Saturday, May 26, 2012

3M: A Near-Term Defensive Trade

Stock markets have had a pretty much unabated run up for last six months or so. Valuations are now stretched and investors are looking for less risky names. 3M Co. (MMM) could benefit from potential rotation into more defensive names as it has relatively underperformed especially since the end of 2Q10.

What an help MMM in the near term? Less leverage

With 0.3X LTM EBITDA/Net Debt, 3M's balance sheet is clearly underleveraged. As the industrial recovery has gained steam, MMM has lagged other more leveraged and later cycle industrials. Looking ahead, a potential rotation in less defensive names may help 3M.

M&A risk abating and return of cash to shareholders

3M's CEO is likely to retire in next 1-2 years. It seems less likely that 3M would pursue a large acquisition in advance of the possible senior leadership change given the risk that a large deal might be received poorly by the market. Thus, risk of overpaying is now reduced and the company can also opt to repurchase its shares at a faster pace.

Medium to long term risks still remains

Although MMM is likely to provide near tem share price upside/outperformance, I won't bet on any medium term outperformance. Main concerns in medium term include the difficult outlook in healthcare and optical films business, reducing profit margins for emerging markets and a difficult raw material outlook.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

Coming Right Up: Yum! Brands

Yum! Brands Inc. (YUM) — This operator of quick-service restaurants, which includes KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, Long John Silver’s, and A&W, had held its powerful bull-market trend through almost all of this year’s bear market. But in late September it finally cracked in an irrational round of selling.

The weekly chart shows that YUM has turned up on Collins-Bollinger Reversal (CBR) buy signals from a double-bottom that matches prices in mid-2006.

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Kauffman Foundation Super Bowl ad calls on entrepreneurs

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Not many people know the Kauffman Foundation, but after this Sunday a lot more will have an idea.

The $2 billion nonprofit that focuses on fostering U.S. entrepreneurship is running its first ever TV ad, and it's doing it during the Super Bowl.

So, sandwiched between commercials featuring scantily clad models and costumed dogs will be a plug for starting a business.

The animated 30-second commercial, which the foundation said cost it less than $400,000, is part of its campaign to inspire everyday Americans to launch their own businesses.

"The next great entrepreneur is out there. Will it be you?" a narrator asks, as a wide-eyed cartoon character with a lightbulb over his head becomes a successful business owner making the front page of a newspaper.

The commercial, which was uploaded to YouTube Jan. 25, will run in four major cities.

Super Bowl ad sneak peek

It directs viewers to, a microsite that links to resources for aspiring and existing small business owners.

"We want people to understand anyone can have a great idea. And if you have great commitment and passion, you can try that idea out," said Wendy Guillies, a spokeswoman for the foundation. "The end goal is that we have more people who start businesses and succeed in them."

Directing a call to entrepreneurial arms toward nacho-munching Average Joes during a football game might sound strange, but Guillies said that's exactly who the foundation is targeting with its campaign.

Many successful entrepreneurs started off as Average Joes or Average Josephines.

Kauffman paid to run the commercial in four unique markets. New York City is the country's most populous. San Francisco is a tech hub. Washington D.C. is the workplace of legislators who Kauffman wants paying attention to small business. And Kansas City is the group's headquarters.

A considerable portion of the 172 million watching the game Feb. 5 will be in those cities. A quarter of that 172 million will be tuning in for the commercials, according to the Retail Advertising & Marketing Association's survey this month.

NBC's Super Bowl ads sell out at record prices

However, convincing people to become their own bosses will still be difficult. The economy continues to crawl at a snail's pace and access to credit is limited for small business owners.

But the message will likely receive much attention if it follows Volkswagen's (VLKAF) barking Star Wars dogs or the sexually suggestive commercials of web provider Go Daddy -- a successful company Guillies noted was once a tiny startup.

"All those commercials came from a company that likely started with one person," she said. 

To write a note to the editor about this article, click here.

To Learn Forex

by Bart Icles

As much as you give yourself time to learn the basics of the forex market, as well as some advanced ideas about it, it also helps to learn forex trading myths to keep yourself aware. These myths can as easily trick you to making the biggest mistakes in forex trading that can prove to be damaging, especially to newcomers to the currency market. More often than not, there are many newcomers who fall into the array of forex traders who end up losing their money because they are all too caught up in believing that forex trading is a get-rich-quick scheme. This is just one of the many forex myths that you should learn so you can keep yourself from making the biggest forex trading markets that any trader can commit.

Forex trading is not a simple buy and sell thing and it does not offer any get-rich-quick promises. Currency trading requires a thorough understanding of what the different trading systems are and how you can use trading signals to your advantage. To learn forex trading basics is just the start. This unpredictable market might require you to go through a series of losses first before you can fully understand the different crafts used in the trade. Keep in mind that forex trading is far from child?s play.

With this said, it also helps to take note that forex trading is far from playing online casino games. There are those who equate trading to gambling but this should not be the case. In forex trading, your success does not totally rely on luck. Your success can also be defined by how well you are able to understand and use macroeconomic indicators to your advantage.

If you are thinking that forex trading is just for the rich and famous strategists, you can never be more wrong. The currency market is by far one of the easiest markets that newcomers can join. You simply need a computer, an internet connection, some spare time to spend on trading, and about a couple of dollars in capital. If you were able to spend enough time to learn forex basics and myths, you will be able to distinguish which things to do best in certain situations that will eventually help you rake in profits.

So remember, to learn forex basics is not enough. You should also learn about the different forex myths so you can develop ways son how to avoid them. Awareness can just become your key to success in this rewarding yet unpredictable market.

About the Author:Forex systems is powerful when coupled with a desire to learn and a drive to become a great trader. Learning forex online system trading takes dedication and a good teacher. But once you learn how to trade and do so successfully your life will change and you have options and financial resources you never had before.

Forex – Forex Video Technical Update 6.26.2011 – Commodity Currencies this Week –

Forex – Forex Video Technical Update 6.26.2011 � Commodity Currencies this Week
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Stocks to Watch: Stocks to Watch Wednesday: Amazon

CHICAGO (MarketWatch) � Inc., Broadcom Corp., Marathon Petroleum Corp., Enterprise Products Partners L.P. and Aetna Inc. are among the stocks that could see active trading on Wednesday.

After the market closed on Tuesday, AMZN �reported net income of 38 cents a share, on revenue of $17.4 billion. Analysts were expecting earnings of just 17 cents a share on revenue of $18.3 billion, according to consensus estimates from FactSet Research. The shares fell 8.2% in after-hours trading on the revenue miss.

Shares of Broadcom Corp. BRCM �advanced 3% in after-hours trading on Tuesday, after the communications chip maker posted results and an outlook that exceeded Wall Street estimates.

Automakers will announce U.S. sales figures for January Wednesday morning, including General Motors Corp. GM �; Ford Motor Co. F �; Chrysler DE:DAI �; Volkswagen AG DE:VOW �; Honda Motor Co. HMC �JP:7267 �; Toyota Motor Corp. TM �JP:7203 �; Hyundai Motor Co. KR:005380 �; Nissan Motor Co. NSANY ��JP:7201 �; and Audi AG DE:NSU �.

Marathon Petroleum Corp. MPC �is expected to report a fourth-quarter loss of 6 cents a share, on revenue of $14.20 billion, according to FactSet Research�s poll of analysts.

Energy services provider Enterprise Products Partners L.P. EPD �is expected to report fourth-quarter earnings of 55 cents a share on $10.83 billion in revenue.

Insurance giant Aetna Inc. AET �is seen posting fourth-quarter earnings of 96 cents a share on revenue of $8.43 billion.

Staffing services provider Manpower Group MAN �is expected to report fourth-quarter earnings of 87 cents a share on revenue of $5.5 billion.

Appliance maker Whirlpool Corp. WHR �is expected to report fourth-quarter earnings of $2.22 a share on sales of $4.98 billion, according to a poll of analysts by FactSet Research.

Marathon Oil Corp. MRO �is expected to report a fourth-quarter profit of 82 cents a share on revenue of $2.97 billion.

Candy maker Hershey Co. HSY �is expected to report fourth-quarter earnings of 70 cents a share on revenue of $1.55 billion.

Barry Diller�s diversified online services provider IAC/Interactive Corp. IACI �is expected to post a fourth-quarter profit of 26 cents a share on revenue of $566 million.

AOL Inc. AOL � is seen posting a fourth-quarter profit of 28 cents a share on revenue of $572.2 million.

BE Aerospace Inc. BEAV �is expected to report a fourth-quarter profit of 56 cents a share on revenue of $656 million.

Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. NDAQ �is expected to report a fourth-quarter profit of 62 cents a share on revenue of $415.3 million.

Northrop Grumman Corp. NOC �is expected to report fourth-quarter earnings of $1.67 a share on sales of $6.68 billion.

Sensata Technologies Holding N.V. ST �is seen posting a fourth-quarter profit of 44 cents a share on sales of $447 million.

Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. TMO �is expected to report fourth-quarter earnings of $1.16 a share on revenue of $3.07 billion.

