doctors for promoting its drugs and scrap prescription targets for its marketing staff. As a second announcement, the drug maker will also stop payments to healthcare professionals for attending medical conferences, a move the drug company hopes will persuade critics that it is addressing conflicts of interests by putting commercial interests ahead of the best outcome for patients. The decisions are a first for the drug industry, which has recently been battling scandals over sales practices. Only time will tell if the drug company’s move will force other companies to act, as most of the drug industry has been under fire for aggressive marketing tactics in recent years.

GlaxoSmithKline’s announcements come amid recent allegations in China, where the police have accused the company of funneling up to ¥3 billion Yuan (US$494 million) to travel agencies to facilitate bribes to boost its drug sales. The company also faced allegations last year from the U.S. government that it has provided misleading formation. The company eventually settled with the government for a record settlement of $3 billion.

Don’t Take My Soup…

Campbell Soup Co. (CPB), the maker of Goldfish crackers and chicken noodle soup, could be next on Warren Buffet’s grocery lists after the $29 billion takeover of H.J. Heinz Co. this year. Like Heinz, Campbell has a strong brand. Despite Campbell’s slowing sales of its iconic soups the company still offers a buyer the biggest share of the soup market at 22 percent. While a takeover would need approval from family members owning more than 40 percent of Campbell’s shares, the company is still more affordable than 70 percent of food-manufacturing peers.  Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway already owns food royalty like Dairy Queen, Heinz, and See’s Candies. Aww the rumor mill… we will all have to wait to see what Mr. Buffet has up his sleeve next.

In The Markets:


Asian markets were mostly higher on Wednesday. Strong export numbers out of China helped boost investors’ confidence.


European markets tumbled on Tuesday bringing the strongest rally in two months to an end. Investors continued to stay cautious ahead of the US Federal Reserve meeting on Wednesday and its possible taper outcome.


US shares closed slightly lower on Tuesday as investors continued to the global trend of remaining cautious before Wednesday’s Federal Reserve meeting. DJIA: +9.31 15875.26        S&P: -5.54 1781.00 NASDAQ: -5.84 4023.68

In Dinner or Drink:

Brown Cow Float

  • 0.5 oz. Smirnoff® Root Beer Float™ Flavored Vodka
  • 0.5 oz. Smirnoff® Whipped Cream Flavored Vodka
  • 0.5 oz. Baileys® Original Irish Cream Liqueur
  • 1 oz. half & half


GLASS:Rocks Glass

Combine the ingredients in an iced-filled shaker.

Shake well and pour in a rocks glass.

“The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.”
—Winston Churchill (British statesman, 1874-1965)


Dec 17

What’s Going On In Business and Financial News:

Let’s Share…
On Monday, General Motors (GM) announced 5 of the company’s factories in three different states will share in a $1.3 billion investment, allowing them to manufacture higher-quality pickup trucks, new fuel-efficient engines and transmitions. The money will go Detroit, an assembly plant in Flint, Michigan, an engine plant in Romulus, Michigan, a transmission factory in Toledo, Ohio, and a casting plant in Bedford, Indiana. Here’s the scoop:

  •  $600 million, nearly half of the money, will go to the factory in Flint, Michigan to add a new paint shop and other upgrades. The plant currently makes Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickup trucks.
  • $493 million will go to upgrade the Romulus engine plant so it can begin building new V6 engines and 10-speed automatic transmissions. Both products will make vehicles more efficient.
  •  Around $121 million will go to the Detroit factory to set up a manufacturing logistics center.
  • $31 million will go to the Toledo transmission plant so it can crank out more automatic transmissions.
  • The final $29.2 million will go to the Bedford plant to make the parts for the new 10-speed transmission and components for the 6-speed transmission.

The improvements should take about two years to complete and will create 1,000 positions.

Clean Bill…
Herbalife (HLF) was given a clean bill from its new auditor on Monday. PricewaterhouseCooper, which took over as the company’s auditor in May after the last auditor resigned due to a conflict of interest, completed its reaudit of the nutritional-supplement company financial statements from 2010-2013 with no material changes. The news, while initially causing the shares to halt for a few minutes, sent the company stock upward 6%, closing at $74.83.

