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Today β€” July 17th 2019Business

Apple, Google continue inclusive push with new emojis

Apple, Google continue inclusive push with new emojisApple and Google are rolling out dozens of new emojis that of course include cute critters, but also expand the number of images of human diversity. The announcement coincides with Wednesday's World Emoji Day . Apple Inc. is releasing new variants of its holding hands emoji that allow people to pick any combination of skin tone and gender, 75 possible combinations in all.

  • July 17th 2019 at 15:15

US home construction slips 0.9% to 1.25 million in June

US home construction slips 0.9% to 1.25 million in JuneU.S. home construction slipped last month as an uptick in the building of single-family homes was offset by a big drop in apartment construction. The Commerce Department said Wednesday that construction was started at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.25 million in June, down 0.9% from 1.27 million in May. Construction of single-family homes rose 3.5%, but apartment building skidded 9.4%. Applications for building permits, an indication of future construction, fell 6.1% last month to 1.22 million, the lowest since May 2017.

  • July 17th 2019 at 15:09

Microsoft, AT&T ink cloud deal worth more than $2 billion

Microsoft, AT&T ink cloud deal worth more than $2 billionUnder the deal, Microsoft and AT&T will also work together on so-called edge computing, which will see Microsoft technology deployed alongside AT&T's coming 5G network for applications that need extremely small delays in passing data back and forth, such as air traffic control systems for drones. The multi-year deal is worth more than $2 billion, according to a person familiar with the matter.

  • July 17th 2019 at 15:04

What Does Nabors Industries Ltd.'s (NYSE:NBR) Balance Sheet Tell Us About It?

What Does Nabors Industries Ltd.'s (NYSE:NBR) Balance Sheet Tell Us About It?Nabors Industries Ltd. (NYSE:NBR) is a small-cap stock with a market capitalization of US$835m. While investors...

  • July 17th 2019 at 15:03

FCA Chief Says Woodford Didn’t Follow the β€˜Spirit’ of the Rules

FCA Chief Says Woodford Didn’t Follow the ‘Spirit’ of the Rules(Bloomberg) -- The head of the U.K.’s financial watchdog called out embattled fund manager Neil Woodford for not following the spirit of the rules.“We view incidents like the Woodford affair as an example of this -- where firms are following the letter, but not the spirit, of the rules,” Andrew Bailey, head of the Financial Conduct Authority, said at the regulator’s annual public meeting on Wednesday. “It raises questions about the rules themselves.”Woodford stunned the financial world last month when he locked the LF Woodford Equity Income Fund as he struggled to meet redemption requests following a run of poor performance. The suspension was intended to give him time to raise cash by offloading stakes in unlisted and smaller companies that he had built up in recent years.Bank of England Governor Mark Carney has said the decision to freeze the fund highlights the risks of money managers piling up less-traded assets. Open-ended funds that offer short-term redemptions while investing in longer-dated and potentially illiquid assets such as corporate bonds currently have more than $30 trillion of global assets, according to the BOE.FCA ProbeThe FCA started investigating the events leading up to the fund’s suspension in June.“Rules are a crucial mechanism for delivering outcomes, but can also be interpreted so rigidly as to become a box-ticking exercise,” Bailey said. “This is a lesson we want to see reflected in firm behavior: any organization that prioritizes being within the rules over doing the right thing will not stand up to scrutiny for long.”The FCA doesn’t have evidence that other funds are acting as Woodford did, Bailey told reporters in London. “In the last twelve months we have only had one other breach of that rule, and that was a smaller fund and was corrected very quickly,” he said. The regulator needs to find better ways to address funds’ investments in little-traded assets, he said.Bailey, who is seen as a contender to succeed Carney as BOE governor, was heckled at times from the audience at the FCA meeting. He’s been criticized for a number of issues at the FCA, including the collapse of mini-bond lender London Capital & Finance.(Updates with Bailey comment in seventh paragraph.)To contact the reporter on this story: Shelley Robinson in London at ssmith118@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Shelley Robinson at ssmith118@bloomberg.net, Patrick HenryFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • July 17th 2019 at 15:03

Could The LEWAG Holding Aktiengesellschaft (FRA:KGR) Ownership Structure Tell Us Something Useful?

Could The LEWAG Holding Aktiengesellschaft (FRA:KGR) Ownership Structure Tell Us Something Useful?The big shareholder groups in LEWAG Holding Aktiengesellschaft (FRA:KGR) have power over the company. Insiders often...

  • July 17th 2019 at 15:01

Where Will Coca-Cola Be in 5 Years?

Where Will Coca-Cola Be in 5 Years?Can this 133-year-old beverage maker still cater to changing consumer tastes?

  • July 17th 2019 at 15:00

8 Ways to Seriously Upgrade Your Next Summer Picnic

8 Ways to Seriously Upgrade Your Next Summer PicnicFrom a colorful blanket to a comprehensive dining set, these items will upgrade your next picnic.

