5 Most Important Things in Business Today: IBM M&A

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International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM) bought a large software company to move further into cloud computing. According to Reuters:

IBM Corp said on Sunday it had agreed to acquire U.S. software company Red Hat Inc for $34 billion, including debt, as it seeks to diversify its technology hardware and consulting business into higher-margin products and services.

Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL) and Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) may be hit by taxes outside the United States. According to The Wall Street Journal:

Dozens of countries are stepping up efforts to levy new taxes on technology giants such as Alphabet Inc. and Facebook Inc., hoping to capture revenue from digital services as economic activity increasingly shifts online.

Inspired by European Union proposals to impose a tax based on the revenue of tech companies rather than their profit, South Korea, India and at least seven other Asian-Pacific countries are exploring new taxes. Mexico, Chile and other Latin American countries too are contemplating new taxes aimed at boosting receipts from foreign tech firms.

“Halloween” was number one at the box office again. According to Box Office Mojo:

Repeating atop the weekend box office is Universal’s release of Blumhouse and Miramax’s Halloween. The horror hit dipped 58% in its second weekend, delivering an estimated $32 million as its domestic cume now climbs over $126 million after just ten days in release, all on a reported $10 million production budget.

The Japanese are building relationships with China. According to CNBC:

A 14 percent increase in Japan’s exports to China during the January through August period is one of the key factors contributing to the country’s entirely export-driven 1 percent economic growth in the first half of this year. A 5 percent increase in export sales and a 3.5 percent increase in exports-spurred business investments have been the main growth drivers at a time when household consumption and residential investments — about 60 percent of GDP — were virtually dead in the water.

Investors and political scientists should therefore have no problem believing Abe’s statement that “China is an indispensable country for the Japanese economy to keep growing.”

Some stocks are being badly damaged by rising interest rates. According to CNNMoney:

Wall Street has punished housing stocks. The SPDR S&P Homebuilders ETF has plunged nearly 30% since late January. Toll Brothers, a luxury homebuilder, has tumbled 31%, KB Home’s stock has been nearly halved.

Prominent auto stocks are also in a bear market. Ford has lost a third of its value since January, while General Motors (GM) is down 28% from its peak last October.