AI EMOTION RECOGNITION CANT BE TRUSTED

first_imgTheir findings are detailed — they can be read in full here — but the basic summary is that emotions are expressed in a huge variety of ways, which makes it hard to reliably infer how someone feels from a simple set of facial movements. To achieve this, tech companies like Microsoft, IBM, and Amazon all sell what they call “emotion recognition” algorithms, which infer how people feel based on facial analysis. For example, if someone has a furrowed brow and pursed lips, it means they’re angry. If their eyes are wide, their eyebrows are raised, and their mouth is stretched, it means they’re afraid, and so on. Clients can put this tech to use in a variety of ways, building everything from automated surveillance systems that look for “angry” threats to job interview software that promises to weed out bored and uninterested candidates. The review was commissioned by the Association for Psychological Science, and five distinguished scientists from the field were asked to scrutinize the evidence. Each reviewer represented different theoretical camps in the world of emotion science. “We weren’t sure if we would be able to come to a consensus over the data, but we did,” Barrett says. It took them two years to examine the data, with the review looking at more than 1,000 different studies. “Companies can say whatever they want, but the data are clear,” Lisa Feldman Barrett, a professor of psychology at Northeastern University and one of the review’s five authors, tells The Verge. “They can detect a scowl, but that’s not the same thing as detecting anger.”center_img … “People, on average, the data show, scowl less than 30 percent of the time when they’re angry,” says Barrett. “So scowls are not the expression of anger; they’re an expression of anger — one among many. That means that more than 70 percent of the time, people do not scowl when they’re angry. And on top of that, they scowl often when they’re notangry.” Read the whole story: The Verge As artificial intelligence is used to make more decisions about our lives, engineers have sought out ways to make it more emotionally intelligent. That means automating some of the emotional tasks that come naturally to humans — most notably, looking at a person’s face and knowing how they feel.last_img read more

Amazon has added two new features designed to make

first_imgAmazon has added two new features designed to make it easier for US subscribers to its Amazon Channels initiative to watch live programmes through their Fire TV device.Users that have signed up to access TV channels like HBO, Starz and Showtime through Amazon will now see a new row on their Fire TV homepage called On Now, which shows what programmes are playing live.A new Fire TV Channel Guide has also been introduced that lets users browse a full channel schedule, including what is due to air in the coming weeks.Additionally users can press the microphone button on your Alexa Voice Remote to access live TV by giving commands like “Alexa, watch HBO”.last_img read more

Could JPMorgan et al engineer a price decline at t

first_imgCould JPMorgan et al engineer a price decline at this juncture. Sure. They can do it anytime they want.Gold didn’t do much during the Far East trading session on Tuesday, but a smallish rally began shortly after 3:00 p.m. Hong Kong time around the $1,609 spot price mark.  The high of the day [$1,619.50 spot] came minutes before 9:00 a.m. in New York…and from there it got sold off to its low of the day [$1,607.70 spot] at 10:00 a.m. Eastern…the time of the London afternoon gold ‘fix’.  From that time onwards, it didn’t do much.Once again, net volume was pretty light…around 93,000 contracts…and gold closed at $1,612.30 spot…up the magnificent sum of 70 cents.Silver began to rally at the same moment as gold…and really took off to the upside about 1:00 p.m. in London…about twenty minutes before the Comex open.  Silver’s high point of the day, like gold, came about 8:50 a.m…and that price was $28.34 spot  Silver got sold off about two bits going into the 5:15 p.m close of electronic trading.Silver finished the Tuesday session at $28.10 spot…up 22 cents on the day.  Gross volume was pretty chunky, but once the roll-overs out of the September contract were removed, the net volume was very light…around 19,000 contracts.The dollar index didn’t do much at the Far East open…but rallied a bit going into the Hong Kong afternoon.  The high tick [82.38] came shortly after 3:00 p.m. Hong Kong time…and the low tick [82.07] came about 8:30 a.m. in New York.  From that low, the index rallied back and closed at 82.35…virtually unchanged from Monday.The rallies in both gold and silver coincided perfectly with the moves in the dollar index yesterday.The gold stocks opened up…and stayed up…and this time there was no last half-hour sell-off going into the close.  The HUI finished up 1.38% on the day.After Monday’s big price-run up, the silver shares had another decent day yesterday…and Nick Laird’s Silver Sentiment Index closed up another 1.56%.(Click on image to enlarge)The CME’s Daily Delivery Report showed that 76 gold and 4 silver contracts were posted for delivery on Thursday within the Comex-approved depositories.There were no reported changes in either GLD or SLV…and no sales report from the U.S. Mint, either.There was a huge amount of activity in silver for the second day in a row over at the Comex-approved depositories.  On Monday they reported receiving 225,034 troy ounces of silver…and they shipped  2,523,686 troy ounces out the door.On Friday and Monday combined, these five depositories received 3.31 million ounces of silver…and shipped 4.30 million ounces out the door.  This is almost two days of world silver production coming in the door…and more than two days of world silver production going out the door.  One has to wonder the reason behind this frantic in-out activity that’s occurring on a weekly basis.  Ted Butler says that in a ‘normal’ week, it’s only about 2 million ounces in and out.  So with the week still very young, it will be interesting to see if this level activity continues.The link to Monday’s activity is here…and it’s worth a quick look.It’s been a busy week for stories…and today’s column is no exception.  I hope you have time to skim them all.There are no markets anymore…only interventions. – Chris Powell, GATALike Monday, I wouldn’t read a whole heck of a lot into Tuesday’s price action, either.  Prices basically followed the dollar index…and it was just “another day off the calendar” as Ted Butler is wont to say.Yesterday, at the close of Comex trading, was the cut-off for August’s Bank Participation Report…and the new Commitment of Traders Report.  Just eye-balling the price patterns over the reporting week, I’d say that we’ll see an improvement in the Commercial net short position in both gold and silver…but I wouldn’t bet a huge amount of money on that.Could JPMorgan et al engineer a price decline at this juncture. Sure. They can do it anytime they want.  They could hit gold for around sixty bucks or so…and silver for a dollar or more.  But will they?  Don’t know.  September is a big delivery month for silver…and the roll-overs out of the September contract have just started…and there’s no reason to think that they couldn’t fix the markets so that all these options/futures contracts close out-of-the-money on or before expiry day.When they smashed the precious metals last week, they started on Wednesday morning in London…and had the deed done by the time the job numbers came out on Friday morning in New York.  There’s no reason why they couldn’t do it again if that’s their plan.  We’ll just have to wait it out.Nothing worth mentioning happened in the Far East on their Wednesday…and nothing much is happened in London during the first two hours of their trading day.  Volumes continue to be vapours…and the dollar index isn’t doing a thing, either.  Will the rest of the Wednesday session be just “another day off the calendar”…or something more exciting?  We’ll find out soon enough.Enjoy what’s left of your day…and I’ll see you here tomorrow. Sponsor Advertisement Avrupa Minerals Ltd. is a growth-oriented prospect generator focused on aggressive exploration for valuable mineral deposits in politically stable and prospective regions of Europe with a growing pipeline of prospects in Portugal, Kosovo and Germany.Company highlights:Alvalade Project JV with Antofagasta Minerals SA – Copper and Zinc on 1000 km2 project area in the Portuguese Pyrite Belt – 2012 exploration budget of US$ 2.5 million, all provided by Antofagasta, including 6000 meters of core drillingGold exploration in the Erzgebirge Mining District, Germany – 307 km2 exploration license in 1000+ year producing region of tin, tungsten, silver, base metals, and uranium – Increasingly favorable permitting and mining regulations, long mining culture, widespread known gold panning locationsCovas Tungsten JV with Blackheath Resources Inc. – 922,900 mt @ 0.78% WO3 (non NI 43-101 compliant) historic resource – Potential to increase the tungsten resource – New gold target on the projectStrong management including Paul Kuhn, CEO, previously involved with several discoveries around the world, and Mark T. Brown, Director, founder of Rare Element Resources Ltd.Low risk exploration strategyShare structure and cash on hand (12/31/2011):16.1 million shares outstanding; 23.7 million shares outstanding, fully diluted40% of shares held by insiders, family, friends, and long-term investorsApprox. C$ 500,000 cash on hand (consolidated Canada and Europe)Antofagasta has provided US$ 350,000 for all anticipated Alvalade JV expenses for Q1 2012.Please visit our website for more information.last_img read more

