Business Trends

Archive for April, 2009|Monthly archive page

Recycling Crisis: “Green” Industries Are Bucking The Recession, So Why Is Recycling In The Can?

In Uncategorized on April 20, 2009 at 4:00 pm

The U.S. is urgently seeking sustainability and it is apparent in the growth of “green” business, according to industry research firm IBISWorld.   But while most of these industries are bucking the recession, recycling is expected to decline significantly in 2009 – after five years of strong growth. 

“Falling prices have put the recycling industry on the scrapheap this year,” explained George Van Horn, senior analyst with IBISWorld.   “It is the thirteenth biggest revenue loser in 2009, and is expected to plummet a drastic 20 percent.”

Growing at an annualized rate of 6.3 percent for the past five years to 2008, Recycling Facilities is one of the few industries in the “green sector” to observe a decline.  Metal price declines combined with lower demand for recycled material are major factors impacting sales.  A fall in revenue and profits may hasten consolidation between the larger industry players, such as Waste Management and Covanta.  Smaller operators, more labor intensive, and without integrated waste collection and disposal activities, may be forced to exit the industry all together.

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Economic Stress and Personal Stress – The Recession and Counseling Industries

In Uncategorized on April 10, 2009 at 2:17 am

Various media reports in recent weeks and months have highlighted the effect of the recession as more than an economic or academic affair. Where people are losing their jobs and/or their households – or are fearful of doing so in the near future – the stresses of managing daily expenses can grow beyond a person’s ability to cope, especially if that person is responsible not only for themselves but a family. A statistical view of this effect during the current recession can be garnered through a February report in Time Magazine, which described a Portland suicide and substance abuse hotline that had 71 percent more calls in January 2009 compared to the same month in the previous year.

Despite the link between economic distress and mental distress, IBISWorld expects the recession to have an overall negative impact on the Psychologists, Social Workers & Marriage Counseling industry. Poor economic circumstances will limit the ability for prospective patients to make out-of-pocket expenses, while private insurers will also be more risk-averse (though any changes to insurance legislation that expands mental health parity laws may offset this). Risk will be offset to some extent by health funding provided under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Overall, IBISWorld analysis indicates that this industry will face a HIGH level of risk throughout the year.

Risk in the Family Counseling & Other Social Services industry is predicted to be MEDIUM-HIGH level as increased unemployment and relative poverty levels result in higher demand for social services, which will result in stimulus funding. IBISWorld predicts that this industry’s total revenue will expand by 6.1 percent in 2009. Below is an outline of the historical and forecast risk score of the above mentioned industries.

Good Penny Stocks To Revive a Depressed Portfolio

In Uncategorized on April 10, 2009 at 1:50 am

Today’s Trade Alerts include: Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC), Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), Bank of America (NYSE: BAC), Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C), Siliconware Precision Industries Company Ltd. (Nasdaq: SPIL), and Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: JAVA).

Small business success is essential to economic revival, so monies will be allocated on both a local and federal level to encourage small and new business growth. This is where your portfolio comes in. The aggressive tactics that the government will utilize to encourage business growth spells out aggressive income for the savvy penny stock investor.

Investing in penny stocks is not usually a venture for the faint of heart. The changes in market value can produce both exhilarating highs, and devastating lows. The buffer to the low points is that you have so little invested that you will be hard pressed to sustain lasting damage. If you are an aggressive investor looking for investments that may enable you to stabilize the value of your portfolio, finding good penny stocks to supply fast results is a no-brainer.

Will Consumers Drink Through the Global Downturn?

In Uncategorized on April 8, 2009 at 11:54 pm

With global unemployment tipped to rise above 10 percent during the year, and consumer confidence slumping across all developed and most developing markets, many people are wondering whether any industry will be spared. Alcohol production has been touted as one group of industries which maybe recession proof, but IBISWorld analysis suggests otherwise. Global Spirits Manufacturing is the only alcohol industry expected to grow during 2009.

