Goldman Sachs sees ‘modest’ emerging market rebound in 2019


The Goldman Sachs logo is displayed on a post above the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, September 11, 2013. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

LONDON (Reuters) – Investment bank Goldman Sachs said on Tuesday that it expected emerging market shares, currencies and bonds to see a modest rebound next year.

“We expect modest positive returns across the major EM indices next year, albeit with low risk-adjusted returns,” analysts at Goldman said in a 2019 outlook report.

They forecast that emerging market equities would see the biggest rise at 12 percent in dollar terms, while EM currencies should appreciate by around 2 percent on average due to economic improvements and a modestly weaker U.S. dollar.

On local currency bonds they added that closely tracked GBI-EM debt index to provide around 10 percent returns on an “unhedged” basis and including “duration effects”.

MSCI’s 24-country EM stocks index .MSCIEF is down 16 percent in 2018 so far.

Reporting by Marc Jones; editing by Helen Reid



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Incoming rain could hinder search for California wildfire victims

Incoming rain could hinder search for California wildfire victims


(Reuters) – Heavy rains expected to hit Northern California late on Tuesday could help firefighters but will raise the risk of mudslides and hinder the search for more victims of the deadliest wildfire in the state’s history as nearly 1,000 people remain missing.

The chance of floods or mudslides also could increase the misery of the evacuees, some of whom are living in tents or sleeping in their cars.

Remains of 79 victims have been recovered since the Camp Fire erupted on Nov. 8 and largely obliterated the Sierra foothills town of Paradise, a community of nearly 27,000 people about 175 miles (280 km) north of San Francisco.

The missing persons list kept by the Butte County Sheriff’s Office still has 993 names on it.

That number has fluctuated dramatically in the past week as additional people were reported missing or as some initially listed as unaccounted for either turn up alive or are identified among the dead.

Sheriff Kory Honea has said some people have been added to the list more than once at times under different spellings of their names.

As of early Tuesday, the fire had torched more than 151,000 acres (61,100 hectares) of parched scrub and trees and incinerated about 12,000 homes, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said.

Efforts to suppress the flames were likely to benefit from a storm expected to dump as much as 4 inches (10 cm) of rain north of San Francisco between late Tuesday and Friday.

DigitalGlobe satellite image shows fire damages in the Kilcrease circle community aftermath of the Camp Fire in Paradise, California, U.S. on November 17, 2018. Courtesy Satellite image ©2018 DigitalGlobe, a Maxar company/Handout via REUTERS

Containment lines have been built around 70 percent of its perimeter, according to the agency.

Smoke from the fire has lead to school closures in the region. Citing poor air quality, schools and colleges in the Sacramento area will remain closed until Nov. 26.

Flights in and out of San Francisco also have continued to experience some delays or cancellations because of the smoke.

‘MUDDY, MUSHY MESS’

But heavy showers risk setting off mudslides in newly burned areas while also making it more difficult for forensic teams sifting through cinders and debris for additional human remains.

Slideshow (5 Images)

Colleen Fitzpatrick, founder of the California-based consulting company Identifinders International, said rain would turn the site into a “muddy, mushy mess” slick with wet ash.

Pathologists from the University of Nevada in Reno worked through the weekend as firefighters peeled back debris, collecting bits of burned bones and photographing everything that might help identify victims.

Intense fire over the slopes of canyons, hills and mountains makes them more prone to landslides, by burning away vegetation and organic material that normally holds soil in place. The fire also creates a hard, waxy surface that tends to repel rather than absorb water.

The result can be heavy runoff of rainwater mixed with mud, boulders, trees and other debris that flows downhill with tremendous force, said Jason Kean, a research hydrologist for the U.S. Geological Survey.

“Those debris flows have the consistency of wet concrete and move faster than you can run,” he said. “It’s like a flood on steroids … and a big one can take out two-story buildings.”

The number of residents needing temporary shelter was unclear, but as many as 52,000 people were under evacuation orders at the height of the firestorm last week.

Nearly 500 miles south of Paradise near Malibu, west of Los Angeles, at least 2 inches (5 cm) of rain are expected to fall on a second fire, the Woolsey, which has killed three people. That blaze was 96 percent contained as of Monday evening.

