CONTRA EL PINGALISMO CASTRISTA/ "Se que no existe el consuelo que no existe la anhelada tierrra de mis suenos ni la desgarrada vision de nuestros heroes. Pero te seguimos buscando, patria,..." - Reinaldo Arenas

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lunes, marzo 17, 2014

Sina Weibo and Alibaba, the Chinese E-Giants Coming to U.S.

www.crunchbase.com
Two of the biggest Internet companies in the world are going public in the United States, but most Americans have never heard of Chinese powerhouses Weibo Corp. and Alibaba.
Despite both companies' lack of recognition in the U.S., they are poised to make massive stock-market debuts in New York — and make a play to become household names in America, too.
Sina Weibo
Weibo kicked off the buzz on Friday, when the company filed paperwork to raise $500 million in an initial public offering.
The company owns Sina Weibo, China's largest microblogging site. Sina Weibo is similar to Twitter, with short posts from brands, celebrities and regular folks.
The site has managed to grow rapidly — the service had more than 129 million active users as of December, up 77 percent in just two years — despite a tightly controlled media environment in China. Hundreds of Weibo users have reportedly been arrested in China over posts that angered the government.
Sina Weibo does have a small English-language section featuring celebrity users like David Beckham, Tom Cruise and British Prime Minister David Cameron.
Sina Weibo is still big and buzzy, but it has also struggled to retain its cachet amid the rise of apps like Tencent's WeChat: a rival to the WhatsApp service that Facebook is planning to buy for $16 billion. 
Alibaba: China's Amazon, eBay, PayPal and more
E-commerce behemoth Alibaba Group is more difficult to describe. It has been described as China's Amazon, eBay and PayPal wrapped into one. But Alibaba isn't a perfect mirror of any of those U.S. counterparts, and its scope is much broader.
Alibaba followed Sina Weibo's news by revealing its own plans on Sunday: a New York debut that could reportedly raise $15 billion for the company. While Alibaba hasn't filed its official paperwork yet, its stock-market debut is slated to be the buzziest since that of Facebook.
The company said in its announcement on Sunday that the U.S. IPO "will make us a more global company and enhance the company’s transparency, as well as allow the company to continue to pursue our long-term vision and ideals."
Alibaba employs about 20,000 people in more than 70 offices in China, Singapore, India and the United States. The company's nine major businesses span all parts of the e-commerce process, and they're split between consumer- and business-focused missions.
On the consumer side, Alibaba's crown jewel is Taobao Marketplace: an eBay-like online shopping site with a whopping 760 million product listings as of March 2013, the most recent data available. According to Internet site ranking company Alexa, it's the 8th most popular site in the world and the No. 3 site in China.
The more upscale Tmall sells brand-name goods from from 70,000 global companies including Apple, Nike, Gap and Adidas. ETao is a search engine exclusively for shopping, which lets users hunt for products, coupons, hotels and more. Alibaba also runs a Groupon competitor called Juhuasuan.But Alibaba was founded for businesses, and that legacy continues. The namesake Alibaba.com is a trading site that connects small businesses with two million suppliers. Both 1688.com and AliExpress focus on the wholesale marketplace. The PayPal-like Alipay is the biggest third-party online payment platform in China, and Aliyun.com sells cloud computing and data services to other companies.
Alibaba's CEO is the charismatic Jack Ma, who created the company in 1999 with 17 co-founders working out of an apartment in Hangzhou, China. Unlike many of the dot-coms that went bust during that time, Alibaba became profitable just three years later. That attracted big investors like Yahoo, which currently owns about a quarter of Alibaba, and Japan's Softbank, which owns about 37 percent.
Like Sina Weibo, however, Alibaba also faces competition. The large Chinese investment firm Tencent announced this month that it will buy a 15 percent in JD.com, the country's No. 2 e-commerce company.



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domingo, diciembre 08, 2013

China derrumba al Bitcoin


bitcoin
Imagen de Bitcoincharts.com
China prohibió hace unos días el uso de Bitcoins por instituciones financieras, algo que afectó bastante a la moneda, ya que ahora Baidu (el “Google chino”) y China Telecom han dejado de aceptar bitcoins, derrumbando su valor y dejándolo a poco más de 700 dólares la unidad.
Baidu anunció esta semana que ya no aceptaría la moneda digital como forma de pago, lo hizo como respuesta al Banco de China, informando que las últimas grandes fluctuaciones en el valor de Bitcoin hace difícil salvaguardar los intereses de los usuarios.
Después de haber alcanzado los 1000 dólares por bitcoin a finales de noviembre (llegó a 1200 dólares en algunos momentos), parecía que no había freno para esta fiebre. Ni las noticias sobre los robos de bitcoins en ciertos sitios especializados en compra y venta de la moneda, ni la falta de garantía de muchos de ellos parecía afectar a los que siguen invirtiendo en la moneda de 2013, año en el que ha obtenido más atención en la web (el bitcoin fue creado en 2009).
Está claro que China es un mercado suficientemente potente como para afectar a todas las monedas del mundo, incluidas las “virtuales”; es allí donde se encuentran algunas de las mayores infraestructuras que minan Bitcoins, gigantescos ordenadores conectados entre ellos con el único objetivo de crear “monedas”. El Bitcoin es algo más que una moda, y es necesario que se entienda de esa forma para que pueda seguir sobreviviendo de forma independiente.

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Father of Modern Finance Warns US, Europe: 'None of Their Debt Is Credible,' Recession in 2014

B
Eugene Fama

One of the fathers of modern finance and a winner of this year's Nobel prize for economics said the bloated deficits of the United States and European nations may lead to a worldwide recession. 

Eugene Fama, whoe "shared the economics prize for research into market prices and asset bubbles" with Robert Shiller and Lars Peter Hansen, told Reuters on Saturday that the markets may not find the debts of European nations and the United States to be credible.

