Friday, February 28, 2014

Tesla Motors' announces battery factory

Image representing Tesla Motors as depicted in...
Image via CrunchBase
A shortage of battery cells has hamstrung Tesla Motors' sales aspirations. Now, months after an initial hint from CEO Elon Musk, Tesla confirmed that plans to build a massive battery gigafactory are underway. 

In a letter to shareholders, Tesla wrote:
Very shortly, we will be ready to share more information about the Tesla giga factory. This will allow us to achieve a major reduction in the cost of our battery packs and accelerate the pace of battery innovation. Working in partnership with our suppliers, we plan to integrate precursor material, cell, module and pack production into one facility. With this facility, we feel highly confident of being able to create a compelling and affordable electric car in approximately three years. This will also allow us to address the solar power industry's need for a massive volume of stationary battery packs. 
Talk of a giga factory came up late last year during Tesla's third-quarter earnings call. At the time, Musk said cell supply was crippling Tesla's effort to expand its global reach. As a result, the company wasn't aggressively marketing its cars, a strategy that has continued.  

Musk revealed little back in November, only saying it would be a giant facility with capacity comparable to all of the lithium-ion battery production in the world.

A few more details were revealed in the fourth-quarter earnings call this week. Musk said he would expect more than one partner in the giga factory. He didn't name any companies specifically. But he did say the assumption was that Panasonic—which agreed last year to provide Tesla with 2 billion battery cells over the next four years—would continue to be a partner. Other partners might be companies that make the precursor materials, he said. 
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Thursday, February 27, 2014

proposed world's-largest optical telescope, designed in Canada

Mauna Kea Peak
Mauna Kea Peak (Photo credit: Mozul)
The proposed world's-largest optical telescope, designed in Canada, is one step closer to construction after the University of Hawaii approved a plan to lease land at the summit of the island's Mauna Kea volcano.
The university's Board of Regents voted Thursday 15 to 1 to approve subleasing the land atop the dormant volcano for the Canadian-designed Thirty Meter Telescope, also called TMT. The university leases summit land, which hosts about a dozen telescopes in total, from the state.
The only opposing vote came from the board's student representative, Jeffrey Acido.
Officials hope to begin construction of the $1.3-billion telescope later this year and start operations in 2021.
Observing other solar systems
The telescope would be used to observe planets that orbit stars outside our own galaxy and would enable astronomers to watch new planets and stars being formed. It should help scientists see some 13 billion light years away for a glimpse into the early years of the universe.
The project was initiated by the University of California, the California Institute of Technology and the Association of Canadian Universities for Research in Astronomy. Observatories and institutions in China, India and Japan later signed on as partners.
The telescope was designed by Port Coquitlam, B.C.-based firm Dynamic Structures Ltd., which will also construct the device before shipping it to the Mauna Kea site, if all goes according to plan.
The telescope's segmented primary mirror would be nearly 30 metres in diameter, three times the size of the current largest optical telescope, the Gran Telescopio Canarias, located on Spain's Canary Islands.
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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Google Inc is exploring a major expansion of its super-fast "Fiber" TV

Google 貼牌冰箱(Google Refrigerator)
Google 貼牌冰箱(Google Refrigerator) (Photo credit: Aray Chen)
Google Inc is exploring a major expansion of its super-fast "Fiber" TV and Internet service, which could extend the nascent network to 34 more U.S. cities and pose a competitive threat to home broadband providers.
Google executives told reporters on Wednesday the search company has reached out in recent weeks to cities from nine metropolitan areas around the country, including San Jose, Atlanta and Nashville, to discuss the feasibility of building out Fiber, which Google says delivers the Internet at speeds up to 100 times faster than average networks.
As Google delivers more music, videos and other content to mobile devices, it is increasing investment in ensuring it gets the bandwidth it needs. Web-access projects like Fiber could also help grow revenues beyond its maturing search business, and give it more insight into consumers' online habits -- which, in turn, is crucial to making ads more effective.
Google had initially billed its first Fiber broadband offer, launched in Kansas City last year, as a test project to spur development of Web services and technology. But industry observers speculate that the one-gigabit-a-second high-speed Internet service could become a viable business for the company, prompting traditional rivals such as AT&T to mount a defense.
"We continue to believe that Google Fiber is an attempt by Google to build a profitable, stand-alone business," argued Carlos Kirjner, senior Internet analyst for Bernstein Research.
"Google is taking the long view and we think in five or more years, it could turn out to be a significant, profitable business for Google and headwind for incumbents."
AT&T Inc said last year it was ready to build its own one-gigabit-per-second fiber network in Austin, provided it got the same treatment from local authorities as Google. AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said in September he expects the telecoms carrier to expand that offer to "multiple markets" in coming years.
And Comcast Corp, which will become the largest cable provider in the country if it passes antitrust scrutiny for its proposed $45 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable, argued to regulators this month that Google Fiber could threaten its business over time.

