20 10 / 2011

"I am sure Sergio will be in the Ryder Cup, he’s got a special charisma and a solid game," Olazabal told reporters ahead of this week’s Castello Masters in Valencia."His best motivation is to know what it feels like to be in the Ryder Cup without playing."Garcia has plunged to 49th in the world but there have been signs of a return to form this season including top-10 finishes at the British Open and U.S. Open."It’s been a very positive year. There is still room for improvement but things are much better," said the 31-year-old Spaniard who will be playing at his home club in Castellon this week."I’m feeling much more confident about my game now. What I’m feeling right now is very different to what I was feeling before."Last year I was here physically but not mentally. I tried hard but my mind wasn’t where it needed to be," added Garcia who took a while to recover after his relationship with Greg Norman’s daughter Morgan ended in March 2009.Garcia is determined to return for his sixth Ryder Cup appearance in Illinois next year."The Ryder Cup is one of my goals," he said. "I want to make it."Everyone knows how special it is to me. As Jose Maria said, I know what it is like to be there without playing and I don’t want to repeat the experience."Unless I go as captain I won’t go back to the Ryder Cup if I’m not playing," said Garcia.The Spaniard won the Castello Masters in 2008 and this week will be up against the likes of new Portugal Masters champion Tom Lewis, Italian teenager Matteo Manassero, fellow countryman Olazabal, Briton Montgomerie and twice major winner John Daly.The first round is on Thursday.

18 10 / 2011

Jeffrey Lacker, the Richmond Fed’s hawkish president, acknowledged that inflation is likely to ebb in coming months as pressures from high energy and commodity prices ease. But he warned that inflation remained a threat.”My sense is that we should not be adding monetary stimulus at this point,” Lacker said in response to questions from reporters. “A case could be made that withdrawing stimulus may be warranted soon.”Lacker, who was speaking in Salisbury, Maryland, rotates into a voting spot on the Fed’s policy-setting panel next year.Speaking in Detroit, Charles Evans, the Chicago Fed’s dovish chief, said some temporary increase in inflation may be the price the nation must pay if Fed policy is to reduce joblessness.The Fed should step up its campaign to boost what he called a withering economy with a vow to keep interest rates at zero until the jobless rate falls below 7 percent, Evans said.If that does not work fast enough, the Fed should return to buying bonds to push down long-term rates, he said.”Given how badly we are doing on our employment mandate, we need to be willing to take a risk on inflation going modestly higher in the short run if that is a consequence of policies aimed at lowering unemployment,” said Evans, who has a policy-setting vote this year.”Rather than fighting the inflation ghosts of the 1970s, I am more worried about repeating the mistakes of the 1930s,” when the Fed failed to see that its monetary policy was unduly restricting growth, he said.The central bank last month committed to selling $400 billion in short-term Treasuries in order to buy longer-dated government bonds. The move, known as Operation Twist, drew three dissents, as did a Fed promise in August to keep rates low through at least mid-2013.While Lacker argued that such open dissent was a sign of healthy internal debate, not a fractured central bank, Evans suggested that calls by fellow policymakers for tighter rather than looser monetary policy may be undercutting the Fed’s efforts to stimulate the economy.”Financial markets are going to look at the entire breadth of the commentary and come up with their own assessment of what that means for the probability of a premature exiting from our current stance,” Evans told reporters after his speech. “To the extent that they put more weight on that, that means that we are not going to be as accommodative as I believe our current intentions are.”To emphasize the severity of the employment situation, Evans included in his otherwise pedestrian slides an “emoticon” with flames coming out the top of the head.The Fed could keep inflation in check by watching the medium-term outlook, he said. If the inflation outlook rose above 3 percent, he said, the Fed would start tightening policy, even if the jobless rate has not fallen below 7 percent.Evans’ remarks amounted to the strongest call yet for more monetary policy easing just weeks before the central bank’s policy-setting panel next meets, on November 1 and 2. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke is due to speak on Tuesday.The U.S. economy has remained anemic this year despite hopes for a pick-up in the pace of expansion. Gross domestic product expanded under 1 percent in the first half of the year, while unemployment has remained stuck above 9 percent for several months.This backdrop, coupled with financial market strains emanating from Europe, have kept up the pressure on the Fed to continue providing support to the economy, despite its already unprecedented efforts to that effect in response to the Great Recession.The Fed has not only slashed benchmark interest rates to effectively zero, but also purchased some $2.3 trillion in government and mortgage-backed securities to support a fragile recovery.If the Fed adopts a policy trigger tied to the unemployment rate, Evans said, he would also favor adopting a formal inflation target of 2 percent to further cement expectations.

