Monthly Archives: June 2012

Google Releases Nexus 7

The Nexus 7 Competing with Kindle

The tablet marketplace just got a little more crowded as Google releases its own, modestly priced, eReader-type product called the Nexus 7. Unveiled at Google’s I/O developers’ conference in San Francisco on Wednesday, the seven-inch tablet was designed by Google engineers but is actually manufactured by Asus in Taiwan. The new product will be priced at an affordable price of $199.

The Nexus 7 competes directly with Amazon’s own Kindle Fire tablet. Also measuring seven inches and priced to go at $199, the Kindle Fire will have trouble holding a candle to the Nexus.

The Nexus is lighter by 2 ounces, 12 oz. compared to 14 oz. The Nexus is also equipped with a richer HD screen and a quicker graphics chipset.

Going after the little guys is not usual for Google which introduced the high-end Samsung Galaxy Tab last year at their annual I/O gathering.

The Galaxy’s resemblance to Apple’s iPad was so convincing that Apple actually sued Samsung over the similar look and feel, and even won an injunction this past Tuesday which will prevent continuing sales of the Samsung tablet within the borders of the US.

Until now the Kindle Fire has been the best-selling, by far, low-end tablet. Now with the Nexus 7 in the field, its popularity is no longer a certainty.

 

EU Summit Looking for Solutions to Debt Crisis

Lael Brainard

The financial ministers of the euro zone’s largest economies will meet on Tuesday prior to the upcoming full-blown summit of the European Union to be held on Thursday. The financial ministers of Germany, France, Spain and Italy hope to come up with a plan to shrink their differences on how to deal with the present economic crisis and plans for developing a more secure economic future for the zone.

This meeting comes in the wake of the announcement by Cyprus that it will seek a bailout solution to its own economic woes, the fifth European Union member to do so. The four ministers plan to discuss how to manage the present crisis in the short-term while also devising sound policies for the integration of long-term fiscal and banking strategies so that economic stability and growth can be achieved.

US Treasury Under Secretary for International Affairs Lael Brainard has been dealing with Europe and financial diplomacy with them.  She is pushing the EU leaders to put “more flesh on the bone” on the solutions they come up with to overcome the debt crisis at Thursday’s summit.

"The particulars on how they go forward and how they design their firewall, how they design their policies, those are things that at the end of the day sit with those European leaders," Brainard said in an interview. "We're all looking forward to seeing some of the specifics.”
 

Savings Advice for the Uncertain Future

Endless economic turmoil, deepening employment concerns and inconsistent outlooks have left the masses scrambling for saving solutions and smart investment ideas.

Though there is no single answer, many finance-focused companies have begun offering advice and information both on personal and public levels. For example, Primerica, a financial services marketing organization, recently released a list of ways to ‘find money to save’ during these rough times.

They suggest several parallel approaches:

  1. Put aside your loose change each day. Saving just $1 a day will yield you $365 in a year!
  2. Cut your phone bills. For less than $10, you can buy a prepaid cell phone and pay only by the minute. Cancel your land line (unless you have medical issues that may require emergency calls).
  3. Dodge unnecessary fees. Avoid bouncing checks, overdraft and ATM fees. The $20-$40 you normally spend each month could save you $240 to $480 each year!
  4. Bring lunch to work. Spend $2 a day on making lunch at home instead of eating out for $5 a day, and you’ve saved $780 in one year.
  5. Track your spending. You might not realize where your money is going. Keep a receipt for everything you spend in one month. At the end of the month, separate them into categories. Where can you trim excess spending? Usual suspects: entertainment and dining out.

-Amy Wilson, AskPrimerica.com

 

 

The Fed and Economic Recovery

The Federal Reserve’s dejected outlook for additional economic recovery in the U.S. this year is reason for concern, but officials are nonetheless pooling their efforts in hopes of boosting job growth. Still, many believe the central bank has already exhausted its chances of stimulating the economy any further this year.

On Wednesday, the Fed stated that it would be extending ‘Operation Twist’ through 2012, a program that works to lower long-term interest rates and borrowing costs for both households and businesses. The Fed also exchanges short-term securities for those that are more long-term.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Fed’s approach to economic recovery was not received with enthusiasm.

“Investors were initially disappointed the Fed didn’t take more aggressive action Wednesday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished the day down 12.94 points, or 0.1%, to 12824.39, after at one point dropping by nearly 100 points.

