Tuesday, July 31

DOW drops 146 points sparked by Subrime Fears

Stock Market Investing - DOW Falls

Stock Market News

DOW drops 146 points sparked by Subprime Fears

The Wall Street rally was stopped in its tracks by American Home Mortgage and renewed worries about subprime mortgages. The major indexes fell off sharply the DOW finishing down 146 points the Nasdaq down 37 and the S&P down 18.

The main factor behind the fall was an announcement from subprime lender American Home Mortgage (AHM), saying that it is unable to borrow on its credit facilities or access its warehouse financing agreements to fund its obligations. The news served to further fuel concerns over subprime mortgages and the possibility of the troubles extending into wider credit market.

News Corp and Dow Jones Tie the Knot

Online Stock Trading

News Corp and Dow Jones Tie the Knot

According to Reuters the News Corp and Dow Jones deal is now a done deal.

"The Bancroft family has accepted," John Prestbo, editor and executive director of Dow Jones Indexes, told reporters on Tuesday in Chicago. Dow Jones "will be part of News Corp," he said.
Prestbo told Reuters the information came from an internal company memo. (Reporting by Sam Nelson)

News Corp and Dow Jones Close to Deal

Online Trading - Dow Jones Sold

News Corp and Dow Jones could finally sign deal by this evening.

According to CNBC, News Corp is expected to sign a deal to buy Dow Jones on Tuesday evening.

On Monday, NewsCorp could count on about 29% of the company's voting stock owned by the Bancroft family, for its $60 a share offer .

News Corp. might also be persuaded to come up with the $30 million to cover the Bancraoft's legal fees. (I knew I should have studied law!)

"The definitive agreement has not been signed, but people familiar with the situation tell me it will be this evening," CNBC reported on Tuesday.

Source CNBC

Cheaper Life Insurance for Vegetarians

Online Stock Trading - Cheap Life Insurance

Stock Market News

Cheaper Life Insurance for Vegetarians

Life insurance just got cheaper for vegetarians and fish-eaters due to a policy launched today by AFI a not-for-profit insurance business
In a deal believed to be the first of its kind non-meat eaters will be offered a 6% discount.

According to the firm vegetarians should pay less for life cover as they are less likely to suffer from a range of chronic illnesses, including some cancers.

Elaine Fairfax, AFI’s MD said: "The risk of vegetarians suffering from some cancers is reduced by up to 40% and from heart disease by up to 30%, but despite this they have to pay the same life insurance premiums as meat eaters.

"We believe this is unfair and the life insurance industry needs to acknowledge the fact that being a vegetarian can have a very positive impact on life expectancy and reduce premiums accordingly."

The policy is underwritten by the insurance company LV.

Premiums paid take into acccount factors such as age, weight and whether or not they smoke.
The 6% discount is being paid by AFI itself out of the fee it gets from LV. But, Ms Fairfax said she hoped one day to offer a specialist policy with lower premiums.

The company’s hope is that it will sign up enough vegetarians to make it worthwhile for LV to underwrite a separate policy that takes diet into account.

AFI is a not-for-profit organisation that donates 100% of its net profits to animal charities.
Ms Fairfax said "When it comes to life insurance, we believe that insurers should start to look at meat eaters and non-meat eaters in a similar way to the way they look at smokers and non-smokers. "Hopefully others in the industry will follow our lead."

She also said she was unconcerned about people falling off the vegetarian wagon. "I think people who don't eat meat don't eat meat, they don't tend to drift in and out of it as with smoking."

Si if you are a vegetarian or non-meat eater and want to help animal causes and save yourself some money, check out the AFI website.

Glaxo's Diabetes Pill Avandia Remains on the Market

Online Stock Trading - Glaxo Avandia

Stock Market news

Glaxo's Diabetes Pill Avandia Remains on the Market

A panel of advisers to the FDA voted that Glaxo’s diabetes pill Avandia should remain on the market. They said there was not enough evidence to justifying stopping sales.

The panel did however agree that the drug does cause an increase in the risk of heart attacks. Some of the panel recommended that the FDA should take steps to limit use of the drug.

  • Avandia has annual sales of $3 billion
  • 7 million people have used it
  • It is Glaxo's second-best selling drug
  • and represents around 6% of the group's total turnover.

The panel voted 20-3 that Avandia increases the risks of heart attacks and voted 22-1 that it should nevertheless remain on the market. Most of the panel recommended the inclusion of a strong warning on heart attacks.

Some panelists also recommended the use of a black box warning, the most severe warning used by the FDA. Many said Avandia should not be approved for use with insulin, as patients who got both drugs were at the highest risk of a heart attack.

Chris Viehbacher, Glaxo's president of US pharmaceuticals, said that "there is no difference" in heart attack risk between Avandia and other diabetes pills.

In a separate devlopment Glaxo’s Australian partner on flu drug Relenza has increased its claim for damages to $600 million, accusing Glaxo of failing to promote the product properly.

Biota Holdings Ltd. started its litigation in May 2004 but had previously been seeking up to A$430 million.

Glaxo has rejected Biota's claim arguing that it has met its obligations. The case will no tbe tried until April 1, 2008 in Melbourne

1-year candlestick chart

Glaxo shares have fallen 16% since May when Avandia was linked to a 43% increased risk of heart attacks.

The share price was up over 5% in early trading, it is now up 3.5% with the FTSE up 123 points.

Sunday, July 29

Distressed Seller Causes Falls in Silence Therapeutics

Stock Market Trading - Share Trading in SLN

Stock Market Report

Distressed Seller Causes Falls in Silence Therapeutics

Rumour has it that the recent sharp falls in Silence Therapeutics (SLN), which describes itself as the leading RNAi therapeutics company in Europe, were caused by a certain well-known investor finding himself up a certain famous creek without any means of locomotion. It appears that he has taken 'big hits' on two stocks and was therefore forced to sell SLN to cover them. I'm sure we all know the feeling, swings and roundabouts etc...

It is also rumoured that he has now finished selling, because he has no more left to sell. Make of this what you will, we shall see on Monday, which way the wind is blowing.

Personally I think the fact that options were given to the new Group CEO at 127p also had something to do with it.

The statment from the company says : "Jeff Vick has been granted options over 1,500,000 ordinary shares in SilenceTherapeutics plc at an exercise price of 127p per share, being the mid-market price of the shares at the close of business on the day before his appointment."

The day before the day before his appointment the mid-market close price was 136p which would have made options over 1.5 million shares about £135,000 less attractive and the day before that the price was 140p.

SLN 2-month chart

So a combination of factors, including perhaps the general stock market slump, has forced the SLN share price down to around 118p, with all the news and rumours floating around SLN I can't see the price staying there for long. News has involved AstraZeneca taking a large stake at 146p. Rumours so far have concerned : Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, and a famous US biotech investor.

The AGM is scheduled for Thursday 2nd August.

The FSA Condemns Lies told by UK Banks

Online Stock Trading - Bankers' Lies

Stock Market News

FSA Condemns Lies Told by UK Banks

According to the Government’s financial regulator some of Britain’s banks and building societies have lied to customers and threatened those who complain about overdraft charges.

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has criticized current account providers for making “false or misleading statements” to customers saying that some institutions had actually lied to account holders to try and put them off reclaiming unauthorised overdraft charges.

It also said that some banks and building societies had either closed or threatened to close customers’ accounts to ‘punish them’ for making a claim.

In a letter to the CEOs of every bank and building society, the FSA said: “Whilst there may be some circumstances that warrant the termination of the commercial relationship, we would expect this to be a relatively rare occurrence . . . and not as part of a standardised (and seemingly punitive) policy towards those who have merely exercised their right to complain.”

Having your bank account closed can cause even more problems if you miss a mortgage payment or other important direct debit as a result, as it will harm your credit rating and may lead to further fees/penalties. The FSA has taken enforcement action against two companies, which may result in significant fines.

Hundreds of thousands of account holders have reclaimed more than £200 million in overdraft penalty charges this year, complaining that the fees are illegal. Some banks charge you £39 if you slip into the red without permission, whereas the actual cost to banks is estimated to be £2.50. Overdraft charges rake in around £1.7 billion a year for banks and building societies.
The British Bankers’ Association (BBA) does not seem unduly perturbed by the FSA’s findings, saying “This is part of what the FSA do, the FSA do these periodic reviews. We’ve worked entirely hand in hand with the FSA.”

Martin Lewis, of MoneySavingExpert, the consumer website, said: “The FSA may have slapped the banks’ wrists but I suspect the banks are jumping for joy. What they have done is stop people reclaiming money.”

