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Jan 11, 2012

Smartcompany News and Analysis: Retailers and builders send collapses to record level, Hospitality sector wants penalty rate exemption, Richard Branson’s quick-thinking PR stunt

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Today on SmartCompany we look at the outlook for company collapses in 2012, after failures in 2011 hit a record rate. We also toast some good news in the wine sector, where export prices have risen for the first time in four years, and reflect on Richard Branson’s latest PR stunt by looking back at five of his best.

And in Entrepreneur Watch, James Thomson looks at a fascinating private equity takeover battle that will tell us a lot about where the sector his heading.

Advertising and Marketing
Facebook ads vs Google ads: Which one is right for your business?
It's the online advertising heavyweight title fight that many small business entrepreneurs are struggling to judge. BY NINA HENDY.
Google Book

How to be a calm leader in volatile times
In volatile times, business leaders need to hold their nerve, develop new strategies that respond to a changing market and focus only on what they can control. BY LEON GETTLER.
Calm Leader

Aunty B
Our PA has a crush on the boss. Help!
Who cares if the PA has a thing for the boss? Quite frankly, between you and me, I could do with a new crush myself.
Aunty B

Facebook Know-how
Lara Solomon
Confused about who owns the content you upload onto your Facebook page? Here's the answer.
Lara Solomon

IT Systems
David Markus
Many view IT as a necessary, but not important, service; this view can seriously hinder their growth.
David Markus

Business Tech Talk
Paul Wallbank
There are thousands of cloud computing products that cover almost every conceivable business need, but there are a few must-haves for every organisation.
Paul Wallbank

Internet secrets
Craig Reardon
The following responses to the online selling boom sum up opportunity versus threat.
Craig Reardon

Entrepreneur Watch
James Thomson
Private equity’s $711 million play for catering and cleaning group Spotless should be one that SMEs keep watching.

Stocks and Markets in the News | Asian Markets Trades: Japan stocks fall in mixed Asian trade

By Sarah Turner, MarketWatch 

SYDNEY (MarketWatch) Asian share markets diverged on Thursday, with Japanese shares lower but Australian and Korean shares marginally higher. 

The moves came ahead of some key Chinese data and two European central bank meetings set for later in the global trading day. 

Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average JP:NIK -0.75%  slipped 0.4%, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index AU:XJO -0.07%  edged up 0.1% and South Korea’s Kospi KR:0100 -0.35%  advanced 0.3%. 

U.S. stocks largely erased losses into the close on Wednesday, as the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book found U.S. economic activity to be expanding at a modest to moderate pace. Read more on U.S. stock market action. 
Home builder Lennar Corp. LEN -0.76%  reported a rise in revenue in the fourth quarter, as low home prices and interest rates pointed to signs of stabilization in the housing market. Read more on U.S. homebulders. 
The U.S.-exposed Australian building materials sector, picked up after the update, with James Hardie Industries SE AU:JHX +1.83%   JHIUF +25.26% rising 2.2%, and Boral Ltd. AU:BLD +2.90%   BOALF +3.22%  gaining 2.6%. Read more on Australian shares 
However, Europe’s debt-related troubles weighed on sentiment, with data out Wednesday showing Germany’s economic growth slowed to 3% in 2011, and with the statistics agency saying the economy may have contracted by 0.25% in the fourth quarter. Read more on German GDP.
Ahead of a policy decision from the European Central Bank — widely seen on hold — the euro EURJPY +0.05%  fell below the ¥98 mark against the yen, putting some European-exposed Japanese exporters under pressure on Thursday.
Mitsubishi Motors Corp. JP:7211 -1.10%   MMTOF 0.00%  declined 1.1% while Sharp Corp. JP:6753 -2.86%   SHCAF +1.42%  lost 2.1%.
Data out Thursday showed that Japan’s current-account surplus fell by a greater-than-expected 85.5% to 138.5 billion yen ($1.8 billion) in November, as exports dropped amid slowing global demand and energy imports increased. Read more on Japanese data.
Banks were also weak in Japan, with Nomura Holdings Inc. JP:8604 -3.09%   NMR -0.87%  down 2.3% and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. JP:8306 -1.19%   MBFJF -2.28%  lower by 1.2%.
Chinese inflation data were set for release later in the Asian trading session, and Barclays Capital strategists said that “base effects are likely to push CPI inflation below 4% despite mixed food price developments.” 

Australian miners were managing to post small gains, with the sector higher for the third straight day as Rio Tinto Ltd. AU:RIO +0.13%   RIO -0.02%  and BHP Billiton Ltd. AU:BHP +0.06%   BHP +0.59%  each rose 0.1%. 

Sarah Turner is MarketWatch's bureau chief in Sydney.

