Saturday, January 23, 2016

Today's Headlines

  • China, Iran Agree to Expand Trade to $600 Billion in a Decade. China and Iran mapped out a wide-ranging 25-year plan to broaden relations and expand trade during the first visit by a Chinese leader to the Islamic republic in 14 years. President Xi Jinping met with his counterpart Hassan Rouhani on Saturday, a week after the lifting of international sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program. The Chinese leader is the first head of state of the six-country bloc that negotiated the historic deal to visit Iran. Rouhani said the meeting marked "the beginning of an important era" in Iran-China relations, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported. The visit was the first by a Chinese president in 14 years, official Iranian media reported. "Today we discussed the strategic relationship between both countries, setting up a comprehensive 25-year plan and also promoting bilateral relations of up to $600 billion over the next 10 years," Rouhani said.
  • Currency Traders Prepare for More Turmoil Ahead of Fed, BOJ Meetings. For currency traders who’ve been battered by increased volatility, next week may turn out to be the moment of truth. The yen, a traditional haven, retreated from the biggest two-week rally since mid-2013 on speculation the Bank of Japan will increase stimulus on Jan. 28-29 to revive inflation. The dollar strengthened for a fourth week before the Federal Reserve meets Jan. 26-27 to consider follow-on policy after raising interest rates last month for the first time in almost a decade.
  • Canada in Shock as Youth Held in Four Slayings at School, Home. Four people were killed and seven injured in a shooting at a school in rural Saskatchewan, leaving Canadian officials stunned after one of the deadliest such attacks in the country in almost three decades. The incident was “unspeakably horrible” and “unimaginable,” Premier Brad Wall said Saturday at a briefing in Regina, the provincial capital. An investigation is continuing, and the province’s social services department is providing help for those affected, according to Wall, who said he will travel to the town of La Loche to help with the response. 
  • Hong Kong's Chan Says City's Economic Growth to Slow From 2015. Hong Kong is expected to grow at a slower pace this year than in 2015 as the city’s economy is constrained by difficulties in its exports sector and lower spending by visiting tourists, according to the city’s top financial services official. “Growth rate will be worse than last year,” K.C. Chan, Hong Kong’s secretary for financial services and the treasury, said in an interview with Commercial Radio Hong Kong on Saturday. “Our currency is expensive and economies in surrounding markets are starting to slow, so it’s clear that downward pressure on the economy is huge.” 
  • Portuguese Voters Head to Polls to Pick Country's Next President. Portuguese voters will cast their ballots on Sunday to pick the country’s next president, with former Social Democrat leader Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa ahead in the most recent opinion polls. Voting begins at 8 a.m. and ends at 7 p.m. in mainland Portugal. Partial results and exit polls will be released from 8 p.m. The latest opinion polls published by broadcaster RTP and by newspapers Expresso, Jornal de Negocios and Publico indicated Rebelo de Sousa, 67, may take more than half of the vote. That means the law professor and television commentator could become president without having to face a second round. Antonio Sampaio da Novoa, who is backed by some Socialists, had as much as 22.6 percent support in the Jornal survey.
  • Birinyi More Worried About Markets Than Any Time Since 2009. (video) The difficulty of forecasting outcomes in places like China has left Laszlo Birinyi more worried about stocks than he’s been since 2009, when their recovery from the financial crisis was just beginning. The 72-year-old investor says it’s easy to see why global equities are off to such a bad start -- falling oil, tension between Saudi Arabia and Iran, China’s equity selloff, and concern over Apple Inc.’s supply chain. The problem is predicting how they’ll turn out since most defy fundamental analysis.
  • Einhorn’s Greenlight Fund Shows Bets Against Amazon(AMZN), Netflix(NFLX). Greenlight Capital’s David Einhorn is betting against popular growth stocks Inc. and Netflix Inc. The positions were disclosed to clients this week at the firm’s annual meeting, according to a copy of the presentation obtained by Bloomberg. Amazon and Netflix both more than doubled in value last year. Einhorn, in the firm’s presentation, pointed to differences between the two companies and more established brands such as Apple Inc. and Time Warner Cable Inc.  “Analysts strain to justify ever high” prices for Amazon shares, according to Greenlight’s presentation. 