Doug Taylor, from consumer organisation Which?, said: “We call on the FSA to name and shame the worst offenders and give consumers all the facts on which to base their banking decisions. Switching current accounts is a lot easier than people think. Vote with your feet and show the banks who is boss.”

The problem is, however, if all the banks are the same then there is little point changing. My experience of banks has been uniformly negative, they promise the earth to get you to sign up but once you have then you're on your own, read the small print very carefully.

Over the years I've been with Barclays, NatWest, Abbey, Nationwide, HSBC - I wish there is one I could recommend but there isn't. They all display varying degrees of incompetence or profiteering. One recent example of which is Abbey which charged me £40 to cash a cheque for 400 Euros.

Saturday, July 28

Saturday Newspaper Share Tips and Rumours

Share Trading - Stock Picks

Stock Market News

Weekend Share Watch:
Vague talk that Standard Life is considering a bid for insurance company Friends Provident
Hornby: wet weather should help recovery
Undervalued Alfred McAlpine is bouncing back
Venture Production remains reasonably good value

Tempus: Shares to seek out when people stop panicking (BAT, Scottish & Southern Energy, Tesco, Unilever)
Hold on to BG Group
Hold Reuters

Other comment:
Fears are set aside as investment managers agree that the 'bull run still has legs'
Persimmon leads a property comeback
Speculation that Central African Gold is on verge of announcing a revised estimate for Bibiani gold project in China

Tiddler to Watch

Sell London Scottish Bank and Provident Financial
Take some profits in Dimension Data on next spike up
Buy Zetar

Ten Bargains;
Royal Dutch Shell
Hydro International
Crocs International
Premier Foods
Domino's Pizza

Other comment:
Proteome Sciences set for lift-off as it receives US patent

Markets: stay out for now and stay clear of banks, properties and builders
If Resolution's way is blocked, it leaves Friends provident in an unenviable situation

Taking Stock:
Sci Entertainment loses a life but it's not game over –
Transport shares roll on (National Express, Stagecoach) –
Risk taking a peek at Medusa Mining –

Friday, July 27

Rumours and Tips from Today's Newspapers

Online Stock Trading - Stock Picks

Stocks to Watch


Buy - International Personal Finance (IPF)
Shed Productions (SHPD) TMN (TMN),
CareCapital Group (CARE)
Hardy Oil & Gas (HDY).

Sell – Spring (SRG)

Tip Updates:
Buy - Solar Integrated Research (SIT).
Sell – Latchways (LTC)
Good value – Platmin (PPN) Ark Therapeutics (AKT) and William Morrison (MRW)
Fairly priced - RDF Media (RDF).

Company Results:
Buy - Northern Rock (NRK) Alizyme (AZM), Sthree (STHR), Wolfson Microelectronics (WLF), United Carpets (UCG), Dipford (DIP) RAB Capital (RAB).

Sell - Colt Telecom (COLT) and Misys (MSY).


Hold – Shell (RDSA).
Buy - Reed Elsevier (REL).
Sell - Bradford & Bingley (BB.).

Investment Column:
Hold Kesa Electricals (KESA).
Buy Rathbone Bros (RAT).
OMG (OMG) a high risk buy.

Worth holding – Shell (RDSA)
Hold - Rolls-Royce (RR.).
Avoid - Legal & General (LGEN)

Small Cap to Watch:
Aminex (AEX).

Share Whisper:
Keep an eye on Uranium Resources (URA).


FTSE has biggest drop in five years.
Penny share Uranium Prospects at 5p, could be interesting when dealing gets underway on Plus Markets.

Fortis weak link in RBS-led (RBS) consortium bid for ABN Amro.
Pearl wants talks with Resolution (RSL) on alternative to Friends Provident (FP.) merger, it already has an 11.28% stake in Resolution.
AstraZeneca to shed another 4,300 staff.

Aisi Realty to float on AIM on 1st August with a market capitalisation of $109.7-million.

Dow closed down 311.50-points at 13473.57, Nasdaq lost 48.83-points to 2599.34, S&P down 35.43-points at 1482.66.

Office of Fair Trading takes banks to Court over 'unfair' overdraft fees.
Diabetes drugs Avandia and Actos can double the risk of heart failure.

US executives find favours to analysts can secure better ratings.

Uranium prices fall first time in 4 years.
US June new home sales down 6.6% to 834,000 units vs 905,000 expected.
US weekly jobless claims fall 2,000 to 301,000 s 310,000 expected.
US June durable goods orders up 1.4% vs 2% rise expected.
US takeovers by foreign state-owned companies will face heightened scrutiny on national security grounds.
Alan Greenspan warns US business taxes will be a problem as capital cost rises.

Thursday, July 26

FTSEdown 203 DOW down 272

Online Stock Trading - Stock Markets Fall

Stock Market Report

FTSE Down 203 at 6251 - DOW down 272 at 13,512 - Nasdaq down 60 S&P down 33

First update since last Saturday due to floods here in the UK, particularly in my street ! Fortunately for me not in my front door as I managed to keep it out, my neighbours were not so fortunate. But with PC moved upstairs out of the danger zone and not much free time, following the stock market has been more difficult.

I see the stock markets have been throwing a wobbly.

Some people were talking about a 3% - 5% correction being necessary which would take the DOW back down to 13,580 - 13,300 [UPDATE - it turns out a 50% correction was necessary on the stock markets !]

So far today it has been down to 13,550

Lots of red on the stock markets - FTSE - stocks down 3, 4, 5 6 and 7% in the UK

Saturday, July 21

Dragon to Fire Up Oxonica

Online Trading

Stock Market News

Dragon to Fire Up Oxonica

Richard Farleigh, one of the Dragons who took part in the BBC’s series Dragons' Den and one of the more open-minded and adventurous if my memory serves me right, will be joing the board of Oxonica and playing a greater role, althouth he is already the largest shareholder with a 15% stake. (Perhaps he was beginning to be concerned about what was happening with his money?)

He will become deputy chairman and will eventually take over from current chairman, Christopher Moore. He will also help the company raise much-needed funds. Oxonica is down to its last £3m in cash.

The company lost a crucial contract with the Turkish energy company Petrol Ofisi and has already declared that sales revenues will miss market expectations.

Oxonica is currently carrying out a strategic review of its operations which include medical diagnostics, fuel-efficiency technology and a nanotechnology product used in suncream.

Mr Farleigh, who first invested in Oxonica when it was spun out of Oxford University in the 1990s, has also become deputy chairman of ClearSpeed. What do Clearspeed do ? ClearSpeed Technology the world leader in acceleration technology for high performance computing, is a semiconductor company that develops massively parallel coprocessors, accelerator boards and software for applications in financial services, universities, national laboratories and other numerically intensive disciplines." So now you know !

"I am putting a lot of energy into the two companies," Mr Farleigh said.

There is an interesting article about Mr Farleigh on Wikipedia, it reads a bit like a PR blurb but interesting all the same.

So perhaps the ‘energy’ he will be putting into Oxonica will sort out its problems.

Oxonica is currently embroiled in a patent dispute with Neuftec, which led to the recent remark by the Neuftec directors : "The directors of Neuftec … are taking very seriously the far from accurate portrayal of the facts contained within the release from Oxonica PLC. Neuftec are in consultation with their international legal team relating to the inaccuracies riddled throughout the statement and will be issuing a detailed press release shortly."

And to a more complete clarification of the various issues and disputes on 18 July

At the AGM the Oxonica directors said : "Stagecoach is currently conducting a trial to affirm the effectiveness of Envirox(TM) in its fleet, as envisaged at the time of the original agreement with Oxonica. The trial is expected to continue over the next 4 to 5 months."

And : "Richard Farleigh, the well-known and very successful technology investor and currently the largest single shareholder in Oxonica, has agreed to join the Board as Deputy Chairman immediately following the AGM with a view to leading the Company's fundraising efforts. Christopher Moore has indicated his intention to step down in due course following the orderly handover of the Chairmanship to Richard Farleigh. Also, Foresight Venture Partners, the Investment Adviser to the Foresight Funds and TriVest, together the largest combined shareholder group in Oxonica, has been granted observer status at future Board meetings. David Hughes, a Foresight partner with over 30 years of venture capital and corporatefinance experience with smaller listed companies, is the nominated representative. During this transition period, the Board will be further reorganised to reflect the strategic challenges facing Oxonica going forward."

Apparently at the AGM the directors also "admitted failures in the Petrol Ofisi episode, but refused to discuss the Neuftec legal case and claimed they didn't want stuff to appear on blog sites!" Cheek !

