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QUEST MEANS BUSINESS
Philips Reports Profit; New Michael Jackson Song Out; 'Work at Work' Visits Wine-Maker
Aired October 12, 2009 - 14:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ADRIAN FINIGHAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Philips turns on the lights as the focus shifts to earnings season.
"This Is It," Michael Jackson's posthumous new single takes the stage.
And a fine bouquet with vintage flavor, your "World at Work" at the winery.
Hello, I'm Adrian Finighan, in for Richard Quest. This is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS.
Good evening. Can a corporate bounce extend a seven-month rally in equities? It's all to play for as earnings season kicks into high gear this week. Now Philips has come out of the gate with a bang, surprising with a return to profit. And the markets have responded in kind.
Let's look at the Big Board right now. It's all the play for (ph) at the moment. These good reports that we're expecting, hoping for this week could well tip the Dow over 10,000. It's up 41 points right now at 9,904. And Europe got off to a strong start this Monday. All of the major indices closed higher with London's FTSE breaking through the 5,200 mark for the first time in over a year.
Energy stocks and car-makers climbed on higher oil prices, Renault and VW rose by at least 3 percent, tech stocks were also up. Alcatel-Lucent climbed 5 percent in Paris after a stock upgrade.
Well, one stock really lit a spark under trading today, it was, of course, Philips, Europe's largest consumer electronics maker, and it jumped more than 7 percent in Amsterdam today on a surprise return to profit, the company announced today its third-quarter profits were three times higher than the same period last year at more than $250 million.
But the news comes amid massive cost-cutting and the company's CFO warned that it's still too early to forecast a full recovery.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PIERRE-JEAN SIVIGNON, CFO, PHILIPS ELECTRONICS: I think it's hard to talk about a recovery because the visibility is quite limited. And I think in the domain of lifestyle, the selling season is about to start, Christmas for Europe and a good part of the world. Thanksgiving for the U.S., all of this is weeks away from us. Chinese New Year for Asia, that's very important as well. And those are the proof points to see if consumer will be there.
And we have to see if and when, you know, in times this exactly the consumer will be, will be there. In the domain of professional business, the stimulus packages of a couple of countries, China, in particular, and U.S. in the domain of lighting, are helping us. Will that continue next year? We will -- we think that for the U.S., it will continue, because that then is just starting for China. I think we will have to see.
So as I said, lots of uncertainties.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FINIGHAN: All right. So Philips delivered, can major U.S. firms do the same? Over the next few days, third-quarter earnings season begins in earnest in the States. And some are calling this the most important earnings season in years.
Major firms reporting this week include Intel and Johnson & Johnson on Tuesday, and JPMorgan Chase on Wednesday. And the parade of bank earnings continues with Citigroup and Goldman Sachs on Thursday. Google and IBM also report on that day. And on Friday, General Electric reports.
And here with a look at what to watch out for as these important earnings roll in is our Maggie Lake, who joins us now live from New York to take us through it.
Maggie, what are we looking -- what signs are we looking for in these earnings reports?
MAGGIE LAKE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think the thing, Adrian, is that we've got to look a lot more closely than we've been looking in the past. And they're right, it is a really important earnings season, because it's going to be a big test of this theory that we are now in a global recovery.
So you can't just look at the headlines that come out, because profits are going to look pretty good. We know that already. What you need to do is look a little bit deeper in here. So here's the sort of cheat sheet we're going to be looking at, very important to look at revenues.
Are companies doing better, posting better profits, because they're selling more stuff because their revenue is improving. It's not just enough to cut costs anymore. A lot of people think that they are cut to the bone already. You want to see where that profit growth is coming from. You want to listen to what they say about guidance.
If a company did well but they're not -- they basically say, we don't have any visibility, we don't know what's going to happen a couple of months from now, that's not so great. You want to hear them starting to talk positive about the months to come.
And of course, global growth is going to be a little bit more interesting this time. Where are their biggest markets? Where do they get their profits from? Because as we know, there have been a lot of fluctuations in currency markets. It's going to start to have an impact even more so as we get into the fourth quarter.
So you want to see if they have big exposure to the dollar, that could affect things. If they're abroad and they don't need to repatriate or their growth is in some of those emerging markets, it could actually bode well for them.
So that's going to be more important this time. So we've really got to dig a little deeper and be a little bit more discerning this time. And of course, as you know, because you've done it with us, we're going to start the Q25 (ph) again to try to help our viewers get down to some of those dirty details and see if we can make some sense of what these companies are actually saying -- Adrian.
FINIGHAN: Absolutely right. You've got the Dow at 9,900 at the moment. We were talking about the fact that some of these earnings reports, if they are good, could tip the Dow over 9,000 -- over 10,000, rather.
But to what extent are good earnings already priced into the market? It was up, what, 4 percent last week?
