Business & Real Estate

App developer eyes First Friday as testing ground

Ted Fagenson

An East Bay app developer is testing his newest creation in downtown Los Altos.

Ted Fagenson, co-founder of Skrownge (pronounced “scrounge”), told the Town Crier that he’s beta testing his mobile gaming app this week during the monthly First Friday event. Fagenson – whose company is based in San Ramon – noted specifically that he’s making his Apple- and Android-supported smartphone app available for download to anyone participating in First Friday’s scavenger hunt.


Mortgage experts see more growth ahead

Mortgage industry officials recently told Silicon Valley Association of Realtors members to plan for more growth over the next two to three years because of continued economic momentum in the Bay Area.

Opes Advisors CEO and President Susan McHan and Chief Investment Officer and Principal Mark Duvall offered a positive outlook on the national and local economy. They noted that consumers are in the best financial position in years – there are more jobs, disposable income is up and retail sales are robust. In addition, the S&P 500 index is 22.7 percent higher than one year ago, corporate profits are up, inflation remains largely in check and housing is stabilizing nationally.



Los Altos

633 Almond Avenue, D. Blackburn to A. Bourgan for $3,125,000

1417 Ernestine Lane, L. McAllister to M. Shing for $1,425,000


Longtime banker readies for retirement

Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Joanne Kavalaris is retiring at the end of October after spending the past 25 years of her banking career in downtown Los Altos.

A longtime Los Altos banker is calling it a career in a few weeks.

Joanne Kavalaris, Bank of the West’s downtown Los Altos branch vice president and manager, is scheduled to retire at the end of October after a 43-year career that began with First Interstate Bank in San Francisco’s Financial District.


Investors happy with Fed moves

The stock market received the assurance it wanted from the Federal Reserve last week, and, to show appreciation, the market set new records. The Dow Jones industrial average continued its higher-closing trend Thursday and Friday.

Fed officials met last week and announced that they plan to keep the short-term interest rate near zero for a while longer – a boon to the market that should stimulate the economy and make stocks more attractive compared with bonds.


Is that hedge fund really worth it?

One expert argues that hedge funds are overpriced, nontransparent and provide poor returns over time.

Simon Lack, author of “The Hedge Fund Mirage: The Illusion of Big Money and Why It’s Too Good to Be True” (Wiley, 2012) and previously a member of J.P. Morgan’s hedge fund due-diligence team, spoke at the CFA Institute’s annual conference in Seattle earlier this year. He explained that hedge funds suffer from some of the same problems as actively managed mutual funds. Their managers claim to be able to take advantage of market inefficiencies, improve diversification and provide lower correlations to more traditional investments. But the bigger the funds grow, the harder it becomes to make a difference


Realtors share steps to repair identity theft

It can be a nightmare to repair the damage that occurs when you become an identity-theft victim. Not only can it cost a lot of time and money, but identity theft can also be very stressful to resolve, according to San Jose attorney Anita Steburg.

Last year, approximately 11 million Americans were victims of identity theft. Identities were stolen from mailboxes, trash bins and documents that contain driver’s license and credit card information. Security breaches at department stores and high-tech companies have made headlines recently.


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