Check Out The NYSE’s Presentation On Why Its Sale Is Going To Create A Global Financial Market Powerhouse

New York Stock Exchange

NYSE-Euronext is being sold to a 12 year-old Atlanta based commodities futures exchange called the IntercontinentalExchange (ICE) for $8.2 billion.

The news of a deal broke last night, surprising many on Wall Street who thought all the horse trading between exchanges was over since so many attempts (by Nasdaq, and even ICE) failed last year.

NYSE-Euronext stock surged on the news before being suspended this morning, so it seems the market likes the deal. It is, after all, an attempt by NYSE-Euronext to enter the lucrative derivatives business on top of its traditional stock and stock options trading business.

ICE, on the other hand, is looking at NYSE-Euronext’s European holdings, iconic brand, and listings listings listings.

More pluses: ICE is a leader in electronic trading, but also in financial reform implementation and transparency. That’s a very good thing in a world where the SEC is taking a closer look at exchanges in general.

NYSE-Euronext touches on all these arguments and more in an investor presentation on the deal. You can check it out here.

 

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Minister’s Gaffe Cuts Right To The Heart Of Saudi Arabia’s Labor Crisis

saudi arabia Event

In the wake of growing disquiet over the government’s increasingly punitive attempts to force companies to hire Saudis, the labour minister, Adel Fakieh, has admitted that 86% of the jobs performed by expatriates are not suitable for Saudi nationals.

Analysis

Mr Fakieh’s comment will no doubt have caused some consternation among the country’s businesses, which have been struggling to come to terms with the recent imposition of a levy imposed on firms with a majority of foreign workers; according to the new rule, firms must pay an annual fee of SR2,400 (US$640) for each surplus foreigner. By admitting in an interview with a daily newspaper, Al Sharq, that 86% of expatriate workers do “menial jobs that do not suit Saudis”, he has in effect acknowledged the unrealistic nature of the target (especially for companies such as contractors and cleaners, which have been most vociferous in their complaints).

Furthermore, in comments that would appear only to reinforce businesses’ argument, he acknowledged that fully 86% of expatriate workers in the kingdom receive a monthly salary of less than SR2,000-a figure equivalent to the present monthly unemployment benefit for Saudis, and far below the minimum wage target set by the Ministry of Labour for Saudi workers (any Saudi receiving less than SR3,000 is deemed as being just half a worker according to the labour ministry’s categorisation).

With this in mind, it is little surprise that the increased costs confronted by businesses-both in hiring more expensive Saudis, and now paying a higher levy on their foreign workers-are being passed on to the consumer, with the chief executive of the Consumer Protection Association, Nasser al-Toam, saying on December 14th that price rises had already been observed, adding that the new fee on foreign labour “will have negative implications for the consumer”. In response, even the country’s typically pliant, all-appointed Shoura Council is voicing criticism of the levy, with the Council’s Management and Human Resources Committee reportedly pressing ministry officials to reconsider their decision on the new expatriate levy. In light of Mr Fakieh’s latest comments, it would seem that they may well achieve their aim.

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The Highest-Grossing Films Of 2012

the dark knight rises batman

In a year ripe with superheroes, sequels, and one last bite from the Twilight franchise, the box-office was booming in 2012.

We’ve taken a look at the 15 top-grossing films of the year worldwide.  

If you were a Bat in black, a Disney toon, or Kristen Stewart, the box-office bowed in your favor. 

We know “The Avengers” and “The Dark Knight Rises” were among the best performances at theaters this year. See what else joins them on the list.

15. “The Lorax”: $348.8 million

Dr. Seuss’ book adaptation was the first box-office surprise of the year, debuting to the third-highest March opening with $70.2 million.

(Box Office Mojo)

14. “Taken 2”: $363.4 million

Critics may not have loved Liam Neeson’s return as ex-CIA agent Bryan Mills, but audiences couldn’t have been more thrilled to see the sequel to the 2009 action thriller. The film opened to the third-highest October debut with $50 million.

(Box Office Mojo)

13. “Snow White and the Huntsman”: $396.4 million

Unlike Julia Roberts’ “Mirror, Mirror,” this Snow White had a smart marketing campaign geared toward men (This Is No Fairy Tale), plus the star power of Kristen Stewart. The film had the fourth-largest opening of the year.

(Box Office Mojo)

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HOUSE OF THE DAY: Pharrell Williams’ Miami Penthouse Hits The Market For $16.8 Million

Pharrell Williams Penthouse

Rapper and producer Pharrell Williams has put his Miami penthouse on the market for a staggering $16.8 million, according to NME.

