Markets react positively to Crimean vote, but uncertainty remains

Markets around the world held their breath Sunday waiting to see how a Moscow-back referendum would turn out for the people of Ukraine and the future of the Crimean Peninsula. The result; Crimean citizens voted at an overwhelming 97% to once again become part of the Russian Federation and succeed from the independent Ukrainian state.

The landslide vote was taken as a positive sign Monday, as the majority of the nine world markets ended trading on the plus side. Investors may see this as a temporary sign of stability that the region may not break out into civil war.

Ever since November there have been protest from Ukraine’s citizens and their reluctance to turn to Russia for economic aid. Like many countries today the Ukrainian economy is suffering and the government needs approximately $36 billion bailout. Protests began when the government hinted at turning to the Russian Federation instead of the European Union for the money.

Ukraine is separated culturally by the east and west. As reflected in this recent vote, the majority of Crimean’s recognize themselves as Russian. Most of the population west of the Crimean Peninsula recognized themselves as Ukrainian and want to integrate themselves with the west. Specifically when it comes to financial dealings, Ukraine’s do not want to be under the thumb of Moscow, and would rather deal with the E.U. when borrowing money.

As the protests in the capital of Kiev were turning increasingly more violent, the threat of civil war was becoming more of a reality. Due to their geographic location and the role that energy transportation has in the region, the worlds markets were becoming more and more weary of making bold investments.

Now the concern turns to issues concerning the west’s reaction and the steps that will be taken. The main one is how Russia will react to sanctions being imposed by the Obama Administration. These sanctions involve cutting off credit of prominent Russian officials both in the government and private businessmen.

One consequence of these sanctions may highlight how the oligarchy that exists in Russia can/or cannot withstand these measures.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia has embraced capitalism with the same iron fist that fueled communism. The result is a group of prominent businessmen with close ties to Moscow. One of the main upper hands the U.S. still has is their control on the world banking system. If they choose so they can freeze assets of many of the billionaires that make up the oligarchy that runs Russia. This could give the U.S. and upper hand because none of these billionaires are politically tied to the Russian government, they may have as many assets outside of the country as they do within it. Without any political obligation to adhere to, the U.S. can force descent by anyone of these Russian Oligarchs and weaken the political strong hold that Russia has obtained with this vote.

Skyactiv 2 Technology in Mazda Vehicles

The idea behind Mazda Skyactiv 2 technology is to increase the vehicle’s output, while also improving its fuel efficiency and offering drivers the best of both worlds. While it might have seemed like a sales gimmick at first, Skyactiv technology has been a very serious investment by Mazda in creating quality vehicles that more drivers will want to get their hands on. In several way this investment has really paid off, making Mazda a more highly regarded manufacturer by customers and by the automotive industry as a whole.

Specific Skyactiv Technologies

Skyactiv technologies are located in several parts of Mazda vehicles. The main place that much of the attention is focused is on a Mazda’s engine, where it creates a highly compressed reaction in order to create more power with less required fuel input. The idea is simple, even if the technology is complex. The internal combustion engine is driven by explosions that force movement. If there is more pressure created, but less fuel is required, then there is more force to drive the engine even though there’s less fuel consumed. That is, in essence, the first step Mazda used to create a car that gives drivers more while taking in less.

In addition to an engine that offers driver’s a great deal more, these vehicles also have highly efficient transmissions combined with the proper frame and platform. In any vehicle the transmission is a primary source of wasted power, since shifting gears inefficiently can cause all kinds of problems. The Skyactiv 2 transmission is extremely efficient, making sure there’s as little waste as possible when it comes time to shift from one gear to the next. In addition to the transmission, these Mazda vehicles are built with a chassis that is lightweight, strong, and exceeds all safety regulations. When combined with the previous two parts of the Skyactiv 2 technology platform, the chassis results in extra efficiency, as there’s less power required to drive a car that weighs less and is aerodynamically designed.

Skyactiv 2 Vehicles Leap Ahead

All of this energy efficiency has been noticed by drivers. Once Skyactiv technology was introduced into Mazda vehicles their sales shot up to the highest levels since 2008. While some models do sell more quickly than others, such as the all new Mazda6 which was released in 2014, all models that use Skyactiv technology have made impressive numbers of sales in North America.

