Monday, November 15, 2010

Empire Manufacturing, GM and the US

Well, there was plenty of divergent data out today so I'll try to cover the highlights:

* The Empire Manufacturing Index fell off a cliff. Again, this is a very volatile index that doesn't represent a wide cross section of industries, but the magnitude of the move is worth noting.

"The Empire State Manufacturing Survey indicates that conditions deteriorated in November for New York State manufacturers. For the first time since mid-2009, the general business conditions index fell below zero, declining 27 points to -11.1. The new orders index plummeted 37 points to -24.4, and the shipments index also fell below zero. The indexes for both prices paid and prices received declined, with the latter falling into negative territory. The index for number of employees remained above zero but was well below its October level, and the average workweek index dropped to -13.0."

* The GM IPO is still coming this week and there seems to be plenty of investor appetite despite some concerns that GM is still losing market share. I think it's important to separate the stock from the company. The majority of "investors" I've heard discussing the GM deal seem to be excited about the prospect that the US Gov't doesn't want to lose money on it's investment and since the government's break-even is much, much higher than the IPO price, there will be implied support for the stock. That's a dangerous game to play.

* Moody's apparently spooked the markets today by indicating that extension of all of the Bush era tax cuts could lead to a downgrade of the US credit rating. I think Moody's is right to try and be proactive on this front because it seems like they've been late on every other market event over the past 10 years.

* According to the NY Times these are the top 10 apps that you MUST have on your iPhone.

GOOGLE

SOUNDHOUND (hear a song and don't know the name - soundhound helps figure it out. Yeah, that was my reaction as well, meh).

HIPSTAMATIC (a filter to blur your photos to make them artsy)

EVERNOTE (traveling notepad)

ANGRY BIRDS (launch flightless birds by catapult - this is constantly the number 1 app in the app store)

URBANSPOON (restaurant listings)

STAR WALK (a constellation map or maybe you should have paid attention in 9th grade earth science class)

FIREFOX

QUICKOFFICE MOBILE SUITE (allows you to edit MS Office documents)

REDLASER (barcode scanner)

Wow, that's the best they can come up with? This is the technology that supposed to pull us out of our economic malaise? Video games, restaurant listings?

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Anyone with a stake in our future as a nation should really consider reading this article on the state of cheating at institutions of higher "learning".

"The request came in by e-mail around 2 in the afternoon. It was from a previous customer, and she had urgent business. I quote her message here verbatim (if I had to put up with it, so should you): "You did me business ethics propsal for me I need propsal got approved pls can you will write me paper?"

The 75-page paper on business ethics ultimately expanded into a 160-page graduate thesis, every word of which was written by me. I can't remember the name of my client, but it's her name on my work. We collaborated for months. As with so many other topics I tackle, the connection between unethical business practices and trade liberalization became a subtext to my everyday life.

So, of course, you can imagine my excitement when I received the good news:

"thanx so much for uhelp ican going to graduate to now".

As the author of the article states, his clients tend to fall into three categories - the lazy rich kid, the English as a Second Language student and the deficient. I really hope the client referenced in the article was an ESL student :(

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

With the misplaced value put on a high priced education,(gotta get dat diploma) cheating is now the norm. In case you haven't noticed, it's wide spread. We watch as these educated idiots fail in life, but also notice that more successful "startups" are created by drop outs. My financial mentor helped make me wealthy, and she only had an 8th grade education.
With the business environment now fostered in NYS, it doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure out that opportunities are better else where. It makes me sick to drive by all the businesses that I have seen closed just in Northern NY in the last 60 years.