"There may come a point where the financial markets say none of their debt is credible anymore and they can't finance themselves," he said. "If there is another recession, it is going to be worldwide."

Fama, who is a professor at the University of Chicago, also played down the United States's stronger labor market data from last month.

"I am not reassured at all. The jobs recovery has been awful. The only reason the unemployment rate is seven percent, which is high by historical standards in the U.S., is that people gave up looking for jobs," he said. "I just don't think we have come out of (the recession) very well."

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jueves, diciembre 05, 2013

Famed Investor’s Dire Warning: ‘This Is Going to End Badly… Be Prepared, Be Worried, and Be Careful’

 
Read on TheBlaze >>
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jueves, octubre 31, 2013

Britain: "A World Capital for Islamic Finance"/ Gatestone Institute

"I want London to stand alongside Dubai and Kuala Lumpur as one of the great capitals of Islamic finance anywhere in the world." — David Cameron, Prime Minister, Great Britain.
But critics say that British ambitions to attract investments from Muslim countries, companies and individuals are spurring the gradual establishment of a parallel financial system based on Islamic Sharia law. The Treasury also said some sukuk Islamic bond issues may require the government to restrict its dealings with Israeli-owned companies in order to attract Muslim money.
The London Stock Exchange will be launching a new Islamic bond index in an effort to establish the City of London as one of the world's leading centers of Islamic finance.
Britain also plans to become the first non-Muslim country to issue sovereign Islamic bonds, known as sukuk, beginning as early as 2014.
The plans are all part of the British government's strategy to acquire as big a slice as possible of the fast-growing global market of Islamic finance, which operates according to Islamic Sharia law and is growing 50% faster than the conventional banking sector.
Although it is still a fraction of the global investment market -- Sharia-compliant assets are estimated to make up only around 1% of the world's financial assets -- Islamic finance is expected to be worth £1.3 trillion (€1.5 trillion; $2 trillion) by 2014, a 150% increase from its value in 2006, according to the World Islamic Banking Competitiveness Report 2012-2013, published in May 2013 by the consultancy Ernst & Young.
But critics say that Britain's ambitions to attract investments from Muslim countries, companies and individuals are spurring the gradual establishment of a parallel global financial system based on Islamic Sharia law.
British Prime Minister David Cameron announced the plans during a keynote speech at the ninth World Islamic Economic Forum, which was held in London from October 29-31, the first time the event has ever been held outside the Muslim world.
"Already London is the biggest center for Islamic finance outside the Islamic world," Cameron told the audience of more than 1,800 international political and business leaders from over 115 countries.
"And today our ambition is to go further still. Because I don't just want London to be a great capital of Islamic finance in the Western world, I want London to stand alongside Dubai and Kuala Lumpur as one of the great capitals of Islamic finance anywhere in the world."
Keep reading on Gatestone Institute >>
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domingo, mayo 26, 2013

U.S. Tries To Halt Stock Slide After Selloff Goes Global - Forbes

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 22:  Federal Reserve Boar...
Ben Bernanke (Getty Images via @daylife)
Equity markets ran red around the world Thursday, on concern the Federal Reserve’s commitment to keeping its foot on the gas may be wavering and a lackluster economic data out of China and Europe.
The selloff began in the U.S. Wednesday, when Ben Bernanke said the Fed could start to taper asset purchases this summer and FOMC minutes from the last meeting showed more discussion of such action, perhaps as early as June.
Meanwhile, Chinese factory activity slowed for the first time in months, as the flash HSBC purchasing managers index dipped to 49.6 (a reading below 50 indicates contraction). In Europe meanwhile, flash PMI came in ahead of expectations at 47.8, but still signaled slowing activity.
While stocks fell in both China and Europe, the day’s worst performance came from Japan where the Nikkei plunged nearly 7%. Long Japanese stocks and short the yen has been a popular trade this year with the Bank of Japan emptying both barrels on monetary stimulus efforts, but the trade had a sharp reversal Thursday with the Nikkei’s drop and a snapback for the nation’s currency in the forex market. (See “Is Japan The New Apple?”)
In New York, stocks were cutting morning losses as the major averages recouped a chunk of the early declines. The major indexes were down less than 1% about an hour before midday, with the S&P 500 off 8 points at 1,648, the Dow Jones industiral average just 31 points at 15,276 and the Nasdaq 10 points to 3,454.
Among stocks to watch Hewlett-Packard HPQ -2.61% bucked the market’s downward trend. The tech giant recorded declines in profit and revenue Wednesday, but earnings beat estimates and investors seem willing to stick with Meg Whitman‘s turnaround plan for now. Shares jumped 13.1%, the only gain among Dow components to top 1%.
Tech stocks were in the best shape of any sector, down only slightly in general and with names like HP, IBM IBM -0.21% and Dell managing to show gains. (See “Searching For A Silver Lining At Dismal Dell.”)
Concern about the Fed hitting the brakes on its stimulus actions has the 10-year Treasury yield back above 2% and weighed heavily on the rate-sensitive utility sector, where fat dividend yields look less attractive at lower spreads against the perceived safety of government debt. The Utilities Sector SPDR ETF slumped 1.7% Wednesday and names like Sempora Energy and Pepco Holdings were down more than 3% apiece to be among the S&P’s worst performers.

