Don’t ignore Myanmar politics, Suu Kyi tells EU investors as it heads towards crucial 2015 elections

Don’t ignore Myanmar politics, Suu Kyi tells EU investors

Thursday, November 14, 2013 – 21:43

AFP

YANGON – Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi told investors at a European Union forum Thursday that business leaders should not ignore the country’s political challenges as it heads towards crucial 2015 elections. The veteran activist, who rejected suggestions that her party would slow economic progress if it came to power, said constitutional change was imperative for the economic development of the nation, seen as a key regional developing market. “Anybody who encourages business or investment or any other activity in Burma while at the same time totally ignoring the need to amend the constitution is not being pragmatic,” she said, using the country’s former name. Read more of this post

Is This a Bubble? As stocks Hit Records, Some Analysts and Economists Are Getting Worried. Here’s What to Do Now

Is This a Bubble?

As stocks Hit Records, Some Analysts and Economists Are Getting Worried. Here’s What to Do Now.

JOE LIGHT

Nov. 15, 2013 5:59 p.m. ET

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At first, it sure looks like a bubble. Some hot stocks have more than doubled in price so far this year. The initial-public-offering market has been torrid. Small investors are buying stocks again. The “bubble talk” flared up even more afterTwitter TWTR -1.59% started trading on Nov. 7, when the social-media company’s shares surged 73%. They still are up 69%. Electric-car company Tesla MotorsTSLA -1.56% has rocketed 300% higher in 2013, and online retailing giant Amazon.comAMZN +0.48% has jumped 47%. There are so many superlatives in the stock market that it is easy to forget the S&P 500 has set 36 records this year on the way to its 26% gain—or that the federal debt-ceiling crisis threatened to disrupt the economy just a month ago. During the U.S. Senate confirmation hearing Thursday for Janet Yellen, the nominee to replace Ben Bernanke as head of the Federal Reserve, Sen. Mike Johanns (R., Neb.) said he thinks the Fed’s loose monetary policy is pumping up the stock and real-estate markets. “What am I missing here?” he said. “I see asset bubbles.” Ms. Yellen responded, “We have to watch this very carefully, but I don’t see this as an asset bubble.” Read more of this post

Tuition madness, Gangnam style

Tuition madness, Gangnam style

Last month, TODAY reported that the Ministry of Education was reviewing its policy of allowing teachers to give private tuition, as calls grew for the policy to be tightened or scrapped completely. Over the years, there have been perennial calls among the public for the authorities to do more to regulate the tuition sector, which some feared had got out of hand.

BY NG JING YNG –

4 HOURS 49 MIN AGO

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Last month, TODAY reported that the Ministry of Education was reviewing its policy of allowing teachers to give private tuition, as calls grew for the policy to be tightened or scrapped completely. Over the years, there have been perennial calls among the public for the authorities to do more to regulate the tuition sector, which some feared had got out of hand. In South Korea, where the tuition craze has reached fever pitch, the government has tried to regulate the industry — to mixed success — such as introducing a curfew on the operating hours of tuition centres and considering a ban against tutors teaching students what they have yet to learn in school. In the first instalment of a two-part special report, TODAY examines the situation in South Korea’s capital Seoul, including in the affluent Gangnam district, and the factors driving the high demand for tuition. The second part on Monday will look at how the government and some groups in South Korean society, including school leaders, parents and a former “star” tutor, are trying to do more to fight against the tide and wean children off tuition.

SEOUL — On a Thursday evening last month, this reporter was at one of the popular tuition-centre zones, Daechi-dong, in Gangnam district. With just weeks to go before the high-stakes college-entrance exams, which are held every November, the streets were quiet, in contrast to the intense activity taking place behind closed doors. Read more of this post

The World of English Freedoms; It’s no accident that the English-speaking nations are the ones most devoted to law and individual rights

The World of English Freedoms

It’s no accident that the English-speaking nations are the ones most devoted to law and individual rights, writes Daniel Hannan

DANIEL HANNAN

Nov. 15, 2013 6:17 p.m. ET

Asked, early in his presidency, whether he believed in American exceptionalism, Barack Obama gave a telling reply. “I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism.” The first part of that answer is fascinating (we’ll come back to the Greeks in a bit). Most Brits do indeed believe in British exceptionalism. But here’s the thing: They define it in almost exactly the same way that Americans do. British exceptionalism, like its American cousin, has traditionally been held to reside in a series of values and institutions: personal liberty, free contract, jury trials, uncensored newspapers, regular elections, habeas corpus, open competition, secure property, religious pluralism. Read more of this post

