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Jan 31

In The News:

 We’ve Been Hacked…

Yahoo (YHOO) revealed in a post on Thursday that they recently have been the target of a cyber-attack. Yahoo (YHOO) recently identified coordinated efforts by hackers who tried logging in to email accounts with stolen usernames and passwords. The posting did not say how many accounts were affected, saying only that it had teamed up with federal law enforcement to investigate the attack. User’s credentials were taken from a third-party database. With 273 million email accounts worldwide, Yahoo is the second largest email provider, behind Google’s (GOOG) Gmail. After Target (TGT) and Neiman Marcus, the last thing Yahoo’s 81 million U.S. email users need to worry about right now is another security breach.

 We’re still growing…

On Thursday,  the Commerce Department released Q4 GDP (Gross Domestic Product) which showed the U.S. economy grew at a 3.2 percent annual rate in the October-December quarter on the strength of the strongest consumer spending in three years. The increase followed a 4.1 percent growth rate in the July-September quarter, when the economy benefited from a buildup in business stockpiles. For 2013 the economy grew a 1.9 percent, weaker than the 2.8 percent increase in 2012, the Commerce Department said Thursday. Higher taxes and federal spending cuts held growth back last year. With those two drags diminished, many economists think growth could top 3 percent in 2014. If growth comes in at 3% it would be the best performance since the recession ended in mid-2009.

The strength in the final three months of 2013 came from growth in consumer spending which saw an increase of 3.3%. It was the best spending rate since 2010. Why is consumer spending is particularly important?  It accounts for about 70 percent of the overall economy.

In The Markets:


Low trading volumes as the Shanghai and Hong Kong markets were closed due to the Chinese New Year holidays helped the rest of the markets close flat on the last trading day of January.


European stocks rebounded on Thursday as the news out of the US growth offset worries about Chinese manufacturing data showing continued signs of slowing down.


US markets rebound on Thursday. Investors cheered the Q4 GDP report showing solid growth in the economy. DJIA: +109.82 15848.61 S&P +19.99 1794.19 Nasdaq +71.69 4123.12


In Dinner or Drink:

Cuba Libre

2 oz. light rum
juice of 1/2 limes

Pour lime juice into a highball glass over ice cubes. Add rum, fill with cola, stir, and serve.

Have a safe and wonderful weekend!

“Everything you can imagine is real.” ― Pablo Picasso


Jan 30

In The News:

It’s Been Real…

After just 22 months, Google’s experiment in the phone making business is now over. On Wednesday, the company announced that it’s selling the handset business to China’s Lenovo Group for $2.91 billion however; Google (GOOG) will be keeping the valuable treasure chest of patents. The Internet company acquired Motorola Mobility in May 2012 for $12.5 billion. [Continue reading...]

Jan 29

In The News:

Stuck In A Rut…
Yahoo’s fourth-quarter results, announced on Tuesday, serve as the latest reminder the challenges facing Yahoo and its CEO. Yahoo’s (YHOO) latest quarterly report illustrated CEO Marissa Mayer is still having trouble bringing home the bacon as online advertisers spend more money at Google, Facebook and other rivals. [Continue reading...]

Jan 28

In The News:

I Luv International…

Southwest Airlines (LUV) announced on Monday that it is expanding beyond the continental United States with flights to the Caribbean beginning July 1. The airline began selling tickets for flights to Aruba, the Bahamas and Jamaica from Atlanta, Baltimore and Orlando – all current routes of AirTran Airways, which Southwest bought in 2011. [Continue reading...]

Jan 27

In The News:

On Sunday a technical glitch left customers of UK largest bank, Lloyds Banking Group (LLDTF), feeling rejected as they were unable to make purchases or withdrawals. One of the bank’s executive took to social media to directly answer customer complaints and questions. “My apologies to TSB customers having problems with their cards. [Continue reading...]

Jan 24

In The News:

It’s Bad…Really Bad…
On Thursday, high-end retailer Neiman Marcus amended its earlier statement, saying 1.1 million debit and credit cards used at its stores may have been compromised in the security breach last year. Visa (V), MasterCard (MA), and Discover (DFS) found 2,400 Neiman Marcus and its Last Call clearance stores have been used fraudulently. The company has notified all customers who shopped in its stores in 2013 and offered them a year of credit monitoring and identity-theft protection. [Continue reading...]

Jan 23

In The News:

We are Growing…

Netflix (NFLX) reported its 4th quarter earnings on Wednesday. Netflix continued its growth spurt, adding more than 2.3 million new American households, its best quarterly performance in three years. Internationally, the service gained another 1.7 million subscribers. Overall, Netflix ended 2013 with over 44 million members. Netflix reported Q4 revenues of $1.2 billion in the quarter, up from $1.1 billion in the prior quarter, reflecting gains during the holiday season.

The company also updated it shareholders on Wednesday on its experiments with tiered pricing. Last spring, the company started to sell a $11.99 plan that allowed up to four family members to stream at the same time and recently it started to test a $6.99 single-stream plan for new customers. Netflix will continue to “probe around the edges” about the best pricing structure for the streaming service.

