Thu 27 Oct 2016

Cruise ship Noordam at Port Melbourne

Holland-America’s Noordam, third cruise ship of this year’s season at Port Melbourne

In Portfolioticker today

Today at the stock market NBR

bull/bearThis month’s selloff in global bonds deepened amid speculation that major central banks may be moving closer to scaling back their extraordinary stimulus measures. Oil climbed with the USD.

The debt rout was led by gilts as data showing faster-than-estimated U.K. economic growth left traders betting on virtually no chance the Bank of England will cut interest rates through the end of 2017. Treasury yields jumped to the highest level since May 2016 and the USD rose against most major counterparts amid bets on a Federal Reserve hike in Dec 2016. Stocks retreated amid mixed earnings, while crude oil approached $50/barrel.

The S&P 500 fell 0.3% to 2,133.04, dropping for a third day. Optimism on better-than-forecast profits from companies including Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and Dow Chemical Co. was tempered by declines in United Parcel Service Inc. and Simon Property Group Inc. after their reports. Utilities and consumer staples slipped as a rout in bonds damped demand for equities with high dividend payouts.

Expectations for higher borrowing costs in USA and the U.S. presidential election are taking all the joy out of a recovery in corporate profits. While companies beat analyst estimates by an average of almost 6% in the 15 days since Alcoa Inc. kicked off reporting, the S&P 500 Index hasn’t budged, notching its smallest move over the comparable period since Q1/2015.

“There is this general sense of, ‘Let’s wait until some of those questions are answered a little bit to take on that incremental business project or that business development activity,’ so I think you have that weighing on people, as well. The Fed, again is a wild card,” said Michael Cuggino, president and portfolio manager of Pacific Heights Asset Management LLC, with $3 billion in assets.

Earnings reports also torpedoed small-cap stocks, sending the Russell 2000 Index to a more than 3-month low. Community Health Systems Inc. lost half its value after the struggling hospital chain’s preliminary results missed estimates. GNC Holdings Inc. and Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. slumped at least 18% after their results disappointed.

European stocks were little changed as earnings updates from ABB Ltd. to Barclays Plc gave investors mixed signals on the outlook for corporate health.Bloomberg

The shape of market indices today
^ Market indices today Chart: Yahoo Finance

Market indices

Index Ticker Today Change 31 Dec 15 YTD
S&P 500 SPX (INX) 2133.04 -0.30% 2043.94 +4.35%
DJIA INDU 18169.68 -0.17% 17425.03 +4.27%
NASDAQ IXIC 5215.97 -0.66% 5007.41 +4.16%

The portfolio today

Index values

Index Currency Today Change 31 Dec 15 YTD
USD-denominated Index USD 2.132 -0.76% 1.939 +9.93%
Valuation Rate USD/AUD 0.76355 -0.73% 0.73374 +4.06%
AUD-denominated Index AUD 2.793 -0.03% 2.643 +5.64%

Stock price movements

The shape of the portfolio today
^ The shape of the portfolio today Chart: Yahoo Finance

Portfolio stock prices

Stock Ticker Today Change 31 Dec 15 YTD
Alphabet A GOOGL $817.35 -0.58% $778.01 +5.05%
Alphabet C GOOG $795.35 -0.47% $758.88 +4.8%
Apple AAPL $114.48 -0.96% $105.26 +8.75%
Amazon AMZN $818.36 -0.51% $675.89 +21.07%
Ebay EBAY $28.81 -0.03% $27.48 +4.83%
Facebook FB $129.69 -1.03% $104.66 +23.91%
Linkedin LNKD $188.63 -0.35% $225.08 -16.2%
PayPal PYPL $41.69 -1.51% $36.20 +15.16%
Twitter TWTR $17.40 +0.64% $23.14 -24.81%
Visa V $81.92 +0.21% $77.55 +5.63%
VMware VMW $75.77 +3.36% $56.57 +33.94%

52-week performance

USD and AUD denominated indices over the past 52 weeks (Chart: Bunting)
^ USD and AUD denominated indices over the past 52 weeks Chart: Bunting



DXY movements
^ Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index (DXY) movements today (mouseover for 12 month view) Chart: Bloomberg

The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index (DXY), which measures the USD’s performance against a basket of 10 major counterparts, rose 0.3% to a 7-month high. The USD climbed 0.7% to JPY 105.23, and added 0.1% to $1.0900/EUR.

