Global stocks surge; euro hits 3-week high

Updated 24 November 2012
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Global stocks surge; euro hits 3-week high

NEW YORK: Global stocks and the euro climbed yesterday on signs of progress in talks about releasing aid to Greece and an influential German survey that found business sentiment had improved in Europe's largest economy.
The three major US stock indexes rose about 1 percent, buoyed by bellwether technology stocks such as Intel and Microsoft — each up more than 2 percent. An index of semiconductor stocks gained 2.1 percent, while the S&P information technology sector index rose 1.3 percent.
Yesterday marked the start of the holiday shopping season and gave investors a reason to scoop up retailers' shares on hopes that consumers will go out en masse to spend.
Regular US stock trading session was to end early yesterday at 1 p.m. (1800 GMT). The stock market was closed on Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday. With many investors away on holiday, volume was low. About 1.2 billion shares have traded so far on the New York Stock Exchange, the Nasdaq and the NYSE MKT, compared with the daily average for the year to date of 6.5 billion.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 117.64 points, or 0.92 percent, at 12,954.53. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 12.61 points, or 0.91 percent, at 1,403.64. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 31.30 points, or 1.07 percent, at 2,957.86.
The euro rose as high as $1.2943 on Reuters data, breaking above resistance at $1.2910, its 55-day moving average. It was last trading at $1.2941, up 0.5 percent on the day.
Against the yen, the euro also hit a seven-month high of 106.73 yen and was last at 106.65 yen, up 0.4 percent.
MSCI's world equity index was up 0.9 percent yesterday at 329.12 points. It was on track to its best weekly performance since mid-September.
Earlier, MSCI's broadest index of Asia Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.7 percent for a weekly gain of 2.6 percent, also its best week for two months. Optimism about a deal to help Greece, hopes that United States lawmakers can agree on a solution to avoid a fiscal crisis, and data showing an improving global economic outlook have driven a rally in riskier asset markets this week.
Greece said the International Monetary Fund had relaxed its debt-cutting target for the country, suggesting lenders were closer to a deal for a vital aid tranche to be paid. But other sources involved in the talks cautioned that the funding gap was far bigger than Greece has suggested.


Euro-zone finance ministers, the IMF and the European Central Bank (ECB) failed earlier this week to agree on how to get the country's debt down to a sustainable level. They will make a third attempt at resolving the issue on Monday.
"Anything positive out of Europe related to the sovereign debt ... that can act as a catalyst," said Todd Salamone, director of research at Schaeffer's Investment Research in Cincinnati.
The S&P 500 looked likely to break a two-week losing streak, having gained more than 3 percent this week so far. Stocks had tumbled earlier in the month on worries about the impact of mandatory tax and spending changes to take effect in early January, but hopes that politicians will reach a deal to avoid the "fiscal cliff" helped the market recoup some of those losses this week.
The benchmark S&P 500 also climbed back above the 1,400 level, which could provide support.
Gold rose nearly 1 percent to its highest level in more than a month, buoyed by US equities' gain and technical buying as the metal breached its 50-day moving average.
Spot gold was up 0.9 percent at $1,743.86 an ounce by 10:22 a.m. EST (1522 GMT), after it hit $1,747 — which marked the loftiest price since Oct. 18.
Oil rose above $111 a barrel yesterday as better-than-expected German business sentiment data helped ease worries about demand in the euro-zone economies, boosting the euro against the dollar, while fresh protests broke out in Egypt.
Brent crude futures were up 80 cents at $111.38 a barrel at 1526 GMT. US crude was up 94 cents at $88.32.


Toyota captures data goldmine in $1 billion Grab bet

Updated 3 min 16 sec ago
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Toyota captures data goldmine in $1 billion Grab bet

  • Grab already monitors driving behavior through its app to increase ride safety, sending emails about speed and braking, for instance, to its drivers
  • Toyota and Grab will be able to use the data for possible collaboration on data-driven services such as vehicle diagnostics and customized insurance plans based on driver usage
TOKYO/SINGAPORE: By pumping $1 billion into ride-hailing firm Grab, Toyota Motor stands to gain a passenger-side view of tens of thousands of cars across Southeast Asia, tracking how fast they drive, how far they travel and the time they spend stuck in traffic.
The Japanese automaker said it aims to install its TransLog driving recorder devices into Grab’s fleet of lease cars to access the data on driving patterns that will be crucial to its push into the nascent mobility-as-a-service industry.
“Only ride-hailing companies have good, extensive data on usage, so automakers want to be connected with that,” said Egil Juliussen, director of research for automotive infotainment and advanced driver assistance systems at IHS Markit.
Grab already monitors driving behavior through its app to increase ride safety, sending emails about speed and braking, for instance, to its drivers, such as Singapore’s Rennu MaHajjan.
“With this system, it keeps me in check,” said MaHajjan, 57.
It will get even more vehicle data with Toyota, which has been harvesting data through TransLog since 2016 in sales and trials with taxi firms and car-hailing operators including Grab. The data gives Toyota insight into fleet management as it develops services including futuristic concepts such as pay-per-use mobile restaurants.
The latest deal, announced last week, gives Toyota access to a single pool of vehicles which potentially eclipses all others. That will allow it to capture a volume of data that would be difficult to collect from private cars which are only used for under 5 percent of any given day, often on routine commutes.
In return, Grab will be able to expand services such as food delivery and digital payments using Toyota’s $1 billion investment — the biggest by a traditional automaker in a ride-sharing app maker.
The deal reflects how automakers are clamoring for access to ride-hailing firms’ extensive user bases through a spate of partnerships, as they compete with technology companies to develop autonomous cars and next-generation transport services.
Toyota’s vision of such services includes convoys of shuttle bus-sized, self-driving multi-purpose vehicles used, for instance, as pay-per-use mobile restaurants and hotels, which the automaker plans to develop and customize for retail customers.
“There’s data about the car, and then there’s also data about the service — how many customers drivers have, what’s the average mileage, where the rides are concentrated,” said Juliussen. “Having that picture in all the major (Southeast Asian) cities, that becomes very valuable.”
Toyota and Grab will be able to use the data for possible collaboration on data-driven services such as vehicle diagnostics and customized insurance plans based on driver usage.
The data will also help Grab maintain efficiency in fleet maintenance as it expands deeper into Southeast Asia where it operates in over 200 cities. It has said it wants build the region’s largest car rental fleet by the fourth quarter of 2018.
“Vehicle maintenance costs, insurance costs, these are bread-and-butter issues for ride-hailing drivers,” said Chua Kee Lock, chief executive of Vertex Venture Holdings in Singapore, an early Grab investor.
Industry experts said Toyota could expand its data service to more mobility firms such as Didi Chuxing, Uber Technologies Inc. and Amazon.com Inc, with which it has separate partnerships.
“This partnership with Toyota will keep Grab’s platform ‘sticky’ and give drivers less incentive to switch to competitors,” said Chua. “This is Grab’s edge over the long-run.”