Links: 2013-01-23

GOP Stunt On Debt Ceiling Is Total Surrender To White House | Stan Collender’s Capital Gains and Games 

“The Senate’s inability to pass a budget the past four years has been a main GOP talking point so it’s not that surprising that this was the price House Republicans decided they should demand in exchange for surrendering on the debt ceiling. But given the reality of what a one-house passed budget resolution means, it’s also not surprising that the White House is okay with the plan and the Senate is likely to go along. In reality, it’s a free pass.

In other words, the House GOP really isn’t getting anything for not fighting on the debt ceiling, and that’s about as complete a surrender as you can imagine.”

Apple bruised by iPhone’s boom-bust cycle – MarketWatch

“While the iPhone has minted a fortune for Apple Inc. since its introduction six years ago, the popular smartphone lately has taken on boom-bust characteristics that have made investors especially jumpy.”

US Mac shipments didn’t shrink in holiday quarter, they grew 5%, Gartner says

“Gartner on Monday contradicted its rival IDC and claimed that domestic Mac shipments actually grew for Apple by 5 percent year over year in the holiday quarter.”

Amazon’s Kindle Fire gains marketshare at expense of iPad over holidays, research shows

“A study of web usage over the holidays in North America saw Apple’s iPad marketshare fall 7.14 percent, while competing devices from Amazon, Samsung and Google gained a total of 5.5 percent over the same period. “

Why Apple needs a new hit product now – Therese Poletti’s Tech Tales – MarketWatch

“Of course, the speculation on future unannounced products, is all guesswork at this point. So in the interim, Apple investors have to decide which camp they fit into, and hope for something awesome in the not-too-distant future.”

Central bankers should be brought to heel by elected parliaments – Telegraph

This is very much in line with the rising monetary-fiscal policy union we see happening everywhere. I see it as a paradigm shift necessitated by government’s desire to deal with high private sector debt by using its ability to create money and socialise losses.

“The onus is falling on them to justify why monetary independence is self-evidently a good thing, and why central bankers should operate beyond democratic control.”

SkyNews: Nigel Farage on Cameron’s Europe speech (23Jan13) – YouTube

The UK Independence Party of Nigel Farage is a major reason that David Cameron has come out with his proposal to put the EU to a referendum. They are stealing conservative votes from Cameron because they represent a clear anti-European voice that resonates with much of the conservative base. To thwart this, Cameron has thrown the eurosceptics a bone, in the hopes he could consolidate his political base afterwards.

America’s fiscal policy is not in crisis –

“The US confronts huge challenges, at home and abroad. Its fiscal position is not one of them. This is a highly controversial statement. If one judged by the debate in Washington, one would conclude that the federal government is close to bankruptcy. This view is false. Yes, the US does confront fiscal challenges in the long term. But these are largely caused by the soaring costs of its inefficient healthcare. Yes, the US is engaged in a fierce debate on fiscal policy. But this is due to philosophical disputes over the role of the state. Yes, the US has been running large fiscal deficits in the short run. But these are a result of the financial crisis.”

Acer in Red Again as PC Industry Shrinks – Digits – WSJ

“The Taiwanese company went on a buying spree through the noughties, swallowing up competitors like Gateway and Packard Bell to help it become the world’s second largest PC maker by shipments in 2010, second only to Hewlett-Packard Co.

But it’s now feeling the unpleasant after-effects of guzzling too quickly. With the PC market shrinking as consumers find tablets and smartphones more interesting, Acer’s finding that the brands it bought up aren’t worth as much as it had expected.”

Münchau: Großbritannien wird am Ende aus der EU austreten – SPIEGEL ONLINE

Wolfgang Munchau, the Europhile, has become a bit of a euro pessimist of late. In this German-language column he says that Britain will eventually leave the EU. He says he now lives in Britain again after a long time – and it feels like it’s already not a part of the EU. They have different news that doesn’t focus on Europe. They have opted out of the Schengen Agreement, Banking Union, Fiscal Compact and on and on. Definitely do read on Google Translate if you can.