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sábado, mayo 04, 2013

Stocks end at historic highs, spurred by upbeat jobs data

 
Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy
Stocks closed out the week with a bang, with the Dow briefly topping 15,000 for the first time, as Wall Street cheered a better-than-expected April employment report.
All three major indexes -- the Dow Jones industrials, the broader S&P 500 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq -- finished sharply higher for the week, with the Dow and S&P advancing to all-time closing highs.
"It's going to be the first time we put two weeks together in a row to the upside in about eight weeks…so that's the good news," said Art Hogan, managing director at Lazard Capital Markets. "The bad news is that we've run out of catalysts next week—earnings season is virtually over and the macro is very quiet."
The Dow Jones Industrial Average shot up about 143 points, propelled by Caterpillar and Alcoa. Earlier, the index crossed above 15,000 for the first time. It took the blue-chip index nearly six years to cross 15,000 after it first topped 14,000.
The S&P 500 easily surpassed 1,600 and the Nasdaq also rallied. The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX), widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, slumped below 13.
Most key S&P sectors ended in positive territory, led by materials and energy. Telecoms slipped.
U.S. employers added 165,000 jobs in April, according to the Labor Department, while the unemployment rate fell to a four-year low of 7.5 percent. Economists in a Reuters poll expected a reading of 145,000 and unemployment to hold steady at 7.6 percent.
"The [jobs] number beat consensus and also importantly, the revision from last month tells the story of a not-as-sluggish labor market," said Troy Logan, managing director and senior economist at Warren Financial Service. "However, the unemployment rate is still high. So that tells us that the Fed is going to continue with its accommodative policy – that means we have Fed support, which is good for asset prices and a jobs market which is not getting worse."
On Wednesday, the Fed said it was prepared to "increase or reduce" the monthly pace of its $85 billion in bond purchases, after its Open Markets Committee (FOMC) meeting.
Global markets cheered the employment report, with European shares turning decisively higher and the dollar jumping against the euro and the yen. Oil prices rallied, while gold, often viewed as a safe haven, slid near $1,460 an ounce. Treasury prices also declined.
More than 80 percent of S&P 500 companies have posted quarterly results so far, with 68 percent topping earnings expectations and 21 percent missing forecasts, according to Reuters. If all remaining companies post numbers in line with estimates, earnings will be up 5.2 percent on last year.
But on average, sales have come in 1 percent below estimates, with only 46 percent of companies beating their revenue projections.
Reuters contributed to this report.

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martes, abril 23, 2013

BREAKING NEWS: AP Twitter account hacked, posts false White House scare

NBCNews.com

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy
Following a hack attack, the Associated Press' verified Twitter account posted "an erroneous tweet" claiming that two explosions occurred in the White House and that President Barack Obama is injured. Moments later, the @AP Twitter account — with nearly 2 million followers — was suspended. Immediately following the false tweet, the Dow Industrial Average lost about 140 points. These losses were immediately recovered. (See chart below.)
Google
Google
Following the false @AP tweet, the Dow Industrial Average lost about 140 points. These losses were immediately recovered.
"That's a bogus tweet," an AP spokesperson initially told NBC News, a statement that was repeated by the company's corporate communications account. Though the false tweet disappeared, the false message continued to exist on the service in over four thousand retweets. In a briefing that occurred after the erroneous tweet appeared, White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters that "the president is fine, I was just with him." Julie Pace, AP's chief White House correspondent, reiterated during the briefing that "anything that was just sent out about any incident at the White House is actually false." AP media relations director Paul Colford is quoted, in a blog post, as saying that the company had also suspended other AP Twitter feeds, "out of a sense of caution." He added, "We are working with Twitter to sort this out." A wire statement issued later explained that the mid-day tweet "came after hackers made repeated attempts to steal the passwords of AP journalists." The New York Times revealed a tweet by a group called the Syrian Electronic Army claiming credit for the hack. The group's Twitter account is currently suspended. Social media accounts associated with CBS News programs "60 Minutes" and "48 Hours" were compromised on Saturday. The same group, known for its pro-Assad politics, took credit for that attack too, as well as earlier attacks on the Twitter accounts of NPR and the BBC. The group is not to be confused with the hacking collective known as Anonymous — in fact, they have previously clashed online. Passwords are weak link Because password theft is the culprit behind social-media account takeovers, security experts say that better protection is needed. Responsibility for security is shared between the user and the service. "The challenge (with corporate-owned Twitter accounts) is, we share the password," Chester Wisniewski, senior security advisor at Sophos, told NBC News. "Once you get enough people with the password, bad things are going to happen," he adds. "There's no good way of isolating or limiting access these high-profile accounts." Wisniewski said it is up to Twitter to strengthen security by using two-factor authentication, a log-in technique used by Google, Apple, Facebook and others that requires the pairing of a password with a code delivered to a user's cellphone. "In my opinion, this is overdue for Twitter, especially for verified accounts," he said, regarding how incidents like this could be prevented. "Humans are the weakest things when it comes to a phish [attack]." NBC News has reached out to Twitter for additional comment. — with additional reporting by NBC News' Stacey Klein, Helen Popkin and Patrick Rizzo