Tupperware Brands Corp. TUP �is expected to report fourth-quarter earnings of $1.53 a share on sales of $689.9 million.

W.R. Grace & Co. GRA �is expected to report fourth-quarter earnings of 87 cents a share.

Can We Predict a Corporate Bankruptcy?

In many cases, credit managers could easily predict corporate bankruptcies. Quite simply, a company declares bankruptcy because it does not have adequate capital to fund operations and remain solvent. Often, bankruptcy is the result of taking on too much risk, and this will be evident in a fundamental analysis of the financial statements. It stands to reason that a corporation’s public disclosure would provide ample warning of a high risk of bankruptcy…except when it doesn’t.

Indeed, amongst the 20 largest public company non-financial bankruptcy filings since 1980, nearly half were accused by regulators of manipulating their earnings to create the impression of a healthier company. And among those in the highly leveraged financial services industry, whether or not they actually declared bankruptcy, the speed at which recent banking institutions fell from grace and the inability of the marketplace to value their assets gives one pause for concern as to whether the traditional ways of gauging bankruptcy risk has effectively protected stakeholders.

In the case of Lehman Brothers (LEHMQ.PK), in August of 2007, the bank announced it would eliminate its subprime lender BNC Mortgage. After the announcement, the stock price dropped a mere 34 cents to $57.20. On September 10th of the following year, Lehman’s share price was $4.22 and 5 days later it became the largest bankruptcy filing ever.

Famously, hedge fund manager David Einhorn, who had a short position on Lehman Brothers' stock, questioned the bank's valuation just months prior to the firm’s collapse, to which Lehman’s CFO said “had no basis in fact.”

Shortly after Lehman declared bankruptcy, Washington Mutual (WAMUQ.PK) did as well, making it the second largest filing in history.

And since that turbulent time, bankruptcy filings have only increased. In fact, the number of business bankruptcy filings during the first six months of this year rose 64 percent over the same period in 2008, according to U.S. Bankruptcy Courts. Chapter 11 reorganization filings were up 113 percent over 2008, while Chapter 7 liquidation filings increased by 57 percent.

Clearly we’ve entered into a new era of bankruptcy risk. With an increase in the number of bankruptcies and the changing nature of company failures – driven by risks related to financial instruments and the speed in which companies decline – traditional approaches to identifying bankruptcy risk should be challenged to determine the best approach in this new environment. Economic pressures like the current recession and competitive changes such as new technology can
significantly accelerate bankruptcies.

There are a number of broadly accepted bankruptcy models commonly used by corporate credit officers to gauge their exposure, both academic and practical, which are based on accounting factors that have been found to be predictive of bankruptcy. Measures of liquidity, leverage and profitability have formed the basis for these accounting-based bankruptcy models, the best known of which are the
Altman Z-Score and the Ohlson O-Score. Accounting-based models are viewed as largely static, updated after annual or quarterly financial data is made available.

An alternative to static accounting-based models is a market-based approach. Market-based models have been found in academic research to provide a measure of bankruptcy risk as effective, or more effective, than accounting-based models. Market-based risk models are based on the option pricing theories of Black-Scholes and Merton’s Distance to Default (DD).

A third measure of bankruptcy risk is through evaluating the potential for fraudulent reporting of financial statements. One approach, accepted by most of the D&O insurance market, is the Audit Integrity Accounting and Governance Risk (AGR®) rating, which is commonly used to identify companies that may be committing fraud, or, more politely “managing earnings.”

Each of these three approaches – accounting-based, market-based and fraud-based – is at least moderately effective on a stand-alone basis in predicting bankruptcies. Since the models are not assumed to be highly correlated, each model has the potential to add incremental value to the other models.

To validate bankruptcy models, an Accuracy Ratio test is typically performed. This widely accepted validation test is designed to measure the predictive power of a model, and to compare different models. An Accuracy Ratio of 100% indicates a perfect model, and an Accuracy Ratio of 0% indicates a model with no predictive power; the higher the percentage, the closer the approximation to a perfect model.

Though not designed specifically as a bankruptcy predictor, the stand-alone Accuracy Ratio for the AGR Model is 45%. The Accuracy Ratio for the Ohlson Model is 77% and for the Merton DD model it is 86% (these results are consistent with numerous academic studies).

To determine whether a better approach would improve bankruptcy prediction, the three models above were combined in a single model, using regression techniques to determine which factors in combination best predict bankruptcies. The resulting model was found to have an Accuracy Ratio of 91%, indicating a highly predictive model.

Beyond adjusting current models, credit officers can institute other strategies to gauge risk such as:

  • Increase the frequency of model updates. Some models only utilize year-end data, which cannot react quick enough in today’s environment;

  • Add in market-based information to get a timely perspective on how the marketplace is assessing risk. Significant stock declines and excess volatility indicate heightened bankruptcy risk;

  • Incorporate forensic accounting or other non-traditional bankruptcy risk approaches. An overreliance on fundamental research can create a false sense of security. Certain key forensic accounting and corporate governance measures have been found to identify companies where fundamental data cannot be relied on.

Whether an actual bankruptcy filing occurs or not, companies with high bankruptcy risk are more likely to suffer losses, defaults, restructuring, asset sales, downsizing, equity dilution and other events damaging to creditors.

And analysis of past bankruptcy cycles indicates that bankruptcy filings lag an economic rebound by up to a year, which may mean further increases in bankruptcies the quarters ahead, as companies weakened by the recession struggle to survive a still challenging environment.

As the economy recovers from a deep, painful recession, many companies continue to be vulnerable to bankruptcy risk and financial distress. New approaches to identifying and monitoring this key risk should be considered, particularly in light of the changing nature of bankruptcy risk.

Top Stocks For 2012-2-1-1


QU�BEC CITY, Aug. 30, 2011 (CRWENEWSWIRE) - Aeterna Zentaris Inc. (NASDAQ:AEZS) (TSX:AEZ.TO) (the “Company”) today announced favorable top-line results of its completed Phase 3 study with AEZS-130 as the first oral diagnostic test for Adult Growth Hormone Deficiency (AGHD). The results show that AEZS-130 reached its primary endpoint demonstrating >90% area-under-the-curve (AUC) of the Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) curve, which determines the level of specificity and sensitivity of the product. The Company is currently proceeding with further detailed analyses of the data and preparing for a pre-New Drug Application (NDA) meeting with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the upcoming months, which would be followed by the filing of a NDA for the registration of AEZS-130 in the United States.

The parameters of the study, as defined below under Study Design, were achieved as agreed to with FDA under our Special Protocol Assessment (SPA). Importantly, the primary efficacy parameters show that the study achieved both specificity and sensitivity at a level of 90% or greater. In addition, 8 of the 10 newly enrolled AGHD patients were correctly classified by a pre-specified peak GH threshold level. The use of AEZS-130 was shown to be safe and well tolerated overall throughout the completion of this trial.

“We are pleased with the results obtained and we therefore expect to meet with the FDA and work out the content of a submission for an NDA. We believe that AEZS-130 could become the first approved oral test for the diagnosis of AGHD, providing patients with a potentially safer, accurate and more convenient alternative to the current injectable tests”, stated Juergen Engel, Ph.D., President and CEO at Aeterna Zentaris.

Study History

The study titled, “A Multi-Center Study Investigating a New, Oral Growth Hormone Secretagogue (AEZS-130, formerly ARD-07) as a Growth Hormone (GH) Stimulation Test in Terms of Safety and Efficacy”, was originally initiated to compare the performance of AEZS-130 against the then-available diagnostic growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH) Geref Diagnostic� + Arginine (ARG) standard test. Geref Diagnostic� was subsequently withdrawn from the market, worldwide, in 2008; the trial’s sponsor, Ardana Biosciences (Ardana), discontinued the study for financial reasons before it was completed. In 2009, Aeterna Zentaris entered into an agreement with administrators of Ardana and regained the rights to AEZS-130, and with the FDA, established the best way forward to complete this Phase 3 study and continue to utilize the data already obtained, in light of the loss of the original comparator. A Special Protocol Assessment (SPA) granted by the FDA, resulted in a modification of the original study, without altering the basic study design so that the completed portion of the study and the new part of the study would provide one, complete, Phase 3 study.

Study Design

The first part of the study conducted by Ardana was a two-way crossover study involving 42 patients with confirmed AGHD or multiple pituitary hormone deficiencies and a low insulin-like growth factor-I. A control group of 10 subjects without AGHD were matched to patients for age, gender, body mass index and (for females) estrogen status.

Each patient received two dosing regimens in random order, while fasting, at least 1 week apart. One regimen consisted of a 1 �g/kg (max. 100 �g) dose of GHRH (Geref Diagnostic�, Serono) with 30 g of ARG (Ar-Gine�, Pfizer) administered intravenously over 30 minutes; the other regimen was a dose of 0.5 mg/kg body weight of AEZS-130 given in an oral solution of 0.5 mg/ml.

