Monthly Archives: January 2012
Why have a PR budget when your enemy is willing to fund the material themselves?
Michael Moore is the most famous filmmaker in Iran, according to one of that nation’s most acclaimed directors.
At a screening of Asghar Farhadi’s critically lauded “A Separation” at Sony’s screening room in New York, the Iranian director spotted the “Fahrenheit 9/11” filmmaker in the audience.
Farhadi quipped, “Michael Moore is the most famous director in Iran,” and said everyone knows his movies because they are shown on national TV there.
“[Farhadi] then joked how difficult it was for his own films to be seen in Iran,” a source said.
Farhadi has been the toast of New York this week, winning Best Foreign Film awards from the New York Film Critics Circle and National Board of Review.
Moore did not respond to a request for comment.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Neither bankruptcy nor a liquidation can kill iconic brands.
Before the ink was even dry on Hostess Brands’ bankruptcy filing Wednesday morning, interested buyers were already digging into the potential value of the Hostess name and how Twinkie, Ding Dong or Wonder Bread could be repurposed into other consumer products.
For now, Hostess will continue to churn out Twinkies, but many in the bankruptcy world are questioning whether the maker of snack foods can survive.
This is Hostess Brands’ second trip in bankruptcy court. It emerged in 2009 after a four and a half year restructuring.
Should Hostess Brands choose to liquidate rather than reorganize, the brand names – Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Wonder Bread – will very likely live on.
(CNN) — The Myanmar government signed a cease-fire deal with a rebel group Thursday, the same day Aung San Suu Kyi’s party said it will join the upcoming elections.
Information Minister Soe Win said the government has signed a peace deal with the Karen National Liberation Army.
The Karen National Liberation Army, which has long sought autonomy for the Karen ethnic minority, is now permitted to travel throughout the country without weapons, a separate government official said.
The move is an apparent bid to resolve a conflict that has brewed for more than six decades.
The group operates in the border area of the country.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Foreclosure filings and repossessions fell to their lowest level since 2007 last year.
Total filings, including default notices and bank repossessions were down 33% for the year to 2.7 million, according to RealtyTrac, the online marketer of foreclosed properties.
One in every 69 homes had at least one foreclosure filing during the year, while 804,000 homes were repossessed. That’s a significant improvement from the peaks reached in 2010 — when 1.05 million homes were repossessed — and the lowest levels seen since 2007.
More than 4 million homes have been lost to foreclosure over the past five years.
While the declines seem like good news for the housing market, where a flood of foreclosed homes has depressed home prices, much of it is due to processing delays caused by fall-out from the “robo-signing” scandal that broke in late 2010.
During the year, banks spent more time making sure paperwork was legal and proper, creating a backlog in the foreclosure pipeline. As a result, the average time it took to process a foreclosure climbed to 348 days during the fourth quarter, up from 305 days a year earlier.