Video Killed The Facebook Star...
Facebook Inc. (FB) will begin selling video advertisements on Thursday. The ads, which will play automatically in users’ news feeds, could help Facebook capture a share of the $66.4 billion advertisers could spend on U.S. television this year. One of the first ads to run in our Facebook newsfeeds a short tease, exclusive to Facebook, for the upcoming film “Divergent.”

In The Markets:

Asian shares were higher on Tuesday as better economic data from the U.S. and Europe lifted investor confidence ahead of the Federal Reserve’s policy meeting.

European markets closed higher on Monday. Investors’ road the positive wave of economic news out of the US instead of concentrating on lower manufacturing data out of China and the Eurozone.

US stocks closed higher on Monday. The S&P 500 halted a four-session losing streak while the Dow Jones and NASDAQ are on a two day winning streak. Equities were helped by upbeat European manufacturing data and a stronger-than-expected report on U.S. industrial production. DJIA: +129.21 15,884.57 NASDAQ: +28.54 4029.52 S&P: +11.22 1786.54

In Dinner or Drink:

Celebration Punch
12 oz. frozen orange juice
12 oz. frozen lemonade
24 oz. frozen cran – raspberry juice
1 cup water
3 liters club soda

Combine juice and water and pour into punch bowl over ice ring. Slowly add Club soda.

Like our drink today, click here for more.

Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant. -Robert Louis Stevenson

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Dec 16

What’s Going On In The World Of Business and Finance:

Do I or Don’t I…
Sprint (S) is considering making a bid for rival wireless carrier T-Mobile (TMUS). Sprint is currently studying any possible regulatory concerns and could launch a bid in the first half of next year. A potential deal could be worth more than $20 billion, depending on the size of the stake in T-Mobile that Sprint would like to buy. Any bid would cap a period of consolidation in the U.S. wireless markets, coming only months after SoftBank acquired Sprit and T-Mobile merger with MetroPCS. The merger would likely face a tough road with antitrust authorities, who worry that consumers could suffer without a fourth wireless competitor to keep competition intact.

It’s Not A Good Thing…
Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (MSO) announced that it had laid off around 100 employees. Shares of the “all things domestic” company rallied Friday by 18 percent on the news. The company started by the Domestic Queen herself Martha Stewart has been in a free-fall for years, losing readership and ultimately viewership, and only posted a profit in one of the last 10 years. The layoffs were designed to make the company leaner and more entrepreneurial, causing some to wonder if the company will try and put itself on the market.

Mr. Roboto…
On Friday, Google confirmed it had completed the acquisition of Boston Dynamics, an engineering company that has designed mobile research robots for the Pentagon. Boston Dynamics, based in Waltham, Mass., has gained an international reputation for machines that walk with an uncanny sense of balance and become cheetah like aka. run faster than the fastest humans.
The new acquisition is the eighth robotics company that Google has acquired in the last half-year. The company’s other robotics acquisitions include companies in the United States and Japan which have pioneered a range of technologies including software for advanced robot arms, grasping technology and computer vision. The deal is clearest indication so far that Google is intent on building a new class of autonomous systems that might do anything from warehouse work to package delivery and even elder care.

In The Markets:

Asian shares started their week down as China’s PMI (Purchasing Manufacturing Index) hit a three month low.

European stock markets closed down on Friday for a second-straight week. As the Fed meeting gets

US markets closed out the week flat on Friday. With no real economic news all investors could concentrate on was this weeks Fed meeting and the possible Christmas surprise it could bring. DJIA: +15.93 15755.36 S&P500: -0.18 1775.32 NASDAQ: +2.57 4000.98

In Dinner or Drink:

Something Good

1/3 oz. Southern Comfort® peach liqueur
1/3 oz. amaretto almond liqueur
1/3 oz. Captain Morgan® spiced rum
1/4 oz. Blue Curacao liqueur
7-Up® soda

Add Southern Comfort, Amaretto, Captain Morgans and Blue Curacao with ice to shaker tin… top off with Sprite/7-UP and shake…

Pour into Collins Glass or strain for shot.

If you like our drink today click here.

