March

FILE PHOTO: Worker stands next to robotic arms welding pump truck part at a factory of the Foton Loxa Heavy Machinery Co in Zhangjiakou, Hebei
FILE PHOTO: A worker stands next to robotic arms welding pump truck part at a factory of the Foton Loxa Heavy Machinery Co in Zhangjiakou, Hebei province, China May 24, 2019. REUTERS/Stringer

May 27, 2019

BEIJING (Reuters) – Profits earned by China’s industrial companies contracted in April after a sharp rebound in the previous month, adding to concerns about the already slowing economy in the wake of a recent escalation in Sino-U.S. trade tensions.

Profits in April dropped 3.7% year-on-year to 515.4 billion yuan ($74.80 billion), the National Bureau of Statistics said on its website on Monday, compared with a 13.9% surge in March.

For the first four months of 2019, industrial profits dropped 3.4% on an annual basis to 1.81 trillion yuan.

Industrial firms’ liabilities grew 5.5% from a year earlier to 63.87 trillion yuan by end-April, compared with a 6.5% rise at the end of the first quarter.

The data covers large companies with annual revenues of more than 20 million yuan from their main operations.

($1 = 6.8907 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(Reporting by Beijing Monitoring Desk; Editing by Sam Holmes)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Worker stands next to robotic arms welding pump truck part at a factory of the Foton Loxa Heavy Machinery Co in Zhangjiakou, Hebei
FILE PHOTO: A worker stands next to robotic arms welding pump truck part at a factory of the Foton Loxa Heavy Machinery Co in Zhangjiakou, Hebei province, China May 24, 2019. REUTERS/Stringer

May 27, 2019

BEIJING (Reuters) – Profits earned by China’s industrial companies contracted in April after a sharp rebound in the previous month, adding to concerns about the already slowing economy in the wake of a recent escalation in Sino-U.S. trade tensions.

Profits in April dropped 3.7% year-on-year to 515.4 billion yuan ($74.80 billion), the National Bureau of Statistics said on its website on Monday, compared with a 13.9% surge in March.

For the first four months of 2019, industrial profits dropped 3.4% on an annual basis to 1.81 trillion yuan.

Industrial firms’ liabilities grew 5.5% from a year earlier to 63.87 trillion yuan by end-April, compared with a 6.5% rise at the end of the first quarter.

The data covers large companies with annual revenues of more than 20 million yuan from their main operations.

($1 = 6.8907 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(Reporting by Beijing Monitoring Desk; Editing by Sam Holmes)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Worker stands next to robotic arms welding pump truck part at a factory of the Foton Loxa Heavy Machinery Co in Zhangjiakou, Hebei
FILE PHOTO: A worker stands next to robotic arms welding pump truck part at a factory of the Foton Loxa Heavy Machinery Co in Zhangjiakou, Hebei province, China May 24, 2019. REUTERS/Stringer

May 27, 2019

BEIJING (Reuters) – Profits earned by China’s industrial companies contracted in April after a sharp rebound in the previous month, adding to concerns about the already slowing economy in the wake of a recent escalation in Sino-U.S. trade tensions.

Profits in April dropped 3.7% year-on-year to 515.4 billion yuan ($74.80 billion), the National Bureau of Statistics said on its website on Monday, compared with a 13.9% surge in March.

For the first four months of 2019, industrial profits dropped 3.4% on an annual basis to 1.81 trillion yuan.

Industrial firms’ liabilities grew 5.5% from a year earlier to 63.87 trillion yuan by end-April, compared with a 6.5% rise at the end of the first quarter.

The data covers large companies with annual revenues of more than 20 million yuan from their main operations.

($1 = 6.8907 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(Reporting by Beijing Monitoring Desk; Editing by Sam Holmes)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: United Airlines planes, including a Boeing 737 MAX 9 model, are pictured at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston
FILE PHOTO: United Airlines planes, including a Boeing 737 MAX 9 model, are pictured at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, Texas, U.S., March 18, 2019. REUTERS/Loren Elliott/File Photo

May 27, 2019

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) reputation has taken a hit as a result of the Boeing Co 737 MAX grounding, United Airlines President Scott Kirby said on Monday.

