Category Archives: News

Data Shows US Businesses Growing

According to a report, the beginning of the year 2020 has seen a burst of growth in US business activity. This contrasts with slowing growth in many other major economies around the world.

Photo courtesy Isabel Alarco

Japan also saw a rise in business activity, helping pick up for the weak performance at the end of 2019. Europe was showing signs of slow growth in January, with exports from Europe stabilizing after a long decline. The service sector was still languishing.

The US economy is doing better than either Japan or Europe, and the prediction is that for the near future at least it will stay this way. The cooling down of the trade war between the US and China should also add a little boost to the economies of both countries and countries connected to them through trade.

IHS Markit, a data-gathering company, reported that its composite purchasing managers index in the US had reached 53.1 in January, up from 52.7 in December, the highest it has been in 10 months.

IHS also stated that, according to surveys, businesses in Europe and out will most likely remain slow and weak. Surveys of CFOs discovered confidence in the US market, but not as much confidence in the European and other markets. Some are expecting a stall in the 2020 economy.

Some Out-of-the-Box Reasons to Bet on Netflix

Netflix is a great company that seems destined to continue as such in the foreseeable future. They are adding customers consistently; they have lots of new, quality content; and lots of people seem to make time in their time to watch.

Netflix added 8.76 million new subscribers across the globe in the fourth quarter of 2019, exceeding all of the most optimistic predictions. Also, binge-watching was reported up during Q4, despite the belief that viewers were going to turn to the competition, Apple and Disney who have entered the streaming marketplace. People are still getting their binging needs met by Netflix. What’s to account for the loyalty of Netflix viewers? The great content, of course. Netflix’s third season of the acclaimed show “The Crown” experienced a 40% growth in viewership over the previous year’s second season. Another Netflix show, “The Witcher,” took away first place as the world’s most-watched TV show from “Mandalorian.”

But there are other than those easy-to-Grok reasons for investors to add Netflix to their portfolios, and you will probably never guess what those reasons are: the Wuhan coronavirus; global warming; and of course, Tesla. (Only because Tesla seems to be the answer to a lot of questions right now.)

Did I hear you say huh?

This is why one analyst thinks the Wuhan coronavirus will feed the binging behavior of viewers around the globe.

“Netflix inc. could find itself the unusual benefactor to an outbreak of a SARS-like virus in China if moviegoers in the region opt to break the tradition of going to theatres during the lunar new year and binge-watch Netflix instead.”

And what about climate change? As the weather gets hotter and rainier, people will most likely spend more time indoors. And when they are indoors, well, the TV is always calling. Binge!

You’ve probably already figured out how autonomous cars will help Netflix stock climb. You’ve guessed it! While your car is driving itself, you can relax and enjoy another episode of “You,” “Stranger Things,” or “Orange Is the New Black.” All I can say is: “Netflix for president!”

Looking into the Future with 2020 Vision

Not only does the year 2020 welcome in a new year, but a new decade as well. And this decade is expected to be a great one, based on the current economic trends we are watching.


Labor force


At the end of 2019 the economy saw unemployment reaching record lows, with an uptick in wages, especially for non-supervisory jobs. One question looming is whether this year will be the one with upward moving wages pushing inflation up as well?


Consumer spending


Even if consumer spending losses some of its muscle, the labor market just on its own will sustain spending on goods and services, and in housing, too. Keep your eyes on real estate, as it is ready to have a great coming year due to lower interest rates, and sluggish last two years. Hopeful homeowners and builders have been waiting for the starting bell to ring as numbers of building permits are rising.


Manufacturing madness


It seems that the miasma of the last two quarters of 2019 in factory production is about to lift with the dawn of a new decade. However, it could go slowly, as recovery from the China trade war might not happen overnight, and companies could stay cautious as they wait to see what kind of trade agreement with the great Asian giant will be reached.
Not to mention what effect a strong dollar will have on exports. Watch and learn.

Business Spotlight: Munear Ashton Kouzbari & Evolution Spine

When you need medical attention because you have an issue with your spine, you want the very best care. And you want the best equipment used by your surgeon and doctors. This is where Evolution Spine and Munear Ashton Kouzbari step in.

As a healthcare entrepreneur and consultant, Ashton Kouzbari has been in the business for many years. He values being a team player, working with a great team to achieve goals. Kouzbari is currently the President of Evolution Spine, a company based in Dallas, Texas which supplies premier implants to spine surgeons and hospitals. They pride themselves on their flawless service and continuous desire to innovate. They are currently engaged in the design, manufacturing and sales of these medical implants, instruments and biologic materials. The products are used to treat orthopedic and neurological surgical procedures for conditions like generative spine disease, spine trauma and correcting spinal deformities.

Munear Ashton Kouzbari comes to this role with an extensive educational background. He graduated with both a Bachelor of Arts in Biological Sciences and a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance along with Minors in Mathematics & Chemistry from Southern Methodist University. He is currently enrolled in the Harvard Business School President’s Program and is actively involved in the Dallas chapter of YPO. YPO includes more than 27,000 chief executives in over 130 countries and the local chapter allows Munear Ashton Kouzbari the chance to work with other career-driven and like-minded business professionals and executives and to share ideas for the future.

BMG Expanding Los Angeles Office

Music producer BMG (Bertelsmann Music Group) is moving to larger digs just up the street in Los Angeles. In keeping with their preference for having everything under one roof, BMG is moving into a two-floor, 30,000-square-foot space at 5670 Wilshire Boulevard. The new location is just seven blocks east of their old location, 6100 Wilshire.


Currently BMG has 135 employees in Los Angeles, but they plan on growing this coming year.


BMG launched a new facility two months ago in Nashville. The new space brings together the company’s publishing business, as well as its copyright and loyalty divisions under the name BBR Music Group, located at 1 Music Circle South.


In addition, BMG opened a new office in New York at 1 Park Avenue only one and a half years ago.


The new Wilshire office will be the home of the company’s west coast publishing and recording teams, its synch and licensing, film and books groups, plus BMG Production Music.


CEO Hartwig Masuch explained:


“Los Angeles is our largest-grossing operation in our largest market, and this marks another significant investment in our fast-growing US business. It is consistent with BMG’s philosophy – all our services under one roof, operating off the same platform, and taking a global perspective.”


BMG was founded in 2008 and headquartered in Berlin, Germany, the same week Spotify launched. It began with only three people in one shared office. By 2019 BMG has 15 offices in 12 countries with 850 employees.