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Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

iPad 2 sales blowing out estimates in first weekend

March 13, 2011 Leave a comment

Steve Jobs bottles up some lightning. Again. 

Amazing stat: 70% of iPad 2 buyers in its first weekend are new to the iPad.

Categories: Business, Technology Tags: , , , ,

Bill Gross’ PIMCO fund dumping US Treasuries

March 10, 2011 Leave a comment

Carnage:

The world’s largest bond fund has gone ultra bearish on the United States, dumping all of its U.S. government-related debt holdings.

The move by Bill Gross’s $236.9 billion PIMCO Total Return fund completed last month comes in the wake of a vicious Treasury market sell-off and just days after he questioned who will buy Treasuries once the Federal Reserve halts its latest round of bond purchases in June.

Gross, who also helps oversee a $1.1 trillion investment portfolio as PIMCO’s co-chief investment officer, has repeatedly warned against U.S. deficit spending and its inflationary impact, which undermine the value of government debt and push up yields as investors demand more compensation for risk.

[…]

Gross expects further carnage. Just last week, he told Reuters Insider that a 4.0 percent yield for 10-year notes is a “rational expectation” if the Fed “disappears as the buyer of last resort.”

Gross, as with many other investors, has raised red flags over demand for Treasuries when the U.S. central bank ends its controversial quantitative easing program. This week, he posed the following in his widely read monthly report: “Who will buy Treasuries when the Fed doesn’t? The question really is at what yield, and what are the price repercussions if the adjustments are significant.”

And another warning:

“U.S. government bonds are not a safe haven,” Jim Rogers, the global investor who predicted the 2007-2009 housing-market crash, said in a telephone interview from Singapore. “I cannot conceive of lending money to the U.S. government for 30 years.”

Jim Rogers and Bill Gross kinda know what they’re talking about.

 

 

3M chief rips ‘Robin Hood-esque’ POTUS

February 27, 2011 Leave a comment

Apparently, this is what “winning the future” is all about:

The head of one of the US’s biggest industrial groups has launched a scathing attack on Barack Obama’s attempts to repair relations with companies, dubbing him “anti-business”.

Manufacturers could shift production out of the US to Canada or Mexico as a result, warned George Buckley, chief executive and chairman of 3M.

“I judge people by their feet, not their mouth,” he told the Financial Times. “We know what his instincts are – they are Robin Hood-esque. He is anti-business.” […]
 
There is a sense among companies that this is a difficult place to do business. It is about regulation, taxation, seemingly anti-business policies in Washington, attitudes towards science.”

He added: “Politicians forget that business has choice. We’re not indentured servants and we will do business where it’s good and friendly. If it’s hostile, incrementally, things will slip away. We’ve got a real choice between manufacturing in Canada and Mexico – which tend to be pro-business – or America.”

The problem with Mr. Buckley and other businesses like 3M, is that they will never have the President’s ear when it comes to job creation.  That is reserved for those who contribute the most to the DNC’s political pot.

In the meantime, Americans will have to make do with companies sending jobs overseas, something Candidate Obama said he would put an end to, and finding less onerous and stifling markets from which to operate.  All of this as the Federal government continues to grow in size and scope, sucking up all of the oxygen in the room.

Shocker: Small business owners don’t care about government lending programs

February 1, 2011 Leave a comment

John Krubski of the Guardian Life Small Business Institute runs a study and finds that small business entrepreneurs don’t really care much for small business “help” from Washington:

[…] 20 small business owners recently responded to the following question from a researcher: “What do you think of the small business lending act recently passed by the U.S. Senate?”

Nineteen quizzical looks and a few yawns clearly telegraphed the answer, “What bill would that be again?” One participant, the founder and CEO of a 150-person firm, was more specific: “I heard something about some legislation, but I didn’t find it interesting enough to want to know more.”

[…]

The sentiments I heard from the entrepreneurs confirmed […] that there is a discernible incongruity between the economic “world view” of big business and government and the economic “ground view” of 26 million small business owners.

[…]

The fact that small businesses go out of business when they run out of money, while big ones often stay in business long after they run out of money helps to explain why the Small Business Jobs and Credit Act is largely being seen as irrelevant by the very constituency it was created to assist.  It simply doesn’t address their needs.

[…]

Instead, they would prefer that government create laws that are more simplified and reduce the red tape that slows small business down and actually encumbers their efforts to earn a living.

Who here is shocked that there’s a disconnect between Washington DC and the private sector?

This goes for politicians of both parties, but rings especially true for liberal Democrats, who feel that government, and only government, has the virtue and the knowledge to bestow upon the private economy what it thinks we need and want.  Meanwhile what they really are providing is more bureaucracy, more red tape and more taxpayer money flushed down the toilet.

That most politicians in DC have no clue how to help the private sector should surprise no one outside of the Beltway.

