World's Biggest Pension Fund Posts Record $92 Billion Gain

Japan's Government Pension Investment Fund, the world's largest pension fund, posted a record quarterly gain of US$92 billion thanks to a rally in the country's stock market.

GPIF on Friday reported a return of 7.98% in its fiscal third quarter, which ended in December.

Its paper gain totalled 10.5 trillion yen. The fund managed 144.8 trillion yen worth of assets as of December.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei share index rallied 16% in the quarter on expectations of stronger global economic growth and as the yen weakened in the face of a surging US dollar following the election of President Donald Trump.

It edged up another 2% in January-March this year. 

/Source: The Edge Markets/

March 3, 2017

Fitch Ratings: Trump Policies Could Spark Global Economic Crisis

In a statement issued Friday, Fitch Ratings said the Trump administration “represents a risk to international economic conditions” and to the financial stability of governments around the world. While noting that some parts of Trump’s agenda would be “positive for economic growth,” the agency said Trump’s open hostility towards certain nations and trade agreements poses a risk for many countries that rely in part on the U.S. Canada would be one of the most affected countries in a Trump-fueled crisis, Fitch said, along with China, Germany, Japan and Mexico. Because national economies have become more integrated in the age of globalization, any moves the U.S. makes to limit trade with one country will have “cascading effects” touching many other countries, Fitch said. Trump’s immigration crackdown could also damage the global economy, particularly developing countries, because of “remittances” — the practice of immigrants sending money to their home countries. The flow ...

Feb. 10, 2017

China sets up US$14.6 billion internet investment fund

China has set up a 100 billion yuan (US$14.55 billion) fund to support investment in the internet sector, the official news agency Xinhua said on Sunday.

The fund, backed by China’s cabinet, is designed to help turn China into a major player in internet technology, the report said.

An initial 30 billion yuan has already been raised from major banks and telecoms firms including ICBC, China Mobile and China Unicom. Up to 150 billion yuan in credit will be available to companies that have been invested in by the fund, Xinhua said.

China said earlier this month it would invest 1.2 trillion yuan between 2016 and 2018 to develop information infrastructure.

/Source: Asia Times/

Jan. 23, 2017

Google will hit a renewable energy milestone in 2017

Google will buy enough renewable energy in 2017 to power all of its operations, including its 13 data centers and offices in 150 cities.

As a believer in climate change, Google said it has a responsibility as a multinational business to be a steward of the environment. Google's long-term goal is to run on clean, zero-carbon energy full-time every day of the year. 

Google also describes its pursuit of renewable energy as making good business sense. 

Google uses power purchase agreements, in which it buys renewable energy from a wind or solar energy developers, and then sells the energy back to the grid at a wholesale price. In exchange, Google receives renewable energy certificates, which it applies to the non-renewable energy it uses to power some of its operations.

Other large companies, such as Apple (AAPL), Amazon (AMZN) and Walmart (WMT) have used similar arrangements to encourage renewable energy development.

Google signed the first of ...

Dec. 6, 2016

Spills are more common thanks to aging pipelines

Gasoline pipelines in the U.S. are really old, which means spills and leaks are only going to become more common.

The Colonial Pipeline leak that caused gasoline shortages and a price spike throughout the Southeast spilled at least 250,000 gallons of gasoline. It occurred on a portion of the pipeline that is 53 years old.

The nation's massive network of aging pipelines is becoming more susceptible to corrosion.

About 55% of the 135,000 miles of oil and gasoline pipelines in the U.S. was installed in 1969 or earlier, according to government data. That's before current safety regulations were in effect, Many are still cast iron pipes. Some are as much as a century old.

Pipelines are the safest and most cost effective way to move oil, gasoline, jet fuel and other petroleum products around a country that is experiencing a energy boom.

Significant incidents are far more common than the general public realizes. Last year ...

Sept. 21, 2016

John Kerry wants tech to help solve the world's biggest problems

Secretary of State John Kerry doesn't just want entrepreneurs to build successful companies. He wants them to build successful companies that also help solve things like violent extremism, climate change, and government corruption.

