PLEASE NOTE: The stories reported below are for informational purposes only to educate our clients on the weekly news stories; real, funny, educational, and otherwise. The source of most news will stem from the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), Financial Times (FT), Barrons (B), Business Week (BW), and Bloomberg (Bbg). The purpose of this is NOT to solicit any offers to buy or sell stocks, mutual funds, commodities, or other financial assets – merely to report the news. Please call us to discuss any investment questions you may have. Additionally, we will not take sides in any political or religious news that we report, we will only present the objective facts, and perhaps opine on them from a neutral perspective. Finally, the opinions represented are those of David Abuaf, and not necessarily of Forman Investment Services or Raymond James or its affiliates.
A quick list of shortcuts: DoJ (Dep’t of Justice), ECB (European Central Bank), EZ (Euro Zone), EU (European Union), BoE (Bank of England), BoJ (Bank of Japan), example: BoX (Bank of X country), SCOTUS (Supreme Court), Ccy (Currency), WH (White House), HY (high yield – bonds), IG (investment grade – high quality bonds), OECD (Org for Economic Coopeartion & Dev)
News for Week of 4/6/2015 – 4/10/2015
Government / Political / Economic
- Iraqi and US forces are divided over where to next confront the Islamic State, following their victory in Tikrit.
- Russian officials have been making open nuclear threats, remarks largely unheard of even during the Cold War.
- The large Hadron Collider was reopened.
- And now we have to put Greece in line. Tsipras is headed to Putin to try and get funds, while he doesn’t expect to get the funds from Russia, he is looking to send a signal of independence to his European creditors.
- The backlog of pending civil cases in the nation’s federal courts is at a record – there are cases almost 7 years old that are still waiting to be HEARD.
- Half of the city council seats in Ferguson are up for grabs after the fatal police shooting last August – let’s see what happens.
- Well, just TWO black candidates were elected
- The Pentagon outlined concerns about China, given their behavior in the South China Sea (can you blame them? The name of the sea is the same as their country! and their cyber activities.
- The US is expediting arms deliveries for the Saudi-led military campaign against Houthi rebels in Yemen.
- Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was convicted on ALL 30 accounts in the Boston Marathon bombing.
- The US Army expanded a program that encourages immigrants with certain language and medical skills to enlist.
- Iran dispatched a flotilla to the Gulf of Aden. This move could raise tensions between the Islamic Republic and a Saudi-led coalition conducting a military campaign in Yemen, which borders the waterway.
- NATO tested its rapid reaction force in response to Moscow’s aggressiveness in Ukraine and elsewhere.
General Markets / Economic
- An uncommonly thought-of effect of low oil prices – a lot of recycling plants are reducing how much they recycle as plastics is often derived from oil and when oil prices are higher there is a greater advantage to a recycler’s point of view.
- Oil-train traffic fueled by the energy boom is edging down due to safety problems and low crude prices.
- Commodities investors are turning bullish on copper as a flurry of disruptions begin to squeeze supply.
- Western companies say they are seeing potential in Iran’s consumers IF the sanctions are lifted –hmm, that must have been a difficult thing to say…seeing potential
- Many who lost their homes during the early part of the financial crisis are rebounding after their credit-penalty phase and buying homes again.
- Mexico lined up a rare transaction to borrow euros and promised to repay it a CENTURY from now. Talk about burdening your prodigy with debt!
- The Fed released March meeting minutes that showed officials divided on whether to raise rates in June.
- Glencore could resume talks with Rio Tinto, with a moratorium set to expire and metals prices diverging.
- Oil firms are bracing for some of the worst quarterly results in years, with trading at about half of its 2014 peak.
- Proxy adviser ISS blasted Wynn Resorts’ governance and urged shareholders to boycott board candidates.
- Viacom is taking $785m charge on their cable woes and bad programming.
- Wow, Starbucks plans to cover the full cost of an online degree for US employees who work at least 20 hours a week. While impressive, maybe they should also cover non-online degrees as well?
- Petroleum giant Royal Dutch Shell is in advanced talks to buy Britain’s BG Group for around $50B.
- Update, it’s now up to $70B. The goal is to be the dominant supplier of liquefied natural gas
- FedEx agreed to buy Dutch package delivery company TNT for $4.8B, in a deal aimed at beefing up its European ground network.
- Software firm Informatica agreed to be acquired for $5.3B in the biggest LBO of this year.
- McDonald’s is adding premium sirloin burgers to its US menu for a limited time.
- Mylan proposed to buy rival Perrigo in a $29B deal that would create one of the world’s largest sellers of low price medicines.
- Tesla is upgrading its base version of Model S (lowest price, at $75k).
- IKEA, the furniture place that happens to sell Swedish meatballs, has added veggie meatballs to its restaurants! They’re like Costco; trying to make a profit off an ancillary business. BTW, if you’ve never had Costco pizza after the checkout, you MUST try it, it’s delicious!
- GE is close to selling off most of its $30B in Real-Estate holdings, part of a broader effort to separate from a big finance business.
- Ohio officials are proposing to fund a Fiat Chrysler plant in Toledo in an effort to keep Jeep Wrangler production there.
- PG&E was fined $1.6B for a deadly 2010 gas blast near San Francisco; a record penalty for a California utility.
- The FAA boosted oversight of United in February, citing violations of pilot qualification and scheduling rules.
- Did you know the Titanic had a gym!? Titanic Gym – Vintage Photos
- There is a Chinese restaurant in Nairobi that refuses to serve Africans!
- ISIS is not only taking away religious freedom, but leisure freedom as well. Soccer is seen as a symbol for the decadent West, and fans have been executed in the past for watching games. Anyone caught watching a Western soccer game will get 80 lashes, as promised by ISIS.
- Pediatricians are recommending the Metric system as a tool that could prevent tens of thousands of child overdoses each year. Apparently, some parents are so lazy, that they can neither tell the difference nor read the difference between a teaspoon and a tablespoon!
- A buddy of mine used to joke that his wife would sell her breast milk for a pretty profit online. A new report in the journal Pediatrics reports that about 10% of breast milk bought online contains cow milk.
- Mad Max fans are preparing for the Sequel, Mad Max: Fury Road, with mohawks, shoulder pads and replica Interceptors.
- There are some farmers out there that are using Drones to herd sheep. Talk about technology changing your life!
- I hope everyone had a good Easter and Passover. Let me remind you that no religious holiday is immune from thievery. During the Easter weekend, a group of thieves in London reportedly stole $386m in precious gems, the biggest jewel heist on record; back in Oklahoma, an Easter bunny was intercepted that contained two condoms stuffed with $30k of meth.
- France is trying to fight anorexia. A new French law was passed last week that includes threats of jail time for agencies that hire underweight fashion models!
- Google announced that their image search owes its existence to Jennifer Lopez’ dress at the 2000 Grammys. “It was the most popular search query we had ever seen, but we had no surefire way of getting users exactly what they wanted” said Chairman Eric Schmidt.
- Overfishing has decimated sardine populations by 90% over the last decade, with fatal results for Pacific sea lions!
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