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“Made In America”

“Made In America”

MATT BURNS

Friday, July 5th, 2013

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The five-day work week. Chevrolet. Grand Funk Railroad. Steel plants on the shores of Lake Michigan. This is America.

There is a rebirth happening right now. It’s happening all over the country. Pockets of makers here, a consumer electronics company there. A startup accelerator in beautiful Harbor Springs, Mich. They’re appearing all over this land. And it’s all heavily advertised. “Made in America” is, sadly, in vogue right now. “Imported from Detroit”, “This American buys American.” All bumper sticker catch phrases fueling America’s greatest innovation: capitalism. And why not? Manufacturing is the brawn that built this land but capitalism is the beating heart. Capitalism drives this country. And it drove companies out, too. Labor is cheaper elsewhere. Tim Cook’s supply chain management became the norm. Profit and loss statements trended towards “build it somewhere else.” “Made in China”. It’s stamped on the bottom of my coffee mug. On the back of my phone. It’s everywhere because we put it there. There was a time not all that long ago that America was the center of manufacturing and innovation. General Motors. Bell Labs. Motorola. Fairchild Semiconductor. Silicon Valley. The lone entrepreneur making it big. America has always been a land of chance. Risk it all and move out west. Find gold. Build with silicon. It’s this sense of entrepreneurship that makes the country great. Most startups fail. A dramatic amount fail. But it’s that sense of possibility that initially made America great and is fueling its current growth. Read more of this post

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On its 80th birthday, beer can back in style; Technology once again is transforming how Americans drink their beer

On its 80th birthday, beer can back in style

Michael Felberbaum, AP Business Writer9 a.m. EDT July 7, 2013

Brewers like Sam Adams design special cans to improve flavor experience

Major beer companies add features like the punch-top or bowtie

Craft brewers, like Sly Fox, are re-imagining the can with a “topless” version

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Nearly 80 years ago Richmond revolutionized the beer world. For it was in this Southern city in 1935 that canned beer — complete with how-to instructions — was first sold. Krueger’s Cream Ale and its punch-top can became an instant hit, propelling the humble beer can to iconic status. That is, until Americans returned to bottles and the beloved craft brews they contained, a cultural turn that left canned beer looking decidedly low-brow. But more recently craft brewers rediscovered cans, realizing they weren’t just retro-cool, but with a few tweaks might even be able to kick bottles in the can. Welcome to the beer can revolution, 2013-style. Technology once again is transforming how Americans drink their beer. Read more of this post

Why We Underestimate Risk by Omitting Time as a Factor

Why We Underestimate Risk by Omitting Time as a Factor

Suppose I offer you a simple gamble. Throw a dice: If you get a six, you win $10; if not, you lose $1. The loss is more likely; the win brings more money. Willing to play? The generally accepted way for deciding in such cases — developed originally by the French mathematician Blaise Pascal in the 17th century — is to think of probabilities. The outcome will always be a win or loss, but imagine playing millions of times. What will happen on average? Clearly, you’ll lose $1 about five times out of six, and you’ll win $10 about one time out of six. Over many gambles, this averages out to about 83 cents per try. Hence, the gamble has a positive “expected” payoff and is worth it, even if the gain is trifling. Play a million times and you’re sure to win big. But here’s something odd. Suppose I offer precisely the same gamble, only scaled up. Roll a six and you now win not $10, but 10 times your total current wealth; if you roll anything else, you lose your entire wealth (including property, pensions and all possessions). Your expected profit is now far bigger — equal to 83 percent of your total current wealth. Still want to play? It turns out that most people won’t take the latter bet, even though it will, on average, pay off handsomely. Why not? For most of us, putting everything on the line seems too risky. Intuitively, we understand that getting wiped out carries a brutal finality, curtailing future options and possibilities. Read more of this post

Douglas J. Dayton, Target Stores’ Founding President, Dies at 88

Douglas J. Dayton, Target Stores’ Founding President, Dies at 88

Target Dayton

Douglas J. Dayton, who served as the first president of Target department stores when his family’s retailing company created the chain 61 years ago, has died. He was 88. He died on July 5 at his home in Wayzata, Minnesota, following a long battle with cancer, his wife, Wendy Dayton, said. With four brothers, Dayton took over and reshaped the Dayton Co., which had begun under their grandfather, George Draper Dayton, as Dayton’s department store in downtown Minneapolis. When the company in 1961 formed the discount chain called Target, Dayton became president. The first Target opened in May 1962 in Roseville, Minnesota. By the end of that year, three other Target stores were open, all in the suburbs of the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. In 1966, Target expanded outside Minnesota, opening stores around Denver. Read more of this post

