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Monthly Archives: April 2012

The Corruption Law That Scares the Bejesus Out of Corporate America

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the law you’ve never heard of, is getting above-the-fold attention due to the Walmart bribery scandal. However, in corporate boardrooms, this law is well-known and is causing fear and apprehension.

Read more here.

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Ryan Shrugs, Rejects Rand

Paul Ryan is trying to shrug off reports that he is a cold, heartless, Rand devotee.

“I, like millions of young people in America, read Rand’s novels when I was young. I enjoyed them,” Ryan says. “They spurred an interest in economics, in the Chicago School and Milton Friedman,” a subject he eventually studied as an undergraduate at Miami University in Ohio. “But it’s a big stretch to suggest that a person is therefore an Objectivist.”

“I reject her philosophy,” Ryan says firmly. “It’s an atheist philosophy. It reduces human interactions down to mere contracts and it is antithetical to my worldview. If somebody is going to try to paste a person’s view on epistemology to me, then give me Thomas Aquinas,” who believed that man needs divine help in the pursuit of knowledge. “Don’t give me Ayn Rand,” he says.

This is despite the reports that her books were required reading for his staffers.

Read the rest here.

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Trying to Shed Student Debt

Congress is again giving consideration to tinkering with the Bankruptcy-Law ban on walking away from student Loans. Read about it here.

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The Structure of Scientific Revolutions: Shift Happens

Scientific revolutions, according to SSR, don’t occur when an apple happens to find the head of a genius, or when enough facts have slowly painted a new picture. Rather, in yet another of Kuhn’s inversions, new paradigms emerge to explain the accumulation of anomalies: findings that do not make sense within the current paradigm. For example, if your paradigm tells you that fire consists of the release of phlogiston embedded in flammable materials, then the fact that some metals gain weight when burned is an anomaly. When a new paradigm is conceived that makes sense of the anomalies, science is in for a revolutionary shift.

In short, SSR did a gestalt flip on just about every assumption about the who, how, and what of scientific progress.


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The Man Who Hacked Hollywood

What would you do with access to the private email accounts of over 50 celebrities?

They’ve become a part of the pop-culture landscape: sexy, private shots of celebrities (your Scarletts, your Milas) stolen from their phones and e-mail accounts. They’re also the center of an entire stealth industry. For the man recently arrested in the biggest case yet, hacking also gave him access to a trove of Hollywood’s seamiest secrets—who was sleeping together, who was closeted, who liked to sext. What the snoop didn’t realize was that he was being watched, too

Read the rest here.

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Social and Cloud Evaluation: Bubbly Expectations or Just Getting Started ?

Trying to find the right evaluation is always hard when it comes to new technologies, platforms, or products. Social media and cloud companies take the latest cake.

I suppose it depends on your age as to whether or not you believe. Not sure how social media will ever be a fad considering our nature as social being. I say when the markets get smacked  and all the oxygen has left the bubble then it is time to pounce. For now I think were looking a trading vehicle.

Full article

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Market Update

World indices


“1:30 pm : Stocks are testing session highs, but broad market gains remain relatively modest. The effort to add to gains comes as all 10 major sectors start to lift, although Financials and Energy remain in the red with fractional losses.

There is no headline to account for the recent bout of buying, but it has coincided with a downturn by the dollar, which is now at a session low against competing currencies. DJ30 +44.13 NASDAQ +20.47 SP500 +4.63 NASDAQ Adv/Vol/Dec 1380/980 mln/1005 NYSE Adv/Vol/Dec 1745/315 mln/1150

1:00 pm : News of another downgrade of Spain’s debt and lighter-than-expected first quarter GDP growth of 2.2% haven’t kept the broad market from mustering a modest gain. Although overall gains aren’t great, the effort comes without help from Tech, Financials, or Energy, which have all traded quietly this week.

Consumer Discretionary stocks are strong today. The sector’s 1.5% gain comes in conjunction with a blowout quarter by Amazon.com (AMZN 227.64, +31.65). The surge in shares of the internet-based retailer has also helped the Nasdaq move ahead of its counterparts. The response to earnings from Procter & Gamble (PG 64.51, -2.36), Chevron (CVX 106.00), Merck (MRK 38.41, -0.06), Ford (F 11.68. -0.19), and Starbucks(SBUX 57.36, -3.30) has been less supportive.

The modest gains made during today’s trade have helped put the S&P 500 on pace for its best weekly performance in six weeks. The effort has the broad market measure narrowly above the 1400 line to trade at its best level since earlier this month. DJ30 +28.27 NASDAQ +17.23 SP500 +2.96 NASDAQ Adv/Vol/Dec 1340/905 mln/1020 NYSE Adv/Vol/Dec 1715/295 mln/1170

12:30 pm : Broad market gains remain modest, but the dollar continues to trade with relatively marked weakness.

