Good luck, Steve.

PRESS RELEASE: Letter from Steve Jobs

August 24, 2011–To the Apple Board of Directors and the Apple Community: Read more

Insider trading is definitely the new black

Bit of a stunner from the SEC on Thursday (emphasis ours throughout):

Washington, D.C., May 26, 2011 The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged a former managing director of The NASDAQ Stock Market with insider trading on confidential information that he stole while working in a market intelligence unit that communicates with companies in advance of market-moving public announcements. Read more

It’s official: Ambac files for Chapter 11

Not with a bang, but a whimper.

Emphasis FT Alphaville’s: Read more

BP: not good enough for FTSE4Good

A slap on the wrist for BP on Friday,  from index compiler FTSE:

(Reuters) – BP is to be evicted from the FTSE4Good ethical investment index due to its Gulf of Mexico oil spill, index compiler FTSE said on Friday, as BP said it would delay its third-quarter results due to the challenges of accounting for spill costs. Read more

Submerging Ireland: S&P cuts to AA- from AA

Oh dear. Standard & Poor’s on Tuesday night downgraded Ireland’s sovereign rating by one notch to AA-.

The rating agency said its outlook for the country was negative, noting the cost of supporting the ailing Irish banking sector would “further weaken [Ireland's] financial flexibility.” Read more

No, Steve, it’s not like when Hitler invaded Poland

Today in private equity hubris – Blackstone chairman Stephen Schwarzman on Obama’s tax policies (via Newsweek):

“It’s a war,” Schwarzman said of the struggle with the administration over increasing taxes on private-equity firms. “It’s like when Hitler invaded Poland in 1939.” Read more

SEC charges 35-year Deloitte veteran with insider trading

This is increasingly looking like the worst of times for professional services firms.

Management consultants were more than a little shaken when the investigation into alleged insider trading at Galleon ensnared a former McKinsey directorRead more

Indonesia reviews rupiah

Indonesia’s central bank has revived a plan to redenominate the local currency and simplify the payment of daily transactions that often run into millions of rupiah, the FT reports. The plan would be completed by 2015 at the soonest but more likely by 2020, Bank Indonesia said. It would reduce the exchange rate with the dollar from about 9,000 rupiah at present to just nine. The idea of redenominating was last seriously considered in 2008, during the first term of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

Singapore dollar hovers near record highs

Asian currencies continued their strong run as the rising oil price and growing optimism about the strength of emerging economies relative to the US buoyed sentiment, the FT reports. As Dariusz Kowalczyk, a Hong Kong-based strategist at Crédit Agricole, noted: “Recent data from India, Indonesia, Korea and Thailand has shown that inflation is on the rise. People are speculating that there will be further monetary tightening and this is providing yield support for the currencies.”

Gulf executives fear BlackBerry ban

The United Arab Emirates’ threat to block BlackBerry services has left businesses in the Gulf’s commercial hub baffled and frustrated as they tries to come to terms with the implications for their local operations, the FT reports. The effect of a suspension would be considerable. Though figures vary, it is generally accepted that there are about 500,000 BlackBerry users in the UAE. Almost half of all such subscriptions in the Gulf state are corporate, according to some analysts’ estimates.

BP starts second attempt at plugging oil leak

BP on Tuesday began its second attempt in 24 hours to begin plugging the world’s biggest oil spill, the FT reports. Hydraulic leaks involving two valves were discovered during final checks on Monday, delaying plans for a “static kill”’ to seal the Macondo well. Analysts said the process itself had been done many times and was not risky.

China seeks to widen gold market

China has moved to liberalise its gold market further, increasing the number of banks allowed to trade bullion internationally and announcing measures that will encourage development of gold-linked investment products, the FT reports. China is the world’s largest gold producer and the second-largest consumer, after India, but its domestic market remains constrained by limited investment products.

Asahi plans $9.2 billion warchest for M&A

The head of Japan’s Asahi Breweries told Reuters he expects to have $9.2bn on tap for acquisitions over the next five years as it looks for new growth drivers outside the shrinking domestic beer market. “We are eyeing the Asia and Oceania regions, with our top priorities being the alcohol business overseas and the soft drink business in Japan,” he told the newswire in an interview.

Information asymmetry, PR wire releases edition

FT Alphaville has noted before that when it comes to financial markets, and especially in the battle between institutional investors and the day trader, someone will always have the data first. Indeed, most non-professional investors are at a time disadvantage when it comes to their access to company news releases, according to a study released on Tuesday by IR Web Report. Read more

Bangladesh garment workers to get higher pay

A government oversight board in Bangladesh nearly doubled minimum wages in the important garment industry on Wednesday, the NY Times reports. According to the newspaper: “The increase comes at a time when many western retailers and clothing brands have been buying more from Bangladesh — which has the world’s lowest garment wages — as costs have risen in China, the largest producer. The raise could slow the shift to Bangladesh, although pay for the nation’s workers will remain far lower than in China and other apparel hubs like Vietnam.”

