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Is Japan a long-term opportunity?

Japan is leading the international markets in terms of underlying dividend growth. Companies in the land of the rising sun have been steadily increasing their dividend payouts, helped by their stable profit margins and cash hoards. The estimated dividend yield on the Topix 500 index, which tracks large Japanese companies, is about 2.5%, according to a recent note by Société Générale Cross Asset Research.Screenshot 5

The dividend yield, which had mostly remained steady since 2013, has been moving up recently, “indicating that Japan Inc. is getting more used to the idea of paying out cash as dividends,” according to Société Générale Cross Asset Research.

Looking across regional indexes, whether looking at the trailing three-year or trailing five-year changes in dividends, Japan1 stands out from broad international indexes like MSCI EAFE or MSCI Europe. The five-year numbers come in at almost double digits - very close to the U.S. markets. For the latest three years, Japan came out with a dividend growth figure higher than the U.S. Over the last ten years - a period that includes the financial crisis - eurozone regional indexes still show lower overall dividends in 2017 than they did in 2007. Again, the three-year dividend growth shows a meaningful pickup recently.

Domestic Growth Driver

The economy grew at a slower pace than initially estimated in the second quarter as the United States-China trade war prompted a downward revision of business spending, intensifying calls for the central bank to deepen stimulus this month. Weakness in the global economy and trade protectionism has emerged as risks to growth and added some pressure for the Bank of Japan (BOJ) to expand stimulus when it meets next week. The economy grew an annualized 1.3 percent in April-June, weaker than the preliminary reading for 1.8 percent annualized growth, revised Cabinet Office data. The annualized growth rate translates into a quarter-on-quarter expansion of 0.3 percent from January-March, compared with a preliminary reading for a 0.4 percent gain. The outlook for the world’s third-largest economy remains clouded as risks from declining manufacturing overseas and at home hit exports. Analysts have also warned of a possible drop in domestic consumption after Japan raises its sales tax to 10 percent next month, which could run one of the economy’s few growth drivers. Amid the risks to growth, BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda has kept the door ajar for cutting interest rates further into negative territory, saying last week such a move is among the bank’s policy options. Speculation is growing that the BOJ could ease policy as early as this month to prevent the yen from spiking, an increasingly likely prospect if the U.S. Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank unveil new easing measures.Domestic growthScreenshot 1Screenshot 2

Investment Focus

In 2013, the ratio of Japan’s inward FDI stock to its GDP was 3.5 percent, the lowest among developed countries, and far below the global average of 34.1 percent. The U.S. and Germany, for instance, have ratios seven to eight times higher than Japan, while China and South Korea have ratios three to four times that of Japan’s. Inward FDI in developed countries is characterized more by mergers and acquisitions (M&A) - involving buyouts of existing companies - than by greenfield investments entailing the establishment of new companies. In this context, M&A by foreign companies in Japan is sluggish. Receiving direct investment from international companies promotes economic growth by increasing venture, production, and employment. But the benefits of receiving direct investment are not limited to these quantitative expansions. They also include qualitative improvements through transfers of advanced technology and management know-how to Japanese companies. Higher productivity also stems from intensified competitive pressure on Japanese companies.
Similarly, consumers benefit from the availability of new products and services. Aware of the contributions inward FDI could make to Japan’s economic recovery and medium- to long-term growth, the Abe administration - in a revised version of its Japan Revitalization Strategy released in June 2014 - advocated expanding inward FDI. The strategy aims to double the 2012 year-end inward FDI stock by 2020. This expansion is a crucial part of the third arrow of Abenomics’ approach to growth. What factors hinder inward direct investment in Japan? In opinion surveys of foreign companies conducted by the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry and others, the problem most commonly cited by foreign companies seeking to operate in Japan is the high cost of doing business. Specifically, the high corporate and other tax rates applicable to companies and high office rents. Among the other obstacles noted were: the closed and peculiar nature of the market and administrative procedures, the complexity of approval and licensing systems, the difficulty of securing needed personnel, and, in particular, the scarcity of staff capable of communicating in English.Screenshot 6

Surveyed companies pointed out that M&A in Japan is sluggish. They said that this is due in part to tax regimes and procedures that make it harder to pursue M&A than in other developed countries and in part, to the significant barrier of closed corporate governance in Japanese companies that inhibits M&A. Recognizing the need to expand inward FDI, since the 1980s, the Japanese government has been pursuing a variety of policies to encourage such investment - offering foreign companies low-interest loans, tax breaks, debt guarantees, and useful information. The second Abe administration, inaugurated in 2012, sought to reduce or eliminate factors inhibiting investment in Japan by setting targets to double inward investment, creating a council for foreign direct investment promotion to help achieve these targets, and implementing regulatory reforms. Japan is still leading the Southeast Asia infrastructure race against China, with pending projects worth almost one-and-a-half times its rival, according to the latest data from Fitch Solutions. Japanese-backed projects in the region’s six largest economies – Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam – are valued at US$367 billion, the figures show. China’s tally is US$255 billion. The figures underline both the rampant need for infrastructure development in Southeast Asia, as well as Japan’s dominance over China, despite President Xi Jinping’s push to spend on railways and ports via his signature Belt and Road Initiative. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has estimated that Southeast Asia’s economies will need US$210 billion a year in infrastructure investment from 2016 to 2030, to keep up the momentum in economic growth. The latest Fitch figures count only pending projects – those at the stages of planning, feasibility study, tender, and currently under construction. Fitch data in February last year put Japan’s investment at US$230 billion and China’s at US$155 billion.

Topix earnings

Portfolio Rebalancing Global Investors
The portfolio rebalancing channel – achieved through large-scale purchases of assets – is one of the major transmission channels envisaged by a central bank under the zero or effective lower bound (Joyce et al. 2012). To realize this channel, the Bank of Japan (BOJ) launched quantitative, qualitative monetary easing (QQE) in April 2013 by the large-scale purchase of Japanese Government Bonds (JGBs) with the maturity extended to the maximum 40 years. In September 2016, the BOJ shifted the official guideline for market operations from the monetary base (hence the amount of JGB purchases) to the 10-year yield (with a negative interest rate of -0.1%). At the same time, the BOJ emphasized a continuation of an annual pace of JGB purchases of about ¥80 trillion – suggesting its high evaluation of this channel. This column will assess whether the portfolio rebalancing channel has been active in Japan by focusing on the three entities – financial institutions, firms, and households, separately.

