News Summary: January 19-22

News for the Week of 1/19/2016 – 1/22/2016

by David Abuaf Investment Manager, RJFS

 

Government / Political / Economic

1.     Many Saudi allies are resisting the kingdom’s attempts to assemble a broad anti-Iranian coalition.

2.     The WSJ says the GOP primary fight is souring critical constituencies from the party.

3.     Puerto Rico is running out of money faster than expected, widening the gap to cover debt payments.

4.     Murders rose 6.2% in the first half of 2015 and violent crime overall increased 1.7%, according to FBI data.

5.     The Pentagon was given authority to target Islamic State in Afghanistan, the first such authorization outside of Iraq and Syria.

a.     The US, France, and other allies agreed they must step up the fight against Islamic State.

b.     Islamic State has destroyed the oldest Christian monastery in Iraq, satellite photos confirmed.

6.     Federal climate experts said that 2015 was the warmest year world-wide since reliable global record keeping began in 1880.

7.     Israeli officials said they had foiled a suicide-bomb plot allegedly led by the son of Hezbollah’s leader.

8.     This is oddly hilarious, but due to the nature of it, I cannot, in good conscience, put it in the last section. On account of “exception circumstances,” ISIS announced that they have decided to reduce the salaries that are paid to all mujahideen by half!

9.     Seven prisoners, mostly dual citizens charged with violating the trade embargo, chose not to board their plane back to Iran after being freed from US custody…they chose to stay in the US.

10.  New evidence is emerging that the 2006 poisoning of a former KGB spy in London was probably approved by Putin, according to a UK inquiry.

 

General Markets / Economic

1.     China posted its slowest economic growth in a quarter century, with China reporting their GDP expanding at 6.9% in 2015.

·       A top Chinese official defended the country’s economy, saying Beijing has the leadership to remake its growth model. Well, the markets have been falling apart for the past few weeks due in large part to China, so, how does that statement make you feel?

2.     Global business leaders sought common ground with the Vatican on ethical issues at a two-day meeting.

3.     Oil prices continued to tumble, falling below $27 a barrel.

·       Allow me to put this in perspective. According to the Independent, a British newspaper, a 55 gallon steel drum without any oil costs $94 dollars, enough to buy three or four barrels of crude ;)

 

Company News

1.     Barclays is drawing up plans to sell off a big stake in its African business as lenders worldwide pull back from emerging markets.

2.     Suncor agreed to acquire Canadian Oil Sands, raising its takeover bid for its rival to $2.92B.

3.     Asian oil producers Petronas and Cnooc are slashing capital spending and production as low benchmark prices take a toll on supply.

4.     Smith & Wesson plans to move into the sporting-goods market, reducing its reliance on guns and ammunition.

5.     Wal-Mart plans to give nearly all US hourly store workers a raise as it seeks to stern turnover.

6.     Foxconn offered to take over electronics firm Sharp for about $5.3B.

7.     Five people were charged with conspiring to steal Glaxo trade secrets for firms in China.

 

Interesting Stories

1.     Ladies, beware! Walter, his wife Claudia, and their 14 year old son were driving back from Brazil to their home in Argentina, when they stopped at a gas station. Walter and his son then left then gas station, where Claudia remained. She was unable to reach her husband via telephone due to poor reception. Walter and their son didn’t realize they had left Claudia alone until 60 miles into their departure from the gas station. Never fear, they successfully went back and got her! Aires

2.     Insensitivity and being dumb don’t always go together, but in Montenegro they do. The nation has approved plans to open a luxury beach resort on the Adriatic island of Mamula. But many are protesting the development (why not all!?) because the hotel will be a remodel of the island’s infamous WW II concentration camp where thousands were tortured or killed by Mussolini’s troops.

3.     And you thought Michael Vic was bad!? A Virginia woman was convicted last week on 13 charges including assault and battery, for running a fight club for BABIES. As my friend says, “sounds like someone broke the first rule of baby fight club.”

4.     Anyone know what items has effectively been banned by the president of Turkmenistan, where they were pulled from store shelves and burned in public bonfires last Friday? Hint, the president is obsessed with healthy living…Cigarettes

 

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.