On the one hand, Mazda’s success means that it is still considered to be one of the major car companies in America. On the other hand, it’s entirely possible that Mazda will claim a higher spot than it has in the past due to the success and acceptance of its Skyactiv 2 technology and all of the advantages it brings to its customers. Their future is uncertain, but based on the current data Skyactiv 2 technology is definitely here to stay.

The Most Basic Car Maintenance Tips Everyone Should Master

Having your own car is perhaps one of the extremely convenient things that one can imagine especially in this ever more frenzied world. It helps you easily get through destinations faster and it takes you where you need to go without the hassles of competing with other commuters.

With owning a vehicle also comes the responsibility of the owner to make sure that it is well-maintained and in tiptop condition. Regular upkeep is an integral factor in ensuring that it is performing to its full capacity. Below are some of the most basic car maintenance chores that every owner should master. Remember, these tips can go a long way in guaranteeing safety and efficiency on the road.

Regular tune-ups

You should have the vehicle tuned up at least once a month. You can either do it yourself or visit an expert to perform the task professionally. This ensures that your automobile not only performs at its optimum condition but also saves you money in the long run. Poorly tuned automobiles consume no less than 30% more gasoline annually.

Regular check up of fluid levels

The vehicle’s fluid levels should be checked no less than once per week for newly bought ones and daily for older units. Its brake fluids, clutch fluids, radiator coolant, automatic transmission fluids, and battery levels are important things owners should be keenly observing.

When the time comes that any of the above mentioned fluid levels run low, malfunctioning comes into play. If the battery water levels are low, the car’s overall battery life could also be radically shortened. More importantly, you are putting yourself at high risk if any of the aforementioned are not inspected. Ensuring the right viscosity is essential for a safe travel.

Regular tire pressure inspection

Your vehicle’s tire pressure should be inspected on a monthly basis. Again, failure to comply with this necessity equates to a faulty automobile. Studies show that for each pound of under-inflated tires, an automobile loses no less than 4% of fuel efficiency and gas mileage. This happens because of the drag that low-pressured tires create.

As a vehicle owner, it is your responsibility to ascertain that your automobiles are at excellent conditions. It is essential not only in making sure that you are saving money from your investment but also to ensure your safety every time you go on the road with your car. Remember, you need not do the tasks yourself if you do not know how to. There are experts that could do the job for you.

How to Get Your Vehicle’S Headlight Restored

If you are among those Americans who own a car which is at least 11 years old, then it is probable that the headlight of your car should be restored. Clean headlights of a car not only enhances the appearance but, they also offer an unobstructed as well as safe travel by making the vision of the road clear. Whether there is fog, haze or smear, there are simple ways of removing the oxidation of plastic which covers the car’s headlight after a long time of use.

At various auto part centers, there are many restoration kits available and to get this process clear, we bought two restoration kits in which the first was from Mequiar’s worth $25 per kit and the second one from Turtle Wax worth $10 per unit. Both the kits have a clarifying and cleaning compound, a protector sealing solution and wet sanding pads. The Mequiar’s kit is advanced and includes a clean and detailed microfiber cloth, a polished buffing ball which is mounted to a drill and an ergonomic hand grip used for wet sanding pads. On the other side, the second kit of Turtle Wax included 2 solutions along with a numbered set of wet sanding pads.

Requirements

  • A headlight restoration unit
  • Painter or masking tape
  • Detailing cloths or dry towels
  • A spray bottle or a window cleaner with cold water and a car washing solution
  • Elbow grease
  • Power drill (depending upon the restoration kit, optional)

Method

  1. Remove debris or dirt from the headlight area by cleaning it. A household glass cleaner or any cleaning solution can do this. Dry the surface of the headlights completely before proceeding to step 2.
  2. Apply tape on the surrounding areas of the headlights or any place where the body of the car meets the headlights. This is important as the sanding pad might damage the paint of the car during the restoration process. There are some headlight which will require applying one coat of clarifying compound over the headlamp assembly prior to applying the wet sand whereas, others may want you to skip the sanding and start polishing.
  3. Both the restoration kits used offer different strengths and grits of using sandpaper. You can either you the lubrication liquid provided with the kit or water spray so as to get the minimum number of sandpaper wet.
  4. Rub the lowest number in a side-to-side manner. The assembly of the headlight should be completely glazed. Remember; keep the assembly as well as the sand paper wet.
  5. Move to the next highest number of sandpaper and move it in an up-and-down motion.
  6. The headlight assembly should be cleaned with a detailing cloth or paper towel.
  7. Apply polisher liquid on the buffing ball or applicator pad and rub over the headlight to clean the glaze. The curved areas of the headlights were nit tackled by the Turtle Wax kits.
  8. The headlight assembly should be cleaned with a detailing cloth or paper towel.
  9. When the process is finished in a satisfactory tone, apply sealer protectant onto a pad or applicator (a small towellete in case of Turtle Wax) over the headlights.
  10. Remove the tape around the headlights and leave the sealant to dry for a few hours.

