Week 51 2017

Week 51 2017

18 December – 22 December

 

18 December

 

Adani Group has cancelled a A$2bn contract with a mining services company for work on its proposed Carmichael coal mine in Australia due to its failure to raise funds for the controversial project.

 

Chinese consumers have embraced facial identification and mobile payments to buy everything from fast food to sex toys, drawn towards the efficiency and the novelty of semi-automated stores.

 

Growth in the cost of new housing in China decelerated for a twelfth straight month in November, according to official figures, marking the slowest rise since early 2016.

 

South Africa’s rand endured choppy trading on Monday morning as investors awaited the results of the ruling party’s knife-edge leadership contest, initially hitting a fresh three-month high before giving up practically all of its gains.

 

19 December

 

Significant shareholder rebellions broke out this year at more than a fifth of the FTSE All-Share’s 640 companies, according to a new public register published by the Investment Association, the trade body for the UK’s asset management industry.

 

The owner of London power breakfast locale The Wolseley has been snapped up by Bangkok-listed Minor Hotels, in the latest in a string of overseas investments by Thai companies seeking to expand abroad.

 

Just when it looked like the Ifo think-tank might run out of hyperbolic adjectives to describe the almost sickeningly upbeat German business community (on which, more here), sentiment has come off the boil. Slightly.

 

Asia Pacific equities were mixed as stocks in Sydney and Hong Kong took their cues from a banner day on Wall Street while Tokyo traders struggled to break even.

 

20 December

 

A borrowing binge by companies and governments has reached a new high this year, providing bumper fees for Wall Street but raising questions ahead of a year of expected tightening of cheap money by the world’s most important central banks in 2018.

 

Universal Music and YouTube have struck a fresh multi-year licensing agreement, marking a truce between the world’s largest record label and Google after a years-long battle over payments.

 

Sales of existing US homes in November grew at the fastest clip in almost 11 years, with more Americans looking to upgrade their accommodations amid robust economic growth and low unemployment, even as inventories continue to fall.

 

“Primark remains one of the stronger apparel retailers around in our view with several competitive advantages — eg compelling price point, a structurally low gross margin, increased fashionability and strong management including at store level,” RBC told clients. “However, we think its high-volume densities may be becoming a constraint to like-for-like sales growth, it lacks a transactional online offer and we think it will take a long time for it to reach critical mass in the US, where it lacks brand recognition.”

 

21 December

 

Natural and man made disasters caused $136bn of insured losses in 2017, the third highest on record, according to new estimates from Swiss Re.

 

Chinese ride-hailing platform Didi Chuxing has raised $4bn in its latest round of investment as it readies itself to push beyond China’s borders.

 

UK consumer confidence fell by one point in December marking almost two years of declining confidence and the gloomy mood is expected to continue into 2018.

 

It seems the Czech National Bank has had enough drama for this year. On Thursday, it said it had opted to keep interest rates on hold as expected, following its first rise since 2008 in August and the snapping of its currency limit in April.

 

22 December

 

Nike’s quarterly sales grew at a steady pace in the past quarter, with the sportswear company’s accelerating gains in international markets helping to offset sluggishness in its home market in North America.

 

Textbook publishers are in crisis: their products are too expensive. University students, facing rising tuition fees and mounting debt, have been turning to pirated or used books, or are skipping buying course materials altogether.

 

France’s economy grew by more than previously thought in the third quarter of this year, in a further sign of the eurozone’s unexpectedly strong recovery.

 

The FTSE 100 set a new record high on Thursday with healthcare stocks setting the pace. NMC Health bounced 2.9 per cent to £28.17 after the hospital operator played down worries it will rely on acquisitions to expand beyond the Gulf.