Thursday, November 27, 2014

U.S. consumer sentiment rose in November

Thomson Reuters Trading Room
Thomson Reuters Trading Room (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
U.S. consumer sentiment rose in November to its highest level in more than seven years on improvements in the current economic condition, including lower gas prices and improving job prospects, a survey released on Wednesday showed.
The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's final November reading on the overall index on consumer sentiment came in at 88.8, its highest reading since July 2007 on a final basis. The reading was up from the 86.9 the month before but slightly below the preliminary reading of 89.4.
Despite the uptick, it was below the median forecast of 90.0 among economists polled by Reuters.
"Consumers more frequently reported hearing about positive rather than negative economic developments in the November
survey, with reports of improving employment the dominant news item," survey director Richard Curtin said in a statement.
"While there was no change in evaluations of the current performance of the economy or the year-ahead outlook - both remained at positive levels - the longer term economic outlook improved substantially."
The survey's barometer of current economic conditions rose to 102.7 from 98.3, just below a forecast of 103.0.

The survey's gauge of consumer expectations edged up to 79.9 from the 79.6 in October and was short of the expected 80.8.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

U.S. single-family homes rose for a third straight month

Sales of new U.S. single-family homes rose for a third straight month in October, but a downward revision to the prior month's sales pace indicated the housing market recovery would remain gradual.
The Commerce Department said on Wednesday that sales gained 0.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 458,000 units. September's sales pace was revised down to 455,000 units from 467,000 units.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast new home sales rising to a 472,000-unit pace last month.
New home sales, which account for about 8 percent of the housing market, tend to be volatile month to month. Compared to October last year, sales were up 1.8 percent.
Housing remains constrained by slow wage growth, which is resulting in a slow pace of household formation.
Last month, new home sales rose 7.1 percent in the Northeast and surged 15.8 percent in the Midwest. In the populous South, sales fell 1.9 percent and were down 2.7 percent in the West.
With sales rising modestly, the stock of new houses available on the market rose 1.0 percent last month to the highest level since June 2010.
At October's sales pace it would take 5.6 months to clear the supply of houses on the market, up from 5.5 months in September. Six months' supply is normally considered a healthy balance between supply and demand.

The median new home price jumped 15.4 percent from a year ago to a record $305,000.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

stuff ordered online: have it dropped off in your car

DHL is in talks with Volvo that could allow it to open the doors of Volvos to deliver parcels.
Lead Photo
Nov. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Working households may soon have an alternative to the modern dilemma of how to take delivery of stuff ordered online: have it dropped off in your car.
Deutsche Post AG’s DHL unit is in talks with Volvo Car Group on a partnership that would allow the parcel-delivery service to remotely open autos made by the Swedish manufacturer, according to people with knowledge of the matter who asked not to be identified because details are private. Discussions with other automakers are also ongoing, and a program that enables one-time access by a delivery agent may be announced in the coming weeks, one of the people said.
The offering would follow a pilot project in Sweden that used Volvo’s GPS-linked On Call service to enter vehicles. DHL would only get access after the owner accepts delivery via text message. Volvo Cars and Deutsche Post declined to comment on any talks.
The program could help Volvo set itself apart from upscale brands like BMW, which sells more than three times as many cars. The unit of billionaire Li Shufu’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. targets doubling sales to 800,000 vehicles by 2020. Meanwhile, Deutsche Post is trying new ways to make sure goods are delivered safely on the first attempt, a crucial part of maintaining profitability of such operations.
Missed Deliveries
Missed deliveries are the bane of online shoppers, and a profit-sapping cost burden to package handlers such as Bonn-based Deutsche Post. Europe’s biggest mail carrier needs more than one attempt on more than 50 million shipments in Germany each year.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Cash Flow Forever - Jeff K Johnson

I have had a Real Estate License, Insurance and Mutual Fund licenses so this book was of particular interest to me and it did not let me down. With real estate pretty well part of most of our lives there are lessons to be learned with this one! Rules of the road, tricks of the trade; commercial real estate broker Jeff K. Johnson lays out a simple but highly effective formula for building net worth and cash flow through real estate investing. Jeff shares his highly educated and unique insight from working with a number of highly successful real estate investors for over thirty five years. You will find the real life stories that Jeff shares about his clients and his own investing experiences to be invaluable. This practical and easy to read book cuts right to the chase and lays out "The Real Secrets of Real Estate Investing".cashflow

In "Cash Flow Forever" Johnson reveals more than the basics of the real estate and investment properties!
A must read for those starting out in life or venturing into the real estate and commercial properties.