As a result of the SPA reached with the FDA in order to complete the trial, the second part of the study contained the following revisions/additions to the first protocol:

An additional 30 normal control subjects were to be enrolled to match the AGHD patients from the original cohort;
Further, an additional 20 subjects were to be enrolled: 10 AGHD patients and 10 matched normal control subjects;
The above brought the database to ~100 subjects;
All subjects received a dose of 0.5 mg/kg body weight of AEZS-130;
As a secondary endpoint, the protocol required that at least 8 of the 10 newly enrolled AGHD patients be correctly classified by a pre-specified peak GH threshold level.

About AEZS-130

AEZS-130, a ghrelin agonist, is a novel orally active small molecule that stimulates the secretion of growth hormone. The Company has completed a Phase 3 trial for use as a simple oral diagnostic test for adult growth hormone deficiency (AGHD). AEZS-130 works by stimulating a patient’s growth hormone secretion, which normally only occurs during sleep, after which a healthcare provider will measure how well the body responds to that stimulation based on the patient’s growth hormone levels over a period of time. Low growth hormone levels, despite giving an effective stimulating agent, confirm a diagnosis of AGHD. AEZS-130 has been granted orphan-drug designation by the FDA for use as a diagnostic test for growth hormone deficiency. Aeterna Zentaris owns the worldwide rights to AEZS-130 which, if approved, would become the first orally administered diagnostic test for AGHD.

About AGHD

AGHD affects 35,000 adult Americans, with 6,000 new adult patients diagnosed each year. Growth hormone not only plays an important role in growth from childhood to adulthood, but helps promote good health throughout life. AGHD is usually characterized by low energy levels, decreased strength and exercise tolerance, increased weight or difficulty losing weight, emotional changes, anxiety and impaired sleep. Available diagnostic tests for AGHD are complex and can produce significant side effects.

About Aeterna Zentaris Inc.

Aeterna Zentaris is a late-stage oncology drug development company currently investigating potential treatments for various cancers including colorectal, multiple myeloma, endometrial, ovarian, prostate and bladder cancer. The Company’s innovative approach of “personalized medicine” means tailoring treatments to a patient’s specific condition and to unmet medical needs. Aeterna Zentaris’ deep pipeline is drawn from its proprietary discovery unit providing the Company with constant and long-term access to state-of-the-art therapeutic options. For more information please visit

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements made pursuant to the safe harbour provisions of the U.S. Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties that could cause the Company’s actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements. Such risks and uncertainties include, among others, the availability of funds and resources to pursue R&D projects, the successful and timely completion of clinical studies, the ability of the Company to take advantage of business opportunities in the pharmaceutical industry, uncertainties related to the regulatory process and general changes in economic conditions. Investors should consult the Company’s quarterly and annual filings with the Canadian and U.S. securities commissions for additional information on risks and uncertainties relating to forward-looking statements. Investors are cautioned not to rely on these forward-looking statements. The Company does not undertake to update these forward-looking statements. We disclaim any obligation to update any such factors or to publicly announce the result of any revisions to any of the forward-looking statements contained herein to reflect future results, events or developments, unless required to do so by a governmental authority or by applicable law.




Friday, May 25, 2012

Turning A Skeptic Into A Believer: Why I Am Buying Gold

I have had ambivalent feelings for a while towards the last leg of the gold bull market. For some background I started to amass a physical holding in gold via gold coins that were purchased in 2003 through 2005. I happily held and doubled my money in them when I unloaded them in 2007. To say the least I was early but more importantly for purposes of this article I have not held a position since.

There are 3 major events/headlines that have conspired to make me believe now is an excellent opportunity to go long gold for some capital gains. I don't see a double from here, however a double digit gain would suit me quite nicely. 3 reasons follow:

  • The Fed announcement on Wednesday Jan 25th that they will keep interest rates low into 2014. I interpret this to mean that the US dollar will stay weak. Gold does terribly during a dollar bull market as seen during the 1980s. After this announcement I see little chance in a dollar rally from here.
  • The major world banks are all working in concert to keep interests low throughout the industrialized world. The three biggest world currencies US dollar, Japanese yen and European Union dollar, all have short term rates at zero or rapidly approaching. By keeping rates so low, the central banks are hoping for a bit of inflation to help make their debt load more manageable. All three have debt as a percentage of GDP approaching 100% (in the US) and some even higher. With interest rates effectively at zero the cost of holding gold becomes even cheaper.
  • The strengthening of the Euro verses the US dollar. I was intrigued with gold after the coordinated central bank action late last year but watched gold correct due to the rise of the dollar/ fall of the euro. I wanted to see if the corresponding bond auction of the PIGS would be well received and much to my surprise the auctions have gone very well and at much lower rates than expected. I am even optimistic that the Greek debt deal will be agreed to shortly and on favorable terms (for the Euro zone, not for the bond holders).
  • For a bit of a longer term perspective the 80s through 1999 was a period of a strong US economy culminating with a strong US dollar. The 1996-1999 period was the strongest with the government actually running a balanced budget and in 1999 a surplus! My how things have definitely changed.

    This chart shows US dollar index in black with GLD overlayed in yellow. Notice Gld sold off in the August 2008 through November 2008 period while the DXY was rising. Once it stopped Gld resumed its advance. Chart courtesy of

    Kauffman Foundation Super Bowl ad calls on entrepreneurs

    NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Not many people know the Kauffman Foundation, but after this Sunday a lot more will have an idea.

    The $2 billion nonprofit that focuses on fostering U.S. entrepreneurship is running its first ever TV ad, and it's doing it during the Super Bowl.

    So, sandwiched between commercials featuring scantily clad models and costumed dogs will be a plug for starting a business.

    The animated 30-second commercial, which the foundation said cost it less than $400,000, is part of its campaign to inspire everyday Americans to launch their own businesses.

    "The next great entrepreneur is out there. Will it be you?" a narrator asks, as a wide-eyed cartoon character with a lightbulb over his head becomes a successful business owner making the front page of a newspaper.

    The commercial, which was uploaded to YouTube Jan. 25, will run in four major cities.

    Super Bowl ad sneak peek

    It directs viewers to, a microsite that links to resources for aspiring and existing small business owners.

    "We want people to understand anyone can have a great idea. And if you have great commitment and passion, you can try that idea out," said Wendy Guillies, a spokeswoman for the foundation. "The end goal is that we have more people who start businesses and succeed in them."

    Directing a call to entrepreneurial arms toward nacho-munching Average Joes during a football game might sound strange, but Guillies said that's exactly who the foundation is targeting with its campaign.

    Many successful entrepreneurs started off as Average Joes or Average Josephines.

    Kauffman paid to run the commercial in four unique markets. New York City is the country's most populous. San Francisco is a tech hub. Washington D.C. is the workplace of legislators who Kauffman wants paying attention to small business. And Kansas City is the group's headquarters.

    A considerable portion of the 172 million watching the game Feb. 5 will be in those cities. A quarter of that 172 million will be tuning in for the commercials, according to the Retail Advertising & Marketing Association's survey this month.

    NBC's Super Bowl ads sell out at record prices

    However, convincing people to become their own bosses will still be difficult. The economy continues to crawl at a snail's pace and access to credit is limited for small business owners.

    But the message will likely receive much attention if it follows Volkswagen's (VLKAF) barking Star Wars dogs or the sexually suggestive commercials of web provider Go Daddy -- a successful company Guillies noted was once a tiny startup.

    "All those commercials came from a company that likely started with one person," she said. 

    To write a note to the editor about this article, click here.

    A Cursory Insight Into New World Coins

    The authorized silver bullion coin of the United States is famous as the American Silver Eagle. The first issue of this particular coin was minted and published on 24 November 1986. The United States mint was at the leader of the production of these currency.

    Most bullion currency are actually obtainable in several metals. Only a few are particularly attainable in one metal, such as the South African Krugerrand and Switzerland’s Vreneli coin. Most other bullion currency can come in as many metals as three, and in the case of Canada’s prized Maple Leaf series, four.

    These currency are popularly used for a number of various reasons. Many people use the American Silver Eagle currency for the aim of funding their particular retirement account. On the other hand coin collectors have the favorable circumstances to add this particularly created proof version to their collection.

    Over the course of history the American Silver Eagle coin has been minted at three separate locations. The first mintage that issued the official Silver bullion was located in Philadelphia. Coins that have been minted at this facility bear the mint mark of “P”. The San Francisco mint is credited for releasing the early batches of authenticaticated issues of the American Silver Eagle bearing the mint mark of “S”. The most current proofs have been published from the West Point mint in New York and bear the mint mark of “W”.

    The opposite side of the American Eagle coin features the classic walking liberty design that was developed by Adolph A. Weinman.The same way the style used for the half dollar coin was minted in the United States between 1916 to 1947.

    The walking liberty design was considered to be an iconic image that had eveolved into a favourite for the public. With the American Silver Eagle currency this historic blizzard was revived and introduced to the public once again. The opposite side of the American Silver Eagle had the image of the heraldic eagle which was thought out by John Mercanti.

