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November 21, 2014

Draghi Ramps Up Stimulus Pledge on Weak Inflation Outlook - Bloomberg

Filed under: Business, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — DoctorBusiness @ 6:08 pm

Mario Draghi strengthened his stimulus pledge for the euro area by saying the European Central Bank can

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November 20, 2014


Filed under: Europe, economics — Tags: , , , — DoctorBusiness @ 5:04 am

(Corrects Bank of America estimate for potential bank lending capacity in eighth paragraph.)

A Chinese factory gauge fell to a six-month low in November, adding to signs broader stimulus is needed to halt a slowdown in the world

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November 18, 2014

Children who see hard porn can suffer sexual dysfunction: symposium

Filed under: Finance, term — Tags: , , , — DoctorBusiness @ 2:12 pm

WINNIPEG — A symposium at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights is looking at how earlier access to hardcore pornography is affecting children.

Several speakers at the forum sponsored by the child advocacy group Beyond Borders say for many, it can lead to sexual dysfunction and intimacy issues as they age.

Speakers at the event John Carr, executive board member of the U.K. Council of Child Internet Safety, and Cathy Wing, co-executive director of MediaSmarts, which has for over a decade monitored children’s use of the Internet.

Wing said a 2013 study of Ontario teens from grades 7 to 11 revealed 40 per cent of the male students looked for porn online, as opposed to seven per cent of females.

It also suggested the rates of parental control over access to pornography is dropping, mostly because of the Internet.

Wing said the answer is to start introducing sex education to students as soon as Grade 4.

“Sex ed has always been taught in school,” Wing noted. “But the problem is kids are being exposed to much more explicit stuff much younger. And we have to recognize that as adults. It (education) has to happen in the home as well.”

However, Wing said a recent attempt by the Ontario provincial government to introduce sex education beginning in Grade 4 was abandoned because of protests from some parents that the program was too explicit.

Some speakers suggested pornography is literally rewiring the brains of children to be stimulated to unrealistic, violent sex.

“The concern is not that they’re getting access to sexual content, but they’re getting access to exploitive and violent content that’s masquerading as sex,” said Cordelia Anderson, founder of the Minneapolis-based Sensibilities Prevention Services, which specializes in sexual violence and child sexual abuse cash till payday advance.

“It’s completely different now. You’re getting multiple stimulation now. The content of those (older Playboy magazines) you’ll see on music videos and games now. It’s more and more violent and degrading. And it’s really encouraging stimulating pain and degradation. There’s nothing about mutual pleasure. It’s not even realistic depictions at all of what could or does happen.”

Gabe Deem of Irving, Texas, has started a website for pornography addicts called RebootNation.org.

“I was exposed to magazines at eight (years) old,” he told the conference. “I found a Playboy magazine outside my house. Then I had cable porn at 10. I had unlimited access to porn at the age of 12 when my parents got high-speed Internet.

“My porn use escalated and escalated and what I watched became more misogynistic, more shocking. Because as I became numb I needed a bigger hit. I was searching for that more hardcore material.”

Deem cited studies that concluded adolescents are “vulnerable” to excessive pornography, to the point where it “rewires” their brain with unrealistic and/or unattainable expectations of sex.


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November 17, 2014

Japan Prepares Stimulus After Unexpectedly Tumbling to Recession - Bloomberg

Filed under: Mortgage, Prices — Tags: , , , — DoctorBusiness @ 4:48 am

Japan signaled it will pull together a stimulus program to shore up the world

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November 15, 2014

Nuclear Iran and the prospects for peace: Burman

Filed under: Uncategorized, economics — Tags: , , , — DoctorBusiness @ 8:16 am

As the Nov. 24 deadline regarding Iran’s nuclear program approaches, is the world heading to some sort of catastrophic war with the Middle East’s most influential nation — or will there be a truly historic peace?

Let us hope the dark clouds of history don’t provide the answer. The poignant tributes this past week to the 16 million people who died a century ago in the First World War glossed over one essential fact. It was an insane and avoidable war, one of the bloodiest in world history, which was only made possible by an incompetent and self-serving leadership class that largely emerged from the horrible ashes alive. One hundred years later, are we reliving history?

