Finance news. My opinion.

May 29, 2008

Betsey Bayless gets unanimous nod to extend CEO post for health district

Filed under: business — Tags: , — Professor @ 8:05 am

The Maricopa Special Health Care District voted unanimously May 29 to approve an employment extension for Betsey Bayless as CEO of Maricopa Integrated Health System.

Bayless will remain CEO until January 2010. This November, all board members will be up for re-election.

Mike Cowley, chairman of the Maricopa Special Health Care District, which oversees MIHS, said he is pleased to have Bayless remain as CEO.

"Her knowledge of state and federal government along with her outstanding leadership skills has led to vast improvements throughout the entire public health system," he said payday loans. "I look forward to our continued work together in offering outstanding medical services to our patients."


May 28, 2008

Shirakawa Says Should Avoid Narrow Focus on Inflation

Filed under: online — Tags: , , — Professor @ 8:05 am

Bank of Japan Governor Masaaki Shirakawa said central banks need to look at more than just current inflation rates to develop policies that aim to prevent economic bubbles before they occur.

“If we focus narrowly on the current observed inflation rate, there is a risk that the necessary monetary policy adjustments might be delayed, inducing large fluctuations in economic activities,'' Shirakawa said in a speech in Tokyo today. “It is important to design a policy and institutional framework less prone to the formation of a bubble ex ante.''

Shirakawa said Japan's “extremely subdued'' inflation during the asset-price bubble of the late 1980s meant only a minority of economists were calling for higher interest rates. The bursting of the bubble caused asset prices to plummet and led to more than a decade of economic stagnation and deflation.

“The perception that Shirakawa respects economic theories is penetrating among investors,'' said Mamoru Yamazaki, chief Japan economist at RBS Securities in Tokyo no teletrack payday loans.

Economists expect the Bank of Japan to keep its benchmark interest rate at 0.5 percent this year as economic growth slows and costlier oil and raw materials fan inflation. The bank last month dropped a call for gradual rate increases and slashed its growth forecast in its twice-yearly outlook.

Shirakawa said the current U.S. financial-market turmoil, like Japan's bubble, has caused asset prices to tumble and “exerted adverse effects on the real economy.''

“Be it in Japan or in the U.S., many of recent bubbles occurred, quite paradoxically, following a continued low interest-rate period after price stability was achieved or deflation scare heightened,'' he said.


Yahoo files suit against

Filed under: news — Tags: , , — Professor @ 6:35 am

Yahoo Inc. said Tuesday it filed a lawsuit against "Yahoo Lottery" spammers.

The Sunnyvale-based company said the spammers send out e-mail messages trying to make people believe they’ve won a lottery or prize offered by Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO).

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in New York City under the Federal Trademark Act, the Federal CAN-SPAM Act and related state laws.

Yahoo said it does not offer any such awards and has no affiliation or any connection with the spammers or their e-mail communications same day payday loans.

"This type of lottery scam is a hoax designed to trick unsuspecting e-mail users into revealing valuable personal data like passwords, credit card information, and social security numbers," the company said.


May 26, 2008

Hungarian Central Bank Raises Benchmark Rate to 8.5%

Filed under: management — Tags: , , — Professor @ 10:26 pm

Hungary's central bank raised its benchmark interest rate to the highest in more than three years to prevent food and energy prices pushing up other costs, and said it may refrain from lifting borrowing costs again.

The Magyar Nemzeti Bank in Budapest raised the two-week deposit rate by a quarter of a percentage point to 8.5 percent with a “safe'' majority, President Andras Simor said at a Budapest press conference. The decision was expected by 16 of 21 economists in a Bloomberg poll.

Hungarian consumer prices have been rising more than twice as fast as the central bank target for 19 months, and were 6.6 percent higher in April than a year earlier. The bank may now pause to gauge the effect of raising rates by a full percentage point since March.

“There is just as much a possibility for further tightening as there is that the tightening won't happen,'' Simor said. Monetary conditions “must remain tight for us to approximate inflation to the target.''

The forint traded at 244.39 per euro by 5:25 p.m. in Budapest from 244.35 late on May 23. The yield on the benchmark five-year bond rose to 8.87 percent from 8.80 percent.

Budget Measures

Hungarian inflation in the past 1 1/2 years has been fueled partly by tax increases implemented by Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany in 2006 to narrow the European Union's widest budget deficit. The measures slowed economic growth to 0.8 percent in the fourth quarter of last year, the lowest rate in 11 years.

Economic expansion picked up to a 1.6 percent annual pace in the first quarter and the central bank predicts that it will quicken to 2.2 percent this year, 3.2 percent next year and 3.7 percent in 2010.

