Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Today's Headlines

  • Putin Warns Ukraine Russia Will Respond to ‘Terror’ in Crimea. President Vladimir Putin accused Ukraine of using “terror” tactics after his security services said Kiev’s special forces sought to breach the border to the disputed Crimea peninsula, killing two Russians in separate incidents. The events make it “pointless” to hold peace talks on the sidelines of a Group of 20 meeting in China next month, which Russia had previously backed, Putin told reporters in Moscow. Russian forces detained armed Ukrainian intelligence officers planning subversive acts in Crimea, the Federal Security Service, or FSB, said Wednesday. “There were losses on the Russian side, with two servicemen killed. We certainly won’t let such things pass by,” Putin said. “We will adopt additional security measures, and they will be very serious additional measures.”
  • Merkel’s Government to Tighten Security After Attacks in Germany. German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government will introduce measures to bolster security after a spate of attacks last month, two of which were linked with Islamic State, raised anxieties over terrorism. “We’re living in difficult times -- the threat of terror is high,” Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere told reporters on Wednesday during a visit to a police headquarters in the city of Bremen in northwestern Germany. He said he’ll unveil his plans on Thursday in Berlin. The proposals include expedited deportation processes for asylum seekers accused of criminal activity and loosening doctor-patient privacy privileges in cases where medical officials are able to tip off authorities to a possible attack, Bild newspaper reported.
  • China's Love Affair with U.S. Real Estate Fades. (video)
  • Europe Stocks Slip From 7-Week High as EON Falls After Earnings. (video) European shares halted a five-day rally, retreating from their highest prices in almost seven weeks, on disappointing earnings at companies including EON SE and Novozymes A/S. EON sank 6.9 percent, the most since June, as it reported a first-half loss, triggering a slide in the industry. Danish biotech company Novozymes sank 12 percent, pushing pharmaceutical companies to the biggest drop among sectors, as it reported profit that missed estimates and cut its sales outlook. Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Tullow Oil Plc dragged down energy companies as oil declined, while steelmakers including ArcelorMittal and Voestalpine AG fell more than 2 percent. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index slipped 0.2 percent at the close, trimming a decline of as much as 0.4 percent.
  • Saudi Arabia Reports Record Oil Output on Summer Demand. (video) Saudi Arabia told OPEC that it pumped a record 10.67 million barrels of oil a day in July to meet a summer surge in domestic demand, an increase that will do nothing to endear the group’s leading exporter to other members seeking output limits to shore up prices.
  • OPEC Says Weak Oil Demand Is Here to Stay. (video) Weakness in global oil markets, which has dragged prices to a three-month low, may persist as demand slows seasonally and fuel inventories remain abundant, OPEC predicted. There are “lingering concerns” that U.S. and European refiners may reduce processing rates as profits fade amid a continuing “overhang” of crude and refined fuels, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said in its monthly report. Gasoline consumption will taper off in the U.S. with the end of the summer-vacation driving season, it said.
  • Iran Expects $25 Billion Oil Contracts Signed Within Two Years. (video)
  • Luxury Sellers Issue Gloomy Forecasts as Mall Traffic Wanes. Luxury-goods sellers are keeping the champagne on ice. Dwindling mall traffic and sluggish tourism are taking a toll on U.S. department stores, a key channel for companies like Ralph Lauren Corp. and Michael Kors Holdings Ltd. The two fashion houses and handbag maker Coach Inc. offered gloomy forecasts this week, saying excessive discounting may be hurting their brands. “The amount of promotional activity from many of the people who carry our line was at its all-time high, and we had to compete to be able to move our inventories during that period of time,” Michael Kors Chief Executive Officer John Idol said Wednesday on a conference call. “That’s the whole cycle we are going to get ourselves out of.”
  • There Are All Kinds of Signs of a High-End Real Estate Slowdown. Tough times for the high end market. According to real-estate website StreetEasy, 12 of the condos in Manhattan currently listed at over $20 million have had their prices cut by 5 percent or more in recent months, while only 2 of them have seen any increase in their listing price. Among the cuts is a condo at 1 Central Park South. It's been on the market for more than 250 days, and is now on sale at $45.5 million, $6.45 million less than its price a few weeks ago. That's just one of the indications that the market may be slowing down. Here are some others:
  • Mortimer-Lee: Soft policy keeps ’zombie companies’ in business.
Wall Street Journal: 
Fox News:
  • Emails raise new questions on ties between Clinton Foundation, State Department. (video) A new batch of emails released Tuesday is raising fresh questions about whether Clinton Foundation donors got preferential treatment from the State Department during Hillary Clinton's tenure at the top. Conservative watchdog Judicial Watch released 44 new email exchanges which it says were not in the original 30,000 handed over to the State Department, despite the Democratic presidential nominee's claims she turned over all work-related emails amid the now-closed probe into her private server use. The documents, produced as a result of the group's FOIA lawsuit, appear to challenge Clinton's insistence that there is "no connection" between her family foundation and her work at the department. In one email exchange released by Judicial Watch, Doug Band, an executive at the Clinton Foundation, tried to put billionaire donor Gilbert Chagoury -- a convicted money launderer -- in touch with the U.S. ambassador to Lebanon because of the donor’s interests there.
  • Assange implies murdered DNC staffer was WikiLeaks' source. (video) WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange implied in an interview that a murdered Democratic National Committee staffer was the source of a trove of damaging emails the rogue website posted just days before the party's convention. Speaking to Dutch television program Nieuswsuur Tuesday after earlier announcing a $20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of Seth Rich's killer, Assange said the July 10 murder of Rich in Northwest Washington was an example of the risk leakers undertake.
Zero Hedge:

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