A volatile week across global stock markets has escalated into a frenzied sell-off, with European stock markets plunging to their lowest level in 20 months on Thursday. In the UK the FTSE 100 fell to a six-month low after Wall Street suffered its biggest drop in eight months, with the Dow Jones losing more than 800 points. Why are markets tanking? The sell-off is being fuelled by concerns over rising US interest rates, political uncertainty in Italy, mounting trade tensions between the US and China, and crises in emerging markets such as Turkey and Argentina. Donald Trump added to the pressure by branding the US Federal Reserve “crazy” for planning further rate rises. The US economy is booming, prompting the Fed to raise rates to keep a lid on inflation. Rising interest rates mean higher borrowing costs for companies and individuals, such as higher mortgage rates. Investors are fearful that firms and consumers will struggle to cope with higher costs. Charlie Ripley, a … [Read more...] about Why are markets plunging and which stocks are worst hit?
Brompton food market
They say you can’t make an omelette without breaking any eggs, but nobody told Josh Tetrick. The 39-year-old chief executive of Just, a Silicon Valley start-up, sells a “plant-based” alternative to chicken eggs, a yellow liquid that can be beaten, scrambled or fried, and it is due to arrive in UK supermarkets early next year. Unlike the pantry staple we are accustomed to, Just is made from mung bean protein. It took Tetrick $100m (£81m) in funding from tech founders including Peter Thiel at Facebook-backer Founders Fund, and Vinod Khlosla, the founder of Sun Microsystems, a team of molecular biologists, vegetation experts and four-and-a-half years to find the perfect plant among the 390,000... … [Read more...] about Which came first? Welcome to the chickenless egg, a $240m project that aims to crack open the market
One Saturday last May, Shane Heath woke up with an idea: the young serial entrepreneur would market the drink he had been sharing with friends in Venice Beach – a muddy concoction of tea, cocoa, spices and four kinds of mushrooms – to the wider world. “Over the weekend I designed the brand, ordered a minimal amount of inventory, and put up a website,” says Heath. By Tuesday, he was online selling 15-serving tins of the dry drink mix he dubbed Mud\Wtr for $30 each. Six months later, revenues exceeded six figures, he says, and with the start of the new year, “we secured a million-dollar investment fund and moved into an office in Los Angeles”. Mushrooms are having a moment. And the market goes far beyond the portobellos, shiitakes and button mushrooms you find in the produce section. Whole Foods named so-called “functional mushrooms”, used for centuries in traditional medicine, as one of the top 10 food trends of 2018. Suddenly, exotic … [Read more...] about Mushroom magic: why the latest health fad might be on to something
The brand and logo of Apple has been named the most valuable in the world – worth nearly $119bn (£80bn), or more than the entire gross domestic product of Morocco, Ecuador or Oman. The Silicon Valley firm, already the world’s biggest company – with a stock market valuation of $591bn – saw its brand value increase by a 21% over the past 12 months, according to the closely followed Interbrand Best Global Brands annual report. Apple, which is recognised the world over by its simple “Apple with a bite missing” emblem, led a surge of technology companies in this year’s report which has pushed more traditionally valuable brands – such as Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Gillette – down the table. Google’s brand value rose by 15% to $107bn to take second place, followed by Coca-Cola up 3% to $81.5bn, IBM ($72.2bn) and Microsoft ($45.5bn). Facebook is the biggest riser in the chart, increasing its brand value by 86% to $14.3bn and … [Read more...] about Apple pips Google and Coca-Cola to claim title as most valuable brand
China has said it is "not afraid" of a trade war with the United States, after it threatened to introduce a 25-percent levy on American pork imports. Such a move will likely put further pressure on the US' domestic pork industry, which is already facing weaker demand from China, the world's top buyer of the meat. Rapid expansion of large-scale pig farms in China has been boosting domestic supply and lowering production costs. As a result, China's pork prices are currently hovering around €1.28 ($1.58) per kilogram. Read more: Did Donald Trump really just launch a trade war with China? WH Group, the world's largest producer of pork after the takeover of Smithfields Foods by China's Shuanhui international in 2013, was among the worst performers on Hong Kong's Hang Seng index, falling up to 10 percent following the news of the intended tariffs. "Even without the tariffs, with such low prices, we will use more domestic pork for our Chinese business," said Luis Chein, a company … [Read more...] about China targets US pork as trade war fears escalate