Financial disclosure reports detailed elected leaders' business interests - Maryland Community Newspapers Online Financial disclosure reports detailed elected leaders' business interests - Maryland Community Newspapers Online

Friday, June 8, 2012

Financial disclosure reports detailed elected leaders' business interests - Maryland Community Newspapers Online

Financial disclosure reports detailed elected leaders' business interests - Maryland Community Newspapers Online

Many of the state's elected leaders are landlords and have vacation homes; several work other government jobs or have interests in businesses that at least occasionally sell to the state; and only a few received significant gifts, according to their latest financial disclosure statements.

Among 34 legislators in leadership posts in the General Assembly about one-third are landlords. That includes the presiding officers, the majority leader and whip in each chamber, the minority leader and whip in each chamber and the chairmen and chairwomen and vice chairs of six standing Senate and seven standing House committees.

Among the landlords are Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. and longtime Judiciary Chairman Joseph F. Vallario Jr., according to the financial statements, which were filed April 30 with the State Ethics Commission.

Lawmakers and their spouses who hold down state or local government jobs include House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Dist. 30) of Annapolis, whose report showed he made $120,000 last year as assistant to the director of Anne Arundel County's recreation and parks department; and Economic Matters Chairman Dereck E. Davis (D-Dist. 25) of Upper Marlboro, who left the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission midyear to work for Prince George's County's Office of Community Relations.

Some defend the practice of lawmakers working for other governmental jurisdictions, saying it helps the part-time lawmakers in their legislative roles, but others say ethics laws don't cover enough contingencies when it comes to lawmakers' outside employment.

As it currently stands, legislators are prohibited from gaining new employment with state or local governments in Maryland after they are elected, but the legislative leaders all held their government jobs at the time they were elected.

Also, General Assembly members who held government employment before Oct. 1, 1999, are exempted and may continue to take government jobs for which they are qualified, said William G. Somerville, who is Counsel to the Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics and ethics adviser to the General Assembly.

With the approval of the ethics committee, legislators may move to new government jobs along their career track or take teaching or direct human services jobs that are not managerial.

Property loversBesides Miller (D-Dist. 27) of Chesapeake Beach, Judicial Proceedings Chairman Brian E. Frosh (D-Dist. 16) of Chevy Chase and committee Vice Chairwoman Lisa A. Gladden (D-Dist. 41) of Baltimore are landlords.

Other landlords are Senate Majority Leader Robert J. Garagiola (D-Dist. 15) of Germantown and Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Chairwoman Joan Carter Conway (D-Dist. 43) of Baltimore and committee Vice Chairman Roy P. Dyson (D-Dist. 29) of Great Mills.

In the House, besides Vallario (D-Dist 27A) of Upper Marlboro, who owns property in six of the state's 24 jurisdictions, landlords include Judiciary Vice Chairwoman Kathleen M. Dumais (D-Dist. 15) of Rockville. Others are Appropriations Chairman Norman H. Conway (D-Dist. 38B) of Salisbury and committee Vice Chairman James E. Proctor Jr. (D-Dist. 27A) of Accokeek and Environmental Matters Chairwoman Maggie L. McIntosh (D-Dist. 43) of Baltimore.

Some own just one rental property, but a few — including Frosh, Garagiola, Miller, Vallario, McIntosh and Conway — have several or extensive rental holdings.

A company partly owned by Vallario and his wife rents office space in Oxon Hill to District 26 Sen. C. Anthony Muse and District 26 Dels. Veronica Turner and Jay Walker.

Most of the business and residential properties for which landlords in leadership roles collect rent are in or near their districts, but some are in Washington, D.C., Virginia and South Carolina.

Property near the water appears to be a draw for several Maryland lawmakers, including Sens. Miller, Dyson, Rules Chairwoman Katherine A. Klausmeier (D-Dist. 8) of Perry Hall, Finance Chairman Thomas McLain Middleton (D-Dist. 28) of Waldorf and Vice Chairman John C. Astle (D-Dist. 30) of Annapolis.

