Finance news. My opinion.

September 16, 2014

Yellen Rate Raises Seen as Gradual in Survey as Inflation Muted - Bloomberg

Filed under: lenders, marketing — Tags: , , , — Professor @ 8:31 am

Even after five years of steady economic growth, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen is likely to raise interest rates only gradually between 2015 and 2017 as inflation remains muted, according to a Bloomberg survey of economists.

Fifty-six percent of 61 economists said the median of policy makers

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September 13, 2014

Apple finds Canadian geography confusing

Filed under: house, online — Tags: , , , — Professor @ 2:31 am

TORONTO— Apple seems to be a little confused when it comes to Canadian geography.

Consumers who hit to pre-order one of the company’s new iPhones and clicked on a link about delivery timelines saw an error-riddled map of Canada.

Apple appeared to have mixed up the nation’s capital and Ontario’s capital, and placed Ottawa roughly where Toronto should be on the map paydayloans.

Edmonton is also seen to be northwest of Calgary, instead of northeast.

And Quebec City is mistakenly labelled as Quebec.


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September 11, 2014

MasterCard loses EU court battle over fees

Filed under: business, house — Tags: , , , — Professor @ 11:43 am

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union’s highest court has thrown out an appeal by MasterCard against a decision by the bloc’s antitrust authority to scrap some of its fees charged to merchants.

The ruling by the 28-nation bloc’s Court of Justice on Thursday closes MasterCard’s seven-year-old battle against a decision made by the EU’s competition watchdog.

The judges in Luxembourg confirmed a 2012 ruling against by a lower EU court, saying the relevant fees cannot be seen as “objectively necessary” since the card system remains “capable of functioning without those fees.”

The so-called multilateral interchange fees on every card transaction were retained by the card-issuing bank and charged to merchants.

MasterCard is based in Purchase, New York.


September 3, 2014

Chinese Say No as MH370 to Thai Coup Deter Trips: Southeast Asia - Bloomberg

Filed under: house, marketing — Tags: , , , — Professor @ 9:19 am


September 1, 2014

For sale: Century-old cards of Ty Cobb, Cy Young

Filed under: marketing, news — Tags: , , , — Professor @ 5:59 pm

BIDDEFORD, Maine (AP) — A baseball fan took up smoking a century ago and with it acquired another habit: holding onto little cards that bore the faces of baseball’s earliest greats.

Now, the trove of more than 1,400 tobacco cards featuring a slew of Hall of Famers like Cy Young and Ty Cobb — the legacy of a teenage smoker whose family hung onto a collection that dates to 1909 — is going up for auction.

The cards will be sold by a Maine auction house that is becoming known for selling rare memorabilia, Saco River Auction Co. in Biddeford.

Troy Thibodeau, the company’s manager and auctioneer, said the collection of cards dating from 1909 to 1911 — an era when the Yankees were the Highlanders, the Dodgers were the Superbas and the Braves were the Doves — belongs to the grandchildren of a Brooklyn, New York-born man who began smoking when he was 19.

“Every time he got a card, he threw it in a box,” Thibodeau said.

The collection has been dubbed the “Portland trove” because some of the collector’s descendants ended up in Maine’s largest city. The family doesn’t want to be identified, Thibodeau said.

Due to be auctioned individually and in small lots starting in January, the collection includes about 10 cards depicting Young and a dozen depicting Cobb, along with other Hall of Famers like Chief Bender, Christy Mathewson and Walter Johnson.

Smaller than modern baseball cards, these cards known as “T206″ cards to collectors feature color lithographs on the front and a tobacco advertisement on the back.

“They’re not like your normal baseball card where there’s a stock piece of photography that’s printed on millions and millions of cards. These are truly pieces of art. They’re colorful, they’re bright, they’re folky, they’re Americana,” Thibodeau said.

The collector preferred a cigarette brand from Havana called El Principe De Gales. But there are cards featuring logos from other cigarette brands of the era like American Beauty, Sweet Caporal, Sovereign and Piedmont.

Such a large collection is unusual but not unprecedented. Large collections come up for sale every year or two, collectors say. Part of what makes this one special is that the cards are in great shape.

Scott Hileman from New Jersey-based SportsCard Guaranty, who graded the cards, said they’re all among the type of cards used to market brands that were part of American Tobacco Co. for three years, from 1909 to 1911. He described the trove as “incredible.”

Missing are two of the rarest cards: Those depicting pitcher Eddie Plank and shortstop Honus Wagner. The priciest baseball card ever sold was a 1909 Honus Wagner, which went for $2.8 million.

Nonetheless, the collection is valuable with the potential for some of the single cards to reach into five figures, Thibodeau said.

Saco River is making a name for itself despite being a small auction house.

Last year, a collector from Massachusetts paid $92,000 for an 1865 baseball card depicting the Brooklyn Atlantics amateur baseball club. In 2012, the auction house sold a rare 1888 card of Hall of Famer Michael “King” Kelly for $72,000.

“If you love baseball, this is the beginning of it. This is where stars were made and heroes were born. It’s history,” Thibodeau said.




