Thu, May 18, 2017 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

MANUFACTURING

Bombardier contracts IBM

Bombardier Inc awarded International Business Machines Corp (IBM) a US$700 million contract to find cost savings and improve information-technology operations at the Canadian manufacturer’s rail and aerospace businesses. The six-year agreement spans 47 countries and will “generate recurring savings,” Bombardier said in a statement on Tuesday. Chief executive officer Alain Bellemare is pushing to reduce expenses as he pursues a turnaround plan after Bombardier’s C Series jetliner entered service more than two years late and US$2 billion over budget.

FINTEC

Earnest seeks buyer

Earnest Inc, a financial-technology (fintec) start-up backed by venture capital firms including Andreessen Horowitz, is looking for a buyer as the market for peer-to-peer lending matures and it struggles to raise new funds. The San Francisco-based company, which offers student loan refinancing as well as personal loans, is shopping itself for about US$100 million, according to people familiar with the matter. Earnest raised US$75 million in equity and US$200 million in debt in 2015, bringing the total to just over US$300 million since it was founded in 2013, according to research firm CB Insights. However, recent efforts to raise more money have not been successful so far, one of the people said. Earnest declined to comment.

UNITED KINGDOM

Real earnings decline

Workers saw their real earnings fall in the first quarter for the first time in two-and-a-half years, despite unemployment dropping to its lowest in more than four decades. Regular pay adjusted for inflation fell 0.2 percent, the Office for National Statistics said yesterday. Nominal earnings slowed to growth of 2.1 percent, an eight-month low. The unemployment rate fell to 4.6 percent, the lowest since 1975. Inflation is heading toward 3 percent this year and squeezing consumer spending, the engine of the economy. In March alone, real earnings fell 0.5 percent, the biggest decline since July 2014.

STOCKS

Meitu falls after MSCI snub

Meitu Inc (美圖) fell in Hong Kong after MSCI Inc reversed course and decided not to include the maker of China’s most popular beauty-enhancing selfie app in its global indices. The index provider announced the reversal on its Web site, without giving a reason, just a day after making it. MSCI did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Societe Generale analysts had called the decision to include Meitu a surprise. The shares dropped 9.1 percent to HK$9.8 at the close of trading yesterday.

FOREX

Yen, Swiss franc rise

The yen yesterday rose to its highest in two weeks and the Swiss franc hit a seven-week high against the US dollar as political factors involving US President Donald Trump fueled demand for safe-haven assets. The US dollar index, which scaled a 14-year peak of 103.82 on Jan. 3 in anticipation of Trump’s promised tax reform and stimulus measures, wallowed near its lowest levels since Nov. 9 last year after giving back all of its “Trump bump.” The yen rose to 0.7 percent to ¥112.26 per dollar, its highest level since May 5, while the Swiss franc rose to SF0.982 per dollar, its highest since March 27. The dollar index, which tracks the US currency against a basket of six major rivals, was last at 98.118, flat on the day.

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