Best performing Russell 3000 stocks YTD

2013’s Top Stocks…So Far

FRIDAY, JULY 5, 2013 AT 02:05PM

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We’re now a few trading days into the second half of the year, and with not much going on this Friday after July 4th, we thought now was as good of a time as any to highlight some year-to-date performance numbers. Below is a chart showing the YTD performance of the S&P 500 and its ten sectors (purple bars) along with the average YTD performance of stocks in the Russell 3,000 by sector (green bars).  As you’ll see in the chart, while 2013 has been a great year for the largecap S&P 500, it has been an even better year when you include all of the midcap and smallcap stocks that make up the US equity market.  (The Russell 3,000 is made up of all Russell 1,000 — large and midcaps — and Russell 2,000 — smallcaps — stocks and represents 98% of the US stock market.) As shown below, the cap-weighted S&P 500 is currently up 13.9% year to date, but the average stock in the Russell 3,000 is up 22.3%!  The S&P 500 Consumer Discretionary sector is up 21.4% YTD, but the average Consumer Discretionary stock in the Russell 3,000 is up significantly more than that at 32.5%.  Technology stocks have done much better in 2013 than the S&P 500 Technology sector suggests as well.  Due to Apple’s struggles, the S&P 500 Tech sector is up just 7.4% YTD, but the average Technology stock in the Russell 3,000 is up 21.9%.  The only sector where largecaps are doing better than midcaps and smallcaps is the Financials.  As shown, the S&P 500 Financial sector is up 20.1% YTD, while the average Financial stock in the Russell 3,000 is up 16.9%.  These results within the Financial sector coincide with a post we did a couple of weeks ago on the impact that Dodd-Frank might be having on smaller financial firms. As mentioned above, the average Russell 3,000 stock is up 22.3% year to date.  Of the stocks that make up the Russell 3,000, 81.8% are in the green so far this year, while 86 stocks in the index are up more than 100%.  Below is a list of the 50 best performing Russell 3,000 stocks so far in 2013.  As shown, Revolution Lighting Technologies (RVLT) is up the most with a gain of 479.92%, followed by Clovis Oncology (CLVS) and YRC Worldwide (YRCW).  Some other notables on the list include Tesla (TSLA), Best Buy (BBY) and Netflix (NFLX).  Outside of these names, however, you’ve probably never heard of most of the stocks.  If you’re looking for new ideas, why not take some time to become familiarized with this year’s big winners.  It can’t hurt!

Lovebirds separate when the going gets rough; Social changes in China in the past several decades mean couples have to make more effort to stay married for life

Lovebirds separate when the going gets rough

Social changes in China in the past several decades mean couples have to make more effort to stay married for life. -China Daily/ANN
Sun, Jul 07, 2013
China Daily/Asia News Network

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Social changes in China in the past several decades mean couples have to make more effort to stay married for life. Besides people’s growing wealth, changes in sexual norms and looser divorce laws, another factor influencing marital breakdowns is the rise of smaller nuclear families, say researchers. “In the past, many couples stayed together for the benefit of their children,” says Wei-jun Jean Yeung, a sociology professor at the National University of Singapore, whose research includes transformations within Chinese families. “Nowadays, many couples have none or one or much fewer children than before,” so the physical and emotional ties binding the couple are no longer as strong. Read more of this post

The Difference Between Innovation and Disruption, and Why China Needs the Latter

The Difference Between Innovation and Disruption, and Why China Needs the Latter

July 8, 2013 by C. Custer

Last Friday, I wrote an article about why China doesn’t produce many disruptive technologies, in which I argued that China’s political system is biased towards maintaining the status quo in industries like internet and telecommunications, where state-owned firms dominate. In response, I got a lot of arguments like this:

That’s misleading. The real reason China doesn’t innovate is that it doesn’t have a mature enough (or risk-taking enough) investment environment or strong enough IP laws, so big new ideas often can’t get the funding and protection they need to grow and thrive.

That’s all very true, but innovativeness and disruptiveness are not the same thing. And especially in China, where foreign players are often shut out of the market either by legislation or by the formidable language and culture barriers, a product does not need to be innovative at all to be highly disruptive. Read more of this post

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