ASB Securities Morning Brief for Saturday, 21 May 2016
Saturday, 21 May 2016

New Zealand Headlines

New Zealand Market Report: New Zealand shares rose as Sky Network Television gained on perceptions it may be closer to fair value after shedding a quarter of its value while New Zealand Refining dropped. The S&P/NZX 50 Index gained 6.24 points, or 0.09 percent, to 6,909.86. Within the index, 24 stocks rose, 20 fell and six were unchanged. Turnover was $143.8 million... Read more

The New Zealand dollar rose after figures showed the nation continues to welcome migrants at a record pace, ensuring a key plank of economic growth and demand remains in place. The kiwi rose to 67.61 US cents from 67.31 cents late yesterday and is heading into the weekend little changed on the week. The trade-weighted index rose to 72.79 from 72.55... Read more

New Zealand posted new records for migration and tourism in April, providing a buffer for the economy hurt by weak prices for dairy products, the country's largest export commodity. New Zealand had net migration of 68,100 in the 12 months through April, as migrant arrivals rose 9 percent to 124,700 and departures slid 2 percent to 56,600, Statistics New Zealand said. Tourism also continued to boom, with visitor arrivals rising 11 percent to a record 3.27 million in the year through April... Read more

Annual migration flows hit another high in the latest data, but experts say the trend is slowing – which could relieve pressure in some areas. In the latest Statistics New Zealand data there was a seasonally adjusted monthly net gain of 5,500 migrants in April 2016... Read more

Is the Reserve Bank under-estimating Auckland migration?... Read more

The Treasury is likely to upgrade its forecasts for economic growth in Budget 2016 next week but Finance Minister Bill English has already signalled that more of his focus is on debt repayment than on fiscal stimulus or tax cuts. Mr English said last week that although government debt levels aren't high by international standards, "we could be stretched if another economic shock or natural disaster hit."... Read more

Budget to deliver $20 million for rural tourism boom... Read more

Auckland Council says it has already approved plans for up to 23,000 new homes outside of the current urban limit. Auckland Council has hit back at calls from Wellington politicians on both sides of the political fence to abolish its Metropolitan Urban Limit (to be renamed the Rural Urban Boundary) which supposedly puts a ring around where new housing can be developed in the region... Read more

A new online letting service for landlords who choose to self-manage their properties has been launched today. TenantSource.co.nz is intended to make tenanting a property easier and cheaper for the large group of property investors who take a DIY approach to their assets. TenantSource director Scott Dunn said consumer.org.nz information indicated that up to 60% of Kiwi investors manage their own properties... Read more

Lifestyle block sales at 12-year high at start of 2016... Read more

ASB takes a knife to all mortgage rates from 3 to 5 years with reductions that allow it to grab a market-leading position and open a bigger advantage over ANZ... Read more

Foreign Minister Murray McCully is stepping up diplomatic relations with Iran as that country emerges into the global economy. Western nations have removed sanctions as a result of the nuclear arms deal that puts a 10-year moratorium on Iran’s weapons programme... Read more

The New Zealand Venture Investment Fund won't be wound-up any time soon but can't expect much more taxpayer funding, Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce has confirmed. Joyce hit back at criticisms by the ACT Party that the Government was spending too much on "corporate welfare", saying spending had not increased. NZVIF was set up by the Labour government in 2002 to help boost the venture capital industry and provide more sources of funding for young technology companies... Read more

A new US economic study on the impact of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) shows a boost for American agriculture and the services sector but a decrease in manufacturing output. The report from the US International Trade Commission, a nonpartisan government agency, shows food and agriculture would get a big boost from lower barriers to US exports to Japan... Read more

Energy Minister Simon Bridges says the abundance of renewable electricity has made New Zealand complacent about energy productivity. Speaking after the EECA Awards, Bridges said the challenge for New Zealand was "to bottle some of that excitment and innovation" from the ceremony and spread it into businesses that weren't thinking about it... Read more

