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Monthly Archives: February 2013

Roger’s economic overview: March 2013

Animal spirits are running high. Financial markets create their own reality. Companies are refinancing at lower interest rates, Eurozone governments find it easier to finance their deficits, the US fiscal cliff is delayed until May, China has avoided a hard landing. Greece is still in the Eurozone, Spain has not asked for a bailout, the ECB has not had to purchase outright a single sovereign bond, money is flowing from safe havens back to the Eurozone periphery. The US housing market has turned, posting 5% price increases, new housing starts are twice the 2009 low. S&P 500 companies’ earnings are flat, sales up 0.5%, and yet the index is up at its pre-slump level. The FTSE is up 6.4% since Jan 1 and Japan’s Nikkei is up 7%. The US economy shrank in Q4 2013, Europe is shrinking, 55% of Chinese GDP is now state financed spending and a major realignment of global currencies is in prospect. People are irrational. We make generalisations about the…

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Bersani didn’t win, Berlusconi didn’t lose

Italians have voted. As it struck 00:00 on Tuesday, 26th of February, the poll results showed that in the lower house, centre-left won 29.6% of the votes, centre-right 29.2%, the 5 Star Movement 25.6%, followed by Monti’s party winning 10.6%. In the Senate the race is equally tight, with 119 seats for centre-left, 110 for centre-right, 56 for the 5 Star Movement and 19 seats for Monti. The results clearly demonstrate a lack of majority and, in fact, the theme of this nerve-wrecking night is that of ungovernability. One point, however, can be deduced; Mario Monti's austerity plans have failed and as the latest predictions had suggested, Bersani didn’t win and Berlusconi didn’t lose. As an Italian with foreign origins, I am in denial of the number of votes Berlusconi’s centre-right party won, despite the countless humiliations he put us through. While I cannot explain the possible reasons why an Italian today would still vote for Berlusconi to be prime minister, I can see why…

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Breaking news

Italian election: Bersani didn't win, Berlusconi didn't lose. Possible hung parliament or re-run. Scientists start work on building a human brain. Ikea withdraws all meatballs from UK stores. Pearson chief John Fallon denies the FT is for sale as sales increase 4%. Mail Online and Guardian lead record highs for newspaper sites in January. IPG profits down 8.6% after 2011 losses hit revenues. Mcgarrybowen has poached Kevin Chesters, Wieden & Kennedy London's head of planning, to be its executive planning director. Nicola Mendelsohn joins Karma Communications board. Former News Int exec Ian Clark to lead Hypernaked. MID EUROPA PARTNERS The private equity firm focused on buyouts in Central and Eastern Europe, said Jan Krzewinski has been promoted to associate director, Matthias Dukat, Viktoria Habanova and Ratko Jovic to senior associates, Lukasz Wlodarczyk to associate and Martina Redmond to financial controller. LIBERUM CAPITAL LTD The investment bank appointed Peter Atherton to lead its Utilities Equity Research team. Atherton joins from Citigroup where he was head of…

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Breaking news

Oscars: Adele and Daniel Day-Lewis triumph. His third. Argo wins best film. Nick Clegg on Rennard claims: I have nothing to hide. BBC chief (Mark Thomas) said working mothers 'should not hold senior positions', tribunal hears. Children who get a good night's sleep 'have better memories'. 'Lost' Banksy is withdrawn from auction. English people who relocate to Wales may get tax breaks. Innocent founders to step away from business as Coke takes greater share. JPMORGAN CHASE & CO The investment bank on Friday named veteran banker José Berenguer Neto as senior country officer for Brazil, where the company is growing its advisory and capital markets business. Berenguer, for years a senior executive and head of the investment banking and retail banking units at Banco Santander Brasil SA, will start on April 1. ORIEL SECURITIES London's niche stockbroking and corporate advisory firm said Chief Executive David Knox has left after only five months in the role after a clash over strategy. Founder and former CEO Simon…

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Monday financial focus

Monday Headlines: • UK loses Aaa rating but Osborne sticks with austerity • UK service sector stuck in a slump • New leader pledges bailout deal for Cyprus • Fed officials reassure investors over stimulus • Abe close to central bank appointments • China’s manufacturing expansion slows • Markets await exit polls from Italian election • Nikkei soars to 53-month high on banking choice • Pound’s value cut by two thirds over 30 years • Tax breaks encourages North Sea investment • Russia and Kazakhstan expands gold reserves News: UK Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said he would not bow to opposition calls to change economic policy after the decision by Moody’s Investors Service to strip the UK of its triple A status. Moody’s said sluggish economic growth and austerity will continue to affect the government’s finances into the second half of the decade, but Osborne said that the government should “stick to its course” to reduce Britain’s debt. The UK service industry continued…

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Waarom hebben we managers?

