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Today's Top Market Headlines – Sep 14, 2017
Samsung enters autonomous driving race with new business, funding

South Korea’s Samsung Electronics (KS:005930) Co Ltd plans to become a major player in autonomous driving, building on its recent $8 billion acquisition of audio and auto parts supplier Harman and its pole position in mobile communications markets.

Samsung is set to announce on Thursday at the Frankfurt Motor Show that it has set up an automotive strategic business unit for autonomous and advanced driver assistance services (ADAS), together with a $300 million fund to invest in automotive start-ups and technology.

“It’s time to communicate our intent to enter the autonomous driving market,” Young Sohn, the company’s president and chief strategy officer, told Reuters. “Samsung has been incubating this business for quite a while.”

By Eric Auchard

Source: http://bit.ly/2y0ylV4

Dollar Steady against Other Majors Ahead of U.S. Inflation Data

The dollar was steady against a basket of the other major currencies on Thursday as investor’s awaited data on U.S. consumer inflation later in the day for fresh indications on whether the Federal Reserve will hike rates again this year.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was at 91.39 by 03:21 AM ET (07:21 GMT).

The index has risen 1.14% so far this week, rebounding from last week’s more than two-year lows amid a relief rally spurred by diminished worries over North Korea’s nuclear program and the economic impact of Hurricane Irma.

Fresh hopes for the Trump’s administrations plans for a tax overhaul helped support the dollar on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, data on Wednesday showed that while U.S. producer prices rose slightly in August inflation pressures remained tepid, a potential obstacle to the Fed’s plans to raise interest rates.

Source: http://bit.ly/2f6Kmo7

Trump bars Chinese-backed firm from buying U.S. chipmaker Lattice

U.S. President Donald Trump blocked a Chinese-backed private equity firm from buying a U.S.-based chipmaker on Wednesday, sending a clear signal to Beijing that Washington will oppose takeover deals that involve technologies with potential military applications. Canyon Bridge Capital Partners’ planned $1.3 billion acquisition of Lattice Semiconductor Corp was one of the largest attempted by a Chinese-backed firm in the U.S. microchip sector and was the first announced deal for the buyout fund, which launched last year with a focus on technology investment. U.S. regulatory scrutiny grew after Reuters reported in November that Canyon Bridge was funded partly by capital from China’s central government and had indirect links to its space program. U.S. defense officials subsequently raised concerns about the Lattice acquisition by a firm backed by the Chinese government.

Portland, Oregon-based Lattice makes chips known as field-programmable gate arrays, which allow companies to put their own software on silicon chips for different uses. It said it no longer sells chips to the U.S. military, unlike its two biggest rivals, Xilinx Inc(NASDAQ:XLNX) and Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) Corp’s Altera. Trump said in an executive order that Lattice and Canyon Bridge “shall take all steps necessary to fully and permanently abandon the proposed transaction” within 30 days.

By Liana B. Baker

Source: http://bit.ly/2xAMdJl

Bank of England Holds Rates at Record Low with 2 Dissents

As expected, the Bank of England (BoE) decided on Thursday to hold interest rates steady at a record low as well as to make no changes to its asset purchase program.

Specifically, the BoE left the benchmark interest rate at a record low of 0.25%, in line with market forecasts.

Also as expected, the decision to maintain interest rates was undertaken in a vote with 7 members in favor and 2 opting for a rate hike.

The two hawkish members of the BoE’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) Michael Saunders and Ian McCafferty repeated their call for an increase in interest rates.

Furthermore, all MPC members agreed unanimously to leave its asset purchase program unchanged as expected at £435 billion ($574 billion) as well as to maintain the stock of sterling non-financial investment-grade corporate bond purchases, financed by the issuance of central bank reserves, at £10 billion ($13.2 billion).

The minutes from the meeting showed that all members believe future rate hikes will be faster than markets are currently pricing in if economic conditions develop as forecast in August.

Source: http://bit.ly/2y0P7n3