“The brand of the FAA has certainly been impacted by this,” he said at the Skift Forum Asia conference in Singapore.

However, he said the regulatory system in the United States and elsewhere was likely to emerge stronger as a result of the 737 MAX grounding experience.

(Reporting by Jamie Freed; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: U.S. dollars and other world currencies lie in a charity receptacle at Pearson international airport in Toronto
FILE PHOTO: U.S. dollars and other world currencies lie in a charity receptacle at Pearson international airport in Toronto, Ontario, Canada June 13, 2018. REUTERS/Chris Helgren

May 26, 2019

By Josephine Mason and Thyagaraju Adinarayan

LONDON (Reuters) – Cash is still king for investors heading into the summer slowdown.

Stashing cash started during the global rout across financial markets late last year as investors worried about a global economic recession.

Increasing a cash buffer is typical during times of economic and geopolitical strife.

But data and interviews with global wealth managers show that hoarding has continued at unusually high levels even as global stocks have rallied this year amid conflicting signals after the central banks’ U-turns, mixed macroeconomic data and fresh tumult in Washington’s spat with China.

The pan-European STOXX 600 and S&P 500 are up 11% and 12% respectively for the year to date.

However, many U.S. investors have still been lured by the outperformance of U.S. Treasury bonds compared with total returns in U.S. equities over the past six months.

Millionaires were hoarding as much as a third of their wealth in cash in March, up from less than a quarter at the end of last year, according to a client survey by UBS Asset Management.

UBS doesn’t have historical data for global allocation, but Chief Executive Officer Sergio Ermotti described cash levels as astonishing and said in March U.S. holdings were at records.

Global funds on average allocated 6.4% of their portfolios to cash in the first quarter, the highest on records going back to 2013, according to Reuters’ survey. [ASSET/WRAP]

That level shrank to 5.2% last month, but it is still above historical levels, Reuters records show.

Graphic: Cash stash, click https://tmsnrt.rs/2M1CyUr

Reflecting the caution and uncertainty spreading across markets, most UBS clients said they were waiting to pounce on the next investment opportunity, holding cash as protection against a market downturn or keeping it for an emergency when asked what their rationale is for holding so much cash.

“One of the most common questions we get asked is ‘when’s the cycle going to end’,” said James Mulford, Head of UK Mandates & Investment Content at UBS Global Wealth Management.

According to Morningstar data gathered for Reuters on more than 1,000 funds, net cash allocation has remained around 3% since late last year, above the historical average of 2.7%.

Interviews with wealth managers at Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan and HSBC confirm the trend.

“Cash has been running meaningfully above average among clients,” said Lisa Shalett, chief investment officer of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management. “Typically cash would be 5-6% of their assets. Now it’s 3 to 4 times more.”

Investors wonder how much longer this year’s stock market rally can last as valuations look stretched and Q1 corporate earnings growth slowed, but they are also struggling to find alternative markets as government bond yields weaken.

“Clients are questioning if there is value in this market,” said Shalett.

Holding cash will also stifle activity and further hurt income for banks, which are struggling with lower trading activity in general.

Late last month, UBS’ Ermotti said the bank had seen some pick-up in client activity, but had previously described conditions as the toughest in years as revenues in its investment bank and wealth management fell.

SELL IN MAY?

So much cash on the sidelines undermines the idea posed by many analysts over the past month that investors have been too complacent about the headwinds, such as a breakdown in the U.S.-China trade talks, that could threaten the stock rally during the quieter summer months.

The summer months to the end of September are often the weakest stretch in the year.

Instead, investors were unusually cautious even before U.S. President Donald Trump sent shudders through financial markets earlier this month by reigniting his spat with Beijing.