Others with property near water are House Majority Leader Kumar P. Barve (D-Dist. 17) of Gaithersburg, Health and Government Operations Chairman Peter A. Hammen (D-Dist. 46) of Baltimore and, perhaps, Ways and Means Vice Chairman Samuel I. “Sandy” Rosenberg (D-Dist. 41) of Baltimore.

Vacation homes listed are in Ocean City (Astle and Dyson); a canal community in Selbyville (Del. Klausmeier and Hammen, on the same road); Naples, Fla. (Miller); Edwardsville, Va., on the south bank of the Potomac River (Middleton); and Myrtle Beach, S.C. (Barve, timeshare).

Rosenberg listed among his holdings a Palm Beach, Fla., condo on the coast, but did not tag it as a vacation or rental property.

Maryland Comptroller Peter V.R. Franchot (D) and Treasurer Nancy Kopp (D) go north to catch an ocean breeze — he at a vacation home in Orleans, Mass., on Cape Cod; she at a vacation home in Gloucester, Mass.

On the public payroll

Lawmakers who have government jobs include Economic Matters Vice Chairman David D. Rudolph (D-Dist. 34B) of Rising Sun, who works for Cecil College; Budget & Taxation Chairman Edward J. Kasemeyer (D-Dist. 12) of Columbia, who is under contract to the state's Injured Workers' Insurance Fund; and Budget & Taxation Vice Chairman Nathaniel J. McFadden (D-Dist. 45) of Baltimore, who lists employment with Baltimore City Public Schools.

And Gladden works as a public defender in Baltimore, while Rosenberg made less than $5,000 teaching legislation classes at University of Baltimore and University of Maryland law schools.

Lawmakers in a part-time legislature such as Maryland's are expected to have outside employment, Somerville said. It benefits the state in having them bring their outside knowledge to the debate, he said.

On the flip side, even in cases in which legislators have a presumed or apparent conflict of interest, the lawmakers may vote on legislation if they file a disclaimer with the ethics committee stating they can vote fairly and in the public interest.

The “compelling public interest” argument, however, doesn't extend to lawyer-legislators and the clients they represent in court, said former Common Cause Maryland executive director James Browning. That detail often goes unreported because of lawyer-client privilege, he said.

“We need to look at [requiring] confidential disclosures of clients to the State Ethics Commission or Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics, so someone can vet that list,” said Browning, who now is Common Cause regional director for the mid-Atlantic and Midwest states.

Browning noted House Judiciary Chairman Vallario, who is a defense lawyer, has been accused of putting defendants' interests above the public interest because of his opposition to measures that would toughen drunken-driving and gun control laws.

Browning said when a lawmaker's pocketbook benefits from other legislators' political expenditures — as was the apparent case when Vallairo rented office space to three District 26 legislators — it's akin to legislators contributing to each other's political campaigns, which can create a “sense of obligation.”

Vallario disclosed the District 26 legislative office rental in his disclosure, but did not return a call for comment.

Del. Turner, one of the three legislators renting the space, said she did not initiate the rental and did not know Vallario had an ownership interest in the building. She said she was told former judge and former delegate Richard Palumbo, a close friend of Vallario's, was an owner.

Some state spending or purchases that benefit lawmakers' business interests are allowed.

Although legislators are generally prohibited from participating directly in state or local government procurements, they may be employed by, or own a business, that has government contracts — as long as they are not involved directly in contacts with the government agency, including discussing or setting terms of the contract, according to a Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics guide.

Dyson Lumber Co. in Great Mills, of which Roy Dyson owns a one-ninth share, did business with the state's Department of Natural Resources, the State Highway Administration, state-supported St. Mary's College and Historic St. Mary's, Dyson disclosed.

In an interview, Dyson said he does not run the company's day-to-day business and that the purchases were small, such as waterproof boots that highway workers realized they needed after they arrived in southern Maryland to work in the aftermath of storms.