NYT Global Update: Secretary's Ouster in Pakistan Adds to Tension With Army

Global Update


Secretary's Ouster in Pakistan Adds to Tension With Army

The prime minister fired his defense secretary as the government drew closer to a collision with the powerful military.

Iran Reports Killing of Nuclear Scientist in 'Terrorist' Blast

Amid growing tension over its nuclear program, Iran blamed the United States and Israel on Wednesday for a reported bombing that killed a scientist in Tehran.

European Commission Threatens to Sue Hungary Over Policies

The European Commission put the government on final notice Wednesday to modify a series of measures that threaten the balance of power in the country by next Tuesday or face a legal challenge.

Video: TimesCast

An Iranian nuclear scientist was killed in a bomb blast in Tehran; and more.


A Game of Turkey

Having conquered the bastions of the military establishment, the Turkish ruling party is now reluctant to press for reforms that could limit its own power.

Study Ranks Countries on Nuclear Security

Australia takes first place, and the United States ties for 13th places with Belgium. Last place went to North Korea.

In Rare Public Appearance, Assad Addresses Rally in Syria

President Bashar al-Assad addressed a rally in Damascus, thanking his supporters and pledging to defeat what he said were conspiracies against his country.

Carter Says Egypt's Military Is Likely to Retain Some Political Powers

Former President Jimmy Carter said he doubted that Egypt's military rulers would fully submit to the civilian democracy they had promised to install, but he expressed optimism about the transition.

Data Show German Economy Stalling

The government reported that the German economy expanded by 3 percent in 2011, but estimated that it actually contracted in the final quarter of the year.

China Balks as Geithner Presses on Iran Curbs

Beijing again dismisses a U.S. plan for a campaign against the Iranian nuclear program.

Divining the Business and Political Risks of 2012

Professional risk analysts have alarming warnings about the year and decade ahead, including growing income disparity, economic turmoil, global warming, cyberattacks and disruptions in the water supply.

With Enough Bandwidth, Many Join the Band

Videochat programs like Skype are transforming the way many people learn to play musical instruments.
Bucks Blog

Big Banks Struggle to Help Customers on Twitter

Customers like the speed of sending a question to their bank by Twitter, but big banks find this form of customer service to be challenging.

Olympus Sues Executives Over Cover-Up, but Does Not Dismiss Them

The Japanese camera maker said that it was seeking almost $50 million from 19 current and former executives, including its current president.

Just Like Old Times for Thierry Henry

Henry, on loan from the New York Red Bulls, scored within 10 minutes of his return to Arsenal as it beat Leeds United, 1-0, in an F.A. Cup match Monday.

A Rising Tide of South Korean Golfers

K. J. Choi, once the only South Korean playing full time on the PGA Tour, will have plenty of company from his homeland this season.

Sawa and Messi Are FIFA's Players of Year

FIFA named Japan's Homare Sawa is world player of the year on Monday, while Lionel Messi won the men's honor.

South Carolina Voters Weigh Their Priorities as Primary Nears

In a state of stark differences between haves and have nots, Republican voters are weighing their priorities: economic recovery versus socially conservative concerns.

Romney Says N.H. Results Show Attacks on Him Failed

A day after his drubbing of the Republican field, Mitt Romney assailed the angry attacks about his work for Bain Capital and urged his opponents to settle on what he called a "new course."

Democrats Say They Win Either Way as Republicans Brawl

Democrats had been looking forward to holding Mitt Romney's business record against him should he become the Republican presidential nominee, but now the work is being done for them.
Op-Ed Contributor

Powering Sustainable Energy for All

At the World Future Energy Summit, I hope to produce quick action that can deliver real results for people and the planet.
Op-Ed Contributor

France's Surreal Presidential Race

The French presidential election is seriously devoid of anything having to do with the country's most pressing problems.
Patrick Chappatte

Mitt Romney

On the Republican and the race for the presidency of the United States.

Stocks and Markets in the News ( SAMITNews) | Wall Street at Close: U.S. stocks recover most of day's losses by close - MarketWatch

By Kate Gibson

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- U.S. stocks largely erased Wednesday losses, with the S&P 500 Index SPX +0.03% stalled at five-month highs, amid an ongoing tug between Europe's debt troubles and hopes for U.S. corporate earnings and an improving domestic economy. The afternoon release of the Federal Reserve's Beige Book relayed what was already known, "that the economy is improving slightly and we don't have any inflation, and hopefully we'll continue along our way," said Robert Pavlik, chief market strategist at Banyan Partners. But, "we are starting to see a little talk out of Europe, so that is probably keeping a lid on things," Pavlik added. The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA -0.10% slid 13.02 points to 12,449.45. The S&P 500 gained nearly half a point to 1,292.48. The Nasdaq Composite COMP +0.31% rose 8.26 points to 2,710.76.

NYT Afternoon Business News: 3 Questions for Ford Motor Co.'s Jim Farley

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