Posts Tagged ‘Mexico’

Media Navel Gaze

The Week Unpeeled

The markets and media were caught off guard and busy on news late Thursday/Friday that GE was exiting the banking business in what James Stewart in The New York Times called “another nail in the coffin of the American conglomerate” and a reminder how tough it is for big financial-service companies to make money after the GFC and tighter regulation.  Interesting juxtaposition on the WSJBusiness & Finance” section, which carried a bond-reaction story to the GE news next to the real market focus with the story, “Spotify Valued at $8.4 Billion,” a number higher than GE Capital’s operating profit for 2014.

Elsewhere:

  • Stocks rallied last week with the US markets boosted late by the GE news and the Dow ending up 1.7 percent on the week to close at 18,057;
  • Before the GE news, the media seemed to be focused on Fed watch (would it maybe tighten sometime soon) or Apple watch (who would be a phone-less iPhone for your wrist?); still uncertain on both;
  • The US presidential ring got a little bit more crowded last week with Sen. Paul Rand and Hillary Clinton declaring their candidacies;
  • Royal Dutch Shell is in talks to acquire BG Group valued as much as $50 billion, reflecting the effects of lower energy prices;
  • CBS Bob Schieffer said he would retire at the end of the year;
  • No Heads to Roll:  The Columbia University investigation into the completely botched Rolling Stone college-rape story concluded that the story does not warrant any firings (???) because nothing dishonest happen (???).

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Media Navel Gaze

The Week Unpeeled

Headlines turned their attention to the Mideast last week with focus on Iran’s deal hammered out with six nations to limit its nuclear program with commentary as much on the detail of the outline of the deal asto Israel’s reaction (“threaten survival”) and President Obama’s strategic foreign-policy decision to unclench the fist with one of its toughest advisories.

Elsewhere:

  • The US unemployment report showed that job growth was slowing and raised questions on whether the Fed would become even more “patient” in when it may unclench its tight fist on credit;
  • In March, nonfarm payrolls rose just 126,000, below expectations and the weakest increase in 15 months; The jobless rate held steady at 5.5 percent;
  • Stocks ended a shortened trading week slightly higher, with the Dow up 0.3 percent to end Friday at 17,763; For the quarter, the Dow is basically flat, losing also just 0.3 percent but also just 2.8 percent below its all-time high;
  • Former Fed Chief Ben Bernanke has launched a blog (debuting Monday), with first post on low interest rates, under the plain English title of “Ben Bernanke’s Blog” hosted by the Brookings Institute;
  • Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is being considered as a candidate for Mayor of London, citizenship apparently not required;
  • Indiana Gov. Pence entered the culture wars last week with a now amended law that some say would lead to discrimination against gays and lesbians; many large corporations emerged as either gay-rights activists or smart businesses rallying against the Indiana Religious Freedom Information Act;
  • California put in place mandatory water-use reductions, the first time in the state’s history;
  • McDonald’s raised pay and offered new benefits and placed full-page ads behind the move in major dailies; and
  • “The Daily Show” named Trevor Noah as its new host, replacing Jon Stewart amid a mini-social-media storm over the South African’s comics comedy may be offensive to some (seriously?).

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Media Navel Gaze

The Week Unpeeled

The Germanwings tragedy was front-page news and lead broadcast story for much of last week, with more and more creepy details emerging swiftly each day, focusing recently on the state of depression of the co-pilot who reportedly intentionally crashed the airliner into a French mountainside.  The event unfortunately made it clear that the media and public are becoming very expert at these stories now.

Elsewhere:

  • Kraft will merge with Heinz in an approximately $50 billion deal, a story that put the spotlight on the food industry and the Brazilian PE firm, 3G, which owns Heinz and is known for its cost-cutting strategies;
  • Jurors in San Francisco found that VC firm Kleiner Perkins did not sexually discriminate against a former partner in a very closely watched;
  • Amanda Knox’s murder conviction in Italy was overturned;
  • Facebook said it is considering hosting news content directly on its site – linkfree -- so that readers will not have to visit, for example, Buzzfeed or the New York Times web sites for articles;
  • The NFL is experimenting with totally digital strategy when it announced last week that it would “broadcast” a game on a national platform (not TV), which will open the door to a wonderful scrimmage of digital rights, viewership, advertising, etc.;
  • The Dow fell 2.3 percent for the week to end Friday at 17,712; and
  • Never Too Late:  Richard III got a proper funeral last week, five centuries later in Leicester after his bones had been discovered under a parking lot.

