US stock markets reach 12-year lows

Thursday, March 5, 2009 

US stock markets dropped to twelve-year lows on Thursday, amidst falling confidence in the financial sector and worries over whether the US automobile manufacturer General Motors will be able to keep operating.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped by 4.08%, or 280.52 points, at the closing bell, reaching a level of 6595.32, a new 12-year low. The Nasdaq Composite lost 54.15 points, or 4%, to 1299.59, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 plunged by 30.27 points, or 4.25%, closing at 682.60.

Every stock in the Dow Jones, other than Wal-Mart, either lost ground or remained even, and all stocks in the S&P 500 index lost ground.

General Motors’ shares lost 15.5% after the auto firm announced that its auditors had “substantial doubt” over whether it would be able to keep operating.

Shares of financial companies were lower by nine percent, with Bank of America losing 11.7% and Citigroup falling by 9.7%.

“What’s most worrisome is that we haven’t hit the crescendo yet,” said Bill Groeneveld, the head trader for vFinance Investments. “Asset-management divisions are getting calls to just liquidate everything, and we haven’t seen the big players come back in at all.”

“This is one of the worst bear markets in the last 100 years; it started out with the credit crisis and the subprime [loans], but it is like a forest fire that has raced across the clearing and ignited other parts: Autos, auto parts, the insurance companies have been hit very hard. The credit crisis is causing an unraveling of industry after industry because the banks don’t lend,” said David Dreman, the chief investment officer of Dreman Value Management.

European markets were also lower today, with the London’s FTSE index losing 3.2% and the DAX index of Germany falling by five percent.



UK company “seriously considering” GPS tracking devices in school uniforms

Saturday, August 25, 2007 

The leading supplier of school uniforms in the United Kingdom, Lancashire-based manufacturer Trutex, has announced it is “seriously considering” including GPS tracking devices in future ranges of its uniform products after conducting an online survey of both parents and children.

“As a direct result of the survey, we are now seriously considering incorporating a [tracking] device into future ranges” said Trutex marketing director Clare Rix.

The survey questioned 809 parents and 444 children aged nine to 16. It showed that 44% of parents were worried about the safety of pre-teen children, and 59% wanted tracking devices installed in school apparel. 39% of children aged nine to 12 were prepared to wear clothing with tracking devices in them, while teenagers were notably less enthusiastic and more wary of what Trutex has admitted they see as a “big brother” concept.

However, Trutex has claimed the tracking devices would bring about worthwhile benefits, including being a valuable resource for parents who wanted to keep a close eye on where their children were at all times.

“As well as being a safety net for parents, there could be real benefits for schools who could keep a closer track on the whereabouts of their pupils, potentially reducing truancy levels” says Rix.

Each year, Trutex supplies 1 million blouses, 1.1 million shirts, 250,000 pairs of trousers, 20,000 blazers, 60,000 skirts and 110,000 pieces of knitwear to the UK.

It is not the first company to manufacture school uniforms with a central focus on child safety; last week Essex firm BladeRunner revealed it was selling stab-proof school blazers to parents concerned about violence against their children. The blazers were outfitted with Kevlar, a synthetic fibre used in body armour. It has already received orders internationally, including Australia.

If the Trutex tracking devices go ahead, it is unclear where in the uniform they will be located.