It’s All Yours…
Thursday Lenovo announced it will pay $2.3 billion for IBM’s low-end server business, concluding a deal that had fizzled a year earlier after the two parties failed to agree on a price. Lenovo will pay $2 billion in cash and the balance in its own Hong Kong-listed shares. 7,500 IBM employees in locations including Raleigh, N.C., Shanghai and Shenzhen in China, and Taipei, Taiwan, are expected to be offered employment by Lenovo. With the sale IBM continues its transformation from primarily a hardware producer to a provider of services and software for businesses and governments. This will not be the first transaction between the two companies. In 2005 Lenovo bought IBM’s ThinkPad personal computer business for $1.75 billion.

End of An Era…
Sears (SHLD) announced Wednesday it plans to shutter its money-losing flagship location in Chicago, saying it no longer made financial sense to keep it open. The store, which in the heart of Chicago’s Loop on State Street, will start liquidation sale on Jan. 26 and will shut its doors in April. About 160 hourly employees will lose their jobs, and receive servance. They will also get a chance to apply for new ones at neighboring Sears and Kmart locations.

In The Markets:

Asian shares ended Thursday lower after the preliminary reading of China’s manufacturing showed activity fell to a six-month low suggesting the world’s second-largest economy is slowing down.

European markets pushed higher on Wednesday led by gains from Wall Street and gains for Asia.

US shares were mixed on Wednesday as busy earnings day was on the top of investors’ minds while IBM dragged down the Dow Jones. DJIA: -38.40 16376.04 Nasdaq: +17.24 4243 S&P: +1.17 1844.97

In Dinner or Drink:

Candy Corn Martini
3/4 oz. Absolut® vanilla vodka
1/2 oz. creme de cacao
1/2 oz. butterscotch schnapps
2 oz. orange juice
1 tbsp. dark cocoa powder

First, ring 6 oz. Martini glass with orange juice then with Cocoa powder. Pour 1/2 cup of ice into shaker, then spirits, and Orange Juice. Shake vigorously and pour into glass. Garnish with Orange Peel Twist and 3-4 pcs of Candy Corn skewered on a plastic sword.

The most difficult thing is the decision to act; the rest is merely tenacity- Emelia Earhart

Jan 22

In The News:

Another Round…
Two more companies announced Tuesday that they will be cutting jobs in an effort to boost their bottom line.

First, IBM (IBM) announced they are planning to cut thousands more jobs this year. The technology company expects it will take about $1 billion in charges from the re-organization efforts. It costs the company around $70,000 to lay an employee off, so the $1 billion suggests the company may be cutting 10,000 to 15,000 workers. IBM reported lackluster fourth quarter results on Tuesday, including a 26% slump in hardware revenue. [Continue reading...]

Jan 21

In The News:

We Know Things About You… (AMZN) has filed for a patent for its new shipping system that will anticipate what customers are buying, resulting in a decrease in shipping time. According to Amazon, the shipping system will analyze customer data, like purchasing history, product searches, wish list and shopping carts. Merchandise will then be moved from Amazon’s fulfillment center to a shipping hub close to the customer in anticipation of them pressing the button and making the purchase. The technique could cut delivery time and possibly discourage customers from visiting physical stores.

Chip Cuts…

Chip maker Intel (INTC) plans to trim more than 5,000 jobs, or 5% of its 108,000 workforce, this year in an effort to boost its earning amid the decline in demand for its personal computer chips. On Friday, the Santa Clara, California company confirmed the layoffs after it reported profits and revenue had fallen for the second consecutive year. Intel’s financial performance has been slumping after the company didn’t adapt quickly enough as the growing popularity of smartphones and tablet computers undercut sales of PCs, which run on its chips.


United Parcel Service’s (UPS) failure to deliver thousands of packages in time for Christmas did more than disappoint online shoppers. Apparently, it’s going to disappoint investors as well. On Friday, UPS warned that its fourth-quarter earnings will be below its earlier guidance due to the delivery problems it ran into during the holidays. Problems caused by a surge of shipments and bad weather which overwhelmed the company’s system. UPS closed down -0.58% on Friday.

In The Markets:

Asian markets closed down on Monday after liquidity jitters and profit warnings by Nintendo.
Shares in Asia closed higher as the PBOC (People’s Bank of China) injected money into the country’s banking system.

European stock markets fell slightly on Monday as investors digested a mixed bag of data from China, while Deutsche Bank led banks lower after posting a surprise quarterly loss.
European shares closed higher at the open on Friday after a week of solid gains.

US markets closed mixed on Friday as investors digested several profit warnings, mixed earnings, and mixed economic data. DJIA: +33.53 16450.54 NASDAQ: -21.11 4197.58 S&P-7.40 1838.49

In Dinner or Drink:

Blue’s Night

2 oz. vodka
1 oz. Blue Curacao liqueur
1/4 tsp. salt
5 oz. 7-Up® soda

Pour the vodka and blue curacao into a highball glass half-filled with ice cubes. Top up with 7-Up or Sprite. Sprinkle salt on top, stir with a stick or straw, remove and serve.

