Daily Reading – Tuesday, June 15, 2011

The Big Picture: ECRI: Prolonged U.S. Slowdown Underway

The U.S. economy is “not yet” headed for a double-dip recession, but a sharp and prolonged downturn is underway and may make jobs growth even tougher to come by, an influential analyst said Monday.

FT Alphaville: What modern oil market intervention looks like

Is this the reason why the rest of Opec were miffed at Saudi Arabia last week?

FT Alphaville: WGO – What’s going on in Brent-WTI?

First there was Cushing syndrome. Then there were Brent market antics. Now, nobody knows what’s going on in the Brent-WTI spread.

FT BeyondBRICs: S&P cuts China property outlook

Pity the developers. Faced with tightening liquidity, an uncertain sales outlook, rising commodity prices and a government that is determined to get a grip on runaway property prices, the industry has another doomsayer: the ratings agencies.

FT BeyondBRICs: Sino Forest: smoke or fire?

After weeks of allegations from short-seller Muddy Waters, Sino Forest held an analyst call on Tuesday in a bid to assuage the concerns of investors – who have watched the share price plummet 70 per cent in recent weeks – and to announce first quarter earnings.

Maybe it was the awkward way in which a few analysts’ questions were cut off, or the way some questions were ignored entirely, that unsettled the market:  immediately after the call, the stock fell 12 per cent on the Toronto Stock Exchange. It closed down 32 per cent.

The China Beat: China’s Water Challenges: A Quick Q & A with Environmental Historian Kenneth Pomeranz

Over the years, Ken and I have talked a lot about China’s “water woes” (to invoke the title of one of his earlier posts), and I also had the good fortune to be able to hear him give an excellent illustrated presentation on hydraulic concerns (well, he made some comments about dry land, too) when he accepted our campus’ top research award a while back. It seemed only natural, with water issues grabbing headlines yet again, to find a way to make his insights onto the topic more widely available.

FastCompany: KinectShop: The Next Generation Of Shopping [Exclusive Video]

A new augmented reality shopping platform for Xbox Kinect will allow users to try on clothes in true 3-D, share photos with friends, and store wish-listed items on smartphones for shopping on-the-go.

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