Another day when the highfrequency traders were a

first_imgAnother day when the high-frequency traders were active almost the entire time. The gold price traded sideways until 10:00 a.m. Hong Kong time on their Tuesday morning and, with the exception of a couple of tiny rallies at the London and N.Y. Comex opens…both of which got hammered flat immediately…it was pretty much all down hill into an early London p.m. gold fix at around 9:50 a.m. EDT in New York. Once ‘the fix was in’…the high-frequency traders went to work…and spun the price down to its Tuesday low, which came just minutes after 11:00 a.m. EDT…and minutes after London closed for the day. The subsequent [but smallish] rally lasted until the 1:30 p.m. EDT Comex close…and from there it traded sideways until the end of trading at 5:15 p.m. in New York. The high tick came in early Far East trading…and was a bit over $1,385 spot…and the low tick in New York was $1,360.10 spot. Gold closed at $1,368.30 spot…down $16.10 on the day.  Gross volume wasn’t overly heavy at around 132,000 contracts. The red trace is Tuesday’s price action. The dollar index closed on Monday afternoon in New York at 80.63…and then spent until 9:00 a.m. EDT on Tuesday morning struggling up to its high of the day, which was 80.97.  But it was all down hill from there, as the rally fell out of bed…and the index hit its nadir of 80.56 about 12:40 p.m. in New York.  The dollar index closed at 80.69…basically unchanged from either Monday’s or Friday’s close. Here’s the chart from the Sunday night open in New York.  Every rally attempt above the 81.00 mark has failed…and the dollar index has closed within 10 basis points for three days in a row.  It’s worth mentioning that the precious metals price activity has had no correlation whatsoever to the currency moves on Tuesday…not that it ever has. Without JPMorgan Chase et al riding shotgun over them 24/7…the platinum and palladium charts looked quite different.  However, don’t ever lose sight of the fact that JPMorgan is the biggest Comex short holder in both platinum and palladium as well. The gold stocks opened down…and headed lower after the London p.m. gold fix.  The bottom was basically in at gold’s low, which came a few minutes after 11:00 a.m. in New York…and the equities traded sideways into the close.  The HUI finished down 2.84%. (Click on image to enlarge) Both these charts are courtesy of JPMorgan et al…as there is nothing free market about either of them.  The MACD and RSI traces are at lows probably never seen before…and both metals are well below their respective 200-day moving averages…and are probably the most oversold in the history of either metal, certainly going back over a decade.  If anyone has weekly charts for both metals going back that far, or further, I’d love to see them…and would be happy to post them in this space. I still firmly of the belief that when the bottom does finally arrive…and the market turns up…it will do so violently, as JPMorgan et al won’t be there to go short…as they are already mega-long gold in all markets…and attempting to cut their silver loses to a bare minimum in the process.  I also believe that it will happen in such a way that no trader will be able to react to it…and you’ll either be all the way in, or all the way out. That’s certainly the way I’m playing this.  But there’s been a terrible price [both financially and emotionally] to pay for being “all in” for the last ten years.  I, and others, are still paying that price…but I’ve bet the ranch on this particular outcome. Of course, it may not turn out exactly like that, but it will be pretty close…and I’m just hoping that I’ve prepared for any eventuality. In Far East trading on their Wednesday, there was no price action worthy of the name…and the same can be said of the first couple of hours of the London trading day as well.  Volumes are very light in both gold and silver…and the dollar index continues to chop sideways just under the 81.00 mark. Since I mentioned the dollar index, I remember that Ted pointed out last week that the four largest traders still hold a bit over 80 percent of the entire short position in the U.S. dollar index…traded on the I.C.E.  Ted figures that its “da boyz”.  So whatever happens in gold and silver on their next rally, it’s obvious that the dollar is going to get hit hard at the same time…and JPMorgan et al are all set up to profit on that as well when the brown stuff hits the fan.  And as I’ve pointed out on numerous occasions, it’s only the timing of these events that remains unknown…at least to the general public, as nothing happens by accident anymore. As I hit the ‘send’ button on today’s column at 5:10 a.m. EDT…gold is unchanged from Tuesday’s close…silver is down about a dime…volumes are still very light…and the dollar index isn’t doing much. It could prove to be an interesting day for all four precious metals during the New York session…and we should be emotionally ready for anything as the trading day unfolds. See you on Thursday. It was pretty much the same chart pattern in silver, expect the low tick [$21.45 spot] came at 10:30 a.m. EDT in New York…but after that it followed the same price pattern as gold…rallying into the Comex close, before trading more or less sideways for the remainder of the day. Kitco recorded the high tick as $22.01 spot, but if the price got that high, it only lasted for a second or two before falling back, as there’s no trace of it on the New York Spot Silver [Bid] chart. Gold closed at $21.68 spot…down 16 cents from Monday.  Volume, net of the roll-overs out of the July delivery month, were rather anemic at 23,500 contracts. The red trace is Tuesday’s price action. (Click on image to enlarge) Sponsor Advertisement The silver stocks had another bad day as well, even though the silver price was down only 16 cents.  Nick Laird’s Intraday Silver Sentiment Index closed down another 2.81%. (Click on image to enlarge) The CME’s Daily Delivery Report showed that only 26 gold contracts were posted for delivery on Thursday within the Comex-approved depositories. Even though it was only a tiny amount, “all the usual suspects” were involved…and the link to yesterday’s Issuers and Stoppers Report is here. There was a withdrawal from GLD yesterday.  This time it was 48,326 troy ounces.  And as of 10:34 p.m. EDT last night, there were no reported changes in SLV. There was no sales report from the U.S. Mint. Over at the Comex-approved depositories on Monday, they reported receiving 651,006 troy ounces of silver…and shipped 234,059 troy ounces of the stuff out the door.  The link to that activity is here.  There was no reported warehouse activity in gold. I have the usual number of stories for a week day…and I hope you can find the time for the ones that are of interest to you. It’s only because JPMorgan is so smart, powerful…and adept at manipulating markets…that they have been able to amass such a large gold long and small short silver position. The truth is maybe they can add more to the gold long and reduce the silver short position with still lower manipulated prices, but we have to be in the terminal phase of this operation in terms of gauging how many more sellers can be lured in at this point. There is a limit to such engineered speculative selling. Therefore, since JPM is running out of road as to how much more gold and silver they can buy before we reach the resolution, it is no exaggeration to say that we are running out of time in which to buy cheap silver…and gold. – Silver analyst Ted Butler…15 June 2013  It was another day of low volume, but another day when the high-frequency traders were active almost the entire time…as there was no precious metal-specific news to account for the big sell-offs in both gold and silver during the Comex trading session in New York.  Ted Butler’s quote from his Saturday commentary posted above, explains it better than I can. And as I mentioned further up…and in yesterday’s column…I expect to see some price ‘action’ when the word comes down from the FOMC meeting at 2:00 p.m. EDT this afternoon…and I fully expect that it will allow “da boyz” to hit the precious metals hard once again.  I’d love to be proven wrong. One interesting thing I did see in that piece by Dr. Alex Cowie posted in the ‘Critical Reads’ section, was the weekly silver chart.  I always post the daily charts…and it’s rare event when I remember to post anything else. Not only are we at the bottom of the barrel in price terms…and in the Comex futures market as well…but it is more than obvious when one looks at the 3-year weekly charts for both metals.  As Ted said on the phone yesterday…a major low is being set. Avrupa Minerals Ltd. is a growth-oriented prospect generator focused on aggressive exploration for valuable mineral deposits in politically stable and prospective regions of Europe with a growing pipeline of prospects in Portugal, Kosovo and Germany. Company highlights: Alvalade Project JV with Antofagasta Minerals SA – Copper and Zinc on 1000 km2 project area in the Portuguese Pyrite Belt – 2012 exploration budget of US$ 2.5 million, all provided by Antofagasta, including 6000 meters of core drilling Gold exploration in the Erzgebirge Mining District, Germany – 307 km2 exploration license in 1000+ year producing region of tin, tungsten, silver, base metals, and uranium – Increasingly favorable permitting and mining regulations, long mining culture, widespread known gold panning locations Covas Tungsten JV with Blackheath Resources Inc. – 922,900 mt @ 0.78% WO3 (non NI 43-101 compliant) historic resource – Potential to increase the tungsten resource – New gold target on the project Strong management including Paul Kuhn, CEO, previously involved with several discoveries around the world, and Mark T. Brown, Director, founder of Rare Element Resources Ltd. Low risk exploration strategy Share structure and cash on hand (12/31/2011): 16.1 million shares outstanding; 23.7 million shares outstanding, fully diluted 40% of shares held by insiders, family, friends, and long-term investors Approx. C$ 500,000 cash on hand (consolidated Canada and Europe) Antofagasta has provided US$ 350,000 for all anticipated Alvalade JV expenses for Q1 2012. Please visit our website for more information.last_img read more

