New investment pledges are expected to be lower this year amid the pandemic. — REUTERS/ERIK DE CASTRO

THE Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) is aiming to approve more than P100 billion in investment pledges by the end of the year, led by a potential investor relocating from China.

“We might exceed more than P100 billion this year, with all these positive responses of our present investors and incoming investors,” PEZA Director General Charito B. Plaza in a press conference on Monday.

For the first 10 months of 2020, the agency reported P72.6 billion in new investment pledges, falling by more than a quarter from a year earlier.

The PEZA board approved another P14.6 billion worth of new investments during its board meeting earlier this month.

However, even if PEZA reaches P100 billion in new investment pledges, this would still be around 15% lower than P117.54 billion in investments … Read the rest

Something is afoot of late when taking a closer look at major indices such as the S&P 500 — which is within a whisker of a new all-time high just as continued election uncertainty and rising COVID-19 cases worldwide — seemingly should scare Wall Street into safer investments.

The reality is that investors are all looking past these near-term issues, and focusing instead on vaccines, a new U.S. administration and hopefully a return to somewhat normalcy in 2021. At the end, the rule of law, democracy and science will always prevail, and everyone is betting on this to be the case right now.

Speaking of science, in its 114 years of existence, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved over 20,000 prescription drugs. It’s also given marketing clearance from more than 1,600 drugs specific to animals. It’s rather amazing to think about nearly 22,000 products to fight diseases and … Read the rest

The power structure of Capitol Hill and control of the U.S. Senate will be decided by the outcome of two Senate seats heading for runoff elections in Georgia on January 5.

If Democrats take both Georgia seats, they’d have the power of the 50–50 spilt chamber through Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’ tie-breaking vote. But if Republicans secure one seat, they’ll maintain control of the Senate and Congress will remain spilt—given Democrats still have the U.S. House of Representatives.

And with stimulus unlikely to pass during the lame-duck session, control of the Senate next year is the key factor in determining the size and scope of the next economic aid package.

Just how high are the stakes? In the ballpark of $1 trillion. On Saturday, Goldman Sachs published a report that projects a $2 trillion economic aid package by February if Democrats win both Georgia seats. But if Republicans win one … Read the rest

Marks & Spencer will keep 400 stores open until midnight in Christmas week as desperate high street retailers scramble to recoup billions of pounds of sales lost to lockdown restrictions.

The UK’s biggest clothing retailer said its “longest-ever” store opening hours would kick in on Monday 21 December, with two-thirds of its 600 shops opening until midnight for a run of three days. Unlike many of its rivals M&S’s shops are currently open; however; government rules means it has been forced to close off its clothing floors.

Last year just 15 of M&S’s stores stayed open until midnight. The three midnight shopping days are expected to be the biggest sales days of the year, with the move described as giving customers “extra time to grab groceries and final gifts”.

The current lockdown restrictions have forced non-essential shops to close in England and, from Friday evening, in parts of Scotland. The … Read the rest

By Luz Wendy T. Noble, Reporter

THE Philippine central bank would probably remain dovish and might cut benchmark interest rates again next month and in the next quarter as the recovery outlook remains uncertain, analysts said.

“If the pace of economic recovery continues to underperform official forecasts, as we expect in the near term, then policy rate cuts will be warranted,” Nomura Global Markets Research analysts Euben Paracuelles and Rangga Cipta said in a note.

Further cuts would likely come especially as inflation remains benign and stays within the target of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), whose monetary policy decisions continue to rely on data, they added.

“We reiterate our forecast that BSP will cut its policy rate by another 50 basis points (bps) to 1.5%, likely delivering 25 bps at its next monetary board meeting in December and then another 25 bps in the first … Read the rest

Stock markets in Canada’s largest centre ended the week on a hot streak, as gains in tech and resource stocks lit up the index on Friday, despite rising coronavirus cases globally weighing on sentiment.

The TSX rocketed 109.29 points to end Friday at 17,019.10, within sight of its close on New Year’s Eve, and up 343 points, or 2.06%, on the week .

The Canadian dollar demurred 0.01 cents to 76.40 cents U.S.