  • Apple(AAPL) Executive Leading Electric-Car Project Said to Depart. The executive leading Apple Inc.’s development of an electric car is leaving the company, according to two people familiar with the move. Steve Zadesky, who was tapped by Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook to shepherd Apple’s bid to enter the automobile market, stepped down for personal reasons, not because of his performance, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified discussing Apple personnel matters.
Wall Street Journal: 
  • Had bullish commentary on (MYL), (NWL), (HMHC) and(IP).
  • Had bearish commentary on China's Yuan, (SQ), (MB), (SHOP) and (BOX).
Fox News:
  • 17 dead in northeast as NY gov imposes travel ban, mass transit shutdowns due to blizzard. (video) The giant snowstorm pummeling the East Coast caused 17 deaths, three in New York City, Saturday and forced New York's governor to issue a road travel ban and to halt suburban trains and some city subway lines. Three people in New York City died while shoveling snow in different parts of town, NYPD Chief of Department James O'Neill said Saturday afternoon. Those incidents brought the death toll blamed on the weather to 17, the Associated Press reported.
  • EXCLUSIVE: Clinton email exposed intel from human spying. (video) At least one of the emails on Hillary Clinton's private server contained extremely sensitive information identified by an intelligence agency as "HCS-O," which is the code used for reporting on human intelligence sources in ongoing operations, according to two sources not authorized to speak on the record. Both sources are familiar with the intelligence community inspector general’s January 14 letter to Congress, advising the Oversight committees that intelligence beyond Top Secret -- known as Special Access Program (SAP) -- was identified in the Clinton emails, as well the supporting documents from the affected agencies that owned the information and have final say on classification.
  • 4 dead after shootings in northern Saskatchewan. (video) A gunman opened fire at a high school and a second location in an aboriginal community in northern Saskatchewan on Friday, leaving four dead and at least two injured, officials said. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said from Davos, Switzerland that a suspect was in custody. Trudeau initially said five died, but police later corrected that to four. "This is every parent's worst nightmare," he said. "The community is reeling."
Zero Hedge:
Business Insider:
  • BONNER: The entire recovery is one giant myth. Twice in the last 15 years, markets have tried to correct the mistakes and excesses of the Bubble Epoch. Each time, the Fed came back with even more mistakes and excesses. Trillions in new credit… lower lending rates… easier terms… ZIRP… QE… and the Twist! Over the short run, markets respond to myths. Investors are ready to believe almost anything… for a while. But over the long run, there is death and destruction – a reality outside of what we believe.
  • The GOP is furious over John Kerry's comments on the Iran dealIn an interview with CNCBC from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the nation’s top diplomat said he couldn’t rule out that some of the money Iran is due to receive in sanctions relief would end up in the pockets of groups the U.S. and other countries consider to be terrorist organizations.
The Des Moines Register:
  • Merkel pressured on all fronts as ally takes swipe over migrants. German Chancellor Angela Merkel looked ever more isolated over her open-door policy on refugees on Saturday as it emerged that the leader of her party's Bavarian allies suggested this week she had become impervious to other people's views on the issue.
Financial Times: 
Daily Mail:
  • Iraq's Kurds Are Seeling Oil at $20 a Barrel. Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish region earns 450b-500b Iraqi dinars a month from oil sales, not enough to pay civil servants' salaries, citing Kurdistan Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani. Region needs 850b dinars a month to pay salaries. Financial crisis in region driven by war on Islamic Sate, influx of displaced families, drop in oil prices. Region faces tough years ahead, counts on international support to overcome the crisis.

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