When I get logical, and I don’t trust my instincts – that’s when I get in trouble.
Angelina Jolie

Jan 17

In The News:

Rough Season…

On Thursday, Best Buy’s (BBY) stock price plunged more than 30 percent after the world’s largest electronics retailer reported disappointing holiday sales, raising doubts that the company can actually turn itself around. Best Buy reported gains of $11.45 billion during the nine-week period that ended Jan. 4. down from $11.75 billion during the holiday period a year earlier. Best Buy’s executives said they were not “shaken” by the disappointing financials and expected things to still turn around.

Worse Than We Thought…

On Thursday, Neiman Marcus disclosed that hackers penetrated their computer network as far back as July and that the breach wasn’t fully contained until last Sunday. The company disclosed the data theft of customer information late last week, first learning of suspicious activity that involved credit cards used at its stores in mid December. The store said in a notice that “some of our customers’ payment cards were used fraudulently after making purchases at our stores. We have taken steps to notify those affected customers for whom we have contact information.” The company also said it did not believe the customers’ Social Security numbers or birth dates or anyother key pieces of personal data had been compromised.

In The Markets:

Asian markest closed mixed on Friday. The Nikkei and Shanghai closed down slightly as sluggish corporate earnings out of the US chilled investors risk appetite. The Hang Seng closed triple digits higher as the first IPO in nearly 14 months successfully hit the markets.

European markets shrugged off sluggish corporate news out of the US to close at a fresh six-year high.

US markets snapped a two day winning streak on Thursday closing lower. Sluggish bank earnings, higher CPI (Consumer Prices) and Best Buys shares tumbling had investors running for the sidelines. DJIA: -64.93 16417.01 Nasdaq: +3.80 4218.69 S&P -2.49 1845.89

In Dinner or Drink:

Dealer’s Choice

1.25 oz.Seagram’s® Seven Crown® Blended Whisky
0.25 oz. triple sec
3 oz.lemon-lime soda

GLASS: Highball Glass
1. Add Seagram’s Seven, triple sec, and lemon-lime soda to a highball glass filled with ice.
2. Stir and serve.

Have a wonderful weekend, Yall!

Along with success comes a reputation for wisdom. -Euripides

Jan 16

In The News:

Your Money Back…

As part of settlement with the FTC (Federal Trade Commission), Apple (AAPL) announced Wednesday that it will refund consumers at least $32.5 million. The settlement stems from a longstanding complaint accusing the technology company of billing U.S. consumers for charges incurred by children buying mobile apps without their parents’ consent. Also under the terms of the settlement, Apple will be required to change its billing practices to ensure it obtains consent from consumers before charging for items sold in mobile apps.

In an internal memo to employees, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that the company had decided to settle rather than risk a long and distracting legal battle because the FTC’s proposals aligned with the company’s own intended changes.

Closing Up Shop…

JCPenny (JCP) announced late Wednesday that the big box retailer will close 33 stores as part of its strategic turnaround. The store closings and cutting of 2,000 positions should result in an annual cost savings of about $65 million, beginning in 2014. The 33 stores closing are scattered from Alabama to New Jersey.

The Big Cheese…
Apollo Global Management LLC (APO.N) will buy CEC Entertainment Inc. (CEC.N), the parent of Chuck E Cheese restaurant chain, for approx. $948 million. Apollo, the fund controlled by billionaire Leon Black, will pay $54 per share for CEC. The price is a premium of 11.5 percent from the stock’s Wednesday closing. CEC and its franchisees operate 567 Chuck E Cheese restaurants in 47 U.S. states. The restaurants, a kiddo’s favorite, offers musical and robotic entertainment, games, rides, play areas and food such as pizza and sandwiches.

In The Markets:

Asian markets closed mixed on Thursday. The news more foreign money is pouring into the China’s financial markets steadied the Shanghai and Hang Seng while the Nikkei lost ground after profit taking.

European markets closed in the green for a fourth-straight session Wednesday on news the World Bank predicts growth will pick up in 2014.

US shares rallied on Wednesday with the S&P 500 hitting a new all-time high. Solid earnings and a rise in the Empire State Index (a gauge of manufacturing in NY) helped push markets higher. DJIA: +108.08 16481.94 S&P +9.50 1848.38 NASDAQ: +31.87 4214.88

In Dinner or Drinks:

Apple Buck
2 1/2 oz. apple brandy
3 1/2 oz. ginger ale
juice of 1/4 lemons

Add to an ice-filled highball glass with the spent shell of the lemon.

If you like our drink today click here.


If my mind can conceive it, and my heart can believe it, I know I can achieve it. – Jesse Jackson

Jan 15

In The News:

Stormy Weather…
Subscribers of the largest satellite TV provider are going to have to satisfy their need for the weather somewhere else. On Tuesday, shortly after midnight the Weather Channel was dropped by DirecTV (DTV) due to a dispute over retransmission fees. The Weather Channel is seeking a 1 cent per subscriber increase in what DirecTV pays to carry the channel. DirecTV, however, wants a fee cut. Batten down the hatches; it looks like it may be a while, as both companies are playing hardball. In the meantime, DirecTV is encouraging viewers to tune into its Weather Nation service as an alternative.

