5 Things to Know for Wednesday

Stephen L Kanaval |

1. Amazon seeking new delivery alternatives. UPS and Amazon have built a strong relationship over the years, but that seems now to be under strain. Amazon continues to talk with air-cargo companies, as well as continuing to build its own freight and delivery trucks. It is clear Amazon is competitively engaged to cut the costs of a package’s journey to a customer. UPS’s account with Amazon exceeds $1 billion.

2. US Commerce Department released November data. There was an increase in consumer purchases in November, indicating growth. Household incomes rose 0.3 percent and on top of cheap gasoline, steady hiring, and boosted home equity the economy is on an increase.

3. Spain still in turmoil. A fragmented parliament will not make legislative paths easy for Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. Spanish voters followed the trend of Portugal and Greece opposing austerity policies. Many European political analysts see this as a turning point in European politics away from bipolar political systems and that this election reflects the disarray within the EU itself. Spain’s parliament certainly will represent that notion. The popular party won 29% of the vote, equal to 123 seats on the parliament floor. However, the Socialists won 90 seats, the anti-austerity Podemos party won 69 seats, and the centrist Ciudadanos won 40 seats.

4. China testing longer trading hours. The China Foreign Exchange Trading System told lenders to run trading tests from 9:30am to 11:00pm in Shanghai. The test means China will extend trading hours to allow the yuan to be accessible to foreign investors. China recently was admitted to Special Drawing Rights by the IMF. China also will look to make its monetary policy more flexible and improve foreign-exchange.

5. Iraqi troops stormed Ramadi. The ISIS stronghold city of Ramadi is west of Baghdad and would be an important victory for Iraqi troops. Ramadi was lost to ISIS in May, but appears to be recaptures after a dawn raid. This would be the second city taken back from ISIS since Tikrit. The victory would be mostly psychological because ISIS still holds large swathes of Iraq.

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