  • July 17th 2019 at 15:00

Southwest offers free mileage points when you let a stranger rent your car

Southwest offers free mileage points when you let a stranger rent your carIt's rare to get airline points outside of credit card plans, tedious consumer surveys, or, you know, booking flights and flying. So a new offer from Southwest Airlines and car-sharing app Turo feels like the ultimate cheat.Starting this week, if you either book a car through the car-sharing platform or rent out your car on the service, you get points on Southwest's reward program, Rapid Rewards. The program offers 2,000 Rapid Reward (RR) points for your first Turo car booking and then 500 RR points for every trip after your first. The big doozy is 10,000 Rapid Rewards points for signing up as a host and having someone book your car for a rental.  Read more...More about Southwest, Car Sharing, Turo, Tech, and Transportation

  • July 17th 2019 at 15:00

IF Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ:IROQ) Is Yielding 1.2% - But Is It A Buy?

IF Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ:IROQ) Is Yielding 1.2% - But Is It A Buy?Today we'll take a closer look at IF Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ:IROQ) from a dividend investor's perspective. Owning a...

  • July 17th 2019 at 14:59

Is Jagged Peak Energy Inc.'s (NYSE:JAG) Balance Sheet A Threat To Its Future?

Is Jagged Peak Energy Inc.'s (NYSE:JAG) Balance Sheet A Threat To Its Future?While small-cap stocks, such as Jagged Peak Energy Inc. (NYSE:JAG) with its market cap of US$1.7b, are popular for...

  • July 17th 2019 at 14:58

US objects to French tax on tech firms at G-7 meeting

US objects to French tax on tech firms at G-7 meetingThe Trump administration is objecting to France's plan to tax Facebook, Google and other U.S. tech giants, a rift that's overshadowing talks between seven longtime allies near Paris this week on issues ranging from digital currencies to trade. As finance officials from the Group of Seven rich democracies' gathered Wednesday at a chateau in Chantilly, near Paris, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin planned to take a tough line against host France.

  • July 17th 2019 at 14:58

The Only Way Is Down for Central Bankers Already at Peak Rates

The Only Way Is Down for Central Bankers Already at Peak Rates(Bloomberg) -- The Federal Reserve and other leading central banks are declaring the peak in global interest rates has been reached and are readying to start the march down.As the world economy weakens amid the U.S.-China trade war and inflation continues to undershoot the target of most policymakers, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell is set to oversee the first cut to the U.S. benchmark in a decade.European Central Bank President Mario Draghi has also flagged action, though he may wait until September, and even Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda may come under pressure to join in. The People’s Bank of China has eased lending conditions but so far held fire on rates, but Australia, India, New Zealand and Russia are among those to have already injected fresh stimulus into their economiesThe action marks a turnaround from the end of last year when investors were bracing for tighter monetary policy the world over, led by the Fed.What Bloomberg's Economists Say: “Major central banks face different pressures. For the Fed, economic fundamentals appear robust, it's the fear of what's to come that's prompting action. For Europe, growth below potential demands a response, but space to provide it is limited. In China, tariff-dented growth calls for cuts; high leverage counsels caution. In all cases, though, the result will likely be additional stimulus in the months ahead.” — Tom OrlikHere is Bloomberg Economics’ quarterly review of 23 of the top central banks, which together set policy for almost 90% of the global economy. We outline the issues they face in 2019 and how they might respond.U.S. Federal ReserveCurrent federal funds rate (upper bound): 2.5% Forecast for end of 2019: 2%Fed Chairman Powell has clearly signaled an interest rate cut is coming at the central bank’s meeting later this month and the question is whether he’ll advocate for a half-point reduction or stick with a more cautious quarter-point move. The Fed chief, under fire from President Donald Trump for raising rates last year, has highlighted uncertainties over Trump’s trade policies and weakening global manufacturing output. These could undermine the record U.S. expansion by sapping business investment, which has weakened despite low unemployment and solid consumer spending.Powell has assured Americans that the central bank is committed to keeping the economy on track. With inflation running below the Fed’s 2% target, officials have scope to ease, though some may worry at fanning investor appetite for risk amid hefty corporate borrowing and with U.S. stocks around record highs. Powell in the past has cautioned that the last two U.S. recessions were caused by asset bubbles: the housing market collapse in 2008 and the end of the dot.com boom in 2000.What Bloomberg's Economists Say: “As he testified before Congress, Fed Chair Powell chose not to reshape market expectations which were leaning heavily toward a July cut of 25 bps, further illustrating that the Fed is not willing to fight market sentiment following the clumsy execution of its final rate hike in the fourth quarter of last year. Bloomberg Economics anticipates 50 bps of cuts this year. Following a 25 basis point cut at the July meeting, we expect policy makers to attempt to string market expectations of the second move through to December, depending on the tone of incoming data.” — Carl Riccadonna & Yelena ShulyatyevaEuropean Central BankCurrent deposit rate: -0.4% Forecast for end of 2019: -0.5%ECB policy makers acknowledge that lingering global uncertainties may deepen the euro area’s slowdown, and are readying for additional action such as interest rate cuts or renewed asset purchases. Investors and economists expect the deposit rate to be reduced by September, and many see quantitative easing being relaunched before the year is out.Draghi is poised to leave office in October as the only ECB president to never have raised interest rates. His successor, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde, is widely seen as continuing his accommodative stance. She's scheduled to begin her new role on Nov. 1, the same day the U.K. plans to start life outside the European Union, and faces an immediate economic shock if Britain fails to strike a Brexit deal.What Bloomberg's Economists Say: “Sentiment has soured, inflation is stubbornly weak and Europe may become the next major casualty of protectionism. The ECB has already indicated stimulus is coming and we expect the full monty — a rate cut, relief for banks and relaunch of QE at 45bn euros a month. For maximum impact, this should come as a package, alongside fresh forecasts in September. The risk is that action on rates comes sooner.” — Jamie MurrayBank of JapanCurrent policy-rate balance: -0.1% Forecast for end of 2019: -0.1%The BOJ is likely to keep its policy settings unchanged for now. Governor Kuroda told Bloomberg in June that the central bank can still deliver big stimulus, but said no action was warranted. Economic growth data for Japan has proven stronger than expected, giving policy makers more confidence in the resilience of domestic demand, and effectively putting to bed talk of postponing a sales tax increase in October. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government also seems less concerned about the BOJ’s inflation goal these days, putting less pressure on Kuroda to act. Abe told lawmakers ahead of a July upper house election that his real economic goal was achieving full employment, not 2% price growth.Still, a majority of economists polled by Bloomberg expect the bank’s next policy step will be extra easing at some point. Many of them flag a sharp gain in the yen, prompted by likely U.S. rate cuts. The BOJ’s current pledge is to keep interest rates extremely low until around spring next year as it assesses the impact of the tax hike on the economy. As the tax increase approaches, the BOJ may want to reaffirm its easing commitment by extending its guidance without referencing the tax.What Bloomberg's Economists Say: “The BOJ is unlikely to budge for the foreseeable future regardless of inflation slowing and external pressures increasing. Even so, part of its strategy may be to give the 10-year yield a little more wiggle room and a tweak of its forward guidance. The yen will be important in the calculus going forward — appreciation