Category: Stock Markets

Stock Markets

How digital is disrupting the world of early stage investing

 By Oliver Woolley, CEO, Envestors

 

The landscape we have today is the same landscape we had fifty years ago. We’ve got investment networks, clubs, incubators and accelerators, all of whom actively help investors to find opportunities and scale-ups to secure funding – but they are all closed and separate. Our vision for the future is one in which all these groups connect to one another, without sacrificing control or independence. We’ve built a software platform to do just that. Using an aggregated approach, we can bring the world of early-stage investing together in a way that benefits all of those involved.

 

For scale ups, it means working with one party and gaining wide exposure rather than promoting a deal through a number of disparate networks. For investors, it means having access to a near unlimited number of deals, all filtered according to interest and managed in a single location – regardless of network of origin. For investment facilitators, it means a greatly improved experience for their investors and decreased operational overheads.

 

 

Results – immediately!

 

We live in an age of instant gratification. This spans across all areas of our lives – from instantaneous validation on Twitter and one-hour Amazon delivery, to 24-hour news at our fingertips. So why should the investment experience be any different? If I can find out about anything in the world from wherever I happen to be, why should I – as an investor – wait for a pitch session to find out about investment opportunities?

 

ROBO: a behavioural change

 

Borrowing a term from the retail industry, ROBO (Research Online, Buy Offline) reflects a broad behavioural change. People no longer head to a shopping centre to browse for an item, they go online and find what they want and then go down to the store to get it. In many cases, they opt not to go to the store, satisfied with the information they have found online, and make an immediate purchase. This behaviour isn’t particular to consumers: a study, by Forrester Research, found that 68% of business to business buyers researched online independently and a further 62% say they go as far as developing a selection criteria and vendor list based on digital content.

 

So, why is it different with investing? When people prefer to get information instantaneously and independently, why do we ask them to wait for a pitch event? Using digital, information on potential investment opportunities and any relevant details can be ready for investors to read at their leisure. Further to that, information can be interactive. Potential investors can ask management teams questions – using online channels – and get answers in real time.

 

Achieving diversity

Digitisation has fuelled the unprecedented growth of start-ups in the UK.  This has produced a vast – and occasionally overwhelming – array of opportunities, resulting in a trend showing networks are becoming more niche and sector specific. While regional investment networks have long been part of the landscape, they are joined by networks specialising in – for example – Greentech, MedTech or women-owned businesses.  This is not a bad thing, but it has caused further fragmentation.

 

Experienced investors know, that if they are to get the best chance of a return on their investments, a diverse portfolio is a must. However, such specificity throws diversity out the window, leaving investors only one option – joining multiple networks and doing a lot of leg work to build and manage their portfolios.

 

Digital to the rescue. With an aggregated platform, regional and niche networks can connect to one another and share deals at the click of a button. This allows networks to protect their greatest asset – their investors – while offering them a broader array of investment opportunities without doing all of the vetting and admin.

 

Responding to uncertainty

 

By mid-2018, the impact of a looming Brexit was already starting to be felt across the industry.  With predictions of economic troubles in the UK in the short term, many investors tightened their purse strings, becoming increasingly selective over which investments to make. Yet, at the same time, reports show that foreign investment is at an all-time high: in 2017, a whopping £6bn was invested over the course of the year, with 396 of these deals involving at least one investor from abroad.

 

This is another opportunity that could be capitalised by digital. With a digital platform, deals can flow across borders – giving investors the ability to further diversify their portfolios, while giving businesses a better opportunity to find investment.

 

The benefits of using digital are clear so it is time for the investment sector to make changes. Some key players are already on board (for example, The SetSquared Partnership and Britbots).  I’m sure that more will be following and gaining the benefits.

Private BankingPrivate ClientStock MarketsWealth Management

Ashfords LLP Launch Digital Legacy Service

The death of a loved one is a traumatic and difficult time. Dealing with an estate can often result in unnecessary cost, time and upset when trying to trace assets and meet the wishes of the deceased. Assets can be misplaced, forgotten about or even diminished in value before you get the chance to deal with them. Law firm, Ashfords LLP, has developed and launched a new and innovative digital legacy platform for private individuals to make executor’s lives easier.

Digital legacy enables users to keep a secure record of their accounts and assets (whether it is a bank account, shares or even the existence of social media accounts), leave messages for loved ones, set out funeral plans and wishes and help ensure that the process of dealing with their estate following their death is as easy and as cost effective as possible.

On the death of the individual the system is unlocked for executors in a read-only format to ensure that a clear audit trail between the wishes of an individual and the administration of the estate is maintained. The primary purpose of the system is to facilitate executors to know what exists so they can ensure all assets are accounted for and all accounts are closed.

Executors also have the option to open up a memorial book where friends and family can send in memories of the individual which can then be used at the funeral, executors can also send details of funeral plans through the Digital Legacy system if they wish to.

Michael Alden, Head of Private Wealth at Ashfords said: “We want to help individuals keep track of their estate and in turn help ensure that following a bereavement, families are able to close down any online accounts quickly and efficiently making the process less stressful, and potentially reducing the cost of administering estates. We are excited to launch our Digital Legacy service and hope this will be a real benefit to its users and their families.”

Garry Mackay, CEO of Ashfords commented: “Digital legacy is a further example of the firm adapting to the ever-changing needs of our clients. As lawyers, we have a responsibility to constantly look at innovative ways in which we can make things easier and more cost effective for our clients whilst continuing to provide the highest level of advice. Digital legacy is just one of a number of products we have in development for our private and business clients.”

MarketsStock Markets

Navigating challenging markets in the investment industry

By Wael Al-Nahedh, CEO at Spearvest

The global economy has been experiencing unprecedented uncertainty in recent years. Political, economic and social challenges have meant that businesses and individuals are incredibly cautious about where they place their money, particularly for long-term investments.

The overall concerns in the US market topped with the UK’s difficult political situation around its planned departure from the European Union is making investors sit tight and hold back on plans until the future is clearer. With market uncertainty, it is crucial that investors realise it can bring with it great opportunities that only those who are forward thinking will be able to capitalise upon and improve their returns.

The US is a very complicated market for investors. For a fourth straight quarter, CEOs say they are less optimistic about the market which is highlighting a broader trend of concern around corporations at their peak time of profitability. As well as this, the inverted yield curve is producing warning signs of a recession and recent data shows a clear weakness from housing and retail sales and customer sentiment.

The UK market is producing quite negative predictions for business investment. A recent poll from the British Chambers of Commerce has predicted that UK business investment is set to decline in 2019 by 1 per cent – making it the worst year since the financial crash of 2008. Economic growth reports have also predicted that 2019 will be at 1.2 per cent, the lowest in a decade. This is a concerning position for the UK to be in and its certainly clear that the estimations are corresponding together with the uncertainty around Brexit. However, we must make it clear that these are only forecasts for now and they are likely to change, either negatively or positively to reflect the developments. Once the final outcome of Britain leaving the European Union is made, the market should steady itself and these predictions may be updated.

Interestingly, China’s growth has set to be lower this year too due to trade tensions. It is also set to have slower growth in consumer spending and a tighter hold on global liquidity. Despite this prediction, China’s government are attempting to stimulate the economy through fiscal, monetary and regulatory measures to help growth levels match targets.

Thanks to the challenging markets, it has never been more vital for an investor to monitor their current portfolio and look at where investment is needed. For businesses, they must insist on having a clear view of the market before committing to long-term and costly investments. Despite the need for clarity, it should be noted that with uncertainty, brings fantastic opportunity for investors to get ahead when many are being overly cautious. There is often an opportunity to strike a better deal, provided it is the right investment for the individual or business that will give long-term success.

Although volatile markets can be incredibly successful for some, one must be able to withstand the rapid change in market values and the associated possibility of loss. This means advice given to investors is extremely important to get right, particularly on the topic of what they should be holding onto throughout a dip in the market versus what should be simply let go of.

To stay ahead of the curve, investors should look at diversifying their wealth on a global scale and turn their heads towards value-focussed funds which is ultimately investing in unpopular stocks that have seen some significant growth in the past but not as popular as the higher growing stocks.

It is apparent that economic uncertainty, driven by current political circumstances in the US and UK, is a real concern for investors. When political uncertainty is prominent, we often see emerging markets profit from the situation and I think this is what we will end up seeing here. Investors should look at markets that would not usually have their attention and look at potential commodities that have previously taken a backseat.

To have a better view of how a portfolio is performing, technology can be implemented. It is becoming increasingly important for each custodian of wealth to be digitally connected, and to feed live data into a secure platform. This helps to provide investors with a full view of their whole portfolio in real-time – an important insight for uncertain markets. This type of technology will rely on independent market pricing and the reporting process must be objective and accurate in order to give the necessary and correct data. By having this, an investor can properly assess their portfolio performance and make smarter and better-informed decisions. Although, it’s not all about performance. Obtaining a fully consolidated view of wealth means it is easier to mitigate risk, allowing an investor to recognise potential issues and take action before they become a bigger problem.

Whilst political uncertainty remains a concern for all investors, it should not equate to an end of an investment portfolio. When looking to invest in difficult times, it is important that those looking to distribute their wealth are given advice that is well-informed, unbiased and profound from those who are closely watching the markets and can provide strategic and tactical guidance. As we see more individuals shying away from making investments, this is when fantastic opportunities open up for those looking to take more of a risk for a higher return down the line.

Capital Markets (stocks and bonds)MarketsStock Markets

What Game of Thrones stocks and shares do you hold?

By Alister Sneddon, Genuine Impact

 

 

It is hard to believe that the Game of Thrones (GoT) saga is coming to a close and we’ll soon find out who’ll win and take the Iron Throne.

 

Finding a winner relates to the quest to pick stocks and shares too.  Just as we’ve analysed the characters in GoT, and made our assessment of their strengths and weaknesses, we can assess a stock by looking at its Quality, Value, and Momentum.

 

Based on these three criteria, here are some stock picks for three favourite GoT characters:

 

Jon Snow

Jon has a lot of backing and support from the public. He has also proven he can withstand even the most unexpected of events. There is a spark of innovation to be found: joining forces with the enemy of my enemy turned out to be an excellent move against the Night King’s army, but is it a cursed alliance joining forces with Daenerys?

 

Paddy Power Betfair PLC

Paddy Power and Betfair now operate as a single company having joined forces in 2015. Coming together brought them back from infighting to concentrate on ruling.

 

Paddy Power Betfair is an excellent Quality stock. The company has a strong balance sheet and plenty of cash. Jon isn’t cash rich, but he has resources: endless people to call upon when required. Paddy Power Betfair’s cash reserves, make them resilient to any new gambling regulations or other changes.

