News Summary: April 4-8

News for the Week April 4 – April 8, 2016

by David Abuaf, CFA

Investment Manager, RJFS


Government / Political / Economic

1.     An email scam targeting companies is putting huge amounts of individual’s tax information into the hands of criminals

2.     Greece is due to start sending refugees back to Turkey under a deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the migration flow

3.     Thousands protested in Poland after government leaders said they backed a complete abortion ban

4.     The space startup run by Amazon chairman Bezos successfully launched and landed a reusable rocket

5.     SCOTUS ruled states can continue to apportion legislative seats according to total population

·       As a lay example: there are currently 435 seats for Congressmen divided up according to population. However, immigrants without citizenship and even citizens who are or have been incarcerated do not have the right to vote (with some exception on previously incarcerated individuals). However, apportioning the total number of Congressmen in each state can continue to be formulated according to the total population, including immigrants without citizenship and incarcerated individuals.

6.     Iraqi forces said they killed 150 Islamic State fighters near Fallujah, as the militants carried out suicide attacks elsewhere

7.     The Senate passed a bill to authorize firms to go directly to federal court to fight trade-secret theft

8.     Dutch voters rejected a landmark EU trade deal with Ukraine, dealing a fresh blow to the bloc

9.     13 North Korean restaurant workers defected to South Korea


General Markets / Economic

1.     Investors are betting on a depreciating dollar, which could help extend a rebound in stocks, high yield bonds and commodities

2.     The US trade gap grew 2.6% in February from January as global weakness weighed on the economy. Yes, but how did it fare in March? ;)

3.     China’s efforts to spur home lending have led to a surge in risky subprime style down-payment loans

4.     German bond yields have plunged to near zero, the result of risk-averse investors and an increase in the ECB’s bond buying

5.     Fed officials signaled an interest rate increase in April is unlikely

6.     The Senate will not stop airlines from shrinking seat sizes

7.     US demand for foreign skilled-worker visas often used by tech firms surpassed the entire year’s allocation within five days


Company News

1.     Alaska Air is expected to announced that it won the auction for Virgin America, besting JetBlue with a bid of about $2.5B

2.     Staples is joining with office-sharing startup Workbar to open communal workspace at three stores

3.     Disney’s succession planning fell into disarray as the firm’s operating chief, heir apparent to Iger, said he was leaving

4.     Pfizer decided to kill its planned takeover of Allergan after the Obama administration took aim at a deal that would have moved the biggest US drug maker to Ireland to lower its taxes

·       I’ll let you guess which Investment Professional, whom you read weekly, had said the deal wouldn’t go through MONTHS ago. Hint: Double Helix

5.     The DoJ is preparing to file a lawsuit to block the proposed merger between Halliburton and Baker Hughes

6.     Twitter won the rights to stream 10 of the NFL’s Thursday night games. Does this mean I need a twitter handle? I’m old-school, I still hand-write my thank you cards!


Interesting Stories

1.     The Brazilian government announced that it may start giving away Olympics tickets, as half of their supply remains unsold!

2.     An aerial survey found that 95% of the northern Great Barrier Reef is ghostly white due to warming oceans

3.     Tigers are now functionally extinct in Cambodia. As such, they are planning to import 7-8 tigers from India, which would be a conservation first!

4.     The recent coloring books for grown-ups craze has led to a global shortage in colored pencils, according to Faber-Castell. They originally saw their sales of art pencils enter double-digit growth, but the demand is still strong and they don’t have enough supply!

5.     A man found a USED hypodermic needle in a hoodie at Target!

6.     A California man was rescued by helicopter after a clifftop marriage proposal

7.     An Indonesian pop star, famous for wearing snakes during her acts, collapsed and died after being bitten mid-performance by a king cobra