Ukraine is trying to settle the problem with Russian aid convoy diplomatically, said state official in Kiev after the Russian trucks reached the embattled town of Luhansk in east Ukraine. ‘Russia was invading under the cover of the convoy,’ the head of Ukraine’s security council claimed in TV interview earlier today. The office of the Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a statement on its website that it gave Ukraine a detailed explanation of the humanitarian aid convoy.
Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko has called on parliamentarians to amend the electoral law so that elections are held according to an open-list proportional representation system the presidential press secretary said. Poroshenko also asked the national parliament (the Rada) not to disrupt the budget process and ratify the association agreement with the European Union in September.
Google Inc.’s latest update for Google Glass offers serious improvements the wearable gadget fans will really appreciate. They include an ability to reach up to 20 contacts through voice commands, new communication switch capabilities, a currency converter, and more. The company is hoping those smartglasses will change the way people use mobile internet.
The common European currency is trading lower against the US dollar today, as investors wait today’s keynote speech of the European Central Bank Governor Mario Draighi at the annual Jackson Hole Symposium in the US. Draghi’s speech will most likely focus on this year’s theme of labour market. The EUR/USD pair declined today and looks poised to test 1-year lows. The pair lost 0.6% to 1.3201 so far, and is on pace for a weekly drop of more than 1.3%.
Researchers have developed a new type of solar concentrator that could allow smartphones, tablets and windows to create energy while remaining transparent. A researcher group at the Michigan State University is behind the technology. In addition to charging devices buildings with lots of windows could power themselves.
General Motors Co. (GM) said today it was reviewing the timing of the expansion of its plant near Saint Petersburg, Russia, because of a market slowdown. The US car maker opened the $300 million Russian plant in 2008 and planned to start the second stage of expansion next year. The facility currently manufactures Opel Astra, Chevrolet Cruze and Chevrolet Trailblazer models. Car sales have slumped in Russia this year as economic growth has slowed and Russian consumer sentiment suffered after Western sanctions imposed over Ukraine.
Last week Cisco Systems announced plans to lay off 6,000 employees. Sadly, this news didn't surprise the company watchers as Cisco has been making lay-offs a summer ritual. Many investors cheer companies for reducing workforces, generally assuming they will lower costs and generate bigger profits. But some analysts warn that companies like Cisco are playing a dangerous game underestimating the risk that layoffs can destroy value instead of raise it.
The S&P 500 index retreated from an all-time high as tensions reignited between Russia and Ukraine while investors weighted comments on monetary policy by Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen. Futures on the S&P 500 fell 0.4% to 1,981.40 points so far today. Still, the benchmark is poised for its biggest weekly gain since April after touching a record high yesterday.
IPhone users could always use more storage space and if the latest reports in the Applesphere are correct, the tech giant’s admirers may get what they wish with the upcoming iPhone 6. Leaked tech documents claim the iPhone 6 will be available in 16, 64, and 128 gigabyte capacities.
The social network faces a limited fine in Europe as a Vienna court advances a class action lawsuit involving Facebook and gave Facebook four weeks to respond. The company was accused of violating European privacy laws. The group behind the lawsuit now has over 60,000 people who have signed up. Facebook faces a potential small monetary pay-out, but the loss of a suit would be more damaging to Facebook’s public image, analysts noted.
Apple might be delaying the launch of its new iPhone 6 smartphone after the tech company made a last-minute design change that could affect production process, Reuters reported. The delay could also have something to do with Apple’s new strategy for a more diverse line-up of devices. Apple is rumoured to readying two new larger iPhones (a 4.7-inch model and a 5.5-inch version) and any last-minute changes regarding two devices could mean a longer lag. Still, Apple’s stock is up 0.8% to $101.37 per share today.
Several months after billionaire investor Carl Icahn confronted eBay Inc. with demands that it will separate its PayPal business, a report suggested yesterday that the company may actually do so. Sources claimed that eBay told candidates for the PayPal’s CEO job that the business will be spun off in early 2015. Shares of eBay rose nearly 4.7% after the report yesterday and are almost unchanged at the last trading session this week.
Federal Reserve Chairperson Janet Yellen said slack in the US jobs market remains even after gains were made during the 5 years of economic recovery. She also underscored the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) statement last month that “underutilization of labour resources still remains significant.”
Apple has stopped downloads in Brazil of the anonymous sharing application Secret from the App Store, according to press reports. The move follows a Brazil court decision that requires from Apple and Google to wipe out Secret from their stores as well as from devices it had already been downloaded to.
US stock futures fluctuated after the opening bell Friday, ahead of speeches by major Federal Reserve officials on tap, but now investors largely seem to shrug off Fed Chair’s balanced statement on US labour market. Futures on Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500 and Nasdaq100 look set to keep their weekly advance.