We’re In The Money…
On Tuesday General Motors declared a quarterly dividend of 30 cents, its first since the automaker’s bankruptcy filing. The dividend, which amounts to $1.20 a share a year, comes as the reorganized auto giant is seeing better business for its cars and trucks worldwide. It’s been a big week at GM. In addition to announcing the dividend, the company rolled out a bevy of new models at the North American International Auto Show and incoming CEO Mary Barra began her transition.

Not Equal…
A federal appeals court has ruled against the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on policies which required all broadband providers to treat all Internet traffic equally. In their opinion handed down Tuesday, the United States Court of Appeals in D.C. ruled while the FCC has authority to regulate how Web traffic is managed; it cannot impose rules on companies like Verizon based on how they’re classified. The ruling will open the door for broadband providers to charge different rates for different kinds of web traffic (aka your movie downloads just got way more expensive).

In The Markets:

Asian shares closed mostly positive on Wednesday. Fears of a cash squeeze had the Shanghai Composite closing flat while the Nikkei and the Hang Seng both closed higher after a positive hand off from Wall Street.

European stocks closed higher on Tuesday after better than expected US retail sales and bank earnings were released.

US stocks closed higher on Tuesday. Better bank earnings, improvement in small biz sentiment, and a small gain in December retail spending helped push the NASDAQ to a new 13 year high. DJIA: +115.92 16373.86 S&P: +19.68 1838.88 NASDAQ: +69.71 4183.02

In Dinner or Drink:

Stormy Night
1 oz. black cherry vodka
1 oz. watermelon schnapps
1 oz. DeKuyper® Island Blue Pucker schnapps
1 oz. sweet and sour mix

Coat the rim of the Martini glass with your choice of sugar (I prefer plain large crystal sugar). Pour the 1 oz. of Sour Mix into the bottom of the glass. Mix the other 3 ingredients with half a mixer of ice. Shake thoroughly. Fill the glass and enjoy! Add a Pineapple or other tropical fruit as your garnish.

The future depends on what we do in the present. – Mahatma Gandhi

Jan 14

In The News:

Buying a Nest…

On Monday, Google (GOOG) announced that it is buying Nest Labs Inc., maker of the nest home thermostat, for $3.2 billion in cash. In a blog post announcing the acquisition, Nest CEO Tony Fadell said, “Google has the business resources, global scale and platform reach to accelerate Nest growth across hardware, software and services for the home globally.” Nest, which was founded in 2010 and has about 300 employees worldwide, Nest will remain independent from Google and remain under the leadership of the current CEO.

A New, Lighter Body…

On Monday, Ford (F) introduced its redesigned F-150 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. One of the big pluses of the redesign is an all-aluminum body that drops 700 pounds in weight and boosts gas mileage. The company has yet to announce EPA ratings for the new pickup; however, they have hinted that it might approach 30 mpg in its highway rating, topping its competitors. For the serious truck buyers, Ford will be pitching to them that the new F-150 can carry more and tow more than its predecessor, new safety features and a new lineup of engines.

We Want To Buy You….
Charter Communications has offered to buy Time Warner Cable for around $61 billion, a bid that would merge the No. 4 and No. 2 cable companies in the United States and shake up the troubled cable television industry. The offer however, was quickly rejected by Time Warner Cable’s board of directors, calling it “a third grossly inadequate proposal.” The deal, which includes $37 billion in cash and stock and the rest in assuming TWC’s debt, may kick off a bidding war for TWC with other cable operators such as Comcast and Cox Communications. Let the games begin.

In The Markets:

Asian markets closed mixed on Tuesday after a rough handoff from Wall Street.

European shares held on to a small gain on Monday. The gain was supported by the banks after regulators eased Basel (The new European banking regulations) leverage-ratio rule.

US markets tumbled Monday as investors continued to grapple with what the disappointing jobs data means for the Federal Reserve’s tapering plans. DJIA: -179.311 16257.94 Nasdaq: -61.36 4113.30 S&P 500: -23.17 1819.20

In Dinner or Drink:

Silver Nest
4 oz orange juice
1 oz cranberry juice
1 egg white
1/2 tsp grenadine syrup

Pour the orange juice, cranberry juice, egg and grenadine into a cocktail shaker half-filled with ice cubes. Shake well. Strain into an old-fashioned glass almost filled with ice cubes, and serve.

Like our drink today, click here for more.

“You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.” Christopher Columbus

Jan 13

In The News:

Weak Jobs…

On Friday, the December NFP (Non-Farm Payroll) report was released, showing the economy added only 74,000 jobs and the unemployment rate fell to 6.7%. The report has again sparked the argument of whether the unemployment rate is dropping because people are getting new jobs or because people have stopped looking. According to Friday’s report, the U.S. labor force shrank by 347,000 in December with only 62.8% of U.S. adults looking for work, the lowest number since 1978. In 2013, the labor force shrank by nearly 550,000 workers to about 154.9 million, marking only the third year since 1948.

KJ’s Take: The good news is that the economy added 74,000 jobs; however, the job market is still fragile but healing.

From Bad, To Worse…

Target’s (TGT) data breach had officially gone from bad to worse, as the big box retailer estimates that at least 70 million customers may have been impacted, almost twice as many at the 40 million it disclosed late last year. A forensics investigation conducted by the company has found that information separate from the payment card data (such as email, customer names and address) was also taken during the breach. The customer data was stolen from systems beyond point of sale, meaning that customers who emailed Target with questions or made purchases via the Internet may be impacted as well.

