US STOCKS-Wall St flat on euro zone concerns, Greek election - Reuters UK US STOCKS-Wall St flat on euro zone concerns, Greek election - Reuters UK

Monday, June 11, 2012

US STOCKS-Wall St flat on euro zone concerns, Greek election - Reuters UK

US STOCKS-Wall St flat on euro zone concerns, Greek election - Reuters UK

Thomson Reuters is the world's largest international multimedia news agency, providing investing news, world news, business news, technology news, headline news, small business news, news alerts, personal finance, stock market, and mutual funds information available on, video, mobile, and interactive television platforms. Thomson Reuters journalists are subject to an Editorial Handbook which requires fair presentation and disclosure of relevant interests.

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Need for money means less time in battleground states - Miami Herald

In three days of campaign travel this past week, President Barack Obama spent just two hours on the soil of a battleground state - a small fraction of his time given that voters in those places are expected to decide the election.

Instead, Obama rubbed elbows with wealthy donors in New York City, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Those rich Democrats hadn't shelled out $20,000 apiece just to cheer and watch him from a distance at a big rally.

For years, the complaint in donor-rich states, including Illinois, New York and California, has been that presidential candidates take them for granted and seldom show up to campaign. But the race for money is vastly more competitive this year - and the list of actual battleground states is even smaller than before. The net effect is that Obama and Republican rival Mitt Romney have spent a great deal of quality time in a few wealthy enclaves cloistered with the country's prosperous elite.

The rest of America - states that are neither wealthy nor battlegrounds - increasingly has become flyover territory.

Only in recent elections has the list of campaign stops become so limited. Two trends have combined to greatly constrict it: increased political polarization, which has sorted states into blue and red, and a greatly stepped-up battle for money.

In 1976, 59 percent of the U.S. population lived in battleground states - those won by less than a 5-percentage-point margin - according to data compiled by Emory University political scientist Alan Abramowitz. By 2008, only 20 percent of the population lived in a battleground state. The figure could drop even more this year.

On the flip side, almost half of voters in 2008 lived in states that either Obama or his Republican foe John McCain won by a landslide margin of 15 points or more.

Then there's the money race. In 2008, Obama abandoned the system of partial public financing of presidential campaigns. This time Republicans have followed suit, so both candidates must raise huge sums. Unlike the last election, in which Obama greatly outspent McCain, Republicans this time will at least equal - and probably outspend - Obama.

The resulting contrast in campaigns is particularly striking for Obama. In 2008, he spent hours on stages with his sleeves rolled up, taking questions at televised town hall meetings. This year, at least for now, those town halls have morphed into private question-and-answer sessions behind closed doors, over finger sandwiches and catered cuisine.

Last week, the president spent much of a two-day trip with the political elite of San Francisco and Los Angeles. He took questions at high-dollar events, measuring the temperature of actors and Hollywood executives in the cozy courtyard of the home of Ryan Murphy, the creator of "Glee." The next morning, he stopped in at the hilltop home of Charles Quarles, a real estate developer, where 300 people paid at least $2,500 to eat omelets in the presence of the president.

Before leaving Beverly Hills, Obama met privately with a small group of the young, famous and rich of Hollywood, including actors Zach Braff ("Scrubs"), Jeremy Renner ("The Hurt Locker") and Dianna Agron ("Glee").

From there, he zipped through Las Vegas, the economically battered city he will need to carry overwhelmingly if he is to have a hope of winning Nevada, a swing state. He delivered a speech with little interaction with voters, save for a moment when he mentioned the housing crisis and the plague of underwater mortgages. The crowd of about 2,500 reacted with a knowing groan.

In a typical campaign week, Obama gives speeches in key swing districts or tours a factory floor, pausing to talk with workers wearing hard hats or protective eye gear. Each conversation typically lasts a few minutes and focuses on the work in front of them. Television cameras have an eye on the entire interaction.

Afterward, the president usually does a couple of high-dollar fundraisers elsewhere while cameras and reporters wait outside.

Obama advisers say the president doesn't like chasing money but has to compete with a grim new reality for Democrats.

Romney adviser Ed Gillespie called the emphasis on fundraising a strategic choice with a high price tag for Obama.

"It has been detrimental to his identity as a new kind of change agent," Gillespie said at a recent media breakfast hosted by Bloomberg News. "I think they've concluded they're going to need a lot of money, and so they're willing to take these hits along the way in order to have the cash balance."

One such hit involved a Web video of Vogue editor Anna Wintour inviting donors to a fundraiser with first lady Michelle Obama. The Obama campaign released the video the same day unemployment rose to 8.2 percent.