toward 100 per dollar would probably put the BOJ on guard.” — Yuki MasujimaBank of EnglandCurrent bank rate: 0.75% Forecast for end of 2019: 0.75%Governor Mark Carney has noted the darkening outlook over the U.K. since global trade tensions flared up. The extension of the Brexit deadline also prolonged the uncertainty that’s holding back companies’ investments. After stockpiling boosted growth in the first quarter, the economy probably stagnated or even contracted in the second.All that has led to a widening gap between the BOE’s forecasts for gradual rate hikes, which assume a smooth Brexit, and the market’s view that rate cuts are next on the agenda.The search for Carney’s successor, who will take over in February, is also clouded by the change in government, which means that current Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond probably won’t still be in the job when it’s time to make the appointment. And if the departure from the European Union goes badly in October, Carney will certainly have his hands full until he leaves.What Bloomberg's Economists Say: “The combination of uncertainty about Brexit and a slowdown in global growth has put the brakes on the U.K. economy this year. Looking to the second half, there are few signs of those headwinds abating. We expect quarterly growth to stay below trend and average 0.3% in 2H while CPI inflation is likely to remain below target over the same period. That gives the BOE room to keep rates on hold while it waits to see the how the new prime minister moves forward with Brexit. With the clock ticking, reaching a deal by October 31 looks increasingly ambitious. At the same time, Parliament appears ready to stop a no-deal exit. That leaves the prospect of another Brexit delay and more policy paralysis.” — Dan HansonBank of CanadaCurrent overnight lending rate: 1.75% Forecast for end of 2019: 1.75%Governor Stephen Poloz reinforced the view he’s on hold indefinitely after he kept the Bank of Canada’s overnight rate at 1.75% for a sixth straight meeting in July and gave little indication he’s prepared to follow the global move toward easier policy.Canada’s economic resurgence in the second quarter buys Poloz time to gauge whether U.S.-China trade tensions resolve themselves or deepen. So does the recent stabilization in the country’s housing market. While most observers agree the central bank will be on hold until through 2020, some economists question how the country can withstand a deceleration in the U.S., its largest trading partner. Markets are also leaning in that direction, pricing in about 15 basis points of cuts over the next year.People’s Bank of ChinaCurrent 1-year best lending rate: 4.35% Current 7-day reverse repo rate: 2.55% Forecast for end of 2019: 4.35%; 2.48%Markets are raising their bets the PBOC will need to take bigger easing steps to revive tepid growth. Economists expect the bank to provide long-term cheap liquidity by reducing reserve-requirement ratios for commercial lenders, and forecasts of a cut in open-market borrowing costs are growing.Consumer inflation is now close to the policy target of 3% and will probably stay there for a few more months, but that won't likely be a key constraint for monetary policy as core inflation remains low. Factory-gate prices, arguably a more important inflation gauge, will flirt with deflation throughout the year. The trade truce reached by China and the U.S. at the G-20 meeting in Osaka eased the pressure on the yuan. The jobless rate has fallen a little but policy makers are still closely watching the situation. The country is expected to keep the full-year current account in a small surplus if oil prices stay muted.What Bloomberg's Economists Say: “China’s top policy makers showed some indications of looking beyond the current downturn to tackling long-term structural reforms. The weakening economic outlook will probably force them to re-focus on stabilizing cyclical growth and step up policy support - on both the fiscal and monetary fronts. The government is likely to buttress the economy with further infrastructure spending. The PBOC will probably step up stimulus. If the higher U.S. tariffs remain in place for an extended period, the PBOC could cut the RRR by another 150 basis points and reduce the benchmark interest rate by 50 bps by year-end, with one 25-bps cut in 3Q and another in 4Q.” — David QuReserve Bank of IndiaCurrent repo rate: 5.75% Forecast for end of 2019: 5.5% The RBI has been the most aggressive rate cutter of any major central bank this year, lowering borrowing costs by 75 basis points to take the benchmark rate to a nine-year low. Inflation remains below the central bank’s medium-term target of 4%. And with a budget from new Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman that has shown commitment to fiscal prudence, Governor Shaktikanta Das might have room to lower rates even more in coming months to support economic growth that has slumped to a five-year low.What Bloomberg's Economists Say: “We expect the RBI to continue with its policy easing – likely with a 25 bps rate cut at the August 7 meeting and a total of 50 bps by March 2020. The RBI is now also keeping the banking system flush with liquidity, in line with its accommodative stance. Surplus liquidity conditions bode well for the transmission of its policy rate cuts into lower borrowing costs in the economy. This should help drive a V-shaped recovery in growth in the current quarter.” — Abhishek GuptaCentral Bank of BrazilCurrent Selic target rate: 6.5% Forecast for end of 2019: 5.5%New central bank chief Roberto Campos Neto is in a comfortable position, with inflation expectations anchored through 2021 and the benchmark interest rate at an all-time low. With consumer prices rising well below target this year and the economy either in or close to technical recession, analysts expect policy makers to lower borrowing costs by a full percentage point by December.Yet the bank has made clear that “concrete advances” in the government's reform agenda, particularly an overhaul of the nation's bloated pension system, are a precondition for monetary easing. While the proposal won't become law before at least September, investors bet interest rates may start to fall earlier than that as the bill overcomes major congressional hurdles along the way. Also, investors aren't pricing in any tightening before end-2020.What Bloomberg's Economists Say: “Monetary policy has been accommodative for the last two years at least, but momentum has been