In This Issue Dollar stuck in a tight range…

first_imgIn This Issue. * Dollar stuck in a tight range… * German confidence highest in 6 years… * Kiwi falls after NZ’s trade deficit widens… * Precious metals are largely unchanged… And, Now, Today’s Pfennig For Your Thoughts! Budget negotiations leave the dollar stuck in a rut… Good day, and what day is it???  HUMP DAAAAAY!!  I just love that commercial.  Yes we made it to the halfway point of the week, it is all a downhill run from here.  Chuck will be back writing the Pfennig tomorrow, so this is the last day of writing for me.  I can get back to my early morning workouts tomorrow and take advantage of these beautiful mornings we have been having.  The weather has cooled off just enough to make my morning runs nice and crisp. The markets have cooled off a bit also, staying in a fairly tight range after a pretty volatile last week thanks to the FOMC.  The dollar edged lower vs. most of the major currencies, but still didn’t break out of the tight range it has settled in following the big drop last Wednesday.  The uncertainties surrounding the US budget negotiations have most investors staying on the sidelines.  I still believe a budget deal will be reached, I just hope it gets done soon. The US data released yesterday was mixed, and did little to convince investors the US economy is gaining strength.  The S&P/Case Shiller home price index ticked up slightly, but was just below estimates.  The data showed US home prices have slowed their rate of gains, rising just .62% in July after a .88% increase during the prior month.  A separate report released by the US Federal Housing Finance Agency showed a slightly better increase in home prices with a 1% increase in July.  But both of these reports are for July, and don’t fully reflect the higher interest rates which took hold over the summer.  The other big piece of data released yesterday was US consumer confidence which slipped a bit in September.  The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence index came in at 79.7 this month following a revised reading of 81.8 in August.  This was largely in line with economists’ expectations and reflect consumers’ worries that the US economic recovery could continue to be in jeopardy.  The uneven recovery of the labor market, and uncertainties about the Federal budget and new healthcare requirements continue to weigh on consumer confidence.  This recent drop in confidence is even more worrying for the markets as we are entering the incredibly important Christmas shopping season.  Today we will see some additional information on the health of the housing market with the release of the New Homes Sales figures.  We will also get a relatively new piece of data which shows the Household Change in New Worth (largely driven by home prices).  And before we see the latest readings on home sales we will get the Durable Goods Orders that are expected to have decreased by .2%.  This is actually an improvement over last month’s reading when durable goods orders fell a surprising 7.4%.  The budget battle has led to a bit of risk aversion, providing some support for the US$ and Japanese yen while some of the ‘riskier’ assets have been sold.  As I mentioned earlier, the currencies are all trading in a fairly tight range; the largest mover of the major currencies vs. the US$ today is the NOK which is down .8%.  This move is in concert with a similar slide in the value of the Swedish krona which got sold after data showed Swedish consumer and manufacturing confidence slumped in September.  The Nordic country’s consumer confidence gauge fell to 98.0 from a revised reading of 98.8 in August.  An increase in confidence was expected, so the more pessimistic view came as a surprise to the markets.  This Swedish pessimism stands in stark contrast to German consumers whose confidence in their economy rose to 6 year highs.  GfK market research group released its forward looking consumer sentiment indicator yesterday, and the survey showed German consumers are as confident in their economy as they have been since before the 2008 financial crisis rocked the markets.  The same firm predicts private consumption in Germany will increase about 1 percent in real terms during 2013 a sign that the German economy will grow moderately this year as the euro-area emerges from the ‘second dip’ of a double dip recession.  Another report confirmed the GfK numbers as the Ifo Institute’s business confidence indicator improved slightly. Merkel’s victory in last week’s German elections was a big deal for the euro as it provides businesses and consumers some confidence that the euro is here to stay.  All of the uncertainty about the euro’s future hung over the European continent like the sword of Damocles; smothering any real economic progress in the euro-region.  While the euro-crisis will undoubtedly show up on our radars again, the question of the euro’s survival is less of an issue.  The ECB and European Union can hopefully continue to move toward creating a banking and financial system which will continue to support the weaker members while keeping the overall economy on a positive growth track.  Things are certainly starting to look up for the euro area.  The New Zealand dollar fell in overnight trading after official data showed the nation’s trade deficit widened to 1.2 billion NZD last month.  This was the largest deficit in five years, and exactly what has been worrying us about the kiwi.  Chuck and I were just discussing the New Zealand dollar a couple of weeks ago, and he brought up the tiny island’s trade deficit as a factor which could weigh on the currency.  Trade deficits are typically a drag on a country’s currency, as the currency is sold in exchange for goods / materials being imported into the country.  