Sometimes fundraising partners can be embarrassing for Romney, too, as when a Texas donor settled an IRS case alleging he had dodged tens of millions of dollars in taxes.

Romney likes to hold public events in warehouses and factories, where he tends to highlight the owners' experiences to buttress his argument that Obama is strangling business with taxes and regulations. He frequently meets with the owners and other community members in closed-door sessions before his public event.

How much the special access for wealthy donors affects the substance of policy is hard to know, as many of the interactions take place behind closed doors. When the Obama campaign began criticizing Romney's record at Bain Capital last month, some Democratic officials and big donors saw that as an attack on the private equity industry and said the president should back off.

If that represented a collision between fundraising interests and the campaign message, the message won.

"We're not going to back off of that," one senior Obama adviser said of the strategy on Bain Capital. "That's an important part of the story."

(Parsons reported from Washington. Tribune Newspapers staff writer Seema Mehta contributed from Los Angeles.)

Business optimism improves but only for short-term -

Monday, 11 June 2012 09:36

By Ben Salisbury

Business services firm BDO has conducted a survey of UK businesses that reveals short-term business confidence levels are at a 12-month high.

The survey was conducted by the Centre for Economic and Business Research (CEBR) on behalf of BDO and concludes that longer-term growth prospects are at risk from the European debt crisis.

BDO’s output index using business surveys compiled by around 11,000 respondents. The index increased to 96.7 in May from 95.8 in April. A reading above 95 indicates expansion.

Peter Hemington, Partner, BDO LLP commented: “Given that half the UK’s export goods go to the eurozone, it’s hardly surprising that the ongoing turbulence there is denting longer-term growth prospects here.

“The biggest issue for UK businesses at the moment is that the strength of the pound against the euro has made UK exports much more expensive, significantly denting export and growth prospects."

BDO’s Optimism Index fell for the third consecutive month, down from a high of 98.0 in February to 95.5 in May.

The data indicates that the UK should see economic growth from mid-2012, though the Optimism Index points to that growth being short-lived.

Mr Hemington said: "It's clear that UK business people are worried by the eurozone crisis and are scaling back plans for hiring and investing. This massively threatens the already fragile growth prospects for the economy.

"The Government's plans to shrink current spending by the State remain a necessity, but a fantastic opportunity is being missed to build high quality infrastructure cheaply, taking advantage of the very low borrowing rates that the Government can source currently."

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Business Card Printing – Free Business Cards Vs. Quality Cards? - Leicester Mercury

Did you know there's a business card craze sweeping the Country?  The free business card epidemic is everywhere! Free business cards are frequently branded with the printer's logo and are usually very poor quality.  They not only look awful, but they give a bad impression of your business.  Have people overlooked the importance of having something of quality to leave with a client or customer?  I really hope not.  Free cards are an attempt by the printer to advertise their own business through your cards as you hand them out – that's why they are free.  They then have the chance (with your details) to contact you in the future with other deals and for paid for print – sly ay!

We at Newstyle Print don't offer free business cards.  We believe that your branding is significant and having the right business card is really important.


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I want you to picture this scene.  You've just been to see an important potential customer, the meeting went well, and you hand over your free business card and leave.  This business card has your branding on the front, but also the printers branding on the back.  Imagine then that client has seen several people and at the end of the day he/she sits down to review the meetings.  4 business cards are on the table.  3 have been printed on both sides with branding and information about the companies, and yours is face down with the print company's logo gazing up at the prospect.  One thing is for sure; you'll certainly stand out - as first in line for the bin!  You'd be surprised how often this happens.  First impressions are so vital.

So, how can we help?

Newstyle Print offers quality business cards at extremely cost effective prices with FREE Delivery in the UK.  Our cards offer a feeling of worth that scream out to people I come from a quality company.

Take a look at our prices vs. quality and see for yourself by clicking the link below - then compare that to your current provider and see how we compare.

CLICK HERE TO VISIT OUR BUSINESS CARD QUOTING TOOL NOW! We believe we offer some of the cheapest business card prices available, but without comprising on the quality and look of the card.  We also offer spot UV cards - please call for a quote regarding these. 01572 850500.


Google defends search business against accusations voiced in Wall Street Journal - Itproportal

Google has hit back at accusations from shopping site Nextag that it is manipulating search results to favour its own products and effectively becoming a "brand killer."

"While we're always happy to have feedback about how we can improve, it's more useful if that feedback is based on facts," Amit Singhal, senior vice president of engineering at Google, wrote in a blog post.

