• Banking/Finance

    Posted on April 24th, 2014

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    Bank Cutting Commodities Trade Severs Link With Equities

    Bank Cutting Commodities Trade Severs Link With Equities

    Banks’ pullback from commodities trading is weakening the link between raw materials and equities and helping to re-establish supply and demand as the main factor in setting prices, United Nations researchers say.

    As Barclays Plc, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Morgan Stanley leave parts of the business, prices of commodities are moving more independently of stocks. The correlation between U.S. equities and corn, cattle and wheat fell to less than 0.05 in January, compared with almost 0.3 in 2008, an analysis by David Bicchetti and Nicolas Maystre, economic affairs officers at the UN Conference on Trade and Development in Geneva, shows.

    Banks, hedge funds and other financial institutions piled into physical commodities and derivatives over the past 12 years, amplifying a run-up in prices for everything from copper to oil, in short supply before the 2008 global recession, the UN found in a 2011 study. The exodus is nudging futures markets back toward their original function, as a way for farmers, miners and other companies in the commodities business to hedge against price swings.

    “No[...] Read More...

  • Technology

    Posted on February 14th, 2014

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    Tocomail Offers A Fun And Safe Way For Kids To Use Email

    Tocomail Offers A Fun And Safe Way For Kids To Use Email

     

     

     

    An interesting new app, Tocomail, is designed to help kids use email in a safe and protective environment.

    Parents can setup the service and select a personalized email address for kids. Interestingly, the app offers two different levels of UI with a simplified mode for younger kids and standard mode for older children.

    Here’s a quick video that gives you a rundown of the service. Click here if you can’t see it.

    Tocomail – Safe Email for Kids from Tocobox on Vimeo.

    Kids can customize their contact list and profile with different pictures. With the drawing board, kids can show their imaginative side by using a number of instruments like stamps, pens, postcards, and brushes, to create attachments.

    Read more: Tocomail Offers A Fun And Safe Way For Kids To[...] Read More...

  • 4 Mobile Technologies That Will Change How You Do Business in 2014

    4 Mobile Technologies That Will Change How You Do Business in 2014

    Small business owners, get ready. In 2014, new mobile gear will help you connect with customers, sell your product and stay productive wherever you are. In other words, these four burgeoning mobile technologies are primed to change how you do business in the new year.

    Phablets

    If you don’t already own a megasized smartphone/tablet hybrid — often called phablets — you might by the end of 2014. Over the past two years, smartphones have been getting bigger and bigger. In 2013, phablets, such as the 5.7-inch Galaxy Note 3, saw huge success, and scores of huge smartphones are set to debut next year. Business users in particular can benefit from the extra screen real estate afforded on a phablet. Their big displays are more comfortable for Web browsing, compared with the cramped screens on smaller devices. And they offer the space business users need to view or edit documents and spreadsheets on their smartphone. In other words, owning a phablet means you can do real work on your phone.

    True mobile multitasking

    Mobile operating systems such as Android and iOS were designed to display one app on-screen at once. Real mobile multitasking, however, requires the ability to view two or more apps at the same time. This year s[...] Read More...

  • The Must-Do Year-End Money Move to Save Your Retirement

    The Must-Do Year-End Money Move to Save Your Retirement

    2013 has been a great year for investors in the stock market, with gains of around 25 percent for the Dow Jones industrials (^DJI) capping off a five-year bull-market rally. Many investors who had the discipline to hold their stocks after the market’s plunge during the financial crisis in 2008 and early 2009 have seen their portfolios recover to their pre-crisis levels — and keep climbing.

    But if you want to preserve your investment gains, you need to learn from the mistakes of the past.
    Specifically, there’s one crucial money move you need to make to realign your portfolio with the appropriate level of risk that you can afford to take with your investments. That move is rebalancing your portfolio.

    The Basics of Asset Allocation

    Many investors use a method called asset allocation as the basis for their overall investing strategies. Asset allocation involves breaking your portfolio into several pieces, investing each portion in a different type of investment.

    Traditionally, investors split their assets across stocks, bonds, and cash, coming up with asset allocations that reflected their relative risk leve[...] Read More...

  • Finance

    Posted on December 27th, 2013

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    Why Consultants Play a Big Part in the Future of Private Equity-Backed Companies

    Why Consultants Play a Big Part in the Future of Private Equity-Backed Companies

    Companies backed by private equity are supposed to grow, to increase in value, and to do so quickly. They must be primed to implement strategy, manage costs, boost revenue, and ultimately provide the best enterprise value for owners. Everything is about improving strategy and operations to maximize the return on investment.

    In a corporate world where change is the only certainty, here’s a fact about these companies: the most successful adapt fast and flexibly. Here’s another fact. While most of these companies believe they’re sufficiently flexible and adaptable, many are not.

