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Daily Scan: Stocks fall Friday but post big monthly gains
Capital Markets
<p>Updated throughout the day</p> <p>October 30</p> <p>Global bourses turned in their best monthly performance in more than six years as dreams of stimulus propelled prices higher. The major U.S. indexes fell slightly Friday, but that didn't hurt the month's overall performance. The Dow had its biggest monthly gain in four years with a 8.5% jump. Friday, the Dow was down 0.5%, the Nasdaq dropped 0.4%, and the S&amp;P 500 lost 0.5% for the day. The Shanghai Composite rocketed nearly 11% while the Hang Seng gained 8.6%; the Nikkei jumped 9.75%. The STOXX Europe 600 is on track to tack on 7.7%. Note: daylight savings time ends Sunday morning in the wee hours -- set your clocks back one hour on Nov 1 at 2 a.m. That means more light in the morning for all those runners joining the New York City marathon. The World Series continues this weekend, with the Mets taking on the Royals Friday evening for Game 3. The Royals have won the past two games, so the Mets better win Friday if they want to keep playing into November. Game 4 is scheduled for Saturday evening. Happy Halloween everyone!</p> <p>Here's what else you need to know:</p> <p>GOP lashes out at CNBC, cuts cords. The Republican National Committee has suspended its partnership with NBC News before their scheduled February debate. RNC Chairman Reince Priebus wrote a letter to NBC News Chairman Andrew Lack saying that their relationship was on hold "pending further discussion." The GOP isn't happy with CNBC with the news network's handling of Wednesday's debate. The candidates accused CNBC of bating them with questions that encouraged infighting. Washington Post</p> <p>U.S. retailers want chip and PIN cards. Some big retailers, including Wal-Mart and Target, are increasing efforts to have customers use PINs with new chip-embedded credit cards, but credit card partners aren't thrilled. U.S. banks aren't prepared for the change and say they can't handle the PINs for credit cards. Banks prefer the old school signature approach for identity confirmation. Reuters</p> <p>Four U.N. staff fired for child porn. The staff shared child pornography on work email accounts. Another staff member was fired for transporting 173 kg of marijuana in an official U.N. vehicle. Legal punishment for the cases are left up to authorities in the staff member's home country. BBC</p> <p>Exxon beats earnings expectations. Exxon Mobil posted a profit of $4.24 billion, or $1.01 per share, compared to expectations of 89 cents a share. Profit did fall a whole 47% as the price of oil continues to stay below $50/barrel. CNBC</p> <p>U.S. to send special forces to Syria. The troops will support the anti-government rebels in fighting ISIS. Less than 50 forces will be deployed, but it will be the first time U.S. troops are openly working on the ground in Syria. BBC</p> <p>Valeant severs ties with Philidor; two board members resign. In a stunning turnaround, Valeant distanced itself from the mail-order pharmacy, which wil</p>
People Moves: BlackRock hedge fund manager steps down; Highland Capital hires new director
Hedge Funds
<p>BlackRock hedge fund lead steps down. Tim Webb has resigned from his posts as managing director and CIO of the BlackRock model-based fixed income group, as well as the management of the Fixed Income GlobalAlpha Fund, BlackRock's biggest hedge fund. Webb will now focus on the international fixed income business with Rick Rieder and Kevin Holt. Tom Parker will act as CIO for GlobalAlpha and the model-based unit. Opalesque </p> <p>Highland Capital Management hires new managing director. Jeff Seaver has joined the firm from Loomis Sayles where he worked as co-head of the London office. At the Dallas-based Highland, Seaver will focus on institutional investor relationships, specifically with U.S. pensions and insurance companies.<br /> Photo: ©iStock.com/ooyoo<br /> &nbsp;</p>
People Moves: Ex-Pimco equities head launches new firm; NYLife hires retail distribution lead
Asset Management
