News Summary: December 7-11

News for the Week of 12/7/2015 – 12/11/2015

by David Abuaf Investment Manager, RJFS

 

Government / Political / Economic

1.     Venezuela’s opposition won control of the National Assembly, in a setback for President Maduro.

2.     The DoJ is preparing to open a broad investigation of the Chicago police department.

3.     France’s National Front won the largest share of the vote in regional elections.

·       That’s the far right party with strict anti-immigration stance. It’s also the one against the Euro (as if the French Franc was ever considered in the top 3 anyways…it wasn’t).

4.     President Jimmy Carter said that his brain tumor is gone.

5.     Eek, a therapy for prostate cancer was linked to a higher Alzheimer’s disease risk.

6.     Genetic editing of mosquitos could help eradicate malaria. Then again, Chaos theory, who knows what we don’t know should we edit mosquito DNA!

7.     The Senate voted to replace the No Child Left Behind law, returning power to the states to improve school performance.

8.     Kim Jong Un claims North Korea has a hydrogen bomb.

9.     Syrian opposition groups agreed to enter peace talks with the regime on condition the negotiations lead to Assad’s giving up power.

10.  Congress was moving toward a five-day reprieve to keep the government open in anticipation of missing a deadline for a spending bill.

 

General Markets / Economic

1.     Remember how I said strong dollar impacts exports negatively. Well, now the strong dollar is also stifling US agricultural exports. Forecasters project US wheat shipments will sink to a 44 year low.

2.     The Fed is revamping the way it oversees bank stress tests after reviews found faults in how the regulator handled exams.

3.     Yay for us, mainly because we don’t live in Texas or Alaska. The global oil glut is likely to continue next year as OPEC again declined to curb production and US output remains high. The “yay” is because gas prices should stay low.

4.     The WTO said Canada and Mexico can impose retaliatory tariffs on US goods over meat-labeling rules.

5.     China guided the yuan to the currency’s weakest level in more than four years.

 

Company News

1.     VW held talks in Qatar with a core investor amid reports the Qataris are calling for changes in the auto maker’s management.

2.     Weight Watchers is revamping its eating plan and strategy as it aims to stem a long decline.

3.     As predicted, in this very column, Antitrust enforcers filed suit to block Staples’ takeover of Office Depot.

4.     Newell Rubbermaid and Jarden are in talks about combining the two makers of consumer products.

5.     Investment firm JAB is acquiring Keurig for $13.9B.

6.     Dow Chemical and DuPont are in advanced talks to merge, a deal which would ultimately lead to a three-way breakup of the combined company.

7.     VW withheld information from regulators in 2004 about a faulty emissions part in some Audi cars.

8.     Anglo American said it would cut 85,000 jobs over the next several years as part of a sweeping restructuring of the mining firm.

9.     Norfolk Southern rejected a revised offer from Canadian Pacific Railway.

10.  Yahoo signaled that its Internet business is up for sale as it has shelved a plan to spin off its Alibaba stake, dealing a blow to CEO Mayer.

 

Interesting Stories

1.     Last week, the Mauritanian soccer federation denied that the country’s president, Mohammed Ould Abdel Aziz, had ordered a soccer match stopped in the 63rd minute because it was so boring. The game abruptly went to a penalty shootout in the middle of the second half, confusing fans and players alike and forcing soccer officials to blame vaguely defined “organizational issues”.

2.     The British Parliament will consider a petition that would prevent Donald Trump from entering the UK. The petition to ban Trump from British shores is on the grounds of “hate speech” and has already recognized 400,000 distinct signatures.

3.     Pizza Hut announced last week the creation of 1,500 apprenticeships to teach students at Manchester Metropolitan University skills from food production (of pizza) to financial analysis (of pizza).

 

 

This information is not a complete description of the securities, markets, or developments discussed and has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but Raymond James does not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. Any information is not a complete summary or statement of all available data necessary for making an investment decision and does not constitute a recommendation.  This information is not intended as a solicitation or an offer to buy or sell any security referred to herein.