We’ve Been Compromised…
On Friday, Luxury merchant Neiman Marcus confirmed thieves stole some of its customers’ payment card information and made unauthorized charges over the holiday season. The company wouldn’t estimate how many customers may have been affected however; they have notified customers whose cards they know were used fraudulently. Neiman Marcus, which currently operates more than 40 upscale stores and clearance stores, is working with the Secret Service on the breach.

In The Markets:

Asian markets closed mixed on Monday as China decided to postpone its 5 new IPO’s so government officials could ensure new security measures are working correctly.

European shares closed slightly positive on Friday on news the German airline, Deutsche Lufthansa AG, would lower fuel and restructuring cost in 2014.

US markets closed flat on Friday as investors reacted to the disappointing jobs number released on Friday. DJIA: -7.71 16437.05 S&P: +4.24 1842.37 Nasdaq: +18.47 4174.67

In Dinner or Drink:

Broken Spur Cocktail
3/4 oz. sweet vermouth
1 1/2 oz. port
1/4 tsp. triple sec

Stir all ingredients with ice, strain into a cocktail glass, and serve.
“What the mind can conceive, it can achieve”- Napoleon Hill

Jan 10

In The News:

Jobs, Jobs,Jobs….
The NFP report released Friday showed the economy only add 74,000 jobs in the month of December. We will break the numbers down in our Monday edition.

Game Over…

On Thursday, JPMorgan Chase (JPM) announced its plans to sell, or exit over time, its business of issuing prepaid cards for corporate payrolls and government tax refunds and benefits. The cards have become a headache of risks in operations and regulation. Last month, JPMorgan warned 465,000 holders of the cards that their personal data may have been accessed by computer hackers who attacked its network in July. The company also issued incorrect replacement cards to some 4,000 people receiving payments from the state of Connecticut, causing the state treasurer to blast the bank for its “obvious lack of attention to detail.”

In addition to the operational nightmares that the cards have caused recently, government regulators have been focusing on companies, such as JPMorgan Chase, to determine whether corporate payroll programs that use the cards have sufficient safeguards against burdening employees with fees. This may have been the company’s deciding factor in getting out of the business, as they have shelled out over $15 billion in fines to government regulators in the last year.

I’m In A Slump…

Shares of Sears Holdings Corp. tumbled 13% in after-hours trading on Thursday after the company reported a 7.4% decline in quarter-to-date holiday season comparable sales. Sears U.S. sales tumbled 9.2% and Kmart sales dropped 5.7%. The company forecast an adjusted loss in the quarter ending Feb. 1 to be $2.01 to $2.98 a share. For the year, the company is projected to have an adjusted loss of $7.64 to $8.61 a share.
Sears is just one of several low end discounters that have had a rough holiday season as consumers still feel economic pressure in their daily lives. As earning season begins watch for lower quarterly earnings from low end discounters like Kmart, Sears, and Family Dollar.

In The Markets:

Asia ended the week mixed. The Shanghai Composite (China) closing in the red on news China exports tumbled in December. Another sign the world’s second biggest economy is on the starting to crumble. The Hang Seng (Hong Kong) and the Nikkei (Japan) closed higher as investors remained cautiously optimistic about Friday’s jobs report out of the US.

European markets finished lower on Thursday following the ECB’s (European Central Bank) decided to keep rates low while the region’s recovery finds its footing.

US markets closed mixed on Thursday as all eyes were focused on what potential surprises Friday’s  jobs reports might tells us. DJIA:-17.98 16444.76 Nasdaq: -9.42 4156.19 S&P: +0.64 1838.13

In Dinner or Drink:

Friday Frozen Mudslide
1 1/2 oz. Absolut® vodka
1 1/2 oz. Bailey’s® Irish cream
1 1/2 oz. Kahlua® coffee liqueur
8 ice cubes
1 1/2 oz. cream
1 scoop Haagen-Dazs® vanilla ice cream
2 scoops Haagen-Dazs® chocolate ice cream

Begin by crushing the 8 ice cubes in a blender. When ice is finely crushed, add the remaining ingredients and blend for 45 seconds on blender’s highest setting. Pour into glass and serve immediately.

Have a wonderful weekend, Ya’ll!

“If you don’t have daily objectives, you qualify as a dreamer.”
- Zig Ziglar

Jan 9

In The News:

Minutes, Please…

The Federal Reserve released the minutes for their December 18-19 meeting on Wednesday, giving us a little bit more of a clue about what finally pushed them over the edge to start tapering their monthly asset purchases (aka taper quantitative easing) .
Here’s what we learned from the minutes:
As anticipated, it was the employment report, the unemployment rate and other favorable economic numbers that had the committee feeling encouraged that continued improvement would be sustained. Some participants were concerned; however, that financial markets might misread the move as a step toward raising its key short-term interest rate, while others expressed concern that “tapering” might be premature. The bond purchases were intended to keep long-term rates low, encouraging borrowing and expansion.