 

A company’s value is based on today’s price per share, versus how much money the company generates. The higher the value the cheaper it is to buy this company now compared to how much money it’s bringing in i.e. the money being generated will grow into bigger profits (and returns) in the future. Paddy Power Betfair scores highly for Value. They bring in a lot of revenue compared to the stock price today. If they can convert this money into bigger profits there’ll be higher returns for investors. If you’d invested in Jon before you knew about his true heritage, you’d be collecting rewards now!  Investing in Paddy Power Betfair has potential for more to come.

 

Finally, a company’s Momentum. Momentum takes views from industry experts, e.g. big banks and financial institutions, and aggregates them. Do the experts believe this company will barely beat expectations or perhaps completely exceed everyone’s wildest dreams? Paddy Power Betfair is very average in terms of future Momentum. They’re hitting or beating their targets. The industry feels positive, without expecting anything amazing soon.

 

Assessment

Quality Score: High

Value Score: High

Momentum Score: Low

 

 

Arya Stark

Arya is a force to reckoned with, she is still human and makes mistakes, but there is no doubt she will keep on going.  While Arya might not want the Iron Throne, she is capable of taking it. Thankfully she is happy with her own path and continues to influence the world around her.

 

Taylor Wimpey PLC

One of the largest house building companies in the UK, Taylor Wimpey is often used as a barometer for the Brexit impact. Like Arya, Taylor Wimpey is a force unlike anything else.

 

Taylor Wimpey is no stranger to scandals or scraps. Unlike Arya however, Taylor Wimpey has the cashflow to make its problems and challenges negligible. Regarding the Quality score Taylor Wimpey has a lot of purchasing power, but housing market regulation is prone to change and Brexit has shaken us, so they are keeping an eye on their war chest.

 

What about Value – the future potential based on what you pay today? Taylor Wimpey scores extremely well for Value; the company generates a lot of income compared to its current share price. If it can convert the incoming revenue into higher margins the results will be impressive.

 

For Momentum, the industry experts seem to agree. There is plenty of potential upside in the future. Once the Brexit air clears it will be business as usual, and like Arya, Taylor Wimpey will show up ready to fight.

 

It’s a promising outlook across the board, however starting from such a strong position means it’s tough to exceed expectations.

 

Assessment

Quality Score: High

Value Score: High

Momentum Score: High

 

Night King

Terrifying, unyielding, and never-ending. There has never been a threat as serious and all-consuming as the Night King and his army of the undead. It doesn’t matter how many you kill or how far you run, he will always be there.

 

Sports Direct International PLC

Very much like the Night King, Sports Direct picks up dying companies and recruits them into the Sports Direct family, giving them new life

Buying up assets and companies on the cheap is still expensive. So, Sports Direct doesn’t have the happiest of balance sheets. The Quality score is very low, cash in the bank is not the strategy here. It’s spending money to make money.

In terms of Value there is potential. Sports Direct’s current share price is lower than expected when compared to the amount of revenue and income they generate. The Value is lower than expected, but not enough for this company to be labelled a deep value long term buy and hold.

With worse than expected accounts, even with the company being offered “at a discount” (medium Value) experts don’t have high hopes for the future.

However, Sports Direct has proven they’re experts at navigating the unknown. The ratings are more a reflection of the feeling that there will be hardships for the time being.

Like the Night King, Sports Direct hasn’t given us an incredible show yet but hopefully, unlike the Night King, it’ll be part of our lives for many years to come.

Assessment

Quality Score: Low

Value Score: Medium

Momentum Score: Low

 

Disclosure, Alister does not hold positions in any of the stocks mentioned.

Corporate GovernanceMarketsStock Markets

Sectigo Delivers Record Quarter of Growth Underpinned by More Than 35% YoY Enterprise Sales Increase in Q1 2019

Addition of Top Brands, Along with New Email Encryption and Digital Signing Product, Drive Sales for World’s Largest Commercial SSL Provider

Sectigo (formerly Comodo CA), the world’s largest commercial Certificate Authority and a leader in web security solutions, today announced a larger than 35% year-over-year (YoY) increase in enterprise sales during the first quarter of 2019, fueled by the adoption of the company’s Certificate Manager, Private CA, S/MIME, and IoT Manager enterprise solutions. Sectigo also kicked off 2019 with an expanded partner program, the release of its Zero-Touch Deployment S/MIME product, a new strategic IoT alliance, and receipt of numerous awards.

Sectigo’s record quarter follows a breakthrough year and a complete corporate rebrand in November of 2018. The company has experienced rapid growth since expanding beyond TLS/SSL certificates to offer solutions that protect enterprises of all sizes from increasingly sophisticated web-based threats across websites, IoT devices, internal infrastructure, and cloud services.

“After delivering a strong 2018 where Sectigo’s growth was more than twice as fast as the overall market, we have accelerated our efforts by doubling down on addressing the enterprise’s most pressing needs through product innovation,” said Bill Holtz, CEO, Sectigo.

“Enterprises are embracing automated certificate management to facilitate discovery, installation, and renewal for their vast inventories of private and public certificates across diverse use cases and operating systems. These capabilities are essential to securing our complex enterprise environments and their increasing use of virtualization, containerization, mobile devices, IoT, and DevOps. Certificate automation enables strong identity in these complex environments and protects against costly outages caused by unexpected certificate expirations,” Holtz added.

Sectigo highlights in Q1 2019 include:

Enterprise growth – Dozens of marquee brands, spanning retail to technology sectors, enlisted Sectigo as their trusted partner for certificate management. Sectigo Certificate Manager provides enterprises with complete visibility and lifecycle control over any public and private certificate in its environment all from a single portal.

Product innovation – In February, Sectigo introduced the industry’s first Zero-Touch S/MIME solution to combat business email compromise (BEC) and other spear phishing attacks and increase compliance with regulations like HIPAA/HITECH, GDPR, and the U.S. Department of Defense’s DFARS. The innovation modernizes email security and encryption by using automation to deploy digital certificates across every desktop, tablet, and mobile device in an enterprise.

Expanded IoT ecosystem – Sectigo and Kyrio, a subsidiary of CableLabs, formed a strategic alliance to provide the expertise needed for IoT projects to be designed, architected, built, and deployed with security in mind from day one. Multi-vendor ecosystems, including the Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF), CBRS WInnForum, and SunSpec Alliance, have already chosen Kyrio and Sectigo to manage their global PKI deployments.

Industry awards – Sectigo won five company awards and received three executive honors in Q1.
Cyber Defense Magazine’s InfoSec Awards – CEO Bill Holtz was named the Most Innovative Chief Executive of the Year, Sectigo Certificate Manager earned the Hot Company Identity Management Award, IoT Manager was selected for Publisher’s Choice IoT Security, and Zero-Touch S/MIME won the Next-Gen Deep Sea Phishing Award.
2019 Info Security PG’s Global Excellence Awards® – Sectigo IoT Manager was awarded bronze in the New Product or Service of the Year category, and CMO Jonathan Skinner won gold for Marketing Professional of the Year.
2019 Cybersecurity Excellence Awards – Sectigo won silver for Most Innovative Cybersecurity Company, and gold for Cybersecurity Marketer of the Year (for CMO, Skinner).

Channel expansion – Sectigo unveiled a revamped Channel Partner Program, enabling partners to grow into new cybersecurity market segments. By teaming up with Sectigo, resellers develop their product portfolios and learn best practices for optimizing the customer experience. After collaborating with Sectigo, ICANN-accredited registrar Uniregistry, saw 53% of users who expressed interest in their UniSSL products complete purchases.

Thought leadership – Sectigo launched Root Causes: A PKI and Security Podcast to frame public conversations and discuss key issues, breaking news, and major trends in digital certificates and PKI. Co-hosted by Sectigo industry veterans Jason Soroko and Tim Callan, Root Causes is now live on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, SoundCloud, Blubrry, and Stitcher.

Cash ManagementForeign Direct InvestmentPrivate FundsStock MarketsTransactional and Investment Banking

Can You Predict The Future Price of Bitcoin?

You can’t spend five minutes reading about cryptocurrencies without stumbling across at least one prediction for the future price of Bitcoin.

Across forums, social media, newsletters, blogs, news sites and every other corner of the internet — financial analysts, expert investors, bankers, tech icons, and new enthusiasts offer up their views.

Some cite careful analysis, some base it on past trends. While others are guessing or acting on their ‘intuition.’ Their predictions are varied, ranging from a plummet to zero, to millions.

With all this noise surrounding the Bitcoin price, you might be wondering whom to believe. Or if you should believe anyone at all. Is it possible to predict the future?

Investing begins with education, not buying. So it’s important to think about the information you base your buying decisions on.

How do people make price predictions?

There are two types of analysis used for predictions: fundamental and technical.

They’re used for everything from the stock market to Bitcoin. While other types of analysis do exist, these are the main ones.

Fundamental analysis

Fundamental analysis is all about intrinsic value. You look at the factors that give something value, then decide if it’s under or overvalued. Publicly traded companies release lots of information to help with this. So, for a stock you might look at a company’s:

  • Revenue (how much money it’s making)
  • Profit margins (how much of the revenue is profit)
  • Growth potential (how much money it could make in the future)
  • Management (how competent the people in charge are)

Some of these factors can be defined in numbers. Others come down to the judgement of the analyst.

For a cryptocurrency, you might look at its:

  • Price growth (how the price has grown over time)
  • Scalability (if it has the potential to keep growing)
  • Security (if the network is secure and safe from attacks

​Technical analysis

Technical analysis is different as it focuses on an asset’s price, not the asset itself. Maybe you’ve heard the phrase ‘past performance is not an indicator of future performance.’ But technical analysis bases future predictions on the past. This can be based on a short time frame (hours or even minutes) or long (months or years.)

To do this, you look for patterns and trends in price charts, such as:

  • The average price over a chosen time span
  • The price at which a lot of investors start buying
  • The price at which a lot of investors start selling
  • The overall price trend

Do fundamental and technical analyses work?

There’s no straightforward answer to that question. Both techniques can be useful, but they also have their limitations for cryptocurrencies.

Fundamental analysis works when investors base their decisions on fundamentals. This isn’t always the case for Bitcoin. Many investors base their decisions on the decisions they expect others to make.

Technical analysis assumes that a market follows rational rules and patterns. It’s less useful for cryptocurrencies because the market is still young. There isn’t as much past data to analyse. Cryptocurrencies also have less liquidity than something like stocks.

Self-defeating and self-fulfilling prophecies

When we talk about price predictions, we run into an important concept: self-defeating and self-fulfilling prophecies.

Making a prediction about the future can end up changing what actually happens.