“There’s a lot of cash on the sidelines that tells us investors don’t have conviction, but it also means they’re not exposed so they won’t be forced to sell,” said Willem Sels, chief market strategist at HSBC Private Banking.

“That gives me some confidence that we won’t see a big correction in equity markets.”

While Treasuries have outperformed U.S. stocks over the past six months, the strategy may not pay off in the long term, UBS reckons.

The wealth manager expects a long-term annualized return of 7.8% for global stocks based on the MSCI All Country World Index, versus 2.8% for U.S. dollar cash, measured in 1- to 3-month Treasury notes.

But what could prise them out of their lethargy? Better economic and corporate data and an end to Trump’s protectionist policies, asset managers say.

Until then, Christophe Donay, head of asset allocation at Pictet Wealth Management, said investors are stuck.

“Most investors are trapped in a prisoners dilemma. Whether to collaborate – follow the trend – or not collaborate. The optimal decision is do nothing,” he said.

Graphic: US notes vs stocks, click https://tmsnrt.rs/2EvsXyZ

Graphic: US stocks and cash adjusted for inflation, click https://tmsnrt.rs/2YLY1lz

(Additional reporting by Saikat Chatterjee; Editing by Toby Chopra)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: A logo of German energy utility company Uniper SE
FILE PHOTO: A logo of German energy utility company Uniper SE is pictured in Duesseldorf, Germany, March 8, 2018. REUTERS/Thilo Schmuelgen/File Photo

May 26, 2019

By Christoph Steitz

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Uniper’s chairman on Sunday said talks with major shareholder Fortum to resolve a dispute between the two companies were on hold after two of the German utility’s board members resigned.

Fortum and Uniper have been at loggerheads since the Finnish state-owned utility tried to take over the German group in 2017, a deal that Uniper’s management opposed due to concerns it might get broken up.

Fortum, which has a 49.99% stake in Uniper, has claimed that Uniper’s board actively tried to block its planned takeover, which Uniper denies.

The resignation of Uniper’s Chief Operating Officer Eckhardt Ruemmler and Chief Commercial Officer Keith Martin came in response to Fortum’s move last week to postpone a shareholder vote to endorse Uniper’s management for the past two years.

“We must and want to work with our major shareholder in a trusting relationship. This trust has lost its foundation. Talks had been on a good path. In my view a major chance has been blown,” Uniper Supervisory Board Chairman Bernhard Reutersberg told Reuters.

He said that talks with Fortum were on hold for now.

“I expect a clear signal from Fortum on how they think talks can be continued in light of the current developments.”

Uniper said Ruemmler and Martin — which had led cooperation talks with Fortum since February — had asked the group’s chairman to terminate their contracts at the end of Nov. 30, 2019.

Russian regulators have barred Fortum from increasing its stake in Uniper because of a water-testing license owned by the German firm’s Russian business Unipro. Uniper has so far held on to the license, effectively blocking a takeover.

Reutersberg said that external and internal experts had found no evidence that Uniper management violated any laws in its dealings in Russia, adding there were no findings that support Fortum’s claims.

Fortum Chief Executive Pekka Lundmark said in a statement delaying the discharge vote on Uniper’s management had been a result of the lack of transparency on management conduct during and after the takeover bid, not a sign of mistrust in management as a whole.

He said it was now Fortum’s goal to establish a dialogue with Uniper’s incoming Chief Executive Andreas Schierenbeck and Chief Financial Officer Sascha Bibert, which will both start their jobs on June 1.

“We are confident that together we can make a joint vision reality,” Lundmark said.

(Reporting by Christoph Steitz. Editing by Jane Merriman)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: A logo of German energy utility company Uniper SE
FILE PHOTO: A logo of German energy utility company Uniper SE is pictured in Duesseldorf, Germany, March 8, 2018. REUTERS/Thilo Schmuelgen/File Photo

May 26, 2019

By Christoph Steitz

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Uniper’s chairman on Sunday said talks with major shareholder Fortum to resolve a dispute between the two companies were on hold after two of the German utility’s board members resigned.

