News > All

Daily Scan: Asian markets diverge; Japan hits two-month high
<p>Updated throughout the day</p> <p>November 6</p> <p>Asian markets finished the week divided with Chinese and Japanese bourses staying firmly in the green as the rest of the region sunk. The Nikkei 225 hit a two-month high closing up 0.78%, gaining 1% for the week.  The Wall Street Journal reports that Japanese companies logged a combined 16.6% year-on-year rise in net profit for the six-month period ended September.</p> <p>In China, the markets officially touched bull market territory this week, rising 20% from their lows. The Shenzhen and Shanghai Composite indices finished up on Friday 2.82% and 1.91%, respectively, clocking in gains of 6.8% and 6.1% for the week. Other Asian markets have struggled. Australia's &amp;P/ASX 200 index eked out a 0.4% gain but was dragged down by its banking sector which dipped 1.2% this week thanks to mixed earnings coming out of the four largest banks.</p> <p>Here is what else you need to know:</p> <p>Will they embrace? Will they shake hands? Saturday, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou meet in Singapore -- the first meeting between the heads of state since 1949. Taiwanese voters remain wary of Ma getting too cozy with the mainland so he's not getting a boost in the polls. Asia watchers will take note of how the leaders address one another (no "Mr. President") and other signs of the power balance. The Economist (paywall)</p> <p>Kuroda sees China, emerging markets as top risk. Slowdowns emerging economies pose the "most important" risk to the Japanese economy, Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said at a conference in Tokyo on Friday. He also said he does not envision a "hard-landing scenario" in China. Nikkei</p> <p>AstraZeneca agrees to buy ZS pharma for $2.7b. The move will bolster the U.K. firm's product portfolio as it prepares for the loss of patent protection on its best-selling drug. The group said it would pay $90 per share for the California company in an all-cash transaction. Financial Times. (paywall)</p> <p>TPP deal fine print released to the public. The long-awaited text of the landmark Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), one of the world's most extensive trade agreements, bringing together 12 Pacific rim countries, including the U.S. and Japan, has been released to the public for the first time.  BBC</p> <p>Vietnam agrees to U.S. terms on labor rights in TPP deal. The Communist government in Vietnam has agreed to American terms to grant potentially far-reaching labor rights to the country’s workers, including the freedom to unionize and to strike. New York Times (paywall)</p> <p>Hong Kong to end "forced shopping" for mainland tourists. The territory's tourism industry watchdog is to roll out reinforced measures to stop group tours that offer cheap Hong Kong trips to mainland visitors and then recoup their costs by forcing the visitors to shop. SCMP (paywal)</p> <p>Aung San Suu Kyi goads Myanmar’s military.  Myanmar’s veteran opposition leader, has risked a collision with the country’s powerful military by declaring that she would be “above the president” if her party wins Sunday’s historic election. Suu Kyi, who is constitutionally barred from the top job, threw down the challenge as she raised fears of ballot fraud in a poll. Financial Times (paywall)</p> <p>Tokyo districts recognise same-sex partnerships in Japan. Two Tokyo districts issued Japan’s certificates on Thursday, a major step forward for gay couples in a nation where being openly gay remains largely taboo. SCMP (paywall)</p> <p>U.S defense chief wades into South China Sea row. Ash Carter has visited an aircraft carrier in the South China Sea's contested waters in what is seen as a signal to China. He called his visit to the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt "a symbol" of America's stabilizing presence in the region. BBC.</p> <p>Former Rabobank traders found guilty of fraud in Libor scandal. Anthony Allen, former global head of liquidity and finance, was found guilty on 19 counts of conspiracy and wire fraud. Anthony Conti, a former trader, was guilty of nine counts of conspiracy and
Daily Scan: Valeant shares hit new low; Wells Fargo to pay $81.6M in settlement
<p>Updated throughout the day</p> <p>November 5</p> <p>Initial jobless claims posted their biggest rise in eight months, but still stay below the 300,000 turning point. Initial claims for the week ending October 31 were 276,000 jobless claims, a 16,000 increase from the previous week. Stocks were relatively unmoved with the news. The Dow dropped just 4.2 points to 17863. The S&amp;P 500 was down 0.1% and the Nasdaq lost 0.3%. Ralph Lauren's earnings were surprisingly strong, and the stock got a 15% boost. Whole Foods' shares dropped 2.1% on news that its sales growth slowed.