Inveslogic.com Daily Blog Report: Bernanke says more oversight needed, Apple beats the street and India needs nickel
This is a selection of today’s most popular blog articles from Inveslogic.com where you will find the highest-rated stock market and investment blogs, videos and podcasts on the web.
Bernanke says tighten sub-prime controls
A recent post from Seeking Alpha’s US Market blog, written by editor Judith Levy, revealed details from yesterday’s House Financial Services Committee hearing about the sub-prime lending crisis. Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke addressed house committee members and informed them that new legislation will be required to ensure that a similar crisis doesn’t happen in the future. According to Bernanke, “the recent problems in sub-prime lending have underscored the need not only for better disclosure and new rules but also for more uniform enforcement in the fragmented market structure of brokers and lenders." Levy stated that “the fed is being criticized by some members of Congress for failing to protect citizens caught in the sub-prime crunch.”
Alphonso Jackson, the secretary of housing and urban development told Bernanke that according to current data, “of the 2 million sub-prime home loans scheduled to be reset by the end of 2008, about 500,000 would enter foreclosure.”
The post also notes that Representative Barney Frank, the chair of the House panel, said “the Federal Reserve must use or lose its regulatory powers.” Bernanke countered that the Fed was doing what it could to help borrowers, pointing to this week’s rate cut as proof. Bernanke told the House panel that the rate cut was instituted “to try to get out ahead of the situation, [to] try to forestall potential effects of tighter credit conditions.” He was adamant that stronger government oversight of sub-prime lenders and brokers will be necessary to offset the current problem, while ensuring that a similar crisis won’t happen again.
$100 million financing for coal-to-gas venture
VentureBeat, a widely-read business blog focused on venture capital, revealed details today about the massive financing deal just wrapped up by an up-and-coming company called GreatPoint Energy, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. According to the post, “GreatPoint Energy, a company developing a way to turn polluting coal into less-dirty natural gas, has raised a whopping $100 million third round of financing.”
Additionally, the post reports that recent demonstrations of GreatPoint’s technology were more than enough to woo investors and they plan to focus this latest round of investment on making their product more efficient. VentureBeat stated “For GreatPoint, the technology is no longer in question. The various components of the coal gassification process are known, but the company is trying to make the process more affordable by speeding it up.”
The financing will allow the company to finish a testing phase that will prove its technology works within a large-scale production. The post claims that GreatPoint’s technology “will be a significant step toward reducing the release of carbon emissions.”
Initially, the company had raised $37 million in financing through “well-regarded Silicon Valley venture firms such as Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Khosla Ventures, Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Advanced Technology Ventures.” The post reports that the new lead investors who put up the $100 million include Citi Sustainable Development Investments, Dow Chemical, AES Corp. and Suncor Energy.
Apple sales smash street expectations
A post from widely-read financial blog Barron’s Tech Trader Daily has revealed that Apple will shatter analysts’ expectations with their sales figures for the fourth quarter, which ends on September 30. According to Eric Savitz, who wrote the post, “Apple will sell about 2.35 million iMacs and MacBooks this quarter, which would be nearly 400,000 units above the analysts’ consensus.” Savitz alluded to the fact that a strong Christmas retail season is a genuine possibility despite recent market turmoil.
Additionally, the post also quotes The Street.com stating that a new line of products will be debuted before the Christmas season, which could further boost Apple stock’s skyward run. Savitz reports that “Apple, next quarter, will announce a sub-notebook Mac, with a 10-12 inch screen and weighing under 2 pounds.” The buzz has reportedly grown so large that “Apple has told some employees to cancel vacation plans between Thanksgiving and Christmas in preparation for a big year-end sales push.”
Indian construction boom fuels Nickel price
Resource Investor, a business blog specializing in the mining and drilling industries, noted in a post this morning that unprecedented demand for nickel is being fuelled partly by the construction boom happening in India. In fact, the post reports that India is now poised to step up its imports of nickel in order to meet soaring demand for stainless steel. Resource Investor quotes Indian Stainless Steel Development Association President N.C Mathur saying that he “expects a rise of 10% to 15% in nickel imports,” while also noting that, “India will buy nearly 50,000 tonnes of the metal this year.”
It is important to emphasize that India is not a producer of nickel and is 100% reliant on foreign imports. Mathur also stated that “the annual stainless steel consumption in India is expected to expand by about 12% in the coming year from about 2 million tonnes now.” Countries such as Russia, Canada, New Zealand and China produce much of the world’s nickel.
Resource Investor noted that India is not alone in its massive appetite for the base metal. The post observed that “Global consumption of nickel was expected to rise 7% to 1.34 million tonnes in 2006. This may further go up to 1.38 million in 2007. Global production was estimated to be 1.32 million tonnes in 2006 and is likely to reach 1.37 million in 2007.”
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