LAKE: That's right. That's right. And that's a sort of traditional, you buy on the anticipation, and then oftentimes people sell when the news actually comes out. However, I was talking to an analyst today, and he said something very interesting in that even if the earnings disappoint, we all say we're going to really look at the quality of earnings, even if you don't like what you're seeing, he thinks, and many others, that these stock markets are just going to continue to go up, that 10,000 is a forgone conclusion because there is another very big factor at work, and that is the Fed.
The Federal Reserve isn't directly buying equities, but they might as well be because they're flooding so much liquidity into the system, throwing so many dollars out there that they're making their way into these equity markets and it's putting sort of this permanent bid or buy into the market, regardless of the news that comes out.
So it's going to be an important earnings season, but even people who feel bearish about it and think that stocks have gotten ahead of themselves are having a really hard time selling these markets down. In fact, the analyst said when he is talking to a lot of people out there, some bears, they describe it as the most hated rally ever, because it's so disconnected to economic fundamentals.
Who thought we would hear that, a rally that people hate? But there you go.
FINIGHAN: Yes, we've got Philips on this side of the Atlantic, then stunning the markets over here. Amsterdam up 7 percent today after it reported a three-quarter jump in profits compared to last year. I'm going to ask you to gaze into your crystal ball now, do you think we're in for any surprises over there?
LAKE: You know, I don't know, Adrian, but the one thing I would say about all of this, when you see these terrific run-ups, if you think about what that economist was saying, and we've been hearing it all along, that all of this money flowing in, and it's not about economic fundamentals, the thing you have to worry about is being the last person to chase that money into these rallies.
Because when it turns and we get a sense that some of those liquidity measures are going to be pulled back, you could see a very big swing out of some of these markets. And that's what I worry about, somebody who is watching this thinking, I've waited on the sideline, I want to jump in now, when it's not based on fundamentals, it can shift really quickly against you.
So beware is the thing I'd say when I'm gazing into my crystal ball.
FINIGHAN: All right. Maggie, many thanks, indeed. Maggie Lake, live in New York. And as Maggie said, we'll be guiding you through the earnings season with our Q25, which is great fun if you've never seen it before, you'll learn a lot. And we'll bring you up to date with the news headlines in just a moment or two.
But first, I want to tell you about the Nobel Prize for economics, which has been jointly awarded today to two Americans academics. Elinor Ostrom and Oliver Williamson share the $1.4 million prize. They're being recognized for their analysis of economic governance.
Williamson is a retired professor from the University of California Berkeley, his theories concern the success of large private corporations and why it's better to regulate them than simply make them smaller.
Ostrom, a professor at Indiana University, is the first woman to win the award, making it particularly newsworthy. Her work demonstrates how common property can be successfully managed by user associations. And earlier, she spoke about
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ELINOR OSTROM, INDIANA UNIVERSITY, 2009 NOBEL MEMORIAL PRIZE FOR ECONOMICS: But I explained to him that something happened that honored him, because I would not be a Ph.D. but for very early work with him. And the workshop wouldn't exist. We co-founded that. And I consider this an honor for him and for my colleagues here at the workshop because we've all worked together to get this done.
In fact, my new book will be coming out soon and it will be called "Working Together."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FINIGHAN: Elinor Ostrom, the first woman to win the Nobel Prize for economics, congratulations to her.
Let's get you up-to-date then with what else is making news around the world right now, Fionnuala Sweeney joins us live from the London news room.
FIONNAULA SWEENEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Thanks, Adrian.
And topping the news this hour, a devastating attack on a checkpoint in Pakistan's Swat Valley which left 41 people dead, another 45 were wounded in the attack, explosion capped a bloody weekend in Pakistan. On Saturday, militants stormed the army's headquarters, 14 military personnel and civilians and nine militants were killed in that assault.
South Korean news agencies are reporting that North Korea test fired five short-range missiles Monday. And they also report that the North has banned ships from parts of their coast for the next eight days. These images are from a 2007 military parade in North Korea.
Chinese courts have sentenced six people to death over the deadly chaos that erupted in Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang region. Hundreds of trials are set to happen this week. In July, days of clashes between Han Chinese and Uighur ethnic group left nearly 200 people dead.
Now for a bit of British irony, courtesy of the prime minister. Gordon Brown spoke out as part of a panel of economists on Monday, criticizing the opposition party's financial canny, and encouraging economic stimulus. Meanwhile, Mr. Brown's own financial planning is making headlines, his office confirms he'll be paying back about $19,000 in disputed expense claims. The money in question was used for gardening, cleaning, and laundry. The spending was revealed by an audit covering five years of lawmakers claims.
His scam was bone-chilling, so no surprise a mask of Bernard Madoff is expected to be a big seller this Halloween. The New York financier's Ponzi scheme cost investors hundreds of millions. His mask should considerably less. One company says the mask will be popular, but may be outsold by Michael Jackson and Super Mario masks.
