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posted on 22 December 2015

Early Headlines: Asia Stocks Edge Up, New Merger Record, Oil Calmer, Muslims Shield Christians, Russian Truckers Protest, China Slowdown, ISIS In Afghanistan And More

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Early Bird Headlines 22 December 2015

Econintersect: Here are some of the headlines we found to help you start your day. For more headlines see our afternoon feature for GEI members, What We Read Today, which has many more headlines and a number of article discussions to keep you abreast of what we have found interesting.



  • Asian shares edge up, crude claws back some ground (Reuters) Asian shares edged higher on Tuesday, taking solace from Wall Street gains and some stability in recently weak crude oil prices, though gains were capped by caution ahead of this week's holidays. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS inched 0.1% higher, after Wall Street logged solid gains overnight following a losing week. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index added 0.3%. China's CSI300 index .CSI300 was down 0.3% and the Shanghai Composite .SSEC slipped 0.2%, as both gave back some of the previous day's rally. Japan's Nikkei stock index .N225 was down 0.1%, though off its session lows.

  • Global dealmaking breaks 2007 record (Financial Times) A surge of deals in the pharmaceuticals, energy and consumer sectors has pushed merger and acquisition activity to an all-time high, surpassing 2007's peak - but dealmakers have admitted that bond market turmoil and geopolitical instability are their biggest worries for 2016. This year, global mergers and acquisition volumes have surged to a new record level, with the total value of announced transactions climbing to $4.6tn, compared with $4.3tn eight years ago, according to Thomson Reuters data. Econintersect: Can you spot where the last two recessions started?



  • SpaceX Falcon rocket nails safe landing in pivotal space feat (Reuters) A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket blasted off from Florida on Monday with a payload of communications satellites before the reusable main-stage booster turned around, soared back to Cape Canaveral and landed safely near its launch pad in a dramatic spaceflight first. The successful mission, capped by delivery of all 11 satellites to orbit for launch customer ORBCOMM Inc (ORBC.O), unfolded in just over 30 minutes and marked a pivotal reversal of fortunes for privately owned Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, founded by high-tech entrepreneur Elon Musk. It was the first flight for his California-based company since a rocket failure in June that destroyed a cargo ship being carried on a resupply mission bound for the International Space Station.

  • The Five Biggest Immigration Myths of the GOP Debate (Foundation for Economic Education) At the last Republican debate, the presidential candidates didn't have many positive things to say about immigrants or refugees. This could be because they believe a lot of very inaccurate things about them. Here are the top five most egregious things that the GOP presidential hopefuls had to say in the last debate. Econintersect: Note that this is a conservative website, not some flailing liberal propaganda.

  • 2015: A blueprint for 2016? (Russ Koesterich, BlackRock) RK has contributed to GEI. Koesterich suggests U.S. stocks and bonds may continue to struggle, unless we see a more meaningful acceleration in the global economy. He discusses his recommended international strategy.

  • 30% of Republicans, 19% of Democrats Support Bombing Aladdin (Foundation for Economic Education) Whenever pollsters get bored, they throw in an obvious joke question to see how ignorant voters really are. The answer is always "very." In a poll published today, Public Policy Polling asked a national survey of 1,057 primary voters, "Would you support or oppose bombing Agrabah?"

    • 30 percent of Republicans supported bombing; 13 percent opposed it, and 57 percent said they weren't sure.

    • 19 percent of Democrats supported bombing; 36 percent opposed it, and 45 percent said they weren't sure.

    Agrabah is, of course, the fictional, vaguely Arabic country from the classic Disney movie "Aladdin". Econintersect: What is the value of public opinion polling to find out what people are thinking when so many of them are not thinking?



  • Kenyan Muslims shield Christians in Mandera bus attack (BBC News) A group of Kenyan Muslims traveling on a bus ambushed by Islamist gunmen protected Christian passengers by refusing to be split into groups, according to eyewitnesses. They told the militants "to kill them together or leave them alone", a local governor told Kenyan media. At least two people were killed in the attack, near the north-eastern village of El Wak on the Somali border. The Somali based al-Shabab group says it carried out the attack.


  • The Protesters Putin Is Reluctant to Crush (Bloomberg) Russian officials haven't moved to shut down tax demonstrations by truckers. The truck drivers say the new tax, collected through the Platon payment system, will strip them of what little income they have left after falling oil prices and recession have already cut many truckers' incomes in half.


  • Chinese Think Tank Issues Bleak Growth Forecast, Urges Beijing To Ease Policy Further (International Business Times) Hat tip to Rob Carter. A Chinese think tank says that the government's economic projections are too optimistic.

  • China Leaders Flag More Stimulus After Top Economic Meeting (Bloomberg) China's leaders signaled they will take further steps to support growth, including widening the fiscal deficit and stimulating the housing market, to put a floor under the economy's slowdown. Monetary policy must be more "flexible" and fiscal policy more "forceful" as leaders create "appropriate monetary conditions for structural reforms", according to statements released at the end of the government's Central Economic Work Conference by the official Xinhua News Agency on Monday. It said the fiscal deficit ratio should be raised gradually.


  • Islamic State radio show seeks new recruits in Afghanistan (Reuters) Islamic State militants in eastern Afghanistan have taken to the airwaves to win recruits as they try to build strength and replace the Taliban as the leading force in the Islamist insurgency. Officials have been increasingly concerned by the broadcasts, which encourage young people to find a sense of direction in the radical movement. If the broadcasts take hold, officials fear they will feed off a growing sense of hopelessness among many inured to war and struggling to get by in an increasingly tough economic climate.

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