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What the Google Gender ‘Manifesto’ Really Says About Silicon Valley

Five years ago, Silicon Valley was rocked by a wave of “brogrammer” bad behavior, when overfunded, highly entitled, mostly white and male startup founders did things that were juvenile, out of line and just plain stupid. Most of these activities – such as putting pornography into PowerPoint slides – revolved around the explicit or implied devaluation and harassment of women and the…

Business News

What the Google Gender ‘Manifesto’ Really Says About Silicon Valley

Five years ago, Silicon Valley was rocked by a wave of “brogrammer” bad behavior, when overfunded, highly entitled, mostly white and male startup founders did things that were juvenile, out of line and just plain stupid. Most of these activities – such as putting pornography into PowerPoint slides – revolved around the explicit or implied devaluation and harassment of women and the assumption that heterosexual men’s privilege could or should define the workplace. The recent “memo” scandal out of Google shows how far we have yet to go. It may be that…

The Hard-Knock Life of Start-Ups

For periods of time, being a start-up company can hold glamour and riches for those involved in the early stages, but it seems it is getting harder and harder for newer companies to carve out niches in spaces that are being dominated by entrenched players like Amazon and Facebook. Take Snap for example. The company owns the popular SnapChat app that was launched in 2011 and claims more than 170 million daily active users. The company reported earnings Thursday evening which showed that year over year its revenue had increased…

Wells Fargo Still Searching for Stability

It was not all that long ago that Wells Fargo was the most respected bank in the United States, perhaps even in the world. It had avoided the worst excesses of the real estate bubble despite being heavily dependent on mortgage lending. It didn't hurt that Warren Buffett was (and still is) its largest shareholder and its returns on shareholder equity were higher than any other large bank. Then last year revelations surfaced that the bank's incentive programs for store employees had led them to create fake accounts for customers…

World’s Richest Person Escapes Scrutiny From His Own Paper—and Its Rivals

The three most prominent US newspapers haven’t run a critical investigative piece on Jeff Bezos’ company Amazon in almost two years, a FAIR survey finds. A review of 190 articles from the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and the Bezos-owned Washington Post over the past year paints a picture of almost uniformly uncritical–ofttimes boosterish–coverage. None of the articles were investigative exposes, 6 percent leaned negative, 54 percent were straight reporting or neutral in tone, and 40 percent were positive, mostly with a fawning or even press release–like tone. The last major investigative piece we found in…

Disney Reports Lower Income, Change in Streaming Philosophy

The Walt Disney Company reported flat revenues and lower income in its most recent quarter on Monday, as transitions within the broadcasting segment of its business continue to produce uncertainty among investors. Total revenue at $14.2 billion was essentially unchanged from last year. But, segment operating income declined 10%, mostly because of a 23% decline in operating income at cable networks like ESPN and the Disney Channel. The Walt Disney Company Q3 results by segment. In $,000s. While revenue at the cable networks declined by 3%…

Valeant Gives Investors Something to Cheer

Sometime in 2007, the Board of Directors for Valeant Pharmaceuticals contacted the head of McKinsey's Pharmaceutical practice to help it devise a new strategy. The company had been founded in 1960 by a former Nazi resistance fighter from Yugoslavia who would ultimately be engaged in legal battles with Slobodan Milosevic, make a series of false claims about the benefits of a Valeant drug, and fathered a son with his secretary. From the time the founder, Milan Panic, was forced out of Valeant until 2007, the company had drifted with little…

Economics News

Banco de Mexico Holds Interest Rates at 7%

Inflation in Mexico was 6.4% higher than last year, but that did not prove enough to convince Mexico's central bank, Banco de Mexico to raise short term interest rates. Instead, the bank heald steady and kept short term rates at 7%. The bank had previously raised those same rates seven different times in less than two years. It is the first gesture that indicates the gradual normalization of monetary policy: most analysts expect the institution to start raising interest rates by the middle of next year to recover its coordination with the…

Aging Japan Puts a Strain on the Financial System

Japan’s population is shrinking and getting older, posing challenges to the nation’s financial system. How Japan copes could guide other advanced economies in Asia and Europe that are grappling with the same trends but are at an earlier phase of similar demographic developments. A declining and aging population weighs on growth and interest rates. This puts pressure on profits of banks and insurance companies. Judging how these shifts affect financial firms was part of the IMF’s Financial Sector Assessment Program for Japan, the world’s third-largest economy. The program is a comprehensive…

Tax Foundation: Beer Cheaper than Soda in Philadelphia

As cities search for ways to plug budget holes and policy analysts search for ways to curb the problems of excess sugar consumption - primarily diabetes - Philadelphia thought they may have found a way to do both when it passed a 1.5 cent per ounce tax on sugary sodas in June 2016. The tax went into effect on January 1st of this year and is levied on distributors. According to research done by the Tax Foundation, the outcomes in Philadelphia have not been what the city desired. The most…

