No love for ARM and Exxaro…yet

Despite trading at-or-near single digit price to earnings multiples, professional money managers are battling to get excited about short-term prospects for either African Rainbow Minerals (ARM) or Exxaro Resources.

Over the last 12 months, ARM has fallen back 20% while Exxaro has dropped around 15% despite both owning quality assets in the South African resource space and having a track record of delivering solid profits.

As it presently stands, ARM trades on a forward price to earnings multiple of around 9 and offers a dividend yield of 3.7%. Exxaro is trading on a forward multiple of 9.7 and offers a dividend yield of 4% suggesting there is not much to choose between the two stocks.

ARM and Exxaro

Following the recent release of results for the year ended June 30 2014, FNB Securities told clients: “African Rainbow Minerals is trading on a forward PE of 10.2 times. Although this does not appear particularly demanding, its high exposure to iron ore remains a medium-term concern.”

With both counters having now reported financial results, SBG Securities has updated its call on both businesses and suggested there are not many reasons for investors to get excited about either business in the near-term with both being rated as “holds”.

The 12-month price target for ARM was R200 and R160 for Exxaro.

These calls are broadly in line with industry-wide analyst polls. The median 12-month price target forecast for ARM is R208 and R150 on Exxaro according to forecast data provided by Thomson Reuters.

With ARM trading at R163 and Exxaro at R137 per share, this suggests there is some upside but as SBG points out, both businesses require something to help spark interest in the share price.

While ARM is its preferred counter in the sector because of its diverse asset base, SBG says there are three core areas it will be watching with interest. These are the copper and PCB Coal divisions as well as movements in the iron ore price. In the case of Exxaro, the iron ore price is going to be main area of focus and, with recent economic data out of China suggesting a further slow-down in the global economy, this suggests that there is potential for more weakness in both share prices.

ARM and Exxaro

While the market may be getting excited about new stimulus measures from China, Ole Hansen, who runs the commodities portfolio for Saxo Bank, recently made an interesting observation that futures contracts for copper had turned “net-short” for the first time in 20 weeks. With the copper price being a good proxy for the health of the global economy, this suggests that enthusiasm for other base metals may remain muted.

The Bloomberg Commodity Index has slumped to a five-year low on a resurgent US dollar, as market participants believe that the currency will continue to rise ahead of forecast interest rate increases.

For now, the prevailing view appears to be that both shares offer long-term value potential but until the iron price plays ball, both are likely to see subdued share prices.

To Care or Not To Care: 3 Questions to Ask about Business Trends

When it comes to the ever-changing world of business communications technology, it can be really difficult to determine what the “next big thing” is and what is merely a flash in the pan. Are free voice apps the future of business? Will landlines be extinct by 2020? To Care or Not To Care

So how do you figure it all out? Well there are a few general questions you can ask to help identify the money-makers from the bank-breakers

How are key players treating the trend? Look at how major carriers are treating landlines: AT&T has stated their desire to have nothing to do with landlines beyond 2020. That should be a good indication that there’s not much value left in landlines and SIP and VoIP are the way of the future.

To Care or Not To Care

How are key demographics treating/impacting the trend? When it comes to the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend in business, do you think generations that have grown up with personal tablets and their own smartphones are going to want to trade those in for a dated (to them) desktop handset at the office?

What do you physically see happening? Normally, I’m not a fan of using anecdotal evidence, but if no one I know owns a “home phone” (my grandparents being the exception), that is yet another good indication of the fate of landlines and where the market is going instead.
These questions aren’t guaranteed to get you the answers you need, but they should go a long way in helping you make smarter business decisions when planning for the future.

Hundreds of people demonstrate against the death of Arafat Jaradat

Arafat Jaradat (30), held in detention since the 18th of February, died yesterday in Israeli Megiddo prison, presumably, during an interrogation. Initially, Israel claimed he had died from a heart attack. However, after conducting the autopsy of the body, there are clear evidences such as fractures and bruises in his body that indicates he was subjected to torture.

Hundreds of people demonstrate against the death of Arafat Jaradat

To protest his death, Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails have participated today in a one-day hunger strike. Protest rallies have also taken place across the West Bank and Gaza.