Why We Are the Number One Choice in Orlando for Your Car’s Paint

Welcome to car painting ORLANDO where we strive for the best service and happy customers. We have been a leading business in our area for over five years now. We don’t just make sure that you are pleased with our work but so impressed that you would refer all your friends to us. We take pride in all the work we do and our ORLANDO car paint shops only uses quality paint.

Don’t worry you wont have to be looking for paint streaks, our painters are great at what they do we wet sand and buff your car so when you come to pick your car up it will look like glass, well unless you’re getting something like matte paint. No matter what car you are driving if it is from the 70’s or brand new we treat it as if it was our own car. With over 5,000 cars under our belt we have been around the painting world for a while and here in Orlando it is a very busy city so no one has time to drop off their car and leave it somewhere for a month, so we guarantee a speedy paint job but not to the point to where quality is distorted. When the painters are in the booth there are no distractions it is just them, the car, and the paint and there whole attention is focused on your car.

So when you drop off your car with us expect to be impressed.Thanks for taking the time to check us out, I know in today’s busy lifestyle it’s hard to find the time to drop off your car to get painted. The good news now is that we don’t procrastinate when it comes to painting, we get things done. For the best auto paint Orlando can offer at a reasonable time frame with no unwanted delays we are your number one choice. Just go to the contact us page send us an email with your car year make and model and the color you would like it painted and we will sent you a pretty close estimate, then if you like our prices come in and we will give you an exact quote based on if there is any body damage, like dents or rust. We don’t believe in just painting a car and not fixing the dents because it is our reputation on the line and we want your car to look like it just rolled out of the factory.

A lot of our work is done on higher end cars but that doesn’t mean we give no value or lesser value to any other cars. We like to see cars as equals since when we are done with cars they look and are worth much more with a beautiful paint job, But to us we want the best possible outcome with every car and that would be a huge smile on our customers face when they see their car. Our painters even have their associate’s degree in painting and mixing paints so finding the right color for you will be no problem, unless you can’t decide because you like them all. In general we see ourselves as one of the top painting shops in Orlando, we would say the best but we don’t want to sound over confident even though that is how we feel with hundreds of happy customers. We would love for you to be another happy client not to benefit us but we do it for the pleasure in seeing happy customers at the end of the day.

Denominators relevant to establishing domain and brand value

Without actually designing products myself, I’ve long come to a mutual conclusion that products and I don’t quite agree on clear definitions of ‘value’. Same goes with vehicles, services that I’m foreign to and even prostitution (although I’ve not personally attempted valuation of the latter). One area where I’ve become quite masterful is domain value in relation to branding, the never-ending perpetual cyber façade which pits 30 definitions of domain brevity against each other. Whereas I wouldn’t personally pay $3M for some domain name I’ll only use for several decades, others have. And continually will.

When learning how to brand your business, one question that endlessly fazes my daily activities: what denominators are actually relevant in establishing something as widely misunderstood as domain valuation and brand worthiness? Let’s dissect:

How Badly Do You Want It?

Much like lining up outside some powerful drug dealer’s home waiting for crack, sellers know that buyers will eventually line up, begging for their domain property for reasons unbeknownst to them: perhaps all the seller knows is the buyer wants it. And are willing to pay dearly just to own it – even for just months. Hands down, without even starting the clock, this perhaps defines domain value better than any metrics conceivable. We call this, in sales nomenclature, ‘bring your own Vaseline’ since someone is about to get reamed without the benefit of lubrication in this seller-friendly situation.

Buyers automatically increase premium domain name’s worthiness tenfold simply by specifying their unwavering devotion towards purchasing said name. Properties sitting inside idle parking accounts that, for all intents and purposes, have ‘high net worth’ to owners are simply expensive pixels to viewers since ownership necessitation has never been clearly specified by anyone. For example, those who are branding in the print industry may wish to find Vista Print Coupons for the benefit of branding their own business merch.

