The Malta Independent 21 September 2018, Friday

Markets fall in light of trade news

Friday, 31 August 2018, 12:17 Last update: about 21 days ago

US stocks snapped a four-day positive streak to finish lower Thursday. Trade-related news has been central to heightened tensions between the US and its major trading partners, which could derail the global economy at large.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.53 percent to 25,986 following a report that President Trump aims to press ahead with tariffs against $200 billion worth of Chinese products. The S&P 500 lost 0.44 percent to 2,901.13 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.26 percent to 8,088.36.

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European shares tumbled for a second day, threatening to erase gains for the week. This uncertainty was led by uncertainty on US trade policy, which weighed on sentiment and clouded economic outlook. The Stoxx Europe 600 fell 0.4 percent, a second straight daily drop. Germany’s DAX dropped 0.6 percent to 12,420.65 while the FTSE 100 fell 0.4 percent to 7,490.70, heading towards its third straight daily drop.

Coca-Cola to buy coffee chain Costa

Britain’s Whitbread Plc agreed to sell chain Costa for an enterprise value of £3.9 billion. The deal was unanimously agreed by the Whitbread board, in the best interest of shareholders. Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey stated that the deal provides new capabilities and expertise in coffee, and believes that the firm can create opportunities to grow the Costa brand worldwide.

Hot beverages is one segment within the beverage landscape where Coca-Cola does not have a global brand. Alison Brittain, chief of hospitality of Whitbread, described the sale as a strategic opportunity which combines the Costa brand with Coca-Cola’s global scale, product, and distribution capabilities.

President Trump’s threats of withdrawal from WTO

In an interview, Trump criticised the World Trade Organisation’s treatment of the US, and threatened that if it does not “shape up”, he would pull the US out. However, top Trump administration officials have not been as eager to pull out of the global trade regulator, though they do agree that the WTO could better “update or synchronise its activities”.

Trump is reportedly considering an executive order linking capital gains taxes to inflation. This withdrawal can have severe repercussions for the global economy. The organisation’s role is to resolve worldwide trade disputes, but Trump and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer have criticised and accused the WTO of interfering with US sovereignty.

Despite Trump’s remarks, the US has sought assistance from the WTO with regards to retaliatory tariffs imposed by the EU, China, Canada, Mexico, and Turkey. In July, the US filed five dispute actions with the WTO, stating the retaliatory tariffs against the US were illegal under the organisation’s rules.

BlackBerry aims for a comeback

TCL Communication announced a cheaper version of its flagship BlackBerry smartphone, with the aim to win back customers who are not yet sold on touchscreen keyboards. The phone includes features such as a dual rear camera, Google Android operating system, and a 4.5 inch display. After dominating the market a decade ago, efforts to boost sales of BlackBerry smartphones have fallen short; BlackBerry makes up less than a tenth of a percent of the global smartphone market. The firm has moved away from hardware and is instead focused on building up its enterprise software brand.

Disclaimer: This article was issued by Lauriann Azzopardi, junior investment advisor at Calamatta Cuschieri. For more information visit, www.cc.com.mt. The information, view and opinions provided in this article are being provided solely for educational and informational purposes and should not be construed as investment advice, advice concerning particular investments or investment decisions, or tax or legal advice. Calamatta Cuschieri Investment Services Ltd has not verified and consequently neither warrants the accuracy nor the veracity of any information, views or opinions appearing on this website.

 

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