Google now provides Fiber service, at up to $120 a month, in the Kansas City metropolitan area. Last year, it announced plans to expand in Provo, Utah and Austin, Texas in 2014.
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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Priceline.com, the online travel agency posted higher profits

Priceline.com, the online travel agency known for its name-your-own-price auctions, posted a higher-than-expected quarterly profit on Thursday, boosting shares in extended trading.
Darren Huston, the former chief of Booking.com who became chief executive officer and president of Priceline.com in January, said bookings for hotel stays, airline tickets and rental cars picked up at the end of the quarter for the start of 2014. He added that advertising for Booking.com was paying off in the United States.
"There was broad-based strength throughout the world but the U.S. in particular was a very healthy market," Huston said in an interview.
He said the Priceline brand performed well, aided by airline ticket sales and rental car reservations.
Priceline, which owns Kayak.com and Agoda.com, is boosting its presence in fast-growing markets such as Asia. The acquisition of Kayak, which compiles airline and hotel prices from other travel websites, gave Priceline more exposure.
"Priceline continues to take market share or just gain penetration across all of its geographies," said Daniel Kurnos, an analyst with Benchmark Company.
Fourth-quarter net income came to $378 million, or $7.14 a diluted share, compared with $289 million, or $5.63 a share, a year earlier.

Adjusted for items, profit came to $8.85 a share, compared with $8.29 a share expected by analysts on average, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Time Inc, the publisher of Sports Illustrated and People, is launching an online streaming-video sports network in partnership with several major U.S. sports leagues, the company announced on Thursday.
Called 120 Sports for its 120-second original sports features, the network will partner with Major League Baseball (MLB) and the national Hockey League (NHL). It will also include sports content from the National Basketball Association (NBA), NASCAR and college sports.
The network will launch later this spring, and viewers can watch it on smartphones, tablets and the Web, according to the press release. Sports Illustrated will play a significant role in 120 Sports including leading ad sales and marketing.
The move comes as Time prepares to separate from its parent, Time Warner, the owner of HBO, Warner Brothers and several cable networks including CNN. When Time spins off later this year it will be mainly a print and digital company.
The magazine industry has been hit with declining ad sales and circulation, so building a digital presence, especially in fast-growing video, will help the company diversify.

In a memo to staff, Executive Vice President Todd Larsen said the network will enable Time to offer its clients more video-advertising opportunities, "one of many (enterprises) we hope to invest in as part of our plan to turn our brands into cross-platform powerhouses."
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Sunday, February 23, 2014

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Saturday, February 22, 2014

2014 points towards an accelerated pace as technology mergers and acquisitions

With a strong finish in technology deal activity in 2013, the outlook for 2014 points towards an accelerated pace as technology mergers and acquisitions (M&A) continues to play a critical role for companies across industries to innovate and drive growth, according to analyst firm PricewaterhouseCoopers’ (PwC) US Technology Deals Insights 2013 Year in Review and 2014 Outlook report.

According to the report, cumulative technology deal value for 2013 closed at $99.8 billion, a decrease of three percent from 2012, with a blossoming initial public offering (IPO) market and growing valuations impacting mid-market deal volumes, while overall value for the year was upheld by deals larger than $500 million.

The report found total deal volume declined 18 percent ending the year at 204 closed transactions in 2013 compared to 249 deals closed in 2012. The increase in billion dollar deals resulted in average deal size increasing from $415 million in 2012 to $489 million in 2013, according to PwC.

"Disruptive technologies are driving change at a dizzying pace, heightening the need for continuous innovation. M&A is playing an instrumental role for larger technology enterprises seeking to achieve growth," Rob Fisher, PwC’s US technology deals leader, said in a statement. "The abundant cash and marketable securities held by the top 25 technology companies at year end, and the record levels of capital being raised by private equity funds, is creating a tremendous atmosphere for technology M&A in 2014."

 
Technology IPOs accounted for 16 percent of IPO value and 21 percent of IPO volume in 2013 and PwC anticipates continued growth in the technology IPO pipeline. In total, there were 51 IPOs, a substantial increase from 39 in 2012.