The prediction about the future creates the future.

This isn’t the case when we talk about a system like the weather because we can’t change it.

But when you make predictions for a system involving people, it’s different.

Hearing predictions can cause people to change their behaviour.

Sometimes this happens in a way that prevents the prediction from coming true — a self-defeating prophecy — or it can cause the prediction to come true — a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Predictions about cryptocurrency prices have the power to influence how investors act. If it’s predicted the Bitcoin price will increase, this encourages more people to buy. This can drive up the price, and vice versa.

That brings us to incentives.

The issue of intentions

Incentives are what motivate people to do what they do. It’s an important concept in investing. Financial gain is a powerful driving force.

Most investors understandably want to do whatever will make them the most money. This can include making predictions that benefit them.

Let’s say you come across an article where the author claims Bitcoin will be worth $100,000 by December 1st 2019. Rather than taking that at face value, it’s important to ask: why are they saying this? If they know for certain, why don’t they put all their money into Bitcoin, and make a huge profit? Why are they sharing that information?

Likewise, if someone claims Bitcoin will drop, you might wonder why they’re saying that. If they know for certain, why don’t they keep quiet, short it, and make a big profit?

In both cases, we need to consider the underlying incentives.

If someone stands to profit from the Bitcoin price increasing, it’s natural they’ll predict it’s going to do that. They’re hoping this will turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy. If someone stands to benefit from it decreasing or to suffer if it increases, it’s not unexpected that they’ll predict it’s going to decrease.

Luck and probability

But if no one can predict the future, how come some people do make correct predictions?

Maybe you heard that your brother’s roommate’s cousin’s coworker’s uncle correctly predicted the price of Bitcoin. Or you’ve seen someone on Youtube who seems to always get it right.

The fact that no one can predict the future doesn’t mean no one can make correct predictions.

It comes down to luck, probabilities, and information asymmetries.

First, luck. Every day, thousands of people make predictions about Bitcoin prices. It’s inevitable that some of them will be correct by luck.

As they say, even a stopped clock is right twice a day. With so many people making predictions, it’s likely a percentage of them will be correct.

When professional forecasters make predictions, they usually base them on probabilities. What’s the most likely outcome? A weather forecaster might say it’s going to rain tomorrow because there’s a 62% probability. They don’t know it for sure. It’s just more likely than not.

Then there’s insider information. If you know something most investors don’t, you have a big advantage. For example, if you have insider information that Apple is about to release a new product, it’s reasonable to expect the stock will go up. But other investors buying Apple stock aren’t aware of that information, so they can’t predict it.

Insider information is less meaningful for cryptocurrencies. There’s a less direct link between fundamentals and prices. Events that seem like they should cause an increase or decrease can do the opposite or nothing.

Conclusion

The next time you look at a cryptocurrency price chart, imagine a crowd of people in a stadium, all moving at different times but appearing to create an organised rippling motion. Because that’s what you’re seeing: the combined actions of many people.

There’s no mystical, secret order to it. There’s just lots of people making decisions based on the information they receive.

ArticlesCash ManagementFX and PaymentLegalStock Markets

Keeping your Payment options open, by Anderson Zaks

EPOS, MobilePOS, Pin on Glass, Pin on Mobile – there’s a lot to choose from for today’s merchant. Adina Ahmed, Chief Technology Officer at Anderson Zaks explains some of the latest options.

“In many emerging economies, people are by-passing traditional bank and card accounts altogether and adopting mobile payments”

Mobile phones have revolutionalised the way we live today. The way we communicate, watch TV and other online entertainment, and, the way we shop. The next obvious step, is the way that we manage our money and pay for goods and services. But these days, it isn’t just settling the bill in a restaurant, or buying something enticing in the sales, with contactless people are paying for their morning coffee, and with PSD2 and the associated deregulation, they will soon be able to make direct payments to each other. In many emerging economies, people are by-passing traditional bank and card accounts altogether and adopting mobile payments in much the same way that they have missed out broadband landlines – it’s a whole layer of infrastructure that they simply don’t need. 

The payment market in China is a prime example where most people don’t have a credit or debit card, or plastic of any kind. They have leapfrogged straight to mobile apps and user friendly ecosystems that seamlessly blend social media, ecommerce, payment and other finance functions. Consumers in China now rarely carry a wallet or cash, and even buskers display a QR code so that people can leave tips. 

Consumers in the UK, particularly younger people that are now coming into the workplace (millennials) expect to pay for everything contactless, many don’t carry cash. This presents a problem for the smaller retailer or merchant. How do they take payments without a full blown EPOS system? There are a whole range of options now opening up to merchants in the UK, and as evidenced in China, they don’t need a heavy IT implementation with all its associated costs, nor are they tied into long contracts with banks or card providers. 

PIN on Glass (POG) solutions are already available in the UK. As the name suggests, PIN on Glass has evolved from the traditional PIN pad so that merchants can now use a touchscreen device to capture the PIN. There are a range of versatile devices, referred to as SmartPOS, that have been designed for this very purpose. Typically run on Android, they have additional security features baked in, a scanner for bar codes and QR codes, and can print receipts. The beauty of these devices is that they can run with a user-friendly app, enabling smaller merchants to operate using the device as a standalone solution, without the need to have a full blown EPOS solution.

These purpose built POG terminals connect directly to a bank, to accept payment. They are sleek and modern, and the apps that run on them are intuitive and easy to use for both staff and the consumer. The devices run with all current card technologies including swipe and contactless, providing an all in one solution so that the merchant doesn’t need a computer in the shop or at whatever location they need to take payments. 

For independent software vendors (ISV), POG devices enable them to migrate their existing POS solutions to a smaller, portable device, opening up the market to much smaller merchants than they might have otherwise targeted. 

At Anderson Zaks we are already working with several ISVs to incorporate our payment platform into their PIN on Glass solution. 

The Next Generation of Traders
Capital Markets (stocks and bonds)Stock Markets

The Next Generation of Traders

This new generation of traders is smart. Find out how traders have evolved with technology

James Mathews, CEO of Learn to Trade

The reality of trading taking place on the floor of the stock exchange, with traders shouting down telephones and punching in orders is long gone. As are the days of having to call your stockbroker and place an order. This perception might continue on TV, but the reality is that the modern trader is equipped with a mobile phone.

This new generation of traders is smart. Empowered by hyper-connectivity’s offer of unprecedented volumes of knowledge and 24/7 access to the market, they are tearing down societal constructs and preconceptions. This generation wants to be its own boss. Social media has become a platform to learn from, emulate and showcase success. Wealth creation has gone mainstream. With the millennial and Gen Z traders being some of the most enterprising members of our society, it’s little surprise that an entirely new generation of traders is now emerging. Characteristically, they are entrepreneurial and in many cases self-starters ready to follow their own paths. But, how has technology made trading and finance more mainstream to these generations?

Crypto as catalyst
The appeal of trading has in recent years been catalysed by the public’s fixation on cryptocurrency. With the allure of quick money, Bitcoin epitomised this fascination. Sage traders sceptically watched as this strange decentralised network of digital tokens became mainstream, while novices made their millions. Yet what goes up must come down, and once its value was done exploding, it started spectacularly falling. But with media hype and fabled success stories, the concept of crypto began to tempt casual observers. The ensuing rush to develop user friendly trading apps made the concept even more accessible to the everyday person.

Contributing to this has been the residual sour attitude toward the financial crisis. People have become more suspicious of and disillusioned with the “so called experts” entrusted with handling their hard-earned money. ‘They’ had nearly brought the global economy to its knees. Further backlash was also brought about from charging a lot of money to trade, whether it be pension funds or otherwise. This combination of discontent and new accessibility drove this new wave of do it yourself trading. 

Celebrity of social
Trading is complex. There’s jargon, complicated explanations, and understanding the thinking that went into a certain trading position can be almost impossible at times. Social media has changed all this too. Now there is an active, always online, accessible community of people to simplify, explain and advise. It’s easy to find out what’s going on in the market in seconds. And what’s more there is the celebrity, a new wave of Twitter traders, amateur and professional alike, who have established themselves as trading gurus to be followed, mimicked and aspired to.

The concept of “piggy backing” on other people’s trading is age old, but never before has it been so prolific. It’s proved to be extremely popular, both as a way of profiting from others’ expertise and as a way of learning. But new traders need to remember that sometimes you might be following a loser, and that making correct trades doesn’t always mean you’re being profitable overall.

Good bye 9 to 5
Trading’s popularity has risen along with the ‘side-hustle’, freelance, and sharing economy. Technology has without question been an enabling force behind all of these, as people strive for more reward and flexibility in their working lives. Indeed, there has been a concerted effort to break away from the traditional construct of 9 to 5. How trading maps to this is clear but it is not without risks. It can be seen to promise a lot, with some traders claiming to live off of one trade a day. However the reality the modern trader is facing is that it is just like any other employment in that it takes persistence, patience and grit. What it does offer though is autonomy and flexibility.

With the ever-increasing interest in the viability of pursuing a career in trading for the millennial and Z generations, an onus of responsibility has formed. We expect that in the next few years we will start to see the wider education focus shift, to start to cover money management and investment too. For far too many who missed out on this knowledge it seems like too little too late. Baby boomers now coming into retirement are left considering whether they have enough to see them through, or how they can manage their own account without having to pay people to do it for them. Increasingly, there will be more of a push from all demographics to have an entry point to the market. But with enough knowledge, experience and foresight to understand market volatility and risk anyone can trade with the technology out there and available to them.

UK Investors Chase Tech Stocks While Tech Founders Shun Aim for Exits
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UK Investors Chase Tech Stocks While Tech Founders Shun Aim for Exits

The performance of tech companies on the AIM market is historically strong, with analysis from Nabarro demonstrating that technology stocks held their own during the last downturn and have since outperformed the market, with particularly strong results over the last three to four years.

However, although 82% of tech entrepreneurs agreed or strongly agreed that the AIM market is the natural home for fast-growing UK technology companies, listing on other markets is a much more popular ambition (48%) and a trade sale to a bigger tech company (21%) is almost as popular as going for an AIM listing (23%). This reluctance to list on AIM may signal that founders are holding out for a bigger, more ambitious exit further down the line.

The main reasons the entrepreneurs cited for potentially selecting AIM as their exit strategy include realising value for some of their stock (38%); access to capital markets (31%); and being able to grow more quickly (14%). Their two biggest fears were more regulation (56%) and loss of control (22%).

Alasdair Steele, Corporate partner at Nabarro, said:

“Our research shows there is an appetite for investment across the tech industry, but lack of awareness of the benefits of an IPO on AIM could be stunting growth in the sector. Businesses need to consider floating on AIM as a stepping stone to raise capital and profile, rather than focusing solely on the London Stock Exchange’s main market, or pinning their hopes on a trade sale to one of the ‘Big Five’ technology brands.”

