Samsung sparks anxiety at Google
- the South Korean company sells about 40% of the gadgets that use Google’s Android software;
- Samsung’s growing might—it shipped nearly 200 million more Android smartphones last year than the next-biggest Android-device maker—has boosted Google’s mobile-ad revenue;
- Google fears that Samsung will demand a greater share of the online-advertising revenue that Google generates from its Web-search engine;
- Google has said it wouldn’t show favoritism toward Motorola over other manufacturers;
- Samsung is spreading its bets by making devices powered by Microsoft Corp.’s Windows mobile software, as well as with Tizen, an operating system that is being co-developed by Samsung and microprocessor maker Intel Corp;
- Google has hopes for some new Android entrants such as H-P;
Bernanke sets out aggressive goal for congress
- focus on debt-to-GDP: between 1960s and the onset of crisis, federal debt averages less than 40% of GDP; replenishing this fiscal capacity will give future Congresses and Administrations greater scope to deal with unforeseen events.
- if 40% should be the long-run goal? “If we could bring it down from here some it would be helpful.”
A look at Case-Shiller, by metro area
- composite 20-city home price index, up 6.8% in December from a year earlier; 0.2% from the previous month amid winter season;
- 19 of the 20 cities posted annual increases in December. Just New York notched an annual decline;
- (Dan Greenhaus) Since most people have their wealth tied up in their home, rising home prices makes consumers more confident, more credit worthy and more willing to spend acquired income.
Jack Lew’s golden parachute
- paychecks he received from his last two employers before returning to government — a bonus guarantee (from Citi) if he left the bank for a “high level position with the United States government or regulatory body.”
- “Citi knew from the start that Mr. Lew was headed back to a powerful job in Washington, and that it wanted him to remember the bank fondly when he left.”
Michelle Obama’s Oscar turn sparks debate
- inappropriate in its affirmation of the hard power behind the soft power—the connection of real politics to the representational politics of the movies, of the peculiar and long-standing symbiosis of Washington and Hollywood;
- (Jennifer Rubin) It is not enough that President Obama pops up at every sporting event in the nation. Now the first lady feels entitled, with military personnel as props, to intrude on other forms of entertaining.
Barnes’s chairman mulls store buyout
- biggest shareholder, Leonard Riggio, expressed interest in buying out the consumer-store chain — not Nook Media LLC;
- B&N market capitalization $809 million, down from $2.2 billion in 2001; physical stores, profitable; the Nook business, suffered $262 million in fiscal 2012;
- management buyout: insiders are seen as having an advantaged position over outside buyers;
Hidden risks of a hard landing in China
- (Stephen Green, Standard Chartered) calculate GDP growth at just 5.5% (official figure 7.8%) in 2012, using an alternative measure of inflation that better
- (official data) exports up 14%, but compare import data from Hong Kong, four percentage points lower;
- (official data) consumption up 15.2%; Nielsen’s index of sales of fast-moving consumer goods, which include fewer of the government purchases that distort the official data, was up just 9%;
- (official data) fixed asset investment increased 21%; that looks odd against 14% fall in sales of excavators and 19% drop in steel prices — measures that should track investment growth;
Google works on launching retail stores
- last year completed its acquisition of Motorola Mobility; even though Google wants Motorola to succeed as a device maker, the company is being careful not to appear to favor Motorola over other device makers — Samsung, Sony, etc.;
- there would a lot to display for Google in its own retail stores: home-entertainment devices, Chromebook laptops, Google Glass, Google TV software;
- Apple has about 400 retail stores world-wide, generating $10 billion in annual sales; Microsoft has opened about 300 full-fledged stores and is developing another 11 stores.
