Dollar rises against yen as oil spike boosts risk appetite

The dollar briefly touched its strongest level against the yen in more than a week on Thursday as a spike in oil prices stoked investors’ appetite for riskier assets, weighing on the haven yen.

The greenback USDJPY, +0.30% traded as high as ¥101.75 early in the European trading day, its strongest level since Sept. 21. In recent trade, one dollar bought ¥101.48, compared with ¥100.93.

Oil prices shot higher late Wednesday after The Wall Street Journal reported that members of the Organization for the Petroleum Exporting Countries had agreed on the need to cap oil production, but decided to wait until November to iron out the details of a plan.

November West Texas Intermediate crude rose 5.3% on Wednesday, and continued to move higher during the Asia trading day on Thursday, boosting stocks and the currencies of major oil exporters while weakening the yen.
But skepticism about whether a cap would ever actually be implemented soon set in, and oil prices moved off their highs. U.S.-traded crude CLX6, +1.81% for November delivery was down 0.3% at $46.93 a barrel.

This curbed rallies in the Canadian dollar, Russian ruble and several other commodity-linked currencies. In recent trade, the dollar USDCAD, +0.5504% bought C$1.3083, compared with C$1.3059 late Wednesday. Meanwhile, it USDRUB, +0.1578% bought 63.17 Russian rubles, compared with 63.06 rubles late Wednesday.

The greenback is on track to rise modestly against the yen for a third day, but “the true direction in the pair may not be known until next week, when a slew of U.S. data could either confirm or deny the speculation of a December hike,” said Boris Schlossberg,

Comments from Esther George, who was one of three Fed officials who voted to raise interest rates in September, helped support the dollar overnight. George insisted that rates need to rise steadily or the central bank risks falling behind.

But Jane Foley, a senior currency strategist at Rabobank, said hawkish comments from Fed officials wouldn’t have a lasting impact on the dollar unless U.S. economic data improve.

“Unless we have robust data, the market is going to remain skeptical of the ability of the Fed to raise interest rates progressively throughout 2017,” Foley said.

In other currency trading, the euro EURUSD, -0.0178% was off slightly, buying $1.1213, compared with $1.1223 late Wednesday. Meanwhile, the pound GBPUSD, -0.3917% traded at $1.3009, compared with $1.3044 Wednesday.

The dollar ticked higher after revised data showed the U.S. economy grew at a faster pace in the second quarter than was previously reported.

SEC gets staff recommendation to allow third-party exams

Securities and Exchange Commission Chairwoman Mary Jo White said Tuesday the agency has progressed in its consideration of a rule to allow third-party examinations of investment advisers.

“The staff has completed their recommendation [to allow third-party exams]: a proposal which is now with my fellow commissioners,” Ms. White said at the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association annual conference in Washington.

She told reporters on the sidelines of the SIFMA conference that the commissioners could vote on whether to propose the recommended independent compliance reviews, but did not describe the details of the recommendation.

It’s not clear when the SEC, which currently has only three of its usual complement of five members, would act.

“I can’t predict the timing,” Ms. White told reporters.

The SEC has been under pressure to strengthen its oversight of advisers. The agency examines annually about 10% of the approximately 11,800 registered advisers. The SEC would like to increase the coverage rate to about 50%, and farming out some exams to nongovernmental third parties is seen as one way to help the agency boost its own effort.

“That would certainly be my goal,” Ms. White said of the 50% annual examination rate. “That’s going to take significantly more resources.”

In its annual budget requests to Congress, the agency has made adviser exams a top priority for increased funding.

Earlier this year, the SEC announced it would increase the number of investment adviser examiners by almost 20% — from 530 to 630 — by shifting broker-dealer exam staff to the investment adviser side of the Office of Inspections Compliance and Examinations.

The agency also has done “targeted hiring” in the adviser exam area, Ms. White said Tuesday.

With the shift of resources at the SEC toward adviser exams, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc., the industry-funded broker-dealer regulator, is taking on even more responsibility for oversight of brokers. Finra examines annually about half of the approximately 4,000 brokerage firms registered with the organization.

The SEC approves Finra rules and is now keeping a closer eye on the regulator’s operations through its recently established Finra and Securities Industry Oversight office.

Ms. White said the new office, housed within the SEC, is not necessarily pressing Finra for specific reforms.

“It’s a good move to make, given the importance of Finra and given our scarce resources,” Ms. White said.

