Tue, Feb 13, 2018 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

Staff writer, with agencies

INVESTMENTS

Investors ditch biggest ETF

Investors abandoned the world’s biggest passive fund during the onset of market mayhem last week as the SPDR S&P 500 exchange-traded fund (ETF) suffered a record US$23.6 billion in outflows amid the worst momentum swing in history for the underlying US equity benchmark. Outflows amounted to 8 percent of the fund’s total assets at the start of the week, a rate of withdrawals not seen since August 2010. A blowup in volatility-linked products sent markets haywire, eliciting waves of risk aversion from jittery investors. The combination of price declines and withdrawals erased US$38.6 billion in the fund’s assets. That is nearly double the second-worst showing of US$19.4 billion in asset shrinkage during the week ending Aug. 21, 2015, when China’s surprise devaluation of the yuan roiled markets.

AUTO PARTS

Takata reaches deal in US

Takata Corp’s US unit has reached a settlement with representatives of those injured by lethally defective air bags, paving the way for the company to exit Chapter 11 bankruptcy and move forward with a reorganization plan. The agreement between the Japanese auto parts supplier, injured drivers and creditors, was outlined in documents filed on Saturday in a Delaware bankruptcy court. Two groups representing people suing over the air bags have dropped their opposition to the plan. Under the settlement, a trust fund is to be established to resolve the lawsuits.

BEVERAGES

Heineken to miss target

Heineken NV, the world’s second-largest brewer, forecast that profitability this year will be below its medium-term target as it integrates a Brazilian business it bought from Japanese rival Kirin Holdings Co. The operating profit margin will expand about 25 basis points this year as sales gain, the brewer said in a statement yesterday. Volume growth was led by Asia-Pacific, where Vietnam is one of Heineken’s largest markets. Heineken’s medium-term target is for a 40 basis-point increase in profitability each year, excluding acquisitions and unforeseen events. Revenue last year rose 5 percent on a so-called organic basis, the company said.

UNITED KINGDOM

House prices decline

House prices recorded an annual drop for the first time in almost six years at the start of this year, with London leading the slump. Values last month fell 0.4 percent compared with a year earlier, according to a report published yesterday by Acadata. Detailed data covering the fourth quarter of last year showed London fell 4.3 percent — the most since the depths of the recession in 2009. Comparing last month to December last year, values rose 0.2 percent, the first monthly increase since September last year. That left the average at £301,477 (US$416,000). In London, the average is £589,553.

CRYPTOCURRENCIES

Bitcoin recovers after rout

Bitcoin yesterday clawed its way back from the four-month low of US$5,922 it touched on Tuesday last week, rebounding 53 percent to US$9,069. Bitcoin’s supporters were quick to extol the cryptocurrency’s virtues as an asset that is uncorrelated to the broader market — independent from any single country, company or central bank — which can serve as a haven in times of market turmoil. The “do no harm” approach to cryptocurrencies taken by US regulators at a US Senate hearing on Tuesday last week sparked the rebound.

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