Catalan Separatists Cheer Puigdemont as Rajoy Handed a Drubbing

Pro-independence parties won back control of Catalonia in Thursday’s regional election as Spanish efforts to contain the separatist movement earned Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy a historic defeat.

The three separatist groups claimed 70 seats in the 135-strong assembly to restore a majority they lost in October when Rajoy used Article 155 of the constitution to oust the rebel administration before it could put a declaration of independence into effect. Rajoy’s People’s Party took a hammering, losing eight of its 11 lawmakers as voters opposed to secessionists shifted to Ciudadanos, who’ve been demanding harsher measures against the secessionist push.

“Rajoy and his allies have been defeated, they’ve taken a beating from the Catalans,” Carles Puigdemont, the regional president ousted by Rajoy, told supporters from his self-imposed exile in Brussels.


Abu Dhabi Plans First Treasury Bill Sales Next Year

Abu Dhabi plans to start selling treasury bills for the first time next year, according to people with knowledge of the matter, as the OPEC producer seeks to develop its local-currency debt market.

The government is working with international and local banks on how the notes will be structured, the people said, asking not to be identified because the discussions are private. Regulations are expected to be completed next year and regular sales could follow shortly after that, the people said.

Abu Dhabi, home to about 6 percent of the world’s known oil reserves and capital of the United Arab Emirates, is exploring ways to bridge a budget deficit after oil prices dropped. The emirate, whose debt carries the third-highest investment grade at S&P Global Ratings, in October raised $10 billion from a bond sale. The U.A.E. is working on a federal debt law to allow the nation to sell local-currency debt.


Bitcoin Tumbles Toward $13,000, Down 30% on Record

Bitcoin fell as much as 15 percent on Friday, extending its loss from its intraday high this week to more than 30 percent.

The digital currency dropped to as low as $13,048 before trading at 13,649.72 as of 11:36 a.m. in Hong Kong. Bitcoin, which reached $19,511 on Monday, is still up more than 1,300 percent this year. The tumble comes amid growing signs of mania for anything cryptocurrency related.

Long Island Iced Tea Corp. shares rose as much as 289 percent after the unprofitable Hicksville, New York-based company rebranded itself Long Blockchain Corp. Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said on Thursday bitcoin isn’t functioning like a normal means of payment and is being used for speculation.


Philippine Peso Predicted to Be Asia’s Worst-Performing Currency in 2018

Investors rejoicing over the Philippine peso’s rally to a six-month high should beware: the currency is predicted to be Asia’s worst performer next year.

The peso will slide to 51 per dollar by end of 2018, a loss of 1.5 percent from current levels, according to the median estimate of a Bloomberg survey, with a most bearish projection of 56. The currency will be undermined as the current-account deficit widens, while the central bank is slow to raise interest rates from a record low, strategists and fund managers say.

“The peso remains vulnerable,” said Jonathan Ravelas, chief market strategist at BDO Unibank Inc. in Manila. “The external payments position will likely deteriorate further as more economic activity fuels demand for capital equipment and consumer goods,” he said, forecasting the currency will end next year at 52 per dollar.


Alphabet's Schmidt Hands Reins to Google Founders

Google parent Alphabet Inc. no longer needs Eric Schmidt’s adult supervision.

After 17 years in senior management, Schmidt is relinquishing his executive chairman role. He was recruited from Novell Inc. when Google had just 200 employees; now it’s a dominant global force in search, online advertising and video. The founders -- in their 20s when Schmidt came aboard -- know how to build it from here. And they have help from newer leaders like Google Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai, Chief Financial Offer Ruth Porat and cloud head Diane Greene.

Schmidt, 62, will become a technical adviser to Alphabet while continuing to serve as a director, the company said Thursday in a statement. Alphabet expects the board to appoint a non-executive chairman.


Markets

DOW JONES INDUS. AVG
24,782.30 +55.64 +0.23%
S&P 500 INDEX
2,684.57 +5.32 +0.20%
NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX
6,965.36 +4.40 +0.06%
FTSE 100 INDEX
7,603.98 +78.76 +1.05%
DAX INDEX
13,109.70 +40.57 +0.31%
CAC 40 INDEX
5,385.97 +33.20 +0.62%
IBEX 35 INDEX
10,304.60 +96.90 +0.95%
NIKKEI 225
22,872.50 +6.43 +0.03%
HANG SENG INDEX
29,442.80 +75.73 +0.26%

Currencies

EUR-USD
1.1851 -0.0023 -0.19%
USD-JPY
113.3100 -0.0200 -0.02%
GBP-USD
1.3379 -0.0007 -0.05%
AUD-USD
0.7712 +0.0010 +0.13%
USD-CAD
1.2744 +0.0004 +0.03%
USD-CHF
0.9886 +0.0001 +0.01%
EUR-GBP
0.8858 -0.0013 -0.14%
USD-HKD
7.8204 +0.0018 +0.02%
EUR-CHF
1.1716 -0.0021 -0.18%

May Heads to Poland to Seek Brexit Ally After Firing Her Deputy

Fresh from sacking her trusted deputy, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May heads to Poland on Thursday to attempt to get close -- but not too close -- to its new government.

May was forced to tell First Secretary of State Damian Green to resign Wednesday afternoon after an inquiry into his behavior found he’d made misleading statements over pornography found on his parliamentary computer by police nearly a decade ago. Green is the third Cabinet minister to quit in two months.

A couple of recent Brexit-related successes mean the prime minister is better equipped to handle Green’s departure than she might have been a month ago: The European Union has agreed to move negotiations on to the next phase, and late Wednesday, May’s flagship Brexit Bill completed the detailed scrutiny stage of its journey through the House of Commons. Still, his departure leaves her without her closest ally in Cabinet.


Saudi Arabia to Freeze More Bank Accounts in Crackdown

Saudi Arabia’s crackdown on alleged corruption showed no signs of letting up, with more people being questioned and banks freezing more accounts, according to people familiar with the situation.

Almost seven weeks after the purge started, authorities are detaining new suspects and releasing some of those held, the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter is private. The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority is also telling banks to freeze the accounts of more individuals who aren’t under arrest and people linked to them, the people said.

The government’s Center for International Communication didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. SAMA referred questions to the public prosecution, which didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.


Is Bitcoin in a Bear Market When It's Still Up 1,600% for Year?

Bitcoin has yet to redefine the global payments system. But it could raise questions about how to define a bear market. Stock strategists -- and financial journalists -- typically use a 20 percent tumble from a high as the trigger for calling a bear market. Bitcoin at one point on Wednesday met that description, according to Bloomberg’s composite price. The low for the day was 20 percent below the record, set way back ... on Monday.

It marks the first time for bitcoin to slide into bear-market territory since ... last month. There have now been three bear-market dips for bitcoin just since August.

By contrast, the S&P 500 Index of stocks last saw a bear market in 2009. When Wells Fargo & Co., the American bank with a market capitalization roughly the size of bitcoin, last saw a bear market for its shares the drop took more than a year to materialize -- from July 2015 to October 2016.


Chinese Tourists Could Cause Years of Misery for Thai Airports

Thailand, land of golden temples, white-sand beaches, smiling hosts. Or of overcrowded airports, epic traffic jams and littered seashores.

Facing a deluge of Chinese tourists that has strained its airports beyond capacity, the Southeast Asian nation is spending billions to upgrade its infrastructure, open up new islands and cities to travelers, and tone down its image of cheap shopping, hotels and sex that underpinned the industry for half a century. But the change will take years and even then may fail to keep up with soaring visitor numbers that have given the Land of Smiles a reputation for delays, overcrowding and government crackdowns.

“Our strategy was more for less, not less for more, so we invited a lot of tourists from China,” said Suvit Maesincee, in an interview last month, when he was the minister attached to the Prime Minister’s office. “I think in the near future we need to change from volume to value.”


HNA’s Buying Spree at Risk as Third Deal in Six Months Falters

New Zealand’s rejection of HNA Group Co.’s proposed acquisition of Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd.’s asset-finance business marks a third deal in six months the debt-strapped conglomerate has failed to complete.

The setbacks come as the China-based group has several major purchases pending, including agreements to buy a stakes in Anthony Scaramucci’s SkyBridge Capital LLC hedge fund and the owner of one of Brazil’s busiest airports. The company’s Swissport Group unit is also awaiting approval to buy Aerocare, the biggest airport ground handler in Australia and New Zealand.

The pending deals are left over from a shopping binge amounting to tens of billions of dollars in recent years that has left the group with about $28 billion in short-term debt. Interest expenses have surged above levels it can cover through earnings, while regulators from Germany to Switzerland and New Zealand have raised questions about the accuracy of the company’s statements regarding its ownership.


Markets

DOW JONES INDUS. AVG
24,726.70 -28.10 -0.11%
S&P 500 INDEX
2,679.25 -2.22 -0.08%
NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX
6,960.96 -2.89 -0.04%
FTSE 100 INDEX
7,525.22 -18.87 -0.25%
DAX INDEX
13,069.20 -146.62 -1.11%
CAC 40 INDEX
5,352.77 -30.14 -0.56%
IBEX 35 INDEX
10,207.70 -26.60 -0.26%
NIKKEI 225
22,878.20 -13.49 -0.06%
HANG SENG INDEX
29,378.70 +144.61 +0.49%

Currencies

EUR-USD
1.1866 -0.0005 -0.04%
USD-JPY
113.4100 +0.0100 +0.01%
GBP-USD
1.3362 -0.0014 -0.10%
AUD-USD
0.7667 0.0000 0.00%
USD-CAD
1.2828 -0.0007 -0.05%
USD-CHF
0.9861 -0.0008 -0.08%
EUR-GBP
0.8880 +0.0005 +0.06%
USD-HKD
7.8276 +0.0045 +0.06%
EUR-CHF
1.1700 -0.0015 -0.13%

Ryanair Pilots Set Recognition Deadline as Strike Threat Lingers

Ryanair Holdings Plc’s Irish pilots gave the company less than two days to come up with a agreement to recognize their labor union.

