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People Moves: Wells Fargo names new EMEA president
<p>Wells Fargo names new EMEA president. Frank Pizzo will serve as the new regional president for the EMEA region, replacing Jim Johnston. Johnston is returning to the U.S. at the end of the year. Pizzo will be based in London. He currently works as head of loan syndications and high yield debt capital markets. PE Hub<br /> Photo: ©iStock.com/ooyoo<br /> &nbsp;</p>
More volatility on U.S. horizon has sights turning to Asia
<p>Weekly Commentary Overview</p> <p> After weeks of struggling, global equities stabilized last week. Both stocks and bonds are benefiting from relative stability in overseas markets as well as some easing of China fears.<br /> While investors caught a bit of a breather last week, volatility remains elevated.<br /> We expect this pattern to continue given the persistence of several factors: a shift in the credit environment, a pending interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve (Fed) and expensive stock valuations.<br /> And although the bumpy ride is expected to continue, creating challenges for investors, we also see opportunities.</p> <p>Stocks Steady Down, for the Moment<br /> After weeks of struggling, global equities stabilized last week. In the U.S., the S&amp;P 500 Index rose 2.08% to 1,961, the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 2.05% to 16,433, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index advanced an even stronger 2.97% to end the week at 4,822. Meanwhile, the yield on the 10-year Treasury rose from 2.13% to 2.19%, as its price correspondingly fell.</p> <p>While investors caught a bit of a breather last week, volatility remains elevated. And although the bumpy ride is expected to continue, creating challenges for investors, we also see opportunities. In particular, Asian equities, both in Japan and emerging markets (EMs), look attractive right now relative to other regions.<br /> U.S. Stocks Still Pricey<br /> For the most part, stock and credit markets advanced last week. Encouragingly, the rally in stocks was led by more cyclically sensitive sectors, such as transportation, banks and semiconductors. Credit markets also stabilized, with the spread between the yields of high yield bonds and 10-year U.S. Treasuries now roughly 50 basis points (0.50%) tighter than just a few weeks ago, implying more investor appetite for risk.</p> <p>Both stocks and bonds are benefiting from relative stability in overseas markets as well as some easing of China fears. Still, volatility remains elevated. Looking at realized returns over the past month, annualized volatility on the S&amp;P 500 Index is above 30%, triple the level from early August. We expect this pattern to continue given the persistence of several factors: a shift in the credit environment, a pending interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve (Fed) and expensive stock valuations.</p> <p>On the latter, while large-cap U.S. equity multiples are now 7% below their February peak, valuations remain above the long-term average. This is problematic given the pending shift in U.S. monetary policy. Quantitative easing is gone, and while this week’s Fed decision remains a coin flip (will the Fed raise rates or not?), there is no question that U.S. monetary policy is at an inflection point.</p> <p>Even if the Fed demurs until later in the year, short-term rates are climbing. Last week, two-year Treasury yields traded to just below 0.75%, a high for the year. Without the tailwind of easier money, U.S. equities will need to get by on earnings growth, of which there hasn’t been much of late, rather than monetary policy-induced multiple expansion.</p> <p>The outlook for U.S. stocks may be muted, but we do see opportunities in other parts of the world, particularly in Asia.</p>
Daily Scan: Asian stocks mixed, bonds rally as Fed stands pat on interest rates
<p>Updated throughout the day</p> <p>September 18</p> <p>Good evening everyone. Well its seems that instead of quelling uncertainty over the global economy, the Federal Reserve decision to stand pat on interest rates was more confusing than calming. Asian stock markets went 'huh?' and bond markets rallied. The Shanghai and Hong Kong indices rose a modest 0.38% and 0.30%, respectively. Markets in Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, and Tokyo were all down. This is how the major Asian markets looked at the close of play:</p> <p> Jakarta Comp: -0.32%<br /> KLSE Comp: -1.01%<br /> Nikkei 225: -1.96%<br /> Straits Times: +0.29%<br /> Seoul Comp:+0.98%</p> <p>The Financial Times noted