McDonald’s Corp. appointed Mike Andres as the new president of its US operations to help for a rebound of the company’s at home. Jeff Stratton, the current president, is retiring after 41 years with the food-chain and two years as its US chief. Andres is due to take over 15 October.
Crude futures slipped today after a week of bearish news for the commodity in terms of supply and demand prospects. October contracts slipped to as low as $92.93 a barrel.
The US Federal Reserve earned $27.3 billion in the second quarter of the year, largely from interest on its huge bond holdings, the US central bank revealed today. That a 13% increase compared with the first quarter of the year. Eventually as the bonds reach their maturity date or are sold, the Fed will have to start generating losses for an unspecified period, indicate analysts.
The US economy is approaching the Federal Reserve (Fed)'s objectives of full employment and stable inflation rate, Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen said today in Jackson Hole. She added that the debate at the US central bank is naturally focusing on when it should start raising interest rates. Yellen said there was no simple ‘recipe’ for the Fed to follow, but warned that rate increases could come sooner than expected if the progress in employment continued to beat projections or if inflation rises more rapidly. Her comments boosted the US dollar. EUR/USD fell sharply to a daily low below 1.3240, while spot gold fell 0.3% to $1,274.94 a troy ounce.
President of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, James Bullard, said today that little slack remained in the US jobs market and that the American central bank should not be too hesitant when the times comes to increase interest rates. He sticks to earlier forecast of a first rate hike in late Q2 next year.
China is mulling a plan to offer subsidies to encourage consumers to use energy-saving home appliances, people familiar with the plans said. Shares of local appliance makers rose. The subsidies would follow a yearlong program that begun in 2012 offering financial incentives to consumers of energy-efficient appliances.
A surprise slowdown of Canada's annual core inflation rate and a faster-than-expected deceleration in headline consumer prices will provide the nation’s central bank with more room to maintain its neutral policy stance. The latest price data support the Bank of Canada's assertion that recent price rises were temporary.
Canada’s weaker-than-expected inflation data in July first hurt the Canadian dollar, but a simultaneous release of stronger June retail sales had bigger impact and pushed CAD higher. Canadian retail sales rose almost 4 times faster than projected to a record level as the early rounds of the FIFA World Cup in June spurred sales. USD/CAD fell 0.2% to 1.0944 after the data.
June Retail Sales are 1.1% on a monthly base, it was expected to be 0.3% versus 0.7% previously.
July CPI (Consumer Price Index) is 2.1% on a yearly base, it was expected to be 2.2% versus 2.4% previously.
July CPI (Consumer Price Index) is -0.2% on a monthly base, it was expected to be -0.1% versus 0.1% previously.
The single currency is losing ground against the US dollar today down 0.3% to $1.3257 as FX markets wait for both Fed Chairman Yellen and ECB President Draghi to speak at Jackson Hole’s economic symposium. Technical indicators suggest that the euro has further to fall, say Scotiabank analysts.
Citigroup economists wrote today that they see mounting odds that the European Central Bank (ECB) will adopt quantitative easing (QE) in the form of large-scale asset purchases as soon as December. The US lender expects a EUR 1 trillion program, with 60% of the purchases in government bonds and 40% in private-sector securities, with likely purchases of EUR 80 billion in assets every month. They indicate the strong euro and downside risks to the eurozone’s inflation and economy as main factors for such development.
Citibank Japan Ltd. earned less than Citi’s global Chief Executive Officer received as salary in 2013. Maybe this could help explain why the US bank is considering selling its consumer business in Japan. It’s clear that the policy of the country’s Premier Shinzo Abe hurts loan returns. Citibank has begun approaching Japanese financial companies to see if they are interested in buying the business.
Suppliers to Apple are scrambling to produce enough screens for the new iPhone 6 smartphone as the need to re-design a key component disrupted panel production ahead of the launch seen in September, sources from Apple’s supply chain said. It's uncertain whether the setback could delay the launch or limit the units initially available to consumers, the sources added. This comes on the heels of a separate problem with the screen technology – already resolved – in producing thinner screens for the larger iPhone 6 version.
Two of Switzerland’s largest banks – Lombard Odier and Pictet & Cie. Group, are set to release their earnings this month after two centuries of secrecy. They’re doing so as Switzerland’s private banking industry and traditional secrecy comes under unprecedented scrutiny from tax authorities in the US and Europe.
European stocks fell, paring a weekly gain, as investors awaited a speech by Federal Reserve Chairperson Janet Yellen for guidance about the interest-rate outlook. US index futures also lost ground, while Asian shares rose. Asian stock markets advanced after reports from US housing sector to manufacturing showed the world’s largest economy is picking up steam. Futures on the S&P 500 index yesterday closed at a record high at 1.989.65 points.
The militants from the ‘Islamic State’ group pose an imminent threat to the United States and may take years to defeat, US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel stated yesterday at a Pentagon news conference. “They are an imminent threat to every interest we have, whether it is in Iraq or anywhere else,” Hagel declared. His comments suggest the US strikes against the rebels in Iraq are to continue, said analysts.
