It's becoming difficult to keep track of the stores that have gone bankrupt this year and last. Now another hallmark of the big box model of retail is heading into a Chapter 11 bankruptcy. This time it's toy and game retailer Toys 'R' Us. The company will close some stores, but will likely remain in operation throughout the bankruptcy process. Lillian Rizzo and Suzanne Kapner report: The company expects most of its stores will be open for the holidays and it will use $3 billion in bankruptcy financing to continue buying merchandise and funding its operations, the people said. The company, … [Read more...]
Archives for September 2017
SEC Hacked! Is Anything Safe?
Only a week after news of the massive Equifax hack hit, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has announced that it too was hacked. The SEC hack took place in 2016 and according to a report from Reuters, the hackers could have profited from using insider information to make trades. Michelle Price writes: The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said the hack occurred in 2016 but that it had only discovered last month that the cyber criminals may have used the information to make illicit trades. The hackers exploited a software glitch in the test filing component of the system to … [Read more...]
Are the Swiss Preparing their Farms for a Disaster?
Switzerland is about to pass a piece of legislation supporting domestic farming. Like the country's vaunted program of mandatory military training, the farm program aims to make Switzerland more self-sufficient by securing the agricultural resources to feed all its people. Bloomberg's Mara Bernath reports: The main aim is to secure the country’s ability to feed its 8.4 million inhabitants. In terms of calories from animal products, Switzerland has already reached self-sufficiency albeit only at first glance: Factoring out imported fodder, the country can only provide three quarters of the … [Read more...]
Is Intense Investor Optimism a Sign of the End?
Investors are more optimistic than they have been for 17 years. The question is, does that bode well or ill for future stock performance? The last time optimism was so high was just when the bottom fell out of the market in 2000. Howard Gold explains in MarketWatch: The latest Wells Fargo/Gallup Investor and Retirement Optimism Index hit 138 in September, its highest level in 17 years. That was in September 2000, when investors still couldn’t shake their denial that the bull market of the 1990s was over. It’s also a full 98 points higher than the 40 it registered in February 2016, when … [Read more...]
Would You Connect Yourself Directly to Amazon?
Would you connect your movements and actions directly to Amazon? In some ways, you may be doing that already if your smartphone is loaded with Amazon's apps, but now Amazon is developing its own wearable technologies that will connect to its Alexa artificial intelligence. The first piece of technology Amazon is working on is a pair of eyeglasses equipped with a "bone-conduction audio system" that will allow the wearer to hear Alexa without earphones or speakers. Tim Bradshaw and Leslie Hook explain the new tech in the Financial Times: The glasses are not Amazon’s only upcoming Alexa … [Read more...]
What is GE Working on Now?
For generations GE has been at the vanguard of innovation. Now it appears the mega-corp is about to unleash an artificial intelligence on the power grid that could save up to $200 billion in power worldwide. Anna Hirtenstein reports in Bloomberg: “We’re also putting a lot into the machine learning side, a lot,” said Steven Martin, chief digital officer at GE’s energy connections business, at an interview at the Bloomberg New Energy Finance summit in London. “We have a lot of people working on this.” The technology would optimize how electricity flows in and out of storage devices such as … [Read more...]
Dividends are Better than Buybacks: Here’s Why
The FT reports that stock buybacks are fading and the performance of companies that buyback shares is trailing the broader market averages. Companies that return cash to shareholders in the form of buybacks are better than those that don't return any cash at all, but companies that favor dividends are the clear winners in our book. Dividends are more consistent and most often more reliable than buybacks. Corporate share buybacks have been the single biggest source of demand for US equities since the financial crisis, as companies largely shunned business investment plans in favour of … [Read more...]
Is Your Software Up to Date?
At the heart of the Equifax breach was a bit of outdated software on the company's systems that its administrators had missed. This obviously has led to a large-scale disaster, potentially exposing the identifying information of up to 143 million Americans. But is your small business computer system updated? Many of the updates you receive from your software provider plug known holes in the security of your system. Hackers know about these holes, and search for systems that haven't plugged them. If your system is out of date, you're a bigger target than you were before your software … [Read more...]
Dick Young’s Short Term Bull & Bear Portfolio (STBB)
One Man's Opinion Let’s see if STBB is for you. You’re basically bullish on the stock market, and you have a nice chunk of cash handy that you hate to see withering away in your bank, earning squat. You are going out of the country on an extended business trip, and you have no time to futz with your portfolio. Well, you and I are in the same boat. So I decided to share my most recent STBB short-term portfolio concept with followers to my reinvigorated Young’s World Money Forecast, first launched in 1978. Young’s World Money Forecast never died. It simply went on a 40-year … [Read more...]
Equifax Breach: How Did it Happen? What Does it Mean?
When a company's business is solely devoted to collecting your most valuable information, you would hope that its security is up to the challenge of a world full of criminal hackers looking to exploit your data for their gain. Unfortunately that wasn't the case with Equifax. The company allowed months to go by before plugging a known hole in its security. The WSJ reports: On March 8, researchers at Cisco Systems Inc. reported an online security flaw that allowed hackers to break into servers around the internet. Cisco urged users to upgrade their systems immediately with a newly issued … [Read more...]
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