BJP India Opposition Set to Win State Elections Before 2014 Vote

BJP India Opposition Set to Win State Elections Before 2014 Vote

India’s main opposition party is set to win four of five state elections held over the past month, wresting power from the ruling Congress party in one area and giving it momentum ahead of national voting next year. The Bharatiya Janata Party, which picked Narendra Modi as its choice for prime minister, is set to retain two states, take power from Congress in another and win the most seats in the capital New Delhi, according to an exit poll yesterday conducted by C-Voter and broadcast on the Times Now television channel. Official vote counting in the states, home to about a sixth of India’s 1.2 billion people, will take place on Dec. 8. Read more of this post

Gold Smuggling Increases 7x In India And Surpasses Illegal Drug Trade

Gold Smuggling Increases 7x In India And Surpasses Illegal Drug Trade

Tyler Durden on 12/04/2013 22:12 -0500

Submitted by Michael Krieger of Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

The absurd “War on Gold” that India has launched this year has been covered many times on this site. From the moment I read about it, it was obvious that if Indians want their gold, the Indians will have their gold. You can’t break thousands of years of tradition and culture because of the ignorant whims of a few bureaucrats. Read more of this post

India is out of the woods but a long way from safe

December 4, 2013 5:18 pm

India is out of the woods but a long way from safe

By David Pilling

The optimism of recent years when Indians talked of growing faster than China is of another era

New Delhi is no longer in panic mode. After a few really dicey months this summer when the rupee was sinking and the government was taking measure after ineffective measure to hold the line, an uneasy calm has been restored in India. The currency is 10 per cent above its September lows and stocks are 15 per cent higher. Read more of this post

India Proves Hard to Crack for VW as Swift Outshines Polo

India Proves Hard to Crack for VW as Swift Outshines Polo

For Volkswagen AG (VOW), the route to being the world’s top carmaker was meant to go through India.

Instead, auto sales in the country are headed for their first annual drop since 2002, the German carmaker has captured only a third of the 10 percent market share it’s targeting and factories are producing about 40 percent of the cars they are capable of making. Not only are Volkswagen-badged vehicles typically more expensive than other brands, they also compete against models from sister marque Skoda. Read more of this post

Mobile Payments Gain Traction Among India’s Poor

December 4, 2013

Mobile Payments Gain Traction Among India’s Poor

By RICHARD SHAFFER

INDIACELL-popup

Shashank Joshi, founder of MoneyOnMobile.

MUMBAI, India — In a narrow room filled with acrid fumes in one of the world’s largest slums, Chinak Ramtheol earns about $4 a day tending machines that melt and slice plastic trash into pellets for recycling. He manages to save enough that he regularly can send a few hundred rupees to his family in rural Siddharthnagar, a thousand miles across India near Nepal. Read more of this post

In Big Reversal, Yen Poised To Finish as Weakest Major Currency

Dec 4, 2013

In Big Reversal, Yen Poised To Finish as Weakest Major Currency

By Ira Iosebashvili

If there was an award for the most bi-polar currency, the yen would be a shoo-in. Assuming price levels don’t change much in what’s left of 2013, the yen will have been either the weakest or the strongest major currency against the dollar in each of the last six years, according to research by Deutsche BankDBK.XE -0.98%. It’s down about 18% this year thanks to a strong dollar and Japan’s attempts to finally end years of chronic deflation and lackluster economic growth. Read more of this post

Sony Scores Early Points in New Console Wars

Sony Scores Early Points in New Console Wars

AARON BACK

Dec. 4, 2013 11:30 p.m. ET

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The console wars are back, and Sony 6758.TO -1.14% has a new battle plan. Initial reports indicate Sony’s PlayStation 4 has an early edge over Microsoft‘sMSFT +1.64%  XBox One. Both sold more than 1 million units on their first day, but Sony managed this in far fewer markets. Sony said Tuesday it had already sold 2.1 million units, while Microsoft hasn’t given an updated figure. Sony’s sticker price, which is $100 cheaper, seems to have given it the lead at this stage.