Indian, Chinese entrepreneurs eating our lunch

December 29, 2010 Leave a comment

It’s not about whose education system is better, but basically who wants it more, “it” being the desire and capacity to spur innovations in technology which in turn help our economy:

India and China now graduate three to six times more engineers than does the United States. The quality of these engineers is, however, so poor that most are not fit to join the workforce; their system of rote learning handicaps those who do get jobs, so that it takes two to three years for them to achieve the same productivity as American graduates. As a result, significant proportions of China’s engineering graduates end up working on factory floors; Indian industry has to spend large sums of money on retraining its employees[…]

Despite this, India has built a $73 billion-per-year information technology service business and has been offering IT services of steadily increasing sophistication. Its engineering R&D industry is now a $10 billion business — a three-fold increase in four years. It develops sophisticated products for Western firms in the aerospace and automotive industries, and in telecommunications, semiconductors, consumer electronics, and medical devices. And most significantly, there are thousands of new startups that are building web technologies, clean-tech products like low-power lighting, and mobile applications.

China has built world-class universities and state-of-the-art research facilities.  […]  The big change that has occurred in China, however, is the emergence of technology startups: thousands of them, just as in India.
The first generations of Indian startups focused on selling IT services, and the Chinese developed copycat web technologies such as Baidu, China’s Google rival, and Sina, its Twitter clone. But they are going beyond that now. They are gaining the knowledge — and developing the confidence — to create innovative products, not only for domestic markets, but also for global ones.

 

This is not to say that entrepreneurship is dead in the United States, but rather falling behind economic powers like China and India, which is definitely not a good thing.

[Hat Tip: Techmeme]

The corporate ladder vs entrepreneurship

December 12, 2010 Leave a comment

An interesting piece in today’s New York Times on how recent college graduates are ditching the presumed, conforming career path of corporate America, and blazing their own trails. 

…[Scott] Gerber started the Young Entrepreneur Council “to create a shift from a résumé-driven society to one where people create their own jobs,” he says. “The jobs are going to come from the entrepreneurial level.”

[…]

Council members assert that young people can start businesses even if they have little or no money or experience. But whether those start-ups last is another matter. Roughly half of all new businesses fail within the first five years, according to federal data. And the entrepreneurial life is notoriously filled with risks, stresses and sacrifices.

But then again, unemployment is 9.8 percent; Mr. Gerber’s in-box is flooded with e-mails from young people who have sent out hundreds of résumés for corporate jobs and come up empty. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, only 24.4 percent of 2010 graduates who applied for a job had one waiting for them after graduation (up from 19.7 percent in 2009). What do some people have to lose?

THE lesson may be that entrepreneurship can be a viable career path, not a renegade choice — especially since the promise of “Go to college, get good grades and then get a job,” isn’t working the way it once did. The new reality has forced a whole generation to redefine what a stable job is.

Moving away from a resume-driven society sounds great to me.

China leading the way in all aspects of clean energy development

August 14, 2010 Leave a comment

It’s a topic I’ve touched on before, and it’s not getting any better for the United States:

U.S. venture capital investors in new energy technologies are beginning to groom their portfolio companies for increased business in China, given favorable government policies and more availability of capital.

Many U.S. clean technology companies already rely on Chinese manufacturers for their component parts. Now, investors said, U.S. companies are turning to China for capital as well.

“The funding crunch in the U.S. is really severe,” said Jiang Xiaodong, a managing director with New Enterprise Associates and head of the firm’s operations in China. “And a lot of the Chinese companies that are listed on the SME [board of the Shenzhen Stock Exchange] exchange and on ChiNext raised a lot of money and now they want to spend it in a way that gives them access to technology and future growth opportunities.”

[…]

Earlier this year, Tucker, Ga.-based Coaltek Inc. partnered with Guangdong Yi Jian Investment Co. to build a 10 million-metric-ton per year coal-treatment facility, which uses the company’s technology to turn low-grade coal into a higher burning, more powerful and less-polluting fuel. They’re building a plant together in Inner Mongolia that will ultimately cost $250 million.

Coaltek’s investors see similar opportunities with other companies in their portfolio. “We’re looking at things that have been developed [in the U.S.], but are not really ramping because of the availability of capital,” said Michel J. Maloof III, a principal with Braemar Energy Ventures, which has been an investor in Coaltek since the company’s first round.

This is all food for thought when we consider that our government is considerably anti-capital and anti-business.  Sure, the president will tap dance for a photo-op at a plant that makes batteries for electric cars.  But his people will make sure that said plant will operate only with the benefit of union workers.  Anything less is not a viable option.  Costs increase, regulatory requirements become more and more onerous and, as I noted previously, the US prices itself out of the market for innovation and capital that are necessary to develop a significant market presence.

The left loves to decry capitalists, capitalism and profits for shareholders.  At the same time, they also genuflect before the altar of progressive utopianism when it comes to alternative energy. 

They want their wind turbines, but crap on those who want to make it a profitable enterprise.  Flushing money down a toilet is not a way towards energy independence, and government will not provide solutions brought down from the clouds on a magical unicorn.  You can’t have it both ways.