Morning Brief: Congress to grill Google CEO – Yahoo Finance

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

GOOGL) CEO Sundar Pichai heads to Washington to testify before the House Judiciary Committee. Pichai is the latest tech executive to face Congress after being thrust into the spotlight in August after President Donald Trump slammed the company for potential bias on its search engine.’ data-reactid=”30″>Google (GOOGL) CEO Sundar Pichai heads to Washington to testify before the House Judiciary Committee. Pichai is the latest tech executive to face Congress after being thrust into the spotlight in August after President Donald Trump slammed the company for potential bias on its search engine.

Read more‘ data-reactid=”33″>Read more

(AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)

Juncker warns May there is ‘no room whatsoever’ to change Brexit: Theresa May has set-off on a diplomatic blitz of Europe in a last ditch bid to improve the Brexit deal – but EU leaders have warned the prime minister she will not come away with any concessions. After postponing the ‘meaningful vote’ to avoid a humiliating defeat, embattled May is embarking on a whistle stop tour of European capitals to ask for help in getting the deal past MPs. [Yahoo Finance UK]’ data-reactid=”53″>Juncker warns May there is ‘no room whatsoever’ to change Brexit: Theresa May has set-off on a diplomatic blitz of Europe in a last ditch bid to improve the Brexit deal – but EU leaders have warned the prime minister she will not come away with any concessions. After postponing the ‘meaningful vote’ to avoid a humiliating defeat, embattled May is embarking on a whistle stop tour of European capitals to ask for help in getting the deal past MPs. [Yahoo Finance UK]

Tencent Music may price around midpoint in $1.2B IPOTencent Music Entertainment Group, China’s largest music-streaming service, is guiding potential investors that it could price its $1.2 billion U.S. initial public offering around the midpoint of a marketed range. Tencent Music will stop taking orders from Asian investors at the end of business Tuesday and at noon New York time for U.S. institutions. [Bloomberg]‘ data-reactid=”55″>Tencent Music may price around midpoint in $1.2B IPOTencent Music Entertainment Group, China’s largest music-streaming service, is guiding potential investors that it could price its $1.2 billion U.S. initial public offering around the midpoint of a marketed range. Tencent Music will stop taking orders from Asian investors at the end of business Tuesday and at noon New York time for U.S. institutions. [Bloomberg]

Monday was a ‘moral victory’ for investors‘ data-reactid=”58″>Monday was a ‘moral victory’ for investors

TOMS founder is disappointed other companies aren’t rallying to end gun violence‘ data-reactid=”60″>TOMS founder is disappointed other companies aren’t rallying to end gun violence

Microsoft asking gov’t to regulate the company’s facial recognition tech‘ data-reactid=”62″>Microsoft asking gov’t to regulate the company’s facial recognition tech

Read More

Jimmy Dean sausage recalled, may contain metal – WJW FOX 8 News Cleveland

OWINGSVILLE, Kentucky – More than 29,000 pounds of Jimmy Dean sausage is being recalled because it may contain pieces of metal.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service made the announcement Tuesday.

The frozen, ready-to-eat sausage links items were produced and packaged on Aug. 4, 2018.

The problem was discovered when five people said they found metal in the sausage links.

The recalled products are 23.4-oz. pouches of “Jimmy Dean HEAT ’n SERVE Original SAUSAGE LINKS Made with Pork & Turkey” with a Use By date of Jan. 31, 19. The product bears case code A6382168, with a time stamp range of 11:58 through 01:49.

The products subject to recall bear establishment number “EST. 19085” on the back of the product packaging.

These items were shipped to an establishment in Tennessee where the product was further distributed to retail stores.

Consumers with questions about the recall can contact the Jimmy Dean customer service line at (855) 382-3101.


Read More

Elon Musk’s Talking About Bringing Tesla To South Africa Soon – 2oceansvibe News

Even with the recent price decrease in fuel (which we shouldn’t be all that excited about anyway), we are still paying a hefty price for the likes of petrol and diesel.

Perhaps that is why people are so excited about Elon Musk’s tweet from earlier today, when he said that he hoped to open a Tesla store in South Africa at some point in 2019.

