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Five Things You Need to Know for Thursday


What you need to know (and what it means).


Five things you need to know to stay ahead of the pack on Wall Street.

1. It's Official: China is Booming

China's economy grew by 10.2 percent in the first quarter from the same period last year, overshooting its official target, according to figures released today by the National Bureau of Statistics.

  • The quarterly growth figure was first disclosed Sunday by President Hu Jintao in a meeting with a visiting Taiwanese opposition leader, but today is the "official release."
  • Industrial output, driven by exports rose by 16.7%.
  • The growth of imports picked up, surging 24.8%, totaling $174 billion, compared to exports of $197.3 billion, a surplus of $23.3 billion.
  • Investment in factories, roads and other fixed assets rose by 27.7% in the first quarter.
  • Investment in urban areas climbed 29.8%.
  • China is launching a massive "socialist new countryside" campaign to boost rural development, which had been left behind in the country's reform and opening-up drive over the past two decades.
  • Incredibly, consumer prices (reportedly) rose by just 1.2%, a 1.6% decline from last year's rate.
  • Food prices were down 4.2% year-over-year.
  • Housing prices rose by 5%.

2. Ahoy, polloi!

Quick, Jeeves, fetch me my pipe and a brandy and I'll tell you a story of surging wealth the likes of which will make your hair stand on end and your shirt ruffles... ruffle-er, or something.

  • Did you know that the number of very rich people in the US grew last year at the fastest pace in at least a decade? It's true, according to the Financial Times.
  • The number of households with $5m or more in investable assets – excluding the family home – rose by 26% to a record 930,000, according to a study by Spectrem Group.
  • That's the biggest jump since Spectrem began its survey in 1996.
  • The number of millionaires rose by 11%, to a record 8.3 million, the second biggest jump in the decade since they were surveyed.
  • The Spectrem report noted that on average, affluent households held close to half their money in stocks, bonds and alternative investments, and a larger than usual amount of cash.
  • See Jeeves, it takes money to make money. And you know the best way to become a millionaire, friend? Start out as a billionaire! Ho ho!

3. Charity starts at home, if by "home" one means "Exxon shareholders."

What does it take to be CEO of Exxon (XOM)? For shareholders, $144,573 a day.

  • Exxon chairman and chief executive Lee R. Raymond is largely credited with propelling Exxon to supremacy in the oil world.
  • Over the course of 13 years, he quadrupled the company's market value to $375 billion.
  • The price of Exxon's shares rose 267% between 1993 and 2006.
  • So join us, shareholders, in saying, "Woohoo!"
  • Woo...wait. 267%? Hmmm. That's better than the Dow's gain of 224%, but slightly below the S&P 500 equal-weighted index return of 271%. Oh well, it's not like we had to pay extra for that kind of performance.
  • D'oh! Turns out, we did pay extra!
  • The kind of performance that delivers an average yearly outperformance versus the Dow of 3.3% is rather, ahem, expensive after all.
  • Mr. Raymond, who retired in December, earned $686 million between 1993 and 2005, an average of $144,573 per day.
  • For that kind of money, we'd NEVER call in sick!

4. If I ever get out of here, I'm going to Kathmandu!

We hear ya, Bob Seger, but before you buy a ticket you might want to take a closer look.

  • Nepalese police opened fire Thursday as thousands of protesters demanding restoration of democracy marched toward the capital Kathmandu in defiance of a government-imposed curfew, the Independent (UK) reported.
  • Two weeks of violent protests and a general strike against palace rule have paralyzed the Himalayan kingdom, leaving cities short of food and fuel and Nepal at its most volatile since King Gyanendra seized power 14 months ago.
  • Security forces have killed at least 13 people, including some pro-democracy protesters.
  • Under King Birendra, the monarchy in Nepal submitted to a massive popular movement in 1990 for democracy and agreed to the establishment of a multi-party democracy.
  • However, after continually usurping powers and retaining control of the military, the two-tier system of democracy was tossed aside in 2005, four years after King Gyanendra seized the throne after massacring the royal Birendra family.
  • King Gyanendra used the pretext of controlling the Maoist insurgency which began in 1996 as justification for seizing power.

    He's going to Kathmandu!

5. I need a pair of shoes to match my roach!

Here in Minyanville, the critters are APPALLED by the latest in fashion must-haves - the "roach brooch."

  • Jared Gold, a Salt Lake City, UT fashion designer has created a brooch using 3-inch long hissing cockroaches bejeweled with Swarovski crystals and attached by a chain to a pin.
  • The jewels and clasp are attached to the roach's hood, or carapace, a hard shell that covers its head.
  • It takes about an hour to decorate a cockroach.
  • Why is it called a "hissing" cockroach? Because it hisses! The roaches' hissing is a defense mechanism, a noise they make when they feel threatened.
  • The roaches sell for about $40 in the Salt Lake City store or $80 on the Internet.

The fashion accessory that says, simply, "I hate you."


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The information on this website solely reflects the analysis of or opinion about the performance of securities and financial markets by the writers whose articles appear on the site. The views expressed by the writers are not necessarily the views of Minyanville Media, Inc. or members of its management. Nothing contained on the website is intended to constitute a recommendation or advice addressed to an individual investor or category of investors to purchase, sell or hold any security, or to take any action with respect to the prospective movement of the securities markets or to solicit the purchase or sale of any security. Any investment decisions must be made by the reader either individually or in consultation with his or her investment professional. Minyanville writers and staff may trade or hold positions in securities that are discussed in articles appearing on the website. Writers of articles are required to disclose whether they have a position in any stock or fund discussed in an article, but are not permitted to disclose the size or direction of the position. Nothing on this website is intended to solicit business of any kind for a writer's business or fund. Minyanville management and staff as well as contributing writers will not respond to emails or other communications requesting investment advice.

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