How ‘Trendy’ Is The Name?

Arm & Hammer isn’t pretty. It barely smells good, if at all, to boot. However, it was the hottest thing since Prohibition whiskey when it first came out. Today, social media, Edward Snowden and scores of oddities I cannot keep up with rule mainstream media and fill online shopping carts. Popularity, your second most important telltale sign of developmental potential, rules the domain value world with unruly power. Sellers usually capitalize on what’s growing, going and blowing with the commerce winds to make hefty profits off your thirst for quick results.

Should your name have old school appeal which attracts youthful and adult audiences equally, expect your value to increase since many older topics tend to hold long-term mainstream popularity, too.

How Easily Could I Establish Awareness?

Orkut isn’t what you’d call ‘cute or funny. However, it does sound interesting when slurring it after drinking twenty beers – and the name found its way through search engines rather quickly. Of course, Linked In sounds more indicative to services it provides; so what’s our point? Getting great adult videos from http://www.adultpornvideox.com/ is more indicative of someone that likes sensuality, thereby meriting a different kind of crowd.

The third value hiker in domain and brand valuation is relative to how quickly, easily and profitably one can develop said business – with or without domain attached – without spending hefty marketing dollars; by rule, you could easily dump $.15 cents off each dollar for marketing preparation and campaign launching difficulty. One could clearly restore that loss if premium names containing single words, household phrases or anything else brand-worthy is being sold if the previous two environments are favorable.

Conclusion

Domain sellers have long established valuation based off what other names sold for, strange analytical data configurations and whatever else is deemed appropriate. Personally, whether it’s LLL.com’s or premium keyword loaded names means little if nobody wants it – yet when they do, expect something else to take control of the buyer’s final decision and, inevitably, drive prices to a more mutually respectable level.

7 Disruptions That Occurred While I Book Reviewed “Epic Content Marketing”

I was about to push out the standard book review for yet another marketing book when I came across “Epic Content Marketing” by Joe Pulizzi. The problem with attempting this book review was that I felt dishonest putting myself into the role of the grader. In reality, this book is capable of reminding us all that when it comes to creating content that can compel audiences to do something afterwards, we are are still very much the students, and Pulizzi is the king who turned the content creation-advice business into a $4 million a year commodity as valuable as oil.

So I am not going to sit here and pretend that I know better than him; instead I simply share with you 7 disruptive moments I experienced while attempting to review the book:

