Posts Tagged ‘Microsoft’

Media Navel Gaze

The Week Unpeeled

Games on in Sochi, which stole much of the media spotlight over the weekend  but for the markets, the jobs report in the US did not shine any real positive light on the economy last week with a slowdown in hiring pretty evident. Non-farm payroll only advanced by a mere 113,000, still above December levels but not strong enough to be considered a sustained recovery.  The unemployment rate did tick down to 6.6 percent in January from 6.7 percent for those looking for somewhat good news.  The markets, however, looked elsewhere for guidance and staged a late-week rally, with the Dow rallying on Friday to close stronger but the blue chip barometer is still down 4.7 percent for the year.

Elsewhere:

  • Media and pundits continued to speculate that the Fed will likely continue to taper, no matter jobs numbers;
  • Beatle fans staged a more muted hysteria over the last few days in America than 50 years ago in celebration of the Fab Four’s US television debut on the Ed Sullivan show;
  • Former SAC portfolio manager Matthew Martoma, was charged with insider trading,  now bringing to eight the number of convictions for the hedge fund;
  • CVS has decided to quit the habit of selling cigarettes, no doubt a business more than a health decision but significant nonetheless;
  • Facebook launched its Paper app to bring “newspaper” style content to your device and continuing to show that technology is the driving force in media;
  • Microsoft officially announced insider Satya Nadella as the next CEO;
  • Jay Leno say another goodbye as host of the “Tonight” show, paving the way of Jimmy Fallon to take over the coveted late-night spot; and
  • Musical group Pussy Riot says nyet to Sochi and takes the US by Polar Vortex End of Story
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Media Navel Gaze

The Week Unpeeled

The Syria debate continued in the headlines with what appears to be growing concern in the US and abroad on whether to support airstrikes.  The efforts by President Obama on the Hill and at the G20 summit in Russia to find support dominated broadcasts and print throughout the weekend, overshadowing a tricky US unemployment report.  Called a “witches’ brew” of nerve gas by The New York Times, Syria has amassed “one of the world’s largest stockpiles of chemical weapons, an assessment that will continue to fuel the debate.

Elsewhere:

  • The US jobless rate fell to 7.3 percent (because many are leaving the workforce after being idle for too long) in August and added a less-than-expected 169,000 workers to non-farm payrolls;
  • The employment report sparked decidedly different headlines with some showing the mixed message of the news: “Muddies Fed Plans” (WSJ) to “Not Expected to Deter Fed” (NYT); Stocks were equally confounded, it seems;
  • The Dow ended the week up only 0.8 percent but its first weekly advance in five to close at 14,922;
  • At the G20 summit, leaders declared the economy may worsen, saying the recovery has been too sluggish (“too weak,” to be exact);
  • Microsoft agreed to buy most of Nokia for $7 billion in an apparent bid to “hear them now”;
  • And on a much bigger scale, Verizon agreed to buy Vodafone’s 45 percent stake in Verizon wireless for $130 billion, one of the biggest deals ever;
  • Tokyo won the race to host the Summer Olympics in 2020;
  • Alec Baldwin will host (or “assault” said The New York Post) a talk show on MSNBC called “Up Late with Alec Baldwin”; and
  • Rupert Murdoch is the subject of a new play in his home country Australia called “Murdoch,” in a song-and-dance look behind the headlines. Hmmm. End of Story
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Media Navel Gaze

The Week Unpeeled

Once again, the summer sizzle continued on the headline front (lots dealing with the media industry) with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announcing his plans to step down next year in a move applauded by analysts that sent the stock rallying 7 percent.

Elsewhere:

  • The Nasdaq market suffered a big black eye when its trading system shut down for some three hours on Thursday because of a glitch;
  • In seemingly perfect timing, the electronic changes BATS Global Markets and Direct Edge announced intention to merge in a deal that will make it the second largest exchange, jumping ahead of Nasdaq;
  • The Dow ended the week down a slight 0.5 percent but its third straight weekly loss to end at 15, 010;
  • US appeals court ruled in favor of creditors to be paid in full on defaulted bonds out of Argentina, a win for hedge funds holding the debt but a battle that is surely not finished;
  • Hedge-fund manager Philip Falcone of Harbinger Capital Partners admitted wrongdoing in his settlement with the SEC, a harbinger itself as new SEC Chief White has said she will push for more admissions of guilt;
  • The media world and Washington and elsewhere honored the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, with tributes to Martin Luther King and his legacy;
  • Newt Gingrich is joining CNN as host of “Crossfire”;
  • NPR losses another chief as Gary Knell moves to National Geographic after just under two years in the role at the radio network;
  • Amid Bloomberg “spygate,” the news/data group will appoint a new independent editor/ombudsman, a recommendation that was part of an outside report;
  • Al Jazeera launched in the US amid lots of headlines and reportedly few advertisers in a bid to become a “hard-news-all-the-time” channel;
  • The “Today” show is taking a page from Oprah and starting a monthly book club, in apparent good news to publishers and readers alike; and
  • Finally, it’s official: Area 51 is real so we can blame everything on that. End of Story
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Media Navel GazeThe Week Unpeeled

Probably the biggest but not most surprising headline last week was the record bankruptcy filing for Detroit, a move that will force Motown (or NoMotown) to restructure $18 billion in debt, cutting benefits and services to workers and retirees and putting assets on the block.  No doubt legal fights and creditor suits to follow.

Elsewhere:

  • Microsoft took a big $900MM charge on its Surface RT table, which contributed to the company missing revenue and profit estimates;
  • Banks, however, saw solid results for the quarter, helping the markets continue to climb;  Blackstone also posted big quarterly results;
  • The Dow ended the week 0.5 percent higher, hitting a record Thursday, to close out on Friday at 15,543;
  • Nate Silver, the New York Times stats guru, who became a near household name for his presidential election projections, is joining ESPN to among other jobs be a contributor to “Olbermann”;
  • President Obama entered the Trayvon Martin dialogue in an unusual (until now) “personal take on race in the US” (NYT), sparking seemingly non-stop debates and race discussions on the airwaves over the weekend
  • The SEC took steps to ban Steven Cohen of hedge fund SAC from the industry, saying he ignored signs of illegal trading.
  • Press legend Helen Thomas died, the deal of the White House press corp, she covered nine presidents and was a permanent fixture at briefings for decades. End of Story
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The Week Unpeeled

The week started with focus on President Barack Hussein Obama’s inaugural address, which itself focused on several themes outside of the US economy: civil and gay rights and climate change, or as The New York Times called “modern liberalism in America,” rhetoric that was in stark contrast to campaign talk on jobs, jobs and more jobs.  Stay tuned for continued focus on all fronts on the debt ceiling, fiscal cliff and, of course, jobs.

Elsewhere:

  • BlackRock invested in Twitter, valuing the company at $9 billion, #awholelotof money;
  • Davos kicked off amid few headlines although Derek Jeter did attend as a guest of Pepsi;
  • Microsoft emerged as one player that may help Dell go private, while Michael Dell, it was revealed, did have plans to buy a Dreamliner;
  • Apple’s earnings disappointed, with profits essentially flat;
  • The Pentagon lifted a ban so that women may now fight on the front lines in combat;
  • President Obama nominated Mary Jo White to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission among a string of nominees or appointments, including Denis McDonough, national security official, as his next chief of staff;
  • The Dow chugged along to near record levels last week ending Friday at 13,895, just 269 points from its all-time high reached in October 2007; and
  • Novak Djokovic won his sixth Grand Slam by ousting Andy Murray at the Australian Open.
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