Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Tuesday Morning Links, News, And Views; Coal Use Increasing In The US;

Active rigs: 186

RBN Energy: another must-read article -- the spread between WTI and Brent is ... going, going, gone. But the good news probably won't last. Memo to self: insert "sad face" here.

Photo op: isn't this an outstanding photograph? It was sent to me by a reader. Over the wide Missouri between Bismarck/Mandan.

Counter-intuitive: SeekingAlpha is reporting --
Coal consumption in the U.S. has been increasing for the last few months and this trend is expected to benefit the U.S. coal companies. Total coal consumption in first-quarter 2013 was up by 11%, as compared to 1Q'12. The surge in coal consumption is mainly due to higher coal usage by electricity generators.
The IP for the one well coming off the confidential list has been posted, and it's a huge one for Halcon:
  • 24255, 2,447, HRC Operating, Fort Berthold 152-93-7D-6-2H, Four Bears, t4/13; cum 45K 5/13:
DateOil RunsMCF Sold

Chinese stocks rose the most today since July 11 after Chinese press reports indicated the government sees 7% growth as the bottom line it will tolerate for economic growth.
I've opined many, many times that China has a huge problem with employment and demographics. The one-child rule has resulted in a huge "unnatural" mismatched male/female ratio. If the Chinese government doesn't keep these young men employed, the government has a huge problem. China cannot afford a GDP below a certain level, and apparently right now they think it needs to be at least 7%. [I wouldn't bother listening to the video at the link; the story is hardly worth reading; the headline says it all.]

PSX IPO -- raging success: hugely bullish for PSX shareholders (read "Disclaimer" here). At SeekingAlpha:
Phillips 66 Partners (PSXP) began trading today on the NYSE and by all indications the IPO was a rousing success. The MLP opened at $28.98, well above the initial pricing of $23. An AP report this morning said PSXP raised $377.8 million from its initial public offering of stock. These proceeds were above expectations and is bullish for Phillips 66 (PSX).
PSX is up about 3% in mid-day trading. 
WSJ Links

Biogen: "Woman's Death Unlikely Due to Multiple Sclerosis Pill. Biogen Idec is investigating the death of a 59-year-old woman who had taken its new multiple-sclerosis pill Tecfidera but wasn't on the drug when she died." -- no link, and I did not read the story. The "sub-headline" seems to tell me all I need to know. I assume the ampicillin she wasn't taking did not cause her death either.

Apple: "Apple Tests Larger Screens for iPhones, iPads. Apple has asked its Asian suppliers for prototypes of screens larger than 4 inches for smartphones and under 13 inches for tablets, people at its suppliers said."  -- no link, and I did not read the story. Sometime ago I suggested that the iPhone and the iPad would morph into each other. In fact, it's just a matter of time before we start seeing tablet-size iPhones on tables in corporate committee rooms replacing conventional speaker phones. Memo to self: patent paperwork.

Unionsb: "A Backdoor Approach to Union Organizing. Nonprofit community groups called worker centers are helping to unionize workplaces, but they have more freedom than unions, which are constrained by national labor laws." -- no link, and I did not read the article, but this was the top story in The WSJ today. Smart folks.

North Dakota's abortion bill put on ice. -- no link; story easily found, if interested, but it's nice to see that The WSJ prints stories about North Dakota that don't just involve the Bakken. The ND abortion bill, by the way, was a political statement only; no one expected it to really survive the courts.

Unions: "Unions in Detroit See Clout Shrivel.  Detroit's municipal unions stepped up protests against proposals to slash worker benefits as part of the city's bankruptcy, but they face an uphill fight." -- no link; the Detroit story will play out over the next few years. It was interesting to hear on the radio yesterday that not one Congressman has placed a bill into consideration to bailout Detroit.

Syria, finally: "Assad Forces Step Up Operations in Damascus. Military forces of President Bashar al-Assad's regime, emboldened by recent gains in central Syria, have stepped up military operations against rebels in and around the capital Damascus, where they already have the upper hand." -- no link; this will go on for months, years.

Better late than never: "EU Puts Hezbollah on Terror ListA10 Europe's foreign ministers agreed to add the military wing of Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah to the European Union's list of terrorist organizations." -- no link; does anyone even care?

Wow, wow, wow: I can't remember if I've blogged about Lego, but I've opined often what a great comeback Lego made some years ago. My younger daughter grew up with Lego blocks in Europe, and continues to enjoy them to this day. I cannot pass up a new Lego set without buying it, or thinking about buying it. Now, a book on Legos and a WSJ book review:
The patents on the core product of the Lego Group—its famous build-it-yourself bricks—expired decades ago, yet the company seems to be thriving: Its gross profit margin of 71% is far higher than that of other major toy companies and, for that matter, Apple.
It was not always thus. Only 10 years ago, Lego was posting record losses; retailers were backlogged with unsold Lego toys; and it was unclear whether Lego would survive as an independent company. An internal review discovered that 94% of the sets in its product line were unprofitable. The turnaround story that followed is well told by Wharton professor David Robertson in "Brick by Brick."
As a family-owned Danish company, Lego isn't watched closely by the American business press. Yet its story may hold as many lessons as those of companies whose chief executives adorn magazine covers. In Mr. Robertson's diagnosis, Lego's near-collapse came not from a lack of innovation but from an excess of it—more precisely, from innovation without discipline.
 Yes, I will buy this book at "full price"; I won't wait for remaindered copies.

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