The cause of both fires is under investigation but electric utilities reported localized equipment problems around the time they broke out.

PG&E Corp (PCG.N) has said it could face liability that exceeds its insurance coverage if its equipment were found to have caused the Camp Fire.

Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee; editing by David Stamp and Bill Trott



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White House's Kudlow: Tax reform's next phase won't happen in 2018

White House’s Kudlow: Tax reform’s next phase won’t happen in 2018


White House chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow speaks to reporters outside the White House in Washington, U.S. November 13, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – White House Economic Adviser Larry Kudlow told reporters on Tuesday the next phase of U.S. tax reform will not happen during the final months of 2018, the “lame duck” period when Republicans will still control Congress.

A follow-up to Republicans’ 2017 tax overhaul could be passed in the new session of Congress starting in January, Kudlow said, even though Democrats will hold the majority in the House of Representatives, the chamber that writes revenue and spending legislation.

Many changes were being considered “to make the code more efficient and more pro growth, … flatter rates for everybody, particularly middle class people, get rid of the loopholes,” Kudlow said to reporters at the White House.

“None of this I think will happen” with the current Congress, he added. “I don’t see it.”

When a reporter asked about Democrats’ control of the House, Kudlow said: “That doesn’t mean we couldn’t get something in the new session.”

President Donald Trump said last month his administration was planning to roll out plans for a 10 percent tax cut for middle-income people before the Nov. 6 congressional elections.

Reporting by Mike Stone; Writing by Lisa Lambert; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Bernadette Baum



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Hizbul terrorist, who killed J&K intelligence officer, arrested at Delhi airport

Hizbul terrorist, who killed J&K intelligence officer, arrested at Delhi airport


The Hizb-ul-Mujahideen terrorist was apprehended at Terminal 3 of the IGI Airport.

Delhi Police apprehends Hizbul Mujahideen militant at Terminal 3 of the IGI Airport.

Delhi Police apprehends Hizbul Mujahideen militant at Terminal 3 of the IGI Airport.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Ansar-Ul-Haqe was wanted for the murder of Intelligence Officer (CID) of J&K Police
  • Sub-Inspector Imtiyaz Ahmad Mir was killed on October 30, 2018
  • After being chased for months, the terrorist was nabbed by a special cell team of New Delhi Range

A Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HM) terrorist, wanted in the murder of CID Intelligence Officer of Jammu and Kashmir Police, has been arrested by a special cell team of New Delhi range.

The terrorist, identified as Ansar-Ul-Haqe, was apprehended after the police received information that an HM operative is hiding in Delhi.

J&K Police sub-inspector Imtiyaz Ahmad Mir (30), who was travelling in his private car, was abducted by gunmen and taken to a nearby Rumshi Nalla, where he was shot dead last month.

The 28-year-old terrorist was apprehended at the Terminal 3 of the IGI Airport in the early hours today.

Also Read | Police intelligence officer killed in Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir

Also Watch | Hizb chief warns Pakistan if it withdraws support

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Amazon among bidders for 22 Disney sports networks: CNBC

Amazon among bidders for 22 Disney sports networks: CNBC


(Reuters) – Amazon.com Inc is bidding for Walt Disney Co’s 22 regional sports networks, including Yes Network, CNBC reported on Tuesday, citing sources familiar with the matter.

FILE PHOTO: The logo of the web service Amazon is pictured in this June 8, 2017 illustration photo. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso/Illustration/File Photo

Disney, which is buying Twenty-First Century Fox Inc’s film and television assets, had said it would divest 22 of Fox’s regional sports networks as part of its agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice.

The story gave no indication about the value of the bids. Sources had earlier told here Reuters that these networks could be worth as much as $20 billion.

Blackstone and an unnamed sovereign wealth fund, along with the New York Yankees, are also bidding for the New York network, CNBC said.

If Amazon clinches the deal, it would pay a higher price than the $13.7 billion the retail giant paid to buy Whole Foods Co last year.

