Saturday, 28 September 2019

Uber struggles to make a profit



Uber is a huge company and you probably thought it makes a profit all the time. But, Uber struggles to create a profit several months after went public in May. In August, Uber cut 400 jobs as it attempted to rein in excessive spending and losses. In August the company reported its largest-ever quarterly loss: $5 billion in three months.

Recently, Uber made some satefy updates to the app. Riders can now use a 4-digit PIN to verify they are entering the correct car. Uber says it is developing an “ultrasound wave” technology so in the future the app can automatically verify riders are in the right car without a PIN number. There also a new ability to text 911 in an emergency. Uber also announced an expansion of its Uber Rewards program. This program allows customers to redeem points when taking an Uber ride, ordering Uber Eats, or buying food with partner restaurants.

Uber stock went public at $45/share in May. Right now the Uber stock is $30.29. On Friday afternoon, Uber's value fell to $52.3 billion. This means Uber's market value fell below that of General Motors for the first time since the company's initial public offering earlier this year. General Motor's market value is at $53.1 billion on Friday afternoon. There are a lot of concerns about Uber's profitability and continuing losses. Theoretically, in the future Uber can create a profit every month.



Friday, 27 September 2019

DoorDash data breach involves personal info of 4.9 million customers, merchants


DoorDash is a popular food delivery company through which you can order food online. It is like Uber Eats, InstaCart, Foodora, Skip the Dishes, Chefs Plate, Cmeow and Platterz.

The online food delivery service DoorDash says a data breach occurred in which the personal information of 4.9 million people was stolen, including names, email addresses, delivery addresses, phone numbers, and partial banking and credit card details.

DoorDash allows customers to order food from a usual computer or smartphone. The company said on Thursday an "unauthorized third party" accessed some of the San Francisco-based company's user data on May 4.

The result is that information on customers, merchants and even some delivery drivers was stolen. Partial details of banking, credit card data and driver's licence numbers was taken. The company has said it has closed the access point that was used to view the data. Check with door dash for updates on which data was stolen and which dates. Some USA and Canadian users are impacted.


Thursday, 26 September 2019

Some Canadian Retailers Join Global Climate Strike

What is a Global Climate Strike? There is an international movement of school students who take time off from class to participate in demonstrations to demand action to prevent further global warming and climate change. This global movement is calling on Canadians to join a mass strike planned for Friday and "disrupt business as usual." Many retailers in Canada are ignoring that call, but some are joining the strike. Three chains are planning to shutter operations to help raise awareness about the climate strike movement.


For example, a Vancouver-based company, Lush Cosmetics North America, made the decision. The toiletry maker said it will shut down its 50 shops, manufacturing facilities and online shopping in Canada on Friday in an effort to encourage its 2,216 staff and customers to participate in local actions.


Organizers plan climate strikes on Friday in more than 150 countries, including Canada.

Civil Engineers from Foreign Countries Come to Canada

Civil Engineers from foreign countries can find success in Canada. Once in Canada, civil engineers benefit from good jobs and competitive salaries. Because their skills are in high demand, they have the flexibility to work almost anywhere they wish, usually provided that they obtain the necessary certification. Each year, thousands of engineers with international qualifications immigrate to Canada. Representing around 12% of licensed engineers in Canada, they work in the fields of civil, electrical, industrial, manufacturing and mechanical engineering. The average Civil Engineer salary in Canada is $68,000 per year or $34.87 per hour. Entry level positions start at $36,266 per year while most experienced workers make up to $115,600 per year.

Useful interesting links:






Vancouver Job Web Sites

Here are some web sites to find a job in Vancouver:
















Wednesday, 25 September 2019

Metal Galaxy (2019) - Baby Metal




Metal Galaxy is the upcoming third studio album by Japanese heavy metal band Babymetal. It is scheduled to be released on October 11, 2019 worldwide, in Japan under BMD Fox Records, in Europe under earMusic, and worldwide under Babymetal Records. The album is stated to contain elements of music throughout the world. The band is currently embarking on the Metal Galaxy World Tour in support of the album.

Gold Price to Rise to $1,600 after turmoil



Gold’s next higher estimate is $1,600 an ounce, according to analysts. They are confident that the gold rally is not over because of unresolved U.S.-China trade talks. Other factors contributing to the rise in gold price are weak global growth and dovish (dovish is used to describe politicians or governments who are in favour of using peaceful and diplomatic methods to achieve something, rather than using force and violence) Federal Reserve expectations. Gold prices made a strong growth on Tuesday, rising above $1,540 an ounce after erasing all daily losses from earlier in the session. December Comex gold futures were last at $1,535.40, up 0.25% on the day.