One commentator has called the goings on at Oxonica "an imploding nanofiasco. When CTO’s start to be laid off in the interest of cost cutting you know the company has abandoned plans to dig itself out of the hole.

London’s AIM market is lightly regulated in the interest of stimulating early stage companies, but the firing and defection of large chunks of the management team and attempting to flog off big chunks of the business on the cheap sounds like the sort of information that should be disclosed to investors, especially in light of a crash then a trebling then a crash of the share price in the meantime

The interesting 1 year chart

The equally interesting 2 month candlestick chart - note the recent 100% rise from 40p to 80p and the subsequent slide back to 40p - !

These charts merely tell me that you need a brain in touch with the ethereal realms of extra-sensory perception to invest in this company, as I mentioned in a previous post on this very blog - Online Stock Trading - Oxonica

So these could be even more interesting times for Oxonica. Will I be investing in Oxonica ? No thanks, I 've got enough problems without adding sleepless nights to the list. I've no doubt that with Mr Farleigh and Foresight Venture taking a closer interest something wil happen but quite what that something is I have no idea. If Oxonica needs cash then someone may be willing to provide that cash, but at what price ? What conditions will be imposed ? Personally, I prefer to wait until the dust settles.

[There is no copyright on my scribblings so please feel free to distribute them far and wide - though a link to this post would be nice. Comments are encouraged too!]

Friday, July 20

Friends Provident and Resolution Life May Get Together

Online Stock Trading - Merger News

Stock Market News

Friends Provident and Resolution Life May Get Together

Full story at the Financial Times

Resolution Life, a specialist investor in life assurance funds, and Friends Provident are exploring the possiblities of a merger deal.

A merger of the two companies could lead to other consolidations among companies in the UK life market, including Standard Life.

Earlier in the day Axa had been linked with a possible bid for Friends Provident but the latter is thought to have become more interested in a merger with Resolution, as a result of cash flow and capital issues. There is no guarantee that any deal will be agreed.

Sky News Says Takoever Bid Imminent for Arsenal Football Club

Stock Market Investing - Takeover news

Stock Market News

Takeover Bid for Arsenal Football Club Imminent

According toe Sky News in the UK, Stan Kroenke a US property tycoon has teamed up with former vice-chairman David Dein and will make an offer within days.

He already owns more than 12% of the club.

GW Pharmaceuticals Slumps 27pc on European Application WIthdrawal

Online Stock Trading - Stocks to Watch

Stock Market Investing

GW Pharmaceuticals Pulls Application for Sativex in Europe
Sativex is a c*nn*bis-based drug used to treat MS Spasticity. Why the asterisks ? Because it is quite possible that Google will plaster this blog with PSAs if I use the real word !

GWP has just announced that it has decided to withdraw its current regulatory application for Sativex in Europe. It expects to resubmit an application for approval in 2008. They have had "constructive and detailed discussions with regulatory authorities" which have provided a clear path to approval for Sativex in the treatment of MS Spasticity.

GWP shareholders are a long-suffering bunch. The shares are down 27% on the news. Share trading is not easy !

Friends Provident Rises on Takeover Rumours

Share Trading - City Shares

Stock Market News

Rumours Swirl Around Friends Again

Friends Provident (FP.) rose 4% in early trading on rumours of a possible bid. It was the biggest gainer in the FTSE 100.

Friends Provident is one of the leading financial services groups in the UK offering life protection, income protection, pensions and investment products. It also has international pensions divisions and and asset management division.

French insurance company AXA is often put forward in connection and has been linked with a possible bid on several occasions. There was a similar rumour mentioned in the Financial Times back in May and The Observer mentioned rumours of both Axa and JC Flowers being interested. A U.S. company might after all be very interested in owning a company called Friends.

There is also talk of a possible broker upgrade.

FP. says it is happy with its present situation.

Neither company has made any comment so far.

According to one trader "Every punter in the land wants a piece of this action. It’s a momentum trade."

10 year Chart

1 month candlestick chart

The stock charts could be considered 'interesting', as long as they don't keep falling !


Online Trading - Newspaper Stock Picks

Stocks to Watch



Alternext shares to watch – Efront and ECT Industries.
Plus Markets shares to watch – Espro Information and Stockval Holdings.

Buy CRH (CRH), Chesnara (CSN), Premier Research (PRG), Aurelian Oil & Gas (AUL) Inland (INL) Powerflute (POWR)

Buy - Allergy Therapeutics (AGY) FDM (FDM) Huntsworth (HNT) British Airways (BAY)
Good value - Bateman Litwin (BNLN)

Biotech breakthrough? – Biotech companies finally delivering, but jaded market is not interested.

Company Results:
Buy - Sovereign Reversions (SVN) Low & Bonar (LWB) Jacques Vert (JQV) Fletcher King (FLK) Charles Thorpe, Scott Wilson (SWG)

Questor :
Hold - Venture Production (VPC)
Avoid - Colt Telecom (COLT)

Further news:
Old Mutual (OML) becomes new favourite after bank sale rumours

Investment Column:
Hold - Great Portland Estates (GPOR)
Sell - Colt Telecom (COLT)
Buy - Dairy Crest (DCG)

Further news:
Ashley trains sights on US firm Footlocker (SPD)

Share Whisper:
Vislink (VLK) thought to be looking for an acquisition in US.

Further news:
Contract hopes support Z Group (ZGP) and Bright Things (BGT)

Further news:
Rumours that Sports Direct (SPD) may make a bid for Footlocker of US.
Sanctuary (SGP) bidding war fades.
ISP deal hopes lift Phorm( PHRM)

Tiddler to Watch:
Freshwater UK (FWUK)

Tempus :
Hold - William Morrison (MRW) for long-term.
Worth a look - Charles Taylor (CTR)
Hold on - Dobbies Garden Centres (DGC)

Further news:
Old Mutual (OML ) lifted by hope of Nedbank deal worth.
Kingston Communications (KCOM) tempting target for rivals such as Thus (THUS)

HBOS raises stake in Quintain Estates (QED) to 14.15%.
Sir Tom Hunter raises stake in Dobbies Garden Centres (DGC) to 26%.

The Dow closed up 82.19-points at 1400.41 (all-time high), Nasdaq gained 20.55-points 2720.04 (8=6.5 year high) , S&P put on 6.90-points to 1553.08.

White House does not rule out striking suspected terrorist targets inside Pakistan.

Nationwide forecast for 2007 house price inflation - 5.8%.

IMF warns of an increase in food prices across the globe.

Price of tin hits record driven by speculative money flows and supply disruption.

Thursday, July 19

Toshiba Recalls More Sony Batteries - Nanobatteries the Way of the Future ?

Online Stock Trading

Stock Market News

Toshiba Recalls More Sony Batteries

More trouble for Sony as Toshiba recalled 10,000 laptop battery packs due to exploding batteries which catch fire.Online Stock Trading Toshiba

Toshiba said three of its laptops, made on December 3, 2005 caught fire in the last 10 months.
Toshiba laptops with the batteries have been sold in Japan, the United States, Europe and the rest of Asia.

The batteries are a different type to the 800,000+ Sony batteries previously recalled by Toshiba.

According to Reuters, only 5,100 lithium ion batteris of the 10,000 packs are potentially defective, but Toshiba has decided it is better to be safe than sorry. It wants to make sure all the battery packs containing targeted battery cells are exchanged.

Last year Sony recalled 9.6 million PC batteries ata cost of $418 million.

A Sony spokesman said thi slatest recall should not affect Son’y finances much as once you have recalled 9.6 million batteries another 10,000 is just a drop in the ocean.


Share Trading Nanobatteries

Reseachers at Tel-Aviv University have developed a safer type of Li-Ion 'nanobattery' that might help prevent future fires and explosions.

A nano-battery is the equivalent of 30,000 batteries connected in parallel in a space the size of a postage stamp?

25,000 parallel-connected nanobattery

The nano-battery offers high power while at the same time eliminating overheating and is patent-protected worldwide. [Memo - find out who manufactures these nanobatteries !]

In the future these batteries will change our lives in many ways e.g. disk-on-keys or credit cards embedded with a flat screen TV! “We are giving more capacity to the battery per footprint area,” notes Prof. Nathan of Tel Aviv University “The point for us isn’t necessarily the small size, but how much capacity (current hour) you can put in that small space.”


Genco Shipping CEO Increases size of Shipping Fleet to meet Increased Demand to China

Online Stock Trades

Business News

Genco Shipping to Spend $1.1 billion buying more Ships

Genco Shipping and Trading CEO Peter Georgiopoulos has just been on CNBC and is very bullish on the economy. He says they have already signed contracts for the next 3 - 4 years. His company is involved in bulk shipping of materials around the world, mainly China, and they have so much business they need more ships. In fact they need nine Capesize Vessels - these are big it would appear, to big to fit through the Panama canal, so they have to go round the end of South America.

