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posted on 23 November 2016

Early Headlines: Asia Stocks Mixed, Oil Lower, Trump Nixes NASA Climate Research, Experts Urge Clinton Challenge, EU Vs. US Banks, Italy On The Edge And More

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Early Bird Headlines 23 November 2016

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.



  • Australia shares climb in a mixed Asian session following record gains in the US (CNBC) Australian stocks led gains, likely driven by commodity prices rises, but other Asia Pacific markets traded modestly on Wednesday. Oil prices were lower during Asian hours, following a flat finish on Tuesday and a more than 4% jump on Monday on renewed expectations for the world's largest oil producers to cut supply when they meet next week. U.S. crude traded down 0.56% at $47.76 a barrel at 1:54 p.m. HK/SIN, following an overnight drop of 0.44%. Global benchmark Brent was down 0.47% at $48.89, after gaining 0.45% during the U.S. session.



  • Trump to scrap Nasa climate research in crackdown on ‘politicized science’ (The Guardian) Donald Trump is poised to eliminate all climate change research conducted by NASA as part of a crackdown on “politicized science", his senior adviser on issues relating to the space agency has said. NASA’s Earth science division is set to be stripped of funding in favor of exploration of deep space, with the president-elect having set a goal during the campaign to explore the entire solar system by the end of the century. This would mean the elimination of NASA’s world-renowned research into temperature, ice, clouds and other climate phenomena. NASA’s network of satellites provide a wealth of information on climate change, with the Earth science division’s budget set to grow to $2 billion next year. By comparison, space exploration has been scaled back somewhat, with a proposed budget of $2.8 billion in 2017.

  • Trump, in Interview, Moderates Views but Defies Conventions (The New York Times) This article summarizes a one hour interview Tuesday in the offices of The New York Times. Here is the start of this story:

President-elect Donald J. Trump on Tuesday tempered some of his most extreme campaign promises, dropping his vow to jail Hillary Clinton, expressing doubt about the value of torturing terrorism suspects and pledging to have an open mind about climate change.

But in a wide-ranging hourlong interview with reporters and editors at The New York Times ... Mr. Trump was unapologetic about flouting some of the traditional ethical and political conventions that have long shaped the American presidency.

He said he had no legal obligation to establish boundaries between his business empire and his White House, conceding that the Trump brand “is certainly a hotter brand than it was before." Still, he said he would try to figure out a way to insulate himself from his businesses, which would be run by his children.

During the presidential campaign, Donald Trump correctly talked about rebuilding our country’s infrastructure. But the plan he offered is a scam that gives massive tax breaks to large companies and billionaires on Wall Street who are already doing phenomenally well. Trump would allow corporations that have stashed their profits overseas to pay just a fraction of what the companies owe in federal taxes. And then he would allow the companies to “invest" in infrastructure projects in exchange for even more tax breaks. Trump’s plan is corporate welfare coming and going.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today introduced far-reaching legislation to rebuild America’s crumbling network of roads, bridges and transit systems and other infrastructure projects. The five-year plan would invest $1 trillion and create or maintain at least 13 million decent-paying jobs, said Sanders, the Senate Budget Committee ranking member.

The legislation is co-sponsored by Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), the ranking member of the appropriations committee, and it is backed by the American Society of Civil Engineers, the AFL-CIO and others.

Hillary Clinton is being urged by a group of prominent computer scientists and election lawyers to call for a recount in three swing states won by Donald Trump, New York has learned. The group, which includes voting-rights attorney John Bonifaz and J. Alex Halderman, the director of the University of Michigan Center for Computer Security and Society, believes they’ve found persuasive evidence that results in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania may have been manipulated or hacked. The group is so far not speaking on the record about their findings and is focused on lobbying the Clinton team in private.