Fox Executive Chairman Lachlan Murdoch had hinted earlier this month that it could buy back the regional sports networks it sold to Disney.

Fox did not submit a bid in the first round for the networks although there was the potential that they would join in the second round, CNBC reported.

The second round of bids are expected before the year ends and due diligence on the bids begin next week.

Neither Disney nor Amazon immediately responded to Reuters request for comment.

Shares of Walt Disney shares were down 2 pct at $113.16, while Amazon fell 3.9 pct at $1452.67 in morning trade.

Reporting by Vibhuti Sharma in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva and Arun Koyyur



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China bars actress Zhao Wei from holding key positions in companies for five years

China bars actress Zhao Wei from holding key positions in companies for five years


HONG KONG (Reuters) – Billionaire Chinese actress Zhao Wei and her husband have been barred from taking on key positions at listed companies for five years for violating securities regulations, the Shanghai Stock Exchange said on Tuesday.

Actress Zhao Wei, member of Venezia 73 International Jury, poses for photographers during a photocall at the 73rd Venice Film Festival in Venice, Italy August 31, 2016. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi

The exchange’s announcement comes more than a month after another Chinese actress Fan Bingbing came under fire for failing to pay millions of dollars in taxes and fines.

On Tuesday, the exchange said Zhao and her husband Huang Youlong, as well as several other former executives of Tibet Longwei Culture Media and Zhejiang Sunriver Culture Co Ltd, were unfit to be directors, supervisors and senior executives of listed companies.

They will not be allowed to assume these positions for five years, the exchange said.

Zhejiang Sunriver, Tibet Longwei, Zhao and Huang were all not immediately available for comment.

In late 2016, Tibet Longwei, controlled by Zhao and Huang, made a failed attempt to buy a 29.1 percent stake in Zhejiang Wanjia, which was later taken over by another investor and renamed Zhejiang Sunriver Culture.

Longwei’s bid had then drawn the scrutiny of the China Securities Regulatory Commission regarding information disclosure and its ability in financing takeovers as there were misleading statements and major omissions in the filings.

In November 2017, China’s securities regulator fined and barred Zhao, who became a household name in China for starring in popular TV dramas, and Huang from trading in the mainland stock market for five years due to the takeover case.

“Due to the celebrity effect, Tibet Longwei has severely misled the market and its investors. This has seriously disrupted normal market operations and order,” the exchange said on Tuesday.

Zhao and Fan’s cases have prompted the Chinese government to crack down on celebrity hype.

In November, state media quoted the National Radio and Television Administration as saying that Chinese broadcasters and online entertainment sites should avoid celebrity hype and crack down on fake audience and click-through rates.

Reporting by Twinnie Siu in Hong Kong and Lee Chyen Yee in Singapore; editing by Louise Heavens



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Amazon bids for Disney's 22 sports networks: CNBC

Amazon bids for Disney’s 22 sports networks: CNBC


FILE PHOTO: The logo of the web service Amazon is pictured in this June 8, 2017 illustration photo. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso/Illustration/File Photo

(Reuters) – Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) has bid for Walt Disney Co’s (DIS.N) 22 regional sports networks, including Yes Network, CNBC reported on Tuesday, citing sources familiar with the matter.

Neither Disney nor Amazon immediately respond to Reuters request for comment.

Reporting by Vibhuti Sharma in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva



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Saudi Arabia announces more new projects in royal investment spree

Saudi Arabia announces more new projects in royal investment spree


Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud arrives to address the Shura Council in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia November 19, 2018. Bandar Algaloud/Courtesy of Saudi Royal Court/Handout via REUTERS

DUBAI (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia’s King Salman announced $3 billion in investment projects on Tuesday, the latest in a royal spending spree as the ruling family seeks to shore up support during a crisis over the murder of a journalist last month.

King Salman inaugurated 151 projects in the northern province of Tabuk valued at more than 11 billion riyals ($2.9 billion), the Saudi state news agency SPA reported.

The king, 82, has been meeting citizens and launching development projects over several weeks on a domestic tour that has already included stops in Qassim and Hail provinces, north of the capital Riyadh.

