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Ready to be offended? The Taiwanese news animators have created this video re-imaging the Nativity in contemporary America. Mary and Joseph live in a trailer park. In a tangled bit of Chinese nationalism, Mary is impregnated by a Chinese food delivery man. At various points, we catch glimpes of Oprah Winfrey, Julian Assange and a naked Charlie Sheen running through a hotel lobby.
In short, if you are easily offended, don't watch. Otherwise, enjoy this insight into how we're seen abroad.
This blizzard is pretty sick. 18 inches of snow. Blustery winds.
Freezing temperatures that make you want to avoid going outside and shovel. But the critical question is: should you trade on a snow day?
I did a simple study. I loaded up all the weather data for Central Park, NYC since WW II. I looked at every day where there was more than 5 inches of snow on the ground and asked the question: were those days up days or down days.
This is a critical question for my kids. They don't want me to trade on snow days. They want me to build a snowman. Should I?
Blizzar-caine NYC! (CNBC via AP) New York City gets over a foot of snow and 50 mph winds. The three major New York airports are still closed. Light trading volume is anticipated at market open. (Also, anecdotally, I've never seen lightning in a snowstorm before: At first, I thought a building was on fire in Harlem as the light flashed through my window.) "A treacherous commute of lashing winds, slick streets and low visibility buffeted workers returning Monday to their post-Christmas routines as a winter storm that dumped about a foot of snow on southern New England continued crawling up the East Coast, stranding thousands of airline, bus and rail passengers." Photo roundup — from the NY Post."
Khodorkovsky Found Guilty in Russian Court, Again \(Financial Times\) Mikhail Khodorkovsky, once the richest man in Russia, was found guilty in a Russian court of embezzling funds from the now-defunct Yukos, and of money laundering charges. He has just been sentenced to six more years in prison. This was his second trial. Khodorkovsky has been in prison since 2003. "Reading the verdict in the politically charged trial of a chief Kremlin foe, judge Viktor Danilkin said the court had established that Khodorkovsky and Lebedev 'carried out the embezzlement of property entrusted to the defendants.' Enclosed in a glass-and-steel courtroom cage, Khodorkovsky and Lebedev pointed ignored the judge as he read out the widely expect guilty verdict, whispering to one another and reading books and documents. A crowd of a few hundred supporters outside the courthouse chanted 'Freedom!'."
The sands in the hour glass are slipping away and the holiday shopping season for 2010 is about to wrap up. We saw the images of the throngs of people on Black Friday and three days later Cyber Monday hit an all new high and experts were excited about the consumer coming back. Sources tell me retailers are almost near pre-recession holiday hiring levels which bode well for the companies outlook this holiday shopping season.
But did the consumer deliver? The U.S. recovery is still far from over. The real unemployment rate is hovering around 15%. So which stores did shoppers part with their money and what was the mall traffic to bag ratio like? For all this, I asked, Brian Sozzi, Research Analyst of Wall Street Strategies who specializes in the apparel/hardline goods sectors of the retail industry.
As of this morning, you can now bet on whether the CEO of Bank of America, Brian Moynihan, will get whacked by his board of directors.
Merry Christmas, Mr. Moynihan.
Moynihan's future at BofA now joins bets about the weather, election speculation -- and the possible observation of a" hypothetical massive scalar elementary particle "called the Higgs boson."
Fitch Research has just downgraded Portuguese sovereign debt to A+ from AA-.
This downgrade puts Portugal's sovereign debt rating only three cuts above junk bond status.
Fitch also placed Portugal on 'Negative Outlook' -- which may mean more downgrades are coming.
Fitch Research announced the downgrade in a news alert on its website.
"Fitch Ratings has downgraded Portugal's Long-term foreign and local currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDR) to 'A+' from 'AA-' and Short-term foreign currency rating to 'F1' from 'F1+'. The agency has simultaneously affirmed Portugal's Euro Area Country Ceiling at 'AAA'. The Outlooks on the Long-term IDRs are Negative," Fitch said.
A New York court ruled yesterday that a bond insurer claiming Bank of America’s Countrywide unit fraudulently induced it to insure $21 billion of mortgage-backed securities can use statistical sampling to prove its case.
Judge Eileen Bransten granted a motion to allow the insurer, MBIA, to use statistical sampling, turning down the objections by Bank of America.
Bank of America had told investors that it intended to fight repurchase requests—also known as put-backs —on a “loan-by-loan basis.” That process would have required MBIA and others seeking to force Bank of America to buy back loans it pooled into mortgage securities to proceed one loan at a time, a costly and time-consuming process.
Did China Intercede on the United States' Behalf with North Korea? (Wall Street Journal) "The U.S. government believes China intervened with North Korea to
tamp down growing tensions on the peninsula—a sign, officials said, that Beijing may be willing to take a tougher stance toward its erratic neighbor. "
Irish Government Pours another €3.7 Billion into Banks (Wall Street Journal) "Ireland's Finance Minister Brian Lenihan Thursday announced plans to recapitalize Allied Irish Banks PLC by €3.7 billion ($3.93 billion) to meet the financial regulator's year-end capital requirements, effectively making it the fourth Irish lender to be nationalized."
CNBC's Jeff Cox: Is the Popularity of Equities the Ultimate Contrarian Indicator? \(CNBC\)
"With investor sentiment bubbling at levels comparable to just before the market's historic highs in 2007, now may be the time to pull back some before the froth gets out of hand. Strategists are almost universal in expectations for the market to climb from 10 percent to 20 percent in 2011, and investor polls show bullishness around 60 percent. Those are numbers reminiscent of October 2007, just before the worst of the financial crisis hit and the market lost more than half its value."
Bank Bonus Dip is Global \(Reuters\)
"From Wall Street to the City of London to Hong Kong's Central District, bankers are bracing for bonuses to be down 7 percent on average from a year ago, and higher salaries will only partially cushion the hit, a Reuters/IFR global poll shows. Some finance industry professionals are expecting drops as steep as 30 percent after weak trading results that are depressing bank profits and shrinking the bonus pool, according to the poll of more than 25 professionals. Unlike in other industries, bankers typically rely on year-end bonuses for a large portion of their yearly compensation."
Ian Harnett, a European analyst at Absolute Strategy Research, believes stocks will rally another 20 percent in 2014.
Facebook and Apple initially cheered markets, but the bounce didn't last long.
Michael Yoshikami is no Apple fanboy but he thinks the company's innovation pipeline did not die with Steve Jobs and it's ridiculous to say otherwise.