Talking about “markets” and “bubbles” is always a dangerous thing, but when it comes to these bubbles, it can be fun, particularly as it reflects part of our Affordable Luxury thematic . . .
Treated as a barometer of global consumer confidence, Champagne sales are a good indicator of whether shoppers are buying luxury or premium goods, and also whether they feel flush enough to invest in global equities or housing.
. . . After eight years of post-crisis adjustments, it appears “demand for premium goods and services is finally getting back to the pre-crisis ‘normal’ . . . ”
Source: BBC – Capital – Why we’re drinking more Champagne than ever before
A data point that conflicts clearly conflicts our Aging of the Population investing theme – not a bad thing per se it just means double checking other data and seeing if this is an aberration or the start of something.
“It’s an uptick in mortality and that doesn’t usually happen, so it’s significant,” said Robert Anderson, the chief of mortality statistics at the National Center for Health Statistics, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “But the question is, what does it mean? We really need more data to know.”
“We are not accustomed to seeing death rates increase on a national scale,” said Andrew Fenelon, a researcher at the C.D.C. who did not work on the paper. “We’ve seen increases in mortality for some groups, but it is quite rare to see it for the whole population.”
Source: American Death Rate Rises for First Time in a Decade – The New York Times
Nothing wrong with there being one more Guilty Pleasure investing candidate in the market… subject to due diligence of course!
According to Bloomberg, the world’s largest tequila producer wants to raise as much as $1 billion in an initial public offering slated for the third quarter.
Source: Jose Cuervo IPO – Business Insider
Despite all the central bank intervention to date, Japan’s manufacturing economy continues to contract. May MarkitEconomics manufacturing PMI for Japan came in at a 40 month low with falling output and orders, which of course means Abe Shinzo sees it as a call to further stimulate the Japanese economy… sounds like more of the same (more debt, low to no growth) to us.
Japan will delay its planned sales tax hike for a second time, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced Wednesday, while also detailing a new stimulus package for the economy this fall.
Source: Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe plans large stimulus package this fall
While the myspace data breach may data back a few years, it’s size (roughly 427 million passwords!) serves as a reminder that not every breach/attack is immediately detected let alone thwarted. This serves as a harsh reminder on the ever evolving need for cyber security that fuels our Safety & Security investing theme.
Time, Inc. didn’t confirm how many user accounts were included in this data set, but a report from LeakedSource.com says that there are over 360 million accounts involved. Each record contains an email address, a password, and in some cases, a second password. As some accounts have multiple passwords, that means there are over 427 million total passwords available for sale.Despite the fact that this data breach dates back several years, the size of the data set in question makes it notable. Security researchers at Sophos say that this could be the largest data breach of all time, easily topping the whopping 117 million LinkedIn emails and passwords that recently surfaced online from a 2012 hack.
Source: Recently confirmed Myspace hack could be the largest yet | TechCrunch
The arrangement that has Xiaomi is buying 1,500 patents from Microsoft so it can bulk up its intellectual property vault to fend off attacks as it moves into other countries means more smartphone competition is on the way. The same transaction means after failing repeatedly to break into the smartphone market itself, Microsoft is embracing the Asset Lite business model by monetizing parts its patent library. As we’ve seen from Qualcomm and others, margins on royalties tend to be sky high.
The transaction addresses a key weakness facing Xiaomi, which is seeking to sell its devices in countries outside its home market but has been hindered by its relative lack of intellectual property to fend off lawsuits.
The deal reflects Xiaomi’s efforts to acquire the intellectual property it needs to one day sell its devices beyond developing markets. One of its ultimate goals is to sell its phones in the U.S.
For Microsoft, the move is the latest in a yearslong push to collect royalties from electronics makers who use Google Inc.’s Android operating system, which Microsoft says uses some of its technology.
Source: Xiaomi to buy 1,500 patents from Microsoft — FT.com
Granted Venezuela is an extreme case, but it shows how an economy can grind to a halt when nearly everything – “food, medicine, electricity, toilet paper, condoms — you name it” is becoming scarce.
Venezuela faces a shortage of nearly every kind: food, medicine, electricity and toiletries. The scarcity reflects Venezuela’s spiraling economy and humanitarian crisis.
Source: Venezuela crisis: no butter and bread for weeks – May. 31, 2016
Mobility, computing power and sensors becoming woven into the very fabric of our lives offers another aspect to our Connected Society investing theme. It also makes life look that much more like something from Minority Report and Back to the Future.
The metal-based conductive fibers are fully washable and sewed into the denim, and a button-sized piece of removable hardware called the “smart tag” allows the jacket to connect to your phone or tablet via Bluetooth. Gesture controls and specific functions can be customized with the help of a companion app, but there’s no word yet as to whether that app will be immediately available for non-Android users.
Among the tasks the jacket can perform: offering up suggestions for nearby coffee shops (or other types of venues), providing an ETA to your destination, and changing tracks on your playlist. All of the info is conveyed by audio, so you’re not distracted by screens.
Source: Google and Levi’s Are Now Making Connected Jean Jackets – Bloomberg
With smartphone growth slowing, carriers are turning to cars for growth. Another sign the Connected Society is moving past smartphones.
With the U.S. smartphone market saturated, most of the growth in the cellular industry is actually coming from other kinds of devices including tablets, machine-to-machine connections and lots and lots of cars.In the first quarter, for example, the major carriers actually added more connected cars as new accounts than they did phones.That doesn’t mean there weren’t a lot of phones sold, though, but most smartphones went to existing customers. When it comes to new accounts added, so-called “net adds,” things were fairly split among cars, tablets, phones and industrial connections, according to a new report from industry consultant Chetan Sharma.
Source: A third of new cellular customers last quarter were cars – Recode