“Nobody wants a trade war,” but the long-lasting trade conflict between the world’s two largest economies, the United States and China, just reached a truce after almost two years.
On 22 March 2018, President Donald Trump directed the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to start investigating China’s ‘unfair’ trade practices covered in Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974.
The investors’ struggle over the videogame retailer GameStop has been cast as David versus Goliath story. Allegedly, this is the tale of scrappy, small online day traders buying shares of a beleaguered company to thwart a hedge fund scheme to take it down. Like GameStop’s stock, this narrative is mostly speculation, because the facts about the buyers and sellers and their trades are hidden in the records of Robinhood, the new online trading platform, as well as Charles Schwab, and other traditional broker-dealers. Only the SEC could demand to inspect those records.
The outbreak of the 2019 novel coronavirus is so potentially impactful that we are devoting this entire edition to the epidemic, to an attempt to gauge its seriousness. Some stories are so big that it is hard to get your arms around them and this one definitely fits that category. Social media wasn't a factor during the 2003 SARS epidemic. The Chinese economy was a much smaller percentage of global GDP, and travel to and from China was far less common. So a simple comparison to SARS is not enough.
A recent Rock Center for Corporate Governance at Stanford University program focused on the role of corporate boards in influencing corporate culture and assessing risk. The informative program presented current metrics for health corporate culture together with trends pointing to increasing emphasis on board’s oversight role in good governance to ensure effective ethics and compliance program.
2019 ended on a mostly consensus note. The private payroll jobs trend remained clearly healthy. The jobless rate set a new cycle low (marginally). Aggregate hours worked came in below expectations but, with productivity gains and a surge in net exports, FMI is still looking for +2.5% or so real GDP growth for 19Q4.
Co-authored with Jeff Jones, Chief Commercial and Strategy Officer for Conifer Health Solutions.
The evidence is still out but hopes are high that Japanese institutional investors focused on sustainability and corporate governance reforms can convince Japan Inc. to comprehensively embrace reforms designed to improve productivity and ultimately deliver higher returns. Corporate governance reforms, a cornerstone of Abenomics, started taking hold in 2014. Today, GPIF, the world’s largest pension scheme is among their most vocal champion in linking reforms to a holistic emphasis on long-term sustainable investment strategies.