The portfolio rebalancing channel raises aggregate demand, and hence inflation, by encouraging investors to change the composition of their portfolios, thereby lowering funding costs and raising various asset prices directly. The BOJ expanded its degree of monetary accommodation substantially (as evidenced by the ratio of the BOJ’s assets to GDP has exceeded 90%), and has also purchased risk assets directly, such as exchange-traded funds and real estate investment trusts. Therefore, the BOJ has envisaged that portfolio rebalancing of financial institutions would take place forcefully, from safe assets (i.e., JGBs) to risk assets (such as bank loans, M&A, outbound foreign direct investment, and other domestic and international securities investment). Together with the banking sector’s provision of innovative financial services, households’ portfolios would be rebalanced from safe assets (such as bank deposits and cash) to risk assets (such as residential investment, investment in equity investments, and investment trusts, etc.). Firms would be encouraged to shift from holding bank deposits and cash to expanding business fixed investment, M&A domestically and overseas, R&D, outbound foreign direct investment (FDI), and so on. In other words, the unprecedented massive monetary easing is aimed at energizing Japan’s economy by promoting ‘healthy’ risk-taking behavior among financial institutions, households, and firms, which has been lacking since the collapse of the equity and real estate bubbles in the early 1990s.

The bank loans to deposit ratio declined rather than increased is unique among advanced economies in terms of the abundance of deposits relative to the size of the financial industry. For example, deposits and currency held by Japanese banks accounted for 45% of the total liabilities of all financial intermediaries (covering depository corporations, pension funds and insurance firms, and other financial institutions) in June 2016. The ratio is higher than that of the Eurozone (34%) and the U.S. (16%), according to the BOJ estimate using the flow of funds data (BOJ 2016). Focusing on depository corporations in Japan, bank deposits have substantially exceeded bank loans. The limited demand for credit relative to abundant bank deposits is a structural phenomenon, as evidenced by the persistently low bank loans to deposit ratios. The ratio dropped from 66% in 2000 to 53% in 2016 (Figure 1). This reflects that the pace of an increase in bank deposits has been faster than the speed of growth in bank loans.

dividendsshare buyback

The Outlook For The Shrinking Markets Of Goods And Services

JGB holdings mainly fill the gap between loans and deposits. This suggests that abundant capital has not been utilized efficiently for productive purposes in the private sector. Long-standing limited demand for credit reflects not only the actual rapid pace of aging and its declining population but also the outlook for the shrinking markets of goods and services.
Since 2013, Abenomics and QQE have enabled stagnant loan growth to turn positive, and the year-on-year loan growth has since remained at around 2%–3%. As for corporate loan growth, more than 50% of the growth has been allocated to the real estate sector. Growth of households’ mortgage loans showed a moderate pick up. Growing bank lending to the real estate sector has been related to loans to real estate investment trusts, construction activities (partly related to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games), as well as loans to housing for rent (mainly driven by tax-saving purposes as a result of the tighter inheritance taxation). Nevertheless, loan growth remains too moderate to offset a decline in the interest rate margins. Deposit growth, rather than slowing, grew even faster than bank loans as explained below; thus, the already low loan-deposit ratio dropped even further – contrary to the phenomenon expected under the portfolio rebalancing channel.

Figure 2 indicates that the ratio of loans to total financial assets has declined over the past four years. The decline in the ratio of debt securities’ holdings (comprised mainly of the JGBs) – mostly as a result of selling the JGBs to the BOJ – was replaced by an increase in deposits (primarily comprised of the current account balances at the BOJ). The ratio of foreign investment did not show a rising trend over the same period. This reveals that the portfolio rebalancing channel has not been reliable to the extent expected by the BOJ, although it has been successful in lowering lending rates. Households traditionally prefer bank deposits. Deposits and currency accounted for around 50% of households’ total financial assets from 2000 to 2016 (Figure 3). Such large-scale holdings of deposits are quite remarkable, given that the deposit interest rate is about 0%. The household sector has remained a substantial net creditor as households’ deposits (about ¥940 trillion currently) have significantly exceeded their loans (about ¥310 trillion) for a long time. Since their deposits grew faster than their loans, the deposits to loan ratio rose moderately over the period since the adoption of the QQE – contrary to the phenomenon expected under the portfolio rebalancing channel.

QQE contributed to raising households’ equity and investment fund shareholdings as a share of total financial assets moderately from around 12% in 2013 to 13%–14% in 2016. However, the ratio did not exceed the maximum (17%) reached in 2007 before the Global Crisis. The household sector remained a net seller of stocks most of the time over the past four years – partly because stock prices rose but achieved only about a half of the historically highest level achieved in the past, and partly because of large fluctuations of the stock prices. Households’ holdings of debt securities accounted for only 1%–2% of total financial assets over the same period partly because a wide range of JGBs and other corporate bonds are available to professional investors as compared with households. Also, the corporate bond market is too small.

Japanese Firms, Highly Risk-Averse

The risk-averse behavior of Japan’s households is in contrast with that of households in the U.S. and the Eurozone. According to the BOJ’s estimates, deposits and currency accounted for 52% of households’ total financial assets in Japan in September 2016 while they accounted for only 14% in the U.S. in September 2016 and 35% in the Eurozone in June 2016. Equity holdings and investment trusts accounted for 46% in the U.S. and 25% in the Eurozone, while only accounting for 13% in Japan.

Japanese firms are known to be highly risk-averse, as demonstrated by their vast holdings of deposits and currency. The amount of deposits and currency held rose at an accelerated pace from 2013, owing to an increase in corporate profits. In 2016, the number of deposits and currency exceeded ¥240 trillion – about one-fourth of the firms’ total financial assets and about 45% of GDP. The high profitability was attributable to various favorable factors: the yen’s substantial depreciation, low lending rates, a series of corporate tax cuts, a sharp decline in commodity prices and imported materials in 2014–2016, and an increase in foreign demand since 2015.
This reflects firms’ choice to accumulate profits in the form of retained earnings rather than allocating them more intensively to expanding business fixed investment, M&A, R&D, foreign portfolio investment, and outbound FDI. While firms increased their non-residential fixed investment over the past four years, the amount of increase was moderate and remained well below cash flows or change in deposits and currency. Since 2013, firms have expanded outbound FDI, but the growth was average, and foreign assets related to FDI accounted for only half of deposits and currency in 2016. In the U.S., meanwhile, firms also increased their holdings of deposits due to an increase in profits over time and achieved about US$1 trillion in December 2016. However, the outstanding amount of deposits is relatively small compared with Japan, accounting for only 5% of firms’ total financial assets and 5% of US GDP. Besides, U.S. firms actively engaged in outbound FDI so that the number of foreign assets related to FDI recorded US$5 trillion, which is about five times as large as deposits. Firms’ non-residential fixed investment exceeded cash flows or change in deposits.