Stubbs looking to launch new KiwiSaver offer... Read more

A2 Milk Co brushed off a 'please explain' notice from the stock market operator after its shares plunged to a five-month low saying it complied with listing rules, while separately, brokerage firm First NZ Capital noted uncertainty creeping into the market as four new entrants start selling milk with the A2-type protein. The Auckland-based, Sydney-headquartered company said it continued to comply with continuous disclosure rules after NZX queried a 22 percent slump in the share price since May 17, which saw the shares fall as low as $1.40, the lowest since Dec. 18. The shares were recently at $1.59, down 1.2 percent today and 11 percent this week.... Read more

Fonterra's top executive in Australia, Judith Swales, says she is confident the co-operative has done nothing wrong and that it is co-operating fully with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) in its investigation of the sudden slump in milk prices across the Tasman. Both Fonterra and Australia's biggest dairy company, Murray Goulburn, are being investigated by the ACCC - Australia's equivalent of the Commerce Commission - after they both cut their farmgate milk prices within days of each other... Read more

New Zealand wool prices gained at yesterday's South Island auction as buyers preferred the southern offering to last week's North Island selection. The coarse crossbred wool indicator advanced 3 percent from last week, with the benchmark 39-micron strong wool price rising to $5.95 per kilogram from $5.70/kg last week, AgriHQ said. The lamb wool indicator advanced 1 percent, with 30-micron lamb wool increasing to $6.20/kg from $6.05/kg last week... Read more

Fast food chain McDonald's will order an immediate audit of fisheries it sources New Zealand hoki from if environmental standards are not being met. Earlier this week a report into New Zealand's fishing industry said New Zealand's actual fishery catch was estimated to be 2.7 times more than reported... Read more

Investors thinking about dipping their toes back into Chinese equities markets are being given a warning: It’s not time yet. China’s equity markets have been through a volatile year. During the first half of 2015, China’s A Shares soared over 70% only to plummet around 50% by early 2016. They have drifted down 5% this year. John Berry, of Pathfinder, said many investors were starting to consider whether it was time to increase their exposure to China, and other emerging markets.... Read more

Augusta Capital lifted annual earnings 17 percent as the listed property investor and fund manager eked out bigger returns from its two segments, with a higher occupancy rate and more syndication deals completed... Read more

New Zealand space company Rocket Lab has reached a major milestone in its quest to launch commercial satellites into orbit. Auckland based Rocket Lab has successfully tested the second stage of its Electron rocket - an 18m tall launch vehicle designed to send satellites into orbit for as little as US$50,000 (NZ$74,100). It had also qualified its 3D-printed engines, called Rutherford, which drive the rocket... Read more

Air NZ has delivered 8.4% annual return since rescue. The government was forced to re-nationalise Air New Zealand in 2002 to save the airline from bankruptcy but the investment has paid off in the long run by delivering an annual return estimated at 8.4 percent, the Treasury estimates... Read more

Wellington International Airport, which is 66 percent owned by investment group Infratil, posted a 29 percent gain in full-year profit as growth in international passenger volumes drove revenue. Profit rose to $12.5 million in the 12 months ended March 31, from about $9.7 million a year earlier, the company said in a statement. Sales gained 4.8 percent to $113.5 million... Read more

Westpac NZ earned recognition for its contribution to making solar power more affordable and accessible to New Zealand homeowners when it won The Business Institutional Banking Innovation Award at the INFINZ awards last night. “We’re thrilled Westpac NZ has been recognised for its innovation in developing the first Solar Energy Services Facility in New Zealand,” says solarcity CEO Andrew Booth... Read more

As it prepares to enter the world of online groceries, supermarket giant Foodstuffs says there are "exciting" new ways of delivering food not too far around the corner. Foodstuffs, the owner of the New World, Four Square and Pak 'n Save brands, plans to begin rolling out a national grocery delivery and pick-up service from October, first in the North Island and then in the South... Read more

ANZ Bank New Zealand's UDC Finance unit reported a 4 percent decline in first-half profit, saying the result reflected tighter lending and deposit margins as a result of increased competition and an increase in its charge for bad debts. Profit fell to $27.3 million in the six months ended March 31, from $28.4 million a year earlier. Operating income fell 1.9 percent to $59.5 million while operating expenses fell 2.5 percent to $15.8 million.... Read more

