Random Market News, 7 August
"Brands Strike Back: Seven Strategies to Loosen Amazon’s Grip.
Some manufacturers are enforcing minimum advertised prices to make it harder for online sellers to undercut local merchants, while others give local stores first dibs on new products or funnel customers from their own websites to local outlets."
"The Men Who Trade ISIS Loot.
The middlemen who buy and sell antiquities looted by Islamic State from Syria and Iraq explain how the smuggling supply chain works.
Initially, ISIS didn’t charge for the licenses but demanded loyalty from diggers and 20% of the estimated value of each object they excavated, these people say. Now, however, ISIS demands that diggers sell all discovered items to the group at a 20% discount of their estimated market value; ISIS then resells the objects itself, according to Mr. Al-Hassan. As ISIS loses territory, such rules are applied unevenly depending on the local leader, Mr. Danti said."
"S&P 500 Sees Double-Digit Earnings Growth for Second Straight Quarter.
The blended (combines actual results for companies that have reported and estimated results for companies yet to report) earnings growth rate for the S&P 500 for the second quarter is 10.1% as of Friday. This growth rate is above the estimated earnings growth rate of 6.4% at the end of the quarter (June 30) and above the estimated earnings growth rate of 8.6% at the start of the quarter (March 31).
Three sectors account for $7.2 billion (or 74%) of this $9.7 billion increase in earnings since June 30: Health Care, Financials, and Information Technology.
In these three sectors, the upside earnings surprises reported by Microsoft ($0.98 vs. $0.71), JPMorgan Chase ($1.82 vs. $1.59), Gilead Sciences ($2.56 vs. $2.16), Facebook ($1.32 vs. $1.12), Apple ($1.67 vs. $1.57), Merck ($1.01 vs. $0.87), and Aetna ($3.42 vs. $2.47) were all substantial contributors to the increase in earnings growth for the index during this time."
"Beijing's Mighty Grip May Pull Plug on Property Binge.
London, New York face exodus of mainland money."
"Noble Group humbled by mercurial founder's misjudgment.
Troubled Singapore commodities giant looks doomed by creditors' mistrust."
Implied rate hike probability for September 20th is ~1.4%, November 1st is ~7.3%; 0% probability of rate cut through June 13th, 2018.
VIX ~9.93. 10-yr treasury volatility (TYVIX) ~3.83.
"US Stocks Close Higher On Monday
The Dow Jones and the S&P 500 hit fresh records on Monday, as a stronger-than-expected earnings season carries on and despite consumer credit in the US rising only by $12.40 billion in June, following a revised $18.28 billion gain in May and missing market expectations of $15.30 billion. The Dow Jones edged up 26 points or 0.1% to a new record of 22118. The S&P 500 advanced 4 points or 0.2% to a new high of 2481. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq gained 32 points or 0.5% to 6384.
Mexico Auto Production, Exports Rise in July
Mexico auto production increased 0.7 percent from the previous year to 286.4 thousand vehicles in July 2017, a record high for that month. Auto exports advanced 7.8 percent from a year ago to 243.1 thousand vehicles, also a record high for July: Sales to the US, which accounted for 76 percent of total exports, were up 4.6 percent to 179.9 thousand units, and those to Canada jumped 26 percent to 25.4 thousand units. Considering January to July period, auto production increased 10.8 percent year-on-year to 2.17 million vehicles and exports grew 13.1 percent to 1.76 million. Both values were a record high for the period.
Chile Economic Activity Grows 1.4% YoY in June
Chile's IMACEC economic activity index increased 1.4 percent year-on-year in June 2017, following a 1.3 percent rise in the previous month and beating market expectations of 1.1 percent. It was the strongest expansion since January, as non-mining activities grew 1.6 percent (1.9 percent in May) boosted by services and trade, and the mining sector contracted at a softer rate (-0.9 percent vs -4.6 percent in May). In contrast, manufacturing and construction fell. On a monthly basis, the country's economic activity grew 0.5 percent.
Stocks in Italy Hit 20-month High
FTSE MIB increased to a 20-month high of 21998.