They are to expand their fleet by 159% on a Tonnage Basis.

Tbe nine ships will cost $1.1 billion, so he must be confident !

They will be buying them from companies within the Metrostar Management Corporation group.

Two of the vessels are expected to be delivered during the third quarter of 2007.

The remaining seven Capesize vessels are expected to be delivered to Genco, between the fourth quarter of 2007 and the third quarter of 2009. Upon completion of the acquisition, Genco's fleet will consist of nine Capesize, seven Panamax, seven Handymax, and five Handysize drybulk carriers, with a total carrying capacity of approximately 2,559,000 dwt and an average age of 8 years.


If Life Serves You a Lemon - Make Ethanol !

Online Trading - Ethanol

Stock Market News

FPL Energy to Produce Ethanol from Citrus Peel

FPL Energy LLC, a subsidiary of FPL Group Inc., has announced it has signed a deal with Citrus Energy LLC in Florida to develop the first plant to make ethanol out of citrus peels.

FPL Energy will own and operate the cellulosic ethanol plant and it is expected that it will produce 4 million gallons of ethanol per year.

FPL Energy said making ethanol from citrus peel could give rise to whole new industry in Florida, which could produce more than 60 million gallons of fuel a year, which would replace replace about 1% of Florida's annual gasoline consumption.

I'm not a commodities trading expert but given the rise in prices in corn, I guess it's possible that oranges might go the same way.

Ceres Power Develops Home Electricity Generator Unit

Online Stock Trading - Fuel Cells

Stock Market News - Fuel Cells

Ceres Power Builds Electricity and Hot Water Generator for the Home

Ceres Power (CWR) the fuel cell group, announced today that it has designed and built an "integrated, wall-mountable combined heat and power unit ('the CHP Unit')".

An important technical achievement and a milestone in the Company's
residential CHP programme with British Gas.

The unit will allow access to residential mass markets in the UK and overseas and can be used to generate electricity as well as all the central heating and hot water requirements of a typical home. It avoids the need for a separate boiler and is easy to install.

Analysts will be visiting the company’s headquarters on Tuesday September 11th for a demonstration. The Company will also show the CHP hardware at the London Stock Exchange on Friday September 14th.

Peter Bance, CEO Ceres Power, said:

'Achievement of this important milestone is a significant step forward in the commercialisation of our unique technology.'

Fuel Cells 101

Fuel cells produce electrical power. They use the chemical properties of hydrogen and oxygen to create useable electrical current, heat and water vapour. In some ways they can be considered to be a continuously fuelled battery, although, unlike a battery, they do not store energy - they convert it from one form to another.

Fuel cells are significantly more efficient than internal combustion engines because they convert chemical energy directly to electrical current. They operate at maximum efficiency at part load and their efficiency is unaffected by size.

Utilities would like to develop fuel cell technology as it would mean that electricity could be produced locally and more efficiently, than in large power plants.

Ceres' shares rose 21% last month on "interest from U.S.-based institutional investors".

According to Market-Insider Citigroup has raised its price target to 510p The Broker says: ‘We believe some value engineering still needs to be undertaken, thus commercial sales are unlikely immediately. However, given the “mother plant” is due on-stream in 2009, we believe a mass production ready design can be expected in the next 12-18 months.’

Ceres has a rival in Ceramic Fuel Cells (CFU) which is working on similar boiler technology, which feeds electricity to the grid, with Powergen in the UK.

2 year CWR chart

2 month candlestick chart

It is up 15% at the moment today. Could be interesting as a long-term investment, what it will do today is anybody's guess.

IBM Results Impress - eBay Listings Slide Again !

Online Stock Trading - IBM Stock Price Rises

Stock Market News

IBM Impress - eBay Listings Slide Again

IBM posted a 12% rise in quarterly profit and raised its 2007 earnings forecast as revenues surged on the back of software acquisitions.

As half of yesterday's 53-point drop in the Dow was due to Intel , which fell 5% due to below-estimated margins on chip sales, IBM’s results could reverse all that today.

IBM's excellent results show that capital expenditure worldwide is strong. Its shares which are already at a 5 year high, rose 3.3% in after-hours trading.
Net profit rose to $2.26bn from $2.02bn. Turnover rose to $23.8bn from $21.9bn.

Bob Djurdjevic, head of Annex Research said this quarter's results "removed the bane of slow growth from the critics' agenda. The second quarter of 2007 showed the best growth in Sam Palmisano's five-year tenure at the helm."

"Perhaps the best news for investors was that the company's most profitable part of the business - software - generated double digit growth (up 13%), and that even its biggest business unit and a relative growth laggard in recent years - IBM Global Services - also grew in double digits (up 10%).

"With three of its major brands growing in the 20% range, the company's shareholders have much to cheer about," he added.

"It looks like a good report all around," said Kim Caughey, vice president and senior analyst at Fort Pitt Capital Group Inc. "It doesn't look like there are any holes at this point."

EBay’s results beat expectations, with a 50% rise in second quarter net income to $375.8m. Revenue increased 30% to $1.8bn beating analyst expectations of $1.78bn. But most of this was due to Paypal fees.

The number of listings on the site was actually down by 6%, the third consecutive quarter of decline !

This is actually quite staggering given that eBay has a virtual monopoly on online auctions , certainly in North America and the UK. That they actually managed to drive people away from their auction site while broadband subscriptions continue to rise is quite an achievement.

Perhaps they should put themselves up for auction? I've long been of the opinion that eBay needs a serious rival, monopolies are not good for anyone particulary the long-suffering customer, but it would take someone with the clout of a Google to actually take eBay on at its own game. Now there's an idea!
[The 6% slide on top of previous slides in the number of listings is in the humble opinion of this editor caused by eBay’s fiddling with the site – they decided that although it wasn’t broke they would fix it anyway].

Of what use is an auction site if its core business 'auctions' is sliding all the time - if eBay neglects this core business then it will be in trouble. Paypal is basically a banking/finance business. eBay is supposed to be an auction site, if they continually annoy their sellers and buyers, then they will eventually find somewhere else to sell their stuff.

According to Tim Boyd of American Technology Research "Ebay had a solid quarter and every segment of its business performed above expectations".

"Yes, the listings are not growing but the quality of inventory on eBay has improved which means that the overall shopping experience has improved," he added. (Clearly he lives in a different universe to the one I live in – he should have a look at the eBay forums to see what people really think – Ed.)

eBay increased guidance for the full year, saying revenues would be between $7.3bn and $7.45bn instead of $7.2bn and $7.45bn.


Share Trading - Newspaper Stock Picks


Stocks for the crop boom:
Asian Citrus (ACH) D1 Oils (DOO) MP Evans (MPE) Genus (GNS) Plant Health Care (PHC)

Plays of the Week:
Buy – Assetco (ASTO) and Imprint (IMP )

Play Updates:
Access Intelligence (ACC) - Stopped out.
FDM Group (FDMG) – Buy, with new stop loss of 124p.

For traders:
Buy – Pearson (PSON), Diageo (DGE) Max Petroleum (MXP
Sell - BG Group (BG.)


Takeover talk lifts Bradford & Bingley (BB.)
Stake sale boosts CSS Stella (CSS)


Interesting Small Cap :
Nautical Petroleum (NPE)

Tempus :
LogicaCMG (LOG) - Excellent buying opportunity .
Hold - WS Atkins (ATK)

Motorola's (MOT) recent profit warning should be good news for CSR (CSR)

Comment :
Qataris in good position to acquire Sainsbury's (SBRY)

Questor :
Moneysupermarket.com: avoid this website trap.

Wal-Mart (WAL) considers investing in one of China's biggest retail groups.

Family obstinate as Sainsbury (SBRY ) bid looms.
Philanthropy: the height of fashion.

Investment Column:
Hold – LogicaCMG (LOG)
Hold Northern Foods (NFDS)
Buy JD Wetherspoon (JDW)

ABN Amro may recommend Royal Bank of Scotland-led bid .
Dow Jones gives g-ahead to News Corp deal.

BT Group considering case for ultra-fast broadband network that could deliver internet download speeds of up to 50 megabits a second. (Is this the same as they have had in Japan for the last 10 years ?)

Baugur founder considering bid for Debenhams (DEB)
Ford expected to receive as many as 6 indicative bids for Jaguar and Land Rover.

Neteller (NLR) to end online gambling transfers for clients based in Israel.

