Media Navel Gaze: February 1, 2016

Mark Kollar  Follow

Can we ask for a do-over? Stocks dropped 5.5-pct in January in a month that saw big volumes and extremely choppy trading, pressured by slow growth in China and volatile oil markets. Crude prices lost about 9 pct so far this year but were well above a one-time 12-year low since the start of 2016. As a result, the Fed fretted a bit after its policy-making meeting, holding rates steady for now as other central banks (BOJ, for example) pushed rates below zero. Analysts seem to think the Fed will probably hike again next month.

Elsewhere:

  • Trump had his bully pulpit all to himself; going solo in protest at the Iowa debates, probably to some success and making the current election more like Trump vs Fox, instead of Trump vs Dems; Viewership for the Republican debate declined quite a bit, showing Trump factor (and the Trump/Megyn show) is for real; Fox bigs, however, seemed scared and never trumped with a journalism card (like we call the shots here) instead of what looked like “pleading” or “stuttering” for The Donald to appear;
  • Shots fired at Facebook as it posted quarterly profits of more than $1 billion and then halted private gun sales on its site and Instagram;
  • iPhone sales slowed (rare but Apple still makes a ton of money);
  • Xerox divides itself into two (instead, I guess, of just copying itself);
  • The Zika virus got scary, with WHO saying it is “spreading explosively,” with more below;
  • Barbie enters the 20th Century and gets urban and curvy; and
  • Leo shaves and meets the Pope.

LatAm Gaze:

  • Health officials put the world on watch as the number of Zika virus reports has steadily increased throughout the Americas. The issue has revived talks about whether certain nations should rethink current bans on abortion.
  • In a movement towards strengthening reserves, Argentina’s central bank this week raised $5 billion from seven international banks.  While the names of the banks involved were officially undisclosed, Valor Econômico reports that HSBC, JPMorgan, Santander, Deustche Bank, BBVA, Citi, and UBS were involved.
  • Former Salvadoran president Francisco Flores, who ruled from 1999 to 2004, died on Saturday in San Salvador following a brain hemorrhage. Mr. Flores was 56. 

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