US stocks chase European indexes lower - Yahoo Finance US stocks chase European indexes lower - Yahoo Finance

Monday, May 28, 2012

US stocks chase European indexes lower - Yahoo Finance

US stocks chase European indexes lower - Yahoo Finance

Fear of European debt is once again playing havoc with Wall Street.

Stocks and commodities pitched down Wednesday in the United States as borrowing rates climbed for Spain and Italy, a sign that investors are losing confidence in those countries' finances.

Spain's 10-year borrowing rate leapt to 6.06 percent from 5.70 percent early Tuesday. Many fear that Spain, strangled by high unemployment and a real estate collapse, could be the next nation to require financial rescue.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down as much as 184 points before recovering most of the loss. It was down 30 points by early afternoon, still on the verge of its longest losing streak since last summer.

The Dow climbed 25 percent from Oct. 3 through May 1 as the debt crisis in Europe appeared to calm down. Last fall, nations that use the euro agreed to enforce budget discipline across the region.

The Dow closed at a four-year high on May 1. Since then, worries about Europe have resurfaced, this time because Greek and French voters ousted leaders who had imposed tough spending cuts to soothe investors.

Greece, without a government since Sunday's elections, appears increasingly likely to exit the euro currency union or be forced out. The resulting uncertainty could cause turmoil throughout global markets.

The spring decline has become a motif on Wall Street. In 2010 and 2011, the Dow climbed in the first three months of the year, then flat-lined or lost ground as events overseas overshadowed modest economic growth in the U.S.

The market today is is tame compared with last summer, when the Dow routinely swung by hundreds of points a day. But the atmosphere is starting to resemble last year's as traders sell anything deemed risky based on the latest headlines from Europe, said Peter Tchir, who trades a range of investments for his hedge fund TF Market Advisors.

"The concern in Spain is at such a high level that people trade the indexes or big futures contracts and are less discriminating about what risk they're taking on," he said.

On Wednesday, prices fell for commodities such as energy, copper and silver that are needed to sustain broad economic growth but are less valuable when the economy is weaker and demand wanes.

Benchmark crude oil, which sold for about $110 per barrel earlier this year, fell below $100 last week and kept sliding. It traded around $96 on Wednesday on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Commodity prices also were under pressure because the dollar rose against the euro, sending the euro down to $1.2910, its lowest point since Jan. 23. Commodities are traded in dollars, so a strong dollar makes them appear more expensive to investors who hold foreign currencies.

European stocks are having one of their worst weeks in months. London's FTSE 100 index is down 2.2 percent this week, its worst performance since December. Stocks in Athens are down 10.8 percent, the most since August.

Cash flowed into ultra-safe investments such as U.S. Treasurys, pushing the yield on the 10-year note as low as 1.80 percent, near a seven-month low.

One reason that demand for Treasurys is increasing: As Europe deteriorates and hiring in the U.S. slows, traders believe that the Federal Reserve is more likely to engage in another round of bond-buying to juice the economy.

Bond-buying by the Fed lowers bond yields, pushing more cash into stocks and commodities. When traders expect the Fed to act, they buy bonds to take advantage of the extra demand that the Fed's buying will create.

Economic indicators and corporate earnings in the U.S. continue to signal recovery, albeit a choppy one. The government said after trading began that U.S. wholesale stockpiles grew in March at their slowest pace in four months, a sign demand is too weak for companies to ramp up production.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index and Nasdaq composite were both well off their lows for the day. The S&P fell two points to 1,361. The Nasdaq composite index dropped four to 2,942.

Tchir expects the market to grow more volatile as traders track deadlines for indebted European nations to repay bond investors or raise cash. For investors who benefited from the recent rally, he said, "I think it's time to take money off the table." There's too much of a disconnect between the Dow's recent four-year high and European markets that are scraping three-year lows, he said.

European stocks rose into the close, recovering some earlier losses. Indexes in France and London closed down less than 1 percent after steep losses earlier.

In corporate news:

— Chiquita Brands plunged 32 percent after the banana purveyor reported first-quarter earnings that were far below the expectations of Wall Street analysts.