“If there is something you really want to do, make your plan and do it. Otherwise, you’ll just regret it forever.”
—Richard Rocco (PostNet franchisee, Entrepreneur Magazine 12/2006, b. 1946)

Dec 13

Here’s What’s Going On In The World Of Business and Finance:

You’re Going with Me…
On Thursday, the top wireless carriers committed to allow consumers to keep their cellphone when they switch provides, in a voluntary move backed by federal regulators. Sprint, AT&T (T), and T-Mobile (TMUS) signed the agreement, which requires carriers to “unlock” devices or request the manufacturers to do so within two days of a consumer’s request. The move legalizes what many cellphone providers already have adopted and responds to calls from consumer groups who have long argued that users shouldn’t be locked into using their phone with a single provider.

You Left Me Out In The Cold….
J.P. Morgan Chase (JPM) is expected to pay more than $1 billion in penalties to the Justice Department, ending a criminal probe into whether the bank provided adequate warnings about Bernard L. Madoff. Prosecutors have been looking into whether the bank, despite numerous red flags, failed to alert regulators. At the center of the Justice Department’s probe is why JPMorgan Chase didn’t provide a formal report to the U.S. regulator, even after filling one with the authorities in the U.K.

In The Markets:

Asian markets closed out the week mixed as investors become more and more jittery the closer the Fed meeting gets.

European shares closed down sharply. Not even a higher-than-expected rise in U.S. jobless claims could quash investors’ fears over the potential soon start of Fed tapering.

US markets hit the skids for a third day with the Dow Jones down triple digits again. Investors weighed a mixed batch of economic data and its effect on the Fed’s decision to alter policy in its rate-setting meeting next week. DJIA: -104.10 15739.43 NASDAQ: -5.41 3998.40 S&P 500 -6.72 1775.50

In Dinner or Drink:

Cold Comfort Coffee
3/4 oz. dark rum
3/4 oz. Southern Comfort® peach liqueur
1/4 oz. dark creme de cacao
4 oz. cold coffee

Shake and strain into a wine glass filled with crushed ice. Sweeten to taste.

Like our drink today, click here for more.
Happy Friday the 13th!
Have a wonderful weekend, Ya’ll!

“You can have it all. You just can’t have it all at once.” Oprah Winfrey

Dec 12

Here’s What’s Going On In The World Of Business and Finance:

You Can’t Afford Me…Wait, Now You Can.
MasterCard Inc. (MC), the second-biggest bank-card network, recently announced its decision to split its stock 10-to-1, boost its dividend 83% and buy back another $3.5 billion of common stock. The deft move positions MasterCard stock more favorably and accessible to retail stock buyers looking to own, trade and capitalize on previously premium MC stock, which hit its 52-week high of $769.10 Tuesday.
MasterCard will split its stock 10-to-1 effective after market close on January 9, 2014. Shareholders will then receive nine shares for each one they already own on January 21, thereby driving down the stock price to potentially $80, if using Tuesday’s after-hours closing price of $763.61, and increasing total shares outstanding from 120 million to 1.2 billion.
The company also announced an 83% increase to its quarterly dividend to $1.10 per share, or a split-adjusted 11 cents per share, which is up 60 cents per share currently. The higher dividend is set to be paid on February 10 to shareholders of record as of January 9. This move is commonplace with companies whose improved earnings have left them with large cash piles.
Finally, MasterCard issued a new $3.5 billion share buyback program, which will take place after the company completes its current program that has $514 remaining as of December 5.
Currently, MasterCard has the 3rd highest share price in the S&P 500, behind Google (GooG $1,084.66) and (PCLN $1,188.92). Only three additional stocks trade over $500: Graham Holdings, Apple (AAPL $565.64) and Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG $521.53). After the move, MasterCard stock will be more attractive to everyday investors by being less expensive to buy individual shares.

In The Markets:

Asian markets were lower on Thursday as lending data from mainland Chinese’s banks had investors worried a liquidity crisis maybe around the corner.

European markets closed down on Wednesday as investors become more cautious ahead of the Federal Reserve’s meeting next week.

