Thursday, February 13, 2014

Today's Headlines

  • China Auto Brands Doomed If Foreign Ownership Relaxed. Chinese brands will be “killed in the cradle” if the government allows foreign automakers to become more independent from their domestic partners in the world’s biggest car market, the country’s main auto group said
  • Ibovespa Futures Tumble as Brazil Retail Sales Unexpectedly Drop. Ibovespa futures declined after a report that showed retail sales in Brazil unexpectedly declined in December added to concern that growth is faltering in Latin America’s largest economy. Banco do Brasil SA, the nation’s biggest bank by assets, may be active after posting fourth-quarter earnings that missed analysts’ estimates. Embraer SA (EMBR3) may move after winning a plane order from India’s Air Costa. Itau Unibanco Holding SA (ITUB4) may be active after Banco Bradesco SA’s brokerage raised its recommendation on the lender to the equivalent of buy. Ibovespa futures contracts expiring in April sank 1.3 percent to 48,210 at 9:24 a.m. in Sao Paulo.
  • Europe Stocks Snap Six-Day Gain as BNP Paribas Declines. European stocks retreated, halting their longest winning streak of the year, as companies from Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc to BNP Paribas (BNP) SA reported results. Rolls-Royce slumped the most since August 2000 after predicting sales will fail to grow this year for the first time in a decade. BNP Paribas slipped 2.6 percent after France’s largest bank unexpectedly reported a drop in fourth-quarter profit. Nestle SA (NESN) lost 1.5 percent after forecasting growth near the low end of its target in 2014. Renault SA jumped 5.6 percent after posting profit that beat projections. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index dropped 0.2 percent to 331.48 at the close of trading in London after earlier losing as much as 1 percent
  • Natural Gas Soars as Report Shows Biggest Supply Drop in 7 Years. Gas gained as much as 5.7 percent after the Energy Information Administration said inventories tumbled 237 billion cubic feet to 1.686 trillion in the week ended Feb. 7. A storm is bringing heavy snow, sleet and ice from Virginia to Maine after cutting power to more than half a million customers across the South.
  • Afghanistan Defies U.S. in Freeing 65 ‘Dangerous’ Prisoners. Afghanistan released 65 men accused of killing civilians and soldiers, ignoring American pleas to keep them locked up in the latest sign of worsening ties between the nations after 13 years of war. Evidence against the men freed was never seriously considered by Afghan authorities, the U.S. Embassy in Kabul said in a statement. The U.S. military said some of the men released from a former American-run prison north of the capital were Taliban members who pose a threat to civilians.
Wall Street Journal:
  • Total Smartphone Shipments Fall in China in the Fourth Quarter -- Update. Total smartphone shipments in China fell 4% in the fourth quarter of 2013 from the third quarter, according to research firm IDC, the latest signal that the explosive growth in the world's largest smartphone market is likely to moderate in coming years. According to IDC, 90.8 million handsets were shipped in the fourth quarter, compared with 94.8 million in the third. It is the first drop in shipments in more than two years, and could signal harder times for both domestic and foreign smartphone companies looking to China for growth. "This is the first hiccup we've seen in an otherwise stellar growth path, " IDC analyst Melissa Chau wrote in a note. "We are now starting to see a market that is becoming less about capturing the low-hanging fruit of first-time smartphone users and moving into the more laborious process of convincing existing users why they should upgrade to this year's model," she added. 
  • Vital Signs: It’s Not Just Weather Holding Back Shopping. Nonstore retailers also took a hit in January. Their sales fell 0.6%, the first decline since August and the largest since May 2013. Internet shopping should be immune to weather, so the drop suggests more than ice and storm is holding back shoppers.
Fox News:
  • Oregon facing pressure, probes over dysfunctional ObamaCare website. Despite receiving $160 million in taxpayer money, Oregon's ObamaCare website has yet to properly sign up a single person for health care. And there could be consequences. An Oregon legislator has gone to the FBI. Top officials have resigned. The state is investigating. And there could be a federal probe as soon as Thursday.
Business Insider: 
NY Times:
Futures Magazine:
  • Copper tanks, does China have a cold? Copper futures headed for the biggest drop in almost two weeks on signs that demand may ebb this year in China, the wold’s biggest consumer of industrial metals.
  • China detains man for spreading 'panic' with bird flu rumors. Police in central China have detained a man who spread "panic" with a graphic rumor about the arrival of bird flu in his home province, state media reported on Wednesday. Wild rumours abound on Chinese social media sites, driven in part by a broad belief that the government always seeks to cover up bad news and that state media are untrustworthy. The man detained by authorities, who was identified only by his surname, Zhou, and hails from the central province of Hubei, posted the rumor over the weekend via the popular mobile messaging platform Wechat, the official Xinhua news agency said. "The post was spread widely among netizens and aroused panic among the public," it said, adding that Hubei's health officials.
  • Pernod warns China to stay weak through June. French drinks group Pernod Ricard cut its annual profit growth goal on Thursday, saying demand for its Martell cognac and Ballantine's whisky in China, its second-largest market, would stay sluggish through end-June. The owner of Mumm champagne and Absolut vodka, which posted an 18 percent fall in first-half sales to China, had previously expected demand to start improving from the second half of its financial year to June 30."The recovery in China will take longer than expected," CEO Pierre Pringuet told Reuters in a telephone interview. "We had anticipated an upturn from the start of the Chinese New Year (in February) but the government kept its tough stance on ostentatious behaviour."
  • Slow Asia economy weighs on Starwood Hotels(HOT) forecast. Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc forecast first-quarter revenue below analysts' estimates, mainly due to a slow Asian economy and a strong U.S. dollar. Starwood's shares fell as much as 5 percent after the owner of the Sheraton and Westin hotel chains also reported a drop in fourth-quarter revenue and did not say if it had bought back shares in January.

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