The Fed’s trade-weighted dollar index is approaching the strongest level since Jan 2016. That was when the USD reached a 12-year high and forced policy makers to raise rates more slowly than they had originally forecast. This time may be different: With its gradual rise, the USD hasn’t led to a deflationary oil-market rout or tantrum in equity markets that led the FOMC to rethink its tightening path.Bloomberg


AUD movements
^ AUD movements against the USD today (mouseover for 12 month view) Chart:

Oil and Gas Futures

Futures prices

Oil climbed from a three-week low following a report that Gulf nations may be willing to cut output as OPEC weighs action to ease a supply glut.

Reuters reported Saudi Arabia and its Gulf OPEC allies are willing to cut 4 percent from their peak oil output, citing sources familiar with the matter. OPEC Secretary-General Mohammed Barkindo urged members to show “maximum flexibility” to agree on output cuts, after saying Tuesday the group is facing its “hardest” challenge.

“There is a report that the Saudis and their Gulf compatriots are willing to cut output by 4 percent,” John Kilduff, a partner at Again Capital LLC, a New York-based hedge fund that focuses on energy, said by telephone. “Whether that’s enough or not, we’ll see. There’s increasing amounts of skepticism in this market, which is keeping prices near these multi-week lows.”

West Texas Intermediate for December delivery advanced 1.1 percent to $49.72 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent for December settlement increased about 1 percent to $50.47 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.Bloomberg

Prices are as at 15:48 EDT

  • NYMEX West Texas Intermediate (WTI): $49.65/barrel +0.96% Chart
  • ICE (London) Brent North Sea Crude: $50.37/barrel +0.78% Chart
  • NYMEX Natural gas futures: $2.76/MMBTU +1.21% Chart

Amazon: Earnings Report. Q3/2016

Press Release Extract today announced financial results for its third quarter ended September 30, 2016.

Operating cash flow increased 49% to $14.6 billion for the trailing twelve months, compared with $9.8 billion for the trailing twelve months ended September 30, 2015. Free cash flow increased to $8.6 billion for the trailing twelve months, compared with $5.4 billion for the trailing twelve months ended September 30, 2015. Free cash flow less lease principal repayments increased to $4.9 billion for the trailing twelve months, compared with $3.1 billion for the trailing twelve months ended September 30, 2015. Free cash flow less finance lease principal repayments and assets acquired under capital leases increased to $3.4 billion for the trailing twelve months, compared with $637 million for the trailing twelve months ended September 30, 2015.

Common shares outstanding plus shares underlying stock-based awards totaled 496 million on September 30, 2016, compared with 489 million one year ago.

Net sales increased 29% to $32.7 billion in the third quarter, compared with $25.4 billion in third quarter 2015. The favorable impact from year-over-year changes in foreign exchange rates throughout the quarter on net sales was $52 million.

Operating income was $575 million in the third quarter, compared with $406 million in third quarter 2015. Net income was $252 million in the third quarter, or $0.52 per diluted share, compared with $79 million, or $0.17 per diluted share, in third quarter 2015. (Lloyd notes: that is a 219% rise in net income.)

Financial Guidance

The following forward-looking statements reflect’s expectations as of October 27, 2016, and are subject to substantial uncertainty. Our results are inherently unpredictable and may be materially affected by many factors, such as fluctuations in foreign exchange rates, changes in global economic conditions and customer spending, world events, the rate of growth of the Internet, online commerce, and cloud services, and the various factors detailed below.

Fourth Quarter 2016 Guidance

  • Net sales are expected to be between $42.0 billion and $45.5 billion, or to grow between 17% and 27% compared with
    fourth quarter 2015. This guidance anticipates approximately 60 basis points of favorable impact from foreign
    exchange rates.
  • Operating income is expected to be between $0 and $1.25 billion, compared with $1.1 billion in fourth quarter 2015.
  • This guidance assumes, among other things, that no additional business acquisitions, investments, restructurings, or legal settlements are concluded.

Amazon, “ Announces Third Quarter Ssales Up 29% to $32.7 Billion“, 27 Oct 2016

Press Comment: Dow Jones Inc. posted a smaller-than-expected increase in third-quarter profit as shipping costs surged and the e-commerce company pumped revenue gains back into product development and operations.

