Starbucks is opening its biggest outlet ever on Wednesday in Shanghai and the company is expecting huge crowds to experience the 30,000 square foot store. The "Starbucks Reserve Roastery" is on Nanjing Road West, the city's most famous shopping street and has been heavily promoted for months on social media. Starbucks has big ambitions in China and this puts the exclamation point on its intentions.
While you may not yet be ready for a medical exam by Dr. Robot, odds are that some of the packages you're receiving this holiday season will be prepped by a robot. Watch this incredible video.
Unless you are living under a rock, you surely have heard of bitcoin as it surpassed the $10,000 mark yesterday and briefly topped $11,000. You may have no idea what it is or how it works but the stories of kids turning into multimillionaires in short order are undoubtedly tickling your greedy side. We are all human and can't resist the thought of turning a few dollars into millions and then enjoying ourselves sipping a drink with a tiny umbrella on some exotic beach. But please heed my warning. The bitcoin mania will end in tears for most investors (especially those considering buying late in the game) and unless you are in it for a quick buck and trade, then please don't give into temptation.
Sales of new single-family homes surprised economists in October to the upside. Sales rose last month hitting their highest level in 10 years amid robust demand across the country. The Commerce Department said new home sales increased by 6.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 685,000 units. That was the highest level since October 2007 and followed September's strong 645,000 units. It was the third straight month of rising new home sales growth showing the strength underpinning the US economy.
In China, a robot has passed the written test of their national medical licensing exam, an essential entrance exam for doctors, making it the first robot in the world to pass such an exam. While many people will worry about how this will affect jobs in the future, the initial impact should be extremely positive in assisting doctors to analyze data faster and more comprehensively than ever before. This could also help to reduce healthcare cost while improving outcomes.
We are just a week away from Thanksgiving and then the holiday season really kicks into high gear. While many headlines warn of overvaluation and Grinch predictions of market pullbacks, Runnymede remains bullish. Since last summer, we have been beating the drum on strong global earnings driving stock markets higher and higher. Nothing has stopped the above trend profit growth and now we are in the strong seasonal part of the year.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are famous in the US for the big discounts and therefore big spending. In China, they created their own version called Single's Day -- on November 11 or 11/11, which began as a protest of sorts against Valentine's Day, propelled by college students in the 1990s. To show the incredible buying power of the Chinese consumer, in just the first two minutes of shopping, over $1 billion was spent at Alibaba alone and by the end of the 24 hours, Alibaba's sales hit a record of $25.3 billion, more than 40 percent higher than Singles Day 2016. Yes 40 percent growth! JD.com, the #2 retailer in China, sold $19.1 billion!
This week, Fitch Ratings warned that record junk bond prices combined with risky corporate bond issuance is creating "increasing uncertainty" and is raising the chances of a sharp turnaround in the European high-yield, aka junk bond, credit market. Thanks to massive quantitative easing by the European Central Bank, yields on Euro junk bonds have been dropping steadily since early 2016 when the ECB began buying huge amounts of corporate debt. The most popular benchmark for European junk bonds fell below two percent for the first time ever last week. This is flat out crazy as investors are taking significant risk for just a two percent yield, less than a 5-year US Treasury Note which is considered the safest bond in the world. Fitch warned that recent market calm and the distorting impact of monetary policy "obscure the true risk-return dynamics faced by investors."
President Trump made a safe pick for the next Fed Chair in Jerome Powell. This isn't the typical Trumpian move as he didn't make a non-traditional pick to replace Janet Yellen. We recently wrote about the possibility of John Taylor and viewed it as unlikely because Taylor would likely want to raise rates faster than the current Fed.
This morning I received an email in my inbox from Kiva that reminded me today marks my 10th anniversary since joining the incredible microfinancing online platform. To celebrate, I made my 2500th loan which went to the Sreyhach's Group in Cambodia. Sreyhach makes a living cultivating rice and she does extra works as a farmer to support her family. In her village there is no reliable access to safe, clean drinking water. Having a water filter at home will help Sreyhach safeguard the health of her family, save money on medical expenses and save time collecting fuel and boiling water. We are truly blessed living in the US and it is hard to imagine living in Cambodia where you are lucky to make $1/day. In addition, imagine a life where you have no clean water. I dream of a day that everyone around the world has access to clean water and at least their basic needs met.
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