US stocks tumbled on Wednesday, suffering their worst lost in more than a month. The new budget deal and it’s sequester repeals had investors betting the Fed could start to scale back its bond-buying program as soon as next week. DJIA: -129.60 15843.53 S&P 500: -20.40 1782.22 NASDAQ: -56.68 4003.81

Special Thank you to James Burleson-Porras for guest writing today’s Daily Digest.

Dec 11

Here’s What’s Going On In The World Of Business and Finance:

New Rules…
On Tuesday, the Volcker Rule was approved by five financial regulatory agencies. The “Volcker Rule” is a broad, new government rule to limit risk-taking by Wall Street. The Rule will force banks to rethink virtually every aspect of their trading activities. The 953-page edict, part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial overhaul, lays down restriction on how and when banks trade securities. It curbs a bank’s ability to bet with its own capital and forces them to draw flashing light lines separating trades for clients from that of a bank trading for its own benefit. In addition, the Volcker Rule limits a bank’s ability to trade with its own cash, restricts banks from investing in risky hedge and private-equity funds, and imposes rigorous compliance requirements on the firms.

A New Sheriff in Town…
The long history of American automakers has included innovations and firsts; now, it will include a female chief executive. On Monday, General Motors (GM) announced Mary Barra will become the company’s next CEO, after current CEO Dan Akerson steps down next month. Barra is a home grown General Motors insider who currently is the executive vice president of global product development, purchasing and supply chain. She is taking over the helm of GM just in time for the automaker to start its new chapter of a life without the government’s help. The removed government stake allows the CEO greater flexibility to deal with price competition, other U.S. automakers and Japan.

In The Markets:

Asian markets were down on Wednesday as investors worried what effects China’s latest step in move toward less-restricted interest rates will have on the countries bank’s bottom-line.

European stock markets closed lower on Tuesday after investors had to digest a mixed bag of data from both China and inside the Eurozone along with a heaping spoonful of taper speculation.

US shares closed lower on Tuesday bring the two day winning streak to a halt. With no major economic data on the calendar, investors had only the U.S. budget talks ongoing speculation tapering will be announced at the Fed’s meeting to think about. DJIA: +52.40 15973.13 S&P 500: -5.75 1802.62 NASDAQ: -8.26 4060.49

In Dinner or Drink:

The Chief
30 ml Jagermeister® herbal liqueur
30 ml vodka
Sprite® soda
twist of limes

Half fill glass with ice. Add lime twist. Add Jagermeister. Add Vodka. Fill with sprite then mix and finally garnish with lime wedge.

Like our drink today, click here for more.

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas A. Edison

Dec 10

Here’s What’s Happening In The World Of Business Finance:

Have Your Cake And Eat It Too…
On Monday, Sysco (SYY) announced that it will buy rival food supplier U.S. Foods for $3.5 billion in stock and cash, creating one giant food-dominating company with a projected $65 billion in annual revenue.
The combined company will now have increased leverage selling and distributing food goods from manufacturers to restaurants, hospitals, hotels, schools and other institutions, as Sysco alone has around 425,000 customers worldwide. Last year, the two companies together collected about 27% of the revenue in the U.S. food distribution. Sysco Chief Executive Bill Delaney said that the deal will provide the new Sysco an increase in purchasing power, enhanced innovation ability and cost savings.
Sysco is ready for the antitrust regulators, acknowledging that the company might need to sell parts of its business to satisfy them. The markets liked the new union; Sysco stock was the top gainer in the S&P 500 on Monday.

Free At Last…
Almost five years after General Motors Co. (GM) first received government aid, the company is officially free from U.S. taxpayer ownership after the Treasury Department sold off its remaining stake in the nation’s largest automaker. The sale marks the end of “Government Motors,” as GM was labeled after the company required bailouts from George W. Bush and Barack Obama, which helped GM to avoid liquidation and reorganize into the giant it has become today. The only small grey cloud of this success story: The U.S. (i.e. the taxpayers) did lose about $11 billion on its investment of about $50 billion in GM.