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Media Navel GazeThe Week Unpeeled

The weather seemed to be the headline news all week, with Boston again buried by big snow (nearing its all-time annual record of 107.6 inches) and a big freeze becoming routine around the country.  That backdrop seemed to put an added chill to global news items, also becoming routine, on violent extremism and the seemingly growing urge by some young people to join extreme forces.  In fact, at a three-day summit, President Obama called on the world to fight ISIS, calling the situation a “generational challenge.”

Elsewhere:

  • Wal-Mart is raising its pay to $10 per hour by next year, reflecting a tight labor market and a catch up move with other retailers;
  • Greece got a four-month extension on its bailout, helping stocks worldwide;
  • As a result, the Dow hit record high last week (its first for the year), to close at Friday at 18,140;
  • Bill O’Reilly goes on the defense on war-reporting claims (but seems a far cry from BrianWilliamsgate);
  • Former New York Mayor Giuliani goes on offense saying President Obama did not love his country and was influenced early in life by Communist;
  • Ex-Long-Time Fortune Editor Andrew Serwer is joining Yahoo Finance amid claim for big changes, big names and more video;
  • The New York Times did a big redesign of its Sunday magazine;
  • Mayweather and Pacquiao are happening (May 2) in what will be the biggest fight maybe ever; and
  • A-Rod pens a mea culpa (big deal?)

LatAm Gaze:

  • Venezuela was shaken this week by the government’s arrest of Caracas mayor Antonio Ledezma.  Opposition leader Henrique Capriles, who lost to current president Nicolas Maduro in a highly controversial 2013 election, has been among the most outspoken of the news, deeming the arrest a constitutional violation;
  • Protestors in the death of Argentine Federal Prosecutor Alberto Nisman, killed 1 day before scheduled to testify against the republic’s president related to a 1994 terrorist attack, held a silent march in Nisman’s honor this week.  President Cristina Kirchner has denounced the march;
  • A 6.2 magnitude earthquake hit the Southwest coast of Mexico over the weekend.  No injuries were reported;
  • El Salvador will be exporting 50 thousand tons of sugar to China this week, generating US$20 million in revenue, making this the largest Salvadorian shipment of its kind; and
  • Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa is examining a plan to reduce salaries of officials atop the public employment sector to fund a healthcare program fighting maternal mortality. End of Story

 

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Noteworthy events for the month ahead . . .

July4thItaly takes over the rotating EU presidency from Greece on July 1. More details on Italy’s priorities here.

The U.S. celebrates its 238th year of independence on July 4 and 155 million hot dogs are expected to be consumed on this day according to National Hot Dog and Sausage Council. Perhaps this is why July is also National Hot Dog Month.

The FIFA World Cup wraps up on July 13. Did you know that South American and European countries have won the World Cup 9 times and 10 times respectively? There has been no other continent which has produced a World Cup Champion. Other major sport events to watch in July and August include the Tour De France (July 5), the golf British Open (July 17), and the tennis US Open (Aug. 25).

President Barack Obama celebrates his 53rd birthday on August 4. Also celebrating a birthday this month is Prosek’s fearless leader, Jennifer Prosek. Happy birthday, Jen!

Want to learn more about Mexico and how “US companies can best leverage the $507 billion import-export market with Mexico?” The Economist hosts a free webinar on this topic on August 5.

Other important, if not quirky, events to take place in the months of July and August include International Joke Day (July a), World Population Day (July 11), National Tequila Day (July 24), National Cheesecake Day (July 30), Friendship Day (August 3), International Left Handers Day (August 13), Womens Equality Day (August 26), and International Bacon Day (August 30). End of Story

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