David Fuller and Eoin Treacy's Comment of the Day
Category - General

    State of AI Report 2019

    Thanks to a subscriber for this report for stateof.ai which may be of interest. Here is a brief section on robotics:

    Certain Chinese industrial companies have automated away 40% of their human workforce over the past 3 years. This could be due in part to China’s annual robot install-base growing 500% since 2012 (vs. 112% in Europe). However, it’s unclear to what extent AI software runs these installed robots or has contributed to their proliferation.

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    China Bans Anti-Blockchain Sentiment As It Prepares For Launch of State Cryptocurrency

    Thanks to a subscriber for this article from the Independent which may be of interest. Here is a section:

    It is understood that the new law will precede the launch of China's state-backed cryptocurrency, which is expected to be unveiled early next year. No specific dates have been given but in August a senior official at China's central bank said it was "close to being out".

    China's interest in the space appears to have had a positive impact on already established cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, which some say add legitimacy to the cryptocurrency industry.

    China's plans were accredited for bitcoin's recent price surge that saw its value rise from below $7,500 to above $10,000 in the space of just a few hours. 

    “This is a clear signal that the leader of the world’s second-largest economy is moving towards embracing the technology – in which Bitcoin plays a vital part – and therefore taken as a positive boost for the whole digital currencies sector," Nigel Green, CEO of financial advisory firm deVere Group, told The Independent.

    “Perhaps quite sensibly, investors could not ignore the comments and sentiment expressed by President Xi and reacted by increasing exposure to bitcoin. It also comes as China is said to be developing its own national digital currency, which is further proof that in some form or another, digital currency is the future."

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    Yes Bank Gets Binding Offer for $1.2 Billion Stake Sale

    This article by Suvashree Ghosh for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

    “If they are able to raise this capital then it will sustain Yes Bank’s growth for next one year,” said Kranthi Bathini, director at Wealthmills Securities Pvt. “But we need to know the name of the investor, timing of the capital infusion and the Reserve Bank of India’s comfort with this proposal.” Gill said in an interview earlier this month that the share sale will happen “much sooner than the market expects.” The company has been in talks with private equity investors,
    technology companies and family offices.

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    Shell Shares Continue Slide After Tense Call With Analysts

    This article by Kelly Gilblom and Javier Blas for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

    At one point, van Beurden quipped that the buyback program would be cheaper now because the shares were falling, which invited a terse response from an analyst who said: “I agree.”
    “Please help me with my confused state,” said Christopher Kuplent, an analyst at Bank of America Corp., before asking the penultimate question on the call about whether they are
    disclosing information in the right way.

    Van Beurden responded that they could have avoided the cautionary note about the buybacks completely. He said that people could have done the math that lower oil prices make life more financially challenging for Shell, however, he said it was better to acknowledge a likely stormy year ahead to the market.

    Then he offered another mind-bending answer as shares slipped further. “That macro does actually have an effect on our cash flow is obviously a statement of the obvious. So we could also have said: ‘Well that’s hopefully all understood isn’t it?”’ he added. “But not making a statement of the obvious it is also making a statement.”

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    Fed Cuts Rates by Quarter Point, Hints It May Be Done for Now

    This article by Christopher Condon for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

    Federal Reserve officials reduced interest rates by a quarter-percentage point for the third time this year and hinted they may be done loosening monetary policy, at least for one meeting.

    The Federal Open Market Committee altered language in its statement following the two-day meeting Wednesday, dropping its pledge to “act as appropriate to sustain the expansion,” while adding a promise to monitor data as it “assesses the appropriate path of the target range for the federal funds rate.”

    As with the September statement, the FOMC cited the implications of global developments in deciding to lower the target range for the central bank’s benchmark rate to 1.5% to 1.75%.

    Treasuries weakened on the Fed’s announcement, pushing the 10-year yield up briefly to 1.81% from 1.80%. Stocks were little changed and the U.S. dollar gained. Traders also pared wagers on a fourth consecutive rate cut in December.

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    GE Soars as Another Boost to Cash Forecast Buoys Turnaround

    This article by Richard Clough for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

    General Electric Co. surged the most in eight months after the manufacturer raised its 2019 cash-flow forecast for the second straight quarter, giving Chief Executive Officer Larry Culp’s turnaround effort a much-needed boost.

    The industrial businesses will generate as much as $2 billion in free cash this year, GE said Wednesday as it reported third-quarter earnings. The company previously projected no more than $1 billion in cash flow.

    The revised forecast bolsters “another quarter of progress” as GE also works to improve operations and bring down debt, Culp said. That came despite headwinds from tariffs and a cash strain on the jet-engine business from the grounding of Boeing Co.’s 737 Max.

    “There’s still a lot to do, it is a reset year,” he said in an interview. “But net-net, we’re pretty encouraged.”

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    U.K.'s Election Battle Begins as Johnson and Corbyn Test Slogans

    This article by Jessica Shankleman and Greg Ritchie for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribes. Here is a section:

    Offering a taste of the Conservative Party’s likely message to voters, Johnson launched into an attack on the opposition Labour leader on Wednesday during what’s likely to be their final question session in the Commons before Parliament breaks up for the election.

    Johnson accused Corbyn of plotting to ruin what should be a “glorious” year in 2020 with another referendum on Brexit.

    “It’s time to differentiate between the politics of protest and the politics of leadership,” Johnson said. He claimed Corbyn would deliver an “economic catastrophe” for Britain. “The time for protest is over.”

    Johnson outlined his priorities of delivering Brexit and supporting the police service, health and the economy.

    Corbyn hit back, attacking the premier’s record on the country’s beloved National Health Service, accusing him of cutting funds and planning to privatize the institution by offering it up in a future trade deal with the U.S.

    “This government is preparing to sell out our NHS,” Corbyn said. “Our health service is in more danger than in any other time in its glorious history because of his government, his attitude and the trade deals he wants to strike.”

    Labour’s campaign is expected to continue to focus on the impact of a decade of austerity to the country, while offering a renegotiation of Brexit followed by a second referendum.

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