Chevron New Zealand, which is selling its local service station chain to Z Energy, injected $14.3 million into its Caltex pension scheme which was wound up earlier this year. The Auckland-based subsidiary of the global oil company is quitting its New Zealand downstream businesses, selling the Caltex and Challenge! service station brands to Z for $785 million and exiting its 11 percent stake in New Zealand Refining... Read more

Hell has extended its paid work experience programme ‘Active in HELL’ for another full year and is keen for more young Kiwis to be involved. The pizza company teamed up with IHC to launch the scheme in 2013. After a successful pilot in Wellington, HELL committed to paying 64 trainees for six weeks of specialised training in its kitchens around the country... Read more

An Auckland medical device company is aiming to crowdfund $2 million to commercialise its laser technology designed to save lives. Veriphi uses laser verification to prevent injury and death caused by intravenous medication error in hospitals. The Devonport-based business is selling up to 20 per cent of the company through crowdfunding platform Snowball Effect to help fund its next stage of growth... Read more

Bell Gully has been named New Zealand Tax Firm of the Year at the International Tax Review’s Tax Awards held in Singapore on 5 May... Read more

Chapman Tripp Wins NZ Deal Team of the Year... Read more

2degrees is more than doubling its standard charges for sending prepay text messages. Spokeswoman Charlene White acknowledged the change would affect several hundred thousand prepay customers, but said it was part of a move to "simplify" its prices. Customers on 2degrees' Prepay Plus plan will have to pay 20 cents for texts, instead of 9c, from June 12.... Read more

NZX chief executive Tim Bennett says settling the long-running dispute with the former owners of the Clear Grain Exchange would have been in both parties' interests with the 11-week long trial and its five-year lead-up likely to cost the stock market operator as much as $10 million. Speaking to shareholders at today's annual meeting in Auckland, Mr Bennett said he couldn't comment in detail on the litigation as it's currently before the High Court, but that the stock market operator's total legal cost will amount to between $9-10 million by the end of the trial, not including the time spent by internal staff in running the litigation. NZX spent $2 million on the litigation in the 2015 financial year... Read more

The Financial Markets Authority has issued a direction order to foreign exchange education firm Cambrian Corp to change the way its markets itself, which the market watchdog said was either misleading or deceptive and made unsubstantiated claims about its services. The market supervisor's notice orders Auckland-based firm to ensure all marketing materials make clear that FX trading "cannot be relied upon to provide substantial profits quickly and consistently", is high risk, and that those risk disclaimers are prominent enough to be seen... Read more

Real estate agency Unique Realty ordered to pay $1.25m over price-fixing... Read more

A convicted tax fraudster, who claimed his wife had tried to kill herself in a bid to keep his name suppressed, could be allowed to continue to operate as a liquidator, after the High Court struck out applications from Inland Revenue. Porirua Accountant Imran Mohammed Kamal pleaded guilty to six charges under the Tax Administration Act in 2013, for aiding and abetting his company Accountants First, after filing false income tax and GST returns as well as providing false information to the Commissioner of IRD... Read more

Opinion - Brian Gaynor: Winners and losers in the generation game. Workforce changes mean the 20- to 40-year-olds of today could be financially worse off than their parents' age group... Read more

Opinion - Geoff Simmons: Three questions we have to answer before abolishing Auckland’s city limit... Read more

Opinion - Fran O'Sullivan: Key thinks cut, but English says save... Read more

Opinion - Shamubeel Eaqub: A good Budget borrows to invest to fix issues and growth. The Government will be announcing the Budget next week. It covers the usual looking at the entrails to forecast the economy and tax take, but what is really important is how the Government prioritises its spending and managing its debt... Read more





Australian Headlines

Australian Market Report: The Australian sharemarket rallied on low volumes as markets continued to downplay US rate rise risks, but the weakening yuan signalled rising global market risks. Wall Street dropped 0.4 per cent last night but after opening flat the S&P/ASX 200 index climbed 28 points, or 0.53 per cent, to 5351.3 with miners gaining despite a slump in spot iron ore and the London Metals Exchange index... Read more

The Australian dollar is higher despite pressure from the rising greenback. At 1200 AEST on Friday, the currency was trading at 72.34 US cents, up from 72.21 cents on Thursday.... Read more