The Dublin-based carrier met union representatives in Dublin on Tuesday, after Chief Executive Officer Michael O’Leary reached out to Ryanair’s fledgling pilot organizations last week in a softening of a longstanding anti-union stance as the company’s first-ever strikes loomed.

“While Ryanair management said they recognized IMPACT/IALPA for collective bargaining purposes at this evening’s meeting, they said they were unable to give the union a piece of paper to confirm this,” the union said. “This is disappointing given all that’s been said in the media over the last five days.”


Saudi Budget Is Balm for Investors Stung by Austerity Drive

For investors who watched austerity measures pummel growth over the past two years, Saudi Arabia’s 2018 budget is a relief.

The world’s biggest crude exporter will boost spending to 1.1 trillion riyals ($293 billion) to revive an economy that has languished as the nation copes with low oil prices. Ashmore Group Plc says it’s a sign Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s reforms are going ahead, and markets will probably rally, according to Arqaam Capital Ltd.

The spending plan “is enough to surprise the market, definitely,” said Jaap Meijer, the head of equity research at Arqaam Capital in Dubai. “Oil prices are up, which means there is fiscal space to support non-oil gross domestic product. That’s pretty relevant given the anti-corruption drive, which could have ramifications for GDP growth.”


Qatar Central Bank Starts Probe Into Possible Riyal Manipulation

Qatar’s banking regulator started a legal investigation into the possible manipulation of its currency, securities and derivatives markets.

The central bank hired law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP to lead the probe, according to a statement posted its website. A number of financial institutions and individuals have been asked to preserve documents in advance of legal proceedings, it said.

"We know blockading countries and their agents are attempting to manipulate and undermine our currency, securities and derivatives, as part of a coordinated strategy to damage Qatar’s economy,” Governor Sheikh Abdullah Bin Saoud Al-Thani said in the statement. “We will not stand by while our country is attacked in this manner.”


Bitcoin Slumps 10 Percent in Biggest Drop Since Before Futures

Lost in the hubbub over the feeding frenzy in cryptocurrencies and related stocks is the original digital coin itself.

Bitcoin fell as much as 10 percent to less than $17,000 on Tuesday, the steepest decline since before futures were first introduced on Dec. 10.

Investors have shown more interest in smaller digital coins such as ether and ripple, where gains have lagged bitcoin’s 17-fold rally this year, and as others speculate there is more room to gain because of their smaller market capitalizations.


A High-Wire Act Looms for Australia's Central Bank

Having subdued Australia’s housing market frenzy, Governor Philip Lowe now has to steer his way through the hangover.

Despite being saddled with record household debt and wretched wages growth, Australia’s economy is showing signs of picking up steam, with hiring on a tear and firms investing. The dual narratives have prompted the central bank to sit still on record-low interest rates for 16 months, and now present Lowe with a dilemma for 2018: gauging just when the economy can handle a hike.

“The challenge is not to jump immediately from mission accomplished in housing into the next tightening cycle,” said Daniel Blake, an interest-rate strategist at Morgan Stanley in Sydney. “You want to see how this cooling housing market affects consumption spending, because some have ridden the asset-price growth and taken advantage of that, and others have followed in with a lot of leverage.”


Markets

DOW JONES INDUS. AVG
24,754.80 -37.45 -0.15%
S&P 500 INDEX
2,681.47 -8.69 -0.32%
NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX
6,963.85 -30.91 -0.44%
FTSE 100 INDEX
7,544.09 +7.08 +0.09%
DAX INDEX
13,215.80 -96.51 -0.72%
CAC 40 INDEX
5,382.91 -37.67 -0.69%
IBEX 35 INDEX
10,234.30 -9.80 -0.10%
NIKKEI 225
22,868.00 -33.77 -0.15%
HANG SENG INDEX
29,253.70 +203.25 +0.70%

Currencies

EUR-USD
1.1842 +0.0002 +0.02%
USD-JPY
112.8800 -0.0100 -0.01%
GBP-USD
1.3388 +0.0003 +0.02%
AUD-USD
0.7661 -0.0002 -0.03%
USD-CAD
1.2875 -0.0003 -0.02%
USD-CHF
0.9851 +0.0002 +0.02%
EUR-GBP
0.8845 +0.0001 +0.01%
USD-HKD
7.8164 +0.0001 0.00%
EUR-CHF
1.1666 +0.0005 +0.05%

Short Seller Says Naive Bitcoin Traders Open a Pathway to Profit

As newly launched derivatives contracts draw pros into the bitcoin market, a short seller still sees a massive inefficiency -- and a chance to profit off naïve traders. The Bitcoin Investment Trust, a publicly traded vehicle whose bitcoin holdings are worth $1,601 a share, nonetheless trades at a price more than double that amount, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

A savvy trader could in theory mint money by betting that gap will shrink. Futures contracts introduced over the past week by Cboe Global Markets Inc. and CME Group Inc. provides a way to do that: Buy the futures, short sell the Bitcoin Investment Trust.

That’s precisely what Andrew Left, a short seller at Citron Research, is doing, a fact he reiterated via tweet on Monday morning. “Citron would not be pounding table if not appropriate,” he wrote. “Thank you for the 70 percent profit.”


Saudi Budget Gap Falls Below 10% in 2017, Finance Ministry Says

Saudi Arabia’s budget deficit narrowed in 2017 to below 10 percent of economic output for the first time since the collapse in oil prices battered public finances, as the kingdom prepared to unveil what is expected to be an expansionary budget for next year.

The shortfall dropped to 8.9 percent of gross domestic product from almost 13 percent in 2016, the official Saudi Press Agency reported late on Monday, citing Finance Ministry official Yarub al-Thunyan. The decline is in line with the median estimate of 11 economists surveyed by Bloomberg.

A lower deficit would be a welcome boost for the kingdom as it grapples with lower oil revenue after prices plummeted in 2014, causing the budget deficit to surge to about 15 percent of GDP the following year. In response, authorities cut spending and introduced austerity measures including cuts to generous subsidies -- policies that helped reduce the deficit but led to the worst economic slowdown since the global financial crisis.


Barclays in Talks With SFO on Qatar-Probe Deal

Barclays Plc is in talks with the U.K. Serious Fraud Office over a possible deal to avoid new charges against one of its main operating units linked to a 12 billion-pound ($16.1 billion) fundraising at the height of the financial crisis, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.

The decision on whether the SFO will charge the unit, Barclays Bank Plc, in relation to the capital raising with Qatar is expected to be made by the end of January, two people with knowledge of the discussions said. The bank’s holding company and four former executives were charged with fraud and unlawful financial assistance in June with a trial scheduled for 2019.

When the charges were announced this year the bank said the SFO had not yet made a decision on whether it would also charge Barclays Bank. Any charges against the operating unit could be problematic because, if convicted, the lender’s ability to do business globally might be affected. Regulatory approvals and banking licenses are usually tied to banks’ operating units, through which products and services are provided.


Funds Clash Over Whether Aussie Will Drop Below 70 Cents in 2018

Two of Australia’s largest asset managers are at odds about whether the currency will break below 70 U.S. cents.

The Aussie will slide under that level by mid-2018 as the yield on the nation’s bonds falls below that on U.S. Treasuries, according to Brisbane-based QIC Ltd., which oversees the equivalent of $63 billion. The Aussie is likely to stay above 70 cents due to China’s robust economy and a tailwind from commodity prices, says AMP Capital Investors Ltd., which manages about $137 billion.

Australia’s dollar has tumbled about 6 percent from this year’s high in September as the premium on its two-year notes vanished last month for the first time since 2000. Mixed economic data means the Reserve Bank of Australia isn’t likely to raise interest rates from a record-low 1.5 percent any time soon, while the Federal Reserve has increased its benchmark five times since December 2015 to reach a similar level.


Google’s Record Fine of $2.8 Billion Was a ‘Deterrent,’ EU Says

The European Union aimed for a “deterrent effect” on Google and other technology giants when it ordered the internet search provider to pay 2.4 billion euros ($2.8 billion) for breaching antitrust law over how it displays shopping ads.

Regulators weighed “the need to ensure that the fine has a sufficiently deterrent effect not only on Google and Alphabet but also on undertakings of a similar size and with similar resources," the European Commission said in a 215-page document laying out details of its seven-year investigation into the company. The “particularly large” revenue of Google’s parent, Alphabet Inc., also determined the size of the fine, the EU said.

The penalty, levied in June, was more than double an earlier 1 billion-euro fine on Intel and came with a threat of more daily fines for Google if it didn’t comply with an order to offer equal treatment to rival shopping-comparison services. Big numbers for big technology names have been a theme for EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, who ordered Apple Inc. to pay back some 13 billion euros in taxes last year.


Markets

DOW JONES INDUS. AVG
24,792.20 +140.46 +0.57%
S&P 500 INDEX
2,690.16 +14.35 +0.54%
NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX
6,994.76 +58.18 +0.84%
FTSE 100 INDEX
7,537.01 +46.44 +0.62%
DAX INDEX
13,312.30 +208.74 +1.59%
CAC 40 INDEX
5,420.58 +71.28 +1.33%
IBEX 35 INDEX
10,244.10 +93.70 +0.92%
NIKKEI 225
22,912.90 +11.12 +0.05%
HANG SENG INDEX
29,247.10 +196.72 +0.68%

Currencies

EUR-USD
1.1783 +0.0001 +0.01%
USD-JPY
112.6000 +0.0500 +0.04%
GBP-USD
1.3371 -0.0012 -0.09%
AUD-USD
0.7662 -0.0002 -0.03%
USD-CAD
1.2871 +0.0009 +0.07%
USD-CHF
0.9859 +0.0002 +0.02%
EUR-GBP
0.8813 +0.0009 +0.10%
USD-HKD
7.8194 +0.0040 +0.05%
EUR-CHF
1.1617 +0.0004 +0.03%

Pound's Prospects to Be Shaped by `Bones' of Brexit Trade Talks

Pound traders are about to get their first insight into how the currency may fare in the next phase of the Brexit talks as negotiators move on to the potentially more complicated stage of discussing trade.