Traders carefully thought about Trump's speech to the United Nations in New York on Tuesday afternoon. Trump said, “the future does not belong to globalists, the future belongs to patriots.” It appeared that gold improved from these comments, as China and Iran prices began to rise during the speech. It appears that Trump's words toward China and Iran encouraged a sell-off in the US stock market, US dollar index and crude oil. There was also buying interest in safe-haven gold. "Safe haven currencies" are ones investors tend to buy and hold during periods of uncertainty because they are perceived to be less risky and often appreciate in such conditions. Safe haven currencies usually have economic growth and liquidity (how easy the currency is to buy or sell). For years, gold has been considered a store of value. As a physical commodity, it cannot be printed like money, and its value is not impacted by interest rate decisions made by a government. The US dollar is seen as one of the most secure currencies in the world. The US dollar is the standard against which all other currencies are measured. Foreign institutions and governments have massive reserves of US dollars because it's seen as the most secure investment should all other investments fail. The Swiss franc and Singapore dollar are also considered very stable.

The next important level gold could hit is $1,600 an ounce, according to TD Securities and Scotiabank. After a temporary short-term pause, gold will likely go higher again, which is why gold (Au - chemical element, a dense lustrous yellow precious metal of Group 11 (Ib), Period 6, of the periodic table) still should be bought, TD Securities head of global strategy Bart Melek wrote on Monday.

Monday, 23 September 2019

Gold prices holding above $1,500

Silver prices are up. Gold prices are holding on to strong gains. Monday, IHS Markit said its flash U.S. manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index for September rose to a reading 51.0, up from August’s reading of 50.3. Some economists might have thought these readings would be almost unchanged. December gold futures last traded at $1,527.50 an ounce, up 0.82% on the day. Analysts at IHS don't think the economy is in the best position right now. IHS says, "the overall rate of growth in September remained among the weakest since 2016."
 



The spot prices right now are:

Gold: $1,525.25
Silver: $18.65
Platinum: $957.35
Palladium: $1,654.30
Rhodium: $5,400.00

Sunday, 22 September 2019

Venezuela Borrowed $10 Billion from Russia to Pay for Jet Fighters and Tanks


Venezuela got into a debt crisis. To pay for jet fighters and tanks, Venezuela borrowed $10 billion from Russia. It is unlikely that the country can actually pay back this amount. The EP-3E Aries II is a US plane that was designed to fly over international airspace and observe around itself. This plane was flying over the Caribbean waters just north of Venezuela on July 19. A Russian-built Su-30MK2 fighter flew close to the surveillance plane. It sent warnings that the flight plan was not reported to the Maquieta Flight Information Region.


The Su-30 is a fast attack jet. It is arguably the most effective jet fighter currently in service in South America. It can be compared to the America F-15E Strike Eagle. The MK2 model has improved sensors to enhance its anti-ship capabilities.


Caracas (capital and largest city of Venezuela) imported 24 Su-30MK2s between 2006 and 2012 at a cost of $2.2 billion. Caracas could only afford the purchases by taking out 3 loans between 2009-2014 totaling $10 billion (extended by Moscow). Venezuela has not been able to make its payments. The Venezuelan National Army purchased 192 T-72B1V main battle tanks and 130 BMP-3M infantry fighting vehicles. Venezuela’s T-72s outgun and outnumber the armor possessed by most other armies in South America. Colombia, for example, has no tanks at all. The Army also acquired a large pack of Russian self-propelled artillery including thirty-six BM-21 and BM-30 multiple-rocket launchers, and forty-eight turreted 2S19 Msta self-propelled howitzers. Russia has also delivered dozens of Mi-17 transport helicopters and Mi-35 Hind night-attack-capable helicopter gunships.


Brazil's foreign minister talked about the divisive question of Venezuela on Friday (July 26) as he launched a meeting of senior officials preparing for a BRICS nation summit, urging his counterparts from Russia, China, India and South Africa to hear Venezuelans' "cry for freedom."



Canada and Saudi Arabia Relations

Relations between Canada and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are interesting. The countries share important economic ties, with Saudi Arabia representing Canada's second largest trading partner in the Middle East. The relationship increased in February 2014 with the purchase of C$15 billion worth of Canadian arms by Saudi Arabia. Until August 2018, there were over 16,000 Saudi students on government scholarships in Canada.

 


Here are some news about Canada and Saudi Arabia:

Saudi Arabia withdrawing students from Canadian schools, suspending flights - Aug 6, 2018

For Canada, the G20 summit in Saudi Arabia could be far more tense than most - Jul 10, 2019

Canada should lead campaign to move G20 summit out of Saudi Arabia, says UN expert - Jul 5, 2019

Canadian Labour Congress urged to denounce Canada’s arms deal with Saudi Arabia - Jun 26, 2019

Canadian Export Agency Lifts Suspension on Saudi Arabia Business - Jul 2, 2019

Saudi Arabia Controls North America’s Largest Oil Refinery - Jul 16, 2019

UN calls on Canada, U.S. to hold Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed bin Salman accountable in Khashoggi killing - Jun 20, 2019

Canada still shipping LAVs to Saudi Arabia despite human rights concerns - Jun 27, 2019

Jun 28, 2019: Benee - Fire on Marzz (Music Album)



Benee is New Zealand’s exciting artist with Fire on Marzz. Benee came out of nowhere. Late last year, with her international break-out single Soaked, Benee exploded into a New Zealand star. She also pushed tickets in major international markets - London, LA, New York City. She is becoming better known.

Jun 27, 2019: Thom Yorke - Anima (Music Album)



Yorke has been working with electronics, within Radiohead and as a solo artist, for more than two decades. This has been ever since his band introduced their new album and new identity in 1997 with OK Computer.

Jun 27, 2019: Kim Petras - Clarity (Music Album)



“Clarity” might be one of the best collections of R&B pop music by a female European singer.

Jun 26, 2019: Cadence Design Systems Year-to-Date Return is 64.14%



Cadence Design Systems, Inc. is an American multinational electronic design automation (EDA) software and engineering services company, founded in 1988 by the merger of SDA Systems and ECAD, Inc. The company produces software, hardware and silicon structures for designing integrated circuits, systems on chips (SoCs) and printed circuit boards.

Cadence Design Systems is the stock NASDAQ: CDNS. The year-to-date return is 64.14%. This software company’s stock has risen by 64.14% so far this year. Shares have increased steadily except for a small decrease in April. There was also a greater one at the end of May. Both of these decreases were a broader trend on the S&P. The stock has recovered from these temporary price falls. The stock is now again increasing steadily.

Jun 26, 2019: Total System Services Year-to-Date Return is 58.61%


Total System Services is an American credit card processor, merchant acquirer and bank credit card issuer. TSS provides payment, processing, merchant, and related payment services to financial and nonfinancial institutions in the United States, Europe, Canada, Mexico, and internationally. The headquarters are in Columbus, Georgia, United States. The revenue was 4.028 billion USD in 2018.The CEO is M Troy Woods. The number of employees in 2018 was 12,820. The total assets in 2018 were 7.469 billion USD.

Total System Services is the stock NYSE: TSS. The year-to-date return: 58.61%. This stock has had huge growth over the years. From $0.29 in 1983 it became $127.16 on June 26, 2019. The stock was going steady at about $20 from 1998 to 2013. In a deal to be reached this year, Global Payments (NYSE: GPN) and Total System Services (NYSE: TSS) have reached an agreement to merge, creating a "technology-enabled payments company with extensive scale and unmatched global reach.” Global Payments is most focused on facilitating payment processing for merchants. Total System Services mostly handles payment processing for card-issuing financial institutions. The merger is expected to create a company that handles the merchant's side and the bank's side of every card payment transaction. The combined company will have a worldwide customer base of 3.5 million merchants, 1,300 financial institutions, and 600 million cardholders, and will facilitate approximately $50 billion of transactions per year.

Jun 26, 2019: Anadarko Petroleum Corporation Year-to-Date Return is 60.38%


Anadarko Petroleum Corporation is a company engaged in hydrocarbon exploration. It is organized in Delaware and headquartered in two skyscrapers in The Woodlands, Texas: the Allison Tower and the Hackett Tower, both named after former CEOs of the company. The production output is 666 thousand barrels of oil equivalent (4,070,000 GJ) per day.

Anadarko Petroleum Corporation is the stock NYSE: APC. The year-to-date return is 60.38%. Anadarko Petroleum is a Texas-based energy company specializing in hydrocarbon exploration. The company's stock growth is 60.38% this year so far. This has not been consistent. The stock greatly increased in price in April, first by 32% in a day after the announcement of its acquisition by oil giant Chevron. It increased again by 11.6% following the confirmation of a proposal from Occidental Petroleum stating that APC shareholders would receive $38.00 in cash and 0.6094 shares of Occidental common stock for each share of Anadarko common stock. Anadarko's price has been stable since mid-May. It is holding on to April's big gains.

Jun 26, 2019: Coty Inc. Year-to-Date Return is 99.39%


Coty, Inc. is an American multinational beauty company founded in 1904 by Fran├žois Coty. With its subsidiaries, it develops, manufactures, markets, and distributes fragrances, cosmetics, skin care, nail care, and both professional and retail hair care products. Coty owns around 77 brands as of 2018. The company has approximately 20,000 full-time employees in 46 countries. Class A shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol COTY.

