Greetings folks and a warm welcome to the 48TH Edition of Friday Finance Weekly.
Getting depressed at the gas pumps? Well guess what? Relief is on the way as prices fell by an astounding 2.5%! This is primarily due to the fact that Obama indicated that striking Iran will paint the Arab state as a victim. Oil was traded at just over $106 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Obama’s public comments set the tone of his meeting with Netanyahu on March 5. Israeli’s Prime Minister has expressed growing frustration with Iran and has taken an increasingly combative stance. In addition to growing fears of a Middle East conflict, prices rose over reports of a fire (initially thought to be an act of terror) at a Saudi oil refinery. Markets started to stabilize when it was determined that the fire did not damage production or refinery capabilities. Spring and Summer are traditionally the busiest travel seasons so oil is probably going to increase over the next several months. Iran is however starting to feel the heat of American and European sanctions as they have been cut off from the oil market. India’s largest shipping company had to cancel a contract for Iranian oil after its European companies refused to provide insurance. There are however reports that China is now purchasing oil from Iran at a discounted rate. So wait, America puts pressure on Iran and this makes Chinese companies even more competitive, obviously what we need. Well I guess the Republican party is already doing a great job of screwing America. Santorum’s comments in relation to Obama’s desire to see every citizen go to college was “Oh, I understand why he wants you to go to college. He wants to remake you in his image, I want to create jobs so people can remake their children into their image, not his.” Seriously? (Source: CNN, Reuters, Bloomberg)
I tried to avoid Apple talk, but the company just hit $500B in market cap. The stock is up 4.36% for the week and is presently trading at $545.18/share. Rumors are that the iPad 3 will be announced next week and the market is expecting it to be a game changer yet again. Unconfirmed reports have indicated that will it have a retina display (same as the iPhone 4(s)), 4G capability, Siri support and a better camera. To me it seems like the iPad 3 should really be an iPad 2.5, similar to the iPhone 4s, but one must never underestimate the Apple consumer. Apple has also launched a PR campaign to demonstrate its economic impact on the US job market. A study undertaken by the Analysis Group indicates that Apple is responsible for 514,000 jobs in the US. The breakdown is as follows, 47,000 Apple employees, 257,000 in direct employees (FEDEX, UPS and other component makers) as determined by the very scientific Type 1 multiplier (no idea what that means) and 210,000 application developers. In addition Apple goes on to state that the call center in the US costs them 50% more than if they were to move it off shore. As of Dec 31, 2011 Apple had over $30B in cash on their balance sheet. Why don’t they really stimulate the economy by starting a sub-prime mortgage company? That way consumers can over-leverage their homes and purchase even more Apple products. Wait I think GE already did that. (Source: Washington Post, Google Finance)
We generally feature a weekly NHL play-off section and I wanted to give a sneak peek. According to National Post, 91 points is the magic number:
(Source: National Post)
When Leona Helmsley’s now-deceased dog, Trouble, inherited about $12 million from her estate in 2007, it called attention to the occasional decision by lonely rich people to pass on millions of dollars to their pets. In December, the former stray cat, Tommasino, inherited the equivalent of about $15 million in Italy when his owner, real estate holder Maria Assunta, died at age 94. The only pets richer than Tommasino were the German shepherd Gunter (equivalent of about $140 million in 2000) and the Australian chimpanzee Kalu (equivalent of about $60 million, though the estate he inherited was revealed in 2010 to be worthless). I have the idea for my next television series “Real House Dogs”. (Source: ABC News)
Have a fantastic weekend and don’t hesitate to forward this newsletter. Many thanks,