Read more of this post

Thaksin’s homecoming hopes dashed as Thai crisis reignites

Thaksin’s homecoming hopes dashed as Thai crisis reignites

4:04pm EST

By Martin Petty

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thailand’s political future is cloudier than ever, but one thing is for certain – self-exiled former premier Thaksin Shinawatra won’t be coming home soon. The chances of another round of political conflict seemed slim a few months ago as the government of Thaksin’s sister, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, entered its third year in office after a fairly smooth ride, much to do with outwardly cordial ties with her brother’s enemies, among them generals, royal advisers and opposition politicians. Read more of this post

Thailand Resilience Eroding as Protests Sap Confidence: Economy

Thailand Resilience Eroding as Protests Sap Confidence: Economy

Thailand’s economy has withstood coups and regime-changing protests for decades, luring manufacturers including Toyota Motor Corp. even when turmoil dented stocks and the baht. This time may be tougher. Demonstrators in Bangkok seeking to oust Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra sparked the most violent anti-government clashes in more than three years, raising the risk of the third removal of an elected leader since August 2006. Foreign investors sold a net $1.5 billion of Thai shares last month, the most among 10 Asian markets tracked by Bloomberg. Read more of this post

U.S. says online ads should be clearly marked, undeceptive

U.S. says online ads should be clearly marked, undeceptive

2:08pm EST

By Diane Bartz

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The growing online usage of ads designed to blend in with the rest of a website’s content, a practice known as “native advertising,” may be illegal in some instances, the Federal Trade Commission warned on Wednesday. The FTC said that a survey of online publishers found that 73 percent allowed native advertising, the digital descendent of the newspaper “advertorial” and television’s infomercials. Read more of this post

Startups Aim to Demystify Computing

Startups Aim to Demystify Computing

BEN ROONEY

Dec. 4, 2013 3:40 p.m. ET

Science-fiction author Arthur C. Clarke wrote, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” That’s certainly how most people see the workings of their electronic devices. An iPad is more powerful than a 1990s supercomputer, yet that power remains mainly hidden behind the magician’s curtain of the touch screen, accessible only through applications and programs written by others. Read more of this post

Google Investing in Robotics Effort Led by Former Android Chief

Google Investing in Robotics Effort Led by Former Android Chief

Google Inc. has acquired seven companies for a robotics project led by Andy Rubin, former head of the Android software unit, as the world’s largest online search provider pushes beyond its roots. The effort, which includes purchases of companies in Japan and the U.S., comes after Rubin stepped down in March from Android, which he built into a leading mobile smartphone operating system. Under Rubin, Android surged ahead of Apple Inc.’s iOS software for mobile devices to command 70 percent of the operating systems on smartphones. Read more of this post

Fingerprint sees touch ID going mainstream for smartphones

Fingerprint sees touch ID going mainstream for smartphones

1:49pm EST

By Mia Shanley and Olof Swahnberg

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Fingerprint Cards is aiming to sell its identity technology to most of the world’s biggest smartphone makers, which are likely to follow Apple in offering touch recognition for mobiles from next year. Read more of this post

Cloud price war is bad news for technology industry’s old guard; Lowering the price will determine the fate of much of the IT industry

December 4, 2013 12:02 pm

Cloud price war is bad news for technology industry’s old guard

By Richard Waters in San Francisco

Lowering the price will determine the fate of much of the IT industry

Sometimes, the news headlines from the tech industry seem to be attention-grabbing stunts with little bearing on immediate business reality. Take the titillating suggestion from Amazon boss Jeff Bezos this week that his company will shortly be in a position to deliver small packages using aerial drones. Few experts think such an eventuality, though technically feasible, is likely in the near term. Read more of this post

Why the Dollar Dominates, and Why That’s Not All Good

Why the Dollar Dominates, and Why That’s Not All Good

Lack of Rivals to Greenback Keeps It on Top—and Enables U.S. Government Dysfunction