COTY is a very high performing stock this year. The year-to-date return is 99.39%. Shares went up greatly this year after the company second-quarter earnings report showed the company outperformed revenue estimates and earnings per share. The stock value jumped 58% in just 6 days. Another price increase happened after the board’s announcement of a quarterly cash dividend of $0.125 per common share on May 8, 2019. COTY has continued going up so far.

Jun 26, 2019: Xerox Corporation Year-to-Date Return is 78.44%


Xerox Corporation (XRX) is an American global corporation that sells print and digital document and services in more than 160 countries. The company purchased Affiliated Computer Services for $6.4 billion in early 2010. The year-to-date return is 78.44%.

Printing giant Xerox provides workplace software, document management and digital printing technologies to businesses. The company’s stock price had a huge increase this year. There were a few unimportant price dips. A great 15.9% price increase occurred at the end of January. That was after the first-quarter earnings call. The stock growth has been steady over the past 5 months. It is good that the company could recover from a 31.2% fall last December. Xerox also quickly recovered from a brief decline in May. The stock is continuing to grow right now.

Jun 26, 2019: Chipotle Mexican Grill Year-to-Date Return is 68.33%


Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. is an American chain of fast food restaurants in the US, UK, Canada, Germany and France. The company specializes in tacos and burritos. Chipotle is the Nahuatl name for a smoked and dried jalapeno chili pepper. The competitors in the fast food Mexican market are Qdoba Mexican Grill, Moe’s Southwest Grill, Rubio’s Coastal Grill and Baja Fresh. With more than 2,000 locations, Chipotle had a net income of US $475.6 million and a staff of more than 45,000 employees in 2015.

Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) year-to-date return is 68.33|%. The company stock price has been increasing steadily this year. There was a 11.4% increase on February 7 after the 4Q18 earnings call on the previous day. There was a decline in the stock price at the end of May and beginning of June. This was because of fear of higher costs due to tariff threats. The company quickly recovered from that. The company announced on Feb 8, the opening of its 2,500th branch. The company stock price is steadily increasing so far.

Jun 25, 2019: Wheaton Precious Metals Stocks Gained 20% in 1 Month


Wheaton Precious Metals used to be called Silver Wheaton (before 2017). The company is no longer a pure play silver mining company. It is still the largest in the business of silver streaming. In 2016 Silver Wheaton reported attributable production totaling 30.4 million ounces of Ag and 353,700 ounces of Au. The Company also reported record silver and gold sales for the year, generating net earnings of US$195 million on operating cash flows of $584 million.


Wheaton Precious Metals (TSX:WPM)(NYSE:WPM) looks like a good investment to make with the stock greatly growing this month with gains of 20%. The good times may be just starting. The company is a precious metals streamer. A metal stream is a puchase agreement that provides, in exchange for an upfront deposit payment, the right to purchase all or a portion of one or more metals produced from a mine, at a price determined for the life of the transaction by the purchase agreement. Wheaton is not a traditional miner. Wheaton provides upfront capital for the traditional miners to set up and begin operations. Once operational, the miner allows Wheaton to purchase a certain amount of the metals produced by the mine at a discounted rate.

Streamers also benefit from not being directly involved in the operation of the mine. A streamer is less exposed to risk. The streamer can move on to the next mining opportunity while leaving the day-to-day operations to the traditional miner. Gold and silver are the bulk of Wheaton’s portfolio. The company also has streams for cobalt and palladium metals. Cobalt is a uniquely rare element in high demand that can only be found in certain mines around the world. It can be found in the DR Congo.

Wheaton’s cobalt stream comes from Voisey’s Bay in Newfoundland and Labrador. This is set to begin streaming on January 1, 2021. Wheaton has 19 operational mines around the world and 9 projects in stages of development. This diversification of different metals and mines made the company remove “Silver” from its name.

In the first 2019 quarter, Wheaton produced 93,585 ounces of gold, representing a 22% increase over the same quarter last year. The company also produced 5,614 ounces of silver, silver, which reflected a 24% decrease over the prior period. The decrease was attributed to the San Dimas silver stream as well as several others coming to a close. Precious metals have always been viewed as stores of wealth in times of uncertainty. Wheaton allows investors to get benefits of the gold market while remaining diversified. Investors want to overcome temporary market volatility problems.


Jun 25, 2019: Germany's Deutsche Bank Share Price Hits Very Low Point


Deutsche Bank hopes for success with its restructuring plan. This month, Deutsche Bank’s share price hit the lowest point in its 149-year history. This happened after the collapse of merger talks with Commerzbank in April. Fitch, a credit-rating agency, cut the bank’s rating to 2 notches above junk. Fitch Ratings Inc. is one of the big 3 credit rating agencies. The other 2 are Moody's and Standard & Poor's. It is one of the 3 nationally recognized statistical rating organizations designated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in 1975. Fitch Ratings is headquartered in New York, US.