18 10 / 2011

* Ups FY EPS view to $8.80-$9.00/share, sales growth of 11-12 pctOct 18 (Reuters) - WW Grainger Inc’s quarterly profit beat market estimates for the sixth straight quarter, and the industrial maintenance and safety products supplier raised its full-year outlook for the third time.The company raised its full-year profit outlook to $8.80-$9.00 a share, from its earlier forecast of $8.40-$8.70 a share. It expects revenue growth of 11-12 percent, up from prior view of 9-10 percent driven by the Fabory Group acquisition.In August, Grainger said it was to acquire the Netherlands-based Fabory Group for about $344 million, its biggest takeover in at least a decade. .Analysts are expecting earnings of $8.76 a share, on sales of $8 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.The company’s earnings forecast excludes the expected $5 million after-tax gain on the sale of its minority ownership in MRO Korea.WW Grainger competes with MSC Industrial Direct and Fastenal , which last week reported third-quarter profit in-line with estimates.Grainger — considered an industrial bellwether — which sells everything from abrasives and pumps to padlocks and wrenches, posted third-quarter earnings of $182.1 million, or $2.51 a share, on sales of $2.1 billion.On an adjusted basis, the company earned $2.44 a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S, while the market expected earnings of $2.33 a share, on sales of $2.1 billion.The industrial distributor said United States segment sales rose about 7 percent to $1.7 billion.Shares of the Chicago-based company closed at $155.09 on Monday on the New York Stock Exchange.

17 10 / 2011

That is a big concern since boosting exports is one of the best ways the nation can tackle the stubbornly high unemployment that is leading a growing number of Americans to question how well the economic system is working.”We’re not trying that hard,” Immelt told a Thomson Reuters Newsmaker event in New York on Monday. “We haven’t really tried as hard as we can to compete, educate and sell our products around the world, and I think we can do better.”Still, the head of the largest U.S. conglomerate and a top adviser to the Obama administration on jobs and the economy believes the United States can improve. He noted that GE expects to generate 60 percent of its sales outside its home country this year.He held out Germany — home to one of GE’s biggest rivals, Siemens AG — as an example of a wealthy country that has been successful in pushing exports.”Chancellor (Angela) Merkel flies from Berlin to Beijing, there’s 25 German CEOs that go on the plane right behind her. And they connect the dots. They play hard, they play to win,” Immelt said.President Barack Obama, he added, “has been out driving and pushing to try to double exports in the next five years. I think we can compete very well. But we’re not all-in the same way that the Germans are all-in.”The nation’s economic malaise, now in its third year, has left many Americans angry and frustrated, Immelt said, and people in power need to empathize.”Unemployment is 9.1 percent. Underemployment is much higher than that, particularly among young people that don’t have a college degree,” Immelt said. “It is natural to assume that people are angry, and I think we have to be empathetic and understand that people are not feeling great.”A large and diverse group of protesters, who complain that the U.S. economic system is no longer working to the benefit of a large slice of the nation’s population, has been a visible presence on Wall Street for a month now. The movement, known as “Occupy Wall Street,” has spread around the country.The protesters complain that the billions of dollars the U.S. government spent during the recession to prop up financial companies, including GE, have allowed banks to earn large profits without benefiting average Americans.GROWTH THE ONLY ANSWERThe head of the world’s largest maker of jet engines and electric turbines said he regarded stronger growth as the only real answer to the rising disillusionment.”The only way to solve this specific problem is growth,” Immelt said. “If unemployment comes down, people will feel better. If unemployment goes up, people will feel worse, no matter what goes on Wall Street.”Immelt said the gap between the pay of CEOs and average Americans is adding to tensions.”The discrepancy is certainly one of the problems today in terms of why people feel the system is unfair,” Immelt said.But he said that lowering CEO pay would do little to lower unemployment. Immelt received compensation worth $21.4 million last year, including a $4 million bonus that was his first since 2007.”If CEO pay goes way down and unemployment is 12 percent, people are still going to feel bad,” he said. “It is a symptom but it is not the problem.”Immelt is confident that U.S. business can compete with rivals in emerging markets such as China and also profit in developing markets. He cited Russia as a major focus over the next decade and said GE is also investing in resource-rich African countries including Mozambique, Angola, Nigeria and South Africa.GE expects to generate more than 60 percent of its revenue outside the United States this year. Analysts, on average, expect it to record revenue of $148.13 billion.SEES SLOW EUROPEAN GROWTHConcerns that Greece could default on its debt and threaten the European and U.S. financial systems have rattled the world economy in recent weeks, pushing down stocks and prompting big banks including Bank of America Corp and JPMorgan Chase & Co to begin laying off staffers.”The most likely case is that Europe has slow growth for a long period of time,” Immelt said. “The process is going to have to be solved inside of Europe.”Last week, the White House advisory panel Immelt heads submitted a report to the Obama administration saying that attracting more foreign capital, being more aggressive in energy policy, and investing in infrastructure could help create jobs in an economy struggling with high unemployment.Immelt, a lifelong Republican, has drawn fire from some GE shareholders for his work with the Democratic Obama administration. The CEO defended his role, saying GE executives have long had a voice in Washington.”People need to try,” he said. “I’d rather be in the arena trying than not doing what I can to help.”Partisanship in Washington is hurting the nation’s economy by slowing efforts to reform the system, Immelt said, adding that he worried that anti-Wall Street rhetoric hurts people other than those it is aimed at.”If your first comment is Wall Street is horrible and you’re in a position of leadership, you don’t hurt Wall Street,” Immelt said. “But there is some guy in Illinois that’s not going to build a factory today because he thinks the financial system is horrible. That’s my point. This is a time when leaders, people like me, should be trying to do things that are more convergent, because ultimately words count.”

