eComTechnology payment processing solutions Fri, 24 Oct 2014 09:32:33 +0000 en-US hourly 1 18 banks will be seen to have failed the European Central Bank’s stress Fri, 24 Oct 2014 09:32:33 +0000 Fixed income investment firm Pimco’s global banking specialist, Philippe Bodereau, expects 18 banks will be seen to have failed the European Central Bank’s stress test of 130 regional lenders when results are published by the ECB on Sunday.

Bodereau, who manages $4.3 billion in the Pimco GIS Capital Securities Fund, said in an interview on Wednesday the failures would likely include some German and Austrian cooperative and public sector banks, as well as weak regional lenders in the southerm periphery.

The stress test and an additional review of the banks’ assets by the ECB are jointly aimed at answering the questions many investors still have about the health of the region’s banking system in the wake of the financial crisis.

Describing the exercise as a milestone for cleaning up the banks, he said the test was “reasonably credible” when compared with previous tests and provided investors with a starting point to evaluate banks.

“It’s pretty clear that not that many banks are going to fail it. A fair amount of balance sheet strengthening has taken place over the last six to nine months in anticipation of this exercise,” Bodereau told Reuters.

Big national champions across northern Europe and also in Southern Europe should pass quite easily, he said, although he expected almost a third of those tested to pass by a narrow margin. This group would likely include many medium-sized banks.

“Probably the market will ask questions about their dividend policies, about their ability to grow balance sheet, etcetera. They will be under pressure to remain quite conservative on capital management and on deleveraging,” said Bodereau.

He also said he did not expect to see any big rights issues as a result of the euro zone tests but did expect more banks to increase provisions for non-performing loans, which would hit their book value.

Given recent market volatility, he said it was more likely there would be a positive than negative market shock after the results are released, and that share prices for the region’s biggest banks could be a market winner on Monday.

“A lot of bank stocks were up 10-20 percent in June and some are now down year to date,” he said, citing the impact of negative sentiment that had weighed on markets broadly.

Bodereau said he had “quite aggressively” bought banks’ contingent convertible (coco) bonds over the last three weeks as a result of the sell-off, including those of Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY.L) and Credit Agricole (CAGR.PA).

Come Monday, Bodereau said he expected the best risk-reward to be on offer in the additional Tier 1 coco bond market.

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Morgan Stanley looking for better deals Wed, 22 Oct 2014 09:49:16 +0000 Morgan Stanley (MS.N), which has spent three years throwing out bad apples from its fixed income trading portfolio, now wants to put the freed up money into businesses that bear healthier fruit.

It is reinvesting capital previously held against unprofitable trades into areas like municipal bonds, credit and securitization, where it sees opportunities for boosting profit, senior executives at the bank said on Friday.

This step represents a turning point in the bank’s efforts to shrink to the point where it can make money again in bond trading. New regulations put in place after the financial crisis have made the business more expensive for big banks, forcing them, for example, to use shareholder money to finance their trades instead of cheaper debt. As trading becomes more expensive, many banks have to be choosier about which trades to do.

“We’ve been very focused on ‘what is the return on equity in the business?'” Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat said in an interview on Friday, referring to a measure of profitability.

The bank’s risk-weighted fixed-income trading assets have shrunk to $190 billion, close to its target of $180 billion by the end of next year, giving Morgan Stanley more room to reinvest in the business again, the executives said.

At this stage, Morgan Stanley’s bond trading business sits in a gray zone – not as big as JPMorgan Chase & Co’s (JPM.N), nor as profitable as Goldman Sachs Group Inc’s (GS.N).

The bank’s executives have sometimes been inconsistent in their statements about where the business is headed.

In 2010 and 2011, management said the bank was committed to growing revenue in a range of fixed-income trading businesses, and pledged to increase market share by 2 percentage points. One focus was growing trading in interest-rate driven products like Treasuries, a business that generally requires a big balance sheet to be successful.

The bank quietly scrapped that plan as regulations evolved, and after the person it had hired from Goldman Sachs to expand that business was unsuccessful and left.

