Archive | April 4, 2013

The Garden Continues To Grow

Madison Square Garden is the home to the New York Knicks and Rangers. It is a stadium for the teams to play at and also a good venue for people to perform at. In many sports arenas the team’s streak can influence the price of the property and although the New York Knicks have not been doing very well, Madison Square Garden is still very valuable. The Garden has been remodeling and this has made its shares much more valuable. Many investors see the profitability of Madison Square Garden and continue to trade its shares.

It is good that investors are willing to pay attention and invest in something like Madison Square Garden because it will have a large impact on the community. Having such a valuable arena makes New Yorkers feel more pride in their teams, and can ultimately push sales in merchandise related to the City’s team. Madison Square Garden has recently seen its new competitor; The Barclay Center but it is still standing strong.

Written by: Jessica Ho
Source: The Wall Street Journal

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323916304578402681391147990.html?mod=WSJ_Heard_LeadStory

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Disney Ends LucasArts Video Game Development, and That’s OK

Disney has stopped development at Lucasfilm’s game division, just four months after it bought the company for $4 billion.  Thus, highly anticipated games like Star Wars: First Assault and Star Wars: 1313 will not be developed.  Fans of the franchise are frustrated with the recent decisions made by Disney especially because this news comes only one month after it canceled the Star Wars: The Clone Wars cartoon series.

Star Wars is a popular franchise that has had an ever-lasting impact on American culture.  It has some of the most devoted fans in the world, so this recent news is very discouraging.  Fans are still looking forward to new movies that Disney has expressed interest in developing, but whether these movies will salvage what is left of the Star Wars pride has yet to be seen.  Hopefully for Disney, the company follows through on its plans and they have more success than the prequel movies that were released in the past twenty years.

Written by: Constantine Kostikas

Source:

http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-04-03/disney-ends-lucasarts-video-game-development-and-thats-okay#r=nav-f-story

Japan’s Economy Inflating

Haruhiko Kuroda had recently become the Bank Of Japan’s new governor and he  had promised to end Japan’s long and debilitating period of deflation. It turns out that he delivered on his purpose as the nation’s central bank announced that it would double the amount of money in circulation in an attempt to increase annual inflation by 2 percent. In addition, the central bank has stated that it is aggressively buying longer term bonds and aims to double its government bond holdings within two years.

Japan’s Prime Minister had been focusing so much on beating inflation in his economic policies that the pressure became unbearable for Bank of Japan’s previous governor, Masaaki Shirakawa. After he resigned and stepped down, Mr. Kuroda was appointed, who also shared the Prime Minister’s goals. As the new governor, Mr. Kuroda’s aggressiveness far surpassed his predecessors’ and he blamed them for being afraid of runaway inflation and for being too eager to pull back at the first sign of higher inflation. He compares previous policies as baby steps and remarks “Incremental steps of the kind we’ve seen so far weren’t going to get us out of deflation, I’m certain we have now adapted all policies we can think of to meet the 2 percent price target,” he said. Plus, according to Masaaki Kanno, economist at JPMorgan Securities Japan“Kuroda did it,” and  “This is a historical change in the B.O.J.’s policy.”

Written by Jon Luciano

Source:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/05/business/global/japan-initiates-a-bold-bid-to-end-years-of-falling-prices.html?ref=business&_r=0

Bogus Claims Aganist BP

“Greed is good” says Gordon Gekko. Greed is what drives the economy, but it is also why people take advantage of one another. After the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, BP PLC agreed to compensate people for damages but consequently raised concerns that people might try and defraud their company. It seems that is exactly what people have done; a rice mill in Louisiana received $21 million in payments for lost revenue… yet it earned more in 2010 than each of the three previous years.  BP has spent more than $24 billion in the aftermath of the oil spill; a figure which is likely to increase.

Federal prosecutors have charged more than 125 people so far with allegedly defrauding BP. With regards to the settlements that have already occurred, lawyers that represent the plaintiffs release a statement saying “Simply put, BP undervalued the settlement and underestimated the number of people and businesses that qualify.” If a rice mill in Louisiana received a settlement like that, I’m not sure I could agree.

