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Markets Around The World Are On A Tear. The world stock markets are playing catch-up with the U.S., where the stocks surged 1.1% following reports of Russian warplanes ending drills in Ukraine, a sign that turmoil in the region may be subsiding. In Europe, Britain’s FTSE is up 0.7%, France’s CAC 40 is up 0.8%, and Germany’s DAX is up 1.5%. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei closed up 2.4% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rallied 1.3%. U.S. futures are up, with Dow futures up 55 points and S&P 500 futures up 7 points.
Buzzfeed Is Worth $US850 Million. Venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz announced a $US50 million investment in Buzzfeed. The NYT’s Mike Isaac estimates that makes the viral content site worth around $US850 million. “BuzzFeed is a media company in the same sense that Tesla is a car company, Uber is a taxi company, or Netflix is a streaming movie company,” Andreessen Horowitz’s Chris Dixon said. “We believe we’re in the “deployment” phase of the internet.”
Kinder Morgan Consolidates. U.S. energy giant Kinder Morgan announced on Sunday that it would buy out all of its publicly traded subsidiaries including Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP, Kinder Morgan Management LLC, and El Paso Pipeline Partners LP. “This transaction dramatically simplifies the Kinder Morgan story, by transitioning from four separately traded equity securities today to one security going forward, and by eliminating the incentive distribution rights and structural subordination of debt,” CEO Richard Kinder said. “Further, we believe that KMI will be a valuable acquisition currency and have a significantly lower hurdle for accretive investments in new energy infrastructure. In the opportunity-rich environment of today’s energy infrastructure sector, we believe this transaction gives us the ability to grow KMI for years to come.”
Iraq’s Maliki Resists. Amid ongoing turmoil in Iraq, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki is resisting calls to step down. “Maliki, serving in a caretaker capacity since an inconclusive election in April, has defied calls from Sunnis, Kurds, some fellow Shi’ites, and regional power broker Iran to step aside to make room for a less polarising figure,” reported Reuters’ Michael Georgy. “Iraq’s highest court ruled on Monday that … Maliki’s bloc is the biggest in parliament, meaning he could retain his position, state television reported.”
Turkey’s Prime Minister Wins The Presidency. “Turkey’s ruling party begins deliberations on the shape of the next government on Monday after Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan secured his place in history by winning the nation’s first direct presidential election,” reported Reuters’ Nick Tattersall and Orhan Coskun. “Erdogan’s victory in Sunday’s vote takes him a step closer to the executive presidency he has long coveted for Turkey. But it is an outcome which his opponents fear will herald an increasingly authoritarian rule.”
Norwegian Crown Surges. “The Norwegian crown hit a seven-week high against the euro after Norway reported consumer inflation unexpectedly jumped in July, making it less likely the central bank will cut interest rates,” reported Reuters’ Jemima Kelly. Core inflation jumped 2.6%, which was much higher than the 2.0% expected by economists. It was also much higher than the Norges Bank’s 2.5% target.
China Inflation. Consumer prices climbed by 2.3% in July, while producer prices fell by 0.9%. Both measures were right in line with expectations. “Limited consumer price pressure means China’s central bank retains room to manoeuvre on monetary policy,” Bloomberg economist Tom Orlik said. “Progressive improvement in producer prices suggests the industrial sector continues to strengthen.”
Stanley Fischer Warns Of A Structural Shift In The Global Economy. Federal Reserve Vice Chair Stanley Fischer gave a speech in Stockholm titled “The Great Recession: Moving Ahead.” Among other things, he warned that the we may be in for a long period of low growth. From his speech: “Possibly we are simply seeing a prolonged Reinhart-Rogoff cyclical episode, typical of the aftermath of deep financial crises, and compounded by other temporary headwinds. But it is also possible that the underperformance reflects a more structural, longer-term, shift in the global economy, with less growth in underlying supply factors.”
Fischer’s Also Worried About Labour Supply. “The considerable slowdown in the growth rate of labour supply observed over the past decade is a source of concern for the prospects of U.S. output growth. There has been a steady decrease in the labour force participation rate since 2000. Although this reduction in labour supply largely reflects demographic factors — such as the ageing of the population — participation has fallen more than many observers expected and the interpretation of these movements remains subject to considerable uncertainty.”
Economic Calendar. No major economic reports were scheduled for release Monday.
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