domingo, 14 de junho de 2015

Philosophy of Economics

In “Philosophy of Economics (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)”:

“Philosophy of Economics” consists of inquiries concerning (a) rational choice, (b) the appraisal of economic outcomes, institutions and processes, and (c) the ontology of economic phenomena and the possibilities of acquiring knowledge of them.

The frontiers between economics and philosophy concerned with methodology, rationality, ethics and normative social and political philosophy are buzzing with activity. This activity is diverse and concerned with very different questions. Although many of these are related, philosophy of economics is not a single unified enterprise. It is a collection of separate inquiries linked to one another by connections among the questions and by the dominating influence of mainstream economic models and techniques.


sábado, 28 de fevereiro de 2015

You got hacked

In “”:

Companies keep getting hacked. And that's music to the ears of the executives and investors in cybersecurity companies.

February has been a phenomenal month for the overall stock market. The S&P 500 is up about 6%. But companies that help mitigate the damage from major attacks have done even better.

There is a relatively new exchange-traded fund for cybersecurity companies. The ticker symbol, appropriately, is HACK (HACK). It has surged nearly 17% in February.

The massive data breach at health insurer Anthem (ANTM) earlier this month is one reason why the stocks have done so well.

Related: Insurance giant Anthem hit by one of the largest data breaches ever

The attack reminded investors of how important it is for companies to protect themselves, especially in the wake of Sony (SNE), Home Depot (HD) and Target (TGT), just to name a few of the prominent companies that have been hacked in the past year and a half.

hack screen bull

The White House cybersecurity summit held in California a few weeks ago also helped the sector.

President Obama and Apple (AAPL, Tech30) CEO Tim Cook both stressed the need for companies and governments to do more to protect businesses and consumers from attacks while also safeguarding their privacy.

Related: The worst hacks in corporate history

Cybersecurity stocks aren't just rallying due to headlines. All these hacks have legitimately boosted their business. Several leading companies in the HACK ETF reported stellar results this month.

FireEye (FEYE), which owns security consulting firm Mandiant, said that its fourth quarter revenues surged 150% from a year ago. Mandiant was hired by Anthem and Sony to help clean up their cyber mess. Shares are up 34% this month.

CyberArk (CYBR), a company that went public last year, reported a quarterly profit that blew away estimates. The stock has gained nearly 90% in February.

And on Thursday, Splunk (SPLK) and Infoblox (BLOX) both impressed Wall Street with their latest earnings. Both stocks are up about 30% this month.

Related: Anthem hacked, Wall Street shrugs

These four companies are among the top ten holdings in the HACK ETF.

Another big cybersecurity company in the ETF, Palo Alto Networks, is due to report its earnings next week. The stock is near an all-time high and analysts are forecasting a 45% jump in sales and 70% surge in earnings per share.

Another bubble or the Next Big Thing in tech? So can these stocks continue to rally? Investors definitely need to be careful. FireEye, for example, is not profitable. Infoblox trades for about 100 times earnings estimates for this year, and that makes it among the cheaper stocks in the group!

Palo Alto trades at nearly 200 times this year's earnings estimates. CyberArk has a price-to-earnings ratio of more than 200 while Splunk's valuation is north of 600 times profit forecasts.

Related: Super-sneaky malware found in companies worldwide

The last time that triple-digit valuations were in vogue was when the Nasdaq topped 5,000 back in March 2000. That didn't end well.

And yet here we are again. The Nasdaq about to end February with the 5K level once more in sight.

Goldman CEO on hacking: 'Certainty is unavailable'

Goldman CEO on hacking: 'Certainty is unavailable'

Still, as crazy expensive as all these stocks are, they could head higher for a long time.

It pays to be paranoid. It's hard to imagine that companies are going to be able to stop cyberattacks anytime soon. And what most of these companies do best is to help limit the damage from hacks.

In an interview with CNNMoney earlier this month, CyberArk CEO Udi Mokady said that all companies have to assume they will be infected at some point. It's inevitable.

