HONG KONG (AP) — Trading began Monday on a new cross-border stock link between Hong Kong and the neighboring Chinese city of Shenzhen, widening access to China’s markets for global investors.
The long-awaited Shenzhen-Hong Kong Stock Connect link allows international investors to buy and sell 880 high-growth small and midcap stocks traded on the exchange in the southern boomtown of Shenzhen via the Hong Kong exchange.
Its debut follows the launch of a similar link between Hong Kong and China’s main exchange in Shanghai two years ago.
Hong Kong’s top leader and the exchange’s chairman marked the occasion by banging a gong in a ceremony connected by live videolink to their counterparts in Shenzhen, where officials rang a bell to kick off trading.
Market response was muted in early trading, with the Shenzhen All-Share index down 0.4 percent while the Hang Seng slipped 0.3 percent, in line with other Asia market declines.
“If Shanghai Connect was our baby step on the first step, Shenzhen connect is our second step. Now we can walk and we can begin to run. So this indeed is a historical moment,” said Charles Li, chief executive of market operator Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing.
With a market value of $3.3 trillion, Shenzhen’s exchange rivals Shanghai’s in size and is the world’s eighth biggest . While Shanghai is home to many huge state-owned enterprises, Shenzhen’s bourse is dominated by small, fast-growing private companies in up-and-coming sectors such as technology and health-care. It often is referred to as China’s Nasdaq.
“We believe Shenzhen is the largest untapped market in the world and, not surprisingly, investor knowledge is fairly limited,” HSBC’s Steven Sun and Bruce Pang said in a recent report.
Foreign ownership of Shenzhen-listed companies is minimal, at less than 1.2 percent. In Hong Kong, a former British colony controlled by China that has a financial system open to international investors, it’s 46 percent.
Hong Kong has long been used as an offshore outpost by Beijing, since China’s markets are still mostly fenced off from global capital flows. Before the links were launched, foreign access was limited to a quota program for selected fund managers.
Of the 880 stocks listed in Shenzhen that can be traded via the Hong Kong exchange about 200 on the tech-heavy ChiNext board will be open to institutional professional investors at first.
Mainland investors, meanwhile, get access to 417 Hong Kong small cap stocks. That might appeal to mainland investors looking to diversify away from assets denominated in the yuan, which has weakened to its lowest level in eight years. Hong Kong stocks are priced in the city’s own currency, which is pegged to the U.S. dollar.
Shenzhen’s status as a financial center has risen as China’s communist leaders have sought to shift away from reliance on export-oriented manufacturing toward growth based on self-sustaining, more environmentally friendly domestic demand.
“Shenzhen represents the ‘new economy,’ that’s very clear,” said Nicole Yuen, head of China equities at Credit Suisse. She noted that about two-thirds of Shenzhen-listed firms are private enterprises while the remaining third are state-owned. On the Shanghai board, it’s the reverse, she said.
The market’s not for the fainthearted: China’s markets are volatile partly because individual, or “retail,” investors dominate trading. In developed markets, institutional investors lead.
“With a retail-driven market, of course it’s riskier because you think alike with other retail people. It can swing more quickly,” leading to a “herd instinct,” said Yuen. So, “why would people go to a risky market? Because the reward is better.”
The Shenzhen All-Share index has risen 8.3 percent over the past six months but is down about 10 percent for the year. That compares with increases of 6.3 percent and 5 percent respectively for the Nasdaq Composite.
Expanding cross-border trading could help restore confidence in China’s markets after a spectacular meltdown last year that was worsened by regulators’ attempts to intervene. In June, the global stock benchmark provider MSCI opted not to add mainland Chinese stocks to its widely followed Emerging Markets Index. It said the markets need to be more accessible and closer to international standards.
“Shenzhen Connect may not simply open a floodgate of untouched opportunities as some might expect,” said Michael Karbouris, Nasdaq’s head of Asia-Pacific business development.
“The market is fairly expensive and already dominated by retail investors that like to speculate, and the combination of low cap stocks and volatility means the investment story is not straightforward. Investors will need to exercise caution.”
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You know the feeling. Something perfectly picture- or video-worthy happens, and in the scramble to ready your smart phone camera, the moment passes—gone forever. Well, what if you had the ability to capture these precious moments in the blink of any eye? Literally.