    With the American Eagle currency, the power to attract to the self-esteem of the American nation is patent in the design. The design of the silver currency is certainly mainly called to the design of the gold versions, possibly due to the attractive lines of the Walking Liberty of the silver currency.

    The obverse side of the American Eagle coin nclude the classic walking liberty design that was developed by Adolph A. Weinman.The same way the design used for the half dollar coin was minted in the United States between 1916 to 1947.

    With regards the business strikes the greater number of dates are accessible between value ranges of $20-$25. Some of the proofs dating back to the in the beginning 1990s can sell for well over $100.

    The Silver Eagle currency are not sold completely to the public by the government authorities, and are generally sold to consumers through authorised suppliers. At first, there were only 28 purchasers authorised by the US Mint, but now there are more of them and you shall not find it hard to find a credible supplier.

    999 Authentic Silver Coins can be bought at inexpensive costs. Intrigued individuals seeking additional advice should visit our thorough guide to Rare American Silver Eagle Coins.

    Free cash flow favorites in technology

    In addition to the better-known price/earnings ratio, we like to use price/operating cash ?ow and price/free cash ?ow to value stocks relative to their cash-generating ability.

    We screened for stocks that have grown operating cash flow and also look cheap relative to both operating cash ?ow and free cash ?ow. Three free cash flow favorites are Agilent Technologies (A), Google (GOOG) and Oracle (ORCL).

    Agilent Technologies, a maker of measurement and testing equipment, illustrates the virtues of cash ?ow. For eight consecutive quarters, it has grown both operating cash ?ow and free cash ? ow at least 35%.

    Some of that cash went toward the repayment of long-term debt, but much of it remained on the balance sheet, lifting net cash per share to $3.82 from a negative $1.17 two years ago.

    The con?uence of surging operating momentum and a revitalized balance sheet encouraged management earlier this month to initiate a quarterly dividend of $0.10 per share.

    Better yet, the stock hasn�t kept up with that cash-?ow growth, despite rebounding 49% from its October low.

    Shares trade at 12 times trailing cash provided by operations, a 25% discount to their ?ve-year average. At 14 times trailing free cash ?ow, the stock fetches a 29% discount to its peer-group average.

    Agilent seems poised to deliver more growth, with the consensus projecting 15% higher per-share profits in the January quarter. Revenue growth is likely to exceed 8% for an eighth consecutive quarter.

    Agilent has a history of managing Wall Street expectations, having topped the consensus pro?t estimate in each of the last 10 quarters.
    Scoring above 50 in all six categories in our quantitative ranking system and earning an Overall rank of 97, Agilent is a Long-Term Buy.

    Google shares retreated after the company said it earned $9.50 per share in the December quarter excluding special items, up 9% but $0.99 short of the consensus estimate.

    Revenue increased 25% to $10.58 billion while cash provided by operations rose 11% to $3.92 billion, marking the 10th straight quarter of growth for both metrics.

    The number of clicks on Google�s search ads surged 34% in the quarter, but the average cost per click � what Google charges advertisers � dipped 8%.

    Rates for mobile ads tend to be lower than those for traditional digital ads, causing some analysts to wonder if the shift toward smartphones will cannibalize Google�s more-pro? table business.

    And some worry that Google is squandering its prodigious cash hoard � $44.63 billion at the end of 2011 � on Google TV and other unpro?table indulgences.

    However, CEO Larry Page has worked to weed out super?uous ventures since taking the helm last April.

    And some of those pet projects might begin to pay off. Social networking site Google+ experienced a 125% surge in membership to 90 million users in the last three months of 2011.

    Moreover, operating cash ?ow consistently exceeds net income � af?rming the quality of Google�s pro? ts. The stock remains a Focus List Buy and a Long- Term Buy.

    Oracle is one of just eight companies in the S&P 500 Index that has produced at least 5% higher operating cash ? ow in each of the last eight ?scal years (Google also accomplished that feat).

    Given Oracle�s size � only ?ve U.S. technology companies have produced more operating cash ?ow in the past 12 months � it is impressive that the company keeps ?nding ways to move the needle. �

    Operating cash ?ow soared 45% in the 12 months ended November, nearly double its ?ve-year annualized growth rate.

    Some of that cash funds Oracle�s aggressive acquisition campaign, but cash assets have also climbed 25% in the past year to $31 billion, while long-term debt has held steady at roughly $15 billion.

    Up 11% in so far in 2012, Oracle shares are within 3% of their price in late December, when company reported disappointing November- quarter results.

    At 13 times free cash ?ow, shares trade 19% below their ?ve-year average and 22% below the average systems-software stock in the S&P 1500 Index.

    Based on operating cash ?ow, the stock looks even cheaper, trading at a 22% discount to its ?ve-year average and 34% discount to its peer-group average. Oracle is a Buy and a Long-Term Buy.

    Precious metals charts look positive

    PLAYA DEL REY, Calif. (MarketWatch) � In what has certainly become an environment of constant and steady quantitative easing by central banks around the globe, what might properly be termed, the �Age of QE,� the action in precious metals is often seen as a barometer of the trend in fiat money-printing.

    When the U.S. Federal Reserve Board released members� projections of interest rates out to 2014 in their most recent policy announcement in late January the market took this as a clear sign that the QE spigot remains at the ready, if not necessarily wide open.


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    Omar Aguilar, chief investment officer at Charles Schwab, tells MarketWatch's Jonathan Burton investors are transitioning to a search for growth from a flight to quality. /conga/story/2012/02/trading-strategies.html190512

    In a nutshell, the Fed indicated that its members� believe interest rates will by necessity remain between 0% and 0.25% until at least mid-way into 2014, and the Fed Chairman, in his interview following the policy announcement, confirmed that the Fed intended to remain in an accommodative posture for the foreseeable future.

    This can only mean continued quantitative easing with some, among them Fed members themselves, speculating about the Federal Reserve�s willingness to engage in outright purchases of mortgage-backed securities in the not too distant future as a way of injecting further liquidity into the financial system and hopefully provide some assistance to a faltering economy.

    Some would argue that QE has already proven to be relatively ineffective in jump-starting the U.S. economy, and that such operations amount to little more than the stealth printing of massive amounts of fiat currency.

    However, another crisis in Europe could spur more quantitative easing out of Europe, or Euro-QE. While quantitative easing in general is not good for the long term health of the economy, central bankers are politicians first and foremost. The price of gold is a clue here should it continue markedly higher. But remember, there are many crosscurrents with gold. For example, another crisis in Europe tends to create a weak euro and a strong dollar which acts as a headwind on the price of gold.

    Meanwhile, reports point to increased physical demand out of China on gold which serve as a tailwind on gold.

    All in all, if central bankers on both sides of the pond are willing to print dollars, pounds, and euros, then the price of gold and silver will have no choice but to trend higher, and this is confirmed by the recent technical action in both gold and silver, as represented by the SPDR Gold Trust Shares GLD � and iShares Silver Trust SLV, respectively.

    Chart 1 shows the GLD on a daily timeframe, and we can see that since the top in late August/early September gold has spent the last five months building what is beginning to take shape as a possible double-bottom type of base or consolidation.

    At the extreme lows of this formation in late December 2011, investors� love affair with gold had flamed-out, and many were quick to make proclamations of a final popping of the �gold bubble.� As we�ve seen throughout the past decade, whenever investors have become thoroughly disenchanted with gold that is often the low. And it is notable that a spike in bearish gold sentiment occurred roughly at the same time as the second low in the GLD�s double-bottom formation held and the yellow metal began its rally back to the upside.

    In December we were concerned with the GLD�s breakdown below its 200-day moving average, but in January 2012 it has decisively retaken that critical moving average, and most recently issued a clear buy signal as it broke out through the 50-day moving average on the upside. In our view, if gold can hold its 50-day moving average on any pullback, then we would look for a breakout through the mid-point of the double-bottom formation at $1800-an-ounce as confirmation of a new uptrend in gold.

    Meanwhile, silver is confirming the strength in gold, as we see in Chart 2, the daily chart of the iShares Silver Trust SLV �. The SLV in fact broke out through its 50-day moving average three days before the GLD did, as a comparison of Charts 1 and 2 shows, and the white metal ETF looks primed to make a run at its 200-day moving average in the 35 price area. As with the GLD, we would look for the 50-day moving average at the 30 price level to serve as support on any pullback from current levels.

    We think that the current technical action in silver and gold means that the lows in these key precious metals have been put in. And so with a bottom likely in place in the precious metals, the odds are that both metals are in the process of sprouting nascent uptrends as they potentially begin to work their way up the right side of these large consolidations or bases they have been forming since topping earlier in 2011.

    Gil Morales and Dr. Chris Kacher are both principals and managing directors of MoKa Investors LLC and Virtue of Selfish Investing, LLC, cofounders of and co-authors of �Trade Like An O�Neil Disciple: How We Made 18,000% in the Stock Market� (Wiley, August, 2010).

    Thursday, May 24, 2012

    Google in China: What Would Disney Do?