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

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domingo, marzo 31, 2013

ANOTHER BUBBLE? MARKET'S HIGHS WORRY INVESTORS


Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy
Four years after pushing investors into one of the deepest financial holes in a century, the U.S. stock market is now powering ahead in one of the strongest bull markets in a half century.
So it’s no surprise many investors are wondering how much longer it can last.
Fueled by growing signs that the U.S. economy is finally repairing lingering damage from the Great Recession, stock prices have been making new highs for weeks. On Thursday, the S&P 500 index closed at its highest level in history, after rising for 11 of the past 13 weeks. The Dow Jones industrial average, which tracks just 30 stocks, broke into record territory March 5 and has been setting new highs since. (Neither index, however, has reached a new high after adjusting for inflation.)
In the last 10 months, stocks have risen nearly 25 percent, as measured by the S&P 500 index. Since August, 2010, the broader Wilshire 5000 index has powered ahead by 50 percent – a rally that’s created more than $6 trillion in wealth for U.S. households, corporations, pension funds and other institutional investors.
To some investors still shell-shocked from the 2008 financial collapse, it’s beginning to feel like October 2007 – just before the bottom fell out. Or 2000, when the dot-com bubble popped.
Take a deep breath. Those worries are simply misplaced, according to none other than former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, who coined the now-famous phrase for the telltale sign that a stock market party is getting out of hand.
"'Irrational exuberance' is the last term I'd use to characterize what’s going on at the moment,” the retired central banker recently told CNBC. “It's got a ways to go as far as I can see.”
To be sure, bull markets inevitably include sharp pullbacks, as some investors take profits or others have second thoughts about the rally's staying power. But for now, the millions of investors who are pouring billions of dollars into the stock market every week seem to agree with The Maestro. Here’s why:
So what got this party started?Much like most market recoveries, the initial stage represented a snap back from one of the worst financial collapses since the Great Depression. Markets often act like a rubber band: If they get pulled too far in one direction, they tend to want to snap back to more “normal” levels. The 2008 crash left stocks at deeply-depressed, bargain prices. But until the recovery was solidly in place, buyers had to be willing to bear the risk that the down cycle hadn't run its course.
In the last six months, the stock market rally has entered a new phase, driven largely by good news about the economy. The housing market has now bounced back sharply from the deepest recession in generations. Rising home prices have helped rebuild much of the multi-trillion dollar loss in household wealth that was obliterated by the collapse of 2008.
To be sure, it’s not all good news. The economy remains sluggish. Europe is struggling through a recession. The unemployment rate – through steadily declining – remains painfully high. Not all companies are taking part in the market rally.
Sorry: What makes stock prices go up and down again?In the short term, supply and demand – just like a pair of Red Sox tickets on Stubhub. When there are more buyers than sellers, the price goes up. And vice versa.
Profits push stocks higher
NBCNews
SOURCE: Standard and Poors
Over the longer run, demand for a given company’s stock is driven largely by its prospects for becoming more profitable. As any Red Sox season ticket holder knows, there’s a lot more demand for unused Fenway seats when the team is on a roll than when they’re losing.
As profits go up, so do stock prices. But to make money, you’ve got to own the stock before the company announces higher earnings.
That’s why investors are buying now – based on the belief that the recent improvement in the economy will continue this year and next.
“I don't think it's all that surprising that the stock market would rise, given that there has been increased optimism about the economy,” the current Fed chairman, Ben Bernanke, told reporters earlier this month. “Profit increases have been substantial. And the relationship between stock prices and earnings is not particularly unusual at this point.”
But didn'tBernanke create this bubble by pumping trillions of dollars cash into the system?The Fed’s unprecedented, ongoing easy-money policy has certainty had a lot to do with the surge in stock prices.
Ultra-low interest rates have helped two ways. Cheap credit helps boost economic growth; the housing recovery would have taken a lot longer without record low mortgage rates. Ultra-low rates on safer investments like bonds also force investors looking for higher returns by turning to riskier investments like stocks.
It’s a premature to call this rally a bubble. The late-90s Internet craze “went bubble” when investors began paying Gold Rush prices for companies with no profits whatsoever. They were betting – based on wildly optimistic forecasts about future growth – that profits would eventually kick in. But in the end, it turned out that launching the fourth-largest online shopping site targeting left-handed golfers wasn’t a winning business model after all.
Ironically, some of the trends underlying those 1990s forecasts - of a millennial boom in entirely new online products and services – are now helping boost corporate profits today. In many cases the predictions were right. They were just 20 years too early.
OK.Butif the economy is still weak, where are all these profits coming from?One big source is workers’ wages – which have been falling, after adjusting for inflation. As business improves, more of that cash is heading straight to the corporate bottom line.
It’s not hard to see why. With unemployment still at 7.7 percent, few workers have leverage to demand a raise. Many companies have also been able to meet increased demand by asking their existing workers to put in more hours and check their email on weekends. Globalization continues to offer opportunities to outsource work to low-wage, overseas markets.
As the job market improves, and companies continue adding more full-time workers, that added profit may begin to slow. Higher health care costs could also take a bite. But for now, much of the revenue from new orders is flowing to the bottom line with little increase in labor costs.
Falling wages are only one of the tailwinds pushing profits ahead. Just as ultra-low interest rates have helped homeowners cut their monthly mortgage payments, companies have gotten a big break on borrowing costs. Those savings have helped boost the bottom lines of the companies in the S&P 500 index by some 4.5 percent, according to financial analyst Stephen Moore.
Moore figures lower corporate taxes – which have fallen from about 30 percent of overall profits in the 1980s to around 20 percent today – have added another 1 percent to profits. We’d add to the list the ongoing savings from lower natural gas and electricity costs thanks to a boom in U.S. energy production.
So how long can all this last?The only honest answer: No one knows. Including your investment adviser.
The recent recovery from a period of deep, financial malaise, though, is reminiscent of the 1980s emergence from the Great Inflation that destroyed thousands of businesses, trillions of dollars in financial assets and shredded consumer and investor confidence.
Then, for a variety of reasons, the economic storm subsided. In what seemed like a matter of months, it was Morning in America. The resulting stock market rally, which began in August 1982, was one of the longest on record.
To be sure, the over-caffeinated bull briefly passed out when a heart-stopping crash lopped 23 percent off stock prices in a single session on October 19, 1987. Four months later, though, the bull was back on his feet for another 12-year stampede that lifted stocks nearly seven-fold before the tech bubble burst in March 2000.
Keep reading on  nbcnews >>
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sábado, diciembre 29, 2012

New York Stock Exchange sold to derivatives company in $8bn takeover

no conditions, no debt cancellation, no chips, just freefall and chaos.
tatoott1009

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viernes, diciembre 28, 2012

U.S. Week Ahead: Deal or no deal, the damage's already done

ReutersVideo

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jueves, diciembre 27, 2012

Buy, sell, hold or panic! No deal in sight!

