Tag Archive for investment

France Debuts Bold And Innovative Plan To Jumpstart Economy (That They Already Tried in 2010)

The United States is far from the only country that is desperately trying to get back some of its former economic glory.  Out of all of the EU nations in economic turmoil France is far from the worst, but the country has been struggling to jump start its economy for decades.  Other European nations like Spain and Germany have been adopting polices that make their country’s much more business friendly since the 1990s, and now France is looking pretty expensive to businessmen in comparison to their neighbors.

Hindsight is 20/20

French labor costs are the highest of any major EU economy, and taxes have risen considerably over the past few years.  France recently lost the business of Michelin which closed its 52 year old factory in favor of moving operations to Spain, and it’s possible that other companies could plan on jumping ship to cheaper nations.  These events paired with the fact that the country’s economy has barely grown over the past few years spells an economic dry spell for France, but its president recently announced plans to bring some money back to the struggling EU nation.

President François Hollande is planning on jump starting the French economy by investing billions in up and coming technology.  When you look at the country’s past economic success with revolutionizing nuclear power and high speed trains Hollande’s plan seems practical, but some economists are doubtful that the investments will have much of a payoff.

Pictured: Not France

Pumping nearly 3.7 billion euros into industries that are working on 3D software, robotics, and other futuristic technology seems very similar to ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy’s plan to pump money into emerging technologies in 2010.  That plan was 5 billion euros worth of failure, nearly three years after his Hail Mary plan corporate profit margins in the country are the lowest they’ve been since 1985.  Corporations are already wary of settling down in a country where wages and business taxes are high, so for this to work France would need to not only keep the companies that are already in the country, but also somehow attract other companies that could easily do business in cheaper surrounding countries.  Only time will tell if the plan will work, but most economists are doubtful that it’ll help.


Sex Sells: Fifty Shades of Grey and the Financial Renewal of Barnes and Noble

The erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey by fanfic author turned best seller E.L. James has reached levels of popularity that are almost unheard of.   The book has topped best seller lists around the world, over 40 million copies have been sold worldwide and book rights have been sold in 37 countries.  The book’s unprecedented amount of success has people re-thinking the once dying book industry, and investors are starting to wonder if it’s time to start buying stock in bookstores again.

Barnes & Noble is the largest book retailer in the United States, but if you’ve been paying attention to the company’s declining revenue over the past decade you certainly wouldn’t think it was.  Like many companies that specialize in the print industry B&N has been through some tough times.  According to Bloomberg Business Week, for the period that ended on July 28th Barnes & Noble lost $45.2 million dollars which amounts to roughly $0.78 per share.  If you compare it to last year’s $56.6 million loss (roughly a whopping $0.99 a share) it doesn’t seem that bad, but in reality the company hasn’t made a profit for a non-holiday quarter in years.

Their Nook e-readers were a big flop, and as more and more people began to buy $0.99-$1.99 digital books on their Kindles the company found itself losing a substantial amount of money.  On top of competing with cheap digital books and Kindle, the company also has to compete against Amazon.com, the reigning king of all e-tailers.

Despite all of these challenges the company reported a surprisingly profitable first quarter.  Digital books may be cheap, but they’re one of the only things keeping the company going.  Revenue for the B&N retail division rose 2% overall, and revenue from bookstores open for at least a year have risen 4.6%.  Digital book sales contributed considerably to company’s first good fiscal quarter in years, but there is one book in particular that has B&N raking in the dough.  Sales for Fifty Shades of Grey have contributed a considerable amount to this revenue phenomena, it’s one of the most popular books sold on the company’s website.

To say that Fifty Shades made all of the company’s success wouldn’t be true.  The demand for digital content in general has increased, digital books, newspapers, and apps have helped digital sales increase by 46%.  B&N also isn’t the only bookstore that has fallen on hard times; failing bookstores have helped B&N take up more of the marketplace.  Regardless of the reasons B&N is seeing success that it hasn’t seen for a long time, and both investors and B&N workers hope they’ll continue to see some good fiscal times.