South Africa Forex Reserves Fall More than Expected
South Africa's gross foreign reserves fell to USD 46.75 billion in July of 2017 from USD 47.35 billion in June and below market expectations of USD 47.1 billion. The decline reflected the foreign exchange swaps conducted for liquidity management purposes and the foreign exchange payments made on behalf of the government. Partially offsetting the fall was an increase in the US dollar gold price and the weaker dollar against most currencies.
China Current Account Surplus Narrows in Q2
China's current account surplus narrowed sharply to USD 52.9 billion in the second quarter of 2017 from USD 65.1 billion in the same period of the previous year, the preliminary estimate showed. The goods trade surplus was recorded at USD 133.2 billion, while the service deficit came in at USD 74.4 billion, the primary income deficit at USD 2.1 billion, and the secondary income gap at USD 3.8 billion. In the first half of 2017, the current account surplus was USD 71.2 billion, equivalent to 1.3 percent of GDP.
Indonesia Q2 Business Sentiment at Near 8-Year High
Business confidence in Indonesia soared to 111.63 in the second quarter of 2017 from 103.42 in the previous period. It was the highest reading since the third quarter 2009, due to rises in all components: Income (118.93 from 104.54 in Q1); production capacity (114.55 from 104.60); and average working hours (101.40 from 101.13).
Indonesia GDP Grows 5.01% in Q2, Less Than Expected
The Indonesian economy expanded 5.01 percent year-on-year in the second quarter of 2017, the same pace as in the previous period but below market expectations of 5.10 percent. Growth was driven by private consumption and fixed investment while exports rose at a slower pace and government spending fell. On a quarterly basis, the economy expanded by 4.00 percent in Q2. The government targets the economy to grow 5.2 percent this year, while the central bank forecasts growth in the middle of the 5.0-5.4 percent range.
Australia Business Sentiment Soars to 12 in July
The NAB business confidence index in Australia jumped to 12 in July of 2017 from 9 in a month earlier. Business conditions hit its highest since early 2008 at 15 (from 14 in June) and well above the long-run average of 5. By component, profitability increased markedly (18 from 14) while trading/sales moderated slightly --- but remained at very elevated levels (20 from 21). Meantime, employment conditions were steady at solid levels (7). Confidence levels were currently positive for all industries – even in mining and retail where conditions had been as robust. “The persistent strength in employment conditions has made us a little more optimistic about the near-term outlook for the labour market," said Alan Oster, NAB’s Chief economist. That said, there are still longer-term challenges to domestic demand, which will have implications for the labor market, while the ABS underemployment rate is also suggesting that there is still a fair degree of slack in the labor market, he added."
"34th Annual Quest for Quality Awards: Winners Revealed."
"C-TPAT reauthorization legislation is introduced.
A push to reauthorize The Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) for the first time in 11 years is underway in the form of legislation recently introduced by U.S. Representative Martha McSally (R-AZ).
C-TPAT was established under the SAFE Port Act of 2006. This global supply chain security program is comprised of companies voluntarily partnering with United States CBP (Customs and Border Protection) to enhance security throughout their supply chain, with CBP working with them to protect the supply chain, identify gaps and implement specific security measures and best practices. CBP, after vetting applicants, visits their sites to validation implementation of the security criteria."
"Korea's 14 container shipping lines to form national partnership.
Amid a slow recovery in the sector, South Korea’s container shipping companies are banding together to present a united front in the face of an increasingly competitive global market and in light of Hanjin Shipping’s demise.
The Korean shipping lines' move follows the Japanese trio of MOL, NYK and K Line establishing a holding and operating entity named Ocean Network Express to improve their global competitiveness amid an unprecedented round of mergers and consolidations, on top of the formation of global alliances among major industry players."
"India's Mahindra Logistics Ltd, a unit of automobile major Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd, has filed for an initial public offering of shares.
Mahindra Logistics provides services such as warehouse solutions and transport management."
"New battery-powered drayage truck to be tested at Oakland port.
The trial, which begins in September with a heavy-duty, all-electric truck, is part of a statewide effort to determine the feasibility of zero-emission freight hauling."
"Airbnb dominated by professional landlords.