Joe Pulizzi’s own experience heading the Content Marketing Institute taught him that promotional articles are shared way less often than instructional articles (pg. 78). This revealed to me, quite rudely, why my book reviews may not garner nearly as much traffic as those zippy instructional articles that usually have a number somewhere in the headline. Notice how my headline reads now, Joe. Granted, I’m sure this advice was formulated prior to the Buzzfeed era, which has done nothing short of cram the format down our throats. But still, I think I learned something there.
“Customers don’t care about you, they care about themselves and their problems.” What? They don’t care about me? ​Yes, that’s right, he will say. It’s probably the central thesis of the book. While reading through that advice I asked myself, “if I were to post the usual book review, what am I really offering to the reader?” Answer: “one marketing professional’s opinion on a book”. While some people may find that valuable, perhaps I would be adding much more value teaching you how to do something, rather than giving you a book rating, something you could easily obtain on Amazon.com (I give this book 5 stars out of 5, by the way). With half my reviews containing heavy criticism, one wonders how much of this effort of being critical becomes a huge waste of breath. Given this learning moment, you may very well see me experiment with new forms of content with greater urgency.
“I am not the target for my content” is a phrase that Joe Pulizzi will ask you to repeat as you read his book. So who is the target for this Examiner column that covers the NY Online Marketing scene? Entrepreneurs? Marketing influencers? CMO’s? All of them combined? That’s a helpful question. Since I didn’t always have a sharp profit motive behind writing this column, I haven’t had to interrogate myself along these lines. However, all that is changing as I gear up to launch my own communications agency. Everything I write in this column from now on should in some way or another foresee my desired target’s personality. Based on what I’ve written so far, it is clear that I am trying to grab a slice of Pulizzi’s intended audience: a mix of CMO’s, business owners and industry marketing professionals. Which leads to my next humbling learning moment…
“Develop rent to own content strategies”. Pulizzi knows that before you see lots of traffic visiting your domain, you will need to bring your voice to other platforms. This is what he means by renting before one can own. In a sense, I too am renting in a sense by piggyback riding off of Pulizzi’s brand name. After all, I will invoke his name frequently once my turn comes to push this article out via socal media channels. Perhaps I will end up acquiring a tiny sliver of his target audience in the process. What I learned by doing this book review is that I am not necessarily doing Pulizzi a huge favor by publishing a write up of his book. I mean look, I’m essentially taking his ideas and recontextualizing them through my experience — what does he stand to profit beyond a little SEO juice he probably already has plenty of? If anything, his hard work has given me the opportunity to divert reader attention away his properties to my property (or in this case, Examiner.com’s property).
Via Jason Calacanis, Pulizzi reminds the reader that “perfect content” is (a) real-time, (b) fact-driven, (d) visual, (e) efficient, and (d) curated. Just imagine, here I am ready to weigh in with criticism involving an author who is in the business of developing “perfect content”. You try to stare Pulizzi in the face and the harder you try the more you are blinded.
By now you will have seen that in this article I’ve already added a hyperlink to my new agency. I hadn’t planned on doing that before. Pulizzi doesn’t resist the opportunity to create advice that bridges the pages of his book to his business properties. The links are everywhere, existing as “resources” — but they aren’t annoying for a reason you will learn about while reading the book.
“What if your content was gone?” Pulizzi taunts us to think of a hypothetical situation where all of our content was removed from the internet. “Would anyone miss it? Would you leave a gap in the marketplace?” Ok, I get it Joe. Our content should be really, really good. So good that if I were to take down my writings, I would set off an Occupy Movement on my front lawn. My plan this whole time was to humble Pulizzi with my 5-star rating scale, and look what happened — I’m calling my friend for prescription antidepressants, because there’s no way in hell my marketing column will ever be missed. Never, ever.

Now if you excuse me all, I need to leave the room and focus.

McDonald’s Happy Meals terrible for kids in more ways than one

McDonald’s isn’t exactly the epitome of healthy food, but the famous Happy Meals do more than add fat and calories to kids’ diet. They are an aggressive marketing tool that gets kids hooked not only on the unhealthy food, but on the toys inside the box and visiting the fast food chain on a regular basis. Happy Meals seek to make McDonald’s profits bigger while creating a generation of dependent kids who want their parents to keep bringing them back to the fast food restaurant.

A recent article in Huffington Post titled, “11 Unsettling Facts You Should Know About McDonald’s Happy Meals,” editor Renee Jacques outlined the unhealthy foods and marketing tricks little kids are being exposed to in the Happy Meals. One shocker, McDonald’s is the largest distributor of toys in the world.

The average person might think Toys R Us or Wal-Mart holds this title, but no, a fast food chain does. McDonald’s gives away 1.5 billion toys globally each year. 90% of children between the ages of 3 and 9 eat at McDonald’s at least monthly. And each Happy Meal has a small toy inside.

For a decade, Disney partnered with McDonald’s. Whenever a new Disney movie hit theaters, little toys hit the McDonald’s Happy Meals. from 1996 – 2006, Nemo, Mr. Incredible, and 101 Dalmatians were some of the characters included in Happy Meals. In 2006, Disney ended its promotional agreement with McDonald’s because it has built a reputation for “being family friendly, and wanted to distance itself from the epidemic of childhood obesity. (Boston Globe, May 8 2006.)

Another interesting fact, “The healthier Happy Meals at McDonald’s are still pretty bad for kids.” In 2011, McDonald’s revamped the Happy Meal by adding fresh sliced (but packaged) apples to the boxed meal. The apples came with a caramel dipping sauce which was dropped when critics pointed out the empty calories and sugar content.

The size of the fries was cut from 2.4 ounces to 1.1 ounces. An average Happy Meal contains 600 calories, which is still too high for little kids. Most of those calories are empty and the meal is low in vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber. All important things in a child’s diet.

Since these changes, sales of Happy Meals have declined. Unfortunately, kids are just eating off the Dollar Menu. Launched in 2002, the McDonald’s Dollar Menu offers menu items including burgers, chicken nuggets, ice cream, and cookies. Kids are getting the same food devoid of nutrition just without the fancy box and free toy.