Its shares fell 4.8% in after-hours trading as the midpoint of the company’s outlook for the holiday quarter also fell short of expectations.

Shipping costs rose 43% to $3.9 billion. The retail giant has started laying the groundwork for its own shipping business to add more delivery capacity for the holidays, with the grander ambition of one day hauling and delivering packages for itself, other retailers and consumers.

Some of Amazon’s big investments helped guide it toward its current profitability, such as its popular Echo speaker device and its highly automated warehouses and logistics network. Amazon is also targeting new growth markets like fashion and beauty, where analysts expect quick gains due to its relatively small market share.

In all, its earnings rose to $252 million, or 52 cents a share, from $79 million, or 17 cents a share, a year earlier. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected earnings of 78 cents a share.

Its sales of $32.7 billion, up from $25.36 billion, were within Amazon’s own forecast of $31 billion to $33.5 billion.

It issued revenue guidance of $42 billion to $45.5 billion for the fourth quarter, when holiday sales – and its ability to deliver those orders on time – are critical to Amazon’s success. Analysts were looking for $44.6 billion.

The Seattle-based online retailer’s profits were boosted by its Amazon Web Services cloud computing division, which increased sales by 55% to $3.23 billion. The unit, which rents computing power to a variety of startups, government agencies and other corporations, has become a major factor in leading the company to its sixth straight quarter in the black.

Chief Executive Jeff Bezos has said he expects AWS to reach $10 billion in sales this year, even as competitors including Microsoft Corp. and Alphabet Inc. ramp up competitive pressure in the space.Dow Jones Business News

Market Reaction


Alphabet: Earnings Report. Q3/2016

Press Release Extract

Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG, GOOGL) today announced financial results for the quarter ended September 30, 2016.

“We had a great third quarter, with 20% revenue growth year on year, and 23% on a constant currency basis. Mobile search and video are powering our core advertising business and we’re excited about the progress of newer businesses in Google and Other Bets,” said Ruth Porat, CFO of Alphabet.

Q3 2016 financial highlights

The following summarizes our consolidated financial results for the quarters ended September 30, 2015 and 2016 (in millions, except for per share information; unaudited):

Q3/2015 Q3/2016
Revenue $18,675 $22,451
Increase in revenues year over year 13% 20%
Increase in constant currency revenues year over year 21% 23%
GAAP operating income $4,708 $5,767
GAAP operating margin 25% 26%
Non-GAAP operating income $6,140 $7,627
Non-GAAP operating margin 33% 34%
GAAP net income $3,979 $5,061
Non-GAAP net income $5,102 $6,326
GAAP diluted EPS for Class A and B common stock
and Class C capital stock
$5.73 $7.25
Non-GAAP diluted EPS for Class A and B common stock
and Class C capital stock
$7.35 $9.06
Diluted shares (in thousands) 694,319 698,440

Stock Repurchase

In October 2016, the board of directors of Alphabet authorized the company to repurchase up to $7,019 million of its Class C capital stock (GOOG). The repurchase is expected to be executed from time to time, subject to general business and market conditions and other investment opportunities, through open market purchases or privately negotiated transactions, including through Rule 10b5-1 plans.

Alphabet, “Alphabet Announces Third Quarter 2016 Results“, 27 Oct 2016 Much More

Market Reaction


Linkedin: Earnings Report. Q3/2016

Press Release Extract

LinkedIn Corporation (NYSE:LNKD), the world’s largest professional network on the Internet, today reported results for the third quarter of 2016. Detailed financial information on the quarter will be available within the company’s Form 10-Q filing with the SEC.

“In Q3, continued product investments across our platform drove another quarter of strong engagement and financial performance,” said Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn. “As we look forward, our combination with Microsoft creates the opportunity for us to dramatically increase the impact and scale with which we deliver value to our members and customers.”

During the quarter, LinkedIn’s platform continued to show strong engagement, powered by investments across mobile, messaging, content and jobs. Cumulative members grew 18% year-over-year to 467 million, and unique visiting members grew 6% to an average of 106 million members a month. Member page views grew 27% in the quarter, yielding 20% year-over-year growth in page views per unique visiting member. Mobile continues to grow at more than double the rate of overall member activity, surpassing 60% of all traffic to LinkedIn.