Equity Market: Profits Are Up, Deflation Is Over

Yet Japan’s stock market is widely reviled, valued even more cheaply than the struggling Eurozone.
Investors think Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s “three arrows” of loose monetary policy, fiscal stimulus and reform of capital and jobs markets have misfired since he started Abenomics in 2012, and that they won’t reach their mark any time soon. Japan’s stock market is dominated by economically, and currency-sensitive cyclical stocks whose profits have soared but could crash back to the ground if the global slowdown worsens. Investors don’t value such cyclical benefits very highly anywhere, and they value Japan’s cyclical profits even less. Yet Abenomics isn’t such a dud as many investors seem to think it scored some hits—and Japan’s stocks merit watching if the global economy turns up.
It is both evident that Abenomics hasn’t hit its target, and at the same time, overly harsh to deem the prime minister’s efforts a complete failure. Inflation remains well below the 2% goal set shortly after his election, despite some of the loosest monetary policy ever seen outside Zimbabwe. But after almost two decades of deflation, the fact that there’s any inflation at all is a triumph.
Government spending didn’t offer much of a boost, and Mr. Abe shot the fiscal arrow into his foot in 2014 when his sales-tax rise caused a recession. The overall government budget is on track for the smallest deficit next year since the post-bubble recession of 1993, according to estimates by the International Monetary Fund, something which can’t help inflation. The reform program has helped encourage better allocation of capital by companies and supporting the existing trend of more women joining the workforce.
Earnings per share have risen faster even than in the U.S. recently, according to MSCI data. And figures collected by the Ministry of Finance show operating profit margins for big nonfinancial companies not far from the peak of 8.6% reached in the second quarter of last year, far above the 2007 high of 5.7%.
Historically, shareholders wouldn’t give companies credit for high profits because they could never get their hands on the money. Better corporate governance gives hope that less of it will be frittered away, and should support valuations. At the same time, Japanese manufacturers have improved their productivity since Abenomics began, at a time when most of the developed world has seen productivity growth slow, according to Conference Board data. (The Bank of Japan puts part of the blame for too-low inflation on productivity growth.)But there’s still a problem: Japan’s huge manufacturers are heavily exposed to global trade troubles and the value of the yen, and profit margins have been falling fast as both moves against them.

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Japan’s Manufacturing Productivity

Real value added per hour worked in manufacturing, annual change
The nonmanufacturing sector hasn’t been hit the same way, but its operating profit margin of 5.4% has been flat since 2016. That doesn’t support a story of continuous improvement, even if it is far above the pre-Abe norm.
Shigeto Nagai, a former BoJ official now at Oxford Economics, argues that the single most significant change produced by Abenomics was to correct the overvaluation of the yen, which helped exporters most. The relatively muted gains of the yen in the race to safety this summer supports the idea that there’s less danger to Japanese stocks from a stable currency, but it’s too early to be sure.
The overall valuation of the market shouldn’t mislead investors looking for cheap stocks. MSCI Japan trades at 13.3 times estimated 12-month-forward earnings, precisely in line with the world excluding the U.S., and far behind the U.S.’s 17.4 times.
The country has the cheapest financials, the cheapest industrials, and the most affordable consumer discretionary companies, a sector that includes upmarket retailers and carmakers. Those three sectors account for half the market, more than the U.S., U.K., Eurozone, or emerging markets. If the world economy picks up, these stocks should do well, but few want to make that bet at the moment.
Look at the more defensive sectors, and the bargains are hard to see. Makers and sellers of consumer staples (such as toothpaste, alcohol, and tobacco) are more expensive than in other developed markets, as are health-care stocks. Japan’s energy and utility sectors are cheap. Still, the fourth-biggest utility by market value is Tokyo Electric Power Co., of Fukushima meltdown infamy, which trades at just 3.7 times forecast earnings. The energy sector is tiny, and its most significant stock barely profitable.
Investors who think the world economy can escape the doldrums and trade wars be resolved should consider Japanese stocks. Others should take heart from improving productivity and corporate governance and the possibility that the yen is losing some of its haven statuses, but shouldn’t get too excited by the cheapness.

 

Why you should invest in the stock market

Investing in stocks is one of the most profitable ways to build wealth over the long-term. However, it's impossible to guarantee big returns - not even big investors like Warren Buffett can do that. Stocks are an investment that represents part ownership in a corporation and entitles you to part of that corporation's assets and earnings.

nasdaq stock wall
Today, share ownership is usually recorded electronically, and the shares are held in street name by your brokerage firm.
For most people, stock market investing means choosing among these two investment types:


Stock (also called equity) mutual funds or exchange-traded funds. These mutual funds let you purchase small pieces of many different stocks in a single transaction. Index funds and ETFs track an index; for example, a Standard & Poor’s 500 fund replicates that index by buying the stock of the companies in it. When you invest in a fund, you also own small pieces of those companies. You can put several funds together to build a diversified portfolio.ETFs trade throughout the trading day, like stocks, while mutual funds trade only at the end of the day at the net asset value (NAV) price.

Individual stocks  If you’re after a specific company, you can buy a single share or a few shares as a way to dip your toe into the stock-trading waters. Building a diversified portfolio out of many individual stocks is possible, but it takes a significant investment.

Preferred Stock vs. Common Stock
Being a shareholder gives you certain rights and benefits; for example the right to vote on company matters at the Annual General Meeting and the potential benefit of receiving dividend payments.
Shareholders have a claim on the company’s assets in the event of liquidation, but do not own the assets.
Holders of common stock have voting rights at shareholders’ meetings. They also have right to receive dividends if they are declared. Holders of preferred stock don’t have voting rights, but do receive preference in terms of the payment of any dividends over common shareholders. Therefore, preferred stockholders receive a fixed dividend from the company, while common shareholders may or may not receive one, depending on the decisions of the board of directors.


Holders of preferred stock also have a higher claim on company assets than holders of common stock. Holders of preferred stock typically get paid more, and even have a priority claim in case something bad happens, like bankruptcy.
Preferred prices tend to be steadier than regular stocks, thanks to their big dividends. They’re also inconvenient to buy individually, so investors often turn to funds like ETFs and CEFs (closed-end funds) as ways to buy 5%+ paying baskets of preferred shares.
Ownership is determined by the number of shares a person owns relative to the number of outstanding shares.

100264698 stock ticker building 2 gettyp.1910x1000

Imagine you wanted to start a restaurant with your friends. You decide you need $800,000 to get the business off the ground so you incorporate a new company.
You divide the company into 1,000 shares of stock. You price each new share of stock at $800. If you can sell all of the shares to your friends, you should have the $800,000 you need (1,000 shares x $800 contributed capital per share = $800,000 cash raised for the company).
If the store earned $70,000 after taxes during its first year, each share of stock would be entitled to 1/1,000th of the profit. You'd take $70,000 and divide it by 1,000, resulting in $70 earnings per share (or EPS, as it is often called on Wall Street). You could also call a meeting of the company's Board of Directors and decide whether you should use that money to pay out dividends, expand the company by reinvesting in the retail store, or repurchase some stock.
For example, you may decide you want to sell your shares of the family retailer. At some point, if the company is large enough, you could have an IPO (initial public offering), allowing you to sell your stock on a stock exchange or the over-the-counter market.

stocks bull cycle

Choose our professional Stocks Services (Daily Signals & Risk Management; Education (LIVE Trading Consulting) and we walk you through reliable trading strategies. We will also provide you with the tools you need to consistently get profit from the stock market. Contact us anytime at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Fintech, the sector of the future?

