News Summary: December 12-18

News for the Week of 12/14/2015 – 12/18/2015

by David Abuaf Investment Manager, RJFS


Government / Political / Economic

1.     The climate deal struck over the weekend rests on painful choices by individual countries on how they produce and consumer energy.

2.     Thousands of Poles protested after the new government moved to install its own judiciary at the country’s highest court.

3.     Saudi Arabians elected their first female officials, picking at least a dozen candidates for local councils.

·       The most amazing thing? They weren’t allowed to address male voters directly!

4.     Russian tactics in Syria differ so much from those of the US and its allies that it could be impossible to operate together, officials say.

5.     Bowe Bergdahl will face a court-martial on charges that he deserted his unit in Afghanistan and endangered soldiers who searched for him.

·       Why is this happening now - 1.5 years after we got him back!?

6.     In the most recent GOP presidential debate, rivals clashed over how to protect the country from a future terrorist attack and what role the US should play on a tumultuous world stage.

a)    It wasn’t until I was browsing Facebook last night that I realized there was YET another GOP debate. Anyone want to guess how many we’ve had? What about how many are remaining? Answers: Already had: 8. Remaining 7. Let me put that in perspective…8 debates in 5 months before ANY caucuses, then 7 in 3 months. Why do we have so many? I don’t know the answer, but what I can predict…the answer is hooey! Now, after 15 GOP debates, we’re going to have 3 or 4 presidential debates…I always knew politicians were blowhards, but now that I’ve run the numbers, it is categorically confirmed!!

b)    The other real question…why aren’t the Democrats having as many? They’ve only had 2 so far, and will only have a total of 6, compared to 15!!! Let’s all be glad they’re not having as many!

7.     Congressional leaders reached a sweeping deal on spending and tax legislation.

8.     LA defended its decision to close its schools after an emailed threat, even as New York concluded a similar message was likely a hoax.

9.     Saudi Arabia is forming a Muslim antiterrorism coalition, signaling a more muscular effort to confront ISIS.

10.  The US and Russia will jointly press the UN Security Council to enforce stricter measures to curb terrorist funding.

11.  The FBI said the couple in the California terror attack discussed their commitment to jihad in private online messages as early as 2013.

12.  Belgian police delayed a house search for aParis terror suspect last month due to a ban on night raids.

·       Wow, that’s something not even American lawmakers are in favor of!


General Markets / Economic

1.     The fed is set to raise interest rates this week on the expectation that jobs and inflation will hit targets, but inflation remains lower than the central bank wants.

·       They are raising rates from near zero to between 0.25% and 0.5% and plan to lift gradually over the next three years.

2.     Argentina lifted currency controls, setting the stage for a peso devaluation.

3.     Central Banks had mixed reactions to the Fed’s move, with some raising rates and others holding steady.

·       Commodities continued to fall as now the dollar is even more powerful – we’ve discussed this before.

4.     Beijing is probing whether regulators used the summer stock-market rescue to enrich their friends or themselves.


Company News

1.     Yahoo faces new pressure from investor groups who oppose giving CEO Mayer more time to show progress on her turnaround.

2.     Hudson Bay is near a deal to buy Gilt for about $250m, a fraction of the value put on it in 2011.

3.     Jarden is merging with Newell in a $15.4B deal that will trigger a big payout for Jarden’s founder.

4.     Shell plans to shed 2,800 jobs after taking over BG group next year.

5.     Samsung asked the SCOTUS to hear an appeal of its long-running patent feud with Apple.

6.     Three of the nation’s largest landlords have had discussions with Airbnb about joining forces.

7.     Chipotle expects to lower its use of locally sourced ingredients after outbreaks of illness among customers.

8.     Cerberus is nearing a deal to buy 80% of Avon’s North American business and take anearly 17% stake in the cosmetics firms.

9.     The drug executive Shkreli – the one who raised prices on certain drugs – was arrested on securities and wire fraud.

10.  Gillette filed a patent suit against Dollar Shave Club, which has grabbed 8% of the US razor market.


Interesting Stories

1.     A study published in the British Medical Journal claims to have diagnosed the “distinctive walk” of Vladimir Putin. Putin strides asymmetrically, swinging only his left arm. The researchers believe he still has the old habit of keeping his “gun hand” close to where his weapon would be.

2.     Scientists at Harvard announced this week that they have solved a longstanding scientific puzzle called Munk’s enigma. This is when days get longer. Melting glaciers are causing the Earth’s rotation to slow, meaning each day will be five milliseconds longer by the end of the next century!



This will be our last weekly newsletter for 2015 ~

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!



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