Unstructured Finance

Was that an asset sale?

August 31, 2009

Did Citi sell something? All signs point to yes, but beyond that it’s hard to say.

The flu frenzy has begun

August 31, 2009

flu-shotPeople have been worried about the H1N1 flu, aka swine flu, for months but the vaccine for that flu is not expected until at least mid-October.

Maytas Infra gains in falling market

August 31, 2009

The BSE Sensex ended 1.6 percent down on Monday but shares in Maytas Infra ended nearly 5 percent higher at 112.80 rupees after the company’s board received a proposal to replace the existing founder of the firm.

Scarce soybeans stay in CBOT spotlight

August 31, 2009

rainbow1It’s crunch time for soybeans — if only processors could find any to crunch.
     
The protein-rich bean, in huge demand around the world for foods from edible oil and tofu to feedstocks for both animals and biodiesel plants, is in the grip of a supply scare.
    
The United States, the single-largest grower and exporter of soy, is forecast to produce a record-large crop of 3.2 billion bushels this year. Harvest starts in the Midwest grain belt in a few weeks.
    
So why did Chicago Board of Trade soybeans of September delivery reached a two-week high of $11.64-3/4 a bushel on Friday? Because while supply will be big, demand — nervous demand — will be bigger, at least for a while.
    
“If soybeans are ever going to be tight, it’s right now — it’s this week, it’s next week, into the new crop,” said Dan Cekander, a grain market analyst at brokerage Newedge USA. 
    
The U.S. soybean marketing year ends on Aug. 31, with the opening of the traditional harvest month of September. On that date, U.S. soybean stocks-on-hand are expected to have fallen to a 32-year low — with more declines seen before harvest can replenish supplies for processors and exporters.
    
“The other problem you have exacerbating the situation is the new-crop maturity is delayed, so the harvest is going to be delayed. So it’s not like you can all of a sudden turn on a lot of new-crop supplies — just because the old-crop marketing year ended,” Cekander told Reuters TV on Friday.
    
Active soy harvest in the central Midwest — Illinois and Iowa alone produce a third of all U.S. soybeans — is not expected until the third or fourth week in September.
    
So U.S. cash soybean prices soared last week as exporters and processors kept battling over dwindling old-crop supplies. Exporters at New Orleans were bidding as much as $2.10 per bushel over CBOT November futures prices to draw in soybeans on Friday, up from a premium of $1.35 over a week earlier.
    
Processors tried to compete but many continued to be forced to take extended “down time” for lack of bean supplies to crush into soybean meal, a popular high-protein livestock feed, and oil. Some Midwest brokers were quoting prices of up to $100 per ton above CBOT September futures for loaded railcars.
    
“What that tells you is that there are end users right now paying prices as high as they paid at the very height of the bull market a year ago in 2008″ for soymeal, Cekander said. 
    
Driving the strength in prices continues to be China’s torrid buying. But a drop in temperatures this week in the Midwest also sent a shiver through traders fearing an early frost that might cut yields in soybeans.
    
CBOT prices fell on Monday amid outlooks for milder U.S. crop weather through the middle of September. Also weighing on prices were worries that China may unilaterally terminate derivative contracts with some foreign banks that provide over-the-counter commodity hedgers services.
PHOTO: Northwestern Illinois fields after an August shower taken by Christine Stebbins

Check Out Line: More stuff to buy on Walmart.com

August 31, 2009

WALMART/INTERNATIONALCheck Out the discount giant’s latest move.

Walmart.com announced that it added nearly one million new products to its online collection with the launch of Walmart Marketplace, which lets consumers buy items from a specific group of other retailers through its own website.

Boys and girls, welcome to Disney’s Marvelous Media Machine

August 31, 2009

Walt Disney’s $4 billion offer for Marvel Entertainment would give it more than 5,000 comic book characters, including such mighty heroes as Iron Man, Spider-Man, and the Fantastic Four. Disney’s Bob Iger told CNBC that the expanded roster will help bring more boys to the home of the Magic Kingdom, where Snow White, Cinderella and the Little Mermaid have long reigned supreme.

Bye Bye BJ Services

August 31, 2009

If the bottom of the cycle has arrived for the oil and gas services business, then Baker Hughes‘ $5.5 billion stock-and-cash deal to buy smaller rival BJ Services may well be the beginning of a broad consolidation in the industry. 

Realty shines

August 28, 2009

INDIA-ECONOMY/

The BSE real estate index jumped 3.8 percent on Friday and emerged as the best sectoral performer of the day as shares of top realty firms rose.

Spark needed

August 28, 2009

Could the sale of Britain’s biggest electricity distribution network help re-energise infrastructure dealmaking?

Check Out Line: At Tiffany, the cut is in the costs, not the diamonds

August 28, 2009

TIFFANY & CoCheck out cost cuts at Tiffany.
 
it is (was?) a recession and people aren’t buying as much expensive jewelry. Sales at Tiffany fell 16 percent in the latest quarter.
 
But even though profit also fell almost 30 percent, Tiffany shares still rose.
 
Cost cuts helped Tiffany beat analyst expectations. The company said SG&A expenses fell 14 percent. It’s also slowing its pace of store openings because of the recession.
 
“Breakfast at Tiffany’s?” Right now, it might be an Egg McMuffin and coffee from the deli on the corner.
 
Also in the basket:
 
Consumer spending lifted by “cash-for-clunkers”
 
L’Oreal H1 beats forecasts, ready to make purchase