Then, there are the spouses of legislators.

Joan Carter Conway's husband, Vernon Conway, is a Baltimore City liquor inspector; Middleton's wife, Joan, is associate vice president at the College of Southern Maryland; Norman Conway's wife, Jan — like her husband, she is a retired educator — made $5,000 last year under an agreement with Wicomico County Public Schools to mentor new principals and vice principals.

Wicomico schools spokeswoman Tracy Sahler said Jan Conway is one of two recently retired, longtime principals who are mentoring new school principals under similar specialized services agreements. Because there's a limited pool of individuals who know the school system so well and have as much experience, the services were not put out for bid, Sahler said.

Barve's wife, Maureen Quinn, was appointed to a 12-year term on the state's Workers' Compensation Commission in 2002, before she married him in 2004.

Busch, Davis, Rudolph, Garagiola and House Minority Leader Anthony J. O'Donnell (R-Dist. 29C) of Lusby reported their wives work for local, or neighboring, county public school systems.

Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) listed the Screen Actors Guild as a source of outside income because, according to his spokeswoman Raquel Guillory, he gets some small residual payments from his appearance, as then-Baltimore mayor, in the 2004 movie “Ladder49,” filmed in Charm City.

Almost no legislators reported gifts of significant value above the thresholds that require reporting: more than $20 for a single gift or $100 for a series of gifts from people who lobby, do business with or are regulated by the state.

Beyond a few who noted they had received hats, shirts, mugs, bags and complimentary meals valued below those thresholds at community and civic group meetings, McFadden reported receiving $200 in tickets from the University of Maryland, $150 in tickets from his alma mater Morgan State University, $150 in tickets from the Maryland Stadium Authority and $600 in tickets from Baltimore's mayor.

The tickets from the mayor's office were for the circus, concerts and Orioles games and were passed on to constituents, said Dominque Mattocks, an aide to McFadden.

Norman Conway reported using the Maryland Stadium Authority and governor's boxes with his family and friends to watch Orioles games in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

A proposal that would have allowed online access to legislators' financial disclosures was defeated in the last legislative session. Instead. lawmakers approved a measure requiring a study and recommendation to be delivered to lawmakers by Dec. 31 on how best to provide access.

The measure will require some statements of potential conflicts of interest to be filed online and made accessible to members of the public, who must register in order to view them.

Exclusive: Business software IPOs hope to trump market woes - 4-traders (press release)
06/08/2012 | 08:12am

Data analysis software company Tableau Software and developer tools maker Atlassian are among several small, business software firms preparing to go public in the next 12 months, hoping a growing market for cloud computing will shield them from the aftermath of Facebook's botched IPO and Europe's woes.

Sources familiar with the situation said others include: AppSense, whose user virtualization technology allows people to use different devices; Marin Software, which offers an online advertising management platform; Rapid7, which makes network security software; Rally Software, a provider of project management tools; and CollabNet, which offers web-based software development tools.

These business software companies join other tech firms that are also looking to go public. Cloud-based phone systems provider RingCentral is close to picking bankers, sources familiar with the situation said. Ruckus Wireless, which supplies Wi-Fi products to mobile operators, has chosen Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs as its lead underwriters, the sources said.

All the seven business software companies offer products for the software as a service, or SaaS, market, in which software and associated data are hosted on remote servers, or the cloud. This segment of the market has been increasing in popularity because it is viewed as less costly and easier to implement than traditional hosting methods.

Tech behemoths including Oracle Corp, SAP AG and IBM Corp have spent billions to buy such companies in the past two years. The overall market for enterprise software grew 9.5 percent to $267 billion in 2011 and is expected to top $288 billion this year, according to Gartner.

That means these companies may form one bright spot in an otherwise moribund market for initial public offerings. U.S. IPOs, excluding Facebook, are down 53 percent this year, according to Thomson Reuters data. Facebook's IPO last month further added to the chill as market problems at debut and the subsequent fall in its share price burned scores of investors.

