News for the Week of 1/25/2016 – 1/29/2016
by David Abuaf Investment Manager, RJFS
Government / Political / Economic
1. SCOTUS upheld a federal rule calling for payments to large energy consumers that cut usage during peak demand.
2. SCOTUS ruled that prisoners sentenced to life as juveniles can seek parole.
3. The Islamic State threatened to strike the UK in a video that appeared to show nine of the Paris attackers.
4. Iran is seeking new ways to extract and export natural gas, including facilities to liquefy and ship it to Europe.
5. The FCC plans to propose overhauling rules for TV set-top boxes, likely giving consumers more choices.
6. Phew! If you were like me and holding your breath over the Oregon stand-off, you can rest easy now. It’s over. Bad news, though, the leader was arrested with six followers after a confrontation with FBI that left one dead. Apparently this all began with a state cop pulling him over on his way to a town hall meeting of some kind. Stay tuned for details
7. Trump is planning on skipping Thursday’s Fox News debate. I don’t actually know why I’m writing this as by the time everyone reads this, the event will have already taken place!
8. Denmark passed a law that lets authorities seize a migrant’s assets to help cover the cost of care, in an effort to deter refugees.
9. China is ramping up efforts to halt a flood of money leaving the country amid an economic slowdown.
· It’s because of issues like this, where China treats the free flowing global capital markets like a totalitarian despot, that the GLOBAL economy is feeling repercussions. Markets need to be fungible to operate with as few negative and prolonged events as possible.
10. A Chinese citizen pleaded guilty to stealing high-tech corn seeds from US fields.
11. Libya is emerging as the new destination of choice for extremists. Is it the 1980s all over again?
12. The BoJ introduced a negative interest rate bond to keep the country from sliding back into deflation and stagnation.
13. The WHO will convene an emergency committee to discuss the Zika virus, which the head of the organization said is spreading explosively.
· The virus has led to Guillain-Barre syndrome and in pregnant women giving birth to babies with birth defects and poor pregnancy outcomes.
14. Gun silencer sales in the US have surged since the start of the year, attributed to forthcoming regulation.
General Markets / Economic
1. European firms promised billions in new deals in Iran as President Rouhani began a trip aimed at reviving trade and political ties.
2. Iran agreed to buy 118 Airbus jets, but still faces a host of obstacles in revamping aviation.
1. Johnson Controls and Tyco agreed to merge in a $14B deal that will create a giant provider of commercial-building systems.
· Merger will make Johnson Controls the latest US company to move abroad in search of tax savings.
2. Federal inspectors found “deficient practices” at a Theranos lab that “pose immediate jeopardy to patient health and safety”.
3. Shell shareholders approved the BG acquisition, as the energy company stakes its future on natural gas.
4. Xerox will be splitting itself into two companies.
1. Rivier University in New Hampshire is giving students an Employment Promise Program. They promise to either pay students’ federally subsidized student loans for up to a year or enroll them in up to six master’s degree courses tuition free if the student doesn’t get a job within nine months of graduation! University President Paula Marie Buley said, “We want to send a message that we recruit not just for the first year, but we’re a partner throughout an educational experience with student”.
2. Scientists identified key genetic traits that point to a biological mechanism behind schizophrenia.
3. Sri Lanka became the first world nation to officially apologize to elephants. They had destroyed 1.5 tons of ivory that have been seized in 2012 alone and priests apologized to the innocent lives destroyed to take the tusks.
4. Henry Worsley died of complete organ failure on Monday, a result of his attempt to walk across Antarctica alone.
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