From AFP report on Yahoo News: US wholesale inflation continued its upward trend in January, recording its largest monthly gain in more than four years, according to data released Tuesday by the Labor Department. The Producer Price Index, which measures prices from the seller’s perspective, rose 0.6 percent in seasonally adjusted figures, which was the largest such gain since September 2012 and well above an analyst consensus forecast of 0.3 percent. Excluding food and energy, the index saw a monthly gain of 0.4 percent. Year over year, however, the figure was unchanged at 1.6 percent, unadjusted. “In short, fairly strong and not just because of energy,” Jim O’Sullivan, chief US economist at High Frequency Economics, wrote in a client note. (yahoo.com)
Bill and Melinda Gates describe Warren Buffett’s $30 billion donation a decade ago as “the biggest single gift anyone ever gave anybody for anything.” As reported on Geek Wire, Buffett’s unprecedented gift doubled the size of the Seattle-based Gates Foundation’s endowment — increasing its capacity to take on some of the world’s biggest challenges. “That’s an incredible thing,” said Bill Gates in an interview with GeekWire. “It really energized the foundation, and half of what we’ve gotten done in this last decade is because Warren trusted us.” So what have they done with Buffett’s billions? Some of the money has gone to the Gates Foundation’s work in education, agriculture, and financial services for the poor. But the bulk has gone to global health, supporting the Gates Foundation and its partners in areas such as vaccine distribution, access to contraceptives, and scientific research to help the world’s poorest people. (geekwire.com)
On Monday Apple’s shares closed at $133.29, valuing the company at $700 billion. Fox Business reported: “Apple Inc.’s shares reached their highest closing level ever Monday, as investors bet that the 10th-anniversary iPhone expected later this year will return the world’s most valuable company to renewed momentum after its worst stumble in years. The stock closed at $133.29, topping the prior record close of $133 set in February 2015. The all-time intraday trading high for Apple shares is $134.54, also reached in 2015. That puts Apple’s market value at about $700 billion, which is more than $120 billion ahead of the No. 2 company, Google parent Alphabet Inc.” (foxbusiness.com)
Engineers on Google’s self-driving car project were paid so much that they quit. With so much money and bonus throwing at these engineers to help retain dedicated workers in the short run, it has resulted in many employees leaving the company in the long run after they reach financial independence. The Verge reports: “Google has spent a lot of money on its self-driving car project, now spun off into a new entity called Waymo. Much of that money has gone to engineers and other staff, according a new report from Bloomberg. In order to keep self-driving staffers happy — and, presumably, from leaving the company for other firms doing similar work — Google backed the proverbial Brinks truck up to the self-driving department and unloaded. Bloomberg says that early staffers “had an unusual compensation system” that multiplied staffers salaries and bonuses based on the performance of the self-driving project. The payments accumulated as milestones were reached, even though Waymo remains years away from generating revenue. One staffer eventually ‘had a multiplier of 16 applied to bonuses and equity amassed over four years.’ The huge amounts of compensation worked — for a while. But eventually, it gave many staffers such financial security that they were willing to leave the cuddly confines of Google.”
