- The Exchange12 hrs ago
It seems new BlackBerry (BBRY) chief executive John Chen can give as good as he gets, adding a breath of fresh air in an era when too many corporate leaders stick to bland talking points.
Chen, who got into a tiff with famously outspoken T-Mobile (TMUS) CEO John Legere last month, was at it again at the Oasis Montgomery conference in Santa Monica, California, on Thursday.
Asked about Apple’s (AAPL) popularity, Chen belittled iPhone users whose batteries run down before the end of the end of the day, forcing them to search for power outlets. “I call you guys wall huggers,” he quipped.
He was also in a joking mood when asked why he left private equity firm Silver Lake to take the difficult turnaround job at BlackBerry. “I wanted to do something where I could wake up every day and worry,” he answered, adding “and I have fulfilled my dream,” as the room burst into laughter
- The Exchange17 hrs ago
America is rich again — if you add up all the money. But a familiar, unhappy tale is playing out as the nation recovers the household wealth lost from 2007 to 2012.
The total amount of household net worth hit a new record of $80.7 trillion at the end of 2013, according to the Federal Reserve. That’s certainly better than the grueling declines that occurred during the twin housing and stock-market busts. But a deeper look at the numbers shows that the kind of wealth held primarily by the affluent — financial assets — has soared beyond prior levels, while the most common middle-class asset — home equity — is still far below prior highs.
Here are the numbers:
Total amount of financial wealth now: $66.9 trillion. Pre-recession high: $54.3 trillion (third quarter of 2007). Change since then: 23% increase.
Total amount of real-estate wealth now: $22 trillion. Pre-recession high: $25 trillion (fourth quarter of 2006). Change since then: 11.9% decline.
The changes aren’t quite as stark if you adjust for inflation:
Total change in real financial assets from the pre-recession peak: 9.7% increase.
- The Exchange20 hrs ago
As the era of cloud computing begins, Paul Maritz, CEO of Pivotal, wants to see a more open outcome than the information technology industry is used to. In fact, he’s betting on it.
Pivotal, a spinoff from EMC (EMC) and VMWare (VMW), where Maritz served as CEO for four years, is building an open cloud computing platform that can run on top of many kinds of underlying cloud servers.
“We’re coming to the end of a 30- or 40-year era in the IT industry,” Martiz said on Wednesday, speaking at the Oasis Montgomery Summit in Santa Monica, California. “This really is a very profound shift that’s happening.”
That may not be what the biggest cloud providers, Microsoft (MSFT), Google (GOOG) and particularly Amazon (AMZN), are seeking. They’re battling for dominance comparable to Windows on the PC or IBM (IBM) in mainframes, Maritz says.
- The Exchange21 hrs ago
Carl Icahn is a prominent activist investor and the chairman of Icahn Enterprises L.P. This letter originally appeared on his website Shareholders Squaretable. You can follow Mr. Icahn on Twitter here > @Carl_C_Icahn
- The Exchange1 day ago
At some rarefied level of the workforce, there’s apparently a “war for talent” in which companies beg workers to sign on, throw money at them and ply them with perks to lure them from competitors.
You might assume this type of offer applies only to a few Mark Zuckerberg types in Silicon Valley. But companies increasingly struggle to fill certain jobs, and a recent survey by Payscale, a compensation-research firm, found 57% of firms say retaining workers will be a top concern in 2014 — up from just 20% saying that in 2010.
“The war for talent is heating up,” says Cathy Shepard, a principal in the talent practice at Mercer. “I see it in specific functions or job categories, where there’s just enough labor and you have to pick off folks from your competitors.”
- The Exchange2 days ago
This post first appeared this morning in Institutional Investor and was written by Vitaliy Katsenelson. Katsenelson is the CIO of Investment Management Associates, a value investment firm in Denver, Colorado. He also publishes regularly on the excellent Contrarian Edge Blog.
- The Exchange3 days ago
Forbes magazine published its annual list of the world's billionaires on Monday. According to the list, there are 1,645 billionaires with an aggregate net worth of $6.4 trillion, which is a $1 trillion increase from last year. 268 of the 1,645 billionaires are new to the list, and there are 172 women in the mix. In the graphic below, we take a look at the top 20 from this list, and see how their net worth stacks up to the GDP of countries including the embattled Ukraine.
- The Exchange3 days ago
There’s been an endless amount of speculation on how the Affordable Care Act will affect the real economy. Now we’re finally getting data to displace the guessing.
Consumer spending in January was restrained except for one obvious exception: Spending on healthcare soared. It will take a while for economists to sort out the details, but it seems clear that new enrollees in Obamacare, as the ACA is known, were responsible for a burst of visits to doctors and other healthcare providers.
Spending on services, which increased by an average of .17% per month in 2013, surged by 0.9% in January, or more than five times the 2013 rate. That was the largest monthly jump in spending on services since 1998. Higher costs for energy explain part of the jump, since the cold winter has pushed up utility bills. But Obamacare seems to be a much bigger factor, by far.
Measured another way, spending on healthcare rose by an estimated $29 billion from December to January, or 1.7%, after adjusting for inflation. “The strength in this report was on spending in healthcare,” says economist Chris Christopher of forecasting firm IHS Global Insight. “We’re not seeing strength elsewhere.”
- The Exchange3 days ago
Speaking of underperforming emerging economies, let’s turn our attention to the massive breakdown this week in the Russian stock market. This one has been a disaster for years, not a secret, but now we have an even bigger problem. I hate to keep picking on the emerging markets, but things continue to get worse out there both on an absolute and relative basis. Today let’s focus on the train wreck that is Russia. First, let’s put things in perspective to show how bad things have been in Russia for years. This is a chart comparing the Market Vectors Russia ETF (RSX) to the S&P 500 here in the US: