Thursday, November 06, 2014

Today's Headlines

  • Ukraine Lurches Back Toward Open War on East Fighting. Ukraine’s east lurched back toward open war as the government in Kiev and pro-Russian rebels accused each other of starting major offensives in the region. The Ukrainian government said there were 26 outbreaks of fighting today between its forces and pro-Russian separatists in the east, while the rebels said the Kiev government’s troops had gone on the offensive there. The standoff is coming to a head after Ukraine and its allies accused separatists of undermining peace efforts with Nov. 2 elections in Donetsk and Luhansk. Russian President Vladimir Putin said yesterday that Ukraine’s “civil war” isn’t subsiding as cities continue to come under shelling and the civilian death toll rises. 
  • Russia Reserves Decline $10.5 Billion, Most Since May. Russia’s international reserves, which have shrunk by a fifth since last year’s peak, are in the spotlight after the central bank shifted its currency intervention policy as the ruble plunged to a record. The value of the stockpile has declined for 11 straight weeks, losing $10.5 billion in the seven days through Oct. 31 to $428.6 billion, the largest drop since May, the central bank said today. The ruble weakened to a record low, depreciating 2.3 percent against the dollar as of 4:17 p.m. in Moscow.
  • ECB Keeps Rates Unchanged as Draghi Tests Limits of Power. The European Central Bank kept interest rates unchanged at record lows as investors wait for signs from President Mario Draghi on whether he’ll push for more stimulus for the euro area. The 24-member Governing Council left the main refinancing rate at 0.05 percent at its meeting today in Frankfurt. The decision was predicted by all 55 economists in a Bloomberg News survey. The deposit rate remained at minus 0.2 percent and the marginal lending rate at 0.3 percent.
  • German Factory Orders Rise Less Than Forecast as Growth Stalls. German factory orders (GRIORTMM) climbed less than forecast in a sign the euro area’s largest economy may struggle to grow in the second half of the year. Orders, adjusted for seasonal swings and inflation, rose 0.8 percent in September after a revised decline of 4.2 percent in August, data from the Economy Ministry in Berlin showed today. Economists predicted an increase of 2.3 percent, according to the median of 39 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey. Orders fell 1% on the year
  • Lenovo Says ‘Hypergrowth’ in China Smartphones Ending. Chief Executive Officer Yang Yuanqing has expanded in computer servers and mobile phones, including the $2.91 billion purchase of Motorola Mobility, to help combat a shrinking personal-computer market. Growth in China is slowing amid intensifying competition from local smartphone producers, including Xiaomi Corp., which surpassed Lenovo and became the third-biggest global vendor in the quarter ending in September. 
  • Most European Stocks Rise as Investors Weigh ECB Promise. Most stocks in Europe advanced as European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said policy makers are ready to implement further stimulus measures if needed to support the euro-region economy. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index increased 0.2 percent to 337.08 at the close of trading, after earlier gaining as much as 1 percent and dropping as much as 0.6 percent.
  • Food Prices Drop a 7th Month in Longest Dip Since 2009. World food prices tracked by the United Nations fell for a seventh month in October, the longest slide since 2009, adding to falling energy costs in slowing inflation and making nutrition more accessible. An index of 55 food items fell 0.2 percent month-on-month to 192.3 points, the lowest since August 2010, the UN’s Rome-based Food & Agriculture Organization wrote in an online report today. The index is stabilizing, it said. 
  • OPEC Cuts Most Demand Forecasts for Its Crude on U.S. Boom. OPEC, supplier of 40 percent of the world’s oil, cut forecasts for the amount of crude it will need to supply for most of the next two decades as the shale-energy boom in the U.S. lessens dependency on the group. Demand for crude from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries may fall to a 14-year low of 28.2 million barrels a day in 2017, according to the group’s annual World Oil Outlook. That’s 600,000 a day less than last year’s report and 800,000 below the amount required this year. OPEC lowered every forecast for its crude through 2035 except next year, which will be higher than previously predicted. Still, Secretary-General Abdalla El-Badri predicted prices will rebound next year. 
  • Hedge Fund Manager Compensation Rises 8% to $2.4 Million. Money managers at hedge-fund firms that oversee more than $4 billion earned about $2.4 million this year, an increase of almost 8 percent, according to an industry survey. Pay for senior traders and analysts at large funds with average industry performance rose about 5 percent, partly driven by competition from private-equity firms and banks, according to a survey by Glocap Search LLC, a New York-based executive-search firm. Analysts earned about $372,000 in salary and bonus, Glocap said in an e-mailed statement.
Wall Street Journal:
The Times:
  • Scientists create drug to replace antibiotics. Scientists have developed the first effective alternative to antibiotics in what is being hailed as a significant advance in the fight against drug-resistant infections. In a small patient trial, the drug was shown to be effective at eradicating the superbug MRSA. Scientists say it is unlikely that the infection could develop resistance against the new treatment, which is already available as a cream for skin infections. Researchers hope to develop a pill or injectable version of the drug within five years.

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