Iedereen haat managers; ze zijn wrede psychopaten, liegende zakken of narcistische incompetenten. Stuk voor stuk, zonder uitzondering. Managers houden je op in eindeloze en doelloze vergaderingen, zorgen ervoor dat het claimen van je rechtmatige onkosten zo ingewikkeld mogelijk en je de moed opgeeft en denken dat ontevredenheid binnen het bedrijf alleen kan worden opgelost door dagjes weg waar eens even flink aan 'team-building'  wordt gedaan. Ze zouden je gewoon met rust moeten laten. Leraren kunnen niet lesgeven, de politie kan geen criminelen vangen en dokters kunnen niet helen, omdat ze allemaal te maken hebben met eindeloze bureaucratie, in plaats van te doen waar ze goed in zijn. In hun nieuwe boek, ‘The Org: The Underlying Logic of the Office’, zeggen Ray Fisman en Tim Sullivan het volgende: ‘stel je een wereld voor zonder managers als een soort van paradijs waar werknemers vrij zijn van tijdrovende bureaucratie... een plek waar echt gewerkt wordt’. Vreemd genoeg, zijn managers het hiermee eens. De ambitie van elke langzaam bewegende multi-national is…

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Breaking news

Birmingham terror gang who thought 7/7 was not deadly enough found guilty. Italian election reaches final stretch. MPs blast coalition's Work Programme. Senior doctors 'must work weekends'. Sainsbury's chief Justin King warns of 'new reality' after horse meat crisis. New York Times to sell off Boston Globe. AnalogFolk appoints Richings as creative chief. Anomaly has strengthened its London leadership team with the appointment of Stuart Smith, the head of planning at Wieden & Kennedy New York, as a partner. Channel 5 has hired Luke Duffy, the head of broadcast at Aegis Media, to the position of head of trading, replacing Andy Atkinson, who left at the end of 2012. JP MORGAN The unit of JPMorgan Chase & Co appointed managing director Andrea Levantini as private banker for its Italy team. Levantini joins from Banca IMI-Intesa Sanpaolo Group where he was head of international equity capital markets. OCBC BANK The bank named Kng Hwee Tin as its chief executive officer. She is currently the head of…

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Friday financial focus

Friday Headlines: • USA: Fastest factory output hike since 2011 • Europe: French troubles could extend Eurozone crisis • Europe: ECB profits on its Greek bonds • China: Direct foreign investment falls for eighth month • Global Markets: Headlines from key indexes • Energy: Japan looks to US for shale gas • Commodities: Gold poised for weekly loss • Currencies: USD rises as Fed may end QE early • Friday Focus: Fund manager global allocation survey USA: Fastest factory output hike since 2011 US manufacturers boosted output at the fastest rate since March 2011, according to data out yesterday. Markit’s manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for output jumped from 56.8 in January to 58.1 this month, a 23-month high. Since it is further above 50, it suggests a yet faster pace of activity growth in the factory sector. But the overall PMI, which takes order books, employment, backlogs and inventories into account, as well as output, inched down from 55.8 to 55.2, signalling slower but…

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Breaking news

Oscar Pistorius: lead detective faces seven murder charges. People over 60 should go back to university: higher education minister. Mother who hired strippers for 16-year-old son's birthday, faces jail. Prince Philip tells Filipino nurse her country 'must be half empty'. Vicky Pryce trial: Q: 'Can a juror come to a verdict based on a reason that was not presented in court and has no facts or evidence to support it?' French economy set to worsen. 4G auction result set to prompt marketing war. Google seeks Glass explorers. Elle appoints Phebe Hunnicutt as digital director. Rani Raad to take commercial lead for CNN International. Unicef UK names Rebecca Walton as brand head. BANK OF AMERICA CORP The bank said three former Merrill Lynch advisers in North Carolina have left its wealth management division to join the boutique brokerage Hilliard Lyons. MORGAN STANLEY WEALTH MANAGEMENT Top U.S. brokerage Morgan Stanley Wealth Management on Tuesday said it hired a veteran team of advisers in California from rival Merrill…

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Why media training is rubbish

I recently saw a girl band being interviewed on TV and they were cruelly asked if they had ever had any media training. They said they had a few hours with Kate Thornton. God help us. Watching politicians like Ed Balls and his wife, Yvette Cooper, who respond to every question with a stock; “It's the right thing to do”, I can't help feeling Kate may have moved into politics. Of course, we all know politicians are heavily media trained, to the point where they are incapable of giving any honest answer to questions and their mealy-mouthed denials or obfuscations are just seen as toeing the party line or downright lies by the electorate. Sportsmen are also guilty of being trained not to think for themselves (Eg. Is there anyone more boring than multi-millionaire Lewis Hamilton?) and, with the rare exception, even sporting heroes are guilty of being banal cyphers for teams and sponsors and anyone who has their own opinion is seen as a…

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