Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Admiral's Suggestions

President Obama ordered the study of the prison camps on Guantanamo Bay on 22 January.Admiral Walsh made some suggestions for improvement,along with certifying that the camps were humane.He called for more socialization for the prisoners.He would like to see more recreation opportunities for the prisoners together,as well as intellectual stimulation and group prayer.The mental dimension needs to be part of the dialogue of what it means to be humane,Admiral Walsh commented.

Admiral Examines Prison Camps

Admiral Patrick Walsh,Vice-Chief of Naval Operations,has been surveying the situation at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba.The seven prison camps there hold enemy combatants from the Global War on Terror.With his Defense Department team,the admiral found that the camps currently meet all standards of humane treatment.They are in compliance with Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions on the treatment of prisoners of war.Over more than 13 days,Admiral Walsh and the team conducted more than 100 interviews,as well as announced and unannounced inspections.They talked to a number of detainees.Admiral Walsh said the chain of command consistently seeks to go beyond the minimum standards of Article 3.There are still about 245 detainees in the camps,which President Obama has ordered closed within a year.

Strong on Tech

Greg Merino of Ameriway Financial Services advises dollar-costing into the market;don't go in with both feet.Overweight large cap tech such as IBM,Google and Apple.Ken Fisher of Fisher Investments says tech will be one of the sectors to recover first,since it was one of those that deteriorated last.

Please Note

Because of an appointment,I may not be publishing next Wednesday.In that event,I will try to publish next Friday.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

More Marines Ship Out

President Obama has just ordered 17,000 more troops to Afghanistan.They include a frontline force of 8,000 U.S. Marines and 4,000 Army,as well as 5,000 support troops.The President hopes this will inspire other NATO countries to send more troops as well.He is visiting Canada this week and will no doubt discuss the matter with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.Canadian forces have served with distinction in Afghanistan,despite their limited combat experience since World War II.Meanwhile,Pakistan has reached the latest in a series of agreements with militants in its Northwest frontier.All of the previous ones have been violated.The militants have continued to use the region as a base for attacking NATO and Afghan forces,as well as Pakistan itself.U.S. commanders in Afghanistan had requested 30,000 more troops,on top of the 33,000 who are already there.

Icahn Adjusts

Billionaire Carl Icahn has been adjusting his portfolios.His company,Icahn Capital,has sold all of its shares of Time Warner,all of its Citigroup and all of its Advanced Micro Devices,halved its Anadarko Petroleum shares,while incresing its Yahoo shares.Personally,Mr.Icahn has increased his Yahoo,Lions Gate and Gauranty Financial holdings.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Submarines Commissioned

The following Virginia class attack submarines were commissioned in 2008:USS North Carolina(SSN 777)on 3 May at Wilmington,North Carolina;USS New Hampshire(SSN 778)was christened on 21 June and commissioned on 25 October at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery,Maine.The USS New Mexico(SSN 779)was christened on 13 December at Newport News,Virginia.The submarines can travel at more than 25 knots submerged.They are built by General Dynamics' Electric Boat and Northrop Grumman Newport News.

What To Look For

Optimism's rather fragile in this market right now,observes Michael Farr of Farr,Miller and Company.We're hearing constant strains from CEOs about how difficult things are.Corporate management are anticipating a continued slowdown.It's really important to do your homework.Look for strong balance sheets and good management.I am buying the dips,but I don't see a great deal of urgency still,Mr.Farr noted.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Defense Contractor Achieves Gain

General Dynamics,one of the largest U.S. defense contractors,has delivered a good report for Q4.GD's net income rose 18.7%,to 2.46 billion dollars from 2.07 year over year.Its order backlog rose by 13.6 billion.Higher gains in its Gulfstream business jet unit,as well as its shipbuilding division,bumped its profit up about 6% to 612 million.On the minus side,its combat systems unit,which builds armored vehicles for the Army and Marine Corps,saw a drop in sales as its contract for the Iraq war wound down with the war itself.GD's overall sales rose 4.5% to 7.85 billion.It is headquartered in Falls Church,Virginia.

John Manley's Outlook

John Manley of Citi-Smith Barney says the news we're seeing is trailing indicators.Are you looking ahead or are you looking back?You don't want to be entirely hiding out.You want to be looking toward the long term future.I like some of the medical and retail stocks that have been beaten up very badly.Tech is still the leading edge.When things get better,tech will get better to a greater degree than most things get better,Mr.Manley forecasted.