The bank, in its quarterly update of its inflation forecast published today, raised its forecast for average inflation this year to 6.3 percent from 5.2 percent and for 2009 to 4.2 percent from 3.6 percent. Inflation will be probably reduced to 3 percent in 2010, instead of 2009 as is its official target.

“Inflation is expected to remain above the long-term target on the 5-8 quarter horizon of monetary policy,'' the bank said in its inflationreport.

`Close to Peak'

The pace of consumer-price increases has slowed for four months through April, to the lowest rate since September, while the forint has gained 3.6 percent to the euro this year, cutting the cost of imported products payday loan.

This gives policy makers a chance to pause before potentially raising rates again, economists said.

“Interest rates are close to the peak, if not at the peak,'' Anders Svendsen, an economist at Nordea Markets in Copenhagen, wrote in a note to clients. “In the absence of'' food or energy price “shocks, we expect today's rate hike to be the last in this cycle.''

Risks that inflation will be faster than the current predictions are “more pronounced'' than factors that may potentially slow price increases, Simor said today.

Core inflation, which strips out some volatile food and energy prices and is one of the central bank's most closely watched figures, rose in April to an annual 5.6 percent from 5.3 percent in March.

`Biggest Problem'

Producer prices, an early indicator of inflation, also rose at a faster pace in March than the month before, rising to an annual 5.7 percent from 4.9 percent in February.

“The biggest problem is that cost shocks are being prolonged and there's an increasing chance that inflation expectations will get stuck at a level that is not in line with the inflation target,'' Simor said. “That is the biggest worry of the Monetary Council.''

After three consecutive rate increases, the monetary council wants to “keep the door open'' for holding rates unchanged next month and also for raising them again. He said policy makers today also discussed holding the rate unchanged and cutting it to 8 percent.

“We think the rates will hold at the current level until year-end, and no longer see the scope for rate easing in late 2008 as we find it unlikely that the central bank will become more confident about the pace of disinflation,'' Pasquale Diana, an economist at Morgan Stanley in London, wrote in a note to clients.


Sri Lanka

Filed under: marketing — Tags: , , — Professor @ 5:38 pm

Sri Lanka's central bank kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged at the highest level since 2002 to help bolster growth amid the fastest inflation in at least four years.

The Central Bank of Sri Lanka maintained its repurchase rate at 10.5 percent for a 15th straight meeting, the Colombo- based bank said in a statement today. Sixteen out of 17 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News predicted the decision. One analyst expected a 25 basis point increase.

Governor Nivard Cabraal joins central bank chiefs in Asia in balancing the threat of slowing growth against accelerating inflation. Consumer prices in the capital Colombo rose 25 percent in April from a year earlier, after gaining 23.8 percent in March, on higher food and energy costs.

“Once again it comes down to the fact of growth versus inflation targeting, with authorities preferring growth,'' said Romesh Gomez, a trader at First Capital Treasuries Ltd. in Colombo.

The central bank on April 30 said it was revising down its quarterly targets for reserve money for this year, which would help in “containing the demand driven component of inflation, ultimately containing further inflationary pressures.''

Central Bank of Sri Lanka has kept monetary policy tight with its daily open-market operations to adjust the amount of cash in the banking system and by controlling credit demand.

The yield on the 15.5 percent bond due in January 2010 rose 5 basis points to 17.95 percent at 10:30 a.m. in Colombo, according to First Capital Treasuries Ltd. The rupee was little changed at 107.7 to the dollar, according to First Capital.

Annual Inflation

Sri Lanka's inflation may slow to 14 percent by the end of this year, central bank Deputy Governor W.A. Wijewardena said on May 15. The increase in prices will ease to “around 8 percent'' by the end of 2009, he said.

Annual inflation, or the 12-month moving average increase in prices, jumped to 18.7 percent in April. The central bank said in January it was targeting annual inflation of about 10 percent for 2008.

Reducing consumer-price gains to a single digit would be challenging due to rising global commodity prices, the central bank said in its annual report paydayloans.

“There is a strong likelihood of the actual 2008 inflation being significantly higher than the previous estimates which were computed on the basis of the crude oil prices during the year 2008 being at an annual average of around $90,'' it said in today's statement.

Crude oil futures reached $135.09 on May 22, the highest since trading began in 1983, and have gained 25 percent in the past two months.

Fuel Prices

Ceylon Petroleum Corp., Sri Lanka's state oil company, yesterday raised fuel prices for the second time this year to cut losses caused by record crude costs.

Costlier military purchases to combat the separatist Tamil Tiger rebels have also fanned price gains.