Lululemon (LULU), the maker of popular yoga pants, founder is stepping down as chairman, clearing the way for a new chief executive to move past recent supply problems and expand overseas. Dennis “Chip” Wilson founded Lululemon in 1998 after attending a yoga class. He has been its chairman and largest individual shareholder, making him a “presence” for executives tasked with running the company. Wilson plans to vacate the chairman’s post shortly before the company’s annual meeting in June. He will retain a board seat.
Mr. Wilson built Lululemon into a $1.4 billion retailer with a devoted following by adhering to an unconventional playbook. The company’s yoga gear has been kept in tight supply and priced at a premium. Some might say he cultivated an unusual corporate culture, urging rank-and-file employees, executives and directors to attend self-help sessions at the Landmark Forum and complete the Grouse Grind, a 1.2-mile trek up Grouse Mountain near the company’s headquarters in Vancouver, British Columbia.

In The Markets:

Asian stock markets declined Tuesday as Chinese economic data failed to wow investors into buying.

European markets closed up on Monday as investors picked better-than-expected Chinese export data over an unexpected drop in German industrial productions.

US markets closed slightly higher on Monday sending the S&P 500 to another record high. The markets had been holding steady most of their trading session but lost some ground after Richard Fisher, Dallas Federal Reserve Bank President, said the Fed should begin to pull back on the pace of its asset purchase program at its earliest opportunity. DJIA: +5.33 16025.53 NASDAQ: +6.23 4068.75 S&P 500: +3.28 1808.37

In Dinner or Drink:

Jack Daniel’s Lynchburg Lemonade
1 part Jack Daniel’s® Tennessee whiskey
1 part sweet and sour mix
1 part triple sec
4 parts Sprite® soda

Add ice and stir. Garnish with lemon slices and cherries.

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

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

Dec 9

What’s Happening In The World Of Business and Finance:

The job numbers from Friday was an early Christmas present, full of consistency as the economy added 100,000 jobs or more for 3 of the last 4 months. Below is a recap of the NFP (Non-Farm Payroll) report released early Friday morning.

  • The U.S. economy generates 203,000 jobs in the month of November.
  • Unemployment rate fell from 7.3% to 7.0%; mostly, this was due to the return of federal workers after the government shutdown in October.
  • Unemployment rate was the lowest since November 2008.
  • Hiring was strong across most industries including transportation, manufacturing, health care and construction.
  • October’s job number was trimmed from 204,000 to 200,000.
  • September’s job number was raised to 175,000 from 163,000.

KJ’s Take… I am a big fan of consistency. The key to a successful overall recovery is consistently creating jobs. If people have a job, they spend money, period.

On Friday, Sears Holdings Corp. (SHLD) said that it had filled the paperwork, with the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) to spin off its Lands’ End (LE) clothing business as a separate company. The company plans to distribute the newly formed Lands’ End stock to Sears’s shareholders. Sears purchased Lands’ End, the catalog/internet clothing and home goods company, in 2002. The official date has not been announced; however, analysts think that it will most likely be before the end of
the year.

KJ’s Take: The spinoff should allow Lands’ End to shine as a separate company, away from the dim lights of Sears and its 27 quarters of sales decline.

We Do Not Fix Flats
Last year Hertz Global Holdings Inc. (HTZ) acquired car-rental rival Dollar Thrifty last year. In an effort to make “All Things Equal” The Federal Trade Commission sought forced Hertz to sell off its Advantage Rent a Car brand, making it a new, independent competitor. That took a detour when Advantage filed for bankruptcy protection just months after a final government settlement allowing the merger. On Monday, Advantage is scheduled to go up for sale at a bankruptcy auction in Mississippi. The sale could muddy the company’s prospects as a strong competitive force in a $24 billion industry dominated by three main players: Hertz, Enterprise Holdings Inc. and Avis Budget Group Inc. Oh no good deed goes unpunished…

In The Markets:

Asian markets started their trading week off in the green. Encouraging job numbers from the US, good trade data from China, and a weaker yen had investors ready to buy.

European markets closed higher on Friday after US jobs data surprised to the upside and provided evidence the world’s largest economy is recovering.