Global Sprits Manufacturing is expected to fare best, as momentum from previous years pushes industry revenue up by 2.5 percent during 2009 – compared to 12.8 percent growth in 2008. Consumers in China, a key growth market, are expected to be less affected than the global average. Chinese consumers will continue to spend more on spirits, resulting in an increase in Chinese Distilled Alcohol Manufacturing of another 11.9 percent. This will be the main driver of global industry revenue growth with consumers in developed markets expected to curtail their spending on spirits.

Global Sprits Manufacturing is expected to fare best, as momentum from previous years pushes industry revenue up by 2.5 percent during 2009 – compared to 12.8 percent growth in 2008. Consumers in China, a key growth market, are expected to be less affected than the global average. Chinese consumers will continue to spend more on spirits, resulting in an increase in Chinese Distilled Alcohol Manufacturing of another 11.9 percent. This will be the main driver of global industry revenue growth with consumers in developed markets expected to curtail their spending on spirits.

Global Wine Manufacturing relies heavily on international trade, which accounts for 43.3 percent of industry revenue. Major importers include the USA, UK and Germany – all of which have been hit hard by the global downturn. IBISWorld estimates that U.S. Wine imports will slump by 4.9 percent during the year, whilce major exporting regions such as the EU and Australia will have significantly lower demand for their wine. One wine region which has benefited from the downturn is Argentina, experiencing a surge in exports to the U.S. and a rise of 36.9 percent so far in 2009. As demand in key importing markets falls, global industry revenue will slide by 3.4 percent to $59.52 billion.

The new super brewer in Global Beer Manufacturing, Anheuser-Busch InBev, will find times tough in its first year of operation. Global Beer Manufacturing Revenue is expected to fall by 3.6 percent during the year. While some consumers in developed markets will trade down from spirits towards beer, many more consumers will be trading down from their premium brew towards more standard offerings.

Global Alcohol Manufacturing industries are expected to also suffer through this global downturn. Tough times may drive some consumers to drink – it’s just unfortunate for producers that they will be choosing cheaper beverages, while others may choose to abstain all together.

U.S. Bank to Acquire AmeriServ’s Corporate Trust Bond Administration Business

In Uncategorized on April 8, 2009 at 11:37 pm

U.S. Bancorp (NYSE: USB) announced today that its lead bank, U.S. Bank N.A., has reached agreement to acquire the corporate trust bond administration business of AmeriServ Financial, Inc. (NASDAQ: ASRV).

Bryan Calder, president of U.S. Bank Corporate Trust Services, commented, “This acquisition exemplifies U.S. Bank’s ongoing commitment to continued strategic business investments during these difficult economic times. The acquisition complements the existing U.S. Bank corporate trust business and will strengthen our competitive position as a leading national trustee for new municipal issuances. It also increases market share and reflects U.S. Bank’s standing as a leading corporate trust provider in the Pennsylvania market. Through our existing offices in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, we are committed to providing our new customers with the same high level of quality services our current U.S. Bank corporate trust customers have come to expect. The U.S. Bank team will work with AmeriServ to ensure a seamless transition for the customers.”

AmeriServ Financial, Inc. made the decision to exit the corporate trust bond administration business as a result of the highly specialized nature of the business, and the growing costs of administration which have become prohibitive for regional trust companies. Ronald Virag, president and chief executive officer for AmeriServ Trust and Financial Services Company stated, “AmeriServ has elected to exit this line of business and focus our talent and resources to serving personal trust, retirement services and other lines of trust business.”

Upon completion of this transaction, U.S. Bank’s corporate trust division will have $2.1 trillion in assets under administration, nearly 670,000 bondholders and more than 102,000 client issuances. This acquisition reflects U.S. Bank’s ongoing commitment to the corporate trust industry and to remaining a leader in the area of tax-exempt debt and a top-tier provider in new corporate bond issuances and asset-backed and mortgage-backed securitizations.

Currently, U.S. Bank has 46 corporate trust offices across the country and offers a complete line of trust services. U.S. Bank serves as trustee and paying agent for the issuance of taxable and non-taxable securities, including the review of documents and indentures, registration and authentication of bonds, receipts and disbursement of bond sale proceeds, successor trusteeships, escrow account services and transfer and paying agency services. Also, U.S. Bank provides mortgage-backed and asset-backed securitizations, money market paying agency services, bond and tax administration, escrow services, claims administration services and document custody services.