Fortum and Uniper have been at loggerheads since the Finnish state-owned utility tried to take over the German group in 2017, a deal that Uniper’s management opposed due to concerns it might get broken up.

Fortum, which has a 49.99% stake in Uniper, has claimed that Uniper’s board actively tried to block its planned takeover, which Uniper denies.

The resignation of Uniper’s Chief Operating Officer Eckhardt Ruemmler and Chief Commercial Officer Keith Martin came in response to Fortum’s move last week to postpone a shareholder vote to endorse Uniper’s management for the past two years.

“We must and want to work with our major shareholder in a trusting relationship. This trust has lost its foundation. Talks had been on a good path. In my view a major chance has been blown,” Uniper Supervisory Board Chairman Bernhard Reutersberg told Reuters.

He said that talks with Fortum were on hold for now.

“I expect a clear signal from Fortum on how they think talks can be continued in light of the current developments.”

Uniper said Ruemmler and Martin — which had led cooperation talks with Fortum since February — had asked the group’s chairman to terminate their contracts at the end of Nov. 30, 2019.

Russian regulators have barred Fortum from increasing its stake in Uniper because of a water-testing license owned by the German firm’s Russian business Unipro. Uniper has so far held on to the license, effectively blocking a takeover.

Reutersberg said that external and internal experts had found no evidence that Uniper management violated any laws in its dealings in Russia, adding there were no findings that support Fortum’s claims.

Fortum Chief Executive Pekka Lundmark said in a statement delaying the discharge vote on Uniper’s management had been a result of the lack of transparency on management conduct during and after the takeover bid, not a sign of mistrust in management as a whole.

He said it was now Fortum’s goal to establish a dialogue with Uniper’s incoming Chief Executive Andreas Schierenbeck and Chief Financial Officer Sascha Bibert, which will both start their jobs on June 1.

“We are confident that together we can make a joint vision reality,” Lundmark said.

(Reporting by Christoph Steitz. Editing by Jane Merriman)

Source: OANN

Spread the love

In the first seven years after the Great Recession, Rick Dieterich found that his Mystic business, Springline Yacht Sales, was struggling. But things started looking up in 2016, and then in 2018 he did a record $3.6 million worth of sales.

With 2019 not even half over, he has done $3.9 million in sales and expects another $600,000 or so in the remaining months, most of which are “pretty dead” for sales.

He said the average sale is in the $400,000 range but called them “working people’s boats,” for which buyers typically take out a 20-year mortgage — as if they’re paying for a second home.

Dieterich notes there are “probably a multitude of factors involved” in the success of the past year or two, but he attributes part of it to the Connecticut General Assembly lowering the boat tax last year. Effective July 1, 2018, the sales tax on boats, boat engines and boat trailers went from 6.35 percent to 2.99 percent.

The rationale was to better compete with Rhode Island, which does not charge any sales tax on boat purchases. In New York, the combined county and state sales taxes means total sales taxes range from 7 percent to 8.875 percent, but only the first $230,000 of a boat’s price is taxable.

Kathleen Burns, executive director of the Connecticut Marine Trades Association, said the organization had been working for four years to get the tax lowered.

The budget proposal Gov. Ned Lamont introduced in February would revert the tax to 6.35 percent, whereas the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee revenue bill would keep it at 2.99 percent. Sen. Heather Somers, R-Groton, a passionate advocate for lowering the boat tax, called this a “very wise and thoughtful decision” on the part of the committee, but she doesn’t know what the final budget will look like.

Local boat dealers see positive impact of lower tax

Between the February proposal and the committee’s favorable report on its alternative in May was a public hearing on Senate Bill 877, a bill of revenue items to implement the budget. It was a wide-ranging hearing, with massage therapists, architects, accountants and more testifying to how additional taxes would hurt their industries.

Buried among the hours of testimony on March 15 were several people urging the retention of the 2.99 percent boat sales tax rate.

