August 24, 2015 Last Updated 3:37 pm

Shanghai market plunges 8%, US markets open sharply lower

Morning Brief: Apple Newsstand change details; Modern Times Group AB plans staff reductions; rest of Tribune Publishing newspapers receive the app update recently released for the LA Times and Chicago Tribune

The Shanghai Composite Index fell over 8 percent today in Monday trading, leading to stock exchanges worldwide falling sharply. In Europe both the German DAX and French CAC were down nearly or more than 3 percent. The cause of the slides continues to be fears that the Chinese economy is slowing down, and with it the hopes of US and European countries to record growth.

Shanghai-SE-300Apple shares fell more 6 percent on Friday, and in pre-market trading shares are down another 3 percent. Apple last quarter recorded 112 percent growth in revenue from the Chinese market accounting for the lion’s share of the company’s 33 percent revenue growth in the quarter. Without growth in China, Apple revenue would have grown only 13 percent (though that would still have been a fairly solid number).

The combination of a slowing economy, combined with over supply, led West Texas Crude prices to fall below $40 a barrel. Commodity prices are now at their lowest level this century, according to Bloomberg’s index.

While the falling stock markets will likely grab the headlines, most economists don’t see the market slide as directly effecting the economy overall.

“We see this as a very nasty correction, not the start of a new bear market,” Philippe Gijsels, head of research at BNP Paribas Fortis Global Markets told The New York Times.


Dow drops 1,000 points at open, then rebounds

Today’s column, Paul Krugman says “what we’re seeing is what happens when too much money is chasing too few investment opportunities.”

In another column which seeks to explain why this is happening now, John P. Hussman, Ph.D. talks about “triggers” rather than “causes”. In other words, not why this is happening, but why now?

“My impression is that trigger of last week’s market loss was not China’s yuan devaluation or even concern about the potential for a Federal Reserve rate hike,” Hussman said. “Rather, the trigger was most likely the sudden deterioration of leading economic measures, energy prices, and industrial commodities, both in the U.S. and globally.”

Apple late on Friday informed developers of the changes they can expect to the Newsstand with the release of iOS 9. (See full report on the email here.)

Newsstand-iPadIn summary:

  • The Newsstand app becomes a regular folder
  • Apps inside lose their issue covers and now have standard app icons
  • The Newsstand category is renamed Magazines & Newspapers with all apps moved into the category, but publishers can move their publications out of the category into others, should they choose
  • Apple recommends submitting generic cover art for their app descriptions as after the iOS 9 release, they will no longer have access to the Newsstand Atom feeds to update the metadata cover art

Apple has not as yet opened up its Apple News Format to publishers in order to customize their content for the new Apple News app. The developer site still lists it as “Coming Soon.”

iOS 9 is expected to be released shortly after the iPhone event on September 9, with the most likely date being Friday, September 18.

Modern Times Group AB plans to eliminate around 700 positions, or about 7 percent of its staff, as it attempts to reposition itself against digital competitors. The media company, based in Sweden, also has staff in the UK, Norway and Denmark who could be effected by the layoffs.

The company recently announced that it has received a non-binding offer for the purchase of 75 percent of its business operations in Russia. The company is being forced to sell its interests there as Russia moves to eliminate foreign ownership of media entities. Modern Times Group’s stake is being bought by Russian oligarch Alisher Usmanov for about $200 million. Usmanov is Russia’s richest man, according to Forbes, with a fortune estimated at $14.7 billion.

Tribune Interactive this weekend released the rest of the expected updates for the Tribune Publishing newspaper apps. Two weeks ago both the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune apps were updated. The weekend apps for The Morning Call, Hartford Courant, Orlando Sentinel, Baltimore Sun, Daily Press and South Florida Sun Sentinel were updated.

Here is the app description for the update:

What’s New in Version 3.4
Thanks to your feedback, we’ve made several improvements and fixes to the app.Here’s what’s new:

  • Section-to-section swiping: easily browse through section fronts without leaving the page
  • Add sections of interest to you: Click on a related topic at the top of a story to add that as a new section
  • Offline reading: now you can download your news and read offline
  • Major performance and stability enhancements
  • iPhone 6/6+ landscape support
  • iPad landscape experience is now free scrolling with more text
  • Lots of other bug fixes and improvements

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