<p>Ex-Pimco equities head launches business. Virginie Maisonnueve has launched Maisonnueve Global Advisors in London to advise investment teams about global trends, business leadership, and digital innovation. Maisonneuve had a brief stint as head of Pimco's equities before leaving in June when Pimco closed its active equities funds. Maisonneuve previously worked at Schroders as head of global equities. Financial News</p> <p>New York Life hires retail distribution lead. Brian Jacobs has joined New York Life's MainStay Investments as head of U.S. retail distribution. Jacobs comes to the firm from Direxion Investments, a private ETF sponsor.</p> <p>Northern Trust names EMEA director. Northern Trust Asset Management has promoted Hazel McNeilage to managing director for Europe, Middle East, and Africa. Previous EMEA lead John Krieg returned to the U.S. in 2014 to become global head of institutional distribution. Pensions &amp; Investments </p> <p>Commonfund names ex-CalPERS exec CIO. Mark Anson has been hired as CIO for Commonfund, effective in January. Anson currently works for the Robert Bass family office. He worked at CalPERS until 2005 when he left to become CIO of Hermes Pension Management. Anson became President of Nuveen Investments in 2007, and moved to the Bass family office in 2013. FinAlternatives<br /> Photo: ©iStock.com/ooyoo<br /> &nbsp;</p>
Sting's art collection is on the block
Lifestyle, 4:01
<p>More than 200 items from Sting's art collection will be up for auction.</p> <p>The British rock star's collection, compiled over 20 years, will be auctioned by Christie's in London February 24, 2016, Artnet News reports. The pieces range from famous paintings and prints to photography and design furniture from the 20th century.</p> <p>Headlining is Ben Nicholson's "March 55," a 1955 piece estimated to go for $459,891-$763,185. "Jazz" by Henri Matisse will also be sold, with an estimated worth between $381,592 and $534,229. No contemporary art sale would be complete without a Picasso. "Le Corsage a Carreaux," a 1949 lithograph, is estimated to go for between $45,791 and $76,318. Other artists in the collection include Georges Braque, Rene Magritte, Gustav Klimt, and Keith Haring.</p> <p>Sting's sale comes after he and his wife sold their Queen Anne's Gate home in Central London for $28 million to downsize to a smaller apartment.<br /> Photo: Alberto Cabello</p>
Icahn lobbies for new law to stop Pfizer corporate inversion
Capital Markets
<p>A lot of eyebrows were raised when the news came out Wednesday that Pfizer had approached Allergan regarding the possibility of a merger. Allergan is based in Ireland, so there can be no doubt what Pfizer’s real intentions are in showing up on the scene as an uninvited suitor.</p> <p>Pfizer execs have long seen the handwriting on the wall for regarding the “patent cliff” they face and the closing window for corporate inversions and all the attendant tax benefits, so they apparently decided to try and solve all their problems in one fell swoop. Snapping up rapidly growing Allergan can fix all their problems, and save them a bundle in taxes, so they decided to strike while the iron was hot.</p> <p>Unfortunately for Pfizer, American patriot and hedge fund billionaire Carl Icahn heard about this nefarious scheme, and has written a letter to the U.S. Congress telling legislators  to pass a new law to stop this corporate inversion nonsense pronto.<br /> Excerpt from Carl Icahn’s letter to Congress<br /> In his letter, Icahn explains his problem with a Pfizer – Allergan merger: “Allergan is domiciled in Ireland, and if consummated, this will be the largest corporate inversion to date, and as a result our country will lose Pfizer, its tenth largest company. The imminent planned exodus of many of our best companies is extremely dangerous, especially in our fragile economy, as it will cause the loss of thousands of jobs, as well as hundreds of billions of dollars of future tax revenue and investment in the United States.”<br /> Icahn goes on to suggest that Congress should add an amendment to the currently-under-consideration Highway Bill to ban these kind of purely profit-motivated and unAmerican corporate inversion deals.<br /> He writes: “The Highway Bill presents an immediately available opportunity to pass international tax reform that will stop inversions. In the conversations I had with many of you, there was universal agreement on this fact as well. But our window of opportunity is shrinking. The most recent short-term extension to the Highway Bill gives us only until November 20th to pass a long-term Highway Bill that includes the international tax reform necessary to stop further inversions. If a version of the Highway Bill passes without including this necessary tax reform, I fear we will lose many more iconic companies, such as Pfizer, in the months to come.”</p> <p>Allergan has a market cap of around $115 billion. That means that a merger with Pfizer would be valued at well over $300 billion, the biggest takeover so far in a year that is on pace to set records for mergers and acquisitions activity.</p> <p>This article was originally published by ValueWalk. <br /> Photo: Rich Mitchell </p>
