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Market Review: Facebook, Apple update & Summer Swoon?

April 30, 2012 --

by Shawn Narancich, CFA
Vice President of Research
Ferguson Wellman Capital Managment
Portland, Oregon

Is Another Summer Swoon on the Way?
Meanwhile, economic data continues to weaken in the month of April as euro zone manufacturing activity declined andEnglandofficially entered recession while domestically, durable goods orders fell in March and 2.2 percent first quarter GDP growth undershot expectations. After the Fed meeting this week in which near-zero interest rate policy was maintained, investors took Bernanke’s post-meeting commentary to read that QE3 is a medicine approved for use if the recent soft patch of economic data metastasizes. 

Facebook Downdraft
Perhaps the most attention-grabbing earnings headline of the week came from a company that is not yet publicly traded: Facebook. We noted with surprise that the social networking giant reported declining first quarter profits ahead of their planned IPO next month. Although revenues increased 45 percent from a year earlier, they dropped sequentially and earnings fell 12 percent year-over-year. Investor demand for this IPO will still be tremendous, but one has to question whether a rumored $100 billion valuation is appropriate for a business model with only $1 billion in profits that’s already experiencing growing pains.

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Apple sued over “free apps”

April 29, 2012 --

By Faces of Lawsuit Abuse,

Lawsuit against Apple for ‘bait apps’ gets go-ahead. Apple is being sued over its “freemium” apps by a group of angry parents. The class action claims that certain apps can be downloaded for free, but then charge their iTunes account if the kids make in-app purchases for extra features. The plaintiffs say Apple wrongly advertised the apps as free, but Apple responds that the purchases are password protected and parents shouldn’t give the kids access (plaintiffs counter that there was a 15-minute window after the app download – since eliminated – where kids could still make purchases).

Read the story here

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SEC goes after Hollywood over corruption

April 28, 2012 --

The enclosed Wall Street Journal Video features SEC investigation into Hollywood dealings overseas and possible charges of corruption and bribery in order to get films into new markets.

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Magazine knocks Portland for outlawing Groupon

April 27, 2012 --

Excerpt from the Weekly Standard

The problem is that the city hasn’t created laws to benefit Portlanders—it’s created them to benefit one specific industry, at the expense of every consumer in the area. The Portland city council two years ago put in place regulations that force limousine and sedan services to charge a $50 minimum for rides to and from the airport, and at least 35 percent more than taxis for trips to any other destination. And these transportation companies cannot pick up customers until at least an hour after the customer calls for a ride.

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Appeals Court ruling on real estate sale gone awry

April 26, 2012 --

Oregon Court of Appeals affirms judgment against title company in real estate sale gone wrong
by Lori Bauman
Ater Wynne LLP,
Oregon Law Firm

A title company is liable for negligence in a real estate transaction in which plaintiff thought he had purchased a lot that — it was later discovered — had already been sold to another party. Last week the Oregon Court of Appeals in Peterson v. McCavic affirmed a jury verdict for negligence against Amerititle, Inc., which had served as escrow agent and title insurer in the transaction.

Plaintiff undertook to purchase an empty lot in The Dalles, Oregon, but the property description in the earnest money agreement was changed after he signed it — leading to his purchase of a lot about 50 feet from the one he thought he was buying. Plantiff learned of the mistake from the actual owners of the land he thought he had purchased, but only after spending several months building a house on the wrong lot.

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Bad news: Oregon growth rate to drop in 2012

April 25, 2012 --

By Bill Watkins
CLU Center for Economic Research & Forecasting

Oregon Economy

Over the past several months, we’ve been heavily criticized for our forecasts, by the Bend Bulletin, The Cascade Business News, a few politicians, and who knows who else. That’s fine, but the irony of news media recommending censuring us seems lost on them. They also seem to not notice that our forecasts have been rather accurate and often slightly optimistic.

Consider, for example, our most recent jobs forecast. We estimated in January that Oregon job grew at a 0.3 percent annual seasonally adjusted rate in 2011 quarter four. The actual came in at a 0.1 percent seasonally adjusted growth rate.

February’s job report was really discouraging. On a seasonally adjusted basis, Oregon lost 6,600 jobs in February. That big of a loss this late in a recovery is sign that something is very wrong. Oregon’s Pollyannas will point out that on a non-seasonally adjusted basis, Oregon actually gained 1,900 jobs. Of course, that’s why jobs data are seasonally adjusted. The seasonally adjusted expectation is 8,500 new jobs for Oregon in February.

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37% of companies use social media to screen job interviews

April 24, 2012 --

Thirty-seven percent of companies use social networks to research potential job candidates, according to new CareerBuilder Survey
Hiring managers share why they screen with social media, and explain what they’re looking for in candidates’ profiles
By Career Builders,

With the pervasive, worldwide adoption of social media, job seekers know that the all-important first impression is potentially made well before the first interview. But just how many hiring managers browse social media profiles, and what type of information are they hunting?

Nearly two in five companies (37 percent) use social networking sites to research job candidates, according to a new survey from CareerBuilder. Of the employers who do not research candidates on social media, 15 percent said their company prohibits the practice. Eleven percent report they do not currently use social media to screen, but plan to start.

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Why is Portland rebuilding their best school?

April 23, 2012 --

“Education” Urban Renewal Area question of the day: Why rebuild Lincoln HS?
By Dr. Eric Fruits, PhD
Oregon economist

One of the curious pieces of the proposed “Education” Urban Renewal Area is a chunk of money flowing to Lincoln High School. The ins-and-outs of how that money will flow to the school district have not been made public and there is some concern that any giveaways to the district may run afoul of state property tax limits.

The biggest question of all remains: Why rebuild Lincoln High School?

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Chamber vs. Wall Street Journal on Transportation Bill

April 22, 2012 --

By U.S. Chamber of Commerce,
Free Enterprise

The next time the Wall Street Journal editorial board decides to reprint talking points from the Heritage Foundation they might endeavor in some fact-checking. In today’s Wall Street Journal piece, the editorial board offers a menu of reasons why the federal government shouldn’t be involved in transportation investment including the inequities it creates between states, saying that Western and Southern states get less than they pay in. In reality, from 2005-2009, each and every state received more back from the Federal government than they contributed in user fees to the Highway Trust Fund according to the General Accountability Office. This is because instead of keeping Highway Trust Fund revenues – which are largely derived from the federal gas tax – in line with federal commitments, Congress has chosen to periodically transfer general funds to keep the investments afloat.

Read the full article and discuss it »

Media blamed for Apple stock drop

April 21, 2012 --

Business Video pick of the week goes to Wall Street Journal video for reviewing the recent Apple stock decline due to media criticism.

Read the full article and discuss it »
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