But these companies are hoping that their dependence on businesses - as opposed to consumers - would set them apart from Facebook and other Internet companies.

"Based on talking to a lot of bankers, public software investors and analysts, the opportunity for SaaS companies to go public should be viewed differently from the fortunes of consumer-facing Internet companies or other potential IPO candidates," Marin Software CEO Chris Lien said. "There are some strong underlying reasons why the next generation of software companies is emerging."

San Francisco-based Marin, which employs 330 people worldwide, generated $36 million in revenue and is expected to grow by over 50 percent this year, Lien said. In January, Singapore-based Temasek Holdings and SAP Ventures, the investment arm of SAP, became the latest investors in the company.

Marin Software is expected to choose bankers to underwrite its IPO in a few months, said Lien, who founded the company in 2006.


To be sure, one risk for investors in cloud-based companies could be the growing incidence of Internet security breaches, the most recent example of which came this week when social networking site LinkedIn and online dating service eHarmony revealed passwords of millions of online accounts had been compromised.

The Facebook debacle could also hurt the valuations these companies can hope to achieve in a public offering.

"High quality companies right now in today's environment can go out and markets are open for business," Rapid7 CEO Mike Tuchen said. "Facebook stumbling isn't a window-closing event, though there will be more scrutiny to pricing."

Tuchen declined to comment on his company's IPO plans.

These challenges mean that many of these processes are likely to be dual-track, where the company explores both an IPO and a sale.

CollabNet CEO Bill Portelli said with his company generating cash and closing on a recent $4.5 million capital raise with existing investors, it is weighing all options equally - going public, being acquired or recapitalizing with a private equity firm.

Ruckus Wireless said it is "looking at all options."

The other companies and the banks declined to comment.

Thanks to the Jobs Act these companies have little to lose in at least preparing for IPO filings. The law allows companies with less than $1 billion in revenue to file registration statements confidentially, giving them room to resolve any regulatory issues out of the public eye and even pull an offering without the stigma attached to a withdrawal.

AppSense, whose investors include Goldman Sachs, and Tableau had revenues of around $70 million in 2011. Rally Software posted revenue of about $50 million, Atlassian about $102 million and Ruckus about $120 million.


A test of investor appetite for business software companies could come as early as this summer, when Palo Alto Networks and ServiceNow, which filed to go public earlier this year, are expected to debut, sources familiar with the situation said.

Palo Alto declined to comment, while ServiceNow did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Workday Inc, a business management software company, has hired Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley to lead its initial public offering later this year, sources previously told Reuters.

These offerings are expected to be among this year's largest tech IPOs, and would follow the listings of other enterprise software companies, including Guidewire Software Inc, Jive Software Inc and Demandware, which all saw their shares rise after their debut.

"Enterprise software is extremely sticky," said Tom Blakey, a tech portfolio manager at Boston's Essex Investment Management, which manages $1.1 billion.

"If there is a maintenance stream attributed to the product, it's recurring. You can start to see that there's an intrinsic value to these revenue streams versus revenue that is derived from a network effect, such as certain business lines tied to social media-related companies."

(Reporting by Nadia Damouni and Olivia Oran; Editing by Paritosh Bansal and M.D. Golan)

By Nadia Damouni and Olivia Oran

Financial Services firm Edward Jones named Firm of the Year — Office located in Cranford -

Financial services firm Edward Jones was named the Advisory Solutions Firm of the Year by the Money Management Institute as the firm that most exemplified overall excellence and contributed to the long-term success and sustainability of the wealth management industry, according to Michael Flynn, a financial advisor in Cranford.

The award was presented at the Institute's annual Gateway to Leadership Awards Dinner held recently in Chicago. The Money Management Institute is the national association for the managed investment solutions and the wealth management industry. This award recognizes the features and benefits of both of the firm's advisory platforms.

