World Clock

Saturday, 19 June 2010

BP Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Tracker Map

Here is a very useful map to keep track the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, with additional interactive features.

Caterpillar's Sales Report Highlights Europe's Flagging Economic Recovery & Weakness in the US Housing Market

Caterpillar's Sales Report

For the three months ending the month of May this year Caterpillar machine sales rose 11% worldwide from the same period this time last year. Additionally sales to Asia saw a substantial increase of 38%, while at the same time North American sales were up 15%. However the report demonstrated that the economic recovery in Europe may be trailing the rest of the world since Caterpillar's sales to the continent saw a decline of 8%.

In a separate note the Wall Street Journal said that it was the first period of global growth for Caterpillar since September 2008, and the first period of growth for the US since 2006. However it must be noted that it unclear as to how much this increase in sales is as a direct result of the US government stimulus program, a sizeable amount of which is still unspent.

Despite this strong set of figures analyst caution against reading to much into this, since the growth in North American sales is from an extreme low bottom, which saw an 80% decline from its 2006 peak. Furthermore the report lowered its 2010 outlook for the US housing starts by 20% from 1m to 800,000 citing a weak labor market was the main reason for some lingering pessimism about the US recovery.

Caterpillars shares closed up 90c or 1.39% at 65.85

(for a more detailed overview of this report, place the mouse cursor over the 'Caterpillar's Sales Report' title at the top of this post for a direct link to the report)

An alternative take on the BP oil spill


Friday, 11 June 2010

Port traffic indicates robust economic growth

The port of Long Beach, which is the largest port complex in the US has release preliminary figures showing that it has seen a 25% increase in container shipping traffic from May versus a year ago. Additionally the figures highlight this is the sixth straight month of growth, which is seen to be accelerating. (see below for further details)

  • Imports up 27%
  • Exports up 15% (the highest level in two years)
  • Empties that leave the port up 35% from a year ago. This indicates that Asia needs US ships to bring goods to the US.

Also the port of LA has seen a container traffic increase by 20%, including a massive 58% increase in empties.

This report not only highlights a surge in demand for US goods from Asia, it also shows that the global economy is continuing to show robust growth as demand for goods increases.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

A terrifying prospect for UK pension funds – A BP BANKRUPTCY?

The Daily Telegraph (UK) has today reported that Barack Obama’s ‘excessive’ criticism of BP in recent days caused severe damaged to the future of pension funds in the UK. As a result of Obama’s comments the share price of BP plunged 4% in London. Investors in London today said his comments were putting the pensions of millions at risk; this comes on a day when the total value wiped of the shares of BP now totals £49bn.

As a result of BPs position at the top of the London Stock Exchange almost every pension fund in the country relies on the company’s reliability, which has been severely undermined as a result of the Gulf Oil spill, which has now dragged on for 51 days. It is the company’s dividend which accounts 1/6 of UK pension fund or £7bn a year that is under serious threat. A White House spokesman said it was the Presidents job to keep his ‘boot on the throat’ of BP, which has led the President to put additional pressure on BP to cut or abandon is dividend payment altogether. This ‘excessive’ rhetoric from the US administration has prompted business in the UK to say that a continuation of this rhetoric could damage transatlantic relations.

All this was made worse when highly respected energy analyst at Simmons & co Matthew Simmons commented that BP may not be a public company by the end of the summer. This sent the ADR listed shares of BP listed in New York plummeting 15%, which puts them at a 14 year low. This will no doubt have knock on effect when the London markets open again later today.

Quantity of waste provides better correlation to GDP than coal or copper – Bloomberg data shows

Monday, 7 June 2010