U.S. Bancorp, with $266 billion in assets, is the parent company of U.S. Bank, the 6th largest commercial bank in the United States. The company operates 2,791 banking offices and 5,164 ATMs in 24 states, and provides a comprehensive line of banking, brokerage, insurance, investment, mortgage, trust and payment services products to consumers, businesses and institutions. Visit U.S. Bancorp on the web at usbank.com.

Latest research by IBISWorld

In Uncategorized on April 8, 2009 at 5:17 pm

Industry research firm, IBISWorld, has just published data on the following industries:

To view a report click on the links above or visit www.ibisworld.com.

Gold Reserve Provides Litigation Update

In Uncategorized on April 1, 2009 at 6:24 pm

Gold Reserve Inc. (TSX:GRZ)(NYSE Amex:GRZ) announced today that Rusoro Mining Ltd. (TSX-V:RML) (“Rusoro”) has filed in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice a “Statement of Defence and Counterclaim” to an action filed December 16, 2008 by the Company against Rusoro and Endeavour Financial International Corporation.

The action filed by the Company in December 2008, sought an injunction restraining Rusoro and Endeavour from proceeding with Rusoro’s unsolicited offer which was granted by the Courts on February 10, 2009, monetary damages of Cdn $550 million, and various other items.

In the Statement of Defence and Counterclaim, Rusoro denies the Company’s claims and counterclaims against the Company for, among other things, damages of Cdn $ 102.5 million allegedly arising from the Company’s successful motion for an interlocutory injunction restraining Rusoro from making a hostile take-over bid for the Company.

Rusoro further states, “Rusoro has suffered damages as a result of the interlocutory injunction including, but not limited to, the lost opportunity to acquire Gold Reserve based on an exchange of three Rusoro shares for each share of Gold Reserve, and the costs associated with the Rusoro Offer, all of which have been thrown away as a result of the interlocutory injunction and for all of which Gold Reserve is liable,” and “Rusoro has also suffered damages as a result of Gold Reserve’s failure to restore to its previous state the land it used to access its Choco 5 property.”

Doug Belanger, President of Gold Reserve, said, “Regarding the interlocutory injunction, we presented our case and they presented theirs and the Judge ordered the interlocutory injunction. In respect of their claim for the lost opportunity to acquire the Company, it is important to note that less than 3% of our shareholders tendered to their offer.”

Regarding the above noted claims we will take the appropriate legal actions and defend against these matters.

Gold Reserve Inc. is a Canadian company, which holds the rights to the Brisas gold/copper project and the Choco 5 gold exploration property in Bolivar State, Venezuela.

MFI-Mod Squad Lists the 20 Worst Loan Modification Companies

In Uncategorized on April 1, 2009 at 6:20 pm

MFI-Mod Squad, LLC, a company that investigates loan modification fraud, has issued a list of the twenty loan modification companies about which it has received complaints. The list includes companies that haven’t been approved to charge an upfront fee and claim to offer a money-back guarantee. They have either failed to deliver a loan modification or refused to offer a refund to homeowners.

“Many people have been asking me to post a list of unreliable loan modification companies,” says Steve Dibert, President of MFI-Mod Squad. “I’m happy to do so because it can help homeowners avoid scams.”

The problematic loan modification companies on MFI-Mod Squad’s list include the following:

• Green Credit Solutions

• Peoples First Financial

• United Law Group

• Excel Loss Mitigation

• Nations Choice

• USA Mortgage Aid

• Mortgage Assistance Center

• Bank Modifications, Inc.

