Tag Archive | "japan"

Write-Offs: 05.31.11

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$$$ House Prices Fall to New Post-Bubble Low as More Rent (NYT)

$$$ Consumer confidence drops in May (Reuters)

$$$ House Set to Reject Debt Ceiling Hike Democrats Dismiss as “Political Charade” (ABC)

$$$ Bernie Madoff Is Ruining Divorces Now, Too (Daily Intel)

$$$ Obama names Bryson as commerce chief (WaPo)

$$$ Primary Global Shuts Offices, but Says It’s Still Open (Dealbook)

$$$ Spain Cuts Budget Deficit in Half (WSJ)

$$$ Goldman shares climb on JPMorgan upgrade (Reuters)

$$$ Ex-Galleon trader presents no defense at NY trial (Reuters)

$$$ A Securities and Exchange Commission worker gave investors false and misleading information about an alleged Ponzi scheme that could have hindered investigation of a fraud in which he also was a victim, the agency’s watchdog said. The employee, based at SEC headquarters in Washington, shared nonpublic information with several investors during the SEC’s investigation and litigation of the case, SEC Inspector General H. David Kotz said in his semiannual report to Congress released today. The report didn’t identify either the SEC employee or the firm accused of conducting the fraud. Kotz opened his probe in February after a senior official said the employee had contacted fellow investors and told them that the company was legitimate and that investors “would be receiving considerable sums of money,” according to the report. (Bloomberg)

$$$ Falcone Venture Said Weighing Deal With AT&T (Bloomberg)

$$$ RBS moves to tap into Chinese IPO market (FT)

$$$ Muni-Bond Group Bans Dual Adviser-Underwriter Roles (WSJ)

$$$ Asian Markets Draw Private-Equity Sales (WSJ)

$$$ Buyout Firms Morphing Into Asset Managers as Takeovers Dwindle (Bloomberg)

$$$ Lehman Presses Big Banks on Derivatives Settlement (WSJ)

$$$ Is bond trading dying? (Reuters)

$$$ Apple’s Jobs to Unveil iCloud Service (WSJ)

$$$ Japan pensioners volunteer to tackle nuclear crisis (BBC)

$$$ Sarah Palin, Donald Trump To Meet In New York City Tuesday Night (ABC)

Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

Solar: Japan ‘Sunrise’ Targets Panel Expansion

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Nice bit of news for solar energy technology vendors: Japan’s prime minister Naoto Kan is expected at this week’s meeting in France of the Group of Eight leaders to unveil the “Sunrise Plan” to extend installation of solar panels to all of Japan’s rooftops, for eligible buildings and homes, according to a report today by Kyodo News. The time frame is by 2030, the report says.

Article courtesy of Tech Trader Daily

Sony Slips: Revises FY Results For Japan Impact

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Shares of Sony (SNE) are down $1.07, or almost 4%, at $25.98, after the company this morning slightly cut its full-year results, originally reported in preliminary fashion back on February 3rd, to 7.181 trillion yen, from an original forecast of 7.2 trillion yen, citing the earthquake and tsunami in Japan in March.

The company also said it would report a 260 billion yen loss for the quarter, versus an initial expectation for profit, to reflect a “valuation allowance” against deferred tax assets in Japan.

Sony said it will report slightly less operating income, at 253 billion yen, versus an original 260-billion estimate, to reflect restructuring charges.

Article courtesy of Tech Trader Daily

Apple: Clues Point To iPhone 4S In September, Says Piper

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Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster this morning writes of two “concrete data points” that he believes suggest Apple (AAPL) will introduce its next iPhone in September, rather than the usual summer introduction, as has been rumored.

He’s sticking with his estimate for 16 million iPhones to be sold this quarter, and 21 million in the September quarter.

One iPhone manufacturing equipment supplier with whom he’s spoken said that they had received orders for the equipment “several months later than usual.”

And secondly, the company has usually had a software event in the spring, followed by a hardware announcement at its summer developer conference. “There have been, on average, 79 days between the software event and the iphone hardware announcement,” he writes.

But it appears the summer conference, the Worldwide Developer Conference, is a focus on software, suggesting that a hardware unveiling is coming later on, in the fall. By the same day count, a June 6th introduction of a new iOS version should lead to a September 24 hardware announcement.

As for why the shift, Munster opines some features requiring software fine-tuning may not be fully baked yet. Also, Japan’s disaster and its impact on supplies could be a part of it. Deliberating over whether to include a 4G, or “LTE” modem in the phone may have delayed things. “Also, there has been chatter surrounding an audio codec socket in the next iPhone, for which a delayed product could have altered the iPhone development cycle.”

