A fascinating interview on CNBC with Alibaba chair Jack Ma, whose company will go public today in New York:
Ma said that shareholders come third. "Well, I think as always I believe that customer number one, employee number two, and shareholder number three," he told CNBC, laying out his companies priorities.
"The hero I had is Forrest Gump," said Ma in response to a question. "I like that guy. I've been watching that movie for about ten times. Every time I get frustrated, I watch the movie. I watch the movie before I came here again for coming to New York. I watched the movie again.
As for his new wealth -- now larger than the GDP of Estonia, according to the CNBC hosts, it presents a "headache."
"For me?" he responded, after being asked about his new wealth. "Well, this is a heady thing. I guess I'm going to -- when I was, I think, 14 years ago I asked my wife, do you want your husband to be a rich man or a respected business guy? She said, of course, a respected business person, because she never thought I would be a rich person. ... And then later I said before I'm 50 years old my job is making money, helping people make money. After I'm 50 years old, which is today 50 years old, I am spending money, trying to make sure more people get rich. Because you cannot spend a lot of money."
Hedge fund manager Barry Rosenstein is not a man to be fazed by the recent rise in mortgage interest rates. Nor is he one to worry that the housing market might be softening, loping the odd million off the $147 million he shelled out for an 18-acre beachfront home in the Hamptons, on New York’s Long Island Sound. So all is well in the housing market.
Humana joined the ranks of insurers warning about the potential for large premium increases on next year's Obamacare exchanges. In a conference call discussing its first quarter earning results, Bruce D. Broussard, CEO of Humana, said: "we can see pricing levels anywhere in the single digits to the double digits."
The monthly jobs numbers will be released tomorrow and they are even more eagerly anticipated than usual now that the Obamacare deadline (using the term loosely) has passed and attention is being increasingly paid to the next elections in which jobs will likely be the prime issue.
Still, the weekly number is not without meaning and today’s increase in the number first-time claims – an increase of 16,000 to a five-week high of 326,000 – can’t be called good news or a show of strength after the snows and storms of winter.
The housing market and house prices are the economy’s gift to journalists. For one thing, almost everybody either owns a house, is looking to buy one, or to sell one – and all want to know whether prices are going up, down, or sideways, whether buyers are in the saddle and ride sellers, or vice versa.
Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) employees aren't necessarily better at investing in stocks than everyone else, but they are much better at getting out of bad investments before the "bad news" hits. That's according to a new paper by Shivaram Rajgopal and Roger M.
When economic forecasts prove wrong, it is customary to blame the weather. So cold that consumers stayed home, or so hot that consumers, well, stayed home. So cold that outdoor construction was unexpectedly low, unless of course unusually high temperatures made such work impossible lest heat stroke afflict the workers. In short, weather is the straw at which sinking forecasters often grasp.
Herewith some thoughts about the outlook for this year. Thoughts, not forecasts, for which I have neither the skill nor the courage. I offer these thoughts in deference to the understandable demand for look-aheads. Human beings are always hunting for certainty, attempting to reduce randomness, surrendering to what Harvard’s Walter Friedman in his new book (Fortune Tellers: The Story of America’s First Economic Forecasters) calls “the near universal compulsion to avoid ambiguity and doubt.” But there is more to the demand for forecasts than this desire for certainty. Businessmen and policymakers want to use forecasts to change the future, to adapt products to predictions of changes in consumer taste, to structure finances so as to take advantage of predicted changes in interest rates and thereby change earnings in the coming year, to obtain “the ability to alter the very thing that one predicts,” to borrow from Friedman. In short, it is often the goal of the purchaser of a forecast to act so as to prove his seer wrong, and then hire him the following year to repeat the process.
Monday will be an important day here in America. It is Labor Day, the day on which many of us say goodbye to summer – the last holiday from work until we carve our turkeys on Thanksgiving Day at the end of November. Barbeques will be fired up, beer kegs tapped, the all-too-short leases on beach homes will expire, stock exchanges will be shuttered, and thoughts turned to the new football season, especially in Washington and New York, where the end of the baseball season can’t come too soon.
Spare a bit of sympathy for the Federal Reserve Board’s monetary policy gurus. They have said they will begin to “taper” their purchases of bonds and mortgages when the unemployment rate falls to 6.5 percent.
The weekly news on initial claims – up 16,000 to a two-month high of 360,000 – is one part of the economic picture and may be a short term glitch. Still, the overall employment picture is not reassuring. Such jobs as are available tend to be part time. Far too many people have simply dropped out of the work force and quit even looking for jobs.
Until recently it has been fashionable to denigrate the U.S. economic recovery: “America is the best house in a bad neighborhood,” sniffed many analysts. No longer. America is now a very good house in a terrible neighborhood.