DAVID WESSEL

Updated Dec. 4, 2013 2:42 p.m. ET

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In an interview with WSJ’s David Wessel, Cornell’s Eswar Prasad, author of a forthcoming book, “The Dollar Trap: How the U.S. Dollar Tightened Its Grip on Global Finance,” explains why the U.S. currency remains so dominant despite all the nation’s woes. Read more of this post

U.S. vice president urges Chinese to challenge their leaders

U.S. vice president urges Chinese to challenge their leaders

10:50am EST

BEIJING (Reuters) – U.S. Vice President Joe Biden encouraged Chinese visa applicants to “challenge their government” during a brief meeting at the U.S. embassy in Beijing on Wednesday. Biden, accompanied by Ambassador Gary Locke, waved and greeted hundreds of Chinese queuing at the visa hall. “Innovation can only occur when you can breathe free, challenge the government, challenge your teachers, challenge religious leaders,” Biden said. Biden is visiting the Chinese capital at the invitation of his Chinese counterpart Li Yuanchao, though he is also meeting President Xi Jinping. Top of the agenda on his trip is China’s new air defense identification zone in the East China Sea, which has rattled Washington, Tokyo and Seoul. Biden has sought to reach out to ordinary Chinese before, visiting a noodle restaurant for lunch during a visit to Beijing in 2011. “If you come to Washington, tell them you spoke to me here and I promise you’ll be able to get to see me,” Biden added, to laughter from the waiting visa applicants.

The Wal-Mart of the ETF World is Raking In the Assets

The Wal-Mart of the ETF World is Raking In the Assets

Ultra-low prices. Increasing market share. Frustrated competitors.

Those category-killing attributes make Vanguard Group Inc. the Wal-Mart of exchange-traded funds. Since 2010, its market share has grown from about 15 percent to 20 percent, while that of its big rivals, BlackRock’s iShares and State Street’s SPDRs, has slightly declined. And while all three have gained new assets this year, Vanguard leads with $51 billion, or 32 cents out of every dollar invested in an ETF, up from 28 cents last year. It has seen 21 of its 67 ETFs grow by at least $1 billion in 2013. The unique structure and low cost of its products suggest the momentum will continue. Read more of this post

Standard Chartered Suffers Emerging Problems

Standard Chartered Suffers Emerging Problems

U.K. Lender’s Bias to the Developing World Finds It Out of Favor

ANDREW PEAPLE

Updated Dec. 4, 2013 1:19 p.m. ET

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When you fall out of fashion, it’s hard to get back. Standard Chartered proved a good bet for investors after the financial crisis: Its heavy exposure to emerging markets enabled it to outperform its more Western-focused peers. Read more of this post

SEC Considers More Oversight as Proxy Advisers’ Influence Grows

SEC Considers More Oversight as Proxy Advisers’ Influence Grows

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is weighing whether proxy advisers have grown so influential in corporate elections that regulators should impose rules to make their business more transparent. The roles of Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. and Glass Lewis & Co. LLC in shareholder voting will be debated by institutional investors, brokers, business groups and unions tomorrow at a meeting hosted by the SEC. ISS and Glass Lewis dominate the market for providing recommendations for votes on topics such as executive pay, nominees for boards of directors, and corporate mergers. Read more of this post

Rajoy to Rescue Highway Billionaires Who Bet on Boom

Rajoy to Rescue Highway Billionaires Who Bet on Boom

Spanish taxpayers have bailed out banks and power companies. Next up are highway operators and their billionaire owners. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s government is considering a 5 billion-euro ($6.7 billion) plan to take over and guarantee the debt of about 364 miles (585 kilometers) of roads, according to two people familiar with the matter who declined to comment because no final decisions have been made. Read more of this post

