This is a syndicated repost courtesy of Money Morning. To view original, click here. Reposted with permission. Robots taking jobs from manufacturing workers is a trend dating back decades, but rapidly advancing software has spread the threat of job-killing automation to nearly every occupation. The technological advances, while helping businesses boost productivity dramatically, have cost…
Proving once again that the government refuses to learn from its mistakes, the Environmental Protection Agency yesterday (Thursday) again increased its ethanol mandate.
The EPA raised the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) mandate to 16.55 billion gallons for 2013, up from 15.2 billion gallons last year, while ignoring signs that the policy is doing more harm than good.
The list of problems starts with what the use of ethanol-gasoline blends might be doing to our cars.
Earlier this week, the Coordinating Research Council, a group backed by several major automakers, released a study showing that E15, which blends 15% ethanol with gasoline instead of the previous level of 10%, can damage autos.
The tests showed E15 could cause faulty fuel-gauge readings and check-engine alerts. In some cases, E15 could cause swelling and failure of auto components that “could result in breakdowns,” according to Robert Greco, a director with the American Petroleum Institute.
The American Automobile Association (AAA) last fall voiced similar concerns and asked the EPA to withdraw E15. AAA said that since only 5% of the cars on U.S. roads are approved for E15, the possibility for accidental use in vehicles is too high.
“AAA automotive engineering experts have reviewed the available research and believe that sustained use of E15 in both newer and older vehicles could result in significant problems such as accelerated engine wear and failure, and fuel-system damage,” the organization said in a press release on its Website.
These new concerns come on top of historic complaints that ethanol blends reduce a vehicle’s miles per gallon by about 27%, meaning more trips to the gas station and more money out of drivers’ pockets.
This is a syndicated repost courtesy of Money Morning. To view original, click here. Reposted with permission. As consumers do less shopping in physical stores and more shopping on the Internet, retail stocks will need to evolve or face extinction. And if tech entrepreneur Marc Andreessen is right, they don’t have much time. In an…
While the U.S Federal Reserve claims it needs to keep interest rates near zero to help the economy, renowned economist Peter Schiff says there’s another reason.
According to Schiff, the Fed has little choice: If rates began to climb, the interest payments on the ballooning federal debt would explode making annual budget deficits far worse.
“We’re now so addicted to debt that the highest rate we can afford is zero,” Schiff, the CEO and chief global strategist of Euro Pacific Capital, told Casey Research chairman Doug Casey in a video interview published today.
“We pay about $300 billion a year right now in interest on a $16.5 trillion debt,” Schiff explained. “What if, in two or three years — and the debt is $20 trillion — what happens if interest rates are 5%? Well, that’s $1 trillion a year in interest payments.”
This scenario is not at all far-fetched; the historic norm for interest rates is just below 5%, and rates in the early 1980s were triple that.
Another reason the Fed fears higher rates, Schiff said, is that it would probably bankrupt most of the “too-big-to-fail” banks that the government bailed out back in 2008.
“The only justification for keeping rates so low is that the Fed knows any increase in rates will collapse this phony economy and we’ll be right back in recession,” Schiff said.
This is a syndicated repost courtesy of Money Morning – Only the News You Can Profit From. To view original, click here. Reposted with permission. When President Barack Obama nominated Mary Jo White to be the next head of the SEC, he said he wanted someone who would be tough on Wall Street, but her…
This is a syndicated repost courtesy of Money Morning – Only the News You Can Profit From. To view original, click here. Reposted with permission. A proposed French Internet tax is just the latest sign of an increasing desire among the major European Union economies to do more to force the big U.S. tech companies…
This is a syndicated repost courtesy of Money Morning – Only the News You Can Profit From. To view original, click here. Reposted with permission. The federal government would love nothing more than to apply the 35% corporate tax to the estimated $1.7 trillion in cash U.S. multinational companies have designated as foreign investments –…
This is a syndicated repost courtesy of Money Morning – Only the News You Can Profit From. To view original, click here. Reposted with permission. If you thought all the talk about taxing the rich meant the government would not be reaching deeper into the pockets of most Americans, then you haven’t heard about the…
Assuming the Dow Jones Industrial Average represents the biggest, most influential companies in America, Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) easily qualifies.
With its massive market cap, trend-setting products, and global brand recognition, it is easy to argue Apple belongs as much or more than any of the current tech companies in the index.
So what gives?…
In a nutshell, Apple stock is too rich for the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
Because the Dow Jones is price-weighted, Apple’s current $565 share price would simply overwhelm the index.
“It wouldn’t be the Dow Jones Industrial Average,” Nicholas Colas, chief market strategist at ConvergEx Group told the Associated Press. “It would be the Apple Plus Some Other Stuff Index.”
In this case, a price move of just 5% in Apple stock could push the DJIA up – or down – about 200 points.
Looking at it another way, had Apple been added to the Dow Jones in 2009 instead of Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), the Dow would now be over 15,000.
That’s well above the Oct. 2007 record of 14,164 and 2,500 points higher than where it stands today.
With that kind of heft, it’s no wonder the Dow has shunned Apple.
How the Dow Jones Industrial Average Works
But it’s not just Apple. Other Dow candidates trade high in the triple digits as well.
Over the past year, the two tech titans have filed dozens of patent infringement lawsuits against each other in 10 countries. Most seek to block the sale of one or more of the other’s smartphone and tablet products.
The biggest case, filed in San Jose, CA, is scheduled for a July trial, which U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh is desperate to avoid. (She called the case “cruel and unusual punishment” for the jury.)
Earlier this week Koh ordered the CEOs of both Apple and Samsung to meet in mediation sessions, but nothing came of the meetings.
The mutual stubbornness makes sense when you realize what’s at stake.