The Commonwealth Bank Business Sales Indicator (BSI) – a measure of economy-wide spending – rose for the 15th straight month in April. The extra trading day in February and early timing of Easter have distorted results in recent months so the results should be interpreted with care. The Business Sales Indicator rose by 0.2 per cent in April, after gains of 0.1 per cent in the three previous months. Annual growth slowed from 5.2 per cent to 4.6 per cent. The more volatile seasonally adjusted BSI rose by 3.4 per cent in April after rising by 6.2 per cent in March and falling by 9.0 per cent in February... Read more

Low pay growth, price rises and the new normal. Are we waiting with ever-growing impatience for the economy to get back to normal, or has the economy shifted to a "new normal"? I think that's the central question in macro-economics today – not just in Oz but throughout the developed world... Read more

PEFO budget numbers unchanged, Treasury stands by forecasts... Read more

Mining services provider Ausdrill has sold its Drilling Tools Australia business to Finnish manufacturer Robit for $66 million. Austral said the sale was in line with its strategy of refocusing on core activities. The company's shares in response had surged 5.5 cents, or 13 per cent, to 47.5 cents at 9.35am.... Read more

Gascoyne Resources Ltd has been granted a trading halt by the ASX, pending an update on exploration at Dalgaranga and feasibility. Gascoyne is a near-term gold developer... Read more

Unity Mining Ltd has been granted a trading halt by the ASX, pending the results of both the company's Special General Meeting and the Scheme Meeting... Read more

Mining company Shree Minerals is confident its Nelson Bay River mine in Tasmania's north-west is viable in the long term. A court-imposed order for Shree to comply with environmental regulations to move 80,000 cubic metres of waste rock into the pit of its Tarkine mine expired last week... Read more

Argosy Minerals Ltd is heading to market with a capital raising, and the ASX has granted the company a trading halt to prepare... Read more

Woodside Petroleum tips acquisitions to add resources. Woodside Petroleum has turned its back on large-scale corporate M&A but will hunt out smaller acquisitions of undeveloped fields as it builds up a bank of resources to drive future growth.... Read more

Woodside Petroleum says it has discovered 2.4 trillion cubic feet of gas off Myanmar as it booked an increase in its hydrocarbon resource and flagged a start-up of production in the South East Asian frontier country in five year's time... Read more

Woodside Petroleum has all but ruled out gatecrashing one-time takeover target Oil Search's $US2.2 billion ($3 billion) merger deal with InterOil. Although Woodside has a long-standing interest in Papua New Guinea's oil and gas riches, chief executive Peter Coleman said his merger and acquisitions focus remained "in the sub-$1 billion range"... Read more

Broken Hill Prospecting Ltd appoints Anthony Johnston as CEO... Read more

Newly listed Shark Mitigation Systems Ltd has successfully completed an extended trial of the ‘Clever Buoy’ shark detection and response technology at Sydney’s iconic Bondi Beach. The trials, conducted with the support of the New South Wales Government and the Waverley City Council, is a major step towards the commercial viability of the technology... Read more

Medicinal cannabis firm MGC Pharamaceuticals has raised its maximum $2.5 million target in a share offer open to existing security holders.... Read more

Woolworths will not be fined by NSW authorities over statewide breaches of strict Anzac Day trading restrictions for letting staff into stores prior to 1pm. Last month, news.com.au revealed that the supermarket giant could be facing up to $2.75 million in fines for multiple breaches of the Retail Trading Act 2008, which carry a maximum penalty of $11,000 per store... Read more

Myer is closing two NSW department stores as part of chief executive Richard Umbers’ turnaround plan. Myer’s Wollongong store will close in October, and its store in Orange in the state’s central west will close when its leases expire in January... Read more

TV2U International Ltd has been granted a trading halt by the ASX pending details of a joint venture agreement with a B2B service provider.... Read more

YPB Group Ltd to outline capital raise. YPB Group Ltd has been granted a trading halt by the ASX pending details of a capital raise, and the resultant change to the company’s capital structure.... Read more