    Google (GOOG) could take a cue from Walt Disney (DIS) about improving its dealings in China, where the Internet giant’s distress over hacking and censorship is being compounded by the glare of a new European antitrust review.

    Disney has a hard-won track record over two decades in China, where it is constructing a second theme park, engaged in local production and jockeying for equity stakes in state media. Although it has taken tough stands on freedom of expression, Disney generally has accomplished a win-win with the Chinese.

    As Google resumes its fragile talks with the Chinese government, it appears to be backing off of its threat to pull out of the country over serious censorship and hacking of its website it suspects were state-sanctioned. Google has secured the National Security Agency to help investigate January cyber attacks on Google and as many as 100 other company websites, resulting in intellectual property theft. Intel is among the latest US multinational to report being a victim of cyber attacks in China.

    Despite the lingering corporate espionage, Google now is scrambling to hire dozens of new employees to replace those who defected to the dominant Chinese search engine Baidu (BIDU) and other local competitors in the six weeks since announcing it would leave the country.

    Capping years of cantankerous relations, Google should have known better than to call China’s bluff, particularly at a time when privacy, copyright protection and search engine monopoly issues have fueled its heated clashes with regulators, consumers and lawmakers across Western Europe. The European Union antitrust review announced last week is the first such scrutiny of Google’s conduct outside of a merger review.

    The ability for Google, as well as other multinational Internet players, to conduct business has been further complicated by last week’s conviction of three Google executives for violating Italian privacy laws. The Italian verdict holds Google (and, possibly by implication, other Internet companies such as Facebook) responsible for third party posts. The EU also is focusing on what it considers invasion of privacy such as Google’s Street View maps. Until cloud computing is the norm, Google must find a constructive way to work with different ideological gatekeepers.

    So, just maybe, it’s time for Google to ask: “What would Mickey do?”

    The entertainment giant attributes much of its western business success to diligence, patience and consistency in dealing with a government and culture very different from its own — as Google is beginning to appreciate.

    Harvard Business School Professor John Quelch warns that managing national and local government relations is paramount where government-controlled enterprises contribute a higher percentage of GDP and China generally is driven by its desire for economic growth.

    Disney has hit its own speed bumps in China. Disney defied the Chinese government in 1997 by distributing the Martin Scorsese film Kundun, about Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama. Disneyland Hong Kong, which was supposed to boost the company’s consumer products and films, has been hurt by the global recession and initially fumbling with its theme park representation of China’s highly fragmented culture. Disney experienced similarly painful learning curves and losses in Disneyland Paris - now a profitable European attraction.

    Disney’s latest milestone is building a $4 billion theme park in Shanghai, in which is 43% equity stake will be matched by Chinese partners. It is one of the largest foreign investments ever in China despite mainlanders’ limited exposure to Disney franchise stories and TV channels.

    As Disney is demonstrating, today’s good fight is all about tomorrow’s potential.

    Today, China represents just 1% of Google’s annual revenues (about $250 million) from its 31% market share behind dominant search engine, whose profits are soaring on the meteoric growth of online advertising. It is bad business for advertising-supported Google to walk out on or try to bully a country morphing into the world’s largest market — especially as it prepares to sell online enterprise software and apps for its Android mobile smart devices.

    Despite its newfound economic power, China’s government will continue exercising obsessive media control, severing Internet, text and international telephone connections in vast regions to quell rioting and controversy. That makes media different from any other business represented by companies such as IBM (IBM), General Motors (GMGMQ.PK) and Caterpillar (CAT), which are realizing double-digit revenue growth in China.

    Google’s most effective weapon will be economic -not emotional.

    Reuters recently reported that Google is part of a consortium led by Disney in advanced talks to pay about $100 million for as much as a 40% stake in China’s largest in-bus digital media and advertising company. Bus Online, which is a partner of China’s state operated broadcasting and news agency operations, has denied the report.

    If it proves true, it could signal Google’s willingness to hitch a ride with Mickey for now.

    Disclosure: None

    Foreign Exchange Online – Computer and Forex Program Tips

    If you want to make profits from FX trading, you mυѕt download forex software. Thеrе is no two ways about it you have to be аbƖе to use a computer in order to trade currency exchange. In the old days it was possible to trade stocks by calling your broker, but forex has never really worked that way.

    Thіѕ is because forex trading did not ѕtаrt іn anticipation οf the gold exchange standard was relaxed when the Bretton Woods Contract was dissolved in the 1970s. In those days forex trading was dominated by the banks and other major financial institutions. Bу the time private investors were getting heavily involved, the internet had arrived and forex software came into play.

    Therefore to trade currencies you will need a computer and a dependable broadband internet tie with which to trade the forex market. Broadband is vital because you will need to perform a forex software download which takes a lot of computer power and you will be dealing with prices that change within a second. Yου саnnοt afford to have delays, hang ups or a ѕƖοw tie so a qυісk broadband tie is necessary to rυn your forex program. Equally, your computer mυѕt be moderately new ѕау, less than five years so that you have a moderately recent operating system and your PC or Mac needs to be running efficiently.

    If your computer has many files and other software on it that you have to wait five minutes for anything to download, you should consider getting a new one exclusively to rυn your forex program for fx trading. Having a dedicated computer for your online trading has many advantages in any case.

    Fοr example, it means you will not have to share the PC with your spouse or other family members. It will be ready and available whenever you want to trade the forex markets. Anԁ if you need to rυn any fx programs that require a permanent broadband tie, such as forex robots like FAP Turbo, Forex Megadroid or Forex IvyBot you can leave your computer switched on and know that no one еƖѕе will interfere with іt. Foreign Exchange is a 24 hour market so there are big advantages to having automated forex software trade for you at times when you could not be online yourself.

    In addition, having a second computer dedicated to your trading means that you have a backup. Computers of all types very οftеn develop problems, еіthеr with hardware such as the hard disk or with software through viruses and malware. If a disaster suddenly happens to your main trading computer, then having another in the house means that you can continue trading. Thіѕ could be very vital if you have open trades with no stops. Thе consequences of not being аbƖе to access a PC for several hours will be almost сеrtаіnƖу disastrous.

    Thе main software forex trading program that you will use will be the foreign exchange trading platform supplied by your fx broker. In most cases, you access this online through their website. Yου do not need to download anything. Through this platform you will access many services including charts, a demo account and your actual trading account. Thіѕ means that you can trade еіthеr in demo mode or for real, on the live market, through the software provided by your broker.

    A few brokers use desktop forex platforms instead of internet based platforms or you can use Keith Cotterill’s, Thе Ultimate Forex Predictor or TUFXP for small although this will only rυn on a Microsoft Windows computer. Wіth a desktop platform, you download the software to your οwn computer. Thе desktop system mау be qυісkеr but it has the drawback that you have to keep your computer on all of the time if you have an open trade with a ѕtοр loss. If the system is internet based, you can set your ѕtοр loss in your account on the broker’s forex software, switch off your computer and know that the ѕtοр will still be active.

    Tech Stocks Set the Pace for Broad Market Gains

    4:16 PM, Mar 1, 2010 --

    • NYSE up 65.71 (0.9%) to 7,100.75.
    • DJIA up 78.5 (0.8%) to 10,404.
    • S&P 500 up 11.22 (1%) to 1,116.
    • Nasdaq up 35.3 (1.6%) to 2,274.


    • Hang Seng up 2.17%
    • Nikkei up 0.45%
    • FTSE up 0.84%


    (+) OSIP gets acquisition offer at $52 per share.

    (+) AIG sells unit.

    (+) MIL sold to Merck KGaA.

    (+) EP beats with Q4.

    (+) IPI turns up despite missing with Q4 results.


    (-) GAME tumbles despite sales, earnings beat.

    (-) SNDA falls after reporting weakest profit in three quarters.

    (-) MG accidentally releases premliminary results.


    Stocks end near session highs, with the Nasdaq up 1.5%, DJIA up 0.8% and S&P 500 up 1%. Deal news and some relief over progress for Greece cheered Wall Street bulls as March kicks off. Commodities were mixed after a weekend earthquake in leading copper producer Chile.

    Early in the day, a report showed personal income rose by 0.1% in January, short of the 0.4% expected by economists. However, spending grew faster, up 0.5%, the Commerce Department reported. Economists were looking for a 0.4% increase. It was the slowest growth in four months.

    Around midmorning, the Institute for Supply Management said its manufacturing index index was 56.5 last month, slightly slower than the 58.4 reading in January. It was also slower than the 58 level expected by economists polled by Thomson Reuters.

    Overseas markets rallied, providing some lift domestically, on growing hope that European nations will announce a bailout deal to help Greece with its mounting debt problems.

    Among the deal news:

    American International Group (AIG) announces a definitive agreement for the sale of the AIA Group, Limited (AIA) to Prudential plc (PUK) for approximately $35.5 billion. The deal includes approximately $25 billion in cash, $8.5 billion in face value of equity and equity-linked securities, and $2.0 billion in face value of preferred stock of Prudential, subject to closing adjustments.

