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George Liu
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George is a columnist, investor, and economist. He has written for Seeking Alpha, The Motley Fool, Investing.com, Psychology Today and his works have been featured on Seeking Alpha's Wall Street Breakfast, MSN Money, Yahoo! Finance, AOL DailyFinance, CNNMoney, CNBC, MarketWatch, TheStreet,... More
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  • Business Essentials: November 18-28

    Chrysler's IPO: Fiat, the Italian car company that currently owns Chrysler Group, has announced that Chrysler Group will delay its plans to sell shares to the public until the first quarter of next year. Initially, Chrysler's IPO was set for later this year but that was later determined to not be feasible. The shares set to be sold belong to a union-controlled trust fund that was set up in 2007 to pay health care costs for Chrysler retirees, one which owns 41.5% of Chrysler shares.

    Foxconn in Pennsylvania: Foxconn, the Taiwanese electronics contract manufacturer to tech conglomerates such as Apple, has stated that it will spend $30 million on a new factory in the Harrisburg, Pa., area that will employ up to 500 people. It is also giving $10 million to Carnegie Mellon University, also located in Pennsylvania, as part of a strategic research and development partnership. It currently has plants in Texas and Indiana, but the vast majority of its operations take place in China, where its operations employ as many as 190,000 workers at a single factory.

    Bitcoin and Virgin Galactic: Richard Branson announced on Friday that his commercial space travel venture, Virgin Galactic, will allow customers to pay for their flights with the digital currency Bitcoin. Virgin Galactic is a company that plans to provide suborbital spaceflights to space tourists, suborbital launches for space science missions, and orbital launches of small satellites starting next year. Bitcoin is a volatile electronic currency that was created anonymously in 2010 as an experimental form of money that is not regulated by any central authority and is practically untraceable. Branson noted that "One future astronaut, a female flight attendant from Hawaii, has already purchased her Virgin Galactic ticket using bitcoins, and we expect many more to follow in her footsteps."

    Tesla Model S: Consumer Reports announced Thursday that the Model S had topped its annual owner satisfaction survey. The all-electric luxury sedan earned a satisfaction score of 99 out of a possible 100, which was the highest score in years. This is the latest in the string of accolades for the Model S. Motor Trend and Automobile Magazine both named it "Car of the Year" in 2012, and Consumer Reports says it's the best car they've ever tested. Tesla Model S prices start at $70,000 in the U.S., and the car was joined near the top of Consumer Reports' owner survey by a number of other expensive vehicles, including the Porsche Boxster and the Audi A6.

    Tags: TSLA
    Nov 28 8:43 PM | Link | Comment!
  • Business Essentials: November 11-17

    Consumer Confidence: The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index continues to rebound from the trauma caused by the government shutdown, climbing a big 4 points to -33.9 last week. The results can range from 100, indicating every participant in the survey had a positive response to all three components, to minus 100, signaling all views were negative. The index has gained at least 4 points just 78 times out of more than 1,400 weeks since 1985, the year the index was created, and the advance is in part due to better-than-expected jobs and GDP reports last week.

    Everyone loves Yellen: On Thursday, investors give Janet Yellen a thumbs-up in her Senate testimony, as she left out little doubt that the Fed's monetary stimulus and easy money policy would continue, sending the Dow and S&P to new record highs. As noted by the chief investment strategist at PNC Wealth Management, "Yellen's comments would lead the market to have less expectations of a December taper, which seemed to be building for a while." Home builders were the subject of much of the rally as investors bet that continued bond buying will keep a lid on mortgage rates.

    Geithner's new job: Former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner becomes president and managing director at Warburg Pincus, a firm engaged in buying and selling companies. Timothy had previously spent virtually his entire career working for the government. During his tenure as Treasury Secretary, he constructed the government's response to the financial crisis and was widely associated with the TARP bank rescue.

    Playstation 4: Over 1 million PlayStation 4's were sold in the first 24 hours after the game console was released early Friday. The new PlayStation is Sony's first game system in seven years and includes new social features, streaming video apps and a touch pad on the controller. Sony expects to sell 5 million PlayStation 4's by the end of March.

    Nov 18 1:11 AM | Link | Comment!
  • Business Essentials: Oct. 11-18

    A roundup of the most relevant and important news in the business world in the past week.

    Pathetic state of U.S. infrastructure hurting businesses

    U.S. Infrastructure: One in nine of the 607,380 bridges in the U.S. are structurally deficient and 42% of its urban highways congested. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, this will cost companies (such as truckers and manufacturers) an extra $430B in operating expenses by 2020 and cause $1.7T in lost sales opportunities

    Mark your calendars for the end of the world on February 7

    Debt Ceiling: The agreement in Washington to end the the government shut down and raise the debt ceiling is finalized, albeit extremely temporary. The deal funds federal operations until January 15 and lifts the debt ceiling through February 7. It also calls for the creation of a committee to deal with the U.S. budget issues, although we've all seen the success of such committees in the past (remember the 2011 supercommittee?).

    Consumers are frustrated at government shutdown

    Consumer Confidence: The government shutdown and general economic uncertainty has had a significant effect on consumers. The monthly Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index, a thermometer for consumer confidence, plunged to minus 31, the lowest level since November 2011. A negative value shows the majority of consumer opinions on the economy are negative. 47 percent of respondents to the survey on which the index is based believed that the economy was going to get worse, up 13 points from September, an increase which constitutes the biggest surge since Lehman Brothers went under.

    United States is now the world's largest oil producer

    U.S. World's Largest OIl Producer: Take that, Saudi Arabia, Russia and our environment. According to PIRA Energy Group, an energy markets consulting firm, U.S. total oil supply for 2013 is expected to average 12.1 million barrels a day, overtaking Saudi Arabia, which is expected to average 11.8 million barrels a day, as the largest oil producer in the world. This huge growth in U.S. oil production is due to shale oil. The U.S. shale liquids growth over the last four years has been nearly unparalleled in the history of world oil; only Saudi Arabia in 1970-74 raised its production faster. Overall, the U.S. oil supply growth rate is greater than the sum of the growth of the next nine fastest growing countries combined. This growth is expected to help the U.S. retain the title of world's largest oil producer at least through 2030.

    Zynga Co-Founder Leaves Zynga

    Zynga Co-Founder: Justin Waldron, a co-founder of Zynga, has announced via a Facebook post that he will be leaving the company after more than six years. This is the latest in a string of departures from the company, including Zynga's chief operating officer, chief marketing officer, the creators of Words With Friends, and the creator of OMGPop.

    Oct 18 2:37 AM | Link | Comment!
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