It doesn’t have to be this way. As Islamic State fanatics threaten Syria and Iraq, there are compelling strategic reasons for d

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November 13, 2014

Oil and politics: A senator scraps for survival

Filed under: Finance, management — Tags: , , , — DoctorBusiness @ 9:04 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a blend of crude oil and raw politics, Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu scrapped on Thursday for converts among fellow Democrats for legislation to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline before a runoff election that threatens to end her career in Congress.

The White House said President Barack Obama took a “dim view” of the bill but did not explictly threaten a veto. Even so, Senate Democratic officials said the party’s leadership agreed to give Landrieu room to try and pass the measure only after receiving assurances that Obama would not sign it.

The maneuvering took place as House Republicans readied a vote for Friday on their own identical pipeline bill — advanced by Rep. Bill Cassidy, who is Landrieu’s rival in the Dec. 6 runoff. Landrieu led in a first round of voting last week, but Cassidy is favored to win the runoff, leaving Landrieu in urgent need of a way to shake up the race.

Landrieu sought to cast herself as an independent-minded lawmaker as she maneuvered for supporters for her bill in the Senate and for votes back home. “My leadership didn’t give me permission to do this. Nobody asked me to do it,” she said in remarks on the Senate floor.

The Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, offered a different view. “We never would have gotten to this point without the tireless leadership of Senator Hoeven in the Senate and Congressman Cassidy in the House, he said. Sen. John Hoeven of North Dakota is the bill’s leading Republican supporter in the Senate.

Adding another layer of political complexity, Republicans said if the bill doesn’t become law in the next several days, they will make it a priority after a new Congress convenes in January, when they will have a majority in both houses and increased leverage over Obama.

“We aren’t finished. We’ll pass it as either part of broader energy legislation or as an amendment to another must-pass bill, either in the lame duck or in the new Congress,” said Hoeven.

The GOP-controlled House has voted several times to approve the pipeline, which would move oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast of the U.S. Legislation on the issue has always fallen victim to gridlock in the Senate, where Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has worked to prevent its passage.

If the political maneuvering was thick, the issue itself was relatively straightforward.

Supporters say construction of the pipeline is critical if the United States is to achieve energy security after decades of relying on oil imports that can fluctuate unpredictably in price fast cash online. They also cite estimates that the pipeline would create thousands of jobs

But the project divides Democrats, with environmentalists in opposition while some unions as well as energy-state and business-minded lawmakers support it.

The Sierra Cub issued a statement opposing the measure, as did Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., who urged Obama to veto the bill if it reaches his desk.

The administration has put off announcing any decision pending a Supreme Court ruling in Nebraska on a challenge to the law that allowed the route of the pipeline to be set. Obama has long said his administration would make a final decision based on the pipeline’s estimated impact on climate change.

Supporters of the measure appeared to have at least 58 of the 60 votes they would need for approval next week. That included all 45 Republicans as well as 13 Democrats, among them Delaware Sen. Tom Carper, whose office confirmed his support during the day.

Other officials said Landrieu had a commitment from one more Democrat, whom they declined to name. Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado, who was defeated for re-election last week, ignored reporters seeking to ask him his position on the measure. Other senators who are leaving the Senate at year’s end appear to offer Landrieu the most hope in her search for 60 votes, but Sen. Tim Johnson of South Dakota confirmed his opposition during the day.

The White House stopped short of directly threatening a veto of the legislation. But spokesman Josh Earnest, traveling in Asia with Obama, said the president takes a “dim view” of legislative efforts to force action on the project. Earnest reiterated Obama’s preference for evaluating the pipeline through a long-stalled State Department review.

The Nebraska Supreme Court’s decision is expected before the end of the year.

That case involves a lawsuit filed by landowners and activists opposed to the project who are seeking to overturn a 2012 state law that allowed Republican Gov. Dave Heineman to approve the pipeline’s route through the state.

White House efforts to tiptoe around the issue weren’t good enough for several Senate Republicans, who sent the White House a letter asking Obama to make his position known.


Associated Press writer Grant Schulte in Nebraska contributed to this story.


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November 12, 2014

Macy’s 3Q profit tops Street, cuts 2014 outlook

Filed under: Business, economics — Tags: , , , — DoctorBusiness @ 8:08 am

CINCINNATI • Macy’s third-quarter net income rose 23 percent as some expenses fell.