“Foreclosures were in full delay mode in 2011, resulting in a dramatic drop in foreclosure activity for the year,” said Brandon Moore, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac.
ISSUE GAINERS SYMBOL EXCH LAST PRICE MONEY FLOW RATIO (in millions) iShs Brclys Intrm Crdt Bd CIU ARCA 107.04 +37.9 34.78 Citigroup C NYSE 30.95 +37.1 1.28 Vanguard Shrt-Trm Crp Bnd VCSH NASD 78.09 +36.0 21.98 Vangrd Intermed-Trm Cp Bd VCIT NASD 82.65 +26.4 34.13 Williams-Sonoma WSM NYSE 34.02 +19.2 1.48 Express Scripts ESRX NASD 48.33 +17.8 1.94 Apple AAPL NASD 419.91 +17.1 1.04 SPDR DJ Intl Real Estate RWX ARCA 32.73 +16.8 23.19 PepsiCo PEP NYSE 64.59 +13.7 2.05 Ford Motor F NYSE 11.97 +13.5 1.53 Encana ECA NYSE 17.80 +12.9 3.67 Hess Corp HES NYSE 57.77 +12.6 1.83 Comcast CMCSA NASD 25.43 +12.5 3.17 Allergan AGN NYSE 88.72 +12.1 2.65 Johnson & Johnson JNJ NYSE 65.04 +11.7 1.64 Caterpillar CAT NYSE 99.95 +11.3 1.19 SeagateTech STX NASD 19.16 +11.2 1.67 Baidu BIDU NASD 128.01 +11.0 1.13 ProShs Crdt Suisse 130/30 CSM ARCA 58.10 +10.9 45.80 Intel INTC NASD 25.72 +10.8 1.28 ISSUE DECLINERS SYMBOL EXCH LAST PRICE MONEY FLOW RATIO (in millions) Microsoft MSFT NASD 27.77 -108.6 0.36 Petoleo Brasil A PBR/A NYSE 26.03 -59.8 0.11 iShs Brclys 13 Yr Crdt Bd CSJ ARCA 104.39 -34.3 0.13 IBM IBM NYSE 179.36 -32.5 0.79 Chevron CVX NYSE 105.26 -31.9 0.77 iBoxx InvesTp Inv Grde Bd LQD ARCA 114.23 -30.1 0.22 AT&T T NYSE 30.20 -15.3 0.59 SPDR Gold Tr GLD ARCA 160.73 -13.9 0.89 Potash Corp POT NYSE 42.18 -13.4 0.72 Vanguard Total Bond Mkt BND ARCA 83.43 -13.3 0.20 McDonald's MCD NYSE 100.26 -12.8 0.70 El Paso Corp EP NYSE 26.66 -12.1 0.40 Cisco Systems CSCO NASD 19.02 -11.5 0.59 SPDR S&P 500 SPY ARCA 128.77 -11.5 0.98 SW Energy SWN NYSE 29.19 -11.3 0.60 Altria Group Inc MO NYSE 28.80 -10.0 0.48 Abbott Labs ABT NYSE 55.40 -9.4 0.65 Coca-Cola KO NYSE 67.48 -9.2 0.73 MetLife MET NYSE 35.79 -8.2 0.72 SPDR S&P Dividend SDY ARCA 54.10 -8.0 0.33Comments »
New Highs 58 COMPANY SYMBOL HIGH VOLUME ------- ------ ---- ------ Aircastle Ltd AYR 13.84 55,840 Airgas Inc ARG 80.99 94,017 Alliance Data Sys ADS 108.38 184,405 American Tower REIT AMT 62.46 644,516 Amer Vanguard AVD 14.83 28,074 BlackRock Muni Bnd BIE 15.75 1,175 BlkRk MuniHldgs II MUH 15.82 8,661 BlkRk MuniYld CA Fd MYC 15.52 17,883 BlkRk MuniYld CA Quality MCA 14.72 24,052 CVS Caremark CVS 42.22 2,536,505 Cantel Med CMN 30.55 10,413 Clarcor Inc CLC 51.70 42,270 ConAgra Foods CAG 27.04 1,068,364 Crown Castle Intl CCI 46.47 366,427 Delphi Automotive DLPH 24.22 228,894 Donaldson Co DCI 71.08 138,195 DTF Tax-Free DTF 16.50 5,887 Dycom Indus DY 22.39 101,261 Ecolab Inc ECL 59.80 308,597 Flaherty & Crumrine Pfd PFO 11.73 7,806 FortuneBrandsHome&Sec FBHS 18.35 446,068 Generac Holdings GNRC 30.01 50,360 Goodrich Corp GR 124.49 132,724 WW Grainger GWW 195.00 67,351 Guggenh Bond Mneg Dur Tr GBAB 21.69 19,100 Health Care REIT HCN 55.78 265,394 Home Depot HD 43.66 2,526,839 DR Horton DHI 14.20 2,118,729 IHS Inc IHS 92.00 30,876 Inv CA Ins Tr IIC 15.64 16,834 Invesco CA Qty Tr IQC 14.25 12,483 Invesco NY Qty IQN 15.90 3,662 Invesco VnKmCAInc VCV 13.28 21,939 Invesco VnKmNY VTN 15.60 10,389 James Hardie Indus ADS JHX 37.68 535 Kraft Foods KFT 38.17 1,578,494 LTC Properties LTC 32.15 48,276 MFS Hi Inc Muni CXE 5.38 43,976 Macy's Inc M 35.13 1,458,357 Manning & Napier MN 13.25 28,048 Maximus MMS 44.61 53,639 McCormick & Co Vtg MKC/V 51.15 100 McCormick & Co MKC 51.42 56,113 NewMarket