Edward Jones Advisory Solutions is an asset allocation and advisory program that allows investors to select from research or custom models with an initial minimum investment of $50,000. The models use a combination of mutual funds, exchange traded funds and separately managed accounts in the construction of the portfolio and allow clients to delegate asset allocation, investment selection and portfolio rebalancing to Edward Jones.

This program now offers 62 fully discretionary research models, in addition to custom models, which allow investors to design a model to match their unique investment needs. With the program's custom models, clients retain discretion over the investment selection from the list of funds available in the program.

Advisory Solutions has proved popular with Edward Jones clients. The program has grown to more than $75 billion in assets under management since its introduction in August 2008. Advisory Solutions now ranks as the country's 4th largest mutual fund advisory program, according to MMI/Dover Research.

In addition, Edward Jones offers a dual contract separately managed account program with more than $2 billion in assets under management.

"We are honored to receive this industry award for creating a program that gives our clients another option in structuring an investment strategy that will help them achieve their long-term investment objectives," said Flynn

Edward Jones provides financial services for individual investors in the United States and, through its affiliate, in Canada. Every aspect of the firm's business, from the types of investment options offered to the location of branch offices, is designed to cater to individual investors in the communities in which they live and work. The firm's 12,000-plus financial advisors work directly with nearly 7 million clients to understand their personal goals — from college savings to retirement — and create long-term investment solutions that emphasize a well-balanced portfolio and a buy-and-hold strategy. Edward Jones embraces the importance of building long-term, face-to-face relationships with clients, helping them to understand and make sense of the investment options available today.

In January 2012, for the 13th year, Edward Jones was named one of the best companies to work for by FORTUNE Magazine in its annual listing. The firm ranked No. 5 overall and No. 3 in Large Size Companies. These 13 FORTUNE rankings include top 10 finishes for nine years, consecutive No. 1 rankings in 2002 and 2003, and consecutive No. 2 rankings in 2009 and 2010. FORTUNE and Time Inc. are not affiliated with and do not endorse products or services of Edward Jones.

The Edward Jones website is at, and its recruiting website is

Spotlight on Cranford: Pictures from readers of the Cranford Chronicle June 4-8, 2012

Take a look at some of the best in photographs sent to the Cranford Chronicle during the week of June 4-8.

Have a photo you would like to share with the paper and your community?

Send it to us at and we will run it in print and post it online.

Detroit's Chief Financial Officer says Detroit will go broke in 1 week -

Jack Martin, Detroit's Chief Financial Officer under a consent agreement with the State of Michigan, said Friday the city would run out of money within a week if the state withdraws $80 million in revenue sharing.

Detroit's City Attorney is suing to stop Detroit from entering into a financial stability agreement with the state of Michigan. The claim is that Michigan is in default to Detroit and that the state has not paid the city enough in shared revenue for years. It's to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars.

The state of Michigan wants the lawsuit pulled immediately because of bond financing. The state floated Detroit $80 million to refinance bonds. Jack Martin said the city has already spent $35 million from the fund.

An emergency meeting between Detroit Mayor Dave Bing and City Council was postponed Friday, because Council members said not enough notice was given ahead of time and they were concerned about violating the open meetings act.

Mayor Bing scheduled the meeting Thursday evening.

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing released a statement Thursday night, but did not respond to interview requests.

"My team is working closely with the state to mitigate any negative impacts on my administration's plan to financially stabilize the city," the mayor's statement read. "We want this matter resolved expeditiously for the sake of the citizens of Detroit."

The meeting has been rescheduled for Monday morning.

State to Detroit: Drop lawsuit or lose money

Business Leadership Programs Ignore the Key Ingredients of Success - Huffington Post

Leadership development and executive coaching programs have become pretty widespread in companies and organizations today, and with good reason: Positive, effective leadership is essential for success within today's turbulent work environment. Moreover, growing your leadership skills is also necessary for successful career development in today's workplace, where nothing is guaranteed.

But there's a problem with these programs: Many fail to help with three crucial areas: building personal growth through self-awareness and self-examination; learning the leadership actions that increase company success in the midst of a changing workforce and fluid environment; and then, learning to align the two.

