Facebook stocks in freefall: Drops from $38 to $31 per share in three days - Examiner Facebook stocks in freefall: Drops from $38 to $31 per share in three days - Examiner

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Facebook stocks in freefall: Drops from $38 to $31 per share in three days - Examiner

Facebook stocks in freefall: Drops from $38 to $31 per share in three days - Examiner
  • SpaceX Dragon takes off

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  • My Business: Indian youth brand Happily Unmarried - BBC News

    Rahul Anand and Rajat Tuli on how they created a youth brand for India

    What makes an entrepreneur? The BBC's Saima Iqbal and Tom Santorelli speak to Rahul Anand and Rajat Tuli, about turning an idea about making products tailored specifically for young, upwardly-mobile Indians into a thriving business.

    Business partners Rahul Anand and Rajat Tuli first met while pursuing their Masters degrees.

    In 2003 the software company they had joined together went bankrupt and they decided it was time to take the plunge and start their own enterprise.

    They had the notion that there was a niche in the market for a brand which catered for India's youth - a demographic which they thought up to then was being underserved.

    At the time a large number of foreign companies were setting up their outsourcing arms in India.

    Rahul and Rajat realised that this would mean there would be more young employees with disposable income, but there was no brand completely dedicated to India's youth.

    "The youngsters these days are independent, they have opinions and they like to make a statement with the T-shirts they are wearing or the glass they are sipping their drink from" says Rajat.

    The idea for their business hit them while they were both out jogging. They were so excited by the brand name they immediately ran to a cyber cafe and registered it.

    My Business

    What does it take to build your own business from scratch?

    How does a US expat navigate Russian bureaucracy? Or illiterate Moroccan women learn to sell their own wares? Or a Brazilian designer win over Western celebrities?

    BBC World Service reporters speak to entrepreneurs around the world about their inspiration, struggles and successes.

    Happily Unmarried would be a fun brand which made a vast range of products from household items to clothes and beyond which catered for young Indians. The sort of well-designed yet functional items a young single - or taken - person might like to be seen with.

    Seed capital

    But their former employers had not paid them for the last six months and they had no capital to get their venture off the ground.

    Pawning a laptop given to them by their old company raised 25,000 rupees ($450) - which was not even enough for them to hire office space. "So we said let's give the impression that we're a really cool company! So we got nice visiting cards made, very fancy posters made and put them everywhere. And then we got a website...we were operating out of cyber cafes, out of buses, out of other peoples' offices, and that's how we managed in the first couple of years" says Rajat.

    Their efforts at raising their brand awareness paid off. Starting out with a small kiosk inside a mall in Delhi, they now sell in 25 stores across 80 cities in India. "We also have stores in smaller towns in India and the sales are encouraging, it shows that Indian youth in smaller cities also like to spend and they are opening up to products that are in your face and make a statement" says Rahul.

    Design ethos

    The partners employ four designers to come up with new product concepts: "The basic surmise is very simple. It has to make you smile", says Rahul. Their products are colourful, funny and are often emblazoned with somewhat irreverent text which makes them a hit with the younger generation.

    But their goods are also designed while keeping the utility factor in mind, says Rajat. "We have designed some innovative laundry bags, toothpick holders, key holders for walls, door-mats and tea-cups that are not just great design ideas but we need them in our lives too".

    They are open to new ideas and one need not be a professional designer to design for them according to Rahul: "People from all walks of life write to us sharing their ideas and if we like the idea and decide to turn it into a product then they get royalties and credit".

    E-commerce is also one of the fastest growing platforms for their products and the past year alone has seen the highest online sales of their products. "People have better access to the internet and they are opening up to the idea of shopping on the internet" says Rajat.

    Youth connections

    They have been able to leverage the ubiquity of social media sites to increase sales and create a sense of community in their customer base. "It just reaffirms your faith....it's a feel-good factor!" says Rajat, checking the number of friends Happily Unmarried has on Facebook - 63,00 and counting.

    One of the aspects of the business the partners enjoy the most is putting on one of India's biggest independent music festivals - called Music in the Hills - in different venues each year. It helps introduce people young and old to the Happily Unmarried brand. "It's a big party for two days and two nights" says Rajat. "It works as a huge promotion for us and we love doing it".

    Operating out of an office in Delhi, most of their 200 or so products are made in smaller towns closer to Delhi like Saharanpur, Roorkee, Moradabad and Panipat which are the traditional industrial hubs of northern India. "These cities have seen huge losses due to a lot of manufacturing industries going to China, but the cost of production is low and fits our needs" says Rajat.