He and his powerful son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, have faced an international outcry since a leading critic of the prince, commentator Jamal Khashoggi, was murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.

Of the Tabuk funding, 4.9 billion riyals will go toward three electricity management projects in the province, where the futuristic city of NEOM is due to be built, SPA reported.

Among other recipients are the tourism authority and the ministries of transport, housing, education, environment and municipal affairs.

Reporting By Hadeel Al Sayegh; Writing by Tom Arnold and Katie Paul; Editing by Kevin Liffey



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More than 50 killed by suicide bomber in Afghan capital


KABUL (Reuters) – A suicide bomber blew himself up in the Afghan capital Kabul on Tuesday, killing more than 50 people, three government officials said.

Najib Danish, a spokesman for the interior ministry, said more than 70 other people were injured in the attack.

“A suicide bomber detonated his explosives inside a wedding hall where Islamic religious scholars had gathered to commemorate the birthday of Prophet Mohammad,” Danish said.

There were no immediate claims of responsibility for the blast.

Reporting by Hamid Shalizi and Abdul Qadir Sediqi; Writing by Rupam Jain; Editing by Andrew Roche



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Jar wars: the Italian plot to weaken Nutella

Jar wars: the Italian plot to weaken Nutella


MILAN (Reuters) – Chocolate spread Nutella has long had pride of place on supermarket shelves but faces imminent attack from an Italian rival usually found in the pasta section.

FILE PHOTO: Nutella cans are seen in a Conad grocery shop in Rome, Italy, April 10, 2016. REUTERS/Max Rossi

Italy’s Barilla, known internationally for its spaghetti and maccheroni packaged in blue boxes, is preparing to launch a chocolate spread next year in a major challenge to the brand that became a global phenomenon in the 1980s, sources said.

Nutella, invented by family-owned firm Ferrero, is a favorite among sweet-toothed youngsters at home and abroad and generates annual sales of more than 2 billion euros ($2.3 billion).

With 54 percent of the global market for chocolate spreads, Nutella is the leader and faces virtually no major competition as a mass-marketed brand.

Cokokrem of Turkey’s Yildiz Holding is the second most popular spread with a share of only 2 percent, according to market research provider Euromonitor International.

But two sources familiar with Barilla’s plan say its new spread, Crema Pan di Stelle, seeks to exploit a perceived weakness of Nutella: its use of palm oil.

The ingredient has drawn a consumer backlash due to health and environmental concerns. Ferrero launched an ad campaign in 2016 to defend its use of palm oil, saying it was safe when refined at controlled temperatures and that the company only bought oil from sustainable palm plantations.

Barilla decided to mount a challenge to Nutella after sensing that Ferrero was starting to encroach on the pasta-maker’s lesser-known biscuit business, one of the sources said.

Industry sources said Ferrero will launch a Nutella-filled biscuit next year, seen as a direct challenge to Barilla’s own chocolate cookie brand, Baiocchi.

Ferrero declined to comment on the new biscuit.

To take on Nutella, Barilla has prepared a recipe that contains sunflower oil, 10 percent less sugar, Italian-only hazelnuts and cocoa from sustainable farms, one source said.

CRUNCHY TASTE

Barilla, also a family-owned firm, has presented its spread to buyers at major supermarket chains and could launch it as soon as January in Italy, the sources said.

Still, it faces a tough challenge.

One industry expert said it could cost several million euros just to secure a spot on the same supermarket shelves as Nutella, which commands a premium eye-level position.

“Crema Pan di Stelle will increase competition for Nutella in Italy thanks to the considerable brand awareness it has among domestic customers, but Barilla will find it difficult to take the challenge abroad,” said Marco Eccheli, director at the Italian unit of consulting firm AlixPartners.

Slideshow (2 Images)

Contacted for a comment Barilla said it would answer questions about new products in coming weeks.

The name Crema Pan di Stelle is taken from another of Barilla’s successful biscuits brands, Pan di Stelle or ‘bread of the stars’ which is sold mainly in Italy.

“It will contain crumbles of Pan di Stelle cookies to make it taste crunchy,” the source said.



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