Morgan Stanley executives later told analysts that the fixed-income trading unit just needed to reach an average quarterly revenue of $1.75 billion to be profitable. But more recently, executives have said that goal is no longer relevant because they are just focused on improving returns.

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EBay cuts outlook Tue, 21 Oct 2014 09:45:08 +0000 EBay Inc (EBAY.O) on Wednesday joined Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N) in cutting its outlook for the all-important holiday season, suggesting that the fourth quarter may turn out to be weaker than some analysts predicted as recently as last week.

The warnings from two of the retail industry’s most influential players comes as investors re-assess the state of the global economy after weak data this week from the two largest countries, the United States and China.

EBay and Wal-Mart blamed divergent factors such as food stamp reductions and unfavorable search-engine optimization for the lower outlooks.

Both complained about the stronger dollar putting the skids on their forecasts, lowering the value of overseas sales once converted into the U.S. currency.

But analysts say stagnant incomes are also prompting U.S. consumers to curtail spending.

“EBay, especially on the marketplaces side, is actually suffering from company-specific setbacks,” Wedbush Securities analyst Gil Luria said. “But overall, if e-commerce was growing faster or as fast as it was last year or a couple years ago, it would have probably helped them hide that.”



EBay’s fourth-quarter outlook was undercut by the strength of the dollar against the British pound, the euro and the Australian dollar, which together account for 35 percent of eBay’s volume.

The stronger dollar alone forced eBay to cut its fourth-quarter revenue outlook by $120 million. Coupled with slower-than-expected growth in its marketplaces division, eBay was forced to lop off $300 million from its annual revenue forecast.


“As expected, (retail) sales have accelerated in the second half of the year, though economic signals remain mixed and consumers are still facing headwinds such as weak income growth,” Moody’s analyst Michael Zuccaro wrote on Wednesday.

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Cross border shopping or online? Sun, 19 Oct 2014 22:05:17 +0000 Online shopping at CanAmShop

Looking at the average Canadian going to the U.S. to shop is what we look at here at CanAmShop online shopping.  We have lots of quality products 16,500 and you don’t have to drive to the United States to get it.  However all your purchases will be shipped from Seattle Washington by UPS ground or faster depending on your preference. Take some time and explore the site and see what you can find for yourself, great supply of grocery, gourmet, supplements, pet products and the list goes on.  Check back often though specials go up weekly but not really too big a deal at our low rates to begin with.  As we say no sale too small.

CanAmShop online shopping

Total retail trade sales in Canada also rose annually from 2006 to 2012, with the exception of 2009 (-2.9% fall). Even including that one-year fall, annual sales increased from $389 billion in 2006 to $468 billion in 2012. “Comparing the two figures, cross-border shopping by Canadians in the United States accounted for 1.7% of total Canadian retail sales in 2012,” Statistics Canada wrote.

The study authors examined three different spending scenarios – low, medium (cited above) and high expenditures.

In these three scenarios, total annual cross-border shopping ranged from $5.9bn to $10.8bn in 2012, or from 1.3% to 2.3% of total retail sales.

Many Canadians shop in the US

Approximately seventy-five percent of Canadian citizens live within 100 miles (160 kms) of the US-Canada border. Therefore, a significant proportion of Canadian consumers use US shops as an option when out purchasing goods. This is especially true for those living very close to the border who are seeking products that are historically cheaper in the US, such as groceries and gasoline.

Estimates for cross-border shopping take into account four elements: same-day shopping trips; overnight-stay shopping trips; goods imported by post or courier; and imports of motor vehicles.

With the exception of 2009, same-day and overnight trips have risen steadily since 2006. Canadians made nearly 56 million visits to the US in 2012, thirty-eight percent more than in 2006.

All categories except for motor vehicle exports have increased significantly in their share of cross-border shopping.

In 2006, Canadians on same-day trips brought back $370 million’s worth of goods in 2006, compared to $844 million in 2012. The amount brought back in overnight trips jumped from $1.8 billion in 2006 to $3.6 billion in 2012.