Techs, as mentioned, shone the brightest light, as Lightspeed POS took flight $4.09, or 7%, to $59.89, while BlackBerry gained 51 cents, or 7.3%, to $7.52.

In resource stocks, First Quantum Minerals climbed 61 cents, or 3.6%, to $17.40, while Hudbay Minerals picked up 22 cents, or 2.9%, to $7.76.

In utilities, Northland Power acquired $1.69, or 4.1%, to $42.78, and Boralex advanced $1.32, or 3.5%, to $39.29.

Industrials faded, as Air Canada lost 66 cents, or … Read the rest

It sounds like the perfect arbitrage opportunity: Leave your crowded city for a bigger place in the ‘burbs, but keep your big city salary.

But now, a new study by global advisory firm Willis Towers Watson shows that many employers aren’t necessarily planning to let you keep your full paycheck if you move. The survey of 344 employers in North America showed that nearly 20% of employers are “setting pay levels by first determining the market value of an employee’s skills and then applying a geographic differential based on where the employee is located.” However six in 10 employers say they will continue to pay remote employees the same as in-office employees “no matter where they work.”

While Twitter has been on the forefront of decentralizing it’s workforce (and paying them in part based on where they live), other tech companies have recently taken a similar path. Facebook made headlinesRead the rest

A UK book publisher says congestion at Felixstowe Port has left it with no books to sell in the lead up to Christmas.

Colin Hoad and Matt Green run a publishing company, Idesine, which has 4,000 books stuck on a ship that has been trying to dock since 31 October.

They are one of many businesses encountering problems importing goods.

Importers say congestion issues at UK ports have led to shipping firms quadrupling their freight costs.

“People are contacting us saying they’ve paid for books on pre-order as gifts, and we ultimately can’t guarantee delivery,” Mr Hoad said.

Delays at Felixstowe have been caused by a surge in import traffic as companies increased orders after the initial lockdown and some looked to stockpile goods before the end of the Brexit transition period.

The pandemic has made matters worse as large orders of PPE added to the backlog of containers on … Read the rest

Coca-Cola Philippines has extensively scaled up its e-commerce presence to better respond to consumers whose needs and shopping behavior have altered due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With transportation and mobility affected, the Company has ensured that it can continue to serve people with its portfolio of beverages just a few clicks away.

Coca-Cola’s e-commerce website www.CokeBeverages.ph was first launched in 2015. To meet the constraints of the pandemic and to adapt to homebound Filipinos’ needs, the Company accelerated its digital and e-commerce roadmap—strengthening existing infrastructure and opening new channels to connect with the market. Thus, demonstrating agility as a total beverage company, with consumers always top of mind.

Coca-Cola products have been accessible online through its e-commerce website — www.CokeBeverages.ph — since 2015. With the constraints of the pandemic, the Company ensures that its products remain available within a click’s reach by strengthening its existing platform and partnering with food
Read the rest

Monday

U.S.

Economic Lookahead

Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (preliminary) (Nov,)

Markit Services PMI (Nov.)

Featured Earnings

Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) (Q4) EPS projected of 91 cents, compared to 89 cents in the prior-year quarter.

Korn Ferry (NYSE:KFY) (Q2) EPS projected for loss of four cents, compared to a gain of 81 cents in the prior-year quarter.

Nutanix (NASDAQ:NTNX) (Q1) EPS projected for loss of 95 cents, compared to a loss of $1.14 in the prior-year quarter.

Tuesday

U.S.

Economic lookahead

Case-Shiller National Home Price Index (Sept.)

Consumer Confidence Index (Nov.)

Featured Earnings

American Eagle Outfitters (NYSE: AEO) (Q3) EPS projected for 33 cents, compared to 48 cents in the prior-year quarter.

Burlington Stores, Inc. (NYSE: BURL) (Q3) EPS projected for 19 cents, compared to $1.55 in the prior-year quarter.

Dell Technologies (NYSE: DELL) (Q3) EPS projected for $1.36 compared to $1.47 in the prior-year quarter.

HP Inc. (NYSE: Read the rest