And speaking of the late "King of Pop," a new single by Jackson debuted online 14 hours ago, titled "This Is It," the new song is from an upcoming documentary about the star. The movie opens October 28th for a limited two-week run, the song will be included on a two-disk CD that accompanies the movie.
And those are the headlines. Don't forget to tune in for more on the day's biggest stories, "WORLD ONE" at 8:30 p.m. London time. In the meantime, Adrian, back to you in the studio.
FINIGHAN: Fionnuala, many thanks.
As we just heard from Fionnuala, just because someone has died, doesn't necessarily mean that's it. Michael Jackson is one of those big name entertainers who remain big earners even from beyond the grave. CNN's Diana Magnay reports now on how the new song "This Is It" is music to the ears of retailers.
DIANA MAGNAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A new song from Michael Jackson, new insofar as it has never been heard before, delivered with the highest possible security to London's radio stations early Monday morning.
Not entirely necessary nowadays as it's easy to deliver songs digitally, but this is a carefully crafted piece of theater, a fitting legacy, you could say, for one of the world's greatest showman.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It really is hot breakfast exclusive, it has just arrived in the studio. None of us have heard it. Here it is. "This Is It."
(MUSIC PLAYING, MICHAEL JACKSON "THIS IS IT")
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There we go, the brand new song by Michael Jackson. I never thought I'd ever say that.
MAGNAY: It's not clear when the song was written or recorded, it's thought it could date back to around 1991, about the time Michael Jackson was putting together his "Dangerous" album, a mark against it in radio D.J. Jamie Theakston's books.
JAMIE THEAKSTON, RADIO D.J.: I think it's important to remember that if his wish is to be believed that he wrote it around about 15 years ago, and it didn't make it onto the "Dangerous" album. So he has rejected it. He has said, this song isn't good enough to go on my album. So I think you have to put it into context.
MAGNAY: Not that Jackson's devoted fans seem to care.
DANIEL HALAWI, MICHAEL JACKSON FAN: I've heard so many unreleased songs, but this is one that, you know, no one has ever heard and we're the first ones here to hear it. I mean, it's just amazing to hear say it's new from him.
MAGNAY: "This Is It" won't be available as a single. If you want a copy, you'll have to buy the album, set to release at the end of this month, a two-disc compilation of mainly old classics like "Billie Jean" and "Smooth Criminal."
BEN CARDEW, MUSIC WEEK: This new album has got basically one new song and one new poem on it, which I suppose if you're looking at it cynically, you could say you're trying to, you know, make as much use as the new stuff as you can do, basically, by getting everyone who wants the one new song, well, you've got to buy the album.
MAGNAY: Besides that, there is also a movie.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the moment. This is it.
MAGNAY: Rehearsal footage for Jackson's final tour, releasing at the end of this month for two weeks only, small substitute for the fans who had hoped to see him in person, but proof that in death as in life, Michael Jackson still has the power to entertain.
Diana Magnay, CNN, London.
FINIGHAN: And that was the lovely Harriet Scott sitting next to Jamie there at London's Heart, which is the biggest breakfast show they host together here in the capital.
Now there is very little to sing about if you're in the aviation business right now. In a year when airlines are set to lose billions, the boss of one carrier is logging a flight plan for survival.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EMIRSYAH SATAR, PRES. & CEO, GARUDA INDONESIA: The first two years, (INAUDIBLE) is good enough. And then the next two years is a turnaround stage. And then later on, it's a growth stage.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FINIGHAN: We hear from the chief executive of Garuda, next.
FINIGHAN: Hello again.
Now airline stocks were up in Europe this session as investors counted on the economic recovery to lift demand. Shares in British Airways, Lufthansa, Air France, KLM, they all made solid gains today. And that's despite the International Air Transport Association's increasingly bleak predictions for this year.
It now expects the industry to lose $11 billion. Now fewer planes in the sky might be bad for profit, but better for the planet. And IATA says that when recovery arrives, it won't come at the cost of the environment.
The industry group says that carriers have agreed to improve fuel efficiency by 1.5 percent a year. They also want carbon-neutral growth by 20/20 to stabilize emissions. They're aiming to cut damaging emissions by 50 percent by the year 2050 based on 2005 levels. Now industry officials say that those targets are more ambitious than those set by governments.
Well, Indonesia's Garuda is one of those signed up to the IATA agreement on fuel efficiency and carbon emissions. Like many other airlines, Garuda has faced a financial fight for survival. But unlike others, it has also had to deal with corruption and tragedy. The boss of Garuda explained to Pauline Chiou how he guided the airline out of trouble.
PAULINE CHIOU, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Emirsyah Satar is on the move with a vision, a former banker and the son of an Indonesian diplomat, Satar was brought in as CEO of Garuda five years ago to save Indonesia's national airline. Back then, the airline was hemorrhaging money and battling corruption.