Sterling may be vulnerable as U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May meets with her cabinet ministers on Tuesday to begin mapping out what they want Britain’s future trade relationship with the European Union to look like. Meanwhile, with May under pressure from businesses to secure a transition period for when the nation leaves the bloc, the European Commission is planning to unveil its latest stance on the issue on Wednesday.

Following her defeat at the hands of her own party in trying to prevent an amendment to legislation that grants lawmakers a meaningful vote on the final Brexit deal, May faces another knife-edge session in Parliament this week on her plans to put a specific leaving date into law. If that wasn’t enough to contend with, there is acknowledgment among leaders, including the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, that the next stage of the U.K.-EU negotiations will be even harder than the first.


Strike Over Teva Firings Shuts Israel Bourse, Banks, Airport

Striking workers idled Israel’s international airport, government offices, banks and stock market for half a day, pressing to scale back Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.’s plan to fire 25 percent of its employees.

Teva workers protesting near facilities around the country tied up morning rush-hour traffic on Sunday and burned tires outside a Jerusalem factory where a group of employees barricaded themselves inside. A solidarity walkout called by the Histadrut labor federation lasted until noon, in response to Teva management’s announcement on Thursday that it would cut 1,700 jobs and shut down two plants in the country. The firings are part of a bigger plan to slash 14,000 jobs worldwide as Petah Tikva, Israel-based Teva seeks to whittle a debt pile more than twice its market capitalization.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told members of his cabinet he would use several “tools at our disposal” to prevent the closure of a Teva manufacturing plant in Jerusalem and try to “limit damage” for the company’s employees, according to a text message from his office.


Bitcoin Takes Bigger Wall Street Stage With Smooth CME Debut

The world’s biggest exchange just joined the bitcoin revolution.

Bitcoin futures started trading Sunday night at CME Group Inc.’s venue, a week after Chicago rival Cboe Global Markets Inc. introduced similar derivatives on the volatile cryptocurrency. CME is a much bigger player in futures, so many traders expect it to make a bigger splash in the nascent space.

CME got off to a faster start with more efficient pricing. Its most-active contract changed hands 221 times in the first hour versus 570 during Cboe’s debut. But that’s a win because CME’s contracts are five times more valuable -- they’re tied to five bitcoins compared with only one with Cboe’s futures. And CME’s futures were priced only about 2 percent higher than bitcoin itself; in the first day, Cboe’s got as much as 13 percent above, a sign trading was relatively inefficient.


China's $189 Billion Giant of Finance Reveals a Huge Bet on Tech

These days, every big finance company worth its salt is finding ways to boost its bottom line with technology. Few are going quite as far as Ping An Insurance (Group) Co.

Over the past decade, the Chinese behemoth has invested billions in technology to make its insurance, lending and asset management businesses more competitive. In recent years, it started selling that tech -- everything from online banking platforms to facial recognition systems -- to other financial firms in China and around the world.

But only now is the scope of Ping An’s ambition coming into focus: The company wants to eventually generate half its earnings from technology, up from almost nothing today. The target, spelled out for the first time by Deputy Chief Executive Officer Jessica Tan in an interview with Bloomberg, could spur investors to rethink how they value a stock that’s nearly 70 percent cheaper than counterparts in the Chinese tech industry.


Top Mining Stock Becomes 2017's Worst Loser on China Steel Shift

Billionaire Andrew Forrest is facing one of his toughest tests in the coming 12 months. His Australian iron ore producer is the only stock on the nation’s blue-chip resources index to hand investors a loss in 2017, tumbling from its status as the top performer last year.

The reason -- China’s steel mills are favoring higher-quality ore produced by Fortescue Metals Group Ltd.’s competitors, and the Perth-based producer’s rivals insist the shift will be permanent.

Incoming Chief Executive Officer Elizabeth Gaines, who’ll take the job in February after a year as chief financial officer, arrives in the post at a moment of rapid evolution for the company, founder and Chairman Forrest said last month.


Markets

DOW JONES INDUS. AVG
24,651.70 +143.08 +0.58%
S&P 500 INDEX
2,675.81 +23.80 +0.90%
NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX
6,936.58 +80.06 +1.17%
FTSE 100 INDEX
7,490.57 +42.45 +0.57%
DAX INDEX
13,103.60 +35.48 +0.27%
CAC 40 INDEX
5,349.30 -7.84 -0.15%
IBEX 35 INDEX
10,150.40 -26.10 -0.26%
NIKKEI 225
22,865.70 +312.45 +1.39%
HANG SENG INDEX
28,964.10 +115.98 +0.40%

Currencies

EUR-USD
1.1764 +0.0015 +0.13%
USD-JPY
112.6800 +0.0800 +0.07%
GBP-USD
1.3336 +0.0016 +0.12%
AUD-USD
0.7658 +0.0012 +0.16%
USD-CAD
1.2853 -0.0013 -0.10%
USD-CHF
0.9902 -0.0003 -0.03%
EUR-GBP
0.8822 +0.0001 +0.01%
USD-HKD
7.8144 +0.0025 +0.03%
EUR-CHF
1.1649 +0.0005 +0.04%

Brexit Talks Are Set to Get Messy

The first six months of Brexit negotiations were the easy part. The European Union’s 27 remaining countries surprised themselves by defying years of talking at cross purposes to hold a united front on their approach to the U.K.’s withdrawal. As a result, the EU stood firm in denying Britain the opportunity to discuss their future trading relationship until it had persuaded Prime Minister Theresa May to make commitments first, including a 39 billion pound ($52 billion) payment plan.

That was then. With EU leaders in Brussels set to formally agree Friday that May has complied with their conditions, there are already signs that EU unity has hit its high watermark. Diplomats are warning that the next stage could be less orderly as discussions start on what sort of relationship Britain and the EU will have after Brexit.

“I have no doubt that the real test of our unity will be the second phase of Brexit talks,” EU President Donald Tusk, who chairs summits, said on Thursday, echoing an earlier warning from German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who said the next stage will be “incomparably more difficult.”


Oil in 2018 Is a Duel Between Visions of OPEC Victory or Defeat

The two most critical forecasts of global oil markets offer contrasting visions for 2018: one in which OPEC finally succeeds in clearing a supply glut, and another where that goal remains elusive.

In the estimation of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, production curbs by the cartel and its allies will finally eliminate the excess oil inventories that have depressed crude prices for more than three years. But in the view of the International Energy Agency, which advises consumers, that surplus will barely budge.

“Both cannot be right,” said Ole Sloth Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank A/S in Copenhagen. “Whichever way the pendulum swings will have a significant impact on the market.”


Teva's CEO Shows He Means Business With Planned 25% Job Cuts

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.’s new Chief Executive Officer Kare Schultz proved that when it comes to saving the struggling drugmaker, he’s ready to pull out all the stops.

Just six weeks into the job, he announced plans to slash 25 percent of the Israeli company’s 56,000-strong workforce, suspend dividends and forgo employee bonuses. The plans, which envision cutting costs by $3 billion in two years, surpassed even the most aggressive forecasts from analysts and sent shares surging the most on record in Tel Aviv.

"You can expect a simpler, leaner and more agile organization organized in a much more straightforward way," Schultz said on a conference call as he outlined how the world’s biggest generic drugmaker will reduce a debt burden that’s twice its market value. “In two years from now, it’s going to look good. If we do well, then in five years it’s going to look great.”


JPMorgan Sees S&P 500 Hitting 3,000, Warns on Tech Stocks

Another Wall Street firm says the bull market’s going to continue to run next year. But it won’t be because of tech shares.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. became the third major bank to predict the S&P 500 Index will rise to 3,000 at the end of 2018, joining Oppenheimer and Evercore ISI. If the benchmark for American equity hits that target, it will have rallied 13 percent from Thursday’s close.

“Expansionary phase of the business cycle, synchronized global earnings momentum, U.S. tax reform should remain supportive of further rotation into value, while continuing to pose risk for low vol and growth stocks,” Dubravko Lakos-Bujas wrote in a note to clients Thursday.


Hunt for Asia's Next Big Currency Trade Lands on Ringgit, Yuan

Malaysia’s ringgit and China’s yuan are emerging as Asia’s most-promising currencies for fund managers as they look for the best place to put their money in the new year.

A rebound in exports, widening current-account surpluses for some nations and an ongoing global chase for yields are fueling optimism that regional currencies will extend their rally into 2018. A gauge of Asian currencies is up 5.5 percent this year, set for its best performance since 1998. South Korea’s won is leading spot gains, while the ringgit tops in terms of total returns.

“We expect the Asian economies to do well as the global recovery broadens out,” said Wilfred Wee, a Singapore-based fund manager at Investec Asset Management Ltd., which oversees $132 billion globally. “We can expect Asian currency strength to sustain into 2018.”


Markets

DOW JONES INDUS. AVG
24,508.70 -76.77 -0.31%
S&P 500 INDEX
2,652.01 -10.84 -0.41%
NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX
6,856.53 -19.27 -0.28%
FTSE 100 INDEX
7,448.12 -48.39 -0.65%
DAX INDEX
13,068.10 -57.56 -0.44%
CAC 40 INDEX
5,357.14 -42.31 -0.78%
IBEX 35 INDEX
10,176.50 -84.00 -0.82%
NIKKEI 225
22,494.80 -199.69 -0.88%
HANG SENG INDEX
28,900.50 -265.85 -0.91%

Currencies

EUR-USD
1.1786 +0.0008 +0.07%
USD-JPY
112.2500 -0.1400 -0.12%
GBP-USD
1.3436 +0.0005 +0.04%
AUD-USD
0.7670 +0.0004 +0.05%
USD-CAD
1.2775 -0.0022 -0.17%
USD-CHF
0.9884 -0.0007 -0.07%
EUR-GBP
0.8772 +0.0002 +0.03%
USD-HKD
7.8117 +0.0030 +0.04%
EUR-CHF
1.1648 -0.0002 -0.02%

U.K. Housing Market Stagnates as London Price Drop Continues

The U.K. housing market is stuck in a rut. A survey by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors Thursday showed a national gauge slipped to zero in November, a result consistent with no change in prices, while the three-month outlook is also broadly flat. London remains a weak spot, with the most negative current reading, while respondents also reported downward pressure on prices in the Southeast, Northeast and East Anglia.