How Greece could escape debtors’ prison – if Europe opens the door

Greece has acted out a European tragedy for more than seven years. But some signs suggest Greece may finally, in the words of its economy minister, be on the way to becoming a “normal country” again. Greece’s creditors have disbursed another chunk of funds as part of Greece’s current, €86 billion (US$100 billion) bailout, and the country recently tested the bond markets for the first time in three years, planning to borrow more from private investors soon. Some now believe Greece may soon follow fellow bailed-out countries Ireland and Portugal in their revivals. But despite the wave of optimism, Greece’s…

Australians are working longer so they can pay off their mortgage debt

Rising mortgage debt is affecting everything from employment to spending, as Australians approach retirement, our study finds. Higher levels of housing debt among pre-retirees are linked to them working for longer. We found for a home owner aged 45-64 years, the chances of being employed are around 40% higher for every additional A$100,000 in mortgage debt owed against the family home. There’s also a link between house price changes and household spending. For every A$100,000 increase in the value of a person’s house, annual household spending of home owners increased…

China Reports Robust Economic Growth, While Risks Continue to Mount

China's National Bureau of Statistics has announced that second quarter GDP growth in the country was a strong 6.9%, topping expectations. Those growth figures, however, come with Premier Xi Jinping attending the National Financial Work Conference - held every five years - and letting others present clearly understand that he is not comfortable with the level of risk taking currently at play in the country. Several deal makers have recently found themselves on the defensive and in some cases selling assets to de-risk their balance sheets. For a number of…

Equities

Dow Crosses 22,000

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed on Wednesday above 22,000 points for the first time in its 120 - year history. The session closed at 22,015.46 points up 0.23% from the previous day. The increase in equity prices continues the trend that's carried Wall Street higher since the presidential election in November. So far this year, the Dow is up 11%. The latest increase in the Dow was driven by earnings, especially Apple, which on Tuesday announced higher profits and earnings than anticipated. President Trump has been quick to take credit for the…

Coca-Cola’s Earnings Exceed Expectations

Challenged by shifting consumer tastes away from soda, the iconic Coca-Cola Company managed to deliver earnings in the second quarter that exceeded what Wall Street was expecting. Adjusted earnings per share of $0.59 were a penny higher than expectations and revenue of $9.7 billion was about $50 million higher than the consensus forecast. Shares of Coca-Cola are 1.5% higher in pre-market trading. Reported revenues declined by 17% versus the prior year, but that was largely due to the company's efforts to franchise bottlers that were contributing to the revenue total in…

China Now the Top Market for Initial Public Offerings

China has overtaken Hong Kong as the top initial public offering (IPO) market. The number of listings in China's stock exchanges has surged 303 percent, with 246 companies raising up to US$18 billion in the first half of 2017. Good news? Not according to Han Zhiguo, a renowned Chinese economist, who wrote a long post on popular social media platform Weibo slamming China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) for its poor regulation of the market. Small investors, he warned, will be the ones to suffer the consequences: China Securities Regulatory Commission has gone too far on IPOs:…

What Does the Future Hold for The Toronto Star?

Nothing is inevitable until it happens, or at least so said historian A.J.P. Taylor. If he had been alive to witness the carnage of the daily newspaper he may have revised his statement. Competition from cheaper, digital products has destroyed the business models of newspapers in every part of the world with a high internet penetration. A handful have stemmed the bleeding through successful digital offerings, such as the New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. Others have not been so fortunate. Canada's Toronto Star is one of the unfortunate. Since 2000, its circulation has shrunk…

Interviews

The Case for a More Humanistic Economics: A Conversation with Gary Saul Morson and Morton Schapiro on Cents and Sensibility

Gary Saul Morson is the Lawrence B. Dumas Professor of the Arts and Humanities at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. Professor Morson’s past research has focused on literary theory and the intersection of literature and philosophy. He has particular expertise in Russian and other Slavic literature. He is the only Northwestern professor to simultaneously hold two endowed chairs: one for research and one for teaching and is a rare individual…

Is the Federal Reserve Bad for America?: A Conversation with Danielle DiMartino Booth

Danielle DiMartino Booth is a global thought leader on monetary policy and economics. She is the author of FED UP: An Insider's Take on Why the Federal Reserve is Bad for America (Portfolio, Feb 2017). FED UP, which rose to #22 on Amazon's Best Seller List, is currently in its fifth production run. DiMartino Booth founded Money Strong LLC in 2015. Through her economic consultancy, she has published a weekly newsletter for 132 consecutive weeks. Aside…

The Retreat of Western Liberalism: A Conversation with Edward Luce

Edward Luce is the Washington bureau chief and widely-read commentator for the Financial Times, which he joined in 1995, and the author of three books: In Spite of the Gods: The Rise of Modern India (2008), Time to Start Thinking (2013), and The Retreat of Western Liberalism (2017). Before his current role as the Washington bureau chief for the Financial Times, Luce was the Capital Markets editor and South Asian…

Economist Robert Gordon on The Rise and Fall of American Growth

Robert Gordon is the Stanley H. Harris Professor of economics at Northwestern University with a particular interest in unemployment, inflation, and both the long-run and cyclical aspects of labor productivity. He is the author of a textbook in intermediate macroeconomics, now in its 12th edition, and has completed a new book, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, which was published by the Princeton University Press in January, 2016. He…