During her SIFMA appearance, Ms. White also addressed whether the SEC would offer its own rule to raise investment advice standards, now that a similar rule from the Labor Department for retirement accounts will be implemented next year.

 

The Dodd-Frank financial reform law gave the SEC the authority to propose its own rule, but the agency has not acted on the controversial topic.

Ms. White reiterated that the SEC staff has completed “a detailed outline of how they would go about” proposing a fiduciary duty rule, which has been circulated to the three SEC commissioners. As she always does, she cautioned that a vote on a proposal won’t occur “any time soon.”’

“It needs to be a data-driven exercise so we get it just right so that we achieve the objective … of [raising] the bar of all financial professionals without essentially depriving retail investors of reasonably priced, reliable advice,” Ms. White said. “Getting that balance right is not easy.”

Two nominees to fill the SEC vacancies — Republican Hester Peirce and Democrat Lisa Fairfax — are awaiting Senate confirmation.

M&M introduces Intelli-Hybrid Technology on Scorpio

Image result for M&M introduces Intelli-Hybrid Technology on ScorpioMumbai, Sep 27 (IANS) Automobile manufacturer Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) on Tuesday said it has introduced its new mild hybrid technology ‘Intelli-Hybrid on the New Generation Scorpio with 1.99 litre mHAWK engine for Delhi and NCR (national capital region).

The company said the Scorpio with Intelli-Hybrid is available at a starting price of Rs 9.35 lakh for the S4 model and will be on sale with immediate effect.

“As an organisation that puts keen emphasis on sustainability and eco-friendly practices across every process and product, we are delighted to introduce mild-hybrid technology on the Scorpio,” said Pravin Shah, President and Chief Executive (Automotive), M&M.

“By reducing fuel consumption, Intelli-Hybrid helps Scorpio owners contribute towards a cleaner and greener Delhi and NCR.”

According to the company, being a mild hybrid, the Scorpio will be sold with a concessional Value Added Tax (VAT) of five per cent in Delhi.

“Intelli-Hybrid reduces fuel consumption by up to seven per cent,” the automobile manufacturer said in a statement.

“This, by assisting the engine with electric power during acceleration, automatically switching the engine off within 3 seconds of the vehicle being stationary (start-stop) and reusing brake energy, which would otherwise be wasted, to charge the battery.”

IGIA achieves carbon neutral status, first in Asia-Pacific region

Image result for IGIA achieves carbon neutral status, first in Asia-Pacific regionNew Delhi, Sep 27 (IANS) The Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) on Tuesday said the national capital’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) has become the first airport in the Asia-Pacific region to achieve carbon neutral status.

DIAL is a GMR Group-led consortium which manages and operates IGI airport.

According to DIAL, the announcement on the carbon neutral status was made by Airports Council International (ACI) during the Airport Carbon Accreditation certificate presentation ceremony held in Montreal, Canada.

The globally reputed Airport Carbon Accreditation has upgraded Delhi Airport to “Level 3+, Neutrality”, which is the highest level of achievement available to airports across the world.

Carbon neutrality occurs when the net carbon emissions over an entire year is zero. This means the airport absorbs or offsets the same amount of emission that was generated.

“Today, we have delivered on our commitment of achieving sustainable solutions for aviation climate change mitigations made at LPAA-COP 21 (Lima-Paris Action Agenda-Conference of the Parties) last year through carbon neutrality,” said I. Prabhakara Rao, Chief Executive Officer, DIAL.

“Going forward we are focussing on energy conservation and exploring alternative solution for generating green energy,” Rao was quoted in a statement as saying.

Delhi airport aims to increase its solar power generation capacity to 20 MW by 2020. DIAL has set up a 7.84 MW solar power plant to reduce GHG (greenhouse gas) emission.

DIAL has taken various emission-saving measures at IGI airport which has led to a 51 per cent reduction in specific GHG emission (kgCO2/Pax) during the last five years.

The 39th ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation) assembly, which coincided with the event, also explored avenues of attaining climate change mitigation solution among the member nations.

emerging markets get tougher for drugmakers

LONDON (Reuters) – Emerging markets have lost their lustre for Big Pharma making drug firms ever more dependent on the United States for growth just as American anger over high medicine prices is building.

A few years ago, the developing world was seen as a saviour as patent after patent expired across the United States and Europe, but emerging market sales growth at the top drug firms slowed to less than two percent in the latest quarter.

Forecasts from independent experts IMS Health now suggest the United States will account for 55 percent of sales growth between 2016 and 2020, with emerging markets only contributing 30 percent.