The value of goods imported by post or courier into Canada from abroad rose by 50% over the six-year period ending in 2012 to $3.1 billion.

The total value of imported vehicles rose and fell right back during the six-year period. Motor vehicle imports worth $426 million were registered in 2006. This more than doubled to $1 billion in 2007 and 2008. By 2012, the figure had returned to nearly the same amount as in 2006.

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Netflix Inc signed up fewer video streaming subscribers than forecast Sun, 19 Oct 2014 09:42:10 +0000 Netflix Inc signed up fewer video streaming subscribers than forecast for the quarter that ended in September as its U.S. growth slowed markedly, sending its shares plunging as much as 27 percent.

The company blamed a $1 price hike to $8.99 a month for discouraging new sign-ups. It lured 3.02 million new streaming customers globally, versus the 3.69 million it projected in July.

Netflix attracted about 980,000 new customers in the United States, its largest market, down from 1.29 million in the same period a year earlier.

The news came after Time Warner Inc’s HBO said on Wednesday it will offer new competition next year with a streaming service that does not require a pay TV subscription.

“Year-on-year net additions in the U.S. were down,” Netflix said in a quarterly letter to shareholders. “As best we can tell, the primary cause is the slightly higher prices we now have compared to a year ago.”

Shares of Netflix fell 25 percent to $333.53 in after-hours trading, from their $448.59 close on Nasdaq.

Netflix, waving off fears that a standalone HBO would draw users away, argued that many will subscribe to both services because they offer different shows.

“It is likely we both prosper as consumers move to Internet TV,” the company’s letter said.

Chief Executive Reed Hastings said in an interview that he expected other premium channels such as Showtime and Starz to sell programming directly to consumers. CBS-owned Showtime said it was weighing such a move. Starz has announced plans to offer that type of service overseas.

Netflix has invested in original series such as “House of Cards” and “Orange is the New Black” to compete with HBO, Inc and on-demand offerings from pay TV providers.

Netflix also is pushing into original movies, financing four Adam Sandler films and a sequel to martial-arts drama “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.”

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Climate Change: Wrong Definition Fri, 17 Oct 2014 12:08:20 +0000

Climate Change: Wrong Definition

Oct 14 2014

The term Climate Change is both misleading and inaccurate when it comes to describing what is happening in the world. There is no such a thing as climate change. The new Operational Definitions that accurately describe the situation, here and now on the planet earth, is the Extreme and Violent Weather Pattern Changes.

It is only through understanding such Operational Definitions that the public, leaders, CEOs, bankers and politicians could begin to understand the urgency of the existential threats that the Extrema Weather Pattern Changes pose to humanity.

Up until a decade ago, when speaking of climate change and environmental activism, the immediate image that came to the minds of the CEOs, bankers, leaders and politicians was: the protests of the hippie-tree hugger archetype environmental activists – who have no idea about business, real world, are badly and causally dressed, have no proper hair cuts and long untrimmed beard, don’t use deodorants and smoke cannabis all day long.

In the past, such individuals’ actions were perceived as an uprising against corporations and wealthy rather than bringing forth awareness about the environmental problems.

The CEOs, bankers, leaders, politicians and wealthy, in the past, perceived such individuals’ motives to be given rise by their resentment towards the privileged life of those who are wealthy. For this reason, in the past such environmental activists weren’t taken seriously by the CEOs, bankers, leaders, politicians, wealthy and general public.

One of the reasons why the environmental activists weren’t taken seriously, could be the modes of communications and mechanisms by which such activists were trying to convey their very important message.

When studying the environmental activism literature, dating back decades ago, one could learn that in general their message mainly focuses on the future through using the phrases such as “leaving a better planet for the future generations/our children“. Although this is a very important, noble and powerful message – but when it comes to influencing and shaping the behaviour of the CEOs, bankers, leaders, politicians and wealthy – such modes of communications are rather ineffective.