Hong Kong Property Still in Danger of Overheating, HKMA Says, and a rise in interest rates would “indisputably” affect the city

Hong Kong Property Still in Danger of Overheating, HKMA Says

Hong Kong’s property market is still in danger of overheating and a rise in interest rates would “indisputably” affect the city, Norman Chan, chief executive of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority said today. The outlook for Hong Kong’s property market was uncertain and it wasn’t clear whether it had entered a downward cycle, Chan said at a legislative briefing. Emerging markets would face the risk of capital outflow, currency depreciation and a decline of asset prices once the U.S. Federal Reserve starts tapering stimulus, he said. Read more of this post

Playing China’s Investing Frontier; The move by China to open its local stock markets is triggering a new wave of ETFs

Playing China’s Investing Frontier

The move by China to open its local stock markets is triggering a new wave of ETFs.

MURRAY COLEMAN

Nov. 15, 2013 6:28 p.m. ET

The $1.2 trillion stock market in mainland China—home to the world’s second-largest economy—is opening up even more to foreign investors, but hazards still abound. The Deutsche Bank‘s DBK.XE -0.35% db X-trackers Harvest CSI 300 Index ETF,ASHR +4.36% the first U.S.-listed exchange-traded fund to invest directly in China’s A-shares, began trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Nov. 6. A-shares, which trade on the Shanghai and Shenzhen exchanges, have been largely closed off to foreign investors. Read more of this post

“Please take good care of Microsoft.” Ballmer on Ballmer: His Exit From Microsoft; Ballmer on how he came to believe he wasn’t the best person to remake the technology giant for its next act

Ballmer on Ballmer: His Exit From Microsoft

MONICA LANGLEY

Updated Nov. 15, 2013 4:34 p.m. ET

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REDMOND, Wash.— Steve Ballmer paced his corner office on a foggy January morning here, listening through loudspeakers to his directors’ voices on a call that would set in motion the end of his 13-year reign as Microsoft Corp.’s MSFT -0.47% chief executive. Microsoft lagged behind Apple Inc.AAPL -0.60% and Google Inc.GOOG -0.16% in important consumer markets, despite its formidable software revenue. Mr. Ballmer tried to spell out his plan to remake Microsoft, but a director cut him off, telling him he was moving too slowly. Read more of this post

A Return to Internet Mania? Some Market Observers Fear That We’re in a Bubble Reminiscent of the One We Saw in the Dot-Com Era

A Return to Internet Mania?

Some Market Observers Fear That We’re in a Bubble Reminiscent of the One We Saw in the Dot-Com Era

MARK HULBERT

Nov. 15, 2013 6:10 p.m. ET

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We aren’t heading for the next Internet bubble—at least not yet. At a time when the 23-year-old CEO of Snapchat, a two-year-old company with no revenue, turns down a nearly $3 billion buyout offer from FacebookFB +0.04% and whenTwitter makes a spectacular debut, many people are reminded of the heady days of Internet stocks in the late 1990s and early 2000. Yet the analogy is misleading, according to the leading academic studies of investor sentiment. Read more of this post

Zulily Shares Jump 71% After IPO; Zulily has sheltered itself from having to compete with crosstown rival Amazon.com by focusing on flash-sales merchandise from specialized vendors.

Zulily Shares Jump 71% After IPO

GREG BENSINGER

Nov. 15, 2013 7:13 p.m. ET

Shares of online retailer Zulily Inc. jumped 71% in their debut Friday, a strong start as the Seattle company tries to compete in a space crowded by Amazon.com Inc. and eBay Inc. Zulily has sheltered itself from having to compete with crosstown rival Amazon.com by focusing on merchandise from specialized vendors. The company sells items like charm bracelets and zebra-print pajamas primarily through short-term discounts, known as flash sales. Read more of this post

“Everybody wants to be the new Supercell”; Investors flock to Europe in search of next Supercell

Investors flock to Europe in search of next Supercell

12:14pm EST

By Mia Shanley and Jussi Rosendahl

HELSINKI (Reuters) – Riding a wave of euphoria surrounding the success of Finnish mobile game maker Supercell, venture capital firms are chasing after European tech start-ups in search of the next big thing. Japanese tech and telecoms group SoftBank’s 51 percent stake purchase in 3-year-old Supercell, announced last month, valued the maker of hit games “Clash of Clans” and “Hay Day” at $3 billion. “Everybody wants to be the new Supercell,” Torleif Ahlsand, General Partner at Nordic technology investor Northzone, said at the annual “Slush” tech start-up conference in the Finnish capital. Read more of this post

