Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Today's Headlines

  • China’s Dec. New Home Prices Rise Most in 2013: SouFun. China’s new home prices in December jumped by the most last year even as the country’s biggest cities tightened property controls to moderate price gains. The average price rose 12 percent from a year earlier to 10,833 yuan ($1,789) per square meter (10.76 square feet), SouFun Holdings Ltd., the nation’s biggest real estate website owner, said in an e-mailed statement yesterday based on a survey of 100 cities. Prices climbed 0.7 percent from November. 
  • China’s Tianjin to Begin Restricting Car Population, Xinhua Says. China’s northern Tianjin municipality will begin restricting its car population next year to control traffic congestion and air pollution, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. Only 100,000 new license plates will be issued in Tianjin next year, of which 60,000 will be distributed by lottery and the rest auctioned off for a minimum bid of 10,000 yuan ($1,650) each, according to Xinhua. Government departments will be banned from buying new official cars and all proceeds from the auctions will go to support public transportation, Xinhua reported, citing a plan approved by the Tianjin government.
  • Revlon to Exit Operations in China, Cut 1,100 Jobs. Revlon Inc. (REV), the maker of cosmetics under its namesake and Almay brands, will cease operations in China and eliminate about 1,100 positions, including 940 beauty advisers, as it restructures its struggling business
  • Toyoda Predicts Emerging Markets Slowdown to Persist This Year. A slowdown in emerging markets will extend into this year, compounding uncertainty over demand in China and at home, according to a group representing Japan’s auto manufacturers. “A deceleration is seen in emerging markets that have been growing rapidly until now,” Akio Toyoda, president of Toyota Motor Corp. (7203) and chairman of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, said in a statement. “This year, the situation is unpredictable.” Slowing demand in emerging markets including India, Thailand, Brazil and Russia has marred an earnings boom for Japanese exporters as the weaker yen drives up profits.
  • Europe Stocks Post Best Year Since 2009 Before U.S. Data. European stocks advanced, with the Stoxx Europe 600 Index posting its biggest annual gain since 2009, amid shortened trading hours for New Year’s Eve before American consumer confidence and housing data. SBM Offshore NV added 1 percent for its longest winning streak in two months. Real estate companies gained, with Land Securities Group Plc and Unibail-Rodamco SE increasing more than 1.5 percent. Banco Comercial Portugues SA dropped 1.3 percent for its worst two-day slump in almost six months. The Stoxx 600 added 0.3 percent to 328.04 at 1:53 p.m. in London, extending its rise this year to 17 percent as the European Central Bank pledged to keep interest rates low for an extended period.
  • U.S. 10-Year Yield Climbs to 2-Year High as Data Stoke Fed Bets. Treasuries fell, pushing 10-year note yields to the highest level in more than two years, as gains in U.S. consumer confidence and home sales bolstered bets the Federal Reserve will end bond purchases next year. Thirty-year bond yields also reached the highest since 2011. The 10-year yield climbed six basis points, or 0.06 percentage point, to 3.03 percent at 2 p.m. New York time, according to Bloomberg Bond Trader prices. It was the highest level since July 2011.
  • Copper Falls, Capping Annual Drop, as Global Supply Gains. Copper prices fell in London, capping a 7.2 percent annual decline, as inventories in 2013 climbed for the first time in four years. Stockpiles monitored by the London Metal Exchange gained 14 percent this year. Mine openings and expansion from Peru to Mongolia will leave a supply surplus of 127,000 metric tons in 2014, Barclays Plc has forecast. Economic growth in China, the world’s biggest user of the metal, has slowed every year since 2010.
  • Commodities Set for First Drop in 5 Years as Corn to Gold Tumble. Commodities headed for the first annual drop in five years as supply exceeded demand for corn to sugar to nickel and after investors lost faith in precious metals as a store of value amid signs economies are improving. The Standard & Poor’s GSCI gauge of 24 raw materials fell 0.4 percent to 633.51 by 1:44 p.m. in London for a 2 percent decline this year. Corn led the retreat with a 39 percent plunge, with silver and gold the next worst performers. Commodity-fund investments fell by a record $88 billion to $332 billion in the first 11 months, Barclays Plc estimates. 
Fox News:
  • Politicians, companies see green as FAA approves drone test sites. Are drones the engine of the next economic boom? Officials in the six states selected Monday to develop drone test sites certainly seem to think so. Despite concern about government surveillance dominating the headlines this year, those behind the successful bids ended 2013 cheering over the possibility of a new commercial drone industry. "This is wonderful news for Nevada that creates a huge opportunity for our economy," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said in a statement, after his state was selected as one of the six sites.
  • Passengers, crew stuck on ship trapped in Antarctic ice ring in 2014. Passengers and crew who set off on an expedition to prove climate change are ringing in the new year in the same place where they have been for the past week: stuck in ice at the bottom of the world. The 74 scientists, tourists and crew on the Russian ship MV Akademik Shokalskiy, which has been trapped near Antarctica since last Tuesday, are expecting to be airlifted from the ship by a helicopter.
Business Insider:
NY Post:
  • Chinese recycling tycoon says he wants to buy New York Times. An eccentric Chinese recycling magnate said on Tuesday he was preparing to open negotiations to buy the New York Times Co. Chen Guangbiao, a well-known philanthropist, is something of a celebrity in China. During a particularly murky bout of pollution in January, the ebullient and tireless self-promoter handed out free cans of "fresh air."
  • Merkel Adviser Opposes ECB Bond Purchases. ECB buying bonds if European governments fail to implement reforms to combat sovereign debt crisis wouldn't be "healthy," citing Christoph Schmidt, head of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's council of economic advisers.

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