In Hebron, clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli forces have occurred throughout the entire day. A vast quantity of rubber coated steel bullets and stun grenades have been shot at people as well as tear gas canisters, skunk water and live ammunition. Three protesters have been shot with live ammunition and dozens have been injured by rubber coated steel bullets, many also suffered from tear gas suffocation.

Hundreds of people demonstrate against the death of Arafat Jaradat

Confrontations also occurred near Huwwara Checkpoint, where Israeli forces shot multiple rounds of tear gas canisters and rubber coated steel bullets. The protest lasted for four hours, only interrupted to allow the ambulance carrying Helmi Hassan to pass through Huwwara checkpoint, where a helicopter was waiting to take him to hospital in Tel Aviv. Helmi Hassan, from Qusra, was shot by a settler yesterday with live ammunition, which narrowly missed his heart.

Demonstrations followed by clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian protesters have also happened today in Jerusalem, Ofer, Nabi Saleh, Kufr Qaddum, Jenin, Bethlehem, Beit Ommar and Sa’ir, Jaradat’s home town.

Let’s Get Visual With Social Media

There are plenty of examples of unique ways to use imagery all over the internet, but all businesses are different, so which is right for you?

With Facebook making their timeline feature permanent for business pages, and Pinterest and Instagram gaining traction in popularity and social influence, now is a good time to explore the ways in which social media is shifting toward a more visual experience and what businesses can – and should – do to take advantage of these new platforms and emerging trends. In fact, the news of Facebook buying Instagram for $1 billion only puts an exclamation point on that statement. So what kind of strategy should businesses take to target and engage with consumers in this environment?

Social Media 3

First of all, don’t waste time lamenting that your business isn’t image-friendly. Just because you can’t display dishes made with fresh ingredients like Trader Joe’s on Pinterest, or easily post large portions of a catalog like Macy’s, does not mean you can’t join social visual sites or take advantage of Facebook’s timeline. What your business must think about is how images can help enhance your brand or tell your brand’s story in an engaging way.

When we work with clients that are expanding their social presence, we don’t simply transition their existing visual assets into a new format. It’s important to strategize about the ways that consumers will interpret and interact with content, and how it will benefit the brand or enhance the consumer relationship.

Social Media 3

There are plenty of examples of unique ways to use imagery all over the internet, but all businesses are different, so which is right for you? As a couple of high-profile examples, it is worth checking out GE on Pinterest and Instagram, and Coca-Cola on Facebook, because each provides a pretty decent blueprint for telling a story with imagery and not just sharing pretty pictures.

Visual Social Media Examples

Coca-Cola is blessed with a strong brand association with consumers and a well-documented history, so it is no wonder they were able to compile a rich and compelling visual timeline on the official Coca-Cola facebook page. Coca-Cola puts pre-Facebook content on their page so that they can take you all the way from their founding to present day. By following the timeline, users see the branding and commercials with which they’re familiar supplemented by images they may not have seen before, such as an 1893 letter to Coca-Cola from a soda fountain manager lauding the drink’s popularity and ability to generate profits for his business. The user now knows that even before the 1900s consumers had a thirst for Coca-Cola, and they’re just a small part of that history.

Social Media 3

General Electric has a similar approach on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/GE) but with calls to action hidden throughout; one such call to action cropped a small portion of a jet engine image and teased users with the question “What do these parts make?” They then revealed the answer – and the full jet engine image – at 300 likes. On their Pinterest and Instagram pages, GE takes consumers through a visual journey of their business from historic photos and videos to current images of factory workers and the “Badass Machines” each generation of GE workers has produced.

Remember, you don’t need to attract users with your images; consumers have already chosen to come and visit. You need to connect with consumers through the visual medium to inform them about your brand in a fun, unique, and interesting way. By posting images that are relevant to your business and that engage the consumer, you can provide a glimpse into the everyday life of your company.Inviting consumers into the company’s life creates a greater sense of community among all consumers that interact with your site.

Are Retailers Seeing The End Of The Impulse Buy?

Retailers have long relied on consumers making an impulse buy/purchase. Check out the Impulse Shopping Fact Sheet for some interesting stats re: Impulse Buying.

