Posts by Christina Medici Scolaro

  • It's back to basics for babies

    Christina Medici Scolaro at Big Data Download 5 mths ago

    The baby food category has been on a downward slope for nine years as more moms are getting in the kitchen and making their baby’s food themselves. In fact, 70 percent of moms are cooking their own food, according to internal research at Beech-Nut. “What we’re seeing is really a revolution in baby food driven by millennial moms. Since 2005 actually, the baby food category has decreased by a third. Thirty-three percent of category pretty much has gone away,” said Jeff Boutelle, president and CEO of Beech-Nut Nutrition.

    RELATED: Food trucks moving in on restaurants' territory

    Comments, Questions, Suggestions? Tweet Us @BigDataDownload.

  • The time is now to buy equities

    Christina Medici Scolaro at Big Data Download 6 mths ago

     

     

    Despite record highs on the S&P 500 and the Dow, Darren Wolfberg, head of U.S. cash equity trading at BNP Paribas said it’s a great time to enter the equity market. Wolfberg said technical issues have been overlooked in the Treasury market causing investors to doubt equities can head higher than current levels.  

    Wolfberg thinks people are looking at the price action in the treasury market incorrectly. “A lot of times, people look at the treasury market to see the rotation in to bonds and out of equities. I think what we have here is a technical situation, which has caused this buying in the treasury market and leading some to think we’re seeing recessionary price action,” Wolfberg said. Between what we’ve seen in the Ukraine and the economic slowdown in China, Wolfberg thinks the market has performed well.

    RELATED: What target-date fund investors are doing wrong

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  • Want a job? Don’t forget your ‘soft’ skills

    Christina Medici Scolaro at Big Data Download 7 mths ago

    It takes more than an impressive resume to land a job. It takes what hiring managers and human resource professionals call “soft skills.“

    A national online survey conducted earlier this year by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder found that 77 percent of employers believe less tangible skills associated with one’s personality—such as a positive attitude—are just as important as hard skills. “In order for candidates to really stand out and be successful, they’ve got to communicate both their tangible and intangible skills,” said Eric Gilpin, president of staffing and recruiting at CareerBuilder. “Things not necessarily just around your competency—around certain skill sets or certain languages—but really some of the emotional intelligence in your communication style of how you communicate with folks at work.”

    RELATED: More CFOs at top firms feel comfortable enough to retire

    Some of the most important soft skills, according to CareerBuilder, are a strong work ethic, self-motivation, and the abilities to work in teams and under pressure.

  • Follow the money: Bright spots for equities and bonds

    Christina Medici Scolaro at Big Data Download 8 mths ago

    Despite a topsy-turvy first-quarter, there were decent inflows in to the equity and bond markets.  On the equity side, funds saw total inflows of about $73 billion. 

    About $68 billion flowed in to open-end funds and just about $4.5 billion went in to Exchange Traded Funds (ETF).

    Equity income products have fallen in and out of favor with investors since this time last year but seem to be seen in a positive light again. 

    “With the market gyrations we’ve seen recently in the tech and biotech space, we’re starting to see some flows come back in, so this could be back on again in Q2,” said Bob Jenkins, global head of research at Lipper Thompson Reuters.

    RELATED: Avalanche of bonds

    Bond funds didn’t quite match to equities, with $44 billion coming in to the space.

    Loan participation funds were another bright spot in fixed income.  An additional $7 billion flowed in to the space, continuing a long positive trend.   It’s grown to $140 billion from $20 billion since 2009 Jenkins said. 

  • Follow the money

    Christina Medici Scolaro at Big Data Download 8 mths ago

    Despite a topsy-turvy first-quarter, there were decent inflows in to the equity and bond markets.  On the equity side, funds saw total inflows of about $73 billion. 

    About $68 billion flowed in to open-end funds and just about $4.5 billion went in to Exchange Traded Funds (ETF).

    Equity income products have fallen in and out of favor with investors since this time last year but seem to be seen in a positive light again. 

    “With the market gyrations we’ve seen recently in the tech and biotech space, we’re starting to see some flows come back in, so this could be back on again in Q2,” said Bob Jenkins, global head of research at Lipper Thompson Reuters.

    Bond funds didn’t quite match to equities, with $44 billion coming in to the space.

    RELATED: Avalanche of bonds

    Loan participation funds were another bright spot in fixed income.  An additional $7 billion flowed in to the space, continuing a long positive trend.   It’s grown to $140 billion from $20 billion since 2009 Jenkins said. 