Strength in the euro has the currency up 0.5% to about $1.33, despite another downgrade of Spain’s debt. Meanwhile, Britain’s sterling pound has pushed up 0.4% to $1.62. Japan’s yen has also made a strong move, such that its exchange rate has fallen 0.8% to 80.43 yen per dollar. DJ30 +33.57 NASDAQ +15.32 SP500 +2.70 NASDAQ Adv/Vol/Dec 1330/830 mln/1040 NYSE Adv/Vol/Dec 1700/270 mln/1160

12:00 pm : Tech recently cut its loss with a move up to the neutral line, but it has been unable to extend its push. That has left it to trail the broad market by a narrow margin.

Financials and Energy are also lagging. Those two sectors are down 0.2% and 0.3%, respectively. Quiet action among Financials, Energy, and Tech has been a recurring theme this week. That’s somewhat striking since the stock market is actually on pace for its best weekly showing in six weeks. DJ30 +29.48 NASDAQ +13.65 SP500 +2.01 NASDAQ Adv/Vol/Dec 1305/755 mln/1045 NYSE Adv/Vol/Dec 1645/240 mln/1200

11:30 am : Both the Dow and S&P 500 continue to chop along with a slight gain as blue chips like Procter & Gamble (PG 64.70, -2.17) andChevron (CVX 105.84, -0.38) trade in the red following their latest quarterly reports. However, but the Nasdaq has managed to put together a relatively strong gain with help from Amazon.com (AMZN 224.83, +28.84), which has benefited from a handful of analyst upgrades after the company posted earnings that far exceeded what Wall Street had expected.DJ30 +30.43 NASDAQ +12.52 SP500 +2.29 NASDAQ Adv/Vol/Dec 1245/660 mln/1080 NYSE Adv/Vol/Dec 1575/210 mln/1240

11:00 am : Although the major equity averages have turned modest losses into modest gains, stocks continue to seek direction.

Tech hampered action in the early going, but its move up to the neutral line has provided support to the broad market. Consumer discretionary stocks continue to shine as the sector sports a 0.9% gain that is largely owed to strength in Amazon.com (AMZN 221.55, +25.56) after the internet-based retailer posted blowout earnings. DJ30 +24.37 NASDAQ +9.12 SP500 +1.65 NASDAQ Adv/Vol/Dec 1085/515 mln/1180 NYSE Adv/Vol/Dec 1430/165 mln/1350

10:30 am : Crude oil prices have slipped into negative territory to trade with a 0.3% loss at $104.25 per ounce, but natural gas has added to its gain so that the energy component is now priced at $2.27 per MMBtu, which makes for a 1.5% gain.

Precious metals have maintained the modest gains that they mustered earlier this morning. As such, gold prices are sitting at $1665 per ounce, which makes for a 0.3% gain. Meanwhile, silver is sitting at $31.23 per ounce, which makes for a fractional gain. DJ30 +5.91 NASDAQ -0.39 SP500 -0.75 NASDAQ Adv/Vol/Dec 815/365 mln/1405 NYSE Adv/Vol/Dec 1115/125 mln/1620

10:00 am : Released only minutes ago, the final reading on consumer sentiment for April from the University of Michigan improved to 76.4 from the preliminary reading of 75.7, which is where the Survey had been expected to remain.

However, the Survey hasn’t done much to diminish the pressure that has gradually forced stocks lower since the open. Although the broad market is only now at the neutral line, there isn’t really any legitimate source of leadership at this point. That could portend weak price action, especially if market participants are feeling compelled to take profits after watching stocks put together impressive gains over the course of the past two sessions — gains that have positioned the S&P 500 for its best week in six weeks of trade. DJ30 -2.30 NASDAQ -3.23 SP500 -1.09 NASDAQ Adv/Vol/Dec 1050/150 mln/1000 NYSE Adv/Vol/Dec 1585/60 mln/1020

09:45 am : Stocks are pulling back after opening trade with a modest gain. Tech — the largest sector by market weight — is an early drag as it drifts down to a 0.3% loss. Despite earnings that far exceeded what had been expected and strong guidance, Western Digital (WDC 38.09, -6.01) has been a source of considerable weakness. The company’s shares have plummeted in response to some disappointing commentary during the company’s conference call last evening.

Due in just a few minutes — 9:55 AM ET to be exact — is the final reading on April consumer sentiment. DJ30 +19.45 NASDAQ +2.40 SP500 +1.63 NASDAQ Adv/Vol/Dec NA/NA/NA NYSE Adv/Vol/Dec NA/NA/NA”

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