Corp NEU 210.27 9,547 Nuveen AZ Premium Income NAZ 14.43 639 Nuveen CA Div Fnd NAC 14.45 16,479 Nuveen CA Investment NQC 14.93 11,812 Nuveen CA Performance NCP 15.06 27,507 NuveenPremIncmMuni NNF 15.98 3,973 Oneok Inc OKE 88.91 127,125 PIMCO NY Fd PNF 11.78 13,018 ProAssurance PRA 81.99 100,437 Roper Indus ROP 92.55 85,878 Sunoco Inc. Wi SUNw 36.12 100 Ultrapar Participaco UGP 19.12 112,539 Valspar Corp VAL 41.43 212,813 Western Asset Mun Tr Fund MTT 22.41 16,749 Wyndham Worldwide WYN 39.05 407,189 New Lows 9 COMPANY SYMBOL LOW VOLUME ------- ------ ---- ------ Advantest Corp ADS ATE 8.93 480 Alon Hldgs Blue Square BSI 3.90 7,710 Bill Barrett BBG 31.20 287,440 Chesapeake Energy CHK 21.87 6,864,431 ChinaTele CHA 53.73 109,171 DelhaizeGrp DEG 53.50 46,882 ECA Marcellus Trust I ECT 21.06 56,787 Ferrellgas FGP 17.34 205,715 SW Energy SWN 28.81 4,415,384
New Highs 38 COMPANY SYMBOL HIGH VOLUME ------- ------ ---- ------ ATMI ATMI 22.64 45,220 America's Car-Mart CRMT 41.22 5,609 Amgen AMGN 66.66 1,643,268 Broadvision Inc BVSN 17.79 168,359 Equinix EQIX 112.50 116,551 FEI Co FEIC 44.22 61,216 FARO Techs FARO 53.96 62,834 First Capital FCAP 20.50 200 Halozyme Therapeutics HALO 10.20 279,997 Inhibitex INHX 24.51 2,137,367 iShrNasdaqBiotch IBB 111.73 296,331 Jacksonville Bancorp JXSB 14.27 300 Lincoln Electric Hldgs LECO 41.25 40,365 magicJack VocalTec CALL 14.93 77,454 Material Sciences MASC 9.06 82,015 Medivation MDVN 56.28 116,363 Mercantile Bank MBWM 10.50 8,777 Micromet MITI 8.75 270,881 NewsCorp A NWSA 18.96 3,289,535 NewsCorp B NWS 19.22 616,921 PETsMART PETM 52.72 145,502 Pharmacyclics PCYC 16.86 122,619 Pharmasset VRUS 136.97 579,188 Pool POOL 32.88 82,755 Ross Stores ROST 51.21 673,308 Russ Small-Cap Contrarian SCTR 63.78 140 Russ Small-Cap Low P/E SCLP 63.47 100 SBA Comm SBAC 44.65 336,762 Santarus SNTS 4.45 533,391 SeagateTech STX 19.49 9,107,034 Silicon Motion Tech (ADS) SIMO 23.70 118,289 Starbucks SBUX 47.48 1,493,026 Synageva BioPharma GEVA 36.52 21,565 Tower Bancorp Inc TOBC 30.90 10,218 Tractor Supply Co TSCO 80.11 1,549,694 Vangrd Intrmd -Trm Gvt Bd VGIT 68.95 41,110 VIVUS VVUS 12.84 1,836,352 Xyratex XRTX 15.40 43,374 New Lows 15 COMPANY SYMBOL LOW VOLUME ------- ------ ---- ------ BSD Medical BSDM 2.02 12,051 Bionovo BNVI 0.17 407,388 Cherokee CHKE 10.94 17,901 FreeSeas FREE 0.36 26,162 Heelys HLYS 1.73 7,347 Horizon Pharma HZNP 3.47 500 Ikanos Comm IKAN 0.67 128,150 NxStage Medical NXTM 16.03 165,567 Overstockcom OSTK 6.85 28,453 Perceptron PRCP 4.27 48,917 PwrShrs MENA Frnt Cntries PMNA 10.02 2,125 Richardson Electronics RELL 11.54 62,704 SkyPeople Fruit Juice SPU 1.58 8,455 Synutra Intl SYUT 3.90 104,689 VSB Banc VSBN 9.84 951Comments »
WASHINGTON – The US plans a major push next week to jump-start peace talks with the Taliban, senior Obama administration officials said, amid the first concrete signs of progress toward a negotiated end to the 10-year-old war in Afghanistan.
The press comes amid the potentially embarrassing emergence of a video Wednesday that appears to show US troops urinating on Afghan insurgents’ corpses. Its authenticity hasn’t been confirmed.
The US special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Marc Grossman, will meet with Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Kabul to seek his approval to resume US negotiations with Taliban representatives over confidence-building measures aimed at laying the ground for direct Afghan-Taliban talks.
