News Summary: September 7

I hope you had a relaxing Labor Day! 

News for the Week of 9/7/2015 – 9/11/2015

by David Abuaf

Government / Political / Economic

1.     The US appeals court is set to decide whether judges can tear up deferred prosecution agreements with companies that they deem too lenient.

2.     A wave of Syrian immigrants pouring into Europe Is inspiring thousands more from troubled areas from Iraq to Nigeria to embark on similar journeys.

·       Germany insisted other EU nations do more to absorb refugees. A plan emerged in Brussels to resettle 160,000.

3.     France is preparing to launch airstrikes against Islamic State in Syria, President Hollande said.

4.     An aide to Gov. Cuomo was hit by stray gunfire before a parade in Brooklyn.

5.     I guess politics are ridiculous everywhere. A comedian won the first round of Guatemala’s presidential election.

6.     US and European officials say there is a growing consensus for focusing more on Islamic State targets in Syria.

·       …and Russia has sent new personnel and equipment into Syria.

7.     Seattle teachers went on strike, delaying the beginning of the school year.

·       I don’t have kids, but even I know teachers on strike is entirely unacceptable. Don’t get me wrong, I also think teachers get paid WAY too little, on average $40-50k.

General Markets / Economic

1.     China’s central bank said its foreign currency reserves fell by a record $93.9B in August, a month when it intervened to prop up the yuan.

2.     A glass shortage is taking a toll on the nation’s commercial building boom, boosting costs and halting some projects.

3.     Brazil’s debt rating was cut to junk by S&P.

4.     A Wall Street financier, who helped Chinese firms trade in the US through reverse mergers, was charged with manipulating shares.

5.     OPEC members said they see oil prices staying low amid plentiful supplies and softening demand from China.

6.     Airlines have cut flights and raised fares at many smaller and midsize airports over the past seven years.

Company News

1.     Allstate and Geico are raising auto-insurance premiums after traffic deaths surged.

2.     GE’s $17B acquisition of the power business of France’s Alstom is set to win EU approval on Tuesday – the bid was made months ago.

3.     Toshiba said it overstated earnings by $1.9B over seven years, more than four times the initial estimate. Who on earth was their auditor? I hope that auditing company is no longer around!

4.     Tesco agreed to sell its South Korea business for $6.1B as the supermarket chain focuses on the UK.

5.     Apple said it would finance iPhone sales directly to customers without requiring them to be tied to a particular carrier. Yeah, but why would I buy from Apple when I can buy from my existing carrier for $300 less AND have a phone plan!? I’m not knocking Apple here, I’m knocking the people who buy phones without plans; they overpay for the phone AND THEN have to buy a plan!

6.     Amazon plans to release a $50 tablet, one of the least expensive on the market. I wonder if it’s any good?

7.     The FTC is stepping up its probe of Staples’ takeover of Office Depot, a sign regulators may challenge the deal. I called this. I’m not saying the DoJ will rule against it, rather that there will be a lengthy due diligence process by the FTC and DoJ.

8.     Avon is in talks to sell a stake to a private-equity firm, a sign it has been unable to find a buyer for the entire company. They have been looking for a buyer since 2012!

Interesting Stories

1.     Beavers are mysteriously reappearing in Britain’s waterways, centuries after extirpation, and their detractors smell a rat!

2.     In Thailand, adults are carrying around life-like American dolls that have been blessed by Buddhist monks, hoping that they bring good fortune.

3.     Researchers in South Africa discovered extensive remains of a previously unknown humanlike species in a subterranean boneyard, highlighting an early offshoot of humankind and raising questions about the origins of ritual burial and self-awareness. However, conventional dating techniques haven’t worked so far. The new name is Homo naledi.

4.     As a way to “uphold world peace,” President Xi Jinping of China, announced a massive cut to the 2 million member army of China. They are cutting 300,000 jobs.

5.     I’m very thankful for our brave men and women, but this doesn’t bring a smile to my face. West Point confirmed this week that 30 injuries, including 24 concussions, had resulted last month from what kind of celebration at the service academy? Anyone? Buehler? I’ll give you a hint, many teenage guys think teenage girls do this all the time. C’mon, guess, it’s really simple….a pillow fight!