Wednesday, April 6, 2011

TMX Group - Equity Financing Statistics March 2011

TORONTO, April 5 /CNW/ - TMX Group today announced its financing activity on Toronto Stock Exchange and TSX Venture Exchange for March 2011.

Toronto Stock Exchange and TSX Venture Exchange together welcomed 34 new listings in March 2011, including 10 from the mining sector. These companies are exploring in locations such as Brazil, Ukraine, Africa, Australia, Mexico, U.S. and Canada.

Toronto Stock Exchange welcomed 17 new listings in March 2011, up from 11 in March 2010 but down slightly from 21 in February 2011. Total financings in March 2011 increased 18% compared to March 2010 and 9% compared to last month. On a year-to-date basis, total financings on Toronto Stock Exchange exceeded 2010 levels by 18%. 

World markets mixed amid Japan nuke progress

BANGKOK (AP) -- World markets struggled to find direction Wednesday, with uncertainty over Japan's industrial production capabilities overshadowing its progress in containing a toxic radiation leak at a nuclear power complex.

Oil prices hovered above $108 a barrel in Asia after a U.S. crude supply report gave mixed signals about demand. In currencies, the dollar rose against the yen but slipped against the euro.

European shares were mixed in early trading. Britain's FTSE 100 was 0.2 percent higher to 6,016.95. Germany's DAX fell 0.1 percent to 7,169.26 and France's CAC-40 was down 0.6 percent to 4,018.45. Wall Street was headed higher, however. Dow Jones industrial futures gained 22 points to 12,349 and S&P 500 futures rose 2.8 points to 1,329.50.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Obama Administration Offered Market Solution for Medical Malpractice

In last month’s budget proposal, the Obama administration offered a solution: a plan to encourage evidence-based medicine by limiting the malpractice liability of doctors who follow clinical practice guidelines — in effect, granting them immunity.

Doctors love this proposal, and patients should too: When doctors follow good guidelines they are less likely to order too many or too few tests or to prescribe the wrong treatment.

Unfortunately, the proposal will not achieve the noble goal of providing quality care at a reasonable cost because the current guidelines, written by nonprofit medical groups and for-profit insurance companies, are not good enough.

For more details visit

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

How the middle class became the underclass

The average American's income has not changed much, while the richest 5% of Americans have seen their earnings surge. This chart includes capital gains.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Incomes for 90% of Americans have been stuck in neutral, and it's not just because of the Great Recession. Middle-class incomes have been stagnant for at least a generation, while the wealthiest tier has surged ahead at lighting speed.

In 1988, the income of an average American taxpayer was $33,400, adjusted for inflation. Fast forward 20 years, and not much had changed: The average income was still just $33,000 in 2008, according to IRS data.

Meanwhile, the richest 1% of Americans -- those making $380,000 or more -- have seen their incomes grow 33% over the last 20 years, leaving average Americans in the dust.

Experts point to some of the usual suspects -- like technology and globalization -- to explain the widening gap between the haves and have-nots.

But there's more to the story.

A real drag on the middle class

One major pull on the working man was the decline of unions and other labor protections, said Bill Rodgers, a former chief economist for the Labor Department, now a professor at Rutgers University.

Because of deals struck through collective bargaining, union workers have traditionally earned 15% to 20% more than their non-union counterparts, Rodgers said.

But union membership has declined rapidly over the past 30 years. In 1983, union workers made up about 20% of the workforce. In 2010, they represented less than 12%.

"The erosion of collective bargaining is a key factor to explain why low-wage workers and middle income workers have seen their wages not stay up with inflation," Rodgers said.

Without collective bargaining pushing up wages, especially for blue-collar work -- average incomes have stagnated.
0:00 /1:53How do you define middle class?

International competition is another factor. While globalization has lifted millions out of poverty in developing nations, it hasn't exactly been a win for middle class workers in the U.S.

Factory workers have seen many of their jobs shipped to other countries where labor is cheaper, putting more downward pressure on American wages.

"As we became more connected to China, that poses the question of whether our wages are being set in Beijing," Rodgers said.

Finding it harder to compete with cheaper manufacturing costs abroad, the U.S. has emerged as primarily a services-producing economy. That trend has created a cultural shift in the job skills American employers are looking for.

Whereas 50 years earlier, there were plenty of blue collar opportunities for workers who had only high school diploma, now employers seek "soft skills" that are typically honed in college, Rodgers said.