However, despite the continued availability of cheap high yield and leveraged financing, and buoyant equity markets, private equity deal volume declined for the first time since 2009.

The report found private equity deals comprised 31 percent of total technology deals with disclosed values in 2013 compared to 34 percent in 2012.

Software, accounting for 35 percent of technology M&A volume in 2013, remained at the forefront of technology deals as technology companies continue to expand into the cloud, mobility continues to grow, and more companies across industries leverage big data analytics.
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Friday, February 21, 2014

Atos - Patrick Adiba - Bring your own device
Atos - Patrick Adiba - Bring your own device (Photo credit: Atos International)
A majority of businesses (53 percent) unprepared to deal with hacked or stolen bring your own device (BYOD) devices, even though half indicated company-owned tablets, notebooks and smartphones may have been hacked in last 12 months, according to a report from ITIC and KnowBe4.

The survey results indicate that 65 percent of businesses now allow end users to BYOD and use them as corporate desktop or mobile devices to access organizational data including email, applications and sensitive data.

BYOD usage can be used to help businesses reduce expenditures and lower the administrative burdens of IT departments as end users manage, maintain and in many cases pay for their own devices.

However, the rise in BYOD, mobility and remote and telecommuting users potentially increases the risk of security breaches.

 
Nine Steps to Smart Security for Small Businesses
The findings are part of a joint study conducted by ITIC, a research and consulting firm based in the Boston area specializing in conducting independent surveys tracking crucial trends and KnowBe4, a security awareness training firm.


The survey polled 250 companies worldwide in February 2014, finding that 55 percent of organizations are not increasing or fortifying their existing security measures despite the recent spate of high profile security attacks against companies like Target, Skype, Snapchat and others.

"Mobile devices are the new target-rich environment," Kevin Mitnick, KnowBe4’s chief hacking officer, said in a statement. "Based on lessons learned in the early days of the personal computer, businesses should make it a top priority to proactively address mobile security so they avoid the same mistakes of the PC era that resulted in untold system downtime and billions of dollars in economic loss."

Survey results suggested that unless the corporation has strong, effective policy, procedure and security awareness training in place to govern BYOD usage, the company and its sensitive corporate data could be put in a precarious position in the event that a mobile device is lost, stolen or more likely, hacked, a real possibility in recent times.

Eighty percent of firms surveyed said they consider strong anti-virus, intrusion detection and firewalls the most important or critical element and most effective mechanism to safeguard their networks followed by endpoint security.

Some 60 percent of survey participants cited physically limiting access to the server room and data center, and providing end-user security awareness training as also being crucial to maintaining security.

"These survey findings should galvanize corporations to proactively safeguard data in advance of an expensive and potentially crippling loss or hack." ITIC principal analyst Laura DiDio said in a statement. - See more at: http://www.eweek.com/small-business/byod-businesses-still-lack-effective-security-policies.html#sthash.ooAIFz8J.dpuf
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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Google set for stock split

Google 貼牌冰箱(Google Refrigerator)
Google 貼牌冰箱(Google Refrigerator) (Photo credit: Aray Chen)
Zero to $400 billion, good for the second-biggest market capitalization in America, took a bit more than 15 years of existence and less than a decade as a public company. Not too shabby, Google (GOOG).
The new king of all media just supplanted Exxon Mobil (XOM), an ancient conglomerate with multiples of its revenue, earnings, and assets, for the No. 2 slot; Apple (AAPL) remains on top. In addition to search and YouTube, Google does smart glasses, mysterious barges, renewable energy, and a pre-World War II blimp hangar.
The Mountain View (Calif.) company totes at least $59 billion in cash and has had a hand in 127 deals totaling a little less than $18 billion in the past three years, according to Bloomberg data. In the past two months alone, Google has taken out digital-thermostat maker Nest Labs for $3.2 billion and robotics shop Boston Dynamics. Last year, Google’s venture arm led a $360 million investment in Uber, the car-booking app everyone is talking about.
“The market is valuing their forward innovation,” says Colin Gillis, an analyst with BGC Financial. Google’s sales growth last year of 19 percent is nearly half the clip it registered in 2012. Still, shares gained 58 percent in 2013 and have smoked the broader market and Nasdaq since their 2004 debut. “Everyone,” says Gillis, “is betting on multiple future revenue streams. This is a market that loves to bid up promises. Look at Amazon (AMZN) and Facebook (FB).”
That benefit of the doubt, he notes, is so powerful toward Google that its stock keeps setting records despite the company missing consensus quarterly earnings four out of eight times up to the end of January. Sales have missed Wall Street’s view in seven of the last nine reports.
So patient is the Street, in fact, that Google is getting a pass for finally (and creatively) preparing a stock split for the first time, more than three years after co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin first broached the idea. They were concerned their supervoting status would be diluted. Google’s inaugural split this spring will create a new class of “C’” stock that carries no voting power.
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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Small businesses in New York worried about 2014