No, this isn’t a sci-fi movie. It’s real life, and the future is now. While some of the world’s biggest brands from Go Pro and Google Glass to the Apple Watch have been leading the way in wearable technology over the past few years, the latest and greatest is bringing a whole new modern meaning to contact lenses. But smart lenses by Sony aren’t intended to improve vision. Instead, their function is to record life as it happens, store the footage and even play it back so you never miss a thing.
Piezoelectric sensors on the lenses measure pressure, force and movement from the eye and convert it into an electric charge, making the video capability possible. How do you control it? Sensors familiar with the frequent, regular human pattern of blinking can identify when a person is intentionally blinking outside of that pattern—an action that activates the electromagnetic induction telling the built-in camera to record what you’re seeing. There’s even an autofocus and zoom function!
So what do you think? Would you wear futuristic lenses to your basketball game to catch all the action up close? Would you wear them as you walk across the stage getting your high school diploma?
Vote and tell us what you think — you can even submit video comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will feature the results of the poll and some of your comments on the show!
WASHINGTON (AP) — One thing you can count on during inauguration season in Washington: People of all stripes will find a reason to show up — whether it’s to celebrate or commiserate.
There are parties and protests to attend, stars to gawk at, receptions to be worked, deals to be done, drinks to be consumed.
Less than two months out from Inauguration Day, there’s a different dynamic surrounding the planning for Donald Trump’s swearing-in than the unbridled enthusiasm that swirled around the installation of the first black president in 2008.
Crowd expectations are down. Fewer A-list celebrities are likely to descend. Hotels still have rooms to be rented.
But congressional offices are maxing out on ticket requests for the Jan. 20 swearing-in. Trump’s inaugural committee is wooing big donors with candlelight dinners, exclusive luncheons and premier access to balls. Interest groups are lining up sideline events. And among those still mourning Hillary Clinton’s loss, there is plenty of counter-programming afoot, including plans for a giant women’s march aimed at sending a defiant message to the incoming president.
Before the election, District of Columbia planners set an early estimate of 800,000-900,000 people for this year’s inauguration and they haven’t revised that number yet, according to Christopher Geldart, director of D.C.’s Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. But there’s scant expectation of replicating the 1.8 million people who descended on Washington for Barack Obama’s first inaugural.
Nor will Hollywood turn out as it did for Obama, whose two inaugurals attracted the likes of Beyonce, Bruce Springsteen, Usher, Jamie Foxx, Jay-Z, Oprah Winfrey and many more A-listers.
“More than any election we’ve seen in a very long time, the Hollywood community was really behind Hillary, and a lot of people put their reputations on the line,” says longtime Hollywood publicist Howard Bragman. “Clearly those are people who are going to be taking their Xanax and Valium that day and staying in bed with the covers over them.”
But Bragman said there still will be Republican-leaning celebrities who turn out for Trump — and a larger contingent of Hollywood types who show up for counter events like the women’s march planned for the day after Trump’s inauguration.
While demand for hotel rooms and other venues is slower than at this point four and eight years ago, hoteliers remain “guardedly optimistic,” according to Elliott Ferguson, president of Destination DC, the city’s tourism bureau. Some hotels that set up four-day-minimum inaugural packages are rethinking that model, hoping to capture more business from those headed to Washington for the women’s march.
Hotels are noticing “more rooms being picked up on Saturday than on Friday,” Ferguson says, suggesting strong interest in the march, whose organizers hope to draw 200,000 people to the city.
Be advised: The president-elect’s own Trump International Hotel is sold out.
Still available: For $2.5 million, the J.W. Marriott is offering a package that includes four presidential suites, 325 guest rooms, a craft bourbon barrel tasting reception, special inauguration menus, and a private viewing party on the terrace overlooking the parade route, among other amenities.
There are always more affordable options through rental network Airbnb, which says local bookings for inauguration weekend spiked by 80 percent during the week after the election.
Airbnb host Jade Moore, a video editor and Democrat, doubled her prices to $200 a night for inauguration weekend and says she’s booked both Trump supporters and women marchers for her Anacostia home. Before her inaugural guests arrive, she’ll be removing the toilet paper bearing Trump’s photo and the sign in her bathroom that invites people to “take a dump on Trump.”
