Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Navy Arrives in Georgia

The USS McFaul(DDG-74),an Arleigh Burke class destroyer,has arrived off the Black Sea coast of Georgia with aid supplies.The McFaul was the first of five ships slated to bring humanitarian aid to the mountainous country this week.She was carrying 72 pallets of aid,including bottled water,milk,baby food,diapers and other hygiene items.Other NATO vessels are expected to follow suit.The Navy task force is commanded by Captain John Moore.The Georgian government is welcoming the U.S. help,unlike the Myanmar leaders,who turned the Navy away when a cyclone battered that Asian nation earlier in the year.They were suspicious of the aid.Georgia is a democracy located in the Caucasus mountains of Southeast Europe,just south of Russia.Its quarrel with two rebellious provinces,Abkhazia and South Ossetia,erupted into warfare recently,and Russia invaded Georgia in support of the rebels.The U.S. and its NATO allies have condemned the invasion.

Coal News

Russian steelmaker OAO Severstal has purchased PBS Coals,which owns 12 mines in Pennsylvania.The coal is needed for Severstal's U.S. mills.Severstal had recently purchased the Sparrows Point mill in Baltimore,Maryland from Arcelor Mittal(MT).

Please Note

Because of an appointment,I may not be in next Wednesday.In that event,I will try to post another day.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Navy Cancels Program

The Navy has canceled its DDG1000 destroyer program.Only three of the advanced,stealthy ships will be built.The U.S. Marine Corps had desired them for fire support,but the combination of rising costs and a shift in priorities to ballistic missile defense led the Navy to return to its DDG51 program,the Arleigh Burke class of destroyers.Paul Francis of the Government Accountability Office said it was a painful decision for the Navy to truncate the DDG 1000.It was a business case that wasn't executable.Why do ship systems get approved that can't be built for the money estimated?Representative Joe Sestak(D-Pennsylvania),a retired admiral,said we were going to the littorals;now we're going back to the blue seas.Mine is a statement of disappointment in the process.Whither the Navy of the future?The Navy hopes to restart the DDG51 in 2009.It wants a fleet of 313 ships by 2017.Besides ballistic missile defense,it is concerned about the Chinese navy build-up and detecting quiet submarines.

Empire State Report

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York has released its Empire State Manufacturing Index.The August reading was 2.77,versus -4.92 for July.New orders were at -2.20,versus 8.67 in July,while employment was at -4.49,versus -6.32 for July.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Houston Being Repaired

The USS Houston(SSN713),a Los Angeles class attack submarine,is being repaired at its home port of Pearl Harbor,Hawaii.The Houston's nuclear reactor leaked a small amount of radiation over a two year period.The reactor has been shut down for the repairs.Most of the radiation leakage occurred in Pearl Harbor,but only amounted to as much radiation as is found in about eight smoke detectors.Another smoke detector's worth of radiation leaked in Japanese waters.The Japanese government dismissed the incident,saying it found no abnormality during its monitoring.The aircraft carrier USS George Washington(CVN 73)will still replace the USS Kitty Hawk(CVN 63)at Yokosuka,Japan in a matter of weeks.The George Washington is nuclear-powered,while the Kitty Hawk is the last of the non-nuclear carriers.About 50,000 American service members are based in Japan,which has generated controversy from time to time.


Bank of America(BAC)has initiated coverage of Genzyme(GENZ)with a buy rating.UBS has initiated coverage of Apple(AAPL)with a buy rating.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Marine Loses Title

Brian Stann,an Iraq war veteran who was decorated with the Silver Star,lost his light heavyweight title in World Extreme Cagefighting last weekend in Las Vegas.He was defeated by Steve Cantwell,whom Stann had previously beaten.Stann has a career record of 6-1.Born on Yakota Airbase,Japan,the 27 year old is 6'1" and weighs in at 201.5 pounds.He is known as the Fighting Pride of the United States Marine Corps,the All-American.The fight went on for two of the five scheduled rounds.Cantwell got Stann against the wire mesh and rained blows on him,knocking him down,but not out.Stann admitted that Cantwell brought more technique to the match.I have no excuses,he confessed.To all my friends and supporters:I'm sorry I let you down.I'm a baby in this sport,and I showed it.Now it's my turn to come back,and I'm gonna do it,the Marine promised.Stann resides in Scranton,Pennsylvania.The loss makes his story even more compelling.He's a real Marine:not always winning,but owning up when he doesn't.

Double Upgrade

Both Citigroup(C) and Merrill Lynch(MER) have upgraded Amgen(AMGN) to a buy rating.The biotech stock has been doing well in recent weeks,following a long period of under performance.