Tuesday, April 20, 2010

US trade deficit widens as imports outpace exports

The US trade deficit widened to $39.7bn (£20.8bn) in February, as import growth continued to outpace exports.
The overall trade deficit increased by $2.7bn from January, the Commerce Department said.
At $182.9bn, imports were up 20.5% on the same month a year ago, while exports of $143.2bn were up only 14.3%.
The trade figures confirm the trend of resurgent imports outpacing the rebound in exports as the US economy recovers from recession.

Compared with January on a seasonally-adjusted basis, imports were up 1.72% and exports were up 0.21%.
Export growth was dominated by manufacturing, while imports were driven by consumption.
The figures suggest that the surprise fall in the US trade deficit recorded in January may only have been a blip.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Weather leads to 'hesitant' start for Scottish economy

The severe winter contributed to a "hesitant" beginning to 2010 for the economy, the Scottish Chambers of Commerce has said.

A survey found cold weather at the start of the year affected confidence and activity across all sectors.
The main business trends remain negative but are better than a year ago, according to the report.
It concluded signs of a sustained recovery in the Scottish economy "remain elusive".
The report, conducted in conjunction with the University of Strathclyde's Fraser of Allander Institute, found rising optimism in manufacturing during the first quarter of 2010.
Of particular concern is the apparent fall in the volume of public sector contracts
Garry Clark
Scottish Chambers of Commerce
Rising export trends led to an improvement in total orders, but the survey found demand in Scotland and the rest of the UK remained weak.
Recruitment in manufacturing was at a lower level than at the end of 2009, with only 26% of firms attempting to hire staff.
The cold weather, together with uncertainty over the forthcoming election, weakened confidence in other sectors.
Demand in tourism declined markedly during the three months to the end of March.
Average occupancy rates for visitor accommodation fell from 62% to 47%, the lowest level for a decade.
Almost half of construction firms reduced total employment levels and none reported an increase in employment.
More than half of retailers reported and expected declining sales in the six months of 2010.
'Crucial time'
Garry Clark, head of policy at Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said the cold weather and snow had led to a fall in demand and increased bills for businesses.
He said: "This is a crucial time for the Scottish economy.
"The emerging positive outlook in Scottish business for the second half of 2009 has given way to a more cautious optimism in the early months of this year.
"Construction remains in difficulties, and of particular concern is the apparent fall in the volume of public sector contracts."
He said the forthcoming election would remove some of the current uncertainties over the future direction of government policy.
"It will also provide an opportunity to cement a 'good government' approach to the economy at the heart of national policy," Mr Clark added.
A spokesman for the Scottish government said Scotland continued to have lower unemployment and higher employment than the UK as a whole.
He said: "The latest figures show that output in the construction sector has fallen by more in the UK as a whole than it has in Scotland, and construction employment in Scotland is also holding up better than elsewhere in the UK in these tough times."
The spokesman added a "record" £35bn of infrastructure investment is being delivered by the Scottish government in the next decade.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Sony Ericsson reports surprise profit

Sony Ericsson has reported a surprise profit for the first three months of the year, boosted by new product launches and cost savings.
Net profit came in at 21m euros ($28m; £18m), compared with a loss of 293m euros a year earlier.
The unexpected profit came despite mobile phone sales being 28% lower from a year ago at 10.5 million phones.
Sony Ericsson is playing catch up with other mobile makers that were quicker to launch smartphones.
Falling sales
"We are pleased to see the positive impact of both the launch of new products and the business transformation programme improving the company's results," said Bert Nordberg, president of Sony Ericsson.
He picked out the company's new Experia X10 and Vivaz products as being particularly well received.
Despite the launches, sales over the quarter fell to 1.74bn euros compared with 1.41bn euros for the same period a year ago.
Improved margins and cost-cutting also helped to improve profitability.
Sony Ericsson reported a net loss of 836m euros for 2009 as a whole.
The mobile phone market has been hit by the global downturn, as consumers hold off from buying new phones.
Sony Ericsson has also been caught off guard by the switch to smartphones - the one area of the market where sales have been growing.

Friday, April 16, 2010


KOBE Bryant, one of the biggest names in basketball, will play his first NBA game outside the US when he leads Los Angeles Lakers against the Minnesota Timberwolves in a pre-season game at the O2 Arena on October 4.
Kobe Bryant has won four NBA titles and was last year’s most valuable player in the nBA finals.

He said: “I know how passionate fans are in the UK and I look forward to putting on a show for what promises to be a great game."


SNOOKER coaching guru Del Hill is staying away from the first week of this year’s world championship – because four of his prodigies are playing against each other and he does not want divided loyalties.
This is typical of Hill, who is rated as the best coach in the game , having masterminded world titles with Ronnie O’Sullivan, Stephen Hendry, Peter Ebdon and Graeme Dott .
Hill operates from his snooker “farm” which is set in five acres of lush grounds that boast a large lake stocked with perch, carp and bream, where players can relax and fish after long spells of potting pressure.
He is also head of World Snooker’s elite coaching team, manager of England’s amateur squad and has still found time to answer business calls from Russia, Thailand, Jordan, Romania, Belgium, Malta, Ireland and the United Arab Emirates.
And if that is not enough, he also brokered a deal for Chelsea’s John Terry to buy The Crucible’s 2008 World Championship table – and arranged for technicians to set it up.
During his coaching career, Hill has found himself dashing from one dressing room to another before a major tournament to offer final words of advice to players squaring up to one another – something which, from a professional point of view, he finds rather embarrassing.
And that is why he will not be at The Crucible in Sheffield for the opening rounds of the tournament, which starts on Saturday, when Ebdon faces Dott and Michael Holt plays Joe Perry. Instead, Hill – 6ft 9ins and known as the Gentle Giant – will telephone each player with the words: “May the best man win. I’ll be watching you on TV – but if you’re in desperate trouble, then you’d better ring me.”
Hill recalled an incident in 2005 when Dott phoned him urgently before he played O’Sullivan in the world final, complaining that a problem had developed with his break-off shot.
“I dropped everything and rushed to Sheffield . We thought it had all been sorted out when Graeme went 5-0 in front – only for O’Sullivan to hit back and go on to win,” said Hill.