Noel Edmonds' Unique Group goes into receivership with debts of close to £3-million.

Government says yes to UK's first water desalination at Beckton, East London.

US Fed Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke says inflation remains main concern; reviewing mortgage lending regulations; says subprime mortgage problems probably get worse before they get better; opposed to help for lenders who make risky loans.

Wednesday, July 18

Allstate'Insurance Earnings Rise 16% - No Subprime Fears

Online Stock Trading - City Shares

Stock Market News

Allstate Insurance Results

Allstate is the largest publicly owned personal insurer in the USA, with $157.5 billion in assets. It sells 13 major lines of insurance including

  • auto
  • property
  • life
  • and commercial

It also offers products for retirement and investment as well as banking services.

Today's results show that earnings rose 16% in Q2, due in part to increased auto insurance sales.

Allstate said net earnings were $1.4 billion, up from $1.2 billion year on year.

Said operating earnings were $1.07 billion or $1.76 a share, against expected $1.80 .

In the year ago quarter operating earnings were $1.27 billion.

CEO Thomas Wilson has just been on CNBC doing a very good job of baffling with statistics - and answering the questions he wished the journalist had asked

Said quarter was great - most successful quarter in a long time - when looked at in the way he wanted to look at it - but I got to admit he was talking too fast

Asked about prices declining (I assume she meant preimums) he said - Allstate has a 'multi-faceted strategy' - and that 'average pricing relatively flat' - so she asked him again he said average price is flat - some companies are decreasing prices but not Allstate

Launched yourchoice auto last year - annual sales topped 2$ billion

Any exposure to sub-prime - "nope we're in grat shape - went defensive 18 months ago - 5 billion invested out of 122 billion - don't expect any meaningful impact from subprime" - so everything's humkydory over at Allstate

DOW Falls

DOW down but well off lows of the day - Pfizer needs to do a deal

Online Stock Trading - DOW Down 46

Stock market News

DOW Moves up Towards Close

DOW finishes down 46 but was 148 down at one point - toward the close - subprime worries back again (check date)

2 Bear Stearns hedge funds worthless

Bob Pisani - "subprime issues weakened the market - banks/brokers are writing down assets private hedge funds making losses - if public pension funds are invoved could make it worse

Big picture still positive

JPMorgan beat expectations"

The last time sub-prime issues affected the markets was 11 July - so maybe once a week is what we can expect

Tech also weak - Intel and Yahoo earnings didn't help

Pfizer - Pfizer Stock Price

Pfizer's results were not good and analysts, Barbara Ryan of Deutsche Bank, says Pfizer needs to make an acquisition. Pfizer themselves said they will be making acquisitions but didn't give any specific targets (well they wouldn't would they)

There are rumors in the UK that Pfizer are looking at Silence Therapeutics, a RNAi company.

IBM beats expectations - margins improved - Q2 revenues up 9% - global services revenue up 10% - signed services contracts up 22% -

Analyst just said he expects stock to go to 140 over 12 months

Pfizer Results and Rumors

Share Trading - Pfizer

Stock Market News

Pfizer Results and Rumors

Pfizer Inc. has announced a 48% fall in year-over-year profit in Q2, caused by losing patent exclusivity for its Zoloft and Norvasc drugs and sluggish U.S. sales of cholesterol drug, Lipitor.

It nevertheless reaffirmed guidance for 2007 and 2008.

Net income fell to $1.27 bn, from $2.42 bn, a year ago.

Revenue fell 6% to $11.08 billion from $11.74 billion.

Results were below analysts' expectations of $11.4 billion.

The company has repurchased $5 bn shares in the first half of the year and it has plans to buy back a further $5 bn in stock in H2.

The rumor is that Pfizer is about to take a stake in RNAi company Silence Therapeutics (SLN), which will be announced Monday.

On 6 July Silence announced a $400 million dollar deal with AstraZeneca which included a $10 million investment at 146p per share. The share price promptly fell after that announcement, but in the last 2 days has recovered strongly (around 20%) on rumours of news to come.

Black Rock Oil Stock Price

Black Rock Oil and Gas Surges on Encouraging Drilling Results

City Shares - Online Share Trading

Stock Market News


The Acacia Este exploration well in Colombia was spudded on 30 June 2007. Acacia Este was drilled to a total depth of 3,970 feet.

Black Rock has now announced that the preliminary interpretation of the logs run at total depth indicates oil saturation in good quality porous sandstones.

Initial results are "very encouraging" and preparation for testing of the well has now commenced in order to assess the well's potential productivity.

Results should be known in 10-20 days.

Dr John Cubitt, Managing Director said '.... if the testing results are positive, Acacia Este could be a highly significant discovery forBlack Rock.'

3 year chart

1 month chart

Long-term holders may finally be getting their money back ! What happens next depends very much of course on the testing results which are expected, as they say, in the next 10 - 20 days. All highly speculative still but worth keeping an eye on, perhaps it will drop :-) Also the various shares magazines and newspapers here in the UK will no doubt have something to say this week.


Online Stock Trading - Stock Market News

Stocks to Watch



Rumours of US stockbuilding lifts Silence Therapeutics (SLN)

Silence Therapeutics, rose 12% to 138.5p. Rumours of stake-building by a US biotech investor with a record of targeting stocks likely to receive a takeover approach helped boost the shares which closed at their record high.

[Also strong rumours of major deal to be announced on Monday - this bit is not from the

Update : there is now rumour that the 'deal' could well be for Pfizer taking an equity stake in SLN - to be announced Monday. ]

Serco (SRP) and Capita (CPI) bid speculation lift Carter & Carter (CART)

Tiddler to Watch:
Bateman Litwin (BNLN)

The Tempus Column:
Reed Elsevier (REL)
Further news:
Results from Sports Direct International (SPD.L) next Tuesday may be bad.

Questor Column:
Hold - Speedy Hire (SDY)
Alba (ABA) - A risky buy.
Hold - N Brown (BWNG)

Investment Column:
Sell - Rentokil Initial (RTO)
Alba (ABA) - Highly speculative.
Hold – Trafficmaster (TFC)

Nick Bubb believes profits are set to grow at Galiform (GFRM)

The Qatari-backed investment group, Delta Two, has made a tentative 610p-a-share offer (£12-billion) for Sainsbury
However, the family (with 18%) are reportedly unsupportive of the proposal.

Barclays may file its existing offer for ABN Amro, but add more cash later.

Deutsche Bank possible bidder for Abbey Life, put up for sale by Lloyds TSB

Warner Music will not bid for EMI

Tata Motors of India assessing possibility of bidding for Jaguar and Land Rover.

HBOS increases stake in Quintain Estates to 13.84%.

Hargreaves increases stake in Irvine Energy to 5.08%.

Cambridge Mineral suspended on AIM pending appointment of new advisers.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown appears to be giving serious thought to a snap general election next May or June. (As I strongly suspect - Ed.)

Strong UK inflation data is expected to lead to higher interest rates .

Cable & Wirelss trading in line; on track for forecast full-year ebitda of £575-£608 million.

Sir Tom Hunter pledges £1-billion for good causes in his lifetime.

Tuesday, July 17

John Mackey aka Rahodeb Issues Apology for his Anonymous Posts

Stock Market Investing - John Mackey

Stock Market News

John Mackey Issues Apology

Just out on CNBC John Mackey aka rahodeb has just issued an apology, prompted by the board of directors no doubt. He said he was really sorry, it was a mistake and asked people to forgive him. (Or words to that effect) More news as it comes in !

[Update] From MarketWatch.com

The board of Whole Foods Market Inc. said late Tuesday it has formed a special committee to conduct an internal investigation into online financial message board postings related to Whole Foods Market and Wild Oats Markets

The board said the committee has retained the firm of Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP to advise it during its investigation.

Separately, Whole Foods co-founder and Chief Executive John Mackey released a statement, saying "I sincerely apologize to all Whole Foods Market stakeholders for my error in judgment in anonymously participating on online financial message boards. I am very sorry and I ask our stakeholders to please forgive me."

Will this be enough ? Time will tell ! (In the meantime allow me to say - "I told you so!" It was obvious he would have to do say something by way of apology and to recognize that what he did was not appropriate behavior for a CEO).

