The 100 wealthiest people on the planet added $18 billion to their collective net worth this week as U.S. companies began reporting fourth-quarter earnings.
Facebook Inc. (FB)’s co-founder and chief executive officer, Mark Zuckerberg, gained $1.3 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. The largest social-networking service rose 10 percent during the week and hit a six-month high yesterday. Investors are optimistic that the company will benefit from new advertising efforts to drive revenue. The 28-year-old is worth $14.6 billion, making him the 57th richest person in the world.
“Facebook has had a great week,” Matthew Houk, portfolio manager at Horizon Kinetics LLC, said in an e-mail. The New York-based firm manages about $7.2 billion. “However, one of the factors that we focus on is companies with long product life cycles. It remains to be seen whether Mark Zuckerberg can establish Facebook as an enduring product that will generate longer-term value for shareholders.”
Alcoa Inc. (AA) kicked off the reporting season on Tuesday, with the largest U.S. aluminum producer posting sales that beat analysts’ forecasts amid higher-than-expected prices for the metal. In China, inflation accelerated more than forecast to a seven-month high yesterday as the nation’s coldest winter in 28 years pushed up vegetable prices, a pickup that may limit room for easing to support an economic recovery.
The Standard’s & Poor’s 500 Index gained 0.38 percent during the week to close at 1472.05 in New York. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index fell 0.26 percent, closing at 287.08… Read More
Apple (AAPL) is going to roll out an updated iPad this Spring, said Brian White on CNBC’s ” Squawk on the Street”Friday.
“I think we’re going to see another refresh come through sometime in Mid-march. So iPad 5, I think will be a thinner, it’s going to be a lighter model and possibly they will tweak the display technology,” White said. watch the video
U.S. stocks were little changed, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index poised for a second weekly drop, as industrial production unexpectedly fell and President Barack Obama prepared for budget talks.
The S&P 500 rose less than 0.1 percent to 1,353.5 at 9:32 a.m. New York time. The gauge has fallen 1.9 percent so far this week.
“The market is rotating back to a bit more optimism,” said Peter Jankovskis, co-chief investment officer for Oakbrook Investments in Lisle, Illinois, which manages about $2.9 billion. “We’re all on this wait-and-see mode right now. The fiscal cliff is the most obvious factor for that.”
President Barack Obama will hold an opening round of talks with Congressional leaders today to reach a deal to avoid a $607 billion deficit-cutting package known as the fiscal cliff. The Wall Street Journal reported that White House officials were holding internal discussions about a plan to replace the cuts with a smaller package of reductions and tax increases. The newspaper cited people familiar with the planning.
Concern about the so-called fiscal cliff has driven the S&P 500 to the lowest level since July 25. The index has retreated 5.3 percent since President Obama’s re-election set up a budget showdown with the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.
Industrial production declined in October as superstorm Sandy knocked out power in the Northeast.
Output at factories, mines and utilities dropped 0.4 percent last month after a revised 0.2 percent increase in September that was smaller than previously estimated, Federal Reserve data showed today in Washington. Economists forecast a 0.2 percent gain, according to the Bloomberg survey median. The Fed said the storm cut total production by almost 1 percentage point.
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Hostess Brands Inc., the bankrupt maker of Wonder bread and Twinkies, said it will fire more than 18,000 workers and liquidate after a strike crippled operations.
“We deeply regret the necessity of today’s decision, but we do not have the financial resources to weather an extended nationwide strike,” Chief Executive Officer Gregory F. Rayburn said today in a statement.
Union members “crippled the company’s ability to produce and deliver products at multiple facilities,” and “bakery operations have been suspended at all plants,” the company said in the statement.
Rayburn said Hostess will dismiss most of its 18,500 employees and focus on selling assets. Shipments of bread, snack cakes and other products will continue until supplies run out, he said.
The Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union went on strike Nov. 9 after a bankruptcy judge in White Plains, New York, imposed contract concessions that 92 percent of the union’s workers reje
Every financial era has its signature stock. It’s a company that defines an era. For market bulls who own stock in Apple (AAPL) that could be bad news. Since early October Apple stock is down over 20%. Recently the S&Pc500 started a slide of its own, dropping 7% from recent highs. The question for investors isn’t whether or not Apple stock can regain its mojo, but whether Apple is the canary in the coal mine signaling another economic downturn.
Long-time Apple bull Todd Schoenberger, managing principal at The BlackBay Group is concerned. “Apple is a true proxy of the global economy,” he says in the attached clip. If Apple is slowing down it could be an ominous sign for spending worldwide.
To be sure, the world should dare to dream of having Apple’s problems. The maker of all things that start with a lower-case “i” is still growing at a more than 20% pace, amassing cash faster than ever before seen in corporate history. But that growth has begun disappointing analysts. Too many of what Schoenberger says are derivative “me too” products, like the iPad Mini, have some wondering if Apple’s best days are behind it, spectacular though they were.
The picture for the economy is darker but not entirely dissimilar. Take for example investor reaction to the Quantitative Easing programs launched by the Federal Reserve. The first two rounds of QE led to sharp and sustained market rallies, widely disdained by Fed critics but satisfying to investors. QE3 was impressive in terms of magnitude (more than $40 billion a month!) but not a hit with investors. Stocks are down almost 6% since the surprise announcement on September 13th.
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