    PwC’s 2013 survey of private equity-backed portfolio companies contained a finding that resonates with even the largest and most stable publicly traded businesses. For operators in the private equity-backed space, the PwC assertion is particularly challenging: “The economic backdrop these companies face is a ‘new normal’ of relatively slower growth and greater uncertainty than in the past.” These risks, according to PwC, “remain weighted to the downside.”

    How does a private equity-backed company deal with these uncertainties? In retail, fashion, travel and lei[...] Read More...

  • Technology

    Posted on December 24th, 2013

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    Mobile Devices Will Be Biggest Business Security Threat in 2014

    Mobile Devices Will Be Biggest Business Security Threat in 2014

    With more and more employees getting work done on the go, mobile devices are quickly becoming a huge security risk for companies, new research shows.

    A study by the Ponemon Institute, a security research center, and Lumension, a provider of end-point management and security, revealed that 75 percent of IT security professionals said mobile devices will pose the biggest threat to companies’ security in 2014, up from just 9 percent who said the same in 2010. Additionally, 68 percent of respondents said their mobile devices have been targeted by malware in the last 12 months.

    Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder of the Ponemon Institute, said he has seen the threat landscape fundamentally change over the la[...] Read More...

  • Facial Recognition on Facebook to IPhone Awaits U.S. Code

    Facial Recognition on Facebook to IPhone Awaits U.S. Code

    Facebook Inc. (FB)Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) and other companies planning to use facial-recognition scans for security or tailored sales pitches will help write rules for how images and online profiles can be used.

    The U.S. Department of Commerce will start meeting with industry and privacy advocates in February to draft a voluntary code of conduct for using facial recognition products, according to a public notice. The draft will ready by June.

    “We are very skeptical about stomping on technology in the cradle,” Mallory Duncan, senior vice president of the Washington-based National Retail Federation Inc., said in a phone interview. “It’s not a good idea to develop codes or laws that freeze technology before you have the ability of determining what it’s capable of achieving.”

    In the U.K., Tesco Plc (TSCO)[...] Read More...

  • 4 Ways Women Are Better Investors Than Men

    4 Ways Women Are Better Investors Than Men

    The evidence is in: According to a number of studies from banks and investment firms over the past decade, women make better investors than men. The most recent, from the tax and advisory firm Rothstein Kass, found that hedge funds run by by women outperformed those managed by men by 6 percentage points over a nine-month period in 2012.

    Why do women, on average, do better? No one knows for sure. And, of course, there are plenty of exceptions like Warren Buffett. But when tallied over the long term, women generally produce better investment returns than men. There are four likely reasons:

    1. Men are more competitive. You’d think this would be a good thing, right? But as in so many areas of investing, the obvious answer is not the right answer. For many men, the most important thing is not the absolute return of aninvestment, but whether or not they beat their rivals. This often leads male managers to make riskier bets, which are less likely to pay off.

    The second most important investment criteria for many men is bragging about their returns. And as we all know, men are less li[...] Read More...

  • 6 Smart Home Apps That Will Transform Your Life

    6 Smart Home Apps That Will Transform Your Life

    Did you ever get jealous watching the Jetsons? Do you still think about how great and streamlined your life would become if you had a robot maid, or if you could make your house do whatever you wanted just by pressing a few buttons on your cell phone? Although Rosie is still a more remote possibility, Smart Home technology is real, widely available, and very cool. Here are some of my favorite devices available today.

    1. Philips Hue

    Hue, from the renowned Philips company, offers a range of automated lighting that can perform a set of useful functions throughout the day. Have you ever thought of using your lights as an alarm clock? We hadn’t either, but if you program Hue’s brightness to gain in intensity like a sunrise, then it could wake you gently — without the surprise and irritation that traditional alarm clocks are known for.

    Hue can provide great home security too, and by remotely switching lights on and off from your Smartphone, you can give the impression that your property is occupied throughout the day.

    Finally, to complete the daily cycle, why not reverse the morning routine and get your lighting to dim slowly as you drift off to sleep? There is a choice of smar[...] Read More...

  • Extra Expenses When Buying a Home

    Extra Expenses When Buying a Home

    Most of us have a basic understanding of what goes into buying a home. After saving enough for a down payment and getting pre-approved for a mortgage you can start your home search and make an offer once you’re ready. But before you ever set foot in that new house of yours, there are going to be quite a few costs that come up, many that you may not be expecting.

    In order to prepare yourself, you should be fully aware of all the costs that go into buying a home. That way, you won’t be surprised at any point during the process.

    Earnest Deposit: Although the earnest deposit is part of your down payment, it has to be made right away. This deposit is required in order to show that you the buyer are indeed serious about the property. It’s generally in the amount of 1 percent of the value of the property’s sale price or $1,000. It is just a deposit th[...] Read More...

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