    OSI Pharma (OSIP) jumps after Astellas Pharma (ALPMY) said it offered to acquire the company for $52 per share cash, or about $3.5 bln.

    Merck KGaA (MRK) announced on Sunday it will pay $107 per share in cash, or $7.2 billion, for Millipore (MIL).

    RiskMetrics Group (RMG) agrees to be acquired for $21.75 a share, or $1.55 billion, of cash and stock by MSCI (MXB).

    ‘Spam’ Linked to Diabetes in Native Americans

    Seems there�s no escaping news about diabetes these days. Lately, we�ve seen an outpouring of nutritional criticism over celebrity chef Paula Deen�s new deal to promote Novartis�s (NYSE:NVS) diabetes drug Victoza. That endorsement came along with the news that Southern cooking specialist Deen suffers from Type 2 diabetes. Then on Friday, the Food & Drug Administration approved a new diabetes treatment from Amylin (NASDAQ:AMLN) that holds great promise. The new drug, Bydureon, is a once-a-week injectable and adds a new weapon to combat this growing scourge.

    And it couldn�t have happened a moment too soon. Today�s diabetes news comes from The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, which reports in a new study that Native Americans who eat processed meat were at higher risk of developing diabetes. Much to the likely chagrin of Hormel (NYSE:HRL), which makes the brand-name Spam processed meat, the study referred to the processed meat commonly consumed by Native Americans on reservations as �spam.� The lower-case spam is an often-used term for a wide variety of processed meats, especially those that come in a can.

    That sort of food �is available freely to many Native Americans on reservations as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s food assistance program,� as a Reuters report on the study points out. University of Washington researcher and a lead author of the AJCN study told Reuters: “A lot of communities in this study are in very rural areas with limited access to grocery stores… and they want to eat foods that have a long shelf life.”

    The American Meat Institute, which represents companies that process meat, told the news service that “processed meats are a safe and nutritious part of a balanced diet.” And Fretts added that �more follow-up� needs to be done before drawing any conclusions about the spam-diabetes connection.


    Wednesday, May 23, 2012

    Family Time Saving Suggestions

    In our busy world, it’s easy to become overcome by all that needs to be done. Life might be stress filled for you when you are constantly rushing around and do not appear to have sufficient time. Unfortunately, if you’re not discovering the time for you to get all your household jobs done, then you’re possibly finding it challenging to find the time to spend good, quality time with your family. If the thing that you really yearn for is simply one hour of leisure time, then here are a few time saving tips you can try implementing along with your family.

    Delegate the Chores

    When you always appear to be the one doing your household chores, it’s probably time for you to focus on your delegation skills. When you assign a few chores to every person, you may be quite surprised at the amount of spare time you have. Don’t be surprised should you end up having to take a bit of time at first teaching everyone the precise skills that they’re going to need to perform their chores. But, once everyone gets in the swing of things, you’ll probably wish you had taught everyone the way to assist a lot sooner. Try to include even the youngest family members, in order to avoid leaving anyone out. Even though your youngest family members might just be in a position to execute simple chores, they still have to feel like they are a significant part of your household “team.” You could even display your chore lists in picture frames and place them on the wall to ensure that everybody can easily see the things they can do to help you.

    Stop Your Multi-Tasking

    Even though you think that multi-tasking helps you save time, sometimes it is not the case. Typically, focusing your undivided attention to the task in front of you will help you to get it completed quickly and much more efficiently. Once one task is completely done, you can proceed to another. It’s likely that you will discover that you will get much more done in way less time.

    Maintain a Family Calendar

    A terrific way to save your time is to keep a family calendar in a place where everybody can refer to it. If you’ve ever made three separate car trips when one may well have sufficed, you probably have a good notion of how poor planning can waste time. Create a family calendar and schedule, place in picture frames, and display conspicuously on your wall. When you do this, then every family member can easily see what other people are planning and when. Another great tip is to hang a large envelope next to the calendar and use it to keep schedules, maps, tickets, as well as any other items which are relevant to the household’s schedules.

    Take Some Free Time

    Once you have implemented a few time saving tips, celebrate your newly discovered free time by planning a fun free time activity for the whole family. Enjoy a picnic, take a walk through the neighborhood park, or plan a short family holiday. Make sure that you snap some photographs of your family having a good time doing these activities together. Then, display them in picture frames throughout your home, as a good reminder on the effectiveness of your new time saving methods.

    Once everyone realizes the amount of fun these leisure time activities may be, they will most likely be much more enthusiastic about implementing additional time saving methods.

    Autumn Lockwood writes for Your Picture Frames. Display your favorite family pictures in our wall hanging picture frames or other great frames. Take a look at out our nice picture frames now or call us at 800-780-0699.

    A Preview of the Stagflation Threat

    The just-announced, surprise resignation of Federal Reserve vice-chairman Donald Kohn, a Greenspan protégé, will offer an early sign of just how committed (or not) President Obama is to the Fed's inflation-fighting mission. For the moment, let's put aside any speculation over why Kohn might have resigned.

    We're going to find out, sooner rather than later, whether the badly bloodied Fed chairman Ben Bernanke will have the support he may need from the White House to head off a potential stagflation threat (already taking shape in the UK), or whether his authority (such as it is) will be (further) compromised.

    President Obama's selection of a replacement for Kohn and the other two empty slots on the Fed's seven-seat Board of Governors, will be a key sign of the extent to which the U.S. central bank will be bolstered or undermined in its mandate to put long-run stability ahead of short-run temptations to boost growth at long-term expense. It's already a failure on that front. The question is whether its past failure will be compounded going forward.

    As I wrote in an earlier piece, the Fed faces its own "New Normal" of reduced credibility and clout amid an ongoing economic slump -- a combination that could bring its inflation-fighting credibility into serious doubt and inflation expectations to levels we haven't seen since the late 1970's:

    With America's unemployment rate likely to stay in double-digits for some time, a bigger permanent American underclass in the making, economic growth poky and government-inflated at best, no clear signs over the horizon of any significant commitment to improve economic growth the old fashioned way -- to "earn it" by improving the business climate ("It's the Business Climate, Stupid") -- D.C. more widely derided than it has been in decades, and an historically debt-heavy government that will be under ever more pressure to inflate its financial problems away, the Federal Reserve is and will be under the gun in a way it hasn't been since Paul Volcker headed the Fed through the energy crisis of the late 70's and early 80's.

    Actually -- the risk is greater today. Paul Volcker had the absolute backing of then-President Ronald Reagan to do what it took to keep inflation under control (including jacking up interest rates into the double digits). Also, the U.S. was in a better financial position (a debt-to-GDP ratio of 30% versus today's 100%). Volcker had bigger pro-votes in the Senate than Bernanke appears likely to get. President Obama's current support notwithstanding, Bernanke can't count on that support tomorrow when political push comes to shove. President Obama no longer has Reagan-sized level of popularity, and the President's party -- predisposed to putting short-term growth ahead of inflation control and long-term stability during the best of times -- can be expected to put more pressure on the Fed to be more loose than it would otherwise be, especially as the 2010 and 2012 elections approach.

    I've recommended focusing on the spread between between U.S. Treasuries and the inflation-protected variety (TIPS) and the spread between yields on U.S. Treasuries and similarly dated German bunds as key measures of the Fed's credibility gap going forward. The core idea is to at least consider trading that gap as the signs become clearer: short long-dated Treasuries, go long on German bunds (PIMCO's leading on this one), Inflation protected Treasuries and commodity-based indices and ETFs.

    As Michael Franzese of Wunderlich Securities in New York told Bloomberg earlier this month, it's troubling that the yield curve has been steepening over the past few weeks amid more signs the "recovery" has either stalled, reversed or was fraudulent to begin with:

    “The steep yield curve is starting to reflect signs of stagflation...The short end will remain tied to the fed funds. Yet we are seeing inflation signs and, as a result, long-dated maturities are getting hurt.”

    President Obama, through his selection of a replacement for Mr. Kohn and for the other three empty slots on the Fed's board, will give us an early sign of whether these concerns are fully justified.

    Disclosure: No positions

    Stocks: Bracing for a busy day

    NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Thursday will be a busy day for markets, as investors prepare for an onslaught of U.S. economic data, debt talks continue in Greece and more than 200 companies report their quarterly results.

    S&P 500 (SPX), Dow Jones industrial average (INDU) and Nasdaq (COMP) futures were up between 0.2% and 0.5% ahead of the opening bell after a report on initial unemployment claims was slightly worse than expected but remained below 400,000.

    Stock futures indicate the possible direction of the markets when they open at 9:30 a.m. ET.

    Investors are still waiting for news out of Athens, where Greek officials are negotiating with private-sector creditors to reduce the country's debt burden.

    Greece is in desperate need of an agreement to receive additional bailout funds from the European Union and International Monetary Fund. Without these funds, the country may not be able to make a €14 billion debt payment that's due March 20.

    Investors also have a full slate of economic data to sort through.