Nabarro also surveyed current AIM investors to assess their appetite for technology stocks coming to the market. 59% of investors had up to a third of their current AIM investments in tech, while another 25% of investors had one-third to 50% of their current AIM investments in tech. Just under half of AIM investors (49%) expect an increase in the number of AIM IPOs in 2016. Over half (53%) of investors are set to increase their own exposure to AIM tech stocks, while 35% plan to keep their current weighting in the sector. So, overall investor sentiment about AIM’s prospects and the prospects for tech stocks in particular is positive.

The report also looked specifically at Fintech and Medtech as potentially vibrant areas of the UK technology market. 37% of investors see Medtech as the most attractive AIM investment opportunity over the next 12-18 months with Fintech/insurance tech favoured by 27%.

Guy Heath, partner and head of Technology at Nabarro, commented:

“Investor demand for AIM technology stocks is high, and set to increase over the next five years. If the ambitions of founders meet the increasing appetite of investors for tech stocks, then AIM could become a breeding ground for a new generation of UK and European unicorns.”

China Slowdown Hitting Business Growth Prospects
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China Slowdown Hitting Business Growth Prospects

New research from Grant Thornton’s International Business Report (IBR), a quarterly survey of 2,500+ business leaders in 36 economies, reveals the extent to which contagion caused by China’s economic slowdown is spreading to businesses around the world.

In China, optimism slipped 20 percentage points to net 26% in Q3-2015. The falls recorded in other economies are equally as striking. Many of China’s top trading partners including Germany (down 46pp to 46%), Japan (down 36pp to -28%), Australia (down 15pp to 39%) and the ASEAN nations (down 22pp to 18%) all report sharp dips in optimism. The global figure dropped 7pp to net 38%.

Francesca Lagerberg, global leader for tax services at Grant Thornton, said:
“The slowdown in China is a major concern for the global economy at a time of stuttering growth and heightened uncertainty. The past three months have shown how reliant global growth has become on China – 20 years ago it was the top export destination for just two countries. Today that figure is 43.

The IBR reveals that business growth prospects in major trading partners have also been hit. The proportion of ASEAN businesses expecting to increase revenues over in the next 12 months has fallen 21pp to 31%. And expectations for increasing exports have dropped to 0%.

In Germany, where China accounts for 6.5% of exports, both revenue (down 42pp) and exports (down 7pp) have been hit sharply as orders – particularly of machinery – have slowed this year. Australia, which counts on China for a third of export earnings, has seen export expectations slide further to just 5%, down 9pp from Q2. Japan and Brazil have also seen revenue prospects contract.

The depreciation of the yuan does seem to have improved export hopes of Chinese businesses (up 5pp to 14%). However this has also made imports to China more expensive with businesses in Brazil (up 9pp to 47%) and Russia (up 9% to 83%) increasingly concerned about the impact of exchange rate fluctuations on their ability to grow.

PayPal to Trade on Nasdaq
MarketsStock Markets

PayPal to Trade on Nasdaq

Founded in 1998, PayPal continues to be at the forefront of the digital payments revolution. The company’s products give people better ways to connect to their money and to each other. With 169 million active customer accounts, PayPal has created an open and secure payments ecosystem people and businesses choose to securely transact with each
other online, in stores and on mobile devices. PayPal is a truly global payments platform that is available to people in 203 markets, allowing customers to get paid in more than 100 currencies, withdraw funds to their bank accounts in 57 currencies and hold balances in their PayPal accounts in 26 currencies.

“For almost two decades, PayPal has been a visionary and a leader in online payments,” said Nelson Griggs, Executive
Vice President, Listing Services at Nasdaq. “We are thrilled to welcome PayPal back to the Nasdaq family – under their original ticker symbol – and look forward to supporting the company as it continues to grow and provide digital payment solutions to their loyal customers worldwide.”

By listing on Nasdaq, PayPal joins many of the world’s largest and most revolutionary companies. Nasdaq is the exchange of choice for over 72 percent of technology companies listed on the U.S. markets and 71 percent of all public technology companies based in Silicon Valley.

 

 

 

 

 

 

TIER REIT to List on NY Stock Exchange
MarketsStock Markets

TIER REIT to List on NY Stock Exchange

Trading of TIER REIT’s shares of common stock began on 22nd July under the ticker symbol “TIER.”

In connection with the listing of its shares of common stock, members of TIER REIT’s management team rang The NYSE Opening Bell at 9:30 a.m. that morning to celebrate the first day of trading in TIER REIT’s shares of common stock on the NYSE.

In conjunction with the listing on the NYSE, TIER REIT has also commenced a modified “Dutch Auction” tender offer to purchase up to $50 million of its shares of common stock. In accordance with, and subject to, the terms of the tender offer, TIER REIT will select the lowest price, not greater than $21.00 nor less than $19.00 per share, net to the seller in cash, less any applicable withholding taxes and without interest, that will enable TIER REIT to purchase the maximum number of shares of common stock having an aggregate purchase price not exceeding $50 million (or such lesser number if less than $50 million of shares of common stock are tendered after giving effect to the any shares of common stock withdrawn). TIER REIT expects to fund the tender offer with available cash and/or borrowings available under its
existing credit facility.

The tender offer will expire at 11:59 p.m. EDT on August 19, 2015, unless the tender offer is extended or withdrawn. Stockholders may tender all or a portion of their shares of common stock (and may choose not to tender any of their shares of common stock) by following the procedures, including choosing the price or prices at which they wish to tender their shares of common stock, described in the Offer to Purchase, Letter of Transmittal, and other documents related to the tender offer.

Scott Fordham, Chief Executive Officer and President of TIER REIT, made it clear that the new offering of stock for sale was to part of the firm’s growth strategy.

‘This is a major milestone for our company. We would like to thank the many team members and stockholders that have supported us in reaching this goal. As a publicly listed company, we are better positioned to execute on our growth strategy, and we look forward to utilizing this platform to deliver greater total return potential to our stockholders.’

Saudi Stock Exchange Open to Foreign Investments
MarketsStock Markets

Saudi Stock Exchange Open to Foreign Investments

Increased participation from international financial institutions is primarily designed to help to enhance the sophistication and stability of the market.

The additional reforms to open the Exchange to QFIs aim to enhance corporate governance among firms by enabling international institutions to have an active voice as shareholders in listed businesses.

These investors are also expected to enhance research coverage and improve local knowledge and expertise, bringing benefits to all market stakeholders, listed companies, investors and financial intermediaries.

The introduction of direct investment by foreign institutions is predicted to improve stability in the market. This will come
alongside moves to encourage a rebalancing of current stock market participants from individual investors – who account for approximately 34% of market ownership and 90% of monthly trading activity – to institutional investors.

Since the introduction of the swap framework in 2008, non-resident foreign investors have been net buyers in the market, providing greater stability to prices at a time when local individual investors have been net sellers.

It is notable that the correlation in investment behaviour between these two investor classes has been negative over the last five years and nearly inverse over the last 3 months as local individual investors sold nearly SAR14bn worth of shares in the market whilst foreign investors did the reverse, buying SAR1.7bn of shares through the swap framework over the same period.

The impact of these foreign investors on the diversity and stability of the Saudi stock market is expected to grow as a consequence of the new QFI framework, which increases the degree of openness of the market to foreign investors.

The new rules ensure that only the largest and most experienced foreign investors are allowed to enter the stock market, with foreign institutional investors being forced to prove they have a recognized investment track record and assets under management of at least $5bn, amongst other conditions which will inhibit smaller investors. This reduces the risk of poor decisions being made by inexperienced foreign investors.

This was a big step forward for the Saudi shares market, according to Adel Al-Ghamdi, CEO of the Saudi Stock Exchange.

‘This is an important first step in a longer journey. Over the medium to long term, this journey will benefit all our stakeholders, from investors and listed companies, to authorized persons and qualified foreign investors. As the market landscape improves, not only can the Saudi Stock Exchange look to take its rightful position in global markets but also
act as a means to develop, promote and fuel the vibrant Saudi economy and its future prospects as a whole. Saudi is home to some world-leading businesses and many that have the potential to become world leading – the participation of
experienced international investors can play a role in helping these businesses reach their full potential.’

Toshiba Stocks Drop 17% After Accounting Probe - $2.5 Billion
MarketsStock Markets

Toshiba Stocks Drop 17% After Accounting Probe – $2.5 Billion

The stock closed 16.6 percent lower at 403.30 yen in Tokyo on Monday, giving the company an overall market value of about 1.7 trillion, close to 300 billion lower than Friday’s close.

In April Toshiba warned that it could have underestimated costs of their infrastructure prohects throughout 2012-2013. They reported that an internal probe found more irregularities, which includes a failure to records losses related to construction work. 

Investors Urged to Reviews Portfolios After Global Bond Market Sell-off
MarketsStock Markets

Investors Urged to Reviews Portfolios After Global Bond Market Sell-off

The message from Nigel Green, deVere Group’s founder and chief executive, comes as the woes surrounding government bonds prompt wider market volatility.

He says “It is still too soon to say if this is the start of the bear market in bonds that some analysts have been forecasting for the last couple of years.

“Unsure if this is a blip or not, now is not the time for hasty decisions. Now is the time for investors to review their portfolios, to be vigilant, and to seek out the potential opportunities with a good adviser.

“Whenever there is a fall-out, or periods of heightened market turmoil, there will always be opportunities for investors and it’s up to financial advisers to seek out the right ones for their clients.”

He continues: “Bonds have had an overdue correction in some countries, whilst other countries appear to have had a more knee-jerk reaction.

“We could indeed have reached a turning point for the bond market, but investors shouldn’t react with haste at this point.”

Keurig Green Mountain Earnings Stock Fall
MarketsStock Markets

Keurig Green Mountain Earnings Stock Fall


The company had a number of excuses for the reasons why. However it is mainly due to the fact that there is just too much of it’s stock sitting in stores – unsold. Especially the new Keurig 2.0 Model. 

“We do have some headwinds,” said Chief Financial Officer Fran Rathke on a call with analysts.

Investors are withdrawing substantially. Stocks in Keurig (GMCR) fell 10% on thursday after the markets opened for trade. Overall this year their stocks are down by 25%. This must have come as a big shock for the company as it was previously one of the most desirable stocks in 2013 and 2014 with over $1 billion in sales. 

Brian Kelley, CEO, assures consumers that he is listening and promises that the changes will be made. One of the biggest problems consumers have is that the 2.0 model only allows branded coffee from Keurig to be brewed. He also said “Quite honestly, we were wrong. We underestimated the passion the consumer had for this,” on a call with analysts on Wednesday. 

