Monthly Archives: October 2013

Tennessee among states with highest alcohol taxes

font-(3)

Drink up and support state government. Tennessee’s tax system is one of the most business-friendly in the country, but not so when it comes to taxes for your favorite adult beverage.
Tennessee ranks sixth on the “Worst States for Alcohol Taxes” list complied by NerdWallet, a financial information website founded by a former hedge fund analyst and a derivatives trader.
Beer drinkers pay the highest taxes at 11 cents per standard drink, the highest beer tax in the country, according to the NerdWallet analysis of alcohol taxes for all 50 states.
Arkansas has the next highest beer tax at 10 cents per standard drink.
Tennessee taxes on wine and spirits are considerably less stiff at 5 and 5.2 cents per standard drink, respectively, NerdWallet says. The relatively low rate on spirits is understandable given that Tennessee is the home of the iconic Jack Daniel’s Distillery.
The worst state for alcohol taxes is Washington, where the tax on spirits is a whopping 41.3 cents per standard drink.
To compile its rankings, NerdWallet says it, “crunched to numbers to find the states with the highest taxes on alcohol and compared those numbers with the total volume of beer, wine and spirits consumed in each state. The result? A definitive guide to which states tax their citizens the most for their enjoyment of booze.
Click here for the NerdWallett report.
Click here for Tennessee Department Revenue info on alcoholic beverages taxes.

The ‘Ice Effect’ boosts Scripps Networks

vanilla ice

Shares of Scripps Networks Interactive hit a 52 week high this week, just days after “Vanilla Ice Goes Amish” premiered on DIY Network, the Scripps home improvement cable channel.
Shares of the Knoxville-based lifestyle media company rose as high as $80.73 on Tuesday, before closing at $80.54 .
The stock had given back some of gain by mid day Wednesday, but SNI continues to trade well above the last closing price before the show’s Oct. 12 premiere.
Call it the “Ice Effect.”
In “Ice Goes Amish,” Robert Van Winkle, the rapper’s real name, lives and works with an Amish community in Ohio. The heavily tattooed reality TV star helps remodel a kitchen and build a barn, among other things.
Before you dismiss the power of the “Ice effect,” consider this:
Since Van Winkle’s first DIY show — the award winning “The Vanilla Ice Project” — premiered Oct. 14, 2010, Scripps shares have surged more than 70 percent.
Sure, other shows on other SNI cable channels have contributed to the company’s success. Scripps stable of celebrity chefs, gardeners and adventure travelers is plentiful.
But there is only one Ice.
Early reviews of the Van Winkle’s Amish adventure have been positive.
Here’s an excerpt from a review by Bloomberg Businessweek:
“Vanilla Ice Goes Amish isn’t so much an instructional show as it is a chance to watch a regular, 21st century person (who also happens to have dated Madonna) struggle with a stripped-down lifestyle. He doesn’t just renovate with the Amish, he dresses like they do, rides in their buggies, and farms with them, too. Clara Hershberger, the woman whose kitchen is remodeled in the first episode, is taken aback by Ice’s tattoos, piercings, and tendency to wear T-shirts emblazoned with his own name. The rapper tries to help her with the laundry but has no idea how to work the clothes wringer or hang things on the line outside to dry. “Celebrities never do their own laundry or anything?” Hershberger asks. Ice just laughs and shakes his head no. That’s one thing he won’t do himself. “
Click here for the full review.
Click here for “Vanilla Ice Goes Amish” videos

Will 3Q be another revenue record-breaker for Regal?

EARNS+REGAL+ENTERTAINMENT

Movie theater operator Regal Entertainment Group reported record high fiscal second quarter revenues, but a slight decrease in profits. Next week, investors will find out if the trend continued in the third quarter.
The Knoxville-based company said it will post its quarterly financial report after the market closes on Oct. 24. A conference call with analysts will be held at 4:30 p.m. following release of the report.
Given a strong box office in recent months, Regal likely will report a good, if not record-breaking revenues, for the fiscal third quarter.
But what can shareholders expect in the long-run? Since the first of the year, Regal’s shares have gained more than 38 percent. Will that kind of growth continue?
Chatter from stock watchers on the Web is generally positive.
Here’s an excerpt from a Motley Fool report:
“Regal Entertainment delivered a lot of impressive numbers in Fiscal 2013, including a 3.6% increase in attendance and a 0.3% bump in average ticket price. However, comp screen attendance dropped 2.4%. The improved attendance occurred because of the company’s recent acquisitions, instead of repeat moviegoers. This likely indicates that fewer people are going to the movies than in the past, which would make Regal Entertainment’s potential to grow the top and bottom lines simultaneously very challenging. That being said, shareholders should take heart as Regal Entertainment is willing to close under-performing theaters — it closed six theaters (52 screens) in Fiscal 2013.”
A Seeking Alpha contributor is even more bullish on Regal:
“While shares of Regal Entertainment have rallied nicely from here, I believe the bull run is far from over. The movie-going business has proven to be extremely resilient, virtually immune from home watching with annual sales growth of 3%. At the same time, Regal has recognized that increased concession sales are far more lucrative than increased ticket sales and has focused its business appropriately through expanded menus and a pilot dine-at-your-seat program. These factors will help RGC grow faster than the industry while improving overall margins.”
Regal is the largest movie theater operator in the country with more than 7,300 screens in 575 theaters nationwide and Guam, Saipan, American Samoa.
Click here for the Motley Fool analysis.
Click here for the Seeking Alpha report.

