Business Finance & Investment Daily Blog Report: Buffet set for Bear? China heating up Uranium markets, Hurricane t

by ANDREW RIDEOUT - Date: 2007-09-27 - Word Count: 1113 Share This!

This is a selection of today’s most popular blog articles from where you will find the highest-rated stock market and investment blogs, videos and podcasts on the web.

Buffet set for stake in Bear Stearns?

Widely-read investment blog DealBreaker contained a post commenting on one of Wall Street’s latest and greatest rumors. Apparently, Warren Buffett is said to be mulling a bid for Bear Stearns- one of the largest global investments banks, securities trading and brokerage firms. The post noted that “Bear Stearns shares shot up over 8% yesterday after reports surfaced that the Wall Street bank is in serious talks with Warren E. Buffett.” It is speculated that Buffett could be about the purchase a 20% stake in the firm.

According to Dealbreaker, “it’s hardly news that Bear Stearns has been out shopping a 20% stake to potential investors. There’s been talk of several US bidders and, of course, a Chinese take-out bank making bids.” In fact, Dealbreaker was adamant that a company like Bear Stearns is not Buffett’s cup of tea.

Dealbreaker pointed to Buffett’s dislike of the “culture of big egos, big risks and even bigger salaries” at companies like Bear Stearns. Additionally, the post also argues that questions over Bear Stearns book value could be the biggest hurdle to Buffett taking a stake. The post openly asked if “anyone knows what Bear Stearns book value is?” The post also declared that “even Bear Stearns admits its guessing about the value of some of the assets it owns.” John Carney, the author of the post, was thoroughly unconvinced by the rumors. He was sure to emphasize that “we do a lot of rumor sorting here at DealBreaker, and we call bullsh*t on this rumor.”

China soaking up global uranium supplies

A new post from East-West Energy Chronicle revealed some new details regarding the recent surge in uranium deals involving China. The impending nuclear agreement between the US and India is said to be the key motivating factor for the up-swing in Chinese uranium investment due to the fact that, when ratified, “it is expected to push up prices for the already expensive metal.” The US-India deal will effectively allow India to enjoy unfettered nuclear trade. While the Chinese will never get a deal similar to the one that India is getting, the post reports that they have “asked the US to help it work out its nuclear power standards, which guide nuclear power actions and safety.”

China’s official target for nuclear power capacity is said to be 40 GWe (gigawatt electrical) by 2020. Within the next 5 years, the Chinese plan to add another 18 GWe. The total plan is expected to cost in the neighbourhood of $50 billion dollars.

The post reported that China has recently wrapped up a uranium supply deal with Australia. Uranium, whose spot price was recently listed at $130/lb, is also plentiful in Africa and this has led China to begin cultivating relationships with several African regimes. According to the post, “Africa holds 18% of the world’s uranium deposits.” It was also stated that China is willing to spend big to help 3rd world countries develop their infrastructure- provided China gets a big chunk of their uranium production. The post notes that “China is paying for modernisation of the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s infrastructure and recently signed an agreement to build a major highway, a railway, 31 hospitals, 145 health centres and two universities.”

Hurricane fears send oil prices higher

Resource Investor, a widely-read blog focused on the mining and drilling industries, is tying a 92 cent increase in the price of crude oil to recent news from the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami. According to the post, “Tropical Storm Karen could strengthen into a named storm over the next day in the south-western Gulf of Mexico.” That particular region of the Gulf of Mexico contains a myriad of off-shore drilling platforms and wild weather generally means that the platforms could be either shut-down temporarily or damaged.

The majority of the off-shore oil platforms located in the Gulf of Mexico are based in and around the western gulf and the Bay of Campeche. Tropical Storm Karen could potentially reach peak strength around these areas.

The post reports that this price increase comes on the heels of new numbers from the U.S Energy Department’s Energy Information Administration stating that “crude inventories rose by 1.8 million barrels during the week ended Sept. 21. Gasoline inventories also grew by 600,000 barrels last week, three times the 200,000-barrel increase analysts had expected.” That said, the same study also revealed that despite the growth in reserves “refinery utilization plunged by 2.7 percentage points to 86.9% of capacity.”

Global cleantech investment tops 1 billion

According to a recent post from the blog VC Ratings, an expert business blog focused on the venture capital sector, global investment in cleantech has accelerated rapidly during the first half of 2007. The post stated, “Global energy and clean technology venture investments topped $1 billion for the first time in the first half of 2007.” Clifford Carlsen, the author of the post, pointed to a number of “huge late-stage equity deals” and “growth in start-up investments in new technology companies” as the principal reasons for cleantech’s record-setting numbers. Ernst & Young along with Dow Jones VentureOne have both pegged investment at $1.1 billion. Carlsen also reports that the two companies “project that cleantech investment is on track to grow more than 35% for the year.”

The United States is unsurprisingly the leading market for cleantech funding. The post reports “71 fundings totalling nearly $900 million,” while Europe drew, “$80 million in 19 deals.”

Solar energy continues to dominate the American cleantech sector, while the post also noted that alternative fuels and wind power have begun to develop a significant niche within Europe. VC Ratings also stated that start-up activity in Israel and China is minimal, but they did refer to both areas as “nascent markets for cleantech start-ups.”

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