Monday, June 18, 2018
What to watch today
In the week ahead the economic and political calendar should be relatively quiet with OPEC’s latest meeting on Friday in Vienna likely to be a major mover in the commodity markets. In a note to clients last week, analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch said they expect OPEC to announce a modest increase to its oil production targets. West Texas Intermediate crude oil prices, the U.S. benchmark, settled just below $65 a barrel last week while Brent crude, the international benchmark, was trading near $73.
Monday comes with the monthly NAHB homebuilder sentiment index. “Homebuilders’ equity prices and mortgage applications have slipped slightly since mid-May, and we expect similar concerns to be reflected in a small decline in this measure of homebuilder confidence,” UBS economists said.
Google to invest $550 million in JD.com: Google (GOOG, GOOGL) will invest $550 million in Chinese e-commerce powerhouse JD.com, part of the U.S. internet giant’s efforts to expand its presence in fast-growing Asian markets and battle rivals including Amazon.com. The two companies described the investment as one piece of a broader partnership that will include the promotion of JD.com products on Google’s shopping service. [Reuters]
Xi to counter Trump in unwanted trade war: The first punches in a trade fight that China didn’t want have been thrown, and now Xi Jinping is poised to match Donald Trump blow for blow. The next flurry of jabs may be imminent. In his announcement of tariffs on Chinese goods on Friday, Trump vowed additional duties if China retaliated — which Beijing immediately did. An announcement on U.S. restrictions on investments from China will follow in the next two weeks, according to Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. [Bloomberg]
Unilever takes stand against digital media’s fake followers: Consumer goods giant Unilever (UL, UN), the world’s second-biggest advertiser, is cutting ties with digital media “influencers” that buy followers, saying it wants to help make advertising more transparent. [Reuters]
The bigger cryptocurrencies get, the worse they perform: BIS: Cryptocurrencies are not scalable and are more likely to suffer a breakdown in trust and efficiency the greater the number of people using them, the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) said on Sunday in its latest warning about the rise of virtual currencies. [Reuters]
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