Knoxville makes Top 100 small- to mid-sized cities list

1212_kclo_ipad_skyline

Knoxville is one of the Top 100 most livable small- to mid-sized cities in the country, according to a new survey by Livability.com.
The website ranked towns with populations between 20,000 and 350,000 based on eight categories — economics, housing, amenities, infrastructure, demographics, social and civic capital, education and health care.
Only two Tennessee cities made the Top 100 — Knoxville, No. 61 and Chattanooga, No. 83.
California dominated the rankings with 27 of the Top 100. Palo Alto topped the list.
Knoxville ranked highest in education, amenities and health care and lowest in demographics and infrastructure.
Here’s what Livability.com said about Knoxville:
“Located in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, Knoxville offers an affordable cost of living and abundance of recreation. Businesses cite the city’s strategic location, and as home to the University of Tennessee and nearby Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the area is widely recognized as a center for research and technology. Knoxville ranked on our Top 10 Cities for College Grads list for its diverse business climate and growing downtown.”
It’s hard to imagine there are 60 places better than Knoxville, but at  least were fared better than Chattanooga.
Click here for the full list of Top 100 small- to mid-sized cities.

HGTV and DIY enjoying best year ever, Ken Lowe says

Scripps Networks Interactive headquarters

Scripps Networks HQ in West Knoxville.

HGTV and DIY Network are enjoying “probably their best year ever, totally, not only in ratings but advertising as well,”  Ken Lowe, Scripps Networks Interactive’s chairman, CEO and president, told CNBC today.
Lowe credited an improving housing market for the boosting all of the company’s lifestyle media channels.
“When you see people enjoying their homes and the housing market, feeling better and being better, then that just naturally allows our networks to flourish,” Lowe said.
Lowe was on CNBC to mark the 20th anniversary of the Food Channel.
“Who would have thought, right, a little network about how to boil water is now celebrating its 20th anniversary and over the years it’s really become a pop culture icon and started so many chefs down the path of becoming celebrities, if you will,” Lowe said.
Investors surely enjoy the company’s growth, if not the over abundance of celebrity chefs. SNI’s share price was trading around $78.45 by mid afternoon, up more than 32 percent for the year.
Scripps Networks portfolio of cable channels includes HGTV, DIY Network, Food Network, Cooking Channel, Travel Channel and Great American Country
Click here for Lowe’s CNBC interview.

Closing Smokies costs economy $23 million

Road closed in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Road closed in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

The closing of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park has cost the regional economy more than $23 million in lost visitor spending through the first 10 days of the government shutdown, according to a report released today by the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees.
In addition, more than 257,000 tourists have been unable to visit the park since it has been closed and 11,766 jobs, including 11,367 local/non-park service jobs, are at risk, CNPSR says.
Nationwide, $750 million in visitor spending has been lost at the 12 national parks studied by the coalition.
“These figures are mind boggling and they only begin to capture the full economic shock of locking up the crown jewels of America – our national parks,” CNPSR Chair Maureen Finnerty, former superintendent of Everglades and Olympic National Parks, said in a statement.”  Towns, cities, and even whole states that depend on park tourism are feeling an increasingly strong pinch. And if Congress continues to hold our national parks hostage, these communities will soon be reeling from what is in many cases the main driver of their economies.”
The coalition describes itself as a non-partisan, non-profit organization comprised of former employees of the National Park Service.
Click here for the coalition’s news release.