This is hardly because such CEOs, bankers, leaders, politicians or wealthy lack caring about the future of their children – but because such individuals live in a paradigm and reality – that if they feel lack of comfort in one geographic location, then they have the resources and means to relocate and live in another one. Therefore, the philosophy – paradigm – within which such CEOs, bankers, leaders, politicians and wealthy operated in used to based on the following: why should we care about pollution in China or Latin America? We don’t have to live there.

However, here and now, the CEOs, leaders, bankers, politicians and wealthy have come to realize that environmental problems are no longer isolated cases that are unique to one geographic area that could be contained.

The environmental problems – the Extreme and Violent Weather Pattern Changes – are serious global challenges that directly affect all people regardless of their background, nationality, race, wealth or creed. For this reason, the rich and powerful – the movers and shakers – have finally come to acknowledge that science and technology without their investments and support are neither capable of changing or effecting the Extreme and Violent Weather Pattern Changes – nor stopping the events such as the nuclear waist that is unleashed in the oceans as a result of the Tsunami in Fukushima.

BBC – Fukushima nuclear disaster:

The rich and powerful of the world – the movers and shakers – are facing a common crisis and they clearly know that it no longer could be ignored. Such individuals understand the existential threat that the Extreme and Violent Weather Pattern Changes pose to them and humanity as a whole.

Such change of heart amongst the rich and powerful – the movers and shakers – is evident when the Rockefeller family that has created its wealth based on fossil fuel decides to abandon hydrocarbons. This could be further evident in Bill Gates and many others when they speak out about such environmental problems. Furthermore, the United States Military leaders and Pentagon have joined everyone else voicing their concerns by warning the politicians, academics and policy makers about such realities using the terms such as the Extreme Weather Pattern Changes posing anImmediate Risks to National Security“.

Within the contemporary context – the Extreme and Violent Weather Pattern Changes – will highly likely dictate the paradigm, direction and tone of the International Affairs and International Security by directly affecting the following specific resources: water, food and energy.

The Extreme and Violent Weather Pattern Changes so far have created drought – rapid desertification – and radically decreased the growth of crops. This has and will continue to influence the inventory of the global livestock. Such realities will shape some of the most important variables that influence the global conflicts, within the context International Affairs and International Security for at least the next 50 years.

The Extreme and Violent Weather Pattern Changes and National Security:

The Extremely and Violent Weather Pattern Changes directly effects the National Security capabilities of our nations in the following areas:

i) the military operations in the land, sea and skies depend on understanding the climate, weather pattern changes, terrains and their on communications such as satellite and radio signals; and

ii) the armed forces spend a great amount of their resources on disaster release operations by deploying troops and humanitarian aid. For example: the Canadian Forces were deployed to Albert during the Red Deer flood to aid the locals in cleaning and rebuilding their homes. As there are increase environmental disasters – such as Tsunami, earthquakes, hurricanes and volcanic eruptions – the U.S., Canadian and NATO Armed Forces forces are getting more involved in disaster release and humanitarian operations. All this takes away the resources of the U.S., Canadian and NATO allies Armed Forces from focusing on carrying out their important operations such as protecting our nations against adversaries abroad and threat of global terrorism, as well as the flawless flow of the border and coast guard security operations; and

iii) the shortage of water, food and energy could possibly put the population in society into a panic mode and give rise to increasing civil disobedient, uprising and chaos in large scales in the West and other parts of the world.

Last but not least, the Extreme and Violent Weather Pattern Changes, as it has and will continue to result in shortage of water, food, energy and other natural resources might possibly trigger the long lasting conflicts between the world powers. Such possible conflicts will highly likely have grave consequences that are beyond imagination.

The problems that are caused by the Extreme and Violent Weather Pattern Changes are no longer only the concerns of the misunderstood a small group of environmental. They are serious. They are happening here and now. Even those who have been in denial so far could witness the physical – tangible – effects of such disasters in society.

The Extreme and Violent Weather Pattern Changes affect all people regardless of their background, education, wealth, nationality, race or creed. This calls for solidarity and collective global action through accumulative knowledge, understanding and collaboration amongst all members of human society.