The slowdown in China and other top emerging markets is being driven by a number of factors: government pressure on drug prices, slowing economies and in some cases significant currency devaluations.

But the end result is that prescriptions for Americans will fund an even greater slice of the $1 trillion-a-year pharmaceuticals industry.

Company executives insist markets from China to Colombia to Mexico to Myanmar are an important engine of long-term growth, given rising populations, increasing wealth, and the global march of diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

“We have seen some flattening of growth, notably in Brazil and Russia, but in the long run we still expect that emerging markets will outgrow mature markets by 2 to 3 percentage points,” Olivier Charmeil, who heads up emerging markets operations at French drugmaker Sanofi, told Reuters.

GlaxoSmithKline’s incoming chief executive Emma Walmsley, meanwhile, highlighted the potential of China, saying after being appointed to the top job this week that she was “very excited about what we can do with GSK there”.

NOT PRETTY

But the short-term picture is not pretty. Emerging market growth is the slowest since drug companies started breaking out such regional sales numbers about seven years ago, with GSK languishing at the bottom of the class.

GSK’s drug sales in China fell 14 percent in the three months to the end of June as the company continued to reshape its business following a damaging corruption scandal in 2013, leaving a question mark over whether it can return to growth this year as hoped.

Others are doing better in China, which is now the world’s second biggest drugs market behind the United States, but all are struggling with slowing sales growth, which slipped to its lowest rate since 2008 in July.

“Across the board, we are seeing emerging markets register lower growth in local currency and in many cases there have also been big currency devaluations,” said Murray Aitken, IMS Health senior vice president and executive director.

The pharmaceutical industry tends to measure its sales performance in local currencies but in dollar terms devaluations wiped an estimated 77 percent off emerging market growth between 2013 and 2015, IMS calculates.

“Some of our biggest emerging markets have seen huge currency devaluations,” said Christophe Weber, CEO of Takeda Pharmaceutical, which ramped up its exposure to new markets in 2011 by buying Swiss group Nycomed.

“But in the long term, when you have a world of more than seven billion people, I feel more comfortable if we are providing our medicines to a wide range of people.”

RICH PICKINGS

Succeeding in developing markets has never been plain sailing, with lower profit margins than developed markets due to competition from low-cost local suppliers and the need for investment.

By comparison, the United States offers rich pickings at the moment thanks to hugely profitable new drugs for diseases such as cancer and hepatitis C.

That disparity is an issue for investors trying to value growth outside the West, with some of the most highly rated drug stocks being those that have stepped back from emerging markets, such as Bristol-Myers Squibb.

Its trades at 21 times this year’s expected earnings whereas Sanofi is valued at just 12.5 times earnings.

The French firm takes top spot in emerging markets among multinationals, with 29 percent of its second-quarter sales generated there, followed by AstraZeneca on 26 percent, according to Bernstein analysts.

Many companies’ sales in developing economies come from so-called branded generics, or off-patent medicines that command a premium to those made by local suppliers because the Western drugmaker’s name is a proxy for quality.

That business is now under threat as governments promote cheaper unbranded products as a route to universal healthcare.

“There is a lot of emphasis on providing essential medicines, which is providing growth for cheap local generics but not necessarily for multinational companies,” said Aitken.

One sign of the tougher times is the relative dearth of acquisitions in emerging markets by international players after a slew of multibillion-dollar deals between 2008 and 2011.

Still, Sanofi’s Charmeil is scouting: “We are looking for opportunities and if we think it makes sense for our portfolio, we are ready to go for it.”

Wall Street rally continues after Fed rate decision

REUTERS – U.S. stocks soared on Thursday, with the Nasdaq hitting a record intraday high, a day after the Federal Reserve stood pat on interest rates.

While the Fed said the risks to economic outlook were roughly “balanced”, it left rates unchanged as inflation continued to run below its 2 percent target and members saw room for improvement in the labor market.

The Fed also slowed the pace of future hikes and cut its longer run interest rate forecast, but sent a strong signal for a move by the end of this year.

The consensus among economists is for a hike in December as the Fed’s November meeting comes right around the U.S. Presidential elections.

The probability of a November hike stands at a modest 12.4 percent and rises to 58.4 percent for December, according to the CME Group’s FedWatch tool.

“Clearly the markets view the Fed’s inaction as favorable… but if you read between the lines, the Fed is concerned about the strength of the economy,” said Matt Schreiber, chief investment officer at WBI Investments in Red Bank, New Jersey.