Weak inflation sinks Australian currency

Australian consumer-price inflation was less than expected in the second quarter, causing the currency to fall on the likelihood that interest rates will be kept on hold for several months at least, the WSJ reports. According to the newspaper, the consumer-price index rose 0.6 per cent from the first quarter and 3.1 per cent from a year earlier. Economists had expected the CPI to rise 1.0 per cent from the first quarter and 3.4 per cent from a year earlier, the WSJ says.

Danone sells Huiyuan stake

Danone has sold its stake in Chinese juice maker Huiyuan Juice Group for €200m ($260m), less than half the amount Coca-Cola was prepared to pay in a deal that collapsed last year, the FT reports. The value of Danone’s stake in Huiyuan has plunged since Beijing blocked Coca-Cola from taking over the country’s largest privately-owned juice producer. The French group said on Wednesday it had agreed to sell its 23% stake in Huiyuan to SAIF, a Hong Kong private equity group.

ICBC in rights issue after heavy lending

ArcelorMittal warns on pace of global upturn

India warns on slowdown in capital flows

Growing risk aversion among investors is slowing foreign capital flows to emerging markets such as India, potentially choking inflows needed to fund the nation’s widening current account deficit, the governor of Reserve Bank of India, told the FT. Duvvuri Subbarao also warned that the IMF’s global growth forecasts were too “sunny” and that a more pessimistic outlook among policymakers in India, the world’s fastest-growing large economy after China, was holding back monetary policy tightening.

Conoco to sell out of Lukoil

Chinalco to unveil Rio Tinto mystery deal

Thai Union nets MW Brands food deal

China revs up renminbi expansion

This month, for the third time this year, China took another big step toward transforming the renminbi into an international reserve currency, the FT reports. Regulators lifted a raft of restrictions blocking the free flow of renminbi in Hong Kong, the designated launchpad for the renminbi’s global expansion. That move came after two other big steps in June, when China cut the renminbi’s de facto peg to the US dollar and dramatically expanded the year-old programme that allows Chinese companies to settle cross-border trades using the currency.

Fresh warning on climate change

International scientists have presented fresh evidence into the debate over global warming, saying that climate change is “undeniable”, in the first major piece of research since the “Climategate” controversy,  the FT says. The research, headed by the US National Oceans and Atmospheric Administration, is based on new data not available for the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report of 2007, which has been attacked by critics.

Carlyle in talks to sidestep Kbro sale hurdle

Carlyle Group is in talks to sell Taiwan’s biggest cable television operator to the Tsai family, one of the island’s wealthiest, in a deal that could be worth up to T$70bn (US$2.2bn), according to the FT. A person close to the transaction said Carlyle had agreed to sell Kbro to the Tsai family for T$70bn in cash. In addition, the Tsai family would take on Kbro’s T$20bn of debt. The deal would restructure an earlier agreement by the US private equity firm to sell Kbro to Taiwan Mobile, which is controlled by the Tsai family.

Shanghai in longest rally since November

Asian stocks recorded moderate gains on Monday as investors awaited the response of European markets to the results of stress tests on the region’s banks, the FT reports. Shanghai advanced for a sixth successive session – its longest rally since November – as confidence remained buoyed by optimism that the authorities could loosen policy in the months to come. However, banks underperformed on fears they might not recover loans made to local government financing vehicles.

UAE: BlackBerrys won’t be picked on (yet)

Good news for businessmen in the United Arab Emirates: your BlackBerrys are a little closer to safety, the FT’s beyondbrics blogs reports. On Sunday the country’s telecoms regulator warned that the smartphones currently operate “beyond the jurisdiction of national legislation”. But it rowed back on Monday, claiming to have no plans to introduce a ban. In an interview with Al Arabiyah, a Dubai-based  news channel, an official at the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) said that the UAE is “studying all options to regulate the services…but we don’t have plans to stop them.”

Accessing China’s wallet, from home

In emerging markets, things get made. China has long enjoyed (or endured) the moniker ‘workshop of the world’. But perhaps China will soon be better known as the wallet of the world, if Morgan Stanley’s latest projections on global spending power are anything to go by. As the FT’s beyondbrics blog reports, the number of households in Bric countries with an income over $10,000 a year will surpass that of both the eurozone and the US, before rocketing off into the stratosphere. Spending power is moving south and east, and it’s doing so at blistering pace.

DLF aims to buy Dubai World stake in JV

New Delhi-based DLF, India’s biggest property developer by sales,  is aiming to buy Dubai World’s stake in their equally held India realty joint venture for 2bn rupees ($42.6m), Dow Jones reports, citing a senior DLF executive. “Both partners invested 2 billion rupees each in the project, but it never took off since the government couldn’t provide land,” the executive told Dow Jones. “The appeal has been made so that Dubai World can get its investment back,” he added.