Norway Government Says Central Bank Is Winning Krone Battle

Norway Government Says Central Bank Is Winning Krone Battle

The Norwegian central bank’s efforts to tame the krone are paying off for exporters as the economy of western Europe’s largest oil producer slows, Industry Minister Monica Maeland said. “I don’t know if it’s enough but it is working,” Maeland, who took office in October, said yesterday in an interview in Oslo. “The exchange rate of the Norwegian krone is important for the export industry and the fact that it has weakened is good.” Read more of this post

Norges Bank Delays Tightening by a Year as House Prices Drop

Norges Bank Delays Tightening by a Year as House Prices Drop

Norway’s central bank left its benchmark interest rate unchanged and said it will delay tightening plans until the summer of 2015, a year later than previously signaled. The krone sank 0.4 percent against the euro to 8.3987 as of 11:32 a.m. in Oslo. Against the dollar, it dropped 0.4 percent. The bank kept the overnight deposit rate at 1.5 percent, as predicted by 11 of 12 economists in a Bloomberg survey. Read more of this post

Lessons From Europe’s Long Recession

Lessons From Europe’s Long Recession

Five years after the onset of its worst recession, the European Union’s economic recovery remains painfully slow. Has anything been learned from this dismal performance about how governments can combat severe recessions? The answer is yes — but sadly, the clearest lessons are the ones governments seem least likely to apply. Read more of this post

Job Cuts Loom at European Banks as Economy Pinches Fees

Job Cuts Loom at European Banks as Economy Pinches Fees

European banks, which eliminated more than 140,000 jobs in two years, are poised to keep shrinking. Lenders in the region probably will cut at least 5 percent of trading and advisory staff next year, according to a survey of three London-based investment-bank recruiters, and the reductions could reach 15 percent, two of them said. That would be twice the 7 percent shrinkage across the industry since 2011. Read more of this post

Jim Rogers Cautions “Be Prepared, Be Worried, And Be Careful… This Is Going To End Badly”

Jim Rogers Cautions “Be Prepared, Be Worried, And Be Careful… This Is Going To End Badly”

Tyler Durden on 12/04/2013 20:41 -0500

“Eventually, the whole world is going to collapse,” Jim Rogers chides a disquieted CBC anchor as he explains the reality that, “we in the West have staggering debts. The United States is the largest debtor nation in the history of the world,” adding that “this is going to end badly.” However, the co-founder of Soros’ Quantum fund is convinced that the commodity super-cycle is far from over, but driven by supply constraints (and cost increases) as opposed to demand from higher growth. The following interview provides more color on his commodity view as he re-iterates his bullish stance on Ag (with sugar a focus) and Natural Gas (some harsh natural realities coming), warning “don’t get too excited about fracking,” when he talks energy products. Rogers, in his inimitable way, sums up the state iof euphoria that many markets find themselves in thus, “we are all floating around on a sea of artificial liquidity right now. This is not going to last.” On the end of the commodity super-cycle: Commodities have pulled back, but I would remind you that in all bull markets there are periods of correction. In 1987 – during the great bull market in stocks – stocks went down 40 to 80 per cent around the world; again in 1989, 1990, 1994, etc. Every time people said the bull market’s over, but it wasn’t. I think that’s what’s happening with commodities now.” On the next crisis: 2008 was so much worse than 2000 because the debt was so much higher, you wait until 2014 or 2015 when the next crisis hits… debt has gone through the roof, the next one’s gonna be really bad” His final words: Be prepared, be worried, and be careful

Robert Samuelson: Is the stock market nuts?

Is the stock market nuts?

By Robert J. Samuelson, Thursday, December 5, 2:42 AM

The question about the stock market is whether the bull is a bubble. The 1990s’ “tech bubble” and the recent “housing bubble” have conditioned us to think that almost any sign of investor craziness is going to end badly — and the stock market seems a bit crazy. At the end of November, reported Wilshire Associates, stocks were up nearly 30 percent for the year, representing a gain of about $4.8 trillion. From the market’s recent low in March 9, 2009, when the economy was in a tailspin, the increase has been 180 percent, or nearly $15 trillion. If you dislike this comparison, then measure the gain since the market’s pre-recession high on Oct. 9, 2007. The increase is 21.5 percent, or $4.2 trillion. Read more of this post