As for what it is, “We believe the fifth-generation iPhone, possibly branded the iPhone 4S, will have a similar form-factor to the iPhone 4 but a faster A5 chip, no LTE support, and possibly a larger 4″ display. And he opines, “Apple’s next iPhone could operate on Sprint’s [Nextel (S)] network.”

Apple shares today are down 97 cents, or 0.4%, at $339.56 in early trading.

Article courtesy of Tech Trader Daily

Solar: More Positive Nuke Newsflow

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There’s nothing to show it in early trading of First Solar (FSLR) or other solar energy technology providers, but yesterday brought some further positive headlines for alternative energy versus nukes.

Japan’s prime minister said the country would abandon plans to build more nuclear reactors, as Martin Fackler of The New York Times reports.

The company that owns the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, Tokyo Electric Power, is expected to book losses of more than $12.4 billion as a result of March’s earthquake and Tsunami in Japan, according to Japan’s Nikkei news service.

Tokyo Electric may receive government bailout funds to help cover costs, which could result in the Japanese government getting “closely involved in the management of Tokyo Electric Power,” according to a write-up this morning by Dow Jones’s Mitsuru Obe.

Germany’s Green Party is demanding all 17 nuclear power plants be shut down by 2017, though the party is apparently working with other officials on a possible “nuclear consensus,” according to a Dow Jones Newswires report this morning.

Another DJ report, by Ryan Tracy, last night reported a nuclear plant in Browns Ferry, Alabama, which was recently shut down, was cited by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for “an equipment failure of high significance,” involving “key safety systems.”

First Solar shares this morning are unchanged at $128.51.

Update: I spoke too soon. First Solar shares are actually down 92 cents, or 0.7%, at $127.59 in early trading.

Article courtesy of Tech Trader Daily

Write-Offs: 05.10.11

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$$$ NY Fed ‘Pleased‘ With Sale of Ex-AIG Subprime Bonds (WSJ)

$$$ At around 10 last night, Lady Gaga arrived in a glowing egg positioned on top of a cart filled with cakes and macaroons. Escorted by brawny men in sleeveless Roman tunics, the cart rolled past hedge-fund founders Dan Och, David Einhorn, Steven A. Cohen, Ken Griffin, and more than 4,000 others gathered in the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center for the Robin Hood Foundation benefit. Soon “the Gaga,” as emcee Brian Williams called her, emerged onstage wearing a cream outfit that exposed her midriff. “I’d like to thank all the rich people for donating tonight,” she said. “And when I say rich, I mean rich in spirit.” (Bloomberg)

$$$ Goldman Sachs Cuts First-Quarter Estimate for Possible Legal Losses by 21% (Bloomberg)

$$$ Goldman Goes Long US Government Debt (CNBC)

$$$ JPMorgan denies gouging Lehman in $8.6 billion fight (Reuters)

$$$ Bank of America Billions in Losses at Stake on Moynihan Outlook (Bloomberg)

$$$ Charity to auction lunch date with Warren Buffett (Reuters)

$$$ Junk bond yields hit record lows (FT)

$$$ Whistleblowers in muniland (FT Alphaville)

$$$ Ireland to Impose Levy on Pension Funds to Finance Jobs Plan (Bloomberg)


$$$ Microsoft-Skype Deal May Upset AT&T, Verizon Relations (Bloomberg)

$$$ Google launches music service without labels (Reuters)

$$$ Japan Scraps Plan for New Nuclear Plants (NYT)

$$$ Donald Trump’s poll numbers collapse (Politico)

$$$ Northwestern University

Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

Opening Bell: 05.09.11

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Commodity hedge fund loses $400m in oil slide (FT)
Clive Capital, the world’s largest commodity hedge fund, has been left nursing losses of more than $400m as a result of the collapse in the price of oil last week…Others, including Astenbeck Capital, the Phibro-owned fund run by Andrew Hall, are thought to have taken double-digit percentage point losses to their portfolios, according to investors…In a letter sent to investors on Friday and seen by the Financial Times, Clive said it was down 8.9 per cent on the week after what it called “extraordinary” price movements on Thursday. Clive’s management said it was at a loss to explain what had caused crude oil markets to be “annihilated”.

Silver-Mad Small Investors Fueled an Epic Rise and Fall (WSJ)
Behind silver’s historic collapse is a market that came loose of its moorings, fueled by speculative traders, many of them small investors who may have jumped in at just the wrong moment. “If gold is a Monte Carlo casino, silver is a slot machine in Las Vegas,” says Andy Smith, a senior metals strategist at Bache Commodities.