The S&P and Dow Jones snapped their five day losing streak on Friday. The Dow Jones closed up triple digits as investors reacted to the home run unemployment numbers for November. DJIA: +198.69 16020.20 NASDAQ: + 29.36 4062.52 S&P 500: +20.06 1805.09

In Dinner or Drink:

South Texas Snow
2 oz. Malibu® coconut rum
2 oz. Malibu® pineapple rum
3/4 oz. 99 Bananas® banana schnapps
8 oz. Sprite® soda

Fill up a blender with ice. Add the Malibu, Malibu Pineapple, and 99 Bananas and blend. Last, add Sprite. You don’t have to add all of it; you can add it to taste, depending on how strong you want your drink. This can also be served on ice, but then it would be Melted South Texas Snow

Like our drink today, click here for more.


Dec 6

Here’s What’s Happening In The World Of Business and Finance…

On Friday, the NFP (Non-Farm Payroll) report gave us another Christmas present. The economy added 203,000 jobs in the month of November. Also, the unemployment rate dropped to 7.2%. We will have more details on the jobs number in our Monday edition.

We’re Growing…
On Thursday, the Commerce Department reported that the gross domestic product (GDP) grew in Q3 at a rate of 3.6%, revised upward from the 2.8% pace initially reported. The third-quarter pace was the fastest since the first quarter of 2012 and marked an improvement over the 2.5% growth rate for Q2. During the 3rd quarter, businesses accumulated $116.5 billion worth of inventories, which was the largest increase since the first quarter of 1998.

Cutting Corners…
Dell Inc. (DELL) has offered to buy out a portion of the company’s roughly 110,000 employees. Dell Inc. has offered buyouts to a portion of the company’s roughly 110,000 employees. The computer maker announced the voluntary separation program to its employees this week, giving employees until December 20 to opt for the buyout packages.
Last month, the deal to take Dell private by founder Michael Dell and Silver Lake Partners closed and the days of Dell being a public company came to an end. Employee cuts had not been a part of the original game plan; however, according to a Dell spokesman, “A critical element of our strategy has been, and always will be, about improving our cost structure and freeing up capital to make the investments in growth areas that matter to our customers.”

In The Markets:

Asian markets closed out the week mixed. The Nikkei (Japan) stabilized following the government’s announcement of a $54 billion stimulus package. The Hang Sang (China) was slightly positive while the Shanghai was lower as investors wait for Friday’s jobs number.

European stock markets closed lower on Thursday after a strong GDP growth number stirred taper fears and no signal of easing measures from the European Central Bank.

US markets closed down on Thursday. Both the S&P and Dow Jones were down for a 5th straight day as better-than-expected readings on employment claims and GDP boosted bets stimulus reductions could come as soon as this month. DJIA: -68.26 15821.51 NASDAQ: -4.84 4033.16 S&P 500: -7.78 1785.03

In Dinner or Drink…

Bourbon Maple Smash
1/2 ounce pure maple syrup, preferably Grade A Dark Amber
1/2 ounce fresh orange juice
1/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
4 dashes of Angostura bitters
1/2 orange wheel
2 ounces bourbon
1 1/2 ounces chilled seltzer

In a rocks glass, combine the maple syrup with the orange juice, lemon juice and bitters. Add the orange wheel and lightly muddle. Add the bourbon and stir well. Fill the glass with ice and top with the chilled seltzer.

Have a safe and wonderful weekend, yall!

Dec 5

Here’s What’s Happening In The World Of Business and Finance…

We’re Hiring…
On Wednesday, the monthly ADP private sector jobs were released. Merry Christmas! The private sector added 215,000 in the month of November, the strongest hiring in a year. The ADP jobs report showed that small businesses (those with fewer than 50 employees) accounted for 102,000 of the new jobs, and large businesses (those with more than 500 employees) added 65,000 positions. In the past few months, both the ADP and the Labor Department (a.k.a. NFP job report) has been improving despite other indicators that show economic growth still remaining slow. On Friday, we will learn how many jobs the overall economy added in the month of November when the NFP is released.

Finally Together…
China Mobile Ltd. has signed a long-awaited deal with Apple Inc. (APPL). The deal would allow the company to offer iPhones on its network. Also the deal will provide Apple access to a subscriber base that is seven times the size of Verizon, the U.S largest carrier. The rollout of the iPhones on the world largest mobile carrier by uses is expected to start later this month.