Mokady added that corporate chief security officers have to be paranoid. If they're not, they'll likely find themselves out of a job.

In other words, cybersecurity companies are going to remain extremely busy. And their revenues and profits should keep climbing.


sexta-feira, 6 de fevereiro de 2015

"Grécia ganhou nos últimos dias o respeito dos cidadãos europeus"

Economistas assinam manifesto de apoio à Grécia

In “Jornal SOL”:

Economistas assinam manifesto de apoio à Grécia

Um grupo de 300 economistas de instituições como Cambridge, Columbia, a Universidade Complutense (Madrid) ou a Escola Superior de Estudos Sociais (Paris) assinou um manifesto contundente contra as políticas e as soluções empregues pela UE na Grécia. O documento, baptizado Estamos com a Grécia e com a Europa, começa com um apelo às autoridades europeias que negoceiem com “boa fé” com aquele estado-membro e a “respeitar a decisão do povo grego de escolher outra via” para solucionar a  crise da dívida do país.

Personalidades como Stephany Griffith-Jones, conceituada especialista da Universidade de Columbia, autora de várias obras sobre este tipo de problemas – entre as quais uma sobre a crise das dívidas soberanas na América Latina nos anos 80, cujas soluções levaram a resultados muito semelhantes aos da Grécia – ou o francês Jacques Sapir, defensor da “desglobalização” e perito na economia russa, assinam o documento.

O manifesto dá razão ao governo grego, pode ler-se, “porque as políticas europeias aplicadas até agora são um fiasco total e não trouxeram nem recuperação económica, nem estabilidade financeira, nem empregos, nem sequer investimento estrangeiro directo”, contrariando, por isso, todas as medidas dos pacotes de auxílio. E aponta soluções no plano imediato, como um “aumento do salário mínimo, restauração do  emprego e medidas que permitam desde logo restaurar serviços básicos como a saúde e a educação”.

A continuarem as tentativas de solução aplicadas até agora, defendem os economistas, a dívida, de tão insustentável, “nunca será reembolsada aconteça o que acontecer” e a perspectiva da UE sobre a Grécia representa um “fracasso moral, político e económico do projecto europeu”. O manifesto antecede uma das reuniões mais importantes deste périplo inicial por vários países europeus do primeiro-ministro Alexis Tsipras e do ministro das finanças Yanis Varoufakis, o encontro de ministros das finanças da Zona Euro no próximo dia 11 em Bruxelas. Várias cidades europeias já se mobilizam para manifestações de apoio, a começar por Barcelona, que hoje se mobiliza em frente à sede local da Comissão Europeia.

quinta-feira, 5 de fevereiro de 2015

Falling oil prices: How long will it last?

In “Los Angeles Times”:

Filling up at the gas station has been a much more pleasant experience for Americans since last fall. Regular gas is now less than $2 a gallon in many states, down from around $3.30 just a year ago.

But how long will that last? It’s just one of many questions stemming from the extraordinary drop in crude oil prices -- a development that has boosted consumer confidence, hurt once-booming energy states and presented new opportunities -- and challenges -- for the U.S. and global economy.

Why did oil prices fall so much, so fast?

Oil price drop threatens to hit Russia, Iran harder than sanctions

Oil price drop threatens to hit Russia, Iran harder than sanctions

A confluence of factors has contributed to the more than 50% slide in oil prices since September. The biggest is the steady rise in world petroleum supplies, mainly because of the shale-oil revolution in the United States. Thanks to hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and other drilling techniques, the United States has accounted for more than 80% of global crude production growth in the last five years. More recently, a spike in oil output in Iraq and Libya has further boosted capacity.

At the same time, there are signs of softening demand. Economies in Europe and Japan have been stagnant, and the Chinese economy, the biggest driver of global oil demand, is slowing down. The strong dollar also has helped pushed down oil prices.

How long will it last?

