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Wednesday, 26 July 2017

What we’re tracking on 26 July 2017

That VIX play we noted yesterday looks momentarily less likely to pay off amid good news out of the US of A: Results from McDonald’s and Caterpillar point to a continued strong economic recovery. “McDonald’s has reported its best showing for global comparable sales in five years … [saying] it drew more Americans into its restaurants in the three months to the end of June, the first time in years,” the Financial Times notes. McD’s (or Magdy’s, as we prefer) also reported good non-US sales. Caterpillar, the world’s largest heavy machinery maker, meanwhile boosted its outlook for the year based on a good global sales and “despite sluggish infrastructure spending in the U.S. and weakness in Brazil and the Middle East,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

Fintech is the flavour of the day, and we’re left thinking that Egypt and the rest of the Arab world still haven’t caught on to how fundamentally it will transform our lives — as consumers, savers, investors and business leaders. Notes Reuters: “Venture capital investment in financial technology companies grew 38 percent globally in second quarter of 2017 from the same period last year, according to new data released by CB Insights. Fintech firms raised USD 5.19 bn from 251 [transactions] in the three months ending in June.”

Speaking of tech in Egypt: Omm El Donia has the lowest internet speed with the highest comparative cost, according to a global survey by RS-Tech. The survey shows that South Korea leads the world in terms of both internet speed and cost. Overall, Venezuela has the lowest cost of internet with lowest speeds up to 2MBPS.

The way we work today, part I: Allowing employees to work from home is starting to chafe on some managers, the Wall Street Journal suggests. The practice has been beloved by corporate bean counters for its cost savings — and promoted with messianic glee by devotees whose Qur’an / Bible / Torah is cult software maker Basecamp (formerly 37 Signals) and its book Rework. The Journal notes that IBM, health insurer Aetna, Bank of America, big-box electronics shop Best Buy (no relation to the Egyptian Apple monger), Honeywell and Reddit are among those who have recently “ended or reduced remote-work arrangements as managers demand more collaboration, closer contact with customers—and more control over the workday.

The way we work today, part II: If you think the worshippers of work-from-home are a tad zealous, you haven’t read about “a Wisconsin vending machine company … offering its employees a chance to have a microchip implanted in their hands that they could use to buy snacks, log in to computers or use the copy machine.” Folks there have been gleefully signing up — [redact] the privacy implications, to say nothing of the “ick” factor. Reuters has the story, do the Verge and the New York Times.

Global sperm counts have fallen more than 50% in the past 40 years — with the drop-off most precipitous in the western world, where the figure for men in North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand apparently stands at 59.3%, according to the Financial Times (paywall). Local nutters will dismiss the story on its face for having come out of Hebrew University of Jerusalem, but even skeptical scientists say the most recent study on the phenomenon “dealt with many” of their criticisms. BBC and Reuters also have the story, with the former declaring that “Sperm count drop ‘may lead to human extinction’.”

Also this morning: Adobe Flash will finally go bye-bye by 2020 (and Microsoft Paint looks set to go the same way) • The UAE has joined Saudi Arabia in oil output cutsChina and Russia are freaking out the neighbors with their first-ever joint naval exercises in the Baltic Sea.

Enterprise is a daily publication of Enterprise Ventures LLC, an Egyptian limited liability company (commercial register 83594), and a subsidiary of Inktank Communications. Summaries are intended for guidance only and are provided on an as-is basis; kindly refer to the source article in its original language prior to undertaking any action. Neither Enterprise Ventures nor its staff assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy of the information contained in this publication, whether in the form of summaries or analysis. © 2022 Enterprise Ventures LLC.

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