    A report showed first-time claims for unemployment benefits rose last week. Still to come Thursday morning are reports on durable goods orders and new home sales.

    Dow components AT&T (T, Fortune 500), Caterpillar (CAT, Fortune 500) and 3M (MMM, Fortune 500) report their quarterly results. In addition, the Conference Board will release the latest installment of its Leading Economic Indicators Index.

    U.S. stocks shaved early losses and ended higher Wednesday, after the Federal Reserve said it plans to keep interest rates near historic lows through late 2014.

    The Fed, which issued a statement at the end of a two-day policy meeting, had previously said it would hold rates low through mid-2013.

    World markets: European stocks rose in afternoon trading. Britain's FTSE 100 (UKX) gained 1.2%, the DAX (DAX) in Germany jumped 1.5% and France's CAC 40 (CAC40) added 1.1%.

    Asian markets ended mixed. The Hang Seng (HSI) in Hong Kong added 1.6% while Japan's Nikkei (N225) fell 0.4%. Shanghai was closed for Chinese New Year.

    Economy: Initial jobless claims for the week ended Jan. 21 rose to 377,000, up from a revised 356,000 the week prior, according to the Labor Department. Economists had anticipated 375,000 claims, according to a survey of analysts by

    Whitewater rafting? 12 unusual perks

    Durable orders for the month of December rose 3% in December. Economists had expected orders to have risen 2%.

    Later Thursday morning a report on new home sales for December is expected to show sales hit 321,000. Meanwhile, the Conference Board's Leading Economic Indicators Index for December is expected to have risen by 0.7%.

    Companies: Caterpillar shares rose 2.5% after the construction equipment maker announced earnings and revenue that both beat market expectations.

    AT&T shares fell 2% after the company reported quarterly earnings that fell short of forecasts, but revenue that beat expectations.

    Netflix (NFLX) shares surged 17.8% in premarket trading after the company reported better-than-expected earnings and sales late Wednesday. The streaming video and DVD-by-mail company said it began to add customers again last quarter, after a series of blunders damaged its reputation with consumers and investors.

    Nokia (NOK) shares climbed 7.4% in premarket trading after the mobile phone maker posted a fourth-quarter loss of €1.1 billion, and sales slumped 21% compared to the same period a year earlier. Chief Executive Officer Stephen Elop said the Finnish company has sold well over 1 million Lumia devices, a smartphone using Microsoft (MST) Windows Phone software.

    Currencies and commodities: The dollar fell against the euro, the British pound and the Japanese yen.

    Oil for March delivery added $1.50 to $100.90 a barrel.

    Gold futures for February delivery gained $15 to $1,715.10 an ounce.

    Bonds: The price on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury rose, pushing the yield down to 1.95% from 2.01% late Wednesday.  

    Top Stocks For 2012-2-1-14

    LINTHICUM, Md.–(CRWENEWSWIRE)– Ciena(R) Corporation (NASDAQ:CIEN), the network specialist, today announced unaudited financial results for its fiscal third quarter ended July 31, 2011.

    For the fiscal third quarter 2011, Ciena reported revenue of $435.3 million. On the basis of generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), Ciena’s net loss for the fiscal third quarter 2011 was $(31.5) million, or $(0.33) per common share, which compares to a GAAP net loss of $(109.9) million, or $(1.18) per common share, for the fiscal third quarter 2010. Ciena’s adjusted (non-GAAP) net income for the fiscal third quarter 2011 was $8.3 million, or $0.08 per common share, which compares to an adjusted (non-GAAP) net loss of $(8.0) million, or $(0.09) per common share, for the fiscal third quarter 2010.

    �Our third quarter results, which included a favorable product mix and reduced operating expense to achieve an as-adjusted operating profit, demonstrate our early progress in delivering additional operating leverage from the business,� said Gary Smith, president and CEO of Ciena. �Despite current macroeconomic headwinds that could cause the rate of market growth to be moderated, we believe that we are well-positioned to capitalize on the continued modernization of today’s networks and to grow faster than the market.�

    Fiscal Third Quarter 2011 Performance Summary

    The tables below (in millions, except percentage data) provide comparisons of certain quarterly results to prior periods, including sequential quarterly and year over year changes. A reconciliation between the GAAP and adjusted (non-GAAP) measures contained in this release is included in Appendix A.

    GAAP Results
    Q3Q2Q3Period Change
    FY 2011FY 2011FY 2010Q-T-QY-T-Y
    Gross margin42.5%39.7%37.0%2.85.5
    Operating expense$202.3$221.5$243.6-8.7%-17.0%
    Operating margin-4.0%-13.3%-25.5%9.321.5
    Denotes % change
    Denotes absolute change in margin
    Non-GAAP Results
    Q3Q2Q3Period Change
    FY 2011FY 2011FY 2010Q-T-QY-T-Y
    Adj. gross margin44.1%41.3%45.2%2.8-1.1
    Adj. operating expense$175.2$186.0$178.0-5.8%-1.6%
    Adj. operating margin3.8%-3.2%-0.5%7.04.3
    Denotes % change
    Denotes absolute change in margin
    Revenue by Segment
    Q3 FY 2011Q2 FY 2011Q3 FY 2010
    Packet-Optical Transport$266.561.3%$272.665.2%$242.162.1%
    Packet-Optical Switching40.79.3%31.37.5%$34.88.9%
    Carrier Ethernet Service Delivery40.59.3%30.97.4%$33.88.7%
    Software and Services87.620.1%$83.119.9%$79.020.3%

    Additional Performance Metrics for Fiscal Third Quarter 2011

    Non-U.S. customers contributed 48% of total revenue
    One 10%-plus customer represented a total of 17% of revenue
    Cash and investments totaled $536.6 million
    Average days� sales outstanding (DSOs) were 86
    Accounts receivable balance was $414.8 million
    Inventories totaled $243.8 million, including:
    Raw materials: $42.0 million
    Work in process: $12.3 million
    Finished goods: $154.1 million
    Deferred cost of sales: $66.7 million
    Reserve for excess and obsolescence: $31.3 million
    Product inventory turns were 3.3
    Headcount totaled 4,339

    Business Outlook for Fiscal Fourth Quarter 2011

    Statements relating to business outlook are forward-looking in nature and actual results may differ materially. These statements should be read in the context of the Notes to Investors below.

    Ciena expects fiscal fourth quarter 2011 financial performance to include:

    Revenue in the range of $440 to $460 million
    Adjusted gross margin percentage in the low 40s range
    Adjusted operating expense in the upper $170s million range

    Live Web Broadcast of Unaudited Fiscal Third Quarter 2011 Results

    Ciena will host a discussion of its unaudited fiscal third quarter 2011 results with investors and financial analysts today, Thursday, September 1, 2011 at 8:30 a.m. (Eastern). The live broadcast of the discussion will be available via Ciena’s homepage at An archived version of the discussion will be available shortly following the conclusion of the live broadcast on the Investor Relations page of Ciena’s website at:

    Notes to Investors

    Forward-looking statements. This press release contains certain forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. These statements are based on current expectations, forecasts, assumptions and other information available to the Company as of the date hereof. Forward-looking statements include statements regarding Ciena’s expectations, beliefs, intentions or strategies regarding the future and can be identified by forward-looking words such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “could,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intend,” “may,” “should,” “will,” and “would” or similar words. Forward-looking statements in this release include: �Our third quarter results, which included a favorable product mix and solid operating expense controls to achieve an as-adjusted operating profit, demonstrate our early progress in delivering additional operating leverage for the business�; �While we believe that we are well-positioned to capitalize on the continued modernization of today’s networks and to grow faster than the market, current macroeconomic and industry headwinds could cause the rate of market growth to be moderated�; �Ciena expects fiscal fourth quarter 2011 financial performance to include revenue in the range of $440 to $460 million, adjusted gross margin percentage in the low 40s range, adjusted operating expense in the upper $170s million range.�

    Ciena�s actual results, performance or events may differ materially from these forward-looking statements made or implied due a number of risks and uncertainties relating to Ciena�s business, including: the effect of broader economic and market conditions on our customers and their business; changes in network spending or network strategy by large communication service providers; the timing and size of customer orders, including our ability to recognize revenue relating to such sales; the level of competitive pressure we encounter; the product, customer and geographic mix of sales within the period; the level of success relating to efforts to optimize Ciena�s operations; changes in foreign currency exchange rates affecting revenue and operating expense; and the other risk factors disclosed in Ciena�s Report on Form 10-Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on March 10, 2011. Ciena assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking information included in this press release.

