Global News August 16, 2018

  1. BBC
  2. Global News August 16, 2018

“Global Stocks Sink as Tencent, Tech Take a Toll: Markets Wrap.”

U.S. stocks surged Thursday after retail behemoth Walmart Inc. reported its best sales growth in more than a decade and China’s Ministry of Commerce said it would hold talks with American officials to resolve the trade war between the two countries. The dollar fell for the first time in six days and Treasuries were steady.
The major equity benchmarks were up. The S&P 500 Index rose, led by telephone and financial shares, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average added more than 300 points, or 1.3 percent. Walmart gained the most in 10 years. Mining stocks and commodities rebounded from Wednesday’s slide as silver and copper rallied. Gold bounced back slightly after hitting a 19-month low. Oil slipped below $64 a barrel.
The potential for a breakthrough in the trade standoff between China and the U.S. is helping to shake off some of the elevated caution that’s infected markets over the past week as Turkey has plunged into a currency crisis. The lira rallied for a third day as the country’s Treasury and Finance Minister spoke on an investor call Thursday.
The Stoxx Europe 600 climbed. Asian equities markets were lower in the wake of the disappointing earnings report from tech giant Tencent Holdings Ltd. on Wednesday. The yuan got a boost from the possibility of easing tensions with the U.S.
Emerging-market shares rebounded after six straight down sessions, but were still flirting with a bear market. In Hong Kong, currency interventions continued after its dollar fell to the weak end of a trading band.


“Walmart’s second quarter sales rise most in decade, shares soar.”

Walmart Inc (WMT.N) reported quarterly earnings and sales that topped estimates on Thursday, driven by strong grocery sales and a revamped website that boosted online purchases, and the company’s shares soared over 10 percent in early trade.
The world’s largest retailer also raised its sales and earnings outlook for the full year, excluding any impact from its acquisition of Indian e-commerce company Flipkart, which it is still in the process of closing.
Walmart’s U.S. comparable sales grew the most in a decade, boosted by strong performance in grocery, apparel and seasonal merchandise, which rebounded in the second quarter after a slow start in April. Walmart has recorded four straight years of U.S. growth, unmatched by any other retailer.
Walmart also benefited from improved weather in May, the first month of the quarter, which led to the biggest quarterly gain in customer traffic in more than six years, Chief Financial Officer Brett Biggs told Reuters in an interview.
Improved consumer demand and tax cuts that have put more money in U.S. consumers’ pockets this year also helped the retailer. U.S. retail sales rose by more than forecast in July, as customers purchased motor vehicles and clothing, suggesting the economy remained strong early in the third quarter.
Walmart’s U.S. e-commerce growth also ticked higher than previous quarters, driven by changes like a new website redesign and continued expansion of online grocery offerings. E-commerce sales grew 40 percent, up from 33 percent growth in the previous quarter. The retailer said it is on track to increase U.S. e-commerce sales by 40 percent for the full year.


BBC News
“Aretha Franklin, ‘Queen of Soul’, dies aged 76.”

Aretha Franklin, the «queen of soul» known for hits like Respect and Think, has died in Detroit at the age of 76. The legendary singer was diagnosed with cancer in 2010 and announced last year she was retiring from music.
Franklin had more than 20 US number ones over a career spanning seven decades.
She gave her final performance last November at a gala in New York held in aid of the Elton John Aids Foundation.
In a statement, her family said: «In one of the darkest moments of our lives, we are not able to find the appropriate words to express the pain in our heart.
«We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family. The love she had for her children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews and cousins knew no bounds.»
Born in Memphis to a gospel singer/pianist and a celebrated Baptist preacher, Franklin was tutored from an early age by such gospel stars as Mahalia Jackson and Clara Ward.
She struggled to find fame in the early years, with record label Columbia unsure how to frame her impressively powerful voice.


“Amazon in Running to Acquire Landmark Movie Chain.”

Amazon is in the running to acquire Landmark Theaters, a move that would vault the e-commerce giant into the brick-and-mortar cinema industry, according to people familiar with the situation.
The company is vying with other suitors to acquire the business from Wagner/Cuban Cos., which is backed by billionaire Mark Cuban and Todd Wagner, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private. The chain’s owners have been working with investment banker Stephens Inc. on a possible sale, the people said. No final decisions have been made, and talks could still fall apart.
Pushing into movie theaters would follow Amazon’s expansion into myriad other forms of media, including a film and TV studio and music service. With Landmark, it gets a chain focused on independent and foreign films with more than 50 theaters in 27 markets, including high-profile locations in New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Landmark’s theaters are known for art-house fare, and some high-end locations include coffee bars or lounges, setting them apart from the typical movie experience.
“This is probably a move to get broader distribution of film content,” said Leo Kulp, an analyst with RBC Capital Markets LLC. “Netflix had been discussed as a potential buyer of Landmark for a similar reason.”
Amazon, based in Seattle, declined to comment. Officials at Landmark did not respond. Amazon rose 0.8 percent to $1,897.65 as of 9:46 a.m. in New York.
Though the acquisition price for Landmark would likely be small, it would mark a significant new incursion by Amazon into the physical world. The online retailer shocked the supermarket industry last year by acquiring Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, positioning the organic-food chain in the middle of its campaign to sell more groceries.