The Real Business Benefits Of Cloud Computing - NASDAQ The Real Business Benefits Of Cloud Computing - NASDAQ

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Real Business Benefits Of Cloud Computing - NASDAQ

The Real Business Benefits Of Cloud Computing - NASDAQ

The ever-shifting world of business can result in great years followed by periods of stagnation, with previous market leaders slipping out of favour, as they have to adapt and follow the trends set by upcoming movers and shakers.

Cloud computing is one technology that is regularly touted as the next big thing in business innovation, allowing businesses to keep pace through benefits, which are often little understood. But how is it that this kind of IT system can manage to make a difference?

I have outlined the four key components that make cloud computing such an important development, each of which will apply to your company irrespective of its size or budget. You can then use this to analyse the suitability of any cloud platform that you might consider, to make sure that it is a suitable long-term solution for your business.


Without value being on its side, the cloud's other benefits would seem less pronounced. Make sure that if you are locked into a contract with a provider, you will be getting a good deal for your loyalty. In addition, those companies investing in more significant cloud set-ups should find that economic efficiency increases as they ratchet up the comprehensiveness of their adoption.


Combining facets in the cloud that meet multiple requirements in your business will put you in a good position to fully exploit this IT setup. Integration should include everything from data storage and business apps to web hosting and social media.


Your business cloud needs to be able to adapt to shifting technological advancements and easily be updated to include new systems as they are developed. Without this it could become a dead weight like an outdated in-house setup.


The cloud should fluidly fit into your business model rather than requiring that you make changes to suit it. Businesses big and small should be able to choose a cloud platform that is tailored to their needs.

Disclosure: The author Stefan Töpfer, FIoEE, is the CEO of - a leading business cloud infrastructure provider. The views and opinions expressed are his and are based on over three decades of personal experience as a serial entrepreneur, editor of The Small Business Blog, mentor and angel investor.

Macau casino stocks slide on visa concerns - The Guardian

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Most Canadian Stocks Decline as Gold Shares Tumble - Bloomberg

Most Canadian stocks retreated as the fourth decline in five days by raw-material companies amid concern about the European debt crisis overshadowed gains by financial shares.

Gold companies in the Standard & Poor’s/TSX Composite Index plunged 2.4 percent, extending their loss since June 18 to 8 percent. SouthGobi Resources Ltd. (SGQ) tumbled 25.9 percent, the most since 2008. Sun Life Financial Inc. (SLF) and Manulife Financial Corp. (MFC) helped lead the industry’s rally, climbing at least 1.9 percent.

In the S&P/TSX (SPTSX), 132 companies declined and 108 advanced. The index advanced 4.03 points, or less than 0.1 percent, to 11,334.42 after losing as much as 0.7 percent earlier. The index has fallen 1.6 percent in June, heading for a fourth straight monthly decline.

“The focus continues to be the macroeconomic and that remains with Europe,” Jeffrey Bradacs, whose team at Manulife Asset Management manages C$1.7 billion, said in a phone interview. “The issues in Europe continue to weigh on the markets and that continues to weigh on risk-based names and commodity-based names.”

Concern over the European debt crisis intensified today as Spanish and Italian bonds fell and the euro weakened as borrowing costs increased at debt sales. Canadian stocks fell yesterday, sending the benchmark index to the lowest level since May 18, on concern European leaders may fail to calm the debt crisis during a summit this week. German Chancellor Angela Merkel reiterated her opposition to a shared debt burden in the region.

Corn Rises

Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc., the largest fertilizer producer, gained 3.1 percent to C$43.53 as corn climbed to the highest level in more than nine months on speculation that hot, dry weather during the next two weeks will reduce yields in the U.S., the world’s largest grower.

Barrick Gold Corp. (ABX), the world’s largest producer, fell 4 percent to C$37.83 as gold declined for the first time in three sessions.

SouthGobi fell 26 percent to C$4. The company cut output as prices and customer purchases declined and the company awaits a regulatory notification on a plan by Aluminum Corp. of China Ltd. to acquire the Mongolian coal producer.

To contact the reporter on this story: Katia Dmitrieva in New York at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nick Baker at

Stocks Fluctuate as Investors Watch Data - Businessweek

U.S. stocks advanced, rebounding from yesterday’s selloff, as optimism about the housing market tempered concern about a worsening of Europe’s debt crisis.

News Corp. rose 8.3 percent as Rupert Murdoch’s company said it’s considering splitting into two publicly held corporations. Apollo Group Inc. (APOL) (APOL), the largest U.S. for-profit college chain, surged 10 percent after beating earnings and revenue estimates and raising its forecast. A measure of homebuilders in Standard & Poor’s indexes jumped 3.8 percent as housing prices dropped at the slowest pace in more than a year.

The S&P 500 (SPX) rose 0.5 percent to 1,319.99 at 4 p.m. New York time. It tumbled 1.6 percent yesterday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average increased 32.01 points, or 0.3 percent, to 12,534.67. Volume for exchange-listed stocks in the U.S. was about 6 billion shares, or 12 percent below the three-month average.