Euro Nations Divided Over Greek Debt (WSJ)
Finance chiefs from the most important euro nations discussed Greece’s problems—and other issues, including Portugal’s imminent aid package—at informal talks in Luxembourg on Friday. The gathering, one of many informal meetings of select European officials since the financial crisis began, turned into a media circus after Germany’s Spiegel Online reported its existence Friday—and claimed it had been called because Greece was thinking of leaving the euro zone. The report sent the euro tumbling…”We are not discussing the exit of Greece from the euro area. This is a stupid idea and an avenue we would never take,” said the host of Friday’s meeting, Luxembourg Premier Jean-Claude Juncker.

EU eyes lower rates for Greece, Ireland amid chaos (Reuters)
The European Union is looking to lower interest rates on bailout loans to Greece and Ireland and is working on a second rescue for Athens in a chaotic effort to prevent a disorderly debt restructuring. The executive European Commission said on Monday it hoped to see a decision within weeks on reducing the rate charged to Ireland to make Dublin’s debt more sustainable.

Irish to Avoid ‘Doomsday,’ Honohan Says as Rescheduling Mooted (Bloomberg)
Irish central bank Governor Patrick Honohan said the country will avoid economic “doomsday,” as a government minister and prominent professor suggested the nation should reschedule debts from its as much as 85 billion-euro ($121 billion) bailout. Honohan was responding to Morgan Kelly, an economics professor dubbed Ireland’s Doctor Doom, who wrote in the Irish Times newspaper that Ireland faces a “prolonged and chaotic national bankruptcy.”

U.S. Will Urge China to Boost Interest Rates in Washington Talks (Bloomberg)
Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner will urge China to allow higher interest rates when he meets with Chinese leaders this week, as the U.S. extends its push for a stronger yuan.

Private Equity Has A Horse In This Race (Dealbook)
Carl Pascarella, an executive at TPG, the private equity firm, owns a piece of the the colt that shocked the horse racing world on Saturday with a come-from-behind victory. Animal Kingdom, who had never run on dirt and only had four races under his belt, covered the mile and a quarter in 2:02.04.

AIG Fall Blunts Talk Of Taxpayer Gain (WSJ)
What Treasury chooses to do with its AIG shares “is essentially a political decision,” says Jay Ritter, a finance professor at the University of Florida. “Government officials and politicians would like to say we broke even and didn’t lose any taxpayer money” in the AIG bailout, he says. “But as a taxpayer, I would be happy if we got out close to whole, and losing a little would ultimately be a good outcome” given the amount that was committed to the AIG bailout, Mr. Ritter says.

Fee Pitched for Fast Firms (WSJ)
Sen. Charles Schumer told regulators that sophisticated electronic traders should bear the cost of monitoring their dealings, with special fees assessed to firms that issue and then rapidly cancel securities orders.

UBS fears missing ambitious targets (FT)
Oswald Grübel, chief executive, surprised analysts last month by maintaining his medium-term goals of SFr20bn (€16bn) in annual revenues and SFr6bn in pre-tax profits for the group’s recovering investment bank. UBS’s performance targets were set in late 2009, before the new Basel III framework was finalised and before regulators in Switzerland proposed their own additional capital requirements for the group…However, according to senior UBS bankers, there is a growing acceptance that the targets are aspirational and will be extremely difficult to achieve over the next two years.

Moody’s: Expiring of US muni backstops going well (Reuters)
An expected flood of expirations of liquidity facilities on U.S. municipal debt this year is so far going well, Moody’s Investors Service reported on Monday.

SEC reform proposal threatens ‘dark pools’ (FT)
The US Securities and Exchange Commission is considering a proposal to move more trading back on to exchanges from alternative venues such as “dark pools”, which has drawn sharp criticism from banks and many trading firms. David Shillman, associate director of the SEC’s division of trading and markets, told the Financial Times that a so-called “trade at” rule is “very much in play. There’s interest in it”. The “trade at” rule, which would require non-exchange venues to improve on the displayed market price, is a response to concerns among some academics and market participants that a rising share of trading happening outside of exchanges is making trading more expensive and difficult.

US Q1 home values see biggest drop since 2008–Zillow (Reuters)
Zillow said its home value index fell 3 percent in the first three months of the year from the previous quarter, and was down 8.2 percent year-over-year.