According to Finnish Trade Union Economist as reported on Bloomberg, “Finland’s basic income experiment is unworkable, uneconomical and ultimately useless. Plus, it will only encourage some people to work less.” The trade union argues this Universal Basic Income program would cost 5% of Finland’s entire gross domestic product, making it impossibly expensive. “The labor group says the results of the two-year pilot program will fail to sway its opposition to a welfare-policy idea that’s gaining traction among those looking for an alternative in the post-industrial age. ‘We think it takes social policy in the wrong direction,’ said Ilkka Kaukoranta, chief economist of the Central Organization of Finnish Trade Unions, which has nearly one million members. Since January, a group of unemployed Finns aged between 25 and 58 have been receiving a stipend of 560 euros ($600) per month. The amount isn’t means-tested and is paid regardless of whether the recipient finds a job, starts a business or returns to school… Advocates say it eliminates poverty traps and redistributes income while empowering the individual and reducing paperwork… While limited in scope (it’s conditional on the beneficiary having received some form of unemployment support in November 2016) and size (it’s based on a randomly-selected sample of 2,000 jobless people), the Finnish trial may help answer questions like: Does it work? Is it worth it? And the most fundamental of all: Does it incite laboriousness or laziness?” (bloomberg.com)
With a fortune around $75 billion, Microsoft founder Bill Gates is already the world’s richest man. Together with the power of compounding, more money will create even more wealth. According to research by Oxfam, Bill Gates will be the world’s first trillionaire in 25 years as his total wealth grows at the expected market return of the ultra-rich portfolio. Despite giving money away, Gates’ fortune has risen 50 percent from $50 billion to $75 billion since he stepped down from working full-time at Microsoft in 2006. At the current rate, Gates is predicted to hit the trillion mark by the age of 86. “If you are already rich, you have to try hard not to keep getting a lot richer,” Oxfam notes. (oxfam.org)
If robots and machine intelligence threaten to render many white-collar jobs obsolete, then what will people do for money? Enter the concept of a ‘universal basic income’, a flat sum paid to all regardless of your existing wealth or ability to work. It is one of the rare ideas that has support from both the libertarian right — which favours tearing up the welfare state — and the left wing. In France, Benoit Hamon has emerged as the surprise Socialist candidate for April’s presidential election first round, on a radical programme that includes such an income — to be funded in part by a new tax on industrial robots. National or local governments in other countries such as Finland, the Netherlands, Canada, Scotland and Brazil are already evaluating how such a revenue might work in practice. Finland is furthest down the road. On January 1 it started a two-year trial to give 2,000 unemployed Finns a monthly unconditional payment of $590. At the least, advocates argue, a basic income could replace the thicket of unemployment benefits currently on offer in many advanced economies. (yahoo.com)
Soon some of subscribers can watch live TV without the cost of a cable box. Lucas Shaw reported on Bloomberg: “Comcast is making its Xfinity TV service available to subscribers with Roku set-top players via a new app, paving the way for customers of the nation’s largest cable provider to watch live programming without the cost or hassle of a cable box. Roku is the first set-stop box to offer the Xfinity TV service, Comcast said in a statement Tuesday. During a test period, subscribers will have to hang on to their cable devices. When the app formally rolls out later this year, they’ll be able sign up without renting a cable box. While Comcast expects the majority of its customers to opt for the typical setup, traditional pay-TV providers are trying to be more flexible about where and how people can watch TV given the popularity of streaming services like Netflix and Amazon and the boxes that offer them. Customers with Roku players will be able to watch live TV, browse on-demand libraries and record shows, just as they can with Comcast’s boxes. Those who use the Roku as their primary device instead of Comcast’s X1 device will receive a $2.50 monthly credit, the company said.”
Is there any way to get cable TV without the cable box?
You might wonder if there’s a way to just attaching the cable wire directly to the TV to see some channels. At the moment, you need a cable box for any live cable outlet in your home. Each additional cable box will cost extra monthly fee.
Once the new Xfinity TV service becomes available, you will be able to avoid paying the monthly for these extra cable boxes. Keep in mind that you still need some kind of streaming boxes such as Roku player to use with the new service.