Today Satar has brought the airline into the black, Garuda has been profitable for the past two years. He says it took a lot of painful work in the beginning.
SATAR: The first two years, (INAUDIBLE) is good enough. And then the next two years is a turnaround stage. And then later on, it's a growth stage.
CHIOU: Growth means streamlining. Satar is selling off old planes and eliminating routes that lose money. With Indonesia's population of 240 million, Satar calculated the domestic and regional market would help it stay afloat before rolling out bigger plans. He was right.
Indonesia's economy, which is still growing at around 4 percent, has been largely insulated from the global downturn. Satar is ready to make what he calls a quantum leap.
(on camera): Your goal is to have profits of $365 million a year by the year 2014, how do you plan to do that?
SATAR: It has to go by stages, you know? As of today, our profit to 2008 is about $670 billion, right? By July, I think we have already reached what we achieved in 12 months in 2008. So we hope by adding the fleet, adding the capacity, and going to the right routes, and getting enough margins, we can reach that.
CHIOU (voice-over): In June of 2007, the E.U. placed a ban on all Indonesian airlines because of a string of deadly accidents with various carriers, including a Garuda crash which killed 21 people.
(on camera): Garuda has not had a great reputation for its safety record. Do you think that Garuda has gotten over that reputation?
SATAR: Yes, I mean, we had accident back in 2007 at that time, by that time we really improved what we need to improve. And finally we got IOSA, which is the IATA standard for safety, OK? And also, you know, we work with -- we have port (ph) share with other airlines, I mean, big airlines, talking about Singapore Airlines, Korean Airlines, Qatar.
That shows that, you know, they also have confidence in Garuda.
CHIOU (voice-over): Three months ago, the E.U. lifted the ban on certain Indonesian airlines, Garuda was one of those allowed back into European airspace. Now Satar has grand plans to have his pilots break into the long-haul market, introducing a route from Indonesia to Amsterdam in June of 2010. Then he wants to target Frankfurt, London, Paris, Rome, and in 2012, Los Angeles.
Garuda also plans to expand from a fleet of 66 planes to 116 aircraft in five years. Despite these grand ambitions, Garuda still grapples with $700 million in debt.
(on camera): You wanted to have an IPO for Garuda for some time now, but it has been stalled. What has the problem been?
SATAR: Due to the global crisis -- financial crisis, it has been -- it has to be stopped. But we still plan to go by mid-2010. We've already got an approval from the parliament, so we can so-called float up to 40 percent of the shares. And then government has already given a green light.
So right now, we are going to work with the government as the major shareholders.
CHIOU (voice-over): Garuda's major creditors, a consortium of banks in Britain, France, and Germany, have agreed in principle to extend its loans (ph) to Garuda by seven years. Satar says he hopes the final deal for this debt restructuring plan will be signed by the end of October.
Turning around an airline is not easy. Satar has accomplished that in five years, but he's not slowing down. This is a man who looks into the horizon with his own wheels turning.
Pauline Chiou, CNN, Hong Kong.
FINIGHAN: Now plenty of us like something a little fruity and fun to settle us in for the flight, and I'm not talking about Richard Quest -- that's what is says here, I didn't write this. But about a few sips of velvety red wine.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PETER LUDRIKS, WINE-MAKER: You're growing the grapes or you buy the grapes, and you putting that in that machine. And it's -- you know, you hope for the best.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FINIGHAN: That's the voice of a wine-maker, and we'll tell you how it turns out in just a moment when we come back on QUEST MEANS BUSINESS.
FINIGHAN: Now imagine if your working day was all about wine. It's much harder work than it sounds, believe me. According to one wine-maker in Israel, we've been finding out all about his "World at Work."
LUDRIKS: I'm "Petter" because I'm born in -- I'm from Holland originally, and it's called "Petter," but in Israel they call me Peter because Peter is more known. But anyway, that's the way it is.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Over here, in the bottle, you know, I see this little figure over here of a guy riding a donkey the wrong around.
LUDRIKS: That's right.
I can't explain it in a couple of words. You know that our logo, actually, we choose it because, you know, we are -- some people here who started to make wine as a joke more or less, let's try it. And in the meantime, we learned how to do it.
It's also a little bit frightening, you know, because you're growing the grapes or you buy the grapes, and you putting that in that machine. And it's -- you know, you hope for the best, because in the beginning it's only the pure grape juice.
(INAUDIBLE) sweet and nice to drink, but it's not wine, so we have to change it into wine.
If you make a little mistake or you wait too long, it will be vinegar, and you can throw it away.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How many bottles have you thrown away?
LUDRIKS: We never threw away. (INAUDIBLE) that never haven't.
The three of us together, yes? Togetherness, you're making something, you're making a product.
A good wine more or less, let's say that way, that the people love. Yes? That if you open the bottle and you wait for a couple of minutes because it takes the grease a little bit, and you drink it, and you have the good taste, and you have a nice aftertaste, and the color is nice and the smell is good, but also it's personal, it's very personal.
