Business Diary: This is a country of pessimists

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The Independent Online

What a cheerful nation we are. One might have hoped that soaraway GDP data would prompt a bit of optimism, following all the gloom of recent weeks. Not judging by internet comment boards, which were full of cynics queuing up to ridicule the numbers from the Office for National Statistics. This post on a BBC board just about sums up the mood. "I don't believe the figures ... why should we believe this discredited office?"

Film star sells financial reform

After President Obama signed the US financial reforms into law this week, the White House published a natty little video explaining what the legislation meant to the guy on Main Street. Those with an acute sense of hearing will have noted that the voiceover is courtesy of Kal Penn, the star of Harold And Kumar and House, the Hugh Lawrie medical TV show. Penn has just stepped back from a stint working for President Obama to film another movie.

How not to save the banks

It's not that we don't have faith in the stress tests conducted on 91 banks across Europe, but the shambolic way in which the results were released yesterday hardly gives one confidence. It was always an odd idea to publish the results at 5pm on a Friday afternoon – like a dodgy small company sneaking out a profits warning – but the website of CEBS, the body conducting the tests, promptly crashed at the crucial moment.

Pretty Polly's pretty pennies

Congratulations to Forward3D, which is now the number one in its market. Not necessarily internet search marketing, you understand, where it has traditionally specialised, but for the import and resale of parrot cages. Some bright spark at the firm spotted that while there are lots of web searches for these items, the results thrown up don't include many sponsored links. There's plenty of demand, but limited supply, in other words. So now the agency has moved into the business itself. Who's a clever boy, then?