The absence of programs that really help in these areas gets reflected in periodic surveys finding that people at all levels are unhappy and dissatisfied with their work and careers. They struggle with the emotional impact of negative, unhealthy leadership that appears stuck in a 20th century mindset of top down, command-and-control.

Executive development programs typically take you through questionnaires, various exercises and "tools" to build skills and resolving roadblocks or conflicts. Many of them provide important and useful help for strengthening leaders' knowledge and capacity for greater effectiveness in their roles. Some are provided by large consulting organizations like Right Management; others by university executive education programs, such as Harvard's or Wharton's. Efforts have been made to evaluate the effectiveness and scope of coaching programs, as well.

But many of them miss, on the one hand, building the necessary self-awareness of your "drivers" as a leader or manager. That is, your emotional makeup, your values and attitudes; your personality traits, and your unresolved conflicts. You're a total person, not just a set of skills performing a role.

On the other hand, the programs often fail to incorporate current knowledge about the changing workforce, as well as the link between sustainable, socially responsible practices and long-term business or mission success. Yet bringing these two key ingredients together is the vehicle for both a thriving career and organization. Let's look at both:

Self-Awareness and Self-Examination
Personal growth and career growth go hand-in-hand, and are the foundation for successful leadership in today's organizations. Most successful and satisfied executives, whether at the top or on their way up, practice some form of self-awareness and self-examination. They learn to align their personal values and life goals with the kinds of leadership practices that will promote growth and development at all levels.

Becoming self-aware and orienting yourself to self-examination involves your entire mentality - that mixture of your emotions, your mental perspectives and attitudes, your values and beliefs. It includes, for example:

Learning from your personal "time-line." That is, the key turning points in both your career and personal life, with an eye to what's shaped your values, life goals, and attitudes. How your career decisions and experiences have shaped or had impact on your personal development. And vice-versa: How experiences and events in your personal life have influenced your career. Moreover, what the long-term consequences of both have been, good and bad.

Your personal values. How they support or impede your subordinates' development, your relationships with peers and with superiors.

Your openness to facing and dealing with personal conflicts. Everyone has some, and emotional blind spots will eventually erupt or intrude in undermining or dysfunctional ways at work.

Your level of relationship competency. How effective you are interacting with diverse people and diverse agendas. How your verbal and nonverbal communication impacts different people, and how theirs affect you.

Your political savvy. The capacity to see people's agendas or maneuvering towards some objective they seek, and factoring that into your interactions.

The above include strengths to further develop and enhance, as well as issues that can undermine effective management and derail you. Personal self-examination is a holistic task. You can't fragment it, or you end up a fragmented person.

Building "Green" Leadership
On the organizational side, coaching towards successful leadership includes knowing the range of social and economic forces that impact companies today. These forces require positive, "green" leadership strategies, in the broadest sense. They include:

A changing workforce. It's shifting towards younger generations who bring different attitudes and motivations. And, towards greater diversity -- ethnically, racially and culturally - as well as diversity of gender and sexual orientation.

A new norm of constant "flux." It requires continuous innovation; an open, transparent, collaborative form of leadership that supports management strategist Umair Haque's description of a "builder" rather than an old-style "leader." Phil Libin, chief executive of Evernote, illustrates an aspect of this environment, saying, "We always try to ask whether a particular policy exists because it's a default piece of corporate stupidity that everyone expects you to have, or does it actually help you accomplish something? And very often you realize that you don't really know why you're doing it this way, so we just stop doing it." Effective leaders in this new environment are also keenly aware of what not to pursue, not just what they want to go after, as Greg McKeown, CEO of THIS, Inc., recently described regarding what he learned from an Apple executive.

Increasing embrace of sustainable practices. Along with corporate social responsibility initiatives, promoting social good and building a psychologically healthy management culture, knowledge that all are linked with long-term success. New thinking and programs exist regarding these shifts from leaders, but mostly from outside conventional coaching and leadership development programs. For example, a program for designing a data-driven sustainability program; writings by CSR leader John Friedman, examples described by environmental business consultant Anca Novacovici, and others.

