EMERGING MARKETS-Latam currencies weaken, Brazil stocks fall amid global growth worries

 By Agamoni Ghosh Dec 10 (Reuters) - Most Latin American currencies weakened
on Monday as the dollar nursed losses from a sharp drop in the
previous session while stocks in Brazil fell, tracking emerging
peers, hit by disappointing economic data from the world's
biggest economies and worries about the U.S.-China trade
dispute. Data from the United States, China, Japan and Germany have
fanned worries about global growth in recent days, while there
is a cloud of uncertainty over Washington and Beijing's ability
to reach a deal before a 90-day deadline expires and Washington
imposes more tariffs. Markets were also on edge after British Prime Minister
Theresa May reportedly withdrew a parliamentary vote on her
Brexit deal. The worries have pushed investors to refrain from investing
in riskier assets, with emerging market equities
falling to their lowest level in about three weeks on Monday. "The wheels on risk assets seem to be coming off as we pull
up slowly into year-end," Societe Generale analysts wrote in a
note. "If domestic political wildcards were not enough, we will
also need to contend with escalating geopolitical tensions
between China and the US," added the analysts. The Brazilian real slipped for a fifth straight
session while the country's benchmark stock index fell
0.6 percent, led by declines in shares of energy companies
tracking lower oil prices. State-controlled oil-firm Petroleo Brasileiro SA's was one of the biggest losers on the index. Petrobras
lost at least 377 barrels of oil, which spilled into Rio de
Janeiro's Guanabara Bay over the weekend after an attempted
robbery on a pipeline, the company's Transpetro unit said. State-run electricity firm Centrais Eletricas Brasileiras SA was one of the top gainers on the index after a
Brazilian judge struck down a previous decision that halted the
privatization of a unit of the firm. The Mexican peso was little changed. President Andres
Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Sunday that Mexico would tender out
the building of a refinery near the Dos Bocas oil port by March,
part of his government's plan to try to reduce the country's
gasoline imports. The Chilean peso was lower by 0.3 percent tracking
the price of copper, the country's main export, which slipped as Chinese import data reinforced worries about growth in demand
for industrial metals. Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at GMT 1405 Stock indexes daily % YTD % Latest change change MSCI Emerging Markets 965.15 -1.65 -15.29 MSCI LatAm 2552.77 -1.46 -8.4 Brazil Bovespa 87534.80 -0.66 14.57 Mexico IPC - - - Chile IPSA 5064.08 -0.6 -0.60 Argentina MerVal - - - Colombia IGBC - - - Currencies daily % YTD % change change Latest Brazil real 3.9133 -0.61 -15.33 Mexico peso 20.2867 -0.14 -2.90 Chile peso 677 -0.32 -9.21 Colombia peso 3158 -0.41 -5.57 Peru sol 3.372 -0.09 -4.00 Argentina peso (interbank) 37.5500 -0.27 -50.47 (Reporting by Agamoni Ghosh in Bengaluru
Editing by Frances Kerry) 

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Apple leads futures lower again in volatile session

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., December 7, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

(Reuters) – U.S. equity futures fell in a volatile session on Monday, with a drop in Apple Inc’s shares curbing the market’s attempts to stage a bounce back from its worst week since March on worries over global growth and the China-U.S. trade war.

After hitting six-month lows earlier in the session, stock futures briefly turned higher, which appeared to coincide with British Prime Minister Theresa May’s abrupt decision to pull a parliamentary vote on her Brexit deal.

But that bounce was short-lived as Apple fell 2 percent in premarket trading after Qualcomm Inc said it had won a preliminary order from a Chinese court banning the importation and sale of several iPhone models in China due to patent violations.

At 9:14 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were down 52 points, or 0.21 percent. S&P 500 e-minis were down 4 points, or 0.15 percent and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 15.25 points, or 0.23 percent.

Wall Street continues to be dogged by signs of cooling growth and worries that escalating tensions between the United States and China could scuttle their fragile trade truce.

“We are hard-pressed to pick a key direction in premarket trading that’s really going to hold with the amount of damage we’ve done to markets over the course of the past week,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at B. Riley FBR in New York.

The three main indexes slid 4.5 percent or more last week in their biggest weekly tumble since March, pushing the benchmark S&P 500 and the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average into the red for the year.

Reporting by Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila

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US STOCKS-Apple leads futures lower again in volatile session

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., December 7, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

(Reuters) – U.S. equity futures fell in a volatile session on Monday, with a drop in Apple Inc’s shares curbing the market’s attempts to stage a bounce back from its worst week since March on worries over global growth and the China-U.S. trade war.