ReutersVideo

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Today at Noon: Wall St extends losses; volatility jumps

ReutersVideo

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lunes, diciembre 24, 2012

Markets slip on treacherous fiscal cliff

ReutersVideo

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jueves, diciembre 20, 2012

New York Stock Exchange operator sold

This Just In
Intercontinental Exchange will buy NYSE Euronext, the operator of the venerable New York Stock Exchange as well as some leading European exchanges, in an $8.2 billion cash and stock deal, the companies announced Thursday. 
FULL STORY >>

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domingo, septiembre 30, 2012

Investing in Cuba: Cigars, Rum, & the Fortune 500

The Motley Fool/ By Nick Slepko 
Cuba's iconic tobacco and alcohol products are the benchmark vices for many – including Americans which are still the largest consumers of the island’s sin exports.
eat-and-be-merry.blogspot.com
After acquiring Spain’s Altadis in 2008 with its 50% interest in Cuba’s state cigar monopoly Habanos, Britain’s Imperial Tobacco (NASDAQOTH: ITYBY.PK) became the leading distributor for the island’s premium tobacco products.  Although in 2010, Habanos lost its legal battle in American courts against the Miami-based Guantanamera Cigars Company for the rights to the Guantanamera brand in the US.  Today, Habanos still sells its “affordable” Guantanamera in other jurisdictions, but GCC’s premium version is an increasingly preferred choice in the markets where they compete directly.  (Although, Florida's most powerful Cuban-American, Senator Marco Rubio, still tends to wax nostalgic over Nicaragua-sourced Padrons manufactured by Tampa-based Piloto Cigars.  Evidently Central American communists are preferable to Caribbean ones.)
However, both Habanos and Guantanamera, along with others, are finding their bottom lines hit hard by counterfeiters.  While not at all what Che Guevara would have envisioned (mostly for his lack of imagination), Habanos has introduced online authentication for its products as a major step in brand protection.  Interestingly, it is similar to many new systems being tested to verify pharmaceuticals by end consumers around the world (in part to avoid counterfeit drugs that are originating from places like Cuba).  Whether or not Cuba’s most famous product has been able to maintain its craftsmanship, there is no disputing it has retained its mystique.
James Suckling, former European editor of Cigar Aficionado and producer of the documentary Cigars: The Heart and Soul of Cuba, estimates that Americans are still the cigars’ largest consumers (accounting for a quarter of end-users often “through Switzerland and other channels”) despite the legal restrictions on US citizens acquiring or consuming Cuban products even when abroad.  Suckling estimates that:
…global sales of Cuban cigars were up nine percent to about $401 million, with particular growth in Asia Pacific, Middle East, Russia, and Latin America. Habanos would not reveal how many cigars were sold, but estimates are between 80 million and 90 million cigars in 2011.  I would suggest that Americans, in reality, accounted for $150 million to $200 million of the Cuban cigar sales in 2011.
The current state of Cuban rum offers even more of an insight into Ghosts of Lawyers Yet to Come for the long-assumed US-Cuba rapprochement.  As with physical property, Cuban intellectual property is a hotly disputed topic, not least of all because so many parties impacted are still alive (and have documentation – and an unrequited passion for vengeance/justice).
Earlier this year, the US Supreme Court declined to intervene over state-owned CubaExport’s petition to renew its US trademark on the Havana Club rum brand name which seems to have put an end to a decade-old dispute.  France’s Pernod Ricard (NASDAQOTH: PDRDF.PK), the world’s major rum distributor, sued Bermuda-based private distiller Bacardi in 1998 when it began selling rum under the name Havana Club.  Using political connections and special legislation pertaining to expropriated Cuban properties, Bacardi successfully weathered the legal assault and retained its trademark to the prestigious name in the United States – which accounts for 40% of the world rum market.  Now that Pernod appears to have exhausted its legal options, it has announced intentions to retail the alcohol under the name Havanista in American outlets when the embargo is lifted.
If history is any guide, then the Pernod-Bacardi divide may spend the decade after the Castros’ passings developing along the lines of the Mercks.  America’s Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE: MRK) was created from the confiscated assets of Germany’s Merck KGaA (FWB:MRK) during World War I.  Both companies still operate independently (though US Merck is four times larger now by revenues, and German Merck operates in North America under the name EMD).
Still, more interesting for American investors in the short-term may not be Cuban exports, but rather which US companies have been able to squeeze out what little hard currency the country is able to generate each year.  Nowadays, it is less likely that the Cuban diplomatic missions are printing their own US dollars (North Koreans have aced them out of that market), and it is more likely that Cuban enterprise is the victim of counterfeit pesos and lost market share to counterfeit cigars – over a million dollars in fakes are seized every year in the US (and considering what a low-priority the industry is for American law enforcement compared to illegal downloading witch hunts, pharma and narcotic smuggling, and general terrorist plots, it is likely this figure is an infinitesimal fraction of the real problem).
In 2011, at least 83 US for-profits (companies and individuals) received (or renewed) licenses to engage in Cuban activities.  Minneapolis-based travel consultancy Navitaire – a subsidiary of Dublin-headquartered Accenture (NYSE: ACN) – had its four-year license extended another four, however it seems to be a rare exception.  Of the few licenses that indicate expiration dates, none are valid for more than two years – and it appears Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) has been renewing its arrangements since 1964 (possibly OFAC’s longest-running license holder for trade with Cuba.)
Also, considering official statistics from all sides which reflect declining trade between the US and Cuba, there are probably less than 200 for-profit US entities licensed to do business with Cuba.  Of those that can be identified from the 2011 cohort (which is less than half), their activities range from horse breeding and funeral services to tourism- and medical-related enterprises.  While less than a quarter of the for-profits are likely to be publicly-traded American companies, only 34 are clearly connected to any of the recent licenses: 
American Express
NYSE
AXP
Archer Daniels Midland
NYSE
ADM
AT&T
NYSE
T
Bank of America
NYSE
BAC
Bank of New York
NYSE
BK
Baxter Healthcare
NYSE
BAX
Becton Dickinson
NYSE
BDX
Bemis Company
NYSE
BMS
Boeing
NYSE
BA
Cisco
NASDAQ
CSCO
Citigroup
NYSE
C
Coca-Cola
NYSE
KO
Diageo North America
NYSE
DEO
Dresser-Rand
NYSE
DRC
FMC Corporation
NYSE
FMC
Gen Re (Berkshire Hathaway)
NYSE
BRK-A, BRK-B
General Cigar (Swedish Match)
NASDAQOTH
SWMAF.PK
Google
NASDAQ
GOOG
JPMorgan Chase 
NYSE
JPM
M&T Bank
NYSE
MTB
Marriott
NYSE
MAR
Mercer (Marsh & McLennan)
NYSE
MMC
MoneyGram
NYSE
MGI
Navitaire (Accenture)
NYSE
CAN
Northern Trust
NASDAQ
NTRS
Pfizer
NYSE
PFE
Princess Cruises (Carnival)
NYSE
CCL
Rockwell Collins
NYSE
COL
Thermo King (Ingersoll-Rand)
NYSE
IR
Utah Medical Products
NASDAQ
UTMD
Walmart
NYSE
WMT
Wells Fargo
NYSE
WFC
World Fuel Services
NYSE
INT
Xerox
NYSE
XRX
Still, with many of these corporations on the Fortune 500, even a functional Cuban economy is unlikely to make a huge impact on their tickers.  However, they may be good indicators of areas where other American companies with their geography and efficiencies have yet to penetrate due to sanctions and reservations.  In the decade following the end of the Castros, it is likely that only a handful of Latin American countries will field companies that can compete for the long-haul with the US when the embargo is lifted.  Meanwhile, the less advantaged Canadian and European enterprises are likely to be margined out when the Miami-Havana link becomes a bridge of cargo ships spanning the Florida Strait.  (Although, in a number of cases, it will just be a matter of changing the flag and restructuring subsidiaries that are truly US in all but name at the moment.)

