Tag Archive | "president"

D: NFLX Prepares For Deep Spend

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D: All Things Digital, The Wall Street Journal technology conference, is in full swing in Southern California.

Netflix (NFLX) Chief Executive Reed Hastings led off the proceedings this morning talking about international expansion. The Internet movie outfit is going to launch in Toronto first, a “bold” move, going to Canada, he jested. Then, Netflix will open it’s doors in an undisclosed foreign market shortly thereafter.

The upshot: international expansion could hurt profits. “We tell investors that the better it goes, the more money we are going to lose because we are going to invest” more in expansion, Hastings says. He says it takes one to three years for Netflix to establish itself in a new country, which is relatively fast. Hastings, who is a Microsoft (MSFT) board member, would not comment about hedge fund manager David Einhorn’s call for Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s ouster.

He was wiling to discuss his own open letter to short sellers to cover their negative bets, even calling short-selling “healthy” for markets.

“I’m not trying to have a battle with the shorts,” (but) if you have a friend on the short side and you think he’s losing money, and you think he’s wrong, then you want to tell him.”

The conference, now in its ninth year, got off to a rip roaring start last night when News Corp. “acting CEO” Jane Lynch, the star of the Fox Television hit Glee, recommended comic strips be added to the WSJ and other humorous mandates involving Sara Palin and talk show shock host, Glenn Beck.

Google (GOOG) Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt was the opening night keynote. The former CEO, who serves as an advisor to President Obama, says he has no intention to take a cabinet post or agency job, which had been rumored. But he will be active in the coming campaign just as he was during the President’s first election.

Note: For further ongoing coverage of D, see also former Tech Trader editor Eric Savitz’s blog at Forbes.com.

Article courtesy of Tech Trader Daily

Prince Alwaleed Has Some Advice For The US On The Debt Ceiling Situation

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“I hope something happens before the 2nd of August because if that comes and brinkmanship continues between the Republicans and Democrats, between Congress and the President, that’s a time bomb…You cannot play games with this. This is gambling. This is the United States. You’re leading the whole world, economically-speaking. I hear a lot about China and India. They’re all good run but they’re not the United States. The financial community of all the economies in the world is the United States. This remains for many years to come. You cannot play games with that at all.”

Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

George Bush Tells Hedge Fund Community What He Was Eating When He Got The Call About Osama

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“I was eating souffle at Rise Restaurant with Laura and two buddies,” Bush said on Wednesday at the SALT Conference in Vegas, when asked what he was doing when he received the call from President Obama. “I excused myself and went home to take the call,” Bush said. “Obama simply said ‘Osama Bin Laden is dead.’” [ABC]

Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

Opening Bell: 05.10.11

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Paulson Plays the Lehman Bust (WSJ)
Mr. Paulson’s fund has been snatching up Lehman debt at steep discounts since the day the investment bank collapsed, betting prices would rise while panicked investors fled. Now, as Lehman’s estate prepares to wind down, Mr. Paulson’s fund could reap profits between $350 million and $726 million on the Lehman trades…Over two and a half years, Mr. Paulson’s fund, Paulson & Co., purchased more than $7 billion worth of Lehman bonds in about 1,800 transactions. The average cost of those trades was just 13 cents on the dollar, according to the Journal’s analysis.

PIMCO raises bet against U.S. government debt (Reuters)
PIMCO’s Bill Gross, the manager of the world’s largest bond fund, raised his bet against U.S. government-related debt in April to 4 percent from 3 percent, according to the company’s website on Monday.

Morgan Stanley Trading Gains Topped $100 Million on 10 Days (Bloomberg)
The firm’s trading division lost money on 3 days during the period, compared with 13 days in the fourth quarter, New York- based Morgan Stanley said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

BofA to cut $850bn bad loan book in half (FT)
Bank of America plans to shrink its $850bn portfolio of troubled home loans by about half over the next three years as it seeks to quicken the pace with which it resolves problems related to the housing crisis and its disastrous purchase of Countrywide Financial. Terry Laughlin, who is spearheading BofA’s mortgage modification and foreclosure programmes, told the Financial Times he had been given leeway to act quickly to tackle the growing number of bad loans that threaten to overwhelm the bank’s overall performance and tarnish the reputation of Brian Moynihan, its chief executive.

