Satellite images of what might be debris from the jet are the first "credible lead" in the hunt for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, an official says. Follow the news as it comes in.
People have been shorting stocks since the early 1700s. It’s basically a way of betting against a company. It’s extremely common, and part of the fabric of Wall Street. But how, exactly, does it work?
Step 1: You've got to be pretty sure that a company’s stock is gonna go down. Let’s say it’s ACME stock, and you suspect that the bad publicity from Wiley Coyote’s interminable failure is going to soon take its toll.
Step 2: Before you think the stock is going to go down, you (technically, your stock broker) will borrow some of that stock.
Step 3: Sell it. That’s right – sell the stock that’s not even yours. So, let’s say ACME stock is at $1,000 a share, you now have $1,000.
Step 4: Wait for the stock price to tank. During this time, you can count your $1000. Or smell it. Or perhaps you prefer to roll in it. But remember it’s not yours to keep.
Step 5: Does the stock actually tank? Congratulations. Proceed to Step 6. Does the stock....rise? You might want to sit down before you proceed to Step 7.
Step 6: Now that the stock has sunk like you (wisely) knew it would – let’s say to $1 a share – you buy it back for $1. You keep the remaining $999 you had before. Go ahead. Smell it again. This time with passion. 'Cause all that cheddar is yours, baby!
Step 7: Well, the stock has risen. Let’s say to $1,500. Unfortunately, you have to return the stock that you borrowed. And the only way to get it is to buy it back. At the new, higher price. I know, I know. So you take the $1,000 you made when you sold it, and then shell out $500 more, you buy the stock, and return it to whoever you borrowed it from, and it sucks. This is your life and these are the choices you’ve made.
Step 8: But wait! Wait! Are you a billionaire with a large personality? Are you convinced that ACME stock is worthless and the continued failure of Wiley Coyote must eventually drive the stock price over a cliff? OMG are you the ROAD RUNNER?? If you answered yes to any of those, you have a final option. Do everything you can to take ACME down. Lobby our own government and foreign ones, take out ads, fund non profit groups. Make it your mission in life. Seriously! People actually do this!
Some interesting notes about shorting: If a lot of people are shorting a company, say ACME, well, that doesn’t look good for ACME. It’s like wearing a scarlet letter. People start asking questions. The stock price can go down, in a sort of self fulfilling death spiral.
On the other hand, there are some investors who really like a challenge. They might actually swoop in to rescue a company whose stock is at risk of being shorted to death, because they sense an opportunity to fix it. If they do fix it, and things start looking up for the company, all the people who shorted it will sprint to the market to buy back the shares they owe various other people and entities. Then that creates a spiral up in price. What is that called? A life spiral? Technically, it’s called a “short squeeze.”
The Labor Department is expected to release its annual report on the job situation for veterans soon. The jobless rate for those who served after 9/11 has tended to be higher than the overall unemployment rate.
Though typically highly skilled, disciplined and hard-working, veterans of recent conflicts often have more difficulty than civilians in finding work. Companies love to hang yellow ribbons and run ads about supporting America’s veterans. But veterans say they aren’t always as quick to hire them because civilian managers don’t understand how to evaluate military experience.
“The hardest part for me when I first got out of the military was figuring out what to write on a resume,” says Marine veteran Michael Wersan, who served in Iraq as an infantry assaultman. “Nobody cares that I did 700 patrols in seven months. That doesn’t compute for a civilian.”
But he translated his skills into a civilian resume and picked up new ones studying at the City University of New York. He’s now a construction supervisor.
Former Marine Tireak Tulloch did two tours in Iraq and had advanced training in network engineering. His skills are in demand, but at first, he says he couldn’t get past initial phone interviews. A reservist when he was job searching, he felt managers wouldn’t hire him because they feared he’d be sent back to Iraq. But he kept at it and his civilian career in technology has since taken off.
Those who speak for veterans say there's a great deal of mistunderstanding amongst employers.
“I think there are a lot of misconceptions that every veteran is a ticking time bomb,” says Derek Bennett, an Army veteran, who is chief of staff of the advocacy group Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a reality after combat. But veterans groups say employers need to understand that PTSD is managable. Overall, they want employers to look beyond stereotypes and do more to reach out to veteran communities, where they may find men and women with the skills they’re looking for.
Mark Garrison: Companies love to run ads about supporting the troops. But former Army officer Derek Bennett, of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, says that doesn’t always mean hiring them.
Derek Bennett: Finding employment can be difficult. Translating what you’ve done in the military into something that is recognizable by an employer can be difficult as well.
Marine veteran Michael Wersan says combat experience is hard to explain on a resume.
Michael Wersan: Nobody cares that I did 700 patrols in seven months. That doesn’t compute for a civilian.
He’s now a construction supervisor. Iraq Veteran Tireak Tulloch found job hunting frustrating at first.
Tireak Tulloch: I really couldn’t get past the phone interview.
But he kept at it and now works in network engineering. Apart from misunderstanding military skills, Derek Bennett says some employers misunderstand vets.
Bennett: I think there are a lot of misconceptions that every veteran is a ticking time bomb.
Not all veterans have PTSD. And it’s manageable. Vets want employers to look beyond stereotypes and do more to find the veterans who might have the skills they’re looking for. I'm Mark Garrison, for Marketplace.
There's been speculation that Amazon may drive away customers by jacking up the price of its Prime service, which includes free two-day shipping and amenities like streaming video. In a survey, about 40 percent of Amazon Prime customers told Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) that, yes, they might ditch the service if the price went up twenty bucks.
However, CIRP partner and co-founder Josh Lowitz doesn't believe them. He says Prime is still a good deal: Free shipping, plus the video streaming, and word of more to come, like free streaming music.
"We think people will figure it out. In fact, we think when people make the $99 commitment to Amazon Prime, they’re going to be even better Amazon customers. Because they’re going to want to get their money’s worth out of the shipping."
Which could be the real problem for Amazon. That’s how Colin Gillis, a tech analyst at BGC Partners, sees it. He points out that Amazon already loses billions of dollars a year on shipping, and those losses are growing fast.
"If you look at their shipping losses, it’s about 4.7 percent of total revenue. And that’s about the margin that a decent retailer makes."
Worst-case scenario, Amazon becomes a big-scale version of an old joke: Sure, I lose a penny on each one, but I sell a ZILLION of them!
*CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misstated the name of a CIRP partner and co-founder. He is Josh Lowitz. The text has been corrected.