Seeking Business, States Loosen Insurance Rules (NYT)
Vermont, and a handful of other states including Utah, South Carolina, Delaware and Hawaii, are aggressively remaking themselves as destinations of choice for the kind of complex private insurance transactions once done almost exclusively offshore. Roughly 30 states have passed some type of law to allow companies to set up special insurance subsidiaries called captives, which can conduct Bermuda-style financial wizardry right in a policyholder’s own backyard.

Berkshire Hathaway profit falls on Japan (Reuters)
Berkshire reported a net profit of $1.51 billion, or $917 per Class A share, compared with a profit of $3.63 billion, or $2,272 per Class A share, a year earlier. The company took a provision of $1.7 billion in the first quarter for catastrophe losses, primarily for the Japan earthquake but also from a quake in New Zealand and flooding in Australia…Berkshire also recorded losses of $506 million in the first quarter for stocks where the company’s investment was in a loss position and that loss was not considered temporary. The biggest share of the loss was an impairment on part of Berkshire’s stake in Wells Fargo, and the rest came from an impairment on the stake in Kraft Foods.

HSBC Costs Rise on New Hires and Customer Compensation (Bloomberg)
Costs as a proportion of income rose to 60.9 percent from 49.6 percent, the London-based bank said today in a statement. Net income rose 58 percent to $4.15 billion compared with $2.63 billion in the year-earlier period, the bank said in its first detailed quarterly earnings report. The shares fell.

U.S. gas prices hit $4 a gallon, but may retreat (Reuters)
The national average for self-serve, regular unleaded gas was $4 per gallon on May 6, up 11.98 cents from April 22, according to the nationwide Lundberg Survey. This was still below the all-time high of $4.11 on July, 11, 2008, and last week’s fall in crude oil prices may lead to a 8- to 12-cent drop in prices at the pump over the next few weeks, according to Trilby Lundberg, the survey’s editor.

Sweep is an ugly ending for Lakers and a bittersweet one for Phil Jackson (LA Times)
The Mavericks’ 122-86 blowout victory in Game 4, which completed their 4-0 sweep of the Western Conference semifinal series, perhaps came at the right time for the Lakers. They appeared to be teetering, perhaps because this was the 77th postseason game they had played since 2008, nearly an extra 82-game regular season in a four-year span. “I was talking to Kobe [after the game] and we both agreed it was better to lose now than to get to the [NBA] Finals and lose,” Jackson said. “Going all the way and losing in the Finals, now that’s really tough.”

What was in medicine chests at bin Laden compound? (MSNBC)
Either Osama bin Laden or those who lived with him at the Pakistan compound where he was killed apparently suffered from stomach ulcers, high blood pressure and nerve pain — plus the normal ailments that affect a family with children, according to a pharmacist’s analysis of medications reportedly found at the site. In addition, the medicine cache was said to contain Avena syrup, a botanical product that has at least two uses: as an artificial sweetener often used for a sour stomach and as “natural Viagra” that could be used to increase sexual desire and potency.

Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

Argus Ups Apple PT to $415; Lines for iPad2 in Asia

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Today, Argus Research analyst Jim Kelleher increased his price target on Apple (AAPL) from $375 to $415, noting that the company’s strong second quarter is not reflected in the stock.

IPhone sales have of course risen to record levels, propelling Apple into the top slot among global mobile phone vendors by revenue, even as iPad sales slipped on a sequential basis, as desktop Macs declined in the quarter, Kelleher noted. He wrote that the iPhone too had a few quarters of less-than-stellar sales before taking off globally, and that the same trajectory could await the iPad, hence the price target increase.

Elsewhere, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that crowds turned out in Asia yesterday, as the iPad2 was finally officially on sale in 12 markets, including Japan, where the launch had been delayed.

Article courtesy of Tech Trader Daily

Microsoft Sees Enterprise, Entertainment Offerings Driving Stock

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As previously noted, shares of Microsoft (MSFT) were falling about 2% in after hours trading, despite its better-than-expected third quarter earnings.

Barrons.com spoke with the firm’s head of investors relations Bill Koefoed about the quarter, which he sees as strong, attributing  the after hours drop to investors’ perceptions of the PC market.

He touted the fact that Microsoft was able to grow both revenue and earnings per share by double digits even as the PC market was down. “Putting up 13% growth when Windows [sales] are down shows the strength and breadth of our portfolio…After IDC and Gartner said the PC market was down in the 1%-3% range (as we had told investors) Intel (INTC) put up their numbers and people got a glimmer of hope that we would do better than that I think.” However, he notes that Intel’s numbers benefited from having 14 weeks in their quarter and not including netbook sales (down 40% year-over-year) as part of PC sales, “which doesn’t make it a fair apples-to-apples comparison.”

