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  • Greek reform drama continues [View news story]
    Syriza, the current party in power, wants to control Greece's reform agenda - which up until a month ago was controlled by what was derisively coined 'Troika'; it wants to reinforce or reinstate safety net programs that were eliminated or drastically reduced under previous programs and administrations while eliminating special interests from control of virtually all the assets of the country; fix the tax collection system and reduce tax evasion; and adjust its loan programs so they are growth-linked - as in no payments until growth in the economy is restored - while reducing the requirement of running a primary budget surplus to 1.5% from 4%+, amongst other things.

    That's the general agenda. The problem is the details on the implementation of said agenda have either been sparse or unacceptable to those overseeing the Greek lending programs. Greece was pretty much forced to bow to most demands made by the so called Troika in the last round because it had no time and no ability to formulate a Plan B. It bought 4 months, and is now preparing both a Plan and a Plan B.

    In the meantime, international negotiations have been complicated by the intense scrutiny of observers. Neither side wants to admit to having backed down in the last round (both made concessions, arguably Greece made much more, but since Greece had brought a knife to a gun fight the fact it secured anything at all is a victory in itself). Since the last round, both sides have become increasingly hostile. One reckons they are attempting to emulate the total breakdown between the parties of the US system....
    Mar 18, 2015. 07:19 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Industry reactions as FCC reveals net neutrality order [View news story]
    justaminute, thanks for FUD but the fact that everyone knows, is that the internet's basic technology arose out of government initiatives. Further, the 'internet' originally operated on standard telephone wire (yup, 56k dialup and LESS!) and still operates on standard coax long installed and depreciated by cable companies. For the most part, the telcos didn't build anything at all when the internet was being birthed, it already existed.

    Newer infrastructure has come at increased costs to consumers and has been further depreciated by the telcos. When cable broadband was introduced in my area by my cable co it came in at something like $25/month (ca. 1999) on the existing cable lines already installed in my house. Today, the slightly faster service costs $55/month. So there's that.
    Mar 13, 2015. 07:33 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Industry reactions as FCC reveals net neutrality order [View news story]
    Your so called "used-to-be free market" decisions were still funded, just at the cost of those with the money to fund them. Those who then also got to dictate what constitutes appropriate use of the internet. Now the funding burden gets spread equally amongst everyone, and those with deep pockets don't get to dictate terms on what data is prioritized, or how. Or for that matter penalize certain data types over others. Like say, seeing AT&T prioritize its own VOIP over others. Clear?
    Mar 13, 2015. 07:27 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Greek reform outline rejected [View news story]
    This government has already started aggressive tax collections.
    Mar 9, 2015. 11:43 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Investors again warm to oil stocks, sparking surge in equity fund-raises [View news story]
    Yup I was hearing this from my financial advisors, seems there's been a big herd-like movement betting producers are going to perform. I'll pass. I prefer the mid-stream.
    Mar 7, 2015. 07:52 AM | 8 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Crude futures decline after inventory data [View news story]
    44 comments on this as I type. I have never seen 44 comments on an oil inventory report current in SA.

    I'd say it looks like there's more spec interest in the oil trade now than there's been in a long time.
    Mar 5, 2015. 08:44 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Reports: Microsoft cutting 9K Chinese jobs at two Nokia plants [View news story]
    Zune was the kickoff for the UI in Win8 and WPhone; it's debatable whether or not people like it, but it isn't debatable that it's innovative and looks like nothing else.
    Feb 27, 2015. 10:23 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Natural Gas futures decline further as inventory shows a less than expected draw [View news story]
    CME is not a scam. The guys complaining are mad likely because they expect a certain market performance on certain fundamentals they think they have accurately assessed, and their trades went against them and they lost money.