    With an annual turnover of 5 crores (roughly $900,000; £570,714; 707,247 euros) Rajat feels the industry is taking them seriously now. "We're not just designing products we are also designing restaurants, organising events and giving them our touch by making it more fun".

    Financial advisers: the Good, the Bad, the Ugly - Marketwatch

    By Steve Beck

    Online portfolio management company, Betterment, stirred up quite a controversy this month brashly challenging both the efficacy and ethicality of the investment advisory business in its blog post, "Financial Advisers Are Bad For Your Wealth".

    Possibly, it was their stinging criticism of the industry or their use of an image of a pig with a human face that set off the raucous debate.

    Whatever the reason, their opinions didn't go unnoticed as wealth managers across the country responded with ire. Wealth manager Josh Brown from New York City characterized the dust-up as a, "brawl between Betterment and the entire online financial advisory population" and financial planner Roger Wohlner called their comments " immature and stupid ," to name a few.

    Behind the controversy was a study performed by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). Researchers sought to determine if advisers would act in the best interest of potential clients, correcting risky and inappropriate investment behavior when contacted for help. Actors posing as vulnerable clients performed nearly 800 visits. The study resulted in the discovery that advisers often reinforced harmful investment behavior and provided advice that benefited their personal compensation in lieu of their clients well-being.

    For example, when actors asked about fees, advisers played down their importance. Despite the damaging effect of fees on portfolio growth, the study revealed that adviser said things like, "this fund has a 2% fee but that is not much above the industry average."

    Actors, who claimed they were in low-cost index funds, were frequently guided into more expensive, actively-managed mutual funds despite the ineffectiveness.

    In addition to financial advisers, brokers too were biased toward methodologies that increased their personal earnings, such as encouraging the actors to concentrate in hot industries which require more buying and selling despite the high-risk, and taxes and fees resulting from such churn.

    In light of these findings, what then is the role of an investment adviser if any? At MarketRiders, we often help investors fire their high-price adviser in favor of low-cost, global asset allocation using ETFs guided by an objective and proven software service.

    This do-it-yourself approach, however, isn't for everyone. Many investors lack the fortitude and stability to faithfully execute a strategy through the tumultuous machinations of the market. For those investors, a good investment adviser makes tremendous sense, but how do you know if your adviser is a good one?

    The Good

    The first, ultimate and irreplaceable principle that guides good advisory services is fiduciary responsibility. Not only is this the law, good advisers place the interest of their clients above their own simply because they know it is the right thing to do, even if it means passing on substantial and tempting fees.

    In addition, good advisers work intimately with their clients to develop a thorough investment plan favoring low-cost indexing, tax efficiency and global diversification when possible.

    Finally, good advisers help their clients stay the course, helping clients manage the psychological roller coaster ever-present when markets swing wildly during economic tumult.

    The Bad

    Bad RIAs and financial planners are those that fail to use low-cost and tax-efficient indexing as the foundation of their portfolio management. Some of these bad advisers are sincere and good people who are simply uninformed and trained by an industry entrenched in an active management ethos.

    Their sincerity, however, is no ethical cover for ignorance. Research has conclusively demonstrated the failure of active money management with irritating redundancy. When it comes to an adviser's resistance to accepting these plain facts, it behooves us to remember what Upton Sinclair said: "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it." If your adviser fails to acknowledge the value of indexing, he may not be as good as you think.

    The Ugly

    The NBER study sadly revealed that some advisers are actually quite ugly and deserving of the ignominious pig image employed in the controversial article. These debauched advisers place their own interests ahead of their clients, transgressing both law and conscience. T

    his offense happens when advisers recommend high-price and actively managed mutual funds, products with high fees, and strategies with high risk and taxes all for the sake of their own pocketbook. When you see such recommendations in play, you can be sure the oinking isn't far behind. Leave these ugly ones to themselves before your portfolio has an ugly result. Find a good adviser or use one of the many quality online indexing services now available for surprisingly low-cost.

    Stocks to watch Wednesday: H-P, Dell, RailAmerica - Marketwatch

    By MarketWatch

    WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — Among the stocks that could see active trade in Wednesday’s session are Hewlett-Packard Co., Dell Inc. and RailAmerica Inc.

