Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Today's Headlines

  • China Home Sales Surge 23% in First Two Months Defying Curbs. China home sales remained resilient in the first two months of the year, signaling policy makers are struggling to check the booming housing market. The value of new homes sold rose 23 percent to 912 billion yuan ($132 billion) in January and February compared with the first two months of 2016, according to National Bureau of Statistics data released Tuesday. Sales rose 17 percent in December, the last time the data was released. “Sales were a lot stronger than expected,” said Larry Hu, head of China economics at Macquarie Securities Ltd. in Hong Kong. “Buyers in third- and fourth-tier cities chased gains, eyeing similar price surges in top cities.”
  • China Introduces Services Index to Reflect Changing Economy. China introduced a new indicator for the services sector to better track the vast range of activity from movies to restaurants that now account for more than half of the economy. The services output index rose 8.2 percent in January and February from a year earlier on growth in technology, transportation, and deliveries, the National Bureau of the Statistics said Tuesday in the first release of the index. It plans to update the measure each month.
  • China's Name-and-Shame TV Show Puts Household Brands on Edge. Household brands in China are bracing for the government’s version of public-service journalism -- the annual program on state-run TV that uses hidden cameras to highlight what the network calls companies’ unfair practices against consumers. China Central Television’s March 15 broadcast for World Consumer Rights Day has targeted some of the world’s biggest companies in the past, including Apple Inc., McDonald’s Corp. and Volkswagen AG. The name-and-shame show not only attracts eyeballs, it also gets results -- Apple’s Tim Cook apologized in 2013 and McDonald’s retrained some workers in 2012.
  • May Attacks Scots for ‘Game-Playing’ Independence Referendum Bid. U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May rejected Scotland’s case for holding an independence referendum and accused its leaders of reneging on promises, preparing the ground for delaying a second plebiscite. May said polling data showed the majority of Scots don’t want another referendum, following the defeat of 2014. She cited former First Minister Alex Salmond as touting that plebisicite as "a once in a generation vote.”
  • European Stocks Suffer First Decline in Five Days. (video)
  • Optimism Among U.S. CEOs Shows Biggest Increase Since 2009. Optimism among chief executive officers of some of the largest U.S. companies jumped in the first quarter by the most since the economy was emerging from the last recession, as the outlook for sales, the labor market and investment brightened considerably. The Business Roundtable’s CEO Economic Outlook Index -- a measure of expectations for revenue, capital spending and employment -- jumped 19.1 points to 93.3, according to the group’s survey released Tuesday. The increase, the biggest since the final three months of 2009, left the gauge above its long-run average of 79.8 for the first time in seven quarters. Readings above 50 indicate economic expansion.
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