Burns said average boat sales were up 41 percent per month, marinas reported an occupancy rate increase from 65 to 78 percent, and 85 percent of all dealers hired additional full-time personnel since July 2018.

She also noted the winter season was up 8 percent over previous years, and “winter storage is the driver for off-season work, labor and parts that keeps the workforce employed year-round, avoiding layoffs and unemployment claims.”

Tasha Cusson of the Westbrook new and used boat dealer Atlantic Outboard said her company invested more than $1 million in the business in the past year, something it wouldn’t have done if employees thought the sales tax reduction was temporary.

Both Ron Helbig and Alexa Kangley of Noank Village Boatyard in Groton said if the boat tax is raised again, customers will go to other states — and so will marine industry jobs.

“When we lose boat sales and boat slips to neighboring states, we also (lose) tax revenue from restaurants, hotels, spas, entertainment venues, and more,” wrote Kate Mosley, marina manager of Saybrook Point Marina. “Raising occupancy and boat sales taxes will drive tourists and jobs out of the state, resulting in the overall LOSS of tax revenue.”

While Dieterich didn’t submit written testimony, he said he was at the Capitol wearing his “Don’t sink an industry” T-shirt. Asked about the local legislators who advocated for lowering the boat tax, Dieterich cited Somers, former Sen. Andrew Maynard and Rep. Joe de la Cruz, D-Groton.

Somers wanted the boat tax to be eliminated entirely, to be on a level playing field with Rhode Island, but 2.99 percent was the compromise. She said someone wrote her a thank-you note because he could finally afford a boat for his family. Somers stressed that many boat sales are “not mega-yachts” but ones costing about $20,000.

Don MacKenzie, president of Boats Incorporated in East Lyme, told The Day last week his company grew from 25 full-time employees last May to 29 now, and that his marina is full — a type of growth he hasn’t seen in years.

“It has been so tough competing with Rhode Island,” he said in a written message. “The lower rate has first and foremost kept CT customers in our state, and for those customers that may have been sitting on the fence, they are now buying. Not just has the boating industry benefitted, but so many local businesses have benefitted as well.”

The owners of Reynolds’ Boats in Lyme and the regional brokerage Brewer Yacht Sales also told The Day they’ve seen a positive impact on boat sales from the lower sales tax.

It’s difficult to measure the extent to which the lower tax is having a multiplier effect on others in marine industries. The general manager of Norwest Marine, which offers dock slips and Yamaha parts in Pawcatuck, said he hasn’t seen an impact. The owner of Dodson Boatyard, a service yard in Stonington Borough, said he hasn’t felt any impact from the lower boat tax.

Read More:
https://www.theday.com/article/20190525/BIZ02/190529587

Image Credit: Gerald Herbert/AP

Protesters take part in a march ahead of June 4 anniversary of military crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Tiananmen Square, in Hong Kong
Protesters take part in a march ahead of June 4 anniversary of military crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Tiananmen Square, in Hong Kong, China May 26, 2019. REUTERS/James Pomfret

May 26, 2019

By James Pomfret

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Thousands of protesters marched through central Hong Kong on Sunday as part of annual demonstrations demanding that China be held accountable for its democracy crackdown in and around Tiananmen Square three decades ago.

Human rights groups and witnesses say that hundreds, perhaps thousands, died in the bloodshed as Chinese tanks rolled into Tiananmen Square and soldiers fired on student-led democracy protesters, beginning on the night of June 3, 1989.

The Tiananmen crackdown is a taboo subject in China and authorities have refused to accept full accountability or release the death toll.

This year, for the 30th anniversary, censors at Chinese internet companies say that tools to detect and block content related to the 1989 crackdown have reached unprecedented levels of accuracy, aided by machine learning and voice and image recognition.

Hong Kong and Macau are the only places on Chinese soil where the event is commemorated each year, while the democratic island of Taiwan also holds public gatherings for the victims.

