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Chase Bank Limits Cash Withdrawals, Bans International... Before you read this report, remember to sign up to for 100% free stock alerts Chase Bank has moved to limit cash withdrawals while banning business customers from sending...

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Richemont chairman Johann Rupert to take 'grey gap... Billionaire 62-year-old to take 12 months off from Cartier and Montblanc luxury goods groupRichemont's chairman and founder Johann Rupert is to take a year off from September, leaving management of the...

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Cambodia: aftermath of fatal shoe factory collapse... Workers clear rubble following the collapse of a shoe factory in Kampong Speu, Cambodia, on Thursday

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Spate of recent shock departures by 50-something CEOs While the rising financial rewards of running a modern multinational have been well publicised, executive recruiters say the pressures of the job have also been ratcheted upOn approaching his 60th birthday...

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UK Uncut loses legal challenge over Goldman Sachs tax... While judge agreed the deal was 'not a glorious episode in the history of the Revenue', he ruled it was not unlawfulCampaign group UK Uncut Legal Action has lost its high court challenge over the legality...

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Pre-Marketing: Private equity’s next gun battle

Category : Stocks

Battle for Outdoor Channel: Gun debate colors buyout bid. Also: Blackberry 10 roll-out: Death by a thousand paper cuts.

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Smith & Wesson raises outlook as gun sales soar

Category : Business

The company says earnings tripled in the most recent quarter as consumers rush to buy firearms in anticipation of more restrictive gun laws.

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Kelly easily wins Democratic race to replace Jackson Jr. in Congress – Chicago Tribune

Category : Stocks

Chicago Tribune
Kelly easily wins Democratic race to replace Jackson Jr. in Congress
Chicago Tribune
Former state Rep. Robin Kelly easily won the special Democratic primary Tuesday night in the race to replace the disgraced Jesse Jackson Jr. in Congress, helped by millions of dollars in pro-gun control ads from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's
Bloomberg Credited With Defeating NRA-Backed Illinois DemocratNew York Magazine
Robin Kelly wins Illinois Democratic primary on gun controlThe Guardian
Gun control supporter backed by New York mayor wins Chicago voteReuters
NBC Chicago (blog)

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Smart Stun Announced Best and Most Affordable Distributor of TASER Guns

Category : World News

ABILENE, TX–(Marketwire – Jan 24, 2013) – In a recent survey given to individuals who purchased a TASER stun gun online, Texas based distributor Smart Stun was universally praised for its varied selection, stellar customer service and affordable rates. Offering a full line of stun guns, TASER gun and other related products, Smart Stun was founded under the notion that there should be one comprehensive site where customers could shop, seek advice and come away with a great bargain on self-defense devices. If the survey is any indication, it appears that the company has achieved this lofty goal.

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Pre-Marketing: Obama pal gets into private equity

Category : Stocks

Also: Inside HP’s missed chance to avoid disaster. Groupon cancels all gun-related deals.

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Obama’s gun control: executive actions are the easy part | Matt Lewis

Category : Business

Signing orders makes a good photo op, but the president needs a broad coalition and busy campaign to get laws past Congress

President Obama’s press conference on gun violence is being hailed as “sweeping” and “the biggest gun-control push in generations”.

The president announced 23 executive actions, which he admits “are in no way a substitute for action from members of Congress”. He then proposed Congress “must act soon” on universal background checks on gun purchases, limiting high-capacity magazines, and restoring the ban on so-called assault weapons.

Should we expect any of this to actually pass?

Anyone who thinks this is a slam-dunk is kidding themselves. Any gun control legislation would have to pass the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

But you already thought of that. More interesting is the fact that Senate Democrats will likely pose an even bigger hurdle.

Still scarred from overreaching on this issue a decade ago, in 2014 Democrats will have to defend Senate seats in states like Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana, North Carolina and South Dakota. (Until recently, West Virginia would have been on this list; Senator Jay Rockefeller’s decision to retire only serves to reinforce this message.)

Do we really think Harry Reid wants to put his vulnerable Senate members on the line by having them cast a tough vote that might be moot anyway, if the House rejects the legislation?

On the other hand, Newtown does seem to have resonated more than past shootings. Meanwhile, from a ridiculously mishandled press conference, to producing an unwisely conceived video mentioning President Obama’s daughters, to releasing an ill-advised target-shooting video game app, the National Rifle Association seems to be, well, shooting itself in the foot. It’s almost as if they’re trying to help Obama.

