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Archive for 30. Juli 2018

Causa Winterkorn: „Vorwürfe bestätigen das Bild der Raffgier“

Posted by hkarner - 30. Juli 2018

Die neuen Vorwürfe gegen Winterkorn wegen Steuerhinterziehung sollten zu mehr Distanz seitens Volkswagen gegenüber dem Ex-Chef führen, fordert Autoexperte Dudenhöffer.

Angesichts der Ermittlungen gegen Ex-VW-Chef Martin Winterkorn wegen Steuerhinterziehung fordert Auto-Experte Ferdinand Dudenhöffer vom Autokonzern, sich stärker von seinem ehemaligen Vorstandsvorsitzenden zu distanzieren.

„Wenn sich herausstellt, dass die Vorwürfe wahr sind, wird die Marke VW weiter stark beschädigt. Denn die Vorwürfe bestätigen das Bild der Raffgier“, sagte Dudenhöffer der „Neuen Osnabrücker Zeitung“ (Montagsausgabe). Um sich selbst zu schützen, müsse VW seinerseits Klage gegen Winterkorn einreichen und vorsorglich Ansprüche stellen, sollte dieser als Vorstandsvorsitzender seine Pflichten verletzt haben.

Auch auf noch ausstehende Verfahren gegen den Wolfsburger Autokonzern im Zusammenhang mit dem Diesel-Skandal könnten die Ermittlungen Auswirkungen haben, sagte Dudenhöffer der Zeitung: „Dadurch steigt die Wahrscheinlichkeit, dass VW die Aktionärsforderungen in Milliardenhöhe erfüllen muss.“ Die Ermittlungen würden die Glaubwürdigkeit der Zeugen steigern, die sagen, Winterkorn habe frühzeitig von Manipulationen gewusst und nicht reagiert. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Bond yields reliably predict recessions. Why?

Posted by hkarner - 30. Juli 2018

Date: 27-07-2018
Source: The Economist: Free exchange

An inverted yield curve may mean a few things, none of them cheering

AS NAMES for market phenomena go, “inverted yield curve” lacks a certain punch. It is no “death cross” or “vomiting camel”. But what it lacks in panache, the inverted yield curve more than makes up for in predictive potency. Just before each of America’s most recent three recessions the yield curve for government bonds “inverted”, meaning that yields on long-term bonds fell below those on short-term bonds. Economists and stockmarkets seem unconcerned that inversion looms again (see chart). But despite generally strong economic data, there is reason to heed the warning signs flashing across bond markets.

There is nothing particularly magical about the yield curve’s predictive power. Short-term interest rates are overwhelmingly determined by changes in central banks’ overnight policy rates—for example, the federal funds rate in America, which has risen by 1.75 percentage points since December 2015. Long-term rates are less well-behaved. They reflect the average short-term rate over a bond’s lifetime, but also a “term premium”: an extra return for holding a longer-term security.

An inverted yield curve may mean a few things, none of them cheering. Markets may expect future short-term rates to be lower than present ones, presumably because the central bank has chosen to cut rates in response to economic weakness. Or markets may think they need less compensation for holding long-term bonds in the future. That might reflect expectations that inflation will fall, or that appetite will grow for the safety provided in financial storms by long-run government debt. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Jean-Claude Juncker’s Unexpected Deal

Posted by hkarner - 30. Juli 2018

Date: 29-07-2018

How the European Commission President Won Over Trump

This week, Washington and Brussels struck an unexpected agreement to lift levies in the tariff conflict between the U.S. and the EU. The move represents a victory for all sides, but especially beleaguered European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

So, how did he ultimately manage to secure a deal with Donald Trump that nobody had thought possible? Jean-Claude Juncker found himself sitting in an unadorned meeting room at a Washington think tank, where he reflected on the hours he had just spent at the White House. He appeared visibly exhausted, but was in a buoyant mood. „I did it,“ he said.

He had spent more than two hours negotiating with Trump before finally reaching an agreement that was greeted with relief both in the European Union and the United States. Trump has now said he will not impose punitive tariffs on European cars — at least for the time being. In exchange, the Europeans have expressed a willingness to buy more liquefied petroleum gas and soybeans from the U.S. and, among other things, discuss how tariffs on other goods can be abolished. The president has agreed there will be no further tariffs, Juncker announced proudly, and that existing tariffs on cars would not be increased.

Of course, it’s still too early to tell how long that agreement will hold. Many fear all it would take is one nasty tweet from Trump for the whole thing to come unspun again. And then comes the fact that the deal does nothing to solve the many other problems the Europeans have with this unpredictable American president. The man who, for now at least, seems prepared to call a kind of cease-fire in the trade conflict, but still wants to abolish NATO, threatens Iran and dismisses climate change as nonsense largely promulgated by Europeans. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Is Europe America’s Friend or Foe?

Posted by hkarner - 30. Juli 2018

Jean Pisani-Ferry, a professor at the Hertie School of Governance (Berlin) and Sciences Po (Paris), holds the Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa chair at the European University Institute and is a Mercator senior fellow at Bruegel, a Brussels-based think tank.

Since Donald Trump took office as US president, a new cottage industry in rational theories of his seemingly irrational behavior has developed. On one issue, however, no amount of theorizing has made sense of Trump: his treatment of America’s oldest and most reliable ally.

