Corporate View: Today’s global business news examined

As many corporations across North America and Europe begin to recommence operations following the holiday period, concerns continue to mount with regard to the effect that losses sustained by banks as a result of unserviceable debt in emerging markets economies.

Traders at Bank of America Merrill Lynch have experienced the lowest corporate performance from trading the firm’s Emerging Markets Corporate Plus Index which fell 13.4% on December 26, which sets it on course for its worst performance since October 2008.

Analysts at Bloomberg cite a tumble in the price of oil which sparked a currency crisis in Russia to be a major factor, which also contributed toward bringing this year’s decline to 19.7%, which is the sharpest in six years. Emerging markets accounted for 14 of the 56 global defaults this year in Standard & Poor’s coverage.

For the full report from Bloomberg, click here.

For those consumers who have become so accustomed to every item being available from any retailer or trade supplier at the touch of a button, a decision by Europe’s largest online retailer, Zalando SE, has indicated that in a world where everything has made its way into cyberspace, there is still a large opportunity to do business offline.

The company’s physical retail outlets, which Zalando opened to handle returns and excess inventory, hold big promise in a season when consumers’ wallets are thin from gift buying, according to senior executives.

Many web marketers have opened brick-and-mortar locations in order to provide that one tangible item that is missing from the experience of an online transaction: the showroom experience. Inc. recently leased a building in midtown Manhattan as a same-day shipping hub and warehouse. Zalando’s stores in Berlin and in Frankfurt, are different, as rather than showcase new items, they dispose of old ones.

“We used to call the outlet stores our test balloons,” said Martin Rost, vice president of Zalando Lounge and Overstock Management. “But now I guess we can call them a success.”

In 2013, Zalando’s “other” segment, which includes the shopping club lounge and the outlets, had revenue of €32.3 million ($39.3 million). This year the segment is expected to bring in €53.6 million.

For the full report from the Wall Street Journal, click here.

The settlement of China’s anti-trust probe into Qualcomm Inc is likely to intensify global scrutiny of the firm’s highly profitable patent licensing business, according to a report by Reuters, and may even call into question its worldwide contracts with smartphone makers such as Apple and Samsung.

China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) is moving to wrap up its 13-month investigation into the U.S. chipmaker as soon as possible, the regulator said in a statement on Friday, bringing to an end one of the most high profile of a slew of such investigations by Beijing into western firms.

Any deal is likely to include a record-breaking fine, as well as changes to how Qualcomm licenses its technology to handset makers in China, according to industry sources and local press reports.

For the full report by Reuters, click here.

It appears that whilst lack of confidence in the national economy, or sovereign currency in the country of origin of a company, or even the resignation of a senior executive, can cause fluctuations in company share prices, unpredictable and catastrophic incidents do not.

This is certainly the case for budget airline AIRASIA BHD (OTCMKTS:AIABF), which is encumbered with the aftermath of one of its fleet having disappeared yesterday over Indonesia, with 162 passengers on board.

Despite this horrific tragedy, which is likely to require large scale investigations, followed by extensive rectification measures which may affect future custom, the company’s share price remained steady yesterday.

AirAsia stock, which is publicly listed on the alternative OTC Markets network, was trading at $0.78 on December 22, which was the last recorded trading day, the stock having remained level and completely unchanged from the day previous.

The airline is also listed Bursa Malays (AIRA:MK), which opened today showing a decline in share price to $0.64, which is 6.57% down from the previous close, also not a susbtantial difference considering the future implications of the situation that currently faces the company.

For AirAsia share prices on Bursa Malays click here

For AirAsia share prices on OTC Markets, click here

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