  • Avalanche of bonds

    Christina Medici Scolaro at Big Data Download 9 mths ago

    There’s been a surge of new bond issues in the past month. “It falls into the category of one person’s problem is another person’s benefit. The issues we’ve seen in Russia, the wobbles in the emerging markets [have] created a lot money flowing into the credit markets, both in the U.S. and Europe and that’s created great opportunities for corporations to borrow money in these deep pockets of money,” said Mark Howard, managing director and head of U.S. credit strategy at BNP Paribas.

    Corporate borrowers continue to have unfettered access to U.S. credit markets. This allows them to boost share buybacks and  dividends, rewarding shareholders despite sluggish growth and moderate expansion plans, according to Howard. Howard says the recent surge in investment-grade borrowing from blue chip companies has been to extend their maturities. More recently, it’s been the lower quality companies stepping up and becoming more active.

    RELATED:Consumer spending: Drab at best

  • Consumer spending: Drab at best

    Christina Medici Scolaro at Big Data Download 10 mths ago

    The consumer makes up a large part of the greater economic picture, but the picture is dull at best. Retail sales fell for the second month in a row in January—adding to mounting evidence consumers started 2014 on a sour note.

    Last month retail sales dropped by 0.4 percent. “A lot of analysts and economists have tried to explain that away because of weather, but it’s very clear that we’ve seen this declining trend since an outside spending pattern in October,” said Lindsey Piegza, chief economist at Sterne Agee.

    RELATED: Expedia CEO: Weather Affecting Consumer Experience

    If the consumer is not out there spending, the outlook for growth remains weak. “The consumer losing momentum through the fourth quarter, carrying over into the start of the new year and going forward without sustainable job and income growth, it’s very likely that we continue this tepid pace of consumption,” said Piegza.

    -- Comments, Questions, Suggestions? Tweet Us @BigDataDownload

  • Seeking safety as emerging markets sink

    Christina Medici Scolaro at Big Data Download 10 mths ago

    Money has been pouring out of emerging markets as investors continue to worry about slower growth in countries such as Brazil and China and the end of the U.S. Federal Reserve's monetary stimulus program. Outflows remain high at $2.5 billion, but are below previous outflows of $6.5 billion, according to Clifford Davis, head of institutional equity derivative sales at BNP Paribas. If you're looking to put your money to work somewhere with less risk, Davis points out that U.S. indexes get the least amount of their revenues from emerging markets.  The Russell 2000, S&P 500 and the Nasdaq 100 get just 15 to 20 percent of revenues from emerging markets. On the other hand, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng,  Brazil’s Bovespa and Korea’s Kospi indexes get about 90 percent of total revenues from emerging markets. Davis said for those who  still want exposure to emerging markets, the easiest way would be through an exchange-traded fund called EEM .  Top equity holdings in EEM include Samsung Electronics, Taiwan Semiconductor, Tencent Holdings and China Mobile.  Shares of EEM are down about 3.7 percent year-to-date. Comments? Questions? Concerns? Tweet Us...

  • This is where is pays to be a man

    Christina Medici Scolaro at Big Data Download 10 mths ago

    The women’s labor force has grown tremendously in recent decades, making up almost half the entire U.S. workforce, yet the wages they earn haven’t caught up to their male counterparts. Women start behind and never catch up. Two years after graduating with the same degree as a woman, a man working the same number of hours in the same type of job will earn almost $10,000 more, said Rosalind Barnett, a Brandeis University researcher and author of “The New Soft War on Women.” Over a career, a woman with a bachelor’s degree will earn a third less than a man with the same degree, Barnett told Big Data Download. Women are judged on what they have actually done, but promise and potential is enough for a man to move up the corporate ladder, Barnett said.

    RELATED: Best employees don't need fancy college degrees

  • The real price of chilly weather

    Christina Medici Scolaro at Big Data Download 10 mths ago

    The chill in the air will keep the barometer low and prices high, according to Teri Viswanath, director of commodity strategy at BNP Paribas. In December, Viswanath told Big Data Download a 20-percent runup in U.S. natural gas prices since the start of the heating season was due to extremely cold weather.

    Bitter temperatures have returned to the Northeast, pushing prices higher by another 10 percent. “The continuation of very cold weather has forced the industry to withdraw a significant volume of gas out of storage to meet rising heating demands,” said Viswanath. “The market has reacted to this fast depletion in inventory levels by bidding up the front of the curve.”

    RELATED:Gas prices expected to swing in 2014