Microsoft Said to Discuss Buying Internet-Call Provider Skype (Bloomberg)
A deal would value Skype at about $8.5 billion and may be announced as early as today, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private.

Alan Simpson Attacks AARP, Says Social Security Is ‘Not A Retirement Program’ (HuffPo)
At an event hosted by the Investment Company Institute, Simpson delighted the finance industry audience members by aiming a rude gesture at the leading lobby for senior citizens.

CME raises crude futures margins 4th time since Feb (Reuters)
Margins will climb by 25 percent as of the close of business on May 10, boosting the cost of holding positions for hedgers and speculators, a factor some traders said helped bring oil prices down by as much as 2 percent on Tuesday following a $5 a barrel spike a day earlier…The cumulative increase in margins on U.S. crude benchmark West Texas Intermediate CLc1 positions since February is 67 percent, from $3,750 to $6,250 per contract.

China Has Bigger-Than-Forecast Surplus on Record Exports (Bloomberg)
China reported a trade surplus that was more than three times larger than forecast in April as exports surged to a record, bolstering the U.S. case for faster yuan gains as officials from both nations meet for annual talks in Washington. The surplus widened to $11.4 billion and exceeded the forecasts of all 27 economists in a Bloomberg News survey. Exports climbed 30 percent to $156 billion while import growth slowed to 22 percent, the customs bureau said today.

Euro wobbles, haunted by commodities and debt worries (Reuters)
The common currency, which hit a six-week low against the Japanese yen and a one-month low against the British pound, was also hobbled by fears of a commodities rout after oil prices fell in the wake of the CME Group’s hike in trading margins for U.S. crude futures.

BNP Paribas chairman to retire (FT)
Michel Pébereau, France’s most influential banker, is retiring as chairman of BNP Paribas, the domestic bank he helped transform over two decades.

Reports of Mortgage Fraud Reach Record Level (WSJ)
Reports of mortgage fraud, which have been increasing since the housing boom, rose to their highest level on record in 2010, Treasury Department figures showed. The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, a Treasury agency, reported 70,472 “suspicious activity reports” related to suspected mortgage fraud, up from 67,507 in 2009, or a 5% increase. That’s the highest number recorded by the government since tracking began in 1996.

A Venture-Capital Newbie Shakes Up Silicon Valley (WSJ)
As a newly minted venture capitalist, Marc Andreessen, co-founder of Netscape, aimed for nothing less than big… Like other investors here, he’d been eying Web companies with explosive growth and global star power. But acquiring shares in tech titans like Facebook is tricky…So Mr. Andreessen set out to make his own rules—maneuvering his way into hot private deals at huge cost.

U.S. Braced for Fights With Pakistanis in Bin Laden Raid (NYT)
President Obama insisted that the assault force hunting down Osama bin Laden last week be large enough to fight its way out of Pakistan if confronted by hostile local police officers and troops, senior administration and military officials said Monday. In revealing additional details about planning for the mission, senior officials also said that two teams of specialists were on standby: One to bury Bin Laden if he was killed, and a second composed of lawyers, interrogators and translators in case he was captured alive.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, Maria Shriver announce separation (LA Times)
Shriver has been residing apart from the actor-turned-politician for the last few weeks. The former first couple confirmed the separation in a joint statement released Monday after questions from The Times…Over the years, the marriage between the international celebrity and the daughter of the Kennedy dynasty has come under close scrutiny, especially during the 2003 recall of Gov. Gray Davis, when The Times reported on Schwarzenegger’s lengthy history of groping women. At the time, Shriver defended her husband, helping lift him to victory in the free-for-all contest.

Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

Talk To John Boehner About The Debt Ceiling/Spending Cuts When You’re Ready To Use The ‘T’ Word

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Boehner wants to be “talking about cuts of trillions, not just billions.”