MA themes

Global fintech funding rose to $111.8B in 2018, up 120 percent from $50.8B in 2017, fueled by mega M&A and buyout deals, according to the KPMG Pulse of Fintech report. The fintech market in most areas of the world remained relatively healthy and well-poised for growth, also in 2019. 

Deals in the second half of 2018 were topped by Blackstone's $17B investment in Refinitiv, the $3.5B acquisition of Blackhawk Network by Silver Lake and P2 Capital Partners, the $3.4B buyout of VeriFone by Francisco Partners, and the $2.2B acquisition of iZettle by PayPal. These deals followed on the $12.86B acquisition of WorldPay by Vantiv in H1'18.

PE activity deal volumeFintech deal volume declined markedly in the second half of 2018, but still reached 2,196 deals for the year, up from 2,165 in 2017.  Increasing geographic diversity of fintech VC funding continues to help drive deal volume, even as larger fintech hubs see more concentrated investment in larger deals.

PE 2017 annual deal flow

“The growing deal sizes, higher levels of M&A activity and the geographic spread of deals all highlight the increasing maturation of the fintech sector on a global scale,” said Ian Pollari, Global Co-Lead, KPMG Fintech. “Fintech start-ups in markets as diverse as Germany and Brazil are attracting larger and later stage rounds, while the more established fintech leaders in the US, UK and Asia are making their own investments and acquisitions in order to expand their product and geographic reach.”

PE 2017 annual deal flowMA outllook by activity

2018, a year of multiple record highs across fintech investment

Mega deals drove a record $111.8B global fintech investment in 2018, led by three $10B+ deals, as well as an additional 14 $1B+ M&A deals. To be more specific, 2018 was a year of multiple record highs across fintech investment, including VC, corporate VC, M&A, and PE.
Fintech investment in the Americas rose from $29B in 2017 to $54.5B in 2018. Deals volume also increased from 1,039 deals to 1,245. The US accounted for the bulk of this funding - $52.5B across 1,061 deals.
European fintech investment for 2018 increased sharply to $34.2B from $12.2B in 2017, thanks to massive M&A and buyout deals, including WorldPay ($12.8B), Nets ($5.5B), iZettle ($2.2B), Fidessa Group ($2.1B), and IRIS Software Group ($1.75B).
The total Asia Pacific fintech investment for 2018 of $22.7B, up from $12.5B in 2017, was dominated by Ant Financial's record-setting $14B deal in Q2'18, as fintech investment in the region slowed significantly in the second half of the year.
Cross-border M&A rose significantly in 2018, with approximately $53.5B invested across borders in 155 deals, up from $18.9B in 153 cross-border deals in 2017. The US drew $28B in cross-border M&A, while Europe attracted $21.6B.
Investment flowed at a significant pace into key subsectors and technologies - regtech investment surged to $3.7B in 2018 from $1.2B in 2017, while investment in blockchain remained strong at $4.5B in 2018, just off the $4.8B in 2017.

annual worldwide deal flow

US sees record fintech investment and deal volume

US fintech investment for 2018 more than doubled to $52.5B, from $24B in 2017, across a record 1,061 deals. While M&A and buyout activity accounted for the majority of this funding, US-based fintech VC funding also rose significantly, from $7B to $11.4B. The $17B Refinitiv deal dominated the $25.4B investment in Q4'18.PE ma activity

Canada and Brazil continue to expand fintech investment

Latin America was a strong target for fintech investors in 2018, with Brazil achieving a record high of $556M across 28 deals. Canada saw a record 119 fintech deals in 2018 - bringing in $1.18B of investment.

Europe sees record annual investment despite decline in Q3 and Q4'18
European fintech rose exponentially in 2018 to a record $34.2B raised across 536 deals, compared to $12.2B in 2017. Much of the 2018 funding occurred during the first half of the year, with total investment slumping to $4.3B in Q3'18, and to $1.3B in Q4'18 - an eight-quarter low.
The UK's $20.7B, up from $5.6B in 2017, accounted for the majority of fintech funding for the region - more than half of which came from the $12.8B WorldPay acquisition in the first half of the year. Q3 and Q4'18 investment dropping significantly, suggesting that fintech investors in the UK may have drawn back due to Brexit uncertainties.
Germany and France experienced a drop-off of fintech investment in 2018. In Germany, $1B was raised across 57 deals, compared to $1.7B across 88 deals in 2017, while France saw $294M raised on 34 deals in 2018 versus $733M on 50 deals a year earlier.
Asian fintechs attract $22.7B in funding
Fintech investment in Asia rose from $12.5B in 2017 to a record high $22.7B in 2018, while deals volume dropped marginally from 382 to 372. VC investment was particularly strong in the fintech space in Asia, accounting for $19.6B in investment.

China accounted for the lion's share of Asia fintech investment, with $18.2 billion in funding during 2018 across 83 deals, led by Ant Financial's $14B raise in Q2. India fintech funding declined year-over-year, although still reaching $1.7B across a record 115 deals, while investment and deal volume in Singapore grew for the fourth straight year, accounting for $347M across 61 deals. Australia saw $572M across 28 deals.

M&A Activity, a positive outlook

M&A( Mergers and acquisitions) activity in the Fintech sector experienced a cooldown in the second half of last year from its high of 189 transactions in 1H2018, and all-time high disclosed transaction value of almost $50 billion. Even though transaction volume in 2H2018 was 160, total disclosed transaction value was just shy of $13 billion largely because there were no box-office deals such as Blackrock’s $17 billion acquisition of Thomson Reuters in the first half of 2018. However, tax reform, a more relaxed US regulatory climate, and growing cash reserves fuel optimism among US dealmakers. While geo-political and economic issues appear to be affecting confidence, there is plenty of evidence that companies are prepared to take on big strategic deals when opportunities arise. Investor’s appetite for fintech firms remains undimmed with M&A hitting a record $112bn in the first three months of 2019, despite signs of a slowing global economy and the threat of a disorderly Brexit in the UK. Across the year the sector is forecast to hit record mergers and acquisitions volumes as well as the industry’s second-highest financing levels, despite the threat of a trade war between the US and China.

IT Spending, a new record

Worldwide IT spending is projected to total $3.79 trillion in 2019, an increase of 1.1 percent from 2018, according to the latest forecast by Gartner, Inc.

The shift of enterprise IT spending from traditional (noncloud) offerings to new, cloud-based alternatives is continuing to drive growth in the enterprise software market. In 2019, the market is forecast to reach $427 billion, up 7.1 percent from $399 billion in 2018.

The largest cloud shift has so far occurred in application software. Gartner expects increased growth for the infrastructure software segment in the near-term, particularly in integration platform as a service (iPaaS) and application platform as a service (aPaaS).