Dot London: City launches own domain to boost online presence

Dot London: City launches own domain to boost online presence

2:41pm EST

By Shadi Bushra

LONDON (Reuters) – London will join a handful of cities launching their own internet domain names next year to build a greater online presence and promote the British capital, the mayor’s office said on Friday. ICANN, the world body that oversees the web’s naming conventions, gave London the go-ahead this week to use its own unique domain name from 2014, along with New York, Berlin, Vienna and Brussels. Read more of this post

Here’s why Airbnb isn’t worried about New York’s crackdown

Here’s why Airbnb isn’t worried about New York’s crackdown

By Brian Fung, Updated: November 15 at 2:17 pm

Airbnb has been on a tear lately. On Tuesday, the service that connects travelers with private rooms for rent announced a slew of new features designed to streamline its experience for hosts and guests. But the company is alsoembroiled in a legal fight with the New York attorney general, who is concerned that some landlords are abusing the service and renting their properties illegally. On Thursday, I sat down with Airbnb co-founder Nathan Blecharczyk to talk with him about the issue and about what else the company has learned by putting up 150,000 people a day. The following transcript has been edited for length and clarity. Read more of this post

Cisco CEO: ‘Never Seen’ Such a Falloff in Orders; Slowdown in China, Emerging Markets Deliver Blow; Shares Tumble

Cisco CEO: ‘Never Seen’ Such a Falloff in Orders

Slowdown in China, Emerging Markets Deliver Blow; Shares Tumble

DON CLARK

Updated Nov. 14, 2013 11:16 p.m. ET

A slowdown in Cisco Systems Inc. CSCO -10.96% ‘s business is turning into a tailspin, hobbled by weak demand in China and other emerging markets. The Silicon Valley network-equipment giant on Wednesday said revenue rose just 1.8% in its first fiscal quarter, compared with its projection of 3% to 5% growth. Cisco followed up by projecting a decline of 8% to 10% in the current period, an unusually grim forecast for a company seen as a bellwether for corporate technology spending. Cisco’s shares fell 10% to $21.58 in after-hours trading following the company’s earnings report late Wednesday. Read more of this post

Silicon Valley Nerds Seek Revenge on NSA Spies With Super Coding

Silicon Valley Nerds Seek Revenge on NSA Spies With Super Coding

Google Inc. (GOOG), Facebook Inc. (FB) and Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO) are fighting back against the National Security Agency by using harder-to-crack code to shield their networks and online customer data from unauthorized U.S. spying. The companies, burned by disclosures they’ve cooperated with U.S. surveillance programs, are protecting user e-mail and social-media posts with strengthened encryption that the U.S. government says won’t be easily broken until 2030. Read more of this post

Online Casinos Hobbled as Credit-Card Issuers Reject Bets

Online Casinos Hobbled as Credit-Card Issuers Reject Bets

Just as legal online gambling gets started in the U.S., banks and payment processors are refusing to play. Credit-card issuers Bank of America Corp., Wells Fargo & Co. and American Express Co., along with EBay Inc.’s PayPal, aren’t allowing the transactions, according to the companies. Delaware and Nevada permit Internet wagering, with New Jersey poised to become the third and biggest state on Nov. 26. Read more of this post

In win for Big Oil, U.S. proposes biofuel mandate cut

In win for Big Oil, U.S. proposes biofuel mandate cut

6:09pm EST

By Timothy Gardner

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Obama administration proposed on Friday slashing federal requirements for U.S. biofuel use in 2014, bowing to pressure from the petroleum industry and attempting to prevent a potential fuel crunch next year. It was the first cut to renewable fuel targets written into a 2007 law, and seen as a clear win for oil refiners and a loss for biofuel producers. It followed a prolonged lobbying blitz on both sides of the issue. Read more of this post

Beware Beijing’s Commitment Issues; First Up on the Reform Plans: Tackling Overcapacity

Beware Beijing’s Commitment Issues

AARON BACK

Nov. 15, 2013 10:50 a.m. ET

China is once again promising an ambitious reform agenda. The latest policy vision is a welcome indication that Beijing understands the economic challenges the country faces as it tries to shift to a consumption-led model from an investment-driven one. Still, given Beijing’s track record of over-promising and under-delivering, skepticism is in order. Read more of this post

Could You Live Without Private Equity? A Reporter’s Quest to Ditch PE-Backed Products Means Giving Up Movies, Social Media — Even, Sometimes, the Bathroom; PE firms spent $398 billion buying up a total of 2,176 U.K. companies from 2002 to 2012

Could You Live Without Private Equity?

