SoftBank wants to push Neumann out of the CEO role ahead of the IPO.Technologyread more
The next three weeks are among the rockiest, on a historical basis, of the entire calendar.Trading Nationread more
An annual survey by Piper Jaffray finds iPhone that users willing to upgrade to newly released models declined from last year.Technologyread more
The UK's Civil Aviation Authority said Thomas Cook had now ceased trading and the regulator would work with the government to bring the more than 150,000 British customers...Europe Marketsread more
New York Fed President John Williams said Monday that the central bank acted quickly during last week's jolt to overnight lending markets and that the issue appears resolved...The Fedread more
The U.S. manufacturing sector recovered in September with activity growth hitting a five-month high, according to IHS Markit.Marketsread more
For incoming European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde, the U.S.-China trade war is the biggest threat to the global economy.Marketsread more
Samsung said on Monday it will launch the Galaxy Fold in the US on Sept. 27. The launch was delayed from April after reviewers found it broke easily. Samsung says it has fixed...Technologyread more
The holidays are a critical time for many brands, accounting for as much as 30% of a retailers annual sales. Heading into the gift-giving season, shoppers are expected to...Retailread more
Microsoft is looking for a new way to grab business from retailers as they fend off Amazon.Technologyread more
Banks have historically used armies of mortgage brokers to gather income and asset documents from prospective borrowers.Financeread more
Looking back on a tumultuous year where the majority of asset classes were deep in the red, cocoa futures turned out to be one sweet spot.
In fact, a look at the top year-to-date performers among major futures markets reveals that cocoa has returned a whopping 28 percent this year. (The only trade that did better were complicated bets in volatility futures, which gain in value along with the Cboe Volatility Index. Volatility is not a pure asset class like a commodity or other security.)
Source: Finviz.com (Through Dec. 28)
While the stock market and other risk assets were battered this year on fears of slowing global growth and trade battles, cocoa prices enjoyed a surge because of short supply as the dry weather in top producing areas such as Ivory Coast hurt production.
"The main crop harvest is continuing in West Africa. Conditions are hot and dry. Main crop production ideas for Ivory Coast and Ghana are being reduced, with Ivory Coast now estimating its main crop production at 1.985 million tons, down from previous estimates just over 2.0 million tons," said Jack Scoville, senior softs analyst at Chicago's Price Futures Group, in a note on Friday.
"Conditions appear good in East Africa and Asia. Demand is said to be improving as offers from the new harvest start to increase," Scoville added.
The higher cost of cocoa, which is used to make chocolate, has put pressure on candy companies this year. The Hershey Co. and Tootsie Roll Industries have both lost about 6 percent in 2018, while Nestle is set to finish the year flat.
"We had some commodity and packaging headwind of about 20 basis points in the first half," Francois-Xavier Roger, Nestle's chief financial officer, said on an earnings call in July. The company's "cost savings were partially offset by higher commodity and packaging costs. ... In 2019 and 2020, I'm more encouraged by some of the internal projects we have underway to reduce our commodity costs."
Other than trading futures, investors could have also accessed the winning commodity through the iPath Bloomberg Cocoa SubTR ETN, which has gained 22 percent this year.