For the future Keurig plans to bring back the ‘My K-Cup’ accessory that allows other brands to be brewed in the machine. It is also working to launch the Keurig KOLD system in the fall, which it hopes will drastically change how people consume cold beverages in the home. Still, the company lowered its financial projections for 2015, citing the challenges of the “complex product transition.”

Will China Become a Net Exporter of Sulphuric Acid?
MarketsStock Markets

Will China Become a Net Exporter of Sulphuric Acid?


Over the past four years, sulphuric acid production from smelters alone in China has ballooned by 6 million tonnes, while total supply from all forms of production is up by 16 million tonnes.

Despite the growth in domestic acid production, China remains a key market for global sulphuric acid trade. Imports total around 1 million tonnes of sulphuric acid each year for the fertilizer and industrial chemicals sectors, to meet growing domestic demand. Smelter acid from South Korea and Japan are the key sources of imports. Throughout the research for Integer Research’s new Sulphuric Acid Market Service, we delved into the impact of the future supply/demand acid balance in China on global trade.

Only around 7% of global sulphuric acid production is currently traded on an annual basis, with prices in the merchant market often fluctuating significantly based on smelter acid availability. Any drop in Chinese imports as a result of increased domestic supply and without an equivalent increase in demand could have a dramatic impact on the flow of trade to and from the country. At the same time, with the risk of Chinese acid imports of acid potentially reducing, we expect the same outlook for Chile, an even larger importer of acid. The potential drop in imports in these two countries begs the question over sulphuric acid pricing in the future, and what markets will absorb any diverted trade or trade reversals. Brazil had earlier been expected to increase its consumption of acid, but with key phosphate fertilizer projects shelved, the outlook is also stagnant in the coming years.

UK Trader Reveals $82.5k Return on Two-Year $10k Challenge
MarketsStock Markets

UK Trader Reveals $82.5k Return on Two-Year $10k Challenge

A home trader who aimed to show how you could turn $10k into $100,000 in just two years has revealed a final position of $82,500.

Charlie Burton, who featured last year on BBC2 documentary Millions By The Minute, began the challenge in March 2013 to show regular traders what can be achieved with a typical starting balance.

His progress was tracked through regular video blogs on YouTube with his return revealed last night (April 23rd 2015) during a live stream at his ezeetrader.com website.

Charlie says: “My goal was always to reach $100,000 and I am naturally disappointed not to have done so. But the outcome clearly shows how trading is not an exact science.

“Just because you think you can achieve a final position, it doesn’t mean you will. It’s the most important reality of trading. However much you plan, things will happen to knock you off course.”

Charlie placed two or three trades on average each day during the challenge – alongside his day-to-day trading in major currency pairs and U.S. stock index futures. His biggest loss amounted to $9,000 with his biggest single gain at $27,000 coming from a trade on the S&P futures.

He adds: To have turned $10k into $82,500 in just two years is a fantastic return. Whether you’re trading as a professional or from home to supplement your income or pension, it shows just what can be achieved from a relatively moderate sum.”

Charlie’s Top Ten Lessons from the Challenge 

– To focus on what is in front of me, not the end result. Breaking things down into small achievable segments is much easier.
– Ignore the winnings and losses of previous trades. Do not react to them on future trades. What is important is what’s happening now.
– The best trading is done in the mornings.
– After a good winning spell, don’t get over confident.
– After a losing spell, tighten up the trading up and reduce risk. This works well to recoup lost ground.
– The best periods were when I traded the most strictly on the best setups rather than getting side-tracked by average ones when the better ones were scarce.
– I had two larger drawdowns, both as a result of trading at the high-risk tolerance I allowed myself. The lesson is higher leverage doesn’t necessarily give you greater returns. The tolerance was a max risk of 5% on a single trade. Most of the time I traded at a lesser risk.
– At times I was too laid back putting on trades I didn’t need to.
– Focus on just a few markets to keep things simple.
– This was proof of what can be achieved but it takes hard work.

Trader Set to Reveal Result of $10k to $100k Challenge
MarketsStock Markets

Trader Set to Reveal Result of $10k to $100k Challenge

A successful home trader is all set to reveal the results of a two-year challenge aiming to turn $10,000 into $100,000.

Charlie Burton, who featured last year on BBC2 documentary Millions By The Minute, has spent 24 months trying to make a 1000% uplift on his starting funds.

During this time, prolific trader Charlie – who deals in major currency pairs and U.S. stock index futures – has run a series of live and recorded video blogs charting his progress. These are available to watch on his company EzeeTrader’s YouTube channel – https://www.youtube.com/user/Ezeetrader

And on Thursday night (April 23rd 2015), Charlie will reveal just how he got on.

He says: “I am very excited to have reached the end of my $10k to $100k challenge and to reveal the final total. It hasn’t been easy and there have been plenty of highs and lows.

“I took up the challenge to demonstrate what can be achieved by regular traders with a typical starting balance. And the past two years have shown the realities of trading. It isn’t an instant win or a quick fix.

“As I teach those who come on my EzeeTrader courses, mastering the art of trading takes time and lots of patience to become successful. You can’t make your millions overnight.”

Charlie adds: “I cannot wait to reveal the amount I have made in the past two years during this tough challenge and to talk about the pitfalls and positives that I was confronted with throughout the whole experience.”

Colour Cosmetics Market Worth $47 Billion by 2019
MarketsStock Markets

Colour Cosmetics Market Worth $47 Billion by 2019


The report also identifies the driving and restraining factors for colour cosmetics market with an analysis of drivers, restraints, opportunities, and strengths. The market is segmented and the value has been forecasted on the basis of important regions, such as Asia-Pacific, North America, Europe, and Rest of the World (RoW). Further, the market is segmented and the demand and value are forecasted on the basis of various key applications of colour cosmetics, such as nail products, lip products, eye make-up, and other applications.

Innovations in colour cosmetics and rising consumer disposable income is leading the growth of this market in North America and Europe

One of the biggest manufacturers in the colour cosmetics field is Coty which is situated both in the U.S. as well as Europe. The rise in disposable incomes in these developed regions, and new product launches in the colour cosmetics market has made the U.S. and the U.K. the largest markets for colour cosmetics.

The U.K. is the largest market for colour cosmetics in Europe that is projected to register over 20% growth in Western Europe between 2010 and 2015. The developing economies of Asia namely China and India are also projected to register high growth rate in the colour cosmetics market in the next five years. The prestige products registered strong growth in 2013 as consumers traded prestige brands over mass products and this trend is projected to continue for the next five years.

The colour cosmetics is a flourishing market as consumers continue to explore new looks and manufacturers are producing more pleasing formulas and textures to cater to the rising demand from these consumers.

Asia-Pacific countries such as China and India are expected to account for highest colour cosmetics market, in terms of value, by 2019. The region is projected to register high growth rate in the Colour Cosmetics Market in the next five years mainly due to increasing consumer incomes and rise in the awareness about personal care products in the region.
The increasing consumer spending in colour cosmetics, innovation of new products, rise in conscience about appearance, growing beauty and personal care industry, technological advancement in colour cosmetics, and rise in demand for colour cosmetics due to age related imperfections are few of the drivers of this market in the Asia-Pacific countries.

China and India, the growing economies and demographics of the Asia-Pacific region are projected to have high growth potential in the colour cosmetics market in the next five years. The rise in consumer awareness and changing lifestyles of the population is leading to the growth of colour cosmetics in India.

Global Action Camera Market Experiencing Rapid Growth
MarketsStock Markets

Global Action Camera Market Experiencing Rapid Growth

Action cameras are used to capture extreme action sports or activities. These cameras can capture high-speed and high-quality images. Regular cameras are incapable of capturing high-speed actions and are not designed for rugged conditions, including extreme weather. By contrast, action cameras are compact, lightweight, designed for rugged conditions, and can be worn by the person or mounted on vehicles.

An increase in the number of new vendors is one of the major trends in the market. The market is experiencing rapid growth and is attracting many new players. The entry of new players is expected to have a subsequent effect on the price, features, and quality of action cameras. This is expected to be beneficial for consumers, as action cameras with enhanced quality and features are expected to be available at low prices.

According to the report, the popularity of social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, is one of the major drivers of the Global Action Camera market. End-users share images and videos of their sports activities captured through action cameras on these sites, thus increasing the demand for these cameras. Vendors provide advanced product features to give an enriching customer experience. This helps to boost sales of action cameras.

Further, the report states that the popularity of smartphones is one of the major growth inhibitors. The declining prices of smartphones, coupled with enhanced features that offer better image and video quality, are the main factors responsible for the popularity of smartphones.

The report was conducted by ResearchAndMarkets.com, and more info can be found here.

'Invisibility' Central to $80bn Wearable Market by 2020
MarketsStock Markets

‘Invisibility’ Central to $80bn Wearable Market by 2020

The new report ‘The World in 2020 – A Technology Vision’ is being offered as a free download in celebration of the launch of its new online research platform.

The report argues that invisible wearables (i.e. wearables indistinguishable from non-smart technology) are likely to see significant adoption before the end of the decade. Within a wearables market that Juniper estimates will be worth approximately $80bn annually by 2020, fashion-first wearables will have a much greater appeal than tech-centric devices, as they will blend in with consumers’ lives more effectively.

However, the report points out that this will not be a strategy that every wearables company will pursue, as the appearance of tech may ultimately become part of an overall design aesthetic.

Meanwhile, dermally-attached wearables – such as biostamps – are in a more embryonic state, and require a more significant shift in consumer habits than accessories-based wearables, limiting their adoption among general consumers for the foreseeable future.

US Construction Climbs 9 Percent in January
MarketsStock Markets

US Construction Climbs 9 Percent in January

The increase for total construction was the result of an especially strong performance by the nonbuilding construction sector, which benefitted from the start of a massive liquefied natural gas terminal facility in Texas. Meanwhile, nonresidential building lost momentum for the second month in a row and residential building pulled back due to a slower pace for multifamily housing. On an unadjusted basis, total construction starts in January were reported at $43.2 billion, up 18% from the same month a year ago.