The government on Jan. 16 formally ended its 2002 cease- fire with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam saying the rebels had used the accord to re-arm and prepare for further attacks.

Gross domestic product may expand 7 percent in 2008, at the lower end of the range estimated in November, and up from 6.8 percent last year, according to the central bank.

Growth may slow to 5.8 percent this year amid central bank measures to cool inflation, James McCormack, head of Asia- Pacific sovereign ratings at Fitch Ratings, said April 10.

Sri Lanka may need to consider increasing the proportion of deposits that commercial lenders must place with it or let the currency appreciate to cool runaway inflation, McCormack said.

The Sri Lankan central bank's cash reserve ratio has stood at 10 percent since October 2001.

“There will be runaway inflation if the central bank is not willing to increase interest rates,'' said Vajira Premawardhana, head of research at Lanka Orix Securities Pvt. in Colombo. “The government is trying to show good growth numbers.''


May 25, 2008

Fed Economist Says Loan Auctions Cut Borrowing Costs

Filed under: news — Tags: , , — Professor @ 1:08 pm

A Federal Reserve economist said the central bank's auctions of cash loans to commercial banks have had a “strong effect'' on reducing their borrowing costs, while new lending programs for securities firms may be less potent.

In addition, investors have placed a higher risk of default among financial institutions because of concerns about rising mortgage defaults, slowing economic growth and volatile financial markets, Tao Wu, a senior researcher at the Dallas Fed bank, said in a paper released today. Still, such concerns have had “little effect'' on the companies' borrowing costs.

The economist joins Fed officials in defending the Term Auction Facility's $75 billion biweekly sales, which Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said may be expanded. Stanford University economist John Taylor wrote in a paper last month that there is “no empirical evidence'' the Fed's auctions have cut banks' borrowing costs.

The TAF “has a strong effect in reducing financial strains in the inter-bank money market, primarily through relieving financial institutions' liquidity concerns,'' Wu said, citing his analysis.

The TAF has lowered the spread between the one-month London interbank offered rate for dollars and the overnight indexed swap rate by at least 0.31 percentage point, and the three-month Libor-OIS difference by at least 0.44 point, Wu said fast cash loans. The OIS is a measure of what traders expect for the benchmark federal funds rate, which covers overnight loans between banks.

Taylor said he saw Wu's results and hasn't changed his conclusions. “We very much stand by our original findings that there's no robust impact'' from the TAF, Taylor said in a telephone interview.

`Contradict' Results

Wu said he took a different approach to analyzing data and acknowledged his results “contradict'' those of Taylor, who co-authored his study with San Francisco Fed economist John Williams.

The Term Securities Lending Facility, which provides as much as $200 billion in Treasuries in exchange for asset-backed securities, and the Primary Dealer Credit Facility, providing direct loans to Wall Street bond dealers, “are found to have had less discernible effects so far in relieving financial strains in the Libor market,'' Wu said.

`This is consistent with market observations of a weaker interest from primary dealers'' in those programs than commercial banks have shown in the TAF, he said.

Wu worked at the San Francisco Fed from 2001 to 2006 before joining the Dallas district bank, according to the Dallas Fed's Web site.


May 24, 2008

ExpressJet cuts flights from Sacramento

Filed under: finance — Tags: , , — Professor @ 1:20 am

Regional jet airline ExpressJet Airlines is reducing service from Sacramento International Airport from 13 daily departures to nine, effective Aug. 23, adding service to a couple of California cities and cutting other routes.

Sacramento International will gain service to Ontario and Monterey, company spokesman Kristy Nicholas said Friday. The airline will end service to Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Okla., and will cut the number of flights on other routes.

Jim Ream, president and chief executive of Houston-based ExpressJet Holdings Inc., told shareholders Thursday that the airline would reduce its fall schedule by 30 percent to help offset rising fuel costs and excess capacity in the market. The cutbacks will last at least into November, he said.

"Our fall schedule reduction is partially offset by adding service in short-haul routes," Ream said. "We are dedicated to meeting our customers' needs for service while working to optimize our network in the face of a fuel price that continues to break records daily."

As of Aug no fax payday loan. 23, Sacramento will gain three flights a day to Ontario and once-a-day service to Monterey.

ExpressJet now offers flights between Sacramento and Tucson, Tulsa, San Antonio, Oklahoma City, Spokane, Colorado Springs and Albuquerque.

The changes will mean twice-a-day service from Sacramento to Albuquerque, Colorado Springs and Tucson would each be reduced to once a day. ExpressJet is closing all service to Oklahoma City and Tulsa, and the airline will cut nonstop service to San Antonio from Sacramento. Travelers will be able to make a connection through Ontario to San Antonio, Nicholas said.