The data center systems segment will experience the largest decline in 2019 with a decrease of 2.8 percent (see Table 1). This is mainly due to expected lower average selling prices (ASPs) in the server market driven by adjustments in the pattern of expected component costs.spending outlook

The 10 most valuable fintech companies in the world are mostly between six and 10 years old, all with hundreds of millions raised (if not $1 billion-plus) and multibillion-dollar valuations. Yet, at the moment, not one of those unicorn seems articularly close to an offeringIPO

Expand your investment portfolio with commodities

A wide variety of different investments in commodities can help you diversify a long-term investment portfolio and will increase your returns if you recognize the difference between speculation and investments. The allocation really depends on how you plan on investing in them.

Commodities sentiment

 

A barrel of oil, bar of gold, truckload of corn or soybeans , bag of coffee or even a head of cattle are examples of the physical staples that are at the heart of commodity markets. Other than these physical assets, everything else that trades is a derivative- an instrument with a price that reflects the value of the underlying hard asset, the commodity.

Base metal price performance

Physical commodities vs. futures

Physical commodity trading generally occurs between producers, traders and the ultimate consumers in most commodity markets. However, it is in the derivative markets where speculators, investors, arbitrageurs and other interested parties bring liquidity to these assets. Prices will fluctuate in the short term, so it is not easy to make fundamental forecasts of commodities prices for short-term trades. It is even more difficult for new commodity traders to do this.
We recommend that traders use a long-term strategy when using fundamental analysis to forecast commodity prices. Commodities typically move in long-term cycles of 10 years. A buy-and-hold approach typically works very well when they're in a long-term bull market.
The investor should look for trends that are developing that will cause a shift in supply and demand factors.

Crude oil: Non-OPEC supply will grow

The global oil surplus is beginning to shrink due to stronger-than-expected European and U.S. demand growth, as well as production declines in OPEC and non-OPEC countries, the International Energy Agency said. The U.S. has 26.5 billion barrels in reserve, 12th in the world and far, far behind Venezuela (211 billion), Canada (174 billion), Iran (151 billion), Iraq (143 billion) and Kuwait (104 billion). The remaining countries ahead of the U.S. include some cordial ones (the United Arab Emirates, 98 billion), some antagonistic ones (Russia, 60 billion) and some whose friendliness is tentative (Libya, 47 billion.)

OPEC has done a good job in complying with their production cut deal. This stronger compliance, along with growing geopolitical concerns has proved bullish for prices. Now with OPEC set to extend the deal through to the end of 2018, some would think that the recent supportive environment is set to remain. Non-OPEC supply is set to exceed demand growth over 2018, which will see the global markets in surplus. This also assumes OPEC stick to their cuts. The risk is that the longer the deal continues, the more likely we see some producers falling short of their commitments, which would only push the oil market further into surplus. OPEC will keep the cuts in place, and the market will probably tighten well below the five-year average before that is reflected in the data. This is why the bank sees Brent going above $80 per barrel in the next six months.

OECD production

Copper: Deficit environment to remain supportive for prices

The tighter copper market over 2017 was predominantly driven by mine disruptions at the two largest copper mines in the world over 1H17. But on the demand side, improving global manufacturing numbers has proved bullish for prices.
It is highly likely that the copper market to remain well supported, with the previous low price environment doing little to attract investment in the sector. It may be a deficit market in the region of 150kt over 2018.

Coal: Downward pressure longer term

Thermal coal prices are likely to remain well supported in 1Q18 with Northern Asia reaching peak heating demand for the winter. Chinese domestic coal prices continue to trade above government target levels, and so as a result of this we expect them to take action to increase domestic supply. The stronger price environment may also increase global supply in the long term, which should mean weaker prices.

Nickel demand

Reasons why commodity prices move

Most professional commodity traders like to know what the big picture is with commodities using fundamental analysis and then they use technical analysis to time their entries and exits. That is the essence of a techno-metal approach to the commodities markets. There are three main reasons why commodity prices move higher or lower. The first is the fundamental state of a commodity market. Fundamentals deal with the supply and demand characteristics. If current supplies and inventories exceed demand, a condition of oversupply or a market glut exists and that tends to drive prices lower.
On the other hand, if demand is greater than supplies and inventories a deficit condition or shortage exists which tends to push prices higher.

OECD production
The second reason that commodity prices move up or down is the technical condition of the market. Price charts often drive the behaviour of investors, traders, and other market participants. Since everyone looks at the same price charts, the reaction of a pattern often causes a herd of buying or selling which tends to influence prices.
Finally, the prices of commodities are sensitive to changes in the global macroeconomic landscape. Therefore, an event that is either economic, political or caused by nature could influence the prices of commodities.

OPEC revenues

Is buying property in Europe a smart investment?

As Europe watches the clock tick down to Brexit, all eyes are on the real estate market in the major European cities. 

After almost four years of strong house price rises, Germany’s housing market remains robust, with the average price of apartments rising by 6.78% during 2018. This is an improvement’s from 2017 - 4.45% growth. The reasons are wrong economic growth, 1.1 million refugees, high work-related immigration, record-low unemployment, weak construction supply, and low-interest rates.

According to Savills, residential property transaction volumes in Germany surged by 19% to €8.8 billion (US$10 billion) in the first half of 2018 as compared to the same period last year.

Berlin’s economy, which is very dynamic compared to other German cities, will continue to drive high population growth. The demand will continue to grow in the residential market. Berlin apartment costs are around €4,991per sq. m. The city is currently facing a severe housing shortage. It is estimated that Berlin needs about 194,000 new units by 2030. Both the IMF and the European Commission expects the German economy to expand by 1.9% this year and in 2019.

BERLIN: RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENTS UNDER CONSTRUCTION, 2018
Project Name Location Units Completion Date
EuropaCity Moabit 2,800 2025
Mein Falkenberg Falkenberg 1,200 2021
Mittenmang Berlin Moabit 1,000 2019
Pepitahöfe Spandau 1,000 2018
High rise building “Grandaire” Mitte 270 2020
Source: JLL

In Hamburg, median apartment prices increased 11.34% y-o-y to €3,985 (US$4,536) per sq. m. in Q3 2018. One- and two-family houses rose by 6.55% to €2,640 (US$3,005) per sq. m. Construction activity in Hamburg is well below demand. In 2016 and 2017, housing completions averaged 7,000 units annually, less than half of the estimated annual requirements for 15,000 homes, according to JLL. Hamburg Senate recently set a new-build target of 10,000 homes per annum.

HAMBURG: RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENTS UNDER CONSTRUCTION, 2018
Project Name Location Residential Units Completion Date
Pergolenviertel Winterhude 1,400 2020
Othmarscher Höfe Othmarschen 1,000 2018
SonninPark Hammerbrook 750 2019
Tarpenbeker Ufer Lokstedt 750 2021
Wohnquartier – Am Weißenberg Alsterdorf 490 2018
Source: JLL

In Cologne, median apartment prices rose by 4.19% y-o-y to €2,857 (US$3,252) per sq. m. in Q2 2018. One- and two-family houses had a price increase of 5.86% y-o-y to €2,349 (US$2,674) per sq. m.Due to its growing need for houses, on top of the high demand backlog from previous years, the City of Cologne plans to build about 6,000 new homes annually starting 2019.

