News Summary: February 1-5

News for the Week of 2/1/2016 – 2/5/2016

by David Abuaf Investment Manager, RJFS

  

Government / Political / Economic

1.     Syria’s opposition threatened to boycott peace talks until Assad ends bombings.

2.     Fallujah residents said at least 10 people have starved to death in the Islamic State occupied city since a blockade by Iraqi forces began.

3.     Suspected Boko Haram militants stormed a refugee camp in northeast Nigeria, killing at least 60 people.

4.     The EU is trying to block the flow of refugees through Macedonia as other plans to stem migration flounder.

5.     Saudi Arabia said it is forming a group to probe claims of airstrikes in Yemen that led to civilian deaths.

6.     Iowa Caucus winners: Cruz and Hillary

7.     The WHO said that a rise in the number of birth defects and other conditions possibly linked to the Zika virus constitutes a global public health emergency.

8.     Afghan and coalition officials are pressing the US to give American forces a bigger role in operations against the Taliban.

9.     The level of lead in Flint, Michigan tap water remains extremely high in some places despite recent declines.

10.  The first British woman to be convicted of joining ISIS was sentenced to six years in prison…Hmmm, I wonder what she’ll do when she’s released.

11.  The EU outlined a possible deal on UK Prime Minister Cameron’s demands for a changed British relationship with the bloc.

12.  The presumed leader of the Paris attacks claimed he entered Europe among Syrian refugees along with 90 other militants, a witness said.

13.  Obama is proposing a $10/barrel tax on oil companies to fund alternative – transportation efforts.

a.     Well then, I guess more taxes on oil consumption in the US.

b.     The real question is if this will work. The other alternative – currently – is rail, something that is very successful abroad, but we are such a large country and rail consumes a tremendous amount of coal!

c.     This would send another chill through our economy.

14.  Liz Cheney is running for Wyoming’s lone House seat – which her father occupied for 10 years.

 

General Markets / Economic

1.     No IPOs were launched in the US in January, a drought blamed on the global stock-market rout.

2.     US consumers boosted savings and slowed their spending in December.

 

Company News

1.     Credit Suisse and Barclays agreed to pay $154.3m combined to settle investigations by regulators into their “dark pools”.

2.     Barclays replaced their risk manager, the first major management changed under the bank’s new CEO.

3.     Coke is buying Nigeria’s largest juice maker, deepening its push in Africa and its diversification drive.

4.     Yahoo signaled a possible sale of its Web properties, saying it would explore strategic alternatives and cut about 15% of its workforce.

5.     China National Chemical is nearing a $43B deal for Syngenta, marking one of China’s most ambitious overseas takeover efforts.

6.     Amazon plans to open as many as 400 bookstores.

7.     Sharp has decided to enter exclusive talks with Foxconn on a takeover of itself.

8.     Maybe the China play is over-blown? GM reported earnings that surged on growth in China.

 

Interesting Stories

1.     Hamas paraded on the street a captured Israeli tank that they modified. Why is that in this section? Because the tank runs on wheels and apparently has sections of wood!

2.     I know this is EVERYBODY’S dream. A Chinese woman was on a 2 hour flight in China, and had the entire plane to her-self. It looks like it was a Boeing 737. Why? Because the flight was delayed 10 hours and every other passenger managed to get booked on earlier flights. Last year a Brooklyn man was close to getting his own Delta flighton a 78 passenger seat plane, but then last minute…GASP…a single other passenger joined him.

3.     A Lebanese village captured a vulture that had flown over from an Israeli nature reserve. Spooked by its transmitter tag, they held the bird on suspicion of espionage.

4.     The FAA now believes there’s no legibility advantage to “Clearview” so they are moving the font on highway signs back to “Highway Gothic”.