PARIS – Since Donald Trump became US president in January 2017, his conduct has been astonishingly erratic, but his policies have been more consistent than foreseen by most observers. Trump’s volatility has been disconcerting, but on the whole he has acted in accordance with promises made on the campaign trail and with views held long before anyone considered his election possible. Accordingly, a new cottage industry in rational theories of Trump’s seemingly irrational behavior has developed.

The latest challenge is to make sense of his stance towards Europe. At a rally on June 28, he said: “We love the countries of the European Union. But the European Union, of course, was set up to take advantage of the United States. And you know what, we can’t let that happen.” During his recent trip to the continent, he called the EU “a foe” and said it was “possibly as bad as China.” Regarding Brexit, he declared that British Prime Minister Theresa May should have “sued” the EU. Then came the truce, on July 25: Trump and Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, agreed to work jointly on an agenda of free trade and World Trade Organization reform. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Private equity is piling into health care

Posted by hkarner - 30. Juli 2018

Date: 29-07-2018

Source: The Economist

High prices and stiff competition mean investors must think creatively

LAST month KKR, a private-equity firm, announced that it would buy Envision Healthcare, one of America’s largest providers of doctors to hospitals. The deal was valued at $9.9bn, including debt. If shareholders agree to the sale, it will be the largest in a string of health-care investments by KKR, including an ambulance service, a company that helps treat children with autism and a maker of medical devices.

“Ten years ago only a few private-equity houses had dedicated health-care teams,” says Dmitry Podpolny of McKinsey, a consultancy. “Today nearly everyone does.” Last year saw a frenzy of deal activity, the highest by value since the go-go year of 2007.

Private-equity funds are not the only ones keen on the industry. Institutional investors, tech-focused funds, generalist asset managers and corporate buyers are sniffing around, too. As they chase a limited number of targets, they are pushing up prices. Not high enough to dampen interest, however: health care is loved by investors for its resilience in downturns. It held up in 2000, when the dotcom bubble burst, and in 2008, during the financial crisis. People who need medical care rarely wait for an economic recovery. “Particularly late in the cycle, or if you’re leveraged, the sector can offer stability,” says Jim Momtazee of KKR. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Hiobsbotschaft für Rom: Wachstum bremst sich ein

Posted by hkarner - 30. Juli 2018

29. Juli 2018, 18:20  derstandard.at

Italiens Wirtschaft wächst langsamer. Mit dem Bankenverband ABI hat nun das vierte Institut die Prognose geschwächt

Mailand – Hiobsbotschaft für Italiens Regierung: Das Wirtschaftswachstum verlangsamt sich. Der Bankenverband ABI (Associazione Bancaria Italiana) hat die Wachstumsprognose für 2018 bis 2010 von ursprünglich 1,5 auf 1,3 Prozent pro Jahr gesenkt. Nach dem Industriellenverband Confindustria, der Notenbank Banca d’Italia und dem Internationalen Währungsfonds (IWF) sagte am Wochenende die vierte Institution reduziertes Wachstum voraus. Die Gründe für die Abschwächung sind zwei Monate nach Antritt der neuen Regierung aus Lega und Fünf-Sterne-Bewegung teils hausgemacht: Vizepremier und Industrieminister Luigi Di Maio will wichtige Infrastrukturprojekte stoppen und Verträge auflösen. So soll der Kaufvertrag für das Stahlwerk Ilva rückgängig gemacht und das mit den Franzosen vereinbarte Superschnellbahnprojekt TAV zwischen Turin und Lyon abgebrochen werden. Das verunsichert ausländische Investoren und wird Rom auch teuer zu stehen kommen. Allein der TAV-Stopp würde zwei Milliarden Euro an Rückzahlung erfordern, die von der EU bereits finanziert wurden. Dabei braucht das Land Projekte, um den Rückstand zu anderen EU-Ländern aufzuholen.

Arbeitsmarkt schwächelt

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Tech firms are suddenly the corporate world’s biggest investors

Posted by hkarner - 30. Juli 2018

Date: 27-07-2018
Source: The Economist: Schumpeter

Apple’s new headquarters has created 13,000 new construction jobs

A COMMON way to describe the history of the technology industry is by product cycles. The 1990s was the era of the PC; then came the internet and related services, followed by mobile; and now artificial intelligence looms. But there is a different way to think about tech: it is switching from an era of hoarding profits to one of reinvestment. Take a crude yardstick of spending: the physical footprint of the five most valuable American tech firms. A decade ago if you added up all the land they occupied, you got to an area one and a half times the size of Central Park. Now an ongoing splurge means they use ten times more space, or 600m square feet (55m square metres), roughly the size of all of Manhattan. This shift to redeploying profits is seismic.

Amazon accounts for two-fifths of that space—the equivalent to anything south of Grand Central. Way back in 1998, its boss, Jeff Bezos, had a different message, telling his shareholders that its business model was “cash-favoured and capital efficient”. The capital-light approach was in vogue in China, too, until recently. At the end of last year Alibaba’s market value was similar to the total for China’s biggest 700 industrial firms, yet it had 12% of their assets. Investors loved tech firms’ ability to crank out huge profits with tiny balance-sheets, but economists were alarmed by it. Two years ago Lawrence Summers fretted that tech might depress overall investment. Digital disrupters would sap incumbent firms’ confidence to invest while spending little themselves. This was part of a wider malaise he called “secular stagnation”. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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