The Hong Kong demonstrators marched to China’s main representative “liaison” office in the city, where some held up banners while chanting slogans including “the people will not forget”.

Many of the protesters also held up yellow umbrellas, a symbol of Hong Kong’s 2014 pro-democracy “umbrella revolution”, while calling for the scrapping of a proposed extradition law that would allow people to be sent to China to face trial.

Lawyers, business people and diplomats have expressed widespread concern that the law could extend China’s control into Hong Kong and undermine the city’s vaunted rule of law.

The umbrellas carried the words “Support freedom. Oppose evil law”.

“The Hong Kong people have not forgotten the event of 30 years ago,” said lawmaker Wu Chi-wai, who heads the city’s main opposition Democratic Party.

“The (Chinese) Communist Party tries to erase those memories. But the Hong Kong people have kept it up and are looking for the day when the dictatorship on the mainland will end.”

Some in the crowds were also from mainland China. Among them was Chen Shen, who said he had watched a documentary on the crackdown and later shared it widely with friends using a virtual private network (VPN) to circumvent Chinese censors.

“I felt angry and sad,” he said during the march. “I think Chinese people have the right to know the truth.”

Police estimated that 2,100 people took part in Sunday’s march. An annual candlelight vigil in Victoria Park on June 4 is expected to draw tens of thousands of people.

(Reporting by James Pomfret; Editing by David Goodman)

Source: OANN

Protesters take part in a march ahead of June 4 anniversary of military crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Tiananmen Square, in Hong Kong
Protesters take part in a march ahead of June 4 anniversary of military crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Tiananmen Square, in Hong Kong, China May 26, 2019. REUTERS/James Pomfret

May 26, 2019

By James Pomfret

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Thousands of protesters marched through central Hong Kong on Sunday as part of annual demonstrations demanding that China be held accountable for its democracy crackdown in and around Tiananmen Square three decades ago.

Human rights groups and witnesses say that hundreds, perhaps thousands, died in the bloodshed as Chinese tanks rolled into Tiananmen Square and soldiers fired on student-led democracy protesters, beginning on the night of June 3, 1989.

The Tiananmen crackdown is a taboo subject in China and authorities have refused to accept full accountability or release the death toll.

This year, for the 30th anniversary, censors at Chinese internet companies say that tools to detect and block content related to the 1989 crackdown have reached unprecedented levels of accuracy, aided by machine learning and voice and image recognition.

Hong Kong and Macau are the only places on Chinese soil where the event is commemorated each year, while the democratic island of Taiwan also holds public gatherings for the victims.

The Hong Kong demonstrators marched to China’s main representative “liaison” office in the city, where some held up banners while chanting slogans including “the people will not forget”.

Many of the protesters also held up yellow umbrellas, a symbol of Hong Kong’s 2014 pro-democracy “umbrella revolution”, while calling for the scrapping of a proposed extradition law that would allow people to be sent to China to face trial.

Lawyers, business people and diplomats have expressed widespread concern that the law could extend China’s control into Hong Kong and undermine the city’s vaunted rule of law.

The umbrellas carried the words “Support freedom. Oppose evil law”.

“The Hong Kong people have not forgotten the event of 30 years ago,” said lawmaker Wu Chi-wai, who heads the city’s main opposition Democratic Party.

“The (Chinese) Communist Party tries to erase those memories. But the Hong Kong people have kept it up and are looking for the day when the dictatorship on the mainland will end.”

Some in the crowds were also from mainland China. Among them was Chen Shen, who said he had watched a documentary on the crackdown and later shared it widely with friends using a virtual private network (VPN) to circumvent Chinese censors.

“I felt angry and sad,” he said during the march. “I think Chinese people have the right to know the truth.”

Police estimated that 2,100 people took part in Sunday’s march. An annual candlelight vigil in Victoria Park on June 4 is expected to draw tens of thousands of people.

(Reporting by James Pomfret; Editing by David Goodman)

Source: OANN


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