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23 june 2017

  • Peru`s prime minister will be appointed finance minister. A source said Peru’s Prime Minister Fernando Zavala will be named by President Pedro Pablo Kuczy as the country’s new finance minister. A former executive at brewer SABMiller, Zavala will remain prime minister as he leads the Finance Ministry, the source said, who asked not to be identified as a formal announcement has not yet been made. Read more on www.reuters.com
  • Ford recalls 15,600 cars in South Africa due to fire risk. Ford Motor Co on Friday announced that it is recalling about 16,000 and Figo models in South Africa over fire risk. In a statement, the automaker said the recall covers models built between 2004 and 2012 in India. "A power steering fluid leak could result in fumes being emitted from the engine compartment," it said. "It may also be possible for power steering fluid to come into contact with the vehicle`s exhaust system components, creating the potential for smoke and, in extreme cases, fire." Read more www.reuters.com
  • Japan’s Flash Factory PMI Shows Slight Slump in Growth. Activity in Japan’s manufacturing decelerated in June as a measure of new orders rose at the slowest rate in seven months, according to a private survey. Markit/ Nikkei Flash Manufacturing PMI slid to 52.0 in June from 53.1 in May. The index continued to be above the 50 point mark that delineates growth from contraction for the 10th straight month. Meanwhile, the index for new orders slid to a flash reading of 51.3 from a final reading of 53.4 in May to hit its lowest level since November. The flash index for new exports slid to 52.5 in June from 53.0 in the prior month. Despite the decline in the flash PMI, it is unlikely to hurt the increasing confidence regarding Japan’s economy. Read more on www.reuters.com
  • French Factory Sector’s Morale Weakens in June. Optimism in France’s factory sector slightly waned in June, as business heads were less confident regarding their respective production levels, according to Insee. The month reading of the statistics agency’s monthly reading of confidence in the sector slid by one percentage point to 108, failing to meet expectations that it would remain unchanged at 109. Despite the decline, the reading continued to be significantly above the long-term median of 100 and business heads in the factory sector were more upbeat regarding the global outlook than at any period since 2007. The prospects for the country’s economy has improved in the previous months, together with the better outlook for global trade. Insee projects the economy to expand by 1.6 percent in 2017. Read more on www.marketwatch.com
  • U.S. Unemployment Benefit Applications Tick Up. Less than 250, 000 Americans applied for first-time jobless benefits in the previous week, edging up marginally on a weekly basis. But overall numbers continue to be in line with a tightening jobs market. Initial unemployment claims increased 3, 000 to 241, 000 in the week ended June 17, data from the Labor Department showed. Estimates were projecting 240, 000 new filings. Meanwhile, the four-week moving average of initial claims, which is perceived to be less volatile compared to the weekly data, rose 1,500 in the previous week to 244, 750. The number of continuing unemployment benefits rose by 8, 000 to 1.94 million in the week ended June 10, the third straight week of gains. Read more on www.wsj.com
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23 june 2017

  • Barnes & Noble rises amid saving strategy. Barnes & Noble remains unfazed by the rising dominance of online retailers as the book chain saw its shares rise over 7% upon help from investors and a surprise better-than-expected fourth quarter results. The business has disclosed sales which reached $821M--a 6% decline from an estimated $876M. Comparable-store sales dropped 6.3% due to weaker traffic, while online sales hiked 2.9% during the same period. Currently, the company is targeting to control costs to prevent a further slide in figures, and is also occupied with creating a multi-channel for customers to lure them whether online or in-store. It recently established test outlets, which were deemed successful as they are planning to launch two more this year. Read more on www.ft.com
  • Google scraps private medical records out of site. Alphabet`s Google has recently removed the category of private health records in their search results, which was in contrast to their usual hands-off approach in dealing with such matters. It has listed data erased, and a representative from the company highlighted the alterations did not impact their advertising sector. Before this, the website has also deleted pages containing financial information, and content breaching copyright policies. Two years ago, it has taken out sexually explicit photos posted without consent. Moreover, Google has recently improved their system which filters misleading articles and inaccurate news, following a string of criticisms. Read more on www.bloomberg.com
  • JD.com tries its luck in luxury goods retailer. Chinese e-commerce company JD.com will be investing $397M in a team up with UK`s Farfetch as a response to the rising demand from affluent customers for authentic products in a country plagued with counterfeit offerings. The London-based business is currently valued at $1B, and plans to retain an independent platform despite the partnership. JD, meanwhile, will have a seat in its partner`s board plus an equity stake. The move is seen as a latest push in the luxury side for the online business, as the sector has seen a higher growth compared to other products. Moreover, the strategy comes as surprising given several firms are wary of such marketplaces which are notorious for fake goods. Read more on www.ft.com
