Money for Nothing
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There is an unsettling decline in the Conference Board's March Consumer Confidence Index. Should investors be worried? On Money For Nothing, the Conference Board's chief economist in New York will join us to discuss the US versus the state of Europe's economies and, of course, Cyprus. Richard Harris of Port Shelter will take his pick of the top economic and business news in the past fortnight. We are also joined by James Ross, a media industry expert, who will take a look at the intriguing collapse of Jimmy Lai's Taiwan exit plans. (8am-8.30am, firstname.lastname@example.org)
8.03 am - News highlights of the day
* Cyprus banks are set to re-open with new limits on withdrawals
* Walmart takes on Amazon as it launches an in-store locker service that will help it become an online superstore
* The Minneapolis Fed chief Narayana Kocherlakota says the FOMC may choose not to raise interest rates when the jobless figure falls below 6.5%
Richard Harris, founder and CEO of Port Shelter Investment Management makes his pick of the top five news events:
5, The Cyprus bail-out is probably a one-off and the fear of contagion will only hit small countries in Europe.
4, IPOs are up 50% this year. This shows that all the liquidity created in Europe and the US goes straight into the stock markets. The same is happening in Japan.
3, The Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky found dead in London.
2, China's assets starting to deflate and the equity market remains weak. It basically shows that the economy seems very sluggish.
1, Grovelling banks. JP Morgan is accused of not being upfront with its $6.2 billion trading loss; Standard Chartered has been fined $667 million in New York and Citigroup is told to improve its money laundering controls. "Banks have become piggy banks for the regulators, by paying fines," he says.
8.18 am - US consumer confidence
Bart Van Ark, Executive Vice President and Chief Economist of The Conference Board, says consumers have a bad start to the year. First, there was the payroll tax hike. Then, the sequester. No wonder consumer confidence remains low despite the biggest annual increase in home prices since 2006. "The housing market is really the bright spot in the US economy", he says. "The question really is whether that is sufficient to overcome the drag that we have on the fiscal situation." He points out that there is no close correlation between consumer confidence and actual retail spending. But there tends to be close correlation between consumer confidence and the general economy.
8.25 am - Next Media in Taiwan
Jimmy Lai's last-minute decision to pull the US$500 million sale of his Taiwan print assets was probably more to do with antitrust concerns than politics, says James Ross, founder of TV program distributor Lightning International. Tsai Eng-meng of Want Want China was leading the consortium to buy Next Media Taiwan. But he also has his eyes on a separate cable TV operator. He probably decided to drop his bid for the former in favor of the TV deal to ease concerns about his share of Taiwanese media, Mr Ross says.