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miércoles, junio 27, 2012

Cheating on Wall Street: Big Rewards, Little Risk

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viernes, febrero 03, 2012

Nasdaq reaches 11-year high; Dow at highest level since before 2008 financial crisis

A drop in the unemployment rate to its lowest level in three years propelled stocks higher Friday. The Dow Jones industrial average jumped more than 130 points, drawing the average to its highest mark since before the financial crisis hit in 2008. The Nasdaq index reached levels last seen in December 2000. More >>

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viernes, septiembre 16, 2011

Un corredor de bolsa causó hasta US$2.000 millones de perdidas

·         
·         SPANISH
·

Por DEBORAH BALLSARA SCHAEFER MUÑOZ PAUL SONNE

ZÚRICH—UBS AG fue sacudido por la revelación de que un corredor causó hasta US$2.000 millones en pérdidas por transacciones presuntamente fraudulentas. Se trata de una grave admisión que suscitó nuevos interrogantes sobre la capacidad de uno de los mayores bancos del mundo para manejar el riesgo y de los reguladores globales para supervisarlo.
Las pérdidas derivaron de apuestas de negociación no autorizadas con dinero del banco, según una persona familiarizada con el asunto; el banco aclaró que ninguna posición de sus clientes resultó afectada. El banco suizo hizo el descubrimiento el miércoles por la noche y notificó a la policía de Londres a la 1 de la madrugada, aseverando que uno de sus operadores había cometido fraude. A las 3:30 de la madrugada, la policía arrestó a un hombre de 31 años por "sospecha de fraude por abuso de cargo".