The three-floor home is 9,080 square feet in total, with five bedrooms and six and a half bathrooms. The massive penthouse also has unparalleled 360-degree views of the Miami skyline, a pool, elevator entry into the foyer, and massive terraces.

The building is located in Miami’s business district, Brickell, and is available through Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate.

Pharrell’s pad is right on the ocean.

His house has an “opposite fishbowl effect” where he can see out, but no one can see in through the glass windows.

The expansive dining room can seat 12 people easily and has 180-degree views.

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How France’s Most Beloved Actor Ended Up At War With Hollande’s Socialist Government

gerard depardieu

Gérard Dépardieu has won every acting award ever invented in France. He was nominated for an Oscar in 1990. He’s also dated nearly every famous French actress that came along between 1970 and 1990.

And now he’s left the country, claiming taxes are too high.

In September, President Francois Hollande proposed a new 75 percent levy on all earnings over 1 million euros.

Last week, Dépardieu — a wealthy man — announced he had purchased a house in a small Belgian town just over the French border in a bid to escape the tax.

Learning of the news, Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault called the move “petty.” In response, Dépardieu wrote an open letter to Ayrault denouncing the government’s own “petty” treatment of him, and saying he would be giving up his French passport.

“I’m leaving because you now believe success, creativity, talent — really, anything that makes one unique — should be punished.”

According to Libération, he later joked he had received a Russian passport from Vladmir Putin. (Dépardieu has appeared in a number of ads for Russian firms.)

Many French aren’t seeing the punchline. Fellow actor Philippe Torrenton this week composed a “savage” response to Dépardieu’s attitude. “The problem, Gérard, is that your roadtrips always end up in the same ditch — you only think of yourself, your cash, your dictator frends, your crap pets who take dumps in the air, your ultraconservative projects…”

According to a new poll, 56% of France disapproves of Dépardieu’s actions — although just 28 percent of those identifying as right-leaning do. Far-right sympathizer and fellow screen legend Bridgette Bardot recently voiced her solidarity with Dépardieu’s decision.

It’s too early to say how the saga will end. The 75 percent levy has actually not gone into force, but most think it’s a foregone conclusion. Nor is Dépardieu the only French one-percenter to break out of the Hexagon. LVMH boss Bernard Arnault also recently switched his address to Belgium, although he swore he would fulfill his fiscal obligations to the republic.  

Meanwhile, you can catch Dépardieu in Ang Lee’s new film “Life of Pi” now in theaters. 

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FINANCIAL ADVISOR INSIGHTS: Investors Be Warned, 2013 Could Be The Year Of The Snake

FA Insights is a daily newsletter from Business Insider that delivers the top news and commentary for financial advisors.

“2013 Is The Year Of The Snake” (Advisor Perspectives)

While political uncertainty is lifting, the “cyclical environment” still poses obstacles and is expected to continue into 2013, according to Johanna Kyrklund of Schroders. In this environment safety is expensive, cash isn’t attractive, and there are good opportunities in stocks in developed countries. 

“According to the Chinese horoscope, 2013 is the year of the snake. If anything, I think that what many investors currently perceive as ‘safe haven’ assets could turn out to be the snake lurking in the grass next year.”

One Advisor Explains How He Adds Value For 401(k) Clients (The Wall Street Journal)

401(k) investments tend to look the same. To make his service stand apart Brian Heckert founder of Financial Solutions Midwest said he “examines each worker’s tax withholding for hidden cash that could be saved–without affecting their take-home pay.”

Financial Markets See Outlier Events All The Time (Business Insider)

Black swan events are unlikely but unlikely event also tend to happen. Yesterday we published Deutsche Bank’s 13 Outliers for 2013 in which they said:

“…There is a tendency not to deviate too far from consensus, perhaps seeing safety in being part of the herd. From a statistical perspective, this is very similar to assuming markets follow a normal or Gaussian distribution. That is, markets are well behaved and extreme outcomes are rare. The financial crisis of 2008 taught us otherwise, yet it is very difficult to shrug off the bias to assume normality in markets.”

outliers black swan

Expect Consumer Discretionary To Outperform In 2013 (Dr. Ed’s Blog)

After looking at monthly performance chart of the S&P500 to its ten sectors  Ed Yardeni found that that in the last three bull markets, the best-performing sector outperformed the others from the beginning through to the end of the bull market.

This time consumer discretionary has been the best-performing sector. “While past performance is no guarantee of future results, we do expect that Consumer Discretionary may continue to outperform in 2013.”

Jeff Gundlach Thinks The Next Recession Will Be “The Real Killer” (Bloomberg TV) 

Coming spending tax hikes and spending cuts are likely to send the economy into a recession, and that recession is going to be “the real killer” because monetary easing will not work.

