Unstructured Finance

Check Out Line: Online shopping woes

December 31, 2008

Check Out the drop in online sales.
Even online retailers are ready for 2008 to end. After we heard about the abysmal holiday season at stores, comScore said online sales for the holiday period up to Dec. 23 dropped 3 percent. It was the first decline in online spending since comScore started tracking online sales in 2001.
The end of 2008 will also mark the first quarter that online sales fell. From Oct. 1 through Dec. 28 e-commerce spending fell 4 percent to $36.8 billion, according to comScore. 
CIRCUITCITY/So who were the biggest winners and losers in December? Through Dec. 24, Hewlett Packard‘s online traffic in the U.S. rose 28 percent to more than 19.4 million unique visitors.  Apple, with more than 35 million visitors, saw its traffic rise 19 percent.  Meanwhile, traffic to Circuit City‘s site fell 21 percent.  Presumably shoppers were spooked after it filed for bankruptcy protection and said it would shut some stores. Dell‘s traffic was down 17 percent.  EBay was still the most popular site, though its traffic fell 4 percent to 85.4 million visitors.

Unhappy new year for chemical makers

December 31, 2008

2009It doesn’t look like 2009 is going to be a happy new year for the chemicals sector.

American Greetings wins over RPG

December 30, 2008

American Greetings evidently found the perfect way to smoothe over a tiff.

Recycled Paper Greetings agreed to be bought by the second-largest U.S. greeting card maker, which was attracted to the smaller rival’s “witty, funny and fresh content.”

Environmental groups call “clean” coal a fairy tale

December 30, 2008

USA-COAL/MONTANAWhat do Bigfoot, a mermaid, an alien from outer space, and clean coal all have in common?
    None of them exist, according to several environmental groups.
    Organizations such as the League of Conservation Voters, Natural Resources Defense Council and the National Wildlife Federation have launched a multi-million dollar media onslaught aimed at knocking down claims that power can be generated from coal now in an environmentally safe manner.                                                                                                                                                      The so called “reality” campaign features a television commercial with a man touting “clean coal technology” in a barren field and print ads with fictional creatures holding lumps of coal. The message of the ads is “In reality, there’s no such thing as clean coal.”
    How to handle America’s abundant coal supply is likely to remain a contentious issue as U.S. President-elect Barack Obama’s incoming administration tackles climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
    Coal-fired power plants generate about half of U.S. electricity supplies, and account for about 40 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions — the biggest single industrial source.
    Obama has expressed support for the development of technology that would allow coal-burning power plants to trap and store carbon dioxide rather than releasing it into the atmosphere. Such technology is commercially untested and currently economically nonviable.
    Coal industry trade groups, such as the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, say that they are committed to carbon reduction strategies and coal power is necessary to provide Americans with affordable electricity.
    Until the carbon capture and storage technology is developed, however, environmentalists behind the Reality Coalition say on their website “coal will remain a major contributor to the climate crisis.”

Check Out Line: Holiday wishes for a better economy

December 30, 2008

Check out samsantaAmericans, fed up with financial doom, who are wishing for a cheerier economy in 2009.

Santa for automakers, Grinch for taxpayers?

December 30, 2008

grinchA company in the U.S. auto industry fails — and the government steps in as savior. Yet again. That’s right. Santa visits the automakers this year while the Grinch steals taxpayers’ Christmas.

Dow’s Kuwaiti breakup is banks’ headache, too

December 29, 2008

Kuwait’s decision to walk away from a $17.4 billion joint venture with Dow Chemical could hurt the prospects for the company’s $15.3 billion takeover of Rohm & Haas. But there could be other losers, too.

Dow/Rohm & Haas: Deal or no deal?

December 29, 2008

Andrew Liveris2008 had the largest number of cancelled deals ever, and the year isn’t even over yet.

Check Out Line: The year of the vampire

December 29, 2008

Check Out the top products on Amazon.com.
Amazon.com just came out with its “best of” lists for 2008.  Since Amazon is best known for selling books (even though it offers everything from groceries to jewelry these days), we thought you might want to know which titles were the hottest this year.

Check Out Line: Mixed Sales News

December 26, 2008

Check Out mixed news on the retail sales front.

Retailers are now out to lure consumers with after-Christmas deals as data show this year’s BRITAIN-SALES/VIEWholiday season was one of the weakest in decades.