Wall Street hits records but Asian confidence tumbles
Yesterday saw record highs on Wall Street as the Dow Jones rose 154 points and the S&P 500 and Nasdaq also posted gains. However the sentiment has not been felt in Asia today, at least not for long. All the major markets have closed lower led by Shanghai. Last month’s surprise interest rate cut has caused some issues with the markets and this week that is seeing a correction. Money is flowing out of Chinese banks to the US as investors follow the growth. Singapore and Japan recorded gains today. In Europe most major indexes are edging higher with Wall Street’s gains, last week’s Fed report and today’s US data (especially GDP) all boosting optimism despite losses in Asia. The biggest of the Eurozone economies, Germany is in its final trading day before Christmas. Paris and London markets close tomorrow lunchtime local time. US stock futures are trending higher along with oil. Gold is lower as risk-taking returns.
ICSC-Goldman Store Sales at 7.45am ET
Durable Goods Orders at 8.30am ET
GDP at 8.30am ET
Personal Income and Outlays at 8.30am ET
FHFA House Price Index at 9am ET
Consumer Sentiment at 9.55am ET
New Home Sales at 10am ET
Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index at 10am ET
American Realty and Walgreen are among those reporting today.
OPEC predicts oil will be around $70-80 by end of 2015
In the first indication of where OPEC believes the oil price will settle, Reuters is reporting that cartel members are talking of a price range of $70 to $80 a barrel by the end of next year. This will give some comfort after yesterday’s news that Saudi Arabia’s oil minister says the price is not important as long as they hold on to market share. It’s unlikely that $100 a barrel will be seen in the short to medium term but OPEC delegates also say they are not expecting the price to fall much below the $60 mark in the next few months before rising to around $80.
US regulator hits French firm with biggest ever fine for bribery
French industrial firm Alstom has pleaded guilty to criminal charges for bribery and accepted a record breaking fine of $772 from the US Department of Justice. The case involves bribes running into tens of millions of dollars being paid to secure business in a number of countries. The regulator says that the harsh punishment should be taken as a warning to other companies around the world.
‘Obamaphone’ extension causes controversy
A plan to extend the LifeLine discounted telephone service to broadband is causing controversy. The scheme, dubbed ‘Obamaphone’ despite being introduced in the Reagan era, has allowed low income families to afford landlines and cellphones but now the FCC wants to include broadband. The scheme is paid for by a levy paid by all phone users but an increase would not exactly be popular. However as it is not a tax the FCC would not need approval from Congress.
TripAdvisor fined $600 million over bad reviews
TripAdvisor has been fined $600 million by anti-trust regulators in Italy for failing to have proper controls in place to protect against false reviews. The case was brought by a consumer protection organization and a hoteliers trade body and claimed that the website promotes itself as “authentic and genuine” but had not stopped fake negative comments. TripAdvisor denies the allegations and intends to appeal.
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