News Summary: May 18

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), IMF (Int’l Monetary Fund)

News for Week of 5/4/2015 – 5/8/2015

Government / Political / nEconomic

1. The UN air safety arm plans to recommend placing video cameras in cockpits despite pilots’ objections.
• Why objections? Here’s an anecdote: During my honeymoon, my wife Amanda was ill and I spent one morning reading in the downstairs of the B&B we were staying in. There I met a commercial pilot. During out conversation, I asked him about how fun/boring it is. He said it’s tons of fun, about 30 seconds after take-off, they turn on autopilot and turn on their portable DVD players!
2. Eek, a wave of violence across Mexico’s Jalisco state signals the rise of a powerful new drug cartel, analysts say.
3. A Census study found that China was the top source of immigrants to the US in 2013, followed by India and Mexico.
4. Emergency room visits are climbing, despite predictions the Affordable Care Act would lead to less traffic. Anecdote time!
• My wife’s first rotation in Medical School was in Family practice. During one of the first few weeks, she noted how one of the Attendings (senior doctor) would come close, but not quite, to berating his adult patients. Specifically, he would tell them that essentially under NO circumstances except A, B, and C should they go to the Emergency Room. Amanda was a little disappointed with his bedside manner…no more than 3 months later when she was on an Emergency Room rotation she not only quickly changed sides but actually noted how right that doctor was to really drive home the point – the point I’m making, most people in the US (foreigners or not), don’t really know what an Emergency Room is for, nor do they necessarily have a doctor. I bet in a few years, the number of ER visits will actually decrease as people start having primary care physicians!
5. Hillary Clinton’s negative ratings rose in the past month, but she remains highly regarded among Democrats. Jeb Bush drew the most support among GOP primary voters
• Carly Fiorina and Ben Carson formally launched their presidential nominations.
6. Netanyahu cemented a conservative and religious coalition that allows him to remain Israel’s leader but gives him only a two seat majority.
• Prime Ministers are the leaders of the ruling party.
7. The Senate voted 98-1 to pass a bill giving Congress the right to weigh in on the Iran nuclear talks.
8. Germany curbed intelligence sharing with the US after reports of spying on allies.

General Markets / Economic

1. The IMF is close to declaring China’s yuan fairly valued, a move that would blunt US criticism of Beijing’s currency policy.
2. Corporate debt issuance is running at a record clip while consumer borrowing has picked up and stock market margin debt hit a new high in March. Why? Probably because everyone can see the writing on the wall with the Fed and rates are going to start getting jacked up (not just raised) ☺
3. US inflation expectations are picking up again as oil prices rebound.
4. The US trade gap widened by 43.1% in March.

Company News

1. Dean Foods is combining its regional milk operations under a single brand in a bid to invigorate its business and bolster its 36% market share.
2. Disney is battling with theater operators over conditions imposed on cinemas that want to show the Avengers sequel.
3. McDonald’s new CEO said he plans to sell more restaurants to franchisees and reorg the global business to cut $300m in annual costs.
4. Wow!!! J&J said an independent panel will review requests from seriously ill patients who want to try unapproved drugs.
5. Yelp is seeking a buyer, as the consumer review website struggles with slower growth, rising costs and trouble attracting advertisers.
• This is a shame, Yelp is my GO TO for reviews
6. 14% of the staff at Zappos (essentially online shoe-store) chose a pay-to-quit offer as the retailer switches to a new management system.
7. Siemens said it plans to cut 4,500 more jobs as it posted a sharply higher profit (due to asset sales).

Interesting Stories

1. I think it is fair to say that Southerners are a…”different breed”! Researchers in Georgia have recorded more than 1,000 hours of chickens clucking while content, sick, crowded and cold, hoping to use computers to find early warnings signs of unhappy birds.
2. In China, University students are helping other students wake up at a reasonable hour through phone trees. As I conveyed to my darling habitual sleeper wife, the article’s protagonist, 19 year old Wu Chunyan, believes 9am to be a VERY late start to the day!
3. A Florida woman escaped from a hostage negotiation by placing an online order at Pizza Hut and writing in the comments, “Call 911!”
4. A new computer analysis has revealed unprecedented levels of bitterness and rancor at the Supreme Court.

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