August 31, 2014

Police clash with protesters marching on Pakistan PM

Filed under: debt, money — Tags: , , , — Professor @ 3:27 am

ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN—Pakistani police charged with batons and fired tear gas and rubber bullets at thousands of protesters marching toward the prime minister’s official residence and the adjacent parliament building in Islamabad on Saturday, blanketing the route with clouds of white smoke and scattering demonstrators. Nearly 125 people were injured in the clashes between police and protesters demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Scores of protesters, mainly women carrying hammers and iron rods, broke down a fence outside the parliament building, enabling hundreds of people to enter the lawns and parking area, according to Pakistani television reports and a photographer on hand for The Associated Press.

Islamabad police chief Khalid Khattak said the protesters were armed with big hammers, wire cutters and axes, and even had a crane.

Defence Minister Khwaja Mohammad Asif said police later managed to clear most of the protesters from the parliament building’s parking area and lawns.

“Now only women and children are there, and they can take shelter there as long as they want.”

Nearly 125 people — including women, children and police officers — were admitted to two government hospitals in the Pakistani capital, medics and police said. The injured had wounds from tear gas shells, batons and rubber bullets, said Dr. Tanvir Malik and another doctor who identified herself only as Ms. Abida.

The protest leaders — cricket-legend-turned politician Imran Khan and anti-government cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri — had called on supporters staging a sit-in for days outside the parliament building to march on the prime minister’s residence and the legislative chamber. About 20,000 police in riot gear were deployed to block the procession.

In speeches, Khan and Qadri called for protesters to remain peaceful and urged security forces to restrain from using force. Protests demanding Sharif’s resignation were also taking place in Lahore, Karachi and other Pakistani cities, according to TV reports.

Khan described the police action against the crowd as illegal.

“Now we will show this government, we will call for countrywide agitation and we will jam the whole of Pakistan,” Khan said.

Sharif’s spokesman Asif Kirmani said the government had to use force after protesters tried to attack the centre of state power in the capital. It was not clear whether Sharif was at the residence on Saturday.

“A state can’t be left at the mercy of some thousand people,” Kirmani said in an interview with Geo News TV.

Asma Jehangir, a human-rights activist and political commentator, urged the government to take necessary measures to protect women and children in the protest, but criticized protest leaders for claiming that the demonstration would remain peaceful.

“It is like if you say ‘a peaceful robbery’ ” she said.

Khan and Qadri, a dual Pakistani-Canadian citizen with a wide following, allege that Sharif won the 2013 election due to massive voter fraud and should step down. They also have demanded reforms in Pakistan’s electoral system to prevent future voter fraud.

Backed by Parliament and many political parties, Sharif has said he will not step down. Government negotiators have tried to convince Qadri and Khan to end their protest.

The protests began with a march from the eastern city of Lahore on the country’s Independence Day, Aug. 14, that reached Islamabad a day later. Khan and Qadri had called for millions of protesters to join, but crowds have not been more than tens of thousands. The protesters’ presence and heightened security measures have affected life and badly harmed business in the capital.

The protesters initially camped at another thoroughfare, but moved outside the parliament on Aug. 19. Until Saturday, the rallies had remained festive, with families picnicking and men and women dancing to drums and national songs.

Riot police initially showed restraint during Saturday’s march, but when the crowd started removing shipping containers used as barricades, they fired salvos of tear gas canisters that forced the crowds back. TV footage showed protesters, including women and children, scattering in retreat. Some fell to the ground and many protesters, including several children, were shown in TV reports being treated for the effects of tear gas.


August 26, 2014

Quinn vetoes statewide ride-share legislation

Filed under: economics, house — Tags: , , , — Professor @ 6:23 am

Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn on Monday vetoed legislation that would have established statewide regulations on ride-sharing services that compete with taxis, saying he didn’t want to put in place a “one-size-fits-all approach” on an industry best regulated at the local level.

The re-election seeking governor’s move drew up a thumbs-up from Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Uber, Lyft, and even Republican governor challenger Bruce Rauner, who had called on Quinn to block the bill.

But the veto was criticized by taxi drivers and the legislation’s sponsors, one of whom called it a victory for ride-share companies that serve posher Chicago neighborhoods while mostly ignoring residents in working class areas of the city.

In ride-share services, drivers use their private vehicles to give rides to people who request them via online apps. The measure would have set standards for vehicle safety, including requirements for insurance coverage, and rules that would have made the dispatchers of the vehicles liable for damages in accidents while the drivers are using their personal cars for ride sharing. It would have allowed car insurers to deny coverage to ride-share drivers at the times when they were using their vehicles for ride-share work.

“To rush into a whole new system of statewide regulations before the need for one is clear would stifle innovation. It would also be a disservice to consumers,” Quinn wrote in an email to campaign supporters.

Sponsoring Rep. Michael Zalewski, D-Riverside, said he will consider seeking a vote to override Quinn during the General Assembly’s post-election session.

“I disagree with the contention that this should be decided only locally, as these services stretch across city and county lines and the bills would provide important baseline protections that local governments could build upon,” Zalewski said in a statement.