We might want to cool it a bit, given that he has a habit of odd tweets, but here’s how this one unfolded:

We should unpack a few things here.

Firstly, who is Riccardo Spagni? This below from MyBroadband:

Riccardo Spagni – better known as “fluffypony” in the world of cryptocurrency – is the lead maintainer of the Monero blockchain project, and lives in Plettenberg Bay.

Spagni has been involved in various endeavours and startups across traditional and cryptocurrency-related industries, and recently launched a new blockchain protocol called Tari.

Secondly, I feel like Elon doesn’t really consider South Africa “home” any longer, and there are many stories of how he didn’t really enjoy growing up here.

Thirdly, “boet”. That is all.

Whilst details are scarce (as in Elon’s tweet only), here’s what MyBroadband had to say in their story from earlier today:

Musk provided no additional information regarding the availability of Tesla vehicles in South Africa.

While South Africa’s electric vehicle infrastructure is relatively sparse compared to Europe and the United States, major carmakers have begun to invest in EV charging networks to improve the proposition of buying an electric car in the country.

For example, Jaguar recently announced the installation of public charging stations at every one of its retailers in South Africa.

We are delighted for the 0,0001% of South Africans who stand to benefit from Jaguar’s decision.

I guess we just wait and see whether this gets filed under ‘Elon’s Odd Tweets’ or actually comes to fruition.


Read More

Stock futures rebound to build on Monday’s gains – Fox Business

Equity futures are jumping after turning around during the overnight session on new optimism over trade talks between the U.S. and China.

A phone call was held Tuesday between Chinese Vice Premier Liu He and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

This comes after a day that saw stocks fall more than 500 points and yet end the day in the green.

Dow Jones futures were higher by 1 percent. The S&P 500 added 1 percent and the Nasdaq Composite gained 1.2 percent.

On the economic front, producer prices rose slightly in November. PPI came in at a seasonally adjusted 0.1 percent., topping expectations. The figure slowed compared to october’s 0.6 percent gain.

If you back out food and energy, core PPI rose 0.3 percent.

Hong Kong stocks clawed back early losses to end higher on Tuesday as Beijing confirmed that it is still in trade talks with Washington.

The Hang Seng index ended 0.1 percent higher.

China’s Shanghai Composite index closed up 0.4 percent.

Japan’s Nikkei index closed down 0.34 percent.

More Business News

In Europe, London’s FTSE traded up 1.7 percent after the pound stabilized following Monday’s Brexit-related slide to 20-month lows after Prime Minister Theresa May postponed a key vote on how Britain will leave the European Union.

Germany’s DAX jumped 2 percent.

France’s CAC gained 2 percent, after French president Emmanuel Macron pledged late on Monday to raise the minimum wage and cut taxes in a bid to prevent more violent protests.

Ticker Security Last Change %Chg
I:DJI DOW JONES AVERAGES 24423.26 +34.31 +0.14%
SP500 S&P 500 2637.72 +4.64 +0.18%
I:COMP NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX 7020.5203 +51.27 +0.74%

U.S. stocks closed modestly higher Monday after an afternoon turnaround that followed a deep dive into negative territory.

Shortly after the opening bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted more than 500 points after British Prime Minister Theresa May announced that the Parliamentary vote on Brexit was being delayed, admitting that it would fail if the vote were held on schedule. If a deal on Britain’s goal of leaving the European Union isn’t reached with Brussels by March the U.K. could simply leave the pact, which could be massively disruptive for business.

At one point the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Index was on track to close in correction territory — 24,145.55 — 10 percent below its recent high of 26,828.39, which it reached on Oct. 3.

Read More

What Is Wrong With Brookfield Property Partners? – Brookfield Property REIT Inc. Class A (NASDAQ:BPR) – Seeking Alpha

When we last spoke about Brookfield Property Partners (BPY) (BPR) we concluded:

At the current price, BPY represents a good risk-reward ratio. There is definitely higher risk, but good execution should close the gap to NAV over 2 years. The big yield is a bonus. We would accumulate shares under $19. Conservative investors seeking an even better entry point should consider selling the $17.50 March puts for $0.85 or higher. If BPY stays over $17.50, the options return an annualized 13.6%. That is a good return with an additional buffer of safety.

The stock has continued to demonstrate considerable weakness since then and is now at all time lows.


BPY data by YCharts

The performance since the General Growth Properties (GGP) acquisition has been particularly bad as the other REITs have done quite well since then. We have benchmarked BPY versus some of its relative peers.


BPY data by YCharts

Was it the Q3-2018 results?

Q3-2018 results did miss consensus per unit funds from operations (FFO) estimates. But that was likely due to the GGP acquisition closing earlier than anticipated. The overall segment results were quite fine.

Source: Q3-2018 financials

Over the last 12 months, the payout ratio which includes gains from developments has handily outpaced the hefty dividend.

Source: Q3-2018 financials

So concerns about the dividend are unlikely to be at the forefront of investor mindsets.

We had previously postulated that the high debt load has been a factor for BPY /BPR and we stand by that. However, here we identify one additional factor that has likely created a big problem for BPY and BPR.

Supply and demand

GGP was a REIT and part of every REIT index that covered US or global REITs. BPY bought out GGP and issued new shares. BPY is of course a limited partnership. To enable investors to hold on to a REIT, BPY offered BPR shares which are technically the same investment, structured as a REIT. BPY shares are also convertible into BPR.

Brookfield Property REIT Class A (“BPR”) shareholders can exchange their shares for Brookfield Property Partners LP (“BPY”) units or their cash equivalence on a 1-for-1 basis. Please note the exchange may take up to 10 days and is based on a mandatory minimum of 1,000 BPR shares being tendered for exchange or the entire investor position, whichever is lower.

However, it appears that the previous owners of GGP have decided to either move on or not invest in BPR to the same extent. This is likely due to BPR either being excluded for the benchmark indices or having a much smaller weightage in the revised index.

According to Vanguard Real Estate Index Fund (VGSIX) semi-annual report for June 30, 2018, VGSIX held $713 million of GGP.

Now the same fund owns just $225 million of BPR.

Source: VGSIX holdings

Some of the decrease is due to underperformance of BPY/BPR. However it is clear that this index following fund now holds a substantially smaller portion of Brookfield Property Partners than it did of GGP. That would have been some substantial selling pressure as funds unloaded BPR shares. Vanguard Real Estate Index Fund 2 and Vanguard Real Estate ETF (VNQ) are managed identically and would have a similar move.

Other ETFS

iShares Cohen & Steers REIT ETF (ICF) also held GGP as at June 30, 2018.

The current holdings don’t even include BPR.

Schwab US REIT ETF is the second largest REIT ETF currently and held substantial amounts of GGP in the past. Even their current holdings exclude BPR. All this has resulted in substantial selling pressure and the price has fallen to new lows.

What will change things

Stocks that have been kicked out of indices suffer initially but then move towards their true value. In the interim, with BPY/BPR trading almost half of its NAV, it is encouraging to see them buying back shares.

Source: Canadianinsider

Brookfield Asset Management (BAM), the controlling entity of BPY and BPR, has also joined in the fray to increase its ownership.

Source: Canadianinsider, older screenshot captured by author

At present time the shares are trading at close to 60% of the NAV and such a high quality asset base at such a big discount is an unusual opportunity in our opinion. The key risk is still the debt load for BPY/BPR as a debt to EBITDA of close to 12X is stifling, even if the bulk of it is at the property level.


BPY/BPR shares have been a victim of index eviction. Passive investing forms the bulk of today’s investment dollars and index shifts create visible patterns. Had this occurred at a time of general market strength, perhaps buyers would have stepped in stem the flow. For now, only the company and its parent are stepping up the plate. Shares are heavily discounted and represent a compelling long term value, albeit with above average risk.

For more analysis such as this, along with real-time alerts on income stocks on both sides of the border along with option income ideas, please consider subscribing to our marketplace service, Wheel of Fortune.

The Wheel of FORTUNE is one of SA Marketplace’s most comprehensive services. You can now subscribe to it while taking advantage of our year-end bargain, which includes significant discounts, mega prizes, and a two-week free trial.

We view our service as a “supermarket of ideas” with an emphasis on risk management and risk-adjusted returns.

We cover all asset classes: common stocks, preferred shares, public debts, baby bonds, options, currencies, and commodities.

Our monthly review for October, where you can find all suggestions since launch, is only one click away.

Take advantage of a rare, fantastic offer, before fees going up.

Disclaimer: Please note that this is not financial advice. Investors are expected to do their own due diligence and consult with a professional who knows their objectives and constraints.

Disclosure: I am/we are long BPY.

I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

Read More

Hertz, Clear partner to speed rentals with biometric scans – The Associated Press

Biometric screening is expanding to the rental car industry.

Hertz said Tuesday it is teaming up with Clear, the maker of biometric screening kiosks found at many airports, in an effort to slash the time it takes to pick up a rental car. Clear hopes it will lead more travelers to its platform, which has 3 million members in the U.S.

It’s the latest place consumers will find biometric technology, which has migrated over the last 50 years from secure government facilities and banks to airports, stadiums and even smartphones that unlock with the touch a fingerprint. Hertz is the first rental car company to use the technology.

Improvements in cameras and other technology have made it cheaper to install scanners that can read fingerprints, faces, and irises. More than 100 airports worldwide use biometric readers from Clear, Vision-Box and other companies to scan passengers. Walt Disney World verifies visitors’ identity by scanning fingerprints.

And the advancements will likely keep coming. Microsoft is working with Australia’s national bank on cardless ATM machines that would let people withdraw cash using a facial scan and personal identification number. Universities in London and Copenhagen have on-campus groceries that let students pay with their finger. Some laptops can now be unlocked with a fingerprint scan.

Hertz with Clear launched their biometrics scans this week at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. It will be rolled out to 40 more U.S. Hertz locations next year, including John F. Kennedy Airport in New York, San Francisco International Airport and Los Angeles International Airport.

Hertz Gold Plus Rewards loyalty program members with access to Clear will be able to bypass the counter, pick up their car and head to the exit gate. There, Clear pods equipped with cameras and touchscreens can read their face or their fingerprints. If they match up with Hertz’s reservation data, the gate will open. Hertz will have at least one lane dedicated to Clear members at each location.

Hertz President and CEO Kathy Marinello expects Clear to shave 1.5 minutes off what’s now a two-minute checkout process.

“In the world of travel, I think time is of the essence,” she said.

The service is free for members of the Gold Plus Rewards program, which also has no fee. Travelers can sign up for Clear at a Hertz location. To upgrade to airport service, which promises to move Clear members through security lines more quickly, travelers must pay a monthly fee of $15.

Clear says it’s the first time it will be identifying members based on their face instead of their iris or their fingerprints. Clear CEO Caryn Seidman-Becker says the cameras can take measurements and identify minute differences in facial features.

Amil Jain, a professor at Michigan State University who researches biometrics, says facial screenings work by comparing an original photo to a new one. That could be tough in a rental car lane, where the lighting may differ substantially and drivers could be wearing makeup or winter scarves that change their features.

“If you don’t do the biometrics right, you’ll turn off the customer more,” he said. But biometric scanning done well could be more robust and secure than having an employee see if a driver’s face matches their license, he said.

Jain doesn’t think customers need to be particularly worried about facial scans. He points out that millions of people have shared photos of their faces on Facebook and other platforms already.

But Justin Brookman, director of consumer privacy and technology for Consumer Reports, said consumers should think twice before sharing personal identifiers.

“Once your biometric data gets leaked or compromised, you can’t really do anything about it,” he said. “The more people who potentially have it, the more potential for things to go bad.”

Seidman-Becker said Clear will not sell or share the data it collects. She noted that the company has been certified by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

But Jeramie Scott, the national security counsel for the Electronic Privacy Information Center, said sharing biometric data is still risky, because there are no federal laws governing the collection, use and retention of biometric data.

“An individual might sign up for one use only to find out that down the road their data is being used in another manner,” he said.

Marinello said Clear approached Hertz about the partnership and Hertz agreed to pay for the installation of the Clear pods. Marinello wouldn’t say how much Hertz is investing, but said the company expects to recoup that through increased customers and return visits.