Deutsche Bank has not confirmed the cuts. They will go beyond its investment-banking arm. The bank’s rates and equities trading business outside Europe will be decreased. A “bad bank” would be created to hold non-core assets that generate little or no revenue. A bad bank is a corporate structure which isolates illiquid and high risk assets held by a bank or a financial organisation, or a group of banks or financial organisations. Up to €50bn ($56bn) is a large part of Deutsche’s risk-weighted assets. The idea of a non-core unit is new.



Investors are fearing the future of Deutsche Bank. The biggest problems are a failing investment-banking arm, high funding costs and the lack of a reliable profit generator. The restructuring plan addresses the first problem, but not much for the other ones. It is difficult for the company to take big losses. It is harder to keep going without profits. Deutsche Bank cannot afford very big changes. In Germany’s labour laws, decreasing headcount would mean difficult social-insurance payments.





Jun 25, 2019: Yellow Pages Stock Is Up 35% This Year


Yellow Pages Group is a Canadian directory publisher. YPG published its first directory in 1908. The yellow pages stock (TSX:Y) has been declining for several years. Now the stock is up more than a third. This probably indicates a turn around. The company may seem like old books, but they have been trying to turn around and evolve the business model for the digital age. Over the past 5 years, the company decreased some of its core assets, unlocking millions in cash and getting digital marketing talent to work on offering services to niche audiences.



From the company website, you can see that Yellow Pages services now include digital marketing, content syndication, social media management, and website fulfillment for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across Canada. The Yellow Pages became something like a digital marketing agency. This is a move to grow the company by adopting new technology.



The company has done a lot to achieve its objectives. They cut back on spending and debt. Operational expenses were cut by 35% over the past year. Principal repayments of $144.7 million were completed on Senior Secured Notes. Debt was cut by half.



So far this year, the stock is up by 34%. Investors who bought at the start of 2019 are probably pretty satisfied with their investment. Long-term investors have seen huge decreases. Yellow pages new business model is having intense competition from both technology giants and start-up digital marketing agencies.

Jun 22, 2019: Sausage Vending Machines Popular in Germany


Sausages have always been a popular snack in Germany. People that didn’t bring any food with them can use vending machines to buy bratwurst, bockwurst and barbecue meats. These machines work 24 hours a day. You could also get potato salad. These useful machines are becoming increasingly popular outside of German city limits. This is where regular shops are less likely to stay open at night. More and more vending machines are starting to appear in rural areas. Some vending machines have eggs, milk, butter, fruit and vegetables. A wide variety of essential foods are available at any time. There are over 570,000 vending machines in Germany. They will certainly operate in areas where regular shops are not economically profitable.
 

In Japan, vending machines have a lot more different weird products. You can choose from sake, flying fish soup, self freezing bottled Coca Cola, bananas, umbrellas, eggs, oranges, hamburgers, ramen, energy drinks, condoms, underwear, socks that look like sushi, breathing masks and puppies.

Jun 22, 2019: Gas Prices Could Rise After Big Fire at Philadelphia Oil Refinery




When the fire exploded at the Philadelphia Oil Refinery on Friday morning, it looked like a nuclear bomb went off. It is likely that the gasoline supply in the U.S. Northeast will be affected by the outage. Gasoline futures rose 4% on Friday on the news. Gas prices could rise. The oil refinery is owned by Philadelphia Energy Solutions. This is the largest U.S. East Coast plant. The plant was severely damaged and could remain closed for a long time. The fire was contained by late afternoon. However, a connection line feeding fuel to the tank could not be shut. Propane and butane continued burning. At this location, 335,000 barrels of crude oil are refined daily.

A few weeks ago, gas prices were falling on their way to $2 a gallon for much of USA. Rising tensions between Iran and USA put pressure on oil prices. The explosion at the gasoline refinery put wholesale gas prices for the Northeast up 7 cents a gallon to $1.86 Friday. This was one of the biggest rises this year. So far, prices at the pump were not affected.

Jun 22, 2019: Alibaba Stock Increases After Proposing Stock Split


Alibaba is China’s biggest online commerce company. It has 3 main sites: Taobao, Tmall and Alibaba.com. They have hundreds of millions of users. Transactions on its online sites totaled $248 billion last year, more than those of eBay and Amazon.com combined. 80% of China’s online shopping market is dominated by Alibaba. Alibaba certainly became a valuable tech company after raising $25 billion from its U.S. IPO. It is also a valuable Chinese public company. Taobao is Alibaba's biggest shopping site. Sellers can pay for ads.

