Monthly Archives: February 2016

Gold miners end best month since 1998

Gold miners posted their best monthly performance in nearly 18 years after the yellow metal, a haven asset, has benefited from market turmoil. The NYSE Arca gold miners index, which includes global mining companies like Barrick Gold, Goldcorp, Randgold Resources and 36 other companies, rose 38.7 per cent in February, its biggest monthly gain since September 1998. New York listed…

Gold and yen gain as sterling slumps

©Dreamstime Investors were rewarded during February for backing gold, long-dated Treasuries and, among currencies, the Japanese yen. After a turbulent start to the year for global equities, commodities and corporate bonds, asset prices attained a semblance of stability in mid-February, leaving benchmarks above their lows for 2016 as March beckons. Markets are focusing on crucial central bank meetings in the…

US first-quarter earnings outlook dims

©Bloomberg Wall Street analysts have slashed expectations for US earnings in the first quarter as companies grapple with plummeting oil prices and slow economic growth. The growing pessimism comes amid a brutal start to the year for the stock market during which the S&P 500 has been marked by volatility as the outlook for global economic growth darkens, led by…

Deutsche Börse plan for European champion

©Reuters Carsten Kengeter, Deutsche Börse chief Deutsche Börse’s attempt to link up with the London Stock Exchange Group is its latest — and possibly its last — chance at creating a European champion to counter an industry upended by technological change. The region’s two largest exchanges this week said they were working on an all-share “merger of equals” which, if…

Oil sector aims for profits at $50 crude

©Getty Shale oil drilling in North Dakota, USA Outside the energy industry’s premier conference in Houston this week, a qualified petroleum engineer, immaculately dressed in suit and tie, has been holding up a sign saying: “Please hire me!” He has been a victim of the sector’s worst downturn for three decades, one of the 95,000 people who have lost their…

Sterling suffers the Brexit blues

©Bloomberg The slumping pound, spurred by the risk of the UK leaving the European Union, has earned the currency a dubious accolade. Among major currencies, sterling’s loss of more than 5 per cent against the US dollar this year ranks as one of the worst market performances, with only Mexico and Argentina falling further. After dropping a full 2 per…

Hedge funds face loss of ‘secret sauce’

©Philip Wolmuth Hedge fund managers are arguably the celebrity chefs of the money management industry. They are best able to whip up returns that make investors drool. But financial engineers are unpicking their secret sauce and finding new ways to sell it by the bottle. The biggest trend in the money management industry is the shift towards passive investment. About…

Central banks: Negative thinking

©Bloomberg As the restaurants of Tokyo’s Okachimachi neighbourhood prepare for the evening dinner rush, Kane and Atsuko stand at a pedestrian cross-section surrounded by precious metal shops, anxiously wondering what to do about the gold price. The two elderly sisters arrived by train from the suburbs just hours after the Bank of Japan’s negative interest rate policy officially came into…

Cannabis advocates push for hemp exchange

©Dreamstime The cannabis plant’s unsteady transformation from outlaw weed to mainstream commodity is poised for another step forward as entrepreneurs lay plans to launch hemp derivatives. Seed CX of Chicago has applied to a US regulator to become a trading venue for financial contracts on industrial hemp, the marijuana cousin found in such products as fabric, shampoo, plastics, building materials…

Harsh reality drives Saudi-Russia accord

©AFP Saudi Arabia and Russia are hardly the most obvious allies. The world’s two largest oil exporters have been locked in an increasingly fierce battle for market share. They are on opposite sides of the bloody conflict raging in Syria. Previous attempts to co-operate on oil output have ended in bickering and distrust. But the two states have been forced…