In contrast, countries who run a trade surplus are actually creating demand for their currencies which of course supports their price.  Adding to the kiwi’s woes was a earnings warning by the NZ dairy giant Fonterra.  Dairy exports are very important to New Zealand’s economy, accounting for about 7 percent of annual GDP and one quarter of annual exports.  The kiwi is off .58% vs. the US$ today, but is still one of the best performing currencies during the month of September.  The best performing currency during the month of September?  The Brazilian real which is up over 8% vs. the US$.  Brazil’s central bank chief Alexandre Tombini said their FX market intervention had accomplished their intentions, reducing volatility for the Brazilian currency.  Tombini told Brazilian lawmakers that the central bank would continue to ‘stand at the ready’ with its $60 billion intervention program.  I am not a fan of currency intervention, as it rarely works over the long term, but it can have an impact in daily trading levels.  One piece of positive news which Tombini relayed in his speech was that he expects Brazil’s current account deficit to fall to 3% of GDP from the current level of 3.4%.   Also supporting the real is the expectation that interest rates will increase 75 basis points before the end of the year.  Inflation expectations have been increasing, with current forecasts of 5.96% inflation next year; well above the central bank’s target rate of 4.5%.  The commodities inched higher as China demand drove prices of raw materials higher.  Precious metals reversed a 3 day drop in overnight Asian trading, but couldn’t hold on to the gains in early European trading and are mostly unchanged. Then there was this. The folks on the desk know I sometimes struggle for material when I’m writing the Pfennig, so they help me out by sending me a steady stream of what I call ‘Pfennig Pfodder’.  Tim Smith did just that yesterday, sending along a couple of very good quotes which he had come across on the internet; and one in particular stuck out.  It is from Peter Coy, in a posting on the Bloomberg-Businessweek website on September 17th: ”The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office on Tuesday projected a much gloomier long-term outlook for federal budget deficits than its year-ago forecast.  The CBO now predicts that federal debt held by the public will rise to 100 percent of gross domestic product by 2038 under its ‘extended baseline scenario.’  (It’s around 73 percent now.)  Last year it predicted the ratio would fall to 52 percent over the quarter-century in the baseline scenario. This is, as the CBO notes, a ‘very large’ forecast revision.” ”Reasonable people can disagree as to whether the federal government needs to tighten its belt right now, with the economy weak and unemployment high, but it’s pretty obvious that in coming decades, something has to give. Here’s how the CBO put it: ‘How long the nation could sustain such growth in federal debt is impossible to predict with any confidence.  At some point, investors would begin to doubt the government’s willingness or ability to pay U.S. debt obligations, making it more difficult or more expensive for the government to borrow money.  Moreover, even before that point was reached, the high and rising amount of debt that CBO projects under the extended baseline would have significant negative consequences for both the economy and the federal budget.’ ” Chris again.We have been writing about the growing debt and deficits for years now, but the story just doesn’t get old as the IOUs just continue to pile up.  As the CBO suggests, we will eventually hit that ‘tipping point’ but even before that we will definitely see dramatic reductions in the amount of funds available for ‘discretionary spending’ as rising interest rates continues to push the cost of servicing all of this debt higher.  It isn’t a pretty picture, but unfortunately it is one which is certain. To recap. The US dollar is stuck in a range as the congressional budget battle has investors wondering where to turn.  European data showed German confidence is at a 6 year high, while Swedish confidence levels dropped.  The New Zealand dollar was the largest loser vs. the US$ after a report showed the trade deficit widened and the globes largest dairy company issued an earnings warning.  The Brazilian real moved higher and the precious metals are largely unchanged. Currencies today 9/25/13. American Style: A$ .9359, kiwi .8218, C$ .9696, euro 1.3504, sterling 1.6033, Swiss $1.0979. European Style: rand 9.8683, krone 6.0194, SEK 6.4259, forint 221.96, zloty 3.1198, koruna 19.153, RUB 31.99, yen 98.44, sing 1.2541, HKD 7.7533, INR 62.42, China 6.1497, pesos 12.9780, BRL 2.1971, Dollar Index 80.424, Oil $103.80, 10-year 2.64%, Silver $21.63, Platinum $1,426.24, Palladium $718.97, and Gold. $1,321.06. That’s it for today. Another absolutely gorgeous evening here in St. Louis and another win for my daughter’s JV field hockey team.  I ran home from her game to watch the Cardinals inch a little closer to wrapping up the division.  Rookie pitcher Michael Wacha (who we got with the compensational pick after losing Pujols) got within one out of throwing a no hitter last night.  What a game!  If any of you were watching it on TV last night you saw both Jack Stapleton and Frank Trotter sitting in the first row behind home plate.  I just love the post season, and if our ‘young arms’ can hold up we could see our Redbirds go deep into the fall again this year.  Chuck will be back in the saddle tomorrow, so this is it for me.  Thanks to everyone for putting up with me the past three days, and I hope you all have a Wonderful Wednesday!! Chris Gaffney, CFA Vice President EverBank World Markets 1-800-926-4922 1-314-647-3837last_img read more