In The Markets:

Asian markets closed down on Thursday as investors remain cautious ahead of the Non-Farm Payroll job number out Friday.

European shares were down on Wednesday as investor became increasingly nervous tapering is on its way after the ADP report said the private sector added 215,000 new jobs.

U.S stocks finished Wednesday lower, with the S&P and Dow Jones both extending their losing streak to four. Upbeat private sector jobs reinforced investor’s taper worries. DJIA: -24.27 15890.35 NASDAQ: +0.80 4038.00 S&P 500: -2.30 1792.85

In Dinner or Drink:

Harvey Wall Banger
1 oz. Stolichnaya® vodka
1/2 oz. Galliano® herbal liqueur
2 oz. orange juice

Pour the Vodka, Galiano, and orange juice in to a shaker with ice and shake until well mixed. Then strain into appropriately sized glass filled with ice and serve.


Dec 4

Here’s What’s Happening In The World of Business and Finance…

Clearing the Way…

A federal judge cleared the way for the largest public bankruptcy in the history of the U.S. On Tuesday, almost five months after the city filed Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection, the judge cleared the city, declaring it eligible for a fresh start. The judge approved a plan that will, among other things, allow the city of Detroit to reduce their pensions, something most municipal workers in America once thought could never happen.

Auto Sales Soar…
On Tuesday, major automakers reported their best U.S. sales numbers in six and a half years. U.S. auto sales in November rose 8.9 percent, beating the year-to-date increase of 8.4 percent. November sales were helped by aggressive discounting by the automakers and continued popularity of pickup trucks. According to industry research firm Autodata, the industry’s annual U.S. sales pace reached 16.41 million vehicles last month, the best monthly showing since February 2007, and easily beat expectations for a rate of 15.75 million.

KJ’s Take: Why do we care about auto sales? Auto sales are a good indicator of how people feel about their economic futures. If you don’t feel like your job is secure or your economic future isn’t bright, chances are you aren’t going to go buy a car.

Cyber Monday Success…

Cyber Monday online sales this year rose 21% driven by strong growth in mobile sales, according to IBM who crunches the number for the yearly event. Mobile sales increased 55%from a year earlier, accounting for about 17% of total online sales. The better online sales figures came after the retail industry main trade group reported that spending dropped for the first time in the last seven years over the Thanksgiving weekend. Estimated total spending over Thanksgiving weekend fell to $57.4 billion, down 2.7% from a year ago, according to the National Retail Federation.

In The Markets:

Asian markets were mixed on Wednesday as investors cautiously position themselves before Friday’s big NFP jobs number from the U.S.

European markets tumbled on Tuesday. Investors started pressing the panic button a bit concerned the US Fed might start tapering faster after a string of solid economic data.

US shares dropped on Tuesday with the Dow Jones and S&P falling for third consecutive session. Investor uncertainty about the when taper will begin and fears the market is overdue for a pullback sent investors running for the sidelines. DJIA: -94.15 15914.65 S&P 500: -5.75 1795.15 NASDAQ: -8.06 4037.20

In Dinner or Drink:

Fiery Blue Mustang
1/2 oz. banana liqueur
1/2 oz. Blue Curacao liqueur
1/2 oz. Everclear® alcohol

Dec 3

Here’s What’s Going On In The World Of Business and Finance:

Late Monday Bank of America and Freddie Mac reached a $404 million settlement to resolve claims stemming from mortgage loans the bank sold to Freddie over the past decade. The settlement will resolve disputes over defaulted mortgages that Bank of America sold to the mortgage giant between 2000 and 2009. The payment will be fully covered by existing reserves.

The settlement should protect Bank of America from any further claims of crisis-era loans sold to Freddie or Fannie Mae. The settlement also brings the grand total to $14.8 billion that Fannie Mae has received from four separate settlements relating to claims stemming from the financial crisis.

Social Life….

Apple has added another company to its family. Apple acquired social-media firm Topsy Labs Inc. for more than $200 million. The company is one of a handful of partners that twitter allows to have access to the “fire hose” – the full stream of tweets since 2006. Topsy then analyzes this information and resells it to customers. It is unclear how Apple plans to use however the speculation has already started. The most creative so far Apple could use the new insights recommend songs, movies and TV shows to iTunes users.