The report is the latest to paint a grim picture of the market in the capital, with brokers flagging Brexit uncertainty as one reason for sluggish sales. The Bank of England’s interest-rate hike was also flagged as a potential drag on the U.K. market, and there’s thus far little evidence that the government’s move to scrap stamp duty for some first-time buyers in last month’s budget is lifting sentiment.

The London market “remains slow, mainly influenced by political instability and Brexit concerns,” Allan Fuller, of Allan Fuller Estate Agents in Putney, said in the report. Toby Whittome of Jackson-Stops said activity will remain at “extremely reduced levels.”


Saudi’s $19 Billion Stimulus Will Prioritize Housing and Small Business

Saudi Arabia will on Thursday unveil a 72 billion-riyal ($19.2 billion) program to bolster private-sector growth in 2018, with money to support housing construction as well as fee waivers for small businesses, Commerce and Investment Minister Majid Al-Qasabi said.

The package, part of a four-year stimulus program announced last year, contains 17 separate initiatives the government hopes will result in direct and indirect job creation, Al-Qasabi said in an interview in Riyadh. It’s a key component of the kingdom’s Vision 2030 economic-transformation plan ahead of the 2018 budget due next week.

"Next year is the year for stimulus," Al-Qasabi said. "That’s how we will strengthen our bonds with local and international investors."


Investor Bet on Middle East Oil Play Pays Off in Abu Dhabi IPO

Investors who bet on exposure to Middle East oil got it right, at least on the first trading day of shares in a unit of Abu Dhabi’s oil giant.

The stock of Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. for Distribution PJSC, the fuel retailing unit of Adnoc, soared as much as 16 percent to 2.90 dirhams in early trading. They pared gains to close 6 percent higher at 2.65 dirhams in Abu Dhabi. The emirate pumps most of the crude in OPEC member United Arab Emirates.

“It’s interesting for investors to own Adnoc Distribution because forecasts are indicating a rise in oil price, which can increase profit margins,” said Issam Kassabieh, equities analyst at Menacorp Financial Services in Dubai. “The offer was oversubscribed to retail by more than 20 times, and having a local fuel distributor listed will add more transparency to the sector in general.”


Fed Raises Rates, Eyes Three 2018 Hikes as Yellen Era Nears End

Federal Reserve officials followed through on an expected interest-rate increase and raised their forecast for economic growth in 2018, even as they stuck with a projection for three hikes in the coming year.

“This change highlights that the committee expects the labor market to remain strong, with sustained job creation, ample opportunities for workers and rising wages,” Chair Janet Yellen told reporters Wednesday in Washington following the decision. In her final scheduled press conference, Yellen noted that her nominated successor, Jerome Powell, has been part of the consensus shaping the Fed’s gradual rate-hike strategy.

In a key change to its statement announcing the decision, the Federal Open Market Committee omitted prior language saying it expected the labor market would strengthen further. Instead, Wednesday’s missive said monetary policy would help the labor market “remain strong.” That suggests Fed officials expect improvement in the job market to slow.


China's Home Sales Reverse Declines for Biggest Gain in 5 Months

China’s new home sales rebounded in November, climbing the most in five months.

Sales by value, excluding affordable housing, increased 12.4 percent from a year earlier to 1.02 trillion yuan ($151 billion), according to Bloomberg calculations based on data released Thursday by the National Bureau of Statistics. Sales fell the two previous months.

The upswing comes even as officials have sought to tame a surge in property demand by rolling out restrictions on home purchases. Analysts forecast next year will see the first decline in sales since 2014 as China tackles excessive leverage and maintains curbs on purchases. Already, the government has loosened its grip on developers’ financing after the market began to cool.


Markets

DOW JONES INDUS. AVG
24,585.40 +80.63 +0.33%
S&P 500 INDEX
2,662.85 -1.26 -0.05%
NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX
6,875.80 +13.48 +0.20%
FTSE 100 INDEX
7,496.51 -3.90 -0.05%
DAX INDEX
13,125.60 -57.89 -0.44%
CAC 40 INDEX
5,399.45 -27.74 -0.51%
IBEX 35 INDEX
10,260.50 -27.80 -0.27%
NIKKEI 225
22,753.40 -4.63 -0.02%
HANG SENG INDEX
29,218.90 -3.18 -0.01%

Currencies

EUR-USD
1.1835 +0.0009 +0.08%
USD-JPY
112.5900 +0.0500 +0.04%
GBP-USD
1.3433 +0.0013 +0.10%
AUD-USD
0.7667 +0.0030 +0.39%
USD-CAD
1.2813 -0.0004 -0.03%
USD-CHF
0.9844 -0.0010 -0.10%
EUR-GBP
0.8810 -0.0002 -0.02%
USD-HKD
7.8094 +0.0052 +0.07%
EUR-CHF
1.1650 -0.0005 -0.05%

U.K.'s May Faces Choice of Retreat or Defeat Over Brexit Law

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May is facing another painful Brexit dilemma: cave in to rebels in her Conservative Party who want the power to veto the final Brexit deal, or face a potentially damaging defeat.

Tory lawmakers are lining up to defy May’s orders on Wednesday and vote for an amendment to her flagship law that paves the way for the U.K.’s exit from the European Union in 2019. They want Parliament to be given a “meaningful vote” on whether to accept the final Brexit treaty -- and are seeking to guarantee this in the text of the bill.

“Nobody voted in the referendum for our parliamentary democracy to be undermined,” said Labour member of Parliament Chuka Umunna. “We need scrutiny on Brexit, not a blank cheque for government ministers.” With no automatic majority in the House of Commons, the premier is facing a potential defeat over the amendment, which is likely to be voted on in London on Wednesday.


Saudi Arabia to Set Up Entity for Assets Taken in Crackdown

Saudi Arabia is setting up an organization to manage assets relinquished by detainees as part of settlement agreements in the crackdown on corruption, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The kingdom is talking to consultants about how to set up the entity, which will evaluate and potentially sell holdings handed over by billionaires and princes in exchange for their freedom, said the people, asking not to be identified because the matter is private.

Hani Halawani, head of direct investments at Sanabil Investments, part of the Public Investment Fund, will help run the organization, the people said. The government’s Center for International Communication didn’t respond to a request for comment. Halawani didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.


Trump Considers Easing Nuclear Rules for Saudi Project

The Trump administration is encouraging Saudi Arabia to consider bids by Westinghouse Electric Co. and other U.S. companies to build nuclear reactors in that country and may allow the enrichment of uranium as part of that deal, according to three people familiar with the plans.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry visited Saudi Arabia this month where the projects were discussed, according to two people. The people familiar asked not to be identified discussing the confidential negotiations.

Previous U.S. agreements have prohibited the enrichment and reprocessing of uranium, and that had scuttled negotiations to use U.S. technology in Saudi nuclear projects during the Obama administration. The administration is mulling easing that requirement now as a way to help Westinghouse and other companies win Saudi Arabian contracts, two people said.


U.S. Is Ready to Talk to North Korea ‘Anytime,’ Tillerson Says

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the U.S. is prepared to negotiate with North Korea without preconditions, but the Trump administration would first want a “quiet period” without nuclear or missile tests for discussions with Kim Jong Un’s regime to begin.

“Let’s just meet. We can talk about the weather if you want," Tillerson said in a speech Tuesday at the Atlantic Council in Washington. "We can talk about whether it’s going to be a square table or a round table if that’s what you’re excited about."

Tillerson has regularly called for diplomacy with the isolated nation and the White House played down the prospect of a policy shift. Press Secretary Sarah Sanders followed the remarks by saying Trump’s views hadn’t changed, underscoring the apparent rift between the president and the U.S.’s top diplomat.


Emerging Markets Shrug Off Crises For Best Gains in Eight Years

2017 is set to go down as the year when easy monetary policy and budding global growth came together to deliver blockbuster returns for the world’s emerging markets. Currencies and stocks in developing economies are on track for their biggest rallies in eight years as even the riskiest markets shrug off crises and threats to deliver gains for investors.

Bonds, too, have had a good run, with local-currency emerging-market debt returning the most since 2012 amid the loose policy environment.

From North Korea’s missile power plays to Venezuela’s debt default, it’s been an event-filled year in developing markets, kicked off by anxiety over U.S. President Donald Trump’s protectionist trade rhetoric. But investors have looked beyond the tension to focus on the positives in 2017, with the sturdy growth picture deflecting most of the shocks.


Markets

DOW JONES INDUS. AVG
24,504.80 +118.77 +0.49%
S&P 500 INDEX
2,664.11 +4.12 +0.15%
NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX
6,862.32 -12.76 -0.19%
FTSE 100 INDEX
7,500.41 +46.93 +0.63%
DAX INDEX
13,183.50 +59.88 +0.46%
CAC 40 INDEX
5,427.19 +40.36 +0.75%
IBEX 35 INDEX
10,288.30 -18.60 -0.18%
NIKKEI 225
22,851.70 -14.52 -0.06%
HANG SENG INDEX
28,793.90 -171.41 -0.59%

Currencies

EUR-USD
1.1748 +0.0006 +0.05%
USD-JPY
113.4500 -0.1000 -0.09%
GBP-USD
1.3325 +0.0007 +0.05%
AUD-USD
0.7568 +0.0010 +0.13%
USD-CAD
1.2864 -0.0002 -0.02%
USD-CHF
0.9909 -0.0007 -0.07%
EUR-GBP
0.8816 0.0000 0.00%
USD-HKD
7.8065 -0.0006 -0.01%
EUR-CHF
1.1640 -0.0003 -0.02%

The Toughest Votes Are Yet to Come for the Brexit Bill

Prime Minister Theresa May’s flagship Brexit Bill continues its slow journey through Parliament Tuesday and Wednesday, with the sixth and seventh days of its eight-day Committee Stage.

