Thursday, June 29, 2017

Stocks flying, oil crying at 2017 halfway; 'Hearables' market set to take off; OED lists zyzzyva as last word

1 Stocks flying, oil crying at 2017 halfway (Khaleej Times) World stocks could be about to record their best start to a year since 1998, when global markets were recovering from the Asian crisis, while oil and the dollar are facing their worst first-half in years.

It has been a six months marked, first, by the crumbling of so-called Trump trades that were premised on US President Donald Trump's pledges of multi-trillion dollar spending. The second feature has been a political and growth outlook shift in Europe which has lured investors back to the continent.

Emerging markets and Europe have seen 16 to 17 per cent gains on a dollar-adjusted basis. This has boosted world stocks around 10 per cent so far this year. Oil on the other hand is 2017's worst performer, despite almost 2 million barrels-per-day of Opec supply cuts. Brent crude futures have slumped 20 per cent in their biggest first-half drop since 1997.

But equities have held up well despite a hefty tech share selloff earlier in June and a run of softer US economic data which hint at slowing price growth and a major setback for the 'Trumpflation' trades in vogue at the start of 2017.

2 ‘Hearables’ market set to take off (Sean Hargrave in The Guardian) When you’ve invested in a set of ‘hearables’, you might handle earphones more carefully. These in-ear computers could help you get fit, improve your hearing and translate foreign languages.

The global market for Bluetooth-connected and wireless earbuds and headphones will be worth $40bn by 2020, calculates Nick Hunn, an analyst and chief technology officer at WiFore Consulting. His figures show a surge in the sales of Bluetooth-connected devices, which surpassed wired headphone sales, the former market leader.

It’s tempting to suggest this is thanks to Apple’s decision to ditch the headphone socket in its latest iPhone in favour of AirPods (Apple-branded wireless earbuds). But it seems this merely accelerated an existing trend: people started buying these wireless devices two to three years ago, before AirPods launched.

3 OED lists zyzzyva as last word (Johannesburg Times) The Oxford English Dictionary identified more than 600 words, phrases and senses that have relatively recently entered common parlance. They include zyzzyva, a genus of tropical weevil native to South America. The word replaces zythum - an ancient Egyptian malt beer - as the OED's final entry.

The name was apparently coined by the US entomologist Thomas Lincoln Casey, who described the bugs in a 1922 work, the OED said. The quarterly update includes "post-truth", previously announced by the OED as its word of the year for 2016 following Britain's Brexit referendum and Donald Trump's presidential victory.

Other new senses this time include "thing", as in "a genuine or established phenomenon or practice", often used when you're incredulous about something. Further additions to the English lexicon are chana dal, the Hindi phrase for chickpeas, and doenjang, a paste made from fermented soya beans used in Korean cookery. A gin daisy is a cocktail.

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