“The Fed and central banks worldwide have been providing investors with a sense of calm and complacency.”

The dollar index dropped 0.5 percent on Thursday, and was on track to mark the second straight day of losses after the central bank’s decision.

Oil prices rose about 1.6 percent as the dollar fell and U.S. crude inventories recorded a surprise drop. [O/R]

Adding some support to the Fed’s plans for at least one hike this year was a report that showed the number of Americans applying for unemployment last week fell to a two-month low.

At 11:08 a.m. ET (1508 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 124.2 points, or 0.68 percent, at 18,417.9. All 30 of the its components were higher.

The S&P 500 was up 12.46 points, or 0.58 percent, at 2,175.58.

The Nasdaq Composite was up 32.08 points, or 0.61 percent, at 5,327.26, after rising as much as 0.76 percent to a record of 5335.82.

The technology index rose 0.5 percent, giving the benchmark S&P 500 index its biggest boost.

Shares of Amazon.com touched a record after BMO raised its price target to $900. The stock gave the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq their biggest boost.

Apple rose 0.9 percent to $114.56 and was the top influence on the S&P and the Nasdaq after Nomura and RBC raised their price targets.

JPMorgan rose 0.5 percent and was the top boost on the S&P financial index after striking a deal with Wal-Mart to process payments.

Red Hat rose 6.7 percent to $82.27 after the Linux operating system distributor reported second-quarter revenue and profit that beat market expectations.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 2,537 to 417. On the Nasdaq, 1,899 issues rose and 729 fell.

The S&P 500 index showed 27 new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 115 new highs and nine new lows.

Gold gains as investors bet against Fed hike

Gold bracelets are on display as a woman makes choices at a jewellery showroom in KolkataLONDON (Reuters) – Gold rose for a second straight session on Tuesday as the dollar dropped ahead of a two-day U.S. Federal Reserve meeting that investors are betting will leave interest rates unchanged.

Spot gold was up 0.2 percent at $1,314.76 an ounce by 0955 GMT, with U.S. gold futures gaining 0.1 percent to $1,319.10.

“Gold should remain supported as long as it holds above $1,300 an ounce … but that level could be easily broken if the Fed surprises with a rate hike tomorrow,” ActivTrades chief analyst Carlo Alberto de Casa said.

“If not, we could see a $10 rebound after the Fed meeting.”

Investors will listen closely to Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s speech at the end of the meeting on Wednesday for any hint that the central bank could raise rates before the end of the year.

A range of mixed economic figures and conflicting remarks by key Fed policymakers have kept investors guessing over the timing of the next U.S. rate increase.

Only a 12 percent chance of a rate rise is priced in now, compared with 24 percent last week, CME FedWatch said.

Rising U.S. interest rates increase the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion and boost the dollar, making gold more expensive for buyers holding other currencies.

The dollar was down 0.1 percent against a basket of six main currencies as investors also awaited the outcome of a Bank of Japan policy meeting this week.

Japan’s central bank also meets on Tuesday and Wednesday, and could make negative interest rates the primary focus of its monetary policy, moving away from quantitative easing.

Spot gold looks neutral in a range of $1,313 to $1,319 an ounce and an escape could point a direction, said Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao.

In other news, Swiss gold imports from Hong Kong last month hit their highest since records began in 2012, while combined shipments to Hong Kong and China hit their lowest since April, data from the Swiss customs bureau showed on Tuesday.

Among other precious metals, spot silver rose 0.3 percent to $19.19 an ounce, building on a gain of nearly 2 percent in the previous session.

Platinum was up 0.5 percent at $1,026.25 and Palladium rose 0.6 percent to $687, extending a 2 percent increase on Monday.

Sensex, Nifty fall; Fed, BOJ outcomes awaited

A man looks at a screen across a road displaying the Sensex on the facade of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) building in MumbaiREUTERS – Indian shares fell on Tuesday after four sessions of gains as sentiment across the globe was cautious ahead of the outcomes of the Federal Reserve and the Bank of Japan’s policy meetings later this week.

The consensus is that the Fed will leave interest rates unchanged, but investors are looking for commentary and guidance for the next interest rate hike.

Meanwhile, the BOJ could make negative interest rates the primary focus of its monetary policy at the conclusion of its meeting on Wednesday.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 0.2 percent after major U.S. indexes ended a choppy session nearly flat on Monday. “It’s more of a global phenomenon which is affecting the market,” said R.K. Gupta, managing director, Taurus Asset Management.