The January statistics raised the Dodge Index to 131 (2000=100), compared to 120 for December although still short of the most recent high of 143 reached in November. For the full year 2014, the Dodge Index averaged 122. “During 2014 and now early 2015, the month-to-month pattern for construction starts has often reflected the presence or absence of exceptionally large projects,” stated Robert A. Murray, chief economist for Dodge Data & Analytics. “For much of 2014, a substantial share of this work was petrochemical-related, such as a $3.0 billion Exxon petrochemical plant expansion in Texas. Towards the end of last year, a pickup in liquefied natural gas-related facilities emerged, led by the start of the $3.6 billion Dominion Cove Point Liquefaction Project in Maryland, and January included $6.0 billion estimated for the start of two segments of a huge liquefied natural gas export facility in Texas. The month-to-month variation for overall construction starts is taking place around what is still a rising trend. For nonresidential building, the continued improvement by its commercial and now its institutional project types should enable this sector to register more growth in 2015, notwithstanding a sluggish January. For residential building, the strengthening job market and some easing of lending standards for home mortgages are expected to help single family housing see moderate improvement relative to a flat 2014.”

Non-building construction jumped 87% in January to $231.8 billion (annual rate). The electric power and gas plant category soared 840%, led by the inclusion of these projects as January starts – $6.0 billion for two segments of a liquefied natural gas export facility on Quintana Island near Freeport TX, a $1.5 billion liquefied petroleum gas export terminal in Freeport TX, and a $1.0 billion liquefied natural gas receiving terminal in Ingleside TX. Other major January entries for the electric power and gas plant category were a $300 million wind farm in Texas and a $170 million segment of a solar power facility in Nevada. The public works portion of nonbuilding construction grew 7% in January. The miscellaneous public works category (which includes such diverse project types as pipelines, mass transit, and outdoor sports stadiums) advanced 49%, boosted by the $350 million modernization of Sun Life Stadium in the Miami FL area. Gains were also registered by sewer construction, up 30%; and water supply construction, up 12%; but river/harbor development retreated 33%. Highway and bridge construction held steady with its December pace, and featured the start of the $550 million Border Highway West project in El Paso TX.

Non-residential building, at $159.3 billion (annual rate), fell 17% in January. Much of the decline was related to a low volume for the often-volatile manufacturing plant category, which plunged 61% for the month. The largest manufacturing project entered as a January start was a $180 million tile plant in Tennessee, a smaller-scale project than the $500 million-plus projects that were frequently reported during 2014. The commercial categories as a group retreated a more moderate 13% in January. Although new hotel construction starts were down a steep 31%, both stores and offices registered only modest slippage. Store construction, down 5%, still included the start of a $200 million retail project at the South Street Seaport in New York NY. Office construction, down 3%, still included the start of three projects valued at $100 million or greater – the $190 million office portion of a $215 million mixed-use building in Charlotte NC, a $122 million corporate headquarters in New Hyde Park NY, and a $118 million office expansion in Hollywood CA. Warehouse construction, up 4%, was the one commercial project type that reported a January gain, supported by the start of a $70 million distribution center in San Antonio TX.

The institutional categories as a group were also down 13% in January. Educational facilities construction, the largest nonresidential building category by dollar volume, dropped 12% as it receded from the improved activity reported during the latter half of 2014. Even with this decline, there were still several large high school construction projects that began in January, including a $77 million high school in Olathe KS and a $76 million high school in Houston TX. Healthcare facilities construction in January was down a more substantial 31%, despite the start of a $170 million hospital tower expansion in Detroit MI. Of the smaller institutional categories, similar declines were reported for public buildings, down 18%; and transportation terminals, down 19%. On the plus side, amusement and recreational work increased 29% with the boost coming from the $350 million expansion of the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco CA and a $115 million casino in Glendale AZ. Church construction improved 57% from a very low December amount, due to the start of a $60 million church in New Canaan CT.

 Residential building dropped 9% in January to $230.0 billion (annual rate). The decline reflected a 30% pullback for multifamily housing from December’s elevated activity, continuing an up-and-down pattern around what is still viewed to be a strengthening trend for this structure type. January witnessed groundbreaking for several large multifamily projects, including a $500 million expansion to an apartment building in New York NY, the $141 million multifamily portion of a $174 million mixed-use project in Washington DC, and the $99 million multifamily portion of a $165 million mixed-use project in Austin TX. The leading metropolitan areas in terms of the dollar amount of new multifamily projects in January were New York NY, Miami FL, Boston MA, Washington DC, and Denver CO. Single family housing in January was unchanged from December, as the result of this pattern by major region – the Midwest, up 8%; the Northeast, up 5%; the South Atlantic, up 2%; and the South Central and West, each down 5%. Over the course of 2014, single family housing was essentially flat, and that pattern has continued into early 2015. Murray stated, “On a positive note, the most recent survey of bank lending standards conducted by the Federal Reserve indicated that the fourth quarter of 2014 saw a slight easing of standards for residential mortgage loans, which may help single family home sales and construction regain some upward momentum in the coming months.”

The 18% gain for total construction starts on an unadjusted basis for January 2015 relative to January 2014 was the result of this performance by sector – nonresidential building, down 10%; residential building, down 3%; and nonbuilding construction, up 85%. By geography, total construction starts for January 2015 relative to January 2014 showed an increase for one region – the South Central, up 83%. The other four major regions witnessed decreased activity compared to the same month a year ago – the South Atlantic, down 1%; the West, down 3%; the Northeast, down 7%; and the Midwest, down 11%.

Useful perspective is made possible by looking at twelve-month moving totals, in this case the twelve months ending January 2015 versus the twelve months ending January 2014, which lessens the volatility present in one-month comparisons. For the twelve months ending January 2015, total construction starts were up 9%, due to this pattern by sector – nonresidential building, up 18%; residential building, up 8%; and nonbuilding construction, up 1%. By geography, the twelve months ending January 2015 showed the following behavior for total construction starts – the South Central, up 21%; the South Atlantic, up 11%; the West, up 8%; and the Northeast and Midwest, each up 1%.

Nordic Region Rivals US and Europe for Process Excellence Adoption
MarketsStock Markets

Nordic Region Rivals US and Europe for Process Excellence Adoption

He went on to say that while some industries might be lagging behind, it seems that the Nordic Region is toe-to-toe with the US and the rest of Europe when it comes to process excellence.

In light of this and in preparation for the Process Excellence Nordics Summit PEX Network conducted research into where process excellence in the Nordic region is heading. The ebook explores observations, trends and industry insights into the current Process Excellence climate in the Nordics. 

Jarkko Pellikka was quoted saying, “We have major differences between the industries within the Nordic Region. At the same time we have many best-in-class large companies in all verticals, particularly within the process industry (for example Oil/Gas and Pharmaceuticals) due to the extremely high requirements on quality and safety.” Whilst other companies such as Tetra Pak give their opinion on the state of process excellence in the Nordic region.

PEX Week Nordics, taking place in Copenhagen 17th – 19th March, will bring together the regions most influential decision makers and process excellence leaders to strategize and innovate on topics such as: how to build a customer-centric model, building an integrated toolkit of methodologies and how to utilise data insight to identify opportunities for process optimisation.

Attendees will hear a wealth of wealth of success stories and lessons learnt from other organisations that have already embarked upon these paths, and meaningful structured break-out discussions with their peers. Case studies being presented include Coca-Cola, LEGO, Arla Foods, Dinex, Heineken, Nokia and more.

eDreams
MarketsStock Markets

eDreams, the Largest Distributor of Online Flights in the World, Arrives in Japan

Starting this January, the company, which is the largest online travel agency in Europe and the fifth-largest worldwide (as well as being Europe’s largest e-commerce company) will offer flights from more than 440 aircraft operators, with over 150,000 different combinations and over 550,000 hotels in 40,000 destinations, plus car rentals, for Japanese travellers.

The company’s aim is clear: to achieve the leading position in Japan, just as it currently has in Europe, thereby covering an international presence in a total of forty-four countries around the world. To do this, eDreams has focused all its efforts on adapting its range of services to the tastes and needs of the Japanese market, from the language to the currency, through a wide range of domestic and low-cost flights. All of this, while keeping its prices and customer service at the same level, which has allowed eDreams to achieve one of the highest rates of customer satisfaction and repetition. Additionally, the company has a dedicated, local team in Spain with different profiles for marketing and call centre, among others.

The Director of Business Development at eDreams, Pablo de Porcioles, emphasizes that “although price is the main reason why our over 15 million customers worldwide first used our service, eDreams’ levels of quality and service have always managed to exceed their expectations, making clients faithful to the company, and turning the company into the clients’ traveling companion.” And the quality of pre- and post-sales service is highly valued by customers. That’s why the expert team of eDreams agents helps users to have an unparalleled travel experience, and why millions of euros a year are invested in technology that facilitates the process of searching, booking, payment, billing and post-sale control.
With these services, Porcioles acknowledges that “we hope that, in the not-too-distant future, Japan will be the largest travel market in the region. For this to happen, we have created competitive content that is able to successfully meet the demands of this market.” Porcioles notes that “eDreams has a wide range of airlines that will allow it to compete, both in regard to international flights, as well as domestic flights and low-cost, with key players of the moment.”

In recent years, according to JETRO (Japan External Trade Organization), both international and domestic flights have grown significantly in Japan. The first, accounting for 20% of the total, has grown by over 20% since 2004. Meanwhile, domestic flights, which account for 80% of flights, have increased almost 11%. In addition, there is ample room for growth in the segment of low-cost airlines, which are relatively new to the Japanese market.

With this release, eDreams, the online travel agency, continues to work on one of its key pillars, internationalization as the basis of its success. This comes after having expanded to ten new countries in 2012, to Greece and the Netherlands in 2013, and to Russia last June. These are operations that have allowed the company to geographically diversify its business and position itself as an attractive option for users on five continents thanks to its combination of supply, price and service.

A Warming Trend: US Consumers Step into the Sunshine
MarketsStock Markets

A Warming Trend: US Consumers Step into the Sunshine

After seeking shelter for years following the storm of the Great Recession, consumers of all income levels are finally equipped to step out into the sunshine.

“the Federal Reserve on the sidelines until the third quarter; we still see the fed funds rate ending the year at 0.5%.”

Diane Swonk explains what has changed. “It wasn’t until this summer, a record-breaking five years into the expansion, that the pace of consumer spending reaccelerated…(because) Employment growth finally gained momentum. Incomes picked up. Prices at the pump fell.” She predicts that newly empowered consumers will lift the entire U.S. economy in 2015. “Real GDP is expected to average a solid 3% in the second and third quarters, then rise to the fastest pace since 2005.”

Decision makers on the Federal Open Market Committee will surely take notice, but don’t expect them to hike interest rates soon. Swonk is sticking to a more dovish view. Our forecast has “the Federal Reserve on the sidelines until the third quarter; we still see the fed funds rate ending the year at 0.5%.” To find out why, and understand how the pace of consumer spending supports growth, read the latest issue of Themes on the Economy. Archived issues can also be found at mesirowfinancial.com.