“I’m sure we’ll all get along,” says Moore, hopefully. “We don’t even have to bring up politics.”
Not all hosts are that dispassionate.
Another local Airbnb host, who asked that her name not be used to avoid getting in trouble for violating the company’s nondiscrimination policy, says she declined to accept a rental request that looked like it came from a Trump supporter and did accept a request that came from women planning to attend the march.
Interest groups, too, are adapting in different ways.
The Creative Coalition, a bipartisan advocacy group for the arts, has been holding inaugural balls for the past 20 years that typically attract top talent and celebrities. Coalition CEO Robin Bronk says interest in the ball remains strong and she expects it to feature top names once again.
“It’s an event that hopefully will be part of the healing of the nation,” Bronk says. Plus, she adds, “I would venture to say a lot of business gets done at our ball.”
The Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights organization that threw an “equality ball” eight years ago, this year is focused on making sure its members get involved in demonstrations, marches and other events on inauguration weekend and throughout the year, says spokeswoman Sarah McBride.
The Latino Victory Project, which four years ago helped mount a huge Kennedy Center gala featuring Eva Longoria, George Lopez and other top Latino entertainers, this time is putting together events that put the Trump administration on notice that Latinos will fight “his hateful rhetoric and policies,” says project president Cristobal Alex.
“I wouldn’t call it a party,” Alex said of this year’s yet-to-be-announced events. “What I would call it is a moment to learn” from the last election.
Associated Press writer Ben Nuckols contributed to this report.
Follow Nancy Benac on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/nbenac
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President-elect Donald Trump (all times EST):
Donald Trump is taking on another Indiana manufacturer that has plans to let go of workers and move operations to Mexico.
Late Friday, Trump tweeted: “Rexnord of Indiana is moving to Mexico and rather viciously firing all of its 300 workers. This is happening all over our country. No more!”
Rexnord operates a bearings factory near the Carrier plant in Indianapolis, where Trump on Thursday touted a deal to save hundreds of jobs in exchange for about $7 million in state tax breaks and grants.
Trump told workers at the Carrier plant, “Companies are not going to leave the United States anymore without consequences.”
North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp says she had a wide-ranging conversation with President-elect Donald Trump that didn’t include anything about a job in his administration.
Heitkamp was among invitees to Trump Tower in New York this week, and news of Friday’s meeting aroused immediate speculation that she might be a candidate for a position such as energy secretary.
Heitkamp, a Democrat in her first term, tells The Associated Press she spoke with Trump for more than an hour about energy, agriculture and Interior Department issues.
She says she didn’t expect any discussion of jobs. She says she just wanted to share “vision and ideas” with Trump.
President-elect Donald Trump’s move to pack his administration with military brass is getting mixed reviews, as Congress and experts struggle to balance their personal regard for the individuals with a broader worry about an increased militarization of American policy.
No fewer than three combat-hardened, retired Army and Marine leaders, with multiple deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, are on tap for high-level government jobs normally reserved for civilians. Others are entrenched in his organization as close advisers.
Retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn will serve as Trump’s national security adviser, and retired Marine Gen. James Mattis will be nominated as his secretary of defense. In addition, retired Marine Gen. John Kelly is a likely pick to head the Department of Homeland Security.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has telephoned President-elect Donald Trump and had a brief but “very engaging, animated conversation” in which both leaders invited each other to visit his country.
In a video released by Duterte’s close aide, Bong Go, the Philippine leader is seen smiling while talking to Trump late Friday and saying: “We will maintain … and enhance the bilateral ties between our two countries.”
Duterte shuffled and looked at some notes during the conversation, which Go said lasted for more than seven minutes. The presidential palace earlier announced that Duterte will make a “congratulatory call” to Trump from his hometown in southern Davao city.
President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team is pushing back against Democrats’ calls for all Cabinet nominees to release their tax returns.
In a memo for supporters obtained by The Associated Press, transition officials say the calls are “a PR stunt with zero precedent designed to arm opposition researchers.”
Senate Democrats on Thursday said they will push for all committees to require Cabinet and other high-level nominees to provide their tax returns ahead of their confirmation hearings. According to the Democrats, only three committees now have the authority to require tax returns.