© Copyright 2014 Joseph Lerner

Joseph Lerner is an analyst whose areas of focus are Geopolitics and Cultural Studies. He has received his education in political science at Glendon College / Collège universitaire Glendon, York University. Joseph’s academic interest is in investigating and learning about the logical thinking processes, methodologies and mechanisms by which the analysts, scholars and experts arrive to their conclusions. As a polyglot he speaks English, French, Azerbaijani, Turkish, Farsi, Dari and has a basic knowledge of German, Hebrew, Arabic, Turkmenistani and various dialects spoken in geographically related regions. Joseph currently serves on the Advisory Board of Ideas That Shape (ITS). In the past, he has served the Advisory Board of the Centre for Strategic Cyberspace + Security Science / CSCSS (London, UK) and Research Institute for European and American Studies (RIEAS). Joseph is also member of the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House (London, U.K.), International Institute for Strategic Studies – IISS (London, U.K.), Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ) and Atlantic Council of Canada.

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Thoughts On Alibaba Fri, 17 Oct 2014 03:04:52 +0000

( image WSJ ) A caveat before I think out loud, quite possibly getting myself into a running battle I know I can’t win: I’m not a public market stock investor, I’ve never been one, and take the following ruminations at the price they’re offered: IE,…

]]> 0 533,000 more square miles of ocean covered with ice than at the same time last year Thu, 16 Oct 2014 12:46:06 +0000 A chilly Arctic summer has left 533,000 more square miles of ocean covered with ice than at the same time last year – an increase of 29 per cent.

The rebound from 2012’s record low comes six years after the BBC reported that global warming would leave the Arctic ice-free in summer by 2013.

Instead, days before the annual autumn re-freeze is due to begin, an unbroken ice sheet more than half the size of Europe already stretches from the Canadian islands to Russia’s northern shores.

ice sheet graphic.jpg



 Since publication of the original version of this article, the US source of the figures – the NASA-funded National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC) – was discovered to have made a huge error and then quietly corrected the figure without mentioning it.

On September 4, NSIDC, based at the University of Colorado, stated on its website that in August 2013 the Arctic ice cover recovered by a record 2.38 million sq km – 919,000 sq miles – from its 2012 low.

News of this figure was widely reported – including by Mailonline – on September 8. But on September 10, the NSIDC quietly changed it to 1.38 million sq km (533,000 sq miles) – and replaced the original document so the old figure no longer shows up on a main Google search. It can now only be found on an old ‘cached’ page.

The figures in this article have now been corrected.

Prompted by an inquiry from ‘green’ blogger Bob Ward, the NSIDC’s spokeswoman Natasha Vizcarra said the mistake was a ‘typographical error’, telling him: ‘There are no plans to make a statement on the change because it was not an error in the data.’

The Northwest Passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific has remained blocked by pack-ice all year. More than 20 yachts that had planned to sail it have been left ice-bound and a cruise ship attempting the route was forced to turn back.

Some eminent scientists now believe the world is heading for a period of cooling that will not end until the middle of this century – a process that would expose computer forecasts of imminent catastrophic warming as dangerously misleading.

The disclosure comes 11 months after The Mail on Sunday triggered intense political and scientific debate by revealing that global warming has ‘paused’ since the beginning of 1997 – an event that the computer models used by climate experts failed to predict.

In March, this newspaper further revealed that temperatures are about to drop below the level that the models forecast with ‘90 per cent certainty’.

The pause – which has now been accepted as real by every major climate research centre – is important, because the models’ predictions of ever-increasing global temperatures have made many of the world’s economies divert billions of pounds into ‘green’ measures to counter  climate change.

Those predictions now appear gravely flawed.

The continuing furore caused by The Mail on Sunday’s revelations – which will now be amplified by the return of the Arctic ice sheet – has forced the UN’s climate change body to reconsider its position.

The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was due in October to start publishing its Fifth Assessment Report – a huge three-volume study issued every six or seven years. It will hold a pre-summit in Stockholm later this month.