Mesirow Financial is a diversified financial services firm headquartered in Chicago. Founded in 1937, it is an independent, employee-owned firm with approximately 1,200 employees globally. With expertise in Investment Management, Global Markets, Insurance Services and Consulting, Mesirow Financial strives to meet the financial needs of institutions, public sector entities, corporations and individuals. For more information about Mesirow Financial, visit its website at mesirowfinancial.com.

China's Solar Power Boom Creates Opportunities for UK Businesses
MarketsStock Markets

China’s Solar Power Boom Creates Opportunities for UK Businesses

Strong government support has sparked a boom in solar power in China – the country’s installed PV capacity leapt to 18.6GW in 2013 from just 0.8GW in 2010 – and this fast growth is expected to continue as the rising superpower attempts to contain carbon emissions, reduce air pollution, and improve its energy security.

China is now expecting to reach 70GW of installed PV capacity by 2018 after the National Development and Reform Commission (NRDC) raised targets once again in May 2014, which will almost certainly make China the world’s largest market for solar power. CCM’s research indicates that this goal should be achieved comfortably, meaning that China’s solar market should grow at least 40% per year over the next five years.

Almost all of this new capacity will be manufactured and installed by Chinese companies, but these companies are still dependent on imports for several key materials and technologies, which will provide excellent opportunities to UKbusinesses.

Materials that are in short supply in China include silver paste, TPT backsheets, EVA encapsulant film, and slurry material, and although China has made progress in developing large-scale polysilicon production facilities, 40-50% of its polysilicon needs are still filled through imports.

Moreover, China is still yet to develop the high-end equipment capable of producing high-purity polysilicon, so UK manufacturers of hydrogenation furnaces, large-scale casting furnaces, PECVD coating equipment, automatic screen printing presses, and other key technologies could also benefit.

Michelle Li, CCM’s renewable energy market analyst, commented: “Solar power is the fastest-growing renewable energy market in China and has huge potential for further growth. China has already made great progress developing solar technology since 2009 and will ramp up its R&D investment further in the coming years, but there will still be opportunities for UK companies in several areas.

“Over the next five years, focus is likely to shift more towards distributed PV power generation, and China also needs to improve its grid connection as currently over 70% of its grid-connected PV capacity is situated in Northwest China, where grid systems are underdeveloped and cannot cope with the amount of power being generated.”

Further insight into China’s renewable energy market will be available in CCM’s upcoming report, China Renewable Energy Market and Future Prospects, which will be published in late February 2015.

The report will offer a comprehensive overview of the state of renewable energy in China, including detailed analyses of the solar, wind, hydropower, biomass, geothermal, and ocean power markets.

The report will also provide key insights into how each market will develop over the medium to long term and the potential investment opportunities this development will create.

Worldwide Revenue from Utility Distribution Microgrids is Expected to Exceed $3 Billion by 2023
MarketsStock Markets

Worldwide Revenue from Utility Distribution Microgrids is Expected to Exceed $3 Billion by 2023

According to Navigant Research, worldwide revenue from UDMs is expected to grow from $1.4 billion annually in 2014 to more than $3 billion in 2023.

Responding to this growth, in the coming months Navigant’s Microgrid Service Offering Team will offer an exclusive study of small power grids that will bring together a high-level consortium of utilities, project developers, software and hardware providers, and other key microgrid and nanogrid stakeholders, to collaborate with industry peers in order to develop critical knowledge and lasting relationships with key partners across the small grid industry. Beginning in March 2015, this four-to-five month multi-client study will provide critical insight into this rapidly growing and uncertain market to large North American distribution utilities and their microgrid vendors and service providers.

“For utilities, the emergence of this dynamic market carries profound, and possibly ominous, implications, along with opportunities,” says Peter Asmus, principal research analyst with Navigant Research and one of the leaders of the small grid study. “There is a clear need to examine the overarching architectures and related business models for microgrids if utilities are to remain relevant in an energy future characterized by diverse, distributed energy resources.”

Providing access to a high-level team of Navigant small grid subject-matter experts in an in-person, group setting, the study, “The Future of Small Scale Microgrids & Nanogrids,” will provide answers to the following questions:

-What are the most promising economic models for financially sustainable microgrids and nanogrids?

-What are the key technologies (and key vendors) playing or emerging in the small-grid sector?

-What are the critical deployment issues and opportunities particular to small-scale grids?

-What are the primary microgrid/nanogrid growth drivers, markets, and segments?

Participation in the study will be limited to 30 clients. Registration closes on February 27, 2015. More information on the study is available on the Navigant Research website.

Winter storms buffet western economies in January
MarketsStock Markets

Winter storms buffet western economies in January, according to Aon Benfield catastrophe report

The report reveals that regions of Western Europe were struck by a series of four powerful windstorms over a seven-day span during January. Windstorms Elon, Felix, Gunter, and Hermann impacted Ireland, the United Kingdom, Norway, Denmark, Germany, and Poland, causing tens of thousands of power outages, and severe disruption to travel and transport. Economic and insured losses were expected to reach hundreds of millions of euros.

Adam Podlaha, Head of Impact Forecasting, said: “In combining our existing European wind model platform with the fact that we can create footprints of the recent windstorms events such as Elon and Felix within hours of occurrence means that our clients can benefit from utilising ELEMENTS to produce initial loss estimates for their own portfolios within a very short time. This gives operational loss forecasting a new dimension as the results not only allow the client to get a quicker understanding of the financial implications of the just passed windstorm, but also provide insurers with valuable insights for their claims preparations.”

The catastrophe study highlights that two separate winter weather events impacted northeastern parts of the United States during the month, including one of the strongest Nor’easters in history that brought record snowfall to parts of the Northeast. In Massachusetts, some locations reported up to 36.0 inches (91.4 centimeters) of snow, while major cities in the region were brought to a virtual standstill as transit systems were closed. Total economic damage and losses (including business interruption) were minimally estimated at USD500 million.

Winter weather also impacted areas of the Middle East and Asia, including Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria, with heavy snow and bitter cold temperatures that killed at least nine people. Economic losses were forecast at nearly USD100 million. In China, separate winter storm events affected Yunnan, Hubei, Hunan, and Jiangsu provinces, resulting in combined economic losses to property and agriculture of more than USD250 million.

Massive seasonal floods inundated vast areas of Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, killing at least 307 people, destroying more than 31,000 homes, and displacing nearly 300,000 residents. The agricultural industry was severely affected as the floods submerged more than 148,900 hectares (179,000 acres) of land.

Elsewhere, flood events were noted in Bolivia, Peru, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Multiple tropical cyclones made landfall globally in January. Of note, Tropical Cyclone Chedza struck Madagascar, killing at least 68 people and damaging or destroying nearly 4,000 homes. Total economic losses were listed at USD36 million. In the Philippines, Typhoon Mekkhala made landfall, killing at least two people.

Severe weather in Oman damaged homes, infrastructure and the electrical grid. Total economic damages were listed at USD221 million, with insured losses to vehicles at USD26 million.

Meanwhile, wildfires in southeastern Australia destroyed more than 150 properties at the start of the month, triggering nearly 1,000 insurance claims that amounted to USD26 million.

Two mid-January earthquakes struck China’s Xinjiang region and Yunnan province causing damage to 17,500 homes. No fatalities were reported and combined economic losses were listed at USD16.1 million.

Southeastern Brazil continued to deal with its worst drought since 1930. Water rationing in the city of Sao Paulo was implemented to preserve the city’s water supplies.

Vietnam has one of the world's most dynamic and rapidly expanding insurance industries
MarketsStock Markets

Vietnam has one of the world’s most dynamic and rapidly expanding insurance industries, finds report

The life segment was the largest industry segment, accounting for 45.6% of the industry’s gross written premium in 2013. The segment’s growth was partly supported by a rise in the volume of middle class individuals. The Life Insurance in Vietnam, Key Trends and Opportunities to 2018 market research report is of 169 pages and got published in January 2015.

Despite the financial crisis, the Vietnamese reinsurance segment recorded stable growth during the review period (2009-2013). This was primarily due to the increasing cost of reinsurance protection, the expansion of direct insurance, and a greater understanding of the benefits of reinsurance. The number of dedicated reinsurers increased from one to two in 2011, although some of the country’s larger insurers, such as Bao Viet and Bao Minh, conducted their own reinsurance operations in 2013.

The segment’s gross written premium increased from VND2.1 trillion (US$0.1 billion) in 2009 to VND5.6 trillion (US$0.3 billion) in 2013, at a review-period compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 27.7%. The high frequency of natural disasters prompted insurance companies to increase the percentage of premium ceded to reinsurers. The segment’s value is expected to increase from VND5.6 trillion (US$0.3 billion) in 2013 to VND12.5 trillion (US$0.5 billion) in 2018, at a forecast-period (2013-2018) CAGR of 17.4%, according to the new market research on Reinsurance in Vietnam, Key Trends and Opportunities to 2018.

This research can be ordered online at http://marketreportsstore.com/purchase?rname=30116 .

Super Bowl Advertisers Mercedes-Benz and BMW See Biggest Increases in Car Shopper Interest on Edmunds.com
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Super Bowl Advertisers Mercedes-Benz and BMW See Biggest Increases in Car Shopper Interest on Edmunds.com

By the end of the game, the Mercedes-Benz AMG GT had the biggest cumulative spike in traffic, with a 2189% jump over previous Sunday averages on Edmunds.com. The BMW i3 captured the second most buzz on Edmunds.com; its cumulative traffic climbed 583%.

“Even though these two advertised vehicles are likely to be sold in small volume to niche audiences, the BMW and Mercedes brands will enjoy the overall buzz they have generated, especially as both continue their efforts to grow their overall reach into new car shopper segments,” said Edmunds.com Sr. Analyst Jessica Caldwell. “Both brands will be quite happy that the millions of dollars they invested had the desired effect.”