Total revenue increased 23% year-over-year to $960 million.

Talent Solutions revenue increased 24% year-over-year to $623 million.

  • Hiring contributed $556 million in revenue, up 21% year-over-year.
  • Learning & Development contributed $67 million in revenue.

Marketing Solutions revenue increased 26% year-over-year to $175 million.

  • Sponsored Content remained the primary driver of growth and is now approaching two-thirds of total Marketing Solutions revenue.

Premium Subscriptions revenue increased 17% year-over-year to $162 million.

  • Sales Navigator remained the faster growing component of Premium Subscriptions, across both the field and online channels.

GAAP net income attributable to common stockholders was +$9 million. GAAP diluted EPS was +$0.06, compared to -$0.36 last year.

Non-GAAP net income was $163 million, excluding $2.0 million of merger-related transaction costs. Non-GAAP diluted EPS was $1.18, compared to $0.78 last year.

Adjusted EBITDA was $304 million, or 32% of revenue.

“During the quarter, LinkedIn demonstrated strong top and bottom-line performance,” said Steve Sordello, CFO of LinkedIn. “Focused investments generated solid growth across our product lines as well as greater leverage across the business, resulting in record high levels of Adjusted EBITDA margin, non-GAAP EPS, and operating cash flow.”

As previously announced on June 11, 2016, LinkedIn entered into a merger agreement with Microsoft Corporation (“Microsoft”) under which Microsoft will acquire LinkedIn for $196.00 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $26.2 billion, inclusive of LinkedIn’s net cash. On August 19, 2016, LinkedIn stockholders voted to approve the merger agreement. LinkedIn continues to expect the transaction to close prior to the end of 2016. In light of the pending merger, LinkedIn will not be updating its outlook for fiscal 2016 and will not be hosting a conference call for its third quarter 2016 business results.

Linkedin, “LinkedIn Announces Third Quarter 2016 Results“, 27 Oct 2016 More

Market Reaction


Twitter: Earnings Report. Q3/2016

Press Release Extract

Twitter today announced financial results for its fiscal 2016 third quarter ended September 30, 2016.

The company posted quarterly revenue of $616 million, up 8% year-over-year. Quarterly GAAP net loss was $103 million, or ($0.15) per diluted share, with quarterly non-GAAP net income of $92 million, or $0.13 per diluted share. Average monthly active users (MAUs) were 317 million for the quarter, up 3% year-over-year and compared to 313 million in the previous quarter. Average daily active usage (DAU) grew 7% year-over-year, an acceleration from 5% in Q2 and 3% in Q1.

Advertising revenue totaled $545 million, an increase of 6% year-over-year. Mobile advertising revenue was 90% of total advertising revenue. Data licensing and other revenue totaled $71 million, an increase of 26% year-over-year. U.S. revenue totaled $374 million, an increase of 1% year-over-year. International revenue totaled $242 million, an increase of 21% year-over-year.

Twitter also announced a restructuring and reduction in headcount of approximately 9% of its global workforce. The restructuring, which focuses primarily on reorganizing the company’s sales, partnerships, and marketing efforts, is intended to create greater focus and efficiency to enable Twitter’s goal of driving toward GAAP profitability in 2017.

“Our strategy is directly driving growth in audience and engagement, with an acceleration in year-over-year growth for daily active usage, Tweet impressions, and time spent for the second consecutive quarter,” said Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s CEO. “We see a significant opportunity to increase growth as we continue to improve the core service. We have a clear plan, and we’re making the necessary changes to ensure Twitter is positioned for long-term growth. The key drivers of future revenue growth are trending positive, and we remain confident in Twitter’s future.”

“We’re getting more disciplined about how we invest in the business, and we set a company goal of driving toward GAAP profitability in 2017,” said Anthony Noto, Twitter’s CFO. “We intend to fully invest in our highest priorities and are de-prioritizing certain initiatives and simplifying how we operate in other areas. Over time, we will look to invest in additional areas, as justified by expected returns and business results. In addition, our live strategy is showing great progress. We’ve received very positive feedback from partners, advertisers and people using the service, and we’re pleased with the strong audience and engagement results.”