The memo says Trump’s nominees are “patriotic Americans, many of whom are selflessly leaving behind their private business careers to serve their country.”
Trump has so far refused to release his own tax returns, breaking from recent precedent.
President-elect Donald Trump supports completion of the disputed Dakota Access oil pipeline in the Midwest, a policy that a spokesman says is not related to Trump’s investments in a partnership building the $3.8 billion pipeline.
Spokesman Bryan Lanza says in a memo to supporters Trump’s backing for the pipeline near a North Dakota Indian reservation “has nothing to do with his personal investments” and is based on policy.
The Associated Press obtained a copy of the memo.
Trump’s federal disclosure forms show he owned a small amount of stock in Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners, the pipeline builder, and at least $100,000 in Phillips 66, which owns one-quarter of the pipeline.
Spokeswoman Hope Hicks said it is her understanding that Trump recently sold his Energy Transfer stock but provided no details.
Pennsylvania congressman Lou Barletta says he’s talking to President-elect Donald Trump about the job of secretary of the Labor Department.
The three-term Republican lawmaker and hard-liner on immigration said Friday in an interview he’ll talk to his family about the job over the weekend. Barletta insists, though, that the job hasn’t been offered.
The congressman is on the Trump transition team, and he said Friday that the president-elect will make more Cabinet decisions next week.
A top aide to President-elect Donald Trump says law enforcement officials in his administration might continue investigations into Hillary Clinton’s private email, even though Trump has signaled he prefers not to pursue the matter.
Kellyanne Conway was Trump’s campaign manager. Conway said Friday Trump still prefers not to pursue a case against Clinton. But she says law enforcement officials and Congress “may take a look at that.”
Speaking on ABC’s Good Morning America, Conway said the Justice Department, Congress and the FBI could still review Clinton-related inquiries.
She spoke in response to “lock her up” chants that greeted Trump during a rally Thursday. During the campaign, Trump said he would have his attorney general appoint a special prosecutor to review the Clinton inquiries.
Lithuania’s president is urging president-elect Donald Trump to uphold the United States’ security commitment to Europe amid lingering doubts about his intentions toward NATO allies.
President Dalia Grybauskaite said Friday the U.S. remains “the guarantor of peace after the Second World War in Europe. We expect that this mission, and this understanding, will stay.”
Trump suggested during the campaign that only allies paying their fair share might deserve protection from the U.S. Grybauskaite says Lithuania is on track to meet NATO’s target for military spending by 2018.
She spoke in eastern Lithuania as NATO nations were winding up a major military exercise, part of the alliance’s effort to reassure member countries close to Russia’s borders.
The pugnacious, brawling Donald Trump voters got to know during the presidential campaign is back.
The president-elect returned to his campaign roots Thursday in his first major public appearance since Election Day, holding court in front of thousands of adoring fans — and even making the surprise announcement that he will be offering the post of Defense Secretary to retired Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis.
The raucous rally in Ohio had all the hallmarks of a reunion tour: Trump took a veiled swipe at fellow Republicans. He remembered his general election foe by joking, “We had fun fighting Hillary, didn’t we?” He boasted about size of his victory and repeatedly bashed the media. Protesters briefly interrupted the proceedings. And the crowd chanted “Build the Wall” and “Lock Her Up.”
DENVER (AP) — Howard Dean took himself out of the race to become chairman of the Democratic National Committee, warning that the race could become contentious but vowing to support whoever is elected.
Dean, who was previously elected DNC chair after his unsuccessful 2004 bid for the party’s presidential nomination, announced he’d run again for the position days after last month’s election, in which Democrat Hillary Clinton lost to Republican Donald Trump. He made his surprise announcement of withdrawal from the contest in a videotaped message on Friday to a Denver meeting of Democratic state party chairs.
“I am not going to be a candidate for the Democratic National Committee chairmanship,” Dean said near the conclusion of his five-minute video, after talking about how the position is a full-time job. “I have other priorities; I have a grandchild now.”
The former Vermont governor warned that the race shouldn’t become a proxy fight between supporters of Clinton and those of her primary opponent, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. But he also acknowledged it could be divisive and pledged to support the winner.