- $23 billion acquisition of Heinz; the role of 3G capital, which has a reputation for cost-cutting and layoffs (as in Burger King);
- a classic private-equity turnaround in which better management improves the value of a business v.s. rapacious capitalists;
- the usual media critics of private equity are ignoring 3G’s takeover history, perhaps because of the role Mr. Buffet, the billionaire patron saint of taxing the rich; the deal is even being portrayed as one sign of the return of business animal spirits and a healthier economy;
China’s Yen for currency appreciation
- Pushing up the yuan helps stave off imported inflationary pressure;
- higher inflows through the trade account add to pressure for the yuan to rise;
- the pressure on China’s exporters from Japan’s falling yen is limited — Japan high-end, China low-end manufacturing;
Seoul is a currency pacifist
- Seoul’s inaction makes sense: South Korean exporters are among the biggest beneficiaries of Japan’s spat with China;
- and also, the weaker Yen means the energy cost for Japan is rising;
- what’s more, favorable currency movement will partially help Japanese companies with overseas sales — won’t do much damage to Samsung Galaxy;
- （兰德尔·彼特沃克《弯曲的脊梁》）“一个压制分歧的体系面临着无法解决的困境，它用以施加公共一致性的方法越严酷，公民们隐藏真实看法和显示许可看法的行为就越勤勉，而这个体系就越担心它的公民不站在他这边。” — 恶性循环；
G-7 attempts to avoid currency war
- U.S., Japan, Germany, France, Italy, Canada, and U.K.
- monetary policies designed to boost economies that have side effect of lessening the value of currency;
- (Richard Gilhooly) “Rather than calm the markets, the poorly communicated statement has significantly raised volatility, and now we have to wait to see the actual outcome of G-20 on the weekend.”
- (a senior official of G-20) “the statement put the rest talk of targeting specific exchange rates.”
- singling out specific members as currency manipulators won’t happen.
Venezuela slashes currency value
- 4.3 per dollar to 6.3 per dollar, nearly a third of its value;
- help narrow government’s budget shortfall; but also spur inflation that is already among the world’s highest — trade-offs faced by Mr. Chavez more than a decade of populist economic policies;
- raise the cost of imports, and Venezuela’s economy is increasingly dependent on imports;
- foreign companies sales in local currency terms are among biggest losers;
- many world’s economies moved away from fixed exchange rates in the 1990s, but Mr. Chavez populist polices have gone in the other direction — since then, periodically devalued currency every few years — driven economy with one foot on the gas and the other on the brakes;
Insurance as punishment
- proposed that CA gun owners to buy liability insurance to cover damages or inquiries caused by their weapons;
- (proponent) some owners would avoid high premium by purchasing less-lethal weapons;
- unfounded assumptions here — FBI statistics show that handguns not rifles consistently account for large majority of firearms homicides.
- home insurance company will likely favor gun owners who have safely locks and proper storage;
- deter gun ownership? punish law-abiding gun owners?
Is this the new face of racism?
- (Latanya Sweeney, a Havard professor) black-identifying names turned out to be much more likely than white-identifying names to generate ads that including the word “arrest”;
- (a decade ago, from U Chicago) resumes with white-sounding names were about half again as likely to yield callback as those with black-sounding names — implicit racism;
- correlate with 1970’s Black Power Movement — before the movement, names given to black and white children were not distinctly different; but after the movement, distinctly black names appear.
- Google algorithm based on the pattern of clicks but these clicks reflect no bias; people click the link because it is her/his name.
Daniel Grofine and Ben Miller: who needs Wall Street?
- shift in how companies raise money: through private transactions (rose by 31%) than through debt and equity offering (fell by 11%);
- companies don’t have to go through the SEC’s costly and time-consuming registration and reporting requirements;
- (public markets) liquidity by advertising to a wider public;
- it could also mean fewer investment opportunities for the general public; private exchange not accessible to those who don’t qualify as accredited investors — 97% of U.S. population.
- 库兹涅茨曲线 — 环境污染指标与人均收入水平遵循倒U形的关系：在收入水平较低的时期，污染程度随着收入水平的提高而上升；当人均收入水平增长到了8000美元（1985年价格）左右，污染程度开始随着收入增长而下降；
- 第三次美元牛市：20世纪80年代的第一次牛市是由于Paul Volker为了解决滞胀而推出的高利率政策造成的；20世纪90年代中期的第二次牛市源于 IT革命将投资吸入美国；即将到来的美元牛市，则是因为其他经济体的疲软，而非美国经济的实力；
- 欧元危机的解决方案：北欧国家进一步通胀来平衡南欧国家的竞争力问题 — 欧洲央行的货币扩张；
- 第一次美元牛市引发拉丁美洲债务危机，第二次引发亚洲金融危机 — 不是巧合：（美元熊市）热钱流入，造成通胀，逐渐失去竞争力，美元走强，流动性随之转向，债务负担不可逆转；
Jenkins: Apple’s new normal
- now the newest thing aren’t hardware or operating system, they are cloud services, which Apple hasn’t been strong at;
- “The (Ford) Model T couldn’t have been the Model T unless the automobile were on its way to becoming too interesting a product for consumers ever to be satisfied with a single model, a single manufacturer, a single design statement.”