“The real killer is going to be the next recession. And there will be one. The policymakers are trying hard to have it both ways…Ultimately as you address the fiscal situation, you’re going to run the risk of a recession.  When the next recession comes, it’s going to be a real killer because what exactly is going to be the policy response.  It will be policies in terms of raising taxes and cutting spending that help to bring on the next recession I think, so I don’t think it’s very plausible that you’re going to just turn around and go back to the old method of pumping up the economy with debt.”

Why Everyone Should Care About Badly Behaving Economic Models (Project Syndicate)

Constant revisions to estimates of Europe’s economic recovery have raised questions about the validity of the economic models, according to Robert Skidelsky of Warwick University. The two big mistakes involve underestimating the fiscal multiplier and assuming that “monetary expansion would provide an effective antidote to fiscal contraction”.

And Skidelsky points out that while this seems technical it is a “cruel deception” since they create a vicious cycle. “Their consistent over-optimism about these policies’ impact on economic growth validates pursuing them, and enables governments to claim that their remedies are “working,” when they clearly are not.”

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Here’s The First Kate Upton Photo From Mercedes’ Super Bowl Ad Shoot

Mercedes-Benz gave Business Insider a first look at how Kate Upton is going to look in its 60-second long Super Bowl spot.

While fans of the Sport’s Illustrated swimsuit cover model might hope that she’ll be showing skin — a favorite tactic among Super Bowl advertisers — Mercedes-Benz USA CEO Steve Cannon told Business Insider that “this is an upscale moment. This isn’t a Carl’s Junior kind of thing, she’s in an upscale cocktail dress.”

Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at the portion of the commercial that was filmed in New Orleans, where the game will be played this February.

Mercedes gave Business Insider the first shot of Kate Upton looking glamorous in the Super Bowl spot:Kate Upton Mercedes Super Bowl Ad

She Instagrammed a photo of her mom on set:Kate Upton Mercedes Super Bowl mom instagram

Upton will presumably appear on the red carpet in the cloaked car:Mercedes behind scenes Super Bowl ad

Mercedes decided to shoot part of the ad in New Orleans to help bring jobs and attention to the struggling city. Part of the commercial takes place in the French Quarter’s Napoleon House:Mercedes behind scenes Super Bowl ad

Here’s director Dante Ariola getting ready to shoot the spot, which was created by ad agency Merkley+Partners:Mercedes behind scenes Super Bowl ad

SEE ALSO: Here’s what Kate Upton and Usher will actually do in the Super Bowl ad>

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The 11 US Cities That Are Having The Worst Recoveries

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While the recovery is picking up pace around the country, some cities are stuck in hard times, according to Brookings Metropolitan Program’s latest report.

The MetroMonitor looks at employment, unemployment, production, and home prices. We identified the weakest economic recoveries from trough to the third quarter of 2012.

Notably this list includes many cities that didn’t crash as hard during the recession but have continued to underperform.

Cities in the northeast United States took nine out of 11 of the spots on this list.

11. Scranton, Pennsylvania

  • Unemployment rate down -0.1% since 2010Q1
  • Employment up 2.6% since 2009Q4
  • Gross metro product up 4.6% since 2009Q3
  • Home prices up 1.3% since since 2011Q2

Data provided by the Brookings’ MetroMonitor. Gross Metro Product, Unemployment rate, and Home prices are tracked from Trough to 2012Q3. Employment is tracked from Trough to 2012Q2.

10. New Haven, Connecticut

  • Unemployment rate down -0.7% since 2010Q4
  • Employment up 2.9% since 2010Q1
  • Gross metro product up 4.8% since 2009Q3
  • Home prices up 0.1% since 2012 Q2

Data provided by the Brookings’ MetroMonitor. Gross Metro Product, Unemployment rate, and Home prices are tracked from Trough to 2012Q3. Employment is tracked from Trough to 2012Q2.

9. Providence, Rhode Island/New Bedford, Massachusetts

  • Unemployment rate down -1.6% 2010Q1
  • Employment up 0.4% since 2009Q4
  • Gross metro product up 3.3% since 2009Q3
  • Home prices up 0.4% since 2012Q2

Data provided by the Brookings’ MetroMonitor. Gross Metro Product, Unemployment rate, and Home prices are tracked from Trough to 2012Q3. Employment is tracked from Trough to 2012Q2.

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The 11 US Cities That Are Having The Best Recoveries

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A surprising spike in home prices in some of America’s biggest cities has boosted the recovery, according to Brookings’ latest report.

