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Media Navel Gaze: February 8, 2016

Mark Kollar  Follow

The US jobless report, although mixed, showed the American economy remains resilient and is recovering amid slowdowns in key markets overseas (China, parts of Europe), providing a “whew” for some but little comfort for the crystal-ball gazers.  The overall unemployment rate fell to 4.9 percent, the lowest point since February 2008, while the economy only added some 151,000 jobs; wages increased. For now, the Street seems to be leaning toward a not-so-fast rate hike by the Fed. And then there’s oil.


  • Viacom Chairman Redstone resigned;
  • The race for presidential nominations got more complicated with Trump, Dems dead heating and now Rubio “choking” in weekend debates, but no worries, only eight months left;
  • LinkedIn lost big, shedding some 30-percent in stock value following a quarterly loss and somewhat dim outlook;
  • Also losing were stocks, with the Dow down 3.1 percent for the week to close Friday at 16,204;
  • Martin Shkreli, the former pill-exec price gouger pleads the Fifth in front of Congress with a well-publicized smirk but lifted his plea for silence on Twitter with the same smirk in 140 characters;
  • The New York Times and News Corp reported small profit gains amid announcements that digital is leading (no surprise) and that newsrooms at the Times may shrink (no real surprise) with more and more focus on spending more and more on how we read the news (let’s hope for some real surprises); and
  • On the glossy side of publishing, Playboy’s March issue is nudity and airbrushed free but not staple free -- centerfold still included.

LatAm Gaze:

  • Zika Update: A spike in reported microcephaly cases among babies in areas of Brazil has triggered an international effort to determine whether the Zika virus causes the condition. The rapidly spreading virus is discouraging many Americans from traveling to Latin America and the Caribbean - and two presidential hopefuls, Chris Christie and Ben Carson, said they would implement a quarantine should Zika spread in the U.S.
  • Currency: The Brazilian real and Mexican peso fell on Friday after data showed a pickup of U.S. wages in January that supported the view that the Fed could raise rates again this year.
  • Economy: According to Mexico's central bank governor Agustin Carstens, Mexico's economy should grow slightly more than 2.5 percent this year. Meanwhile, Brazil's annual inflation rate unexpectedly rose in January after a controversial Central Bank decision to keep interest rates unchanged last month.
  • Argentina Debt: Argentina offered a $6.5 billion cash payment to creditors suing the country over defaulted bonds on Friday, seeking to end a festering 14-year legal battle that transformed it into a financial markets pariah. 

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