Alibaba Group Holding (ticker: BABA) has proposed a stock split that will increase the number of shares available at a lower per-share price. The split was supposed to increase flexibility in the company’s capital raising activities, including the issuance of new shares. The stock split would break 1 current Alibaba share into 8. Alibaba stock rose 1.1% Monday morning to $159.90. This means the company will likely proceed with a 2nd listing in Hong Kong later this year. A Hong Kong listing would bring Alibaba’s shares closer to investors at home, who are more familiar with the company.

Jun 22, 2019: Hong Kong Has Turned Into a Good Stock Market


The Hang Seng Index is a free float adjusted market capitalization weighted stock market index in Hong Kong. It is used to record and monitor daily changes of the largest companies of the Hong Kong stock market. It is the main indicator of the overall market performance in Hong Kong. Hang Seng Index outperformed world’s major indexes this week. Central banks have helped supercharge a rebound in Hong Kong stocks. The Hang Seng Index increased 5% this week. That’s its best rise since early November. The Hang Seng Enterprises Index was a close second, adding 4.8%. The Hong Kong dollar strengthened towards the midpoint of its trading band with the greenback, a level it hasn’t breached since September.


Next week’s Group of 20 summit could decide the recovery of Hong Kong stocks. The city is one of Asia’s largest equity markets. The city performance helps measure global liquidity expectations and macroeconomic concerns. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index rose 4.2% this week. The ChiNext Index continued to recover with a 4.8% gain. This was helped by proposals to make backdoor listings easier. It is difficult to be too optimistic – anything could happen. Investors are thinking about yuan strength. The yuan’s 2-week implied volatility increased the most this week since trade tensions increased last month.

Jun 21, 2019: 2 Whales Flown From Shanghai Aquarium to Sanctuary in Iceland


The 2 whales are called Little Grey and Little White. These two beluga whales arrived at Klettsvik Bay (a sanctuary in Iceland) from the Shanghai aquarium. Conservationists are expecting this marine sanctuary to become a model for relocating as many as 3,000 of the animals that are in captivity at this moment. The two beluga whales are 12-year-old female belugas. Previously, they lived out their lives performing at Changfeng Ocean World. These creatures were flown across the globe in specially made containers.


Each whale weighs about 900kg and is 4 metres long. The sanctuary is at Klettsvik Bay at Heimaey, one of the Westman Islands off the south coast of Iceland. After many years in captivity, the whales will exist in the new netted-off Icelandic sea pen. This pen covers 32,000 square metres and is 10 metres deep. The whales will be cared for in this area, because authorities believe the whales would not survive on their own in the wild. Tourists could see the whales. There are plans for small groups to approach the whales by boat. British-based Merlin Entertainments took over Changfeng Ocean World in 2012 and looked for a new home for Little White and Little Grey.

Jun 15, 2019: Toronto Raptors win NBA Championship



The Toronto Raptors have risen to the top of the NBA. The nation of Canada is celebrating right now. Raptors defeated the Golden State Warriors in Game 6 of the NBA Finals. Thursday night they brought the championship to Canada for the first time in history.

Kawhi Leonard was always a strong player this season. In 24 playoff games, the 27-year-old registered a total of 732 points. Steph Curry had the second-most playoff points this year, with 620. Leonard’s performance ranks him third on the all-time list for most points in a single post-season behind just Michael Jordan (759 in 1992) and LeBron James (748 2018). The Game 6 Final Score was: Raptors 114, Warriors 110. The Toronto Raptors are NBA champions. The game was at Oracle Arena in Oakland.

Jun 15, 2019: PetSmart’s Chewy Goes Up More Than 80% After IPO



Chewy is an online pet product retailer. The stock went up 80% in midday trade Friday after it made its debut on Wall Street. The company is owned by PetSmart. The shares opened at $36, with a market capitalization of $14.3 billion. Chewy (NYSE:CHWY) stock went up 82.2% to $40.22 as of 11 AM ET. The company priced its IPO at $22 a share. This was above the $19 to $21 price range. Chewy reported a net loss of $268 million in fiscal 2018. PetSmart owns 70% of the company’s common stock and holds 77% of the voting power. It acquired the company in 2017 for $3 billion. Chewy was founded in 2011 by Ryan Cohen and Michael Day. Chewy closed its first trading day at $34.99 per share, trading 59% above its IPO price. The company calls itself the largest pet e-tailer in the United States. The company has a 60% growth rate and $3.5 billion in sales. Investors like this.

The company has challenges like the high cost of shipping. The acquisition of Chewy made sense for PetSmart. It adds online expertise to PetSmart’s brick and mortar business. It increases PetSmart’s online market share. The acquisition of Chewy was financed primarily through additional debt. Analysts estimate Chewy will be EBITDA negative for at least the next 12-24 months. After the sale to PetSmart, Chewy expanded and launched an online pet pharmacy called Chewy Pharmacy. Chewy seeks continued growth.

