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18 august 2017

  • NAFTA Negotiations to Have Major Implications for Other Nations. The North American Free Trade Agreement could not involve any Asian countries, however, the trade-dependent region will be paying attention as to how the Trump administration handles negotiations, according to analysts. After axing the Trans-Pacific Partnership, U.S. President Donald Trump now has his eyes on NAFTA. The trilateral trade agreement between Canada, Mexico and the United States will have its renegotiations start this week. The talks have major implications for nations like South Korea, according to Deborah Elms, executive director of the Asian Trade Centre. The Trump administration said it aims to renegotiate the free-trade agreement with South Korea. According to a report from Reuters, new talks will begin on Tuesday on amending the deal. Read more on www.cnbc.com
  • Canada Factory Sales Declined in June. Canadian manufacturing sales fell in June following three consecutive months of growth as sales in petroleum and coal product, transportation equipment and chemical industries dropped, according to data from Statistics Canada. The 1.8 percent decline to C$53.9 billion ($42.7 billion) from May surpassed economists’ expectations of a 1.0 percent drop. Sales in May were upwardly revised to show a gain of 1.3 percent from the initially posted 1.1 percent rise. In total, sales dropped in 15 of the 21 sectors surveyed in June, accounting for 72 percent of overall manufacturing. Volumes fell 1.0 percent when stripped of the effects of price changes. Orders declined in 17 of 21 industries, led by fabricated metal products, petroleum and coal product, and transportation equipment industries. Read more on www.reuters.com
  • Growing Imports Reduce Eurozone Trade Surplus. The eurozone’s trade surplus in goods with the rest of the world shrunk by €1.7 billion in June on the back of a healthy growth in the bloc. Year on year imports climbed 6.2 percent in June compared with the same period in 2016 and exports rose 3.9 percent, pulling down the goods surplus to €26.6 billion. Higher imports indicate a sign of strengthening demand in the bloc. Trade between eurozone nations also expanded by 3.5 percent to €157.5 billion, according to official figures from Eurostat. In the first six months of 2017, eurozone nations exported goods valued more than €1 trillion to the rest of the world, climbing eight percent in the same period in 2016. Read more on www.ft.com
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18 august 2017

