The Culture of Charade

The Culture of Charade

Posted on January 28, 2014

Robert P. Seawright

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We’ve all seen them, and they’re dreadful.

“Business television” – CNBC, Fox Business and the like – often bring on lower tier would-be experts from the hinterlands to fill time by opining on the latest news, the newest data release, or the ongoing market action in response to an anchor’s softball set-up.The interviewee typically ignores the set-up and plows ahead to pre-scripted and mundane (at best) talking points as quickly as possible. Such appearances are often arranged by PR firms, who brag about such “placements” and are paid well for doing so. These hits are worth doing for the networks because there is nothing like 24 hours per day of actual business and market news on offer. They have lots of time to fill. Read more of this post

The Absolute-Return Rip-Off

The Absolute-Return Rip-Off

By Larry Swedroe

January 30, 2014

How bad are absolute-return funds? Larry Swedroe counts the ways.

Investors would love to be able to achieve positive returns in both bull and bear markets, and that’s the “promise”—or at least the premise—of absolute-return funds. Read more of this post

Alibaba, Tencent spending big on taxi apps despite lack of profit model

Alibaba, Tencent spending big on taxi apps despite lack of profit model

Staff Reporter

2014-01-30

Alibaba Group and Tencent Holdings, China’s internet giants, are in a neck-and-neck fight in the taxi app market. On Jan. 20, Tencent’s Didi, its taxi hailing service, announced a plan to invest a further 200 million yuan (US$33 million) to benefit passengers. The very next day, Alibaba’s Kuaide swiftly announced it was investing 500 million yuan (US$82.5 million) for the good of passengers, Shanghai’s China Business News reports. Read more of this post

What an incredibly popular Lunar New Year’s gift – the Three Squirrels – tells us about China’s economy

What an incredibly popular Lunar New Year’s gift tells us about China’s economy

By Heather Timmons and Jennifer Chiu January 31, 2014

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What an incredibly popular Lunar New Year’s gift – the Three Squirrels – tells us about China’s economy

This year’s top Lunar New Year gift pack on China’s massive e-commerce website Tmall is a “Three Squirrels” brand nut assortment, which has racked up more than 150,000 sales.  A boxed set of seven packs of pecans and hazelnuts, decorated with a cartoon squirrel riding a horse, it weighs nearly 1,700 grams, or almost four pounds. Read more of this post

Why France is so afraid of Netflix

Why France is so afraid of Netflix

By Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry January 31, 2014

Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry is an entrepreneur, writer and analyst based in Paris.

Oh, France. You hate new things. You hate foreign things, particularly American things (or so you like to say). You hate business. Of course you’re going to hate Netflix.

Netflix is currently expanding around the world, and it wants to set up shop in France. The company has said it has aggressive expansion plans in Europe, and the French press has reported that executives from the company have met with President Hollande’s staff twice. To Reed Hastings I say: good luck, you’re going to need it. Read more of this post

Asia may not be able to fund its infrastructure needs without deeper credit culture: S&P

Asia may not be able to fund its infrastructure needs without deeper credit culture: S&P

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Business | Thu, January 30 2014, 4:06 PM

Asian governments in high-growth countries may face difficulties in maintaining growth and funding for all their infrastructure needs, Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services (S&P) said in its recently published report titled “Why Global Investors Aren’t Making Inroads Into Infrastructure Funding In Asia.” Read more of this post

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