The 41 Most Unusual Economic Indicators

The 41 Most Unusual Economic Indicators


With the government shutdown showing no sign of abating, it looks like we could be left without some of our favorite economic indicators for some time. For example, economists and market watchers won’t get their hands on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ jobs report — the oft-hyped monthly indicator — until Congress can produce a budget. The good news is there are other economic indicators to supplement our view of the economy. Though some, like Tylenol usage and the Mosquito Bite Indicator, are stranger than others. Read more of this post

Malaysian play in Singapore gone awry

Updated: Saturday October 12, 2013 MYT 7:15:31 AM

Malaysian play in Singapore gone awry


malaysianlink121013 bluemontassets121013 liongoldassets121013 asiasonsassets121013

WHAT a mess. The fallout stemming from the massive sell-off of Blumont Group Ltd,Asiasons Capital Ltd and LionGold Corp Ltd is rocking the foundation of these companies and raising questions. With such battered share prices and with the billions having been wiped out from their market capitalisation, the model of using their highly liquid SGX-quoted shares, as currency for takeovers, is in jeopardy. Then there’s the stigma to deal with: will bankers, business partners and vendors of assets be as open to deal with them as before? Read more of this post

Taiwan talk show host ‘Little S’ Dee Hsu questioned over Top Pot scandal

‘Little S’ questioned over Top Pot scandal

The China Post news staff
October 12, 2013, 12:02 am TWN

Talk show host Dee Hsu (徐熙娣, stage name Little S) yesterday returned home without facing charges, at least temporarily, after telling prosecutors whether or not she had “anything to hide.” According to media reports, prosecutors want to find out whether she has knowingly lied to consumers and committed fraud. Hsu was summoned to the Taipei District Public Prosecutors’ Office (TDPPO) to testify as a witness in an insider-trading case involving her husband Mike Hsu (許雅鈞) and father-in-law Hsu Ching-hsiang (許慶祥), as well as in a false advertisement case. Read more of this post

The long war: A new vaccine will help, but will not defeat malaria

The long war: A new vaccine will help, but will not defeat malaria

Oct 12th 2013 |From the print edition

ON OCTOBER 8th researchers announced progress in developing a vaccine against malaria. GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), a British pharmaceutical firm, said it would seek regulatory approval next year for this vaccine, called RTS,S. GSK and its charitable partner, the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative, also revealed new data showing the vaccine’s effect in children. This is good news, but RTS,S will not vanquish malaria by itself. Read more of this post

Science: Beyond the God particle; The Nobel prizes in chemistry and physics show how computing is changing every field of research

October 11, 2013 7:31 pm

Science: Beyond the God particle

By Clive Cookson

The Nobel prizes in chemistry and physics show how computing is changing every field of research

Computers, born out of science, are transforming every aspect of the scientific process, as this year’s Nobel physics and chemistry prizes show. Fifty years ago the physics laureates Peter Higgs and François Englert applied their brains through pencil and paper, blackboard and chalk, to come up with proposals for a new fundamental energy field and subatomic particle, which would explain why matter has mass. Last year one of the most computer-intensive scientific experiments ever undertaken confirmed their theory by making the Higgs boson – the so-called “God particle” – in an $8bn atom smasher, the Large Hadron Collider at Cern outside Geneva. Read more of this post

Korea needs National Entrepreneurs Day; The number of business tycoons who are in jail is unprecedented in Korea’s history. These tycoons did not understand how our society has changed. The public has shown little sympathy for their crimes

2013-10-10 16:47

Korea needs National Entrepreneurs Day

By Lee Chang-sup
With business leaders facing jail time and the nation’s economy struggling, Korea needs a way to spark entrepreneurial spirit once again. A National Entrepreneurs Day could be exactly what the nation needs to encourage entrepreneurs to bring new moneymaking ideas to the market. The current business climate is not welcoming to new entrepreneurs.  A record number of high-profile bankruptcies haven taken place since the financial crisis in 1997. Big names like Woongjin, STX and Tongyang face either a bank-led workout or a court receivership. Almost all construction and shipping companies are in trouble. Bankruptcy is so common among small businesses that it rarely makes the news anymore. The Bank of Korea says the rate of dishonored bill — a check or similar financial instruments whose payment has been refused — rose from 0.08 percent in July to 0.14 percent in August. Read more of this post