Commodities

IEA Sees Rebalancing Oil Market

In a report released today, the IEA said that global oil markets are recovering due to steady growth in demand, but that a return to stability has been hampered by non-compliance with quotas among OPEC members, particularly Algeria, Iraq, and the United Arab Emirates. Non-OPEC countries are also continuing to…

Crude oil prices declined amid concern for production growth in Libya

The crude oil prices declined moderately amid concern that the growth of production in Libya could compromise the agreement of OPEC for yields reduction. The futures of Brent oil with March delivery on London's ICE Futures Exchange fell by 0.19 USD (-0.34%) to 56.27 USD per barrel. The quotations for…

M & A

Discovery and Scripps Contemplate Tie-Up

As the cable television industry battles declining subscribers from the advent of streaming services and consumers rebelling against high prices, Discovery Communications and Scripps Networks are discussing a merger in the belief that sharing a future…

Nestle to Sell U.S. Confectionery Business

A core part for years of the Nestle food empire, the company announced that it is putting its U.S. candy business up for sale. The unit sells chocolates under the brands Crunch, Butterfinger, and Baby…

Chemical Companies Huntsman and Clariant to Merge

In one more sign of consolidation in the chemicals industry, American Huntsman is set to merge with Swiss company Clariant to create a chemicals giant worth about $20 billion. The CEO of Huntsman, Peter Huntsman,…

Sinclair Broadcasting to Buy Tribune Media for $4 billion

Sinclair Broadcasting is buying rival television station operator Tribune in a $4 billion deal. The deal combines Tribunes 39 television stations with Sinclair's 154. Ownership of local television stations have undergone tremendous consolidation in recent…

Purdue University Buys Kaplan University for $1

Purdue University held its first classes on its Indiana campus in 1874 and was ranked as the sixtieth best undergraduate university and twentieth best public university in US News and World Report's most recent list. The University…

General Motors is Close to a Deal on Opel

After appearing to be close to falling apart, a deal between General Motors and PSA Group for PSA to acquire GM's European operations seems to be close. The two sides were having difficulty over the…

Unemployment

U.S. Employment Growth Weakens in May

The United States economy created 138,00 jobs in the month of May while the unemployment rate ticked lower from 4.4% to 4.3%. The job growth was somewhat disappointing and falls short of the number needed to grow the economy in the long-term. In April, 174,000…

US Non-farm Payrolls Increase by 211,000 in April

After a tepid March report, US employment accelerated in April with 211,000 jobs created according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The unemployment rate fell to 4.4% from 4.5% in March, a historically low rate of unemployment. The last time the US unemployment rate was…

General Motors Set to Layoff 625 Employees Amid NAFTA Waves

Reports indicate that auto maker General Motors is set to layoff over 600 employees in an Ontario plant amid recent news regarding the NAFTA agreement. Experts say the reasoning for the layoffs can be pinned directly to NAFTA and the movement of jobs away from…

US jobless claims fell to historically low level

The number US jobless claims fell last week, supported by the historically low level of cuts, suggesting that the labor market continues to tighten. The number of applications for unemployment benefits fell by 15,000 to a seasonally adjusted 234,000 in the week to January 14,…

Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) Touts 100,000 New Jobs in Announcement

Online giant Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) has announced news about adding up to 100,000 new jobs across its organization in a statement recently released. Positions would be spread across many skill levels and locations in the USA where the company is building more centers for distribution.…

Inflation

May Wholesale Prices Unchanged in U.S.

Wholesale prices remained unchanged in May according to the Labor Department. It had risen by 0.5% in April and despite being unchanged in May from the previous month, the reading was 2.4% higher than a year ago. Energy and food prices were particularly weak in the…

U.S. Import Prices Rise by More than 4% in April

In a sign that inflation may be returning, April's import prices rose by 4.1% in the United States according to the labor department. Non-petroleum based imports rose by 1.1% versus the prior year, showing the strongest growth since 2012. That level of inflation is not…

Eurozone inflation remains weak in the coming years

Inflation in the Eurozone will remain weak in the coming years, suggesting that the European Central Bank (ECB) is still far from reducing unprecedented quantitative easing program and measures to stimulate the economy. The core inflation rose to 1.1% in 2016, which is half of…

Growth

Aging Japan Puts a Strain on the Financial System

Japan’s population is shrinking and getting older, posing challenges to the nation’s financial system. How Japan copes could guide other advanced economies in Asia and Europe that are grappling with the same trends but are at an earlier phase of similar demographic developments. A declining and aging population weighs on…

How Greece could escape debtors’ prison – if Europe opens the door

Greece has acted out a European tragedy for more than seven years. But some signs suggest Greece may finally, in the words of its economy minister, be on the way to becoming a “normal country” again. Greece’s creditors have disbursed another chunk of funds as part of Greece’s current, €86 billion (US$100 billion)…

Australians are working longer so they can pay off their mortgage debt

Rising mortgage debt is affecting everything from employment to spending, as Australians approach retirement, our study finds. Higher levels of housing debt among pre-retirees are linked to them working for longer. We found for a home owner aged 45-64 years, the chances of being employed are around 40% higher for…