A recent commencement address by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg nailed the essence of the workplace and career environment that now exists and it's implications. She described what leadership development programs often appear to not grasp, or don't incorporate into their programs. Though speaking to Harvard Business School graduates, her message is relevant to all levels of management and leadership:

As traditional structures are breaking down, leadership has to evolve from command and control to listening and guiding... you will not be able to rely on who you are or the degree you hold (but) on what you know... you're going to need the ability to communicate authentically, to speak so that you inspire the people around you and to listen so that you continue to learn each and every day on the job.
Control and power are shifting from institutions to individuals...look for opportunities, look for growth, look for impact, look for mission. Move sideways, move down, move on, move off. Build your skills, not your resume. More than anything else, you're going to need the ability to communicate authentically. A good leader recognizes that most people won't feel comfortable challenging authority, so it falls upon authority to encourage them to question.
As we strive to be more authentic in our communication, we should also strive to be more authentic in a broader sense. I talk a lot about bringing your whole self to work--something I believe in deeply. You have to know what (employees) love and hate, what they feel, not just what they think. I don't believe we have a professional self from Mondays through Fridays and a real self for the rest of the time. That kind of division probably never worked, but in today's world, with real and authentic voice, it makes even less sense.

It's clear that we live and work in a transformed -- and transforming -- world. Programs that aim to strengthen leadership from the outside would do well to learn from those who already know what supports successful careers and leadership, from within.

Douglas LaBier, Ph.D., a business psychologist and psychotherapist, is director of the Center for Progressive Development in Washington, D.C. You may contact him at To learn more about him, click here.

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US STOCKS-Futures fall as caution creeps back into market - Reuters UK

Fri Jun 8, 2012 1:29pm BST

* Sources say Spain to request EU aid over the weekend

* German imports tumbled in April

* Apple may block Samsung phone

* Futures down: S&P 500 7 pts, Dow 50 pts, Nasdaq 12 (Updates futures)

By Edward Krudy

NEW YORK, June 8 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures fell on Friday after an expected new round of monetary easing failed to materialize, leaving investors to chew over the slowing global economy and Europe's ongoing debt crisis.

Spain is expected to request European aid for its ailing banks over the weekend to forestall worsening market turmoil, becoming the fourth and biggest country to seek assistance since the euro zone's debt crisis began, EU and German sources said.

German imports tumbled at their fastest rate in two years in April, and exports fell more than expected, another sign Europe's largest economy is beginning to feel the chill from the euro zone debt crisis.

Rick Meckler, president of investment firm LibertyView Capital Management in New York, said traders were nervous ahead of the weekend given the uncertainty emanating from Europe.

"It does carry the risk that if the calls are not heeded, particularly by Germany, you have to come in on a Monday and deal with a meltdown situation, so that is keeping the markets from really having any meaningful recovery," he said.

The S&P 500 gave up an early rally on Thursday after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's did not indicate more forthcoming stimulus for the economy in remarks before a congressional committee. Hopes of a globally coordinated effort had been raised earlier in the day after China cut lending rates.

September S&P 500 futures fell 7 points and were below fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures fell 50 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures fell 12 points.

Still, the S&P 500 was on course for its best week this year after a substantial rally in the middle of the week. That came shortly after the index fell below it 200-day moving average, in what some analysts said was an oversold bounce. The strong week also comes after the worst month since September.

"The rally we had, which was pretty strong, was a bit more of a technical than a fundamental bounce and the market is struggling to find the good news to keep it going," Said Meckler.

European shares as measured by the FTSEurofirst 300 dropped 0.5 percent in morning trade, while the euro fell against the dollar and oil retreated. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei index slid 2.1 percent posting its worst string of losses since almost 1975.

