Michigan Governor Snyder Decides to Sign Bill Banning Direct Sales from Tesla (TSLA) Oct 21, 2014 02:14PM

(Updated - October 21, 2014 2:14 PM EDT)

Michigan Governor Snyder decides to sign Tesla (Nasdaq: TSLA) bill. House Bill 5606 will ban Tesla from conducting direct sales in the state.

Earlier, Snyder commented, I’ve got a bill that was passed 106-to-1 and 38-to-nothing, that talks about strengthening a law, that may reaffirm what the law already was.

Tesla issued a statement earlier in the month about lawmakers passing House Bill 5606.

UPDATE - The State of Michigan posted the following to its website on Tuesday:

Gov. Rick Snyder today signed bipartisan legislation that clarifies and strengthens an existing law about direct auto sales in Michigan.

House Bill 5606, sponsored by state Rep. Aric Nesbitt, also prohibits auto manufacturers from dictating fees franchised dealers can charge customers. The legislation allows individual auto dealers to make the business decision whether to charge the transaction fee.

The bill was approved by 38-0 in the state Senate, and 106-1 in the state House of Representatives.

Snyder said Tuesday there has been a misunderstanding about the legislation.

“This bill does not, as some have claimed, prevent auto manufacturers from selling automobiles directly to consumers at retail in Michigan – because this is already prohibited under Michigan law,” Snyder said in a letter to lawmakers that accompanies the signed bill.

Language in the bill states plainly that a manufacturer can only sell new vehicles to consumers through its own network of franchised dealers. HB 5606 deletes the word “its” from a sentence in existing law.

This change would merely allow manufacturers who do not have their own franchised dealers to sell through another manufacturer’s network of franchised dealers. They will be required, just as they are now, to sell through a franchised dealer, and not directly to consumers. HB 5606 does nothing to change this fact. At most, it clarifies the existing requirement in Michigan law.

Snyder requested Attorney General Bill Schuette analyze the effect of the bill, and the Attorney General’s Office also concluded that auto manufacturers could sell only through franchised dealers, as is the case in existing law.

Snyder said lawmakers can and should discuss the current business model soon to determine if it is best for the state’s consumers.

“We should always be willing to re-examine our business and regulatory practices with an eye toward improving the customer experience for our citizens and doing things in a more efficient and less costly fashion,” he said.

The bill is now Public Act 354 of 2014.

The governor also signed HB 5273, sponsored by state Rep. Nancy Jenkins which connects small businesses with funding opportunities by creating Michigan Investment Markets, which operate as intrastate broker-dealers. The law connects Michigan businesses and residents, allowing for stock in local businesses to be bought, sold and traded.

The legislation is an extension of the crowdfunding measure enacted in 2013, allowing companies to use crowdfunding to raise money for their business. It is now PA 355.


Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal Talks Oil Prices, Stocks and ISIS on FBN Oct 21, 2014 11:13AM

Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal spoke with FOX Business Network's (FBN) Maria Bartiromo in a wide-ranging interview about regulation, real estate, Yahoo! and oil production. Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal spoke about regulation saying, it's "organized confusion" and that the United States is "overregulated in the financial industry." When asked whether he would buy Yahoo!, he said, "No, thanks, I don't buy Yahoo!" and that "the market is just putting a price tag that's equal to its share, its share in Alibaba." Prince Al-Waleed went on to talk about oil production in Saudi Arabia saying, "I don't think that Saudi Arabia now is in a position to reduce its production, exactly like the position of United Arab Emirates and Kuwait" and the reason oil prices are falling is because of "a confluence of events, on the supply side, on the demand side."

Excerpts from the interview are below:

On regulation:

"I believe, frankly speaking, that the United States has -- it's overregulated in the financial industry. I think we should have one regulator that clearly supervises everything, because right now you have seven regulators or six regulators. Each one comes with his own opinion, his own recommendations, so it's really, it's like an organized confusion you have right now. And you need to get stability in the banking industry. Banks are doing better than before right now, and I think that you have to inject stability there by telling them exactly where are they heading, what's needed from them."

