Business

The ECB is set to begin the process of its easy money-exit

“We never pre-commit.” This was the rule broken last week by the European Central Bank’s Chief Economist Peter Praet, one of the more dovish members of the bank’s Governing Council, as he openly said it would start to discuss the gradual exit from of its quantitative easing (QE) program this week at its meeting in Riga, Latvia. What has changed? Recent headline inflation was stronger than expected and close to the ECB’s target, mainly due to the rise in oil prices. At the same time the situation in Italy has calmed down again. But there still are risks to the growth outlook from other issues such as the U.S.-EU trade spat. “We think a ‘flexible tapering’ announcement is more likely than an unconditional commitment to an end date for QE,”...

Investors need to think innovatively about tech

Tech is a no brainer for investors. But a simple investment theme for the sector is being badly executed. Investors are too narrow in their focus, chasing Nasdaq and FANG (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google) stocks similar to how investors often play emerging markets in a simple fashion. Investor sentiment is cautious, except when it comes to tech stocks — even a scandal doesn’t hurt for long. The scale of the Facebook data privacy issue is still being uncovered with new revelations about information shared with Huawei, a Chinese company that some American politicians and regulators want banned from government contracts because of national security concerns. Facebook stock continues to trade around records. Apple recently got handsomely rewarded for making sense of tech disruption,...

Yikes! Trade and Economic Policy Uncertainty

First, overall (news-based) economic policy uncertainty: Figure 1: Economic Policy Uncertainty index (blue), and centered seven day moving average (red). Source: policyuncertainty.com accessed 6/11, and author’s calculations. Second, how the trade policy component has jumped in the Trump era. Figure 2: Economic Policy Uncertainty index (blue), and trade policy categorical index (dark red), through March 2018. Source: policyuncertainty.com accessed 6/11.

PG&E shares sink 4 percent after Cal Fire faults utility for a dozen wildfires

Shares of PG&E fell more than 4 percent Monday after Cal Fire blamed the electric utility’s equipment for several major Northern California wildfires in October that resulted in fatalities and the loss of thousands of structures. It comes as there are discussions going on in the state legislature to create a disaster fund for investor-owned utilities that would increase the insurance levels for extreme events such as wildfires. California has a history of power company lines becoming the sources of fires. In a statement issued late Friday, Cal Fire said its investigators determined that a dozen wildfires in six counties, including the Nuns, Redwood and Atlas fires, were caused by PG&E’s “electric power and distribution lines, conductors and the failure of power po...

IHOP’s name change is a gimmick to increase restaurant traffic: Analyst

IHOP changed its name to IHOb last week in a move that confused customers. While many loyal pancake lovers thought the “b” might mean “brunch” or “breakfast,” the restaurant chain announced on Monday that the “b” actually stands for “burgers.” “Changing the name, even if it’s a little bit gimmicky, does bring traffic and attention to the stores,” Stephen Anderson of the Maxim Group told CNBC on “Closing Bell” Monday. But the name change isn’t permanent. The same day the meaning behind the “b” was revealed, the chain restaurant announced in a press release that the move was “just for the time being.” The marketing strategy will promote the seven new burgers that the restau...

Volcanic eruption hurt bookings, Hawaiian Airlines warns

A volcanic eruption in Hawaii will likely dent bookings and revenue in the second quarter, Hawaiian Airlines said. A powerful eruption at Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano started early last month, forcing evacuations of nearby residents. Hundreds of homes have been destroyed. Hawaiian said it expects second-quarter revenue for each seat it flies a mile, a key industry metric, will come in 0.5 percent lower to 1.5 percent higher than it did a year ago. The airline previously estimated revenue would be flat to up as much as 3 percent. The airline also warned about higher-than-expected fuel costs, an issue that has hit the airline industry broadly. Hawaiian’s shares were off nearly 1 percent in after-hours trading.

