Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Home prices rise for fourth month in May: S&P Case-Shiller Composite Index

NEW YORK | Tue Jul 31, 2012 10:01am EDT

(Reuters) - Single-family home prices rose for the fourth month in a row in May on a seasonally adjusted basis, suggesting the recovery in the housing market continued to gain traction, a closely watched survey showed on Tuesday.

The S&P/Case-Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas gained 0.9 percent in May on a seasonally adjusted basis, topping economists' expectations for a 0.5 percent gain.

On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, prices fared even better, jumping 2.2 percent.

"With May's data, we saw a continuing trend of rising home prices for the spring," David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at Standard & Poor's, said in a statement.

Still, Blitzer cautioned that spring and summer are traditionally strong buying months and that gains need to continue into the rest of the year.

"The housing market seems to be stabilizing, but we are definitely in a wait-and-see mode for the next few months."

The rate of decline on a yearly basis moderated, with prices down 0.7 percent compared to a 1.9 percent drop in April.

(Reporting By Leah Schnurr; Editing by Padraic Cassidy)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Zynga Bullish Call Prompts Embarrassed Analyst to Apologize

Off topic from reprographics, it’s “one of those days”…. Zynga shares were trading at around $15.00 per-share back in the first week of March 2012. After reporting disappointing results, Zynga shares are now trading at $3.13 per share. (Disclosure, I don’t own, nor have I ever owned, Zynga shares.)

Why does it not surprise me that an analyst’s call proved to be wrong? I guess for the same reason that opinions rendered by Moody’s and S&P (about the credit risk ratings of CDO’s) proved to be way off base (to the negative side, of course.) Does anyone still trust the prognostications of analysts and credit ratings given to bonds, CDO’s, etc. by ratings companies? Using the word “trust” and “financial opinions” in the same sentence is, nowadays, an oxymoron.

From Bloomberg News

Zynga Bullish Call Prompts ‘Embarrassed’ Analyst to Apologize

By Danielle Kucera on July 26, 2012

Richard Greenfield, an analyst who covers Zynga Inc. (ZNGA) (ZNGA), downgraded the maker of social games and apologized for overestimating earnings after the company reported revenue and profit that missed projections.

In a note titled “We Are Sorry and Embarrassed by Our Mistake,” the BTIG LLC analyst downgraded Zynga to neutral from buy after the company showed it’s making less money from individual users than he expected, Bloomberg.com’s Tech Blog reported.

“We firmly believed that the small fraction of Zynga users who pay was increasing and that monetization per user was improving,” Greenfield said in a note yesterday. “Paying players on Facebook are clearly paying less due to the mix of games.”

He added, “Our confidence in Zynga management diminished.”

Zynga, the biggest developer of games played on Facebook Inc. (FB) (FB), fell short of analysts’ second-quarter revenue and profit estimates as the company competes with a growing number of apps on the social network and mobile devices. Sales were $332.5 million, less than analysts’ average estimate of $343.1 million, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Profit excluding some items was 1 cent a share, less than the 6-cent estimate.

Zynga, based in San Francisco, makes money by selling virtual goods within its games -- a gun in “Mafia Wars” or a tractor in “FarmVille.” Greenfield revised his earnings projection for the full year to 7 cents, down from 31 cents. The new estimate would represent a 70 percent drop from last year.

A jump in monthly unique players was driven primarily by “Draw Something,” a mobile game Zynga acquired earlier this year for $200 million that doesn’t generate much revenue, Greenfield said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Danielle Kucera in San Francisco at dkucera6@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tom Giles at tgiles5@bloomberg.net

Only Six Spots Remain in September’s Color Management Boot Camp
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New-home sales fall to 5-month low in June

By Christopher S. Rugaber, Associated Press

WASHINGTON – Americans bought fewer new homes in June after sales jumped to a two-year high in May.

The Commerce Department said Wednesday that sales of new homes fell 8.4% last month from May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 350,000. That's the biggest drop since February 2011.

Sales in the Northeast plunged 60% in June to the lowest level since November.

Nationwide, sales in May and April were revised much higher. June's sales pace is 15.1% higher than the same month last year. But sales remain well below the 700,000 annual rate that economists equate with healthy markets.

"While a housing recovery is under way … fits and starts are to be expected and clearly this summer is one of the 'fits,'" Dan Greenhaus, chief economic strategist at BTIG, said in a note to clients.

Home builder stocks fell sharply after the report came out.

The housing market has started to show signs of recovery this year.

Builders are more confident and are breaking ground on more homes. Mortgage rates are at record lows. And home prices nationwide have stabilized after losing a third of their value in the past six years. Sales of new and previously occupied homes have risen, although the increases have been choppy.

Sales of previously occupied homes fell in June to their lowest level since October. But sales 4.5% higher than a year ago, evidence that a modest recovery is still under way.

One trend holding back sales has been low inventories. There were 144,000 new homes for sale in June, just above May's 143,000 — the lowest on records dating back to 1963. At the current sales pace, it would take 4.9 months to exhaust the June supply. A six-month supply is generally considered healthy by economists.

The reduced inventory is pushing up home prices overall. The median price of a new home, however, fell 1.9% in June from May to $232,600.

"With no excess inventory of unsold new homes, any sustained recovery in new home sales should quickly translate into firmer prices," Steven Wood, chief economist at Insight Economics, said.