So far the bill, which facilitates moving European Union-derived rules and regulations into U.K. law, has been a dog that hasn’t barked. Despite repeated threats from pro-European Tory lawmakers that they will vote against aspects of the legislation, May’s minority government has been undefeated.

That reflects two things: Scheduling and surrender. First, the government arranged the timetable so the most contentious votes will come in the final days, in particular this Wednesday and next, when it will finish its line-by-line scrutiny in the House of Commons. Second, ministers have backed down or offered concessions each time they looked like they faced defeat.


Saudi Arabia Plans to Raise Gas Prices by 80% in January

Saudi Arabia plans to raise domestic gasoline and jet fuel prices in January, part of a program to gradually eliminate energy subsidies as the kingdom seeks to overhaul its economy and balance the budget, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

Gasoline prices are set to increase by about 80 percent, while jet fuel prices will be raised to international levels in one go, the person said, asking not to be identified because the matter isn’t public. Gasoline and other fuels such as diesel, kerosene and heavy fuel oil, will see incremental price increases over several years, the person said.

Excluding jet fuel, prices won’t reach international levels until 2023 at the earliest, and potentially by 2025. Electricity tariffs won’t be increased directly, but will rise gradually with other energy prices, the person said. The Finance Ministry, which oversees the subsidy reform program, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


Why Arbitrage Traders Are Salivating Over Bitcoin Futures

The proverbial free lunch is just sitting there in the hours-old bitcoin futures market. So why isn’t it being gobbled up?

Cboe Global Markets Inc.’s new contracts were priced as much as 13 percent higher than bitcoin itself since trading began Sunday night, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

That should have arbitrage traders salivating, especially among market makers starving after their -- already successful and hugely profitable -- efforts to make other similar assets trade in lockstep. Pity the poor S&P 500 arb living off spreads well below 1 percent, or merger arbs in the U.S., where the median gap is just north of 1 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.


Surging Debt Will Make Asian Central Banks Cautious on Rates

Years of cheap money across Asia have left a legacy of surging debt that will force the region’s central bankers to be cautious when they eventually follow in the footsteps of South Korea by raising interest rates.

In South Korea, whose borrowing costs were boosted on Nov. 30, household debt has ballooned to about 150 percent of disposable income. It’s an even larger 194 percent in Australia. In China, it’s companies feeling the strain with corporate debt equating to about 160 percent of gross domestic product.

Years of unprecedented stimulus have swollen the Bank of Japan’s balance sheet to almost the size of the economy. Given the 2 percent inflation target is still in the distance, a tightening of monetary policy remains a long way off, so that debt pile is set to keep on swelling.


Buffett's About to Get $3 Billion Back From Burger King Owner

Warren Buffett’s cash pile is likely to get a bit bigger this week. Burger King-owner Restaurant Brands International Inc. is scheduled to redeem $3 billion in preferred shares Tuesday from Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. The money helped the fast-food chain finance its 2014 purchase of Tim Hortons.

The redemption will take away a lucrative investment for Berkshire and add to Buffett’s arsenal for investments and takeovers. At the end of the third quarter, Buffett’s Omaha, Nebraska-based holding company had a record $109 billion in cash. The billionaire has struggled some on the deal front this year with two large, potential acquisitions slipping away.


At the time Buffett made the preferred investment in Restaurant Brands, it was an attractive way to put some money to work. The securities pay 9 percent -- or roughly $270 million -- in dividends annually. The arrangement also reinforced a burgeoning relationship between Buffett and 3G Capital, the buyout shop that controls Restaurant Brands. Berkshire and 3G own a controlling stake in packaged-food giant Kraft Heinz Co.


Markets

DOW JONES INDUS. AVG
24,386.00 +56.87 +0.23%
S&P 500 INDEX
2,659.99 +8.49 +0.32%
NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX
6,875.08 +35.00 +0.51%
FTSE 100 INDEX
7,453.48 +59.52 +0.80%
DAX INDEX
13,123.70 -30.05 -0.23%
CAC 40 INDEX
5,386.83 -12.26 -0.23%
IBEX 35 INDEX
10,306.90 -14.20 -0.14%
NIKKEI 225
22,950.40 +11.63 +0.05%
HANG SENG INDEX
28,949.40 -15.93 -0.05%

Currencies

EUR-USD
1.1766 -0.0003 -0.03%
USD-JPY
113.4600 -0.1000 -0.09%
GBP-USD
1.3337 -0.0004 -0.03%
AUD-USD
0.7525 -0.0001 -0.01%
USD-CAD
1.2857 +0.0001 +0.01%
USD-CHF
0.9920 +0.0002 +0.02%
EUR-GBP
0.8821 -0.0002 -0.02%
USD-HKD
7.8079 +0.0016 +0.02%
EUR-CHF
1.1671 -0.0001 -0.01%

Bitcoin Futures Start With a Bang as Gain Trips Circuit Breakers

Bitcoin landed on Wall Street with a bang. Four hours after the debut of Cboe Global Markets Inc.’s bitcoin futures, the contracts climbed more than 20 percent and triggered two trading halts designed to cool volatility. Dealers said initial volumes exceeded expectations, while traffic on Cboe’s website was so strong that it caused delays and outages. The exchange said all its trading systems were normal.

“It was pretty easy to trade,” Joe Van Hecke, managing partner at Chicago-based Grace Hall Trading LLC, said in a telephone interview from Charlotte, North Carolina. “I think you’ll see a robust market as time plays out.”

The launch of futures traded on a regulated exchange is a watershed for bitcoin -- testing infrastructure that will make it easier for legions of professional traders and mainstream investors to bet on the cryptocurrency’s rise or fall, potentially helping to steer its price. Until now, trading in bitcoin was driven mainly by individual investors who were willing to risk buying on mostly unregulated markets. Some users of those little-policed venues have been targeted by hackers who’ve stolen digital tokens.


Kuwait Says Global Oil Cuts Can Halt If Market Balances by June

OPEC and its global allies including Russia may end their production cuts before 2019 if the crude market re-balances by June, Kuwait’s oil minister said.

Russia is keen to end the output-capping deal as early as possible, Issam Almarzooq told Bloomberg on Sunday in Kuwait City. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will study an exit strategy from the global cuts accord at its next meeting in June, he told reporters later.

“We still have a full year left in the agreement, but there is a possibility that we exit the cuts agreement before 2019 if the market is re-balanced by June,” Almarzooq said. “There is pressure from Russia to exit the deal as soon as possible” once the market is balanced, he said.


Bitcoin Billionaire Winklevoss Sees Surge of as Much as 20 Fold

ameron Winklevoss, thought to be one of the largest holders of bitcoin, thinks the cryptocurrency’s blazing gains this year are just the start. He predicts it will rise as much as 20-fold as investors come to view it as an upgrade to gold.

Wall Street’s plan to launch futures contracts on Sunday, making it easier to bet against the digital currency’s rally in recent months, is making some enthusiasts nervous -- but not Winklevoss. He’s one of the famed 36-year-old twins who played an early role in Facebook Inc.’s formation, then dedicated part of their fortune to the cryptocurrency and have since tried to win approval for a bitcoin trading vehicle.

Winklevoss bases his price projection on the market value of gold, which he pegged at about $6 trillion and others calculate at closer to $7.5 trillion. Investors are beginning to embrace the idea that bitcoin, “mined” by computers performing complex calculations, is more portable and divisible than the precious metal, he said.


Philippines Wins Fitch Upgrade in Boost for Duterte's Plans

Fitch Ratings raised the Philippines’ sovereign rating by one level, providing an endorsement of President Rodrigo Duterte’s economic plans, which include a tax reform aimed at strengthening the fiscal outlook.

The rating on the nation’s long-term foreign currency-denominated debt was raised to BBB with a stable outlook, Fitch said in a statement on Monday. The upgrade puts the Philippines on par with Italy and ahead of Indonesia.

Despite the controversy over Duterte’s bloody anti-drug war, Fitch said there’s no evidence it’s undermined investor confidence. The economy is set to remain one of the fastest expanding in Asia with growth of 6.8 percent next year and in 2019, the ratings company said.


SoftBank's Saudi Connections Could Mean Cash After Crackdown

Billionaire Masayoshi Son may be getting closer to achieving his dream of making SoftBank Group Corp. the world’s biggest investor in technologies. The reason has to do with the main patron of Son’s $100 billion investment plan, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The Saudi prince has been the largest investor in the SoftBank Vision Fund, contributing almost half of the money Son has been raising to accelerate his dealmaking around the world. And since November, Prince Mohammed has been at the center of an unprecedented purge of officials and political rivals in the oil-rich nation, leading to a consolidation of his power.

A stronger Prince Mohammed could mean steady flows of Saudi money into the fund, which allows SoftBank to make investments without adding to its heavy debt load and offering the potential for those investments to generate revenues to pay down the burden. At the same time, any unforeseen reversal in the prince’s fortunes may raise questions about the sustainability of his investments.


Markets

DOW JONES INDUS. AVG
24,329.20 +117.68 +0.49%
S&P 500 INDEX
2,651.50 +14.52 +0.55%
NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX
6,840.08 +27.24 +0.40%
FTSE 100 INDEX
7,393.96 +73.21 +1.00%
DAX INDEX
13,153.70 +108.55 +0.83%
CAC 40 INDEX
5,399.09 +15.23 +0.28%
IBEX 35 INDEX
10,321.10 +58.50 +0.57%
NIKKEI 225
22,876.80 +65.68 +0.29%
HANG SENG INDEX
28,784.40 +144.52 +0.50%

Currencies

EUR-USD
1.1779 +0.0006 +0.05%
USD-JPY
113.5700 +0.0900 +0.08%
GBP-USD
1.3403 +0.0013 +0.10%
AUD-USD
0.7528 +0.0019 +0.25%
USD-CAD
1.2846 -0.0002 -0.02%
USD-CHF
0.9919 -0.0008 -0.08%
EUR-GBP
0.8789 -0.0003 -0.04%
USD-HKD
7.8099 +0.0038 +0.05%
EUR-CHF
1.1684 -0.0007 -0.06%

Bitcoin Wildness Highlights Worries as Futures Trading Nears

Bitcoin’s poised to go legit. Is it really ready?

