January 5, 2018 Market Outlook

Dow Jones Passes 25,000 for the First Time

With just three trading sessions into the New Year, the Dow Jones Industrial Average zoomed past the 25,000 milestone for the first time on Thursday. This latest milestone by the blue-chip index highlights the momentum behind equities at the start of 2018. The strong December job gains in the private sector and bullish business data outside the U.S. helped propel the 30-company index to close at 25,075.13.

It was only last November 30, 2017 that the index first reached 24,000 mark and less than a year ago when the Dow soared above 20,000. The S&P 500 likewise closed at a record high of 2,723.99 while the Nasdaq Composite continued its advance as it posted an all-time high of 7,077.91. Clearly, Wall Street’s hot streak last year is carrying over to the start of this year.

E-Sports Market is Google’s New Inroad in China

Alphabet Inc.’s (GOOGL) will be investing $120 million in live-stream mobile game platform Chushou as the U.S. firm eyes new inroads into China’s market where its search engine is blocked. The two companies made the announcement on Friday.

Chushou is an online e-sports platform where users can live stream their mobile phone games. Currently, the service has an estimated 8 million streamers, 250,000 live streams daily, and the industry is growing. Google’s entry will help the Chinese firm expand its services to reach more overseas viewers. Live stream gaming platforms are popular forms of e-sports in China.

Toshiba Unloads Westinghouse for $4.6 Billion

Japanese conglomerate Toshiba is selling its U.S. nuclear unit Westinghouse for $4.6 billion to Canadian investment firm Brookfield Business Partners. The decision to unload Westinghouse is welcome news for creditors since the collapse of the beleaguered unit cost Toshiba some $6.4 billion, putting its financial future in peril.

Toshiba has been offloading major assets in order to keep afloat, including selling control of its memory chip business to investor groups that includes Apple Inc. (AAPL). Shares of Toshiba in Tokyo rose by about 2% following the announcement of the Westinghouse deal.

Beachwear Brand Rivals to Merge

Two of the world’s best known beachwear brands have decided to end their rivalry and instead surf together. Billabong (BLLAF) will be acquired by the owner of its rival brand Quicksilver for $380 million including debt. The companies formally announced the acquisition on Friday.

The deal brings together two sportswear brands that originated in Australia more than 40 years ago. They were successful in selling clothing worldwide using the surf culture. However, because of sinking sales and profits, banding together is inevitable.

Oaktree Capital Management, a Los Angeles-based investment firm, bailed out Quicksilver when it filed for bankruptcy in 2015. Now, the firm is adding Billabong to its list of acquisition.

LG to Display Robots that could Replace Human Workers

Tech giant LG Electronics of South Korea said Thursday it will showcase three new “concept robots” next week in Las Vegas at the consumer electronics show. According to a McKinsey report released in November, up to 800 million workers could be affected globally by automation and the rise of artificial intelligence

Tech companies are already testing robots to carry out various human tasks in the services industry. Based on data from the International Labor Organization (ILO), the said industry employs nearly 50% of the global workforce.

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