The Nifty was down 0.33 percent at8,779.20 as of 0626 GMT, dragged lower by financial and IT stocks.

The Sensex was 0.34 percent lower at 28,538.19.

Investors booked profits in sectors such as auto and banks that have gained recently.

The Nifty Auto index was down 0.61 percent after rising about 23 percent this year as of Monday’s close. Hero MotoCorp Ltd, which was the top percentage loser, fell as much as 2.11 percent.

The NSE Bank index was down 0.39 percent, having risen 0.60 percent this month as of Monday’s close.

Jubilant FoodWorks Ltd’s shares fell as much as 8.21 percent to their lowest in over seven months after the company on Monday approved the resignation of Ajay Kaul as CEO-cum-whole time director.

Iran supports any move to stabilise oil market – Rouhani

Image result for Iran supports any move to stabilise oil market - RouhaniDUBAI (Reuters) – Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said Tehran supports any move to stabilise the global oil market and lift prices, the Iranian oil ministry news agency SHANA quoted him as saying on Sunday.

“Instability and falling oil prices are harmful to all countries, especially oil producers,” Rouhani was quoted as saying by SHANA.

“Tehran welcomes any move aimed at market stability and improvement of oil prices based on justice, fairness and fair quota of all the oil producers,” the president said, referring to a meeting between OPEC and non-OPEC producers in Algeria next week, SHANA said.

Rouhani was speaking to Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa on the sidelines of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit in Venezuela on Saturday, SHANA reported.

Iran, OPEC’s third-largest producer, has been boosting its oil output after the lifting of Western sanctions in January. Tehran refused to join a previous attempt this year by OPEC and non-members such as Russia to stabilise production, and talks collapsed in April.

OPEC members will meet on the sidelines of the International Energy Forum (IEF), which groups producers and consumers, in Algeria on Sept. 26-28. Non-OPEC producer Russia is also attending the forum.

OPEC will probably revive talks on freezing oil production levels when it meets non-OPEC nations in Algeria, sources have told Reuters.

Saudi Arabia and Russia agreed this month to cooperate in oil markets, saying they could limit future output.

However, on Saturday, OPEC Secretary-General Mohammed Barkindo appeared to play down suggestions of a major agreement by saying the Algiers meeting would be an informal meeting for consultations and not for decision making, Algerian state news agency APS reported.

Jio says Airtel gesture welcome, but won’t address call drops

Image result for Jio says Airtel gesture welcome, but won't address call dropsMumbai, Sep 18 (IANS) Reliance Jio on Sunday welcomed Bharti Airtel’s decision to provide better interconnection for its calls. But it also said the number of such points proposed remained substantially less than actual requirement — and won’t be able to address the issue of large-scale call drops.

“Based on the current traffic flow between the two networks, the proposed augmentation by Airtel would still only suffice for less than one-fourth of the required interconnection capacity,” a Jio statement said.

“More than two crore calls are failing everyday between the two networks, which is far in excess of the quality of service parameters and of alarming proportions. Urgent steps are required to be taken in the interest of customers of both operators,” the statement said.

“It is unfortunate that the Telecom Regulatory Authority’s intervention was required for Airtel to resume augmentation of points of interconnection, which it ought to have done by itself in compliance with its license terms.”

The statement comes a day after Airtel said it has received the payments due on interconnection from Jio and that after executing the agreed augmentation in such points, their total number will be three times that at present. It also said the capacity will be sufficient to serve over 15 million Jio customers, and added it will be much more than Jio’s subscriber base.

“While the interconnect agreement provides for a commissioning period of 90 days from the day Reliance Jio makes the payment, Airtel will work towards releasing the points of interconnect well ahead of the contractual obligation,” said Airtel.

But this point was refuted by Jio.

“The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s regulation does not provide for 90 days to adhere to quality of service parameters. The authority in fact instructed the incumbent operators to urgently provide requisite interconnection capacities to maintain quality of service parameters and not to make this subject to any contingencies or restrictions.”

Jio also found fault with the type of interconnection points Airtel was offering, and said it was a clear case of abuse of market dominance.

“It appears that the quality of service will continue to suffer and Indian customers will be denied the benefits of superior and free voice services as a result of such anti-competitive behaviour.”

The company said Airtel has been blocking mobile number portability for migration of potential subscribers to Jio.