Three days before Cboe Global Markets Inc., one of the world’s biggest regulated exchanges, debuts futures on the cryptocurrency, it had one of its wildest sessions ever. On Coinbase Inc.’s GDAX exchange, prices zoomed up to almost $20,000 from $16,000 in only about 90 minutes -- then crashed back down. The largest digital currency is still up more than 16-fold this year.

Coinbase, one of the largest U.S. online exchanges used by investors, temporarily crashed and continued to suffer from service delays. Trezor, a wallet service, tweeted that it’s having “minor issues” with its servers, while Bitfinex, the largest bitcoin exchange in the world, said on Twitter that it has been under a denial of service attack for several days and that it recently got worse.


May's Defense Chief Says Kill Jihadis Before Allowing Them Home

British citizens who fought for the Islamic State abroad are better off dead and should be stopped from returning home, according to the country’s new defense chief.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson, a member of Prime Minister Theresa May’s inner circle whom she promoted just last month, risked re-igniting a debate on how to fight terrorism with his strong language. He told the Daily Mail that those intent on bringing “destruction, death and bloodshed” to the U.K. are being “hunted down” and “eliminated.”

“A dead terrorist can’t cause any harm to Britain," he said in an interview with the paper on Thursday. “I do not believe that any terrorist, whether they come from this country or any other, should ever be allowed back into this country.”


Turkish Banker Case Takes Odd Turn as Zarrab Sued for Rape

The trial against a Turkish banker accused of laundering money for Iran took a bizarre turn as the U.S. government’s star witness was sued for rape by a man who says he was a fellow inmate in a New York City jail.

The lawsuit against Reza Zarrab, a gold and currency trader who is cooperating with U.S. prosecutors, was filed Wednesday in state court in Manhattan. The plaintiff is a 62-year-old man from the Ivory Coast who claims he was held in a cell with Zarrab from mid-2016 to March, when Zarrab was transferred to another facility after the man complained.

“The allegations are outrageous and false from a source that is not remotely credible,” Zarrab’s lawyer, Robert Anello, said in an email. The plaintiff’s lawyer, Alexei Schacht, didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.


What Debt Problem? Chinese Firms in Their Best Shape in Years

Everyone from President Xi Jinping on down in China -- and plenty of observers outside it -- have warned about the need to rein in leverage in the world’s second-largest economy. What’s gone little recognized is that a large group of its companies has already done just that.

Looking at their capacity to make interest payments along with their debt relative to earnings, listed non-financial enterprises in China on average are in the best shape in more than a decade, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The improvement has been propelled by supply cuts, rebounding prices and a boom in global trade that have boosted profit growth.

The strengthening position of China’s companies puts them in better shape to cope with the increase in bond yields being driven by regulators’ efforts to rein in shadow banking. That offers scope to keep up the campaign and let weaker players default without sparking broader contagion. While accounting transparency issues remain, it could also encourage investors to look again at a bond market with higher returns than other major economies.


Trudeau Leaves China Empty-Handed

Justin Trudeau saw a third way for trade, preaching “progressive” values as a fix to a global order put on the defensive by populists like Donald Trump. But this week in China, he got a crash course on how difficult it is to sell.

The Canadian prime minister wrapped up a visit to the Asian powerhouse Thursday without launching free trade talks, despite high expectations. He’s been pushing both the U.S. president and China’s Xi Jinping to adopt provisions like labor, gender and environmental guarantees to calm working-class anxiety and keep trade flowing. Instead of a receptive audience, he found a culture clash.

“It’s a little unrealistic for Canada to use a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach in trade talks with countries whose conditions and aspirations are greatly different,” said He Weiwen, deputy director of the Center for China and Globalization in Beijing and a former commerce ministry official. Both countries “have a positive attitude” toward a potential free trade deal, “however practicality needs to be applied when it comes down to actual negotiation.”


Markets

DOW JONES INDUS. AVG
24,211.50 +70.57 +0.29%
S&P 500 INDEX
2,636.98 +7.71 +0.29%
NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX
6,812.84 +36.47 +0.54%
FTSE 100 INDEX
7,320.75 -27.28 -0.37%
DAX INDEX
13,045.20 +46.30 +0.36%
CAC 40 INDEX
5,383.86 +9.51 +0.18%
IBEX 35 INDEX
10,262.60 +78.60 +0.77%
NIKKEI 225
22,700.60 +202.56 +0.90%
HANG SENG INDEX
28,303.20 +78.39 +0.28%

Currencies

EUR-USD
1.1766 -0.0007 -0.06%
USD-JPY
113.2900 +0.2000 +0.18%
GBP-USD
1.3466 -0.0008 -0.06%
AUD-USD
0.7505 -0.0006 -0.08%
USD-CAD
1.2859 +0.0005 +0.04%
USD-CHF
0.9952 +0.0008 +0.08%
EUR-GBP
0.8738 0.0000 0.00%
USD-HKD
7.8080 +0.0010 +0.01%
EUR-CHF
1.1711 +0.0003 +0.02%

Bitcoin Soars Through $14,000, Up More Than 40% This Month

Bitcoin climbed as much as 7.9 percent on Thursday as it surged above $14,000, extending this month’s advance to more than 40 percent. The price of the cryptocurrency touched $14,399.99, a record, according to Bloomberg pricing.

ASX Ltd., the main exchange operator for equities and derivatives in Australia, on Thursday said it will start using blockchain to process equity transactions. Blockchain is the ledger software that makes bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies possible, and Digital Asset Holdings LLC, the startup run by former JPMorgan Chase & Co. banker Blythe Masters, will supply the technology.

Bitcoin also got a boost from a successful test of the Lightning Network, which promises to provide a new way to pay with bitcoin. The technology would move some transactions away from the blockchain by allowing buyers and sellers to transact privately and later broadcast their activity to the public network. Supporters say it will ease the on-going congestion plaguing bitcoin.


Jerusalem Move Makes Trump's Peace Deal More Elusive Than Ever

President Donald Trump called his decision Wednesday to break with decades of precedent and declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel a move made “in the best interest of peace between Israel and Palestine.” Israel aside, few others saw it that way.

Trump tried to temper his decision by reaffirming U.S. support for a “two-state solution” and saying he wasn’t preempting any final decision about Israel’s borders or sovereignty within Jerusalem. That’s important to Palestinians, because they view the eastern part of the city as their future capital, but it’s also something they would have already expected in any peace deal, so Trump’s statement rang hollow.

The full impact of Trump’s decision won’t really be known until his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, unveils a plan he has been working on with a small team aimed at forging peace in the Middle East. White House officials conceded that the effort isn’t ready yet and that there will be a cooling off period following Wednesday’s announcement before the administration can move forward with it.


OPEC’s Surprise Oil Deal With Libya Doesn't Mean Much for Markets

OPEC appeared to score a diplomatic coup last week by persuading Libya, its most troubled member, to accept production limits. In reality, the agreement probably means little for the oil market.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its partners agreed on Nov. 30 to persevere with supply curbs until the end of next year, in a bid to drain oversupplied world markets. In a surprise addition, an output cap was imposed on members Libya and Nigeria, which had previously been spared any obligations while they struggled to recover barrels lost to armed conflict and sabotage.

The pact seemed to be a reversal for Libya, whose top oil official, Mustafa Sanalla, had outlined the country’s aspirations to revive exports and its need for leniency while nation rebuilding took place.


Fast & Furious Ringgit Needs to Take Pit Stop, State Street Says

After going from last to first in Asia, the Malaysian ringgit may be headed for a break -- before resuming its rally.

Momentum indicators, including slow stochastics, show the ringgit is overbought. The currency has surged 3.6 percent against the dollar in the past month, the best performer as oil prices climbed and the central bank signaled a potential interest-rate increase. It was the worst-ranked emerging Asian currency in the same four-week period last year, as a crackdown on speculators and expectations of a stronger greenback spurred outflows.

“There’s potentially a bit more room to go, but if you look at the chart, perhaps it may need a bit of consolidation at some point,” said Ng Kheng Siang, Asia Pacific head of fixed income at State Street Global Advisors in Singapore, which oversees $2.7 trillion. “It’s a catch-up play. Last year there were quite a number of issues affecting Malaysia.”


In China's Strange Bull Market, Most Stocks Are Retreating

Every bull market is unique, but the one in China right now looks downright strange. The Shanghai Composite Index has climbed 24 percent from its January 2016 low, and yet a majority of stocks in the benchmark gauge have fallen during the period.

That’s a first for Shanghai bull markets since at least 2002, when Bloomberg began tracking the data. And it makes China a big global outlier.

For all 45 of the other national equity gauges that have climbed at least 20 percent since last January, a majority of index members have recorded gains. Even in the U.S., where some investors have bemoaned the S&P 500 Index’s reliance on a handful of surging tech shares, the ratio of advancers versus decliners is more than 5-to-1.


