The Best Made Plans

Wed, 2013/03/06 - 1:35pm | Your editor
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To quote Robert Burns, "the best made plans of mice and men gang oft agly."

Forbes riposted to Prince Waleed bin Talal bin Abdul Aziz'S claim that his wealth was underestimated by a third, leaving him out of the top ten. The financial magazine said that the Saudi billionaire attempted to fiddle the share prices of stakes his Kingdom Holding owns to boost his ranking. If true, this will cause regulatory problems for the prince in the well-regulated Saudi Arabian stock market, being opened now to foreign investors.

The founder of Suntech Power, Australian-Chinese solar engineering prof. Zhengrong Shi, is fighting his removal from its executive chairmanship by a board vote. While the oversupply of solar panels has hurt Suntech along with other companies, Prof. Shi had to step down earlier as CEO because of side-deals he allegedly made to sneak off profits from STP (NYSE-listed.) We used to own STP because Fei Chen really liked Shi, but sold out over the scandal and oversupply issues.

The US sequestration was supposed to produce such horrific budget cuts that both battling parties would find a way to cut the deficit with tax and spending cuts.

Anti-US pro-Cuban populist president Hugo Chavez got Venezuela's legislators to remove term limits so he remain as the Caracas caudillo to continue his policies. But he died aged 58.

Oops. Maurice, a reader, says that I misstated the size of the UK stamp duty (which I reported on based on an article in the New York Times.) The transfer tax is payable only by the buyer and is 0.5%. It is not a Tobin tax because it is literally a stamp which must be put on the document. To stop British traders from moving to the ADR market, a 1.5% tax was imposed on converting a UK share to an ADR which is why ADRs trade at a slight premium to the UK shares they mirror. Marketmakers (jobbers) are exempted. The British like to use derivatives such as accounting for difference to avoid the tax.

More for paid subscribers follows from Canada, Finland, Chile, Israel, Sweden, Denmark, Scotland (of course), and Ireland, including another earnings report.

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