Sunday, 5 June 2016

Stories we should be thinking about

Ahead of the new working week here are a few finance and related stories to be thinking about.

Macro matters:

Remember those weak US jobs numbers on Friday?  Public sector good, telecoms (within 'information') poor as was construction and mining/lodging (which includes energy):

Of course too much public employment can be a poor thing too.  For example in the UK the 'burden on the taxpayer of paying public sector pensions has increased by nearly £200bn in just 12 months' with the bill now a cool £1.5 trillion...and the UK public sector is not the only ones as this chart via @notjustpensions shows: 

Controlling public sector liabilities is not the reason why the Swiss are looking to debate state-controlled company pay among other factors as discussed here but it is helpful: 

Meanwhile in Australia @PhilipSoos highlights that private sector debt has been particularly firm in increasing: 

Elsewhere in Europe, you don't need a translator to understand in a 'one word to describe the future of France' survey issues are apparent: 

The headline polls still look tight and so my instinct is that the turnout really does matter.  Here's who is expected to vote and who is not...
(h/t @paul1kirby) 

And the uncertainty is impacting UK property sales - or to be more specific sales contracts as noted here (h/t @HowardArcherUK)

Commercial property investors are writing clauses into contracts giving buyers the right to walk away from real estate deals if Britain votes to leave the European Union this month, as a way to unfreeze a sector stalled by uncertainty over Brexit.

So which is the more democratic system.  I think this compare and contrast is quite illuminating:
(h/t @AndrewMMacleod) 

And despite more than a frisson of fear being apparent in the 'Remain' camp who looked set to prevail quite clearly a week or two ago not all is going bad for Europe as noted in yesterday's Financial Times

Political spread betting in the States has turned in favour of Clinton over recent days again: 

On the all-important Chinese economy this made me smile: 

(h/t @davidmaodel)

Meanwhile I see via Seeking Alpha that:

China's excess industrial capacity will have a "corrosive" impact on its future growth and efficiency unless it is reduced, U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said Sunday, adding that it was causing distortions in the global markets.

He also said it would be "problematic" if the yuan only went down over time, but revealed that the Treasury did not designate Beijing as a currency manipulator in its most recent report because its last intervention had not been one-sided.

Kind of agree with both of these observations.

And staying in Asia kind of interesting that apparently cash incentives to have children in Japan have boosted the fertility rate (link here)...

Unsurprisingly given its demographic backdrop Japan is at the forefront of high labour force participation by older workers: 

Back to fertility levels this time in Europe and a great chart via @wef.  Austria, Germany, Spain and Portugal also have a demographic can see why immigration might be seen as an opportunity: 

I liked this report via which you can access here about the cost of getting cash...  

...which is a reason for liking gold where speculative interest has waned a touch from very high levels.  I like gold (10% of the portfolio etc.) but no need to get very aggressive here. 

Kind of interesting that so many knowledge workers worry about whether their jobs will exist or not in the future (link here)

Sector and companies: 

Oil kicking around US$50/barrel again but inventories are high...
(h/t @chigrl)

...meaning factors like decline rates do matter:

(h/t @A_Riley17)

Meanwhile in related company news from today's Sunday Times all eyes on the Shell investor day on Tuesday as the paper notes the scope for further job cut announcements and some delays on divestments.

Meanwhile in other company news: 

Diageo 'readies plans for Scottish breakaway' as Scotland via whisky brands like Johnnie Walker and Bell's is 25% of their revenues and they are worrying about what happens if a Brexit leads to more calls for a Scottish referendum

Japanese brewing giant 'Ashahi is exploring a £5bn swoop on a host of SAB-Miller's eastern European beers, including Pilsner Urquel'. They already bought Peroni and Grolsch of course. 

I see Airbus have developed the first 3-D printed aircraft.  Ok it is a mini one...but you can see the way the world is going (link here). 

And finally...

And I thought I was cutting edge using WhatsApp!!

(h/t @insidertrends) 

Have a good week 

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