The retailer’s profit topped analysts’ estimates, and its shares climbed in Wednesday premarket trading.

For the period ended Nov. 1, Macy’s earned $217 million, or 61 cents per share. That’s up from $177 million, or 47 cents per share, a year earlier.

The average estimate of analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of 49 cents per share.

Macy’s stock gained $1.03 to $59.62 before the market open.

Its selling, general and administrative expenses dropped in the quarter.

The department store operator’s revenue dipped 1 percent to $6 saving account payday loan.2 billion from $6.28 billion. Analysts expected higher revenue of $6.35 billion, according to Zacks.

Macy’s Inc., which has corporate offices in New York and Cincinnati, said that it now foresees 2014 earnings between $4.25 and $4.35 per share. Its prior outlook was for $4.40 to $4.50 per share. Analysts polled by FactSet expect full-year earnings of $4.41 per share.


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November 10, 2014

McDonald’s key sales figure declines in October

Filed under: Business, economics — Tags: , , , — DoctorBusiness @ 9:44 am

Updated at 7:58 a.m.

OAK BROOK, Ill. • McDonald’s Corp. says that a key global sales figure slipped 0.5 percent in October, with weakness in the U.S. and ongoing difficulties from a food-safety scandal in China weighing down its business.

The world’s biggest hamburger chain said Monday that the decline in global sales at locations open at least 13 months included a 1 percent drop in the U.S. and a 4.2 percent decline for the unit that includes the Asia-Pacific region, the Middle East and Africa.

McDonald’s APMEA division has been trying to bounce back since the summer, when a TV report in China showed workers at one of its suppliers repackaging meat that was alleged to be expired. The claim has not been publicly confirmed by the supplier or the government.

The Oak Brook, Illinois, company said comparable sales for Europe fell 0.7 percent in October due to softness in Russia.

A year ago, its overall global sales figure rose 0.5 percent in October.

President and CEO Don Thompson said in a statement that consumers are increasingly looking for food where they have the option to customize it to their liking, as well as places that have convenient ways to order and pay. McDonald’s previously announced that it plans to expand its “Create Your Taste” offering that lets people pick the buns and toppings they want on burgers by tapping a touchscreen.

The chain said that its U.S. restaurants were hampered by strong competition. Thompson previously said that McDonald’s plans to combat this in party by simplifying its menu so that its restaurants have room to offer options best-suited for their regions. This process is expected to start in January.

One of McDonald’s biggest challenges in the U.S. is long-held perceptions around the freshness and quality of its ingredients. The chain has been fighting to boost sales as people gravitate toward foods they feel are more wholesome. As a result, people have been heading to places like Chipotle, which markets its ingredients as being of superior quality.

McDonald’s has more than 35,000 locations in more than 100 countries.

Its stock gained 90 cents to $96 in premarket trading about 45 minutes ahead of the market open.


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November 8, 2014

Toronto needs much more than a new mayor to shape its future

Filed under: Loans, legal — Tags: , , , — DoctorBusiness @ 10:24 pm

The election of a new mayor provides Toronto the chance for a fresh start. With fear of constant leadership paralysis now banished, mayor-elect John Tory and the newly elected city councillors have their task cut out to restore confidence at City Hall.

But before they set out to do so, it would be wise for them to see the brighter side of what the past four years have taught us. It’s also an opportune time to look at ways and means to strengthen Toronto and our other major city regions with more powers.

Most of us would have garnered the perception that Toronto has fallen into deep dysfunction. But reality couldn’t be more different. While the city could be said to have been mayor-less, it definitely was not leaderless.

At city hall, after a brief failed honeymoon for Mayor Rob Ford, members of the council and staff filled the leadership vacuum. Toronto’s non-partisan system, while messy, allowed its city government to deliver despite the disruption. Council and the city’s senior management found equilibrium on a wide range of issues from transit to housing to electoral reform.

Another ingredient in Toronto’s success has been the city-building and civic leadership that has emerged from vibrant and innovative private firms, public institutions, non-profits, and cultural sector organizations that form its wider civil society. Over the last decade these collective efforts have helped the city to be consistently among the world’s top 10 in terms of livability, prosperity, and attractiveness for businesses.

