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However, Constantine Fraser, European analyst at research firm TS Lombard, said that Greece will probably avoid a snap election in the coming months, given that some lawmakers of Anel will continue to support the government.

“Greece’s creditors and the EU will be looking closely not only at the vote of confidence, but at the numbers in parliament on the government’s other business,” Fraser said.

“But a snap election could be positive for markets: It would be better than a toothless minority government and could bring the business-friendly opposition to power,” he also noted.

A poll out on December 18, by the poling company Pulse RC, showed that if the General Election were to take place now, the conservative party New Democracy would win with 38 percent of the votes. Tsipras’ left-leaning Syriza would place second with 26 percent.

“If Tsipras indeed survives Wednesday’s confidence vote, I do expect him to first try to pass policy covering these benefits and tax changes before calling new elections. If he then fails to implement such measures he could blame the opposition, while if he doesn’t try the opposition could use it against Syriza in the campaign,” Wijffelaars also said via email.

Greece exited its third bailout program last August, after nearly 10 years of external financial help. Life after the bailout program will be a heated topic ahead of the election, as most voters would not have yet felt a huge positive change in their pockets.

Paul Donovan, chief economist at UBS Global Wealth Management, said Monday in an email: “Itself, a Greek election is of limited interest to international investors. Greece is more firmly established as a member of the euro and is running a primary fiscal surplus. However, investors may choose to look at the extent of support for unconventional or extreme political groups and extrapolate that into European trends.”

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IBM earnings Q4 2018



IBM shares rose as much as 7 percent after the company reported better-than-expected full-year guidance and fourth-quarter results on Tuesday.

Here are the key numbers:

  • Earnings: $4.87 per share, excluding certain items, vs. $4.82 per share as expected by analysts, according to Refinitiv.
  • Revenue: $21.76 billion, vs. $21.71 billion as expected by analysts, according to Refinitiv.

Revenue fell 3 percent year over year, according to a statement. The company has now reported revenue declines for two consecutive quarters.

For all of 2018, IBM generated $13.81 in earnings per share, excluding certain items. Analysts had expected $13.78 per share for the period, according to Refinitiv.

IBM’s largest business segment, Technology Services and Cloud Platforms, posted $8.9 billion in revenue. Analysts polled by FactSet were expecting $9.04 billion in revenue from the segment.

The next-largest business segment, Cognitive Solutions, did $5.5 billion in revenue. That exceeded the FactSet consensus estimate, which was $5.27 billion.

IBM’s Global Business Services segment collected $4.3 billion in revenue, exceeding the $4.15 billion estimate, and the Systems segment came in at $2.6 billion, below the $2.77 billion estimate. The Global Financing segment contributed $402 million in revenue, under the $426 million estimate.

In the quarter IBM announced its intent to pay $34 billion to acquire Red Hat, announced a chip manufacturing deal from Samsung and sold software assets to HCL Technologies for $1.8 billion. The Red Hat deal is expected to close in the second half of 2019.

“The deal propels IBM as a leading cloud provider and significantly improves its competitive positioning relative to Amazon, Microsoft and Google …. However, based on conversations we have had with investors, the concern has been around the ability for the combined entity to retain Red Hat employees and that IBM may have overpaid at 32x EV/FCF (CY19) for the assets despite the acquisition’s transformational potential,” KeyBanc Capital Markets analyst Arvind Ramnani wrote in a note distributed to clients on Thursday.

In 2018 the company got $39.8 billion in revenue, or about half of the total — from areas it calls strategic imperatives, which are social, mobile, analytics and cloud. Cloud revenue of $19.2 billion for the year was up 12 percent.

With respect to guidance, IBM said it’s looking to generate at least $13.90 in earnings per share, excluding certain items, in all of 2019. Analysts were expecting IBM to forecast $13.79 in earnings per share, excluding certain items, for 2019, according to Refinitiv.

“We believe the ongoing growth of the Strategic Imperatives unit will return IBM to organic growth in 2019 despite … currency headwinds,” Nomura Instinet analysts led by Jeffrey Kvaal wrote in a Jan. 15 note.

IBM stock is up 7 percent since the beginning of the year.

Executives will discuss results with analysts on a conference call at 5 p.m. Eastern time.

WATCH: IBM CEO: Over-regulation could put the digital economy at risk

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Marin Alsop and Haifaa Al-Mansour on career ambitions



Saudi Arabian independent filmmaker Haifaa Al Mansour delivers a speech during a ceremony at the World Economic Forum (WEF) 2019 meeting, on January 21, 2019 in Davos, eastern Switzerland.


Saudi Arabian independent filmmaker Haifaa Al Mansour delivers a speech during a ceremony at the World Economic Forum (WEF) 2019 meeting, on January 21, 2019 in Davos, eastern Switzerland.

During her speech, al-Mansour said it’s important to expose young individuals to art, culture and film, especially in conservative areas, as it will transform them and give them a chance to embrace being “a global citizen,” who feels like they have ownership of their destiny and their ambitions.

Growing up, film wasn’t easy to come by for al-Mansour. In fact, 2018 was the first time in some 35 years, that movie theaters could be open to the Saudi Arabian public. These hurdles however, didn’t stop al-Mansour from pursuing her ambitions, having received nominations and awards for her film work.

“I wanted to have a voice. I wanted to have a passion and I wanted to be happy,” she said, when discussing being a filmmaker in Saudi Arabia.

“And we need to create those spaces for people — especially when you come to a place where people tell you all the time that ‘art is immoral, and it will corrupt your soul (or that) hearing a song is not the right thing to be virtuous’.”

“To go against all those voices in your head and expose a culture to music and bring music to the public space, is a dream that we should support.”

“Building culture is really what makes a difference in the whole world.”

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President Donald Trump should resign



John Kerry had a one-word answer when asked his message for President Donald Trump: “Resign.”

The former secretary of State and Democratic U.S. senator from Massachusetts made the declaration while speaking on a CNBC panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Kerry, who lost in his bid to become president in 2004, first hesitated to answer the question, lamenting that Trump “doesn’t take any of this seriously” before calling for his resignation.

A White House spokesman did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment on Kerry’s remark.

Trump, along with a delegation of government officials, was scheduled to travel to Davos but canceled due to the ongoing partial shutdown of the government. The shutdown has entered its second month with no resolution in sight, as 800,000 furloughed federal workers are set to miss a second paycheck this week.

Trump lashed out at the media Tuesday, reflecting his frustration with the stalemate between the White House and Capitol Hill.

“Last time I went to Davos, the Fake News said I should not go there” he tweeted. “This year, because of the Shutdown, I decided not to go, and the Fake News said I should be there.”

Davos is not the only event on the president’s agenda that has been affected by the government shutdown. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has urged Trump to postpone his State of the Union address scheduled for Jan. 29 until the shutdown is over. Trump is forging ahead with plans to deliver a State of the Union-style speech at the U.S. Capitol at the end of January in spite of Pelosi’s request, a senior administration official told NBC News on Tuesday

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