12 10 / 2011

LONDON Oct 11 (Reuters) - A series of failures in Research In Motion’s private network has disrupted BlackBerry service to millions of customers across four continents.Extensive delays hit Europe, the Middle East, Africa and India on Monday and the problems spread to Brazil, Chile and Argentina on Tuesday.”The messaging and browsing delays being experienced … were caused by a core switch failure within RIM’s infrastructure,” the company said in a emailed update late on Tuesday afternoon in Toronto.RIM’s BlackBerry service has long been prized by executives and politicians who rely on its security and reliability to deliver email and other messaging to mobile workers.The Canadian company manages this service via servers parked within enterprises and hooked up to a proprietary network carried by wireless operators.”Although the system is designed to failover to a back-up switch, the failover did not function as previously tested,” RIM said.Failover refers to the automatic switching of service to a standby server in the case of a failure of a main system.RIM hosts a number of network operating centres, including one at its headquarters in Waterloo, Ontario, and another in southern England, which manage the massive amounts of data that flow through its system.RIM said it was now working to clear a large backlog of data and restore service as quickly as possible.”We apologize for any inconvenience and we will continue to keep you informed,” it said.RIM had earlier said it had resolved problems disrupting its services in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA).The outages are just another headache for RIM, which is losing ground in the corporate email market it once took for granted as employees increasingly push to use their personal devices, typically Apple’s iPhones and iPads, and to a lesser extent devices using Google’s Android software, in the workplace.It is also facing calls from some investors for a break-up, sale or change of management following recent dismal results and a lacklustre reception of its PlayBook tablet computer, designed to challenge Apple’s iPad.”The current situation with the BlackBerry outages couldn’t come at a worse time for RIM, following some harsh criticism in recent months,” Informa Telecoms & Media analyst Malik Saadi said in a statement.”Some businesses may see this as a good reason to re-evaluate their reliance on centralized servers and instead look to investing in more corporately controlled servers.”Not only would this enable IT departments to minimize the risk of unforeseen collapses, but it could also give employees more flexibility to use their own devices.”Network operators and users in EMEA tweeted that email and BlackBerry Messenger services were not working from around 1100 GMT. Network operator T-Mobile said on its website that the problems were due to a European-wide outage on the BlackBerry network.It said: “RIM has apologized for the interruption to services and said it’s working to restore normal operations.”Earlier, RIM said it had restored BlackBerry services in the region, some 20 hours after users in EMEA and India first reported problems with email and BlackBerry Messenger.In its latest update, RIM did not say when it expected the outage to be fully resolved.