building for further easing in Brazil. Inflation is slowing and growth has been disappointing; markets' and BCB's own forecasts point to below-target inflation in 2020; and prospects of low rates elsewhere diminished risks to the currency. The last thing standing between BCB and a rate cut seems to be pension reform: BCB has repeatedly referred to "fiscal uncertainties" as an important risk for inflation. We expect an easing cycle totalling 100bps, bringing the Selic to 5.5% before year-end — conditional on the lower house approving the pension overhaul.” — Adriana DupitaBank of RussiaCurrent key rate: 7.75% Forecast for end of 2019: 7.15%After taming an inflation spike earlier in the year, the Bank of Russia returned to monetary easing in June, with a 25 basis-point cut and a hint at two more before the end of the year. But with inflation falling faster than expected and the already-sputtering economy hitting an air pocket, the central bank is under pressure to move faster to reduce the cost of credit, now among the highest in the world in real terms.Governor Elvira Nabiullina has even hinted that the central bank could opt for a bigger half-percentage point cut next time, which would take interest rates to the lowest level in more than five years.Building the case for more cuts is a world-topping 10.5% rally in the ruble this year, which has helped the outlook for inflation. Monthly inflation was flat for the first time in almost a year in June. Also, fears of harsher U.S. sanctions have eased after attention in Washington shifted to the trade war with China in the wake of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election.What Bloomberg's Economists Say:  “The Bank of Russia's easing cycle will keep turning, with a full percentage point of rate cuts likely by mid-2020. Policy settings remain relatively tight, while inflation has underwhelmed. Demand shows signs of lingering weakness. We expect the central bank to front-load easing with another quarter-point reduction in July. One more cut might come in 4Q, taking the key rate to 7% at year-end.” — Scott JohnsonSouth African Reserve BankCurrent repo average rate: 6.75% Forecast for end of 2019: 6.5%Moderating inflation and persistently slow economic growth could open the door for the South African Reserve Bank to cut its benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points for the first time in over a year this month. While Governor Lesetja Kganyago said last month the central bank's forecasting model suggests there may be room for rate cuts in the next year or two, inflation expectations are at a record low. That, and the rand's gains to the strongest level against the dollar in four months, could bring easing forward.Changes to the composition of the MPC could also play a role. Two of the five members voted for a rate cute in May and since then Chris Loewald from the central bank's research department was appointed to the panel and Deputy Governor Daniel Mminele, who was seen as hawkish, left the Reserve Bank.What Bloomberg's Economists Say: “We expect the South African Reserve Bank to follow the winds of monetary policy change and ease its stance in 2H19. The reappointment of Lesetja Kganyago for another five-year term as governor makes for some continuity. But the loss of his key lieutenants Francois Groepe and Daniel Mminele has significantly reduced his ability to focus monetary policy on bringing inflation expectations closer to the mid-point of SARB’s 3-6% target range.” — Mark BohlundBanco de MexicoCurrent overnight rate: 8.25% Forecast for end of 2019: 8.25%Economists across the board agree that Mexico’s central bank is finished with raising interest rates as both inflation and the economy slow. That focus now is on when policy makers led by Governor Alejandro Diaz de Leon will begin to loosen.Inflation is hovering near the 4% upper limit of policy makers, but most economists surveyed by Bloomberg expect the bank to wait until early next year to lower borrowing costs. The board was divided in its decision to keep the key interest rate at a decade high in its June decision, with one board member voting for a quarter-point cut as the economy sputters. Still, members highlighted inflation risks from potential weakness in the peso based on the possible imposition of tariffs by the U.S., as well as the risk for an increase in energy or agricultural prices.What Bloomberg's Economists Say: “Banxico is likely to cut interest rates in line with the Federal Reserve to avoid relative tighter monetary conditions. Headline and core inflation are in line with central bank forecasts and show no need for tighter policy. Weak economic growth consistent with a negative and widening output gap argue against any additional tightening. Lingering economic risks and high uncertainty still grant caution and limit room for policy makers to ease monetary conditions.” — Felipe HernandezBank IndonesiaCurrent 7-day reverse repo rate: 6% Forecast for end of 2019: 5.75%After being one of the most aggressive rate hikers in Asia last year with 175 basis points of tightening, Bank Indonesia Governor Perry Warjiyo has flagged easing is now only a matter of timing, and magnitude. Policy makers have become increasingly concerned about spillover effects from trade tensions and waning global demand, with the government having lowered its forecast for growth for this year and next year.At the same time, the trade war between the U.S. and China is seen as presenting an opportunity as Indonesia looks to lure investment and boost exports, in a bid to help rein in a persistent current account deficit. Inflation at 3.28% in June remains low by Indonesian standards and well within the central bank’s 2%-4% target range, providing additional room for the first rate cut since September 2017.What Bloomberg's Economists Say: “Bank Indonesia may be able to add rate cuts to its policy mix in 2H in support of growth. Ongoing rupiah vulnerability has forced the central bank to use alternative tools to support lending. Hurdles for the currency are the current account deficit (which is poised to re-widen from 1Q) and risk aversion (which has been buoyed by the escalation in May of the U.S.-China trade war). Should the Fed cut interest rates, though, Bank Indonesia would have more room to maneuver.  