  • Nomura imposes higher service charges. Nomura Holdings Inc. is considering to require access fees of around $134,000 annually amid the recent ban on consolidating research with brokerage services. The firm explained pricing may still be flexible upon discussions, although the guidance provided will give them a hint on the settlement may go. The EU`s MiFID II regulations aims to address conflicts of interest by stipulating asset managers to separate their trading commissions from investment-research fees. The premium offering covers all analyst reports on various topics including interaction with experts and event invitations. There are other more affordable options as well, which allows purchase of reports alone, with extra payments for additional features. Read more on www.bloomberg.com
  • Streaming bans dent Weibo`s figures. China`s Weibo has lost more than $1B of its market capitalization after regulators prohibited it and two other platforms from airing video and audio services. Its shares listed in Nasdaq were down 6.1% at $72.25, dragging their capital to $15.8B. The reason for the ban is linked to the country`s crackdown on online content. The impacted companies were deemed to be lacking the required license to stream their content, which are also not in accordance with the national audiovisual policies. This has posed a heavy blow for the social media website, as it is heavily reliant on the said services to raise advertising revenues. Read more on www.ft.com
  • Former Tesla Engineer Tapped to Lead Waymo Hardware Team. Alphabet’s Waymo hired ex-Tesla engineer Satish Jeyachandran to spearhead its hardware team, managing the advancement and integration of several tools such as cameras and computer vision. Jeyachandran will closely work with the technology company’s software group as well. The former head of Tesla’s hardware engineering expressed his desire to become part of Waymo, saying it has a mission-oriented and talented group which made significant developments in the self-driving department. He added the technology provides an exceptional potential to save lives. Read more on www.bloomberg.com
  • American Airlines Chief Not Contended with Qatar Airways` Plan to Acquire 10% Stake. American Airlines chief Doug Parker stated he was not pleased about Qatar Airways’ intention to acquire around 10% of its stake, saying he found the proposal confusing and strange. Based on its filing, Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker presented their plan. The American airline said its Qatari counterpart notified them of its plan to purchase about $808 million of its shares. On the other hand, Qatar Airways mentioned it would attempt to amass an initial stake of 4.75%, then add to it upon obtaining approval from American Airlines directors and US watchdogs. Read more on www.wsj.com
  • Altice USA Surges following NYSE Debut. Altice USA saw its stocks soar in its debut on the NYSE, as the telecom firm generated around $1.9 billion in its first public offering. Shares stood at $32.71, up 9%, in the first trading day, giving it a market value of more than $20 billion. The company, which launched one of the biggest telecom IPOs since the 2000 dotcom downfall, priced about 63.9 million shares at $30. Altice is venturing into fibre-optic connections and intends to launch a new type of cable box for the US market. It is anticipated to expand in America. Read more on www.channelnewsasia.com
  • Tesla in Discussions to Launch Music Streaming Service. A person privy to the matter said Tesla plans to introduce its own music streaming service, as it has been approaching record labels. The source said it is uncertain if the automaker will continue its partnership with music companies or eventually decide to push ahead with the service. Earlier, Tesla stressed it is vital to have an outstanding in-vehicle experience so that clients can listen to their preferred music from whatever source they opt. But the firm did not shed light on its supposed talks with labels. Currently, Tesla provides Spotify’s service in Australia, Hong Kong, and Europe. Read more on www.bloomberg.com
  • US Legislators, Regulators Support Overhauling Volcker Rule. American lawmakers and financial watchdogs who attended a congressional hearing expressed their support for revamping the Volcker rule. Federal Reserve Governor Jerome Powell said the regulation should concentrate solely on banks which offer trading, noting they should draw a line in governing financial institutions with big trading books and other types of banks. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp backed Powell’s, but Sen. Elizabeth Warren denounced the Treasury’s plan to revise or undo certain parts of the rule, saying the recommendations were essentially cut-and-paste from lobbyists. Read more on www.reuters.com