    At any given moment an actual market participant - hedger, producer - may be making decisions that have nothing at all to do with the actual current price of the futures contract, which can burn the guys -speculators - trying to daytrade a couple of ticks out of a futures contract.
    Feb 27, 2015. 09:54 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Oil briefly turns positive on report of possible OPEC emergency meeting [View news story]
    I think there's a lot of guys out there trying to play where they shouldn't is all. When one doesn't have a sound grasp of contango or the fact that it is the price of entirely different futures contracts than the currently traded one, that suggests the waters may be deeper than they should feel comfortable swimming in. Contango is far more useful and relevant to folks trading the futures than say USO, and if you're trading USO you shouldn't really need to worry about it except in the most general sense, as just another indicator that you may be taking into account for a trend confirmation.
    Feb 27, 2015. 09:50 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Reports: Microsoft cutting 9K Chinese jobs at two Nokia plants [View news story]
    I don't know about that. It is, indeed, true that MS has little if any mobile phone market share, but Win10 appears to be about leveraging its existing desktop and living room assets (desktop OS and xbox) to create momentum behind the platform.

    Although it's also true that a flagship device has yet to be introduced, MS's success with Surface is an indicator that MS can indeed create a hardware product that has appeal and momentum.

    Anyone who has a desktop has a partial investment into the MS - let's call it, for lack of a better word - ecosystem, so it isn't that far-fetched to imagine integrating a Win phone into it.

    I recently purchased a BLU Win HD right off Microsoft's online store - dual SIM in the US market! - for just $200 after taxes and shipping and am giving the OS a more thorough run.
    Feb 27, 2015. 09:38 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Germany approves Greek bailout extension [View news story]
    Although there's pretty much unanimity in the belief that a debt haircut will have to happen at some point, I am beginning to get skeptical it's in the cards (even though I think it would be great).

    -Greece already runs a primary budget surplus.
    -Greece has not been defaulting on its payments.
    -EZ is printing and attempting to generate inflation/devaluation.

    If/when Greece manages growth, while maintaining its primary budget surplus, and making debt payments, it doesn't seem there will be much cause or momentum behind a haircut. Debt haircut may only come in the event of a hard default which doesn't seem likely at all given the commitments on both sides.
    Feb 27, 2015. 07:59 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Reports: Microsoft cutting 9K Chinese jobs at two Nokia plants [View news story]

    Although I'm inclined to agree that Nokia's business model and MSFT's are different and that to a large degree this was a simple business decision to trim unnecessary legacy assets, I'm not quite as ready as you to throw WP to the sharks.

    I think at bare minimum we should see what the convergence implied by Windows10 will produce before giving up all hope.

    I do think that the retail storefront of MSFT's WPhone is horrible and the WP software still needs some polish, but I'm am cautiously optimistic overall.
    Feb 26, 2015. 08:38 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Reports: Microsoft cutting 9K Chinese jobs at two Nokia plants [View news story]
    China has been taking US names off its lists of approved companies to do business with even as the list has been growing, according to Bloomberg (including Cisco and Apple among others). Same report blames NSA fiasco for it. I'm not sure about the NSA scandal - I'm guessing China has been feeling its oats and feels prepared to play in the big leagues of technology after having co-oped decades of R&D through technology transfer partnerships.... So this may well be a US company hitting back, but more likely it's a simple financial decision....
    Feb 26, 2015. 03:57 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Bakken oil drillers retreating to the core [View news story]
    Soooooo.... Will Saudis continue pumping at the same level while US production gets taken out of the market? Keeping price at this level? Will Libya increase production? Will Nigeria Mexico and Venezuela take over for the out of commission US shale drillers?

    Tune in next week for more drama in the oil patch!
    Feb 26, 2015. 03:50 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Oil briefly turns positive on report of possible OPEC emergency meeting [View news story]
    Contango is a very general indicator of direction. It's far more relevant to hedgers/producers and only helps speculators in the vaguest way. Just because the curve shows contango doesn't mean it can't snap into backwardation at a moment's notice. Using contango as an indicator for anything more than short term trading just isn't a good idea.
    Feb 26, 2015. 03:39 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment