Media Navel Gaze: March 2, 2015
The Week Unpeeled
The Mideast returned to lead the headlines all week, with debate in the US raging over Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to the US this week, where he is scheduled to talk in front of Congress (some are opting not to attend in protest) against the White House efforts to limit Iran's nuclear program, a seeming low-point in US-Israeli relations.
- "Jihadi John" was identified;
- Net neutrality became more of a reality as the FCC voted to regulate broadband providers as public utilities;
- RBS is cutting 1,000 jobs in the US as it drastically scales back global operations;
- The Daily News is on the block, with Lazard reportedly retained as the financial-advisory firm;
- Nothing passive about it: The oldest active investor died last week at 109; Irving Kahn made his first trade some four month before the 1929 crash;
- Spock dies at 83; Vulcan hand salute;
- Stock markets were mixed all week with the Dow ending little changed to close Friday at 18,132; for the month the Dow is up 5.6%;
- Hope it's better than the chicken: KFC introduced edible coffee cups in the UK, which unfortunately will make the java ritual full of calories; and
- Color divide: Dressgate happened.
- Sunday marked the end of an era in Uruguayan history as President Jose "Pepe" Mujica stepped down for incoming president Tabaré Vazquez. Pepe's five years in office marked a blunt, liberal approach (legalization of marijuana, gay marriage, and early-stage abortion, among other items) and a life without excess. He's famous for giving 90% of his presidential salary to charity and staying in his original one-bedroom home throughout his presidency; and
- A federal Argentine judge this week dismissed accusations against President Kirchner in her alleged cover-up role of a 1994 terrorist attack in Argentina.
- Peru's central bank will continue lowering its key interest rate, this time from 8.5% to 8%; and
- After a series of rate cuts totaling 200 basis points through October 2014, Chile's central bank will leave its key interest rate (3%) unchanged, citing better than expected growth in local economies.
- Mexican state-owned oil titan Pemex reported a 55% y/y increase in losses, citing 2014's decline in global oil prices, the peso's depreciation against the US Dollar and a tax cut on Mexico's government bonds; and
- The Bolsa de Santiago (Santiago, Chile's stock exchange) had its best monthly performance in the past 12 months, showing a 3.8% gain in February.
M&A In his highly-anticipated annual letter to shareholders, Warren Buffet announced his intentions to continue working on deals with Brazilian investment firm 3G Capital, with whom he's collaborated on some ground-breaking deals, including the acquisitions of Heinz and Burger King. Rumored takeover targets include Campbell Soup and PepsiCo.