Markets

DOW JONES INDUS. AVG
24,140.90 -39.73 -0.16%
S&P 500 INDEX
2,629.27 -0.30 -0.01%
NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX
6,776.38 +14.16 +0.21%
FTSE 100 INDEX
7,348.03 +20.53 +0.28%
DAX INDEX
12,998.80 -49.69 -0.38%
CAC 40 INDEX
5,374.35 -1.18 -0.02%
IBEX 35 INDEX
10,184.00 -27.30 -0.27%
NIKKEI 225
22,445.30 +268.22 +1.21%
HANG SENG INDEX
28,226.40 +1.57 +0.01%

Currencies

EUR-USD
1.1803 +0.0007 +0.06%
USD-JPY
112.4200 +0.1300 +0.12%
GBP-USD
1.3381 -0.0012 -0.09%
AUD-USD
0.7548 -0.0016 -0.21%
USD-CAD
1.2803 +0.0014 +0.11%
USD-CHF
0.9897 -0.0002 -0.02%
EUR-GBP
0.8821 +0.0013 +0.15%
USD-HKD
7.8125 -0.0009 -0.01%
EUR-CHF
1.1681 +0.0004 +0.03%

Theresa May Faces New Brexit Revolt From Boris Johnson

Prime Minister Theresa May is facing a revolt from inside her Cabinet over her plan to keep U.K. regulations aligned with the European Union after Brexit, a split that threatens to undermine her hopes of breaking the deadlock in negotiations.

Efforts to rescue Brexit talks from an embarrassing breakdown on Monday prompted fresh divisions in the U.K. Cabinet on Tuesday, as leading Brexit-backers challenged the prime minister just days before a key deadline in talks.

Brexit Secretary David Davis told Parliament he wanted the whole country to remain close to EU economic regulations after the split, a move that could have helped unblock talks that broke down over the issue of the Irish border.


A Battle With Pilots Still Haunts the World’s Worst Aviation Stock

Pascal Cohen won’t fly El Al Israel Airlines unless he has to. His flight to Moscow last year was delayed for seven hours because the pilots, embroiled in a labor dispute, didn’t show. He struggled in vain to get any kind of compensation.

“I’m a Zionist but if you want to compete in the world, you need to offer better service,” Cohen said by phone. “Today we have other choices.”

Other choices indeed. The pilots’ work action and the airline’s aging fleet have left it largely unable to increase profit during a travel boom in the four years since Israel deregulated international air travel. Foreign carriers such as Turkish Airlines Inc. and Hungary’s Wizz Air Holdings Plc have been grabbing market share with cheaper prices.


Saudi King Absent at GCC Summit Overshadowed by Qatar Crisis

The Qatari emir was the only head of state -- other than his Kuwaiti host -- at a Gulf summit on Tuesday, as leaders including Saudi Arabia’s King Salman stayed away from a meeting that was overshadowed by the rift with Qatar and ended a day early.

The Saudi delegation was headed by Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir, while Bahrain sent its deputy prime minister to the Gulf Cooperation Council meeting, hosted by Kuwaiti leader Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah. The United Arab Emirates was represented by its junior foreign minister, Anwar Gargash, while Oman followed its recent precedent by sending its deputy premier to represent Sultan Qaboos.

The leaders’ absence was an apparent snub to Qatari ruler, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, and to Kuwait’s efforts to mediate an end to the Saudi-led boycott of the gas-rich nation. Saudi Arabia, along with the U.A.E., Bahrain and Egypt, cut diplomatic and transport links with Qatar in early June, accusing it of funding extremism and criticizing its ties with Shiite-led Iran. Doha has repeatedly denied the allegations.


Singapore Property Bulls Ignore Central Bank's Warning

Singapore developers may extend their share rally into 2018 on a reviving home market, according to money managers and analysts, who say the central bank’s warning on a potential oversupply may not play out for years.

After double-digit gains this year, Morgan Stanley sees a 42 percent jump in shares of CapitaLand Ltd., the nation’s largest developer, and a 24 percent increase in City Developments Ltd., the second-biggest, in the next 12 months. Property companies such as City Developments and UOL Group Ltd. are among the top performers in Singapore in 2017, with developers collectively on track for their best annual performance in five years.

Signs of a revival in Singapore’s property market include record prices paid for land deals, the first increase in home prices in four years, and the first gain in office rents in 2 1/2 years. The buoyant sentiment was tempered last week by the Monetary Authority of Singapore, which flagged the risk of rising vacancies amid slowing population growth.


Trump Plans Waiver on Moving U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem

President Donald Trump will formally declare Jerusalem to be Israel’s capital and direct the State Department to start the process of moving the U.S. embassy there from Tel Aviv, a historic shift of U.S. policy that could inflame key allies.

But in a sign the announcement could be more symbolic than substantive, the White House warned that any actual move would take years and that the specific boundaries of Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem are still subject to peace talks that have bedeviled U.S. presidents for decades.

Trump’s announcement about the embassy move, which is planned for Wednesday at 1 p.m. in Washington, was detailed to reporters Tuesday evening by three administration officials.


Markets

DOW JONES INDUS. AVG
24,180.60 -109.41 -0.45%
S&P 500 INDEX
2,629.57 -9.87 -0.37%
NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX
6,762.22 -13.15 -0.19%
FTSE 100 INDEX
7,327.50 -11.47 -0.16%
DAX INDEX
13,048.50 -10.01 -0.08%
CAC 40 INDEX
5,375.53 -13.76 -0.26%
IBEX 35 INDEX
10,211.30 +2.70 +0.03%
NIKKEI 225
22,436.80 -185.63 -0.82%
HANG SENG INDEX
28,757.70 -85.07 -0.29%

Currencies

EUR-USD
1.1828 +0.0002 +0.02%
USD-JPY
112.3700 -0.2300 -0.20%
GBP-USD
1.3428 -0.0015 -0.11%
AUD-USD
0.7587 -0.0020 -0.26%
USD-CAD
1.2699 +0.0008 +0.06%
USD-CHF
0.9873 -0.0001 -0.01%
EUR-GBP
0.8809 +0.0012 +0.14%
USD-HKD
7.8142 -0.0025 -0.03%
EUR-CHF
1.1679 +0.0002 +0.02%

U.K. Retail Sales Rise on Food as Black Friday Falls Short

U.K. retail sales rebounded last month, fueled by higher food spending as Black Friday sales failed to tempt enough British shoppers to open their wallets for other things.

The British Retail Consortium said sales rose 0.6 percent on a like-for-like basis after slumping the most in seven months in October. They climbed 1.5 percent in total terms.

Yet the numbers suggest households are still reluctant to spend on non-essentials given the squeeze on budgets. Wages are lagging behind inflation and Brexit is creating uncertainty for the economy. The BRC said that in the three months through November, nominal food sales increased 2.8 percent on a like-for-like basis, buoyed by inflation, while non-food sales fell 1.2 percent.


French President Warns Trump Over Possible Israel Embassy Move

French President Emmanuel Macron told President Donald Trump that he’s concerned about the possibility that the U.S. might unilaterally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, ahead of a decision expected this week.

In a phone call on Monday, Macron “reaffirmed that the status of Jerusalem must be resolved through peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians,” France’s embassy to the U.S. said in a statement.

The message from France was only the latest expression of concern ahead of a deadline for Trump to either announce the U.S. embassy will move to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv or delay a decision for another six months, as required by a 1995 law. Every U.S. president since Bill Clinton has waived that requirement. On Sunday, White House National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster told “Fox News Sunday” he didn’t know whether Trump would move the embassy.


OPEC Crude Output Drops to Six-Month Low

Crude production from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries dropped again in November to a six-month low. Total production fell 80,000 barrels a day to 32.47 million a day last month, according to a Bloomberg News survey of analysts, oil companies and ship-tracking data. That was the lowest level since May, when output was 32.29 million.

Angola led the declines in November, with a drop of 100,000 barrels a day from October. The International Energy Agency -- which tracks production from OPEC members -- warned last month that field maintenance would probably affect production in the African nation. Loading programs for November show sharp dips in exports from the country’s Saturno and Girassol grades, while both were set to recover in December.

OPEC and some non-members including Russia decided on Nov. 30 to extend their deal to curb production until the end of next year, seeking to complete the market rebalancing by bringing down global oil inventories to the five-year average.


Monster Emerging-Market Stock Rally Narrows Gap With Currencies

The surge in emerging-market stocks this year is putting the asset class within spitting distance of finally catching up with the rally in developing-nation currencies.

The relative performance of MSCI Inc.’s indexes since the beginning of 2007, before the global financial crisis, shows equities are trailing currencies by only five percentage points, compared with as much as 30 points in the beginning of 2016. While both stocks and currencies are set for their best year since 2009, the gain in equities has been more than three times larger.

“Emerging-market stocks are more responsive to the global growth pickup than currencies, which are more tied to concerns of rising interest rates in the U.S.,” said Rodrigo Borges, the Sao Paulo-based head of fixed income at Franklin Templeton’s Brazil investment unit.


Starbucks Woos China's Affluent With Giant Cafe in Overseas Test

Starbucks Corp. is testing its upscale and super-sized cafe concept overseas with a Roastery in China, the company’s fastest-growing market, as the pace of worldwide sales stalls.

The 30,000 square-feet store--about half the size of a soccer pitch--opens Wednesday in Shanghai and is part of moves championed by founder and Chairman Howard Schultz. Customers at the cavernous new store on the famous West Nanjing Road shopping strip can watch beans being roasted, sample high-end brews and use a Starbucks augmented reality digital app to interact with the store.

Chief Executive Officer Kevin Johnson is searching for ways to kick-start growth after the Seattle-based company saturated the U.S. with lattes and cappuccinos. Three years after Starbucks opened its first Roastery on its home turf, Johnson is finally testing the idea in China, where he sees decades of expansion and which he has said could become his No. 1 market.