Speaker John Boehner will call on Congress to offset a debt ceiling hike with spending cuts of a greater amount, an ambitious proposal that puts House Republicans on a collision course with Democrats who want much more modest spending restrictions attached to the vote. “Without significant spending cuts and reforms to reduce our debt, there will be no debt limit increase,” Boehner plans to tell the Economic Club of New York here this evening, according to remarks obtained by POLITICO. “And the cuts should be greater than the accompanying increase in debt authority the president is given. We should be talking about cuts of trillions, not just billions.”

Under Boehner’s vision, for example, Republicans would have to find more than $2 trillion in cuts if they wanted to raise the debt ceiling by that amount through 2012 — which is in line with Treasury’s estimates on the debt limit. But Republicans could also go for a more incremental increase in the debt ceiling, coupling that with a smaller offsetting cut in spending. Boehner’s preference is for immediate cuts, not promises to pare back spending in the future.


Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

Eavesdropping In: Inside bin Laden Kill Plan; "The Rock" Johnson Tweets bin Laden Death Way Before Media; Sarah Palin Thanks Bush, Not…

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  • The details of the high risk, potentially disastrous plan to kill Osama bin Laden and play-by-play account of how it all went down. [LATimes]
  • Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was one of the first people outside the operation to know about the death of Osama bin Laden, tweets news 45 minutes before any media outlets. Yeah, I don’t get it either… [KTLA]
  • Sarah Palin delivers a speech thanking former President Bush, not current President Obama, for the death of bin Laden. Not even kidding. [HuffPo]
  • Are we to take Miley Cyrus’ rendition of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” at her concert last week as an unequivocal sign the apocalypse is fast-approaching? [TMZ]
  • For those who care to make a difference in the world, starting today you can vote online for the 2011 MTV Movie Awards Best Movie category from the list of nominees. [PE]

Article courtesy of %source%

Opening Bell: 05.03.11

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Goldman Chief To Stay In Job At Least Two More Years (NYP)
Lloyd Blankfein, approaching his fifth anniversary running Goldman amid some Wall Street speculation that recent regulatory tussles have left him burned out and looking to step down, is likely to stay put at the helm of Goldman Sachs for at least two years, sources tell The Post.

Morgan Aligned With Commodities Bulls As Goldman Says Sell (Bloomberg)
The surge in everything from oil to corn to gold has yet to crimp demand, inventories are still tight, and getting out now would be “premature,” Hussein Allidina, the head of commodity research at Morgan Stanley in New York, said on April 29. Prices may no longer reflect supply and demand, and they are likely to drop in the next three to six months before rebounding, Goldman said in reports April 11 and April 15.

U.S. Business Has High Tax Rates but Pays Less (NYT)
Topping out at 35 percent, America’s official corporate income tax rate trails that of only Japan, at 39.5 percent, which has said it plans to lower its rate. It is nearly triple Ireland’s and 10 percentage points higher than in Denmark, Austria or China. To help companies here stay competitive, many executives say, Congress should lower it. But by taking advantage of myriad breaks and loopholes that other countries generally do not offer, United States corporations pay only slightly more on average than their counterparts in other industrial countries. And some American corporations use aggressive strategies to pay less — often far less — than their competitors abroad and at home. A Government Accountability Office study released in 2008 found that 55 percent of United States companies paid no federal income taxes during at least one year in a seven-year period it studied.

Buffett Lets The Facts Bury Sokol (Dealbook)
Sorkin: A close friend of Mr. Buffett’s explained his thinking this way. “Warren knew that the second that press release hit the wires, Sokol’s professional career was over. Done. Forever. Sokol was finished. He didn’t need to brag about being ‘ruthless.’ ”

Frank Bill Would Cut Regional Fed Presidents From Rate Votes (Bloomberg)
U.S. Representative Barney Frank, the senior Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, is pushing to remove the power regional Federal Reserve Bank presidents have to weigh in on interest-rate decisions.

India Raises Interest Rates to Battle Inflation (NYT)
In a bid to rein in persistently high inflation, India’s central bank raised interest rates Tuesday more than analysts had expected and signaled that it would be willing to raise borrowing costs even further. The action, which caused the country’s stock market to close 2.4 percent lower, will make it harder for India to achieve the 9 percent growth target set by the government for the current financial year, which ends in March 2012.

