Unstructured Finance

The afternoon deal: Speculating on sheikh’s successor

March 31, 2010

A day after the body of a prominent Emerati sheikh killed in a glider crash was found in Morocco, speculation is swirling around who will be tapped to take over his job as chief of one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds.

So much Starbucks coffee to taste (250,000 cups), so little time

March 31, 2010

mcmartinThink you drink a lot of java? Think again.
Starbucks’ stable of 20 coffee tasters collectively sample 250,000 cups of coffee every year, Scott McMartin, Starbucks’ director of global coffee advocacy told Reuters during a recent visit to the cafe chain’s Seattle headquarters.
Those tasters — who sample the brews sold at Starbucks and the company’s Seattle’s Best Coffee brand — are based in Seattle, Switzerland and in farmer support centers in Costa Rica and Rwanda.
scott2McMartin, who spoke as he slurped a variety of coffees, says great tasters have a mix of natural skill and commitment to craft. (Tasters make a slurping sound as they practically inhale the hot brew — a process that mixes the  liquid with air to help the tongue detect different flavors. Then they swish and spit.) 
Top tasters, like athletes and artists, know that practice makes perfect, said McMartin, who is also a sommelier. 
“It’s a repetitive thing. Your tongue is a muscle,” he said
Starbucks tasters make copious notes and occasionally check that they are in sync with regard to what they’re tasting in the cup. The latter process helps Starbucks make sure there are no “rogue tasters” in the mix, McMartin said.

Revolution! Jersey-style

March 31, 2010

jersey.jpgThe corridors of power are pokey in the government buildings of St Helier, capital of Jersey, the British island tax haven off the coast of northern France.

Blockbusted – Icahn cuts stake in troubled video chain

March 31, 2010

Blockbuster‘s biggest shareholder, and one of the market’s most prominent activist investors, is heading for the door, heaping another note of gloom to the video chain’s hopes to avoid bankruptcy.

Check Out Line: Visa Out, Amex in at Macy’s

March 31, 2010

Check out Macy’s dumping Visa for Amex. mUSA-RETAIL/

The department store chain operator has reached a deal with American Express to switch the Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s co-branded credit cards to Amex from Visa. The cards will be issued by Citi.

Gartmore’s Guy flies back in

March 31, 2010

Gartmore are embarking on a damage limitation exercise in the wake of the suspension of star fund manager Guillaume Rambourg. His mentor, Roger Guy has rushed back early from holiday to help soothe investors spooked by an internal investigation which appears to have thrown up the possibility certain brokers were being favoured.

DealZone Daily

March 31, 2010

Wednesday’s top stories:

* Australia’s Macarthur Coal rejects a A$3.3 billion ($3 billion) takeover offer from U.S. coal miner Peabody Energy , saying it does not fully value the company and its growth prospects.

Mixed day for banks, HDFC Bank down 3 pct

March 30, 2010
Mixed day for banks, HDFC Bank down 3 pct The BSE banking index fell 0.5 percent on Tuesday after gaining 3.7 percent over the last four sessions. Shares in HDFC Bank slipped 3 percent in trade and ended as the top Sensex loser. The benchmark Sensex too ended a four-session rally, closing 121 points lower at 17590. The other prominent losers were Axis Bank, which slipped 2.2 percent, and SBI which ended 0.6 percent lower. Some smaller peers however had a good day. Bank of India vaulted over 5 percent to the top of the bankex gainers list, while Karnataka Bank gained 2.3 percent. Seeing the current interest rate environment and with the Reserve Bank widely expected to increase rates in April, will you invest in this sector? http://in.reuters.com/article/economicNews/idINIndia-46771020100309

asdasdasdasdThe BSE banking index fell 0.55 percent on Tuesday after gaining 3.7 percent over the last four sessions.

No “Inshallah” for hedge funds

March 30, 2010

Islamic funds may well be “the most dynamic part of the Sharia-compliant sector”, supported by with increasing interest from  deep pocketed investors,  but if you are a hedge fund manager,  Banque Sarasin reckons you have no hope of getting a slice of this Sharia pie.