LUDRIKS: Talking a lot, it makes us hungry and thirsty. Let's drink a little bit.
What is a perfect wine? It's like you can ask, what is a perfect woman? And it's according to everybody's taste, and you drink a wine, you like it or you don't like it, yes? And you have several levels, more or less, that's for sure. But the perfect wine does not exist.
FINIGHAN: Well, we want to know how you earn and spend your money, you can send us your pictures and stories of your "World at Work," perhaps you're a postman, look at that -- who took that photograph? It chopped his head off.
Perhaps you're like this guy or perhaps you're maybe even a carpenter, a builder, or perhaps you're female, even, or even him. Yes, that's what he does at work all day, eats muffins. Or I think that's a pie he's eating there.
You can find us anywhere in cyberspace. If you want to send us a photograph, we're on Facebook. You can e-mail us with your photograph, firstname.lastname@example.org. We are, of course, on Twitter. It's @RichardQuest. Tell us about your your "World at Work." We'd love to see your photographs.
Now it's a hot property, over 1,000 degrees in fact. In a moment, we'll break down one of the fundamental materials used in skyscrapers, cars, bridges, and highways. We'll be right back.
FINIGHAN: Welcome back. Live from London, this is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. I'm Adrian Finighan, in for Richard Quest.
Now economic power is shifting. The currency markets are no exception. Once one of the safest bets in the business, many investors are now turning against the U.S. dollar.
Take a look at this -- the dollar's decline. The dollar is hovering at its lowest level in nearly a year against the euro. Investors are concerned over a slow recovery in the U.S. low interest rates there. Nations with foreign currency reserves are increasingly favoring the euro or the yen.
The dollar today, if you take a look, is still weak against the euro, but it is showing small gains against yen and pound sterling. That's due to traders covering short positions and Ben Bernanke's comments on Friday that U.S. monetary policy could be tightened as recover takes hold.
And the dollar isn't the only currency that's in trouble at the moment. Not all currencies are benefiting from the dollar's decline.
Take a look at what's happening with sterling. The pound saw close to six month lows against the dollar and the euro on Monday. It was hit by a report today that U.F. -- U.K. interest rates could stay at (INAUDIBLE) .5 percent until 2011 and by the announcement today of major government plans to cut the deficit here in the U.K., with what amounts to a fire sale of assets.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown outlined those plans earlier today.
Here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GORDON BROWN, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: We have said very clearly that we will reduce the deficit by half over the next four years. I'm saying today that that will include the tax changes that we have already announced that will raise 13 billion pounds by 2013 or 14. It will include, also, our determination to bear down heavily on tax evasion and tax avoidance. Equally, we plan a sale of our assets to deal with our debt issues. And I've said today that 16 billion of assets will be sold within the next two years. We've listed a number of assets that we are determined, over the next period of time, to put into the market. That includes, of course, the student loan group (ph), the Dart Tunnel (ph), the cross -- the Channel rail link. It includes URENCO, subject to security issues being addressed on that. It includes the Tort (ph). And it includes other facilities and the property portfolio that will be announced over the next period of time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FINIGHAN: That's the fire sale that I was talking about.
Let's put all of these shifts in the currency markets into a global context. I asked David Jones, the chief market strategist at IG Index, why this is happening and how it might impact a wider recovery.
DAVID JONES, CHIEF MARKET STRATEGIST, IG INDEX:
FINIGHAN: I think, as ever with currency markets, there's -- there's never a clear cut answer. We have definitely seen a trend away from U.S. dollar demand over recent months. For example, if you look at what central banks have been up to, traditionally, the U.S. dollar is seen as a safe reserve currency. But over recent months, the central banks around the world have favored the euro and the yen.
So that lack of demand is definitely having an effect there, where central banks see more value in other currencies, maybe rather than actively selling the U.S. dollar.
And, of course, the U.S. have been clear and so that they -- they favor a weaker U.S. dollar. So if the government had taken that view, the rest of what been (INAUDIBLE) should be buying.
FINIGHAN: Yes, there have -- there have been no threats of -- of intervation -- intervention or even talking up the dollar. I should imagine that the G7 would have put -- put pressure on -- on the U.S. administration.
Is -- is the Obama administration playing with fire, though, by -- by not doing anything about the dollar?
I mean what -- what about the risk of inflation?
JONES: I mean, you're right. There -- there -- medium term, it could well be a dangerous game to play, because, of course, although inflation level -- no one's really worried about it, I think further down the line, it is going to be a concern. So that's one worry.
Plus, of course, other countries, particularly Japan, are starting to make noises that it's making their exports very difficult to achieve. So even though it's good for the U.S. economy, it's not really good for the rest of the world.
So I think we may well see increased political pressure further down the line if this continues to be a policy for the U.S. government.