Man Group launches $1.5bn Japan fund (Telegraph)
The computer-driven Nomura Global Trend fund was the first onshore Japanese fund to be launched by Man’s AHL unit and will invest in a mixture of assets via three currency baskets, one of which includes the Chinese Yuan.

Greece To Name And Shame Tax Evaders (CNBC)
For those not paying their taxes in full the warning is stark; the Greek government plans to make an example of someone by the “identification and exemplary punishment of large-scale tax evasion.”

Banks Said to Be Quizzed by European Union Over Libor Rates (Bloomberg)
European antitrust regulators, who last week opened probes into 16 banks over credit derivatives, are also examining whether lenders manipulated the daily London interbank offered rate, according to two people familiar with the investigation…“This case will be difficult to prove — and the construction of Libor is such that it is difficult to manipulate as extreme pricing is smoothed out of the calculation,” said Simon Maughan, co-head of European equities at MF Global Ltd. in London.

Nasdaq, NYSE Arca Cancel Trades in Over 50 Stocks (CNBC)
More than 50 companies including pharmaceutical giants Pfizer and Merck & Co. were hit with a flurry of bad trades on Monday that later had to be canceled. Most of the trades that were canceled involved companies in the healthcare industry. Many trades occurred at prices far from their closing price. NYSE Arca and Nasdaq decided to cancel all trades 30 percent away from the prior consolidated price, the exchanges said. The trades were made in a purchase of an entire portfolio of shares that were sold together, like in a basket, according to a source familiar with the matter.

North Korea behind cyber attack on S.Korea bank-prosecutors (Reuters)
North Korean computer hackers were responsible for bringing down the network of a South Korean bank last month, prosecutors in Seoul said on Tuesday, in the latest of a string of cyber attacks thought to have originated from the secretive state.

Chase Scuttles Test Of $5 ATM Fees (Tribune)
JPMorgan Chase says it has finished testing $4 and $5 ATM fees for noncustomers in two states, and it is going back to the $3 fees it previously charged.

Bin Laden kill may reopen CIA interrogation debate (Reuters)
One of the key sources for initial information about an al Qaeda “courier” who led U.S. authorities to bin Laden’s Pakistani hide-out was Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the al Qaeda operative said to have masterminded the September 11, 2001 attacks, a former U.S. national security official said. KSM, as he was known to U.S. officials, was subjected to “waterboarding” 183 times, the U.S. government has acknowledged.

Hustler Club Charges $2 For Ice And $2 For No Ice (Eater)
“Thought you would enjoy this image of our receipt from Hustler Club. $2 for putting our drink on the rocks, and also $2 for taking it neat without rocks.”

Overheard (WSJ)
The death of Osama bin Laden just made President George W. Bush’s appearance as keynote at next week’s SALT hedge-fund gathering in Sin City a much hotter ticket.

Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

Opening Bell: 05.02.11

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Buffett Seeks To Limit Damage (WSJ)
In contrast to his March 30 remarks, when he said he thought Mr. Sokol’s actions weren’t “in any way unlawful,” Mr. Buffett on Saturday called Mr. Sokol’s actions “inexcusable” and said they violated the company’s insider-trading rules and code of ethics. He said Berkshire had turned over “some very damning evidence, in my view” about Mr. Sokol’s trades to the SEC. Mr. Sokol maintains he did nothing wrong, and his attorney late Saturday released a statement calling Mr. Buffett’s stance a “resort to transparent scapegoatism.”

Buffett Extols Berkshire’s CEO Candidates, Faults Sokol’s Trades (Bloomberg)
“There is no real chance the next CEO comes from outside of Berkshire,” the 80-year-old billionaire said yesterday at a press conference in Omaha, Nebraska, site of the company’s annual meeting. “If you picked the worst of the candidates we have, that person would be very, very good.”…Sokol’s stock deals, which Buffett called “inexplicable” considering his wealth, depleted Berkshire’s list of possible CEOs. Berkshire said in February that it had four candidates, without identifying them. “The leading candidate right now, I would lay a lot of money on him being straight as an arrow,” Buffett said at the April 30 meeting.

