Business Review from the Economist
Stocks accelerate on Trump expectations
Stock markets in the U.S. remained buoyant as investors anticipated that Donald Trump's presidency will reduce regulations and boost growth. The Dow Jones industrial average, S&P 500 and Nasdaq share indexes rose to new record highs on the same day, with the Dow closing above the 19,000 mark for the first time. Investors also focused on whether OPEC members will agree to cut oil production, and thus lift oil prices (and oil-industry profits), at their forthcoming meeting.
An annual ranking of systemically important global banks was published by the Financial Stability Board, an international regulatory body. It ranks 30 banks based on the risk they would present to the world economy if they went bankrupt. JPMorgan Chase topped the list again and was joined by Citigroup, which moved up a notch in the rankings' tier structure. Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China were also deemed to pose a greater risk than they did last year; HSBC, Barclays and Morgan Stanley a smaller one.
Fosun bought a 17 percent stake in Millennium BCP, making it the largest shareholder in Portugal's biggest listed bank. Fosun, a Chinese conglomerate, already owns Portugal's biggest insurance company.
The board at TransAsia Airways, a Taiwanese airline, decided to shut down the business. Its passenger numbers have fallen over the past two years after two fatal crashes raised concerns about safety. Traffic from China has also waned following the victory of the pro-nationalist party in Taiwan's presidential election, which has soured cross-strait relations.
Volkswagen produced a new strategic plan, which includes permanently withdrawing the diesel cars that were at the center of the scandal from sale in the United States. The U.S. market is central to VW's strategy as it pushes into SUVs and electric cars, which it will build in the U.S. from 2021.
India's central bank said that $80 billion worth of 500- and 1,000-rupee bank notes had been handed in to banks since the government's decision to withdraw them from circulation in an effort to clamp down on tax evasion. The notes are no longer legal tender, but can be deposited in bank accounts until the end of the year. The move to take them out of circulation was unexpected.
Eli Lilly said that a clinical trial for a new drug to slow the onset of Alzheimer's had failed. The drug, solanezumab, was tested on patients with mild cases of Alzheimer's, who showed only a slight improvement after 18 months of treatment. The experiment had been closely watched by medical researchers and hopes were high that solanezumab would be the first drug approved to treat the disease.
Sunoco Logistics and Energy Transfer Partners, two closely intertwined pipeline companies, agreed to merge in a $21 billion deal. Energy Transfer built the Dakota Access oil pipeline, which will carry crude from the Bakken shale field in North Dakota to Illinois. The pipeline crosses Sioux tribal land and has sparked fierce protests.
Global Politics from the Economist
Germany's Merkel seeks 4th term
Angela Merkel announced that she will run for a fourth term as chancellor of Germany next year. Many liberals were delighted, especially foreign ones. Within Germany there was joy among right-wing populists, who relish the chance to run against the chancellor, whom they blame for allowing large numbers of refugees into the country. A possible challenger, Martin Schulz, decided to leave his job as president of the European Parliament.
François Fillon, a former prime minister, unexpectedly won the first round of the Republican party primaries in France, with 44 percent of the vote. He is favored to win the second round, and could claim the presidency next year if he is pitted against Marine Le Pen, the leader of the far-right National Front.
Turkey's ruling Justice and Development party withdrew a bill that would have pardoned men for having sex with underage girls if they married them. The bill had sparked protests in Turkey and abroad.
Philip Hammond, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, gave the government's first detailed budget announcement since the Brexit vote in June. He confirmed forecasts of reduced GDP growth over the next two years. Net government borrowing, which in the March budget was expected to move into surplus in 2019, was projected to stay in deficit for at least the next five years.
Bolivia declared a state of emergency to help fight the effects of its worst drought in 25 years. Eight of the country's nine departments have water shortages.