Evan Chang

Source:

The Wall Street Journal

Topic of Sandy Re-Introduced

The topic on Super Storm Sandy is once again introduced when decisions on rebuilding the affected areas are once again brought up. The storm, which occurred on October 29th 2012, has brought many trouble which included: the lost of power for many, destroyed houses, and deterioration of mass transit. Despite the clear indication of much needed funds, actions were not taken right away. However, since re-election is coming up for Governor Christie, his actions towards the storm is once again reinstated. He said that: we shall not inspect where the nature has a hard impact but rather allocate the time and funds to rebuild the affected areas.

The damage of the storm has taken a big toll on New Jersey’s tax revenue. Super-storm Sandy has costed 5 billion in just property damage, which results in a lost of over $77 million dollar in tax revenue.

The effort to rebuild the destroyed area results from a strong interest in the amount of tourist revenue generate every year. New Jersey’s statewide revenue on tourism spending and investments sums up to over $40 billion last year, before the occurrence of super-storm Sandy. Governor Christie proposed a $25 million dollar advertising campaign in his attempt to allure tourist back.

Written by: Victor To

Source: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-04-03/sandy-tax-gutting-fuels-christie-rebuild-as-cuomo-seeks-buyouts.html

Is Innovation Killing the Soap Business?

With the recently new and creative innovation of the pod detergents, Tide Pod capsules, that has fixed amounts of detergent for every load, has lead to a decrease in sales of laundry detergents within the past year. The decrease in detergent sales has been from $7.44 billion to $7.06 billion within three years. This is causing controversy for many of the laundry detergent companies because new products are supposed to expand the revenue for both the manufacturers and the retailers. The problem that contributes to the decline in other varieties of laundry detergent is because of the factors such as the size of the detergent bottle, transportation costs, and packaging material. Many of the consumer-goods giants have little incentive to help customers overdose on the amount used so that they could return quickly to the supermarkets.

I believe that it was very innovative of Procter & Gamble Co. to come up with such an idea because it made laundry more convenient for traveling as well as more efficient so that they were already packaged with the right amount for each wash. Although it was a great innovation, I believe that it was still unfair to drive out the other competitors and decrease the overall sales of the laundry detergent companies.

Written by: Samantha Chin

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Ziobro, P., & Ng, S. (2013, April 3). Is Innovation Killing the Soap Business? Retrieved April 4, 2013, from The Wall Street Journal: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323916304578400521297972496.html?mod=WSJ_business_LeadStoryCollection

 

Lululemon’s Top Product Officer to Leave After Pants Fiasco

Yoga pants became popular when more people began to follow the yoga trend. Lululemon is a yoga-inspired athletic apparel company founded in 1998. This Canadian company has approximately 17 percent of the industry. However, recent products have impacted their sales. The company plans to resolve the problem by recalling defective pants from the entire line, Luon. Customers pointed out that these pants, made from nylon and Lycra fibers, were too sheer. After thorough investigation, the company realized that there were issues with the testing protocol after they changed the pants’ design. Recently, the chief product officer, Sheree Waterson, also decided to step down as a result of this issue. Other than decline in sales, the company projects that their earnings will decline 11 to 12 cents per share; revenue also declined $12 million.

The aftermath of this issue is an example of the importance of each step of the production process. A malfunction in the testing protocol led to a full refund and recall of products. Lululemon dealt with the issue in a way that satisfied customers’ expectations. However, it suffered millions in revenue loss.

Written By: Melody Mark

Source:

The Associated Press. “Lululemon’s Top Product Officer to Leave After Pants Fiasco.” New York Times. The New York Times Company, 3 Apr. 2013. Web. 4 Apr. 2013.

GM’s CEO and The Korea Jitters

With the recent rise of tensions between North Korea and South Korea, businesses and companies are changing their strategies to lessen to damage if there were to be a war. During an interview with CNBC, chief executive officer of General Motors suggested that they might start shifting the production of GM out of South Korea. For now it is only a short term decision but General Motors is the third largest automaker in Korea and this could be a drastic change if this decision goes on for the long haul. General Motors currently have 5 production plants with roughly 17,000 workers in Korea. 