Holiday apartment platform Airbnb is being over-run by firms with massive turnovers, new research in Germany suggests. More and more cities are bringing in legislation to counter the problem.
Some 58 percent of all offers on Airbnb in Germany are entire apartments or even apartment blocks - meaning professional landlords are effectively the core of Airbnb's business. Meanwhile, offers of single beds in shared flats make up less than 2 percent of the site's ads."
"Mega-Deals Push Southeast Asia Tech Investment To $5B.
With active interest from investors and close proximity to India and China, Southeast Asia is gaining prominence as a tech hub. Every year since 2012, Southeast Asian startups have pulled in more money than the last. In 2016, that number hit $3.1B across 343 deals. In 2017 YTD (7/31/2017), funding has already well surpassed the annual record, at nearly $5B.
Funding numbers are pulled up by Southeast Asia’s most well-funded startups, two of which are ride-hailing companies: Singapore-based Grab, which has raised $3.44B in total funding, and Indonesia’s GO-JEK, which has raised $1.75B in investment money. Both are unicorns (startups valued at $1B+)."
"Photon-Triggered Nanowire Transistors a Step Toward Optical Computing.
The idea of substituting electrons with photons in computing has led to a variety of approaches for achieving the promise of speed-of-light computing. Not many of these schemes, however, have involved devices in which electronic currents are optically switched and amplified only by light and without the need for an electronic gate.
Now a team of researchers at Korea University has jumped into this largely untouched field with a nanowire-based transistor in which photons control nanowire logic gates. The researchers—who have dubbed their device a photon-triggered nanowire transistor (PTNT)—believe that their results show a way forward in using photons in logic gates, leading to ultracompact nanoprocessors and nanoscale photodetectors for high-resolution imaging.
These porous silicon segments in the middle of the nanowires act as a reservoir of trapped electrons that effectively inhibits current across the electrode, creating the “off” state of the transistor. But because the porous silicon is very sensitive to light, the current can be controlled—turned on and off—by pumping light into it."
"Big Data Study Connects Genetic Dots Between Diseases.
The study utilized insurance claims from a full third of the U.S. population, through a source called the Truven MarketScan. That massive trove was cut back to a subset of 128,989 families, encompassing 481,657 individuals, they report.
Some surprising connections were made that aren’t completely intuitive.
For instance, migraines are most genetically similar to irritable bowel syndrome. The environmental similarities instead link migraines to other inflammatory diseases: cystitis and urethritis.
Other connections included ADHD with non-melanoma skin cancer, adjustment disorder with general hypertension, and allergic rhinitis with type 1 diabetes, according to the study.
But some other conclusions were more of an intuitive connection. Some neurological and psychiatric diseases – schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, substance, among them – have environmental triggers that are nearly as strong as the genetic causation component."
Startup/SME of the Day.
"GeoPhy is a real estate data & analytics company that works with a combination of public and proprietary datasets to define quality, value and risk for every building. We are building out a global asset level database that currently covers over 100 million buildings in 50 countries. We offer our data service to investors, lenders and governments, allowing them to better assess risks and opportunities."
One offering is IoT for buildings. Air quality can now be easily measured and contractually specified, like temperature.
"Monastery of Alcobaça.
The Monastery of Santa Maria d'Alcobaça, north of Lisbon, was founded in the 12th century by King Alfonso I. Its size, the purity of its architectural style, the beauty of the materials and the care with which it was built make this a masterpiece of Cistercian Gothic art."
"Maryland's 3rd Congressional District.
A winding district gerrymandered into the shape of a mantis."
CH: Unemployment, 1:45 AM ET
DE: Merchandise Trade, 2:00 AM ET
FR: Merchandise Trade, 2:45 AM ET
US: NFIB Small Business Optimism Index, 6:00 AM ET
CA: Housing Starts, 8:15 AM ET
US: Redbook, 8:55 AM ET
US: JOLTS, 10:00 AM ET
AU: Home Loans, 9:30 PM ET
CN: Consumer Price Index, 9:30 PM ET
CN: Producer Price Index, 9:30 PM ET
https://tradingeconomics.com/calendar (More complete listing, including consensus)