There are of course many definitions for the term but in general it is “to buy on impulse without proper reflection.”

Well it seems many folks are reflecting on these decisions long before they even leave their house.

Ellen Byron, in an article written for the Wall Street Journal “In-Store Sales Begin at Home” writes…

“In-store marketing—the practice of trying to influence consumers’ buying decisions as they shop—traditionally consisted of flashy product displays, special promotions at the end of the aisle and attention-grabbing packaging on the shelf… [[however]] shoppers are researching their grocery lists online before going to the store.”

In fact, 62% of shoppers say they search for deals online for at least half of their shopping trips, this according to a survey by consulting firm Booz & Co. and trade group Grocery Manufacturers Association.

Retailers

So is the impulse buy a thing of the past?

No… there will always be the need for a well-crafted, flashy, inviting in-store display to entice shoppers. As Ms. Byron writes “the shift hasn’t eliminated the need for effective campaigns inside stores.”

On the contrary, as according to the aforementioned survey, 83% of consumer-product companies say they plan to increase their investments in shopper marketing over the next three years, while 55% say shopper marketing is their top investment, with spending increases topping 5% annually.

So what does this all mean for retailers and marketers?

Well it should come as no surprise to retailers and marketers alike that more and more consumers are utilizing the digital space to find the best deals before heading off to the store.

Retailers

The key will be, as it always has been, to know your customer and potential customer.

But long gone are the days where you “only” had to know high-level demographics such as age, sex, income level, etc.

You need to know them AND find them in the digital space, as well.

BUT… just because you find them in the digital space, do not make the assumption that’s where they want/prefer to get the best deals.

Unfortunately for retailers and marketers, it is anything but an exact science. With so many media options available, the key will be finding the right mix of offline and online sales approaches and campaigns.

Are you a retailer who relies on impulse buys?

Do you reach out to your customers and potential customers via daily deal sites?

The Best Places for Couples

Whether you are looking for a romantic getaway or somewhere to enjoy a great vacation with your partner, the opportunities are only limited by your imagination. There are many destinations to choose from that are designed to make couples feel comfortable and welcomed, and spending time together in these exotic and peaceful retreats might even enhance your relationship.

Tabacón Resort Spa Thermal Resort

Enjoy the romantic surroundings of the Tabacón resort Spa in Costa Rica. This five-star resort is located at the base of the Arenal Volcano and provides its guests with a luxurious place to relax and enjoy the comforts of a world class hotel. The resort features comfortable suites with king- or queen-size beds, large Jacuzzis, garden views and many special amenities like cozy robes, slippers, DVD players and coffee makers with a selection of coffees. The resort also has its own on-site gift shops, cafes, pool and spa and is set in the middle of an exotic rain forest. The guest services desk can take care of any special needs you may have and there is also a medical staff on site. The resort offers plenty of activities to help you enjoy your stay, but when you are ready to venture out, check out the fantastic mountain hiking trails in the rain forest, or take a tour to see the many sides of Costa Rica.

Tabacón Resort Spa Thermal Resort
La Fortuna de San Carlos
Costa Rica
(877) 277-8291
tabacon.com

Westglow Resort and Spa

Get pampered in one of the most luxurious spas in North Carolina at the Westglow Resort and Spa. Set in the hills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the resort features a Greek Revival mansion with a very attentive staff waiting to provide you with first-class service. Enjoy cozy guest rooms in the Cedar lodge, day spa services including everything from weight management packages to stress relief sessions, fitness center and classes, personal trainers and even hiking, biking or luxury camping adventures. If you are looking for more recreational activity, the resort also includes canoeing, golfing, fly fishing, horseback riding, white water rafting and more. This health and fitness spa is a great place for couples to get away and enjoy their time together.

