Divers are having difficulty getting into the capsized ship. It was sailing to a resort island Wednesday when it capsized. Most of the passengers were high school students on a school trip.
Despite being one of China’s most-visited websites, and analysts are watching to see if Weibo closes way low. That’s because of users like Lixin Huang. He’s one of 130-million active users the website claims as its customer base. But he’s not exactly what you’d call “active.”
“I used it sometime last year when my friends were using it,” he says. Huang, a finance professor at Georgia State University in Atlanta, now uses WeChat. It’s growing at three times the rate of Weibo.
That’s one reason Huang is skeptical about today’s NASDAQ debut. Another big reason? Censorship. China’s government bans everything from sexual innuendo to political dissent on the Internet.
“Censorship has already caused a chilling effect,” says Jason Ng, who wrote the book, Blocked on Weibo. He says China’s crackdown on that type of chatter means the site’s not as much fun as when it debuted.
Even so, Ng says it’s still the go-to place for China’s nationwide conversation. “Obviously investors recognize the value of having that sort of space.”
Big insurance companies report quarterly earnings over the next two weeks, starting with United Healthcare today.
Thanks to new customers brought in by the Affordable Care Act, 2013 was a good year for health insurance companies. The extended deadlines, which ended just this week, may provide more good news: More enrollment, more premiums, more revenue. Now comes the hard part.
For one thing, new customers means new costs, in the form of claims, says Joel Shalowitz, a professor at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management. Insurers don't yet know the extent of those costs.
"For people who needed services provided, the insurer is not going to see the claims for another month or two," says Shalowitz. "The revenue has come in, but the expense has not yet been realized."
Those new customers also came with new restrictions on insurance companies, says Morningstar analyst Vishnu Lekraj. "They’re restricted as far as profitability, and overall there’s more competition in the market, there’s more transparency, there’s more regulation," he says. "I do still see some tough headwinds for the industry and for most of the players."
At best, Lekraj thinks the strongest companies will see flat profits for years to come.