Jeff's new book "Cash Flow Forever" is now available on Amazon

Product Description
About the Author
Jeff K Johnson CCIM SIOR is the President of Black Commercial Inc., the brokerage division of NAI Black. NAI Black is one of Spokane, Washington's largest property management and commercial real estate companies. During his career, Jeff has worked with many highly successful real estate investors and has formed numerous real estate investment partnerships. Jeff has taught "Real Estate Investing" at Spokane Falls Community College and is the past President of the Washington Commercial Association of Realtors. Jeff grew up in Forest City, Iowa where he attended Waldorf College and met his wife Kae. Jeff is an avid rock and alpine climber.

Reviewed by R.G. Richardson.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

majority of Tor-based hidden services closed down

The majority of Tor-based hidden services closed down by law enforcement agencies last week were clones or fakes, according to a new analysis of the operation.
In what the 16-member states of Europol, the FBI, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Homeland Security called Operation Onymous, more than 410 hidden services hosted on .onion pages through the Tor network were closed down this month, according to the agencies.
Over $1 million in Bitcoin, 180,000 euros in cash, drugs, gold and silver were also seized during the sting.
The Tor Project group said at the time they were surprised at the closures, and had "very little information about how this was accomplished," — appealing to the general public for theories and potential answers in the process.
"[We are] most interested in understanding how these services were located and if this indicates a security weakness in Tor hidden services that could be exploited by criminals or secret police repressing dissents," the group said.
However, a new analysis published Monday reveals interesting findings that place the law enforcement agencies' claims in doubt. Blogger Nik Cubrilovic and others conducted a web crawl on the Tor network, and according to the Australia-based blogger, while Europol and the FBI claimed to have seized 410 services, a crawl of over 9,000 onion sites found that only 276 services were taken down.
153 of these addresses belonged to clone, scam or phishing sites, and out of these 153 sites, 133 were clones and 20 were malicious.
Cubrilovic says that in a number of cases, the FBI was only able to take the clone or scam version, but left the real site operational.
"In May of 2014 a bot known as the 'Onion Cloner' was discovered and became known to Tor hidden service operators," Cubrilovic writes. "This bot would find Tor hidden sites and clone them on its own address in an effort to steal passwords or intercept Bitcoin transactions. Of the 133 clone sites that the FBI seized, a large number of them were clone sites produced by the Onion Cloner that were mistaken for the real copy."

Read this

FBI Director: Mobile encryption could lead us to 'very dark place'
FBI Director: Mobile encryption could lead us to 'very dark place'
Apple's and Google's encryption plans have not gone down well with US law enforcement, and the agency's director says the companies are leading us down a dark path.

The blogger also claims that out of 32 onion addresses mentioned in the DOJ seizure notice, three are scam sites and nine are clones. Interestingly, while Cubrilovic says every single Onion Cloner clone site on the network was seized, a number of sites were also seized but have not been mentioned in any official notice.
Among these websites is "Pink Meth," a revenge porn website, and an additional 200 sites that have not been disclosed.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The agreement follows the e-retailer’s deal last month with Simon & Schuster.
Lead Photo Inc. and Hachette Book Group have settled their months-long dispute over the prices of books sold by the No. 1 merchant in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.
Terms were not disclosed beyond both companies saying in a joint statement that they have signed a “multi-year agreement for e-book and print sales in the U.S.” with terms taking effect in 2015. In late October, Amazon reached a similar agreement with publisher Simon & Schuster.
“We are pleased with this new agreement as it includes specific financial incentives for Hachette to deliver lower prices, which we believe will be a great win for readers and authors alike,” says David Naggar, Amazon’s vice president for Kindle.
Amazon dominates e-book sales with 60% of the market, according to Forrester Research Inc.
During the dispute, Amazon delayed shipments of Hachette titles and prevented pre-orders of some of the publisher’s books. The dispute reportedly affected some 5,000 books.
The roots of this dispute go back about four years, when Amazon signed a new electronic book pricing agreement with Hachette Book Group that enabled the publisher to set the prices of its own books.

Friday, November 21, 2014

chief executive officers paid more than U.S. federal income taxes contributions,

Seven of the 30 largest U.S. corporations paid more money to their chief executive officers last year than they paid in U.S. federal income taxes, according to a study released on Tuesday that was disputed by at least one of the companies.
Amid talk in Washington about corporate tax reform, the study said the seven companies, which in 2013 reported more than $74 billion in combined U.S. pre-tax profits, came out ahead on their taxes, gaining $1.9 billion more than they owed.
At the same time, the CEOs at each of the seven companies last year was paid an average of $17.3 million, said the study, compiled by two Washington think tanks.
The seven companies cited were Boeing Co (BA.N), Ford Motor Co (F.N), Chevron Corp (CVX.N), Citigroup Inc (C.N), Verizon Communications Inc (VZ.N), JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) and General Motors Co (GM.N).
The Institute for Policy Studies and the Center for Effective Government, the study's co-authors, said its findings reflected "deep flaws in our corporate tax system."
In reply, Verizon said it paid $422 million in income taxes in 2013. "We do not provide a breakdown between federal vs. state in that total; however, I am confirming for you that the federal portion of that number is well more than Verizon's CEO's compensation," a spokesman said in an email.
Boeing said its 2013 global tax bill was $1.6 billion, though all but $5 million was deferred due to development and production investments. A spokesman said current tax expense and cash taxes were likely to rise as 787 jet deliveries ramp up.