core sovereign bonds benefited from anxiety at the Fed that global economies might be struggling to grow. Industrial commodities struggled for traction. The FTSEurofirst 300 index is off 0.7%, while US index futures indicate the S&amp;P 500 will dip when the starting bell ring in New York. </p> <p> Here’s what else you need to know:</p> <p>Danke, Janet. With Yellen &amp; Co. keeping rates unched, European bond yields are starting to drop like flies. German 10-year bund yields have fallen 0.09% to 0.688%, while Portuguese and Italian 10-year bond yields slide to 2.532% and 1.793% respectively. Grazie mille, Signora Yellen! Financial Times (paywall)</p> <p>1MDB “misplaces” another $1 billion. As if it wasn’t bad enough that $700 million of its cash went into the prime minister’s accounts and that $1.4 billion due to a Middle Eastern counterparty vanished into thin air, Malaysia’s state fund 1MDB is now in the hot seat after a reported $993 million payment it made to the International Petroleum Investment Co. – Abu Dhabi’s sovereign fund – somehow never reached the emirate. Wall Street Journal</p> <p>Hungary begins fencing off its borders. In an effort to stem the tide of migrants, Hungary has begun erecting a fence along its border with Croatia as well as with Serbia. Prime Minister Viktor Orban called it a move that will prove “to the people, ourselves and the whole world that even as a flood [of migrants] is heading toward Europe, this tide can be curbed, channeled in an organized way, and checked for [security] risks if everyone did their job.” Wall Street Journal</p> <p>China relaxes rules for trafficked kids. China has relaxed rules for the legal adoption of trafficked or abandoned Chinese children, state media reported on Friday, as the government works to combat the pervasive problem of child trafficking. Channel News Asia</p> <p>Smog smothered Indonesia rejects Singapore’s help. Indonesia has again declined Singapore's offer of help in fighting haze-causing fires, with Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar saying Indonesia is trying to handle the situation on its own. </p>
Daily Scan: Rates stay steady, markets dip
<p>September 17</p> <p>Good evening.</p> <p>The decision is out: the Federal Reserve will not be raising interest rates yet, but Chairwoman Janet Yellen promises that a 2015 rate rise is still the goal. Stocks were up slightly midday, but dipped after the Fed announcement. The Dow closed with a 0.4% loss. The S&amp;P 500 fell 0.3%, but the Nasdaq posted a 0.1% gain. Oil fell slightly, dropping just below $47/barrel.</p> <p>Here's what else you need to know:</p> <p>Ron Perelman quits Carnegie Hall board. The financier announced his resignation, effective next month, following ongoing battles with Carnegie Hall leaders. Perelman says the hall lacks transparency in operations, and the process of approving third-party transactions is lacking. Wall Street Journal</p> <p>FIFA exec suspended. Jerome Valcke, the second highest ranking FIFA official, is on leave while under investigation for corruption. Valcke may be tied to the black-market sale of World Cup tickets. New York Times (paywall)</p> <p>Florida woman arrested for weapons warehouse. Nikole Dykema reportedly had at least 3,714 bladed weapons, including machetes and hatches, in a house. The 47-year-old woman also booby trapped the home and yard. It's not clear why Dykema had the weapons, but she was arrested for a parole violation. CNN</p> <p>The military in Burkina Faso has staged a coup. Just days before the general elections, the military has seized the President and Prime Minister and declared military rule. An official called out the leaders of the West African nation as a "deviant transitional regime." Ex-general and former presidential advisor Gilbert Diendere has been declared the new leader. CNN</p> <p>Housing starts edge lower in August; stocks edge higher. Starts fell to 1.126 million, 3% below the July level which were revised downward along with June. Housing is recovering, but is still well below the norm. Stocks climbed after the report -- could there be some traders hoping the disappointing numbers will thwart a rate hike?</p> <p>Carly Fiorina shines in raucus Republican debate. The former Hewlett-Packard CEO appeared to rattle the usually unflappable Donald Trump, the frontrunner. The other nine Republican challengers chipped away at Trump, chastising him for his personal insults and questioning his ability to stand on the world stage. CNBC</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Japan upper house OKs defence bills amid chaos. A panel in Japan's upper house on Thursday approved legislation for a security policy shift that would allow troops to fight abroad for the first time since World War Two, a ruling party lawmaker said. Opposition lawmakers tried to physically prevent the vote in a chaotic scene carried live on national television. The legislation has sparked huge protests from ordinary voters. Channel News Asia</p> <p>Chile coast rocked by 8.3 magnitude quake. At least five people were killed and 1 million </p>