The velocity of money is below Depression era leve

first_img The velocity of money is below Depression era levels. Will MSCI include China’s locally traded shares in its benchmark indices? If it does, billions of dollars could flow into Chinese stocks. OPEC Won’t Curtail Oil Production OPEC, the cartel that controls 39% of global oil production, is meeting in Vienna. Its members have reportedly agreed to keep pumping lots of oil, rather than curtailing production to boost oil prices. Saudi Arabia’s oil minister says he’s “happy” with low oil prices. And why wouldn’t he be? The Saudis have $750 billion in currency reserves. They can afford to continue selling oil for cheap. Unlike US oil producers, whose hedges (which protect them from low oil prices) will soon run out. The Saudis appear committed to their strategy of squeezing higher-cost producers by selling oil for cheap. So the question is: how much longer can Wall Street keep the US shale sector afloat? Gold Stocks Are Primed for a Bull Market If history is any judge, there’s huge upside in gold once this bear market ends. There have been eight gold bull markets since 1975… and the price of gold more than doubled in seven of them. Senior Precious Metals Analyst Jeff Clark says gold’s current bear market is now longer than the one in the early 2000s… and gold went on to soar over 600% when it emerged from that bear market. The best time to buy anything is when it’s most hated. And the mining sector is the most depressed sector in the world right now. Blips & Bogeys The Next Market Crash The true story of how Stansberry analyst Paul Mampilly survived the Crash of 2008 and made 5 times his net worth with a simple strategy. Plus, how you can use it to make huge gains in the months ahead. Click here to learn more. Russia’s oil output is at a post-Soviet high. Signs of capitulation in the gold and silver markets suggest now may be the time to buy. The Colder War: Greece backs Russia’s Turkish Stream project. Recommended Links Russia may issue debt in Chinese yuan. There’s chaos in European bond markets. German 10-year bonds yields have climbed to 0.9%, from the record low of 0.049% in April. They haven’t sold off that hard since October 1998, when hedge fund Long-Term Capital Management imploded. The bond rout is partially European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi’s fault. On Wednesday, he spooked markets when he warned “prepare for higher volatility.” Many, including Draghi, believe bond yields are rising because inflation is picking up in Europe. But we think it might be because the Greek debt crisis is finally boiling over. Signs are ominous. European officials are holding an alarming number of “emergency” meetings in Brussels. And Greece has become the first developed country to ever miss a payment to the IMF. It‘s getting harder to ignore the reality that Greece will have to default eventually. The turmoil has even spread to the United States bond market. Treasury prices have tanked and liquidity is drying up. And for the first time in 2015, 10-year Treasuries are now down for the year. The Casey Report warned readers in May that “It’s time to exit bonds and watch from the sidelines.” The International Monetary Fund urged the Fed to delay a rate hike. — Will IMF ruling crush U.S. dollar? (Expected Oct 20th) The International Monetary Fund is rumored to make a big announcement on Oct. 20th. It could initiate a transfer of wealth, unlike anything we’ve seen. And determine who in America gets rich in the years to come… and who struggles. Get all the facts about this announcement before it hits the wire – right here. Weak mining companies are biting the dust. Will “Obamatrade” give corporations global access to everyone’s data?last_img read more

Ukraine enters uncharted new era after comedian wins presidency

first_img SharePrint ReutersReuters Ukraine entered uncharted political waters on Monday after near final results showed a comedian with no political experience and few detailed policies had dramatically up-ended the status quo and won the country’s presidential election by a landslide.The emphatic victory of Volodymyr Zelenskiy, 41, is a bitter blow for incumbent Petro Poroshenko who tried to rally Ukrainians around the flag by casting himself as a bulwark against Russian aggression and a champion of Ukrainian identity.With over 90 percent of the vote counted, Zelenskiy had won 73 percent of the vote with Poroshenko winning just under 25 percent.Zelenskiy, who plays a fictitious president in a popular TV series, is now poised to take over the leadership of a country on the frontline of the West’s standoff with Russia following Moscow’s annexation of Crimea and support for a pro-Russian insurgency in eastern Ukraine.Declaring victory at his campaign headquarters to emotional supporters on Sunday night, Zelenskiy promised he would not let the Ukrainian people down.“I’m not yet officially the president, but as a citizen of Ukraine, I can say to all countries in the post-Soviet Union  look at us. Anything is possible!”Zelenskiy, whose victory fits a pattern of anti-establishment figures unseating incumbents in Europe and further afield, has promised to end the war in the eastern Donbass region and to root out corruption amid widespread dismay over rising prices and sliding living standards.But he has been coy about exactly how he plans to achieve all that and investors want reassurances that he will accelerate reforms needed to attract foreign investment and keep the country in an International Monetary Fund programme.“Since there is complete uncertainty about the economic policy of the person who will become president, we simply don’t know what is going to happen and that worries the financial community,” said Serhiy Fursa, an investment banker at Dragon Capital in Kiev.“We need to see what the first decisions are, the first appointments. We probably won’t understand how big these risks are earlier than June. Perhaps nothing will change.”WEST WATCHING CLOSELYThe United States, the European Union and Russia will be closely watching Zelenskiy’s foreign policy pronouncements to see if and how he might try to end the war against pro-Russian separatists that has killed some 13,000 people.U.S. President Donald Trump phoned Zelenskiy and pledged to support Ukraine’s territorial integrity, while European Council President Donald Tusk congratulated the Ukrainian people on what he called a show of democratic maturity.Zelenskiy said on Sunday he planned to continue European-backed talks with Russia on a so far largely unimplemented peace deal and would try to free Ukrainians imprisoned in Russia, which is holding 24 Ukrainian sailors among others.Viktor Medvedchuk, the Kremlin’s closest ally in Ukraine, last week outlined ways in which Ukraine and Russia could mend ties, though Zelenskiy has given no indication of being open to the prospect.Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Ukraine now had a chance to “reset” and unite its people.Zelenskiy has pledged to keep Ukraine on a pro-Western course, but has sounded less emphatic than Poroshenko about possible plans for the country of 42 million people to one day join the European Union and NATO.Poroshenko, who conceded defeat but said he planned to stay in politics, said on social media he thought Zelenskiy’s win would spark celebrations in the Kremlin.“They believe that with a new inexperienced Ukrainian President, Ukraine could be quickly returned to Russia’s orbit of influence,” he wrote.Critics accuse Zelenskiy of having an unhealthily close working relationship with a powerful oligarch called Ihor Kolomoisky, whose TV channel broadcasts his comedy shows.Zelenskiy has rejected those accusations.One of the most important and early tests of that promise will be the fate of PrivatBank, Ukraine’s largest lender, which was nationalised in 2016.The government wrested PrivatBank from Kolomoisky as part of a banking system clean-up backed by the IMF, which supports Ukraine with a multi-billion dollar loan programme.But its fate hangs in the balance after a Kiev court ruled days before the election that the change of PrivatBank’s ownership was illegal, delighting Kolomoisky but rocking the central bank which said it would appeal.Zelenskiy has repeatedly denied he would seek to hand PrivatBank back to Kolomoisky if elected or help the businessman win compensation for the ownership change.The IMF will be watching closely too to see if Zelenskiy will allow gas prices to rise to market levels, an IMF demand but a politically sensitive issue and one Zelenskiy has been vague about.Zelenskiy gave few new policy details on Sunday, but said he wanted a new general prosecutor to replace incumbent Yuriy Lutsenko, and spoke of wanting new generals to work in the army.His unorthodox campaign traded on the character he plays in the TV show, a scrupulously honest schoolteacher who becomes president by accident after an expletive-ridden rant about corruption goes viral.Zelenskiy has promised to fight corruption, a message that has resonated with Ukrainians fed up with the status quo in a country that is one of Europe’s poorest nearly three decades after breaking away from the Soviet Union.WhatsApp <a href=’http://revive.newsbook.com.mt/www/delivery/ck.php?n=ab2c8853&amp;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’https://revive.newsbook.com.mt/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=97&amp;cb={random}&amp;n=ab2c8853&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a>last_img read more

