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

    Lula-Central Bank Fight Intensifies as Traders Eye Rate Hike

    This article from Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section: 

    Lula tried to walk back prior comments on Monday, saying his criticism was not about whether or not the central bank was independent, but rather over the fact that the institution continues to keep borrowing costs high. 

    In Brazil, “the problem is that there is a culture of living with high interest rates and that doesn’t mix well with necessities and investment.” Lula said.

    The president had publicly questioned the central bank in both January and earlier this month. Current Selic levels make it “impossible” to boost growth, Lula said previously, adding that he considered the bank’s autonomy law to be “nonsense” and suggesting a higher, 4.5% inflation goal. 

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    Newmont offers to buy Australia's biggest miner amid gold merger spree

    This article from the Financial Post may be of interest. Here is a section: 

    Yamana’s outgoing executive chair Peter Marrone told The Financial Post last month that he expects a wave of gold mergers as executives and investors seek to maintain margins amid higher production costs and declining grades of the metal.

    Resource industries are on the front lines of the climate challenge, whether it be coping directly with extreme weather, or indirectly through rising costs associated with adjustment and policies such as carbon taxes. Gold miners face an additional layer of difficultly because their deposits are yielding less ore that’s dense with gold. Lower grade mines can still be profitable, but only if extraction costs are lowered.

    Aside from the sale of Yamana, which has properties and mines in Canada, Brazil, Chile and Argentina, there have been at least eight notable combinations since 2018, when Barrick Gold Corp. and Randgold Resources Ltd. announced an $18-billion, zero-premium, all-share merger.

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    Big Ideas 2023

    This report from ARK Invest may be of interest. Here is a section: 

    AI Should Increase Knowledge Worker Productivity Dramatically
    According to ARK’s research, AI should increase the productivity of knowledge workers more than 4-fold by 2030. At 100% adoption, AI spend of $41 trillion could increase labor productivity by -$200 trillion, dwarfing the $32 trillion in knowledge worker salaries and rivaling current projections for global GDP in 2030. If vendors were to capture 10% of value by their products, AI software could generate up to $14 trillion in revenue and $90 trillion in enterprise value in 2030. 

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    What the War in Ukraine Says About Deterring China

    This article by Max Hastings for Bloomberg may be of interest. Here is a section: 

    Leaders go to war because they believe they can win, as did Putin in Ukraine. It is entirely feasible to reinforce both Taiwanese and US capabilities in the region, to a point at which Beijing must doubt its ability to prevail in the necessary amphibious assault, a perilous and difficult undertaking.

    The Ukraine experience has rewritten in lights a towering lesson of history: To deter aggression, there is no substitute for credible armed forces. We in the UK and the rest of the West are supremely fortunate that America still possesses these, despite the caveats about the Navy’s vulnerabilities in the Pacific.

    Yet more important even than weapons is will. Many people, sometimes including myself, have doubted and continue to doubt whether, if China does invade Taiwan, the US and its allies will undertake military action in response. This is a reprise of the 1950 Korean uncertainty, with one important difference: 73 years ago, there was nothing in South Korea of material value to the West; its armies fought instead to defend a principle. In modern Taiwan, by contrast, advanced semiconductors represent an industry of towering importance both to China and ourselves.

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    Shell Isn't Looking for Big Deals as Debt Shrinks, Profits Soar

    This article from Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here it is in full: 

    Shell Plc isn’t planning to use its growing cash pile to pursue big acquisitions, aiming instead to deliver greater value for shareholders. 

    That was the message delivered by new Chief Executive Officer Wael Sawan and Chief Financial Officer Sinead Gorman at a meeting with analysts on Friday morning, following their announcement the day before of record profits of nearly $40 billion in 2022 and the lowest level of indebtedness since 2015.

    The company’s management is trying to boost Shell’s value, which has lagged American peers that stuck more closely to their fossil-fuel core instead of diversifying into cleaner energy.

    Shell’s shrinking debt could give investors “some nervousness around the potential for large-scale M&A,” Biraj Borkhataria, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets, wrote in a note on Friday about the meeting earlier in the day. “Wael clearly stated this was not on the agenda, with focus more on performance of the asset base and driving higher returns.”

    Shell said at the meeting that big acquisitions of around $10 billion are unlikely in low-carbon energy because there aren’t good opportunities, according to analysts at Barclays Plc led by Lydia Rainforth. 

    There could be smaller-scale investments in that area, particularly in hydrogen. Last year Shell spent $2 billion to buy Danish company Nature Energy Biogas A/S and reached final investment decision on Europe’s largest green hydrogen production site.

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    Email of the day on scanning for prospective funds

    I hope you are well, and not too cold. In London.

    I am interested to invest in some US FUNDS. Is there any way of assessing/culling the Funds by 1 year, 5 year Performance. As you know you have large list.

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    Apple Rebounds as Investors Look Past Sluggish Holiday Quarter

    This article from Bloomberg may be of interest. Here is a section: 

    Revenue fell 5.5% to $117.2 billion in the December quarter, Apple’s biggest sales period of the year, coming in well short of the average Wall Street estimate of $121.1 billion. It was Apple’s first quarterly decline since 2019 and the first time the company has missed analysts’ holiday sales projections since 2015. 

    The iPhone and Mac were particular weak spots for Apple last quarter, dragged down by a broader slump afflicting mobile devices and computers. The Covid restrictions in China added to Apple’s woes, making it harder to ship enough of the most popular versions of the iPhone. Timing was another issue: The company didn’t launch new Macs and HomePods until recent weeks, missing the end of the holiday quarter.

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    Dollar Soars After Jobs Surprise Reignites Higher Rates Bets

    This article from Bloomberg may be of interest. Here is a section: 

    A broad gauge of dollar strength jumped after the jobless rate in the US hit a 53-year low as traders amped up bets on a higher policy rate.

    The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index extended gains for its biggest two-day climb in four months after data highlighted the resilience of the labor market and another report showed resurgence in consumer demand, suggesting even more tightening may be in store from the Federal Reserve. 

    The greenback gained as much as 1.2%, climbing against all of its peers in the Group of 10, with the Japanese yen, the Australian dollar and New Zealand dollar falling the most. 

    “The headline number for nonfarms was shocking, and the US dollar is clearly reacting to that,” said Bipan Rai, a currency strategist at Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. “We still have plenty of data to comb through before the picture is complete.”

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