Report: Tennessee taxes among most business friendly

When it comes to taxes, Tennessee continues to be one of the most business-friendly states in the country, according to a Tax Foundation report released today.
Tennessee ranks 15th on the 2014 State Business Tax Climate Index, unchanged from a year ago.
The index reflects the tax climate of each state as of July 1, 2013.
The Volunteer State has a more business-friendly tax climate than all neighboring states and in the southeast region, only Florida ranks higher at No. 5.
Wyoming has the nation’s most business-friendly tax structure, followed by South Dakota, Nevada, Alaska, Florida, Washington , Montana, New Hampshire, Utah and Indiana.
The most unfriendly states for business taxes are mostly on the coasts and in the northeast. The bottom ten are Maryland, Connecticut, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Vermont, Rhode Island, Minnesota, California, New Jersey and New York.
The Tax Foundation evaluated five types of taxes — corporate, individual income, sales, unemployment insurance and property taxes.
Not surprsingly, Tennessee ranked best — No. 8 — in individual income tax and worst — No. 43 – in sales tax. Tennessee has one of the highest combined state and local sales tax rates in the country.
Tennessee’s tax climate gives it an edge over most other states in the business recruitment.
Here’s an excerpt from the report:
“It is important to remember that even in our global economy, states’ stiffest and most direct competition often comes from other states. The Department of Labor reports that most mass job relocations are from one U.S. state to another, rather than to a foreign location. … State lawmakers are right to be concerned about how their states rank in the global competition for jobs and capital, but they need to be more concerned with companies moving from Detroit, MI, to Dayton, OH, rather than from Detroit to New Delhi. This means that state lawmakers must be aware of how their states’ business climates match up to their immediate neighbors and to other states within their regions
Click here for the full Tax Foundation report.

Scripps Networks launches video website ‘ulive’

0503_kclo_ipad_scripps

Scripps Networks Interactive is expanding its reach in the video world.
The Knoxville-based lifestyle media company announced Thursday the launch of ulive, an online video site and distribution platform. The site curates videos from Scripps cable networks — HGTV, DIY Network, Food Network, Cooking Channel, Travel Channel and Great American Country.
In addition, ulive will offer more than 70 original video series featuring Scripps talent, social media stars and bloggers, according to a news release.
“With ulive we have created an online destination where anyone can enjoy entertaining and relevant videos for the way you live,” ulive President Jeff Meyer said in a statement. “It enables viewers to discover, watch and share what they love the most, across food, home, travel, parenting and wellness — and this is only the beginning of the site’s capabilities and content.”
Two of the new original series  launched Thursday — “What Will the Maid Think?” from Bert Kreischer, host of The Travel Channel show Trip Flip and “Bonkers Awesome!” from food blogger Joy the Baker.
Here’s what Zacks Equity Research has to say about ulive.

Aluminum maker Alcoa battered by tough week

Alcoa Inc. Location Manager Ken McMillen, left, Sen. Lamar Alexander, Alcoa CEO Klaus Kleinfeld, U.S. Rep. John J. Duncan Jr., and Gov. Bill Haslam arrive for a groundbreaking for a $275 million expansion of the Alcoa Inc. rolling mill to produce automotive sheet aluminum on Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013, in Alcoa.  (Paul Efird/News Sentinel)

Alcoa Inc. Location Manager Ken McMillen, left, Sen. Lamar Alexander, Alcoa CEO Klaus Kleinfeld, U.S. Rep. John J. Duncan Jr., and Gov. Bill Haslam arrive for a groundbreaking for a $275 million expansion of the Alcoa Inc. rolling mill to produce automotive sheet aluminum on Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013, in Alcoa. (Paul Efird/News Sentinel)

The news hasn’t been good this week for aluminum manufacturer Alcoa Inc.
It’s stock price is tumbling, a Duetsche Bank analyst downgraded the stock to sell and forecasters were predicting aluminum prices would fall 12 percent or more over the next two years.
All this on the heels of Alcoa being booted last month from the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
The future of Alcoa, which recently announced plans for a $275 million expansion of its Blount County manufacturing operation, will have a significant impact on the East Tennessee economy. The company is investing in a plant upgrade in a move to take advantage of rising demand for aluminum by auto makers.
Alcoa will kickoff earnings season with the release of its quarterly financial report on Tuesday.
Given recent headlines it will be interesting to see how the company performed last quarter and its outlook for the near future.
Deutsche Bank analyst Jorge Beristain told Forbes the company should spin-off its primary metals business to ease its cash-flow problems.
Click the headlines below for more details:
CNNMoney: Alcoa CEO on debt ceiling
Motley Fool: Why Alcoa doesn’t seem so shiny
Forbes: Alcoa’s $1.2 Billion Drag: Analyst Makes Case For Breakup

Miller Energy taps investors for $25M in preferred stock sale

Miller Energy Resources platform in Cook Inlet, Alaska.

Miller Energy Resources platform in Cook Inlet, Alaska.

For the fourth time this year, Knoxville-based Miller Energy Resources has tapped investors for a fresh infusion of cash needed for general corporate purposes.
Miller announced Tuesday that it raised $25 million from the sale of 1 million shares of “Series D” preferred stock. The sale was completed Sept. 30.
The oil and natural gas company previously raised $32.6 million in stock sales in February, May and July.
Miller has struggled financially in recent months. The company reported in July a loss of $13.1 million for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2013, more than half its loss for the full 2013 fiscal year.
The net loss attributable to common stockholders was 31 cents per diluted share, up from a loss of $8.4 million, or 20 cents per share, in the 2012 fourth-quarter, the company said.
Miller is an oil and natural gas exploration and production company with operations in Alaska and East Tennessee.
Click here for Miller’s news release on its recent stock sale.
Click here for more on Miller’s latest financial report.