Other new service through Sacramento includes service to El Paso through Ontario and service to Austin via Albuquerque.

ExpressJet (NYSE: XJT) is a regional jet airline company that serves 166 destinations in North America and the Caribbean with some 1,450 departures per day.


May 22, 2008

Honolulu Advertiser, unions go to mediation

Filed under: business — Tags: , , — Professor @ 3:50 pm

A federal mediator will join the contract talks between The Honolulu Advertiser and its six employee unions.

Federal mediator Ken Kawamoto, who has been involved in previous talks between the newspaper and its unions, is being brought in to help move the negotiations forward, said Wayne Cahill, administrative officer of the Hawaii Newspaper Guild, one of the unions that is part of the Hawaii Newspaper Trades Council.

About 600 unionized Advertiser employees have been working under contracts that expired last June 9 and were extended by the agreement of both sides.

The Advertiser is asking workers to pay a larger share of their health insurance premiums and to switch to plans with fewer benefits and larger co-payments, the unions say. In addition, Cahill said the Advertiser is now proposing a three-year contract with 1 percent bonuses in each of the three years but no increases in the wage base.

Workers would also get a $200 bonus if the unions agree to a new payroll system that will pay them every two weeks instead of weekly.

Most unionized employees at the newspaper make between $50,000 and $70,000 a year but Cahill said a significant number make less, citing clerical workers and newspaper inserters.

In a statement Wednesday announcing the move toward mediation, Advertiser president and publisher Lee Webber said even with the new contract the newspaper will continue to pay "among the highest wages and benefits by job category of almost any Hawaii employer."

"But we also have a responsibility to protect the long-term health of the newspaper in light of the uncertainties of our state and national economies - particularly the challenges faced by the newspaper industry," Webber said online payday advance.

Cahill said the unions had proposed mediation in January and "the company consistently refused."

"We think it's a great idea, just a day late and a dollar short," he said.

Cahill said he didn't know when the mediated sessions would begin. The mediator can't impose anything on the parties but is often able to suggest ways to break deadlocks on contentious issues.

The unions took a strike authorization vote in February. Since then, both sides have met several times but Cahill said the company has moved "considerably backward" in its proposals.

In his statement, Webber described the company's offers as a "fair benefit and wage package."

"Our employees want the best contract they can get. It is our responsibility in management to meet their needs, while ensuring the newspaper remains strong and stable into the future. But in the end, we have a common purpose - to provide high quality journalism to the people of Hawaii. That shared mission is why I am confident we will soon reach an agreement," Webber said.


May 20, 2008

Paterson taken to hospital

Filed under: legal — Tags: , , — Professor @ 7:05 pm

Gov. David Paterson was admitted to Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City Tuesday morning after he began experiencing migraine-like symptoms.

The governor’s office said in a short statement that Paterson was evaluated and preliminary tests were found to be normal. He is expected undergo more tests later in the day, according to the statement cash advance.

Paterson, who replaced Eliot Spitzer as governor in mid-March, was to deliver a commencement speech at Columbia University Tuesday afternoon.


May 19, 2008


Filed under: term — Tags: , — Professor @ 8:20 am

Andrew Witty, who takes over as chief executive of GlaxoSmithKline Plc (GSK.L: Quote, Profile, Research) on May 22 in the year’s biggest scheduled British corporate handover, faces a daunting task.

A safety scare over diabetes drug Avandia plus generic competition means the world’s second largest drugs company faces a fall in 2008 earnings, while new drugs are taking longer to emerge from the laboratory than originally hoped.

With no quick fix in sight, analysts believe Witty’s top priorities will be to shore up sales and reassure investors on the large but unproven pipeline.

“There’s no jam today. He needs to deal with the issue surrounding Avandia and decide whether that product is going to grow again; if not, they need to kill it,” said Navid Malik, pharmaceuticals analyst at stockbroker Collins Stewart.

“He also needs better visibility on the pipeline.”

The straight-talking 43-year-old Briton takes over from Frenchman Jean-Pierre Garnier, who has led the group since its creation via a merger seven years ago.

His appointment reflects a trend towards younger chief executives in the pharmaceuticals industry easy payday loan. Severin Schwan, 40, took over at Switzerland’s Roche Holding AG (ROG.VX: Quote, Profile, Research) two months ago.

Witty — an insider who has worked in all of Glaxo’s geographical areas — inherits a business with a revamped research and development machine, based on semi-autonomous drug discovery units, but a flagging stock price. 

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