COLOGNE: RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENTS UNDER CONSTRUCTION, 2018
Project Name Location Residential Units Completion Date
Clouth-Quartier Nippes 1,200 2021
Park Linné Braunsfeld 500 2018
Reiterstaffe Marienburg 500 2018
Cologneo I Mühlheim 490 2021
Wohnquartier Ossendorfer Gartenhöfe Ossendorf 430 2021
Source: JLL

With the highest apartment price increase in the region, Düsseldorf was rising by 8.7% to €2,625 (US$2,988) per sq. m. during the year to Q2 2018. Prices of one- and two-family houses also rose by 4.02% to €2,409 (US$2,742) per sq. m. Housing supply in Düsseldorf is not keeping up with demand, the same situation as in other German cities. There were just over 1,000 housing units completed in the town in 2017, a substantial decline from about 2,000 completions in the previous year and far lower than the annual requirement of 4,500 units.

DÜSSELDORF: RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENTS UNDER CONSTRUCTION, 2018
Project Name Location Residential Units Completion Date
Le Quartier Central Derendorf 1,500 2020
Gartenstadt Reitzenstein Mörsenbroich 1,050 2020
Vierzig549 Heerdt 1,000 2025
le flair Pempelfort 900 2019
win win Wohnen im Medienhafen Hafen 410 2021
Source: JLL

In Stuttgart, apartment prices rose by 10.69% y-o-y to a median price of €3,261 (US$3,712) per sq. m. in Q2 2018, while the median price of one- and two-family houses rose by 7.54% to €2,992 (US$3,406) per sq. m.

STUTTGART: RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENTS UNDER CONSTRUCTION, 2018
Project Name Location Residential Units Completion Date
Wohnquartier Giebel Giebel 340 2023
Wohnen am Höhenpark Killesberg Feuerbach 200 2019
Wohnquartier Am Schwanenplatz Stuttgart Ost 100 2019
SWSG-Wohnanlage Zuffenhausen 80 2018
Rohrer Höhe Rohr 60 2018
Source: JLL

Apartment prices rose by 6.71% to €3,317 (US$3,776) per sq. m. during the year to Q2 2018, in Frankfurt. One- and two-family houses had a y-o-y price increase of 5.71% to €2,579 (US$2,936) per sq. m.

Over the past five years, housing completions averaged around 3,500 annually. However, this is well below the current demand for almost 6,000 units annually, amidst strong population growth.

FRANKFURT: RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENTS UNDER CONSTRUCTION, 2018
Project Name Location Residential Units Completion Date
Quartier am Henninger Turm Sachsenhausen 1,000 2019
Wohnquartier Wings Gallus 630 2021
Hafenpark Quartier Ostend 600 2022
Wohnquartier Westend-Ensemble Westend 470 2021
Bright Side Gallus 420 2018
Source: JLL

Munich had the most robust y-o-y apartment price hike in South Germany in Q2 2018, increasing by 11.24% to €6,361 (US$7,241) per sq. m. Uver the same period, prices of one- and two-family houses rose by 10.08% to €4,771 (US$5,431) per sq. m.

The problem of excess demand is unlikely to diminish over the years, given the demand backlog from recent years, and the forecasts for further population and economic growth.

MUNICH: RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENTS UNDER CONSTRUCTION, 2018
Project Name Location Residential Units Completion Date
Quartier Paul-Gerhardt-Allee Pasing-Obermenzing 2,400 2021
Stadtquartier Am Südpark Thalk.Obersendl.-Forsten-Fürstenr.-Solln 1,440 2019
Stadtquartier DiamaltPark Allach-Untermenzing 800 2020
Stadtteilentwicklung Prinz-Eugen-Kaserne Bogenhausen 600 2020
Domagk-Quartier Funkkaserne Schwabing-Freimann 590 2018
Source: JLL
 

In Dortmund, median apartment prices rose by 0.53% to €1,515 (US$1,725) per sq. m. during the year to Q2 2018. Likewise, The median price of one- and two-family houses increased by 1.95% to €2,042 (US$2,324) per sq. m.

Median apartment prices also soared in Dresden by 11.24% to €2,489 (US$2,833) per sq. m. during the year to Q3 2018. The one- and two-family houses increased 7.89% to €2,349 (US$2,674) per sq. m.

Apartment prices rose in Hannover by 8.67% to a median price of €2,357 (US$2,683) per sq. m. during the year to Q3 2018. The median price of one- and two-family houses increased by 6.66% to €2,018 (US$2,297) per sq. m.

Moderate rental yields in Germany

Germany’s rental yields are weak to moderate because investment in housing (including buy-to-let) used to be heavily subsidized by tax-break, and also because of the recent price rises. Many Germans live in rented accommodation, while 51.8% of Germany’s total households own their homes, according to Eurostat.

Rental yields according to Global Property Guide research, June 2017:

In Berlin a 120 sq. m. apartment can rent for around €1,500 a month, earning a yield of 3.5%,

In Munich a 120 sq. m. apartment can rent for around €2,250 a month, earning a yield of 3.5%.

In Frankfurt, a 120 sq. m. apartment can rent for around €1,700 a month, earning a yield of 3.7%.

The interest rates have been mostly stable in recent years. Housing loan rates in August 2018 were (Deutsche Bundesbank):

IRF up to 1 year: 2.13%, slightly up from 2.05% a year earlier

IRF 1-5 years: 1.7%, down from 1.89% a year earlier

IRF 5-10 years: 1.71%, slightly up from the previous year’s 1.67%

IRF over 10 years: 1.97%, almost unchanged from the previous year’s 1.98%

London prices are now declining

London and the rest of the UK is the widest it has ever been, both in cash and percentage terms. According to Nationwide, the average London home worth 136% more than the average home elsewhere in the UK (In Q3 2018). The average difference in price is almost £270,000 (US$ 348,421).

The divergence accelerated sharply in the years after the financial and eurozone crises in 2008-2009. In Q3 2018, however, London prices fell by 0.7% y-o-y to an average of £468,544 (US$ 605,406) in comparison to the 2.4% price increase on the broader market, based on the figures from Nationwide. The last year was a tumultuous one for the UK economy, with the pound tumbling, the base rate rising and Brexit looming on the horizon. But even with Brexit on the horizon, Prime Central London is one of the wealthiest areas in the UK. Locating in the center of the capital has the highest property prices in the UK. However, the prices in prime central London have been on a sharp downward trend, with double-digit falls in their value.With that same uncertainty following us into 2019, it’s no wonder homeowners are anxiously watching their property values, while buyers are looking for the right moment to strike.Buy-to-let investors are hemmed in by new regulations and taxes. The owner-occupiers are reconsidering high-risk property moves as interest rates start to rise and mortgage affordability rules remain tight.