On whether he would buy Yahoo!:

"No, thanks, I don't buy Yahoo!. I respect Yahoo!. I respect the lady CEO over there, but obviously I believe Yahoo! right now, the market is just putting a price tag that's equal to its share, its share in Alibaba. So, frankly speaking, I have no further comments on Alibaba, on Yahoo!, but really, the market is not putting a lot of credence into that company."

On whether he has seen pullback in terms of real estate:

"No, no. I saw actually in the hotel industry, the management part and the real estate part, we have seen no slowdown at all. Actually we've seen some growth. Actually, George V in Paris, the Savoy in London, the Plaza in New York, the San Francisco Fairmont, the Raffles in Singapore, what's similar among them is they're all showing growth...so, no, we've no slowdown at all, whatsoever, at all. Actually, they're picking up and doing better and they are a lot better than the big crisis era."

On the whether the price of oil would be a catastrophe for the Saudi Arabia economy:

Yes, and I reiterate again now...the minister of oil. That same minister just a few months ago set at $100 the price of oil. Everybody is happy, the consumers and the producers. Well guess what now? The price of oil now is $80; we hear nothing out of him. Having said that, the price of oil at $80 is not news at all for Saudi Arabia. Look, Saudi Arabia is 90 percent of its budget is based on oil. And can you imagine a $20 collapse, which is 20 percent from $100, causes a major ripple effect in our budget for this year and next year."

On the reason oil prices are falling:

"It's a confluence of events, on the supply side, on the demand side. Let me explain to you. On the supply side, you've seen now the United States is increasing its oil production and gas production. We've seen how other countries also are increasing their production. Also fracking in the United States is going up. Some of the countries also in Europe and Paris are beginning to get into the fracking business, also. And also, in the Middle East, also, Iraq -- with all that's going on there, in southern part of it, also exports are still taking place.... So on the supply side we're not seeing any drying up; actually we're seeing an increase in supply. On the demand side, we've seen how China as you've said that grew at 7.3 percent... Also, Japan also is sitting on the verge of recession. But really what broke the camel's back was really -- is the revision of Germany's growth from 2 percent to 1.3 percent. This was really the final straw that broke the camel's back whereby the market jitters increased and expectation of demand were, I believe, were diminished substantially."

On what he would like to see happen from the Saudi standpoint right now:

You know, Saudi Arabia's position with the UAE, United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait, publicly went out and said that we will not reduce our production. Because if we do reduce our production, some others will come and increase their production and they'll lose market share. So basically they'll be having double hits by having less production with less price of oil...I don't think that Saudi Arabia now is in a position to reduce its production, exactly like the position of United Arab Emirates and Kuwait."

On whether he is expecting a decline in production in the coming months which would result in oil prices going back up:

"Well, I think there are a few choices. Choice number one, they all meet together, the OPEC countries, and agree to reduce the production, whereby at least to maintain the existing price level or maybe to have it go up to a price acceptable to producers and consumers."

On whether the markets are being rattled today:

Well, you know, yesterday I was meeting with President Hollande the other day and we had the top leaders and seniors of the sovereign oil funds from North America, from Far East, from Australia, and from the Gulf Region. And they all showed some warnings and concerns and jitters about the potential reduction of growth in China, Japan and now in Germany, because Germany, if it slows down, is going to affect the whole European arena. And Mr - President Hollande was very adamant in his position, and alliance clear with many other leaders in the southern part of Europe, like Italy, Spain and Portugal, whereby they would like to get some additional stimulus into the European Union. And this obviously is being faced with some tough rejection from Germany, but I think now with the reduction of growth, potential growth in Germany from 2 percent to 1.3 percent, I think Germany would begin to be more lenient in that front. So growth is the name of the game."