Westglow Resort and Spa
224 Westglow Circle
Blowing Rock, NC 28605
(800) 562-0807
westglowresortandspa.com

The Alexandra Resort

Relax in one of the most beautiful locations on Earth when you check in to the Alexandra Resort on the Turks and Caicos Islands in the Caribbean Sea. This romantic resort is the perfect place to get away and features some of the best accommodations of any resort. With beachfront restaurants, theme nights, Caicos Dream Tours, pools with swim up bars, an on-site fitness center and spa and more, you will find everything you need for a great vacation. The Alexandra Resort features very comfortable guest suites ranging from beachfront studios to four bedroom oceanfront suites. For the ultimate in romantic dining, ask about the barefoot dining package, where you and your special guest will be treated to a cozy candlelight dinner on the beach including a table with linens and all the luxuries of dining indoors with the ambiance of the ocean setting.

The Alexandra Resort
Princess Drive
Grace Bay
Providenciales
Turks & Caicos Islands
(800) 284-0699
alexandraresort.com

Fun Camping Accessories

Casual as well as more experienced campers are all familiar enough with the basics: a tent, sleeping bag, air mattress, pillow, Coleman stove, lantern, a couple of chairs and propane–lots of propane. But there are all sorts of twists and new avenues in the ever-changing world of camping gear and accessories that can make your next camping trip more comfortable, enjoyable and fun.

Cool Camping Gear

An online camping portal with the appropriate name of Cool Camping Gear (see References, below) offers the Kamp-Rite Tent Cot. It’s an elevated, reclining cot wrapped in a personal-size tent, complete with mesh windows and doors. It’s a great way to sleep out under the stars without worrying about bugs. And thanks to an aluminum frame, you’re nearly a foot off the ground, so there are no concerns about mice or other creeping critters crawling into your sleeping bag, either.

Fun Camping Accessories

Cool Camping Gear also recommends the GSI Deluxe Gourmet Camp Kitchen, a foldable “kitchen” complete with a double sink, cutting boards, drying racks, and cooking and storage shelves. There’s even an optional pressurized fresh- and waste-water system.

Coleman Goodies

Coleman, one of the most prevalent names in the camping gear and accessories industry, has two nifty gadgets idea for those campers who would like at least some of the comforts of home.

The Hot Water on Demand water heater promises your first batch of hot water in just 5 seconds. The device heats 40 gallons of water with one compact 16.4-oz. propane cylinder and has a wealth of accessories, including a carrying case, a hose adapter and even a spray adapter for those long, hot morning showers.

Fun Camping Accessories

Coleman also makes a drip coffee maker specifically made for camping; instead of plugging it into an electrical outlet, you heat it over a camp stove. It’s like a Mr. Coffee on steroids–and it sure beats that old percolator.

Night Time is the Right Time

If you have kids, take advantage of the clear night sky with a pair of night-vision goggles. You can see clearly in the dark through a greenish haze just like the military or police do, and goggles are great for night-time rounds of hide-and-seek, tag or I Spy.

Fun Camping Accessories

About Ski Equipment

Backcountry skiing adventures require safety preparedness tools and gear that can handle demanding terrain and inclement weather. Taking precautionary measures by packing versatile ski equipment will enhance the experience of mountain travel.

ski equipment

Warning

Changes in climate and snowfall can result in an avalanche, especially on off-piste trails. Backcountry skiers should be prepared with digging and signaling equipment including; transceivers, probes, shovels, and snow saws. Water, food, maps, GPS systems, and manual compasses are recommended when skiing unmarked land, as there are no trail signs or resort personnel to assist with directions.

Considerations

Skiers should stay shielded from the outdoor elements by wearing sunscreen, lip protector, goggles or sunglasses, layered clothing, gaiters, heavy socks, gloves, and snow-resistant ski pants and jackets. Extra socks, gloves and hats should be packed as snowfall and deep powder will wet the original gear. Layering allows for comfortable skiing in regions where temperatures tend to fluctuate throughout the day.

ski equipment

Function

Skiers should wear sturdy downhill boots that will keep the foot in place with adjustable cuffs and heel-release features for safe descent. Crampons can be attached to boots for improved traction when traveling on snow or ice.

Benefits

Wide, lightweight skis with free-heel bindings provide flexibility for ascending uphill. Lock-and-release binding mechanisms allow for speed and turning control during steep descents.

ski equipment

Potential

Downhill poles are effective for balance, control, and vertical ascents on difficult terrain. Skins attach to the bottom of skis for improved footing and comfortable stride while climbing mountainous topography.