“The first stage, $400 billion Operation Twist program had been scheduled to end this month. By extending it by six months, the Fed will be purchasing an additional $267 billion in Treasury bonds and notes with maturities ranging from six to 30 years, and selling an equivalent amount of securities with maturities of three years and less. This extension effectively expands Twist to $667 billion. By the time the program ends in December, the Fed will have almost no holdings maturing through January 2016.”

Despite the negative feedback in the face of the program, Ben Bernanke, Fed chairman, expressed his conviction to the cause.

“I wouldn’t accept the proposition though that the Fed has no more ammunition,” he said. “If we don’t see continued improvement in the labor market we’ll be prepared to take additional steps.”

Five In-Demand Industries to Consider as New Businesses in the Coming Months

A slow economy does not mean there are not lots of opportunities for entrepreneurs willing to do a little research into what industries are showing strong growth potential for the year approaching. Some businesses may be franchises, and others might be solely your own, but either way there is money to be made and success to be achieved in several industries. Here are just five of the most promising:

1.    Elder Care: An aging population of independent individuals in need of some extra help presents a great opportunity for businessmen to provide the services more and more elders will need, including help with daily living like cooking, cleaning, taking meds and other personal care.

2.    Health and Wellness: More people are concerned with their health than ever before, and the numbers are swelling. Exercise and fitness centers, healthy food franchises like frozen yogurt shops are becoming ever more popular, creating business opportunities in many markets.

3.    Warehousing: Providing inexpensive storage space for businesses helps them cut costs, and important factor in keeping businesses competitive in a stressed economy. Small businesses can especially benefit from a third party warehousing enterprise.

4.    Shipping and logistics: As internet purchases continue to grow US Postal Services are cut, merchants will need to look for innovative methods of delivering their goods.

5.    Outsourcing/staffing: Another cost-cutting measure for businesses under pressure to keep prices down. Outsourcing, even of high-level management positions allows small to mid-size businesses to only pay for a service when it is most needed.
 

Top Ten Business Trends

The economy is endlessly shifting and stability is a seemingly lost cause in the business world. Still, certain business trends stand out in today’s industries.

Here is a list of the top ten business trends according to Frannet.com:

  1. Generation Y: Today’s youth have more purchasing power than any youngsters before them. Whether it’s their own money or their parents’, Generation Y accounts for more and more purchase decisions every year…
  2. Green Ideas: The environment is of much greater concern for today’s consumer than ever before. Products and services that help save energy and/or use renewable resources and/or reduce waster are in high demand…
  3. Education: Consumers are becoming avid learners, but they aren’t necessarily flocking to universities. Today’s busy buyers want to upgrade their skills quickly and conveniently. Online courses and community colleges are fast becoming one of the most popular ways to get the skills you need for a better job…
  4. Internet: No big surprise here. The internet is now cemented into our everyday lives. Buyers are constantly seeking our better connectivity and new gadgets. They are also spending more and more money shopping online and are even exploring ways to make their living in the virtual world…
  5. ‘Mom’ Outsourcing: Lots of parents are reclaiming their lives outside of parenthood, which includes holding jobs, enjoying hobbies and much more. As a result, entrepreneurs have identified a need for “parent replacement services.” Childcare, tutoring and test preparation, housekeeping, driving academies, after school programs, and related services form a multi-million dollar industry.
  6. Organics: In the same vein as the green movement, people are taking an increasing interest in buying organic, whether its organic clothes, pesticide free produce, or more natural versions of their favorite items. Hand in hand with this trend is the desire to support products produced locally…
  7. Pets: The pet industry is big and getting bigger all the time. Not only is there the purchase of the pet itself, but entrepreneurs are capitalizing on the resulting need for pet foods, pet toys, pet care items, training, health care and grooming, special care for older animals, organic pet products and services, and even pet burials, cremations and memorial services.
  8. Recessionomics: In a recession, people are trying hard to hang on to every dollar they’ve got. Clever entrepreneurs have capitalized on this fact and developed an industry that, ironically, has been spurred by the dwindling global economy…
  9. Seniors: Older adults are a force to be reckoned with in the marketplace. Aging baby boomers now represent about one third of all Canadians, which means a lot of businesses will rise or fall based on their ability to cater to seniors…
  10. Wellness: Buyers have started taking an interest in their health that reaches far beyond yearly physicals and biannual trips to the dentist. The herbal supplement industry is growing exponentially and businesses based around holistic health- naturopathic medicine, massage, therapy, acupuncture, yoga and the like- are experiencing a boom.