What is more, the White House might have powerful allies in this fight. As I’ve noted, they appear to be attempting to co-opt “stakeholders” like Walmart (the largest gun retailer in the nation).

Just as the White House enlisted Big Pharma to pass Obamacare, enlisting a big business with red state bona fides – as opposed to the effete, big city brand of, say, a Michael Bloomberg – would certainly provide cover for red state Democrats. And that would dramatically increase the odds of passing something.

Why might Walmart play along? For one thing, a law requiring universal background checks – closing the so-called “gun show loophole” – would presumably be good for the bottom line.

Pushing for the return of an assault weapons ban is probably a bridge too far, politically. It didn’t have an appreciable impact, in terms of curbing gun violence, after Bill Clinton championed it in the 1990s, but it did lead to more gun sales – and more Democratic loses. As liberal Bill Scher concedes, over at the New Republic:

“Obama doesn’t need an assault weapons ban.”

Assuming congressional leaders craft legislation that pushes for background checks and banning high-capacity magazines, even that would require running an actual campaign. President Obama would have to enlist a disparate coalition of stakeholders and political leaders, and probably also barnstorm the nation to sell it. (And if it passed, groups like the NRA would still to continue to lobby against the law, though perhaps not competently.)

It won’t be easy. The smart money’s still on stasis, but the unknown factor remains how much Newtown has changed the political environment.

The nation would have to be convinced this is not a liberal scheme to slouch down a slippery slope toward universal registration, leading inexorably, in the minds of second amendment advocates, to confiscation. Instead, they will have to be persuaded that this really is a common-sense approach to keeping our kids safe.

Booming business at an Indiana gun show

Category : Business

Mark Mardell sees US gun owners stocking up

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Biden task force chills gun stock rally

Category : Business, Stocks

A gun-related stocks rally of recent weeks halts on talk that Vice President Biden’s task force might recommend executive order to restrict sales.

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A week on from Newtown, business as usual for gun manufacturers and sellers

Category : Business

Many Walmart stores reported to have sold out a huge Christmas rush for weapons expected in US

A rush for firepower in the US has made guns among the most popular gifts Americans now buy each other for Christmas, the boss of Smith & Wesson has said.

James Debney, Smith & Wesson’s CEO, said “firearms have now taken their place in the basket of mainstream durable goods that consumers want to buy on Black Friday.”

The day after Thanksgiving is regarded as the official start of the Christmas shopping spree in the US. Debney said Black Friday sales of rifles and handguns last month “set an all time high for any single day”. Just a week before the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, Debney was reporting a “tremendous” doubling of gross profits to $48.5m (£29.8m).

FBI statistics show 154,873 point-of-sale background checks were carried out on people buying guns on Black Friday, 23 November – 25,707 more than Black Friday last year.

The second-biggest day for gun sales last year was 23 December, when 102,222 background checks were carried out. In the six days to Christmas more than 500,000 background checks were carried out.

Gun sales are expected to be even higher this Christmas, as consumers rush to buy more arms following the Newtown shootings.

Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, has sold out of guns at many of its supermarkets across the country. On its website, which advertises 358 different guns for sale, Walmart asks customers: “Need it by Christmas? Choose expedited shipping and get gifts in time!”

The supermarket put a Sig Sauer M400 on a special “doorbuster” promotion on Black Friday, offering $50 off the $867 rifle, which is designed for use by the army and police.

In a mark of respect to the Newtown killings, Walmart has removed from its website a picture and description of the Bushmaster AR15, a military-style semi-automatic similar to the one believed to have been used by Lanza in the shooting, but it is still, reportedly, available in stores.

Walmart refuses to disclose how many guns it sells, but the retailer told analysts in October that gun revenue was up 76% in the first half of the year.

Gun enthusiasts have also flocked to eBay to buy ammo. A current bid for four Glock handgun magazines – ammunition for one of the guns found at Newtown – is $118 compared with $45 on the day before the shooting. A bid for seven Glock magazines hit $201 on 17 December – up from $71.01 before the massacre.

A presenter on news channel KHOU recently introduced a report on the trend with the words: “It’s the holidays and, for some, nothing says Christmas quite like a little firepower.”

One gun store customer, Debbie Tingey, told the channel she was buying a handgun for her husband as a surprise Christmas present. “And, then I’m hoping, maybe mothers’ day he’ll surprise me,” she added.