We’d expect easing by the Fed to be at least partially mirrored by Indonesia’s central bank. This would maintain Indonesia’s interest rate differential, supporting capital inflows and the rupiah.” — Tamara HendersonCentral Bank of TurkeyCurrent 1-week repo rate: 24% Forecast for end of 2019: 22%The monetary policy outlook may turn more dovish in Turkey after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan unexpectedly dismissed Murat Cetinkaya as governor for not lowering interest rates, appointing deputy Murat Uysal as his replacement.The decision came days after Turkey’s real rate soared to a world topping 8.3% as inflation slowed more than expected, giving policy makers room to start an easing cycle as early as July. Uysal takes charge of monetary policy following a pause in interest rates that lasted for over nine months. Some economists worry that the central bank may kick off an easing cycle stronger than warranted by the inflation outlook at the next policy decision scheduled for July 25.What Bloomberg's Economists Say: “The sacking of Murat Cetinkaya as governor of the central bank leaves no one in doubt: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wants lower interest rates, and he wants them now. The new governor Murat Uysal has his orders, but will have to weigh them against the risks posed by currency volatility as markets are likely to penalize excessive easing. We expect at least 400 basis points of rate cuts this year.” — Ziad DaoudCentral Bank of NigeriaCurrent central bank rate: 13.5% Forecast for end of 2019: 13%Nigeria's central bank has made it very clear that it's keen to boost lending to help an economy that's still struggling to recover from a 2016 contraction.Governor Godwin Emefiele surprised with the first interest-rate cut in more than three years in March, but with inflation that's been above the target band of 6% to 9% for since 2015 and the need to attract foreign inflows to support the naira, the central bank has started to resort to other measures than interest cuts. It has increased the ratio of deposits that commercial banks must use for loans and reduced the amount of money lenders can keep in interest-bearing accounts at the central bank.The central bank may sit back now and first monitor the effect of these new regulations on credit extension, while it waits for signs that inflation pressures are easing, before it cuts further.What Bloomberg's Economists Say: “Governor Godwin Emefiele appears to have built a consensus on the reconfigured monetary policy committee of the Central Bank of Nigeria for a gradual easing of monetary policy after the 50 basis point reduction to 13.50% in its benchmark rate in March. We expect further rate cuts in 2H19 but see the scope for monetary easing easing as constrained by a weakening of Nigeria’s balance of payments.” — Mark BohlundBank of KoreaCurrent base rate: 1.75% Forecast for end of 2019: 1.55%The Bank of Korea is facing growing expectations of a rate cut as its bellwether economy takes a beating from the U.S.-China trade war and a steep downturn in the semiconductor sector. Faced with record household debt and soaring home prices, Governor Lee Ju-yeol looked to have charted a course toward policy normalization when he raised rates in November last year. Now he’s under pressure to reverse course as the Fed and ECB appear poised to cut rates.Sluggish inflation will give Lee something of a free hand but with the benchmark rate at only 1.75% — half a percentage point above a record low – he has little policy room to maneuver, especially given that financial stability remains a concern. While the consensus is for at least one rate cut by the end of this year, economists surveyed by Bloomberg see two cuts at most — totaling 50 basis points — by the end of 2020.What Bloomberg's Economists Say:  “Pressure is mounting on the BOK to reduce its benchmark interest rate. Global trade tensions are weighing on the growth outlook, offsetting any lift from more expansionary fiscal policy. Inflation remains sluggish and well-below the BOK’s 2% target. We expect a 25 basis point reduction in 4Q – though a rate cut from the Fed in July would likely prompt the BOK to move sooner.” — Justin JimenezReserve Bank of AustraliaCurrent cash rate target: 1% Forecast for end of 2019: 0.75%The RBA got back into the game in June and July, ending a three year hiatus with the first back-to-back interest-rate cuts since 2012. Governor Philip Lowe has signaled he’ll pause for a period to see how the economy responds to a combination of easing and government tax cuts. But further reductions remain on the table.Australia’s exceptional status — underscored by its tightening of policy in 2009-10 after dodging the global recession — is well and truly over. It has just one percentage point of rate ammunition in hand and, like everywhere else, is sending out monthly search parties for inflation that return empty-handed.What Bloomberg's Economists Say: “The RBA signaled a pause in its easing cycle after lowering the cash rate target to a new low of 1% in July. Its 50 bps of cuts in June and July should be sufficient, in our view, to nurture green shoots in the housing market and business sentiment. House prices continued to fall in aggregate in June, but gains in Sydney and Melbourne put a recovery within sight. Broader stabilization in 2H would support household spending, the primary engine of growth. A brighter outlook, along with still-resilient exports, should maintain strong hiring momentum and nudge the unemployment rate lower – as desired by the RBA. Markets are priced for another 25 bp rate cut within the next 12 months.” — Tamara HendersonCentral Bank of ArgentinaCurrent target: to freeze the expansion of monetary base and keep the peso stableArgentina still has the world’s highest interest rate at 59%, though it's down from 74% in early May, as policy makers want to ensure the country doesn't suffer a repeat of the 2018 currency crisis in the run-up to the October election.The central bank has recouped some investor confidence since adopting a new foreign exchange policy in April that gives it more freedom to intervene in the market to support the peso. The move received the blessing of the International Monetary Fund, which gave Argentina a record $56 billion credit line, allowing it to use part of those funds to sell dollars in the market.What Bloomberg's Economists Say: “BCRA continues to keep an ultra-tight grip on monetary policy and is unlikely to ease policy anytime soon. Slowing (though still high) inflation, a more benign external backdrop and a slightly improved sentiment towards post-election policies have driven rates down and the peso, stronger since mid-June. In an attempt