English: Southern Manhattan from Staten Island...
English: Southern Manhattan from Staten Island ferry (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Small businesses in New York City expect to see revenue growth in 2014, but hiring optimism is lagging with 61 percent of those surveyed planning to maintain staffing levels next year, according to TD Bank’s inaugural New York City Small Business Pulse Check.

The regionally focused survey, which included small businesses of $5 million or less in revenue and 100 employees or less, included questions on the challenges and opportunities facing small businesses in the five boroughs.

More than one-half (56 percent) of the small business owners report that their businesses have been negatively impacted by the U.S. economy with respondents correlating the economic situation with declining sales and limited consumer spending.

In Queens, 62 percent of small business owners reported a negative impact, compared with 53 percent in Manhattan, 57 percent in Staten Island, 56 percent in the Bronx and 54 percent in Brooklyn.
For just less than half of small business owners across the boroughs, economic uncertainty, increased cost of doing business and competitive pressures are the top-of-mind concerns for 2014.


"The five boroughs are each unique and great places in which to do business. The TD Bank Small Business Pulse Check found that despite the individuality across the boroughs, small business owners in New York City as a whole are experiencing the same opportunities and challenges," Chris Giamo, regional president for TD Bank's Metro New York market, said in a statement. "We want New York small business owners to know that we are here to help them manage those challenges and take advantage of the opportunities so they can succeed in 2014."

Nearly all owners across all five boroughs reported using a checking account for business, including 100 percent of Manhattan business owners, and approximately 36 percent of small business owners surveyed report revenue of $100,000 or less, with 57 percent of these owners the sole proprietors.

More than half of small business owners surveyed (55 percent) said they do not believe the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will impact their business.

Of the nearly one-quarter who anticipate a negative impact from the legislation, most are concerned about rising costs, and 13 percent of respondents indicated that the health care reform would reduce health care access and choice.

Small business owners in Staten Island and Manhattan felt more strongly that there would be no impact (59 percent) from ACA, compared with the Bronx (46 percent), which felt most strongly of the boroughs that there would be a negative impact. - See more at: http://www.eweek.com/it-management/small-businesses-in-new-york-city-worried-about-2014.html#sthash.zL2Vtmdr.dpuf
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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Sprint announced the results of its fiscal 2013 fourth quarter

Sprint Nextel logo
Sprint Nextel logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Sprint announced the results of its fiscal 2013 fourth quarter Feb. 11, making clear that while its Network Vision build-out still has a ways to go, some of the changes it's making are working.

Sprint finished 2013 with its highest number of platform subscribers ever, 53.9 million, after adding 58,000 postpaid (contract), 322,000 prepaid, and 302,000 wholesale and affiliate subscribers.

But it posted an operating loss of $576 million for the quarter—a 22 percent improvement over the same quarter a year ago—and an annual operating loss of $1.9 billion, up from last year's $1.8 billion loss.

Sprint also posted its highest-ever annual wireless service revenue, of $7.2 billion, and its best-ever annual revenue per postpaid customer, of $64.07. (By contrast, Verizon Wireless posted fourth-quarter 2013 service revenue of $17.7 billion and—because it now measures average revenue per shared account [ARPA] instead of by user—a retail postpaid ARPA of $157.21 per month.)

Sprint closed its Nextel network June 30 and is feeling the loss of a good chunk of those subscribers. Other subscribers, having had enough of the construction dust, also left. But in areas where Sprint's "modernization" plan is 70 percent complete, said CEO Dan Hesse, there's a consistent patter of churn falling and the postpaid base growing.


"The primary driver is the network," said Hesse. "The network, from a net-add perspective, has not only been having an effect on churn but on gross adds. … You see the churn change right away, and then the gross-adds response [follows] later."

Sprint's LTE network now covers 200 million people, and it has begun rolling out Sprint Spark, a technology capable of delivering 50M- to 60M-bps peak speeds today and potentially speeds three times as fast by late 2015, according to Sprint. It's also rolling out HD Voice across the nation, and expects to complete that effort by year's end.