GM is one of the first companies I have heard so far to start changing their business strategy with the rise of tension between North Korea and South Korea, hopefully this fear of war won’t last for too long. As the economy slowly recovers, a war would not be the best way to help speed this process. A war is not ideal for any country or any one, so I am hoping the tension between the two countries will soon end and alleviate the stress that has caused to any businesses. 

-Derby Ng

http://blogs.wsj.com/corporate-intelligence/2013/04/04/gmkorea/?mod=WSJBlog&mod=WSJ_corp_intel

German Authorities Are Said to Investigate Deutsche Bank

Deutsche Bank, The largest bank in Germany is faced with allegations that the financial institution hid problems during the financial crisis. The German central bank is now investigating the issue that Deutsche Bank avoided a potential bailout by covering their financial problems. The bank hid billions of dollars and claimed that their actions were in good standing. Deutsche Bank had as much as $130 billion in complex derivatives that could not be traded because financial positions were under severe stress. The defending argument by Deutsche Bank was that the accounting was within industry standards and auditors had signed off on it. If the bank had reported the numbers, a bailout by the German government would have been inevitable. This whole situation has become a question of ethics.

Deutsche Bank’s actions have raised a question about ethical standards. I do not believe that the German bank’s actions were right. Using accounting as support for their action, many people will lose trust in the accounting once again like during the Enron Scandal. The declines of public trust in accounting all arise from issues like this and as a prospective accounting major I feel that the accountants should be more ethical in what they do.

Written by: Wilson Tang

Source:

http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2013/04/04/german-authorities-are-said-to-investigate-deutsche-bank/

Chinese Airports Profits Are Soaring

During the 1980’s and early 1990’s China attempted to build many airports, most of which were failures due to poor design and execution. However, that is no longer the case due to the growth of big cities and the resulting cash from the real estate boom. Even the government is lending a hand with oversea fact finding missions, hiring international consultants along with pursuing joint ventures, to improve the profits of the airport. According to Liu Wiujun, the Shanghai Airport Authority’s CTO, part of why Chinese airports are becoming more successful is because of their new building philosophy ““The areas that tend to be profitable we made as large as possible; the areas not so profitable we made as small as possible.” This resulted in smaller roads around the airport and bigger hotels, shops, and cargo centers.

In addition, profits are increased by low building costs; China being well known for aggressive building schedules. This includes 24/7 construction schedules with minimal commute time for workers, because they usually live on site. For comparison, Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 in London took almost six years to build and cost $6.5 billion, while Hongqiao Terminal in Shanghai was built in half that time at a third of the price.

 

Written by Kevin Zhang

Source:

Barboza, David. “Airports in China Hew to an Unswerving Flight Path.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 04 Apr. 2013. Web. 04 Apr. 2013. <http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/04/business/global/shanghais-new-air-terminal-sets-the-pace-for-speed-and-ambition.html?pagewanted=1&gt;.

J.C. Penney Slashes Pay Of Its Chief

J.C Penney has had a rough year. They had roughly $13 billion in sales for fiscal 2012, which is minuscule when compared to its competitors. Therefore J.C Penney has lowered the pay roll of the newly hired chief executive, Ron Johnson. His pay has been cut roughly 97 percent. Along with Mr. Johnson, many people he has hired also received pay cuts. For example Michael W. Kramer, who was hired by Mr. Johnson to be the chief operating officer has received around $33.4 million in 2011. Michael W. Kramer in 2012 has earned around $1 million. Compare this to veteran executives such as Janet L. Dhillon, the general counsel, received $3.7 million in 2011, and $2.7 million in 2012. Although they are earning smaller paychecks, the change is nowhere near as dramatic when compared to Mr. Johnson and his newly hired employees.

I think J.C. Penney is doing the right thing by paying salaries based on performance. If the company is doing terrible, the executives and others in power shouldn’t be reaping high rewards and benefits. This is why no top executives in 2012 have received bonuses or incentive awards.

URL: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/03/business/jc-penney-slashes-pay-for-chief.html?_r=0

-Jonathan Chan