After hitting six-month lows earlier in the session, stock futures briefly turned higher, which appeared to coincide with British Prime Minister Theresa May’s abrupt decision to pull a parliamentary vote on her Brexit deal.

But that bounce was short-lived as Apple fell 2 percent in premarket trading after Qualcomm Inc said it had won a preliminary order from a Chinese court banning the importation and sale of several iPhone models in China due to patent violations.

At 9:14 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were down 52 points, or 0.21 percent. S&P 500 e-minis were down 4 points, or 0.15 percent and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 15.25 points, or 0.23 percent.

Wall Street continues to be dogged by signs of cooling growth and worries that escalating tensions between the United States and China could scuttle their fragile trade truce.

“We are hard-pressed to pick a key direction in premarket trading that’s really going to hold with the amount of damage we’ve done to markets over the course of the past week,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at B. Riley FBR in New York.

The three main indexes slid 4.5 percent or more last week in their biggest weekly tumble since March, pushing the benchmark S&P 500 and the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average into the red for the year.

Reporting by Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila

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REFILE-UPDATE 2-Siris, Elliott to take Travelport private for $4.4 bln

(Reuters) – Travelport Worldwide Ltd (TVPT.N) said on Monday buyout firms Siris Capital Group and Elliott Management will take it private for $4.4 billion, marking an end to an eight-month effort by Elliott to buy the travel software company.

Elliott, which has a 12 percent stake in Travelport, pushed the company to explore a sale earlier this year and had arranged for debt financing for a possible deal.

New York-based Elliott, which has assets of more than $33 billion, is the biggest hedge fund with a dedicated team chasing buyouts. Elliott partner Jesse Cohn leads the buyout efforts for the company.

The consortium will offer $15.75 per share, a 2.3 percent premium to the company’s closing price on Friday.

Travelport shares rose 1.3 percent to $15.60 in premarket trading and were trading at around the same level as when it started trading as a public company four years ago.

Blackstone Group LP (BX.N) acquired Travelport along with Technology Crossover Ventures for $4.3 billion in 2006 and took it public in 2014.

Travelport’s headquarters are expected to remain in the U.K, and the deal is expected to close in the second quarter of 2019.

The company has remained focused on its stable but relatively slow-growing business of providing technology infrastructure to travel vendors for hotel reservations and package tours.

Travelport generated net revenue of $622.5 million for the quarter ended Sept. 30, up about 2 percent from a year earlier. Its net income rose 25 percent to $5.87 million. It had nearly $2.3 billion debt, as of the end of September.

Morgan Stanley served as the lead financial adviser to Travelport, while Kirkland & Ellis provided legal counsel.

Siris was advised by LionTree, Deutsche Bank, Macquarie Capital and Barclays.

The two private equity firms have secured committed debt financing for the deal from BofA Merrill Lynch, Deutsche Bank, Macquarie Capital, Credit Suisse and Barclays.

Reuters had first reported on the deal citing sources on Dec. 6.

(This version of the story corrects spelling of ‘Elliott’ in first paragraph)

Reporting By Aparajita Saxena in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta

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GoPro plans to move U.S.-bound camera production out of China

FILE PHOTO: A GoPro camera is seen on a skier’s helmet as he rides down the slopes in the ski resort of Meribel, French Alps, January 7, 2014. REUTERS/Emmanuel Foudrot/File Photo

(Reuters) – GoPro Inc (GPRO.O) on Monday said it plans to move most of its U.S.-bound camera production out of China by the summer of 2019 to counter the potential impact from any new tariffs.

International-bound camera production will remain in China, the company said.

“It’s important to note that we own our own production equipment while our manufacturing partner provides the facilities, so we expect to make this move at a relatively low cost,” said Chief Financial Officer Brian McGee.

Reporting by Arjun Panchadar in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr

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Goodyear permanently ceases Venezuela operations: union leader

CARACAS, Dec 10 (Reuters) – Tiremaker Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co is permanently halting its operations in Venezuela, according to a union leader and a letter seen by Reuters, amid an exodus of foreign companies from the crisis-stricken South American nation.

Goodyear did not immediately respond to a request for comment. (Reporting by Tibisay Romero, writing by Brian Ellsworth Editing by Nick Zieminski)

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Stock selloff snowballs as investors price in slowing world economy

LONDON (Reuters) – Losses on global stocks snowballed on Monday, with Wall Street set to follow Europe and Asia lower as fresh signs emerged that the U.S.-China trade spat was taking a deeper toll on world economic growth.

Data from the world’s biggest economies — the United States, China, Japan and Germany — have all disappointed investors in recent days, and doubts are growing that Washington and Beijing will reach agreement before a 90-day trade ceasefire expires.

Markets are also on edge after reports that the British parliament’s crucial vote on Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal will be delayed, sending sterling and UK stocks lower.