A Reporter’s Quest to Ditch PE-Backed Products Means Giving Up Movies, Social Media — Even, Sometimes, the Bathroom

BECKY PRITCHARD

Nov. 15, 2013 1:01 p.m. ET

It can be hard enough finding a public toilet in London. Try finding one that doesn’t use bathroom fittings made by a private equity-backed company. That is just one of the challenges I faced after deciding to spend a week avoiding anything touched by this giant industry. I couldn’t go to the office. I had to give up FacebookFB +0.04% and Twitter. Even brushing my hair was a no-no. Read more of this post

Japan’s Emperor Akihito will break with a centuries-old burial tradition by opting to be cremated like most ordinary citizens in the densely-populated nation

Japan’s emperor breaks with centuries-old burial tradition

Friday, November 15, 2013 – 19:05

AFP

TOKYO – Japan’s Emperor Akihito will break with a centuries-old burial tradition by opting to be cremated like most ordinary citizens in the densely-populated nation, officials said Friday. That would mark the first time in almost four hundred years that a Japanese emperor has not been buried, according to the Imperial Household Agency. It added that the 79-year-old emperor’s wife, Empress Michiko, would also be cremated. Read more of this post

Malaysia’s seafoood industry hit with millions of ringgit worth of charges when a new ruling comes into effect today, eroding the competitive edge of the local seafood industry

Seafoood industry hit with millions of ringgit worth of charges

Friday, November 15, 2013 – 09:36

David Tan

The Star/Asia News Network

GEORGE TOWN – The seafood industry is likely to be hit with millions of ringgit of export and import charges annually when a new ruling comes into effect today, eroding the competitive edge of the local seafood industry. Malaysian Frozen Foods Processors’ Association (MFFPA) secretary Saw Hai Earn told StarBiz that the Malaysian Quarantine & Inspection Services (Maqis) was imposing exportation and importation inspection charges of RM2.50 for not more than 50kg of seafood, RM5 per container of less than 100kg of seafood and RM0.05 per kg of seafood for exports of more than 100kg of fish. Read more of this post

China to ease one-child policy

China to ease one-child policy: Xinhua

Friday, November 15, 2013 – 20:58

AFP

BEIJING – China will relax its hugely controversial one-child policy, state media said Friday, in a major policy shift announced days after a meeting of China’s top Communist Party leaders. Couples will be allowed to have two children if one of the parents is an only child, the official news agency Xinhua reported, citing a “key decision” made by leaders at this week’s gathering, known as the Third Plenum. The policy was brought in during the late 1970s to control China’s huge population, the world’s largest. But it has at times been brutally enforced, with authorities relying on permits, fines and, in some cases, forced sterilisations and late-term abortions, with pictures of the results causing horrified reactions. Read more of this post

BMW Makes Lone Shift to Carbon Fiber to Gain Auto Edge; In BMW’s Leipzig factory, steel is no longer the measure of toughness. A sign there reads “nerves of carbon fiber.” The company’s not afraid of going it alone

BMW Makes Lone Shift to Carbon Fiber to Gain Auto Edge

Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW)’s bid to save its cars from potential extinction starts with hundreds of thousands of fine white strands snaking upwards in a production hall in rural Washington. Looped through an almost mile-long course, what looks like the world’s thinnest rice noodles will be stretched, toasted and eventually scorched black to create carbon fiber — a material thinner than human hair and yet tougher than steel. Read more of this post

New Fund Lets Investors Fish for Returns in Farmed Seafood

New Fund Lets Investors Fish for Returns in Farmed Seafood

ImpactIQ.org — Within a few years, most of the fish we eat will be farmed, not caught. That could be a boon for already over-stressed oceans. But the worldwide explosion of aquaculture since 1970 has left its own trail of environmental destruction, from toxic concentrations of waste, to outbreaks of disease, to the continued over-harvesting of smaller ocean fish for feeding their penned brethren. Read more of this post

China’s 50-Year Bond Auction Draws Least Demand Since 2009

China’s 50-Year Bond Auction Draws Least Demand Since 2009

China’s sale of 50-year bonds drew the least demand since the country began issuing the securities in 2009 as economic growth slows and investors brace for a reduction in U.S. monetary stimulus. The Ministry of Finance sold at least 20 billion yuan ($3.3 billion) of notes due 2063 paying 5.31 percent, the highest yield since the nation started selling the tenor. A Bloomberg survey of five traders and analysts forecast a rate of 5.05 percent. The government received just 30.2 billion yuan in bids, compared to 42.6 billion in May, when the securities sold to yield 4.24 percent. Read more of this post