Stay-at-home mom business ideas – part 1

When a woman chooses to become a stay-at-home mom she dramatically alters her career path, usually by completely exiting the workforce for several years, if not permanently.

While some women choose to pursue work from home opportunities, there are few reputable companies offering reliable telecommuting or home-based positions.

Many women who would like to maintain a career while staying home with their small children have no idea where to turn. Just like Lisa Marcia, author of A Work at Home Mom’s Ultimate Guide to Building a Business, Blog and Brand, most moms are just looking for a way to stay home with their little ones while earning extra income doing something they love. Luckily, there are several small business ideas suitable for stay-at-home moms.

Administrative Consulting or Virtual Assisting

Virtual assistants usually provide remote administrative or technical assistance to clients from a wide range of industries and business sectors. Some VAs also work as virtual personal assistants, helping their clients with travel arrangements, scheduling and other miscellaneous tasks.

Administrative consultants differ from virtual assistants in that they play more of an advisory and directional support role in their client’s businesses.

This type of business is great for a stay-at-home mom, because it allows her to take on the number of clients or independent contracts that suit her own availability. People in this line of work often arrange part-time child care or establish quiet times at home during which they can communicate with clients who require phone calls or teleconferences.

The majority of clients, however, are comfortable communicating via email or through other web-based project management platforms.

Freelance Writing

Freelance writing is another great business venture for a stay-at-home mom. There are hundreds of reputable online media outlets that contract with people who have journalism backgrounds as well as mid-career professionals willing to share their knowledge in Internet-based magazines and newspapers.

Hundreds, if not thousands, of moms have found success as “mommy bloggers,” a term that generally refers to website owners who journal about everything from homeschooling to recipes. While starting and maintaining a blog that pulls in a reliable income is hard work, those who have achieved success with this type of home based business enjoy unparalleled flexibility and freedom.

Home Day Care

Many stay-at-home moms spend countless hours designing home-based preschool curricula, planning field trips and outings, preparing healthy meals and snacks, and setting up elaborate playrooms and outdoor play areas. With a few certifications courses and state license, some of those same moms open their doors to other infants and toddlers to establish a home day care.

Home-based preschools are attractive to many working parents as well as other stay-at-home moms who prefer a more personalized childcare setting. Some home day cares even function as cooperatives in which groups of parents pool their money for resources.

Read Stay-at-home mom business ideas – part 2 for more business ideas and links to helpful resources.

Weekly market recap: Labor market home run

For the week ending May 2, 2014, the labor market blew past estimates in April when the Employment Situation reports were released Friday, beating estimates handily and raising the question that this may be a weather related rebound. And, the Fed released its FOMC meeting statement with no surprises, as $10 billion were evenly cut from Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities.

Growth in the labor market made headlines on both fronts: the Jobs Report listed 288,000 new nonfarm payroll jobs (273,000 private sector; 15,000 public sector) vs. an estimated 215,000; and the Unemployment Rate fell to 6.3 percent, which is well below the estimate of 6.6 percent. Clearly the labor market is improving; but to determine if this is simply a rebound from bad weather, the Fed will be looking more closely at next month’s reports. The low first quarter GDP figure of 0.1 percent growth is also blamed on bad weather.

There were no surprises from the Fed’s FOMC meeting statement as it continues its taper of $10 billion. “In sum, the recent economic data — labor markets, housing, manufacturing, etc… — have provided no reason for the Fed to stray from its course established earlier this year of gradually tapering bond purchases and offering assurances that interest rates will stay low and accommodative policies will remain in place just in case the numbers start to slip.” It is interesting to note that there were no dissents.

On the earnings front, hundreds of companies reported this past week with positive results. The standouts: Merck, Sprint, and Ameriprise Financial beat estimates.

In The News

The good news on Friday was offset by escalating violence in southern Ukraine. The crisis reached a new peak as Ukrainian security forces “launched their most intensive effort yet to try to dislodge pro-Russian separatists, who have reportedly seized a number of government buildings in nearly a dozen cities and towns.” Reports indicate deadly street fighting, downed Ukrainian government helicopters, and 31 people dead from a fire started at a trade union building.

