Stocks erase hefty losses - Stocks erase hefty losses -

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Stocks erase hefty losses -

Stocks erase hefty losses -

After nearly a full day in the red, stocks erased most of their losses in the last half hour of trading Wednesday.

The S&P 500 ended higher by 2 points, or 0.2%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq added 11 points, or 0.4%.

Meanwhile, the Dow Jones industrial average was basically flat, losing 6 points, or less than 0.1%. Not bad, considering the blue-chip index had fallen 190 points earlier in the trading day.

Bank of America, Alcoa and Walmart were the Dow's biggest winners, each gaining more than 1.3%.

Tech giants Intel, Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft were the biggest losers, each falling more than 2%.

Worries about Greece leaving the eurozone fueled pessimism from the start of the trading day, as did disappointing earnings, sales and outlook from Dell.

"The Dell news sent some fears through the tech sector," said Timothy Ghriskey, chief investment officer at Solaris Asset Management. "The concern is that this goes beyond just Dell. We saw similar news out of Cisco recently."

Investors were also keeping close tabs on Facebook and the unfolding saga there. Three investors sued Facebook and CEO Mark Zuckerberg Wednesday, along with lead underwriter Morgan Stanley and others, accusing them of withholding negative information ahead of company's initial public offering.

Shares of Facebook, which lost 18% from its IPO price in the first two days of trading this week, rebounded about 3%. It was higher in earlier trading, pulling back when the investor lawsuit became public.

European leaders were meeting in an ad hoc summit to address the latest problems with sovereign debt. The meeting is occurring amid growing worries that Greece is moving closer to dropping the euro, and about what the contagion effects an exit might have on other economies.

Getting down to business - BBC News

"Are you rich?"

Laughter spreads through the school assembly, as Saira Khan replies to her young questioner, "I'm very happy and I think that's the important thing."

The former Apprentice runner-up is currently touring the UK with the team behind CBBC show Trade Your Way to the USA, giving business tips to 10,000 children and challenging them to generate money-making ideas.

They're stopping at 42 schools in 7 cities, and will finally wind down in Edinburgh next week.

For those who haven't caught TYW USA, it's like The Apprentice for 11-14s, but with better teamwork and less backbiting. Plus, after a series of tasks around the UK, the finalists get a trip to America for the last round.

The show has now jumped from screen to school to kick-start children's business skills as part of "enterprise education".

Louise Wordsworth, who executive produces TYW USA for Leopard Films, told Ariel: "A lot of employers are saying that students coming out of school don't have the skills to survive in the workplace.

"They don't understand profit margins and selling techniques, so it's about equipping our younger generation to succeed in business."

Nearly half the students at the Broad Oak assembly raise their hands when Khan asks if they watch The Apprentice or Dragons' Den.

Wordsworth adds: "It's interesting because, sometimes, they're eight-years-old and you're like, 'What are you doing watching tv at 9pm!' but they love it.

"So it's about using those programmes as a trigger to get them thinking and learning skills like negotiation and selling."

Start Quote

If teachers get really behind the programme then you're on a winning streak”

End Quote Louise Wordsworth Executive producer

The project is supported by BBC Learning, which also develops roadshows for CBBC's natural history hit Deadly 60 and fulfils the 'educate' part of the corporation's mission.

After a full day of workshops, students pitch their business ideas to the programme team and teachers.

"We don't want to leave and then for the idea to end there," says Wordsworth. "We want them to carry on with their businesses and email us their photos and stories."

As part of the TYW USA schools challenge, students are advised to give profits to a good cause, although some also reinvest in further enterprise activity.

Having visited dozens of schools, Khan reckons that, "State primary schools are doing amazing jobs but I do think they lack the expertise to talk about enterprise. This is where, with the help of BBC Learning, putting in people who do this for a living, who are experts and bring it down so that children relate to it, is totally valuable."

The team have already visited a school which sells free-range eggs to the local community, and have met an eight-year-old boy who approached Build-A-Bear with the idea of selling Olympic-branded clothing for soft toys.

Wordsworth says they are focusing on younger students because "the advice we're getting - and it's something that Business Secretary Vince Cable has said - is you have to start at the primary level because once they've gone to secondary school, a lot of the time students are disengaged, they're switching off and it's about finding a spark within them now."

A former primary school teacher, she says: "The Scottish curriculum is far ahead of England in terms of what they do to support their students; they have an initiative called Determined to Succeed, so there's lot more support north of the border."

"The best schools we've been in so far are in London and they're in inner-city areas where the teachers are so passionate. You think perhaps it would be the schools from the better areas and yes, that does help, but if teachers get really behind the programme then you're on a winning streak."

Free packs can be found here and the latest series of Trade Your Way to the USA will be repeated on CBBC during the summer.

Saira's verdict on The Apprentice 2012

Who do you think is going to win?

I don't think at this stage you can tell because everybody is bringing something different to the table. To be honest, I've done it, I've watched it, I still think it's a great programme but I actually find this year's contestants a little bit boring.


I think they lack a lot of personality and that's a big part of being successful in business, but none of them are very memorable to me at the moment.

What do you think when the contestants make over-the-top claims like "I'm the blonde assassin"?

I think people who watch The Apprentice know that all those statements are for tv. You would never, in a business environment, sell yourself as 'I am the best'.

But there's also an element of "let's see how somebody deals with this situation and what do we learn".

There's some really important business lessons to be learnt from The Apprentice but you've got to take the good with the bad. The bad stuff is the edit where actually it's for entertainment, but the good stuff is seeing how people react under pressure to try and win, and make some money.

German business confidence falls in May - BBC News

Business confidence fell sharply in Germany in May, according to the closely-watched Ifo report.

The Ifo business climate index, which is based on a survey of 7,000 executives, fell to 106.9 in May, down from 109.9 in April.

In response, the euro fell to $1.2515 against the dollar - a 22-month low.

Separately, activity at French factories fell to the lowest level in three years, according to the latest survey by Markit.

Markit's purchasing managers' index (PMI) for France fell to 44.7 points in May from 45.9 points in April. A reading below 50 indicates shrinking activity.

'Not good'

In Germany, Markit's latest report also showed manufacturing activity hitting a three-year low, with the PMI dropping to 45.0 in May from April's 46.2.

"The flash PMI figures for May look horrible and provide a clear warning that eurozone GDP will almost certainly show a contraction in the second quarter after stagnating in the first quarter," said Martin Van Vliet, from the bank ING.

"It's not good," said Peter Dixon, from Commerzbank.

"The German ones were particularly disappointing as we had been expecting some more buoyancy."

"It clearly indicates that the evaporating sentiment that we have seen in recent weeks as the Greece crisis has intensified is having a big impact on the economy," he said.

Investors have been seeking the safety of German and UK government bonds. Prices of these bonds rose, driving yields on 10-year UK and German government debt to a record lows.

Meanwhile, a summit of European leaders on Wednesday evening failed to do much to boost confidence.

EU leaders want Greece to remain in the eurozone but to "respect its commitments", European Council President Herman Van Rompuy said.

STOCKS NEWS EUROPE-Corporate earnings outlook deteriorates - Reuters UK

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