Friday 20 July 2018

Company news, markets and financial talking points, available from 8am Monday to Friday

Shock retail fall could delay rates rise

There is new pressure on the Mark Carney to delay an expected rise in interest rates next month after a surprise fall in retail sales in June. Clothing outlets and other non-food shops suffered from reduced footfall during the hot weather and football celebrations. The surprise news triggered a sell-off of the pound, which fell against the dollar to a 10-month low of just below $1.30.

Royal Mail shareholders in historic pay revolt

One of the largest remuneration revolts at a UK blue chip company has taken place as more than 70% of Royal Mail shareholders voted against the pay of its new chief executive and his predecessor. The Times reports that anger erupted after Rico Back joined the board with a £6m “golden hello”, and Dame Moya Greene left with a near-£1m “golden goodbye”. However, the board is expected to ignore the rebellion.

Profits at Sports Direct take spectacular nosedive

Profits at Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct have plummeted by nearly three-quarters after the retailer took an £85m hit on its investment in Debenhams. Pre-tax profits fell 72.5% to £78m in the year to 29 April, from £282m the previous year. Shares in Sports Direct fell 7% after the news was released, making the controversial chain one of the biggest fallers on the FTSE 250.

Poundworld to disappear from the high street

Poundworld will disappear from the high street, reports the BBC, after the discount retailer announced the closure of its remaining 190 stores with the loss of 2,339 jobs. The stores will close by 10 August. The chain went into administration last month after struggling with …read more

Source:: The Week – All news


Vietnam Court Rules to Deport American Student Detained at Protest

A court in communist Vietnam on Friday ordered the release and deportation of American student Will Nguyen, who was detained last month during an anti-China protest.

Nguyen, a 32 year-old Houston native, was charged with “causing public disorder” at protests on June 10 in Ho Chi Minh City.

The charged carried a potential penalty of up to seven years in prison, but the attorney general recommended to judges that Nguyen be deported back to the U.S. since it was the first time he committed a wrongdoing in the country, according to an Amnesty International source present at the hearing.

“MAJOR UPDATE: WILL IS COMING HOME!!!” read a post on a Facebook page set up by Nguyen’s friends and family to raise awareness of his detention, confirming that he would be returning home.

A Yale graduate of Vietnamese descent, Nguyen was arrested last month during mass demonstrations in Vietnam’s southern business hub. Prompted by fears of Chinese encroachment, thousands of people in cities across Vietnam reportedly flooded the streets in backlash against protest government plans to allow foreign companies long-term leases in the country’s special economic zones. The leases would be dominated by investors from China, with which Vietnam has a contentious relationship.

A police statement said Nguyen incited others to protest and attempted to turn over a police truck, Reuters reports.

Video footage from the June 10 protests shows Nguyen with a bloodied face as a group of plain-clothed officers beat and drag him along the road. More than 100 other protesters were arrested in Binh Thuan Province, outside Ho Chi Minh City, after storming a government building, according to the New York Times.

Freedom of assembly is protected by Vietnam’s constitution, but the communist country tolerates little dissent and police often disband protests. According to Human Rights Watch, 2017 was one of the harshest years for dissidents in Vietnam; at least 41 activists were arrested and 24 convicted. This year, at least 26 known activists have been convicted since May. Vietnam has more than 140 political prisoners.

“We are pleased that William Nguyen will be reunited and returning home with his family,” said Francisco Bencosme, Asia Pacific advocacy manager at Amnesty International, in a statement to TIME. “However we don’t believe he should have been detained and charged in the first place for freely expressing himself and …read more

Source:: Time – World


‘The world as we know it is ending’: Here’s how to profit from the rise of a new world order


Macquarie’s Viktor Shvets identifies seven “themes” that will shape the future of the global economy.
Shvets, a strategist known for his unconventional perspectives, includes topics like “bullets and prisons” and “opium of the people” in his presentation.
“While themes seldom work on a consistent basis, there are times when they dominate for years (decades),” he wrote. “This is one of these times.”

“The world as we know it is ending, but not tomorrow.”

That’s the somewhat bleak perspective put forward by Macquarie strategist Viktor Shvets in a presentation to clients this week, seen by Business Insider.

Shvets, a strategist known for his unconventional perspectives, put forward the idea that things which we once considered to be normal in the markets have now been completely flipped on their heads.

For instance, Shvets noted, conventional market wisdom would suggest that a recession should be coming in the US in the next year or two. Traditional indicators, such as the impending inversion of the US Treasury yield curve, have previously augured recessions, but this time, that’s not necessarily the case.

“Neither duration of recovery, yield curves nor tightness of labour markets have the same informational values as they did decades ago,” Shvets wrote in his presentation.

“The post-capitalist world has different dynamics. Much longer, shallower, uneven, distorted and unequal recoveries is the theme.”

An example of that different dynamic comes in the shape of the Phillips curve — the inverse relationship between inflation and unemployment.

The relationship between unemployment and inflation “is far from perfect,” Shvets says, and “although the Philips curve still underpins most of the Fed’s models, it has not been a good indicator for decades.”

While the change in market dynamics makes for a headache in things like forecasting, like every major change, it presents an opportunity.

As such, Shvets identified seven “themes” that investors should look towards in their future portfolios. Rather than specific industries or sectors, Shvets puts forward an esoteric selection of concepts that he feels will boom in the coming years.

“While themes seldom work on a consistent basis, there are times when they dominate for years (decades),” he wrote. “This is one of these times.”

All seven themes, Shvets said, are “focused around the concept of ‘declining returns on humans and conventional capital’ and ‘rising returns on social and digital capital.'”

The concepts are as follows:

“Replacement of humans” — This encompasses areas like robotics, automation and AI.
“Augmentation of humans” — Areas like “biotechnology, gene slicing & …read more

Source:: Business Insider