Mizuho Financial to Purchase WestLB AG BBrazil

The third-largest bank in Japan has consented to acquiring WestLB AG’s Brazil wing in an effort to reduce demand for infrastructure-focused financing.

Though Mizuho Financial Group has not yet revealed the terms of the transaction, their website states that the purchase is still waiting on regulatory approval.

Business Week explains that Banco WestLB AG Brazil is a firm that provides financial solutions.

“The company provides structured and corporate finance and treasury and local markets services. It serves corporate clients and financial institutions; and institutional investors, including agribusinesses, diversified industries, energy and utilities, metals and mining, and telecommunications and infrastructure clients in Brazil and internationally.”

                                                                                                   -Business Week

Mizuho, along with competitors like Mitsubishi and Sumito Mitsui, hopes to take advantage of the economic situation in Europe to gain market share in the region. Interest rates are dropping in Japan, forcing lenders to seek new ways to make up for flailing domestic loans.

Warren Buffet’s Keys to Success

Warren Buffet, founder of Berkshire Hathaway, is one of the most successful investors today. His experience and wisdom are both something to emulate, and many of his quotes have inspired businesses and individuals in the past.

“When we own portions of outstanding businesses with outstanding managements, our favorite holding period is forever”

And:

“Rule No. 1: never lose money; rule No. 2: never forget rule No. 1”

Are Buffet’s most famous quotes. Others, perhaps even more useful, include:

“You pay a high price for a cheery consensus.”

“The best thing that happens to us is when a great company gets into temporary trouble… We want to buy them when they’re on the operating table.”

“The most common cause of low prices is pessimism- sometimes pervasive, sometimes specific to a company or industry. We want to do business in such an environment, not because we like pessimism, but because we like the prices it produces.”

“The stock market is a no-called-strike game. You don’t have to swing at everything- you can wait for your pitch. The problem when you’re a money manager is that your fans keep yelling ‘Swing, you bum!’”

Gallup Highlights Bush’s Culpability for Economic Woes Today

When looking at the unemployment rate in America, it’s interesting to see where the average American places the blame. A Gallup poll from Thursday shows that most of them place it squarely at the feet of former U.S. President George W. Bush. Of the 1000 adults surveyed, about 68% of them placed the blame with President Bush, saying that he deserved a “moderate amount” or “great deal” of the blame. 52% pointed pointed to Obama instead.

Not surprisingly, Republicans who were polled placed the blame on Obama, with 83% of them holding Obama largely responsible for the economic situation in America.  With the Democrats who were polled, 90% blamed Bush and only 19% said that Obama should be blamed for the majority of the issues.

The Independent voters blamed Bush (67%) much more than they blamed Obama (51%).

As Gallup explained, “Americans continue to place more blame for the nation’s economic problems on George W. Bush than on Barack Obama, even though Bush left office more than three years ago. This suggests that Obama’s argument that he is on the right track and needs more time to turn the economy around could fall on receptive ears, particularly those of independents.”

 

Top 20 Most Profitable Companies

A Fortune 500 list has revealed the top 20 most profitable companies in 2012:

  1. Exxon Mobil————————————$41,060 million
  2. Chevron——————————————$26,895 million
  3. Apple—————— ————————— $25,922 million
  4. Microsoft—————————————- $23,150 million
  5. Ford Motor————————————–$20,213 million
  6. JP Morgan Chase & Co.———————-$18, 976 million
  7. American International Group——— $17, 798 million
  8. Wells Fargo————————————- $15, 869 million
  9. International Business———————$15,855 million
  10. Wal-Mart Stores——————————-$15,699 million
  11. General Electric——————————-$14,151 million
  12. Intel———————————————–$12,942 million
  13. ConocoPhillips——————————– $12,436 million
  14. Proctor & Gamble—————————–$11,797 million
  15. Citigroup—————————————- $11,067 million
  16. Berkshire Hathaway————————-$10,254 million
  17. Pfizer———————————————- $10,009 million
  18. Google——————————————– $9,737 million
  19. Johnson & Johnson————————–$9,672 million
  20. General Motors——————————–$9,190 million