29 August 2019 FT — Articles to Read

29 August 2019


Question: According to MSN: Money, what percentage of married couples in Washington DC earn over $100k and what is there monthly disposable income?


Uproar as Johnson shuts down parliament to protect Brexit plan – Pg. 1

  • Boris Johnson plunged Britain in to a constitutional uproar yesterday when he announced plans to shut down the UK parliament for five weeks, daring opponents of his Brexit strategy to vote down his government in a sharp escalation of tensions in Westminster
  • The prime minister asked the Queen to prorogue parliament between the second week of September and October 14 – the longest suspension since 1945
  • Mr Johnson has insisted that the UK will exit the EU on October 31, with or without a deal
  • …Mr Johnson hopes that it will focus minds in Brussels on delivering a new Brexit deal without the Irish border backstop – an insurance policy to avoid a hard border with Ireland through a temporary customs union


DeBeers diamonds in a rough patch as oversupply and artificial gems hit sales – Pg. 1

  • DeBeers, the world’s largest diamond miner by value, said yesterday that sales of rough diamonds plummeted 44% at its auction last week in Botswana, down to $280m compared with $503m in the same period a year ago
  • Macroeconomic uncertainty and, in particular, the trade war between the US and China, the world’s two largest diamond-consuming countries, has fueled nervousness among wholesalers and retailers
  • Diamond buyers, who polish and cut diamonds for retailers, are struggling to make money this year because of lower prices and tighter credit, prompting them to delay purchases
  • Shares in Signet, the world’s largest retailer of diamond jewellery, have fallen more than 60% this year


China considers corporate ‘social credit’ system – Pg. 12

  • Foreign companies operating in China are unprepared for tougher sanctions under a corporate “social credit” system imposed by Beijing,…
  • Sanctions that can be imposed by regulators depending on compliance include fines, targeted audits, restricted issuance of government approvals and exclusion from preferential policies and public procurement contracts,…
  • The system aims primarily to improve the enforcement of existing regulations, and in many foreign companies could benefit as they often have better compliance in areas such as environmental pollution…
  • The measure could give Beijing more leverage over companies perceived to have violated China’s stance on politically sensitive issues…


Norway oil fund eyes unlisted holdings – Pg. 14

  • Norway’s $1tn oil fund should be able to take stakes in large unlisted companies, the investor’s manager has proposed, as it seeks greater exposure to private technology groups
  • …recommended yesterday that it be allowed to hold up to 1% of its equity portfolio in unlisted companies, equivalent to about $7bn
  • Norway’s central bank yesterday proposed getting rid of the requirement for “an intention” to float and instead allow the fund to own “large companies that are not yet listed”
  • …the fund has record holdings in equities, with 69.3% of its assets in shares. It began in 1996 only investing in bonds


Outlook for S&P 500 profits dim as trade war bites – Pg. 17

  • Companies in the S&P 500 index will increase profits 2.4% on a per-share basis this year, down from the 7.7% growth expected at the start of the year…
  • The 5.3%-point drop in full-year earnings expectations marks the largest decline on a year-to-date basis since 2016
  • Trade tension between the US and China escalated last week when Beijing said it was preparing to slap tariffs on $75bn of US imports and President Donald Trump responded with a plan to increase levies on Chinese goods and what he called an order for US companies to “immediately” find alternatives to China
  • The lower profit outlook follows anaemic growth in US capital spending this year after a surge in 2018 when lower corporate taxes came into force


Answer: 66.7% and -$700/mo (Prof Note: That is a negative $700/mo, i.e. lose money per month)