Hewlett-Packard Co.’s Chief Executive Officer Meg Whitman is benefiting from a surge in personal-computer sales. Now she strives to make progress in other businesses, including software and services. The technology provider yesterday posted its first sales growth in 12 quarters, with revenue rising 1.3% to more-than-expected $27.6 billion for the fiscal third quarter. H-P stock gained 5.3% to $36.98 per share in yesterday’s regular trade.
A convoy of humanitarian aid from Russia crossed the border to Ukraine as diplomats try to ease tension in the country wracked by separatist unrest. The convoy was held up on the Ukrainian border for days, in what Russia's foreign ministry described as an "intolerable" delay. ‘We have a strong feeling that the Ukrainian authorities are intentionally dragging the delivery of the humanitarian aid,’ the Russian ministry said in a statement.
Home Depot Inc.’s US Retail President Craig Menear will succeed Frank Blake as CEO after around two months, and will try to support the chain in a slowing housing recovery. Menear will take over on 1 November, according to a company statement. Blake has been CEO since 2007 and will remain chairman. Menear has been in the company since 1997 and will become a Board member immediately.
Pfizer Inc. will not give up attempts at an overseas takeover to reduce tax rates and acquire new drug lines, despite the growing cost of AstraZeneca’s takeover. Pfizer abandoned a bid of $116 billion to acquire UK’s AstraZeneca on May 26. According to UK takeover regulations, a renewed attempt may be made on 26 August. Besides considering this possibility, Pfizer is also thinking of other potential acquisitions, among which is Actavis Plc, sources say.
Charles Plosser, the president of the Philadelphia Federal Reserve, said that the bank’s current policy stance is risky and may cause another financial crisis and high inflation. "The consequences could be dire if we get this wrong," he said. Fed Chair Janet Yellen signals a first rate hike in middle of 2015. Plosser is in favor of a sooner increase, possibly in 2014.
39 people are confirmed dead after the Hiroshima landslides, and 51 are missing, according to national broadcaster NHK said. Around 630 self-defense forces personnel, 90 vehicles and 4 aircraft have been sent to support the rescue operations. Yesterday Russian President Vladimir Putin conveyed his condolences to Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. A total of 2,500 military, police and fire personnel are searching for victims.
Several months after billionaire investor Carl Icahn confronted eBay Inc. with demands that it will separate its PayPal business, a report from yesterday suggests that the company may actually do so. According to a report in The Information, sources claim that eBay told PayPal CEO candidates that the business will be spun off in early 2015. EBay shares gained almost 4.7% and closed at $55.89 after the report.
Israel said it will target more Hamas commanders after killing three yesterday, in order to force Gaza leaders to make mistakes. Israel’s Defense Minister said the army “will continue to hunt down and attack Hamas leaders at any time and wherever they may be.”
The murder for US journalist James Foley by Islamic militants has initiated discussions of a wider international campaign against the extremists of the Islamic State. The USA said this would require actions beyond Iraq and Syria, hinting at possible selective airstrikes inside Iraq, where the militants have occupied substantial territories.
Crude oil is about to mark a fifth weekly decline, which will contribute to the longest fall in nine months, due to growing US supplies and a slowdown in China. October futures remained almost unchanged and have fallen 3.6% this week. “Now the market is focusing mainly on demand and supply fundamentals,” according CMC Markets analysts, who say that buying may commence if crude oil falls to around $92.50 a barrel.
The dollar did not manage to break the Y104 level in Asia today due to beliefs that US Federal Reserve Chairperson Janet Yellen will not change her position about rate hikes in her speech at Jackson Hole, Wyoming. USD/JPY lost 0.3% to 103.66 today. The euro gained 0.2% to $1.3296.
Gold traded at a level close to a two-month low due to beliefs that the US interest rates will be increased in the hours before the remarks of Federal Reserve’s Chairperson Janet Yellen at a meeting central bank representatives. Gold for immediate delivery traded around $1,279 an ounce in the last minutes versus $1,276.78 yesterday, when prices reached $1,272.80, which was the lowest since June 18. Gold lost 2% this week on signals that US interest hikes may happen earlier than expected, which resulted in a leaping dollar.
• Today, at 12:30 GMT, the Canadian inflation data will be released. The Consumer Price Index is expected to fall 0.1% in July from the previous month when it climbed 0.1%. Usually higher inflation leads to appreciation of the national currency.
• At 12:30 GMT the Canadian Retail Sales will be announced as well. They are expected to rise 0.3% in June from the previous month when they increased 0.7%. A bigger gain in the total value of the retail sales would support the Canadian dollar.
• Later in the day FED Chair Janet Yellen and the ECB Governor Mario Draghi will hold speeches at the Jackson Hole economic symposium. Markets likely will be dynamic during their statements.