to signal to markets it won't cave in to the temptation of easier monetary conditions ahead of elections, BCRA set a floor for the Leliq and adjusted down targets for monetary base. BCRA has tools to handle volatility, but if markets start to price in a dramatic change in economic policy after elections, the currency may breach the ceiling of the reference zone. We assume policy continuity as our base-case scenario, and see rates declining to around 50% by year-end.” — Adriana DupitaSwiss National BankCurrent Libor target rate: -0.75% Forecast for end of 2019: -0.75%With the European economy on shaky footing, the SNB is all but sure to stick with its expansive stance, consisting of negative interest rates plus a pledge to intervene in currency markets if needed.Any further easing by the ECB cut is likely to spur a run on the franc. Should that happen, the SNB would retaliate with interventions and possibly a cut to interest rates. Although the SNB’s rates are already the lowest of any major central bank, President Thomas Jordan has said there's additional room to cut if necessary.Sveriges RiksbankCurrent repo rate: -0.25% Forecast for end of 2019: -0.25%Sweden’s central bank stuck to its outlook its latest meeting in July, signaling it will lift rates again toward the end of the year or early next year as inflation hovers around its 2% target. With zero rates within reach again, policy makers are reluctant to steer off course even as colleagues abroad starting priming the stimulus pumps.Governor Stefan Ingves and his colleagues are skeptical that the economic downturn will be as sharp as markets signal, but they are clearly in wait-and-see mode on how further stimulus from the Fed and ECB will affect the Swedish economy and the krona. The market is skeptical that more tightening will come, with futures even pricing in a small chance for a rate cut by the end of the year.Norges BankCurrent deposit rate: 1.25% Forecast for end of 2019: 1.4%Norway’s central bank surprised markets in June when it raised rates for a third time in less than a year and signaled it was preparing to tighten two more times, perhaps as soon as September.The economy of western Europe’s biggest oil producer is benefiting from a surge in investments in its petroleum industry, which has pushed down unemployment and driven wages higher and kept inflation above target. The Norwegian krone has also remained weak, giving the central bank further room to raise rates without hurting exports.Reserve Bank of New ZealandCurrent cash rate: 1.5% Forecast for end of 2019: 1.25%Governor Adrian Orr led the developed world when he cut rates in May, and while others have since caught up he has flagged further easing is in the pipeline.Citing the weaker economic outlook at home and abroad, Orr said in June that a lower cash rate may be needed to meet the RBNZ's inflation and employment objectives.Economists are predicting a second cut in August and some expect a third before the end of the year. With the cash rate falling further into uncharted territory, some observers have even started to speculate about the possible use of unconventional policy tools. However, New Zealand's economy continues to expand and growth is forecast to gather pace later this year.What Bloomberg's Economists Say: “The RBNZ cut the official cash rate by 25 bps in May and signaled in June that more easing was likely. We expect another 50 bps of cuts in 2H. The RBNZ’s projections from May saw inflation remaining below the midpoint of the 1-3% target until 2Q 2021, even with employment broadly at the maximum sustainable level. It could take longer, though, absent further countermeasures by the RBNZ. Growth, at 2.5% in 1Q 2019 and 4Q 2018, was the weakest since 2013, and indicators for 2Q suggest price pressures remained muted. Importantly, the New Zealand dollar has been relatively resilient against trading partners, and would likely face additional upward pressure if other central banks further eased monetary policy.” — Tamara HendersonNational Bank of PolandCurrent cash rate: 1.5% Forecast for end of 2019: 1.5%Polish interest rates, on hold at a record-low 1.5% since May 2015, are unlikely to be changed this year. Central bank Governor Adam Glapinski maintains that the longest ever pause in borrowing costs could extend to 2022, when the term of this Monetary Policy Council ends.Buoyed by the dovish mood globally, Glapinski is looking past the EU's steepest pickup in inflation this year, saying price growth remains in check and will ease back to tolerable levels without the need for a rate hike. There are reasons to doubt that scenario, however. They include potential departures of low-cost Ukrainian workers for Germany and a surge in food costs.Czech National Bank Current cash rate: 2% Forecast for end of 2019: 2%The Czech central bank, one of the most aggressive inflation-fighters among global peers, has paused its tightening push after lifting rates for the eighth time in two years in May. While domestic price growth is running above the target, policy makers are now focusing more on risks abroad that could impact the export-oriented economy.The central bank says the benchmark should stay unchanged for about a year. Governor Jiri Rusnok says ideally borrowing costs would resume rising after the pause — because real interest rates are still negative — but he hasn't ruled out a cut if external risks escalate. “Neither we, nor the major central banks in the world, know a lot at this moment about how much these uncertainties will materialize and manifest in the real economy during this cycle,” Rusnok said after keeping rates on hold in June.Methodology: Based on median estimate in monthly or quarterly survey, where available, or most recent collected forecasts. All interest rate and forecast data is as of July 16.\--With assistance from Samuel Dodge, Yinan Zhao, Rene Vollgraaff, Brian Swint, Sveinung Sleire, Karlis Salna, Ruth Olurounbi, Prinesha Naidoo, Anirban Nag, Eric Martin, Carolynn Look, Andrew Langley, Peter Laca, Cagan Koc, Paul Jackson, Henry Hoenig, Michael Heath, Paul Gordon, Patrick Gillespie, Toru Fujioka, Chris Fournier, Alister Bull, Matthew Brockett, Walter Brandimarte, Catherine Bosley, David Biller, Jonas Bergman, Sarina Yoo, Tomoko Sato, Catarina Saraiva, Cynthia Li and Harumi Ichikura.To contact the editor responsible for this story: Simon Kennedy at skennedy4@bloomberg.net, Zoe SchneeweissFergal O'BrienFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • July 17th 2019 at 14:58

