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posted on 08 March 2016

Early Headlines: Asia Shares Mostly Down, 40 Dollar Oil, Blue Chip Divergence, EU And Turkey Near Agreement, US Raid In Somalia, Japan Economy Not As Weak And More

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Early Bird Headlines 08 March 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.



  • China shares eke out gains as most Asia markets slip (CNBC) China shares eked out gains Tuesday even as most Asian markets retraced some of their recent rally, with traders digesting weaker-than-expected trade data from the mainland. Angus Nicholson, a market analyst at IG, told CNBC a lot of the recent rally in stocks has been "driven by a major reversal (or short covering) in financials, materials and energy". But, he said, momentum, which had been declining in other sectors already, is now falling in these sectors as well.


  • Oil gushes past $40 per barrel (City A.M.) The price of oil has surged over $40 per barrel for the first time this year, as shifting sentiment raises hopes that a 20-month price rout is finally coming to an end. Crude has climbed by almost 50% from lows of $27 a barrel after sliding US production and discussions between Saudi Arabia and Russia eased fears that the price could fall below $20. International benchmark Brent crude hit highs of $40.81 last night, while US West Texas Intermediate climbed to $37.84.

  • Oil Is Heading Higher, Here's Why (Bloomberg) Bloomberg's Javier Blas reports on the price of oil. Eurasia Group Practice Head Analyst for Europe Mujtaba Rahman and Bank of America Merrill Lynch head of European Equity Strategy James Barty also speak on "Bloomberg Surveillance".


  • Shale Gas Boom More Resilient Than the U.S. Government Thought (Bloomberg) America's energy explorers have become so good at pulling natural gas out of the ground that government forecasters are having trouble figuring out exactly how much they're producing. This month, the Marcellus shale formation of the eastern U.S., the country's biggest gas play, will yield almost 2 billion cubic feet more a day than the U.S. Energy Information Administration had previously forecast, estimates the agency released Monday show. It said the field's output was revised based on more recent production data from Pennsylvania.


  • Strong Dollar? That Depends on Where You Live in the U.S. (Bloomberg) To the global audience, the U.S. currency appreciated about 11% last year against a large group of major trading partners. But the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas has compiled data to create a map of the dollar's trade-weighted performance state-by-state, and the differences are striking. In Florida, it rose just 3% last year, compared to more than 14% in the Dakotas, where exports to Canada were hit by slumping commodity prices. Econintersect: To state this in other terms, adollar bought 3% more in Florida last year than in 2014, while in North Dakota it bought 14% more (averaged across a large representative collection of imported items.

Click for larger image.

Some institutional favorites, most significantly Amazon, couldn't rally to save their lives yesterday. Our #1 bellwether was down almost $20 at the intraday low, causing the entire stock market to sag. Google arguably looked even worse, since its $24 plunge exceeded several prior lows on the intraday charts. If these stocks and a few other Nasdaq world-beaters can't turn things around on Tuesday, it's going to pull the broad average down hard before the week ends.



  • Migrant crisis: EU and Turkey close in on agreement (BBC News) The EU and Turkey say they have agreed the broad principles of a plan to ease the migration crisis at a summit in Brussels, but delayed a final decision. European Council President Donald Tusk said all irregular migrants arriving in Greece from Turkey would be returned. For each Syrian returned, Turkey wants the EU to accept a recognized Syrian refugee, and offer more funding and progress on EU integration.


  • Banking Standards Board (BSB) chairman Dame Colette Bowe says rebuilding the trustworthiness of British banking will be a "long haul" (City A.M.) Building the trustworthiness of the British banking sector will be a "long haul", a former regulator has warned, as the Banking Standards Board (BSB) publishes its first annual review. The BSB is an independent body set up last year to improve standards of behavior in the Square Mile and restore the public's trust in financial institutions. Dame Colette Bowe, the former Ofcom chair who now chairs the BSB, told City A.M. that despite a willingness from the banks to push through cultural changes, it is "important to be realistic" about how long it will take to regain the public's trust. "If you want trust, you have to become trustworthy. And you can't become trustworthy overnight", Bowe said, adding that big banks face serious setbacks each time they are hit with misconduct charges or public scandals: "It does set them back, there is absolutely no question. It would be a very foolish person who said there is nothing more to come."


  • U.S. Strikes Kill 150 Shabab Fighters in Somalia, Officials Say (The New York Times) American aircraft on Saturday struck a training camp in Somalia belonging to the Islamist militant group the Shabab, the Pentagon said, killing about 150 fighters who were assembled for what American officials believe was a graduation ceremony and prelude to an imminent attack against American troops and their allies in East Africa.


  • India's Plan to Keep Women Working (Bloomberg) Companies in India, especially multinationals and tech firms, are rolling out initiatives to keep women from dropping out of the workforce when they get married or have children. Some of the incentives: "Bring Your Mother-in-Law to Work" day, "Take Your Baby on Your Business Trip" programs. As India's government also prepares to extend mandatory paid maternity leave to six-and-a-half months -- among the longest such periods in the world -- a number of companies are preemptively extending them, too. Retention is key: As Indian women became more educated and families more prosperous, the share of women working has declined from what was already one of the lowest levels among emerging market economies. While the phenomenon is also seen in the U.S. and elsewhere, what's at stake for India is the promise of faster and sounder economic growth -- as much as 2 percentage points higher, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development.


  • Ex-Goldman Banker to Malaysia Fund Subpoenaed in U.S. Probe (Bloomberg) This is a complicated financial story which has been unfolding over the past couple of years. One of the aspects that interests U.S. investigators concerns the outsized commissions and expenses paid to Goldman Sachs (more than 9% of proceeds) for a bond offering for the 1Malaysia Development Bhd., known as 1MDB. The question arises about why such large charges were made and whether they were related to any embezzlement that might have occurred by government officials. The video below provides the timeline for the 1MBD affair:


  • Japan's economy shrinks less than first thought (BBC News) Japan's economy shrank less than previously thought in the last three months of 2015, surprising analysts. Gross domestic product contracted at an annualized rate of 1.1% for the period, compared with an earlier reading of 1.4%, official figures showed. Analysts had been widely expecting to see an annualized contraction of 1.5% for the period. Japan has been trying to revive its flagging economy, which has struggled with deflation for nearly 20 years. The annualised figure is the rate at which the economy would have contracted over a full 12 months, had the December quarter been a reflection of the entire year.

  • AP journalists recall scenes from Japan's 3-fold disaster (Associated Press) As Japan's "triple disaster" - quake, tsunami and nuclear crisis - unfolded after March 11, 2011, Associated Press journalists fanned out across the northern region of Tohoku to report and record what had happened in pictures, stories and video footage. In this article, some of them recall memories and scenes that haunt them to this day.

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