Jun 15, 2019: Hexo Corp Stock Dropped 8.5% on Thursday


HEXO Corp is a consumer packaged goods cannabis company that creates and distributes products to serve the global cannabis market. As one of the largest licensed cannabis companies in Canada, HEXO Corp operates with 1.8 million sq. ft of facilities in Ontario and Quebec and a foothold in Greece to establish a Eurozone processing, production and distribution centre. The company was incorporated in 2013 under the name The Hydropothecary Corporation. The company was created to meet the needs of the Canadian medical cannabis market. After the creation of the legalized market in 2018, the company became HEXO Corp, for both adult-use (recreational) and medical markets.

Shares of Hexo Corp (NYSEMKT: HEXO) dropped 8.5% in Thursday trading after the company reported fiscal Q3 2019 earnings that beat expectations, although sales fell short. Hexo was expected to report a $0.05 per-share loss for the quarter. Hexo surprised investors with a loss of only $0.04 per share. Sales decreased to $13 million CAD, almost $2 million less than analysts hoped for ($14.8 million). This is likely the reason why the stock is down today.

Sales did not meet expectations. But, they were still up compared to the year-ago quarter (nearly 1,000%). Company reported $1.2 million in "net revenue from sale of goods" in the year-ago quarter. Falling prices for marijuana in Canada may have affected sales. Recreational pot prices decreased 9% over the past 3 months to $5.29 per gram. Medical marijuana prices are slightly down at $9.11 per gram. Investors are not looking for their companies to earn profits this early. They are more concerned about production rates and market share. Hexo predicts that it will double revenue in Q4 2019 and increase annual sales 100 times from 2018 to 2020 ($4 million to $400 million). The long road to growth remains ahead.

Jun 14, 2019: New Music Album: Gold & Grey by Baroness



Baroness is a Philadelphia-based quartet. The label is Abraxan Hymns. This new psychedelic album goes beyond metal. The band members are Sebastian Thomson, Nick Jost, Gina Gleason and John Baizley. Gold & Grey is generally labeled as metal or progressive rock. It has nice choral vocals, ambient sections, orchestrations, pleasant pianos and exciting guitars. This music is beautiful and uplifting.

Jun 14, 2019: OPEC’s Oil Output Hits 5 Year Low


OPEC is an abbreviation for Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. This is a union of oil producing countries that regulate the amount of oil each country is able to produce. An example of OPEC members are Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq. Oil output from OPEC fell in May. It hit a five-year low. The group warned that U.S.-China trade tensions could lead to slower economic growth and weak fuel demand. Production from the 14-nation producer club fell by 236,000 barrels per day last month to 29.88 million bpd. This was according to independent sources cited by OPEC in its monthly report. It was the first time OPEC pumped below 30 million bpd since June 2014. However, Angola and Iraq increased their May production. Angola added 74,000 barrels per day to reach 1.471 million barrels per day. Iraq increased oil production by 94,000 barrels per day, to 4.724 million bpd. The overall decline in production comes as OPEC is considering whether to extend a 6-month deal to hold down output. In the monthly report, OPEC says it will carefully consider the economic outlook when it meets with Russia and other oil-exporting nations in the next weeks.

OPEC said that throughout the first half of this year, ongoing global trade tensions have escalated. The problem is that the tensions will grow too much. Geo-political risks remain in many key regions. The slowdown of global economic activities is a sad result of this. The growth is weaker in global oil demand compared to a year earlier.

Jun 14, 2019: Hudson's Bay posts higher than expected loss


Canadian department store operator Hudson’s Bay Co. on Thursday posted a higher than expected loss. Sales at its Lord & Taylor unit fell. However, the company said it was optimistic about its ability to deal with the impact of US-China trade negotiations and U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods. Hudson’s Bay also owns Saks Fifth Avenue. Hudson’s Bay said earlier this week it is evaluating a $1.74-billion take-private cash offer as it competes with discount direct-to-consumer brands and e-commerce behemoths like Amazon.com Inc. The company has success at Saks, especially in its fast-growing men’s business. Hudson's Bay Co. announced it will close its house wares chain Home Outfitters in Canada. ... There are 37 Home Outfitters locations across Canada. All will be closed by the end of 2019. There are benefits of cost-cutting and closing various underperforming shops.

Hudson’s Bay says it had not seen any impact from U.S. tariffs on Chinese imports. It expects to use effective inventory and supply chain management to offset a potential further round of American tariffs on Chinese goods. U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to impose up to 25% tariffs on an additional $300 billion in Chinese imports if the 2 sides cannot reach a trade deal. More than 70% of the company revenue is in Canada and in luxury retail. Hudson’s Bay also said that it would sell its stake in its real estate joint venture in Germany to Signa Retail Holdings in a deal valued at $1.5 billion, with the proceeds to be used to pay down debt.