  • Wal-Mart Continues to Shrug Off Industry-Wide Slump. Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s sales edged up in the most recent quarter, bolstered by an increase in e-commerce transactions and solid grocery sales, underlining the company’s strength in brushing off an industry wide slowdown. Sales at Wal-Mart’s U.S. stores that were open for at least a year increased 1.8 percent in the second quarter, marking the 12th consecutive gain and bolstered by a 1.3 percent increase in foot traffic. The retailer now expects third quarter earnings of 90 cents to 98 cents per share. It said that it expects full-year profit of $4.30-$4.40 per share, against an earlier estimate of $4.20 to $4.40. The company’s second-quarter U.S. online sales jumped 60 percent. Wal-Mart U.S. CEO Greg Foran said that the company is looking to offer online grocery pickup in 1,100 stores by the end of 2018. Read more on www.wsj.com
  • Old Navy’s Strength Bolsters Gap Q2 Results. Shares of clothing retailer Gap Inc. posted better-than-projected Q2 results and also lifted its full-year profit projection, aided by the solid demand for Old Navy products, lesser discounts and improved management of inventory. Gap’s same-store sales advanced 1 percent in the quarter ending July 29, marking its third quarter of gains. Analysts anticipated sales to be flat on an annual basis, according to Consensus Metrix. Meanwhile, same-store sales at Old Navy increased 5 percent, topping estimates of 3.1 percent. The Gap brand of the company posted its smallest decline in same-store sales in the last 10 quarters, but Banana Republic’s ales fell more than projected. The firm’s total revenue declined 1.4 percent to $3.799 billion, beating estimates of $3.77 billion. Out of the past 10 quarters, this is the seventh time Old Navy sales rose. The firm’s shares advanced almost 6 percent in extended trading. Read more on www.reuters.com
  • Lenovo Suffers Quarterly Loss. Lenovo Group Ltd. reported an unexpected quarterly loss after seeing a steep decline in the sales of the personal computer market, while its smartphone business continued to lose money. The company was hit by a net loss of $72 million in the quarter ending June, the first loss in six quarters and is contrary to an expected net income of $32.9 million. In a statement, the firm said that the revenue for the period came in at $10 billion against the estimated $9.9 billion. Lenovo has ceded its position as the world’s biggest PC maker as competitors take away their customers with new models. Shares of the company ended the day at HK$4.72. The stock is almost unchanged so far this year. Read more on www.bloomberg.com
  • Cisco’s Shares Sunk by Missed Revenue Estimates. Cisco Systems Inc.’s closely tracked security business revenues did not hit estimates, raising worries regarding the company’s efforts to evolve into a software-focused enterprise. Shares of the world’s biggest networking gear maker slid by around 2.5 percent in late-hours trading. With its traditional businesses struggling to stay relevant in the market, Cisco has been focusing on high-growth areas, including security, the Internet of Things and cloud computing. Revenue growth at the security business, its fastest growing unit until the last two quarters, slumped to 3 percent in the most recent fiscal Q4 from 16 percent in the same period last year and from 9 percent on a quarterly basis. Meanwhile, revenue in its switches and routers businesses both fell 9 percent during the period, missing estimates, Factset said. Read more on www.reuters.com
  • Cathay Pacific Shares Surge Despite Half-Year Loss. Shares of Cathay Pacific rallied by as much as 6.2 percent on the suggestion that its earnings have reached its bottom and despite the firm posting an HK$2.1 billion loss during the first half of the year due to strong competition. Cathay’s passenger yield slid 5.2 percent to $0.515 amid higher capacity from other competitors in the South East Asia region. The loss it suffered from January-June marks a steep decline from the HK$353 million profit it saw in the same period last year and comes after the firm’s 2016 results which saw its first financial year loss since 2008. A Jefferies analyst said in a note issued after the release of the H1 results that Cathay is now past its worst period, citing the HK$4 billion cost-saving program planned for the next few years. Read more on www.ft.com
  • Victoria’s Secret Owner Weighed Down by Disappointing Guidance. L. Brands Inc., the owner of the lingerie chain Victoria’s Secret, fell by as much as 10 percent in extended trading after investors were deeply disappointed by its profit projections. Earnings are seen to be at 25 cents to 30 cents in Q3, according to L.Brands, which also owns Bath & Works. Analysts had expected an average estimate of 36 cents. Sales at Victoria’s Secret has declined more than anticipated in the previous quarter, with same-store sales falling 14 percent in the previous quarter. This is a steeper drop than the 12 percent decline estimated by analysts. The weak prospects underline the problem of Victoria’s Secret in connecting with the younger population. Buyers have been shifting toward cheaper brands. Aside from this, consumers are now spending more money on traveling and tech rather than clothing. Read more on www.bloomberg.com
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18 august 2017

  • Far-Right Leader Shocks Australian Senate by Wearing Burka. The leader of Australia’s far-right One Nation party, Pauline Hanson, drew flak after wearing a burka on the floor of the country’s senate. Other senators were vocally shocked when she entered the session where she plans to argue for her party’s bid to ban the garment in Australia. Governor minister George Brandis rebuked Ms. Hanson’s actions and cautioned her against offending religious groups, securing him a standing ovation from opposition parties. Brandis said that Ms. Hanson’s stunt has risked alienating around a half a million Australians who are of Muslim faith. The Australian attorney-general also added that the burka will not be banned. Her proposal to ban the garment will be debated in the Senate later today. Read more on www.bbc.com
  • South Korea’s President Rules Out War on Korean Peninsula. South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in, who marked his 100 days in office, said there will be no war once more on the Korean Peninsula and said that the government is considering to send a special envoy its northern counterpart for dialogue if Pyongyang decides to put an end to its missile and nuclear test launches. The comments come amid escalated tension between the U.S. and the North Korea after Pyongyang threatened to fire missiles into the U.S. territory of Guam. This threat was responded to by U.S. President Donald Trump, returning with a threat to release “fire and fury” upon North Korea if it is provoked. Speaking during a televised news conference, Moon said that a war on the Korean Peninsula is not a possibility as the country cannot afford to suffer from another one. Read more on www.aljazeera.com
  • Trump Dissolves Business Council After CEO’s Resign in Protest. U.S. President Donald Trump disbanded two business advisory councils on Wednesday after CEOs resigned as a form of protest to his remarks blaming the violent turn of events in Virginia on both sides. A number of prominent GOP members also lambasted Trump, even its close ally Britain, causing him to be increasingly isolated after his comments that the violence in Charlottesville town was to be blamed not only on the far-right party that participated in the rally. During this rally, 32-year-old Heather Heyer was killed when a car plowed into the anti-racism protesters, driven by an Ohio man said to be acquainted with neo-Nazi parties. The mayor of Phoenix has called on Trump to postpone a planned rally next Tuesday, a request the president appeared to brush off. Read more on www.reuters.com
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