For my previous posts on John Mackey's anonymous posting behavior - see here : http://www.sharescity.com/2007/07/sec-to-investigate-john-mackey-aka.html

DOW hits 14,021 intraday - closes at record high

Online Stock Trading - DOW at Record High

Stock Market Report


Intel earnings - 22 cents onstead of expected 19 - 8.7 billion agains tconsenses 8.54 - problem is gross margins at 46.9 % less than expected - guidance inline 9 - 9.6 billion dollars - Intel down 4% on news - stock taking a hit is a bit of an overreaction - gross margin for whole year is maintained at 51% (John Lau) JL is a buyer sees products being strong for rest of year - he is also +ve on tech in general

DOW and S&P set all-time intraday high over 14,000 but closes at 13,971 (record close) - DOW has first 5 day winning steak since May

Bob Pisani - industrials up, chemicals up, transport up, materials up, GE up, people still willing to buy even at these levels

Buybacks continue, M&A activity possibly best ever

Caution in home builders sentiment,

Lear shareholders rejected Icahn's offer - becaus emarkets have changed

NASDAQ up 15

Highest riser since 2002 in DOW is Caterpillar

Everybody seems very bullish still - shorters still haven't capitulated and the retail investors haven't joined in yet, when they do that's when the smart money will be getting out

Pace Anticipates Increased Volumes to US Customer - Profits to rise Significantly

Online Stock Trading - Pace Micro

Stock Market News

Pace Micro Announce Profit to be Significantly Ahead of Expectations

Pace is a "leading developer of digital TV technologies for the global payTV industry."

At 15:51 this afternoon Pace Micro (PIC) issued a trading update in which they said
they now expect profit before tax for the shortened 2007 year to be significantly ahead of current market expectations of £8m.

The explanation given is further progress on product approvals for its US customers and anticipated increased volumes to a US customer (Comcast ?).

They have also improved gross margins by "operational efficiencies" over the past 12

Preliminary financial results for the year ending 2 June 2007 will be anounced on Tuesday 24th July.

As we are so close to results why not just wait till the results to surprise everybody ?

The stock rose 16% after the announcement

People are expecting more tomorrow and I guess more as we move towards preliminary results which are only 1 week away.

130p is being mentioned and 160p after results if the results are as good as expected - all conjecture of course - it all depends on the meaning of 'significantly ahead'.

The 10 year chart - as you can see Pace took part fully in the dotcom boom !

1 month candlestick chart

No doubt there will be newspaper mentions tomorrow and possible broker upgrades.

So still a long way before the stock prices get back to the highs of 2000 !

TMN Group Reports Rise in Profits ! Hooray for all those who the free shares

Online Stock Trades

The Mutual Net Reports Increase in profits

TMN Group PLC reported an increased full-year pretax profit on strong revenue, in line with management expectations, adding that it is 'excited' about its prospects for the current year.

The online direct marketing group posted a pretax profit of 3.28 mln stg for the year to end April compared with 2.18 mln stg previously while revenue rose to 16.10 mln stg from 9.01 mln stg.

Investec's Steve Liechti had predicted pretax profit of 3 mln stg.

Its TMN Media and EDR divisions outperformed, compensating for a slower than anticipated first nine months from iD Factor.

Prospects for TMN Media, fuelled by existing products and new launches, remain very strong, the company said.

iD Factor, which focuses on providing online fieldwork solutions to the market research industry, was slightly below forecast in fiscal 2007 as the planned investment and sales ramp-up took longer than expected, TMN said.

But it is now well placed to take advantage of being part of a larger group, the company added.

Looking ahead, the company said it is well positioned to continue to strengthen its position in the online direct marketing and research sectors in the UK.


Personally I like this share because it is one of the survivors of the dotcom crash and also because I got some free shares when it floated just for signing up to its website. So if I hang on to them for another few years I may be rich ! But the shares also look good for buying somre more - more research required though first.

Helphire Speculative Buy says Bill Adlard

Stock Market Investing - Helphire

Helphire Speculative Buy says Bill Adlard

According to Bill Adlard Helphire (HHR) may be bouncing on its trendline right now, though there are signs that the up trend from 2000 is nearing maturity.

Resistance is, he says, at 450p. A close at 463p on high volume would probably signal a breakout, and the minimum target would be around 500p.

He say the shares are almost a buy dependin ghow much ris you like to take. The trendline bounce was 375p, so put a stop-loss there and put your trust in the up trend, you may be onto a winner. A price break up above 414.25p would be a more positive sign but this requires a close at 425p on good volume. He puts support at around 405p. Target a little north of 450p, which may be enough to set the general upside ball rolling.

Bill Adlard is a respect technical analyst who uses Elliott Waves amongst other things so I'll be keeping an eye on Helphire to see if he's right !

3 month candlestick chart

Has Prudential plc Chart Bottomed ?

Online Stock Trading - Prudential Stock Price

Has Prudential plc Chart Bottomed ?

The Prudential chart (PRU) is starting to look interesting again. The Prudential plc is a large FTSE 100 company operating in international financial services, personal banking, insurance, pensions and retail investments, and also institutional fund management and property investments. It is also a leading life insurance and pensions provider with around 7 million customers.

The share price has been in the doldrums for the last couple of months but it may have touched bottom (just a guess - don't quote me on that) recently at 700p (see candlestick chart below)

3 month chart

1 month candlestick chart

Seems to be some resistance around 740p - ish but if it gets through that it might prove interesting [UPDTE it fell from 740 to 200 ! Online stock trading ain't easy !]

Worth a closer look IMHO.

, ,

Share Tips and Rumours from Newspapers

Online Stock Trading - Newspaper Stock Picks

Stock Market News

Share Tips and Rumours from UK Newspapers

Hold Wolseley (WOS)
Avoid EMAP (EMA) until new leadership emerges.
Hold Burren Energy (BUR)

Small Cap to Watch:
*Velti (VEL.L).

Further news:
Discovery hopes lift Dwyka Resources (DWY)
Concern of grim trading hit JJB Sports (JJB.L).

Further news:
*Heavy turnover in BT (BT.L) shares follows talk of de-risking.
*Tate and Lyle (TATE.L) up on buy back hopes.
*Carter & Carter (CART.L) rebounds.


Investment Column:
Hold - Land Securities (LAND)
Buy - Mattioli Woods (MTW)
Buy – Sportech (SPO)

Share Whisper:
Hopes of reassuring trading update from Networkers International (NWKI)
Further news:
Bid spotlight turns to Alliance & Leicester (AL.)

Hold - Land Securities (LAND)
Hold – SDL (SDL)

Further news:
Interest in banks as bears buy back Alliance & Leicester (AL.)

Dwyka Resources up Sharply on Rumours of New Discovery

Online Trading - Dwyka Resources

Stock Market News

Dwyka Resources up Sharply on Rumours of New Discovery

Dwyka Resources started moving up yesterday rather rapidly - just after ITM had done likewise. Fortunately Dwyka has continued on its upward journey today (which unfortunately is not the same with ITM which has gone back into its shell!).

Rumours abound again for Dwyka of a new discovery

"A big volume of shares traded in the AIM-listed tiddler Dwyka Resources ? 7.24 million ? combined with a jump in its price of 5p to 52¼p, triggered talk that the diamond and nickel explorer was about to announce a new discovery. " From the Times Online.

Dwyka is a mining company that recently diversifeid its operations. As they say on their website

"The Company’s strategy is a direct response to the seemingly insatiable world demand for commodities of all types, driven in large part by the urbanisation of China and its expanding consumer classes.

To that end, Dwyka has diversified into exploration for nickel and gold in Burundi and Swaziland respectively. "

The company also mines for diamonds in South Africa and Tanzania, and has an industrial products division in South Africa.

It is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX: DWY.AX) and the Alternative Investment Market (AIM: DWY.L) in London. The Company changed its name in March 2007 from Dwyka Diamonds Limited, having shifted focus from diamonds to the diversified minerals sector.

For the Australian share prices check out here

The 1 year chart in London looks a bit steep but people still seem confident of big things to come and it's up 12% so far this morning. [UPDATE - ANother one that went south ! Online stock trading is not a piece of cake !]

Monday, July 16

Vodafone Issues Lame Denial of Verizon Bid Rumours

Online Stock Trading - Verizon

Stock Market News

Verizon shares moved up sharply this morning on a report that appeared on a Financial Times Website which claimed that Vodafone has been considering a takeover bid worth $160 billion, approximately $55 per share.

Vodafone later issued a statement saying it "wishes to make it clear that it has no plans to make such an offer,"

Note that they don’t say they don’t have plans to make a 'different offer'. Sounds like a pretty lame denial to me.

Watch this mobile space !

ITM Power Moving Up Sharply on London Markets

Stock Market Investing - ITM Power

Stocks to Watch

ITM Power suddenly turned around this morning and started moving up pretty fast - up 6% at the moment

ITM is a UK fuel cell company floated, their fuel cells that avoid Fluorides,('which are expensive and difficult to work with'), in the membrane are cheaper and more efficient. Their membranes are made of composite man made materials developed by a Doctor Donald Highgate.They aim to bring the cost of fuel cell technology below $100/KW:

Results are due out on 31 July.