“There are lots of variables at play,” said Keith Wirtz, who oversees $15 billion as chief investment officer for Fifth Third Asset Management in Cincinnati. He spoke in a phone interview. “People are looking at signs of stabilization in the housing market, there’s the European summit this week, it’s almost quarter end. It’s going to be a volatile week.”

Today’s rally trimmed this quarter’s decline in the S&P 500 to 6.3 percent. The benchmark measure is on pace for the first quarterly slump since September amid concern about a global economic slowdown. Energy, financial and technology shares have had the biggest losses so far in the second quarter, tumbling at least 9.5 percent.

Yields Surge

Equities rose today as the S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values in 20 cities dropped 1.9 percent in April from the same month in 2011, the smallest decline since November 2010, after decreasing 2.6 percent in the year ended March. The data overshadowed a surge in yields at auctions in Italy and Spain ahead of a European Union summit on June 28.

“We’re caught in this limbo,” said Brian Jacobsen, who helps oversee $204 billion as chief portfolio strategist at Wells Fargo Advantage Funds in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin. “People are waiting to see what comes out of the European Union summit this week.”

Consumer discretionary, energy and financial shares had the biggest gains among the 10 main S&P 500 industries. Homebuilders in S&P indexes advanced with PulteGroup Inc. (PHM) (PHM) and Lennar Corp. (LEN) (LEN) adding more than 3 percent.

News Corp. (NWSA) (NWSA) rallied 8.3 percent to $21.76, the highest level since 2007. Murdoch, the chairman and CEO, is overseeing internal discussions on whether to separate the company’s publishing business from its entertainment holdings, said two people with knowledge of the matter. In a statement today, News Corp. didn’t say how the company would be divided.

Apollo Gains

Apollo advanced 10 percent to $35.81 for the largest gain in the Bloomberg U.S. For-Profit Education Index. The company, confronting student reluctance to take on debt amid high unemployment and government investigations of for-profit colleges’ marketing practices, reined in costs during the quarter, said Peter Appert, an analyst at Piper Jaffray & Co.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) (JPM) had its recommendation raised and Morgan Stanley (MS) (MS) was lowered by analysts at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., who said they have a better view of the near-term earnings outlook for JPMorgan. Shares of JPMorgan increased 1.1 percent to $35.71, while Morgan Stanley added 0.2 percent to $13.51.

Goldman Sachs upgraded JPMorgan to a buy on its “Americas conviction list” of highly recommended stocks, while Morgan Stanley was removed from that list and lowered to neutral, the analysts wrote in a research note today.

Return Visibility

“Both JPM and MS shares have underperformed (JPM) the broader banking group this year, driven by real but different idiosyncratic concerns,” Goldman Sachs analysts led by Richard Ramsden wrote, referring to the two company’s stock symbols. The balance of risk and potential return is better for JPMorgan shareholders, according to the note, because of “more near-term earnings and return visibility for JPM.”

Facebook Inc. (FB) (FB), facing criticism for a lack of diversity on its board, appointed Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg as its first female director. The world’s largest social-networking service, a majority of whose users are women, will benefit from the addition of a female voice to its board, said Laura Martin, an analyst at Needham & Co.

“This is a great move,” said Martin, who doesn’t own shares and rates the stock a buy. “Academic research shows that the greater the diversity on a board, the higher the returns to shareholders are.”

The shares rose 3.2 percent to $33.10.

Dow Chemical

Dow Chemical Co. (DOW) (DOW) slid 2.9 percent to $31.32. The largest U.S. chemical company by revenue was downgraded to neutral from overweight at JPMorgan by equity analyst Jeffrey Zekauskas. The 18-month share-price estimate is $36.

The S&P 500, down 7.4 percent through yesterday since reaching a four-year high in April on weakening economic data, is about to lose another pillar of support: the election year calendar.

The gauge has climbed an average of 0.1 percent in third quarters before a presidential vote in election cycles since 1945, the worst return of the year and down from an average increase of 2.2 percent between April and June, according to S&P. U.S. shares have returned 5.7 percent in election years since World War II, the second-worst performance during four- year executive branch terms.

Stocks have retreated following a rally in the first quarter, dragged down after reports on U.S. manufacturing and employment trailed economist forecasts and concern grew that Europe’s debt crisis will spur a global recession.

Financial Crisis

The S&P 500 dropped 8.9 percent in the July-September quarter of 2008 as the financial crisis intensified. It has rebounded 1.9 percent on average in quarters after elections, S&P’s data show.

“This lack of direction is understandable, in our opinion, as investors are bombarded by the hype from the conventions, speeches and political advertisements, as they await the outcome of the upcoming election,” Sam Stovall, S&P’s chief equity strategist, wrote in a note yesterday.

While the index posts an average gain during the third quarter of election years, it’s just as likely to rise as fall, according to S&P. Its lowest point during years of presidential votes have come in the first half 71 percent of the time, the data shows. The most consistent gains come in the final quarter, when the gauge has climbed 81 percent of the time.

