The number of companies with the lowest credit ratings and negative outlooks jumped to 195 in December, the highest level since March 2010, says Standard & Poor’s.
Higher interest rates are about to hit companies – just when many are ill prepared to handle them.
The Federal Reserve this month took interest rates up for the first time in nearly a decade – ending the days of free money. It might take a few years for higher rates to hit companies – as they look to refinance debt. But the troubling part is many companies aren’t in great shape to eat the higher costs.
The number of companies with the lowest credit ratings and negative outlooks jumped to 195 in December, the highest level since March 2010, says Standard & Poor’s. The biggest culprit for the jump in these so-called “weakest links” is the oil and gas sector, which accounts for 34 of them. But financial companies are close behind, representing 33 of the weakest links, says S&P….(read more)
CHANGE: Majority Of Americans Oppose ‘Assault Weapons’ Ban For First Time In 20 years Of New York Times PollingPosted: December 11, 2015
AWR Hawkins reports: According to NYU political scientist Patrick Egan, the opposition to such a ban is up 16 percentage points from the numbers seen in 2011. Moreover, support for an “assault weapons” ban is down 19 percent. On January 15-19, 2011 Americans polled at 63 percent in favor of a ban and 34 against. On December 4-8, 2015, American polled only 44 percent in favor of such a ban, with 50 percent polling in opposition.
The real swing in numbers can be seen by contrasting the latest figures with the first poll NYT took on the topic during January 2-3, 1995. At that time support for a ban was at 67 percent, while opposition to a ban was at 27 percent.
Industry reports are out that show the number of DDoS attacks is trending upward, even hitting new highs.
Andy Meek reports: No wonder the Pentagon has announced it’s working on a plan to fund tools and researchers to help organizations defend themselves against the pervasive threat of cyber assaults known as distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks.
“The threat posed by distributed denial of service (DDoS) and web application attacks continues to grow each quarter. Malicious actors are continually changing the game by switching tactics, seeking out new vulnerabilities and even bringing back old techniques that were considered outdated.”
— John Summers, vice president of Akamai’s cloud security business unit
In recent days, the agency said it’s looking to fund researchers who can come up with tools as part of a program starting next April that would, among other things, help organizations recover from DDoS attacks in a maximum of 10 seconds. And the acknowledgement of that hunt for researchers for the program, called Extreme DDoS Defense, arguably comes not a moment too soon.
A few new industry reports are out that show the number of DDoS attacks is trending upward, even hitting new highs. Their provenance and targets take many forms – from organized, malicious hackers targeting sophisticated organizations to more isolated incidents where, experts say, the intent is to just find a weakness somewhere, anywhere. But the result is a kind of cyber blitz that’s growing in number and aggressiveness.
New York Magazine was among those organizations recently hit by a DDoS attack, and at a critical moment. After publishing the blockbuster results of an interview with 35 women who’ve accused Bill Cosby of sexually assaulting them, the magazine’s website was knocked offline by what appeared to be a DDoS attack.
His company is a cloud-based application delivery service. According to another cloud services provider, Akamai Technologies, DDoS attacks were up 132% in the second quarter compared to the same period in 2014. Read the rest of this entry »
The combined wealth of the world’s billionaires increased by 12 percent to $7.3 trillion, higher than the combined market capitalization of all the companies that make up the Dow Jones Industrial Average
“The fastest growing segment of the billionaire population, in terms of wealth source, are those who inherited only part of their fortunes and became billionaires through their own entrepreneurial endeavors.”
A new survey shows that 155 new billionaires were minted this year, pushing the total population to a record 2,325 – a 7 percent increase from 2013.
Credit goes to the United States – home to the most billionaires globally – where 57 new billionaires were recorded this year, according to the Wealth-X and UBS Billionaire Census 2014 released on Wednesday.
Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean were also large contributors, with 52 and 42 new entrants, respectively.
“The fastest growing segment of the billionaire population, in terms of wealth source, are those who inherited only part of their fortunes and became billionaires through their own entrepreneurial endeavors,” the report said, noting that 63 percent of all billionaires’ primary companies are privately held. Read the rest of this entry »
Violent crime fell during the first six months of 2013–at the same time the number of gun purchases was expanding.
John R. Lott demonstrated this conclusively, back in 1990s, in his highly-regarded book: “More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws, Third Edition” (Studies in Law and Economics) order it from Amazon
UPI reports that this included “murder, non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, [and] aggravated assault and robbery.” Specifically, “murders declined by 6.9 percent, forcible rapes declined 10.6 percent, aggravated assaults decreased 6.6 percent and robbery offenses were down by 1.8 percent.”
Another timely item from Brietbart.com that I almost missed. AWR Hawkins reports: A new poll finds the percentage of Americans who think gun control too strict is at its highest point since 2001 and triple what it was in 2013.
The Gallup poll shows that “55 percent of Americans… are dissatisfied overall with American gun laws and policies.” Among the dissatisfied, 16 percent are Americans who believe gun control laws should be rolled back.
(AP) LOS ANGELES U.S. home video spending rose nearly 1 percent to $18.2 billion in 2013, the second straight year of growth as higher spending on video streaming subscriptions and digital purchases offset the decline in DVDs.
The figures were released by the consortium of Hollywood studios and electronics makers, The Digital Entertainment Group, on Tuesday.
Digital sales of movies and TV shows rose 47 percent to $1.2 billion, while subscription streaming spending rose 32 percent to $3.2 billion.
by Guns and Gear
The face of America’s target shooters is changing. New target shooters–those who have taken up the sport in the last five years–are younger, female and urban when compared to established target shooters, or those participating for more than five years, according to a survey commissioned by NSSF.
Less Than A Quarter Of Americans Read Newspapers
Only 29 percent of Americans now say they read a newspaper yesterday – with just 23 percent reading a print newspaper. Over the past decade, the percentage reading a print newspaper the previous day has fallen by 18 points from 41 percent to 23 percent. Somewhat more 38 percent say they regularly read a daily newspaper, although this percentage also has declined, from 54 percent in 2004.
Also according to the recent Pew Research Center poll, Americans enjoy reading as much as ever – 51 percent say they enjoy reading a lot. This is little changed over the past two decades, but a declining proportion gets news or reads other material on paper on a typical day. Many readers are now shifting to digital platforms to read the papers…
via CBS Houston
- 9 traditional media trends affecting PR (prdaily.com)
- Newspaper Industry Shrinks 40 Percent In A Decade: Report (ibtimes.com)
- Young Americans switch from television to online news (guardian.co.uk)
- Online news surpasses newspapers and radio (businesstechnologypartner.wordpress.com)
- Tablets breathe new life into newspaper industry (lenovo.com)
- Pew: Half of Americans get news digitally, topping newspapers, radio (itzblog.typepad.com)