Wars and viruses: Are robots less prone to market panic?

Wars and viruses: Are robots less prone to market panic?LONDON (Reuters) – Widely blamed for volatile “flash crashes” in currencies and equities, high-frequency algorithms may also be why shock global events, including the current coronavirus, seem to have lost their power to spook markets for any length of time.
FILE PHOTO: File image of the U.S. Nasdaq Composite stock market index from April 1, 2011. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/File PhotoWhether stocks, bonds, currencies or commodities, asset prices seem less prone to any selloff for very long; the U.S. killing of an Iranian general and Iran’s retaliatory missile attack are among potential catastrophes that triggered violent but surprisingly shortlived reactions just since the start of 2020.
In both cases, knee-jerk yen-buying and selling of equities faded within hours, allowing stocks to scale new record peaks.
Now even as China’s coronavirus threatens to throttle economic growth, global stocks are not far off all-time highs.

Exxon quarterly profit falls 5.2% on weak refining, chemical margins

Exxon quarterly profit falls 5.2% on weak refining, chemical marginsFILE PHOTO: Logos of ExxonMobil are seen in its booth at Gastech, the world's biggest expo for the gas industry, in Chiba, Japan April 4, 2017. REUTERS/Toru Hanai/File Photo(Reuters) – Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N) reported a 5.2% drop in fourth-quarter profit on Friday, hit by weaker margins in its refining and chemical business.
Net income attributable to the company fell to $5.69 billion, or $1.33 per share, in the three months ended Dec. 31, from $6 billion, or $1.41 per share, a year earlier.
The company’s fourth-quarter earnings included a $3.9 billion gain, mainly from the sale of its non-operated upstream assets in Norway to Vår Energi AS.
The largest U.S. oil producer’s oil equivalent output rose 0.2% to 4.02 million barrels per day in the quarter.
Earlier this week, the company raised its Guyana oil estimates by 2 billion barrels, bringing total recoverable oil and gas resources from the discovery to more..

Shares struggle for footing after virus-battered week

Shares struggle for footing after virus-battered weekLONDON (Reuters) – World shares were heading for their biggest weekly losses since August on Friday and oil and metals markets were showing even more brutal damage, as investors worried over the fallout from China’s coronavirus epidemic.
FILE PHOTO: The London Stock Exchange Group offices are seen in the City of London, Britain, December 29, 2017. REUTERS/Toby MelvilleA modestly positive start from Europe quickly soured as headlines of more cases and deaths, travel bans and factory shutdowns due to the virus were compounded further by disappointedly weak economic data.
The big blow was that both France and Italy’s economies unexpectedly shrank at the end of last year, with Eurostat also confirming that the euro zone as a whole grew slower than analysts had forecast.
That pushed Paris and Milan down by 0.6% and 1.4% respectively. London and Frankfurt dropped 0.8% and 0.4% and with Wall Street pointing to similar falls later too [.N..

Global funds prefer stocks despite risks still at play

Global funds prefer stocks despite risks still at playBENGALURU (Reuters) – Funds increased their preference for stocks to a two-year high at the expense of bonds and cash holdings in their model global portfolio recommendations this month in a Reuters poll, despite world share markets struggling on the coronavirus breakout.
FILE PHOTO: Traders Anthony Rinaldi (L) and Federico DeMarco (R) work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., January 28, 2020. REUTERS/Bryan R SmithThat cautious mood in markets lines up with responses to a separate question, which showed international long-term investors would either roughly maintain their current risk positioning or reduce their exposure to riskier assets and positions within the same asset class.
“We should consider that we are in a late (economic) cycle, and most of the cyclical acceleration in 2020 is expected in the first half. Therefore, we expect to reduce risk exposure at some point between Q2 and Q3,” said..

Top U.S. fund firms split over new limits on shareholder votes

Top U.S. fund firms split over new limits on shareholder votesBOSTON (Reuters) – Pending U.S. securities rules that would limit shareholder proposals have divided passive and active U.S. fund firms as some take a harder line on issues like climate change.
FILE PHOTO: A police officer drives past a refinery in the industrial east end in Pasadena, Texas, U.S., September 18, 2018. REUTERS/Loren Elliott/File PhotoA comment period ends Monday on proposed changes from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that investor activists say would weaken their ability to bring environmental or social issues to a shareholder vote.
Business groups back the changes to streamline their annual meetings, including by raising how much stock some individual investors must own to file a proposal.
Climate-related proposals have set the agenda at various annual gatherings lately, notably at Exxon Mobil Inc. (XOM.N)
A final SEC vote could come by March. The corporate lobby so far has faced little push-..

Factbox: Airlines suspend China flights due to coronavirus

Factbox: Airlines suspend China flights due to coronavirus(Reuters) – Airlines are suspending flights to China in the wake of the new coronavirus outbreak, which as of Friday had killed more than 200 people and infected nearly 10,000 people.
An Air India Boeing 747-400 aircraft is seen parked on the tarmac at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport in Mumbai, India, January 30, 2020. REUTERS/Francis MascarenhasHere is the latest on their plans (in alphabetical order):
AIR CANADA Air Canada said on Jan. 28 it was cancelling select flights to China.
AIR FRANCE Air France said on Jan. 30 it suspended all scheduled flights to and from mainland China until Feb. 9.
AIR INDIA Air India said it was cancelling its Mumbai-Delhi-Shanghai flight from Jan. 31 to Feb. 14.
AIR NEW ZEALAND Air New Zealand said on Jan. 31 it was temporarily reducing flights between Auckland and Shanghai to four return services a week from Feb. 18 to March 31 rather than the usual daily flights.

OPEC curbs, supply risks to buoy oil prices in 2020: Reuters poll

OPEC curbs, supply risks to buoy oil prices in 2020: Reuters poll(Reuters) – Oil prices will remain supported near current levels this year as persistent geo-political risks and OPEC-led output curbs help offset growing supply from other producers, a Reuters poll showed on Friday.
FILE PHOTO: An employee demonstrates a sample of crude oil in the Yarakta Oil Field, owned by Irkutsk Oil Company (INK), in Irkutsk Region, Russia in this picture illustration taken March 11, 2019. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko/Illustration/File PhotoThe survey of 50 economists and analysts, mainly conducted before the coronavirus outbreak, forecast benchmark Brent crude LCOc1 to average $63.48 per barrel in 2020. That compares with an average of $63.76 so far this year and last month’s forecast of $63.07.
The 2020 outlook for West Texas Intermediate CLc1 rose to $58.22 a barrel from December’s $57.70 forecast.
(Graphic: OPEC output versus oil prices – here(002).jpg)
Oil prices surged earlier this month after ..

France’s Orange chooses Nokia and Ericsson to deploy its 5G network at home

France's Orange chooses Nokia and Ericsson to deploy its 5G network at homePARIS (Reuters) – Orange (ORAN.PA), France’s biggest telecoms company, said it had chosen Nokia (NOKIA.HE) and Ericsson (ERICb.ST) to deploy its 5G network in mainland France, as China’s Huawei Technologies faces intense political scrutiny in Europe.
FILE PHOTO: The logo of French telecoms operator Orange is pictured in a retail store in Bordeaux, France, October 29, 2019. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau/File PhotoThe former monopoly’s decision is likely to please U.S. authorities, which have been seeking for months to convince European allies to ban Huawei from telecoms networks on concerns that the Chinese firm could be used to steal Western secrets — assertions it strongly denies.
Orange, considered a strategic asset by the French government, uses Finland’s Nokia and Sweden’s Ericsson for its current mobile networks, on which part of the next mobile technology will be built.
“For Orange France, it was the easi..

Oil rises as WHO declares emergency but opposes travel ban

Oil rises as WHO declares emergency but opposes travel banLONDON (Reuters) – Oil prices rose on Friday but were still set for a fourth consecutive weekly loss, as markets attempted to assess the economic damage of the new coronavirus that has spread from China to around 20 countries, killing more than 200 people.
FILE PHOTO: Oil pump jacks work at sunset near Midland, Texas, U.S., August 21, 2019. REUTERS/Jessica LutzBrent crude LCOc1 was up 20 cents at $58.49 a barrel by 1208 GMT but still down 3.6% on the week.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) CLc1 rose by 24 cents to $52.38 a barrel, but remained down 3.3% on the week.
Both benchmarks rose by more than $1 earlier in the session.
The WHO said late Thursday that the coronavirus outbreak was a global emergency, but calmed the markets by opposing travel restrictions. It said Chinese actions so far will “reverse the tide” of its spread.
“The move has stoked optimism that there may be light at the end of the virus tunnel. This is b..

Governments launch rewrite of international tax rules

Governments launch rewrite of international tax rulesFILE PHOTO: The logo of Amazon Prime Delivery is seen on the trailer of a truck outside the company logistics center in Lauwin-Planque, northern France, December 30, 2019. REUTERS/Pascal RossignolPARIS (Reuters) – Nearly 140 governments have agreed to launch a rewrite of decades-old cross-border tax rules for the digital age over the coming months, the Organization for Economic Cooperation said on Friday after talks this week in Paris.
The rise of Amazon (AMZN.O), Facebook (FB.O) and Google (GOOGL.O) has strained existing rules to breaking point because big tech companies can book profits in low-tax countries like Ireland no matter where their customers are located.
Tax officials from 137 governments agreed at a meeting in Paris to launch negotiations on new rules for where tax should be paid and what share of profit should be taxed when big digital and other consumer-facing businesses do not have a physical presence in the market,..