Themonth-on-month fluctuations are to be expected, as property tends to be more in demand at some times of the year than others.Looking at the trends over the past few months, a number of experts consider house prices may grow more slowly over the coming year. Property surveyors’ association Rics warns that house prices are unlikely to move at all in 2019, while property consultancy JLL puts growth at just 0.5% for the coming year.

On the other hand, according to Hamptons International, rents in Great Britain are picking up, increasing by 1.6% during the year to September 2018, following a 1% y-o-y rental growth rate in the previous month. Rents in London rose, with a rent increase recorded in Inner London, for the first time in four months.Purchasing homes and renting them out is a great way to produce extra monthly cash flow.

RENTS ACROSS REGIONS
  Sept 2018 Aug 2018 Sept 2017 Sept 2018 y-o-y (%)
Greater London £1,714 £1,702 £1,712 0.1%
East of England £963 £957 £937 2.8%
South East £1,055 £1,052 £1,032 2.2%
South West £814 £807 £795 2.3%
Midlands £690 £689 £674 2.4%
North £650 £648 £637 2.0%
Scotland £660 £658 £655 0.8%
Wales £683 £683 £657 3.9%
Total £980 £975 £965 1.6%
Source: Hamptons International


Ireland’s house price growth is decelerating, as a consequence of the uncertainty regarding the Brexit. Residential property prices increased 5.81% during 2018, a slowdown from y-o-y rises of 11.68% in 2017, 8.97% in 2016, 7.04% in 2015 and 18.27% in 2014.

New dwelling completions surged by 25.4% to 18,072 units in 2018 from a year earlier. Likewise, dwelling permits rose by 8.4% y-o-y to 10,265 units last year.

In 2018, the number of sales in Dublin dropped 1.8% while sales value increased 2.4% over the same period. Dublin apartment costs are around €2,354 per sq. m.

Ireland: Economic growth despite an uncertain outlook

The Irish economy grew by about 6.8% in 2018, after GDP growth of 7.2% in 2017, 5.1% in 2016, 25.5% in 2014 (obviously a statistical artifact), 8.3% in 2014, and 1.1% in 2013, according to the European Commission.

Despite an uncertain economic outlook, many companies are attracted by the country’s very open economy and by its relatively low tax inversion rate of 12.5%.

Lisbon, a constant growth

Property prices in Portugal began to recover in Q4 2014, after 13 consecutive quarters of y-o-y house price declines. Property prices rose by 5.39% during 2018, up from annual increases of 3.03% in 2017, 3.85% in 2016, and 4.06% in 2015 and declines of 0.53% in 2014, 0.68% in 2013, and 6.91% in 2012. The Portuguese housing market is expected to remain buoyant this year, with Moody’s Investors Service predicting house price increases of between 7% and 8% every year until 2020. Yields are profitable in Lisbon, at around 5.45%, and Lisbon apartment costs around €3,830 per sq. m.

How can you make money from bond investing

Investors have several options for growing wealth, and bonds are a popular opportunity for those who need to live off of their investment income. While most of the investors are attracted to stocks because of the earnings opportunities they offer, some of them prefer the safety of bonds.

There are no guarantees in the financial markets, but U.S. Treasuries are the bond market segment most likely to perform well when stocks are in a bear market. While stocks can experience huge volatility in a short period, for example the crash of 2001-2002 or the financial crisis of 2008 , a diversified bond portfolio is much less likely to suffer losses. A bond is a debt instrument issued by a company or entity in order to secure financing and raise money.

WALDNER BLOG 207 chart

Bonds, a reliable stream of income

Bonds typically make regular interest payments, and they are a good way to generate a reliable stream of income. When you buy bonds, you are agreeing to lend your issuer a certain amount of money for a certain period of time. In return, the issuer promises to make regular interest payments until the bond matures. The money that investors earn is called yield.

saupload IG 2Bvs 2BHY 2Bspreads

 There are two ways to make money from bond investing:

1. Hold bonds until they mature. You will collect regular interest payments (typically twice a year)
2. Buy bonds at a price and then sell them for a price that's higher than what you initially paid

You could also buy bonds, hold them and collect interest payments for several years, and then sell them when their market value increases. If we hold our bonds till ‘maturity’ and the company or government doesn’t fail, we will get back what we put in, plus the interest rate promised.
Prices of bonds are prone to fluctuation. This is not an issue if investor plans on holding on to his capital investment bonds to maturity. In the event of investor selling his bonds before maturity, there are chances that he might have to sell them at a lower price than he had initially purchased them for. Therefore, we can sell our bonds early and the return we receive may not be exactly the same as the ‘coupon’ rate. How much we get back will depend on how desirable the bond’s interest rate is at the time we sell.

The most important types of bonds

In fact, there are several types of bonds you might choose to buy:

Corporate bonds are those issued by companies to raise money for things like capital improvements and research. The interest you receive from corporate bonds is taxable at both the state and federal level. Corporate bonds will also include a 'spread' over government bonds to reflect the greater risk involved in investing in a company. The company must rely on earnings and cash flow to repay the bond. This spread will highlight the riskiness of the corporation. For example, Apple is very highly rated, so the credit spread is low.

03 09 17 fig1

Municipal bonds are those issued by cities, states, and other localities to finance public projects and increase public services. The interest you receive from municipal bonds is always tax-exempt at the federal level. Also, if you buy bonds issued by your home state, you can avoid state and local taxes as well.

Treasury bonds, or T-bonds, are those issued by the U.S. government to finance its budget deficits. The interest you receive from T-bonds is exempt from state and local taxes, but taxable at the federal level.
A rise in the price of a bond means a fall in the yield and vice versa.

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Six key factors that affect bonds prices

Higher interest rates

Coupons need to be higher to encourage people to lend. If investors can get, say, 5 per cent on their savings, they have less incentive to invest in a bond.

Inflation

The income becomes less valuable if inflation rises. This is because bonds pay a fixed income, which won't rise with inflation. When bond prices fall, yields rise.

inflation

Deflation

Bonds' fixed coupons become much more valuable in a time of falling prices.

Quantitative easing

The central bank is a price-insensitive buyer of higher-quality corporate and government bonds. This pushes up demand, so prices remain high and yields low. QE has the effect of creating more demand for certain types of bonds.

Credit ratings

In the opinion of the rating agency, the higher the credit rating, the more likely an issuer is to meet its payment obligations. If the issuer’s credit rating goes up, the price of its bonds will rise. If the rating goes down, it will drive their bond prices lower.

SG US corp credit yields attractive vs USTs

Recession

This is the best environment for bonds. A recession is usually accompanied by falling interest rates and potential deflation. Yields fall and prices rise.