“Another day, another reason to sell risk. Equity markets remain in a world of pain with everyone in search of a very elusive silver lining,” said Stephen Innes at brokerage OANDA

MSCI’s all-country index .MIWD00000PUS has spent four weeks in the red, despite intermittent rallies fueled by hopes of trade war detente. The index slipped 0.5 percent, while a pan-European index fell 0.7 percent by 1200 GMT. U.S. equity futures ESc1 YMc1 NQc1 were down 0.3 percent, suggesting more pressure on Wall Street later in the session.

Last week’s arrest of the chief financial officer of Chinese smartphone maker Huawei for extradition to the United States was seen as putting up another hurdle to the resolution of a trade war between the world’s two biggest economies.

U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer said Sunday there was a “hard deadline” to the 90-day trade ceasefire and without a successful end to talks by March 1, Washington would impose new tariffs on Chinese goods.

“The trade theme will preoccupy the markets through the 90-day truce period between the United States and China, waiting for any signs of concession between the parties,” said Soichiro Monji, senior economist at Daiwa SB Investments in Tokyo.

Following weak trade and inflation data on the weekend, China also posted far weaker-than-expected November exports and imports, reinforcing expectations Beijing will roll out more stimulus to prevent the economy cooling too fast.

However, the yuan sagged to a one-week low after the weak data CNH=D3.

“(The data) would suggest China woes go well beyond U.S. tariffs, given that China trade surplus to the U.S. was at a record level. One can only imagine the impact on China terms of trade if the U.S. follows through with a 25 percent tariff,” Innes of OANDA said.

FILE PHOTO: Men look at stock quotation boards outside a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan, December 5, 2018. REUTERS/Issei Kato

Japan posted the worst contraction in over four years in the third quarter as uncertainty over global demand and trade saw companies slashing capital spending.

MSCI’s index of Asian equities outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS earlier slid to near three-week lows, Shanghai shares .SSEC retreated 0.8 percent and Japan’s Nikkei .N225 shed 2.1 percent. Emerging-market stocks lost 1.5 percent .MSCIEF.

Asia’s data came after investors were spooked last week by below-forecast industrial output numbers in Germany and U.S. jobs data showing employers hired fewer workers than expected in November.

The slowdown signs also have pummelled oil prices, which have slumped around 30 percent since early October. Brent futures fell 1.5 percent to $60.7 a barrel, reversing earlier modest gains triggered by a supply cut from OPEC and some non-affiliated producers [O/R].

DATA AND DOLLAR, PARLIAMENT AND PROTESTS

European investors were keeping their eyes on events in Britain and France. Sterling slumped to the lowest since June 2017 GBP=D3 versus the dollar, after the BBC’s political editor quoted cabinet sources said May was pulling the vote, scheduled for Tuesday.

Sterling slid half a percent to $1.2656 and extended losses versus the euro, trading down 0.7 percent at 90.18 pence EURGBP=D3 – its weakest since early-September.

Britain’s FTSE 250 .FTMC equity index, sensitive to local economic developments tumbled 1 percent and investors scurried to buy British government bonds, with yields GB10YT=RR GB30YT=RR dropping five to seven basis points on the day.

“There is still room for short-term political risk premium to be priced into pound which is currently worth of 2 percent based on our models. The downside to sterling is hence very clear,” ING Bank analysts told clients.

The dollar inched off two-week lows against a basket of currencies, including sterling .DXY.

Last week, the dollar posted its worst performance since August after the lacklustre jobs data convinced many that U.S. growth has peaked and the Federal Reserve will pause its rate tightening sooner than previously thought.

French assets also came under pressure, with hotel and retail stocks suffering the fallout of four weekends of anti-government riots, which the finance minister said could curb economic growth by 0.1 percentage point.

The yield premium investors demand to hold French bonds over German peers rose to the highest since May, before a 1900 GMT televised address by President Emmanuel Macron.

Macron has been forced to row back on fuel tax increases and investors fear further concessions to placate protestors.

Additional reporting by Shinichi Saoshiro in Tokyo, editing by Larry King

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UK continental shelf still worth oil investment despite Brexit -Equinor

LONDON (Reuters) – Norwegian oil and gas firm Equinor will remain committed to the mature British continental shelf regardless of the country’s plans to leave the European Union, a senior executive told Reuters.

FILE PHOTO: A logo of Equinor, formerly known as Statoil, is seen at the company’s headquarters in Fornebu, Norway May 21, 2018. Picture taken May 21, 2018. REUTERS/Nerijus Adomaitis/File Photo

British Prime Minister Theresa May abruptly decided on Monday to pull a parliamentary vote on the Brexit deal, thrusting UK’s divorce from the EU into chaos, with possible options including a disorderly Brexit with no deal.