Hospitality Properties Trust (NASDAQ:HPT) Has Attractive Fundamentals

Hospitality Properties Trust (NASDAQ:HPT) Has Attractive FundamentalsI've been keeping an eye on Hospitality Properties Trust (NASDAQ:HPT) because I'm attracted to its fundamentals...

  • July 17th 2019 at 14:56

Boasting A 21% Return On Equity, Is Momo Inc. (NASDAQ:MOMO) A Top Quality Stock?

Boasting A 21% Return On Equity, Is Momo Inc. (NASDAQ:MOMO) A Top Quality Stock?Many investors are still learning about the various metrics that can be useful when analysing a stock. This article is...

  • July 17th 2019 at 14:56

Should Investors Buy CrowdStrike after its IPO?

Should Investors Buy CrowdStrike after its IPO?It has been an explosive year for the initial public offering (IPO) market. A wave of companies came to the public market, with many surpassing original expectations. Based on a list created by the Bernstein Research firm, the average return of these IPOs has been 26% since day one on the market. Among the group, Beyond Meat, Inc. (BYND) saw a 163% gain on its first day while Zoom Video Communications, Inc. (ZM) was up 72%. CrowdStrike Holdings, Inc. (CRWD) stands out as one of the recent IPOs that is set to outperform. On its first day of trading, the stock surged by as much as 97%. With many analysts saying the company’s growth is only going to continue, we wanted to take a closer look to see if CrowdStrike really can make waves. Strong IPOCrowdStrike rose to fame after it uncovered the alleged hacking of the Democratic National Committee’s servers during the U.S. presidential campaign in 2016. When the company went public on June 12, its original $34 share price offering surged to $63.50. This is up from the expected range of $28 to $30 a share. In total, the IPO raised $612 million and gave CRWD an almost $6.6 billion market valuation. Since then, the stock has settled at 71% causing its market cap to reach over $11 billion. One of a Kind Cybersecurity Technology CrowdStrike has been able to soar past its competitors because of its unique approach to online threat detection. The technology uses artificial intelligence (AI) tools such as pattern matching against a larger data set to discover threats in real time. Identified threats are then stored in a central database which is used to build a catalog of all known threats. The company’s cloud-based platform makes it easy to implement across multiple device types so organizations can eliminate security gaps between on and off-premises devices. Its effective software solution has allowed the company to cement its place as a leader in the endpoint security space. Impressive GrowthManagement attributes their innovative product to the strong growth they’ve witnessed over the last year.The company sells the platform as a software-as-a-subscription to enterprises of all shapes and sizes. So far, the company’s strategy has been to replace a single aspect of the business’s cybersecurity software and then upsell on other CrowdStrike software.This strategy is clearly working with pre-existing customer spending up an average of 47% over the last year. Total revenue for the year ending January 31 grew 110% to $250 million, up from $119 million the year before. Over the same time period, gross profit margin increased from 54% to 65%.It is important to note that CrowdStrike is still not profitable and reported losses of $140 million for the year ending January 31. Despite this loss, investor sentiment surrounding the company remains positive. View Individual Investor Sentiment Analysts See Growth Opportunities On July 8, at least eleven analysts initiated coverage on CRWD all with a Buy rating. Five-star analyst, Gregg Moskowitz, sees big growth potential for the cybersecurity company. “In our view, CrowdStrike's highly differentiated cloud platform has been critical in helping the company to rise above a tough competitive field, as evidenced by [annual recurring revenue] growth well in excess of 100% from FY17-19,” he said. Along with his Buy rating, he set a price target of $80. Moskowitz has a 73% success rate as well as a 22% average return per rating. Another top analyst, Shaul Eyal, set a $90 price target with his coverage initiation. He believes the company's “innovative technology, its continued ability to disrupt and gain market share from legacy and next generation antivirus vendors, the industry's shift to consolidate point product solutions and a shortage of cyber-skilled talents should drive customers to seek a holistic solution like CrowdStrike's.” He said, “We estimate its large and expanding TAM to exceed $30B by 2022, and a hypergrowth rate over 30% over the next several years.” The Bottom Line The Street is optimistic, with the analyst consensus being that the stock is a ‘Moderate Buy’. CRWD has an average price target of $78, suggesting 12% upside potential. Click Here to see the full list of CRWD Analyst Ratings

  • July 17th 2019 at 14:54

Here's where you can have 4-day work week. Is this the next big thing?

Here's where you can have 4-day work week. Is this the next big thing?A growing number of businesses are adopting a four-day workweek to reduce burnout and bolster recruitment in a tight labor market.

  • July 17th 2019 at 14:54

South Africa’s Zuma denies interfering with Transnet CEO appointment

South Africa’s Zuma denies interfering with Transnet CEO appointmentFormer South African President Jacob Zuma denied on Wednesday having interfered with the appointment of a chief executive at transport and infrastructure company Transnet, during his third day testifying at a corruption inquiry. The inquiry is looking into allegations that Zuma, ousted by the governing African National Congress (ANC) party in February 2018, allowed cronies to plunder state resources and influence senior appointments during his nine years in power. Transnet, which operates railways, ports and fuel pipelines, is one of a handful of state-owned firms that became embroiled in corruption scandals during Zuma’s tenure.

  • July 17th 2019 at 14:52

How Do ITS Group’s (EPA:ITS) Returns Compare To Its Industry?

How Do ITS Group’s (EPA:ITS) Returns Compare To Its Industry?Today we'll look at ITS Group (EPA:ITS) and reflect on its potential as an investment. Specifically, we're going to...

  • July 17th 2019 at 14:52

How Should Investors React To Hansteen Holdings PLC's (LON:HSTN) CEO Pay?

How Should Investors React To Hansteen Holdings PLC's (LON:HSTN) CEO Pay?In 2005 Morgan Jones was appointed CEO of Hansteen Holdings PLC (LON:HSTN). First, this article will compare CEO...

  • July 17th 2019 at 14:50