Singal penned his post after Jeffrey Katz, CEO of Nextag, wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal that accused Google of spending years trying to "monopolise every avenue through which a company can reach users online - whether it is through search, advertising, email, mobile devices or browsers."

Katz was most irked by updates to Google's search algorithms that pushed results for Nextag further down the page. One of the more prominent changes to Google's results, an effort dubbed Panda, occurred in February 2011. Google said the update was intended to reduce rankings for low-quality sites, sometimes known as content farms. The search giant said the changes would impact about 11.8 per cent of Google's queries, and executives acknowledged that not everyone would be pleased by the update.

In recent years, Google has updated search results to provide more than just links. If you search for an address, for example, you'll get results from Google Maps. Search for the latest blockbuster movie and get movie times. Ask when a celebrity was born, and Google might just give you the answer atop its results.

On that point, Singal said today that "we believe that our users are often best served by providing better answers directly in search results."

Rivals, however, claim that Google results heavily favour its own products - Google Place Pages over Yelp or Google Shopping over Nextag, for example - or those of its top advertisers. Google has denied any wrongdoing, but America's Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is currently investigating Google's business practices, while the US Senate's antitrust panel asked Google to explain itself in a hearing last year. Katz also appeared at that hearing to voice concerns similar to those in his op-ed. 

According to Katz, "Google has become a brand killer." When called to defend its practices, "Google hides behind forked-tongued gobbledygook that is meant to obfuscate," he wrote.

Katz pointed to JoaquĆ­n Almunia, vice president of the European Commission responsible for Competition Policy, who recently called on Google to change parts of its business by July 2 in order to avoid antitrust action.

Katz had a few suggestions of his own. He asked that Google: be more transparent about how its search engine operates; provide consumers with unbiased search results; and grant all companies equal access to ad opportunities, even if they are rivals.

In his response, Singal said Google already does those things.

"It's understandable that every website believes that it is the best, and wants to rank at the top of Google results," Singal said. "The great thing about the openness of the Internet is that if users don't find our results relevant and useful, they can easily navigate to Nextag, Amazon, Yelp, Bing or any other website."

A spokesman for Katz said he would not be commenting on the Google blog post.

Google's ongoing difficulties with competition regulators is hardly confined to the US and Europe - ITProPortal recently reported on Mountain View's Seoul offices being raided by the South Korean authorities in response to Android-related accusations.

Published under license from Ziff Davis, Inc., New York, All rights reserved. Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc

US STOCKS-Futures imply moderate rise on Spain; worries loom - Reuters India

Thomson Reuters is the world's largest international multimedia news agency, providing investing news, world news, business news, technology news, headline news, small business news, news alerts, personal finance, stock market, and mutual funds information available on, video, mobile, and interactive television platforms. Thomson Reuters journalists are subject to an Editorial Handbook which requires fair presentation and disclosure of relevant interests.

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Money Advice Group Secures First Acquisition -

Money Advice Group, one of the UK’s leading financial solutions companies, has acquired No Debt Now, a debt management company based in the North West.

The No Debt Now purchase comes on the back of Money Advice Group’s recent £10 million credit facility deal with PNC Business Credit, and is the first whole share acquisition to be announced as a result of it.

Founded in 2008, No Debt Now has over 1000 clients and employs 12 staff members, all of whom will be moved to Money Advice Group headquarters, to operate under the Group’s name. A member of DEMSA, No Debt Now boasts an exemplarily reputation within the industry, with a well-trained, high quality employee base, making it an attractive opportunity for Money Advice Group, in terms of both client, and staff, integration. With a significant staff to client ratio and a minimum growth projection, No Debt Now owner and managing director, Michael Paterson took the decision to sell to Money Advice Group in April this year.

Completed in just under five weeks, the No Debt Now deal benefitted from Money Advice Group’s strong IT infrastructure and staffing structure whereby a smooth transition for staff and clients is guaranteed – testament to Money Advice Group’s commitment to its wider growth strategy, in which it hopes to grow its market share by a third, through similar deals such as this.

Simon Brown, Group Managing Director, Money Advice Group commented on the acquisition, and what it means for the company:

“We are delighted to announce the acquisition of No Debt Now. We see many synergies between it and Money Advice Group, specifically its highly compliant ethos and the investment it has made in staff training and development; meaning its clients and staff will fit naturally within the Money Advice Group family.

