News Summary: February 22-26

News for the Week of 2/22/2016 – 2/26/2016

by David Abuaf Investment Manager, RJFS

  

Government / Political / Economic

1.     Jeb Bush is dropping out of the presidential race.

·       Ok, now this is just me, and it’s not specific to Jeb, but am I the only rational person who believes that sitting politicians should not be allowed to run for office, other than their current position, without stepping down (albeit temporarily) in order to run a separate campaign? Otherwise, they short thrift their original electorate!

2.     Belgium tightened border controls amid fears that migrants in northern France would enter.

3.     Moderates in Iran will seek to cement political gains from last year’s nuclear deal in elections Friday, but face hardline opposition.

4.     Hungary said it would call a national referendum on the European Union’s plan to resettle asylum seekers in that country.

5.     Australia is strengthening its US alliance and pushing ahead with a military expansion amid concerns about China’s muscle-flexing.

6.     A crowd in Bautzen Germany cheered and applauded as a hotel burned down over the weekend. Arson was suspected. The hotel was to be converted into refugee housing.

7.     The UN moved toward imposing what diplomats called significant new sanctions on North Korea, after nuclear and missile tests.

 

 General Markets / Economic

1.     China’s banks are snagging M&A assignments from Chinese firms, pushing aside Wall Street rivals as takeover activity surges.

2.     Foreign central banks have boosted overnight deposits in the Fed’s repo pool, which pays more than some money-market rates.

·       Maybe the Fed shouldn’t do that.

3.     The British pound slid amid concerns a UK exit from the EU would diminish London’s financial role. Really? If anything the Euro should have slid!

4.     European telecom firms are pressing the EU for new rules to help them compete with Silicon Valley.

5.     Saudi Arabia told a reeling global oil sector that it wouldn’t rescue the industry from low prices by cutting its production, sending crude benchmarks sliding.

6.     Existing home sales rose 0.4% in January from the prior month to the fastest sales pace since July.

7.     HP results signaled that weak conditions in printing and personal computers aren’t improving quickly.

8.     China’s top central banker sought to reassure China’s trading partners that Beijing wont drastically weaken the Chinese currency.

9.     Durable goods orders rose 4.9% in January after two months of declines.

 

Company News

1.     Facebook is joining with Intel, Nokia, and phone carriers to share information about cellular networks.

2.     Honeywell and United Technologies have explored combining businesses, but talks have stalled.

3.     The Apple and FBI chiefs have become focal points in the debate over the balance between security and privacy.

·       Apparently tech giants have been rallying behind Apple!

4.     The LSE and Deutsche Borse are in advanced talks to merge, a deal that would create a formidable rival to big US marketplaces.

5.     Sharp’s board approved a plan for Foxconn to take over the Japanese electronics maker for $6.24B, but now Foxconn is backing out.

 

 Interesting Stories

1.     More than 18,000 people have applied for Astronaut training since December, smashing the record set in 1978.

2.     The annual sea-level rise was 3.4mm in 2015. The 20th century experienced 5.5 inches of rising! According to NASA.

 

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