Meet Me In Singapore

Well, “the most important week of the year” got off to a relatively quiet start, all things considered. Of course Trump was anything but “quiet”. Or actually, he was quiet during U.S. business hours but his Twitter account lit up late Sunday evening with still more attacks on Canada and Europe. The man who on Saturday proclaimed the world “tariff-free” was, by Sunday evening, insisting that henceforth, “fair trade” will be called “Fool Trade”: Fair Trade is now to be called Fool Trade if it is not Reciprocal. According to a Canada release, they make almost 100 Billion Dollars in Trade with U.S. (guess they were bragging and got caught!). Minimum is 17B. Tax Dairy from us at 270%. Then Justin acts hurt when called out! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 11, 2018 We are now literally ...

US Steel planning to add more than 800 jobs this year

David Burritt, president and CEO of U.S. Steel, told CNBC that his company plans to add approximately 800 new jobs this year at a plant in Illinois. That’s not including the additional jobs that will be created throughout the community as a result of the reopening of the facility. Burritt credited President Donald Trump tariffs as a “great first step” in making this happen. “We’ve been in a trade war for 30 years,” Burritt told CNBC’s Jackie DeAngeli on Monday. “That’s a really long time. And finally we have a president in place that’s actually taking action so we can get everyone to the table.” In March, Trump announced steel and aluminum tariffs to correct what he deemed were unfair trading practices. Many in the steel and...

Now you can buy sports and music tickets through Snapchat

Sports teams and musicians can now sell tickets directly to fans through their Snapchat Stories thanks to an integration with SeatGeek. The New York-based ticket-search engine is working with Snap Inc. to enable ticket buying through the Venice, California, company’s signature app. The integration is the first ticket-buying experience in Snapchat and one of the first e-commerce offerings within the social media platform. Here’s how it works: Organizations and artists with events at venues ticketed by SeatGeek can add ticketing capability to their Snapchat Stories. Snapchatters just swipe up, select their seats and check out, all within the app. More from LA Biz:Teens use Snapchat more often than Facebook, InstagramSnap CEO Evan Spiegel says critical letter was a ‘wakeup c...

United flight from Rome to Chicago diverts to Ireland due to a ‘potential security concern’

A United Airlines flight from Rome to Chicago diverted to Shannon, Ireland due to a “potential security concern,” the airline said Monday. Police said passengers from Flight 971 and the plane are being searched. The plane landed in Shannon at 2:15 p.m. local time, police said. The diversion occurred after a threatening note was found on board, according to a person familiar with the matter. Local police confirmed that a message was discovered but did not immediately respond to a request for more detail. United declined to comment on the reason for the diversion. United said the airline “will work to get customers on their way to Chicago as quickly as possible.” Passengers will return to Chicago on Tuesday and the airline is working to help travelers with overnight a...

Chilean Criminals Have Turned to Avocado Theft, And Who Can Blame Them

Avocados, the lynchpin of millennial criticism, are proving that everyone wants a piece of the hottest food trend of the 21st century. Chile, one of the biggest exporters of avocados, is benefiting from increased demand. Specifically, the prices of avocados have grown 23% in the past year, and 9% in the past month. Sadly, these price increases haven’t come without repercussions While thefts have always existed, it has gone from people breaking into fields at night to organized armed groups assaulting producers in broad daylight, said Francisco Contardo, general manager of Chile’s avocado producers’ association. During the harvest season, from August to February this year, 10 bands were dismantled and 50 people were charged with theft. Now Chile has copied the avocado police of Mexico and C...

Democratic lawmaker challenges Pruitt on EPA public records

Environmental Protection Agency emails show that Administrator Scott Pruitt’s top aides were told to review public records releases under the Freedom of Information Act. The emails from EPA Chief of Staff Ryan Jackson and a top legal counsel lay out a system for Pruitt’s political appointees to review any FOIA record releases. Jackson calls it a “centralization pilot project.” House Oversight Committee Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland writes in a letter to Pruitt on Monday that he is concerned the administrator is avoiding releasing public records. EPA spokespeople did not immediately return a request for comment. Pruitt is dealing with a series of ongoing federal investigations regarding alleged ethical misconduct. Several of the allegations came to ligh...