The Fed’s next meeting will be held at the end of January. Not only will it be Ben Bernanke’s last meeting but the committee will also further decide if it will keep decreasing its asset purchases.

My Deal Is Better…

On Wednesday T-Mobile (TMUS) landed a one-two punch, revealing killer 2013 subscriber numbers and making a new $650 offer to entice competitors’ customers. In 2013 the company had its biggest growth in eight years adding 4.4 million customers. In the fourth quarter alone T-Mobile added 1.6 million new subscribers, bringing its base to nearly 47 million people. Proof the company’s “uncarrier” strategy is working after only 8 months.

Also announced an offer for people who want to switch but are stuck with bigger carriers like AT&T (T), Verizon (VZ) or Sprint (S). Cancel your contract and T-Mobile pay your termination fees up to $650. Trade in your old phone, buy a new one from T-Mobile, and fork over your current number the company will pay you as much as $350 termination fee per line and $300 per phone.
Hmm sound familiar?? Earlier this week AT&T made a similar pitch to lure away T-Mobile customers.

Shutin’ it Down…
Macy’s (M) said Wednesday it was laying off 2,500 workers and closing five stores. The company also is consolidating its regional management and restructuring its retail and merchandise planning staff. Macy’s expected the changes to generate savings of $100 million per year. Investors liked the news, sending Macy’s shares up 6.4% in after-hours trading.

In The Markets:

Asian markets closed lower on Thursday. Investors took profits ahead of the NFP jobs report due out on Friday.

European stocks closed near record levels on Wednesday as Eurozone markets such as Portugal and Spain continuing to rise as borrowing costs fell in those countries.

US markets closed mixed on Wednesday despite the news the private sector added over 200K jobs in December. The minutes from the last Federal Open Market Committee meeting showed that a majority of officials judged the effects of their policy was starting to erode over time. DJIA: -76.81 16454.13 Nasdaq: +10.28 4163.46 S&P: -1.09 1836.79

In Dinner or Drink:

Money Shot
1/3 oz amaretto almond liqueur
1/3 oz Irish cream
1/3 oz melon liqueur

Shake ingredients together in a cocktail shaker. Strain into a shot glass; serve.

I attribute my success to this: I never gave or took any excuse. –Florence Nightingale

Jan 8

In The News:

New Additions….

The private sector continued to grow in December adding 238,000 jobs. Friday we will get a glimpse into how the overall private and public sector grow when the much anticipated NFP (Non-Farm Payroll) report is released.

Where’s My Cheese…

Fans of the warm, cheesy dips are getting some curdling news: there is a shortage of Kraft (KRFT) Velveeta cheese. Over the next few weeks, some customers may not be able to find the product, according to a Kraft statement sent to CBS MoneyWatch. “Any issues with availability are much more noticeable given the seasonal demand,” the statement noted. “However, we have not heard from many consumers that they are having issues locating the product, and we expect this to be a short term situation.” It’s unclear how widespread the shortage will be. It is clear that the super bowl may exacerbate the situation, as the prime “chip and dip” party is less than a month away. Nevertheless, Velveeta isn’t just an icon of American food-processing ingenuity; it has been showing growth, according to Kraft’s third-quarter earnings release. Velveeta slices have boosted sales, while Velveeta dinner kits are continuing to win over consumer.

Another Day, Another Fine…

JPMorgan Chase (JPM) has agreed to pay $1.7 billion to victims of Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. It will be the largest penalty ever levied for violations of the Bank Secrecy Act.

Announced Tuesday, the settlement has the banking giant paying an additional $350 million in civil penalties to the U.S. Comptroller of the Currency. Separately, JPMorgan has agreed to pay $543 million to trustee Irving Picard, who has been tasked with recovering money for Madoff’s victims. The settlement stems from JPMorgan never filling a suspicious activity report despite an astounding $150 billion which went in and out of Madoff’s accounts. The company did withdraw about $275 million from Madoff feeder funds before the fraud was disclosed because some people at JPMorgan suspected that his consistent double-digit returns were too good to be true. As part of the settlement, the company did not have to admit wrongdoing.

In The Markets:

Asia markets closed mixed on Wednesday. Investors liked the better economic data out of the US however, they still remained cautious ahead of economic data out of China and the Eurozone.

European markets closed higher on Tuesday after better than expected jobless figures from German and Ireland’s successful entry back into the international bond markets after its financial collapse.

US markets closed in positive on Tuesday with the S&P breaking it’s three-day losing streak. A better than expected shrinkage of the trade gap served as another encouraging sign to investors. DJIA: +105.84 16530.94 S&P: +11.11 1837.88 NASDAQ: +39.50 4153.18

In Dinner or Drink:

Famous Queso Dip

1lb. (16 oz.) VELVEETA®, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 can (10 oz.) RO*TEL Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies, undrained

COMBINE ingredients in microwaveable bowl.
MICROWAVE on HIGH 5 min. or until VELVEETA is completely melted and mixture is well blended, stirring after 3 min.

We apologize for the delay today. Sometime technology is not our friend.

“Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, it’s at the end of your arm, as you get older, remember you have another hand: The first is to help yourself, the second is to help others. – Audrey Hepburn

Jan 7

In The News:

Boss napping…
On Monday morning, workers at a Goodyear plant in France captured two managers – the plant’s director and human resources chief and are not holding them hostage. Two Goodyear bosses who are being held captive by workers spent the night inside a factory in northern France that the company wants to close. The Goodyear plant, which the company has tried to sell or close for five years, has become an emblem of France’s labor issues and has had a contentious past. Goodyear’s attempts to close it have been stalled by violent protests with huge tire bonfires, government concerns and France’s prolonged layoff procedures.

You Go Girl…
On Monday, the U.S. Senate confirmed Janet Yellen as the next Chairman of the Federal Reserve. Ben Bernanke, the current Fed head, will finish his second term at the end of this month. Senators voted 56 to 26 in favor of Yellen with 11 republicans braking rank and voting their support. Janet Yellen will be the first woman to head the Federal Reserve in its 100 year history.

We Still Want You…
In the back and forth buying drama, Men’s Warehouse (MW) has raised its bid for rival Jos A. Bank (JOSB) to $57.50 a share in a hostile takeover. The previous offer of $55 per share by Men’s Warehouse had been rejected. As part of the bid, Men’s Warehouse would also get to nominate two directors for election to the Jos. A. Bank board. The offer will expire at 5pm Eastern on March 28.

In The Markets:

Asian markets closed mixed on Tuesday. Weak economic data out of the US and anticipation ahead of Friday’s US job number had investors feeling cautious.

European markets closed lower on Monday as investors tried to digest accelerating growth in Spain but continued weakness in France, the Eurozone’s second-largest member.

US shares closed lower on Monday. Weaker than expected data out of the service sector showed a slowdown, no one saw coming, in December. DJIA: -44.89 16425.10 NASDAQ: -18.23 4113.68 S&P: -4.60 1826.77

In Dinner or Drink:

Pink Lady

1 1/2 oz. gin
1 tsp. grenadine syrup
1 tsp. light cream
1 egg whites

Shake ingredients with ice, strain into a cocktail glass, and serve.

If you like our drink today, click here for more.

Success seems to be connected with action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, but don’t quit” Conrad Hilton

Jan 6

In The News:

We Want You….
On Friday, Dallas-based AT&T (T) announced the company plans to offer customers of T-Mobile (TMUS) credit worth $450 to make the switch. According to AT&T, the second-largest wireless provider, T-Mobile customers can trade in their current smartphone and can receive a promotion worth up to $250 and an additional $200 per line if they leave T-Mobile.
Many are questioning the timing of the promo for several reasons. First, T-Mobile has surprised the industry over the past few months by adding significant number of new subscribers at the expense of some of its rivals. Second, the carrier is expected to make a major announcement at next week’s Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show. Rumor has it that the announcement is a major media campaign that will go after the whole family instead of just individual subscribers. Last, Japan’s Softbank, who just recently acquired Sprint (S), is considering making an offer for the company soon.

Mining Your Music…
Pandora (P), the company that brings you the perfect song based on your choice of tunes is now going to bring the perfect advertisement to you as well. Using the same technology that the online streaming music machine uses to customize playlist – analyzing components of the songs you like then playing tracks with similar traits – is now looking into clues about the kind of ads you would engage in. Pandora, who has a free option which includes ads and a paid version without ads, is not only looking for new revenue streams but also looking to get its hands into ad revenue that traditionally has been reserved for TV. One way they can do both, providing advertisers a glimpse into your personality and potential buying habits.

We’re Out…
According to data released on Friday from Morningstar, in 2013 investors pulled out a net total of $41.1 billion from the world’s bond fund, Pimco Total Return Fund. The fund, which is run by bond guru Bill Gross, suffered eight consecutive months of investors divesting their money out of the fund, including $4.2 billion in December. The corresponding exchange-traded fund (ETF) lost $197 million to outflows in 2013. This is yet another example of one of the major trends of 2013: money moving out of bonds and into equities.

In The Markets:

Asian markets tumbled on Monday as a downbeat services PMI (Producers Manufacturing Index) out of China because the latest sign China’s economy is headed for a slowdown.

European shares closed out the week lower. Investors are become jittery as signs pointing to a slowing down in China are getting more frequent.

US markets closed mixed on Friday. Light trading volume and Bernanke’s speech defending the last eight years of his reign as head of the Fed keep investors watching from the sidelines. DJIA: +27.17 16468.52 Nasdaq: -11.16 4131.91 S&P 500 -0.69 1831.29

In Dinner or Drinks:

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

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

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“Just know, when you truly want success, you’ll never give up on it. No matter how bad the situation may get.” – Unknown

Jan 3

In The News:

New Year, New Owner…
Shares of automaker Fiat (FIATY) jumped on Thursday after the company struck a $4.35 billion deal to gain full control of Chrysler Group LLC. Investors welcomed the deal made by Fiat Chief Executive, Sergio Marchionne. The deal will buy Fiat the remaining 41.46% of the no. 3 U.S. automaker that the company does not already own. Marchionne, who has run both companies since the U.S. government-funded bankruptcy, will merge the two companies into the world’s seventh-largest auto group. Fiat will buy the stake from a retiree healthcare trust affiliated to the United Auto Workers union. The trust will receive $3.65 billion in cash with $1.9 billion coming from Chrysler and $1.75 billion from Fiat. After the deal closes, Chrysler has committed to giving the UAW trust another $700 million over three years, allowing the company to fund the purchase without going to the markets.