Good news for consumers as President Trump pledges to work with Big Pharma to lower drug prices. His message to pharmaceutical company executives: bring your production back to the United States and the Trump administration will lower regulations for you. “So you have to get your companies back here. We have to make products … We have to get rid of a tremendous number of regulations,” Trump said. “I know you have some problems where you cannot even think about opening up new plants. You can’t get approval for the plant and then you can’t get approval to make the drugs.” Sanders and Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Maryland, issued a joint statement shortly after the meeting saying they hope Trump “really” takes on the pharmaceutical industry. (cnn.com)
“Donald Trump’s first week as president was nothing short of explosive, with millions of people expressing anger over new tax proposals, slated changes to healthcare coverage and a planned multibillion-dollar border wall. One group with little to complain about? American billionaires, who have profited hugely off of record-high stock prices during Trump’s first seven days in office. In the last week, the 10 wealthiest Americans added $15.8 billion to their combined net worth. Each one of them got richer in the seven days following Trump’s inauguration. Warren Buffett enjoyed the biggest gain of any person in the country; his net worth climbed by more than $2.5 billion to $74 billion. He is currently the planet’s second-richest person, according to FORBES’ real-time rankings of the world’s billionaires, trailing only Bill Gates ($85 billion). Buffett’s surge was nearly matched by Mark Zuckerberg, whose fortune grew by $2.1 billion this week thanks to Facebook’s soaring market cap.” (forbes.com)
“With investment firms cutting costs and portfolio managers combating a barrage of information, financial research shops around the globe are looking for new ways to keep their product relevant,” write Anna Irrera and Olivia Oran on Reuter. “A raft of startups have launched to support that effort, offering tools that can use Google search data to get an edge on retail sales, deploy drones to examine oil supplies or allow investors to rank analysts and bid on their reports, like a Netflix or eBay of research. Whether these innovations will lead to smarter investments, or be used widely enough to prop up research budgets, is yet to be seen. But the startups are forming alliances with banks, brokerages and investors by the dozen. People who use and sell the tools say the trend is changing how research is financed, distributed and consumed for the first time in decades. ‘We are coming up on a very different age for equity research,’ said Lex Sokolin, global director of fintech strategy at Autonomous Research. Investors now see research as a product that must stand on its own rather than a freebie offered as part of a broader relationship with an investment bank, Sokolin said. Technology can improve the quality and distribution of research, he said….Perhaps most importantly, investors say they are sick of their inboxes piling up with run-of-the-mill reports each day. At a time when people share snippets of information through WhatsApp and Slack and a tweet can move a stock in seconds, sharing loads of PDF files through email is not only passe, but makes it hard to know what is worth reading, industry sources said.” (reuters.com)
Office life is better than ever before, but why dissatisfaction is rising? Lucy Kellaway writes: “Now, not only are offices bright and beautiful, we do not even have to go to them if we do not feel like it — we can work at home instead. Bosses have been taught not to shout. There are gyms and free fruit. And if you happen to be a woman, things have improved beyond recognition.” So why is work making us miserable? “The biggest reason for unhappiness is that we expect too much. Office jobs may have improved, but our expectations have far outstripped them.” (ft.com)
Exchange rates are never constant in the global market. They keep changing from time to time. In fact they are constantly changing every minute as viewed in the stock market graphs. The stock brokers and the foreign exchange experts always keep their eyes on the constant changes on the graphs on how the markets keep behaving. This allows them to know when to make purchases and sales of the money in order to change from one foreign currency to the other. The factors that affect the behavior of currencies in the international market mainly are the supply and demand at any given time. The factors that determine the supply and demand can be political stability in a country, the economic stability in a country and the security that exists within the borders of a particular country. [Read more…]
Warren Buffett became a player in the investment game at the wee age of 11, eventually using cash he earned from his paper route to buy some farmland in his home state. As a high school sophomore, he also reaped the rewards of a booming pinball machine business. By the time Buffett was 15, he already had a net worth of about $6,000. According to the latest Forbes count, the so-called Oracle of Omaha is currently tipping the wealth scales at $73.1 billion. That’s good enough to put Buffett, who turns 87 this summer, at No. 3 on the U.S. rich list, behind Microsoft’s Bill Gates and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. (marketwatch.com)
You’d think striking it suddenly rich would be the ultimate ticket to freedom. Without money worries, the world would be your oyster. Perhaps you’d champion a worthy cause, or indulge a sporting passion, but work? Surely not. However, remaining gainfully employed after sudden wealth is more common than you’d think. After all, there are numerous high-profile billionaires who haven’t called it quits despite possessing the luxury to retire, including some of the world’s top chief executives, such as Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg. But it turns out, the suddenly rich who aren’t running companies are also loathe to quit, even though they have plenty of money. That could be, in part, because the link between salary and job satisfaction is very weak. According to a meta-analysis by University of Florida business school professor Timothy Judge and other researchers, there’s less than a 2% overlap between the two factors. In the long run, we derive job satisfaction from non-monetary sources, which include positive peer relationships, the ability to work on meaningful projects and even leadership opportunities. (bbc.com)