The MetroMonitor looks at employment, unemployment, production, and home prices. We identified the strongest economic recoveries from trough to the third quarter of 2012.

“Notably, the strongest performances over the last quarter were in parts of the country hit hardest by the housing crisis, but those are also the places with the furthest left to go,” said Alec Friedhoff, the lead developer of the report. 

New Orleans ranked first for the second year since its economic trough occurred in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina, not during the recession.

11. Bakersfield, California

  • Unemployment rate down -2.6% since 2010Q1
  • Employment up 7.8% since 2009Q4
  • Gross metro product up 6.6% since 2010Q3
  • Home prices up 3.3% since 2012Q2

Data provided by the Brookings’ MetroMonitor. Gross Metro Product, Unemployment rate, and Home prices are tracked from Trough to 2012Q3. Employment is tracked from Trough to 2012Q2.

10. Salt Lake City, Utah

  • Unemployment rate down -2.9% since 2009Q4
  • Employment up 5.9% since 2009Q4
  • Gross metro product up 12.6% since 2009Q2
  • Home prices up 2.6% since 2012Q2

Data provided by the Brookings’ MetroMonitor. Gross Metro Product, Unemployment rate, and Home prices are tracked from Trough to 2012Q3. Employment is tracked from Trough to 2012Q2.

9. Detroit, Michigan

  • Unemployment rate down -5.2% since 2009Q3
  • Employment up 5.0% since 2009Q3
  • Gross metro product up 9.6% since 2009Q3
  • Home prices up 1.9% since 2012Q2 

Data provided by the Brookings’ MetroMonitor. Gross Metro Product, Unemployment rate, and Home prices are tracked from Trough to 2012Q3. Employment is tracked from Trough to 2012Q2.

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7 Celebrities Who Attempted To Write Fiction

James Franco

What’s a celeb to do between red-carpet events? Why, write a book, of course!

According to Publishers Weekly, the jack-of-all-trades James Franco has just sold his debut poetry collection to Graywolf Press, and it’s set to be released in 2014.

Franco is already a published prose author whose 2010 book of short stories, Palo Alto, is, according to The New York Times, filled with “nihilistic violence and gratuitous gore.”

But Franco is hardly the first A-lister (or C-lister, for that matter) to take up his pen. Here, a look at six other celebrities who wrote fiction, with varying degrees of success.

1. The English Roses, by Madonna

What it’s about: The Material Girl’s 2003 debut, a children’s picture book, concerns an outsider girl named Binah who inspires jealousy in four other girls because they believe she leads the perfect life.

But the “moral” of the story is that Binah, who was based on Madonna’s daughter Lourdes, is neither rich nor spoiled, and is actually quite lonely.

What the critics said: The Guardian‘s Kate Kellaway criticizes the book for its mediocrity and superfluity, arguing that The English Roses is little more than “an accessory for those curious about Madonna.”

Why, wonders Kellaway, would the pop diva want to impersonate a “fragile primary-school teacher in a flowery frock?” Madge should “stick to what she knows best.”

2. Junior, or Oscar De La Mancha, The Wembling Warrior, and the People I Like the Least. Not a Novel. A written project from the normal, well adjusted and ‘No I don’t have issues with my father!’ mind of … junior (meaning me), by Macaulay Culkin

What it’s about: Less a novel than a post-modern series of vignettes that include detours into comics, poetry, quizzes, and an open letter to Britney Spears, 2006’s Junior is very, very loosely held together by a series of anecdotes documenting the life of “Money Monkey Boy,” a former child star.

What the critics said: Publisher’s Weekly calls Junior a “self-indulgently infantile book” that “looks and reads more like a book-length zine.”

Though Culkin insists that Junior the character is different than Culkin the author, they have quite a lot in common, and Junior‘s only real value is as a “calculated piece of celebrity implosion” that offers a “weirdly compelling” look into Culkin’s mind.

3. L.A. Candy, by Lauren Conrad

What it’s about: This novel, which follows “Jane Roberts” as she moves to Hollywood and eventually gets her own reality show — is a juicy, thinly-veiled account of Conrad’s stint as one of the stars of the MTV reality show The Hills. 

Released in 2009, the book is the first of the quick-to-cash-in L.A. Candy series. Its sequel, Sweet Little Lies, and the series’ final installment, Sugar and Spice, were both released in 2010.

What the critics said: Entertainment Weekly‘s Lisa Schwarzbaum calls the novel a “dismal portent of the future of pop culture, disguised as escapist fiction,” adding that Conrad’s young fans “might like a book-shaped object as a keepsake.”

L.C. may think she can do anything, says Schwarzbaum, but the one thing she can’t do is write a “novel.”

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