    Non-GAAP Presentation of Quarterly Results. This release includes non-GAAP measures of Ciena�s gross profit, operating expense, income (loss) from operations, net income (loss) and net income (loss) per share. In evaluating the operating performance of Ciena�s business, management excludes certain charges and credits that are required by GAAP. These items, share one or more of the following characteristics: they are unusual and Ciena does not expect them to recur in the ordinary course of its business; they do not involve the expenditure of cash; they are unrelated to the ongoing operation of the business in the ordinary course; or their magnitude and timing is largely outside of Ciena�s control. Management believes that the non-GAAP measures below provide management and investors useful information and meaningful insight to the operating performance of the business. The presentation of these non-GAAP financial measures should be considered in addition to Ciena�s GAAP results and these measures are not intended to be a substitute for the financial information prepared and presented in accordance with GAAP. Ciena�s non-GAAP measures and the related adjustments may differ from non-GAAP measures used by other companies and should only be used to evaluate Ciena�s results of operations in conjunction with our corresponding GAAP results. To the extent not previously disclosed in a prior Ciena financial results press release, Appendix A to this press release sets forth a complete GAAP to non-GAAP reconciliation of the non-GAAP measures contained in this release.

    (in thousands, except per share data)
    Quarter Ended July 31,
    Total revenue389,675435,313
    Cost of goods sold:
    Total cost of goods sold245,666250,416
    Gross profit144,009184,897
    Operating expenses:
    Research and development100,86993,216
    Selling and marketing52,12761,895
    General and administrative32,64928,172
    Acquisition and integration costs17,0334,822
    Amortization of intangible assets38,72713,673
    Restructuring costs2,157504
    Total operating expenses243,562202,282
    Loss from operations(99,553)(17,385)
    Interest and other income (loss), net(2,668)(3,160)
    Interest expense(5,990)(9,470)
    Loss before income taxes(108,211)(30,015)
    Provision for income taxes1,6441,435
    Net loss$(109,855)$(31,450)
    Basic net loss per common share$(1.18)$(0.33)
    Diluted net loss per potential common share$(1.18)$(0.33)
    Weighted average basic common shares outstanding92,90696,313
    Weighted average dilutive potential common shares outstanding92,90696,313
    (in thousands, except share data)
    October 31,July 31,
    Current assets:20102011
    Cash and cash equivalents$688,687$486,332
    Accounts receivable, net343,582414,826
    Prepaid expenses and other147,680141,401
    Total current assets1,441,5681,286,386
    Long-term investments-50,227
    Equipment, furniture and fixtures, net120,294126,174
    Other intangible assets, net426,412349,845
    Other long-term assets129,819125,801
    Total assets$2,118,093$1,938,433
    Current liabilities:
    Accounts payable$200,617$140,806
    Accrued liabilities193,994182,563
    Deferred revenue75,334100,988
    Total current liabilities469,945424,357
    Long-term deferred revenue29,71526,302
    Other long-term obligations16,43516,754
    Convertible notes payable1,442,7051,442,449
    Total liabilities1,958,8001,909,862
    Commitments and contingencies
    Stockholders’ equity:
    Preferred stock � par value $0.01; 20,000,000 shares authorized; zero shares issued and outstanding--
    Common stock � par value $0.01; 290,000,000 shares authorized; 94,060,300 and 96,883,868 shares issued and outstanding941969
    Additional paid-in capital5,702,1375,743,211
    Accumulated other comprehensive income1,0622,430
    Accumulated deficit(5,544,847)(5,718,039)
    Total stockholders’ equity159,29328,571
    Total liabilities and stockholders’ equity$2,118,093$1,938,433
    (in thousands)
    Nine Months Ended July 31,
    Cash flows from operating activities:
    Net loss$(253,197)$(173,192)
    Adjustments to reconcile net loss to net cash used in operating activities:
    Amortization of premium (discount) on marketable securities574(25)
    Change in fair value of embedded redemption feature(2,570)(3,380)
    Depreciation of equipment, furniture and fixtures, and amortization of leasehold improvements28,14644,765
    Share-based compensation costs26,45127,919
    Amortization of intangible assets82,47676,567
    Provision for inventory excess and obsolescence10,74911,461
    Provision for warranty16,38810,538
    Changes in assets and liabilities, net of effect of acquisition:
    Accounts receivable(134,844)(72,030)
    Prepaid expenses and other(29,528)(4,462)
    Accounts payable, accruals and other obligations84,886(81,388)
    Deferred revenue(3,957)22,241
    Net cash used in operating activities(203,236)(132,485)
    Cash flows used in investing activities:
    Payments for equipment, furniture, fixtures and intellectual property(34,646)(41,138)
    Restricted cash(18,845)(8,727)
    Purchase of available for sale securities(63,591)(49,894)
    Proceeds from maturities of available for sale securities454,141-
    Proceeds from sales of available for sale securities179,380-
    Acquisition of business(693,247)-
    Receipt of contingent consideration related to business acquisition-16,394
    Net cash used in investing activities(176,808)(83,365)
    Cash flows from financing activities:
    Proceeds from issuance of 4.0% convertible notes payable, net364,316-
    Proceeds from issuance of common stock and warrants92413,183
    Net cash provided by financing activities365,24013,183
    Effect of exchange rate changes on cash and cash equivalents(664)312
    Net decrease in cash and cash equivalents(14,804)(202,667)
    Cash and cash equivalents at beginning of period485,705688,687
    Cash and cash equivalents at end of period$470,237$486,332
    Supplemental disclosure of cash flow information
    Cash paid during the period for interest$4,748$18,869
    Cash paid during the period for income taxes, net$2,037$1,781
    Non-cash investing and financing activities
    Purchase of equipment in accounts payable$4,421$5,186
    Fixed assets acquired under capital leases$-$1,268
    APPENDIX A - Reconciliation of Adjusted (Non- GAAP) Quarterly Measurements
    Quarter Ended July 31,
    Gross Profit Reconciliation (GAAP/non-GAAP)
    GAAP gross profit$144,009$184,897
    Share-based compensation-products548579
    Share-based compensation-services432511
    Amortization of intangible assets5,6985,826
    Fair value adjustment of acquired inventory25,478-
    Total adjustments related to gross profit32,1566,916
    Adjusted (non-GAAP) gross profit$176,165$191,813
    Adjusted (non-GAAP) gross profit percentage45.21%44.06%
    Operating Expense Reconciliation (GAAP/non-GAAP)
    GAAP operating expense$243,562$202,282
    Share-based compensation-research and development2,3022,423
    Share-based compensation-sales and marketing2,9022,736
    Share-based compensation-general and administrative2,4732,882
    Acquisition and integration costs17,0334,822
    Amortization of intangible assets38,72713,673
    Restructuring costs2,157504
    Total adjustments related to operating expense65,59427,040
    Adjusted (non-GAAP) operating expense$177,968$175,242
    Income (Loss) from Operations Reconciliation (GAAP/non-GAAP)
    GAAP loss from operations$(99,553)$(17,385)
    Total adjustments related to gross profit32,1566,916
    Total adjustments related to operating expense65,59427,040
    Adjusted (non-GAAP) (loss) income from operations$(1,803)$16,571
    Adjusted (non-GAAP) operating margin percentage-0.46%3.81%
    Net Income (Loss) Reconciliation (GAAP/non-GAAP)
    GAAP net loss$(109,855)$(31,450)
    Total adjustments related to gross profit32,1566,916
    Total adjustments related to operating expense65,59427,040
    Change in fair value of embedded redemption feature4,0705,780
    Adjusted (non-GAAP) net income (loss)$(8,035)$8,286
    Weighted average basic common shares outstanding92,90696,313
    Weighted average dilutive potential common shares outstanding92,906104,146
    Net Income (Loss) per Common Share
    GAAP diluted net loss per common share$(1.18)$(0.33)
    Adjusted (non-GAAP) diluted net income (loss) per common share$(0.09)$0.08
    The adjusted (non-GAAP) measures above and their reconciliation to Ciena’s GAAP results for the periods presented reflect adjustments relating to the following items:� Share-based compensation expense � a non-cash expense incurred in accordance with share-based compensation accounting guidance.� Amortization of intangible assets � a non-cash expense arising from the acquisition of intangible assets, principally developed technologies and customer-related intangibles acquired from the MEN Business, that Ciena is required to amortize over its expected useful life.� Fair value adjustment of acquired inventory � an infrequent charge required by acquisition accounting rules resulting from the required revaluation of inventory acquired from the MEN Business to estimated fair value. This revaluation resulted in a net increase in inventory carrying value and an increase in cost of goods sold for the periods indicated.� Acquisition and integration costs � reflects transaction expense, and consulting and third party service fees associated with the acquisition of the Nortel MEN Business and the integration of this business into Ciena’s operations. Ciena does not believe that these costs are reflective of its ongoing operating expense following its completion of these integration activities.� Restructuring costs � infrequent costs incurred as a result of restructuring activities (or in the case of recoveries, previous restructuring activities) taken to align resources with perceived market opportunities that Ciena believes are not reflective of its ongoing operating costs.� Change in fair value of embedded redemption feature � a non-cash unrealized gain or loss reflective of a mark to market fair value adjustment of an embedded derivative related to the redemption feature of Ciena’s outstanding 4.0% senior convertible notes.

    Source: Ciena Corporation


    Ciena Corporation
    Press Contact:
    Nicole Anderson, 410-694�5700
    Investor Contact:
    Gregg Lampf, 888-243�6223