A boon for the rich

While average folks were losing ground in the economy, the wealthiest were capitalizing on some of those same factors, and driving an even bigger wedge between themselves and the rest of America.

For example, though globalization has been a drag on labor, it's been a major win for corporations who've used new global channels to reduce costs and boost profits. In addition, new markets around the world have created even greater demand for their products.

"With a global economy, people who have extraordinary skills... whether they be in financial services, technology, entertainment or media, have a bigger place to play and be rewarded from," said Alan Johnson, a Wall Street compensation consultant.

As a result, the disparity between the wages for college educated workers versus high school grads has widened significantly since the 1980s.

In 1980, workers with a high school diploma earned about 71% of what college-educated workers made. In 2010, that number fell to 55%.

Another driver of the rich: The stock market.

The S&P 500 has gained more than 1,300% since 1970. While that's helped the American economy grow, the benefits have been disproportionately reaped by the wealthy.

And public policy of the past few decades has only encouraged the trend.
0:00 /1:21Considering yourself 'rich'

The 1980s was a period of anti-regulation, presided over by President Reagan, who loosened rules governing banks and thrifts.

A major game changer came during the Clinton era, when barriers between commercial and investment banks, enacted during the post-Depression era, were removed.

In 2000, the Commodity Futures Modernization Act also weakened the government's oversight of complex securities, allowing financial innovations to take off, creating unprecedented amounts of wealth both for the overall economy, and for those directly involved in the financial sector.

Tax cuts enacted during the Bush administration and extended under Obama were also a major windfall for the nation's richest.

And as then-Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan brought interest rates down to new lows during the decade, the housing market experienced explosive growth.

"We were all drinking the Kool-aid, Greenspan was tending bar, Bernanke and the academic establishment were supplying the liquor," Deutsche Bank managing director Ajay Kapur wrote in a research report in 2009.

But the story didn't end well. Eventually, it all came crashing down, resulting in the worst economic slump since the Great Depression.

With the unemployment rate still excessively high and the real estate market showing few signs of rebounding, the American middle class is still reeling from the effects of the Great Recession.

Meanwhile, as corporate profits come roaring back and the stock market charges ahead, the wealthiest people continue to eclipse their middle-class counterparts.

"I think it's a terrible dilemma, because what we're obviously heading toward is some kind of class warfare," Johnson said.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Over 100 charged in US healthcare fraud

The US today charged over 100 doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals, including some of Indian-origin, for their involvement Medicare fraud totalling USD 225 million, in one of the biggest crackdowns on federal healthcare fraud in the country.

The 111 people charged across nine cities are accused of various healthcare fraud-related crimes, including conspiracy to defraud Medicare, criminal false claims, money laundering and aggravated identify theft.

Medicare is a government insurance programme that covers Americans who are 65 and older. About 45 million elderly and disabled Americans are enrolled in taxpayer-funded Medicare plans.

Collectively, the doctors, nurses, health care company owners falsely billed Medicare more than USD 225 million.

"With this takedown, we have identified and shut down large-scale fraud schemes operating throughout the country. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Wayne Rogers' 5 Rules to "Unconventional Success"

Wayne Rogers currently the head of the investment firm Wayne Rogers & Co. and Chairman of the largest wedding dress retailer in the country, Kleinfeld Bridal, which is the focus of the TLC reality show, "Say Yes to the Dress." .

In his new book, Make Your Own Rules : A Renegades Guide to Unconventional Success, Rogers talks about his journey and outlines his method for success in many areas.

He said knowledge plus creativity does not necessarily equal success, you have to have a passion about what it is you are doing. .

Here are his five rules to unconventional entrepreneurial success :

Rule # 1 : Find people you can work withand trust.

Rule # 2 : Dare to do what is not expected. Question the status quo. But keep a firm eye on reality. Creativity becomes useless when it crosses the border into fantasy.

Rule # 3 : To level the playing field, know what youre up against. Make it your business to know the rules and regulations that affect your business.

Rule # 4 : Do your homeworkand legwork. Improving standard business practices starts with understanding why they became standard in the first place.

Rule # 5 : Just ask the customer. Its not rocket science. The customer has always been and will always be the best source for solutions to business problems.

10 Golden Rules for Retirement Planning

In all likelihood, you are not going to die at your desk.

Though it's true that people are working longer, the majority of us will still stop working and retire at some point, so we need to plan for it.

Not convinced, try this. According to AXA Equitable's latest global retirement reality study, workers say they'll stay on the job until they are 61, four years more than the current average age of retirees.