Edmunds.com also tracked the immediate traffic lifts enjoyed by Super Bowl advertisers as and after their commercials ran:

-Chevrolet sponsored the pre-game show and showed four Colorado ads; site traffic to Colorado pages increased 25% during the pregame and 1104% during the first quarter of the game

-During the third quarter of the game, Dodge Challenger ads lifted its traffic on Edmunds 232%
Fiat 500x increased 3981% in the moments following its second quarter ads; interest remained high in the third quarter, delivering a 986% lift for the vehicle

-Jeep Renegade was advertised in the third quarter of the game and traffic to its pages immediately increased 1031%; during fourth quarter the increase was 5720%

-Kia Sorento traffic increased 213% immediately following its third quarter ad

-Lexus NX’s second quarter ad generated an increase of 341%. The brand did even better immediately after its RC 350 ad ran in the third quarter, increasing vehicle’s page traffic on Edmunds 5702%. The RC continued to enjoy success in the fourth quarter with a 690% lift in traffic to its pages on Edmunds.com

-MINI sponsored an early part of the pre-game show and showed five ads; site traffic to MINI Cooper increased 48% during that period

-Nissan brand consideration increased 90% immediately following its second quarter ad

-In the moments following its halftime ad, Toyota Camry site traffic increased 364%

Edmunds.com analysts noted especially strong activity at halftime for vehicles that advertised earlier during the Super Bowl:

-Fiat 500x increased 14627%

-BMW i3 increased 1807%

-BMW i8 increased 501%

-Chevrolet Colorado increased 421%

-MINI Cooper increased 258%

“All the automakers who advertised during the Super Bowl succeeded in getting the attention of car shoppers during this big game, and that’s something to celebrate,” added Caldwell. “But it’s a lot easier to create a big bang than it is to sustain the momentum, and that will be the big challenge for all Super Bowl advertisers moving forward.”

Frost & Sullivan Recognises Interactive Intelligence's Strong Market Growth in Contact Centres
MarketsStock Markets

Frost & Sullivan Recognises Interactive Intelligence’s Strong Market Growth in Contact Centres


Interactive Intelligence has one of the broadest portfolios in the market with an easy formula for adding applications and functionality. Its purpose-built platform spans Internet protocol private branch exchange (IP PBX) and unified communications to the contact centre, enabling customers to access the entire gamut of business communications services without undue cost or complexity.

Interactive Intelligence has a solid track record of providing lower total cost of ownership than its competitors, and a rapid return on investment. In addition, since the EMEA launch of its cloud-based Communications-as-a-Service platform (CaaS), it has been one of the few companies that can offer cloud and premises-based deployments at competitive price points, while enabling customers to move back and forth between the two. The 2014 announcement of an additional cloud platform, PureCloud, will only enhance options for customers when PureCloud launches in the UK, Germany and other European countries in 2015.

“One of the keys to Interactive Intelligence’s success is its tailored, customer-centric approach to sales,” said Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Nancy Jamison. “The company ensures that it has the appropriate in-country talent to support the pre- and post-sales processes, and has brought a consultative approach to sales.”

Another success factor is the company’s business communications expertise coupled with its focus on vertical markets. When the company targets a specific vertical market it backs it with dedicated resources with solid backgrounds in the specific vertical, including channel partners well versed in the nuances of supporting those vertical markets.

“Interactive Intelligence is a leader when it comes to investing in market expertise within critical industry vertical markets such as finance, healthcare and insurance,” Jamison noted. “As a high percentage of sales occur through partners in EMEA, the company has also established a strong combination of direct and indirect channel partnerships that include companies such as NTT Telecom in the UK, KPN in Benelux, and Telefonica in Spain.”

Due to its strong overall performance, Frost & Sullivan is pleased to present Interactive Intelligence with the 2014 EMEA Contact Centre Systems Company of the Year Award.

Each year, Frost & Sullivan presents this award to the company that has demonstrated excellence in terms of growth strategy and implementation. The award recognizes a high degree of innovation with products and technologies and the resulting leadership in terms of customer value and market penetration.

Frost & Sullivan Best Practices awards recognize companies in a variety of regional and global markets for demonstrating outstanding achievement and superior performance in areas such as leadership, technological innovation, customer service and strategic product development. Industry analysts compare market participants and measure performance through in-depth interviews, analysis and extensive secondary research to identify best practices in the industry.

Advancement in Camera Technologies Market Worth $6
MarketsStock Markets

Advancement in Camera Technologies Market Worth $6,080.03 Million by 2020

The top manufacturers of cameras are periodically introducing new models of cameras. The market players in the ACT industry seem to be obsessed in a technological race. The latest camera technologies have influenced high growth rate in the usage of cameras. The cheaper prices associated with these technologies continue to advance in producing high end digital cameras. This has made cameras a trendy consumer item. The advanced technologies enable the users to capture well-defined and detailed images. Due to such benefits, professional photographers, photo journalists, and quality inspectors have opted to use modern cameras with the advanced technologies.

The report covers the ‘Global Advancement in Camera Technology Market’ and all its market aspects such as future opportunities, drivers, and restraints in detail.

The Advancement in Camera TechnologiesMarket is a growing market, which includes the major types of electronic components such as microcontrollers and microprocessors, sensors, and integrated circuits. In this report, the overall ACT market is divided into four major segments – electronic component types, technologies, applications, and geography. Technologies include 3D depth sensing, infrared thermal, 4K pixel and ultra HD display, panoramic, and scientific CMOS image sensor; and the applications of ACT in sectors such as consumer electronics, robotics and gaming, media and entertainment, automotive, healthcare, defense and aerospace, and industrial have also been discussed in detail in this report.

The geographic split of the ACT market is included in the report. The overall market is divided into four major geographic segments- The Americas, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and Rest of the World. APAC is considered to be the market leader in the overall ACT market.

To view the full report, click here.

Increasing Number of Oil Fields in Operation Set to Drive the Oilfield Surfactants Market to Over $1 Billion by 2020
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Increasing Number of Oil Fields in Operation Set to Drive the Oilfield Surfactants Market to Over $1 Billion by 2020

The market is segmented in to various types, applications, substrates along with detailed geographic analysis. The IndustryARC estimates that the market Volume for oilfield surfactants in 2014 to be 598.1 KT.

The major factor that is contributing to the growth of demand for oil field surfactants is increase in discovery of new oilfields and increase in number of oil fields in operation. The advent of technologies for extraction of shale oil and gas has been a prominent phenomenon in U.S. and European nations including Germany & France. The hydraulic fracking is the most common technique involved in oil extraction from shale formations requiring oilfield surfactants in oil drilling, extraction and transportation as drilling fluid, well stimulating agent and cementing chemical. This coupled with increase in demand from emerging regions is providing the much needed impetus to the market demand.

The anionic surfactants are the dominant type accounting for more than 30% in 2014. The amphoteric surfactants are poised to exhibit the fastest growth due to their usage as corrosion inhibitor. Each of these broader categories is further sub segmented based on their chemical nature. Emulsification/de-emulsification is the dominant application of oil field surfactants in oil and gas industry. These are also used as wetting and suspending agents predominantly. The growing shale oil production, particularly in U.S is forecast to propel the demand in North America region The method of extraction from the shale oil reservoirs include fracking, horizontal drilling and multi-well pad drilling that require considerable usage of oilfield specialty chemicals such as surfactants for utilization as emulsifiers and wetting agents. The growing safety concerns and environmental protection laws have led to a growing surfactant market for corrosion inhibition and dispersant uses.

To browse the report’s Table of Contents and Insights, click here

European Patient Handling Equipment Market Worth $5
MarketsStock Markets

European Patient Handling Equipment Market Worth $5,150.2 Million by 2019

Findings of the report include:

Early buyers will receive 10% customization on this report.

Factors such as rising aging population, disabilities from non-communicable diseases, increasing incidences of lifestyle diseases, and high recovery cost from injuries promoting use of patient handling equipment are driving the growth of the European Patient Handling Equipment Market. However, lack of skilled training and knowledge to handle patients and difficulty in handling obese patients are hindering the growth of this market.

The European Patient Handling Equipment Market is segmented on the basis of product, type of care, end user, accessory, and region. On the basis products, the European Patient Handling Equipment Market is broadly segmented into wheelchair and scooters, medical beds, bathroom safety supplies, mechanical equipment, nonmechanical equipment, ambulatory aids, and others (stretchers, transfers, hospital furniture, and evacuation equipment). The wheelchair and scooters segment is bifurcated into wheelchairs and scooters. The wheelchair segment is further bifurcated into manual wheelchairs and powered wheelchairs. The medical beds segment is divided into curative care beds, psychiatric care beds, long-term care beds, and others.

Inquiry Before Buying

The European Patient Handling Equipment Market by type of care market is categorized into bariatric care, fall prevention, critical care, wound care, and others (acute care and long-term care). Wound care is the fastest-growing segment of this market. On the basis of end users, the European Patient Handling Equipment Market is classified into home care facilities, hospital, elderly care facilities, and others (emergency medical services, long-term acute care facilities, trauma centers, and nursing homes). Hospitals are the major end users of this market. On the basis of accessories, the market is segmented into lifting accessories, transfer accessories, evacuation accessories, stretcher accessories, hospital-bed accessories, and others (bathroom safety supplies such as safety frames, grab bars, bariatric aids, and shower chairs; and ambulatory aids such as wheeled walkers, lift chairs, folding walkers, and canes). Lifting accessories are the widely used accessories of this market.

The European Patient Handling Equipment Market by region is segmented into Germany, the U.K., France, Sweden, Denmark, Spain, the Netherlands, Italy, and Rest of Europe (RoE). In 2014, the U.K. accounted for the largest share of the European Patient Handling Equipment Market, followed by Germany. Both markets are estimated to register double-digit growth rates over the next five years.

Major players operating in the European Patient Handling Equipment Market are ArjoHuntleigh, Inc. (Sweden), Guldmann, Inc. (Denmark), Linet, Inc. (Czech Republic), Stiegelmeyer, Inc. (Germany), Handicare, Inc. (Norway), Benmor Medical Ltd. (U.K.), Sidhil Ltd. (U.K.), Spectra Care Group (U.K.), Mangar International Ltd. (U.K.), and Etac Ltd. (U.K.).

The report was conducted by MarketsandMarkets, the world’s No. 2 firm in terms of annually published premium market research reports.

Retail Sales Performance Is Encouraging
MarketsStock Markets

Retail Sales Performance Is Encouraging, but Significant Challenges Remain, Warns KPMG

“Most retailers were encouraged by their sales performance over the festive period, despite a pre-Christmas lull following Black Friday, as consumers waited to bag a Boxing Day bargain in the sales.”

“Online purchases remained strong and showed an increase in year on year sales in December. The clothing and household appliances sectors performed strongly, with small beauty electrical items and the latest gadgets topping many Christmas lists. However, with parcel backlogs caused by Black Friday, and the threat of courier companies not being able to deliver in time for Christmas, many consumers chose to click and collect or shop in store which provided a boost for the high street.”

“Grocers were heartened to see the volume of food sales increase slightly, with seasonal delicacies hitting the shelves and an abundance of multi buy offers tempting the consumer to splurge on festive food. Given the intense competition present in the food sector, this uptick in volume didn’t flow through to value but most will feel their festive campaigns hit the mark.”

“While retail sales for December do give cause for cautious optimism, retailers need to remember that upcoming changes in the political/ economic sphere could have a significant impact on the consumers appetite to spend.”