- same for Apple: “Different customers not only want different things from their smartphones, they want difference for its own sake.”
- drop in share price has not been the popping of bubble or a collapse of confidence in management, it is easy to arrive at simply as some modest lowering of Apple’s expected sales growth and some modest lowering of its expected profit margin on those sales.
Chinese firm shrug at rising debt
- Rongsheng, a Chinese shipbuilding company, debt six times than three years ago;
- accessible loans may be good news for struggling companies, could be bad news down the road;
- exacerbate overcapacity, solar panel, steel sector, resource not going to the most efficient firms;
- (Zhang Weiying) currently, doing businesses in China is still a privilege, not a right.
- Rongsheng is a vital part of local economy in Rugao, paid more taxes than the next seven biggest firms, though in good years the tax bills dwarfed by government subsidies;
Party eyes ‘red-state model’ to drive Republican revival
- Sam Brownback, Kansas state governor, to create a red-state model;
- focus: fiscal innovations, slash income taxes while increasing sales taxes; the supposition is that tax cut will spark more growth, hence more revenue from all taxes, including sales taxes;
- the tax gambles in the red states, sharply contrast with proposals put forward by some Democratic governors — unsually stark divisions;
- Republican critics worry that state’s schools and infrastructure will suffer; shift burden to less affluent;
Zahra’ Langhi: why Lybia’s revolution didn’t work — and what might
- end Qaddafi but replaced by another Qaddafi-like regime?
- “Mercy instead of revenge, collaboration instead of competition, inclusion instead of exclusion — these are the ideals that a war-torn Libya needs desperately.”
- “Peace has an alchemy: … the intertwining, the alternation, between the feminine and masculine perspectives.”
Tyler DeWitt: hey science teachers — make it fun
- “If a young learner thinks that all viruses have DNA, that’s not going to ruin their chances of success in science. But if a young learner can’t understand anything in science and learns to hate it, [then] that will.”
- (My comment) This is quite a interesting point. No one will deny the importance of vivid introductory story for middle juniors. And this brings us another look of our primary and secondary education system, which in my opinion, is still superior than its American counterpart, both in terms of cultivating a good sense of “science” (scientific thinking), and of making students believe it is a cool thing. What might be lost in our system, or at least worth thinking twice is whether we can efficiently explore students’ inner interest towards science, or broadly, any subject.
Tillett Wright: fifty shades of grey
- photographed 2,000 people who consider themselves somewhere on the LGBTQ — they are just looking the same as people who are not.
- “My mission to photograph gays was inherently flawed, because there were a million different shades of gay.”
- “There are just as many jerks and sweethearts and Democrats and Republicans and jocks and queens and every other polarization you can possibly think of within the LGBT community as there are within the human race.”
Economic Observer Issue 606 04-02-2013
- Yingkou’s real estate bubble: will take six to seven years to unload all supply of properties; severe market risk; because of housing restrictions, developers move from top-tier cities;
- China Southern’s A380 headache: main battlefield is long-distance international routes; headquarters Guangzhou can’t make much use of this advantage;
How Amazon trained its investors to behave
- Jeff Bezos, a hedge fund veteran, skeptical of Wall St: putting investment ahead of profitability; emphasis on EPS diverts resources away;
- very few companies want to come into Amazon’s core businesses and try to compete with them at 1% or 2% margins.
- trained its shareholders to believe that everything will work out in the end.
Low interest rates force companies to pour cash into pensions
- companies required to calculate PV of pension liabilities using discount rates — based on corporate bond yields — rates fall liabilities rise;
- Ford’s pension plans had strong real-world returns, but had to lower its discount rates to 3.84% from 4.6%, creating bigger liabilities — increase of non-cash expense;
虽是一场大比分但过程却很简单，抓住关键的时间点（上半场结束前与下半场开场），并把出现的机会给把握住，就足够了。看似三分的力气却也撬起了七分的结果。拜仁现在踢的是“章法”足球，说力量也不是很有力量，说创造力也不是很有创造力 — 单个元素其实并不夺目 — 但捏合在一起就能产生“赢球方程”的解，就像书法看重的其实是字与字之间的呼应，而非具体哪一点是多么龙飞凤舞。