• Apply2Save

• AmeRestart aka Equinaire

• Choice Loans Consulting

• Samaritan Financial

• Resolutions Mortgage Group

• Federal Loan Modifications

• Mortgage Mitigation Clearing House

• Woosh.com aka Manhattan Mortgage

• Coastal Pacific

• New Beginnings Loan Modification Services

• North American Relief

• US Justice Foundation

All but Samaritan Financial and Mortgage Mitigation Clearing House are located in California. California-based loan modification companies must be approved by the Department of Real Estate (DRE) to charge upfront fees. You can only be exempt from DRE approval if your company is a law firm

Near the top of MFI-Mod Squad’s list of the worst loan modification companies is Peoples First Financial, which is responsible for Massachusetts resident Jon Angers losing his home.

“He trusted them when they told him not to make his mortgage payment,”

ConocoPhillips Announces Senior Management Changes

In Uncategorized on April 1, 2009 at 5:34 pm

ConocoPhillips [NYSE:COP] today announced the following actions concerning the company’s senior management. These changes are effective today.

Chief Administrative Officer Named

E.L. (Gene) Batchelder, currently senior vice president, Services, and chief information officer, will become senior vice president and Chief Administrative Officer. In this newly created role, Mr. Batchelder will be responsible for the strategy, leverage and oversight of the following staff functions: global shared services, human resources, facilities, information technology, security, aviation, executive services, and corporate affairs which includes investor relations, corporate communications and contributions. He will relocate to Houston and will report to Jim Mulva, chairman and chief executive officer.

Rand Berney, currently vice president and Controller, Finance, will become senior vice president, Corporate Shared Services. Mr. Berney will relocate to Bartlesville, Okla.
Carin Knickel will remain vice president, Human Resources.
Clayton Reasor, currently president, U.S. Marketing, will become vice president, Corporate Affairs.
Marty Schoenthaler, currently general manager, Information Services, will become general manager, Corporate Information Technology.
Mary Manning will remain general manager, Corporate Real Estate.
Jim Snyder will remain manager, Corporate Security.
Doug Schwartz will remain manager, Corporate Aviation.
Audrey Gage will remain director, Executive Services & Shareholder Events.
Controller and Chief Auditor Named

Glenda Schwarz, currently general auditor and chief ethics officer, Finance, will become vice president and controller, Finance.

Gary Russell, currently general manager, Investor Relations, Finance, will become general auditor and chief ethics officer, Finance.

Ms. Schwarz and Mr. Russell will continue to report to Sig Cornelius, senior vice president, Finance, and chief financial officer.

The president of U.S. Marketing will be named at a later date.

ConocoPhillips is an integrated energy company with interests around the world. For more information, including biographical profiles and a complete look at ConocoPhillips’ leadership team, go to www.conocophillips.com/newsroom.

Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. Reaches Settlements Regarding Investigations of Historical Stock Option Granting Practices

In Uncategorized on April 1, 2009 at 5:32 pm

Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (NASDAQ: TTWO) today announced that it entered into two separate settlement agreements with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) and the District Attorney, New York County, New York (the “District Attorney”), both of which relate to previously disclosed investigations of the Company’s historical stock option granting practices.

Without admitting or denying the SEC’s allegations, the Company has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $3.0 million, and has stipulated to an injunction against future violations of certain provisions of the federal securities laws. The settlement is subject to approval by the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. If court approval is obtained, the settlement will conclude the SEC’s investigation of this matter with respect to the Company.

As part of the settlement agreement with the District Attorney, the Company acknowledged that certain of its former directors and officers engaged in certain illegal behaviors related to the historical granting of stock options, and the District Attorney agreed not to prosecute the Company or its corporate subsidiaries for conduct related thereto. In addition, the Company agreed to pay $300,000 to the District Attorney for reimbursement of costs related to the District Attorney’s investigation, to undergo a review of its corporate governance structure by external legal counsel, and to hire an administrator for its stock plan.

Take-Two previously accrued the estimated expense for these settlements in its fourth quarter of fiscal 2008. The other civil litigation related to the Company’s historical stock option granting practices remains outstanding.

“We are pleased to have reached a settlement with both the SEC and District Attorney with respect to the Company’s historical stock option granting practices,” said Strauss Zelnick, Chairman of Take-Two. “Resolving this issue has been a key objective for Take-Two since the current management team took office in early 2007, and we are gratified to have put this matter behind us.”