Boeing Chevron and Other Huge Companies Are Spending 90 Million on Trumps

first_img Next Article Learn from renowned serial entrepreneur David Meltzer how to find your frequency in order to stand out from your competitors and build a brand that is authentic, lasting and impactful. Donald Trump Dan Bobkoff and Danielle Muoio Fireside Chat | July 25: Three Surprising Ways to Build Your Brand Enroll Now for $5 Image credit: Reuters | Jonathan Ernst The Presidential Inaugural Committee has raised at least $90 million — a record — to pay for the festivities and provide big donors some face time with the new administration. Add to Queue 7 min read January 20, 2017 For big-time donors like Boeing and Chevron, the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump sounds downright romantic.They’ll be treated to an “intimate” dinner with Vice President-elect Mike Pence and his wife. Then there’s the “elegant” meal by candlelight — part of inaugural festivities described by the event’s planner as having a “soft sensuality.”All that and more could be yours if you ponied up at least $250,000 to help fund Friday’s inaugural events, according to a brochure obtained by multiple news outlets.The Presidential Inaugural Committee has raised at least $90 million — a record — to pay for the festivities and provide big donors some face time with the new administration. Donors at the $100,000 level even get a “policy discussion and dinner with select Cabinet appointees.”In addition to the aerospace giant Boeing ($1 million donated) and the oil company Chevron ($500,000), AT&T, Verizon and Coca-Cola are among the big companies helping fund the galas, balls and other pomp and circumstance welcoming Trump to the White House on Friday.Presidents in both parties have long welcomed corporate donors to their inaugurations. What’s different this year is the amount raised — roughly equal to the sum of each of President Barack Obama’s — and a lack of transparency. Trump inaugural officials have broken with recent tradition and declined to release donor information before the event.Critics say this cozy access for corporations and special interests goes against Trump’s campaign rhetoric.”This is very dangerous,” Fred Wertheimer, president of the nonpartisan government-accountability organization Democracy 21, told Business Insider. “It is a form of filling the swamp rather than emptying it, to use the words of the president-elect.”What are they paying for?President Barack Obama bows to Michelle Obama at the Inauguration Ball in 2013.Image credit: Reuters | Kevin LamarqueThe only part of the inauguration mandated by the Constitution is the swearing-in ceremony. And the expense associated with the president-elect standing on the steps of the Capitol and putting his hand on a Bible comes from taxpayers, not donors; it’s managed by a separate congressional planning committee. Likewise, part of the parade down Pennsylvania Avenue is managed by the US military and paid for out of its budget.Everything else, the ad hoc inaugural committee pays for with corporate and other donor support: the concerts, porta-potties and jumbo TV screens. The style and schedule of the inaugural events are entirely up to the incoming administration’s inaugural committee, which can also decide how much contact donors have with the new leaders.”It’s a blank slate,” said Brian Screnar, who was finance director for Obama’s 2009 inaugural committee. “What access can you provide? Tons, or zero. That’s all a choice.”Obama forbade all corporate giving and all donations above $50,000 at his 2009 swearing-in. That changed in 2013 for his second inauguration, when the administration reversed course and welcomed donations from big companies. Corporations like AT&T spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on the event.Screnar told Business Insider that forbidding corporate giving can cause problems for organizers. If a company wanted to host a free concert, for instance, it could be considered an in-kind contribution. And the ban didn’t prevent some CEOs from shaking hands with the president-elect in 2009.”President Bush took it. President Clinton took it. Now President Trump will take it,” Screnar said. “The inauguration is a one-time hit. I don’t think you can get that much access.”But watchdogs say what’s notable this year is the brazenness of the promises of access, like the small discussions with Cabinet nominees for big-ticket donors.”The pay-for-play aspect of this one — special access for special money — is not typical,” Norman Ornstein, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, told Business Insider. “The money for the companies is chump change, and they will have access regardless. But, of course, it gets a little extra special treatment.”Who’s paying?A Boeing 747.Image credit: BoeingThe information we have, such as Boeing’s $1 million gift, comes from voluntary disclosures by the companies themselves. The Presidential Inaugural Committee did not respond to numerous requests for comment.Boeing’s and Chevron’s gifts are among the biggest known. Coca-Cola said this year’s donation will be in line with what it gave in 2013, which was a little over $431,000. Verizon told Business Insider it’s contributing $100,000 to this year’s events. AT&T is also donating but declined to say how much.Boeing is giving the same amount it did in 2013. However, Chevron seems to have dialed back its contribution. Chevron gave $1 million in 2013, according to OpenSecrets, a website that compiles federal campaign contributions and lobbying data.Of course, the companies giving to the inauguration could be significantly affected by the Trump team’s policy proposals — and while that could be said of any business, it’s still difficult for ethics watchdogs to overlook.”There’s a very self-serving reason for funding the inauguration,” said Craig Holman, government affairs lobbyist at Public Citizen, which advocates reducing the influence of big corporations in politics.Boeing’s future, for instance, is heavily dependent on U.S. defense contracts; Trump has threatened to cancel the new Air Force One that Boeing is developing. And his foreign policy could affect Boeing’s ability to sell planes to countries like Iran and China.”What it is, is buying time with the president and Cabinet officials,” Holman told Business Insider.Boeing declined to comment when asked whether its contribution could be seen as “buying access” to government officials. A Chevron spokesperson said the company has long participated in presidential inaugurations and has “worked successfully with 23 different presidential administrations.”TransparencyPresident Clinton takes the oath of office as first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton looks on.Image credit: Reuters | Blake SellWhile donations to presidential campaigns are heavily restricted and regulated, there are virtually no rules on inaugurations. It wasn’t until 2002 that inaugural committees were required to release the names of the companies and individuals that gave more than $200. And they have to release that information 90 days after the ceremony.Obama and former President George W. Bush voluntarily released that data beforehand. Trump’s team has, so far, broken with the tradition.”He’s trying to keep this as secret as he can until he has to file his disclosure requirements,” Holman said.Obama’s inaugural committee raised $55 million in 2009. It had so much left over that it used the surplus to renovate and redecorate the Oval Office and still had several million dollars left over for the second inauguration, Emmett Beliveau, who was CEO of the presidential inaugural committee at the time, told Business Insider.Tom Barrack, the private-equity investor overseeing Trump’s inauguration, has described this year’s event as more low-key, less of a “circus-like celebration.” This raises the question of how the committee — with more than $90 million on hand — will use all that cash, which came in above its goal of raising $65 million to $75 million.”I can’t imagine what you’d spend it on,” Beliveau said. “I have no idea how you could spend nearly twice the budget of the most widely attended inaugural to date,” he said, referring to 2009, which drew nearly 2 million attendees.An inaugural committee spokesman told the Associated Press that excess money would be donated to charity, though he didn’t give specifics.Wertheimer of Democracy 21 said there are no rules governing how the committee uses any surplus funds.”They can put it in people’s pockets and just pay taxes on it,” Wertheimer said.Or there are other options.”We don’t have much gold in the White House, and the incoming president likes his gold,” he said. –shares Reporters This story originally appeared on Business Insider President-elect Donald Trump and wife Melania deliver remarks at a luncheon in Washington. Boeing, Chevron and Other Huge Companies Are Spending $90 Million on Trump’s Inaugurationlast_img read more