Daily Scan: Military coup takes Burkina Faso; Fed decision looming
<p>September 17</p> <p>Good afternoon. It's D-Day in Washington, D.C. The voting members of the Federal Reserve's policy-making committee will announce whether they will stand pat on interest rates or raise them. For the past week, virtually every move in the market has been ascribed to traders waiting for this moment. There's plenty of data to support a hike as well as data to support continued allegiance to Zirp -- zero interest rate policy. What's your thought? Is the U.S. economy robust enough to handle a 25 basis point rate hike? Job formation is solid but consumer prices fell in August. FedEx had surprisingly weak earnings and China has a cold that is infecting the economy globally. What say you? Policy announcement lands at 2 p.m. ET; presser with Fed Chair Janet Yellen at 2:30 p.m. ET. In the mean time, stocks are tentatively looking up. Ish. The Dow gained 0.14% Thursday morning, the Nasdaq was up 0.37%, and the S&amp;P 500 climbed 0.21%.</p> <p>Here's what else you need to know:</p> <p>The military in Burkina Faso has staged a coup. Just days before the general elections, the military has seized the President and Prime Minister and declared military rule. An official called out the leaders of the West African nation as a "deviant transitional regime." Ex-general and former presidential advisor Gilbert Diendere has been declared the new leader. CNN</p> <p>Housing starts edge lower in August; stocks edge higher. Starts fell to 1.126 million, 3% below the July level which were revised downward along with June. Housing is recovering, but is still well below the norm. Stocks climbed after the report -- could there be some traders hoping the disappointing numbers will thwart a rate hike?</p> <p>Carly Fiorina shines in raucus Republican debate. The former Hewlett-Packard CEO appeared to rattle the usually unflappable Donald Trump, the frontrunner. The other nine Republican challengers chipped away at Trump, chastising him for his personal insults and questioning his ability to stand on the world stage. CNBC</p> <p>Altice to buy Cablevision in $17.7 billion deal. The European telecoms group has been growing rapidly through acquisition, led by Patrick Dahi, the French-Israeli billionaire. Drahi has been negotiating with the fourth largest cable operator to expand Altice's presence in the U.S. Reuters</p> <p>Swiss central bank leaves rates at -0.75%. The economy is still struggling and the Swiss franc remains stubbornly strong vs the Euro -- even though the central bank removed the trading cap on the currency earlier in the year.</p> <p>Don't even bother showing up in the morning.  The mainland markets in China wiped out most gains in the last hour of trading.  The Shanghai Composite slid 2.1% following its best trading session in weeks. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index retraced gains, ending the day 0.53% lower. The Nikkei 225 bucked the trend rising 1.43% despite</p> <p>Japan upper house OKs defence bills amid chaos. A panel in Japan's upper house on Thursday approved legislation for a security policy shift that would allow troops to fight abroad for the first time since World War Two, a ruling party lawmaker said. Opposition lawmakers tried to physically prevent the vote in a chaotic scene carried live on national television. The legislation has sparked huge protests from ordinary voters. </p>
Oppenheimer analysts met with GoPro management; here's what happened
<p> Shares of GoPro Inc (NASDAQ: GPRO) touched new all-time lows of $31.32 last week.</p> <p> Andrew Uerkwitz of Oppenheimer met with GoPro's management team and the overall tone was "upbeat."<br /> Uerkwitz maintained a Perform rating (no assigned price target) due to his "more conservative" view of the segment.</p> <p>Andrew Uerkwitz of Oppenheimer recently met with GoPro's Chief Financial Officer Jack Lazar and VP of Corporate Development Colin Born.</p> <p>According to Uerkwitz, the overall tone of the meeting was "upbeat," as management was "positive" on GoPro's market position and opportunity. Specifically, the Hero4 Session is expected to be the company's "most prominent" piece of new hardware for 2014 given its ...</p> <p>Read the full story available on Benzinga.com.</p> <p> Photo: Keegan Slattery<br /> &nbsp;</p>