Hugh Hendry Goes Stock, Bitcoin Bull Retard: “Don’t Tell Me The Valuation, It Is Trending”

Hugh Hendry Goes Stock, Bitcoin Bull Retard: “Don’t Tell Me The Valuation, It Is Trending”

Tyler Durden on 12/04/2013 16:18 -0500

Everyone knows “you never go bull retard,” but it seems Eclectica’s Hugh Hendry, the hardiest of hardy Scots, has accepted that there is only one way for this farce to end (as we predicted back in 2009). As Investment Week reports, the bear-turned-bull has bought 3D printing stocks as a play on trend-driven, QE-fuelled equity markets, and said the rise in the valuation of Bitcoin amounts to “the same thing”. Perhaps summing up the “trend-driven, QE-fueled” new normal better than anyone, Hendry added: “I say to my team ‘don’t tell me the valuations, it is trending’… This is the environment where Bitcoin could go to $1m. There is no qualitative reason, but it is trending. If I could own Bitcoin, I would. It gets worse: Hendry is now chasing the biggest momentum trend of all, that of Bitcoin, which he now “expects” to rise to $1 million! As for his “hedge”, don’t laugh, 3D printing stocks… Sigh. We suspect, as he noted previously, he will be avoiding mirrors even more now. And yes, that this whole series now reeks of an Onion viral marketing campaign, is clear to everyone. Although sadly, we fear it is all too sincere, and a sad consequence of what happens when Bernanke’s centrally-planned markets crush one after another talented asset manager and leave the E-Trade momo babies in charge. Read more of this post

Hedge Fund Legend Seth Klarman Returns Cash To Investors Due To “Lack Of Investment Opportunities”; This is only the second time in the hedge fund firm’s 31-year history that it is returning money to investors

Another Hedge Fund Legend Returns Cash To Investors Due To “Lack Of Investment Opportunities”

Tyler Durden on 12/04/2013 16:03 -0500

While hardly as spectacular as Hugh Hendry’s supernova flameout, or the far more boring, slow motion conversion of the assorted other famous and less famous bears, a legendary hedge fund titan has decided he too has no use for excess capital in this broken market. No surprise then thatInstitutional Investors’ Alpha reports that Baupost’s Seth Klarman is returning $4 billion in capital to investors for only the second time in its history due to “a lack of investment opportunities.” And watching how the epic farce that Bernanke’s wealth effect known as the Stalingrad & Poorski trades in the last 30 minutes of every day nobody can blame him. And no, Klarman is not returning cash due to some hidden underperformance: “Baupost’s many partnerships were up 13 percent, on average, through the September quarter. Its annualized return since inception is in the high teens.” This happens to push it in the top decile of all hedge funds in 2013. Yet despite the exercise of the redemption put, Baupost, which at the end of 2013 had $26.7 billion in AUM making it the 7th largest hedge fund in the world, still will have a ton of both capital and dry powder. Read more of this post

Fixing What’s Wrong With Economics 101

Fixing What’s Wrong With Economics 101

Harvard’s most popular course is Ec 10, the introductory class in economics. This fall, 760 undergraduates were enrolled — almost half the school’s freshmen. Economics is the most popular major at Harvard, Yale and Princeton. Rightly or wrongly, these students and others will have an outsized impact on policy making, so it matters how the subject is taught. Yet many, especially those who only take first-year classes, get a misleading impression of how the economy works. We can do better. Read more of this post

Brace for bumpy ride in emerging markets

December 5, 2013 12:11 pm

Brace for bumpy ride in emerging markets

By Gillian Tett

Banks and hedge funds have been stealthily creating ‘hit lists’

This week, the Indian government can breathe one tiny sigh of relief. After a year in which the rupee has gyrated dramatically, amid fears about a US “taper” and poor growth, the Indian currency hit a one-month high against the dollar of Rs61.53 on Thursday. Read more of this post

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