Twitter estimates that it will incur approximately $10 million to $20 million of cash expenditures as a result of the workforce restructuring, substantially all of which are severance costs, and $5 million to $10 million of non-cash expenditures, consisting primarily of stock-based compensation expense. The company expects to recognize most of the pre-tax workforce restructuring charges in Q4 2016.


Twitter today updated its outlook for the full year 2016 and provided guidance for the fourth quarter of 2016.

As detailed below, in light of the reorganization of the company’s sales force from three sales channels to two, the company is not providing specific revenue guidance for the fourth quarter and full year 2016. The transition of accounts will take place over the course of the fourth quarter. Because the effects of this transition could have an impact on the company’s revenue performance, there is a wider range of potential revenue outcomes.

For full year 2016, Twitter expects:

  • Adjusted EBITDA to be in the range of $700 to $715 million;
  • Adjusted EBITDA margin on GAAP revenue to be 27.5% to 28%; and
  • Capital expenditures to be no more than $360 million.

Additionally, for the fourth quarter, Twitter expects:

  • Stock-based compensation expense to be in the range of $150 to $160 million;
  • GAAP share count to be in the range of 715 to 720 million shares;
  • Non-GAAP share count to be in the range of 725 to 735 million shares.

Twitter, “Twitter Announces Third Quarter Results“, 27 Oct 2016 Statement

Market Reaction


Apple Product Releases

New MacBook Pro

Press Release


Apple today introduced the thinnest and lightest MacBook Pro ever, along with a breakthrough interface that replaces the traditional row of function keys with a brilliant, Retina-quality Multi-Touch display called the Touch Bar. The new MacBook Pro features Apple’s brightest and most colorful Retina display yet, the security and convenience of Touch ID, a more responsive keyboard, a larger Force Touch trackpad and an audio system with double the dynamic range. It’s also the most powerful MacBook Pro ever, featuring sixth-generation quad-core and dual-core processors, up to 2.3 times the graphics performance over the previous generation, super-fast SSDs and up to four Thunderbolt 3 ports.More

New TV app for Apple TV, iPhone and iPad

Press Release

Apple today introduced the new TV app, offering a unified experience for discovering and accessing TV shows and movies from multiple apps on Apple TV, iPhone and iPad. The TV app provides one place to access TV shows and movies, as well as a place to discover new content to watch. Apple also introduced a new Siri feature for Apple TV that lets viewers tune in directly to live news and sporting events across their apps. Watching TV shows and movies across Apple devices has never been easier.

Key features within the TV app include:

  • Watch Now: Watch Now is where viewers will see their collection of available shows and movies from iTunes and apps. From Watch Now, viewers can then go to Up Next or Recommended to choose what to watch.
  • Up Next: Users can enjoy the shows and movies they are currently watching, including recent iTunes rentals and purchases — all presented in the order they are most likely to watch first. For example, when viewers finish an episode, the next one will automatically appear at the start of the Up Next queue, as will any new episodes as they become available. At any time, users can simply ask Siri to continue watching a show and immediately pick up where they left off.
  • Recommended: Viewers can explore a great selection of curated and trending shows and movies, including collections handpicked by Apple’s curators, and dedicated categories and genres such as kids, sci-fi and comedy.
  • Library: Viewers can access their entire collection of iTunes movies and TV shows that they have rented or purchased on iTunes.
  • Store: If users are looking for something new, they can check out the Store to discover great new content across video services that they have not yet downloaded or are not yet subscribed to, along with the latest releases on iTunes.


flag_usa USA: Durable Goods Advance Report. Oct 2016

Press Comment: Bloomberg

Orders for U.S. business equipment fell in September by the most in seven months, indicating corporate investment is having trouble gaining traction.

Bookings for non-military capital goods excluding aircraft dropped 1.2 percent, erasing a 1.2 percent August gain that was stronger than previously reported, Commerce Department data showed Thursday. The median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a 0.1 percent drop. Demand for all durable goods eased 0.1 percent.

Business investment remained slow in the third quarter as moderating demand and weakness overseas prompted companies to hold back. Even with stability in the oil sector, an inventory correction and growth in consumer spending, manufacturing will probably see little more than a gradual improvement.