El hombre arrestado es Kweku Adoboli, según la fuente al tanto, un operador de Londres que hace apuestas con dinero del banco en instrumentos financieros vinculados con fondos que cotizan en bolsa (ETF, por sus siglas en inglés), que permiten a los clientes negociar acciones que siguen el desempeño de grandes índices. El hecho de que Adoboli parece haber sido un empleado de bajo nivel en una mesa encargada de negociar productos de bajo riesgo y sin apalancamiento incrementa el misterio de cómo pudo generar una pérdida tan grande.
El arresto plantea preguntas sobre si Adoboli podría formar parte de un círculo más amplio de empleados involucrados en potenciales actividades ilícitas.
Según la fuente al tanto, John Hughes, otro operador que trabajaba con Adoboli en la mesa de ETF, renunció. Esta persona dijo que directivos de UBS sospechan que Adoboli no actuaba solo en las negociaciones no autorizadas. El banco también ha suspendido a otros miembros de la mesa, mientras espera interrogarlos sobre si estaban involucrados.
La crisis golpeó las acciones del banco suizo, que cayeron casi 11% en negociaciones en Europa el jueves. Más generalmente, suscita interrogantes sobre la supervisión en el banco, como también la capacidad de los reguladores de vigilar de manera adecuada sus actividades.
El regulador financiero suizo, Finma, el ministerio suizo de Finanzas y el banco central del país no quisieron hacer comentarios sobre las posibles pérdidas o qué pudo haberlas provocado.
La magnitud de las pérdidas por las transacciones no autorizadas de Adoboli está entre las mayores en la historia de las finanzas. En las dos últimas décadas, bancos como Société Générale SA, Barings y Kidder Peabody han sido víctimas de operadores que han causado cientos o miles de millones de pérdidas por negociaciones no autorizadas.
La noticia supone un duro golpe a los intentos del presidente ejecutivo de UBS, Oswald Grübel, de recuperar la confianza de los clientes en uno de los bancos más vapuleados por la crisis. También plantea dudas sobre los sistemas de gestión y control de riesgo del banco, apenas tres años después de que su brazo de banca de inversión tuvo que amortizar unos US$50.000 millones en transacciones de valores.
Desde septiembre de 2006, Adoboli, de 31 años, ha trabajado en la mesa de UBS que negocia con grandes canastos de valores o permite a los clientes apostar a ellos por medio de opciones u otros instrumentos, según su perfil en el sitio web de contactos profesionales LinkedIn. Adoboli trabajaba en la unidad de negociación de alta frecuencia conocida como Delta One. Adoboli, quien no ha sido acusado pero estaba detenido por la policía la noche del jueves, no pudo ser contactado para pedirle declaraciones.
La mesa de ETF era un componente relativamente simple de las operaciones centrales de UBS, su negocio bursátil. El área de ese negocio de fondos que cotizan en bolsa permite a los clientes negociar paquetes de valores que siguen decenas de índices.
Según algunos, Adoboli inicialmente parece haber trabajado sobre el aspecto técnico de estas negociaciones en la "oficina de trastienda", antes de convertirse en un empleado de atención al cliente y que ejecuta las transacciones. Su trayectoria recuerda al caso de 2008 en el banco francés Société Générale, cuando el operador Jérôme Kerviel le costó al banco 4.900 millones de euros (US$7.250 millones) en un escándalo de transacciones ilegales. Kerviel, quien hizo apuestas sobre la magnitud de los movimientos de índices bursátiles europeos, usó el conocimiento de su puesto de experto técnico para ocultar las operaciones no autorizadas.
La pérdida de UBS, la mayor derivada de una negociación no autorizada en un banco suizo, supone un duro golpe a la banca de inversión de la entidad, que lleva años tratando de remontar luego de su cuasi colapso en 2008. Tras enormes reducciones contables, la filial registró una pérdida de 34.400 millones de francos suizos en 2008, obligando al Banco Nacional Suizo a rescatar al banco.
La noticia también podría plantear interrogantes sobre cuánto tiempo Grübel —quien comenzó su carrera como operador— seguirá al frente de UBS. Grübel, que también ocupó el mismo cargo en Credit Suisse, interrumpió su retiro en febrero de 2009 para ayudar al banco en su recuperación. Ha dicho que pretende permanecer en el puesto hasta concluir su plan de reestructuración, pero no ha fijado una fecha de partida.
—Dana Cimilluca, Carrick Mollenkamp y Alistair MacDonald contribuyeron a este artículo.
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jueves, marzo 03, 2011

Facebook Now Valued at $65 Billion [REPORT]


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"Hablame"

"EN TIEMPOS DIFÍCILES" - Heberto Padilla

A aquel hombre le pidieron su tiempo

para que lo juntara al tiempo de la Historia.

Le pidieron las manos,

porque para una época difícil

nada hay mejor que un par de buenas manos.

Le pidieron los ojos

que alguna vez tuvieron lágrimas

para que contemplara el lado claro

(especialmente el lado claro de la vida)

porque para el horror basta un ojo de asombro.

Le pidieron sus labios

resecos y cuarteados para afirmar,

para erigir, con cada afirmación, un sueño

(el-alto-sueño);

le pidieron las piernas

duras y nudosas

(sus viejas piernas andariegas),

porque en tiempos difíciles

¿algo hay mejor que un par de piernas

para la construcción o la trinchera?

Le pidieron el bosque que lo nutrió de niño,

con su árbol obediente.

Le pidieron el pecho, el corazón, los hombros.

Le dijeron

que eso era estrictamente necesario.

Le explicaron después

que toda esta donación resultaria inútil.

sin entregar la lengua,

porque en tiempos difíciles

nada es tan útil para atajar el odio o la mentira.

Y finalmente le rogaron

que, por favor, echase a andar,

porque en tiempos difíciles

esta es, sin duda, la prueba decisiva.

Los Aldeanos: "El Socialismo en Tiempos del Colera: Toda Una Nación"

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La columna de Cubanalisis

NEOCASTRISMO [Hacer click en la imagen]

NEOCASTRISMO [Hacer click en la imagen]
¨Saturno jugando con sus hijos¨/ Pedro Pablo Oliva

Seguidores

Carta desde la carcel de Fidel Castro Ruz

“…después de todo, para mí la cárcel es un buen descanso, que sólo tiene de malo el que es obligatorio. Leo mucho y estudio mucho. Parece increíble, las horas pasan como si fuesen minutos y yo, que soy de temperamento intranquilo, me paso el día leyendo, apenas sin moverme para nada. La correspondencia llega normalmente…”

“…Como soy cocinero, de vez en cuando me entretengo preparando algún pisto. Hace poco me mandó mi hermana desde Oriente un pequeño jamón y preparé un bisté con jalea de guayaba. También preparo spaghettis de vez en cuando, de distintas formas, inventadas todas por mí; o bien tortilla de queso. ¡Ah! ¡Qué bien me quedan! por supuesto, que el repertorio no se queda ahí. Cuelo también café que me queda muy sabroso”.
“…En cuanto a fumar, en estos días pasados he estado rico: una caja de tabacos H. Upman del doctor Miró Cardona, dos cajas muy buenas de mi hermano Ramón….”.
“Me voy a cenar: spaghettis con calamares, bombones italianos de postre, café acabadito de colar y después un H. Upman #4. ¿No me envidias?”.
“…Me cuidan, me cuidan un poquito entre todos. No le hacen caso a uno, siempre estoy peleando para que no me manden nada. Cuando cojo el sol por la mañana en shorts y siento el aire de mar, me parece que estoy en una playa… ¡Me van a hacer creer que estoy de vacaciones! ¿Qué diría Carlos Marx de semejantes revolucionarios?”.
¨La patria es dicha de todos, y dolor de todos, y cielo para todos, y no feudo ni capellaní­a de nadie¨ - Marti