Markets

DOW JONES INDUS. AVG
24,290.10 +58.46 +0.24%
S&P 500 INDEX
2,639.44 -2.78 -0.11%
NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX
6,775.37 -72.22 -1.05%
FTSE 100 INDEX
7,338.97 +38.48 +0.53%
DAX INDEX
13,058.50 +197.06 +1.53%
CAC 40 INDEX
5,389.29 +72.40 +1.36%
IBEX 35 INDEX
10,208.60 +123.60 +1.23%
NIKKEI 225
22,595.80 -111.31 -0.49%
HANG SENG INDEX
29,077.60 -60.68 -0.21%

Currencies

EUR-USD
1.1875 +0.0009 +0.08%
USD-JPY
112.4700 +0.0600 +0.05%
GBP-USD
1.3470 -0.0010 -0.07%
AUD-USD
0.7639 +0.0041 +0.54%
USD-CAD
1.2664 -0.0009 -0.07%
USD-CHF
0.9846 -0.0004 -0.04%
EUR-GBP
0.8816 +0.0013 +0.15%
USD-HKD
7.8162 -0.0020 -0.03%
EUR-CHF
1.1693 +0.0005 +0.05%

Goldman Sees U.S. Tax Cut Boosting Growth 0.3% Point in 2018-19

The U.S. Congress will probably pass tax-cut legislation within the next two weeks, ushering in reductions that will boost economic growth by around 0.3 percentage point for next year and 2019, according to estimates by Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

With the Senate passing legislation on Saturday that matched the House of Representatives in including up to $10,000 in state and local property-tax deductions, that eliminated "the most important political difference between the bills before the conference negotiations start," Goldman economists led by Jan Hatzius in New York wrote in a note.

"We expect the final structure of the bill to reflect more of the Senate bill than the House bill, including a 20 percent corporate tax rate effective in 2019," the Goldman analysts wrote. While that’s down from 35 percent today, considering the expected package more broadly, the effective corporate tax rate will come down by "only a couple of percentage points," Goldman said.


Kushner Is Leaving Tillerson in the Dark on Middle East Talks

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is increasingly alarmed by what he sees as secret talks between Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, and Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman -- fearful that the discussions could backfire and tip the region into chaos, according to three people familiar with Tillerson’s concerns.

The central goal of the negotiations, as described by two people with knowledge of the talks, is for an historic agreement featuring the creation of a Palestinian state or territory backed financially by a number of countries including Saudi Arabia, which could put tens of billions of dollars toward the effort.

A lasting Middle East peace treaty has been a U.S. goal for decades, and at the start of his administration Trump assigned the 36-year-old Kushner to head up the effort to make it happen.


Germany Bids to Reopen North Korea Channels to Halt Slide to War

The North Korean embassy in Berlin is a gray, monolithic office block notable only for the tall surrounding fence, the red-star flying from a flagpole in the courtyard -- and its prime real-estate location.

One block from the Friedrichstrasse shopping district and a two-minute stroll from the onetime Cold War border crossing known as Checkpoint Charlie, the downtown delegation is a legacy of relations established when eastern Germany was communist.

Its counterpart in Pyongyang, housed in a massive building that was taken over by reunited Germany in 1991, serves as a European outpost with a regime that’s defying President Donald Trump with missile tests, prompting warnings of war.


The Year of Chaos Is Far From Over for Australia's Leader

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull won some relief from the chaos imperiling his leadership, with his deputy winning a special election on Saturday. The next month could be much tougher for him.

Barnaby Joyce was one of two lawmakers from the ruling coalition forced to re-contest their lower house seats because they were in breach of the constitution for being dual citizens. The other, John Alexander, will face voters in Sydney’s electoral district of Bennelong on Dec. 16, with polls showing a much closer fight.

A loss there could heap more pressure on Turnbull, whose leadership is under growing scrutiny. Still, there are no obvious replacements and most of his colleagues realize a messy leadership challenge would probably spell doom for the government by putting voters permanently offside.


A $5 Billion Fund Manager Says Fears of China Are Overblown

When investors get nervous about the Chinese markets, it’s an opportunity for some to snap up stocks in the country’s emerging global powerhouses. A lot of the worries about China and its financial system are “exaggerated”, according to Jorry Noeddekaer, the head of emerging markets at Nordea Asset Management in Copenhagen.

“Every two weeks or so somebody tells you that China is going to blow to pieces. It hasn’t happened so far,” Noeddekaer said in a phone interview on Wednesday.

Volatility has increased in the Chinese stock markets in the past month and the CSI 300 Index has fallen more than 5 percent from a high in November, the biggest decline since 2016, after the Chinese government signaled it was concerned about some high-flying stocks.


Markets

DOW JONES INDUS. AVG
24,231.60 -40.76 -0.17%
S&P 500 INDEX
2,642.22 -5.36 -0.20%
NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX
6,847.59 -26.39 -0.38%
FTSE 100 INDEX
7,300.49 -26.18 -0.36%
DAX INDEX
12,861.50 -162.49 -1.25%
CAC 40 INDEX
5,316.89 -55.90 -1.04%
IBEX 35 INDEX
10,085.00 -126.00 -1.23%
NIKKEI 225
22,774.40 -44.65 -0.20%
HANG SENG INDEX
29,230.90 +156.68 +0.54%

Currencies

EUR-USD
1.1873 -0.0023 -0.19%
USD-JPY
112.7400 +0.5700 +0.51%
GBP-USD
1.3468 -0.0009 -0.07%
AUD-USD
0.7604 -0.0009 -0.12%
USD-CAD
1.2716 +0.0031 +0.24%
USD-CHF
0.9821 +0.0059 +0.60%
EUR-GBP
0.8815 -0.0014 -0.16%
USD-HKD
7.8143 +0.0015 +0.02%
EUR-CHF
1.1661 +0.0047 +0.40%

May's Brexit Breakthrough at Risk as Irish Parties Dig In

The breakthrough in Brexit talks that negotiators have been working to clinch next week was at risk Friday as a solution to the intractable Irish border issue remained elusive with parties on both sides refusing to compromise.

The border question is a “big stumbling block” that means Brexit negotiations are not where they need to be to make progress, Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said in an interview with RTE television Thursday. Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionists, who have more clout than ever because they allow Prime Minister Theresa May to govern in London, threatened to withdraw their support for her government if she failed to back their position.

“If they stop defending the union, we stop voting for them,” Democratic Unionist lawmaker Sammy Wilson said in an interview. “It’s as simple as that.”


OPEC and Russia Extend Output Cuts, Boosting Oil Alliance

OPEC and its allies outside the group agreed to maintain oil production cuts until the end of 2018, extending their campaign to wrest back control of the global market from America’s shale industry.

After a day of talks in Vienna, the decision showed the strength of the unprecedented alliance between the world’s top two oil producers, Saudi Arabia and Russia, and confounded Wall Street analysts who’d predicted Moscow would be reluctant to keep going. The deal was even beefed up through the inclusion of Nigeria and Libya, two members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries originally exempted from the curbs.

“We are united, shoulder to shoulder,” Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said sitting next to his Russian counterpart Alexander Novak at a press conference after the meeting. “We are completely aligned.”


U.S. Rebukes China for Backing Off Market Embrace

The Trump administration rebuked China for not being tough enough over North Korea’s nuclear program and said the Asian country is backsliding on market-oriented reforms.

The U.S. wants to work with other major economies to come up with a united response to what America sees as China’s foot dragging on economic changes, ranging from reforming state-owned enterprises to curbing the ruling party’s role in the economy, said David Malpass, the Treasury’s undersecretary of international affairs.

The unusually outspoken criticism comes as the U.S. seeks Beijing’s aid in corralling North Korea’s nuclear ambitions. While President Donald Trump has been scaling back his public criticism of China’s trade practices, his administration is heaping pressure on the Asian nation to cut ties with North Korea after Pyongyang’s recent series of ballistic missile tests.


Short Sellers May Be Fueling China's Worst Bond Rout in Four Years

Short sellers may be aggravating China’s biggest bond selloff in four years.

While the nation’s debt market has no official measure of short sales, analysts say a surge in bond lending has been partially fueled by rising bearish bets. A record 1.82 trillion yuan ($274 billion) of notes has been lent out this year, 18 percent more than the total for all of last year, according to clearinghouse ChinaBond. Short sellers profit from falling bond values by selling borrowed notes and buying them back after prices fall.

"This creates a vicious feedback loop -- when institutions think bonds will fall, they borrow and sell, causing a plunge in the securities, which then drags futures down, and thus there’s more shorting," said Wang Wenhuan, an analyst at Huachuang Securities Co. in Shanghai. "As investors are still quite cautious, there will likely be more bond borrowing in the near term as yields climb."


Elon Musk's Battery Boast Will Be Short-Lived

Billionaire Elon Musk defied his doubters to beat Friday’s 100-day deadline and install the world’s biggest battery in the Australian outback. He’ll probably relinquish that crown by February.

South Korea’s Hyundai Electric & Energy Systems Co. is building a 150-megawatt lithium-ion unit, 50 percent larger than Musk’s, that the company says will go live in about three months in Ulsan near the southeast coast.

With battery prices tumbling by almost half since 2014, large-scale projects are popping up around the world. Developers have announced lithium-ion battery projects with total capacity of 1,650 megawatts per hour in 2017, four times the amount for all of 2016, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.


Markets

DOW JONES INDUS. AVG
24,272.30 +331.67 +1.39%
S&P 500 INDEX
2,647.58 +21.51 +0.82%
NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX
6,873.97 +49.58 +0.73%
FTSE 100 INDEX
7,326.67 -66.89 -0.90%
DAX INDEX
13,024.00 -37.89 -0.29%
CAC 40 INDEX
5,372.79 -25.26 -0.47%
IBEX 35 INDEX
10,211.00 -56.70 -0.55%
NIKKEI 225
22,724.10 -0.85 0.00%
HANG SENG INDEX
29,184.30 +6.98 +0.02%

Currencies

EUR-USD
1.1906 +0.0002 +0.02%
USD-JPY
112.5500 +0.0100 +0.01%
GBP-USD
1.3531 +0.0006 +0.04%
AUD-USD
0.7560 -0.0006 -0.08%
USD-CAD
1.2876 -0.0021 -0.16%
USD-CHF
0.9839 +0.0003 +0.03%
EUR-GBP
0.8799 -0.0003 -0.04%
USD-HKD
7.8107 +0.0008 +0.01%
EUR-CHF
1.1713 +0.0005 +0.04%