Daily Scan: Chinese equities return to earth; Japan holds gains
<p>Updated throughout the day</p> <p>September 17</p> <p>Good evening everyone. After heading for the stratosphere throughout the day, mainland shares began experiencing problems in the last hour trading and eventually wiped out all its gains. The SHCOMP finished the day down 2.1% while the SZCOMP ended the session down 1.48%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index unfortunately fell victim to the selloff as well, though the H-shares Index – surprisingly – managed to hold on to its gains:</p> <p> Hang Seng Index: -0.53%<br /> H-shares Index: +0.65%<br /> Nikkei 225: +1.43%<br /> Topix: +1.31%</p> <p>Over in Europe, stock indices are beginning to dip lower with T-minus nine hours remaining until the Fed decision. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 is down 0.2%, Germany’s DAX slipped 0.1%, while France’s CAC dipped 0.2%. Here’s what else you need to know:</p> <p>Japan upper house OKs defence bills amid chaos. A panel in Japan's upper house on Thursday approved legislation for a security policy shift that would allow troops to fight abroad for the first time since World War Two, a ruling party lawmaker said.Opposition lawmakers tried to physically prevent the vote in a chaotic scene carried live on national television. The legislation has sparked huge protests from ordinary voters. Channel News Asia</p> <p>Another “coup”in Burkina Faso. Presidential guard officers in Burkina Faso have announced the dissolution of the transitional government. A new "national democratic council" has taken control, an officer said on state television. Interim parliament speaker Cheriff Sy said the move was "clearly a coup". BBC</p> <p>Singapore’s non-oil exports tumble 8.4% year-on-year. The decline in NODX (non-oil domestic exports) is due to a contraction in the export of both electronic and non-electronic products.  Electronic and non-electronic domestic exports fell 2.7% and 10.6% in August, respectively. Channel News Asia</p> <p>Chile coast rocked by 8.3 magnitude quake. At least five people were killed and 1 million evacuated from affected areas, when a powerful 8.3-magnitude earthquake struck Chile Wednesday. CNN</p> <p>Desperate migrants clash with police in Hungary. Hungarian riot police responded to one of the worst bursts of violence that this tense refugee summer has seen. Agitated migrants at the border crossing were pelted with water cannons, head-cracking batons and both tear gas and pepper spray. New York Times (paywall)</p> <p>Japan debates its pacifist policy - with a round of fisticuffs. Scuffles broke out in Japan's upper house today ahead of a vote on a controversial move by the government to expand the role of the armed forces. The bills would amend Japan's pacifist constitution to allow it to defend its allies overseas even when it is not under attack. BBC</p> <p>U.S. CPI falls for first time since January. In a massive stumbling block for Yellen et cie, America’s consumer price index contracted 0.1% in August while on a year on year basis, August CPI climbed just 0.2%, essentially unched from July. </p>
Daily Scan: Stocks rally before Fed announcement
<p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Updated throughout the day</p> <p>September 16</p> <p>Good evening,</p> <p>The Federal Reserve began its two-day policy meeting on interest rates Wednesday. Everyone is wondering whether the Fed will raise interest rates for the first time in nine years. Over at Quartz, Matt Phillips asks a more basic question: Does the central bank have the firepower to make it happen? The world of finance has changed dramatically since the 2008 crisis -- in part because of Fed moves. Many of its traditional tools are no longer likely pack the same wallop. What's a central bank to do? U.S. stock futures were muted ahead of the rate decision, to be announced Thursday. Stocks rose Wednesday, riding off gains from energy. The Dow was up 0.8%, the Nasdaq gained 0.6%, and the S&amp;P 500 rose 0.9%. Oil jumped more than 5%, closing above $47/barrel. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Here is what else you need to know:</p> <p>Texas teen arrested for making a clock. Ahmed Mohamed, a 14-year-old high school student, found himself in handcuffs after bringing a digital clock that he'd made from a pencil case to school. The school and local police accused him of creating a hoax bomb. The police say Mohamed should have told them more than the fact that the item in question was just a clock. On the upside, the attention from the arrest got Mohamed an invitation to the White House from President Obama. CNN</p> <p>GM close to settlement with Justice Department over faulty ignition switch. The Justice Department is expected announce a criminal settlement with General Motors this week that will likely force GM to pay millions in fines. GM is in trouble for failing to recall millions of cars with a defective ignition and then covering it up. Wall Street Journal</p> <p>GOP debate, part deux. Carla Fiorina joins 10 male candidates who will hash out the key issue of the day: How in the world did Donald Trump become the No. 1 Republican candidate? Tune in at 8 p.m. ET</p> <p>FedEx earnings disappoint as freight demand drops. The global carrier got hit by a slowdown in trade. FedEx lowered the outlook for the year, to $10.40 to $10.90/share for the year ending next May, down from previous guidance of $10.60 to $11.10/share. Also hurting profits: Higher costs on its relatively new ground delivery business. MarketWatch</p> <p>Gold surges as consumer price index weakens. The metal is on pace for its biggest one-day gain in a month, up 1.5%. The consumer price index in August fell 0.1%, well short of the Fed's target of annualized inflation of 2%. The news good convince the FOMC members who are meeting Wednesday and Thursday to think twice before raising interest rates. MarketWatch</p> <p>No pay raises for middle income earners in 2014. The median household income was a smidgeon higher at$53,657 from 2013 when the number stood at $54,462, the U.S. Census Bureau reported. The number of Americans living at the poverty level was also unchanged at 14.8% at 46.7 million vs 46.3 million a yea</p>
Apple looks to new markets for customers -- but does it fit?
<p>The launch of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL)'s latest array of products has raised many questions about whether or not The Fruit has bitten off more than it can chew. Its souped-up iPad Pro has been designed to fill the needs of businesses while new versions of the Apple Watch are expected to tap in to the luxury market.</p> <p>As Apple has always had mass appeal to the general public, some are questioning whether the firm can reach into these new spaces and still retain its primary customer base.<br /> Luxury Watch<br /> Apple's watches have been accepted enthusiastically as an improvement over previous wearable technology. However, some expect that its $1,500 luxury ...</p> <p>Read more at Benzinga.<br /> Photo: Niall Kennedy</p>
For Wynn, seeing $258m stolen from its Macau casino is not the worst of it
<p>Lady luck is not smiling on gaming giant Wynn Resorts. Last week it was uncovered that a reported $258 million was stolen from its Macau casino in what looks like an inside job. But this is not the worst part.</p> <p>For a start, the money was not actually stolen from Wynn. The victim was a junket operating inside  the casino, Dore Group, which is said to have been ripped off by its own employees. In Macau junkets operate as third parties, bringing in cash for high rollers to use as leverage for their bets. Dore makes up a quarter of Wynn’s junket volume.</p> <p>The details as to how much money was actually stolen are also murky, as this Barron’s report explains. The trust system that operates in the junket financial system means that the money was never actually on Dore’s books therefore does not represent a loss of liquidity. Gaming research firm Union Gaming meanwhile reports that police figure of $258 million could be overstated due to a misunderstanding over currency conversion.</p> <p>But that doesn’t mean US-listed Wynn is not feeling the pain. The theft has triggered a massive 10% drop Wynn’s stock over the past week. That’s roughly $700 million wiped from its market value - a lot more than was pilfered from its partner's vaults.  </p> <p>This is not the worst seen in the Las Vegas of the East. According to Business Insider, a $1.3 billion heist from the junket Kimren in April 2014 - which analysts call Macau's "Lehman Moment." - dealt the biggest blow to Macau’s high roller market. </p> <p>But even without Asia’s Ocean Eleven smuggling out cash out of Wynn’s  front door, thing have been pretty lousy for Macau’s casino trade as a whole. Government figures show that revenues each month have been down 30% to 50% year-over-year. This is not just down to China's general economic slowdown, but also President Xi Jinping's anticorruption drive. China’s high rollers, it seems, just can’t stomach the risk anymore.</p> <p>Photo: Derek Tam</p>