Buffett: Failure To Raise Debt Ceiling Is Asinine (Reuters)
Warren Buffett said he expects the Congress to raise the nation’s debt ceiling before it expires in mid-May, and said it would be that body’s “most asinine act” ever if it failed.

The Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting (Deal Journal)
A question about what Berkshire is doing to protect against the fall of the dollar. Buffett in the past has bet against the U.S. dollar, but said he’s lately been inactive in foreign exchange markets. “There’s no question the purchasing power of the U.S. dollar will decline over time. The only question is at what rate, Buffett said. But other currencies will decline too, and he said he doesn’t have strong feelings about which ones will decline faster or slower. Buffett ends by saying he’d rather be in the U.S. right now than any other place or any other time in history.

Osama Bin Laden Killed in Pakistan, Obama Says (Bloomberg)
Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed in Pakistan yesterday in a firefight with a team of U.S. operatives who raided the compound where he had been hiding, President Barack Obama said. “On nights like this one we can say to those families who have lost loved ones to al-Qaeda’s terror: Justice has been done,” Obama said in a late-night televised address from the White House.

Bin Laden Was Found At Luxurious Pakistan Compound (Reuters)
Few windows of the three-story home faced the outside of the compound, and a terrace had a seven-foot (2.1 meter) privacy wall, officials said. “It is also noteworthy that the property is valued at approximately $1 million but has no telephone or Internet service connected to it,” an administration official said. “The brothers had no explainable source of wealth.”

Buffett, Charlie Munger’s Share Thoughts On Trump (Reuters)
The biggest laughs of the day came from a question on Trump’s prospects for the White House. “Obviously, I think he’s a jerk,” Berkshire’s Vice Chairman Charlie Munger said, with Buffett adding in a more diplomatic way that he did not expect Trump to win the presidency.

Trump Says He’s Decided ‘In My Mind’ To Pursue Presidency (Bloomberg)
“In my mind, I have already decided,” Trump, 64, said in a telephone interview yesterday. “I am going to announce. But I can’t do anything until the show ends.”

Abu Dhabi, Hedge Funds to Back Glencore IPO (Reuters)
The listing, which could be London’s biggest ever, will be aided by strong support from cornerstones, who could buy nearly 30 percent of the shares sold — or some $3.6 billion worth, if the listing raises its maximum target of $12.1 billion.

Facebook Numbers Feed IPO Outlet (WSJ)
Lou Kerner…pegged Facebook’s profit margin—in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization—at about 50%. He said Ebitda should be $1.95 billion this year, and he estimated the company’s value in the public market would be $112.9 billion.

Greece Suggests EU/IMF Repayment Extension (Reuters)
In an interview with French daily Liberation published a day ahead of an inspection visit by the lenders, Papaconstantinou became the first Greek official to float the idea of a further easing of conditions on the 110 billion rescue.

Seth Meyers’ White House Correspondent’s Dinner Speech (TRB)

After Roasting, Trump Responds In Character (NYT)
“Seth Meyers has no talent,” Mr. Trump said in an interview on Sunday. “He fell totally flat. In fact, I thought Seth’s delivery was so bad that he hurt himself.”

Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

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

Eavesdropping In: Thai Lesbian Chic; L.A. Cracks Down On Unpaid Parking Tickets; White House Releases Obama’s Long-Form Birth Certificate, Donald…

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  • Holy Lilith Fair, Lesbian Chic is all the rage in Thailand. [HuffPo]
  • Hey scofflaws, L.A. is “cracking down” on all of you with unpaid parking tickets after realizing it is missing $15 million in potential revenue from your unpaid fines. [KTLA]
  • In a move to appease birthers, the White House releases President Obama’s long-form birth certificate and lo and behold, he is in fact a native-born citizen. [LATimes]
  • Donald Trump wants you to know that he is honored to have “played such a big role” in the release of Obama’s long-form birth certificate. [TMZ]
  • 50 Cent expands his empire, launches his own comedy site that will feature his own comedy show. Tyler Perry, you’ve been warned. [PE]

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