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posted on 24 April 2017

Early Headlines: Asia Stocks Mostly Up, China Down, Dollar And Oil Up, Gold Down, European Stocks Open Up, 2nd SCOTUS Seat For Trump?, SCOTUS Gets Gerrymander, UK Has Huge Gender Pay Gaps, And More

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Early Bird Headlines 24 April 2017

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.


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  • Global markets jump as Macron takes lead in French election; CAC up 4%, gold sinks 1% (CNBC) Global risk assets kicked off the new trading week on a sure footing after centrist Emmanuel Macron pulled in the highest number of votes among candidates in the first round of the French presidential election on Sunday. The euro traded to a five-month high overnight on Sunday as exit poll results filtered in, with the European currency jumping by 1.35 percent to close at 1.0873 versus the U.S. dollar, having traded above the 1.09 handle earlier in the session before losing a little steam. Early in Monday's session, the euro had lost a little further momentum and was trading around 1.0835 by 07:45 a.m. London time. The Financial Times noted that the single currency's jump was its best daily leap in 10 months. 1-month implied volatility in the currency also sank by over a third early Monday. Equity markets in Asia tracked higher on Monday with Japan's Nikkei 225 index ending the session up by 1.4% and both Australia's ASX 200 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng indexes in positive territory. Bucking the positive trend, China's Shanghai composite was off by around 1.23%, thought to be affected by fears over domestic regulators further toughening their stance towards speculative traders. Also trading lower was safe haven spot gold, down around 1%, often used as a hedge in times of political uncertainty. The dollar index traded at 99.167, creeping up from the 98 handle seen earlier in the session. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was 0.4% higher at $49.86 while Brent crude traded up by 0.58% at $52.26. (See also Shares in Asia turn mixed after first round of French elections; Nikkei surges 1.2%.)

Meanwhile, shortly after the European open, France's benchmark CAC 40 equity index was trading around 3.7 percent higher, leading gains in the U.K.'s FTSE 100 and Germany's DAX index, higher by around 1.8 percent and 2.4 percent respectively. U.S. equity futures also reflected a higher expected open with the Dow Jones industrial average expected to soar by nearly 200 points.


  • Space May Be Next Frontier for Earth's Crude Oil Giants: Analyst (Bloomberg) The Middle East has an outsize impact on energy here on Earth. One analyst thinks some regional powerhouses may leverage that role into the development of natural resources in space. Countries like the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia are developing space programs and investing in nascent private space commodity initiatives, said Tom James, a partner at energy consultant Navitas Resources. Doing so could give them a foothold in building extraterrestrial reserves of water -- a substance likely to fuel travel within space -- and other resources that could be used for in-space manufacturing. James said in Singapore:

“Water is the new oil of space. Middle East investment in space is growing as it works to shift from an oil-based to a knowledge-based economy."


  • Trump eyeing second Supreme Court seat (The Hill) Talk is already heating up that President Trump could have a chance to appoint a second person to the Supreme Court. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said this week that another opening could come as soon as this summer, and there have been rumors that Justice Anthony Kennedy, often a swing voter on the court, could retire soon. Kennedy, 80, was nominated to the court by President Reagan. Whether Kennedy or one of the court’s other justices will retire is anyone’s guess, but experts in the legal community say Trump should be ready regardless. There are 8 potential candidates mentioned in this article.

  • 100 days: how Donald Trump compares with last five presidents (The Guardian) Trump does not appear to be at the helm of the most accomplished presidency in history - but would he rate better if the field were restricted to recent entries? This article goes throught the details.

  • Key Question for Supreme Court: Will It Let Gerrymanders Stand? (The New York Times)

A bipartisan group of voting rights advocates says the lower house of the Wisconsin Legislature, the State Assembly, was gerrymandered by its Republican majority before the 2012 election - so artfully, in fact, that Democrats won a third fewer Assembly seats than Republicans despite prevailing in the popular vote. In November, in a 2-to-1 ruling, a panel of federal judges agreed.

Now the Wisconsin case is headed to a Supreme Court that has repeatedly said that extreme partisan gerrymanders are unconstitutional, but has never found a way to decide which ones cross the line.


Virgin Money disclosed that men who work at the bank earn, on average, 36 percent more than women. At asset manager Schroders Plc, the pay gap was 31 percent. Utility SSE Plc reported an average pay gap of 23.4 percent, and consulting firm PwC said it found a 15 percent difference in pay.

The companies released the numbers ahead of a new law that requires companies to calculate the difference between the average and median hourly pay rates for all male and female employees, with and without bonus. All companies will be required to publish the results of their pay-gap analysis on their websites by April 2018, a measure that supporters say will help close the gulf in compensation.


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  • Modi Push for Safer Kitchens Makes India No. 2 LPG Importer (Bloomberg) India toppled Japan as the world’s second-largest importer of liquefied petroleum gas as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pledge to provide cooking gas cylinders to the poor and wean them off polluting fuels drove up consumption. Modi’s government in May 2016 embarked on a drive to provide free cooking gas connections to women from extremely poor households, aimed at reducing the use of polluting fuels such as wood and dried cow dung that, according to the World Health Organization, causes 1.3 million premature deaths in India every year. This push led to a record distribution of 32.5 million new cooking gas connections during the year.


  • China Stocks Sink Most in Three Months Amid Leverage Crackdown (Bloomberg) A selloff in Chinese stocks deepened, with the benchmark gauge slumping the most in three months, amid concern authorities will step up measures to crack down on leveraged trading. The Shanghai Composite Index fell as much as 1.9%, the biggest intraday loss since Jan. 16, before paring declines to 1.8% as of 1:09 p.m. local time. Industrial companies and material producers led losses. The ChiNext small-cap gauge headed for its lowest close since September 2015.

Click for large image.


  • Mexico: surge in drug gang violence leaves 35 dead in one weekend (The Guardian) Fights between gangs have increased since the arrest last year of Sinaloa cartel boss Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman. At least 35 people were killed over the weekend in Mexico, according to local officials, amid a widespread surge in drug gang violence that has driven murders to a level not seen since 2011. In Sinaloa state, 12 people were killed in different incidents since the early hours of Sunday, according to local officials.

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