Hotel For Sale…

Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. (HLT)  plans to raise as much as $2.4 billion in its U.S. initial public offering, the most ever for a hotel company.  On Monday the hotel operator made it official filling the necessary regulatory paperwork.  The McLean, Virginia-based hotel operator and existing shareholders plan to sell 112.8 million shares for $18 to $21 each.  Hilton, the world’s largest hotel company with more than 4,000 properties, is planning to sell 64.1 million of the total, using the proceeds to help repay $1.25 billion of debt. The company is currently owned by the Blackstone Group LP (BX), which purchased the lodging chain in 2007. Blackstone will not be selling any of its stock in the company as part of the IPO.

In The Markets:


Asian shares closed mixed on Tuesday. Chinese markets had a case of split personality with one market closing up and the other closing down. Both were reacting to a government official comments that due to the high risks of a property bubble the government will continue enacting cooling measures for the sectors.
Japan’s market closed higher as the continued decline of the Yen helped boost export stocks.


European stock markets declined on Monday as investors digested a mixed round of purchasing manufacturing numbers for China and other euro-zone countries.


US markets closed lower despite encouraging economic data. News that the US manufacturing sector expanded at its fast pace in 2 ½ years had some investors back playing the “ When Will Taper Start” game.   DJIA: -79.31 16007.10 NASDAQ: -14.63 4045.26 S&P -4.98 1800.83

In Dinner or Drink:

Apple Blossom

1 oz. brandy
2 oz. apple juice
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 dash vodka


Pour ingredients into a mixing glass almost-filled with ice. Stir, and strain into an old-fashioned glass over ice. Garnish with fruit, and serve.

Click here for more on our drink of the day.


Dec 2

Here’s What’s Going On In The World Of Business and Finance:

Content is King…

Yahoo (YHOO) has announced a new addition to its team – Katie Couric. Couric, who has hosted high-profile programs on all three major U.S. television networks, will head a team of global correspondents to help the internet giant to shape its news coverage. Couric will join Yahoo next year as global anchor while continuing to host her talk show on the ABC television network.

Katie Couric is just one of several high profile journalists that have jointed Yahoo recently. Prior to Couric, New York Times tech columnist David Pogue and New York Times political correspondent Matt Bai joined the team. From outward appearances it appears that Mellissa Mayer, head of Yahoo, is committed to building out its news division in an effort to drive visitors to the yahoo site for more than search purposes.

KJ’s Take: Analysts have already weighed in on the move, calling it risky because of Yahoo’s demographics. It should be interesting to see if Yahoo can indeed shed its search functionality-only skin and rebrand itself into something more.

Big Deals, Less Shoppers…

For the first time in seven years, retail spending over Thanksgiving weekend dropped according to the industry’s main trade group. Earlier opening hours and a blitz of deals and apparently failed to pry more dollars out of the hands of budget-conscious shoppers.

According to early data sales spiked on Thanksgiving Day and online, but at the expense of business on Black Friday. Estimated showed spending over Thanksgiving weekend fell to $57.4 billion, down 2.7% from a year ago, according to the National Retail Federation. The group said it still expects total holiday sales through year-end to rise by 3.9% from a year ago.

In The Market:


Asian shares closed mixed on Monday as investors reacted to the news from China‘s securities regulator it will end the countries halt on IPO and revealed new rules on how IPO will be allowed to come market.


European stocks ended the final trading day of November flat. Markets shrugged off weak retail sales for Germany and the news S&P lifted its debt outlook on Spain.


U.S stocks closed November out lower as the markets erased gains in the last hour of trading. Investors taking some last minute gains of the table had more impact on the markets as trading volumes were lower due to the holiday shortened trading session. DJIA:-13.36 16083.97 NASDAQ: +15.14 4059.89  S&P: -1.58 1805.65

In Dinner or Drink:

Black Day in Alabama

1 oz. amaretto almond liqueur
1 oz. Black Haus® blackberry schnapps
1 oz. sloe gin
1 oz. Southern Comfort® peach liqueur
7 oz. orange juice

Shake ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Strain into glass

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