Austal may go head-to-head with a rival Defence shipbuilder in two years time with billions of dollars in US Navy contracts up for grabs. The navy officer in charge of the frigate program has said choosing between WA-based Austal and US giant Lockheed Martin to build at least a dozen frigates has been brought forward by one year to 2018... Read more

ACCC to reject APCA's push for single anti-fraud system.... Read more

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is seeking industry input on the changes proposed by Telstra on how it migrates telephone and internet services from its copper and HFC networks to the National Broadband Network (NBN). With the services to transition as the network is rolled out, Telstra has proposed to tweak the migration plan to ensure greater service continuity for customers... Read more

ACCC to block push for mandatory $393 million rollout of online anti-fraud technology... Read more

Sydney Airport weighs second site. Australia’s biggest airport operator is continuing to evaluate its potential involvement in a second major airport in Sydney’s west. Sydney Airport has a right of first refusal which gives the company the opportunity to develop and operate a second major airport within 100 kilometres of Sydney’s CBD... Read more

Australia’s top 20 LGBTI-friendly employers have been announced... Read more

AFP raids Labor offices over NBN leaks. The Australian Federal Police has raided Labor Party offices in Melbourne as part of an investigation into leaked documents concerning the national broadband network. On Thursday night members of the AFP raided the office of Labor senator and former Communications Minister Stephen Conroy, as well as the homes of two staffers for Shadow Communications Minister Jason Clare, Shadow Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus confirmed. Clare's office has been contacted for comment... Read more

AFP boss denies govt influence in Labor NBN raids.... Read more

The renationalisation of the last mile of broadband infrastructure and establishment of the NBN was always going to come at a heavy cost to Telstra. But, just how heavy wasn't known until the telco's boss Andy Penn fronted up to investors earlier this month... Read more

Big four lender ANZ is cutting 200 local jobs, blaming tough economic conditions and low lending growth. “The changes are in response to subdued economic conditions, low lending growth and the need to simplify our business and improve productivity,” a ANZ spokesman said in a statement on Tuesday... Read more

ANZ will suspend loan repayments and waive fees as part of an assistance package for dairy farmers hit by cuts to farmgate milk prices. Dairy producers Murray Goulburn and Fonterra recently slashed the price they pay farmers for their milk, putting farmers under considerable financial pressure... Read more

An investigation into Australia’s second largest employer — McDonald’s — has found the fast food giant cut a deal that left staff seriously out of pocket. The deal between Macca’s and the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association (SDA), signed in 2013, affects young workers who earn as little as $10.08 an hour. Collectively, Australian staff are worse off by $50 million a year. The findings of a Fairfax Media investigation were based on pay slips and store rosters... Read more

How financial planner Inderesan 'Pullen' Pillay cost 300 clients $70 million. Pillay's clients were unsophisticated investors on modest salaries. The system looked the other way... Read more

Opinion/Analysis - Malcolm Maiden: Tasmania the unlikely star of Australia's two-speed economy... Read more





International Headlines

U.S. Market Report: Wall Street rallied on Friday, led by tech stocks on the back of Applied Materials' profit forecast, ending a volatile week on a positive note. The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI rose 64.86 points, or 0.37 percent, to 17,500.26, the S&P 500 .SPX gained 12.18 points, or 0.6 percent, to 2,052.22 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 57.03 points, or 1.21 percent, to 4,769.56.... Read more

North/South Americas Market Report: North and South American markets finished mixed as of the most recent closing prices. The S&P 500 gained 0.60%, while the IPC led the Bovespa lower. They fell 1.10% and 0.60% respectively... Read more

European Market Report: European markets closed sharply higher today with shares in London leading the region. The FTSE 100 is up 1.70% while France's CAC 40 is up 1.67% and Germany's DAX is up 1.23%... Read more

Asian Market Report: Asian markets finished higher today with shares in Hong Kong leading the region. The Hang Seng is up 0.80% while China's Shanghai Composite is up 0.66% and Japan's Nikkei 225 is up 0.54%... Read more

5 Things to Watch on the U.S. Economic Calendar. The coming week will bring economic news on first-quarter business profits, consumer sentiment and Federal Reserve speakers looking toward their June meeting... Read more

