Japanese stocks advance
Japanese stocks advanced for a third day, lifting the Nikkei 225 Stock Average to a level last seen during the nation’s bubble economy more than three decades ago. The blue-chip gauge closed at 30,670.10 in Tokyo, surpassing this year’s previous peak in February to end at the highest since August 1990. KDDI Corp and Fanuc Corp were the largest contributors to the Nikkei’s 0.7 percent gain. Electronics makers and automakers gave the biggest boosts to the broader TOPIX, which advanced 1 percent. The Nikkei 225 is now up about 12 percent for the year, with the TOPIX up 17 percent. That compares with a 19 percent gain for the S&P 500 Index and 17 percent advance for the STOXX Europe 600 Index.
Grab cuts projections
Grab Holdings Inc, a Southeast Asian ride-hailing and delivery firm, yesterday cut projections for this year as the region is battling a COVID-19 outbreak. The Singapore-based company expects full-year adjusted net sales of US$2.1 billion to US$2.2 billion, it said in a statement. That compares with $2.3 billion it forecast in a presentation to investors in April. Grab also expects full-year gross merchandise value of US$15 billion to US$15.5 billion, compared with an earlier projection of US$16.7 billion.
Uber decries Dutch ruling
A court in Amsterdam on Monday ruled that Uber Technologies Inc drivers fall under the Dutch taxi drivers’ collective labor agreement, meaning they are entitled to the same employment benefits as taxi drivers. Uber said it would appeal the ruling. The Amsterdam Civil Court said three judges ruled that the legal relationship between Uber and its drivers “conforms to all the characteristics of an employment contract.” The Dutch workers’ organization that brought the case called the decision a major victory for Uber drivers. Uber, which has 4,000 drivers in Amsterdam, decried the ruling as a blow to the gig economy model.
British unemployment falls
British unemployment dipped in July as the economy reopened further, official data showed yesterday, but the outlook remains clouded with the government’s furlough jobs support scheme to end soon. Unemployment dropped to 4.6 percent in the three months to the end of July compared with 4.7 percent in the second quarter, the British Office for National Statistics (ONS) said in a statement. Vacancies are at a record high with certain sectors, including road haulage and hospitality, seriously affected by a shortage of staff owing to the COVID-19 pandemic and Brexit. At the same time, the number of UK workers on payrolls has rebounded above pre-pandemic levels, the ONS said.
India-UK talks unveiled
India and the UK will start negotiations for a free trade deal later this year, including a series of working groups from this month, the British High Commission in New Delhi said in a statement yesterday. The agreement to start talks comes after British Secretary of State for International Trade Liz Truss spoke to Indian Minister for Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal on Monday to “discuss the scope and ambition” for a free trade deal between the two countries after a public consultation in the UK last month.
Alphabet Inc’s Google on Tuesday announced plans to buy a New York office building for US$2.1 billion, confirming its push into the US’ largest city despite the COVID-19 teleworking trend. This is the largest real-estate purchase in the US for an office building since the beginning of the global spread of COVID-19, the Wall Street Journal quoted Real Capital Analytics as saying. Google already rents the premises in Manhattan, which are located on the site of a former railroad terminal in the Hudson Square neighborhood. The Silicon Valley giant envisions a campus with a total surface area of 160,000m2 by mid-2023
Cash-strapped developer China Evergrande Group (恆大集團) has begun repaying investors in its wealth management products with real estate, said Hengda Real Estate Group Co Ltd (恆大地產), its main unit. Evergrande, with more than US$300 billion in liabilities, is in the throes of a liquidity crisis that has left it racing to raise funds to pay its many lenders and suppliers. It has a bond interest payment of US$83.5 million due on Thursday. The company said on WeChat on Saturday that investors interested in redeeming wealth management products for physical assets should contact their investment consultants or visit local offices. Financial news outlet Caixin on
‘CORE VALUES’: The contract chipmaker did not specify why the employees were dismissed, but media reports said they had leaked information about customer orders Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) has fired seven of its employees for violating the company’s “core values,” the world’s largest contract chipmaker said yesterday. While the company did not disclose exactly why it fired the seven employees, local media reports earlier in the day said that the employees had leaked confidential information about customer orders. In a statement, the company said that it fired the seven at once, adding that it released an internal notice last week to inform the entire company of the move ahead of the four-day Mid-Autumn Festival holilday, which ended on Tuesday. TSMC said it fired the seven
MILD ADJUSTMENT: Two previous efforts failed to curtail mortgage financing, although the new measures should not affect property prices, the central bank governor said The central bank yesterday tightened credit controls for second-home mortgages in specific areas and purchases of plots of land, especially in industrial parks. However, the nation’s top monetary policymaker kept its policy rate at a record-low 1.125 percent for the sixth consecutive quarter, despite revising up its GDP growth forecast for this year from 5.08 percent to 5.75 percent. “Board members factored in economic uncertainty at home and around the world,” central bank Governor Yang Chin-long (楊金龍) said, adding that growing inflationary pressure was a temporary phenomenon induced by bad weather and a low base effect for oil prices. International fuel price increases