A U.S. jury on Friday ordered Samsung Electronics to pay Apple $119.6 million. This figure is far less than Apple was seeking in their mobile patent litigation, which has been ongoing for three years. “Though this verdict is large by normal standards, it is hard to view this outcome as much of a victory for Apple. This amount is less than 10 percent of the amount Apple requested, and probably doesn’t surpass by too much the amount Apple spent litigating this case.”

Next Week

After a very poor first quarter, recent monthly economic data show a stronger second quarter ahead. Both manufacturing and housing continue to improve.

The focus next week in the U.S. will be on the non-manufacturing side with reports from Markit and ISM. And the Fed will be watching labor market data from the JOLTS report including job openings, hires, and separations.

Globally, the Reserve Bank of Australia, the Bank of England, and the European Central Bank will be releasing their monetary policies. Composite PMIs for April along with merchandise trade and industrial production data will be released.

We are expecting volatility spikes to continue next week as the situation in the Ukraine unfolds. As the Ukrainian presidential elections near, we are expecting the Ukraine crisis to worsen, possibly initiating a big adjustment in the markets.

Market Gauge

Year-to-date the markets are mixed: Dow -0.4%; S&P500 +1.8%; Nasdaq -1.3%.

The Markets for the past week were: DJIA up 0.9%; S&P500 up 1.0%; Nasdaq COMP up 1.2%.

Commodities (ETFs) for the past week were: Gold (GLD) down -0.29%; Silver (SLV) down -1.32%; Oil (OIH) down -0.42%; Dollar (UUP) down -0.33%; 30-yr Bonds (TYX) dropped 8 basis points to 3.37%.

The VIX this past week (a measure of market sentiment and volatility) dropped to 12.91% due to positive earnings and excellent labor market reports.

Top Headlines

To view details of headlines, go online to CNBC.

In the U.S.: Hiring rebounds but more gave up looking; Payrolls jump in April as thaw hits; What’s the real unemployment rate?; Factory orders fall short of forecasts; What millennials don’t know about the job market; Buckle up! Economists turn negative on GDP growth; Treasury official: College should be cheaper; US 1% captures greatest slice of income pie: OECD; US jobless claims jump—but so do spending, income; US manufacturing extends winning streak; Planned layoffs jump in April: Challenger; Why the US is losing leverage with Russia; Yellen: Small bank loan growth a good sign; Fed tapers another $10 billion despite slow growth; Yikes! US economy crawls in first quarter; Disappointing growth could boost Fed’s dovish tones; US works to curb tax-driven business moves abroad; A blow for Obama on minimum wage hike; Midwest business index hits highest since October; US private job creation booms in April: ADP; China to overtake US economy; India trumps Japan; Why the slowdown in US economy may be temporary; Fed taper to cause ‘severe recession’: Economist; and Homeownership falls to 19-year low.

In Europe: Euro zone unemployment steady; RBS Q1 profit trebles to £1.6 billion; Pfizer offer ‘inadequate’: AstraZeneca; Last mango in Paris? EU bans imports; Pro-Russian rebels say Ukraine tries to retake town; Ukraine PM warns of ‘most dangerous 10 days’; Big Oil dollars flow into Ukraine, despite conflict; Wanna be in my gang: Is EU membership worth it?; Turkish police fire tear gas in May Day protests; Clothing group FatFace seeks $743M London listing; UK’s Morrisons cuts more prices to combat discounters; Is this the most boring ad ever made?; Lloyds posts profit increase, sets TSB float date; IMF warns Ukraine on bailout if it loses east; Is sterling punching above its weight?; Portugal to exit massive bailout without backstop; Dolce & Gabbana sentenced to 18 months in jail; GE’s Immelt: Alstom deal makes us $60B player here; Euro zone inflation rises, pressure remains on ECB; IMF slashes Russia forecast, warns of outflows; Ukraine’s east slipping from government’s grasp; Rare Jewish scripture sells for record $3.8M; BNP Paribas profit beats, warns of legal charges; and Co-op Bank review: Downfall due to Britannia takeover.