Dean focused on the full-time nature of the job and the likely non-stop travel amid questions about whether the front-runner, Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, could be chairman and congressman. That was a criticism of the last DNC chair, Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
The other announced candidates – Ellison, New Hampshire Democratic Party chairman Ray Buckley and South Carolina Democratic Party chairman Jaime Harrison — all emphasized the need for the party to focus on local grass-roots organizing after reaching a historic low in statehouses and governorships.
The Democrats met after their dispiriting showing on Election Day, when they lost the White House and only made small gains in the House and Senate. Next year, Republicans will have a monopoly in Washington, including majorities in Congress.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Republican chairman of the House Oversight Committee, who promised before the election to investigate Democrat Hillary Clinton for years, says he will wait until President-elect Donald Trump takes office before “poking around” the businessman’s financial affairs and possible conflicts of interest.
While Rep. Jason Chaffetz is holding off on Trump, the four-term Utah lawmaker pledges to continue investigating Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state.
“There are some outstanding issues floating out there that will still take some time,” Chaffetz said in an interview Thursday.
Chaffetz said it’s only fair to wait until Trump becomes president before looking at potential conflicts involving his global business empire.
Democrats have called for investigations into Trump’s financial ties with foreign businesses and governments, as well as his lease with the U.S. government for a luxury hotel near the White House.
But Chaffetz said Thursday that Trump “needs time to get his affairs in order. When he becomes the president we’ll start providing some oversight of that.”
The comments were in stark contrast to a remark Chaffetz made before the election that he had “two years’ worth of material already lined up” to investigate Clinton, the Democratic nominee for president who lost to Trump in last month’s election.
Democrats took notice.
“For Republicans, there was no allegation too small to investigate with respect to Secretary Clinton, but now there is no scandal too big to ignore for Donald Trump,” said Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, the senior Democrat on the oversight panel.
“Donald Trump’s global entanglements are unprecedented,” Cummings said, and the oversight committee should “address these conflicts of interest now instead of waiting until after he is sworn in as president.”
Trump’s business dealings, his charitable foundation and his campaign’s ties to pro-Kremlin elements in Russia and Ukraine are all areas ripe for examination by the oversight panel, Cummings and other Democrats said.
At a minimum, Trump should divest his wide-ranging assets or put them in a blind trust not operated by his children, Democrats on the committee said in a letter to Chaffetz seeking an immediate review of Trump’s financial holdings.
The letter cited media reports indicating that at least 111 Trump companies have done business in 18 countries.
Trump has broadly asserted that as president he will not be hemmed in by conflict-of-interest laws. “The law is totally on my side,” Trump told The New York Times last week.
Chaffetz echoed that view and said he was encouraged by Trump’s announcement this week that he would soon announce plans to step back from his company while he is president.
“He’s moving in the right direction,” Chaffetz said of Trump.
Chaffetz has a complicated relationship with the president-elect. He denounced Trump after the GOP nominee was caught on videotape making crude, predatory comments about grabbing women. But Chaffetz later said he would vote for Trump, calling Clinton “bad for the USA.”
Still Chaffetz said that Trump, like any president, will not be able to avoid scrutiny by the oversight committee.
“His obligation is to abide by the law,” Chaffetz said of Trump. “Our obligation is not to be a cheerleader but to actually provide oversight, and we intend to fulfill that.”
No presidential administration “likes to have Congress poking around,” Chaffetz added, “but it’s what we do.”
At least one Republican on the oversight panel agrees that Trump’s business interests deserve scrutiny.
Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., said Trump “rightly criticized Hillary” over possible conflicts of interest related to the Clinton family foundation.
“If you have contracts w/foreign govts, it’s certainly a big deal, too,” Amash wrote on Twitter, addressing Trump.
“DrainTheSwamp,” Amash added in a hashtag, referring to Trump’s campaign vow to “drain the swamp” of lobbyists, donors and political cronies in the nation’s capital.
Despite his pledge, Trump has tapped a host of insiders and campaign contributors for top posts in his administration, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., said Friday. Whitehouse urged Trump to adopt ethics rules to reduce the influence of lobbyists and “corporate special interests.”
Follow Matthew Daly: http://twitter.com/MatthewDalyWDC