Good morning. We’ve arrived at the final trading day of what’s been a historic August run on stocks. And the rally shows no signs of fading as Asian stocks, led by a bullish investment from Warren Buffett, push global equities into the green.

Let’s see where investors are putting their money.

Markets update

Asia

  • The major Asia indexes are mixed in afternoon trading, with Japan’s Nikkei leading the way, up 1.3%.
  • Japanese investors are cheering Warren Buffett this morning. His Berkshire Hathaway announced over the weekend it’s acquired stakes in five major Japanese trading companies, including Mitsubishi and Sumitomo Corp, worth $6 billion.
  • TikTok owner ByteDance says it will now abide by China’s updated technology export restrictions guidelines, making any potential sale of the viral video platform a bit more complicated transaction for an American suitor.

Europe

  • The European bourses opened in positive territory with Germany’s
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Britain faces an unemployment crisis. Last week’s news of 7,000 job losses at Marks & Spencer was a cruel reminder of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. And more redundancies are on the horizon.

As news comes in each day of more companies laying off staff, alarm bells should be ringing in Downing Street. It is not enough for the chancellor to tell us to buckle up and prepare for hard times ahead. Without urgent action we face the prospect of mass unemployment on a scale not seen since the 1980s.

I was young during the 80s, and I remember the despair of people kicked out of work. I am glad that most people in the workforce now have never experienced that. I had hoped this country would never have to learn about it again: that young people wouldn’t experience the lifelong effects of being dumped out of the labour … Read the rest

(Bloomberg Opinion) — From Monday there will be just one oil company in the Dow Jones Industrial Average — Chevron Corp. The removal of Exxon Mobil Corp. from the index after an uninterrupted presence since 1928 shouldn’t come as a surprise. It’s not the end of Big Oil, but it may signal the start of the beginning of the end.It may seem odd to remove one of only two oil companies in the index at a time when the shale boom has transformed America's role in the global market. After all, the U.S. now produces more oil and more natural gas than any other country. Last year’s domestic oil production was up by 125% from levels in 2010, while gas output has increased by 60%.But those figures only tell part of the story, and not the most important part.It’s not the first time that there’s only been one oil and … Read the rest

No tech company from California’s famed startup basin, Silicon Valley, has gone public since last year. That could be because some high-profile 2019 Silicon Valley IPOs like Uber and Lyft flopped. But investors have short memories, and this week a half-dozen startups from the Valley filed to go public. About another half-dozen tech startups from other regions also announced their IPO plans this week.

Here are some key statistics and pros and cons investors may want to weigh vis-à-vis Palantir, Asana, Snowflake, and the rest of the upcoming class of late 2020 tech IPOs. Each company’s description includes a link to its S-1 filing. All financial data is from 2019 unless otherwise indicated.

Palantir Technologies

Symbol: PLTR
2019 revenue: $743 million
Revenue growth: 25%
Gross margin: 67%
Net loss: $580 million

Founded in 2003, Palantir created software to help defense and intelligence analysts sort through massive amounts of information … Read the rest

More than 3 in 4 managers in UK businesses feel that ‘collaborative’ workspaces are now be more suitable for their post-lockdown business models when compared to a fulltime staffed office, according to a new survey.

The study found that 77% agreed that more causal workspaces designed to facilitate meetings and collaborative working (such as a coworking space) would have significant advantages for their business over a fulltime, staffed office.

Just 7% of managers disagreed that they could see the benefits of a collaborative workspace over a fulltime office. The study comes as many businesses are making tough decisions about how their teams will operate in the future due to social distancing and the changed economic landscape.

The study also surveyed another 1,000 general workers at UK businesses to find out how employees have been coping with working at home through the pandemic. 56% said that the way in which their … Read the rest

In the current stay-at-home environment, it’s all about e-Commerce. While the shift from brick-and-mortar retail to online shopping had already been underway for quite some time, COVID-19's romp around the globe certainly accelerated it. To this end, companies everywhere are making a significant effort to keep up with the trend.This includes the likes of social media titan Facebook (FB). Back in May, the company launched its Shops product on a limited basis, offering it to only select businesses. Writing for Stifel, 5-star analyst John Egbert notes “this offering provides SMBs with the ability to build a unified transactional storefront across Facebook Pages and Instagram business profiles with direct customer service integrations through Messenger, Instagram Direct, and WhatsApp.”On August 25, everything changed. The company revealed that Shops will now be available to all eligible businesses globally. Therefore, most of the roughly 160 million small businesses that maintain a business page on … Read the rest

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Elon Musk gave a peek at his brain computing startup, Neuralink, on Friday by showing off a surgically implanted electrical device in the skull of a living pig that broadcast the animal’s brain activity. 

Neuralink is working on a kind of brain-computer interface that it hopes will one day help restore brain functions in humans with disorders like blindness, seizures, and insomnia.

Musk’s experimental technology is still in its early stages. And it has yet to be tried on humans. But Musk pitched it as glimpse into the near future, without acknowledging the immense technological or regulatory challenges.

During the livestreamed event, Neuralink staff showed off three pigs—one normal pig, one implanted with Neuralink’s device, and another that had the device removed from its skull.

Hesitant to … Read the rest

If you could predict with absolute certainty the exact moment each opportunity in your company’s sales pipeline would convert into an order, wouldn’t life be marvellous.

The Hollywood movie mogul Samuel Goldwyn is reputed to have said “never make forecasts, especially about the future’.  Whilst these may appear (especially in current times) wise words, if you’re running a large order complex business, Sam’s quote is unlikely to be an escape route from having to say, “What you expect to happen in the future”  when it applies to your sales (and cash flow) forecasts.

With that in mind, here are some tips that might help you get your sales forecast closer to right than wrong.

Measure your accuracy

If you work in an environment where your forecast accuracy is measured for you, be grateful that someone is helping you improve your forecasting ability.  If you don’t, start to measure it … Read the rest

(Bloomberg) — Microsoft Corp. is teaming up with Walmart Inc. in a contest against Oracle Corp. to buy the U.S. assets of the popular video-sharing app TikTok from China’s ByteDance Ltd.Oracle and Microsoft, with its new partner, both submitted bids in a deal that could come within the week, according to people familiar with the deliberations. Walmart would also own a stake in a newly spun off TikTok business, alongside Microsoft, the people said.Competing offers have been made in what augurs the closing process of a deal, although it will take longer for final details to be worked out, one person said, requesting anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the negotiations.Walmart confirmed in an email that it is in “partnership” with Microsoft in its pursuit of TikTok, a move to bolster the retailer’s third-party marketplace and nascent advertising arm. A Walmart-Microsoft bid would “meet both the … Read the rest

Prosecutors on Thursday charged a 17-year-old from Illinois in the fatal shooting of two protesters and the wounding of a third in Kenosha, Wisconsin, during a night of unrest following the weekend police shooting of Jacob Blake.

Kyle Rittenhouse faces five felony charges that include first-degree intentional homicide and first-degree reckless homicide, and a misdemeanor charge for possession of a dangerous weapon by a minor. Rittenhouse, a white teen who was armed with a semi-automatic rifle as he walked the streets with other armed civilians amid protests this week, would face a mandatory life sentence if convicted of first-degree intentional homicide.

The shootings late Tuesday—largely caught on cellphone video and posted online—and the shooting by police Sunday of Blake, a 29-year-old Black father of six who was left paralyzed from the waist down, made Kenosha the latest focal point in the fight against racial injustice that has gripped the country … Read the rest