“Business investment has been mired in a slump for more than a year and there’s nothing in these numbers to suggest it’s about to break out. It’ll still be a small drag on third-quarter growth,” said Omair Sharif, senior U.S. economist at Societe Generale in New York.Bloomberg

Press Release Extract

New Orders

New orders for manufactured durable goods in September decreased $0.3 billion or 0.1 percent to $227.3 billion, the U.S. Census Bureau announced today. This decrease, down following two consecutive monthly increases, followed a 0.3 percent August increase. Excluding transportation, new orders increased 0.2 percent. Excluding defense, new orders increased 0.7 percent. Transportation equipment, also down following two consecutive monthly increases, drove the decrease, $0.6 billion or 0.8 percent to $77.5 billion.


Shipments of manufactured durable goods in September, up three of the last four months, increased $2.0 billion or 0.8 percent to $234.5 billion. This followed a virtually unchanged August decrease. Transportation equipment, up following two consecutive monthly decreases, led the increase, $1.8 billion or 2.3 percent to $82.1 billion.

Unfilled Orders

Unfilled orders for manufactured durable goods in September, down four consecutive months, decreased $3.9 billion or 0.4 percent to $1,119.3 billion. This followed a 0.1 percent August decrease. Transportation equipment, also down four consecutive months, drove the decrease, $4.6 billion or 0.6 percent to $764.2 billion.


Inventories of manufactured durable goods in September, up three consecutive months, increased $0.5 billion or 0.1 percent to $384.0 billion. This followed a 0.1 percent August increase. Machinery, up three of the last four months, led the increase, $0.3 billion or 0.5 percent to $66.0 billion.

Capital Goods

Nondefense new orders for capital goods in September increased $1.0 billion or 1.5 percent to $68.2 billion. Shipments increased $1.5 billion or 2.2 percent to $71.8 billion. Unfilled orders decreased $3.6 billion or 0.5 percent to $692.8 billion. Inventories increased $0.5 billion or 0.3 percent to $170.4 billion. Defense new orders for capital goods in September decreased $0.9 billion or 7.7 percent to $11.3 billion. Shipments increased $0.1 billion or 0.8 percent to $10.4 billion. Unfilled orders increased $0.9 billion or 0.6 percent to $138.5 billion. Inventories decreased less than $0.1 billion or 0.2 percent to $20.8 billion.

Revised August Data

Revised seasonally adjusted August figures for all manufacturing industries were: new orders, $453.4 billion (revised from $453.1 billion); shipments, $458.4 billion (revised from $458.1 billion); unfilled orders, $1,123.2 billion (virtually unchanged); and total inventories, $621.6 billion (revised from $622.0 billion).

U.S. Census Bureau, “Advance Report on Durable Goods Manufacturers’ Shipments, Inventories and Orders September 2016” 27 Oct 2016 (08:30) More

flag_usa USA: Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims

Press Comment: Bloomberg

Filings for U.S. jobless benefits fell for the first time in 3 weeks, staying near a 4-decade low as employers remain unwilling to part with workers. Jobless claims declined by 3,000 to 258,000 in the week ended 22 Oct 2016, a Labor Department report showed Thursday in Washington. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey called for 256,000. Continuing claims dropped to the lowest level since June 2000.

With the job market improving and the unemployment rate holding at or below 5% this year, fewer skilled candidates are available for openings, prompting managers to hold onto their staffers. Filings have been below 300,000 for 86 straight weeks – the longest streak since 1970 and a level typical for a healthy labor market. Estimates in the Bloomberg survey ranged from 245,000 to 270,000.Bloomberg

Press Release Extract


In the week ending October 22, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 258,000, a decrease of 3,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised up by 1,000 from 260,000 to 261,000. The 4-week moving average was 253,000, an increase of 1,000 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised up by 250 from 251,750 to 252,000. This marks 86 consecutive weeks of initial claims below 300,000, the longest streak since 1970.


The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.5 percent for the week ending October 15, unchanged from the previous week’s unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending October 15 was 2,039,000, a decrease of 15,000 from the previous week’s revised level. This is the lowest level for insured unemployment since June 24, 2000 when it was 2,033,000. The previous week’s level was revised down by 3,000 from 2,057,000 to 2,054,000. The 4-week moving average was 2,051,250, a decrease of 6,250 from the previous week’s revised average. This is the lowest level for this average since July 1, 2000 when it was 2,036,500. The previous week’s average was revised down by 750 from 2,058,250 to 2,057,500.

