Global News April 19, 2018

  1. BBC
  2. Global News April 19, 2018

“U.S. Stocks Advance as Middle East War Talk Cools: Markets Wrap.”

U.S. stocks fell for the first time in four days as trade tensions resurfaced amid mixed earnings reports. Oil and metals rallied, while Treasuries slipped.

The S&P 500 Index dropped as Chinese regulators ratcheted up their scrutiny of a Qualcomm Inc. acquisition, increasing trade concerns and helping to pull down chipmakers. Bloomberg’s commodity index touched highest in three years, led by nickel and aluminum, as investors fretted about the possible impact of Russian sanctions on the market. Treasury yields reached 2.90 percent, the highest in eight weeks.

In Europe, stocks struggled for traction following two days rising and in the wake of a mixed bag of corporate earnings, even after shares across Asia built on gains from a day earlier.

The boost from earnings faltered after a strong start to the reporting season, as traders have sold even after companies meet high expectations.

Elsewhere, the Australian dollar fluctuated after employment in the country rose less than forecast in March. The yen slipped as U.S. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed to work closely on bilateral trade.


“China looks to speed up chip plans as U.S. trade tensions boil – sources.”

China is looking to accelerate plans to develop its domestic semiconductor market amid a fierce trade stand-off with the United States and a U.S. ban on sales to Chinese phone maker ZTE that has underscored the country’s reliance on imported chips.

Senior Chinese officials have held meetings this week with industry bodies, regulators and the country’s powerful chip fund about speeding up already aggressive plans for the sector, two people with direct knowledge of the talks told Reuters.

The talks underscore China’s concern about its reliance on imported chips from global names such as Qualcomm Inc (QCOM.O) and Intel Corp (INTC.O), aggravated by a worsening dispute with the United States centered on cutting-edged tech.

“In the last few days senior Chinese officials have met to discuss plans to speed up the development of the chip industry,” one person with knowledge of the talks said, asking not to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter.

China has already made the semiconductor market a key priority under its “Made in China 2025” strategy to cut reliance on foreign technologies and create its own domestic champions.

That goal has been given fresh urgency after a U.S. ban on sales of products – including chips – to Chinese phone maker ZTE Corp (000063.SZ) roiled the firm, which uses mainly U.S. chips in its smartphones.


BBC News
“Facebook to exclude billions from European privacy laws.”

Facebook has changed its terms of service, meaning 1.5 billion members will not be protected under tough new privacy protections coming to Europe.

The move comes as the firm faces a series of questions from lawmakers and regulators around the world over its handling of personal data.

The change revolves around which users will be regulated via its European headquarters in Ireland.

Facebook said it planned clearer privacy rules worldwide.

The move, reported by Reuters, will see Facebook users outside the EU governed by Facebook Inc in the US rather than Facebook Ireland.

It is widely seen as a way of the social network avoiding having to apply the upcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to countries outside the EU

The change will affect more than 70% of its more than two billion members. As of December, Facebook had 239 million users in the US and Canada and 370 million in Europe.

It also had 1.5 billion members in Africa, Asia, Australia and Latin America, and they are the ones affected by the change.

Users in the US and Canada have never been subject to European rules.

«The GDPR and EU consumer law set out specific rules for terms and data policies which we have incorporated for EU users. We have been clear that we are offering everyone who uses Facebook the same privacy protections, controls and settings, no matter where they live,» said Stephen Deadman, deputy chief global privacy officer at Facebook


“Hedge Funds Suffer First Back-to-Back Loss in Two Years.”

Hedge fund returns sank for a second straight month in March, the first back-to-back loss since the first two months of 2016, as trade wars, tech-sector woes and a Fed rate hike dragged down the S&P 500 from its mid-month highs and hedge funds into the red for the year.

Hedge Funds fell 0.56 percent in the first quarter, compared with a 1.42% gain for the three months ended Feb. 28, according to data compiled in the Bloomberg Hedge Fund Database. Funds also finished the month of March down 0.75 percent, paring losses from Both types of Fixed Income strategies fell 0.10 percent in March, but ended the quarter in the black. Fixed Income Directional ended the first quarter up 0.75 percent, while Fixed Income Relative Value rose 1.03 percent.

Funds styles in the red topped those in the black by 19 to 7 in March, with Short Biased-style funds leading the table at 2.64 percent on the upside. Currency strategies, a subset of CTA/Managed Futures, finished March at the bottom, plunging 6.33 percent. That helped push Currency strategies down 14.7 percent, the biggest drop in the quarter.

Activist-style funds posted the biggest gains in the quarter at 3.67 percent, despite falling 1.66 percent in March. Long-Short funds outpaced the S&P 500 by 174 basis points, finishing the month down 0.80 percent. For the first quarter, Long-Short funds were up 0.30 percent, easily outpacing the S&P 500, which fell 1.58 percent on a total-return basis. February when they fell 2.19 percent.

Overall, Commodity Trading Advisors/Managed Futures strategies had the largest monthly swing in either direction from results in February at nearly 550 basis points, ending March down 0.27 percent, compared with down 5.75 percent in February.

Health Care-focused funds rose 0.04 percent for the month, ending the quarter up 4.66 percent, the highest among industry-focused funds. Technology-focused funds were down the most in March, falling 1.05 percent, though it wasn’t enough to push them into the red after gains the prior two months. They finished the quarter up 2.82 percent. Real Estate funds ended the quarter the lowest ranked among industry-focused funds, down 1.93 percent, despite finishing March up 0.30 percent.