    Blue chip Hewlett-Packard /quotes/zigman/229301/quotes/nls/hpq HPQ -0.50%  leads the Wednesday earnings parade, along with Synopsys Inc. /quotes/zigman/78740/quotes/nls/snps SNPS 0.00% , NetApp Inc. /quotes/zigman/109935/quotes/nls/ntap NTAP -0.66%  and Semtech Corp. /quotes/zigman/77847/quotes/nls/smtc SMTC -1.67%  from the technology sector. Rounding out the results roster are Hormel Foods Corp. /quotes/zigman/227790/quotes/nls/hrl HRL -0.31% , Toll Brothers Inc. /quotes/zigman/243733/quotes/nls/tol TOL +1.77% , PVH Corp. /quotes/zigman/5785329/quotes/nls/pvh PVH +2.07% , Shiloh Industries Inc. /quotes/zigman/54287/quotes/nls/shlo SHLO -2.56% , Bristow Group Inc. /quotes/zigman/406397/quotes/nls/brs BRS -0.33% , Eaton Vance Corp. /quotes/zigman/225518/quotes/nls/ev EV +1.98% , Apollo Investment Corp. /quotes/zigman/92665/quotes/nls/ainv AINV +0.74%  and AFC Enterprises Inc. /quotes/zigman/85194/quotes/nls/afce AFCE -0.89% , with HHGregg Inc. /quotes/zigman/462162/quotes/nls/hgg HGG -0.81% , Zale Corp. /quotes/zigman/131594/quotes/nls/zlc ZLC +3.56%  and American Eagle Outfitters Inc. /quotes/zigman/183513/quotes/nls/aeo AEO -2.66%  represented from the retail sector.

    /quotes/zigman/27952/quotes/nls/dell DELL 15.08, +0.11, +0.73%
    /quotes/zigman/229301/quotes/nls/hpq HPQ 21.78, -0.11, -0.50%
    /quotes/zigman/6015521 HWI 365.84, -5.96, -1.60%

    Dell /quotes/zigman/27952/quotes/nls/dell DELL +0.73%  reported a profit of $635 million, or 36 cents a share, for the first quarter ended May 4, down from $945 million, or 49 cents, earned in the same period during fiscal 2012. Quarterly revenue sank to $14.42 billion, down from the prior year’s $15.02 billion. On an adjusted basis, profit for the latest quarter would have been 43 cents a share. Analysts had been looking for Dell to show a profit of 46 cents a share on revenue of $14.9 billion, according to a poll of estimates compiled by FactSet Research. Dell also provided a weaker-than-consensus forecast for revenue in the second quarter. Read more about Dell.

    The board of RailAmerica /quotes/zigman/570891/quotes/nls/ra RA +2.69%  is studying strategic alternatives including a potential sale of the company, the operator of freight railroads said late Tuesday. Along these lines, “preliminary discussions with third parties” have taken place about a sale, according to RailAmerica. The Jacksonville, Fla.-based company, which hired Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. as its financial advisor said that it made the announcement “in response to market rumors” but that it would make no further comment.

    Guess Inc. /quotes/zigman/166567/quotes/nls/ges GES -0.12% presented investors with a mixed bag late Tuesday. The Los Angeles-based company adjusted its full-year profit outlook on the heels of reporting lower results for the first quarter ended April 28 that nonetheless exceeded analysts’ consensus forecasts. As revised, Guess now sees earnings for the year in a range of $2.50 to $2.65 a share and pegged revenue at $2.7 billion to $2.74 billion. For the second quarter, Guess projected earnings at 48 cents to 52 cents a share on revenue of $625 million to $635 million — both less than the average forecasts in a survey of analysts’ estimates by Thomson Reuters. During the first quarter, the company generated weaker revenue from Europe as North American same-store sales fell 5.5% and gross margin narrowed to 40.6%. Net revenue for the April quarter fell 2.2%, to $579.3 million.

    A better gross margin and higher same-store sales propelled financial results for PetSmart Inc. /quotes/zigman/54520/quotes/nls/petm PETM -0.20%  in the first quarter ended April 29. The Phoenix-based retailer also revised higher its full-year forecast, estimating earnings in a range of $3.19 to $3.31 a share on projected sales growth of 9% to 10%, due in large measure to a 53rd week in the current fiscal year.

    The board of Principal Financial Group Inc. /quotes/zigman/289371/quotes/nls/pfg PFG +0.58%  has authorized the Des Moines-based company to buy back up to $200 million in outstanding common stock. Repurchases will be made from time to time in the open market or via private transactions, depending on market conditions, Principal Financial said. “We remain on track to deploy $800 to $900 million of excess capital in 2012,” said Larry Zimpleman, chairman, president and chief executive, in a statement. The company’s board also declared a regular quarterly dividend of 18 cents a share, payable June 29 to stockholders of record as of June 4. Principal Financial had just over 300 million common shares outstanding as of March 31.

