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Some Asset Owners See Treasury Bond Yields as Factor in Driving Equities

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Revealed results from the fourth quarter 2017 SWFI Global Asset Owner survey released in early December shows that the majority of institutional investor respondents, which include pensions, sovereign funds and other public funds, believe U.S. tax reform would be the largest driver of equity prices in the next six months. U.S. President Donald Trump calls the Republican party’s US$ 1.5 trillion tax cut economic “rocket fuel”.

Treasury Bond Yields and Robust U.S. Job Creation

Even more enlightening was the number two finalist in the question, treasury bond yields, which almost tied U.S. tax reform. Institutional investors are carefully analyzing the figures being released by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), as the unemployment rate stayed at 4.1% and payroll numbers continue to improve. The U.S. economy added 228,000 jobs in November 2017, according to DOL data. Post-report the 10-Year U.S. Treasury yield fell lower. Sovereign funds still hold a large portion of investments in liquid fixed income investments, despite noteworthy large-scale infrastructure or buyout deals headlined by financial media.

The majority of Federal Open Market Committee members did not factor in U.S. tax reform in the September projections. The question looms if the U.S. Federal Reserve will keep pace on monetary tightening, as Janet L. Yellen is being pushed out of the chair spot. As Jerome H. Powell awaits in the wings, Yellen’s tenure as Fed chairman is the shortest since G. William Miller, who served from 1978 to 1979. Faster economic growth and better job numbers could lead to more interest rate increases. Depending on the adoption and speed, increased interest rate measures would deeply impact junk bonds and further accelerate the demise of troubled enterprises.

Biogen and Eisai Battered by Markets Over Alzheimer’s Trial Fail

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Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Biogen Inc. (BIIB) took a tumble of 28% in the morning of March 21st after it announced that it would cease its Phase 3 trials of Aducanumab. The therapy was intended to slow cognitive decline in patients with early onset Alzheimer’s. Biogen continued falling on March 22, 2019. Biogen and its Japanese development partner Eisai Co., Ltd. (ESALY) shared that the decision was based on results from an analysis conducted by an independent committee. The analysis determined that the trials were not going to demonstrate that Aducanumab could slow cognitive impairment. Eisai also fell 28% on the day, though it staged a relatively modest recovery on March 22nd. Some large institutional holders of Biogen include APG Asset Management (manager of Stichting Pensioenfonds ABP), Norges Bank Investment Management (manager of Norway Government Pension Fund Global), and Swiss National Bank.

The last time a treatment for Alzheimer’s made it to market was in 2003. [ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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Italy’s CDP Inks Deals with Silk Road Fund and Bank of China

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China is building out its Belt Road Initiative (BRI) to continental Europe. On March 23, 2019, in Rome, Cassa depositi e prestiti Spa (CDP), Snam Spa (Snam) and Silk Road Fund Co., Ltd signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aiming at exploring and evaluating common business opportunities. Under the MoU, CDP and the Silk Road Fund will facilitate cooperation by focusing on the potential investment opportunities in the following sectors: financial services, agriculture, food, technology, manufacturing, infrastructure and transportation, energy and white economy (healthcare and personal care assistance).

Originally part of ENI, Snam S.p.A. is an Italian natural gas infrastructure company. The Silk Road Fund and Snam will analyze possible collaboration initiatives in the area of natural gas infrastructure (pipelines, storage facilities, LNG infrastructure and biomethane plants) in support of the growth of the natural gas and biomethane sectors in China from a decarbonisation perspective. In its capacity of a national promotion institutions, CDP will look at co-financing initiatives that are consistent with its mission also in the fields of energy and sustainability.

Bank of China

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Angolan Government Recovers Assets from Quantum Global Investment Management

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The State Prosecutor’s Office of Angola said that the country has control of all financial and non-financial assets. The Angolan government claims it recovered US$ 3.35 billion of assets that were under the management of Swiss-based Quantum Global Investment Management AG. Quantum Global Investment Management was essentially the sole manager of assets for the Fundo Soberano de Angola (FSDEA).[ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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