Additionally, Sprint introduced Framily Plans (group plans for family and friends) toward the end of the fourth quarter. 

"The early indications are strong," said Hesse, adding that the plans encourage subscribers to recruit their friends to the network, and a majority of people are buying the priciest options. - See more at: http://www.eweek.com/networking/sprint-q4-had-576m-loss-but-highest-ever-subscriber-numbers.html#sthash.NpaJd8Vn.dpuf
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Monday, February 17, 2014

The T-Mobile brand is here to stay

When talk of a possible T-Mobile-Sprint merger first arose, it struck many as little more than that—talk. Sprint was "studying regulatory concerns" and contemplating a bid during the first half of 2014, The Wall Street Journal reported Dec. 13.

"Let's pop this trial balloon quickly, please," Public Knowledge Senior Staff Attorney John Bergmayer blogged the same day, as Twitter erupted with Tweets of exasperation and verbal eye rolls from a community that had not yet forgotten, among other lessons, the nine-month drama of AT&T's attempt to merge with T-Mobile in 2011.

"Anyone who thinks three carriers is competitive PLEASE TALK TO A CANADIAN," Tweeted PC Magazine editor Sascha Seegan.

But the talk has continued and intensified, putting the companies' stock prices on a rising and falling wave and encouraging more voices to speak up against the deal, or rather, the potential for one.

 
Securing End-User Mobile Devices in the Enterprise
Giving the rumors new validity, the Editorial Board of The New York Times addressed them Dec. 31. After laying out the issue, the editorial explained the many changes T-Mobile had made in 2013.


"It is hard to imagine that any cellphone company would have been as aggressive as T-Mobile if the administration had allowed AT&T to buy the company," the board wrote. "The logic that the government used to step in still holds today, and antitrust regulators should look closely at any proposal that would reduce competition in the wireless business."

T-Mobile CEO John Legere surprised many with his response, when asked about the potential of a merger during the question-and-answer session of a Jan. 8 press announcement. While Legere's comments, about the aggressiveness and lastingness of T-Mobile, were far from a clear answer, what was clear was that he didn't dismiss the possibility.

"The T-Mobile brand is here to stay," said Legere. "How that ultimately plays out [we'll have to see]. But we're a change agent, a maverick … and I think people think that is very important."
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Sunday, February 16, 2014

Possibly lower e-book prices

Canada's business competition watchdog said on Friday it has reached an agreement with four major e-book publishers that it expects will lower e-book prices in the country.
The Competition Bureau said the publishers have agreed to remove or amend clauses in their distribution agreements with individual e-book retailers that had the effect of restricting retail price competition.
The four publishers that have agreed to the deal include Lagardere SCA's Hachette Book Group Inc; News Corp's HarperCollins Publishers LLC; CBS Corp's Simon & Schuster Inc, and Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck GmbH's Macmillan.
The regulatory agency noted that similar settlements between publishers and regulators in the United States in the last two years have resulted in greater discounting of best-selling e-books there.
Last year, a U.S. District Court judge ruled that Apple Inc had conspired with five major publishers to raise e-book prices. The ruling was a victory for the U.S. Department of Justice, which accused Apple of conspiring to erode Amazon.com's e-book dominance.

Apple has appealed the ruling, while the publishers settled ahead of the trial.
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Saturday, February 15, 2014

Russian authorities have issued warnings against using Bitcoin

The bitcoin logo
The bitcoin logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Russian authorities have issued warnings against using Bitcoin, saying the virtual currency could be used for money laundering or financing terrorism and that treating it as a parallel currency is illegal.
"Systems for anonymous payments and cyber currencies that have gained considerable circulation - including the most well-known, Bitcoin - are money substitutes and cannot be used by individuals or legal entities," the Russian Prosecutor General's Office said on February6.
It added that Russian law stipulates that the rouble is the sole official currency and that introducing any other monetary units or substitutes was illegal.
Russia's central bank also said on January 27 that Bitcoin trade was highly speculative and that the unit carried a big risk of losing value.
"Citizens and legal entities risk being drawn - even unintentionally - into illegal activity, including laundering of money obtained through crime, as well as financing terrorism," it warned.