Troubled Korean companies misuse CPs (commercial paper); Companies facing cash shortage problems issue bills until the moment they go bankrupt or seek court receivership. This damage is then passed on to investors

2013-10-11 16:27

Troubled companies misuse CPs

Experts call for more release of firms’ financial information
By Kim Rahn

When several large companies collapsed from liquidity shortage in recent years, it also caused a collapse of retail investors who purchased their corporate bills. While the recent court receivership of Tongyang Group is likely to inflict losses on more than 12,000 such bill buyers, analysts say that the corporate bill system is misused by cash-strapped companies amid loopholes in the regulations. Read more of this post

Korean prosecutors raided the homes and offices of top executives of Hyosung Group in an investigation into allegations that the country’s 26th largest conglomerate has engaged in tax evasion and breach of trust for about a decade

Raids hit Hyosung homes, offices

Tipped off by tax men, prosecutors seek clues in ‘massive fraud’

Oct 12,2013

The prosecution yesterday raided the homes and offices of top executives of Hyosung Group in an investigation into allegations that the country’s 26th largest conglomerate has engaged in tax evasion and breach of trust for about a decade. Around 60 prosecutors and investigators from the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office were sent to 10 locations yesterday morning for the raids. The headquarters of Hyosung Group and its financial arm, Hyosung Capital, as well as the homes of Hyosung Chairman Cho Suck-rai and other senior executives, were raided starting at about 7:30 a.m. Read more of this post

Traders tap Twitter for top stock tips

Last updated: October 11, 2013 11:31 pm

Traders tap Twitter for top stock tips

By James Mackintosh, Investment Editor

As Twitter’s flotation approaches, Wall Street analysts are building models to calculate what it might be worth – with a figure of up to $15bn doing the rounds. But while the IPO is sure to be one of the biggest financial media events of the year, traders are starting to look at Twitter not as a buy or sell in itself but as a way to generate hot tips on other stocks. The idea is a simple one: the 500m daily messages on Twitter put online the sort of gossip usually only available in snippets by eavesdropping in bars or the office lift. Apply some moderately sophisticated computer filtering, and out should pop market-moving news and views investors can use. Read more of this post

The Worst Acquisitions Apple Ever Made

The Worst Acquisitions Apple Ever Made

KYLE RUSSELL OCT. 11, 2013, 9:34 PM 12,091

Under Steve Jobs, Apple bought the company that was undercutting them with Mac clones. Over the years, some of Apple’s biggest successes have been the end result of the company acquiring another with promise and integrating their technologies with its own in a way that provides real value to users. Mac OS X and iOS are the result of the purchase of NeXT in 1997. iTunes, which truly set the iPod apart from its competitors, came from the purchase of SoundJam MP in 2000. Of course, not all of Apple’s purchases have worked out so well. Some of the technologies Apple has bought never made it to market and others just didn’t seem to fit in with Apple’s other products. Read more of this post

Mobile Karaoke App Changba Announced 100 million Users,Will Launch A Version for TV

Mobile Karaoke App Changba Announced 100 million Users,Will Launch A Version for TV

By Tracey Xiang on October 11, 2013

Mobile Karaoke App Changba has had 100 million registered users and 30 million monthly active accounts, Chen Hua, founder and CEO of it, disclosed at the company’s annual event today. It’s been no more than one and a half years since its launch. As I called it the startup star of 2012 in China, the mobile Karaoke gained traction immediately after being released in May last year. The second climax occurred after the app was featured by one of the most popular TV shows in China. That helped Changba expand to second-tier cities, according to Mr. Chen. Read more of this post

Voice Recognition Service Yunzhisheng Reportedly Received Tens of Millions Dollars In Series A Financing, Released Z Watch

