Putin Threatens to Retaliate to Additional Western Sanctions

The Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Saturday that his country was prepared to respond in kind to any additional sanctions that the US imposes on Russia.

The US Congress passed a law mandating restrictions on Russian weapons companies and investors in high-tech oil projects which is now waiting for President Obama’s signature to become operational. The new sanctions are a further response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine last March, and their support of pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine.

“We will not be able to leave that without an answer,” Russia’s Interfax news agency quoted Ryabkov as saying.

Russia has consistently denied supporting the rebels with arms or otherwise but that has not prevented the west, including the US and the EU, from imposing economic sanctions in increasing severity on large companies as well as individuals.

Russia has already reacted to past sanctions by restricting the importation of food from a wide range of Western countries. Russia responded with harsh words to the latest congressional action, the Ukraine Freedom Support Act. The Act mandates further sanctions, to which Russia responded by saying that the law will “destroy the carcass of cooperation” between the US and Russia.

Optimism Up Says Poll

According to the most recent Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index, optimism among small business in the US is higher than it’s been at any time since 2008. The November overall Index score topped at 58, flying past July’s score of 49. The last time this number was so high was during the first quarter of 2008, when it peaked at 83. In spite of the positive trend, there is still a while to go to get to the pre-recession levels.

Gallup Poll

The data for the Index number was collected between November 10 and 14 from small business owners across the country. The highest this Index has ever been was 114, which was reached near the end of 2006. During the third quarter of 2010 the Index reached its all-time low of -28.

The upward movement is a reflection of the optimism small-business owners feel about the improving economic situation in the US.

International Companies Backed by American Degrees

It is interesting to see today how many international finance groups have members with degrees from the United States. While they don’t have bases here and they don’t work in the US, they have come to the States to enhance their learning curve and to develop their skills. One such company is the Element Capital Advisors Ltd (ELEMENT) investment advisory firm, founded by Francisco D’Agostino. They have offices in Panama City, Panama and in Caracas, Venezuela. They offer investment advisory services to their clients through investment products.

Francisco D’Agostino, the Founder of Element Capital, is a Boston College graduate. He graduated with a BS in Economics and Finance. He began his career as Finance VP of Dayco Holding Corp., his family’s real estate investment company and rose to be the founder of Element Capital.

Element Capital’s Vice President and Director, Daniel Diquez, also has a degree from the States. He graduated from Universidad Católica Andrés Bello, Caracas, Venezuela in 1991 with a law degree. He also has a Master’s Degree in Compared Jurisprudence at the New York University, School of Law from New York.

Alfredo I. Vargas, the Director of Element Capital, also has a degree from the United States. He graduated with honors from Universidad Católica Andrés Bello in Caracas Venezuela with a Law Degree. He then obtained his Master’s Degree in Corporate Law from New York University’s School of Law where he is a Vanderbilt and Vogelstein Scholar. Furthermore, he has an Advance Professional Certificate in Law and Business from the Stern School of Business at NYU.

These are but a few examples of the leaders at Element Capital that hold degrees from the United States.


Layoffs on Horizon as GSK on Verge of Restructuring

British-based pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline is planning on initiating cost-cutting measures that will ultimately cause hundreds of jobs to be lost.

On October 22 this year GSK, Britain’s leading drug company, announced their Q-3 results and also stated that they will save about 1 billion pounds ($1.56 billion) in yearly costs over three years. It has not yet been announced who will be laid off to save this money.

The company’s head of North American pharmaceuticals, Deirdre Connelly, will brief US employees on the upcoming changes. Sales of GSK respiratory drugs have been falling of late in the US.

“Each business unit is currently deciding how to respond to this challenge. When we do have proposals, we will first share those with our employees,” said a GSK spokesman.

Why is Porter Stansberry Worried about How We Sell Stocks?

The Stansberry Research 12th annual Alliance Conference took place recently in the Dominican Republic and was covered by Amber Lee Mason for the DailyWealth Trader. She reports that she talked and discussed with many important people in the field from Jim Rogers and Jim Rickards to Marty Fridson and others. The major take-away, however, for her came from Porter Stansberry.

During a panel discussion the topic of selling was raised and she explained that Porter Stansberry is concerned. As Mason explained, “when you make these trades, you’re signing up for only PART of the upside on the stock… but you’re exposed to ALL of the downside.”

Mason goes on to explain her interpretation of why Porter Stansberry is worried. She explains that some readers are selling options the wrong way and are going to lose a lot of money. As she explains,

When these ‘boom and bust’ stocks boom, they can rise hundreds of percent. When they bust, they can fall by half. Because these stocks are much more volatile than our ‘great businesses at good prices,’ these readers can collect much larger option premiums. They can easily find instant payouts of 10% or more… which would add up to huge annualized returns. But they’re still getting only PART of the upside… while exposing themselves to ALL of the downside. And these types of stocks have a LOT of downside.”

This, she explains, is why Mr. Stansberry is worried. He doesn’t want readers to hurt themselves or their pockets by selling options the wrong way. Mason urges her readers not to trade for income until they know what they are doing and that they are doing it the right way.