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  • Crowd-Funding vs IPO - 6 October 2011
  • The concept of business crowd funding appears to be gaining ground as IPOs continue to be delayed, with a lack of confidence in Wall Street, and the economy in general, being cited as reasons behind the reluctance to launch initial purchase offerings right now. It is estimated that more than three hundred public offerings, including IPOs by high-profile companies such as Zynga and Groupon, have been put on ice this year, with no indication of when that ice is likely to thaw. The combined capital these IPOs are hoping to raise exceeds $180 billion, with more than fifty aiming to raise in the region of $100 million each. In the past, IPOs were the best means for raising funds to expand smaller companies, but with rapid advances in technology in the past two or three years alone, this need no longer be the case. There are alternatives - one of which is crowd funding.

  • US & Global Economies Still Under Spotlight - 3 October 2011
  • As Wall Street enters the final quarter of 2011, investors need to come to grips with some of the fears that drove stocks down on Friday, ending what has been declared as the worst quarter since the beginning of the financial crisis. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 240 points to close at 10,913, the S&P 500 fell by 30 points to close at 1,131, while the Nasdaq Composite slid 65 points to close at 2,415 – recording declines of 2.1 percent, 2.5 percent and 2.6 percent respectively. For the Dow it was the worst quarter since the first three months of 2009, while for the S&P 500 and Nasdaq it has been the worst since the final quarter of 2008. While investors are, of course, hopeful for improvements moving ahead, indications are that the problems plaguing the US economy, as well as the global economy, are likely to continue unabated for some time.

  • Is the "Kodak Moment" Fading? - 29 September 2011
  • The brand name Kodak is synonymous with occasions we want memorialized, and the term "Kodak moment" is readily understood to describe a moment in time that either has been, or should have been, captured on film. Used as a promotional gimmick back in 2008, the "Kodak moment" concept has become part of our vocabulary. But the digital world has eclipsed the traditional world of photography, and it is becoming quite rare for photographers to use film that needs to be developed and printed. While the majority of photographers may still make use of a professional service to print their memories, home printing is becoming more popular and using a computer or mobile device and social media sites as a photo album is now commonplace.

  • European Debt Crisis Continued Cause for Concern - 26 September 2011
  • With Europe's ongoing economic woes threatening to trigger a global economic meltdown, it was not surprising US Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner's official statement to the International Monetary Fund focused on this topic during the 2011 Annual Meeting of the IMF and World Bank Group in Washington DC. In addition to expressing the need to ensure short term support of the US economy, along with taking steps to lower the US long-term deficits, his most pointed comments were on the situation in Europe, and more particularly the debt crisis of Greece, which he noted was a threat to the European banking system. While acknowledging the steps already taken, he urged that more be done to, as he expressed it, create a firewall against further contagion. Adding credence to these fears is the fact that Moody's downgraded eight Greek banks last week citing anticipated losses, primary due to these financial institutions holding government bonds, as well as weak liquidity and the impact of the recession, as the reasons for their decision.

  • Dodd-Frank, Operation Twist & Wall Street - 22 September 2011
  • It's been a year since the Dodd-Frank bill was signed into law, putting a whole new perspective on the term "too big to fail" and putting the brakes on taxpayer bailouts for failing financial institutions. With the downgrading of the credit ratings of three major banks – Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Citigroup – on Wednesday, it appears that the time has come to test the effectiveness of the Dodd-Frank bill. Commenting on the downgrade of Wells Fargo's stock, Moody's noted that, because the risks of contagion have become less acute, allowing a financially troubled large bank to fail is more likely to happen now than would have been the case during the financial crisis. This is seen as a vindication of the stance lawmakers took in passing the bill. Instead of propping up failing financial institutions with taxpayers' money, the federal government has the option of unwinding these banks in a controlled and orderly manner. Each of the three banks in question is required to present a plan by July next year outlining steps for distribution of assets in the event of becoming insolvent.

  • FOMC Meeting Highlight of Week Ahead - 19 September 2011
  • Recent developments on Wall Street included increased initial purchase offer activity with LinkedIn becoming the first tech company since Google to file an IPO. A follow-up analysis of current IPOs by analytics company, Dealogic, noted that 146 companies have filed with regulators waiting for approval to sell shares in the United States in an effort to raise $28.4 billion. However, it has also been revealed that 215 companies have either withdrawn or postponed IPOs to the value of $44.1 billion – going down in US stock market history as being the highest year-to-date figure since 2008, and the highest figure for September in twenty years or more. Social network games maker, Zynga, and online coupon company, Groupon, are among companies delaying the IPOs which investors were anticipating would take place after Labor Day weekend earlier this month, with market volatility playing a part in this decision.

  • Facebook Likely to Delay IPO - 15 September 2011
  • When LinkedIn started trading on the New York Stock Exchange in May this year, speculation was rife that other social media companies would do the same. It had been seven years since Google went public, and investors appeared to be eager to enter the realms of uncharted territory presented by the social media sector of information technology. Other social media companies that were targets of speculation included Twitter, Groupon, Zynga and FaceBook. Certainly, LinkedIn's foray onto Wall Street generated a few surprises as its pre-IPO price climbed to $45, with its first day of trading seeing an intra-day increase to $122.70, before retreating somewhat to close at $94.25 per share.

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