TEXAS

Everything is bigger in Texas’ is the favorite phrase of every Texan. Their state is the second largest, but if you think Alaska is mostly unoccupied territory, Texans have even a better reason to be proud. They don’t have much appreciation for snow, since their state is keen on giving them high temperatures. Texas was before an actual country and the locals are very proud of their state.

TEXAS 1

Against public perception, Texas is not just about ranches, agriculture or farming. Texans might wear cowboy hats and boots, but it’s not their everyday attire. A mix of Mexican and some local spicy food will certainly make you think twice about leaving the state. Their love of pickup trucks is not exaggerated. Even those who work inside an office prefer this type of transportation. The locals brag about their hospitality and they don’t lie. They’re open-minded, talkative and direct. Many stereotypes portray them as loud, nosy, backstabbing and uneducated. However, many of these stereotypes speak of the nation’s hate towards George W. Bush, who used to be their governor, than for Texans themselves.

TEXAS 1

If you want to visit Texas, start with the Alamo Mission, which includes a 300 years old Spanish construction. Other buildings made by the Spanish speak of Texas’ history, especially in San Antonio. A giant cowboy boot in Edmont, the Fountain Place, the Hyatt Regency and the State Capitol in Dallas are good choices for your trip. The Reunion Tower and Ferris wheel are easy to spot in Dallas. The library, San Jacinto Battleground Site and many other historic places are open for Houston’s visitors. The Aztec Theater remains a curiosity for tourists, fooled by its apparently old exterior, which hides in fact a movie theater. For the more artistic types, the Arts district features architectural wonders, many museums and the Dallas Black Dance Theater. For the most adventurous, try exploring its desert and the many wonders it preserves.

Honeymoon Ideas in June

Now that all of your wedding plans are under control, it’s time to decide where to go for your honeymoon. With endless options available, the task at hand may seem daunting, but remember that no matter where you and your spouse travel to on your honeymoon; you will be in newlywed bliss. However, traveling in June offers some options that may not be enjoyable or available other times of the year.

Honeymoon

The Bahamas

The Bahamas, although pleasant, are not always conducive to fun in the sun in the middle of winter because the daytime highs may only reach the low 70’s. When you take your honeymoon in June, you are guaranteed to be able to enjoy basking in the sun as newlyweds. One of the best ways to celebrate your new found union in the Bahamas is at one of many couples only all-inclusive resorts. For those couples that have large amounts of disposable income, renting a private island adds the ultimate touch of luxury to a honeymoon in June, not to mention the kind of privacy that a newlywed couple would like to enjoy.

Bahamas

Canada

If you want to bask in romance instead of the sun, a romantic getaway in Vancouver, British Columbia, or Banff, Alberta, will surely supply you with a trip to remember. Both Vancouver and Banff are for the more adventurous honeymooners. In Vancouver, you can go kayaking in the Pacific Ocean and take a guided walk through the West Coast Rainforest. In Banff you have the opportunity to go rafting in the Canadian Rockies and go hiking near Lake Louise. Regardless of your choice, both options allow you to cuddle with your sweetheart by the fireplace after a long day outdoors.

Honeymoon

Maine

For the ultimate escape from the stress of planning a wedding, couples should venture to Maine for their honeymoon in June. One of the most frequently visited cities in the summertime, especially by newlyweds, is Bar Harbor, Maine. You can stay at one of the many intimate bed and breakfasts in town and find yourself in close proximity to the ocean and Acadia National Park. Don’t forget to take a dinner cruise along the coast so you can take in a different view of the picturesque shoreline.

Honeymoon

The Mediterranean

There are so many countries that border the Mediterranean and many of them would make a romantic honeymoon destination. You can’t choose only one, and June is the perfect time of year for a Mediterranean cruise to get a sampling of romance from each port that you visit. You can find out if newlyweds have good luck at one of Monte Carlos’s upscale casinos, steal a kiss from your honey in the romance-filled piazzas of Rome, search for treasures at the Grand Covered Bazaar in Istanbul and visit historical sites from the over 2,000 year old city of Alexandria, Egypt.