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India’s Government Bows to Economic Law – Removes Diesel Subsidy

indialogoIndia’s government finally admitted defeat in subsidizing diesel prices and will repeal the subsidy in the near future.  More than 80 percent of India’s fuel needs are fulfilled by imports. Petrol prices were liberalized by the government in June 2010 but the government has constantly tried to prevent prices from rising to insulate the Indian economy from ever-increasing oil prices on global markets. Fuel consumption in India increased 5 per cent in the last fiscal year, its fastest since 2007-08.  If you subsidize something you get more of it.  The Indian government has finally bowed to this simple economic reality. 

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Sony Hunkers Down Before PS4 Arrives

image001(2902)The struggling Japanese consumer electronic equipment manufacturer Sony (NYSE:$SNE) has reportedly decided to sell one of its main buildings in Tokyo to generate $1.14 billion to pump up its falling cash reserves. Under the leadership of Kazuo Hirai, the business is shedding off its non-core assets while trying to refocus on its core consumer products such as mobile phones, tablets and gaming consoles. The news, which has not been officially confirmed by Sony, was received well by investors as its shares jumped by 2.9% in a single day on 10th January.

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Asian Budget Carrier Wars Intensify

BN-EH512_iaviat_G_20140828054241Rumors abound that one of Asia’s biggest low cost carriers, the Indonesia based privately held PT Lion Mentari Airlines (Lion Air), a traditional Boeing (NYSE:BA) customer, is planning to place another massive order of more than 200 jets, this time however, with Airbus.  In late November, Lion Air’s Commercial Director Edward Sirait said “We are studying every possibility to fulfill our target for the planes from every manufacturer, including with Airbus,” The order, according to the French newspaper Dépêche du Midi, is now expected to be for 220 Airbus A320 Neos and will be officially announced on 17th January when Airbus releases its annual sales figure.

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Alcoa’s Solid Earnings To be Short Lived

rVY4sEWG_400x400The world’s leading aluminum producer Alcoa (NYSE:$AA) posted its results for the quarter ending December 2012. The company swung to a quarterly net profit of $242 million from a loss of $191 million a year ago. Total earnings, excluding one-off items, such as the gains from sale of theTapoco hydroelectric dam complex in Tennessee that caused an after tax gain of $161 million, Alcoa generated a profit of $64 million — a significant change from the loss of $34 million in the same quarter last year. The positive results have come on the back of a drop in oil prices in Q2, rise in aluminum prices, better performance in the aerospace sector and the business’s ongoing cost cutting drive that includes closure of inefficient smelters and a reduction of 23% — or 531,000 metric tons – of production capacity.

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HTC’S Future Lies with Windows Phone

HTC Windows Phone 8X designTaiwanese smartphone manufacturer HTC Corp, once a leader in Android-based smartphones has seriously stumbled in the past 2 years, ceding that title to the Samsung juggernaut. Its recent earnings release for the fourth quarter showed the business’s profits sliding by 90% to just $34.47 million or NT$1 billion which fell from NT$10.9 billion ($134.44 million) in the same quarter a year ago. Revenues fell from $3.49 billion a year ago to $2.07 billion, a greater than 40% drop.  They have lost the upper end of the Android market and now will need to compete in the smaller, but growing Windows Phone arena.

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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)

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