Some resistance to come but such a sharp move is a bit unusual.

1-yr chart

SEC to investigate John Mackey aka rahodeb - Just for Fun ?

Stocks and Shares - John Mcakey

Stock Market News

SEC to Investigate John Mackey aka rahodeb - Just for Fun ?

John Mackey aka rahodeb the CEO of Whole Foods Inc. is definitely to be investigted by the SEC for his posts on Yahoo financial bulletin boards under his alias rahodeb (he was posing as just an ordinary joe and posting disparaging remarks about his main competitor Wild Oats) for my full article on this matter see John Mackey aka Rahodeb Insists His Posts Were Just a Bit of Fun . He seems to think this is all a government conspiracy against him, but what he doesn't realize is that it's all just a bit of fun!

Bright Future for RNAi Firm Silence Therapeutics

Stock Market Investing - Silence Therapeutics - Stock Market Report

Bright Future for RNAi firm Silence Therapeutics

RNAi firm Silence Therapeutics has signed a deal with AstraZeneca plc in a potential US$400 million deal to develop drugs against respiratory disease targets. As previously mentioned here Stock Market Tips the broker Collins Stewart has a price target of 250p

Firstly a short definition of RNAi : "RNA interference (RNAi) is a highly evolutionally conserved process of post-transcriptional gene silencing (PTGS) by which double stranded RNA (dsRNA), when introduced into a cell, causes sequence-specific degradation of homogolous [? Surely that should be ‘homologous’ ] mRNA sequences. It was first discovered in 1998 by Andrew Fire and Craig Mello [who were awarded the Nobel Prize last year – Ed.] in the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans and later found in a wide variety of organisms, including mammals. "

So now you know. As a possible future investor in RNAi companies, what you need to know is that it’s got a lot of potential to make some big bucks ! So you may wish to research the area further.

As a result of its deal Silence will receive an initial access fee of about $15 million ($5 million in cash and a $10 million equity investment) in exchange AZN will receive a license to its short-interfering RNA (siRNA) technology. AstraZeneca will buy Silence shares priced at £1.46 per share, giving it a nearly 3% stake in Silence.

Silence Therapeutics is the "only real RNAi player in Europe. Iain Ross Executive Chairman said : "We've been a little bit quieter" than U.S. competitors » as the RNAi space has a "higher profile" in the U.S. due in part to large RNAi-based deals such as Sirna Therapeutics Inc.'s $1. 1 billion acquisition by Merck & Co. Inc. last year and Alnylam Pharmaceutical Inc.'s potential $700 million collaboration with Novartis AG signed in 2005.

"Big pharma is very interested" in RNAi, Ross said. During Q2 Silence will be seeking to do deals with other partners but will not be giving away rights to an entire therapeutic area; instead, it names specific targets identified by its collaborators. Partners are being sought for all therapeutic areas, with the exception of oncology.

Jan M. Lundberg, Executive Vice-President, Discovery Research, AstraZeneca, said:
“We are delighted to partner with Silence Therapeutics in developing their siRNA technology and build on our investments made in biopharmaceutical and vaccine areas. siRNA technology will enable AstraZeneca to target disease mechanisms intractable to small molecules and other approaches.”

Since the announcement of the deal with AstraZeneca the shares have slipped back to 123p, which may seem a little odd as AstraZeneca has agreed to purchase a nearly 3% stake in the company at a price of 146p per share. But in the world of high finance and old boy networks many things are possible that we mere mortals are incapable of comprehending. So I won’t try. Except to say that some large institutions bought shares at 100p recently and given their proclivity for acting irrationally have now decided to sell them rather than wait for the price to rise to the 250p many people are expecting.

This of course represents an ideal opportunity for more patient and, dare I say, more intelligent investors to make money. Warren Buffett please take note !

Rumour has it too that the selling is just about over, but rumours abound with this company despite it being called Silence.

The price seems to have come back to the 30 day moving average so with any luck it will bounce from here.

Sunday, July 15

Experts Call for Carbon Fiber Commodity Trading

Online Stock Trading - Commodity Trading

Stock Market News

Industry Experts Call for Carbon Fiber Commodity Trading

Carbon fiber (or carbon fibre) is ultra-light, rust-proof, 10x stronger than steel and may soon be traded as a commodity on global markets. This is due to the fact that growth is potentially huge in the airline and motor industries, in golf clubs, fishing rods, wind farms and bullet-proof vests.
Producers and end-users believe that the creation of a carbon-fibre spot market is vital. Carbon fiber prices have already risen more than 65% since 2004. The industry is dominated by Japan, its top three textile companies producing 70% of the world’s carbon fiber.

The unveiling of Boeing’s new 787 Dreamliner jet, which uses 20% less fuel than similar sized airplanes, marked the start of a new era. Half the aircraft’s weight is represented by carbon fiber composites and the same ratio will be true of the A380, produced by Airbus.
Carbon fiber is used in civil engineering for strengthening bridges but also in making windmill sails.

According to Takaaki Muramatsu, a UBS analyst carbon fiber demand in the windmill industry will double between now and 2010. But it is in the automotive industry that the greatest effect on carbon-fibre use, is expected, in 2011, when the motor industry, for reasons of fuel-efficiency and safety, moves from aluminium to carbon composites for car bodies and parts.

Along with the increasing demand there is also a decreasing supply. The result is an increase in prices and some scarcity of small to medium amounts of carbon fiber fabrics, since mid-2005.

This decline in supply is the result of he large orders placed by priority customers such as the military and aviation companies. The increase in demand is due to the realization that this material is viable for use in high-tensile strength, low-weight applications.

US Technology Earnings Expected to be Strong

Online Stock Trading - Stocks and Shares

Stock Market Report

US Technology Earnings Expected to be Strong

US earnings are expected to be good generally next week, butthe most significant will be in the technology sector.

"People are just in love with technology right now," said Rick Meckler, president of LibertyView Capital Management, in Jersey City, New Jersey. "We are in the midst of a replacement cycle, plus a new technology cycle, which the iPhone represents."

Big industrial stocks are also likely to show profits. United Technologies Corp. (UTX.N) Honeywell International Inc. (HON.N) and toolmaker Danaher Corp. (DHR.N) may give Wall Street some good news on Thursday.

"In my own investments, I am overweighted in industrials, like Honeywell," said Al Kugel, chief investment strategist at Atlantic Trust in Chicago. "This is a global cyclical play and a continued defense play.

Share Tips from the Sunday Papers

Online Stock Trades - Newspaper Stock Picks

Stock Market News

TIPS FROM THE SUNDAY PAPERS (especially Tanfield)

Northern Rock would be an attractive acquisition
Sports Direct heads for profit downgrade

Share Tips:
Buy Moneysupermarket.com
Royal Dutch Shell a solid buy at £21.17 –
Cannacord a speculative buy –
Buy Misys for long-term at 245p –

Take profits at ARM at 153.75p

Gem Diamonds is a gem

Buy and hold Tanfield at 193.75p – (SEE BELOW)
Take some profits in Morgan Stanley at £17.07

Tanfield Group (TAN) is a company I’ve mentioned before –http://www.sharescity.com/2007/04/ftse-falls-again-barc-up-tanfield.html– and I’ve been waiting for it to fall back so that I could get in at a better price, unfortunately that has not proved possible.

Tanfield operates in two fast-growing sectors - electric vehicles and raised work platforms.
Apparently the EU has made ladders illegal above a certain height so raised work platforms are becoming more widely used

Tanfield bought Upright International last year and has improved its turnover tenfold !

Tanfield CEO Darren Kell says they can achieve 10% global market share within three years.
Tanfield has also acquired Smith Electric Vehicles and turned it into the world's largest manufacturer of electrical trucks and vans.

At the moment Tanfield is making ten vehicles a week but they expect this figure to be closer to 30 by early next year.

Midas says: Although the shares have had a good run recently to 193.75p, the huge potential and Kell’s drive make it a buy and hold.

Pity really as they will no doubt move up sharply on Monday morning thus forcing me to wait even longer !

Will Gordon Brown Scrap the Lottery ?

Online Stock Trading

Will Gordon Brown Scrap the Lottery?

Looking through the papers today a small line caught my eye. Tony Blair had intended allowing betting shops and internet gambling sites to advertise on TV and radio but these plans are now to be dropped. No prizes for guessing who decided that ! Internet gambling firms may have a nasty Monday morning as a result.