On the banks:

Well, you know, Kingdom Holding is a mature company. It's a market cap of around $24 billion, $25 billion. So that's why we are mature and we act in mature manner. So, we only invest in those companies I believe have growth like JD.com in China, like Twitter in the United States, and like many other project sin the Middle East. As for Citigroup results. We have seen, really, Citigroup this quarter shine, because if you compare them with the other big competitors like Bank of America, really, which was basically at the zero level flat, and J.P. Morgan, which missed, and Wells Fargo that met. It was Citigroup only that beat the results. So really, Citigroup under the leadership of Mr. Corbat have really saw some consistency and perseverance in the results and the results of this quarter proved very much that they're on the right track under Corbat's leadership. And, by the way, I just met him in Riyadh just three days ago."

On his shift into investing in technology companies:

"Well, sure, we were the first investors in Apple. When we went to Apple, the price was $9. And I remember Steve Jobs telling me, first telling me when I met him in California, saying that you are the only believer in our company. And, yes, we do still have the stake in Apple. As for really moving to JD.com in China and Twitter in the United States, these are really high flying and star companies in their arenas. And, yes, we are very focused in our plan investing in these companies. And to tell you, frankly speaking, many companies come to us in this arena and just last two weeks we have declined maybe two or three companies because they were overvalued and we believe that their future is not as secure, as guaranteed as Twitter and as JD.com in China. So we are very selective."

On his reaction to the coalition between Saudi Arabia and the U.S. to destroy ISIS:

"The question is not is it going to work or not. I think the world community no choice but not to only contain and degrade but to eradicate ISIS. ISIS is a disease, is a danger, because these are people are sending us back to the dark ages, the middle ages. And that cannot be accepted or tolerated at all. We've seen how men have been slaughtered. We've seen how ladies have been enslaved. We've seen how -- I've seen youngsters being imprisoned. This can't continue. And I believe eventually -- thank god that Mr. Obama took leadership, and right now under the leadership of the United States, we have Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, and Jordan are all fighting right now."


Maria Bartiromo to Interview Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal Tuesday, October 21st Oct 20, 2014 04:58PM

Market watchers should file this under a 'must watch TV'... Fox Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo will be interview Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal tomorrow at 9:00 AM/ET.

The interview will focus on the significance of falling oil prices and the current state of Saudi business.

This is exclusive interview and the last time he gave an interview on Fox Business Network was Jan. 2010.


Recent Investor Exodus from Western Digital (WDC) Might Create Buying Opportunity - Barron's Oct 20, 2014 11:47AM

Western Digital (Nasdaq: WDC) is seeing upside on Monday following a positive mention in Barron's over the weekend.

Barron's suggests that Western Digital is worth a second look. While investors are rushing from tech to consumer staples, such as Campbell Soup (NYSE: CPB), Western Digital has put up impressive growth over the last few years.

Digital storage is still a growth market and the industry has been whittled down from 10 to three over the last decade. Western Digital (Nasdaq: WDC) and Seagate Tech (Nasdaq: STX) control 85 percent of the market. That compares with much fiercer competition in the food segment.

Western Digital is also cheap versus Campbell, going for 10.7 times FY15 earnings versus 16.7 times for Campbell.

Street analysts see Western Digital growing revs 1.2 percent to $15.3 billion in FY15 with EPS rising 2.9 percent to $8.33. Forecasts for the following two years have EPS growth rates at 6.6 percent and 8.7 percent.

Shares of Western Digital are up over 1 percent.


Tesla (TSLA) Plans Model S Promotion Through Alibaba's Tmall Oct 20, 2014 06:48AM

Tesla (Nasdaq: TSLA) will sell its Model S sedan on Alibaba's (NYSE: BABA) online shopping platform, Tmall, during a promotion next month.

According to a Sina blog post made by Tesla, shoppers will be able to use their Yu’E Bao money market fund.

Shares of Tesla are positive in early trading Monday.


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