Like the other companies, Citigroup said it abides by all tax laws. "In 2013, Citi paid more than $3 billion in payroll taxes and more than $95 million in use tax, personal property and real property taxes in the U.S.,” a spokesman said.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Mercedes-Maybach limousine, to debut at this week's Guangzhou autoshow

Daimler AG (DAIGn.DE) will give its new luxury baby, the Mercedes-Maybach limousine, a glitzy world debut at this week's Guangzhou autoshow, even as analysts warn the end is nigh for China's 10-year high-end car sales boom.
The scale of the world's biggest auto market means the German firm and peers like Jaguar Land Rover [TAMOJL.UL] simply can't ignore it. Instead, to cut costs and cushion potential discounts as luxury demand cools, they're starting or expanding production in China.
Responding quickly to changing consumer preferences since President Xi Jinping's anti-extravagance campaign began two years ago is key for luxury automakers. IHS Automotive expects premium car sales growth will slow to 5 percent by 2018 from an average annual growth rate of 30 percent over the past decade.
"We want to go for a sustainable growth, growth with quality. It's not just a volume game," Ralf Speth, CEO of Jaguar Land Rover said last month in the eastern city of Changshu, where the British firm opened its first overseas plant.
Localizing operations in China could help luxury operators target fast responses to changing market trends. It could also help them avoid heavy import duties and price their cars more competitively.
Interest among foreign firms in selling upscale cars in China show no sign of abating even as economic growth slows to the weakest pace since first-quarter 2009. Last month, Ford Motor Co (F.N) launched its premium Lincoln brand in the country, while Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) plans to introduce luxury cars in China next year.

But the market for ultra-luxury cars, defined by consultancy as those selling for more than 2 million yuan ($326,632) apiece, has dropped sharply. A.T. Kearney expects it will barely grow over the next five years.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Home Depot quarter up

English: Logo for The Home Depot. Category:Bra...
English: Logo for The Home Depot. Category:Brands of the World (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Home Depot Inc (HD.N), the world's No.1 home improvement chain, reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit as an improving job market encouraged Americans to spend more on renovations.
The company reaffirmed its 2014 sales growth forecast of about 4.8 percent and profit forecast of $4.54 per share.
That includes about $34 million of net costs related to a data breach between April and September.
The company said it may face other breach-related costs, including legal action, that could have a material impact on results for the fourth quarter and future periods.
The retailer is facing at least 44 civil lawsuits related to the breach in the United States and Canada.
The company's shares were down 0.4 percent at $97.66 premarket.
Home Depot said on Sept. 18 that hackers stole details on about 56 million payment cards in the attack.
The retailer said earlier this month that about 53 million email addresses were also stolen in the attack.
U.S. homebuilder sentiment hit new records in the August to October period as a firming job market unleashed pent-up demand, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

Home Depot's net income rose to $1.54 billion, or $1.15 per share, in the third quarter ended Nov. 2, from $1.35 billion, or 95 cents per share, a year earlier.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Foxconn to manufacture Nokia tablet

Finland's Nokia (NOK1V.HE) launched a new brand-licensed tablet computer on Tuesday which is designed to rival Apple's(AAPL.O) iPad Mini, just six months after the company sold its ailing phones and devices business to Microsoft (MSFT.O) for over $7 billion.
Nokia, a name which was once synonymous with mobile phones until first Apple and then Samsung Electronics (005930.KS) eclipsed the Finnish company with the advent of smart phones, said the manufacturing, distribution and sales of the new N1 tablet, will be handled under license by Taiwan's Foxconn (2354.TW).
The aluminum-cased N1, which runs on Google's (GOOGL.O) Android Lollipop operating software but features Nokia's new Z Launcher intelligent home screen interface, is due to be in stores in China in the first quarter of next year for an estimated price of $249 before taxes, with sales to other markets to follow.
Sebastian Nystrom, the head of products at Nokia's Technologies unit, said the company was looking to follow up with more devices and will also look into eventually returning to the smartphones business by brand-licensing.
"With the agreement with Microsoft, as is customary, we have this transition and we can't do smartphones ... We have a time limit. In 2016 we can again enter that business," Nystrom told Reuters.
"It would be crazy not to look at that opportunity. Of course we will look at it."
Microsoft last week dropped the Nokia name on its latest Lumia 535 smartphone, which runs on its Windows Phone 8 operating system, but still uses the brand for more basic phones.