Credit downgrade would follow Brexit
Capital Markets
<p>Britain’s credit rating could be slashed by two notches if it leaves the European Union (EU), Standard &amp; Poor’s told Reuters on Thursday. </p> <p>Moritz Kraemer, the agency’s chief sovereign rating officer, said Britain would lose AAA rating with a one-notch downgrade if it voted to leave the bloc, and maybe double that if relations between Britain and Brussels soured or Scotland seceded. </p> <p>“Should we conclude that departure from the EU is likely over the medium term, we could lower the rating by potentially more than one notch, depending on the circumstances, such as the expected future relations with the EU,” he said. </p> <p>His comments come as the UK heads towards a referendum on its membership of the union, due to take place no later than 2017. </p> <p>The pressure is certainly mounting against the Brexit campaigners. </p> <p>A week ago, America’s top trade official pointed out that his country doesn’t have a free trade agreement with the UK so it would be subject to the same tariffs as China, or Brazil or India if it quit the EU. Splendid isolation, sure -- but also poor and friendless.<br /> Photo: Andrew Stawarz<br /> &nbsp;</p>
Biosensors receives takeover proposal from CITIC PE
Asset Management
<p>After jilting Biosensors at the takeover altar, CITIC Private Equity is back to make amends, and then some.</p> <p>In a recent filing with the Singapore Exchange, Biosensors’ board of directors said they have received a takeover offer from CITIC Private Equity for an undisclosed amount, adding that “discussions are on-going,” and that “there is no certainty or assurance that these discussions will result in any transaction.”</p> <p>You can understand why they’re a little skeptical about it. Biosensors, a Singapore-listed, China-based medical device manufacturer, was originally propositioned by CITIC PE back in 2014, but according to another filing on the SGX, the private equity firm called off its plans and just wanted to be friends instead:<br /> “[T]he Board wishes to announce that CITIC Private Equity Funds Management Co., Ltd. (“CITIC PE”) has informed the Company that it has decided not to proceed with any take-over transactions involving the shares in the Company at this point of time. CITIC PE remains committed to cooperating with the Company and its management with a view to ensuring the Company’s continued success and to enhancing the value of CITIC PE’s investment.”<br /> Biosensors has called for a trading halt on its shares. We wish them all the best.<br /> Photo: Christina Alexanderson</p>
Record registrations for Citi Asia Pacific mobile challenge
FinTech
<p>More than 70 teams have been chosen from 1900 registrations across 376 cities for the Asia Pacific Citi Mobile Challenge (CMC). </p> <p>Participants will show working prototypes for mobile apps and interconnected devices, ranging across every area of banking and FinTech including mobile payments, investment banking, wealth management, B2B services, financial inclusion and financial literacy, authentication and savings and personal financial management.</p> <p>They will be evaluated by a group of Citi executives and technology influencers with the potential to making them marketable.</p> <p>“The Citi Mobile Challenge is fostering the development of the next generation of FinTech solutions. This region is home to a fast growing FinTech community and this strong support for the Asia leg of the challenge will help accelerate and uncover new and exciting opportunities,” said Francisco Aristeguieta, Citi’s Asia Pacific CEO, in a statement.</p> <p>CMC Asia Pacific is a next-generation accelerator that combines a virtual hackathon with an incubator and a worldwide network of FinTech experts and developers who will compete to build tech systems that are capable of running on Citi’s digital platform. </p> <p>The registration number sets a record for the CMC with demo days to be held November 3 in Bengaluru, November 6 in Singapore, November 10 in Sydney and November 12 in Hong Kong.<br /> Photo: Tao Tsai<br /> &nbsp;</p>
People Moves: AXA appoints senior fund manager; HSBC Global AM names new Singapore CEO
Asset Management