GMO on China’s subprimey financial innovations | FT Alphaville

“highlights especially the prevalance of the originate-to-distribute model, and of assumptions that the government is backing every investment product. Chancellor and Monnelly have included some interesting figures relating to China’s total debt levels”

Bank of Spain says economy shrank 0.6 pct on quarter in Q4 | Reuters

“The Bank of Spain said on Wednesday it saw Spanish gross domestic product (GDP) shrink 0.6 percent in the fourth quarter from a quarter earlier, compared to a contraction of 0.3 percent in the July to September period.”

Apple Trailing China’s Coolpad Shows Need for Cheap IPhone: Tech – Bloomberg

“China Wireless expects sales to rise 40 percent this year to 28 million phones, helped by low prices and new products such as fourth-generation handsets. Apple, whose smartphone has made it the world’s most-profitable company, slipped to sixth place in China from fourth as it struggled to lure consumers earning an average of $577 a month.
“Apple, with its current stable of products, is unlikely to rank high as long as the general level of affluence in China is low,””

Austerity has damaged recovery, says former Bank of England official | Business |

“Likelihood of a triple-dip recession and more than two years of flat growth partly blamed on Osborne’s handling of the economy, says Adam Posen”

IPhone-Like Hype Builds for Samsung Galaxy S IV –

“For about four months, gadget bloggers along with tech writers at South Korean newspapers have tried to uncover the details of Samsung’s next high-end smartphone, likely to be called Galaxy S IV after consecutively numbered versions over the past three years.

They have suggested it will have a bigger screen, thinner case, come with a pen, have no buttons and, of course, have a faster chip to run it, as well as better battery life. Some reports back in November suggested the new phone would have an unbreakable screen, and others have said it would be waterproof.

Apple’s iPhone 5 sales were very strong in December but with the stock down 28 percent over the past few months investors and analysts are left with the question whether those sales numbers are going to drop in the upcoming months. MarketWatch’s Dan Gallagher reports. (Photo: Getty Images)

It all adds up to iPhone-like hype for Samsung, which last year passed Apple Inc. as the world’s top seller of smartphones by units.”

Slovenia Government on Brink of Ruin as Bailout Decision Looms – Bloomberg

“Slovenia is on the brink of early elections as corruption allegations against Prime Minister Janez Jansa threaten to sink the government as it fights to avoid a bailout during an economic recession.
Citizens List will decide today whether to quit the five- member coalition after the country’s anti-graft agency said the premier failed to declare some private assets. The party’s departure would force the government into minority rule or prompt elections unless it finds a replacement.”

Cameron promises in-out referendum on EU by 2017 – The Irish Times – Wed, Jan 23, 2013

“British prime minister David Cameron today promised an in/out referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union by the end of 2017 if the Conservatives win the next general election.
In a major speech in London, Mr Cameron said that his party’s manifesto for the 2015 general election will ask for a mandate to negotiate a “new settlement” for Britain in Europe, which will be put to voters in a referendum within the first half of the five-year parliament.”

Apple expected to report first fall in profits in a decade | Technology |

“Tech firm’s period of ‘hyper growth’ begins to stall with Wall Street analysts saying demand for iPhone 5 lower than predicted”

Is Canada talking itself into a housing crisis? – The Globe and Mail

This strikes me as denial

“Little was heard of housing bubbles in Canada up to about a year ago. Now, predictions of crashes are on the front cover of Maclean’s and other publications. One might wonder if we are talking ourselves into a housing miasma, even though the fundamentals don’t point to one.”

Le taux à 10 ans du Portugal repasse sous les 6% –

Portuguese 10-year bond under 6% for the first time since December 2010. This is the magic of Olli Rehn’s predicting an OMT-style bailout for Portugal and Ireland. I believe Portugal has successfully gone to the capital markets on the back of this. We can’t help but like the effect this is having. Let’s hope it lasts if and when Portugal misses fiscal targets. Lower bond interest certainly can help MAKE targets though!

New Worry for Apple –

“Enter the cost-conscious iPhone buyer.

Verizon Wireless revealed Tuesday that it activated 6.2 million of the Apple Inc. devices, more than many analysts had expected. But it also said fewer than half of those customers paid up for the latest model, evidence of strong demand for smartphones among people who aren’t buying top-of-the-line gadgets.”

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