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Dark clouds will fill the economic skies, and they will briefly rain gold

Warren Buffett takes a swipe at fee-hungry Wall Street managers

Billionaire Warren Buffett has denounced “Wall Streeters” for charging “high fees” and urged ordinary investors to buy low-cost index funds. In his famed annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders, the Oracle of Omaha said: “When trillions of dollars are managed by Wall Streeters charging high fees, it will usually be the managers who reap outsized profits, not the clients.…  Tue.,  28 February 2017

Warren Buffett’s Best Investment

Bill and Melinda Gates: ‘122 million children’s lives saved since 1990

Philanthropy isn’t like business. We don’t have sales and profits to show you. There’s no share price to report. But there are numbers we watch closely to guide our work and measure our progress. Our goals are shared by many other organizations working to save and improve lives. We’re all in this together. So most of the numbers we look at don’t focus just on how we as a foundation are doing, but on how the world is doing—and how we see our role.…  Mon.,  27 February 2017

Currency war

Trump Calls Chinese ‘Grand Champions’ of Currency Manipulation

President Donald Trump declared China the “grand champions” of currency manipulation on Thursday, just hours after his new Treasury secretary pledged a more methodical approach to analyzing Beijing’s foreign exchange practices. In an exclusive interview with Reuters, Trump said he has not “held back” in his assessment that China manipulates its yuan currency, despite not acting on a campaign promise to declare it a currency manipulator on his first day in office.

Well they, I think they’re grand champions at manipulation of currency. So I haven’t held back,” Trump said. “We’ll see what happens.…  Fri.,  24 February 2017

‘Don’t repeal Obamacare — improve it’

Republicans face wrath at town-hall events

Republican members of Congress, away from Washington for the Presidents’ Day week, are getting an earful as constituents have come out in force to voice displeasure for some of the party’s policy positions and the nascent administration of President Donald Trump. Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa held an event Tuesday in which constituents expressed concerns about losing coverage if the healthcare law better known as Obamacare is repealed.…  Thu.,  23 February 2017

Brexit to Hit Jobs, Wealth and Output for Years to Come

Broad consensus among economists: Brexit will ultimately diminish output, jobs and wealth

The strength of the expansion since the vote to leave the European Union hasn’t allayed concern about how the decision will filter through the economy over the coming years. It won’t mean Armageddon, but the broad consensus among economists — whose predictions about the initial fallout were largely too pessimistic — is for a prolonged effect that will ultimately diminish output, jobs and wealth to some degree.…  Wed.,  22 February 2017

TransferWise launches international money transfers via Facebook

Send Money from your FaceBook account 

Money transfer company TransferWise has launched a new service that allows users to send money internationally through Facebook Inc’s chat application, as competition in the digital payments landscape intensifies. The London-based startup said on Tuesday that it had developed a Facebook Messenger “chatbot”, or an automated program that can help users communicate with businesses and carry out tasks such as online purchases. TransferWise’s chatbot enables customers to send money to friends and family to and from the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia and Europe from Facebook Messenger. It can also be used to set up exchange rate alerts.

Facebook already allows its users to send money domestically in the United States via its Messenger app, but has not yet launched similar services internationally. TransferWise said its service will be the first to enable international money transfers entirely within Messenger.…  Tue.,  21 February 2017

General Motors wants to sell Opel

GM shares could climb 35 percent 

General Motors Co (GM.N) shares could climb by as much as 35 percent if it succeeds in selling its European Opel brand and focuses on its healthier markets, Barron’s said on Sunday. Last week, GM confirmed reports that it was in talks to sell its Opel business to Paris-based PSA Group, which manufactures brands including Peugeot. If the deal goes through, it could net GM as much as $1 billion in cash, Barron’s says, citing analysts. However, the real value from the sale would come from offloading a money-losing business and refocusing on operations in China, Latin America and North America, it said.

Last year, GM reported a $257 million operating loss from its Opel unit. Cutting away Opel could gain GM nearly $1 billion in additional annual cash flow, on top of the immediate proceeds from the deal, Barron’s said.…  Mon.,  20 February 2017

America First? Why not India First?

How ‘America First’ could turn into ‘India First’

If you really want to keep the U.S. … globally competitive, you should be open to overseas talent,” Nilekani (Infosys) said on the sidelines of CNN’s Asia Business Forum in Bangalore. Infosys (INFY) is India’s second-largest outsourcing firm, and a major recipient of U.S. H-1B visas. The documents allow the tech firm to employ a huge number of Indians in U.S. jobs.
The Trump administration is now considering significant changes to the visa program. Press Secretary Sean Spicer said in January that Trump will continue to talk about reforming the H-1B program, among others, as part of a larger push for immigration reform. Curbs on the visas could hit Indian workers hardest.…  Fri.,  17 February 2017

Mexico is ready to hit the U.S. where it hurts: Corn

Mexico will buy corn from Brazil instead of the United States

Mexico is one of the top buyers of American corn in the world today. And Mexican senator Armando Rios Piter, who leads a congressional committee on foreign relations, says he will introduce a bill this week where Mexico will buy corn from Brazil and Argentina instead of the United States. It’s one of the first signs of potential concrete action from Mexico in response to President Trump’s threats against the country.…  Thu.,  16 February 2017

Buffett Is Shrinking Wal-Mart Stake

Amazon Holiday Threat

Buffett, 86, has long highlighted the vulnerability of even the largest retailers, citing Sears, F.W. Woolworth, Kresge and Montgomery Ward as merchants that lost their dominant positions. More recently, he’s focused on the threat from companies like Jeff Bezos’s Amazon that sell everything from food to clothes and electronic gadgets online.…  Wed.,  15 February 2017