Voice Recognition Service Yunzhisheng Reportedly Received Tens of Millions Dollars In Series A Financing, Released Z Watch

By Emma Lee on October 12, 2013


Yunzhisheng, a Chinese voice recognition startup, secured tens of millions of dollars from a domestic venture capital, citing people familiar with the matter (report in Chinese). The company kicked off voice recognition public cloud last September, becoming the second domestic company to open up this technology to the public after USTC iFlytek. Baidu followed the suit this August. Yunzhisheng now cooperates with Leshi Super TV, smartwatch inWatch, Smartisan ROMSougou Voice Aid and NetEase’s EasyChat. It also developed voice plug-ins for WeChat. Additionally, Yunzhisheng have already rolled out three independent apps, namely Voice Aid, Yunzhisheng Voice and Yunzhisheng Input method. Read more of this post

What Twitter knows that Blackberry didn’t: Successful firms connect with customers via social platforms

Oct. 10, 2013, 6:01 a.m. EDT

What Twitter knows that Blackberry didn’t

Commentary: Successful firms connect with customers via social platforms

By Sangeet Paul Choudary , Geoffrey Parker and Marshall Van Alstyne

Google’s Android grows stronger and is moving beyond smartphones to power cars, home electronics and wearable accessories. A thriving and Kindle are transforming publishing. In the hotel industry, AirBnB is disrupting the market.

Now Twitter (PRE-IPO:TWTR)  , with an ecosystem of more than one million apps, has filed its IPO to raise $1 billion. We used to live in a world where commerce flowed linearly. Firms added value to products, shipped them out and sold them to consumers. Producers and consumers held distinct roles. Value was created upstream and flowed downstream. Read more of this post

Japan lost more than a million millionaires last year

Japan lost more than a million millionaires last year

By Roberto A. Ferdman and Lily Kuo October 11, 2013

The greatest consolation to being kicked out of the millionaire’s club may be knowing that your rich friends went down with you. Nowhere is that truer than in Japan, which lost 1.3 million millionaires between June 2012 and June 2013, according to Credit Suisse’s Global Wealth report (pdf) released earlier this week. No other country lost anywhere near that amount of wealth. In fact, no other country lost more than 12,000 millionaires (millionaires, of course, refer to households with $1 million or more in assets). The country with the second highest loss in millionaires—100 times fewer than in Japan—was Brazil. The drop is a stark contrast to last year when Japan saw its millionaire population increase by almost half a million. What’s been obliterating millionaires has to do with ”Abenomics,” the aggressive economic reform plan to defeat deflation spearheaded by Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe. The policy has driven the yen/dollar exchange rate down by 22% over the past year, which has in turn driven down household wealth by $5.8 trillion over that time period. That’s roughly 20% of the country’s total net worth, according to the report. (The policy also led to a 52% surge in the Nikkei over that time period, but stocks account for less than 10% of household financial wealth.) Read more of this post

Australian millionaires: Why we are not as rich as we look; About 59 per cent of our wealth is held in property, second only to Norway. In the US, it’s 38 per cent.

Andrew Heathcote Rich Lists editor

Australian millionaires: Why we are not as rich as we look

Published 10 October 2013 11:49, Updated 11 October 2013 07:48

The average wealth per person in Australia is $426,222, according to a report by Credit Suisse on personal wealth. Photo: Louie Douvis

There was great excitement yesterday when investment bank Credit Suisse gave us some good news. Apparently, Australians are the richest people in the world. Credit Suisse’s new Global Wealth Report shows that Australia has the highest median wealth per adult for the third year in a row. According to the figures, there are 11 million Australians worth more than $232,489 and 1.1 million millionaires. Read more of this post

Alibaba’s takeover of Tianhong to reshape online finance

Alibaba’s takeover of Tianhong to reshape online finance



Alibaba’s latest takeover of Chinese fund management firm Tianhong will inject new vitality into China’s online finance market, analysts believe. Zhejiang Alibaba E-commerce, the parent company of Alipay, China’s biggest online payment platform, will buy 51% of Tianhong Asset Management Company, according to a statement released on Wednesday by Tianhong’s shareholder, Inner Mongolia Junzheng Energy & Chemical Industry. Read more of this post

China will launch a pilot program next week aimed at shattering a widespread assumption among Chinese investors that products, even high-yield ones, provide guaranteed returnswhen offered by state-owned banks

Wealth management products’ yield ‘not guaranteed’

Updated: 2013-10-11 10:27

( Agencies) Read more of this post

DIY investment – a crisis in the making?