  • Home Capital Shares Pops after Buffet Save. Berkshire Hathaway Inc. is giving Home Capital Group Inc a helping hand by giving a $2 billion loan and taking a 38 percent stake in the mortgage lender, causing its shares to pop and end up 27 percent. Shares in other Canadian mortgage lenders also rallied after the move by Warren Buffet’s investment arm. Equitable Group Inc. ended up 12.5 percent, Street Capital Group finished up 8.3 percent. Genworth MI Canada Inc. shares also rose 11.5 percent. The deal is seen to end a two-month push by Home Capital executives to restore a costly credit facility and bolster the health of the lender’s balance sheet. The credit facility with Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan was established to give funding for Canada’s biggest non-bank lender which has been hit by the withdrawal of 95 percent of its high-interest deposit in the last two months. Read more on www.reuters.com
  • Bed Bath and Beyond Tanks on Soft In-store Sales. Bed Bath & Beyond shares declined sharply after the retail chain said the double-digit increase in digital sales were not strong enough to counter the weakness in its in-store sales during Q1 of 2017. The firm’s earnings for the quarter ended May 27, shy of analysts estimates. Net sales climbed just 0.1 percent YoY to $2.75 billion, falling below the projected $2.79 billion. Net earnings came in at $75.3 million or 53 cents per share, missing the 66 cents per share on $93.75 million estimates. The firm said total comparable sales fell 2 percent during the period with over 20 percent growth in digital sales unable to counter a mid-single-digit percentage drop in store sales. Read more on www.ft.com
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23 june 2017

  • Mexican chief dismisses spying allegations. Mexico`s president Enrique Peña Nieto vehemently denied accusations that his regime has spied media personnel and activists digging into political controversies by hacking their mobile phones. The targeted professionals have been digging into corruption and human rights abuses involved in the administration, and it was reported that a spyware purchased in Israel was used to track their messages. They confirmed to have received messages containing links which activates the program that amasses huge amounts of private data. However, the claims were not acknowledged by the official, who insisted they should be backed with more evidence and testimonies from the affected people as well. Read more on www.bbc.com
  • Obama speaks up on the repeal of his health bill. Former US chief Obama has given his word regarding the proposed scrapping of his devised Affordable Care Act. He said while he understands this has been a priority for the current officials, they should take into account the stakes involved, and consider all actions they take. Trump`s predecessor highlighted the proposed bill will cut funding for Medicaid, and basically just transfer money to affluent families, leaving the rest of the population class uninsured. He also reiterated his long battle to have the measure passed, and ended his speech urging the Congress to inform the public of what the suggested legislation`s effect would be for the averaged American. Currently, senate members only have a few days to decide whether to back or oppose the initiative. Read more on www.edition.cnn.com
  • Trump speaks up on conversations with Comey. The US chief has made it clear that he does not have any recordings of his discussions with sacked FBI head Comey. The issue began after he tweeted that the official better have no tapes of their talks, which ballooned into an appointment of a special counsel to handle the probe of alleged intrusion during the election. Comey has instead leaked memos of their meetup. It was also reported that Trump asked the bureau`s leader to halt inquiries into Flynn, a former adviser. Although he has often voiced out his intention to partner with the Kremlin, Trump continues to deny up to now that there had been a collusion among his campaign team and Putin`s side. Read more on www.bbc.com
  • US citizen faces charges for disclosing private files to China. Kevin Mallory, an ex-US diplomatic official, is currently under fire for allegedly sharing top-secret files with a Chinese agent. He was said to have traveled to Shanghai in March and failed to disclose around $16,500 found in his carry-on bags. It has been confirmed by the FBI that the suspect used to take charge of high-eleve clearance during his tenure, and his access was blocked after he stopped being a state employee in 2012. In an interview, Mallory was said to have met someone working for the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences think-tank, which was believed to be used by spies to conceal their identities. Moreover, it was reported he was paid to issue the documents, and could face life imprisonment if proven guilty. Read more on www.bbc.com
  • US declines support UN`s abortion stance. The UN Human Rights Council has recently devised a resolution aiming to protect women from growing cases of abuse and discrimination, although Washington refused to back one part of the initiative: the access to safe abortions. The measure was passed by the council without a vote and despite issues raised by other countries. While the US expressed their approval in most of its part, it emphasized not having the same perspective in terms of reproductive health care rights. A representative said they are enthusiastic about providing maternal and family planning, but does not recognize abortion as a method for it. It was also Trump`s rhetoric to block assistances from foreign groups that promote the act. Read more on www.theguardian.com