FINIGHAN: Is it too early to talk of the dollar's demise as a reserve currency?
JONES: Yes. I think -- I think it is. I think it is too early. I think if you look back in history, recent history, back to the mid-1990s, the death of the dollar was being proclaimed in some quarters back then. And, of course, that's been proved to be far too premature.
If we take a step back and look at the bigger picture, against the euro, it's back to where it was around about a year ago, September last year, the U.S. dollar. So it has weakened.
But I think this is just going to be a temporary, short-term thing. I'm sure the dollar will return to favor over the next year or so.
FINIGHAN: Of course, it's not just the dollar weakening against the euro. And again, it's sterling, too, weakening even further today after the government announced what amounts to a fire sale of some of its assets.
JONES: Definitely. That has put the focus -- the spotlight back on the pound today, the government announcing this. So that really hasn't done any favors.
Plus, of course, we've had this report out saying that interest rates over the next year, at least, will remain at record levels, (INAUDIBLE) the surge report. And this -- this report, again, expects the U.K. interest rates to stay at 2 percent or below until at least 2014.
So there's a couple of things here piling the pressure on. First of all, if there are going to be higher interest rates than other currencies, it makes those currencies more attractive. And, secondly, the fact that interest rates is being moved, so they're going to stay so low for so long, it does show, you know, what -- what a bad state the U. -- the U.K. economy is still in.
So, again, that has turned people away from sterling again today.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
FINIGHAN: David Jones, chief market strategist at IG Index, speaking a little earlier, one of my teachers when I was a rookie trader a couple of months ago.
Did you catch that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
FINIGHAN: I'm still trading. Well, I'm -- I'm doing all right, but then look at the -- the bull market we've been in for the past few months.
Now, on the other side of the coin, if you'll pardon the pun, a weak dollar makes commodities look quite appealing to buyers. Gold and other commodities shone last week, you'll remember. Let's see how they're faring today.
Well, gold is selling closer to those record highs set last week that we were talking about on the show.
Meanwhile, copper is higher, too. It's getting above $6,200 a ton. And aluminium -- or aluminum, as the Americans say -- is up, too. It's trading for about $1,900 per ton.
Well, besides the weak dollar, the other factor driving commodity prices higher is, of course, demand from China. As the country develops, its appetite for raw materials is positively ravenous.
CNN's Asia business editor, Eunice Yoon, looks at the making of one very hot commodity -- steel.
EUNICE YOON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Eunice Yoon in Hong Kong. Steel -- it's used in everything from skyscrapers to cars. It's fundamental to every working economy. So I thought I'd show you how it's made.
(voice-over): Iron the key component in making steel. It's extracted from iron ore. The ore is heated in a blast furnace together with various chemicals. The end result is a raw version of steel, which is fashioned into rods called billets.
(on camera): These are billets. This is the starting point at this Hong Kong steel mill. Each one weighs two tons. The billets are brought here, to the furnace, where they're heated up to 1,000 degrees Celsius so that they become more malleable and molded into any shape. The bars go through these rollers and as you can see, they get narrower and narrower. The finished ones that make (INAUDIBLE) here are 10 millimeters in diameter.
By this time, the bars are cooled down. They've been sprayed with water and a hard (INAUDIBLE) on the bar to make it strong. But they're still 600 degrees, so they have to be cooled down even further and they're laid out on this (INAUDIBLE).
These are reinforcement bars -- the kind that are used to build highways and bridges. Each one is cut into a 12 layer long piece, which is an industry standard. This mill can churn out over 11,000 of these bars every hour.
The bars are bundled and stored for three to six months before they're shipped out to construction sites all over the world.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
FINIGHAN: Now, it's Asia's oldest stock exchange, with a relative youngster at the helm. We'll be talking to the head of the Bombay Stock Exchange about how he plans to fight off the competition and keep the iconic brand alive.
We'll be right back.
FINIGHAN: So, on this week's Biz Clinic, we're looking at what it takes to run a stock exchange. The New York Stock Exchange is, of course, the world's largest, with stocks traded there worth more than $10 trillion. The London Stock Exchange traces its roots back 300 years. And in Asia, the oldest stock exchange is the Bombay Stock Exchange. Its new leader took the helm at just 36 years of age.
In his first TV interview, Madhu Kannan told Mallika Kapur how he plans to rebuild the BSE.
MALLIKA KAPUR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is Dalal Street. Dalal is a Hindi word for broker and we're at the heart of India's financial might. This is the home of the Bombay Stock Exchange, Asia's oldest exchange.
(voice-over): More than 4,800 companies are listed on it -- the most of any exchange in the world. But the BSE, as it's popularly called in India, is struggling. It's losing market share to younger rivals, like the National Stock Exchange, which launched in the 1990s. The BSE's share of the Indian equity derivatives business has plunged from 80 to 25 percent in the last 15 years.