October 11, 2013 5:38 pm

DIY investment – a crisis in the making?

By David Oakley, Investment Correspondent

It was nearly seven years in the making. It has been the dominant theme in the retail asset management industry for much of the past few years. Now, the effects of the retail distribution review are being felt by the people it is meant to safeguard: consumers. For most of them, RDR was just another obscure rule change. Survey after survey found that, ahead of its implementation on December 31 2012, few ordinary investors had even heard of it. At a recent presentation to analysts, Hargreaves Lansdown noted that just one in a thousand customer service calls relates to the rule change. But RDR could yet transform the way people invest and save for their retirement or their children’s education. Read more of this post

Debt impasse exposes Achilles’ heel of finance: Risk of an accident in $2tn tri-party repo market is rising

Last updated: October 10, 2013 11:44 pm

Debt impasse exposes Achilles’ heel of finance

By Gillian Tett

Risk of an accident in $2tn tri-party repo market is rising

Who is getting spooked by Halloween bonds? That is a question which many traders are wondering. Little wonder. A week ago, I (like most people) blithely assumed that Congress would find a way to resolve the budget and debt ceiling impasse before the crucial October 17 deadline, when the Treasury claims it will start running out of funds. Now I am less sure. For the situation seems to have fallen into a pattern which defies neat, game-theory solutions: the White House does not want to give the Tea Party any victories, for fear of encouraging more hostage-taking; John Boehner, Republican House Speaker, cannot offer concessions for fear of losing his position; and the Tea Party now regards the fight as a “do-or-die” stand and also fears it cannot back down. Read more of this post

Dilbert Creator Scott Adams’ Secret of Success: Failure

October 11, 2013, 4:57 p.m. ET

Scott Adams’ Secret of Success: Failure

What’s the best way to climb to the top? Be a failure.

“Dilbert” creator Scott Adams talks to WSJ editor Gary Rosen about how to draw lessons, skills and ideas from your failures—and why following your passion is asking for trouble.


If you’re already as successful as you want to be, both personally and professionally, congratulations! Here’s the not-so-good news: All you are likely to get from this article is a semientertaining tale about a guy who failed his way to success. But you might also notice some familiar patterns in my story that will give you confirmation (or confirmation bias) that your own success wasn’t entirely luck. If you’re just starting your journey toward success—however you define it—or you’re wondering what you’ve been doing wrong until now, you might find some novel ideas here. Maybe the combination of what you know plus what I think I know will be enough to keep you out of the wood chipper. Let me start with some tips on what not to do. Beware of advice about successful people and their methods. For starters, no two situations are alike. Your dreams of creating a dry-cleaning empire won’t be helped by knowing that Thomas Edison liked to take naps. Secondly, biographers never have access to the internal thoughts of successful people. If a biographer says Henry Ford invented the assembly line to impress women, that’s probably a guess.

But the most dangerous case of all is when successful people directly give advice. For example, you often hear them say that you should “follow your passion.” That sounds perfectly reasonable the first time you hear it. Passion will presumably give you high energy, high resistance to rejection and high determination. Passionate people are more persuasive, too. Those are all good things, right?