— Macy's lost 4 percent after the department store chain reiterated an earnings forecast that fell below Wall Street projections.

— Walt Disney Co. rose 2 percent, the most of the 30 stocks in the Dow, after the whimsy-production conglomerate said its fiscal second-quarter earnings outpaced expectations.


Daniel Wagner can be reached at .

Financial Management Company offer Free QuickBooks Health Checks - PRLog (free press release)
PRLog (Press Release) - May 28, 2012 -
B&M Financial Management Services, a full service accounting firm, specializing in accounting and financial management consulting services has announce a offer to business owners who are struggling to maintain good financial records.

Most small businesses use QuickBooks to keep track of their accounting and financial reporting need to help operate their business and make productive and effective decisions toward the growth of their business.

B&M Financial Management understands the unique challenges some businesses face during tax season and throughout with producing accurate accounting record. Bookkeeping may seem like a easy task, but in actuality if not managed properly the business can run into cash flow crunches.

Whether you are just starting to use QuickBooks or have been using the accounting software for your business some time now.  If your bookkeeping records are not accurate you will not be able to run an efficient business operation.

One of the key essentials to running a business is to keep track of your income and expenses, not just for your knowledge but if you decide to get a loan, they will want to see your current financial records, during tax season you will need accurate financial records for the Accountant to prepare your business taxes, and it will save you money to have those records prepared before submitting them to the Accountant. Or if you decide to sell your business you will also need accurate accounting record.  Therefore, it is an important factor to maintain good bookkeeping records when operating a business.

B&M Financial Management Services has been providing bookkeeping, accounting and tax services for their clients for over 20 years.  To help small business owners, they have decided to offer a free health check to small businesses who feel that they are not keeping accurate accounting records.

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For more information about getting your free QuickBooks Health Check or other service offers call (888) 524-4094 or visit


FriendFinder Networks Inc. Reports Financial Results for First Quarter 2012 - Yahoo Finance

SUNNYVALE, Calif., May 14, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- FriendFinder Networks Inc. (FFN), a leading internet and technology company providing services in the rapidly expanding markets of social networking and web-based video sharing, today announced financial results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2012.  

"Based on the initial results of several key initiatives we have undertaken to improve our performance, I remain optimistic about our long-term prospects.  Our current efforts are focused on building brand equity, subscriber retention and acquiring new subscribers to FriendFinder Networks," commented FriendFinder Networks Chief Executive Officer, Marc Bell.  "To support these initiatives and to position FriendFinder Networks for growth, we have increased our customer acquisition costs in a meaningful way, a strategy we previously discussed.  Put into action in January, I am pleased to report that these actions resulted in an increase in new adult subscribers for the first time in six quarters.  Additionally, conversion rates increased marginally year over year for both our Adult and General Audience websites, a trend we expect to continue throughout the year."

"While our renewed focus on customer acquisition activities and reallocation of resources impacted our financial performance and profit margins during the quarter, we are encouraged by the early trends we are seeing.  Going forward, we will adjust our spending based on results, as we continue to refine and optimize our efforts.  This undertaking requires patience and discipline but is expected to result in a significant payoff over the long term."

Mr. Bell continued, "Operationally, we continue to experience success in our Live Interactive segment, notching our ninth consecutive quarter of year over year revenue growth. The general managers of each of our business units are focused on achieving specific milestones; and while some have done well, we continue to work with those that require additional support.  Our European operations remain challenging as we struggle to overcome low user conversion and transaction acceptance rates in the region.  Although operating expenses have improved, we are exploring additional costs saving measures."

"Finally, we are on track with plans to transition Anthony Previte, our President and Chief Operating Officer, to the role of Chief Executive Officer effective July 1, 2012.  I will continue to serve as Co-Chairman and Chief Strategy Officer, with the assurance that Anthony is both qualified and motivated to assume his expanded responsibilities," Mr. Bell concluded.

First Quarter Financial Results

Revenue for the first quarter of 2012 was $81.1 million. The impact of new subscriber growth was offset by a decrease in overall traffic and challenges in Europe.

