07 January – 11 January

07 January

Growth in Japan’s services sector slowed at the end of 2018 as poor weather and weaker demand growth provided a drag, according to an industry gauge. The Nikkei-Markit services purchasing managers’ index dipped to a three-month low of 51 in December, down from 52.3 in November and bringing the reading closer to the 50-point level separating expansion from contraction.

Financial services companies have moved almost £800bn in staff, operations and customer funds to Europe since the Brexit referendum, according to a report from consultancy EY.

Asia bucked the trend of falling venture capital deals last year, notching up more than 5,000 transactions — a sharp contrast with the US where deal activity hit a five-year low.

Greater market transparency and the adoption of technology are two trends often cited as being responsible for the gradual demise of the trading desk. When it comes to the buyside, however, this new transparency and technology reveal the extent of traders’ contribution to alpha generation, helping to balance the relationship between trader and portfolio manager.

08 January

Steel prices in the US have dropped below their levels before President Donald Trump announced new tariffs on imports last year, as world markets have responded to concerns about a slowdown in demand in China.

Samsung Electronics estimated its first drop in quarterly operating profit in two years as the two-year semiconductor supercycle began to fizzle out and smartphone sales continued to slow.

China was the only country whose companies increased the number of technology patents they were awarded in the US last year, according to an analysis to be released on Tuesday.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visited Beijing on Tuesday at the invitation of Chinese president Xi Jinping in a reminder of the close ties between the two countries even as Pyongyang and Washington are at loggerheads over nuclear disarmament.

09 January

US and European stocks maintained their upward momentum as hopes for progress in resolving the trade dispute between Beijing and Washington were buoyed by news that negotiations between the two countries would be extended into a third day.

Apple chief executive Tim Cook saw his total remuneration jump by 22 per cent its last fiscal year ended in September, as iPhone sales hit a peak from which they have since begun a sharp decline.

Department store chain JCPenney on Tuesday became among the first major US retailers to post a holiday update, noting sales during the crucial shopping period fell.

Hong Kong stocks were on track for their best one-day performance in more than a month on Wednesday amid optimism for extended US-China trade talks and as Beijing promised policies to support domestic spending.

10 January

Factory gate inflation dipped to a two-year low in China in December while consumer inflation in China fell to a six-month low, government figures showed on Thursday, in the latest sign China’s economy is slowing.

The Volkswagen brand set a new sales record in 2018, but just barely, as growth deteriorated in the second half of the year due to trade tariffs and “severe repercussions” from new European emissions standards.

Britain’s retailers suffered their worst Christmas trading since the depths of the global financial crisis, with heavy price cutting failing to persuade worried customers to splash out.

US stocks notched up their longest winning streak in four months as investors remained optimistic about trade talks between Washington and Beijing and the Federal Reserve was shown to be weighing the case to pause raising interest rates.

11 January

Investors entered the new year nervously, whiplashed by one of the worst months for stocks in a decade and wary over the global economic slowdown. The first batches of economic data from China and the US were disappointing, stirring concerns that 2019 might continue where 2018 left off.

Two of Apple’s major resellers in China have cut prices of some iPhone models by more than a fifth, as they try to battle the poor sales in the region that led to a rare earnings warning.

Retail fund investors lose up to a quarter of their gross returns in costs and charges, according to research from the EU’s main securities regulator. The disclosure will ratchet up pressure on the asset management industry to show that it is giving value for money.

Brazil’s consumer prices slowed in December, leaving annual headline inflation below the central bank’s target band for the second consecutive year. Annual consumer price inflation — as measured by the IPCA index — topped 3.75 per cent in for the whole of last year, according to figures released on Friday by the IBGE, the country’s statistics agency. This is higher than the 2.95 per cent reported in 2017, but still way under the inflation target of Brazil’s monetary authority of 4.5 per cent plus or minus 1.5 percentage points.