</p> <p>Here is what else you need to know:</p> <p>Valeant shares hit new low. The pharmaceutical company's shares dropped 20% Thursday, to its lowest level since 2013. The stock has gone from $263.70 on August 5 to $80 Thursday. The latest drop follows activist investor Bill Ackman's comments that Valeant CEO Michael Pearson may need to leave the firm. Reuters</p> <p>Wells Fargo to pay $81.6 million settlement. The bank must pay thousands of bankrupt homeowners it didn't notify that their mortgage payments were increasing. A 2011 bankruptcy law requires banks to notify homeowners of mortgage payment changes. Wall Street Journal (paywall)</p> <p>Disney shares fall 1% after earnings call. The media company's revenue rose 9.1% to $13.51 billion, but fell just shy of the projected $13.57 billion. ESPN continues to grow, with its revenue rising 12%. ESPN accounts for 43% of the total Disney revenue. Net income for Disney rose to $1.61 billion, or 95 cents a share, from $1.5 billion or 86 cents a share. Reuters</p> <p>Goodbye Redskins? Adidas will offer free design resources and assistance with costs to U.S. high schools that get rid of their Native American mascots. Approximately 2,000 U.S. schools have Native American mascots. In the last two years, 12 schools have dropped the mascots and 20 are considering it. BBC</p> <p>Target to close 13 stores by January 31. The retail chain has 1,799 stores in the U.S., and will offer "eligible" employees the option to transfer to another store. The store closures are mostly across the Midwest. CNN</p> <p>Speaker Paul Ryan wins first big battle. The new House leader was able to pass a multiyear highway and transit bill that will also revive the Export-Import Bank. The bill authorizes $340 billion for highway and transit programs over the next six years. Politico</p> <p>Former Rabobank traders found guilty of fraud. Anthony Allen, former global head of liquidity and finance, was found guilty on 19 counts of conspiracy and wire fraud. Anthony Conti, a former trader, was guilty of nine counts of conspiracy and wire fraud. The trial of the British men by the U.S. is part of a greater look at Libor manipulation.  Reuters</p> <p>U.S. said to believe bomb brought down Russian flight over Sinai. The British government has already cancelled flights from Sharm el-Sheikh, a popular resort where 20,000 Britons are estimated to vacationing. An unnamed source in the U.S. government says "there are strong suspicions" a bomb was on the ill-fated flight. An ISIS group has claimed responsibility, but Western sources don't find the claim credible. New York Post</p> <p>The Bank of England stands pat on interest rates, lowers inflation outlook. Markets weren't expecting the 8-1 vote on rates to be so decisive. WBP Online</p> <p>At Sotheby's $377 million sale is reason to worry. The auction house had expected the first of four primo art lots from the estate of A. Alfred Taubman to fetch at least $500 million. The actual proceeds, with fees, were just $2 million above the low end of estimates. New York Times (paywall)</p> <p>&nbsp;<br /> You won’t believe this:<br /> Is it hot in here, or is it just Canada? New York Magazine is encouraging the imaginations of Americans go wild about the new Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The magazine designed a paper doll PM, complete with a strategically placed maple leaf, and an assortment of outfits. NY Mag</p> <p>Ask for diamonds in your root canal. Not only will your teeth sparkle with some
Jack Nash's home sells for $27M
<p>Hedge funder Jack Nash's Hamptons home has finally sold, seven years after his death.</p> <p>The 1904 Water Mill mansion belonged to the Odyssey Partners co-founder for more than 30 years, until his death in 2008, reports Business Insider. Nash's wife Helen put the house on the market for $38.5 million, but was unable to sell it. The house, which sits on Mecox Bay, sold for a 30% reduction at $27 million.</p> <p>The Nash family compound includes a 8,000-square-foot house with six bedrooms and eight bathrooms. The property includes a heated pool, a tennis court, and a four-bedroom guesthouse.<br /> Photo: Diana Parkhouse<br /> &nbsp;</p>
Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt light up red carpet at WSJ Innovators Award 2015
<p>There was plenty of razzle and dazzle at the WSJ Magazine Innovator Awards at the Museum of Modern Art on Wednesday evening. The clear stars of the evening: Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, dressed in his and hers black. The dinner, described as an intimate sit-down affair, celebrated the work of eight extraordinary people in eight different fields.<br /> Twitter soaked up Brangelina.</p> <p>“I feel that to be innovative is to be willing to stand alone."-Angelina Jolie @YahooStyle<br /> — Kristin T. Studeman (@KristinTice) November 5, 2015</p> <p>Angelina Jolie's Tom Ford dress is pretty uneventful until you see the back #WSJInnovators — Red Carpet Fashion (@Fashion_Critic_) November 5, 2015</p> <p>The other winners didn't look all bad either and included:</p> <p> Angelina Jolie Pitt, Entertainment/Film Innovator<br /> Stewart Butterfield, CEO, Slack, Technology Innovator<br /> Mark Parker, CEO, Nike, Brand Innovator<br /> Miuccia Prada, Prada, Fashion Innovator<br /> Richard Serra, Art Innovator<br /> Karl Ove Knausgaard, Literary Innovator<br /> Stewart Butterfield, Co-founder &amp; CEO, Slack , Technology Innovator<br /> Thomas Heatherwick, Design Innovator</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Photo: JLO8</p>
UK politicians back proposal to link bank pay to hiring women
Members of Parliament are supporting the proposals of Virgin Money CEO Jayne-Anne Gadhia to discourage "laddish" behavior in finance and push more women to executive roles. Gadhia wants bonuses for finance executives be linked to targets for the appointment of women to senior positions, reports the Financial Times. "Research shows that having more women at board level improves the bottom line.
