No S*it Economic Commentary of the Year

 

Russia’s central bank said it would have to tear up its previous economic forecasts due to uncertainty surrounding the impact of sanctions imposed by Europe and the US over the conflict in Ukraine.  No, really?

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Corporate Inversion…

AbbVie

AbbVie’s $55BN  bid for UK drug maker Shire was approved, providing yet another footnote in the history of corporate inversion by the US companies largely motivated by an opportunity to avoid US corporate taxes.  The combined firm will move to UK, saving upwards of $8BN in US corporate taxes by some estimates.  While such a move certainly rubs policy makers the wrong way, in reality isn’t this a perfect case study in the free market economy?  People / companies have moved across state-lines for better opportunities so why not across country-borders in today’s global economy?  Some compare this to individuals denouncing US citizenship to save on personal taxes – I think that’s a bad comparable.  The latter is unthinkable, outrageous (I am an ex-military after all).  Cry of jingoism will not solve the problem – only permanent solution is to change the US corporate tax laws so that we can be competitive, on the level playing field with the likes of Ireland, etc.  It’s been a couple of years since Chicago lost Aon to UK (well-respected board members resigned in protest).  We were bracing for the same after Walgreens / Boots (UK) merger.  Fortunately, Walgreens announced that they are here to stay.  Every accretion / dilution model has a black-box, designed to justify “positive synergy” that may or may not come to fruition.  I am just trying to imagine how to build one for inversion tax savings…

What is Bitcoin? (part II)

Continued…

  • What can I buy with bitcoins?  Almost anything…   While some mainstream retailers do not support the currency, many online retailers have embraced the concept.
  • Is it safe?  This is a million dollar question.  While its inherent volatility makes its future uncertain, many technologists much smarter than me are working on making it safer.  Meanwhile bad publicity around currency exchanges either getting hacked or shutting down is preventing the general public from jumping in head first.
  • Can Bitcoin boost my business?  Yet another million dollar question.  Let’s put it this way – if you accept it, you will get publicity.  Is that worth taking the risk?  Many would argue yes.

Draw your own conclusion.  Only time will tell if Bitcoin is a passing fad or here to stay.

EBONY Wealth Challenge Wrap-up, Part 1

As published in the most recent issue paraphrased….

  1. Get your mind right:  Wealth begins in the mind and ends in the purse.  If you want to earn more, you must learn more.
  2. Lower your bills:  Renegotiate the terms for your car note, cable bills, utilities and cellphone bills.  Be pleasant – everything’s negotiable.
  3. Automate:  Pay your bills automatically each month by setting up electronic withdrawals to eliminate late fees, avoid credit score issues and reduce postage costs.  And even if you are late, negotiate elimination of late fees.

To be continued…

Which Seeking Alpha blurb on the state of global economy concern you the most?

Mine – 3rd paragraph below…  Perhaps little rise in the rate and tightening on liquidity is not a bad thing however…

 

Brent crude fell for a ninth straight session this morning following weak gasoline demand in the U.S. The drop marks its longest losing streak in four years, falling 14 cents to $108.14 a barrel at 3:45 GMT. U.S. crude tumbled for a tenth consecutive session, down 48 cents belowWednesday’s close at $101.81 a barrel. The front-month price is on track to display its longest stretch of losses since July 1984.

Tensions are mounting in the Middle East, after Gaza militants fired new M-302 rockets deeper into Israel, armed with a range of 93 miles. Israel has ramped up its air strike campaign as a result, targeting 486 militant positions including rocket-launching sites and smuggling tunnels. The newly acquired rockets put about two thirds of Israel’s 8M people into Gaza’s range of fire, increasing pressure to neutralize any threats.

The Fed has agreed to end its bond-buying program in October. The new definitive closing date marks the end of the quantitative easing and controversial central-banking approach. The plan will decrease bond purchases in three increments until October, when the last $15B reduction is scheduled.

The results of Indonesia’s presidential election will remain uncertain for at least ten days, as 130M votes still need to be hand-counted. Presidential candidates Widodo and Subianto have both claimed victory in preliminary tallies. Indonesian stocks soared as much as 2.8% in early trading after foreign investors bought $263M worth of stock – nearly four times the daily average of foreign buying. The rupiah also gained, hitting a two-month high against the dollar.

The State of Global Economy…

…one quote at a time.

  • “I will read about it in the newspapers just like everyone else.”  – President Obama deflecting France’s appeal to intervene as BNP Paribas, the largest French bank, faces a potential multibillion-dollar US fine over currency transactions
  • “The worldwide concern is unfortunately waning as the international financial crisis recedes.” – German chancellor Angela Merkel in a speech about how the regulation of ‘shadow banks’ needs to be a central issue at the G20 summit this fall
  • “Zero is just a number.  The world goes on.” – Chief analyst at Danske Bank in Copenhagen Arne Rasmussen shrugging off a move to charge banks interest for deposits kept at the European Central Bank, given that no financial chaos erupted when Denmark’s central bank had a negative deposit rate in 2012.

Writer’s note – as I type this, BNP Paribas have decided to plead guilty and pay almost 9BN in fine for violating US sanctions.  As the world turns…

Generals Say Troops Understand Need for Pay Cuts

http://www.military.com/daily-news/2014/03/26/generals-say-troops-understand-need-for-pay-cuts.html?ESRC=dod.nl

As ex-military, I have mixed feelings about this…   Yes, the Armed Forces are all about the mission and defending the constitution of the United States of America.  But you still have to pay the bills and feed the family.  You decide…

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