In Asia: Japan’s jobs market is getting tighter; Are Hirai’s days as Sony CEO numbered?; Last mango in Paris? EU bans imports; Lippo founder: US property looks attractive; Report on missing Malaysia plane reveals confusion; Sony drops to 6-week low after cutting guidance; Why Nike might move production out of China; Japan household spending jumps, jobs market improves; Shanghai Tang founder: I’m a ‘tyrant’ who gets things done; Why Alibaba probably won’t take the US by storm; China overtaking the US economy, but hold on …; Fake Viagra? Inside North Korea’s growing economy; Sony slashes profit forecast by nearly 70%; Is April’s best-performing currency set for further gains?; China plans crackdown on iron ore import loans; China official PMI rises slightly to 50.4 in April; Three killed in China train station attack; Why Sony desperately needs to innovate; After longtime ban, Xbox One to go on sale in China; Singapore’s biggest bank beats profit expectations; HTC chief: Our big problem in smartphone war; Markets show growing unease over Abenomics; OCBC well positioned to cope with headwinds: CEO; and China to overtake US economy; India trumps Japan.

Weekly Review

To see the week in review, go to the Econoday calendar.

On Monday, despite escalating violence in Ukraine and with merger & acquisition talk between Pfizer and AstraZeneca, the Dow rose 0.5% to 16,448.

On Tuesday, with strong earnings from Merck and Sprint, the Dow rose 0.5% to 16,535.

On Wednesday, with no surprise from the FOMC and despite first quarter GDP at 0.1% (blamed on bad weather), the Dow rose fractionally to 16,580.

On Thursday, despite strong manufacturing and consumer sector reports, the Dow dropped fractionally to 16,558.

On Friday, with the escalating Ukraine crisis offsetting excellent labor market reports, the Dow dropped fractionally to 16,512. Gold rose $10 to $1,300.

Next Week’s Calendar

To see what’s on the calendar for next week, go to the Econoday calendar.

The economic calendar for next week is light: on Monday – ISM Non-Mfg Index; on Tuesday – International Trade; on Wednesday – Weekly EIA Petroleum Status Report, Productivity and Costs, Janet Yellen speaks; on Thursday – Weekly Jobless Claims, Janet Yellen speaks; and Friday – JOLTS.

If the Markets move down, stay on the side lines or consider Contra ETFs. For Option players, selling premium is advised.

For more information about options, see the ‘Suggested by the author’ links below.

To the Charts

The following ETFs (DIA, SPY, QQQ) provide a technical review of the Market (and are also excellent Option trading vehicles). Represented are the Dow Industrials (DIA), S&P500 (SPY), and Nasdaq 100 (QQQ).

The Charts for each include views for Monthly, Weekly (including Price Channels), and Daily (including monthly Pivot Points) with MACD and Stochastic indicators. The Pivots are: white for central pivot point; yellow for R1 and S1; magenta for R2 and S2; red for R3 and S3.

DIA

The Dow Industrials (DIA) closed up at 164.75. If the DIA drops, then the next level of support will be at 159.88 (weekly chart); the next level of major resistance is 166.06 (weekly chart).

The monthly chart indicates a bullish posture (up Arrow) with the MACD positive but weakening, and the Stochastic moving up above the overbought area.

The weekly chart indicates a bearish posture (down Arrow) with the MACD positive and strengthening, and the Stochastic moving up at the overbought area.

The daily chart indicates a bullish posture (up Arrow) with the MACD positive but weakening, and the Stochastic moving up above the overbought area.

SPY

The S&P500 (SPY) closed up at 188.06. If the SPY drops, then the next level of support will be at 181.31 (weekly chart); the next level of major resistance is 189.70 (weekly chart).

The monthly chart indicates a bullish posture (up Arrow) with the MACD positive but weakening, and the Stochastic moving up above the overbought area.

The weekly chart indicates a bearish posture (down Arrow) with the MACD positive and strengthening, and the Stochastic moving up below the overbought area.

The daily chart indicates a bullish posture (up Arrow) with the MACD positive but weakening, and the Stochastic moving up above the overbought area.

QQQ

The Nasdaq 100 (QQQ) closed up at 87.49. If the QQQ drops, then the next level of support will be at 83.28 (weekly chart); the next level of major resistance is 91.36 (weekly chart).

The monthly chart indicates a bullish posture (up Arrow) with the MACD positive but weakening, and the Stochastic moving down above the overbought area.

The weekly chart indicates a bearish posture (down Arrow) with the MACD negative but strengthening, and the Stochastic moving up above the oversold area.

The daily chart indicates a bullish posture (up Arrow) with the MACD positive and strengthening, and the Stochastic moving up at the overbought area.