Recently, Microsoft Corporation (MSFT), known for their Windows operating system, MS Office suite and Office Live online services has decided to re-brand their Live web search service to Bing. At first look, Bing already appears different then the traditional web search engines. The layout is considerably different then what most are used to with the popular Google Search engine from Google Corporation (GOOG). Instead of just offering a plain white page with a list of possible matches, Bing offers the user with results, and a menu of other possible actions. For instance, a search for Mustang pulls up pictures of Ford Mustangs, listings for the car, and a menu with such options as parts, sale, and accessories.
Monthly Archives: June 2009
Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B), the failing textile manufacturing company transformed by Warren Buffet into an extremely successful and diverse conglomerate holding giant, began trading stock options of its Class B shares on June 18th. Its strike prices begin at $2,800, $2,900, $3,000 and $3,100 for the first expiration cycle, ending in March of next year. Its core business being insurance, Berkshire has expanded under Buffet’s leadership to include ownership of a wide range of industry – from vacuum cleaners to regional gas and electric utilities and just about everything in between. Buffet’s notable decision to avoid splitting shares has ultimately contributed to their reputation of high per-share price and low liquidity, alienating the prospect of short-term speculators. A reluctant Buffet eventually created a system of Class B shares with a value of approximately 1/30 of the original Class A shares, allowing Berkshire to function in both short and long-term investment realms. The company has kept even these shares stock options free until its recent announcement.
Having recently announced the upcoming release of its first free anti-virus software, Microsoft (MSFT) has put itself on the path of patching the yawning holes in its security, swooping at the same time into the territory of multi-billion dollar anti-virus companies Symantec (SYMC)and MacAfee (MFE). Morro, named after Brazil’s Morro de Sao Paulo beach, will replace Microsoft’s first foray into the anti-virus world. You may remember Live OneCare, Microsoft’s fizzle-and-flop attempt at virus protection, whose threat to industry leaders was far more bark than bite. Morro’s exact release date is unknown, though Microsoft says it will launch the free product by the end of 2009. Microsoft employees are currently testing an early version.
Consumers may be cutting back on a lot of unnecessary spending these days, but many people still see eating out as a “treat.” The average American considers going to a restaurant with family and friends as a relatively inexpensive form of entertainment and pleasure, and a nice break from cooking and cleaning at home. And, after all, everyone has to eat.
General Motors (GM) on June 2, 2009 suspended trade on the New York Stock Exchange. One of the big three automakers and an icon in American business since 1908, the collapse and subsequent filing for bankruptcy has illustrated General Motors’ inability to keep the company profitable and viable. In requesting from the US government financial assistance, General Motors has transitioned to Government Union Motors.
Many Cyber Security Companies are benefiting in the cyber security market segment. Among them Honeywell (HON), SAIC (Science Applications International Corporation) (SAI), Boeing (BA), and Lockheed Martin (LMT). Some smaller companies also benefiting from security include: McAffee (MFE), Symantec (SYMC), and EMC (EMC), to name a few.
The manufacturing sector is an important component of a diversified investment portfolio. However, with the cyclical nature of the wide range of companies that fall under the manufacturing umbrella, it can be difficult to choose the appropriate stocks to own.
Mining investments are looking attractive. For the last 6 months, this sector has been on the upswing. Iron, used extensively in steel production, isn’t as glamorous as gold, but its importance is critical. Gold is, of course, the standard, and will always be a good recession investment, but the bottom of that market may have passed. This may be a good time to consider the broad Mining Sector.
What the market may be learning from the demise of Circuit City, once the nation’s number two electronics retailer, is that today’s consumers have little patience with young, lower-paid hourly workers who display scant knowledge of the latest products. When it comes to home electronics, some consumers are comfortable enough with the technology to buy online, while others look to brick-and-mortar stores with knowledgeable sales staff, adept at demystifying increasingly complex appliances. And this may be why small regional electronics retailers are thriving in this economic downturn: Their back-to-the-future business model includes commissioned sales staff, trained to explain new technology.