Those low prices at the pump may be short-lived because the cost of crude is likely to start rebounding in the second half of this year. That’s based on predictions of future supply and demand, including the fact that low prices will stimulate greater use and therefore lead to an increase in demand. Oil futures lately have been trading at about $45 per barrel, compared with an average $100 in the first half of last year. By this time next year, Moody’s Analytics estimates that oil will bounce back up to $80 a barrel.

But there are other factors that could come into play. The fall in crude prices has started to slow drilling and exploration projects, which no longer look as profitable amid the falling cost of oil. And while theoretically that should lower supply and nudge prices back up, it won’t happen right away. In some cases, oil producers may be reluctant to turn off the spigot, even if their profits are falling, because there are hefty costs to restarting operations. Some may tough it out, betting that prices will soon rise again to a level where they can at least break even.

All of which is to say that global supplies could keep growing and outpacing any pick-up in demand, prolonging an oil glut and keeping prices depressed.

Who benefits the most from lower energy costs?

The United States will be one of the biggest winners. Car-related businesses, for example, will see more sales as people drive more, buy bigger vehicles and require more services. On average, an American household is projected to save $750 on gasoline costs this year compared with 2014, according to the Energy Department. States in the Southeast will benefit comparatively more as households in that region tend to spend a bigger share of their after-tax income on fuel.

Countries that import a lot of oil also stand to save hundreds of billions of dollars, including European nations, Japan, South Korea and China. But there are caveats. Heavy taxes in Europe and government subsidies in China will limit the benefits to consumers in those countries. Meanwhile, the savings to Japan will be partially offset by its weak currency. Like other commodities, oil is denominated in dollars, so Japan will have to pay that much more yen for every $1 of crude that it buys in international markets.

Whom will it hurt the most?

Oil-producing countries such as Russia, Iran, Venezuela and Nigeria are already straining because they rely heavily on oil for government revenues. Other OPEC-member countries will feel a pinch too, but at $45 a barrel or even lower, Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s dominant and lowest-cost producer, can still make a solid profit.

While big oil companies will be cushioned somewhat by gains in their petroleum-refining business, smaller, less-efficient energy firms will face a revenue and credit squeeze that could drive some out of business. Significantly, a protracted oil price slump would take a toll on the U.S. shale industry, concentrated in Texas and North Dakota.

How will it affect economic and job growth in the United States?

On net, the U.S. economy could get as much as a big 0.5 percentage point lift from the steep oil price decline, primarily from billions of dollars freed up for spending by consumers. Many companies, too, will enjoy a bump in profits -- more than 50% of in-house company economists said the drop in oil prices already had a positive effect on their firms, according to a January survey by the National Assn. for Business Economics.

Job growth also will get a boost, although it won’t be evenly distributed. If oil prices remain low for an extended period, it could even drag some energy-dependent states into recession. While an oil-related boom-turned-bust in North Dakota won’t mean much for the U.S. economy, a downturn in Texas is another matter. The Lone Star State has added some 1.3 million new jobs since the Great Recession, or about 14% of the total gains in the nation, and many undoubtedly were linked to the oil boom.

Will it affect inflation or interest rates?

Spending for energy accounts for a relatively large share of American household expenses. And plunging gas prices will add downward pressure on the price of other consumer goods. Federal Reserve officials have repeatedly described the decline in oil prices as “transitory,” suggesting that what’s happened in the energy market won’t affect inflation expectations or change the course of monetary policy.

But financial analysts are a little more wary about the situation. Falling oil prices have triggered more volatility in stock markets, and there’s heightened risk that inflation will be too low. If energy prices remain depressed, that could prompt the Fed to delay its plan to start hiking interest rates.

Which country will call the shots in determining oil prices?

Much has been said about the diminished power of OPEC, the oil cartel dominated by Saudi Arabia, the long-time energy kingpin. Now there’s another big kid on the block: The United States has once again become a “swing producer,” as energy expert Daniel Yergin calls the impact from America’s tremendous output of shale oil. Even so, the United States today can’t match the low-cost production of Saudi oil. And the kingdom’s decision to keep pumping out large supplies -- ostensibly to protect market share and put pressure on neighbors as well as rivals in America -- is certain to test the financial mettle of U.S. producers as well as their ability to harness their drilling technologies more efficiently and effectively.