LendingClub Corp has hired Jefferies LLC to help it find investors for loan funding, people familiar with the matter said on Friday, as the U.S. online lender seeks to replenish investments after a scandal over the sale of some of its loans. A number of LendingClub's largest investors have halted purchases of its loans, the company said in a quarterly filing this week, after an internal company probe found it had falsified documentation when selling a $22 million package of loans to an investor, which sources have said is Jefferies... Read more

Bank of America has announced plans to create about 1,000 jobs at its Merrill Lynch base in Chester. The move would see the international banking giant's workforce at Chester Business Park double in size by 2020... Read more

Citigroup told US regulators last week it was not willing to support troubled marketplace lender Lending Club after its CEO stepped down following a botched sale of loans. In a May 12 memo seen by IFR, Citigroup said it had declined a request from Jefferies, an investment bank, to back Lending Club after CEO Renaud Laplanche resigned three days earlier... Read more

Gap Inc., acting on its previous commitment to evaluate the company’s fleet of stores, especially those abroad, announced Thursday that it will close its Old Navy stores in Japan. After the 53 Old Navy stores in Japan are shuttered, the company will still have more than 200 Gap and Banana Republic locations in that country... Read more

The Sequoia Fund, a top investor in Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc., told clients that it has significantly reduced its stake in the troubled drugmaker since the end of March. David Poppe, the manager of the fund and chief executive officer of Ruane Cunniff Goldfarb, announced the move at an annual investor day in New York Friday, according to Anne Granfield, an outside spokeswoman for Ruane Cunniff. Poppe did not specify the size of the cut... Read more

Does Wal-Mart Stores Inc. have a buffer against the mighty Amazon in its focus on groceries? It depends who you ask. The retail giant, one of few companies in the sector to announce positive earnings for the first quarter, posted revenue of $115.9 billion early Thursday, exceeding the FactSet consensus of $113.2 billion. Walmart U.S. reported sales of $73.3 billion, with same-store sales up 1%. The company’s Neighborhood Market stores saw same-store sales increase 7.1%... Read more

Aberdeen Asset Management Plc, under pressure after almost three years of outflows, has resisted interest from competitors from Europe to Australia seeking to buy the asset manager and plans to remain independent, according to Chief Executive Officer Martin Gilbert. The shares rose. “I’ve never tried to sell the business but we do get a lot of people wanting to buy us,” Gilbert said in a Bloomberg Television interview with Francine Lacqua. “So far, we have managed to resist... Read more

BT CEO’s Pay Raise Limited to 18% by Customer-Service Problems... Read more

A group of global banks and clearing houses, working with U.S. regulators, said on Friday it has identified two possible replacements for Libor, the benchmark interest rate for $160 trillion worth of credit for everything from home mortgages to corporate loans. The Alternative Reference Rates Committee (ARRC) said that together with the Federal Reserve it has identified the Fed's Overnight Bank Funding Rate (OBFR) and the overnight rate on U.S. Treasury securities pledged as collateral in repurchase, or repo, transactions as alternatives... Read more

Greece is “very close” to a debt relief deal, the EU’s economics chief has said, adding to hopes that the embattled economy can avoid another round of tense talks and uncertainty this summer. Pierre Moscovici, the European economic affairs commissioner, said that Greece and its creditors were “approaching a crucial moment in these discussions and I am confident and and hopeful that we can reach a positive conclusion because it is simply in everyone's interest to do so”... Read more

Tesco Bank boss Benny Higgins spent more than £18,000 on taxis. Despite a clampdown on costs, Higgins spent more than the annual salary of a supermarket shop assistant on taxis in eight months... Read more

UBS Group AG is trimming some positions at the investment bank as part of a plan to reduce costs across the business in response to a revenue slump, according to people with knowledge of the situation... Read more

Ladbrokes Closes on Coral Deal as CMA Gives Provisional Go-Ahead. Almost two decades after Ladbrokes Plc’s first attempt to buy rival Coral was blocked by regulators, the union of two of Britain’s biggest bookmakers looks set to happen.... Read more

Small shareholders have had enough of the bumper pay packages awarded to top British executives. ShareSoc, the UK Individual Shareholders Society, says executive pay should be cut by at least 50%... Read more