Both municipal politicians and public servants should harness these powerful elements of growth and energy that exist outside city hall by embracing and engaging with them more frequently than before. All said, city leadership is most effective as a collaborative endeavour with many faces.

Regrettably, there is only so much that elected leaders and civil society can do for Toronto. There are strong inhibitors in Canada that prevent cities from being in the vanguard of progress and change. The historical time warp, dating back to the time of Confederation almost 150 years ago, has misaligned tasks and tools at the municipal level payday loan.

Our cities are creatures of the provinces under the Constitution Act and have few residual powers. At the same time they have an array of mandates for the provision of goods and services ranging from police and fire protection to public health. There are responsibilities to create effective movement of people and goods, either by transit or roads, and to create housing for people not served by the commercial housing market.

On things like transit, affordable housing and energy systems, the costs are enormous and well beyond what the meagre revenue tools of the cities can handle. Thus they must go to either the province or the federal government for help, other levels of government that have other agendas, pressures, timetables and ideas. Cities generally must go cap in hand, tugging on their forelock, as they lack the fiscal capacity to control their own destiny.

Sufficiently persuasive mayors like Calgary’s Naheed Nenshi and the newly minted John Tory might be able to pull this off once or twice a term if there is a friendly face in the other chair, but such synchronicity has proven rare in recent years.

Mayors and councillors at the municipal level know these are pressure issues, but their governments lack the fiscal capacity to deal with them. There has been little evidence produced to show that these funds can be generated by wringing out efficiencies.

Whatever the legal and jurisdictional framework or differences in responsibilities, cities need a powerful set of levers to introduce change. Devolution of powers, especially to generate revenue, is needed to promote fiscal accountability and change municipal practices for better governance.

While elections enable citizens to choose their leaders, redistribution of powers to large urban regions would empower those mayors and councillors to give their cities much more control over their destinies.


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November 7, 2014

Canada’s Cott Corp to buy US-based water, coffee distributor

Filed under: Gold, term — Tags: , , , — DoctorBusiness @ 5:40 am

Canada’s Cott Corp said it would buy a U.S. direct-to-consumer bottled water and coffee distributor to expand beyond private-label soft drinks and juices and widen its client base from retailers and distributors to consumers’ offices and homes.

Cott’s shares jumped more than 16 percent on Thursday after the company said it would pay $1.25 billion for DSS Group Inc, parent of DS Services of America Inc.

Cott said acquiring the owner of bottled water brands such as Alhambra and Belmont Springs would help it expand margins and reduce its dependency on its private-label products such as Vess soft drinks and Red Rain energy drinks, which now account for about two-thirds of sales.

DS Services, whose website is water.com, operates over 2,100 routes reaching about 1.5 million customers directly in their homes and offices, which Cott said would not only increase its client base, but also help it sell its own array of products.

“This is a new customer channel in which Cott will be able to take advantage of DS Services’ extensive route track infrastructure to cross sell elements of Cott’s product portfolio direct to DS Services customers,” Cott’s Chief Executive Jerry Fowden said on a call.

Cott, which has posted falling sales for 11 straight quarters, said DS Services would boost its revenue growth by 2-3 percent per year and add to its adjusted free cash flow per share.

The company expects the deal to reduce its private label business to 49 percent of total sales from 74 percent, with water now accounting for about a third of sales payday loan.

Cott posted 2013 sales of $2.1 billion, with Wal-Mart Stores Inc accounting for about 30 percent of that.

After the deal, carbonated soft drink is expected make up about 19 percent of Cott’s products portfolio, down from 30 percent. The water delivery business will make up more than a quarter of its products offering.

Cott said the combined company’s gross margins for the twelve months ended September was 27 percent, compared with 12 percent on a standalone basis. It expects cost and revenue synergies of about $25 million a year by the end of 2017.

The value of the deal, expected to close by January, includes the assumption of DS Services’ debt and the issuance of preferred shares to Crestview Partners and other shareholders.

Credit Suisse is Cott’s financial adviser, while Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP is its legal adviser. Barclays is DSS’s financial adviser and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP is its legal advisor.

Cott shares were up 11.3 percent at C$7.69 in afternoon trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange. (Editing by Don Sebastian and Savio D’Souza)


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