Global stocks rise on hopes of Trump policy, EU growth; Ten Indian cities in list of 20 with worst air; Smartwatch no threat to the traditional

1 Global stocks rise on hopes of Trump policy, EU growth (San Francisco Chronicle) Global stocks rose Monday after President Donald Trump promised tax cuts for companies and appeared to steady relations with key Asian trading partners Japan and China. Upbeat economic forecasts from the European Union also helped buoy sentiment.

Investors pushed US indexes to a record on Friday, encouraged by strong company earnings and optimism over the Trump administration’s promises of tax cuts and less government regulation. Trump also appeared to back away from promises to declare Beijing and Tokyo manipulate their currencies and said he had a “very warm” phone conversation with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping.

Trump said Washington would honor its “one China” policy, which had been in question since he spoke to the leader of Taiwan after his election. Trump also met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and announced discussions of a possible bilateral trade deal.

The Trump-Abe meeting and Trump’s “One China” commitment “could allay some of the trade concerns in Asia and set free into the market more bullish bets,” Jingyi Pan of IG said in a report. “While it remains to be hashed out, President Donald Trump’s mention of a ‘level playing field’ on currency valuation also appears to reflect an amicable turn after the US president accused his visitors of currency manipulation.”

2 Ten Indian cities among 20 with worst air (The Guardian) Billions of people in cities around the world are exposed to dangerous air, but pollution levels vary widely – and the fast-growing cities of Asia and Africa are the worst affected.

We’ve broken down data from the World Health Organization on ultra-fine particles of less than 2.5 microns (PM2.5s) region by region. Paris’s air may have almost twice as many PM2.5s as WHO recommended levels (18 micrograms per cubic metre compared with 10µg/m³) – but Delhi’s air contains 122µg/m³, while Zabol, Iran, is the worst at 217µg/m³.

Tetovo in Macedonia – a city of 50,000 near the Kosovo border – has the worst PM2.5 air pollution in Europe, according to the WHO data. There are 10 Indian cities in the list of top 20 with the worst air.

3 Smartwatch no threat to the traditional (Manoj Nair in Gulf News) The time hasn’t come for a smartwatch revolution to take hold, and traditional luxury watchmakers are just fine with that.

“I think of them as a smart instrument like your phone or computer and helps you keep in touch,” said Raynald Aeschlimann, President and CEO of Omega. “It was an interesting way of thinking of carrying information and how you can get at it. “But a [luxury] watch is a totally different thing — it’s the spirit people are buying into. It’s not a storage place for information… but more like the ring you bought or some pens. They are full of emotions.”

Nearly two years from the launch of the Apple Watch — which was supposed to be the moment when smartwatches were to upend the traditional watch business — things haven’t actually panned out that way. For the tech giants, smartwatches still represent a niche with their sales universe. And during this period, they have not turned out to be the must have lifestyle-work accessory everyone needed to have.

But there have been other threats the Swiss watch industry has had to confront during this period. China’s crackdown on corruption meant sales of luxury timepieces was ticking along slowly, while another constant worry was the strength of the Swiss franc.

There are shifts that Omega — one of the crown jewels in the Swatch Group portfolio — is bringing on. Last month, it sold out a Limited Edition Speedmaster — all 2,012 pieces — in just over four hours exclusively through its online channels.

Selling online is not the only way Omega wants to connect with a younger buyer base — it can always call in star power to impress them. There’s the brand’s association with the James Bond movies, and George Clooney is always on hand to light up billboards with an Omega in hand. And for the younger set, Omega’s got Eddie Redmayne, the 35-year old with an best actor Oscar on his resume.


About joesnewspicks

This blog captures interesting news items from around the world for those strained by information overload and yet need to stay updated on global events of significance. The news items displayed are not in order of merit. (The blog takes a weekly off — normally on Sundays — and does not appear when I am on vacation or busy.) I am a journalist for nearly three decades.
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