Employment and Training Administration, “Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims Report“, 27 Oct 2016 (08:30) More

flag_usa USA: Pending Home Sales. Sep 2016

Press Release Extract


Pending home sales shifted higher in September following August’s notable dip and are now at their fifth highest level over the past year, according to the National Association of Realtors®. Increases in the South and West outgained declines in the Northeast and Midwest.

The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, grew 1.5 percent to 110.0 in September from a slight downward revision of 108.4 in August. With last month’s gain, the index is now 2.4 percent higher than last September (107.4) and has now risen year-over-year for 22 of the last 25 months.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says a robust increase in the West and a healthy bump in the South pushed pending sales upward in September. “Buyer demand is holding up impressively well this fall with Realtors® reporting much stronger foot traffic compared to a year ago,” he said. “Although depressed inventory levels are keeping home prices elevated in most of the country, steady job gains and growing evidence that wages are finally starting to tick up are encouraging more households to consider buying a home.”

In last week’s report on September existing-home sales, according to Yun, there are many positive indicators showing that the housing market’s overall health continues to improve as we near the end of 2016. In addition to sales matching their third highest pace (5.47 million) since February 2007 (5.79 million), distressed sales — foreclosures and short sales — fell to their lowest share since NAR began tracking them in October 2008 (4 percent). Furthermore, sales to first-time buyers reached 34 percent, which matched the highest share since July 2012 and was up convincingly from September 2015 (29 percent).

“The one major predicament in the housing market is without a doubt the painfully low levels of housing inventory in much of the country,” added Yun. “It’s leading to home prices outpacing wages, properties selling a lot quicker than a year ago 2 and the home search for many prospective buyers being highly competitive and drawn out because of a shortage of listings at affordable prices.”

The PHSI in the Northeast fell 1.6 percent to 96.5 in September, but is still 7.7 percent above a year ago. In the Midwest the index declined modestly (0.2 percent) to 104.6 in September, and is now 1.0 percent lower than September 2015.

Pending home sales in the South rose 1.9 percent to an index of 122.1 in September and are now 1.7 percent higher than last September. The index in the West jumped 4.7 percent in September to 107.3, and is now 4.0 percent above a year ago.

National Association of Realtors, “Pending Home Sales Edge Up in September“, 27 Oct 2016 (10:00) More

flag_japan Japan update

Population Declines For The First Time Since 1920

Japan’s population stood at 127,094,745 as of Oct 1, 2015, the final results of the census showed Wednesday, down 962,607 (0.75%) from 128,057,352 in the 2010 census, marking the first decline since the survey began in 1920.

Of the total population, including non-Japanese residents, those aged 65 or older accounted for a record-high 26.6%, while those below 15 fell to a record-low 12.6%, the internal affairs ministry said.

The government data showed that the number of those 65 or older rose 3.6 percentage points from the previous census in 2010 to 33,465,441. In contrast, those 14 or younger fell by 0.6 points to 15,886,810.

Comparing the new census figures against U.N. estimates, Japan remains the 10th most populous nation. However, among the top 20 countries, it was the only country whose population declined between 2010 and 2015.

The population of Japanese nationals totaled 124,283,901, while the number of non-Japanese residents in the country totaled 1,752,368, the government data showed. By nationality, Chinese nationals accounted for the largest number at 511,118, followed by Koreans at 376,954.

The male population came to 61,841,738, while the female population stood at 65,253,007.

Tokyo had the lowest number of people in a household at 1.99, falling below 2 for the first time since the government began compiling such data since 1970, data showed. The national average of members per household is 2.33.Japan Today

Currency: USD/JPY

JPY movements
^ JPY movements against the USD over the past month (mouseover for inverse) Chart:

Stockmarket: Nikkei 225

N225 movements
^ Nikkei N225 movements over the past week Chart: Yahoo Finance

flag_china China update

Currency: USD/CNY

CNY movements
^ CNY movements against the USD over the past month (mouseover for inverse) Chart:

Stockmarket: CSI300

CSI300 movements
^ Shanghai CSI300 movements over the past week Chart: Yahoo Finance