As for the company’s entertainment and devices division, he notes Xbox and Kinect are delivering and “we’re thrilled we’re beating our own internal forecasts.”

Microsoft shares of course have had a difficult year, but Koefoed believes there are plenty of catalysts for the stock in 2011.“The biggest thing is that enterprise business is booming,” he says. “We continue to look at CIO surveys, be they from analysts or Wall Street banks, and Windows and Office remain two of the highest priority items. Looking at overall customer satisfaction numbers, people love Windows 7, so there is a huge opportunity that remains there. We’re looking to launch Office 365 [now available in Beta] quickly…moving toward the cloud; it’s a vibrant business.”

He says that Microsoft is working to turn around its online services division, as the firm “hasn’t monetized revenue-per-search as we hoped; we have some work to do, but to the extent that we can turn that around, it’s all upside.” He also notes that entertainment devices should continue to be a bright spot for the company.

As for Japan, Koefoed says Microsoft “did not see any material impact in Japan in the third quarter…I don’t know that we have any expectations that on a forward basis there will be a significant impact. They’ve done a good job of returning to business as usual, and they’re focused on rebuilding. Microsoft technology is helping in the rebuilding effort, we’ve donated a tremendous amount of equipment, software and money, but from a financial perspective we’ve not seen a material impact.”

Article courtesy of Tech Trader Daily

ARM’s Brown Confident About 2011, Doesn’t Fear Intel

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ARM Holdings (ARMH) saw its stock gain 0.7% in recent trading after the U.K.-based chip designer reported a better-than-expected quarter this morning.

For the first quarter, ARM said it earned GBP21.5 million, up from from GBP19.6 million in the year-ago period on revenue of  GBP116.0 million, up  from GBP92.3 million a year earlier.

ARM President Tudor Brown spoke with Barrons.com about the quarter, calling it “very strong in all areas…with record revenues and profits and most importantly a record backlog of new business that will pay off in the future.” He says that while the company is very confident, it chose to reiterate rather than increase its full year guidance, given the uncertainty in Japan.

Brown says that the firm has just over a dozen licensees in Japan, some of which have been affected. Yet he says that it is difficult to say how much of an impact it will have in the next several quarters, when current stock dwindles and shortages begin to make themselves felt, given the extreme complexity of the supply chain. However, he noted that Japan “has a remarkable resilience and a record of bouncing back.”

The stock has gained nearly 50% since January, but Brown sees more catalysts ahead:

“ARM is well positioned, with our 250 licensees, in well established markets, such as mobile phones, but we are obviously interested in what is happening in adjacent markets, like the tablet market as well. We believe it will be a very high growth market, though how high it is difficult to say how high at this point: Apple (AAPL) can’t make enough iPads to satisfy the market, though it’s difficult to say how much of that is demand and how much is [supply chain disruptions] from Japan. Still, in the end that demand will be satisfied, which will be good for ARM, just as tablets [running on Google’s (GOOG)] Android platform will be good for ARM.

“We’ve seen huge growth in the microcontroller market, and while this doesn’t guarantee  huge revenue growth, given that the parts are relatively cheap, the huge volumes add up to quite a significant royalty stream. Consumer products are really driving this microcontroller growth; almost every device has electronic components, so we fell good about this market.

“We’ve also seen a lot of growth in graphics, which bodes well for the future. Our licensing business is about putting down the seeds to harvest in future royalties; it takes two to five years, but we are seeing very strong licensing now, which makes us feel good about future growth.”

Many have noted that Intel‘s (INTC) foray into the tablet market could be a blow for ARM, but Brown is not concerned at this point:

“Intel keeps saying they’re going to get into this space, and we think it’s very likely we’ll see tablets this year based on Intel technology. The question is how successful they will be. It’s not just a case of getting a product out into the market, it needs to have a chic factor, some sexiness about it, and it’s not clear if Intel’s products will capture that sort of imagination or not.  When we look at the number of ARM licensees building high-end application processes, like Samsung, Qualcomm (QCOM), and ST, among others, between them they have a much bigger chance of enabling sexy products. So while you can’t discount Intel, given its enormous manufacturing muscle, they haven’t yet been able to turn it into a product people want to buy in this space. Additionally, the fact that Microsoft (MSFT) announced in January that the next generation of Windows will [support ARM-based] systems will be interesting to see how it [plays out] in the future. It may not mean anything in the short-term, but over the next few years, it can only be a good thing, I think.”

Article courtesy of Tech Trader Daily