ExDrug CEO Martin Shkreli Ordered to Testify on Spike in Drug Pricing

first_img A U.S. congressional committee has demanded that former drug executive Martin Shkreli appear at a hearing on drug prices to testify about his former company’s decision to raise the price of a lifesaving medicine by more than 5,000 percent, congressional aides said on Wednesday.Shkreli, who is separately facing federal criminal charges that he defrauded investors, has been served with a subpoena to appear on Jan. 26 before the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, the aides said.The Senate’s Special Committee on Aging, which is also investigating the company’s drug pricing practices, said on Wednesday that Shkreli has invoked the U.S. Constitution’s Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination, and has refused to produce subpoenaed documents.Shkreli, 32, fired back at lawmakers on Twitter, writing on Wednesday that the House was “busy whining to healthcare reporters about me appearing for their chit chat next week. Haven’t decided yet. Should I?” He declined an interview request.The outspoken entrepreneur sparked a firestorm last year after he raised the price of Daraprim, a decades-old treatment for a dangerous parasitic infection, to $750 a pill from $13.50 after acquiring it. The medicine once sold for $1 a pill.Shkreli pleaded not guilty last month to criminal charges that he ran his companies like a Ponzi scheme, using each subsequent company to pay off defrauded investors from a prior company.After his arrest, he stepped down as chief executive of Turing Pharmaceuticals and was fired as chief executive of KaloBios Pharmaceuticals Inc. KaloBios also filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.Shkreli’s past companies also include Retrophin Inc, which sued him for alleged mismanagement.Testifying before Congress is risky for someone facing criminal charges because of the chance they could say something prosecutors would later use at a trial. For that reason, many such witnesses invoke the Fifth Amendment and refuse to answer questions.To even travel to Washington, Shkreli is required to first get the sign-off of a federal judge because his release on bond restricts him to certain parts of New York state. However, judges typically grant temporary travel waivers to white-collar defendants.U.S. Representative Elijah Cummings of Maryland, the top Democrat on the oversight committee, said the hearing will give Shkreli a chance to explain his views on drug pricing.”I have been trying for the better part of a year to get information from Martin Shkreli about his outrageous price increases, and he has obstructed our investigation at every turn,” Cummings said in a statement.(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch in Washington and David Ingram in New York, additional reporting by Deena Beasley in Los Angeles; Editing by Jonathan Oatis) Ex-Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Ordered to Testify on Spike in Drug Pricing –shares 3 min read Martin Shkreli (C), chief executive officer of Turing Pharmaceuticals and KaloBios Pharmaceuticals Inc, departs U.S. Federal Court. Next Article Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. Reuters Image credit: Reuters | Lucas Jackson | Files Legal January 21, 2016 Add to Queue Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals Register Now » This story originally appeared on Reuterslast_img read more

We Tried This Vegan Startups Taco Meal Delivery Kit Heres What We

first_img 3 min read Next Article Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. –shares Delivery Register Now » Image credit: Chef’d | Instagramcenter_img January 22, 2016 Beyond Meat makes vegan food, including “chicken” strips and ground “beef.” According to the company, these products don’t belong in the imitation meat category, too often characterized by chewy blandness. Instead, as founder and CEO Ethan Brown told us in November, the goal is to create plant proteins that, on a molecular level, taste virtually indistinguishable from the juicy, fatty goodness of real meat.While Brown’s campaign to get his products placed behind the meat counter at supermarkets hasn’t panned out yet, Beyond Meat items are sold at more than 10,000 stores nationwide. Since launching in 2009, the company has raised $17 million in funding and attracted a high-profile list of investors including Biz Stone, Bill Gates and the venture capital firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield and Byers.This past November, the company teamed up with meal-delivery startup Chef’d to bring its products, plus all the additional ingredients necessary to cook a full meal, directly to consumers’ doors.Related: McDonald’s Ex-CEO Will Help Sell You Vegan BurgersOf the two available options — a barbeque kit and a taco box — we choose the latter.Did it taste like real ground beef, or a chewy, vegan crumble? Here’s how things panned out.The meal kit costs $28 for a two-person serving and $37 for a four-person serving, plus a $10 shipping fee. Delivery is available as soon as one to two days after placing an order.Our order arrived in an enormous, insulated orange box (which, for a company whose message revolves around sustainability, is slightly problematic, though Blue Apron and Plated are in the same boat).Image Credit: Laura EntisAll of the ingredients were inside. In addition to a package of Beyond Meat’s beef crumbles, the box included: lime, garlic cloves, shallots, tomato paste, vegan cheddar cheese, red chili flakes, various spices, lettuce, avocados, onions, corn tortillas, chipotle sauce, cilantro and black beans.After cutting the onion, shallots, cilantro and garlic, it was time to make the guacamole. First, we juiced the limes.Next, we cut up the avocados and mashed them in a bowl, adding the lime juice, chopped shallots, chili flakes and cilantro.Image Credit: Laura EntisImage Credit: Laura EntisImage Credit: Laura EntisRelated: Why Wendy’s and McDonald’s Still Don’t Have Veggie BurgersWhile the beans simmered over medium heat in a separate saucepan, we sauteed the garlic and onions, adding the tomato paste and the Beyond Meat crumble. Cooking the “beef” itself was slightly disquieting. It looked like meat, but it didn’t smell like meat. And it certainly didn’t sizzle like real meat — instead, the sauteeing process was eerily quiet.Image Credit: Laura EntisAfter heating the tortillas in a pan, it was time to assemble the tacos. We topped each one with the “meat” crumble, guacamole, shredded lettuce, beans and vegan cheddar cheese.The estimated cooking time was 40 minutes, but altogether it took closer to an hour.Image Credit: Laura EntisOut of curiosity, we heated up some of the “beef” crumble alone in a separate pan. Without the sauce and spice, it was unlike meat in both texture and flavor. While it worked in the taco, Beyond Meat has a ways to go before its products compare to meat dishes without the help of spices and sauces.That said, the tacos made for a tasty and satisfying meal.Image Credit: Laura EntisRelated: We Tested Chipotle and McDonald’s New Delivery Services. Here’s What Happened. Add to Queue Guest Writer Laura Entis We Tried This Vegan Startup’s Taco Meal Delivery Kit. Here’s What We Thought. Chef’d fiesty tacoslast_img read more

