Monthly Archives: June 2010

Trust me, I’m from the government

Government number crunchers always provide fascinating reading.

Today, for example, the Commerce Department said the GDP from 1998-2007 was on average actually 2.7 percent, or $301.5 billion, higher that we thought.

Higher, that is, “if research and development (R&D) spending was treated as investment in the U.S. national income and product accounts,” according to the the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

So, does that mean if we count R&D spending the recession really wasn’t all that bad?

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‘Definitive arrangement’ reached on Gerdau Ameristeel deal

Gerdau Ameristeel Corp. (GNA on NYSE) and Brazilian steelmaker Gerdau SA have reached agreement on the previously announced deal that would have Gerdau taking the Tampa based steelmaker private.

Gerdau and Gerdau Ameristeel, which has a mill in Knoxville, have “entered into a definitive arrangement agreement to implement” Gerdau’s plan to pay $11 per share to buy all of the Gerdau Ameristeel stock that it doesn’t already own, according to an announcement.

Gotta love that language — “entered into a definitive arrangement agreement to implement”. They couldn’t just say they have a deal? But I digress.

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Smiles for new VW plant; Frowns for Nissan Leaf

Volkswagen’s new plant nearing completion in Chattanooga is the subject of a favorable report on Forbes.com.

012010vwdealers036.jpg“The German carmaker is halfway through building one of the world’s cleanest automobile plants,” says the story by Jim Motavalli.

Read full VW story here.

Not so favorable, is the accompanying report on the Leaf, Nissan’s new electric car being built in Rutherford County, Tennessee.

“Turns out it might not be so green for its bottom line,” writes Josh Wolfe.

Read the Leaf report here

Photo: Angela Lewis/ Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Former SEC chairman criticizes financial reform bill

Former Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Arthur Levitt offers scathing comments on the financial reform bill in an interview with ProPublica.

Levitt says it’s “ridiculous” to call the new bill the biggest financial reform since the Great Depression. The biggest omission from the bill is “shareholder access to the proxy,” he says.

Read the full interview here.

Motley Fool says Kimberly-Clark among the best

Consumer products maker Kimberly-Clark Corp., which has operations in Knoxville and Loudon, Tenn., scored top marks today from the 
EARNS+KIMBERLY+CLARK.jpgMotley Fool CAPS investing community.

The maker of Kleenex, Scott, Huggies, Pull-Ups, Kotex, Depends and other brands, “sports a fat dividend and relative revenue and earnings stability” and is making inroads in overseas markets, according to Motley Fool.

Read what the Fool says about Kimberly-Clark and other top manufacturers here.

Associated Press photo

Shhhh! UT center renamed to honor Andersons


062310UTGoal8.mc.jpgWithout a notable lack of fanfare, the University of Tennessee said last week that its College of Business Administration’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation has been renamed the Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

The center was named for Charles Anderson, CEO of Anderson Media Corp. and his wife, Moll, author and TV host, whose financial gift put the university’s fundraising effort over its goal.

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WATE owner emerges from bankruptcy

Young Broadcasting, owner of 10 television stations, including WATE in Knoxville and WKRN in Nashville, has shed $800 million in debt and is coming out of bankruptcy with new owners.

” …New Young Broadcasting is emerging from bankruptcy as the most financially sound company in television broadcasting,” according to an extremely short, but positive press release.

Dumping $800M in debt will make you positive.

The announcement doesn’t say when the company will actually exit bankrtupcy.

Here’s a look at other reports on the company and its press release.

The Business Review (Albany, N.Y.)

Broadcasting & Cable

Young Broadcasting announcement

Economic roller coaster continues

The Commerce Department released its third estimate of first quarter GDP and once again it’s lower. Apparently, consumers didn’t spend as much in the quarter as previously thought and the GDP rose 2.7 percent, instead of 3 percent.

We all wish the economy was recovering faster, but at least it’s growing and continued growth looks likely.

On Thursday, government reports showed that businesses have been spending more on machinery, computers, metals and other goods in the second quarter. That is a strong indicator that businesses are positive about the coming months, will boost production and may finally start hiring later in the year.

Another good sign: The average interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to the lowest point on record — 4.69 percent. That hopefully will boost home sales, which dropped in May when the end of the federal tax break for homebuyers.

However, interest rates have been low for months and the housing market hasn’t really responded.

And this week brought the latest word from the big brains at the Federal Reserve. And that word was “fragile.”

The Fed expects the economy to keep growing, but the board’s mood was less upbeat than before. Its outlook is tempered by a sluggish domestic labor market and concern about Europe’s financial crisis.

Whew! What a week. I need a vacation.

Best iPhone app ever? Taking your money

Once again Steve Jobs has proven he knows what geeks want. Lines were long at West Town Mall this morning as customers scrambled for the latest version of the iPhone. Some customers lined up yesterday.

Read KNS intern Hyung Chung’s fun story here.

Early reports from iPhone fans indicate the new version lives up to the hype. Lots of cool new apps.

But the best app is the smooth way the new phone separates customers from their money — again.

Come on! It’s just a phone! If you’re patient an updated version will be available for Christmas.

While you’re waiting, check out this CNN story about the Apple co-founder who isn’t a billionaire.

Cheers!