Saturday, March 1, 2014

Saturday Morning: Warren Buffett's Annual Letter Released

How the Ukraine affects North Dakota farmers: wheat and corn prices surge. Also, a bit more here, but the same link.

Active rigs:

Active Rigs19218320416896

The Wall Street Journal

Almost a half-billion dollars worth of bitcoins disappear.

That 2014 growth breakout? Not looking likely. Revised 4Q13 GDP shockingly low: was 3.2%; revised, 2.4%. Weather? ObamaCare uncertainty? Global economy slowdown?


Approach of a mosquito-borne virus has the US on alert.
Public-health officials in the U.S. are girding for the arrival of a debilitating mosquito-borne virus that is sweeping the Caribbean and could soon break out across large parts of the Americas.
There is only one virus I can think of that they might be talking about. Dengue. Nope, I was wrong: chikungunya.
The virus is transmitted rapidly by mosquitoes to humans and vice versa. There is currently no vaccine or cure. Besides fever and joint aches, it also causes headaches, nausea and rashes. It is rarely fatal but "people that get chikungunya probably wish they would die" because it is so painful, said Robert Novak, global-health professor at the University of South Florida in Tampa.
Experts are concerned because the chikungunya strain in the Caribbean is being spread by a type of mosquito, Aedes aegypti, that is common from the southern U.S. to northern South America, they said. Someone infected in the Caribbean who returns could transmit the disease to local mosquitoes and humans, Dr. Staples said.
Because of widespread use of air conditioning and mosquito-control practices in the U.S., the disease may be limited to local outbreaks, "but it's pretty damn certain what's going to happen in the rest of the Western Hemisphere," said Durland Fish, professor of epidemiology at Yale University's School of Public Health.
Mr. Fish predicted widespread epidemics that will overwhelm medical services, as people seek treatment for acute symptoms.

Blockbuster year expected for Buffett's Berkshire. There weren't a lot of disasters that would affect his re-insurance portfolio, and energy was huge. Let's see what The WSJ says:
Berkshire Hathaway Inc.'s earnings should reflect an improving economy, a soaring stock market and the lack of a major catastrophe that could have put a dent in the conglomerate's insurance profits.
The report is due out this morning.
Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expect Berkshire to post, on average, annual revenue of about $180 billion, up roughly 11% from 2012. The Omaha, NE-based company is projected to report net profit of about $18.5 billion [actual = $19.5], up from $14.8 billion in 2012.
[Later: the report has been posted.]


US pilot shortage caused severe

Deal reached on Panama Canal widening project.


The Los Angeles Times

Going around Congress: Obama's escape hatch. Great news. Nice to know. Huge implications. The framers of the US Constitution were brilliant.

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