McDonald's Corp fell 1.9 percent in premarket trade after the fast-food chain said global comparable sales rose 3.3 percent in May and that foreign currency translation negatively impacted second quarter earnings by 7 to 9 cents per share.

Shares in Chesapeake Energy Corp climbed 3.3 percent to $18.43 in premarket trade. The embattled company said it plans to sell its midstream assets in three transactions for total expected cash proceeds of more than $4.0 billion.

An Apple Inc lawyer said the iPhone and iPad maker may seek a legal order stopping the launch of Samsung Electronics Co Ltd's Galaxy S III phone in the United States later this month.

Best Buy Co Inc founder and chairman, Richard Schulze, resigned from the retailer's board on Thursday and said he was exploring options for his 20.1 percent ownership stake, a move seen as a possible precursor of a Schulze-led private takeover. (Ediitng by Padraic Cassidy)

Business Council steps up its electoral game, hires Reynolds - Albany Times Union (blog)

The state Business Council plans to step up its game this November, delving more deeply into electoral politics, especially in the upcoming legislative races, says the group’s President Heather Briccetti.

“The intention is to get more pro-business legislators elected,” she said during a meeting at the Troy Hilton Garden Inn on Friday where the Council hosted leaders of local chambers and others.

To that end, she said they are hiring former western New York Congressman Tom Reynolds as a consultant.  The effort, though, is bipartisan with the Council supporting both Democrats and Republicans and Briccetti noted they also plan to hire, as they have in the past, former state Assemblywoman Joni Yoswein for Democratic races.

The Business Council, in its first gubernatorial nod, endorsed Andrew Cuomo in 2010.

Briccetti said they’ll be looking at candidates along with other business-oriented groups such as Unshackle Upstate, which was quite active with endorsements in 2010 if I recall, and the Federation of Independent Business.

Among their plans: questionnaires for candidates, both incumbent and challengers, about their stances on key questions facing the business community. Those answers alone, though, won’t be the deciding factor on whether to back an office-seeker, as Briccetti said lawmakers who have voted against their interests in the past won’t be able to wipe that away with the “correct” questionnaire answers. “You don’t get to fix that by filling out a questionnaire,” she said.

Among their priorities: keeping the minimum wage hikes off the table  beating back what they say are onerous ‘wage theft prevention’ mandates that add to a business’s paperwork burden.

She noted that groups with agendas that can harm businesses, be they unions or community advocates, are often well-organized, spending lots of time in the Capitol hallways making their voices known, while business operators are typically preoccupied with simply running their day to day operations.

“You have a very organized voice of opposition on every issue that impacts business,” she added.

Grace Financial Drops Petition Against Penson Worldwide Unit - Bloomberg

Grace Financial Group LLC, a Long Island, New York-based broker-dealer serving hedge funds and investment advisers, dropped a request for an injunction against a unit of Penson Worldwide Inc. (PNSN)

Grace Financial, based in Southampton, on May 31 filed a petition in New York state Supreme Court in Manhattan asking a judge to force Penson Financial Services Inc. to continue servicing trades under an agreement between the companies.

The petition was withdrawn without prejudice, according to a stipulation between the two sides dated June 4. Grace Financial dropped the case, said Mark G. Hanchet, an attorney with Mayer Brown LLP representing Penson Financial Services.

“They basically determined there was no point in going forward,” Hanchet said in a telephone interview.

Timothy P. Kebbe, an attorney representing Grace Financial, didn’t respond to a message seeking comment on the withdrawal of the petition, which had sought to stop Penson Financial Services from terminating the agreement or changing any services it provides. The company is a unit of Dallas-based Penson Worldwide.

Penson Financial had told Grace Financial on May 25 that it would stop settling and clearing trades and acting as a custodian for securities traded on local markets outside the U.S., according to the petition.

The case is Grace Financial Group LLC v. Penson Financial Services Inc., 651872/2012, New York state Supreme Court (Manhattan).

To contact the reporter on this story: Chris Dolmetsch in New York at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at

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