This got me to thinking. He doesn't like the supercasino he doesn't like gambling in general, so will he scrap the lottery next ? Impossible I hear the cries ! But it's only been around for about 10 years and nothing would surprise me as far as GB is concerned. With his amazing spike up the polls he probably has delusions of holding back the tide and walking on water. after years of looking like a neurotic middle-aged geek Gordon Brown has suddenly become cool ! He must think he’s died and gone to pen-pusher heaven. So why not scrap the lottery? Call a snap election now he's so popular get another 5 years in no. 10 and scrap the lottery! Just a guess but remember you heard it here first if he does !.

Sunday Newspaper Share Tips (including Tanfield) are here Newspaper Share Tips

Friday, July 13


Online Stock Trading - John Mackey


For years Whole Foods Market Inc.’s CEO John Mackey used the alias rahodeb when posting messages on a Yahoo! financial bulletin board. He liked to tell the world how good his own company Whole Foods Markets Inc. was, while talking down rival company Wild Oats Markets Inc., which, rather surprisingly, he has since agreed to purchase.

Personally, I am amazed and disgusted that the CEO of a listed company should engage in such practices, but I am also incredulous at Mr. Mackey’s apparent dismissal of his underhand actions as a bit of 'fun'.

According to court documents filed by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and postings on Yahoo!, Mackey used the alias "rahodeb," an anagram of his wife’s name.

For more than seven years he posted entries talking up his own company and at times denigrating rival Wild Oats. The story appeared first on the Wall Street Journal’s website yesterday 12 July.

In a new development, as reported by Kara Scannell in the Wall Street Journal WSJ ,the SEC has launched an informal inquiry into the online postings of Whole Foods Market Inc.'s CEO John Mackey, according to people familiar with the matter. Kara Scannel says "the SEC will likely look at whether the CEO selectively disclosed material corporate information -- that could violate a securities law passed in 2000 known as Regulation Fair Disclosure."

Talking about Wild Oats in his posts Mr. Mackey said "they are floundering … but the problem is they lack time and capital. "

Some of the bulletin board members were apparently not taken in by his alias, but when he was accused of being John Mackey, rahodeb replied on 10th June 2003: “Another person who thinks my name is John (Mackey)! Well if you really believe I’m John Mackey you should probably pay more attention to what I say on this board. I would be the ultimate Whole Foods Insider!”

Note that he didn’t deny that he was John Mackey.

In one of his posts on 28th March 2006 when talking about Wild Oats he claimed: "The writing is on the wall. The end game is now underway for (Wild Oats) .... Whole Foods is systematically destroying their viability as a business -- market by market, city by city".

This post was cited by the FTC in a lawsuit initiated to block the planned $565 million acquisition of Wild Oats by Whole Foods' on the grounds that the deal would be bad for competition and also bad for consumers, as it would lead to increased prices.

The next day, 29th March 2006 he wrote "Bankruptcy remains a distinct possibility (for Wild Oats) IMO if the business isn't sold within the next few years." (Sounds illegal to me – but hey I'm just an ordinary joe not a Master of the Universe like Conrad Black - Ed.)

Whole Foods have confirmed that the "rahodeb" postings were made by Mackey between 1999 and 2006, but the line they have come up with is that he used an alias in order "to avoid having his comments associated with the company and to avoid others placing too much emphasis on his remarks ….. " and also because "the rahodeb postings are the personal postings of Mr. Mackey and not those of the company". Haha, do they really think that will wash with anyone except the most blinkered Mackey groupie?

On the Whole Foods' website, Mackey claimed he "posted on Yahoo! under a pseudonym because I had fun doing it. Many people post on bulletin boards using pseudonyms." Lol – well we all like a bit of fun ! Even if it means other people lose money in the process, well that's even more fun I guess !

"The views articulated by rahodeb sometimes represent what I actually believed and sometimes they didn't. Sometimes I simply played 'devil's advocate' for the sheer fun of arguing." And sometimes I go stick up a bank just to see the expressions on their faces!

More "fun", everything seems to be fun to Mr. Mackey, is he aware that to some people losing money is not fun. Some of the fun he had is evident in a posting dated 25th January 2005, when he wondered why anyone would buy shares in Wild Oats at the price at which they were trading at the time ($8) "Would Whole Foods buy (Wild Oats)? Almost surely not at current prices. What would they gain? (Their) locations are too small."

In February, Whole Foods announced plans to acquire Wild Oats. Both the companies say the merger is a necessary step due to the highly competitive nature of the grocery business.
But Mackey also claimed in other postings that there wasn’t much serious competition to Whole Foods.

On 28th September 2005 he said : "If you are waiting for Trader Joe's or Wegmans to slow down the Whole Foods express train you're going to be waiting the rest of your life. »
And on 3rd October: "You say that competition is increasing against Whole Foods, but continue to ignore the fact that your so-called competition isn't hurting them."

The FTC released the document late Tuesday.

On his blog, Mackey, under his own name this time, has accused the FTC of "distorting his private statements in order to portray him as excessively aggressive and bent on eliminating healthy competition."

According to Harvey Pitt, a former Securities and Exchange Commission chairman, speaking to The Wall Street Journal an executive using an alias to talk up his company and stock "isn't per se unlawful, but it's dicey,"

Commenting on the Mackey posts he said, "It's clear that he is trying to influence people's views and the stock price, and if anything is inaccurate or selectively disclosed he would indeed be violating the law. …. At a minimum, it's bizarre and ill-advised, even if it isn't illegal".

Mackey posted his last remarks in August 2006, after losing a bet to another BB poster concerning Whole Food’s stock performance. Well, at least he’s a man of his word, so that’s OK!
He said: “Surgeon General and Boston Cowboy — you were both right about my true identity all along. …. Congratulations on your cleverness.” No hard feelings there then, but is he not interested to know if anyone lost any money as a result of his misleading posts?

Why did Mackey want to buy Wild Oats anyway? A court document dated 6th June states that Mr. Mackey’s justification for paying a "significant premium" for Wild Oats was that the company would thus “avoid nasty price wars in Portland (both Oregon and Maine), Boulder, Nashville and several other cities which will harm our gross margins and profitability.” i.e. prices charged to customers would be higher.

To my mind the implications and questions raised by this affair are far-reaching: -

  1. How many other CEOs or company executives post on financial bulletin boards using aliases? And should they be allowed to do so? Surely "rules of disclosure" would require that they post under their own name and declare their interest?
  2. Is it legal to make false claims to gain financial advantage, even if those claims are expressed as opinions?
  3. In this specific case was Wild Oats aware of what was going on? Did they have one of their own men/women on the inside also posting counter-arguments under an alias? (Wild Oats have so far refused to comment on the affair and are still in favor of the merger).
  4. What about the shareholders/investors in all this? It may have all just been a bit of harmless 'fun' to Mr. Mackey, but some people may have lost money as a result of his negative remarks about Wild Oats and his talking up his own stock? Would they have a claim for compensation? Could they take a lawsuit out against him?

Personally I think Mr. Mackey’s actions were disgraceful, whether they were illegal or not is a matter for the lawyers. To think that a CEO of a company could spend his time trying to deceive people does not say much for his integrity or his regard for the shareholders of either company. To then dismiss it all as "fun" I find extremely disturbing. It is not comparable to shareholders of a company trying to talk their stock up, we all know this goes on all the time. There are also the "pump and dump" merchants whose sole purpose is to create a bubble in a stock and to sell at the top, thus effectively stealing money from anyone foolish enough to believe their lies, we all know this goes on too. But for a CEO of a listed company to try and influence the share price of a rival company is a whole different matter and I find it staggering that Mr. Mackey can dismiss it as a bit of fun. This to my mind shows that he was either unaware of the potential consequences of his actions or he simply didn’t care. This is all the more worrying as on his own blog he frequently mentions the need for openness and transparency in business. What is open or transparent about posting anonymously under an alias about a rival company?

Shareholders may have been exposed to considerable financial losses, a fact which does not appear to bother Mr. Mackey. Perhaps there could be more "fun" on the way if shareholders decide to sue ?

Update : Over the last two days numerous commentators and journalists have spoken about Mr. Mackey's actions. Their overwhelming reaction has been one of incredulity a) that a CEO could be so foolish as to do what Mr. Mackey did and b) that he seems to consider it all a bit of fun and seems incapable of grasping the enormity of his actions.

If it costs Whole Foods the merger with Wild Oats perhaps he will change his tune, but as far as I can see he has shown no inclination to do this as yet, he seems to think it is all a government conspiracy against him and he sees himself as a victim. Not at all Mr. Mackey it's all just a bit of fun!