Kerry kicked off the seventh annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit at Stanford University with a call to action for the 15,000 attendees. President Obama launched the summit in 2010. This week's events provided an opportunity for entrepreneurs from around the world to hear from successful Silicon Valley CEOs, meet investors, and connect with government resources.

Kerry asked them to consider the three "generational challenges" when building their companies. Educational tools could help reach the young, disenfranchised youth around the world who may be at risk of being radicalized. Green startups could help the public and private sector switch to a low-carbon and low-emissions economy. And software that tracks money and accountability might cut down on corruption.

It's not just for the ...

June 23, 2016

Airbus hopes to launch hybrid passenger planes by 2030

Airbus hopes to be selling passenger planes powered by hybrid engines by 2030.

The European aircraft manufacturer is teaming up with German industrial conglomerate Siemens to develop hybrid planes that can carry up to 100 passengers. The aircraft would use a combination of electric power and conventional fuel.

The hybrid Airbus planes would consumer 25% less fuel and would be almost silent during take off and landing, when running on electric power, according to Siemens. At cruising altitudes, the planes would be powered by jet fuel.

The planes are expected to have a range of about 620 miles, enough to get you from New York City to Detroit, Michigan.

The ultimate goal for Airbus is to develop "zero-emissions aviation," CEO Tom Enders said in a statement.

/Source: Hartford Business/

April 7, 2016

Oil investment is weakest in 30 years

The oil price crash has squeezed investment in the industry to the weakest levels in 30 years.

Capital expenditure on global oil exploration and production is expected to fall 17% in 2016, following a 24% drop in 2015, according to the International Energy Agency's medium term outlook.

That will be the first time since 1986 that upstream investment has fallen for two consecutive years, the agency said, warning that the collapse could be storing up problems for consumers further down the track.

"It is easy for consumers to be lulled into complacency by ample stocks and low prices today, but they should heed the writing on the wall: the historic investment cuts we are seeing raise the odds of unpleasant oil-security surprises in the not too distant future," said IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol on Monday.

Oil prices plunged more than 70% over the past 18 months but have steadied in recent days. U.S. ...

Feb. 22, 2016

Walgreens Announces Deal to Buy Rite Aid

Pharmacy giant Walgreens Boots Alliance has reached a deal to buy rival Rite Aid, creating a merger of two of the nation’s largest drugstore chains.

The deal announced Tuesday involved Walgreens buying Rite Aid for $9 a share, or $9.4 billion. The total size of the deal is $17.2 billion including acquired net debt, Walgreens said.

“This combination will generate a stronger base for sustainable growth and investment into Rite Aid stores, while realizing synergies over time," Walgreens Boots Alliance Executive Vice Chairman and CEO Stefano Pessina said in a statement.

Rite Aid shares jumped more than 40 percent Tuesday. Walgreens said in a statement it expects synergies of more than $1 billion a year.

Walgreens Boots Alliance includes Walgreens and Duane Reade stores. The company said it has more than 13,100 stores in 11 countries. Rite Aid has around 4,600 stores in the U.S., according to Rite Aid.

Walgreens had net sales of $76.4 ...

Oct. 28, 2015

A smarter investing strategy for retirement

I've moved all my money to money-market funds. My plan is to wait for the crash and when things start looking better get back into the market to ride the rebound. Do you think this is a good idea? --Tim H.

If I thought you were able to predict when stocks will crash, when the market will hit bottom and when it will actually recover, then I'd say your plan is masterful, a sure-fire way to avoid losses, capitalize on gains and boost your long-term return. Unfortunately, your chances of doing all that range between zero and none. So I consider your idea a fantasy, not a bona fide plan.

The problem is that while it's easy to identify market peaks in retrospect, it's virtually impossible to call market tops in real time. Back in late 1996, for example, when former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan delivered his famous "irrational exuberance" speech ...

July 29, 2015