Only twice out of the 17 election years since 1944 did the index bottom in the fourth quarter, in 2000 and 2008, when the market suffered the bursting of Internet and housing bubbles, respectively. President Barack Obama, a Democrat, is seeking a second term against Republican candidate Mitt Romney on Nov. 6.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rita Nazareth in New York at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nick Baker at

Business traveller: Strategies for sleep - Financial Times

June 26, 2012 8:48 pm

GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks up, euro dips as technicals offset Spain worry - Reuters UK

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Business 101: Taking Stock -

As part of my role with the UK Trade & Investment I am keen to help businesses become more successful by offering my own expertise. Last week I met with the team from Kenneth Turner , who I connected with via the UKTI, to offer a bit of advice and mentoring.

Since I can't mentor everyone (as much as I love doing it!) I thought I'd write a blog post on some of the points that came up in our conversation that apply to all creative businesses.

1) Don't be afraid to really take stock of your business and make changes.

A lot of businesses, and creative businesses in particular, are so focused on getting their products featured that they often don't think that there could be a reason why they seem to be constantly pushing on closed doors. Instead of trying yet another retailer hoping they'll be the ones that 'get' your product take a hard look at your product, the market place you're operating in, your competitors and what you may need to do differently. YOU need to understand your product and how it fits in the marketplace.

2) Exploit your bestsellers

If you have a product people are connecting with then start to look at how you can fully exploit it. Can you produce it in any other mediums? Can you make different sizes? Can you make premium and budget versions? In the example of Kenneth Turner, they had a silver vase that was selling very well. I suggested looking at producing it in porcelain and rubber to tap into different aesthetics.

3) Less is always more

Quality is the most important factor when you are producing products. It is better to have fewer products in a range that are top quality then a variety of lower quality goods. People want to trust your brand and nothing loses customers faster than a feeling that they are not getting their money's worth.

4) Build your brand

I cannot stress how important it is to take your branding, packaging and merchandising seriously. You only have a few seconds to capture the attention of customers and make a clear statement about your brand. Since branding is a costly exercise, take the time at the outset to create something that will stand the test of time. The White Company have the simplest logo and packaging in retail but it really is timeless!

5) Play up your heritage and Britishness

It is particularly important for brands looking to sell in international markets that you play on your 'Britishness'. Products from the UK are seen as high quality and have real cache internationally. If like Kenneth Turner you have heritage in your brand then make sure it comes across in your sales material and branding. Those archives are also huge assets, so don't be afraid to dive into the past to see what you can revive as a thoroughly modern product.

6) Bring in complimentary skill sets

'Creative' and 'business' always seems to be in separate camps but it is important to bring the two very different skill sets and ways of thinking together to make your business successful. Take a good look at your own business and see where you may be lacking in skillset. Finding someone who can make up the shortfall will make all the difference to your own success.

Kenneth Turner are looking to bolster their own creative talent, so if you have a strong fresh vision and think you have what it takes to help them with their brand re-launch in time for the international design fairs this Autumn then please contact Annette Denby via .

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MONEY MARKETS-Repo rates up on Twist, may ebb near term - Reuters

NEW YORK, June 26 | Tue Jun 26, 2012 1:43pm EDT

NEW YORK, June 26 (Reuters) - The cost for banks to borrow short-term funds backed by Treasuries has been trending higher as the Federal Reserve's Operation Twist program adds to a surplus of short-end debt supply.

Analysts noted, however, that a number of other factors could stem the funding cost increases in coming weeks, at least temporarily.

The U.S. central bank said last week that it will extend the Twist program by another $267 billion, until the end of the year. Twist involves selling short-term notes to fund purchases of long-dated debt, in a bid to lower consumer borrowing costs.

This supply has flooded the short-term rates market and is likely to help to continue to drive up the cost of borrowing overnight funds using short-term Treasuries as collateral.

"The extension of Operation Twist will result in some continued pressure on repo rates on the margin because it's going to mean more competing supply in the front-end," said Brian Smedley, interest rate strategist at Bank of America in New York.

Average overnight rates in the interdealer market have increased to 22.5 basis points in the last month, and analysts see this likely to increase to the mid-20s level. The rate had traded at around 10 basis points last October.

Analysts at Barclays also attribute some of the rise in the rates to new, possibly lower-rated banks adding market share in the market as the Federal Reserve pressures the industry to reduce risks posed by the dominance of three large banks.

Other factors in the coming weeks could stem rate increases, however, even if only temporarily.

Some banks have been using repo to secure extra cash cushions in recent weeks as Greek elections and bank downgrades by Moody's Investors Service threatened new volatility. With these events now over, the banks may reduce these positions.

"In the last month or two it appears that some banks have built up a bit of an excess liquidity buffer leading up to the Greek elections and Moody's downgrades, and that has contributed to some upward pressure on repo rates," Smedley said.

"In the coming weeks we'll see if banks feel more comfortable trimming back that excess liquidity," he added.

Decreasing appetite heading into quarter-end at the end of this week could also reduce pressure in the market, adding to a temporary decline in rates.

Longer term, a deteriorating economy could push repo borrowing rates back down if the Fed launches new quantitative easing to further stimulate growth.

Some economists expect the Fed could launch a third round of easing, focused on purchases of mortgage-backed bonds as soon as its meeting in September.

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