Monthly Archives: January 2014

Extreme Weather Conditions May Impact Spring Business

Cities across the United States have been struggling with frigid temperatures, snow and ice, and the unusually harsh weather has had an impact on numerous industries and markets across the continent. According to Morningstar‘s Jamie Katz, the weather may also have a negative effect on retail this spring if retailers are forced to offer discounts earlier than planned.

Reuters reports:

 

 

Amber Capital Launches Fund Focused on Southern Europe

Hedge fund manager Amber Capital recently revealed its plans for a new fund focused on southern Europe. The $1.5 billion firm has raised $350 for the new project, primarily from U.S. institutional investors, and launched the Amber Southern European Equities Fund on December 1st.

Amber Capital’s portfolio manager Jose de la Rosa said: “We are convinced that we are seeing the stabilization of the macro in southern Europe. We are not expecting strong growth but we firmly believe that the structural reforms since the start of the financial crisis are starting to pay off.”

According to de la Rosa, the fund will especially focus on Spain as a result of its new banking system. In general, countries in southern Europe are undergoing a “slow re-industrialization,” he said.

“In 2014, Spanish auto production will increase 50% year on year. This is not because Spaniards are buying more cars but because Spain is increasing manufacturing for reports,” said de la Rosa. In fact, four auto manufacturers closed plants in France, Belgium and Poland in 2012. The manufacturers also opened new branches in Spain over the past two years.

De La Rosa added, “Europe is cheap relative to Japan, and the U.S. and emerging markets. What is truly cheap is the periphery and within the periphery one needs to take a deeper dive.”

PCs Pushed Aside by Mobile Devices

Intel, a long-time veteran in the personal computer industry, recently surprised analysts by missing their projections. The company’s apparent struggle is yet another sign that the traditional PC is being overshadowed by newer mobile devices such as tablets.

Greg Bryant of Reuters.com recently discussed Intel’s approach for 2014:

 

Brooke Harlow on the JOBS Act in 2014

Last year, the hedge fund industry anticipated significant change as a result of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s JOBS Act, which was intended to open communication and increase transparency between hedge funds and potential investors. Brooke Harlow, executive vice president and managing director at Managed Funds Association, recently discussed the development and its apparent lack of impact on the market thus far.

She explains: “For years, the general solicitation ban left fund managers at a clear disadvantage, unable to discuss- or defend- their funds in public for fear of regulators interpreting their words as an advertisement for new investors.”

“Removal of the advertising ban led many observers to speculate about when we might see the first wave of advertisement from hedge funds on interstate billboards or as Super Bowl commercials,” she continues. “Anyone holding their breath for a flurry of hedge fund ads running alongside holiday commercials as we close out the year might be disappointed, but commentators attributing managers’ lack of engagement in public communication to widespread disinterest or fear of tarnishing their image with investors are ill-informed.”

Harlow goes on to explain that while many funds have reaped the benefits of the new SEC rules, some are still shackled by other limitations. “Many SEC-registered managers also claim a registration exemption from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and to qualify for the exemption managers are forbidden from marketing interests in commodity pools to the public in the U.S.” There are various other obstacles in place as well, according to Harlow, but efforts are already being made to remedy the situation. 2014 has the potential to be a promising, revolutionary year for the hedge fund industry.

“For too long, the hedge fund industry was at a competitive disadvantage in the communications landscape,” Harlow says. “Recent regulatory changes will help the industry evolve to provide a greater level of transparency and information sharing with investors and the public. While more regulatory work is needed, the rules written in 2013 could help ensure that next year is one in which hedge funds are able to seize new opportunities to grow and educate the public- to the benefit of everyone involved.”

 

Overstock.com CEO on Bitcoin Payments

Bitcoin is likely to experience a burst now that online retailer Overstock.com accepts the payment method. In fact, many speculate that Amazon may soon follow suit.

According to Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne, the company saw Bitcoin  orders worth $130K on the first day alone. Byrne discussed the new development in an interview with CNN International:

 

South Asian Bar Association of NJ Swears in New President

The South Asian Bar Association of New Jersey recently welcomed new president Rajiv Parikh to the organization. The association, an official chapter of the North American South Asian Bar Association, is a voluntary group which mainly serves South Asian attorneys and law students in New Jersey.

New president Rajiv Parikh swore in late last month. He has been recognized as a Rising Star in Litigation in the New Jersey Monthly Magazine since 2010, and has vast experience in the field. Parikh is a member of the Complex Commercial Litigation, White Collar Criminal Defense, and Corporate Internal Investigations & Corporate Ethics Practice Groups at Genova Burns Giantomasi & Webster, among others.

The South Asian Bar Association of New Jersey works to serve as the “regional voice for the concerns and opinions of South Asians in the community generally, and in the legal profession in particular.” They also make an effort to provide a forum for networking and development, education, community involvement, and to promote lawyers and students of South Asian heritage. The association also offers seminars, mentoring opportunities and participation in scholarships.

General Mills to Remove All GMOs from Cheerios

General Mills recently announced that its regular flavored Cheerios are soon to be free of genetically-modified ingredients. The decision comes after a particularly difficult year for the brand, during which Cheerio sales dropped nearly 7 percent. According to General Mills, the elimination of GMOs from their cereal would be “beneficial to the consumer.” They said: “Why change anything at all? It’s simple. We did it because we think consumers may embrace it.”

The company stated: “So take heart Cheerios lovers! Cheerios isn’t changing. It’s still the One and Only.”

Spokesperson Mike Siemienas said: “For other cereals, the widespread use of GM seed for corn, soy and beet sugar make moving to non-GMO ingredients difficult, if not impossible.” However, Cheerios have a short list of ingredients, including whole grain oats, corn starch, sugar, salt, tripotassium phosphate, wheat starch, and vitamins and minerals, making it easier for General Mills to make the transition.

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