Streaming Services & Broadcasting Changes

With Netflix missing subscriber count estimates in the most recent earnings report published by the company, and Walmart announcing a attempt to join in the streaming service industry, the market is developing contrary to expectations. The overall shift afoot is due to the change of way TV content is consumed, causing revenues generated from pay-TV in Britain to fall for the first time after years of sustained growth. According to BARB Establishment Survey data, the big companies in Britain - Netflix, Amazon and NOW TV- totaled a subscription count of 15.4 million subscribers in the first quarter, more than the 15.1 million pay-TV contracts the old industry holds. The numbers look rosy for

China and Cloud Infrastructure

China, a country associated with taking technological leaps, is lagging in the cloud infrastructure. While some analysts might view recent reports of China’s recent cloud growth as impressive, the issue is more complex than that. It’s true that China spent around 14 percent of its total IT budget to cloud services in 2017, double the amount spent four years earlier. China nonetheless falls behind its global peers in overall cloud expenditures. The United States accounted roughly. 29% of the total IT budget in 2017 into cloud infrastructure, more than twice the investment in 2013. In China, a large portion of companies continue to rely on local computing and their own infrastructure. The pr

Should the Minimum Wage Increase in the U.S.

There are many factors that must be carefully taken into account when choosing a position on whether or not the minimum wage should be raised. One must consider the positive and negative moral and scientific outcomes that could occur due to an increase in the minimum wage. Keith Knutsson of Integrale Advisors states "Although this topic is highly debated, my stance is that the Federal Government should not raise the minimum wage due to potential increased unemployment, increased small business failure and the long-term effect on inflation." Although a minimum wage may be an idealistic desire, it is unfortunately just that, idealistic, in our society we must weigh the positives and negatives

Equity Derivatives No More – Warren Buffett

Let’s take a deeper dive into Warren Buffets portfolio. Equity-index put options written by Berkshire Hathaway Inc. have started to expire and the remaining options will expire by January 2026. His firm originally initiated these deals between 2004 and 2008 to bet that stock prices would rise in the long run. Not only that, but the options all tied up together added a total of $2.4 billion to earnings from 2008 to 2017. Analysts say, “This is a really unique piece of business. Not a lot of companies besides Berkshire could have written this business. It demonstrates the unique power of this franchise and their size. Things were a little haywire where banks were going belly-up and there was a

Credit Effect on Non-Agency Mortgages

The argument whether enhanced regulatory oversight by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has a significant impact on the supply of credit or on bank-risk taking is a critical topic. With regulatory efforts strengthening across the street, one might assume that the non-agency lending business has been negatively impacted. However, studies from reports showcase that CFPB oversight has at most a small negative effect on overall mortgage lending. According to the research done, an increase in regulatory effort creates an environment where banks decrease origination for riskier loans. That might be the case for riskier loans, but non-qualified mortgage loans are not necessarily consi

Why is the Japanese Yen Considered a Safe Haven Currency?

A risk-off can occur when global investors’ behavior becomes more risk-averse or economic fundamentals become more uncertain. The yen has shown past historical trends of serving as a safe haven currency in times of a risk-off (2008 financial crisis, 2010 distressed European market, Japan earthquake and the Italian elections). During times of increased global risk aversion, the yen appreciates against other currencies. For example, the yen and Swiss franc appreciates against the US dollar when the US stock prices decrease and US bond prices/FX volatility increase. These safe haven currencies have low interest rates, a strong net foreign position and liquid financial markets. There are some po

Weaponizing Treasury Bonds: Options for Chinese Self-Destruction

Recent news mention the possibility of China negotiation leverage in tariff talks due to holding U.S. government debt. While it is true that China, the world's second-biggest economy also is the world's largest holder of U.S. Treasury bonds, the move for Beijing to dump its vast Treasury holdings to punish the U.S would be irrational. News talk about it China reducing its exposure to US Treasuries over the past six months and some have viewed the tactic as a “last resort”. Yet, especially as a last resort, this tactic would be ludicrous. China requires Treasurys for its own internal financial stability. Tanking the prices with a mass sell-off would also depress the value of any securities Ch

How the Age of Automation Affects the World of Finance

Recent research suggests that up to 40 percent of finance activities are able to be fully automated. Functions such as cash disbursement, revenue management, and general accounting and operations are tasks under such review. These abilities would help simplify core internal transactions, standardize reporting structures, and help the hierarchy in terms of efficiency. In more specifics, groups are already exploring a process called RPA, or robotic process automation, which falls under the category of automation software that performs redundant tasks on a timed basis and ensures. A tool such as RPA has advanced to the point they are no longer utilized in only a specific business activity but t

Setbacks for Chip Makers

The Chinese court has banned a portion of Micron Technology Inc. sales further adding burden to some of the largest chip makers in the world. Micron has been caught up in dueling intellectual property lawsuits with United Microelectronics Corporation and received a preliminary injunction from the court stopping sales of over twenty products. Some of the products include dynamic random-access memory and Nand flash memory chips. It has become increasingly fraught to do business in China for various chip making giants regardless of the fact that China is the world’s biggest market for semiconductors. South Korean rivals and Micron have been probed by antitrust authorities while regulators have

Trade War Risks Lead To Gradual Rate Hikes

The Federal Reserve exemplified strong economy warranted continued increases in the benchmark policy rate while citing tensions rising with emerging-market turmoil and the trade war. As growth gets a boost from tax cuts and additional government spending, U.S. central bankers are trying to keep the economy on a substantial path. Minutes from the last Fed meeting further supported a slightly restrictive monetary policy due to the outlook that low unemployment will lift wages and keep inflation near their two percent target over the medium term. However, they also showed concern that trade wars could hurt business sentiment and investment. Officials say, “They have a lot of reasons to keep rai

What Trump Tariffs Mean for U.S. Industries

U.S. industries have been shaking with news on trade tariffs. Duties on $34 billion of Chinese goods took effect this week while China has imposed retaliatory duties of similar size on American goods. Firms like General Electric Co. are making contingency plans should a trade war ensue and also say tariffs are the wrong way to address allegations on intellectual property theft by China. Not only that, but some businesses tried to persuade President Trump to back down by saying they’d be left with no choice but to consider reducing production, firing workers and even shifting operations out of the U.S. to account for added costs from the imposed tariffs. The Trump administration did remove so

A Blockchain Evaluation Past Frenzy and Currencies:

As the cryptocurrency frenzy has settled down, as discussed back in January, investors should reevaluate the strategic objectives of blockchain, separately from those of the currencies that received much attention. Blockchain does carry benefits from reductions in transaction complexity and cost, as well as helps improve the transparency and therefore fraud control for. Yet, instead of utilizing new technologies, the economic incentives are more aligned to capture value for incumbents by harnessing blockchain rather than be overtaken by it. Therefore, recent research puts the highest likelihood on blockchain as a permissioned, not public, commercial model. Under public blockchains belong the

Analysis on Global Corporate Debt Markets

After the great recession in 2008, a shift in lending strategies among corporations has occurred, especially in regards to bond financing, as commercial bank lending has been minimized. Recent research suggests that of all corporate debt, nineteen percent is in the form of bonds – that’s almost twice the percentage investors saw in 2007. With a look at annual numbers, nonfinancial corporate bond issuance has risen 2.5 times since 2007 to $2 trillion. When evaluating the value of those bonds compared to 2007, investors will see an increase of 2.7 x to $11.7 trillion; that’s double when viewed as a share of GDP. Especially speculative-grade bonds have strengthened, with the value of corporate

Could Internet Sales Tax be a Good Policy?

In the past, online retailers were able to take advantage of a tax shelter that exempted them from sales taxes in states that they did not have a physical presence. Online retailers used this tax shelter to challenge entrenched incumbents and provide consumers with a bounty of new options. However, the tax shelter for online retail is being revoked. Looking at this more closely, it all seems pretty enlightened policy-making. Startups were given a leg up that increased competition and consumer choice, and once they succeeded, it was taken away. However, critics could argue that the tax shelter should have been taken away a decade ago. Keep in mind, Amazon.com Inc. started collecting sales tax

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