    Taking advantage of the low-rate environment, Covidien PLC /quotes/zigman/4475320/quotes/nls/cov COV -0.24%  said it’s priced an underwritten offering of $1.25 billion in debt — $600 million of 1.35% senior notes due 2015 and $650 million aggregate principal amount of 3.2% senior notes due 2022. Net proceeds will be applied toward redeeming in full the Dublin-based company’s outstanding 5.45% senior notes due October 2012 and for general corporate purposes. The offering’s expected to close May 30, Covidien said.

    Barclays Bank PLC /quotes/zigman/152323/quotes/nls/bcs BCS +1.73%  priced at $160 each the more than 26.2 million shares of BlackRock Inc. common stock that will up for sale in via underwritten public offering announced earlier this week. Underwriters have the option to buy up to 10% in additional shares of BlackRock /quotes/zigman/249424/quotes/nls/blk BLK -2.60%  at the same price within 30 days. If they fully exercise this option, Barclays said it would mean the disposal of its entire 19.6% economic ownership interest in BlackRock, as BlackRock has agreed to buy back nearly 6.4 million shares from Barclays for $1 billion, at a price of $156.80 a share. BlackRock Series B convertible participating preferred stock will automatically be converted into common stock upon sale, Barclays said. New York-based BlackRock won’t receive any proceeds.


    Stocks rally further in run-up to EU summit - AOL News
    MOSCOW -Global stocks enjoyed one of their best days in weeks on Tuesday ahead of a summit of European leaders that's expected to be dominated by calls to boost economic growth.

    Europe remains the focus of attention across all financial markets in the run-up to the June 17 Greek election that could go a long way to determining the country's membership of the euro as well as the future of the single currency zone.

    On Wednesday, the leaders of the 27 European Union countries will hold an informal meeting in Brussels. The summit is expected to focus on ways to kick start the region's faltering economy.

    "There have been lots of comments from various officials regarding the wish of the EU for Greece to remain in the eurozone, the need to agree upon a growth agenda to go alongside the austerity agenda and of course on common euro bonds," said Gary Jenkins, managing director of Swordfish Research.

    With that backdrop, stocks have recovered this week after a parlous few sessions.

    In Europe, France's CAC-40 closed 1.9 percent higher at 3,084.09, while Germany's DAX rose 1.7 percent to 6,435.60. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares ended up 1.9 percent at 5,403.28, helped by figures showing that the annual inflation rate dropped to 3 percent in April, its lowest level since February 2010. The International Monetary Fund, however, issued a tough assessment of U.K. economic policy on Tuesday, urging authorities to do more to boost demand in the economy.

    In Greece, political uncertainty and a gloomy prediction by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development pushed shares on the Athens Stock Exchange to their lowest level in 22 years on Tuesday, 1.6 percent down at 536.

    Wall Street also advanced following Monday's gains — the Dow Jones industrial average was up 0.3 percent at 12,543 while the broader S&P 500 index rose 0.6 percent to 1,323.

    Europe's debt crisis as well as developments in Greece has the potential to knock the rebound in sentiment witnessed so far this week.

    "Markets are by no means out of the woods, however, and much uncertainty will remain ahead of Greece's election in just less than a month," said Mitul Kotecha, head of global strategy at Credit Agricole CIB.

    If a new government fails to follow through with an austerity plan agreed to by prior Greek leadership, the country could lose a promised multibillion euro bailout from international lenders. Greece's default could send shockwaves throughout Europe. The OECD's top economist warned on Tuesday that the 17-country eurozone risks falling into a "severe recession" and called on governments and Europe's central bank to act quickly to stop the slowdown spilling over into the global economy.

    The organization now forecasts a longer and deeper contraction in the eurozone than in its November report, with the eurozone economy expected to shrink in 2012, and only manage a feeble recovery in 2013.

    Earlier, Asian markets posted sizeable gains. Japan's Nikkei 225 index rose 1.1 percent to close 8,729.29 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.6 percent to 19,039.15. South Korea's Kospi climbed 1.6 percent to 1,828.69.

    Hopes that China will announce new measures to boost growth also helped push shares higher. Investors were encouraged by weekend statements from Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, who promised to spur the world's second-largest economy, a shift from previous rhetoric about curbing inflation.

    In the oil markets, benchmark oil for June delivery was down 77 cents at $92.12 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose $1.09 to settle at $92.57 in New York on Monday.

    In currencies, the euro slipped to $1.2736 from $1.2793 late Monday in New York. The euro hit a four-month low against the dollar last Thursday. The dollar was up at 79.97 yen from 79.36 yen.—

    Pamela Sampson contributed to this report from Bangkok.

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