Pumped up kicks

January 13-17, 2014

In North America...

Markets: US equities had a topsy turvy week, closing on Monday with the greatest drop in two months and a new high on Wednesday (no doubt buoyed by US retail sales released last Tuesday and the World Bank's bullish forecast for growth) However, the index closed 0.2% down for the week. The TSX, on the other hand, closed on Friday at its highest level since April 2011. Unfortunately, the Loonie is not doing equally well. One analyst even said it the Canadian dollar is "cratering." 

Companies: Google bought Nest, a start up that uses the internet of things to collect information on household behaviour and control temperature in the house, for US $3.2 bn. Nest says its privacy policy limits the information google will have access to. The purchase is also notable because of Nest's history with Apple - there are over 100 ex Apple employees currently on the payroll. Google bought not just the company's tech, but also it's staff.

Goldcorp, a Canadian gold-mining company, looks to buy the Quebecois mining company Osisko Mining,   using the opportunity of falling gold process to expand its operations. 

It seems that Boeing's problems aren't over. The battery on the Dreamliner was found overheated, bringing memories of last year's issues which forced the company to ground the planes. 

Also in companies, Deutsche bank suspended several traders amid an ongoing foreign exchange probe. More about the probe here. Also, Deutsche Bank released its Q4 numbers on Sunday night, several days earlier than expected. The bank is posting a net loss of $1.35 billion.

Lastly, Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo dismissed the Operating Chief De Castro after 14 months, amid disappointment with his efforts to boost growth.

Otherwise: The World Bank reported the global economy is at a "turning point". The bank forecasts that global GDP will grow by 3.2% this year, up from 2.4% in 2013, with much of the pick-up coming from developed economies. Developing nations will grow by 5.3% this year, up from 4.8% in 2013.

In Europe...

Mixed economic data from Europe. The German economy grew by only 0.4%. British inflation, on the other hand, has fallen to 2%; making it in line with the BoE's target for the first time since 2009.  

Also in Britain, scandal in sports wear. Sports Direct bought a 4.6 per cent stake in department store Debenhams on Monday, to sell it on Thursday and take out a put options contract instead. The contract means Sports Direct must buy shares equivalent to a 6.6 per cent stake in Debenhams at a predetermined price (with hedging making risk limited to about £64bn).  Read more here

In the coming week...

The World Economic Forum in Davos. An impressive line up of political and thought leaders from around the world. Look at the delegates, broken down by gender, industry company, and age in this interactive.  The title of the forum this year? The Reshaping of the World: Consequences for Society, Politics and Business. For a facetious and pessimistic take on the forum, check out FT Alphaville's @DavosDeville.

Also, read about the influence of the news on market behaviour, and how the convergence of low and high journalism is the disruptive force de jour of the media industry.