  • Quetta Car Bomb Attack Kills at Least Five. A car bomb assault in the city of Quetta, Pakistan killed at least five people and injured 14 others. The deadly attack happened close to the office of an inspector general. It is said the assailants were attempting to get into a military camp which is nearby. Balochistan government spokesperson Anwar ul-Haq said police stopped the vehicle as it approached the said office. Local reports said cars have been wrecked close to the explosion site and windows of neighboring establishments smashed. So far, no group has claimed liability for the deadly incident. Read more on www.reuters.com
  • Confidante of Ex-SoKor President Gets Three-Year Prison Term. A district court in South Korea handed a three-year jail sentence to Choo Soon-sil, a confidante of ousted SoKor leader Park Geun-hye. The court said she her connections to have her daughter admitted to a prestigious university in Seoul and get good grades despite her unimpressive performance. Choi is being tried alongside Park over charges they pressured the leading companies in the country to give donations to charitable institutions handled by the former in exchange for political favors. If found guilty of power abuse and extortion, Choi could be imprisoned for many years. Read more on abcnews.go.com
  • Iraqi Leader Says to Declare Mosul Freedom in Few Days. The Iraqi leader stated they are slated to announce Mosul’s liberation from ISIS in the succeeding days. Haider al-Abadi’s remarks come amid the country’s continuous battle versus ISIS. Clips by the AP showed Iraqi forces were inching closer to the area. For the longest time, the group has already ditched the majority of its strongholds. The ISIS earlier wrecked a significant mosque in Mosul. Officials from America and Iraq previously mentioned the attack depicted the terrorist group’s looming loss. Read more on www.aljazeera.com
  • Brazil High Court Says it Can Reject Pleas in Corruption Inquiry. Brazil’s high court said it holds the discretion to reject plea bargains made in corruption inquiries. The high court mentioned such requests could be reviewed by the full court and rejected should a state’s witness concealed information or lied. However, it has no capacity to alter the benefits extended by prosecutors to an individual who becomes state’s witness. Prosecutors stressed the latest verdict can undercut investigations which have endangered the Temer government. It added the decision would have negated the entire plea bargain procedure. Read more on www.reuters.com
  • New Developments Emerge in US Cargo Vessel Collision Probe. According to a defense official, an initial Navy assessment showed five of the seven crew members who died aboard the USS Fitzgerald may have been nearly incapacitated and died swiftly. The analysis referred to an examination of the extent of collision and the berths where the sailors were possibly sleeping. The official said the Navy is attempting to verify accounts implying that the two sailors who were not almost instantly incapacitated tried to help the other five escape the rushing water. Previously, the cargo ship hit a container ship off the east coast of Japan. Read more on edition.cnn.com
  • North Korea Conducts Another Rocket Engine Test. North Korea has launched another test of a rocket engine that U.S. believes could be part of its intercontinental ballistic missile development program. The U.S. determined that the test, the most recent in a string of engine and missile tests by Pyongyang this year, may be for the smallest stage of an ICBM rocket engine, according to a U.S. official. Another source also affirmed the test but did not give additional details on the kind of rocket component that was being tested or whether it belongs to the ICBM program. The reports of the engine test came after a day the U.S. pressured China to input more economic and diplomatic pressure on the isolated country to help discourage it from its nuclear and missile programs during a bout of high-level dialogues. Read more on www.reuters.com
  • Qatar’s Renounces Accusations of Supporting Syrian ‘Terror Group’. Qatar’s foreign minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani insisted that the country has never backed Jabhat Fateh Al-Sham, the Syrian terrorist organisation priorly known as the Nusra Front or any group with the same nature or advocacy. The government official said in an interview that Qatar has always complied to international laws and has a vital role in the international alliance fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). He added that he anticipates to receive a list of demands from its neighbors Saudi Arabia and the UEA in the next two days, but underlined that Qatar will not bow down to any foreign dictations and rebuked talks regarding anything linked to the Al Jazeera channel as it is perceived as an internal issue. Read more on www.aljazeera.com
  • PM May Offers EU Expats Post-Brexit Status. EU citizens who are legal residents in Britain can have the same rights as British citizens after Brexit, UK PM Theresa May told EU leaders during a Brussel summit. The “UK settled status” will give EU expats who lived in the UK for five years equal rights on health care, education, benefits, and pension. Securing EU citizens’ rights one of the main priority for the EU representatives negotiating Brexit. Ahead of May’s offer, the EU delegation suggested that EU citizens in the UK and the 1.2 million Britons residing in EU countries should have the same rights, implementable by the European Court of Justice (ECJ). There are two other intricate issues that need to be resolved early during the talks- UK’s exit bill and the Northern Island border. Read more on www.bbc.com
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