President Barack Obama raked in more than $68 million combined for his re-election campaign and the Democratic Party during the final three months of 2011, gearing up for a formidable challenge against his Republican opponent later this year.
The large fundraising quarter helped Obama’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee surpass $220 million in 2011, bankrolling the president’s re-election campaign as Republicans settle on a nominee. Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney raised $56 million for the primary through Dec. 31, his campaign announced Wednesday, far outpacing his GOP opponents.
Obama campaign manager Jim Messina said Thursday in a video to supporters that the campaign collected more than $42 million for the quarter, with the DNC bringing in more than $24 million, along with $1 million for a joint fund to help state parties in key states. The amount helped the president’s team beat an internal goal of $60 million combined for the quarter.
Obama’s campaign collected $750 million in 2008, prompting speculation that it could top $1 billion this time. Messina said the lofty figures have created “a challenge that keeps coming up. Too many Obama supporters think we don’t need their money or they don’t need to give now.”
However, Messina said, “The billion-dollar number is completely untrue.”
Obama, facing no primary opponent, has stockpiled a large campaign bank account, but Democrats expect parity with Republicans once the party chooses a nominee. Romney has been a formidable fundraiser and most party leaders expect a large amount of money to flow into his campaign if he sews up the nomination. Republican-leaning Super PACs have also fared better than Democratic-backed outside groups, further offsetting the president’s fundraising.
Obama’s campaign has emphasized a large number of donors and small donations generated from online giving. Messina said the campaign and DNC had generated 1.3 million donors, with 583,000 people giving during the most recent quarter. More than 98 percent were for donations of $250 or less and the average donation was $55, Messina said.
The money will help build Obama’s organization and let his advisers prepare for the upcoming campaign, a point the president emphasized at a large Chicago fundraiser on Wednesday night.
“If you’re willing to work even harder in this election than you did in that last election, I promise you change will come,” Obama said. “If you stick with me, we’re going to finish what we started in 2008.”
New cyber regulations announced by Iran last week, including requiring Internet cafes to install surveillance cameras, could be just a precursor to the Islamic Republic’s “halal” network, many observers are saying.
That network, an “Islamically permissible” intranet that the nation’s telecommunications ministry publicized in early 2011, would disconnect Iran from the rest of the world and run a parallel internal service that would automatically censor material and block popular global sites and search engines, such as Facebook, Google and Wikipedia.
“I don’t think it’s a question of if, but a question of when,” said Austin Heap, executive director of the Censorship Research Center, who also works on developing technologies for increasing Internet freedom.
At the time of the announcement, Iranian authorities said the new infrastructure would be revealed soon, but did not give a specific time frame.
“They are taking the lessons of the 2009 uprisings and figuring out how to prevent that,” Heap said. “A halal network would be only what the regime would want you to see.”
Iran’s network could mirror what Burma, another nation with draconian cyber crackdowns, has done to isolate its people from the Web, limiting users to a national intranet at a high price that deters most potential users.
I believe that brings total aircraft carriers near Iran to 3, and any subsequent fleet ships that go with them.
A new aircraft carrier strike group has entered the Arabian Sea and another is on its way, a Pentagon official said in a news briefing Wednesday — a shuffling of the U.S. fleet amid rising tensions with Iran.
Officials said there is no connection between the fleet movements and threats from Iran, however, the arrival of the USS Carl Vinson comes on the heels of Iranian military exercises in the Persian Gulf and threats to block the Strait of Hormuz, a major oil transit route.
And the killing of an Iranian nuclear scientist in Tehran on Wednesday further escalated tensions, as the Obama administration denied any role in the death.
The U.S. Navy announced Monday that the USS Vinson had arrived in the region to conduct missions in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts.
“We will work closely with our regional partners to demonstrate our commitment to security and stability in the region,” Rear Admiral Thomas Shannon said in a written statement.
Captain John Kirby, deputy assistant secretary of Defense for Media Operations, on Wednesday denied U.S. involvement in the killing of the Iranian scientist and said the incident has not changed the U.S. position in the Gulf region.
And the number of carriers in the region “does go up and down, but it’s based on overall broad requirements in the region that the Central Command commander sets and establishes, [it’s] not necessarily … driven by a specific incident,” Capt. Kirby said.
The shift in naval assets in the region, Kirby said, is not linked to Iran’s recent threat to close the Strait of Hormuz, a threat made in response to the West’s sanctions on Iranian oil exports over the country’s contested nuclear program