Gross profit for the first quarter of 2012 was $48.5 million. Gross profit was negatively impacted by increased affiliate spending, which increased the Company's cost of revenue.

Income from operations for the first quarter of 2012 was $7.8 million. Income from operations was negatively impacted by lower gross margins and the Company's previously announced increases in advertising and general and administrative spending compared to the first quarter last year.  The Company expects general and administrative expenses to decline from quarter to quarter as the impact of the restructuring steps taken in January of 2012 reach their full impact.

Net loss from continuing operations for the first quarter of 2012 was ($13.4 million), or ($0.43) per share. The loss from discontinued operations, which resulted from the previously announced closure of all JigoCity operations except in Taiwan, was ($8.1 million) or ($0.25) per share.

Adjusted EBITDA for the first quarter of 2012 was $13.0 million.

Balance Sheet, Cash and Debt

As of March 31, 2012, the Company had cash and cash equivalents of $26.6 million, compared to $34.5 million at December 31, 2011.  As of March 31, 2012, the Company had outstanding principal debt of $497.7 million.  On May 4, 2012, the Company paid down $2.2 million of New First Lien Notes and Cash Pay Second Lien Notes. Free Cash Flow Per Share was $0.09 for the first quarter ended March 31, 2012.

As indicated previously, First Lien bondholders agreed in March to modify certain covenants under the indentures governing such debt.  Last week, FriendFinder Networks was able to obtain a waiver under the Non-Cash Pay Second Lien Notes from compliance with certain covenants under the indenture governing such debt for a period of 90 days.  During this period, the Company will work with the Second Lien bondholders to modify their indenture.

Conference Call Information

Management will host a conference call to discuss the results at 4:30 PM EDT on Monday, May 14, 2012. Participants should call 888-271-8583 (United States/Canada) or 913-312-0947 (International).

A telephonic replay will be available for anyone unable to participate in the live call. To access the replay, call 877-870-5176 (United States/Canada) or 858-384-5517 (International) and enter confirmation code 7315641.  The replay will be available on May 14, 2012 at 7:30 PM EDT through Monday, May 28, 2012 at 11:59 PM EDT.

Non-GAAP Financial Measures

Management believes that certain non-GAAP financial measures of earnings before deducting net interest expense, income taxes, depreciation and amortization, or EBITDA, and Adjusted EBITDA are helpful financial measures as investors, analysts and others frequently use EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA in the evaluation of other companies in FriendFinder Networks Inc.'s industry. For example, these measures eliminate one-time adjustments made for accounting purposes in connection with the Company's Various acquisition in order to provide information that is directly comparable to its historical and current financial statements.  For more information regarding the Company's acquisition of Various, please refer to the section entitled "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations — Our History" in the Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2011.

These non-GAAP financial measures may not provide information that is directly comparable to that provided by other companies in FriendFinder Networks Inc.'s industry, as other companies in FriendFinder Networks Inc.'s industry may calculate such financial measures differently, particularly as it relates to nonrecurring, unusual items.  The Company's non-GAAP financial measures of EBITDA, Adjusted EBITDA and Free Cash Flow per Common Share are not measurements of financial performance under GAAP and should not be considered as alternatives to cash flow from operating activities or as measures of liquidity or as alternatives to net income or as indications of operating performance or any other measure of performance derived in accordance with GAAP.

Management derived EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA for the three months ended March 31, 2012 and 2011 using the adjustments shown in the attached table.  Free Cash Flow per Common Share was derived by subtracting capital expenditures and cash interest from Adjusted EBITDA and dividing the result by the weighted average shares outstanding for the period.


This press release includes "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.  Actual results may differ from expectations, estimates and projections and, consequently, you should not rely on these forward looking statements as predictions of future events.  Words such as "expect," "estimate," "project," "budget," "forecast," "anticipate," "intend," "plan," "may," "will," "could," "should," "believes," "predicts," "potential," "continue," and similar expressions are intended to identify such forward-looking statements.  These forward-looking statements involve significant risks and uncertainties that could cause the actual results to differ materially from the expected results.