<p>&nbsp;</p> <p>HSBC Global AM names new Singapore CEO. Puneet Chaddha, a 20-year HSBC veteran, has been named CEO of HSBC Global Asset Management Singapore. Pedro Bastos, Asia-Pacific CEO of HSBC Global AM, had this to say regarding Chaddha’s appointment:<br /> “Puneet has been with the HSBC Group for over two decades and has worked in several of our global businesses. He has successfully transformed the business in India in line with HSBC’s commercial and governance strategy. We are determined to expand our presence in Asia-Pacific and capitalise on our leading expertise and capabilities as a global asset manager to provide innovative products and bespoke solutions to meet our clients’ long-term investment goals.”<br /> Chaddha has held several key roles within HSBC, and prior to his current appointment, was CEO of HSBC Asset Management India. He will report to Pedro Bastos, Asia-Pacific CEO of HSBC Global AM, and to Matthew Colebrook, HSBC’s head of retail banking and wealth management in Singapore. Asia Asset Management</p> <p>AXA appoints senior equity fund manager. Simon Weston, an old hand in the Asia-Pacific investment arena, has been appointed senior equity fund manager by AXA Investment Managers. Mark Tinker, head of Framlington equities Asia, had this comment regarding Weston’s hiring:<br /> “With tremendous experience and a strong performance track record, we are excited to have Simon join us and are certain that he will bolster AXA IM’s positive momentum in the Asia Pacific.”<br /> Weston was previously with Semeru CLSA Capital Partners in Singapore, where he was managing director and portfolio manager of the firm’s Semeru Asian Equity High Yield fund. Prior to that, he worked at Old Mutual Asset Managers, Perpetual Investment Management, and Hill Samuel Asset Management. He will be based in Hong Kong and will report to Mark Tinker. Citywire Global</p> <p>M&amp;G Investments strengthens Asia team. M&amp;G Investments, in part of an initiative meant to bolster its Asia-Pacific intermediary team, has appointed Anthony Yeung as associate director and Sophia Shi as relationship manager.</p> <p>Yeung, who apparently holds more than 15 years’ experience in business development, client management and operations, will be joining the British firm from GAM, where he handled fund distribution sales as well as client management. Shi meanwhile joins M&amp;G from BNY Mellon, where she focused on private banks in Singapore and Malaysia. They will both report to Ben Cherrington, Director of Intermediary Channels, Asia Pacific. M&amp;G Investments (pdf)</p> <p>Robeco Asia CEO resigns. Tony Edwards, in a surprise move, recently resigned from his post as Asia-Pacific CEO of Robeco. He is reportedly leaving due to family reasons.</p> <p>Edwards’ was Robeco Asia’s CEO for over four years, and drove all of the Dutch firm’s businesses in the region during his tenure. Prior to that, he held several senior roles in various firms, including Head of Asia ex-Japan for Neuberger Berman. Asian Investor<br /> Photo: Luke Ma<br /> &nbsp;</p>
People Moves: Morgan Stanley loses Asia IB vice-chair; MUFG chief returns to Morgan Stanley board
Capital Markets
<p>Morgan Stanley loses Asia IB vice chairman. Chong Leong, a near 14-year veteran of the venerable U.S. investment bank, has reportedly left the firm to join the Shenzhen-based delivery services firm, S.F. Express.</p> <p>Leong apparently joined Morgan Stanley back in 2002, and was – at the time of his departure – managing director and vice chairman of its Asia investment banking division. Finance Asia</p> <p>Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group boss to rejoin Morgan Stanley board. Nobuyuki Hirano, president and group chief executive of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG), is set to rejoin Morgan Stanley’s board after a four-year hiatus.</p> <p>Hirano will be replacing Masaaki Tanaka, a senior adviser of the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, who had been serving as MUFG’s representative director on the bank’s board since May 2011, and will also be part of the board’s risk committee. Wall Street Journal</p> <p>China Merchant Securities IB chief leaves. Daniel Ng, a big player in Hong Kong’s investment banking scene, left China Merchant Securities earlier this week.</p> <p>Ng, who was the firm’s head of investment banking, was also deputy CEO of the group’s brokerage division. Prior to joining China Merchant, Ng was Bank of China International’s vice chairman of investment banking, and held several key roles in Schroders, Bear Stearns, and Standard Chartered as well. Whether or not he has joined a rival firm is currently unknown. Finance Asia<br /> Photo: Wendy</p>