“We are putting more investments into the UK despite Brexit, the perception of North Sea as being very mature and dying and oil price gyrations,” Al Cook, Equinor’s executive vice president for strategy, told Reuters, speaking before the vote Brexit vote was postponed.

“We want to make the most out of UK’s common geology with Norway.”

The majority state-owned company, formerly known as Statoil, could apply lessons learned from the Norwegian continental shelf in slashing breakeven costs for new developments and increasing recovery rates from producing fields, he added.

Cook said Equinor planned to focus its activities around the Rosebank project, acquired from Chevron in October, and the Mariner heavy oilfield, expected to start in the first half of 2019.

“We will see what we can sweep up in the areas and how we can turn them into hubs in the future,” Cook said.

Equinor said on Monday it completed its previously announced transaction to sell a 17 percent interest in Chevron-operated Alba oilfield to HitecVision-backed Verus Petroleum to focus on its core activities.

Equinor holds interests in more than 20 exploration licenses off Britain, and plans to drill at least three exploration wells there in 2019.

The Norwegian company says it has a capacity to supply around a quarter of Britain’s peak gas demand, and its Sheringham Shoal and Dudgeon offshore wind farms are able to supply power to 630,000 British households.

The company is expected to make the final investment decision with its partner SSE on Britain’s Dogger Bank offshore wind project next year.

“The UK is attractive for us because it is a double AA rated country with stable tax regime where we can replicate our Norwegian offshore success,” Cook said.

Reporting by Dmitry Zhdannikov, writing by Nerijus Adomaitis; editing by David Evans

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Verve, the word-of-mouth selling platform, acquires Campus Vacations for $7M

Verve, the word-of-mouth selling platform, has acquired Campus Vacations, a provider of “unforgettable” travel experiences to students across North America.

The thinking behind the acquisition is to increase Verve’s market share and competitive positioning in the North America and Canada markets. Specifically, Verse says it will provide the company with an entrance into the ski market, including key destinations like Punta Cana and Cancun.

Refreshingly, Verve is also disclosing the purchase price of Campus Vacations: $7 million in aggregate, consisting of a combination of cash, shares and “incentives” over time (presumably based on certain milestones and earn-outs being met).

It follows the acquisition of U.S.-based student travel company JusCollege for $25 million in April, as Verve continues to expand beyond its original focus on live music and sporting events, and into travel.

Members of the Campus Vacations team, including co-founder Justin Van Camp, are joining Verve as part of the acquisition. The other co-founders, Alex Handa and Eugene Winer, are to act as Verve advisors. With the assimilation of the Campus Vacations team, Verve now has over 200 employees globally.

Formerly known as StreetTeam, Verve is a platform that enables people to sell experiences to their friends in exchange for rewards, such as event tickets, trips and backstage passes. It counts more than 25,000 active ambassadors and claims to be the global market leader in word-of-mouth sales for live entertainment and travel experiences.

The company works with over 500 music, travel, hotel and sports brands across North America and Europe. Verve also has global partnerships with ticketing companies including Ticketmaster, Eventbrite, Paylogic and Front Gate Tickets.

“Following the success of acquiring the collegiate travel company JusCollege, and the resulting organic growth, we are continuing our aggressive expansion,” say Verve founders Callum and Liam Negus-Fancey in a joint statement.

“Campus Vacations gives us access to incredible destinations, increases our East Coast presence, delivers us a beachhead into ski, and brings us an incredible team. Not only have they built a fast-growing company that sells high-quality student travel packages, but like us, they understand the unique power and opportunity of harnessing the power of enthusiasts to elevate experiences for them and their friends”.

Union cancels Monday strike plan at Flair Airlines

The union that represents 139 flight attendants at Flair Airlines has called off a strike that would have been set to begin early Monday morning after the airline threatened repercussions for anyone who walked off the job.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees and the Edmonton-based airline have been negotiating a new contract for much of the past year, but the union announced the strike plan after mediated talks broke down on Wednesday.

The plan was for unionized employees to not report for work after midnight on Monday, but the union suddenly cancelled that plan over the weekend and will now fight the airline at the Canada Industrial Relations Board after the union says the airline was planning to take steps that “raised concerns for the job security,” of its members, who make up more than half of the airline’s 250-person workforce.

“The company has issued memos to employees advising them that anyone taking part in the job action would not be scheduled for further work,” CUPE said. and that anyone coming to work and crossing a picket line would receive an additional $150/day as a strike-breaker bonus.”

Flair Airlines offers heavily discounted flights within Canada between six locations in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia. The airline is planning to launch flights to the U.S. next year.

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