MADHU KANNAN, CEO, BOMBAY STOCK EXCHANGE: My philosophy is not to go back and look at what went wrong. I want to actually look at what we need to do to get it right.
KAPUR: Step one, says the CEO of the Exchange, who took over in May, invest in technology. It's one of the lessons he learned during his days working at the New York Stock Exchange. Unlike its rivals in India, the BSE does not own a technology firm -- yet. Kannan is in the process of buying one to offer clients quicker trades and better service. He says it's crucial to make the BSE a success.
KANNAN: In India and many parts of the world, (INAUDIBLE) has become a (INAUDIBLE) technology companies. And so when a technology company decides, you know, setting up exchanges, there's a trend that's happening across the world, be it in the U.S., be it in, you know -- you know, I mean in Vietnam or in any -- any other part of the world. And that's a trend in (INAUDIBLE) and it's also coming in (INAUDIBLE) happen in India.
So we've got to focus on that and its -- and make sure this organization adapts to that.
KAPUR: Kannan says it's just the next step in the 134-year-old company's constantly evolving history.
Trading started just a stone's throw away from the current building. A group of men would meet under a banyan tree and trade money. That evolved into the open (INAUDIBLE) system that took place in this very room before the BSE went electronic in 1995.
KANNAN: The fact that you are at the helm of an organization like this at a time like this, when you are trying to make one more adaptation, one more (INAUDIBLE) change, sometimes can be stressful. And that's part of life.
KAPUR: Other plans to revitalize the exchange include expanding into areas like derivatives trading, making the BSE a one stop shop for customers looking to trade across multiple platforms, a possible public listing and cashing in on the BSE's most valuable brand, its benchmark index, the Centex.
KANNAN: If you go to man in the street and ask him how the market did, he says up 200 points, up (INAUDIBLE) points. It's implicitly ingrained in the -- in the psyche of the Indian trader and just the man on the street that the Centex is the (INAUDIBLE)...
KAPUR (on camera): (INAUDIBLE).
KANNAN: It is. It is the battle maker of -- of the -- of the international market. It's all (INAUDIBLE). We -- we need to ensure the brand's ability, the brand's strength is translated into economic benefits.
KAPUR: And the market up about 20, 25 percent since you took over.
Are you a good omen?
KANNAN: I can't take credit for that.
KAPUR (voice-over): What he wants to take credit for eventually is getting the BSE back on its feet.
Mallika Kapur, CNN, Mumbai.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
FINIGHAN: Well, for more advice on how to navigate today's troubled financial waters, head to our Web site, CNN.com/bizclinic. And if you want to find out more about doing business in one of the world's fastest growing economies, make sure you tune in tomorrow night. We'll be doing the whole show live from India. Yes, Richard Quest is there and he's taking the pulse of the country's gold market. He's been at it today, frightening people wherever he goes.
He's talking, also, to the CEO of SpiceJet, a low cost Indian airline; buying socks and pajamas, by the looks of it, too. And we'll also be taking a look at why foreign investment is flooding into this emerging economy. And, no, no, no, those -- those are (INAUDIBLE). Don't let him buy those.
And we'll also take a look at the why, despite India's business and technology boom, 97 percent of the country's workforce holds unregulated and informal jobs.
Ah, now, those ties look good. I bet he wears one of them tomorrow night on the show. We'll find out this time tomorrow. Don't miss Richard Quest live from India on QUEST MEANS BUSINESS.
Right now, let's get a weather forecast.
Guillermo Adriano is at the CNN World Weather Center.
What kind of weather can -- can Richard expect there in -- in India -- Guillermo?
GUILLERMO ARDUINO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, depending where you go, because now I think it's going to be fairly OK. In general, it's going to be OK. And the weather looked pretty good in that day at the market. So I think it's going to be fine.
Now, you are going to be on the cool side. But compared to other sections of Europe, you are not in bad shape.
You see here, conditions are OK in England. We have some rain in Scotland and in the north. Now, the rain is coming back down here. You see again -- I'm going to show the loop again. There you go. At the end of a two day turn is when we get some rain showers, too.
But clouds in general, you -- look at the low on Wednesday, six degrees only; Adrian, 15 during the day, which is pretty good, because. You're going to see now the temps that we're expecting for the next days, especially this area over here.
We're expecting, also, a lot of snow in the alpine region, the Carpathian Mountains into Slovakia and the Czech Republic, Poland. So this is it. We have a jet stream here that is dividing the two air masses. The north, cold air is plunging down here and along with it, because of the presence of a low pressure center and the front here. We're going to see rain all over and heavy snow. So it's going to be very chilly.
You see that England is not there. Sixteen degrees, pretty good. Look at Berlin, 9. Five in Stockholm. Our friends in Norway know what (INAUDIBLE). But look at the division here -- 22 in Bucharest and 26 in Istanbul. It's a matter of time. It's going to get there, as well.