Sponsoring Sen. Martin Sandoval, D-Chicago, contended that ride-sharing drivers “cherry pick who to pick up.”

“They don’t go to the Southeast Side, The Bush in the 10th Ward of the city of Chicago. They don’t come to Gage Park on the Southwest Side of Chicago, to Little Village. They just stay to Wicker Park, Wrigleyville,” said Sandoval at a news conference with taxi industry supporters at the Thompson Center no fax payday loans.

But Chris Taylor, general manager of ride-share company Uber Chicago, said Quinn’s veto shows his commitment to keeping transportation options affordable in Illinois. And Taylor countered that the veto will be a boon for residents of underserved neighborhoods, which he said ride-share drivers do a better job of serving than taxis.

“The people of Illinois overwhelmingly support ride sharing — this veto is a victory for them against the influence of Big Taxi,” Taylor said in a statement.

Many taxi medallions in Chicago are owned by a handful of wealthy individuals. But cab driver Javad Rahmaniasl said he and his wife own just two medallions between them, and that they and thousands of small operators like them are seeing their most important investments go down the tubes as medallions fall in value because of the relatively lax rules imposed on the ride-share industry. “We don’t have any pensions, retirement, anything else,” he said.

The Chicago City Council passed its own ride-share regulations in May, a package endorsed by Emanuel that requires driver training, background checks and vehicle inspections, and tougher licensing and insurance requirements. It also prohibits ride-share drivers from picking up passengers at the airports and McCormick Place. The ordinance will take effect next week, according to the mayor’s office.

Cab drivers say the city rules don’t go nearly far enough to level the regulatory playing field, while Emanuel has hailed the Chicago ordinance as an important step.

Emanuel sent out a statement thanking Quinn for the Monday veto, saying now “new transportation options can flourish in Chicago while consumers are ensured a safe and reliable experience.”

The ride-sharing legislation got 80 votes in the House and 46 in the Senate, both enough to override the governor’s veto. Those numbers could be fluid, however, given that issue has attracted a who’s who of Springfield lobbyists. 


August 21, 2014

China Manufacturing Gauge Drops as Growth Pickup Stalls: Economy - Bloomberg

Filed under: lenders, technology — Tags: , , , — Professor @ 9:51 am

A Chinese manufacturing gauge fell more than analysts estimated in August as a credit slowdown and property slump add to risks the world

August 18, 2014

London Home Asking Prices Plunge Most in More Than Six Years - Bloomberg

Filed under: debt, loans — Tags: , , , — Professor @ 3:27 am

London home sellers cut asking prices by the most in more than six years this month, adding to signs that the property market in the U.K. capital is coming off the boil.

London values fell 5.9 percent from the previous month to an average 552,783 pounds ($922,300), the biggest drop since December 2007, property website Rightmove Plc said today. Nationally, prices declined 2.9 percent, a record for an August.

While property demand usually weakens during the summer, Rightmove said the slump this year was steeper than it expected. Tougher new mortgage rules introduced by Bank of England Governor Mark Carney, as well as anticipation of higher interest rates, are putting pressure on the market after a surge in values raised concerns that a bubble may develop.

August 16, 2014

US factory output surges in July

Filed under: lenders, management — Tags: , , , — Professor @ 12:31 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. factory output rose for the sixth consecutive month in July, led by a jump in the production of motor vehicles, furniture, textiles and metals.

Manufacturing production rose 1 percent in July compared with the prior month, the Federal Reserve reported Friday. Factory output in June was revised slightly higher to a 0.3 percent increase. Over the past 12 months, manufacturing has risen 4.9 percent.

Demand for autos surged 10.1 percent last month, the largest increase since July 2009. The broader increase in manufacturing points to stronger growth across the economy, suggesting that manufacturers expect the pace of business investment and consumer spending to improve in the coming months.

Overall industrial production, which includes manufacturing, mining and utilities, rose 0.4 percent in July, dragged down by a 3.4 percent drop in production at utilities.

Several other reports suggest that factory production improved this summer.

Manufacturers added 28,000 workers last month, according to the government’s jobs report. That builds on the 23,000 employees that factories added in June, a sign that companies expect demand to continue its upward swing.

Separately, the Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers, reported that its manufacturing index climbed to 57.1 in July. That’s the highest level since April 2011 and up from 55.3 in June.

Anything above 50 signals that manufacturing activity is growing.

The increase in the index led Paul Dales, senior U.S. economist at Capital Economics, to conclude that “manufacturing payrolls may soon start to rise by close to 50,000 a month.”

Factory orders rose a seasonally adjusted 1.1 percent in June compared with the previous month, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday. Orders had fallen 0.6 percent in May after three straight monthly gains.

An 8.4 percent jump in demand for commercial aircraft drove much of the gain, yet orders also picked up for machinery, iron, steel, computers and electronics.

Rising factory output should help the current economic expansion to continue.

The U.S. economy shrank at a 2.1 percent annual rate in the first quarter, although it bounced back at an annual clip of 4 percent in the second quarter

Most analysts expect the economy to expand at a roughly 3 percent rate in the second half the year.


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