Hertz has been eager to adopt new technology and partner with other companies in an effort to prove there is still a future in rental cars despite pressure from ride-hailing companies and self-driving cars. It’s a partner with Volvo in an autonomous driving incubator in Israel, for example.

Clear, too, has been trying to boost its membership through partnerships after Seidman-Becker bought it out of bankruptcy in 2010. Delta Air Lines bought a 5 percent stake in the company in 2016 and offers discounted Clear membership rates for its frequent fliers.

Read More

Why older headlights are a ‘major safety concern’ for American motorists – USA TODAY


Here’s why it’s important to know when it’s time to change out your headlights.

Find yourself wondering whether your headlights are out, only to discover they’ve been working the whole time?

It might be because the plastic covering the bulbs has become clouded or yellowed.

In fact, at an average of 11 years old, the typical vehicle on the road today is generating only 22 percent of the light that it did when its headlights were new, according to a new study by AAA.

“We were really shocked by the amount of deterioration in light output that we saw,” said Greg Brannon, AAA’s director of automotive engineering. “It’s a major safety concern out on the roadways today.”

The automotive safety and insurance firm is advising owners of older vehicles to get their lights replaced to achieve maximum performance. 


Show Thumbnails

Show Captions

Restoration helps and is advisable if vehicle owners can’t afford to replace their lights, which can cost several hundred dollars. But restoration, which costs less than $80 professionally, doesn’t return the lights to their original output.

The problem is that new headlights have a coating applied to their plastic casings to protect them from sunlight — and that coating wears off over time, causing the casing to go from transparent to translucent.

“Picture putting a light bulb in a container that has a lampshade pulled over it,” Brannon said. “That’s what we’re talking about.”

Cars that experience a lot of sunlight are most vulnerable. For example, a car parked mostly outside in Florida or Arizona will likely begin to deteriorate in about three years. Other vehicles begin to deteriorate in about five years, Brannon said.

Part of the problem is that many drivers don’t notice the issue since their lights degrade gradually over time. 


Show Thumbnails

Show Captions

Options for rehabbing headlights, based on two popular sedans:

Total replacement with parts from automaker: $331 to $427; achieves 100 percent performance.

Total replacement with certified aftermarket parts: $131 to $259; achieves 90 percent performance.

Total replacement with non-certified aftermarket parts: $104 to $190; achieves 83 percent performance.

Professional restoration: $77; achieves 70 percent performance.

Do-it-yourself restoration: $21; achieves 70 percent performance.

Source: AAA tests

Follow USA TODAY reporter Nathan Bomey on Twitter @NathanBomey.


Read or Share this story:

Read More

Fearless Girl statue gets new spot outside NY Stock Exchange – BBC News

A view of the Fearless Girl statue following the unveiling of the statue's new location in front of the New York Stock Exchange on 10 December 2018Image copyright

Image caption

The bronze statue was originally meant to be a temporary exhibit

The popular statue of a young girl who became famous for staring down Wall Street’s bull has moved to a new home outside the New York Stock Exchange.

Fearless Girl appeared in the city’s financial district on International Women’s Day in March last year.

The 4ft (1.20m) bronze statue was originally commissioned to draw attention to the lack of women on the boards of financial institutions.

It was meant to be temporary but stayed because of its popularity.

Officials announced the new location for the statue – an area where the traffic of cars is restricted – in April as its popularity at the old spot raised safety concerns.

When State Street Global Advisors (SSGA) commissioned artist Kristen Visbal to create the work in 2017, it said the girl represented the future.

Ironically, SSGA itself became embroiled in its own gender pay row later that year.

Image copyright

Image caption

The statue was originally part of a campaign to encourage companies to act against gender inequality

“She says in one image all that advocates can say in pages and pages of arguments and statistics,” said Democrat congresswoman Carolyn Maloney who attended Monday’s unveiling ceremony.

“We see [in her] our daughters, mothers, nieces,” added Betty Liu, Vice-President of the New York Stock Exchange, which in May named its first female president, Stacey Cunningham.

“She represents potential, progress and hope, but also all the women who have fought for equality before us.”

Image copyright

Image caption

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney kisses the statue at its unveiling ceremony on Monday

Image copyright

Image caption

The work’s popularity convinced the city authorities to keep it in place

Read More