The Prosecutor's General Office said it was working with the central bank and other law enforcement agencies to tighten regulations and prevent legal offences committed with the use of pseudo-currencies.
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Friday, February 14, 2014

U.S. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act

Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty
Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and National Revenue Minister Kerry-Lynne Findlay have signed the agreement to implement the U.S. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act.
Introduced in the U.S. in 2010, the law is meant to track down U.S. tax cheats living abroad. But it has also caught up an unknown number of people who didn’t realize the U.S. is one of only two countries in the world that require their citizens to file taxes no matter where they are living.
Catches 'accidental Americans'
It has also caught “accidental Americans,” people who didn’t realize becoming a citizen of another country doesn’t supersede their U.S. citizenship, or that the U.S. automatically confers citizenship on anyone with at least one U.S. parent.
It is estimated one million U.S. citizens live in Canada. The rules affect each of them, their children and anyone with whom they may hold a joint account or co-own a business or property.
Canada is the last G7 country to sign an agreement with the U.S. to implement FATCA, in part because government officials say they spent a long time negotiating exemptions for Canada.
Although the most contentious aspects of the law remain intact — the requirement for financial institutions to flag the account information of “U.S. persons” for the U.S. Internal Revenue Service to then verify if all taxes have been paid — the agreement allows the Canadian banks to provide the information to the Canada Revenue Agency instead of the IRS directly.
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Thursday, February 13, 2014

U.S. manufacturing activity slowed sharply in January

U.S. manufacturing activity slowed sharply in January on the back of the biggest drop in new orders in 33 years while construction spending barely rose in December, pointing to some loss of steam in the economy.
Economists largely blamed frigid temperatures for the chill in economic activity and said they expected a rebound in the months ahead. However, they also cautioned that the economy was receiving some payback after a strong performance in the second half of 2013.
"The disappointing data provide further confirmation of a dramatic slowing in economic growth momentum," said Millan Mulraine, deputy chief economist at TD Securities in New York.
The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said its index of national factory activity fell to 51.3 last month, its lowest level since May 2013, from 56.5 in December.
Bad weather also appeared to hurt U.S. auto sales in January, with Ford Motor Co, General Motors Co and Japan's Toyota Motor Sales USA reported a slide in sales for the month.
U.S. stocks fell sharply on the manufacturing data, with the Dow Jones industrial average off 1.5 percent and the S&P 500 losing 1.7 percent. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note hit its lowest level since early November and the dollar dropped against a basket of currencies.
Mulraine, however, said "to the extent that this weakening can be attributed to weather-effects, we expect activity to rebound meaningfully in the coming months."
January's ISM figure was also well below the median forecast of 56 in a Reuters poll of economists, missing even the lowest estimate of 54.2. Readings above 50 indicate expansion.

It was the second straight month of slowing growth from November's recent peak reading of 57, which had been the highest since April 2011, and indicated manufacturing was slowing after output grew at its fastest pace in nearly two years in the fourth quarter.
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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Ben Bernanke at the Brookings Institution

Official portrait of Federal Reserve Chairman ...
Official portrait of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Ben Bernanke arrived for his first day on the job at the Brookings Institution on Monday morning, just three days after completing an eight-year tenure as chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve.
Bernanke, whose stint atop the U.S. central bank was marked by financial crisis and policy experimentation in the face of the Great Recession, joins the centrist policy think tank in Washington as a distinguished fellow in residence, Brookings said on Monday.
There had been some speculation that the former Princeton professor would land at Brookings, where he is expected to write a book, though the quick jump from one job to another may come as a surprise. Brookings prides itself as nonpartisan and having members from both sides of the U.S. political spectrum, though some see it as somewhat left of center.
"Brookings scholars have a well established reputation for contributing innovative ideas and trenchant analysis to economic and other public policy debates," Bernanke said in a statement issued by Brookings. "I welcome the opportunity to engage in that vibrant community through research and writing."
Bernanke, a George W. Bush appointee who became Fed chairman in 2006, was succeeded by Janet Yellen, the former vice chair who was sworn in on Monday morning.
Bernanke settled into his new office in Washington on Monday, a spokeswoman said. According to the statement, he will help bring "rigorous analysis to critical questions" at the institution's new Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy, which is named for private equity investor and donor Glenn Hutchins.
Bernanke's last public appearance was January 16 at Brookings, where he said the Fed should give the economy the stimulus it needs despite "credible" worries that its massive bond-buying program could destabilize the financial system.

Last week, in his final act as chair, Bernanke and fellow policymakers unanimously agreed to trim another $10 billion from the quantitative easing program, which is now worth $65 billion per month.
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