UBS Stargazing Signals First Back-to-Back Bond Losses For Investment-Grade Securities

UBS Stargazing Signals Back-to-Back Bond Losses: Credit Markets

Wall Street is starting to signal that 2014 will look a lot like 2013 for U.S. corporate bond investors, setting the stage for the first back-to-back annual losses for investment-grade securities on record. The debt, on pace to lose 1.9 percent this year as investors reject record low yields in favor of stocks, will drop an additional 0.9 percent in 2014, UBS AG analysts led by Matthew Mish said this week. That followed Citigroup Inc.’s forecast last month for a 1.1 percent decline through next year. Read more of this post

Maersk CEO Says Balancing Supply of Ships to Demand Is Years Off

Maersk CEO Says Balancing Supply of Ships to Demand Is Years Off

A.P. Moeller-Maersk A/S (MAERSKB), owner of the world’s largest container line, said the shipping industry must learn to live with excess capacity. Given the current order book for container vessels, achieving equilibrium between supply and demand “is not an immediate thing,” Chief Executive Officer Nils Smedegaard Andersen said in an interview. Industry estimates point to a balance being reached in 2015 or 2016, with Copenhagen-based Maersk on the “slightly more pessimistic side,” he said. Read more of this post

Investors take aim at ‘male, pale and stale’ U.S. boards

Investors take aim at ‘male, pale and stale’ U.S. boards

5:15pm EST

By Nadia Damouni and Ross Kerber

NEW YORK/BOSTON (Reuters) – American boardrooms are looking grayer than ever. More retired executives are being offered directorships, mandatory retirement ages are rising, and directors are staying on longer. It is a trend that has some investors, particularly state pension funds, increasingly concerned. They say directors who stay on a board a long time can get too cozy with management and lose their independence. It also means that the clubby domination of boardrooms by older, mainly white, men can continue, with fewer opportunities for women and minorities to get directorships. Read more of this post

Reluctant Germany casts cloud over Europe’s bank revamp

Reluctant Germany casts cloud over Europe’s bank revamp

2:17pm EST

By Michelle Martin and John O‘Donnell

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European countries pledged on Friday to stand by banks found to be struggling after health checks next year as Germany pushed for investors to bear the brunt of repairing lenders to spare the use of euro zone funds. In a statement designed to underscore Europe’s readiness to act following the checks, ministers spelt out how they would have funds in place to help, overcoming German objections to eventually allow euro zone funds be used as a last resort. Read more of this post

Midwest Farmland Values: Past Peak Season?

Midwest Farmland Values: Past Peak Season?

Regional Fed Banks Report Declining or Slowing Growth in Prices

JACOB BUNGE

Nov. 15, 2013 4:46 p.m. ET

A multiyear run-up in the value of farmland in the U.S. Midwest may be running out of steam. Average cropland prices declined in parts of the Farm Belt in the third quarter from the previous quarter while rising at a low rate in other areas, according to separate reports this past week by regional Federal Reserve banks in Chicago, St. Louis and Kansas City. Read more of this post

It Pays to Look Under Tata’s Hood; Indian accounting standards give Tata discretion in accounting for R&D spending.

It Pays to Look Under Tata’s Hood

ABHEEK BHATTACHARYA 

Nov. 15, 2013 4:30 a.m. ET

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India’s Tata Motors 500570.BY +4.66% is in the big league of global car makers. When it comes to accounting for certain costs, though, it doesn’t play exactly the same way as its peers. India’s largest auto company by market value leapt onto the world stage after buying JaguarLand Rover in 2008. Now that the British luxury car maker makes up roughly 80% of Tata’s revenue, this Indian firm is competing with BMWBMW.XE -0.06% Mercedes-Benz and a host of American and Japanese premium brands. And when compared with some of these peers, Tata looks to be a relative bargain. Although its shares are up more than 20% so far this year, the stock trades at 9.6 times estimated profit for the fiscal year that ends next March. That is at a discount to Daimler, which owns Mercedes, and BMW. Yet Tata’s valuation may be flattered by the way it treats certain costs. This has the effect of boosting its profit—in the near term, at least. Taking that into account, Tata is more expensive than it initially appears. At issue is how Tata treats research and development costs. Tata’s R&D program, at 6% of sales, is higher than the 4% or 5% global car makers typically spend on new products and designs. Read more of this post

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