Yellen holds the cards for rate-sensitive ETFs
<p>The Federal Reserve passed on raising interest rates following its October meeting, but Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's comments before Congress earlier Wednesday indicate the Fed chief is mulling a boost to borrowing costs in December.</p> <p>How investors treat rate-sensitive stocks and exchange-traded funds this time around remains to be seen, but conventional wisdom usually dictates that as Treasury yields rise in anticipation of higher interest rates, market participants ditch sectors such as consumer staples, real estate investment trusts (REITs) and utilities.<br /> Recent U.S. Equity ETFs Performances<br /> Last month, U.S. equity ETFs added $10 billion in new assets, nearly triple the $3.7 billion that flowed into international equity funds. However, international stock funds retain their year-to-date advantage over their U.S.-focused rivals by a margin of $23.1 billion to $17.7 billion, according to State Street Global Advisors data.</p> <p>Sector ETFs were once again popular with investors in October, and against the backdrop of low interest rates, market participants piled into rate-sensitive sector funds. For example, utilities ETFs added nearly $210 million in new assets last month, according to State Street data.</p> <p>Read more at Benzinga.<br /> Photo:Marilyn Roxie</p>
Daily Scan: China, up 20% from summer low, back in bull territory; Japan Post ebullience boosts Nikkei
<p>Updated throughout the day</p> <p>November 5 </p> <p>Asian markets were in a generally buoyant mood on Thursday, despite Fed Chair Janet Yellen's more hawkish comments overnight about a possible interest rate hike. China shares closed strongly, with the Shanghai Composite Index  up 1.8% at 3,522.82 and the Shenzhen Composite Index of mid- and small-cap stocks 0.2% higher at  2,093.47 following its 5% surge on Wednesday. Both markets are now in bull territory, having bounced back more than 20% from the summer's lows. Investors were encouraged by Chinese policy makers' proposals at last week's annual Plenum for more competition among state-owned industries as well as hopes of greater cross-straits collaboration ahead of  Saturday' s meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou</p> <p>Here is what else you need to know:</p> <p>China confirms historic meeting with Taiwan leader. President Xi Jinping is set to meet Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou in Singapore this Saturday, Beijing confirmed through its Xinhua news agency. The tete-a-tete would be the first for the  leaders from either side of the Taiwan Strait since 1949. Taiwanese are already planning a protest. SCMP (paywall)</p> <p>Nikkei buoyant after Japan Post IPO. The Nikkei Stock Average  rose 1% to 19,116.41, maintaining Wednesday's momentum that was prompted by Japan Post's successful initial public offering.  Australia’s S&amp;P ASX 200 dropped 0.9%, South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.2%, the Hang Seng was flat.</p> <p>Japan Post, the biggest IPO of the year, rockets 26% on first day of trading. Following its long-awaited and successful stock market debut, Japan Post Bank says it will use its vast pool of deposits to become a more aggressive international investor, outlining plans to push more of its $500 billion investment fund towards global risk assets. The $11.9 billion offering was the biggest since the $25 billion Alibaba IPO in 2014. Financial Times (paywall)/ AlJazeera</p> <p>But Toshiba shares fall after reporting a loss. Its shares fell nearly 9% on Thursday morning after a report indicated the company will issue its first half-year operating loss in six years. Toshiba, whose activities span constructing nuclear power stations to producing consumer goods like televisions, was expected to issue earnings earlier this week but is instead publishing them on Saturday, an unusual move. Financial Times (paywall)</p> <p>Janet Yellen calls a December rate hike a "live possibility." A rate hike decision hasn't been made, and still relies on upcoming data, Yellen cautioned, but she voiced optimism about economic growth. Yellen also told the House Financial Services Committee that capital for the eight biggest U.S. banks has almost doubled to about $500 billion. They still need to work on compliance and risk-management. New York Fed President William Dudley says he would "completely agree" with Yellen's comments about