News Archive

Dollar cheered by tax cut progress, outshone by bitcoin

SYDNEY (Reuters) – The dollar held firm on Wednesday after Wall Street shot to record peaks amid signs of progress on U.S. tax cuts, while bitcoin topped $10,000 on a host of exchanges as the frenzy for cryptocurrencies showed no sign of fading.

Asian share markets were not as jubilant, checked by caution over the latest missile test by North Korea and concerns at recent softness in Chinese shares.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS was down a fraction, while China’s blue chip index .CSI300 slipped 1 percent.

Among the better performers, Japan’s Nikkei .N225 added 0.4 percent, while Australia’s main index rose 0.5 percent.

The prospects for a U.S. tax cut seemed to improve after Senate Republicans rammed forward their bill in a partisan committee vote that set up a full vote by the Senate as soon as Thursday, although details of the measure remained unsettled.

Republican leaders conceded that they have yet to round up the votes needed for passage in the Senate, where they hold a narrow 52-48 majority.

Some analysts, however, did warn of the risks of unintended consequences if the package was passed.

“Tax cuts will mainly boost the demand side of the economy at a time when the economy has little spare capacity,” said Jeremy Lawson, chief economist at Standard Life Investments.

“For that reason, the package will primarily bring forward activity with most of the stimulus eventually offset by the Federal Reserve lifting interest rates more quickly.”

Fed chair nominee Jerome Powell, in his Senate confirmation hearing on Tuesday, said the case for a December rate hike was coming together, though he dodged comment on the tax proposals.


Powell also hinted at a lighter touch for bank regulation, saying current rules were already tough enough.

The SP financial sector .SPSY soared 2.6 percent in reaction, its biggest daily gain since March 1. That helped the Dow .DJI climb 1.09 percent, while the SP 500 .SPX rose 0.99 percent and the Nasdaq .IXIC added 0.49 percent. [.N]

Adding to the good cheer was data showing U.S. consumer confidence surged to a near 17-year high in November, while home prices rose sharply in September, which should underpin consumer spending.

All of which helped the dollar regain some ground. Against a basket of currencies it was steady at 93.219 .DXY and off a two-month trough of 92.496 touched on Monday.

The dollar likewise edged up to 111.54 yen JPY= and away from a 10-week low of 110.85, while the euro backed off to $1.1848 EUR=.

That paled in comparison to bitcoin which flew to $10,200 BTC=BTSP on BitStamp, a major trading platform based in Luxembourg.

The latest surge brought its gains for the year so far to over 950 percent, leaving more than a few observers baffled.

“The market is very illogical. There’s no way to rationally value bitcoin as an asset,” said Thomas Glucksmann, head of marketing at Hong Kong exchange Gatecoin.

“There’s nothing that makes sense because there’s no fundamentals behind bitcoin. What people are buying into is the idea of how this technology can be used in the future.”

In old-fashioned commodity markets, gold looked rather dull at $1,295.00 XAU= an ounce.

Oil eased amid uncertainty over the outcome of OPEC talks and a surprise rise in crude inventories. [O/R]

U.S. crude CLc1 dipped 32 cents to $57.67, while Brent crude oil LCOc1 lost 43 cents to $63.18 a barrel.

Editing by Sam Holmes Shri Navaratnam

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GM says Corvette super car will be priced at $119,995 and above

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – General Motors Co’s (GM.N) 755-horsepower Corvette ZR1 super car will have a starting price of $119,995, with a convertible version from $123,995, its global product development chief, Mark Reuss, said on Tuesday.

The Corvette competes with Italian luxury sportscar Ferrari SpA (RACE.MI) in the elite, high-performance sports car segment, and is the opposite end of the automotive spectrum from the electric and self-driving cars GM is expected to highlight at an investor conference on Thursday.

Reuss revealed the price at an event ahead of the LA Auto Show.

Reporting by Joseph WhiteEditing by Christopher Cushing

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Uber’s third-quarter net loss widens to $1.46 billion: source

(Reuters) – Uber Technologies Inc’s [UBER.UL] quarterly losses widened, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters on Tuesday, as the ride-hailing company wades through legal troubles and faces regulatory scrutiny across the globe.

The Silicon Valley-based company’s net loss increased to $1.46 billion in the third quarter from $1.06 billion in the previous quarter, the source said.

Quarterly net revenue rose 14 percent to $2 billion and gross bookings increased 11.5 percent to $9.7 billion, on a sequential basis, the person said.

