Germany’s second leading pharmaceutical firm and one of the biggest family controlled organizations in this sector Merck KGaA recently released its quarterly results that topped estimates on the back of a cost cutting drive. The pharmaceutical company doesn’t have much attractive in its current pipeline, yet it continues to attract investment because of its unique sales mix — drugs and liquid-crystals, a market whose oversupply problems are finally coming to an end.
The main reason for the duty hike is the rising current account deficit, driven largely by India’s traditionally large gold imports – demand which has grown with the price pulling back below $1600 per ounce and the rupee strengthening somewhat from its worst levels. The current account deficit reached an all time high of 5.4% of Gross Domestic Product in the third quarter of 2012. India’s current account deficit problems look similar to the balance of payments crisis in 1991, when the Reserve Bank of India had to sell 47 tons of gold to Europe as collateral for a loan to avert a sovereign default.
A federal jury in the U.S has ordered Dow Chemical (NYSE:$DOW) to pay $400 million in fines over price fixing of urethane. Several companies were named in the $1 billion class action law suit filed by urethane buyers but Dow was the only one that had not settled. Other defendants in the case included Bayer AG, Huntsman Corp’s (NYSE:$HUN) Huntsman International and BASF SE. Dow will try to have the lawsuit dismissed in a post-trial motion.However, if the verdict is sustained by the judge, then the $400 million could potentially become $1.2 billion under federal anti-trust statutes.
Yahoo! Inc (NASDAQ:$YHOO) revealed last month that it will start using its rival Google’s (NASDAQ:$GOOG) advertising services Adsense and AdMob as it looks to increase its revenue base. In an official blog post dated 6th February, the company said that it has entered in a non-exclusive agreement for contextual advertising to be displayed on Yahoo and its co-branded sites for autos, finance, news and sports. This is in line with Yahoo’s CEO and a former Google executive Marissa Mayer’s strategy to give a better experience to Yahoo’s users through more customized ads so that they can spend more time on Yahoo properties. Although Yahoo’s users won’t notice any significant change it is almost certain that Yahoo will see increasing revenues through its partnership with Google.
The asset bubble that is ChesapeakeEnergy Corp. (NYSE:$CHK) is continuing with its asset sales for the acreage it has amassed using massive leverage. In its most recent quarter, the company increased its output and made significant improvements in crude output but this was overshadowed by management tumult and a massive sale of its shale acreage to a Chinese firm at a price which is three times less than Chesapeake’s own estimates.
The China Petroleum and Chemical Corp (NYSE:$SNP), more commonly known as Sinopec, is purchasing half of Chesapeake’s850,000 acres of oil and gas assets at the Mississippi Lime shale field for $1.02 billion. Through this deal, Asia’s biggest refiner will considerably increase its shale footprint in the U.S. And, as I said at the outset, Sinopec won’t be paying any premium for the privilege. While some analysts have identified that the sale is $200 million below estimated value, Chesapeake itself had the land valued at an estimated $7,000 to $8,000 per acre for the property in July 2012. Calculating from the mid-point of $7,500, the asset is being sold at less than one-third of what Chesapeake valued it at less than 8 month ago.
Peter Pham is an author, international fund manager, and a registered financial director by the Cayman Monetary Authority (CIMA). In 2013 he published his first book entitled, The Big Trade: Simple Strategies for Maximum Market Returns. He currently manages the portfolio of a global hedge fund and runs an asset management company, Phoenix Capital. (read more)
The Big Trade: Simple Strategies for Maximum Market Returns
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