Wimpy 2013 Dividends (NewYork Times)
Larry Ellison of Oracle (ORCL) became the latest company CEO to do his best “Wimpy” impersonation. Just like “Wimpy” the Popeye Character, he also is looking to “… gladly pay on Tuesday for a hamburger today.” Only in his case, he’s looking to pay investors their 2013 dividends but at today’s tax rate. By paying this year, Oracle investors would be taxed at 15%, instead of the new fiscal-cliff-imposed rate, which could reach as high as 39.6%. With the chance to save on taxes, U.S. investors may hope all dividend-paying companies get wimpy.
A Holiday Spirit in China (Bloomberg)
As the outlook for China’s economy in the first half of 2013 brightens, Far East markets and investors should start getting that same holiday spirit. At least that’s the feeling, according to Pierre Lorinet, CFO of Amersterdam-based Trafigura — the world’s third-largest independent oil trader. Lorinet suggested that as the world’s second-largest economy continues to gain steam again, commodities and, especially energy plays, are looking like areas of strength for investors in the first part of 2013. While that situation may be true, the feeling didn’t sink into Far East markets today as results were mixed: Japan’s Nikkei, down .27%, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng, up .15% and the Shanghai Composite, up .78%.
Super-sizing American Debt (YahooFinance.com)
According to the results of a financial survey by the Carlisle & Gallagher Consulting Group, almost half of Americans polled would consider financing a mortgage loan through PayPal, and one-third indicated that they would be okay using Wal-Mart (WMT). It seems that instead of placing their faith in a traditional lending company, consumers value price, service and overall trust in a brand name, rather than trust in the financial industry itself. What may be especially unsettling to banks is the fact that neither PayPal nor Wal-Mart currently offers mortgages.