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Five Things You Need to Know: Missle Toe, Water Works, Canadian Oil Sands, Wagers of Fear, Birthday Suit


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


Minyanville's Five Things You Need to Know to stay ahead of the pack on Wall Street:

1. Missle Toe

North Korea launched a series of missile tests on July 4, Independence Day, in the US, setting the stage for an escalation in tensions in the region.

  • One of the missiles launched was the Taepodong-2 long-range missile, which some claim can hit the western extremities of the US, according to the Asia Times.
  • That specific missle test failed to go according to plan, however, and it crashed into the Sea of Japan less than a minute after launch.
  • Six other launches were tests of shorter-range Scuds and Rodong missiles.
  • The U.N. Security Council, which includes China, is scheduled to meet at 10 a.m. on the North Korean crisis.
  • Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary, Shinzo Abe, said Japan will take sanctions against North Korea, including economic and financial sanctions, the Asia Times said.
  • A Bank of Korea spokesman said that the missile launch and its effect on financial markets would be an important consideration ahead of its interest rate meeting this week.
  • Meanwhile, Japan's central bank is expected to respond to the country's economic recovery by raising its key interest rate from zero next week.
  • North Korea would respond to a pre-emptive US military attack with an "annihilating strike and a nuclear war", the state-run media said, according to the Times of India.
  • Does it seem to anyone else that North Korea might not fully understand what the word "pre-empt" means?

Pronunciation: prE-'em(p)t
Function: verb
1: to prevent from happening or taking place.

2. Water Works

With droughts currently afflicting much of the world, the Financial Times says investors are now seeking to exploit a shortage of that most basic of commodities – water.

  • Global water sector revenues are now more than $400 bln a year.
  • Meanwhile, water sector growth is estimated to be 5 percent a year in developed countries and between 10 and 15 percent in the developing world, according to Frances Hudson, of Standard Life Investments.
  • The focus on water as an investment theme should be nothing new to Minyans, however.
  • Raymond James' Jeff Saut, last August at Minyans in the Mountains in Ojai, CA, outlined in his keynote speech his thesis that in coming years potable water - and the companies that facilitate the supply of this commodity - should be the object of investors' attention.
  • As well, following up on Jeff Saut's recommendation to look at water sector companies, Minyanville Professor Fil Zucchi last August outlined the upside and downside potential of a handful of water plays in this article worth revisiting.

3. Canadian Oil Sands

The USA Today looks at Canadian oil sands, previously viewed as too costly to develop, as a source of oil supplies for the U.S.

  • Canada is the number one supplier of imported oil to the U.S.
  • Daily production from oil sands is expected to quadruple to 4 million barrels by 2020, according to the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.
  • An estimated 175 billion barrels of oil lie buried in the hills of western Alberta province, ranking Canada behind only Saudi Arabia in proven reserves, the article said.
  • Oil sands development is costly and labor intensive, however. About two tons of sand must be sifted to produce one barrel of oil.
  • And once it is recovered, it must be heavily processed before it is suitable to be pumped to U.S. refineries.
  • Petro-Canada (PCZ), reportedly has about 10 billion barrels of oil sands reserves and is scheduled to consider another multibillion-dollar investment by the end of 2007.

4. "I got the hurricane right here, its name is Paul Revere, and there's a guy who says that if the weather's clear..."

Online casinos are now accepting wagers on hurricanes, according to the Associated Press.

  • Hurricanes are the newest betting trend in pop culture, experts say, according to the AP.
  • Online casinos, which are based in other countries, report several thousand wagers so far this year on hurricanes from U.S. bettors.
  • Among hurricane-related action bets are:
    - How many hurricanes will hit the U.S.?
    - How many hurricanes will hit Florida?
    - How many category-specific (category 3, category 4, etc.) hurricanes will strike the U.S.?
  • Gamblers currently believe the odds of six or more hurricanes hitting the U.S. are 5-1.
  • The average hurricane gambler's bets are about $100.
  • Although viewed by some as a grim wager, bets on natural disasters are nothing new, according to the AP. "In the 1790s, people in Philadelphia and New York bet on which city would have more deaths during a bad yellow fever outbreak."

5. Birthday Suit

Today, the bikini turns 60 years old.

  • Although the bikini is more than 1,700 years old based on mosaics from the Villa Romana del Casale in Sicily believed to have been created in 300 AD, the modern version that we now know and love debuted in Paris on July 5, 1946.
  • Louis Reard, a French engineer, and French designer Jacques Heim, were in competition in the early 1940s to produce the world's smallest swimsuit, according to the BBC; a truly noble design battle if ever there was one.
  • Reard reportedly had noticed women in St. Tropez rolling up their bathing suits in an attempt to get a better tan.
  • The name "bikini" came to Reard following US post-World War II atomic tests on the South Pacific Bikini atoll.
  • Initially banned in Catholic countries, the bikini craze as a fashion statement is widely credited to Bridgette Bardot in the 1957 film "And God Created Woman."

Minyan: Good Bikini Not a Minyan: Bad Bikini

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