Ver:  Indústria petrolífera: as lições do passado e os desafios do futuro

sábado, 17 de janeiro de 2015

Franco suíço faz vítimas de Nova Iorque até à Nova Zelândia

In “Jornal de Negócios”:

Swiss Parliament Examines ‘Gold Franc’ Currency Today

As perdas elevadas registadas pelos investidores mundiais, após o "tsunami" provocado pelo Banco da Suíça está a colocar as corretoras mundiais em dificuldades. Uma instituição neozelandesa teve mesmo que fechar portas.

A Suíça chocou o mundo ao acabar com a relação da moeda suíça com o euro. A decisão já está a fazer vítimas. O anúncio levou o franco suíço a disparar face às maiores divisas mundiais e colocou corretoras desde os Estados Unidos até à Nova Zelândia em sérias dificuldades. Algumas foram mesmo obrigadas a suspender a sua actividade.

Ao contrário do que é habitual no mercado cambial, em que as oscilações não são demasiado elevadas, a sessão de quinta-feira colocou os investidores mundiais em alerta, após a decisão do banco central suíço para deixar cair o limite que estipulava um câmbio mínimo de 1,20 francos suíços por euro. Este anúncio totalmente inesperado provocou uma escalada histórica da moeda suíça que disparou um máximo de 29%.

Este movimento brusco provocou perdas elevadas a muitos investidores mundiais, uma situação que coloca em risco a sustentabilidade financeira das próprias corretoras. É o caso de uma corretora neozelandesa, que foi obrigada a fechar portas após as variações acentuadas da última sessão.

A Global Brokers, da Nova Zelândia, informou que as perdas criadas pelo disparo do franco suíço forçaram a instituição a encerrar a sua actividade. Ao contrário de outros investimentos, a aposta no mercado cambial é altamente alavancada, um movimento que pretende maximizar ganhos. Mas, caso a evolução seja desfavorável, o potencial de perdas também é muito elevado.

Mas, os problemas, ainda que sem consequências tão dramáticas, estendem-se a outras corretoras mundiais. É o caso da FXCM, que adiantou que os seus clientes ficaram a dever um total de 225 milhões de dólares nas suas contas depois de ter sido anunciada a medida do banco central suíço. Já a IG Group Holdings estima um impacto negativo de 30 milhões de libras e a Swissquote Group Holdings de 25 milhões de francos.

A moeda suíça subiu mais de 15% contra todas as divisas mundiais seguidas pela Bloomberg, um movimento que apanhou os investidores desprevenidos. "Os clientes registaram perdas significativas", adiantou a FXCM num comunicado divulgado ontem.

Acções suíças prolongam queda, franco corrige

Depois de afundar mais de 10% na última sessão, na maior queda desde 1988, a bolsa da Suíça está a negociar novamente em queda. O índice SMI cai 4,4%, arrastado pelo mau comportamento das empresas exportadoras.

Cotadas como a Swatch, Watchmakers ou a Financiere Richemont, que geram a maior parte das suas receitas fora do país, estão a ser castigadas, perante a expectativa que se tornem menos competitivas e percam negócio com a valorização do franco.

A decisão do banco suíço está a provocar uma onda de críticas por parte destas empresas. Nick Hayek, o CEO da relojeira Swatch, afirmou que os efeitos desta decisão sobre a economia helvética serão tão devastadores como um "tsunami".

"Não tenho palavras. Jordan (Jordão) não é apenas o nome do presidente do banco central mas também de um rio e a decisão de hoje é um tsunami para a indústria exportadora e para o turismo e, no fim da linha, para todo o país", afirmou em comunicado, citado pelo The Guardian.

A moeda suíça está a corrigir após a escalada de quinta-feira. O franco suíço cai 4,4%, para 1,0184 por euro, depois de ter disparado para um máximo de 85,172 na sessão anterior.

View My Stats