Obama Administration Rolls Out Rules on Paid Sick Leave Pay Data

first_img September 30, 2016 Reuters 2 min read Free Webinar | July 31: Secrets to Running a Successful Family Business Federal Government Add to Queue Learn how to successfully navigate family business dynamics and build businesses that excel. U.S. President Barack Obama U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez told reporters in a phone call that the sick leave rule would directly affect more than 1.1 million workers.center_img Image credit: Emmanuele Contini | Shutterstock Register Now » The Obama administration on Thursday finalized rules requiring federal contractors to provide paid sick leave to employees and expanding the type of data employers must provide on their pay practices.U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez told reporters in a phone call that the sick leave rule would directly affect more than 1.1 million workers. Effective Jan. 1, it will require companies working on federal contracts to provide up to seven days of earned leave.”You shouldn’t have to win the boss lottery or the geographic lottery to have access to paid sick leave,” Perez said, noting that the rule would help businesses by decreasing turnover and ensuring sick employees don’t show up for work.Meanwhile, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which enforces federal employment discrimination laws, released the final version of a new reporting form requiring employers with 100 or more employees to annually disclose aggregated pay data. The information must be broken down according to the gender, race and ethnicity of employees.EEOC Chair Jenny Yang said on the call that the new reporting requirements would make it easier for the agency to root out discriminatory pay practices.Business groups, however, say analyzing pay data is complicated, and the new information employers must disclose will do little to help the EEOC while opening companies up to more discrimination claims.The same groups and many Republicans in Congress say the sick leave rule could discourage many employers, particularly small businesses, from seeking federal contracts.(Reporting by Daniel Wiessner in Albany, New York, Editing by Alexia Garamfalvi and David Gregorio) –shares Next Article Obama Administration Rolls Out Rules on Paid Sick Leave, Pay Data Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.last_img read more

Alibaba Singles Day Sales Pass 2015 Total But Growth Rate Slows

first_img Learn how to successfully navigate family business dynamics and build businesses that excel. –shares Sales on Alibaba’s platforms had raced to a billion dollars in under five minutes and within the first 60 minutes had passed $5 billion. Next Article November 11, 2016 Free Webinar | July 31: Secrets to Running a Successful Family Business This story originally appeared on Reuters 4 min readcenter_img Alibaba Singles’ Day Sales Pass 2015 Total, But Growth Rate Slows Reuters Register Now » Add to Queue Sales Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s Singles’ Day sales surged past last year’s 91.2 billion yuan ($13.36 billion) total with nearly nine hours left on the clock, but growth was markedly slower than in 2015 as shoppers sought even bigger price cuts.Amid fanfare and celebrity razzmatazz, sales on Alibaba’s platforms had raced to a billion dollars in under five minutes and within the first 60 minutes had passed $5 billion — a third faster than 2015 as the ecommerce giant looked to shrug off a domestic economic slowdown and a U.S. accounting probe.The 24-hour event held annually on Nov. 11 offers a benchmark for Alibaba’s performance and an insight into China’s swing to online shopping, especially via smartphones. Launched in 2009, Alibaba’s version of the event was designed to encourage consumers without a partner to treat themselves.Sales growth was down from last year’s 60 percent amid a more saturated domestic online retail market, a weaker economy and sluggish personal income growth. A strong U.S. dollar also hit the headline sales figure in dollar terms.The discount shopping day, also known as “Double 11,” still shifts more goods than Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the United States combined. Sales on Alibaba platforms, including Tmall and Taobao, are tipped to exceed $20 billion this year.”Back in 2013, 35 billion yuan ($5.14 billion) was our one-day GMV (gross merchandise volume),” said Chief Executive Officer Daniel Zhang in a live microblog posting on Alibaba’s event. “Now we can achieve it in one hour.”Image credit: Reuters | Bobby YipGMV refers to the value of goods sold by vendors through Alibaba’s platforms. Alibaba makes money through advertising and charging vendors a proportion of their sales.Mobile shopping surgeAfter a beefed-up marketing push over the last month — with fashion shows and virtual reality games — sales officially opened at midnight, releasing a wave of pre-orders that shoppers had placed ahead of the event. Sports stars David Beckham and Kobe Bryant attended the countdown, though headline act Katy Perry pulled out last minute citing a “family” issue.At 15:19 p.m. (07:19 GMT) a live sales tracker at Alibaba’s main event in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen passed the 2015 yuan total, ensuring the day will set a new record but, in dollar terms, was still short of 2015’s $14.3 billion.The rise of Singles’ Day reflects how China’s consumers, armed with smartphones, are racing online to shop — to the detriment of bricks and mortar stores. So far on Friday, 83 percent of sales were via mobile devices, up strongly from last year, Alibaba said.The day itself is a double-edged sword for many: Couriers, packaging firms and vendors say low prices and steep competition mean profit margins are slim despite large sales volumes.Cut-throat competition for customers has also caused concern over false advertising and massaged statistics. This week China’s business regulator advised mainland online shopping platforms to guard against suspect sales tactics.In May this year, Alibaba said the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) was looking into how it reports its Single’s Day figures. Alibaba said at the time it was cooperating with the authorities, and that the SEC advised it the investigation should not be seen as an indication the company had violated federal securities laws.Alibaba declined to comment on the SEC probe on Friday.Alibaba is not the only retailer to mark Nov. 11 with a massive sales drive. China’s number-two ecommerce player JD.com Inc. and many others also offer discount deals on the day.(Reporting by Cate Cadell and Xihao Jiang; Writing by Adam Jourdan; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell and Christopher Cushing)last_img read more

3 Facebook Messenger app users file lawsuit over privacy

In this July 27, 2016, file photo, an Associated Press reporter holds a mobile phone showing the Facebook Messenger app icon in San Francisco. Three Facebook Messenger app users have filed a lawsuit claiming the social network violated their privacy by collecting logs of their phone calls and text messages. The suit, filed Tuesday, March 27, 2018, in federal court in northern California, comes as Facebook faces scrutiny over privacy concerns. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File) © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Citation: 3 Facebook Messenger app users file lawsuit over privacy (2018, March 28) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-03-facebook-messenger-app-users-lawsuit.html The suit, filed Tuesday in federal court in northern California, comes as Facebook faces scrutiny over privacy concerns.Facebook acknowledged on Sunday that it began uploading call and text logs from phones running Google’s Android system in 2015. Facebook added that only users who gave appropriate permission were affected, that it didn’t collect the contents of messages or calls, and that users can opt out of the data collection and have the stored logs deleted by changing their app settings.The suit seeks class-action status.A message seeking comment from Facebook on Wednesday was not immediately returned. How Facebook was able to siphon off phone call and text logs Explore further Three Facebook Messenger app users have filed a lawsuit claiming the social network violated their privacy by collecting logs of their phone calls and text messages. read more