Low inventories are also spurring building. Builders broke ground last month on the most new homes and apartments in nearly four years. And permits to build single-family homes rose to the highest level since March 2010. Surveys also show that builders are more confident in the market, partly because they are seeing more interest from potential buyers.

However, many people are still having difficulty qualifying for home loans or can't afford the larger down payments being required by banks.

Though new homes represent less than 20% of the housing market, they have an outsize impact on the economy. Each home built creates an average of three jobs for a year and generates about $90,000 in tax revenue, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

Economists expect housing will add to economic growth this year for the first time since 2005. But home construction and remodeling have become such a small part of the economy that the increase will likely have only a modest impact.

Other than housing, the economy has been weakening. Americans have cut spending at retail stores for three straight months, the longest stretch of cutbacks since the recession. A survey earlier this month found that manufacturing activity contracted in June for the first time in nearly three years.

And hiring is slowing. Employers added an average of only 75,000 jobs a month from April through June. That's much lower than the average of 226,000 a month added in the first three months of this year.

On Friday, the government will issue its first estimate for economic growth in the April-June quarter. Economists have cut their forecasts in recent weeks, and now expect growth at an annual rate of only 1.5%. That's below the 1.9% pace in the first three months of the year.

Service Point Holmbergs Extends Relationship with Studentlitteratur

Press Release in Spanish (see below for translated version):

Service Point Holmbergs amplía su contrato con Studentlitteratur

- Service Point Holmbergs imprime unos 25.400 libros cada mes o 70 millones de páginas al año, todo en impresión digital y con tirajes reducidos

- El contrato permitirá avanzar en la disminución del almacenaje y del stock de los libros

- Studentlitteratur podrá mantener vivo su catálogo de publicaciones gracias al sistema de impresión por demanda 

4 de Julio de 2012, Barcelona – Service Point Holmbergs anuncia la ampliación de su contrato con Studentlitteratur, una de las editoras suecas más importantes en el sector de la enseñanza, material didáctico, cursos cualificados y literatura especializada. 
Studentlitteratur fue constituida en Lund en 1963. Su volumen de negocio alcanzó en 2011 los 264 millones SEK, su ejercicio récord de facturación. La compañía ha editado más de 25.000 títulos escritos por 15.000 autores. Distribuye 25.000 libros de media a la semana. El nuevo modelo de negocio reducirá muy sensiblemente la cantidad de libros en stock y acelerará la impresión por demanda. 
El contrato de Service Point Holmbergs contempla, además de la impresión por demanda, servicios de impresión y edición de tiradas cortas e incluso de un solo ejemplar. Esta manera de gestionar e imprimir está siendo utilizada cada vez más por empresas editoras, pues favorece la reducción de costes de almacenamiento y el control de stocks, al tiempo de ofrece periodos de entrega más cortos. 
“La ampliación del contrato con Studentlitteratur nos brinda la oportunidad de proseguir con nuestras inversiones con el objetivo de ser el partner líder en “libro uno a uno“sin stock”, afirma Mâns Öland, director de grandes cuentas de Service Point Holmbergs. “La colaboración con Studentlitteratur, una editorial de gran tamaño, es vital para impulsar este modelo de negocio”. 
Ambas empresas vienen colaborando conjuntamente desde hace varios años. Ya en 2008 Service Point Holmbergs recibió el Premio AGI a la Innovación Gráfica por su edición de un único ejemplar.

Press Release in English (using Google Translation):

Service Point Holmbergs Extends Relationship with Studentlitteratur

 Service Point Holmbergs prints about 25,400 books each month or 70 million pages per year, all in digital printing and small runs

 The contract will allow progress in reducing the storage and stock books

 Studentlitteratur can keep alive his catalog of publications thanks to print on demand

July 4, 2012, Barcelona - Service Point Holmbergs today expanded its contract with Studentlitteratur, one of the most important Swedish publishers in the education sector, teaching materials, qualified and specialized literature courses.

Studentlitteratur was established in Lund in 1963. Its turnover in 2011 reached SEK 264 million, its record year of sales. The company has published over 25,000 titles written by 15,000 authors. 25,000 books distributed half a week. The new business model very significantly reduce the number of books in stock and print on demand will accelerate.

The Service Point Holmbergs contract provides, in addition to printing on demand, printing and editing of short runs and even a single copy. This way to manage and print is being used increasingly by publishers, it helps reduce storage costs and stock control at the time of offering shorter delivery times.

"The contract extension with Studentlitteratur gives us the opportunity to continue with our investments with the goal of being the leading partner" book one to one "free stock" says Måns Oland, director of major accounts Holmbergs Service Point. "The collaboration with Studentlitteratur, a publisher of great size, is vital to promote this business model."

Both companies have been working together for several years. As early as 2008 Service Point Holmbergs AGI received the Innovation Graph by editing a single copy.

About Service Point

Service Point Solutions (www.servicepoint.net) provides a comprehensive solution for customers who wish to have all information processed, communicated or managed by a partner. Its 2,140 professionals in 10 countries (Germany, Belgium, Spain, USA,

France, Holland, Hong Kong, Norway, UK, and Sweden) provide products and services through a network of 130 service points and 800 management programs. Service Point Solutions is headquartered in Spain and listed on the Madrid and Barcelona (ticker: SPS.MC).

In 2011 sales amounted to 218.6 M €, 6.4% from fiscal 2010.

For more press information: Miguel Ramos mramos@newsline.es