Moreover, most are expecting a lower standard of living. On a global basis, 43 percent of those still in the workforce and 30 percent of already retired believe their retirement income will be insufficient.

If this sounds familiar, read on for basics on how to get where you need to be.

1 . Educate yourself, so you can take part in the planning process

"Most people will benefit from good advice, from a good advisor," says Lawrence Glazer, managing partner at Mayflower Advisors in Boston. "But at the end of the day, it's your money, and you want to understand why that advice is being given so that you can help map out that plan." .

2. Make an honest assessment of where you are in terms of your finances

"Understand where you stand and know what your assets and liabilities are," says Seth Varnhagen, president of North Castle Advisors in Armonk, N.Y.

If the economic turmoil of recent years prompted you to file savings and retirement statements without opening them, stop it.

3. Do the math, so you act on information, not emotion
 Many people make retirement planning decisions based on feelings and intuition gleaned from minimal amounts of data they 've heard on TV or the radio, says Colin McKenna, VP and district manager of AXA Advisors in New York City.

Instead, they should factor in capital gains, income and estate taxes, as well as savings rates and investment returns.

Doing calculations, adds Varnhagen, based on these and other assumptions, like the rate of inflation, the rate of appreciation of your investment assets, and when you plan to retire and how long you think you think you'll live, can help you determine how much money you'll need. There are many tools available online.

In case you were wondering, the industry rule of thumb goes like this : If you do not want to reduce principal, it is reasonable to assume that you can live on 4 percent of your assets in retirement. If you have $ 1 million, that's $ 40,000 per year.

4. Cash is not king

"We see a lot of retirees who are very risk adverse because of what's happened in the economy, so they are sitting in cash," says Glazer. "They 're driving all over town chasing an extra quarter of a percent in a bank CD." .

The reality, adds Glazer, is that they are withdrawing more from those accounts to support their lifestyle than the fixed income investment is really going to earn.

If you have been in cash and start to move into securities, apply apply dollar cost averaging -- a simple strategy that puts money into the market gradually rather than in a lump sum.

"We might split that money into 12 equal parts," say Glazer. "If the market goes up, you are clearly going to participate, but it has an eye toward capital preservation if the market has a correction." .
xBL .5. Make extra mortgage payments.

5. Make extra mortgage payments

If you are 50 and just took out a 30-year loan, and you want retire debt free in ten years, something is out of whack. You 're going to have to reallocate funds a bit. Refinance the mortgage to 15 years, so you pay less in interest and or make additional payments to whittle down the loan's principal faster.

6. Don't use retirement assets for living right now

This one may sound like a no brainer, but it is a big red flag, says Varnhagen. If you lost your job during the economic downturn, it might seem like you have no other option than to dip into retirement assets.

The better option is to figure out a way to reduce your standard of living. We are supposed to be saving for retirement. It's a very difficult situation, but people's retirement funds are n't infinite.

 7. Live on a budget; cut back where you can, not where you can't

This will help you achieve tips five and six.

"Budgeting can be a big turn off. People think of cutting out the pleasures in life," says Glazer. "That is not necessarily the case. Know where your money is going and what you are paying for. Are you getting a good value for your dollars?" .

There are usually costs to eliminate or reduce.

8. Automate savings

If you work at a company, which offers a 401 (k) match, find a way contribute yourself so you can take advantage of it. It's free money.

Many people spend a lot of time thinking about investing and they are not even contributing to their retirement plan in the first place where they could be getting a tax benefit. If it comes out of your paycheck before you even see it, who cares?

9. Have a predetermined asset allocation strategy

For most people, 60 percent in equities and 40 percent in fixed income is a good rule of thumb. Re-balance your portfolio on a periodic basis, regardless of what's hot or not.

Your plan will change based on how far you are from retirement (younger investor could be more heavily weighted in stocks, retirees in bonds).

Many individuals, adds Glazer, worry too much about the products and should think more about the process because the products today are much more of a commodity.

10. Organize and consolidate

It's common for retirement and investment money to be spread out in several accounts, especially if you 've changed jobs a fair amount and those previous employers had 401 (k) plans.

If so, you can never see the total investment picture, says Varnhagen. His solution : Consolidate in a single IRA.

Maybe it 's the turning of the calendar or that little bit of a tailwind wind in our economy's sail, but if you 're thinking about retirement, do something about it. Say yes to the New Year, not to the old you.