“In an industry where compliance is often an issue, it is refreshing to be met with such an attractive proposition. With an infrastructure such as ours in place however, we remain open to all other negotiations, and are confident in Money Advice Group’s ability to assist other companies, who perhaps are at a juncture in terms of pathway, given the new OFT regulations.” 

Michael Paterson, MD and owner, No Debt Now said:

“It was a pleasure working with Money Advice Group to agree this deal. It took only a five-week period from the initial conversation to completion. The speed at which Simon and the team worked and the support they provided us is a credit to Money Advice Group and confirmed for us, that our clients and staff would be in good hands. Often with deals of this kind, negotiations can go back and forth for months, but Simon and the team were as up-front and credible as they could be. They conducted their business with us, the same way they conduct their relationships with clients throughout the Group companies – and it’s testimony to the Group’s continuing success. A great company to do business with, and to leave our clients and staff in the capable hands of.”


Green business practices both right and profitable for Vancouver printer - Financial Post

VANCOUVER — Green is the printing industry’s most striking colour, says Nikos Kallas, president of family-owned MET Fine Printers in Vancouver.

He has long believed that a zero-waste policy, including environmentally friendly inks and Forest Stewardship Council approved paper, is both right but profitable.

“[Adherence to green principles] is the future, not only in the printing industry, but in all industry,” said Mr. Kallas, who has won several awards as one of Vancouver’s leaders in green business. “It has saved us a lot of money.”

MET, a commercial printer of brochures, catalogues and other projects was founded in 1977 by George Kallas, who recently handed the business over to his son Nikos.

As a child, the stacked paper was great for making paper airplanes, recalls Nikos, but he says he gradually started wondering what happened to used paper, printing sheets or leftover ink.
MET’s first environmental innovations happened about 15 years ago, when George had to answer some uncomfortable questions from his children about paper recycling.

MET not only introduced a comprehensive recycling program but also pushed its paper vendors to do likewise. Before introducing its recycling program, MET spent about $3,000 a month on waste disposal. Now, it spends $300 on average and even generates a small revenue from recycling waste.

In 2004, MET switched over its presses to ultraviolet lightactivated inks and coatings, which was a hefty investment but is now a benchmark for environmental printing practices, as they release zero volatile organic compound emissions.
Last year, the company offset 256 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, and it is committed to increasing business 5% a year, while maintaining or reducing emissions.

Mr. Kallas said MET, with 47 employees and revenue of about $15-million a year, has seen tangible financial benefits despite the extra cost involved in carbon offsetting, because many customers like doing business with green companies. “It has definitely helped get new clients,” he added.

Scott Gray, MET’s vice-president of branding, said companies thinking of going green should scrutinize their operations at all levels. “Start a recycling program. Put a blue box under everybody’s desk. And listen to your kids.”

Lloyd Lee, business development manager for Climate Smart, which helps small-and mid-sized businesses reduce their environmental impact, said it’s often more difficult for smaller businesses to go green because of the costs involved. One way to change that, he said, is for smaller companies to negotiate a single contract for such things as waste-hauling and recycling.

European airlines could go out of business, warns economist Brian Pearce - Daily Telegraph

The extent of damage being wrought by the European banking crisis was demonstrated by the latest IATA forecasts, which were unveiled at the industry's global summit in Beijing.

IATA, which had previously predicted European carriers would lose £385m, has nearly doubled the losses it expects this year.

Last year the same airlines were able to make a combined net profit of £321m. It was the second successive year in which they had made money,

But the latest forecast reflects growing pessimism over Europe's prospects within the industry at a time when aviation is maintaining its profitability in other parts of the world.

"For European carriers, the business environment is deteriorating rapidly, resulting in sizeable losses," said Tony Tyler, IATA's director general.

"The biggest and most immediate risk, however, is the crisis in the eurozone. If it evolves into a banking crisis, we could face a continent-wide recession - dragging the rest of the world and our profits down."

However, thanks to the strength of aviation outside Europe, airlines across the world are on track to make a profit of £1.9bn this year, which is less than half the £5.1bn they made in 2011.

North America appears to be on course for a better year, with airlines forecast to make a combined profit of £900m in 2012, a modest increase on the £840m of 2011.

Elsewhere, carriers in the Asia-Pacific region are predicted to make £1.3bn in 2012, less than half the £3.15bn they earned last year.

Airlines have been helped by a weakening of the oil price, which, according to the industry's latest calculations, accounts for a third of the industry's running costs.

But Mr Tyler warned that the industry was under threat from punitive taxes, such as Air Passenger Duty in Britain, along with rising airport and air navigation charges.

Business News: Arches Industrial Estate goes from strength to strength - Coventry

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