Here’s the counterargument: When I was a commercial loan officer for a large bank, my boss taught us that you should never make a loan to someone who is following his passion. For example, you don’t want to give money to a sports enthusiast who is starting a sports store to pursue his passion for all things sporty. That guy is a bad bet, passion and all. He’s in business for the wrong reason. Read more of this post

BlackRock, the world’s biggest asset manager, said its money-market mutual funds have sold all Treasuries maturing in late October and early November

BlackRock’s Money Funds Have Sold Vulnerable Treasuries

BlackRock Inc. (BLK), the world’s biggest asset manager, said its money-market mutual funds have sold all Treasuries maturing in late October and early November. BlackRock joins Fidelity Investments and JPMorgan Chase & Co., the two largest U.S. money-fund providers, in declaring its money funds are free of the debt most likely to be affected by a default as the government approaches its borrowing limit. “We continue to take prudent actions in preparation for all potential outcomes, despite our belief that Congress and the President will likely act to prevent a U.S. default,” Tara McDonnell, a spokeswoman for the New York-based company, said today in an e-mailed statement. President Barack Obama and House Republican leaders moved yesterday toward an agreement to extend the nation’s borrowing authority as they remained at odds over terms for ending the partial government shutdown. House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio yesterday said he would offer as soon as today a measure to postpone a potential U.S. default to Nov. 22 from Oct. 17.

To contact the reporter on this story: Christopher Condon in Boston at

Why Productive People Work Well With Their Opposites; If you’re a cobra, find yourself a mongoose.




Opposites, as you may know, attract. But they also do something else: Pairing up with someone who provides complementary contrast may actually make the both of you more productive. “We’re self-medicating with the other person’s personality,” says Leigh Thompson, a professor of management at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and author of the Creative Conspiracy. “When you have a deep work-style diversity, that’s going to help groups be much more productive. I need to find someone who drives me nuts, but that person is going to be a good check on my behavior.” She calls it the reverse Noah’s Ark theory: Instead of two of every kind, you’re looking for two of every complement[. So when you’re looking for your cofounder or at-work BFF, find someone who drives you crazy in just the right way. Organizational psychologists talk about automators and assessors: While the automator acts, the assessor considers. The assessor might think the automator is reckless, while the automator thinks the assessor is always delaying. Which, strangely enough, is why they work so well together.

Read more of this post

GPS for Wandering Dog-Walker Shows Dementia Challenge

GPS for Wandering Dog-Walker Shows Dementia Challenge

Gill Stoneham had fallen, and she couldn’t get up.

Her husband, Bernard, saw she hadn’t moved for 11 minutes and knew something was wrong. That’s because Gill, 73, who has vascular dementia, carries a GPS device the size of a pager that enables him to track her movements online. Alarmed, he went out and found her stuck in a muddy field near their home in Chichester, England. She had slipped while walking her cocker spaniel Oliver. “Without the locator, I wouldn’t have known where to look,” especially as Gill had strayed from her normal route, Bernard Stoneham, 69, said in an interview. At least 35.6 million people have dementia, with Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia the most common forms, according to the World Health Organization. About 40 percent of them get lost, and half of those who are missing for more than 24 hours die or are seriously injured, according to studies. Read more of this post

How Often Do Gamblers Really Win? New data provide some answers on the real odds on gambling

October 11, 2013, 1:56 p.m. ET

How Often Do Gamblers Really Win?

New data provide some answers on the real odds on gambling

What are the odds? Not good. Some casinos get 90% of their revenue from 10% of customers


The casino billboards lining America’s roadways tantalize with the lure of riches. “Easy Street. It’s Only a Play Away,” screams one in Arizona. “$7.1 Million Every Day. We’re a Payout Machine,” reads another. But how often do gamblers really win? What are the chances that a gambler will win on a single day or over a longer period? Don’t bother to ask the casinos. Although they gather vast quantities of data about their customers for marketing purposes, including win and loss tallies for many regulars, casinos keep such information a closely-guarded secret. Now, thanks to an unprecedented trove of public data detailing the behavior of thousands of Internet gamblers over a two-year period, The Wall Street Journal can provide some answers. On any given day, the chances of emerging a winner aren’t too bad—the gamblers won money on 30% of the days they wagered. But continuing to gamble is a bad bet. Just 11% of players ended up in the black over the full period, and most of those pocketed less than $150. Read more of this post