"No temas ni a la prision, ni a la pobreza, ni a la muerte. Teme al miedo"
-
Giacomo Leopardi

¨Por eso es muy importante, Vicky, hijo mío, que recuerdes siempre para qué sirve la cabeza: para atravesar paredes¨Halvar de Flake [El vikingo]

"Como no me he preocupado de nacer, no me preocupo de morir" - Lorca

"Al final, no os preguntarán qué habéis sabido, sino qué habéis hecho" - Jean de Gerson

"Si queremos que todo siga como está, es necesario que todo cambie" - Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa

"Todo hombre paga su grandeza con muchas pequeñeces, su victoria con muchas derrotas, su riqueza con múltiples quiebras" - Giovanni Papini


"Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans" - John Lennon

"Habla bajo, lleva siempre un gran palo y llegarás lejos" - Proverbio Africano

"No hay medicina para el miedo" - Proverbio escoces

"El supremo arte de la guerra es doblegar al enemigo sin luchar"
- Sun Tzu

"You do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother" - Albert Einstein

"It is inaccurate to say I hate everything. I am strongly in favor of common sense, common honesty, and common decency. This makes me forever ineligible for public office" - H. L. Menken

"I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented" - Elie Wiesel

"Stay hungry, stay foolish" -
Steve Jobs

"If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert , in five years ther'ed be a shortage of sand" - Milton Friedman

"The tragedy of modern man is not that he knows less and less about the meaning of his own life, but that it bothers him less and less" - Vaclav Havel

"No se puede controlar el resultado, pero si lo que uno haga para alcanzarlo" -
Vitor Belfort [MMA Fighter]

Liborio

Liborio
A la puerta de la gloria está San Pedro sentado y ve llegar a su lado a un hombre de cierta historia. No consigue hacer memoria y le pregunta con celo: ¿Quién eras allá en el suelo? Era Liborio mi nombre. Has sufrido mucho, hombre, entra, te has ganado el cielo.

Para Raul Castro

Cuba ocupa el penultimo lugar en el mundo en libertad economica solo superada por Corea del Norte.

Cuba ocupa el lugar 147 entre 153 paises evaluados en "Democracia, Mercado y Transparencia 2007"

Cuando vinieron

Cuando vinieron a buscar a los comunistas, Callé: yo no soy comunista.
Cuando vinieron a buscar a los sindicalistas, Callé: yo no soy sindicalista.
Cuando vinieron a buscar a los judíos, Callé: yo no soy judío. Cuando vinieron a buscar a los católicos, Callé: yo no soy “tan católico”.
Cuando vinieron a buscarme a mí, Callé: no había quien me escuchara.

Reverendo Martin Niemöller

Martha Colmenares

Martha Colmenares
Un sitio donde los hechos y sus huellas nos conmueven o cautivan

CUBA LLORA Y EL MUNDO Y NOSOTROS NO ESCUCHAMOS

Donde esta el Mundo, donde los Democratas, donde los Liberales? El pueblo de Cuba llora y nadie escucha.
Donde estan los Green, los Socialdemocratas, los Ricos y los Pobres, los Con Voz y Sin Voz? Cuba llora y nadie escucha.
Donde estan el Jet Set, los Reyes y Principes, Patricios y Plebeyos? Cuba desesperada clama por solidaridad.
Donde Bob Dylan, donde Martin Luther King, donde Hollywood y sus estrellas? Donde la Middle Class democrata y conservadora, o acaso tambien liberal a ratos? Y Gandhi? Y el Dios de Todos?
Donde los Santos y Virgenes; los Dioses de Cristianos, Protestantes, Musulmanes, Budistas, Testigos de Jehova y Adventistas del Septimo Dia. Donde estan Ochun y todas las deidades del Panteon Yoruba que no acuden a nuestro llanto? Donde Juan Pablo II que no exige mas que Cuba se abra al Mundo y que el Mundo se abra a Cuba?
Que hacen ahora mismo Alberto de Monaco y el Principe Felipe que no los escuchamos? Donde Madonna, donde Angelina Jolie y sus adoptados around de world; o nos hara falta un Brando erguido en un Oscar por Cuba? Donde Sean Penn?
Donde esta la Aristocracia Obrera y los Obreros menos Aristocraticos, donde los Working Class que no estan junto a un pueblo que lanquidece, sufre y llora por la ignominia?
Que hacen ahora mismo Zapatero y Rajoy que no los escuchamos, y Harper y Dion, e Hillary y Obama; donde McCain que no los escuchamos? Y los muertos? Y los que estan muriendo? Y los que van a morir? Y los que se lanzan desesperados al mar?
Donde estan el minero cantabrico o el pescador de percebes gijonese? Los Canarios donde estan? A los africanos no los oimos, y a los australianos con su acento de hombres duros tampoco. Y aquellos chinos milenarios de Canton que fundaron raices eternas en la Isla? Y que de la Queen Elizabeth y los Lords y Gentlemen? Que hace ahora mismo el combativo Principe Harry que no lo escuchamos?
Donde los Rockefellers? Donde los Duponts? Donde Kate Moss? Donde el Presidente de la ONU? Y Solana donde esta? Y los Generales y Doctores? Y los Lam y los Fabelo, y los Sivio y los Fito Paez?
Y que de Canseco y Miñoso? Y de los veteranos de Bahia de Cochinos y de los balseros y de los recien llegados? Y Carlos Otero y Susana Perez? Y el Bola, y Pancho Cespedes? Y YO y TU?
Y todos nosotros que estamos aqui y alla rumiando frustaciones y resquemores, envidias y sinsabores; autoelogios y nostalgias, en tanto Louis Michel comulga con Perez Roque mientras Biscet y una NACION lanquidecen?
Donde Maceo, donde Marti; donde aquel Villena con su carga para matar bribones?
Cuba llora y clama y el Mundo NO ESCUCHA!!!

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