The company first-quarter comparable sales decreased 2.1%. Excluding Lord & Taylor and Home Outfitters, which are both undergoing strategic reviews, same-store sales rose 0.3%. Same-store sales at its namesake stores tumbled 4.3% in the quarter. The good point for Hudson’s Bay in the first quarter was its upscale Saks Fifth Avenue business registering a 2.4% rise in same-store sales. Customers spent more on men’s and women’s apparel. The retailer’s off-price business, Saks Off Fifth, saw a 4.4% bump in same-store sales due to investments made in targeted marketing and product assortment. The company reported net profit from continuing operations of $275 million, or $1.15 per share, in the first quarter ended May 4, compared with a loss of $132 million, or 72 cents per share, a year earlier. Total revenue fell to $2.12 billion from $2.19 billion a year earlier.

Jun 13, 2019: Lululemon stock has strong growth


June 13, 2019: Lululemon’s first-quarter earnings and sales outpaced analyst estimates. This sent shares up nearly 4% in after-hours trading. Lululemon raised its guidance for the full financial year to between $3.73 billion and $3.77 billion in revenue. Earnings per share are between $4.51 and $4.58. Lululemon is seeing strong momentum and growth. Wall Street was expecting earnings of 70 cents per share and revenue of $755 million. The athletic apparel maker company reported earnings of 74 cents per share and revenue of $782 million. Lululemon expects revenue between $3.73 billion and $3.77 billion, and earnings per share between $4.51 and $4.58 in 2019. Lululemon shares, as of Wednesday’s market close, have surged more than 40% this year. The stock at the end of April hit an all-time high of $179.50 per share. Same-store sales, an important indicator of revenue, grew 14%, greater than the estimates of expected 11.6% growth. Lululemon is optimistic about future opportunities and delivering on its five-year growth plan. The plan aims to double men’s and digital revenues, and to quadruple international revenues.

Jun 11, 2019: Biofuels Have Not Decreased US Gasoline Prices Or Emissions



The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is a federal program that requires transportation fuel sold in the United States to contain a minimum volume of renewable fuels. The RFS originated with the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and was expanded and extended by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA). RFS hasn’t cut gasoline prices outside the Midwest. There was even a little rise in pump prices in states far from ethanol production. The standard has had a limited effect, if any, on greenhouse gas emissions.

The market reality is that gasoline demand turned out to be lower than what the legislators had predicted when enacting the RFS. Under the RFS, oil refiners are required to blend growing amounts of renewable fuels into gasoline and diesel. This policy has long created an argument between the agriculture lobby and the oil refining lobby. The Midwest farm belt benefits from the RFS policy because it increases demand for ethanol. The oil refiners do not benefit. They lose petroleum-based market share of fuels. Meeting the blending requirements costs them hundreds of millions of dollars.

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said that it disagrees with the conclusion that the RFS hasn’t had effect on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. They think RFS likely had modest impacts on gasoline prices should be augmented by a discussion of the volatility of gasoline prices. The GAO (Government Accountability Office) said in its report that ethanol is produced primarily in the Midwest, where most corn is produced. According to the studies they reviewed, this means that Midwest gasoline retailers, being closer to the supply of ethanol, may have been able to charge consumers lower prices for retail gasoline relative to non-Midwest gasoline retailers because of their lower transportation costs for ethanol. Similarly, higher transportation costs outside of the Midwest may have resulted in higher prices of retail gasoline in those regions.

According to the GAO, RFS was likely associated with modest gasoline price increases outside of the Midwest and that these price increases may have diminished over time. According to GAO, the RFS has likely had a limited effect, if any, on greenhouse gas emissions. The limited effect is likely the result of RFS reliance on conventional corn-starch ethanol, which has a smaller potential to reduce emissions compared with advanced biofuels. Most corn-starch ethanol has been produced in plants exempt from emissions.

GAO analysis suggests that the RFS is unlikely to meet the greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals envisioned for the program through 2022. This is because corn-starch ethanol will continue to dominate the biofuels as it is economical to produce. Advanced biofuels that have the potential to achieve greater emission reductions (like cellulosic ethanol) are not cheap to produce. The USDA thinks differently about emission reductions. A USDA study found that greenhouse gas emissions from corn-based ethanol are about 39 percent lower than gasoline. In cases when ethanol is refined at natural gas-powered refineries, the emissions are even lower, around 43 percent below gasoline. According to a study by the Renewable Fuels Association, the savings to consumers resulting from the RFS averaged $0.22 per gallon between 2015 and 2018.

Unlike other renewable energy sources, biomass can be converted directly into liquid fuels, called biofuels. The two most common types of biofuels in use today are ethanol and biodiesel, both of which represent the first generation of biofuel technology.