Last Thursday, the activists held a conference call with Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta and campaign general counsel Marc Elias to make their case, according to a source briefed on the call. The academics presented findings showing that in Wisconsin, Clinton received 7 percent fewer votes in counties that relied on electronic-voting machines compared with counties that used optical scanners and paper ballots. Based on this statistical analysis, Clinton may have been denied as many as 30,000 votes; she lost Wisconsin by 27,000. While it’s important to note the group has not found proof of hacking or manipulation, they are arguing to the campaign that the suspicious pattern merits an independent review - especially in light of the fact that the Obama White House has accused the Russian government of hacking the Democratic National Committee.


  • EU Retaliates Against US Banks, London: Global Trade War Tit-For-Tat (Mike Shedlock) Brussels is proposing to tighten its grip over overseas banks operating in the EU in a tit-for-tat step against the US that will raise costs for big foreign lenders and potentially hurt the City of London after Brexit. The European Commission will unveil provisions on Wednesday that mirror controversial US “intermediate holding company" rules that ringfence foreign bank capital. When these were announced in 2014, the EU complained to Washington of “protectionism" and threatened to retaliate. If adopted into EU law, the commission’s proposals would force big US investment banks such as Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan to hold additional capital and liquidity in the EU so their subsidiaries can be separately wound up in a crisis by European authorities.


  • Why Italy’s Bank Problem Challenges the Rule Book: QuickTake Q&A (Bloomberg) Italy’s banks are a basket case. Helping them has divided policy makers and called into question Europe’s attempts to end taxpayer bailouts. The shares and riskiest securities of European banks have plunged this year, and another hurdle is just around the corner: Italy’s Dec. 4 referendum on constitutional reform, which could topple Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s government. If the country’s banking crisis isn’t solved soon, there are worries it could spread to the rest of Europe. They’re saddled with about $400 billion of bad loans and lack the financial reserves to sell them off. The combined stock market value of UniCredit SpA and Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA, Italy’s biggest and third-biggest banks respectively, has tumbled by more than half this year to just $13 billion. By comparison, Snap Inc., the photo-sharing app, is targeting a valuation twice that much. See next item.

  • Italian Stock Market Reaching New Lows ( The Market Mogul) The Italian stock market is reaching new lows on rising concerns about the outcome of the constitutional referendum on December 5th. Polls are currently predicting that Matteo Renzi will lose the election and henceforth be forced to resign. The stock market fears a loss for the Italian Prime Minister because the three opposition parties are proposing to leave the Eurozone. The largest of the three, the Five Star Movement, has been gaining ground in the last few months on the back of the anti-globalisation populist movement that has caused the Brexit vote and Donald Trump's presidency. If Italy leaves the Eurozone, it is likely the entire zone will collapse.


  • What Does A Trump Win Mean For India? (The Market Mogul) With Trump having extensive business dealings in India, there is hope that the gradually deepening warm relationship between President Obama and PM Modi will be continued. Exports for India, especially in the garment and apparel sector, would have been hurt with the implementation of the TPP. Trump's opposition to that is also a plus. But Trump may reduce the number of H1B visas going to Indians in technology fields and that would be a negative.

  • Mastercard, Visa Poised to Reap Spoils of India’s War on Cash (Bloomberg) India’s war on cash has at least two likely victors: Visa Inc. and Mastercard Inc. The world’s largest payment networks will see a surge in transactions and cardholders after the Indian government’s decision this month to remove high-denomination bills from circulation, according to analysts who cover the companies. The two networks have been pushing for this kind of change in India, where a McKinsey & Co. study found that more than 90% of transactions are still conducted in cash.


"We estimate that if the US levied a 40 per cent tariff on all imports, US GDP would fall 1.2 per cent. If all countries retaliated, US GDP would fall 5.2 per cent and thus enter a deep recession. Australia’s GDP would fall by 5.6 per cent in this trade war."


  • 10% Of Homes Being Resold In Vancouver Have Never Been Lived In (Better Dwelling) There are currently 4,799 homes listed for sale according to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV), and 463 have never been occupied. Econintersect: This is a characteristic of a high level of "flipping" near the top of a housing bubble. What is different here is that many of these "new" homes have been on the market for years, the oldest since 1989. So Vancouver may be a unique situation.

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