Additional information concerning these and other risk factors is contained in the Company's most recent filings with the SEC, including its Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2011.  All subsequent written and oral forward-looking statements concerning the Company are expressly qualified in their entirety by the cautionary statements above and subject to such risk factors discussed in the Company's recent SEC filings.  The Company cautions readers not to place undue reliance upon any forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date made.  The Company does not undertake or accept any obligation or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statement to reflect any change in their expectations or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement is based.


FriendFinder Networks Inc. ( is an internet-based social networking and technology company operating several of the most heavily visited websites in the world, including,,,,, and FriendFinder Networks Inc. also produces and distributes original pictorial and video content and engages in brand licensing.

Investor Contact for FriendFinder Networks Inc.
Jeffrey Goldberger / Rob Fink
KCSA Strategic Communications
212.896.1206 or /

Media Contact for FriendFinder Networks Inc.
Lindsay Trivento
Director, Corporate Communications     
561.912.7010 or 








World stocks fall amid political turmoil in Greece - Yahoo Finance

BANGKOK (AP) -- World stocks dived Wednesday after a failure by Greece's political leaders to form a coalition government set the stage for new elections next month, keeping Europe's debt crisis center stage.

The turmoil in Greece sent European shares lower in early trading. Britain's FTSE 100 fell 0.9 percent to 5,388.93 and Germany's DAX slid 1 percent to 6,335.93. France's CAC-40 was down 0.4 percent at 2,036.30.

Wall Street was also headed for a lower opening, with Dow Jones industrial futures losing 0.1 percent to 12,589. S&P 500 futures were 0.2 percent down at 1,325.90.

Asian benchmarks recorded sharp losses earlier in the day.

Japan's Nikkei 225 index dropped 1.1 percent to close at 8,801.17, its lowest close since Jan. 30, amid discouraging economic news. Core private-sector machinery orders fell 2.8 percent in March, the first drop in three months, Japan's Cabinet Office said.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng plummeted 3.2 percent to 19,259.83 and South Korea's Kospi fell 3.1 percent to 1,840.53. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 lost 2.4 percent to 4,165.50 amid sliding commodities prices.

Newly elected Greek leaders — hotly divided over how to resolve the country's economic crisis — failed Tuesday to form a new government. That means new elections must be held in June.

Some investors fear a win by parties that oppose unpopular austerity measures necessary for Greece to qualify for urgently needed bailout money. Without the money, the country would likely default on its debt and leave the euro common currency.

"The Greek crisis will continue to frustrate markets, keeping sentiment under pressure," analysts at Credit Agricole CIB in Hong Kong wrote in an email.

Mainland Chinese shares also lost ground, with the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index falling 1.2 percent to 2,346.19. The Shenzhen Composite Index dropped 1.4 percent to 942.04. Shares in real estate, cement producers, furniture makers and financial companies weakened.

Elsewhere, blue-chip shares across sectors throughout Asia registered sharp losses. South Korean electronics giant Samsung Electronics Co. plunged 6.2 percent and Hyundai Motors Co. shed 4 percent. In Japan, Toyota Motor Corp. lost 2.1 percent. Nomura Holdings Inc. lost 1.5 percent.

Shares of major Chinese shipping companies plummeted amid fears of weakness in Europe, a critical export market. Hong Kong-listed China Shipping Container Lines Co. sank 5.2 percent. China COSCO Holdings Co. dropped 3.7 percent.

"The Chinese shipping sector is down sharply and continues to downtrend," said Linus Yip, a strategist at First Shanghai Securities in Hong Kong. "The market is not good right now, but I expect a technical rebound is coming."

Falling commodities prices hurt Australia's mining sector. BHP Billiton Ltd., the world's largest mining company, lost 4.1 percent. Rio Tinto Ltd. was down 3.9 percent. Paladin Energy Ltd. tumbled 9.3 percent.

Benchmark oil fell $1.56 to $92.42 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 80 cents Tuesday to finish at $93.98 per barrel in New York — oil hasn't finished that low since Dec. 19.

In currencies, the euro fell to $1.2716 from $1.2734 late Tuesday in New York. The dollar rose to 80.36 yen from 80.27 yen.


AP researcher Fu Ting contributed from Shanghai.

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