As a private company, Uber is not required to publicly report its financial results, but earlier this year it began offering a glimpse of its performance by disclosing certain numbers.

On Tuesday, a consortium led by SoftBank Group Corp (9984.T) launched a tender offer for shares of Uber. The Japanese company said some notable early Uber investors including venture capital firms Benchmark, which owns 13 percent of Uber worth $9 billion, and Menlo planned to sell stock.

Uber has been hit by a series of scandals this year with the latest being a regulatory crackdown after disclosing that it paid hackers $100,000 to keep secret a massive breach last year that exposed personal data from around 57 million accounts.

The Financial Times had earlier reported Uber’s third quarter figures.

Reporting by Shubham Kalia and Subrat Patnaik in Bengaluru; Editing by Sunil Nair and Saumyadeb Chakrabarty

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SoftBank says Benchmark, Menlo Ventures ready to sell some Uber stock

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – A consortium led by SoftBank Group Corp (9984.T) on Tuesday launched its tender offer for shares of Uber Technologies Inc [UBER.UL] and the Japanese company said that some notable early Uber investors planned to sell stock.

Venture capital firms Benchmark, which owns 13 percent of Uber worth nearly $9 billion, and Menlo Ventures, another large shareholder, have indicated that they would sell a portion of the shares, according to a SoftBank spokesperson.

Shawn Carolan, managing director at Menlo Ventures and who leads the firm’s Uber investment, confirmed that the firm “is in favor of the transaction, and will be tendering some of our shares.”

How many it sells, though, depends on the final price SoftBank is willing to pay, he said.

Benchmark declined to comment.

The SoftBank investment would be a sign of support from an influential investor as the ride-services company struggles with several scandals ranging from sexual harassment allegations to federal criminal probes.

The investment, if successful, would trigger governance changes at Uber, including expanding the board from 11 to 17 members, limiting some early shareholders’ voting power and slashing the control wielded by former chief executive Travis Kalanick.

SoftBank would add the investment in Uber to several other bets in the sector, including Singapore’s Grab and India’s Ola.

It is offering to buy Uber shares from existing investors at a valuation of $48 billion, a 30 percent discount to the most recent valuation of $68.5 billion, a person familiar with the matter said earlier this week.

However, SoftBank can still increase the price to encourage more people to sell their shares.

It also would buy $1 billion of new stock at the higher, $68.5 billion valuation but only if it can accumulate at least a 13.4 percent share of Uber through the tender, another person familiar with the matter said on Tuesday. If there were not enough sellers, SoftBank could walk away from the deal.

Uber said late on Tuesday that the expected tender had launched.

The investment comes at the end of a year of controversy and change for Uber, including the announcement last week that the company covered up a major hack in 2016.

One of the people familiar with the matter said that some initial members of the SoftBank consortium, including General Atlantic, had dropped out over concerns including the price.

Still, many investors remained enthusiastic about Uber and told Reuters they were not selling. Mitchell Green of Lead Edge Capital, which invested when the company had a $40 billion valuation, has said he is eager to buy more Uber shares.

Benchmark, despite a prolonged battle with Kalanick and other investors, tweeted in August it believed Uber would be worth more than $100 billion.

Uber on Tuesday released to investors its third-quarter financial results, posting a net loss of $1.46 billion, up about 38 percent from $1.06 billion in the previous quarter and erasing earlier progress in diminishing losses, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Its net revenue, or Uber’s cut of ride fares, stood at $2 billion, up 14 percent from $1.75 billion in the previous quarter.

The Financial Times newspaper reported Uber’s financial results earlier Tuesday.

As a private company, Uber is not required to report its earnings, but has done so for about the past year in preparation for an initial public offering planned for 2019.

Writing by Peter Henderson; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Stephen Coates

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Hitachi predicts robot mining takeover

Hitachi, which also manufactures and supplies farming, healthcare, industrial and consumer products, claims it can triple its Australian FY2015 revenue by FY2020 to A$3.75 billion (US$2.8 billion).

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Precipitate expands Island Zinc project

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Friedland’s next huge mine takes shape

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Nevada Copper starts planning the Pumpkin pit

The project has long been of interest due to its massive combined five billion pound copper reserve, but has been in the development doghouse for the past two years because of the high development costs. The pre-feasibility study last week projected building a more economically viable high-grade underground mine as a way to jumpstart the project, with first production expected in 2019.

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NxGold declares force majeure

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