How to buy bonds
Individual bonds are traded on bond markets. Bonds can be bought through an online service or a bank who offers this service. Managed fund providers also offer bond funds. These fund managers spread buyers’ money across a number of different bonds. A bond fund allows us diversify our money rather than putting it all into one single bond holding, so all our eggs are not in the same basket. Many financial institutions today will provide their clients with the service of transacting government securities. If your bank or broker doesn't provide this service, you can purchase government bonds directly through a government agency. In the U.S. you can buy bonds directly from the federal government through its service, TreasuryDirect.

 

 

Investments in China: An opportunity or a bad plan?

With a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of USD 13.45 trillion in 2018, China is the world’s second largest economy after the United States. This country is increasingly playing an influential role in the worldwide economy. Even if China is the global economic leader, some experts have been worried that the country’s high GDP growth could not last. Is China a real opportunity for investment?

1e01ccd1ffcf4ae9d3e8fc4ab6541550 china on site gdp growth graph2 tcm17 14812 639x0

China’s Gross Domestic Product growth in 2017 was 6.9%, led by continued strong public infrastructure investment, robust consumption growth and improving foreign demand. China’s Q1 2018 GDP growth came in at 6.8% YoY. The annual growth target in the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020) has been set at 6.5%.

China consumption

  Chinese equities have all suffered losses in 2018. The three leading indices for Chinese or China-related equities – the Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index, Shenzhen Stock Exchange Composite Index and Hang Seng Index slipped 14.7%, 24.1%, and 7.1%, respectively.

Limited impact on China growth

The main reason for this fall has been the US-China trade dispute.

escalating US China trade

A stronger U.S. Dollar has impacted Asian currencies, causing depreciation and driving a significant amount of outflows from the region. However, as a result of the Chinese authorities intervention, RMB’s depreciation trend is expected to be softer.
While there is little doubt of China’s commitment towards deleveraging, the authorities may begin to adopt a more flexible approach as the country’s economic growth moderates.

A new growth model
After fast economic growth in the past three decades, the Chinese government has embraced slower economic growth. This process is called the ‘new normal,’ which not only aims at quantitative but also qualitative and sustainable growth. According to the government, China needs to embrace a new growth model that relies more on services, private consumption, and innovation to drive economic growth.

China industry consolidation

Building an efficient financial system is also crucial to support the real economy. The new economy transformation focuses on supply-side and mixed ownership reform, investment to a consumption growth model, the upgrade in the industry “Made in China 2025”, new sectors (green, technology, TMT, healthcare).

China IT

 

 

China, therefore, should rely on productivity improvement, shifting labor from non-productive to productive areas. With strategy initiatives such as industrial upgrading, this endeavor is progressing nicely. As the figure shows, new economy sectors are expanding rapidly and will be an essential pillar of economic growth for years to come.

valuations

 

Investing in Biotechnology: risk and rewards

 

Biotechnology is an exciting industry, the future of healthcare, where technology creates medicine tailored to individuals. Over the past decade, progress in biotechnology has accelerated rapidly. It ranks among the most attractive of all fast growing industries with an estimated annual growth rate of more than 10% p.a.
However, Investing in biotechnology faces many types of risks. Most of the biotech companies are generally small enterprises that engage solely in Reaserch&Development (R&D) of medicines. These companies use biotechnology to revitalize the function of cells for a specific purpose. The R&D process involves many clinical testing trials. In fact, neither the companies nor the investors, have any knowledge of the outcomes. The length of time from research and development is extremely long, averaging 10-15 years. In most cases, these companies can live or die based on that results.

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The volatility of biotech stocks
The decision to invest in pharmaceutical or biotech stocks is a confusing one unless you have an in-depth knowledge. Biotech stocks trade based on drug data including trial failures. The competition and regulatory obstacles are also important features. If the data misses its expected result, a biotech's stock can lose most of its value that day. On the other hand, if a drug meets its endpoint, a stock can soar by triple digits that day. An investment in a biotech company might suit your style if you are a risk taker and willing to wait for drug development while facing the potential volatility generally associated with biotech stocks.
While biotech companies engage solely in R&D of medicines, pharmaceutical companies engage in many activities from research and development (R&D) to manufacturing and marketing medicines. Biotech companies tend to find partners for financial support, usually through venture capital, universities, pharmaceutical companies or the government. For examples, researchers show recently that infection by Zika caused the death of cells from glioblastoma, the most common and aggressive kind of malignant brain tumor in adults. Scientists foresee the use of genetic engineering to neutralize Zika virus' infectious while preserving the viral particles which induce the death of tumoral cells. This discovery was made byresearchers at the University of Campinas's School of Pharmaceutical Sciences (FCF-UNICAMP) in São Paulo State, Brazil. One of the greatest achievements of our civilization is higher life expectancy. The United Nations estimates that the global population will rise by one-third between 2010 and 2050 to a total of 9.1 billion people. The proportion of people over 60 will rise from 760 million to 2 billion. Unfortunately, the population aging is associated with an increase in age-related diseases.

csm EN Lebenserwartung 4ae10f0d13

Important deals in Biotechnology
There is also a higher demand for treatment of age-related neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease. AbbVie, a research-based biopharmaceutical company, has announced a new drug research collaboration with Voyager Therapeutics, which will focus on the creation of new therapies for neurodegenerative diseases. This important deal consists of developing gene therapies for Alzheimer’s disease and includes a $69 million upfront payment to Voyager and more than $1 billion in potential milestone payments.
AbbVie is looking at ways to tackle Alzheimer’s beyond tau, one of the two main proteins implicated in Alzheimer’s. The firm already has an anti-tau antibody in Phase II clinical trial. Voyager will test encoding different versions of the antibodies into the DNA of an adeno-associated virus (AAV), a delivery vehicle used in many gene therapy trials to shuttle DNA into cells. In October, the firm invested $225 million in South San Francisco-based Alector, which is designing antibodies that modulate the activity of immune cells found in the brain called microglia. Tau is one of the most common Alzheimer’s drug targets, along with amyloid-β, a protein that clumps into plaques that clog up the spaces between brain cells. But no one has successfully developed a drug based on reducing the buildup of amyloid-β or tau.

Charles River Laboratories (NYSE: CRL), a contract research company that supports the development of a significant percentage of drugs that the FDA approves (70% in 2016, according to the company's website), announced the acquisition of MPI Research in February for around $800 million in cash.
The acquisition is expected to be accretive to non-GAAP EPS by about $0.25 this year and $0.60 in 2019. It is expected to be financed through an expansion of Charles River’s existing credit facility and cash.
The purchase price implies multiples of 11.7x non-GAAP EBITDA for 2017 and 10.5x non-GAAP EBITDA for 2018 based on estimated results for MPI including operational synergies. The transaction, expected to close early in Q2, is expected to add $170 to $190 million to Charles River’s 2018 consolidated revenue and $260 to $280 million to 2019 consolidated revenue. The company had 11,662 employees as of last fall, including 1,466 in Massachusetts. It is the ninth largest life sciences employer in the state

 

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