Analysts, however, are worried about how the deal will increase Fiat’s already heavy debt burden, despite a relatively low price which was negotiated during a year of talks. Doubts also remain over whether the Italian car maker can use the merger to cut losses in Europe.

We’re Splitting Up…
On Thursday, Blackberry (BBRY) and their creative director, Alicia Keys, decided to part ways after just one year. BlackBerry bestowed Keys with the title of creative director in January 2013, at the company’s big launch of the new BlackBerry 10 operating system. But on Thursday, the company in a statement said it had “completed our year-long collaboration” with Keys. The company declined to comment specifically as to why the relationship came to an end saying only her stint will officially wrap up on January 31.

Blackberry had a tough 2013. BlackBerry 10 phones sold poorly, and the company was forced to take a nearly $1 billion write down on unsold devices in September. Also in September, the company announced it would cut 4,500 jobs and seek a buyer to take it private. In November Blackberry abandoned its plans to sell the company and ousted CEO Thorsten Heins.

In The Markets:

Asian markets closed down Friday. A negative handoff from the US along with economic data out of China showing the counties manufacturing sector is slowing down had investors running for the sidelines. Japan’s market is closed due to public holiday.

Europe closed negative on Thursday as investors reacted to economic data out of China showing a slowdown in the world’s second largest economy.

For the first time since 2008, US stocks the first trading day of the new year in the red after data showed a slowdown in manufacturing expansion in both China and the United States. DJIA: -135.31 16441.35 NASDAQ: -33.52 4143.07 S&P -16.38 1831.98

In Dinner or Drink:


• 1.5 oz. Don Julio® Blanco Tequila
• 2 oz.Pineapple juice
• 2 oz.Pina colada mix

Combine all the ingredients in an ice filled shaker.
1. Shake well.
2. Strain into an ice filled glass.
3. Garnish with a lime wedge and/or pineapple spear.

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Success is like reaching an important birthday and finding you’re exactly the same. -Audrey Hepburn

Have a wonderful weekend, Yall!

Jan 2

Taking Stock of 2013

  • Nikkei (Japan’s stock market) was up 57%, the biggest gain since 1972.
  • Dow Jones had 52 record highs and was up 26%.
  • S&P had 44 record highs and was up 29.60%
  • The lone loser of the Dow Jones this year was IBM which was down 2%.
  • NASDAQ was up 38%.
  • The Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose 17% in 2013, the biggest annual gain since 2009.

The Top Sectors of 2013:

  • Consumer Cyclical (companies involved in automotive, housing, entertainment and retail industrials)- up 42.85%
  • Financial Services (companies involved in banking, insurance or Brokerage)- up 42.82%
  • Healthcare (companies involved in pharmaceuticals, hospitals or health maintenance organizations) – up 42.68 %
  • Industrials (companies involved in aerospace and defense, industrial machinery, tools, lumber production, construction, cement and metal fabrication) – up 14.44%

Worst Sectors of 2013:
• Real Estate and Utilities

New Year, New Shares…
On Friday, China security regulators approved five firms to be listed on mainland exchanges, ending a year freeze on initial public offerings (IPO) in the country. The IPO market has been frozen since last year as security regulators cleaned up wide spread fraud and improper conduct which was taking place in the process. The new IPO process, according to Chinese officials, will be more investor-driven as part of wider economic reforms. Regulators expect to add 50 firms to the IPO list by the end of January.

Testing, Testing, 123…
Netflix Inc. (NFLX), the largest subscription streaming service, in a move that could have some households paying more, is testing new prices based on the number of people who can use an account. Netflix is testing new customer’s plans which provide access on as many as four screens, letting household members watch different shows at the same time. The monthly prices range from $6.99 to $11.99, according to an offer posted on the company’s website. If successful, the pricing plans could be expanded to all customers. Netflix, with more than 40 million subscribers, is looking for ways to curb account sharing while providing viewers with more ways to watch the service. Netflix, the top-performing stock in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index of 2013, has almost quadrupled as the company has beaten earnings estimates and outpaced analysts’ estimates for subscriber growth.

In The Markets:

Asian markets were mixed on Thursday. Lower than expected manufacturing PMI out of China had investors wondering what the new year will bring to the second largest economy in the world. The Nikkei (Japan) was closed again due to public holiday.

European markets finished out 2013 on a positive note as investors liked the economic data out of the US.

US stocks were up on the final trading day of 2013 with the Dow Jones hitting record high #52. Investors looked towards the future concentrating on a better consumer confidence index instead of slightly lower Chicago manufacturing numbers. DJIA: +72.37 16576.66 NASDAQ: +22.39 4176.59 S&P +7.29 1848.36

In Dinner or Drink:


1 oz. Campari® bitters
1 oz. sweet vermouth
1 twist lemon peel
1 twist orange peel

Pour over ice into a Collins glass. Garnish with lemon and orange twists. You may fill with some club soda.

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Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony. – Mahatma Gandhi

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