News Summary: March 14-18

News for the Week of 3/14/2016 – 3/18/2016

by David Abuaf, CFA

Investment Manager, RJFS

 

 

Government / Political / Economic

1.     Merkel stuck to her refusal to close Germany’s borders to migrants despite gains by an anti-immigrant party in state elections

2.     Outbursts at Trump’s campaign rallies have brought the race to a crossroads just days before critical GOP primaries

3.     China’s plan to process spent nuclear fuel into plutonium is drawing US concerns over proliferation

 

General Markets / Economic

1.     Industrial output in the EZ rose 2.1% in January from December, its best performance since 2009

2.     Putin ordered Russian forces to start withdrawing from Syria, saying their principal mission had been accomplished, as peace talks got under way

3.     US oil prices are up over 45% from a 13 year low in February, raising concerns the rally could spark another downward spiral

4.     Bids by many CBs to weaken their currencies are failing, raising concerns about whether policy makers are losing the ability to wield control over markets. Well, there’s that possibility, or the possibility that they’re all doing something at the same time with similar actions (if every country cuts rates 25 basis points, NOTHING new will happen in the currency world, period)

5.     Student loan delinquencies have declined, according the Education Department

6.     Nearly all car makers have pledged to make automatic emergency brakes standard on vehicles within six years

 

Company News

1.     GW Pharma said its marijuana-derived drug for epilepsy was successful in a Phase III clinical trial

2.     Sony reached a deal with Michael Jackson’s estate to acquire full ownership of music publisher Sony / ATV

3.     Avon said it would eliminate about 2,500 jobs and move its corporate headquarters to the UK.

4.     China’s Anbang offered to buy Starwood for $13B in an effort to break up the hotelier’s pending sale to Marriott

·       Blackstone is selling a portfolio of US hotels to Anbang

5.     Chipotle is tying executive pay to the chain’s share price as it tries to rebound from illness outbreaks

·       I wonder if anyone at Chipotle has ever invested in a stock for an extended period of time? Pay tied to price, that’s horrible. Pay should be tied to long term fundamentals, the actual things that drive price!

6.     TransCanada agreed to buy Columbia Pipeline in a $10.2B deal

7.     Toshiba is selling its medical device unit to Canon for $6.11B

8.     FedEx executives said retailers should be paying more for shipments to help offset the cost of expanding to meet e-commerce demands

9.     The London Stock Exchange and Deutsche Borse agreed to merge

10.  Apple is working to bolster encryption so that it can’t decode user data stored in iCloud, but is concerned about inconveniencing customers

 

Interesting Stories

1.     Angelina Jolie has said the world has failed refugees.  Because, of course, she’s….exactly, a non-factor in world politics. Clearly she’s aware of all the refugees the US, European countries, first-world Asian countries, Australia, Canada, etc. take in every year. Bravo to her, for making a claim without any substantiated evidence.

2.     TWO state lawmakers, Tilman Goins and Mary Littleton ate at a Nashville Hooters restaurant and NEITHER left the waitress any tips. While I believe they have a right to deny a tip for poor service, as a public servant, that “right” becomes more hazy as you are beholden to ALL your constituents!

3.     Finally, someone is thinking of the “little guy.” Georgia legislators are preparing to legalize drinking while floating in an inner tube

4.     I guess they DID lose the Cold War. The Russian military is offering 1.75 million rubles to anyone who can help them with the unusual task of finding five dolphins with perfect teeth. This is believed to be a part of a new program training dolphins for naval combat…clearly orthodontics are the key

 

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