“That was a tricky situation [giving coaching advice to Dott] because I had won more than 20 tournaments with O’Sullivan. But to be fair, Dott had driven six hours to my farm just before the championships, so there was no way I could turn him down.
“Then he won the title the following year, beating O’Sullivan in the semis and Ebdon in the final. Coaching Graeme to be world champion in 2006 – a 500-1 outsider – is undoubtedly my biggest achievement and something I’m really proud of.
“But even that wasn’t straightforward because I was in and out of Graeme’s dressing room just as I had been with Ebdon when he won in 2002.
“Peter Ebdon is a great guy . He came up to me at the end of that final and said, ‘Graeme wouldn’t have won it without you’. I had worked with Peter earlier in 2006, but he sensibly accepted that I was with Dott .
“And during the Masters one year, I kept nipping from Stephen Lee’s dressing room to Dott’s and all I could say was, ‘Best of luck, mate’.
“I don’t like doing it but it happens a lot. If I’m summoned, I have to go. It’s the price I pay for being popular.” Hill has coached 11 of the 32 players competing in this year’s championship and said: “I ask all my professionals to come to the farm twice a year for an ‘MOT’ when problems with their game can be rectified.
“I have worked with half of the world’s top 64 players and know them really well. To reach the top, a player must have application, motivation and also be willing to work hard.”
And many of those he has coached have reached the top so, understandably, compliments flow .
O’Sullivan said: “Del is a top man and a top coach. I’ve known him a long time – and he knows me better than anyone.”
Dott said: “Del helped me to reconstruct my game to such an extent that I won the World Championship.”
Ebdon added: “I visited the farm during my run-up to winning the World Championship and Del gave me some really useful practice routines to work on.”‘If I’m summoned, I must go to their dressing room’

Rendezvous Sports World threatens to sue Modi

The Indian Premier League's new franchise Rendezvous Sports World (RSW) has threatened to sue IPL commissioner Lalit Modi for breaking the confidentiality terms.
Modi, who is an avid user of the micro-blogging website Twitter, disclosed the details of the stakeholders in the new Kochi team through his tweets.
Modi disclosed the names of the free equity holders in Rendezvous, a move which put Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor [ Images ] in a fix, as Sunanda Pushkar, the lady whom he is reportedly planning to marry, figured in the list.
Rendezvous coughed up approximately Rs 1533 crore to bag the Kochi franchise.
Modi wrote on his Twitter page that the free equity holders in RSW include Kisan, Shailender and Pushpa Gaikwad, Sunanda Pushkar, Puja Gulati, Jayant Kotalwar, Vishnu [ Images ] Prasad and Sundip Agarwal.
"A lot of you are asking about shareholders and events surrounding the Kochi team. I am compiling a note shortly and will put an official release soon," Modi wrote.
Irked by Modi's revelations, Rendezvous has threatened to send a legal notice to Modi and accused him of breaking the confidentiality terms.
A complaint has also been made to BCCI president Shashank Manohar in this regard.

Google profits beat expectations

Internet giant Google has reported a 37% rise in first-quarter net profit, beating analysts' expectations.Profit for the three months to March came in at $1.96bn (£1.26bn) compared with the $1.42bn it made a year ago.Revenue climbed 23% to $6.78bn, helped by an increase in online spending by advertisers.
"Going forward, we remain committed to heavy investment in innovation," Google chief financial officer Patrick Pichette said. 

He added that the investment would both "spur future growth in our core and emerging businesses as well as to help build the future of the open web".
Google also said it had taken on nearly 800 employees in the quarter, its biggest increase in staff since the first quarter of 2008.
Its global headcount now stands at 20,621.
'Solid quarter'
The amount of money the company made from pay-per-click online advertising rose 15% from the same quarter last year, as the internet advertising market continues its recovery from the recession.
"They had a very solid quarter, which we expected," commented Laxmi Poruri, analyst at Primary Global Research.
"Search advertising bounced back strongly relative to other forms of media."
Despite the results coming in ahead of forecasts, Google shares fell 4.6% to $568 in after-hours trading.
"The stock may be reacting to uncertainty going forward in terms of currency fluctuations overseas and investors seeking more clarity on China," Ms Poruri said.
Last month Google decided to stop filtering results from its search service in China, redirecting all its mainland China customers to an uncensored Hong Kong-based site instead.
The Chinese government responded angrily to the move, saying it was in violation of a written promise that the company would abide by China's laws requiring it to filter results.
Google dominates the search engine market. It has about a 65% share of the US market and about 90% in Europe.
But it is a distant number two in the Chinese market, which is dominated by Baidu.