Ali-blah-blah Earnings; Fiscal Deficit Disorder; Citizens Get S’Bank’d

Who would have thought…

Image courtesy of  photostock/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of photostock/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I could have sworn there was a time when Alibaba was the reigning IPO darling. But a lot has changed since its very very auspicious Wall Street debut. One of those changes is China’s economy – which has been on a very unpleasant decline. When a country’s economy starts heading south you can bet people in that country aren’t spending as much a retailers would like them too. When you’re China’s biggest e-commerce site…well, then you have problems, like for instance experiencing the slowest growth quarter in three years. Hence, Alibaba had a big gaping earnings miss. The company saw a 28% increase in revenue to $3.27 billion, except analysts forecasted $3.39 billion. However, the company manged to still double its net profit to almost $5 billion, adding 59 cents per share. Forecasts were for 58 cents. But, like I said, there was still a big glaring earnings miss that sent shares to a brand-spankin’ new low. If that isn’t bad enough, when a powerhouse like Alibaba disappoints, other major Chinese companies, even non-Chinese companies that do big business there, tend to suffer the consequences as well. Many of them saw their shares take a hit on Alibaba’s bumming news.

Waste not want not…

Image courtesy of  Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

This just might be the best news you’ve heard all day…depending on how you look at it. The national budget deficit for July is just $149.2 billion. If that’s not enough to question where your taxpayer dollars are going, then I don’t know what is. Last year, however, the government only saw a July deficit of $94.6 billion. So what gives? The answer isn’t all that bad, in fact. There were $42 billion in payments that were made in late July as opposed to August since the first day of August fell on a Saturday. And everybody knows it’s hard to get paid on the weekend. So the government graciously made those payments a wee bit early. How considerate. But if you still find that deficit a little bit high for your liking, then consider the fact that 2015 could end up being the lowest full year deficit in eight years. After all, the economy’s beefing up a little, most people are gainfully employed and, because of it, paying more in tax revenues. The full year deficit for 2014 was $483.3 billion, which was actually down from 2013’s $679.5 billion. If you are simply aghast at those figures then clearly you’ve forgotten that the deficit was above $1 trillion in the years prior to that.

Banks behaving badly…

Image courtesy of 1shots/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of 1shots/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Citizens Bank  to pay a very big fine. But the shocker here is that it had nothing to do with bad mortgages that led to the 2008 fiscal nightmare. Instead, Citizens Bank, which is among the United States’ top twenty banks, very greedily helped itself to some cash that, quite simply, didn’t belong to them. It was back in 2008 when the bank began engaging in its fiscal shenanigans. Customers would make deposits, but there were times when the amount on the deposit slip didn’t quite match the actual amount of the deposit. That’s when Citizens Bank would pocket the difference instead of crediting the customers’s accounts. Six years later, three federal agencies got wind of their activities thanks to a very brave whistle-blower. Citizens Bank has to now return $14 million to the customers it bilked in addition to paying another $20.5 million in fines.

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