Let's see, Munich; maybe some snow tomorrow evening. We may see some delays here. Vienna, what a change, from 28.5 last -- what was it, Thursday -- on Thursday. And now we're talking about 6 to 8 to 10 degrees. What a big change.
Barcelona with some rain showers and Amsterdam with some clouds.
So that's what's going on.
Also, look at the front I was talking about, that it's going to come here and bring some stormy weather, especially into Anatolia and Marmarise (ph) in the southern parts there of the Aegean Sea and the -- the Mediterranean Sea both.
In the States, remember Melor, Tropical Storm Melor?
Well, it's coming in another form into the Pacific Northwest and it's bringing problems -- mudslides, wind, rain, snow -- bad, bad, bad.
We'll see you after the break.
Stay with CNN.
FINIGHAN: Now, the United States has become the latest country to qualify for next year's World Cup in South Africa. And as each team qualifies, scores of fans around the world prepare their travel plans. And each one of them brings, of course, their wallet.
But will South Africa's infrastructure and businesses be ready for the deluge?
CNN's Robyn Curnow has this report card on the 2010 tournament.
ROBYN CURNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Mortared and protected from the hot South African sun, these are the first green shoots growing on the pitch where the opening game of the World Cup will kick off in June next year.
Stadiums across the country will be ready by early next year, say FIFA officials, who, with clipboards in hand, have just inspected all of the match venues.
(on camera): So while all of these stadiums are on track to be completed ahead of time, despite workers downing tools and going on strike a few months ago, there still is a lot more work to be done to ensure that FIFA is satisfied.
JOSEPH BLATTER, PRESIDENT, FIFA: But for the time we have -- for the -- for the time being, let us be with 7.5.
CURNOW: First to score (INAUDIBLE) South Africa for the confederation's cup, played here in July and which was seen as a test case for the South Africans. FIFA and South Africa are all too aware of where the problems were and where they remain.
And the areas that we have been focusing on is accommodations, transportation and security. Those were the three key areas.
CURNOW: The organizing committee here concedes that if there are big matches at small town stadiums, like this one in Rustenburg, there simply will not be enough places for fans to sleep.
But in some of our host cities, we'll -- we only have sufficient beds and therefore it means that we have to go outside those host cities.
CURNOW: Also, transport remains a headache. The system is haphazard, irregular and often unsafe. A new bus transit system in Johannesburg has started running, but its routes are limited. Avatown (ph) has little or no organized transport systems. Getting from host city to host city, most fans will have to rely on South Africa's well developed air network.
The Johannesburg airport will be open 24 hours and much is being spent on upgrading its facilities, including managing and protecting the estimated 40,000 pieces of luggage expected through here a day.
If we had the World Cup in December, we would be already on top of the (INAUDIBLE). We are ready.
CURNOW: Police say they'll also be ready to protect 500,000 fans traveling here next year. Here, police special forces are being filmed during a simulated exercise -- a public relations photo opportunity meant to show how ready the country's security forces are for any scenario during the World Cup.
CURNOW: Hijackings, armed robbery and even a terror attack -- show tactics ahead of the real test next year, when officials will have to show South Africans and visiting fans they can deliver for the World Cup 2010.
Robyn Curnow, CNN, Johannesburg, South Africa.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
FINIGHAN: After that, I need an ice cream -- not just any ice cream, though -- one so decadent that it comes in the kitchen sink. We'll reveal how generous helpings have led to 50 years of sweet success in The World At Work.
FINIGHAN: Now, we're working our way through some treats tonight.
First, why, now we're off to an ice cream parlor. It's the next World At Work we want to explore photojournalist Mike Miller reveals how sometimes a taste of tradition can bring long-lasting success.
ROY UDELL: I'm Englishman Roy Udell (ph).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good evening.
UDELL: I'm the owner of Jackson's and I am the original owner of 53 years. I originally started it in 1956. I made the ice cream myself. A double dip ice cream cone was 15 cents. The location is a landmark today. We've always served humongous portions. We came up with the kitchen sink because people called their ice cream in the kitchen sinks, which were actually in a punch bowl.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's definitely worth the drive.
UDELL: And we're not a cookie cutter and we're renowned, you know, in the industry as one of the outstanding ice cream parlors and restaurants in -- in the country today.
It's still made right here with all the good fruits and nuts. And we don't -- we haven't changed a thing. We still do it the old-fashioned way. We've had, you know, down times, good times with the economy. It's about six weeks since I've had my quadruple surgery -- heart surgery. I'm going to try to be here as long as I can, I hope for another 60 years.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh my god.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
FINIGHAN: Umm, umm.
And that's QUEST MEANS BUSINESS.
I'm Adrian Finighan in London in for Richard Quest.
Whatever you're up to in the hours ahead, I hope it's profitable.
Christiane Amanpour next, after the headlines at the I Desk.