Only six years ago, the BBC reported that the Arctic would be ice-free in summer by 2013, citing a scientist in the US who claimed this was a ‘conservative’ forecast. Perhaps it was their confidence that led more than 20 yachts to try to sail the Northwest Passage from the Atlantic to  the Pacific this summer. As of last week, all these vessels were stuck in the ice, some at the eastern end of the passage in Prince Regent Inlet, others further west at Cape Bathurst.

Shipping experts said the only way these vessels were likely to be freed was by the icebreakers of the Canadian coastguard. According to the official Canadian government website, the Northwest Passage has remained ice-bound and impassable  all summer.

The BBC’s 2007 report quoted scientist  Professor Wieslaw Maslowski, who based his views on super-computer models and the fact that ‘we use a high-resolution regional model for the Arctic Ocean and sea ice’.

He was confident his results were ‘much more realistic’ than other projections, which ‘underestimate the amount of heat delivered to the sea ice’. Also quoted was Cambridge University expert

Professor Peter Wadhams. He backed Professor Maslowski, saying his model was ‘more efficient’ than others because it ‘takes account of processes that happen internally in the ice’.

He added: ‘This is not a cycle; not just a fluctuation. In the end, it will all just melt away quite suddenly.’

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The Next Stage of Mobile Quickening: Links Get Intelligent Thu, 16 Oct 2014 01:35:04 +0000

How Branch Metrics works…click to enlarge. Early in a conversation with Alex Austin, CEO of mobile startup Branch Metrics , I had to interrupt and ask what seemed like a really dumb question. “So, wait, Alex, you’re telling me that the…

]]> 0 U.S. investors in Canada’s medical marijuana under scrutiny of U.S. law enforcement Wed, 15 Oct 2014 09:06:22 +0000 U.S. investors in Canada’s medical marijuana industry are betting they will not fall under the scrutiny of U.S. law enforcement officers – but it is a risky bet.

With marijuana still illegal on a federal level in the United States, American investors in Canadian medical marijuana can be seen as violating the Controlled Substances Act, according to some U.S experts. And the use of the banking system to transfer the proceeds of such investments could be seen as money laundering.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has already been tracking investments made in state-sanctioned marijuana business in the United States. When asked by Reuters about the DEA’s view of U.S. investments in Canadian marijuana, DEA spokesman Rusty Payne said the agency is “most interested in those types of activities.”

After the Reuters report, shares in Canadian medical marijuana companies fell sharply at the open before recovering some ground. OrganiGram Holdings Inc (OGI.V) dropped 6.9 percent in early trading, Bedrocan Cannabis Corp (BED.V) fell 4.2 percent and Tweed Marijuana Inc (TWD.V) declined 2.8 percent.

U.S. investors have been increasingly drawn to the raft of public listings by producers that has sprung up since Canada overhauled its laws this year, making it legal to buy marijuana from licensed producers with a doctor’s prescription.

Canada’s medical marijuana market, which is expected to grow more than tenfold, to C$1.3 billion, in a decade, has matured more rapidly than its peers. While U.S. investors have several European markets where medical marijuana is legal on their radar – Canada has been the biggest beneficiary of fund flows from U.S. investors.

“We really like the Canada model, which is really unlike any other in the world,” said Christian Groh, a co-founder of Seattle-based private equity firm Privateer Holdings, one of the largest players in the medical marijuana sector. “What we’re doing here does not violate local, state and federal law (in Canada).”

Privateer created a Canadian subsidiary as its foothold in the market. Other investors, however, have jumped straight in from their U.S. bases.

Timothy White, national risk specialist for Banker’s Toolbox Inc, a firm that helps banks detect and report money laundering, said U.S. investors in Canadian marijuana firms could be violating drug trafficking and money laundering laws.

“That is two violations of U.S. federal law. I don’t see there is any way around that,” White said.

A former DEA official who asked not to be named said that “at best,” the investments are “an extremely reckless thing to do.” Investors could face money laundering charges and any return on investment “would have the taint of drug proceeds,” the former official said.

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