Renovate for ROI

With the economy doing as bad as it is now, a home renovation project is probably the last thing on most people’s minds.  Renovation projects can be time consuming, complicated, and above all very pricey.  The unstable housing market has led to many people losing money on what they thought would be a solid investment, but people who are using their homes and properties as their ultimate safe investment shouldn’t give up hope.  If you want your property to be profitable, your best bet may be doing renovation work.

Why Renovate

It’s no secret that renovating a home can help its value.  People typically wait until they’re trying to sell their properties to do any kind of renovation work, mainly because they want their homes to sell for as much as they can.  Renovation projects can improve the value of your property and help breathe life into old rooms.  Just renovating a single room in your home can increase the value.  If you keep your renovations practical, noticeable, and inexpensive you can get a considerable ROI on your properties.

Renovation Tips

  • It’s believed that kitchen and bathroom renovations will give you the most bang for your buck, nothing improves a property’s value more than newly installed plumbing fixtures and new kitchen appliances.
  • If you want to get good ROI for your renovation work your property appraised before you start any construction work.  You’ll start off you project knowing exactly how much your home is currently worth, and that can help you better assess which areas you need to focus on to make your property more profitable.
  • No matter what, stick to your set budget during the renovation process.  This may seem like it doesn’t need to be stated, but you’d be surprised by how many people ruin their ROI hopes by having their renovation project funds balloon.  Come up with a realistic budget and renovation plan, then stick to it through thick and thin.

Will Paul Ryan Offer Strong Returns Romney Camp Hopes For?

Few U.S. businessmen understand the power of a good investment better than Mitt Romney. The man who made $20 million in 2010 alone, rescued Staples from bankruptcy and saved the 2002 Olympics from disaster has made his career on making the right choices at the right times. But his most recent investment—the choice of Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan as his Vice Presidential running mate—has raised some eyebrows among conservatives as to the potential return on investment that Ryan can bring to the GOP ticket this fall.

Ryan’s positives are clearly apparent. For a candidate that has run his entire campaign focused on the economy, Romney chose the man who, as he said in a speech introducing Ryan, is the intellectual leader of the Republican party. Originally called the Path to Prosperity, Ryan’s budget proposal tackles not only government spending but entitlement reform, including cuts to Medicaid and making Medicare into a voucher system. As a massive driver of federal deficit spending, entitlement programs must be addressed, according to many fiscal conservatives, even though doing so has been historically unpopular among voters.

The tough, unpopular cuts that Ryan has proposed are already proving a liability for the Romney campaign. A USA Today Gallup Poll shows that 42% of registered voters surveyed think that Ryan would be a “fair or poor” choice for VP, while 39% think he would be a good choice.

But while these numbers are believed to be because Ryan is not well known to many voters, Ryan will have to work harder to correct his lack of popularity in swing states. While Tuesday was election day in many state-wide races, every major Florida newspaper ran reactions to Paul Ryan’s Medicare proposals on the front page. With large senior citizen populations, Florida voters are concerned about Medicare becoming a voucher system that may leave seniors searching for health insurance on the private market.

One place where Ryan may help the Romney campaign is in Wisconsin. Ryan is a 6-time winner in a district that helped elect Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Before the pick of Paul Ryan for VP, the Romney campaign had virtually given up on Wisconsin, a state that had been thought to be going blue, despite the re-election of Scott Walker there this summer. But with hometown boy Paul Ryan on the ticket, the Romney camp believes they have a shot to take Wisconsin, turning Ryan’s home district red and capturing a major swing state.

Analysts from MSNBC to CNN to Politico all report that, while many conservatives believe Ryan can be a liability because of his unpopular proposals, the main goal of the Romney camp should be to get on the same page. While Ryan has a budget proposal, Mitt Romney claims he has his own budget proposal that he will groom with the help of Ryan. So far, the pair has failed to articulate a unified proposal. One thing is clear: they will have nothing but chances to do so, as the announcement is still dominating the airwaves across the country.