Japanese technologies behind Nobel Prize in Physics

Japanese technologies behind Nobel Prize


Friday, October 11, 2013 – 10:33

The Yomiuri Shimbun/Asia News Network

Two European researchers have won the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physics, but behind the achievement were Japanese companies’ advanced technologies and Japanese researchers’ contributions. Francois Englert of Belgium and Peter Higgs of Britain were awarded the Nobel Prize on Tuesday for uncovering the mystery of why matter has mass. However, what played a decisive role in winning the prize by providing proof to their theory was the discovery of the so-called Higgs boson particle, in which Japanese companies and researchers have made a huge contribution. Read more of this post

Korean Insurers Go Social to Keep Up With Customers

October 11, 2013, 5:39 PM

Insurers Go Social to Keep Up With Customers

By Kanga Kong

Insurers in South Korea are increasingly looking to sell auto insurance on mobile platforms such as social network services or SNS amid falling margins and rising demand for quick and easy access. While selling insurance through smartphone apps is not new, insurers like France’s Axa Direct are looking to widen their sales channels to SNS, Xavier Veyry, the CEO of Axa Direct in Korea and Japan told The Wall Street Journal. Read more of this post

Tweet recalling Yom Kippur war, 40 years on, jolts oil traders

Tweet recalling Yom Kippur war, 40 years on, jolts oil traders

Thu, Oct 10 2013

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Oil traders razor-focused on signs of escalating violence in the Middle East were jolted on Thursday by a Twitter posting from the Israeli military that, at first glance, suggested they had just bombed Syrian airports. Oil prices jumped $1 as the talk raced through oil markets, which frequently react quickly to rumors of geopolitical events and where traders have increasingly turned to the Internet and social media for advance warning of escalating risks, from the Arab Spring to the Iranian nuclear standoff. Read more of this post

Italy Loses Its Taste for Pasta; Consumption Has Dropped 23% in Past Decade

Italy Loses Its Taste for Pasta

Consumption Has Dropped 23% in Past Decade


Oct. 11, 2013 2:27 p.m. ET


MILAN—When Sara Chiauzzi was growing up in Naples, pasta had pride of place on the family table, and she and her family often ate it twice a day. But now that she has a family of her own, the 38-year-old mother of two wouldn’t dream of serving so much pasta. Worried about its fattening effects, she and her husband eat it no more than a few times a week, favoring couscous, meat and vegetables instead. “Metabolism changes when you approach 40,” she says, “and pasta is out of the question.” Read more of this post

Google’s New Ad Star: You; Search Giant Soon Will Have Names, Photos Pitching Products Across Its Sites

Google’s New Ad Star: You

Search Giant Soon Will Have Names, Photos Pitching Products Across Its Sites


Oct. 11, 2013 7:25 p.m. ET


Google Inc. GOOG +0.43% plans to make its users the stars of advertisements—without first asking for permission. The move encourages word-of-mouth marketing but is bound to raise privacy alarms. The search giant on Friday alerted users in a bright blue warning across its home page that, beginning Nov. 11, it may display their names, profile photos, ratings and reviews in ads as part of what it is calling “shared endorsements.” Read more of this post

Snackmaker Mondelez Modernizes the Impulse Buy with Sensors, Analytics

October 11, 2013, 3:13 PM ET

Snackmaker Modernizes the Impulse Buy with Sensors, Analytics

By Clint Boulton

Snacks are the ultimate impulse buy. Mondelēz International Inc., maker of Cadbury chocolates, Trident gum and other items found next to the cashier or in the cookies aisle, is hoping to crack that impulse wide open with new displays pairing sensors with analytics. The company is building “smart shelves,” new display units located by checkout counters, that will use sensor technology to identify the age and sex of the would-be snacker, analytics to determine what type of guilty pleasure best appeals and a video display to deliver custom advertisements. “Knowing that a consumer is showing interest in the product gives us the opportunity to engage with them in real-time,” said Mondelēz CIO Mark Dajani said. Read more of this post

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