Asia Down, Rupee Crushed, Bitcoin Up
Asian stocks are down this morning, with Japan, China, and Hong Kong all participating in the pullback. Japan’s Nikkei (NYSEARCA:EWJ) is down close to 1%, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng (NYSEARCA:EWH) is down 1.8%, and China (NASDAQ:MCHI) is down 1.6%. The Chinese Yuan (CNY=X) hit the 6.9 level this morning, its lowest level against the US Dollar since April 2017. The Turkish Lira (TRY=X), the latest focal flashpoint of an emerging market currency crisis, has given back some of its gains made yesterday, down, down 0.7% against the dollar, and the Indian Rupee (NYSEARCA:INR) now is in trouble, having hit a record 70 against the US dollar for the first time. Gold has broken through support at $1,200, though strongly up today is the cryptocurrency sector, with strong gains across all major coins including Bitcoin (BTC-USD), Bitcoin Cash, and Ethereum.
SEE: DISH Network To Start Accepting Bitcoin Cash Payments
Lockheed Martin To Make Hypersonic Mach-5 Missile for $480M
The military-industrial complex continues chugging along as Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) has scored another $480M in a contract for a hypersonic missile to be completed by 2021, though judging by recent historical trends, it will probably cost a lot more and be finished a lot later. The missile will be capable of going at speeds of Mach 5, at which speed the missile could zip around the entire world at the equator in about 6 and a half hours. This should enable the United States to hit any country from the opposite direction as the missile travels around the world, confusing its enemies.
Sears Nears Extinction, Mulls Selling Off Brands
It looks like what remains of the world’s first mega retailer, Sears (NASDAQ:SHLD), will be sold off piecemeal. Sears is now near the threshold of a microcap stock at just below $200M in market cap, and is exploring an offer to sell off its Kenmore brand of appliances for $400 million to a hedge fund owned by the company’s CEO Edward Lampert. The hedge fund also wants the home services division Ship for $70 million, leaving Sears with very little, and probably the end of the iconic name for all practical purposes. Store closures have not helped the company regain profitability, but they have cut into revenue by 31%.
China Freezes Gaming Industry
Gaming in China has come to a halt, as the Communist Party of the People’s Republic has stopped all gaming approvals. China’s biggest gamer, Tencent Holdings (OTCMKTS:TCEHY) has had a horrible 2018 that appears to be getting worse, as in China you need the government’s approval to publish a game. The cause of this appears to be a bureaucratic shakeup, so the new guys occupying the bureaucracy may want to flex their muscle or just hold off until they figure out what’s going on around them. According to Chinese officials, some games violate “core socialist values” that everyone is supposed to have.
Turkey Raises More Tariffs In Bid to Further Hurt its Own Currency
With the Turkish Lira in freefall, Turkish officials decided it would be a good idea to make rice, vehicles, alcohol, coal and cosmetics even more expensive in Lira terms by instituting tariffs against these imports from the United States. Turkish stocks had a relief rally yesterday as the iShares Turkey ETF (NASDAQ:TUR) skyrocketed 11.3%, though given the news it will probably fall again today, following another pullback from the Lira in forex markets.