December. CNBC, Reuters</p> <p>Two-year note yields back up after Yellen's remarks. The note is viewed as a proxy for Federal Reserve policy and the fed funds rate. The yield on the notes have been backing up since October 28 when the Fed released its notes on its meeting, hinting at a pre-Christmas tightening. The yield climbed to 0.816%, the highest since April 2011. Wall Street Journal (paywall)</p> <p>Factory collapse kills 18 in Pakistan. Up to 150 people were trapped and at least 18 were killed Wednesday when a shopping bag manufacturing factory collapsed in Lahore, Pakistan. Only 40 injured people have been recovered so far. Reuters</p> <p>Facebook earnings wow. Facebook reported earnings of 57 cents per share on $4.5 billion in revenue for the third quarter. Analysts expected Facebook to post 52 cents per share on $4.37 billion in revenue. Daily active users of the social media platform have crossed the 1 billion mark for the first time. Monthly active users are up to 1.55 billion, a 14% rise from last year. CNBC</p> <p>Russian airplane crash looks like an explosion. No one knows if  the accident was caused by
Nevermind the insider trading, Xiang, what's with that awful jacket?
<p>&nbsp;</p> <p>When Chinese hedge fund guru Xu Xiang had his collar felt by the authorities last Sunday, China's internet users lost their minds. But it wasn't so much his alleged insider trading that had them irked as his shoddy dress sense.</p> <p>According to the South China Morning Post, the offending clothing item in question was an ill-fitting Armani jacket. Xiang was snapped wearing the lab coat-like blazer when he was arrested.</p> <p>Not only did ther 37-year old -- who manages 10 billion yuan worth of assets -- come in for a ribbing over his wrinkled attire, but he was also upbraided for his naff haircut. </p> <p>Chinese bloggers have jokingly asked how a dentist came to be arrested for stock market manipulation, or whether Xiang was really being arrested for crimes against fashion.</p> <p>If you think you can rock the Georgio Armani jacket better than our sartorially challenged Xiang, it reportedly retails at about $4,000. </p> <p>Photo: Upupa4me</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>
ING mulls China online banking venture
<p>Dutch financial services giant ING says it's looking into the prospect of launching a joint online banking venture in China with its long-term local partner Bank of Beijing.</p> <p>Reuters reports that ING CEO Ralph Hamers let slip the plans during an earnings call on Wednesday. The two institutions reportedly signed an MOU last week and are now researching the feasibility of the venture. </p> <p>This is not the first time ING has dabbled in fintech ventures, after all it was an early backer of PayPal, but like many of its banking peers the Dutch lender has been pushing extra hard on the fintech front in recent months. </p> <p>ING launched its first fintech accelerator in Belgium in July and just chipped in for a $135 million Series E round of funding for U.S. fintech startup Kabbage last month. If this latest venture comes to fruition, however, it will be will be ING’s first notable fintech play into Asia.<br /> Photo: ING Nederland<br /> &nbsp;</p>
China hedge fund scandal claims its first victim
Hedge Funds
<p>The arrest of “China’s Warren Buffet”, AKA hedge fund guru Xu Xiang, has battered both his reputation and his investments. One of biggest losers this week was consumer goods company China Seven Star which saw its share price plummet following Xiang’s arrest for insider trading on Sunday.</p> <p>Barron’s Asia reports the the company saw its share price slump by nearly 40% on Tuesday morning, from 1.29 Hong Kong dollars on Friday,  to 0.75 following a trading halt on Monday. The stock, which rallied 369% this year until Friday, has since a recovered to 0.98.</p> <p>Xiang is the company’s second largest stakeholder with a 9.7% share. China Seven Star said in a filing it tried to contact Xu unsuccessfully.</p> <p>According to South China Morning Post, Xiang, was widely believed to be safe after being interrogated earlier this year. His firm, Zexi Investment, saw its hedge funds record at least 140% growth in net asset value for 2015. Zhou Ling, a hedge fund manager at Shanghai Shiva Investment, told the paper.<br /> "He was viewed as the best of the best before the investigation into him was announced. His detention shows there is no God in this market at all.”<br /> Photo: Phillip Taylor</p>