English agricultural-land values fell the most since 2008 in the first quarter as weakening commodity prices and concern that the U.K. might vote to exit the European Union damped demand. Prices dropped 3 percent from the previous quarter to less than 8,000 pounds ($11,600) an acre, broker Knight Frank LLP said in a report on Friday. About 25 percent fewer acres of farmland were advertised for sale in the period, the report shows.... Read more

Two Bank of England officials said the U.K.’s economic slowdown may not all be related to the referendum on European Union membership, signaling they have open minds about how temporary the loss of momentum will be... Read more

Pound Drops as BOE Officials Suggest Woes Run Deeper Than Brexit... Read more

Market Impact of Brexit Is Key Concern for G-7 Finance Chiefs... Read more

Danish retailer Tiger eating up competition on Britain's high streets. UK sales rose to £62m last year, with chain’s south-east boss saying shoppers are attracted to its emphasis on ‘fun’ products... Read more

Volkswagen is in big trouble over its emissions cheating scandal, but that's not stopping its workers from getting a healthy raise and bonus. The company said Friday that 120,000 of its workers in Germany will get a 5% raise over the next year and a half.... Read more

The average salary in Russia is now lower than in China and Poland. The average wage in Russia fell below $450 per month, Mikhail Matovnikov, the chief analyst of Russia's largest bank, Sberbank, told journalists during a business meeting on May 19... Read more

Clothing brands may take advantage of weak ruble to move to Russia. With the Russian ruble still weak against major currencies, low costs are tempting some of the world’s leading clothes retailers to consider relocating their production facilities to Russia, with the owner of the Zara, Pull & Bear, and Massimo Dutti brands among those in talks with the authorities... Read more

A consortium that includes sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corp and U.S. buyout firm KKR & Co has ended discussions to buy a stake in Yum Brands Inc's China unit, according to people familiar with the matter. Louisville, Kentucky-based Yum Brands, owner of the Pizza Hut and KFC fast-food chains, has been looking to spin off its 7,205 China restaurants by the end of 2016, amid pressure from activist investor Corvex Management, whose founder, Keith Meister, is on Yum's board... Read more

Indonesia’s central bank kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged for the second straight month, signaling it’s in no hurry to adjust policy until it adopts a new framework in August. Governor Agus Martowardojo and his board left the reference rate at 6.75 percent on Thursday, in line with the forecasts of all 19 economists surveyed by Bloomberg. The seven-day reverse repo rate, which becomes the new benchmark rate in three months time, was kept at 5.5 percent... Read more

Malaysia’s central bank held interest rates steady at Governor Muhammad Ibrahim’s first policy meeting as chief, refraining from immediately adding stimulus to an economy that could need it in coming quarters. Bank Negara Malaysia kept the overnight policy rate at 3.25 percent for an 11th meeting, it said in a statement in Kuala Lumpur Thursday. The decision was predicted by all but one of 21 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News... Read more

Apple’s Cook Says Company Is Betting Hundreds of Millions of Dollars on India. Tim Cook is touring India to learn how the company might do better in the world’s second-most populous country... Read more

This Is Why India’s Infosys Is Minting Fewer Millionaires The number of execs earning 10 million rupees or more plummeted in the last fiscal year. Here’s why.... Read more

Hackers stole millions in third attack on global banking system. If three makes a trend, then it's official: The global banking system is under attack. The methods used by hackers to attack banks in Vietnam and Bangladesh appear to have been deployed over a year ago in a heist in Ecuador.... Read more

Opinion - Phillip Van Doorn: These retailers are profiting off the ‘Amazon effect’. The winners, or survivors, will be those that give up their old business models... Read more

Opinion - Allister Heath: Why plain packaging rules set a bad precedent. I don’t smoke. In fact, I despise cigarettes and their foul stench. Nobody should touch tobacco or for that matter any other addictive drug. But the decision to enforce plain packaging on the tobacco industry – now confirmed by the courts – is a major mistake which will hurt the economy over time and do little or nothing to discourage smoking.... Read more

Opinion - Catey Hill: Is Daniel Craig smart to turn down the $100 million James Bond role? Why snubbing a bigger paycheck is sometimes a good idea... Read more

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