Another shopper, Debbi Kremer, said a handgun licence would be a “good gift” and “maybe ammo in the stocking”.

Smith & Wesson, which makes James Bond’s Walther PPK and Dirty Harry’s Model 29 Magnum, said sales for the whole of November were 61.3% higher than the same month a year ago.

“It was another quarter of record revenue,” Debney told analysts and investors on a conference call on 6 December. “We achieved a tremendous increase in gross margin.”

In its results presentation, Smith & Wesson boasted that gun sales “for just the first half” of the year had almost matched total sales for the whole of the previous year.

“As you know, the firearms industry has experienced extraordinary growth in recent years we believe that one result of this growth is an expanded and diverse consumer base,” said Debney.

Annual US guns and ammunition sales total about $4bn, according to estimates from the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

This has helped Smith & Wesson’s shares to increase in value by 94% so far this year, despite a dip in performance following the shootings.

Filings at the US regulator, the Securities and Exchange Commission, show the pension fund of 1.2 million Texan teachers and British banks and hedge funds are among the investors to have benefited from Smith & Wesson’s performance.

Oxford Asset Management, a UK hedge fund, owns 0.79% of the company, Prudential’s funds own 0.4% and Barclays Capital holds 0.21%. Prudential is also one of the biggest shareholders in Sturm, Ruger & Co, another big US-listed gun manufacturer which recently reported a 47% increase in sales to $118.2m. All three British investors failed to return requests for comment. Smith & Wesson also declined to comment.

The power of investors to influence the gun trade was drawn into focus this week when a Californian teachers’ pension fund pressured US private equity firm Cerberus to sell off its stake in Freedom Group, the gun company that made the semi-automatic rifle Lanza used in the shootings.

Cerberus Capital Management said it was preparing for a sale of its investments in Freedom Group in the wake of the “unthinkable” massacre in the town – where the father of the Cerberus founder and chief executive, Stephen Feinberg, lives.

Cerberus, which manages more than $20bn (£12bn) of investments, said Adam Lanza’s killing of 20 children and seven adults was a “watershed moment” that raised the debate on gun control to an “unprecedented level”. Cerberus said it was not the company’s role to enter the debate but added: “There are, however, actions that we as a firm can take.”

Freedom said the market for military-type weapons, like the .223 Bushmaster semi-automatic rifle believed to have been used by Lanza, grew by 27% between 2007 and 2011. “The continued adoption of the modern sporting rifle has led to increased growth in the long gun market, especially with a younger demographic of users and those who like to customise or upgrade their firearms,” it said.

The California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS), the second-biggest pension fund in America, had threatened to withdraw the $751m it had invested in Cerebus unless the private equity fund sold out of the firearms company.

Californian’s treasurer Bill Lockyer said he will propose that CalSTRS and California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) – the two biggest pension funds in the US – sell off all investments in firearms manufacturers that make guns prohibited under state law. California prohibits semi-automatic assault weapons, specifically including the Bushmaster, and magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition.

Will Pomroy, head of corporate governance at the UK’s National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF), said: “It is up to individual funds to determine their investment strategies. However, we would expect funds to actively consider their approach to ethical and social issues as part of determining their strategy. Pension schemes and their advisers have an important role to play in encouraging higher standards of corporate responsibility.”

Andre Spicer, a professor at Cass Business School, said investors may be able to achieve more in the gun debate than politicians.

“[Cerberus'] move demonstrates again the willingness of shareholders to use their financial muscle to address recent issues,” he said. “Some see financial pressure as the next option in the gun control debate, given the difficulty of forcing any meaningful change to gun laws in the US through legislation.”

He said investor pressure may be followed by consumer action, that could see Walmart called on to stop selling guns and ammo in its supermarkets.

“It is likely that we will see investor activism being followed by consumer pressure. For instance, mass market retailers like Walmart, which is the largest retail of firearms in the US, may come under consumer pressure to drop guns as part of their product mix.

“Investor activism coupled with consumer pressure has proved a potent force for changing industries in the past. For instance consumer and investor activism played a large role in changing attitudes to the tobacco industry long before governments created the kind of anti-smoking legislation which is so wide spread today.”

Do Tase me, bro? Taser stock back in spotlight

Category : Business

Shares of Taser surged as investors were dumping gun stocks on fears of stricter gun control laws. But some investors are skeptical of Taser’s prospects.

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