South Africa, World

While you were sleeping: 31 January 2018

By John Stupart 31 January 2018

Trump delivers his SONA, new sanctions for Russia, and Amazon leads the way towards new healthcare.

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

“I like to say I practise militant mysticism. I’m absolutely sure of some things that I don’t quite know.” 
Rob Bell

 
 

STORY OF THE DAY

Viceroy v Capitec: It’s Complicated

By REBECCA DAVIS

Tuesday was a day of high drama for the South African markets, with local lender Capitec’s shares at one point falling 20% on the back of a report by Viceroy Research claiming that the bank was concealing losses and operating as a loan shark. Amid protests from Capitec and the South African Reserve Bank that the report was factually inaccurate, an increasingly pertinent question was the degree to which Viceroy stood to benefit by tanking the stock before short-selling it. But others suggested that whether Viceroy’s report was hyperbolic or not, it still pointed to an ongoing ethical quagmire at the heart of South Africa’s microfinance industry. 

 
 
 

WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING

Trump delivers state of the union address

Donald Trump delivered his first state of the union address. “Unmatched power” and massive military spending were the order the day, as Trump stated that: “There has never been a better time to start living the American dream.” Hailing his leadership on job growth, fact-checkers were readily on hand to point out that job growth has remained positive, and relatively stable, since 2010. Trump’s speech was met throughout with a mixture of boos and loud cheers, perhaps giving off the most accurate assessment of his address so far.

 

US to slap new sanctions on Russia

In retaliation for Russian meddling in the 2016 election, President Trump had opted to do little against Russia, but the Treasury is having none of it. Vague sanctions that failed to name a single Russian individual or company to be targeted for new sanctions were signed – albeit begrudgingly – by Trump on Monday. After Putin quite literally laughed at the new “sanctions”, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin promised further sanctions against Russia in the coming “months”. 

 

American companies seek to ‘fix’ health care

Amazon has joined forces with Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway and JP Morgan Chase to see if they can fix one of the hardest things to provide in modern democracies: quality affordable health care. Buffett conceded that the group did not “come to this problem with answers”. Within minutes of the announcement American health care insurers’ share prices plummeted, to the dismay of absolutely no one. 

 

Salmonella outbreak in Spain and Greece

A French milk producer has come under fire after an infant fell sick with Salmonella bacteria in Spain. The child fell ill after drinking milk from the company Lactalis. Another case has now been reported in Greece. The new cases are a worrying expansion of illnesses after 35 children were sickened in France from contaminated Lactalis milk power.

 
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IN NUMBERS

$300-400 million

The estimated amount that Calvin and Hobbes creator Bill Watterson turned his back on by rejecting a licensing and merchandise deal.

 

FACTS OF THE DAY

Today in 1606 Guy Fawkes is executed for his role in the Gunpowder Plot.

The owl that played Hedwig in the Harry Potter films was the first character cast.

 

FEATURED ARTICLES

OPINIONISTAS

The Zuma Years are virtually over

A column by JUDITH FEBRUARY

 
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Weather
BFN: min: 14° max 31°, cloudy
CPT: min: 16° max: 23°,  sunny
DBN: min: 19° max: 26°, rainy
EL: min: 18° max: 23°, cloudy
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KIM: min: 18° max: 32°, cloudy
MHK: min: 17° max: 32°, sunny
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PE: min: 16° max: 23°, rainy
PTA: min: 17° max: 28°, rainy

Financial Data
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BTC/$=10,264
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FTSE 100=7,587.98

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